Everyone loves a good story. Whether it's a friend recanting a funny moment, a crazy plot in a movie, or a well-written novel, all of us enjoy getting lost in a story that isn't our own. I especially love hearing stories of people I admire and how they got to where they are today. That's what this Friday Coffee Date series is all about, sharing the stories of ladies who are doing significant things so we can learn from them.
Today's Coffee Date is with Gretchen Saffles, the creator, designer, and blogger behind Life Lived Beautifully. She's also a traveler, a stylist, and the author of A God-Sized Love Story. Gretchen is always making my Instagram feed a little lovelier with photos of her Give Me Jesus Journal and sweet words of wisdom, and her blog is a great resource for encouragement and truth. I'm thrilled to share a little bit of her story with you today! Meet Gretchen.
What's in your coffee mug this morning?
1-2 cups of coffee from Sweet Aroma Coffee and hazelnut creamer from Trader Joe's! Some days I change it up with a cup of green tea and honey.
What does a day-in-the-life of Gretchen Saffles look like?
I love change and flexibility and my days usually take the shape of an unpredictable schedule! Usually I wake up around 6AM and go straight to the coffee put for my first cup of coffee. Mornings are my favorite time of day and I cherish the moments when the sun is slowly waking up with me. I sit on our green couch and spend time in the Word and then typically go to the gym for an exercise class or on a walk around our neighborhood. My best work hours are in the mornings, so I try to revolve my hardest brain tasks for the first part of my day (including emails, writing, and organizing). I ship packages with lunch, usually with a friend who comes to help, make a quick meal for me and my husband, and then work on new projects in the afternoon from a coffee shop! My husband also has a flexible schedule and we love to take advantage of going to new places, enjoying different coffees (usually a fancy latte in the afternoon), and meeting new people. I often meet with a friend in the afternoon and enjoy time with Greg and friends from church in the evening!
You have a degree in Fashion Merchandising and a passion for helping women dress beautifully. What are some of your fashion staples and go-to shops?
I am passionate about the art of dress and creativity God has given us to adorn our bodies to His glory! Two things you need to know about my fashion style:
- I rarely buy things full price and love finding staple pieces at different stores?
- I rarely wear the same outfit combination twice. (I know this sounds crazy, but it is completely possible to do in your own closet and makes your clothes stretch and seem "new")
I am 5'10 and have always had trouble finding jeans that fit well and dresses that are modest for my long legs. I recently had a friend create a slip extender for me to wear underneath dresses that are too short. You can purchase them from Etsy or have a friend who can sew create one for you! It is a favorite piece and the perfect way to add some style to skirts and dresses. Gap is one of my favorite stores to shop for jeans that won't go out of style, fit well, and are comfy and cute! I also love supporting shops that support a cause. Philanthropy has a small online store, and a few stores across the U.S. When you walk into the shop, you can literally feel the presence of the Lord! A part of all purchases goes to support missions and the clothing is gorgeous! There are so many stores that are supporting missions that you can support and wear fashionable clothing. It's a win win in my book.
You are a light and a role model for so many young women, myself included. One of the biggest struggles for young women today is comparison. How do you guard your heart and steer clear from the comparison trap?
This is the perfect question and a trap that I have fallen into countless times. Satan is sneaky and knows that if he can get us to compare, we will be discontent with the immeasurable blessings God has given us, with how God created us, and with what God is doing through us. Comparison robs us of joy, purpose, hope, and fruitfulness for the Gospel. There have been days that I feel were wasted worrying about little things and what others think of me. Measuring ourselves up or down against others is the opposite of the Gospel that tells us Christ did everything for us and we are complete in Him. Over the years of wrestling with comparison, the Lord has taught me the extreme importance of keeping my eyes on Him. This starts first thing in the morning when I am tempted to look at Instagram before reading the Word. There have been days where I have deleted Instagram from my phone to eliminate falling into the comparison trap. But we will see comparison take place in all shapes and forms - social media, family, friends, possessions, success, talents, personalities.
God calls us to meditate on His Word, to love Him whole-heartedly, and to die to ourself each day. We will never defeat comparison by trying harder, but rather by leaning into the Savior who has defeated it for us and claiming the truth of God's Word. This may mean carrying Scripture memory cards everywhere you go (I have done this so many times!), limiting time on social media (or taking a fast - I highly recommend this), and most importantly spending time in God's presence claiming the truth of Scripture and refocusing on our purpose. The grace of God has set us free from the measuring sticks we often carry. Live in His grace.
Because we all love a love story, how did you and Greg meet? How did he propose?
I love telling this story! Greg is the only person I have ever dated. And we didn't meet until I was 22 years old. In the 7th grade, I committed my heart to the Lord to wait on Him to bring me my future husband. Little did I know, that meant many years of being date-less and boyfriend-less in middle, high school, and college! I graduated from the University of GA with a degree in Fashion Merchandising, but God presented an opportunity for me to intern at a church in Tennessee. It was clear the Lord was leading me there, and I moved with a giant leap of faith to a place I didn't know anyone for the summer.
The ways of God beautifully connected me and Greg and middle school camp. Yes, you read that correctly! I was an intern and he was working in the media department. The first time I met him my heart burned. Literally. I had never felt something like that before and knew there was something so different about him! (and it wasn't just his crystal blue eyes that made my heart burn :) We began to get to know each other as friends that summer and I ended up getting a full-time job at the church. Greg pursued me for 6 months in the sweetest, most God-honoring ways! We began dating in February, were engaged in June, and married in November (all in about nine months!)
Greg is incredibly creative and thoughtful and planned the most beautiful proposal that June! I was visiting family in Texas and he couldn't come because he had to "work." That week, he drove from TN to TX and stayed with a family in my sister's church without me knowing that he was just down the street! HE had cut down trees and set them in cement and created an incredible room in the Chapel of my sister's church where he would propose. My sister had planned on taking "family pictures" at the Chapel of their church and we got dressed and headed over there. When we walked in, Greg was standing there and I was beyond shocked! He led me into the chapel that was filled with mason jars, candles, bulb lights and our favorite worship music playing. He led me to the podium where a Bible was sitting that had my new name on it. He read some verses to me and told me he loved me for the first time! (We had been waiting for this day for so long!) He then read from a travel journal a note that he had written to me and then got down on one knee and proposed! The rest is history and all the glory goes to God for our God-sized love story!
What is something you've been loving lately?
I recently finished "Choosing Gratitude" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and had my heart rocked by how ungrateful I am everyday and the abundance of blessings God has poured out on us! Anytime I have a free moment, I spend it reading a new book on my Kindle. :) I am also loving my new Advent Calendar from Naptime Diaries! I can't wait to decorate for Christmas!
You have a heart for traveling and seeing the world. Just for fun, which travel destination was your favorite and why? What are some places that are on your bucket list?
My heart literally beats for adventure and traveling the world! One of my favorite places I have been to would be Israel. Words cannot describe how incredible it was to walk where Jesus walked and see the Bible come to life before my eyes! We were also there on a mission trip and were able to lead children to Jesus in Bethlehem. I pray my husband and I can go back there one day!
We have a long bucket list that we are working through. :) A few things that we want to do are bike the country of Holland (you can bike the entire country in one week!), hike Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and go to Alaska to see the Northern Lights!