For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Why is it, that something or someone we once treasured and valued can become trash and worthless to us? How can we value, love, and cherish something or someone and so quickly disregard it to be replaced by something or someone “better”? 

I find this to be true in my own life. When Justin and I bought our house it truly was my dream home. We put a little money into a small kitchen re-facing as well as restoring the gorgeous original hardwood floors. I remember feeling like I couldn’t believe this was my home and that I would cherish it forever.  Lately, I have found myself complaining over how my floors don’t match, how much I hate having carpet upstairs, how small the house is (now, I do have 4 girls so I am going to cut myself some slack on this one :) ), and how I want an open concept. This house I was once so extremely thankful for is becoming a burden rather than a treasure. Once Justin and I started discussing the possibility of remodeling, this thought process increased even more. This way of thinking, although not entirely bad (outgrowing the space with our growing family), can be very dangerous. 

I find it interesting how I can start to feel this way and how quickly God brings reality back to my heart. I can take one drive through downtown Portland and my heart is broken over the homeless crisis; watch one video about Africa New Life Ministries serving Rwanda, and I am brought to tears by having so many pairs of shoes when these babies are praying for just one pair. I am convinced that, because we have so much “stuff” compared to those with very little to nothing, that in fact we are the ones that are poor and desperately seeking contentment and joy. They have only the Lord to lean on and we have clutter and junk blurring our sight line to Christ. This is an entirely different message all in its own.

For now I am going to stick to this idea of the once treasured places of our lives being tossed to the side. I see this outlook in so many different areas of people’s lives. I have watched relationships, marriages and families broken because of someone new. We believe this new person is going to make everything better and that its going to be different this time. I have seen how painful these situations are and my heart is broken for any person who has experienced this kind of pain. My hope always is for people to be encouraged, and possibly make a different choice if this is happening in your life. For us all to seek to be holy as opposed to simply being happy. 

I believe that if we do not seek Jesus first in our lives and in our marriages/relationships we can so quickly give up on them. If we do not have deep roots that bind our hearts to Christ first, and our relationships second we are vulnerable to them being snatched away. 

We see this type of stewardship towards church as well.  We are invested and grateful for our church until we find a new church that we like better. We quickly begin to pick apart our church, gossip, find fault and tear down anything we can find that may not look as good as the new church. I do believe that the lord leads us to new churches, and I know that there are different seasons in our life. What I think we struggle with, is leaving with grace and love. 

We see this in our lives in little things, like the way we treat old furniture in comparison to how we treated it when it was brand new. I always find it funny when I see discarded furniture on the side of the road, in the rain, with a sign that says “free. Growing up, if my siblings and I were fighting in the car, my dad would make us look out the window and “road shop” (I can still remember him saying it…lol) So, trust me, I love road shopping but I think you get my point. 

I recently heard a pastor of a world-renowned church say it so perfectly. When he and his wife’s ministry first started to move they were put up in a beautiful hotel. He said they were just in awe of how perfect everything was. He went on to say that they had an amazing time and that they couldn’t believe that they were so blessed to stay there. Fast forward years, when he returned to this hotel and found himself with a very different attitude and perspective. He found himself complaining, irritated and un-appreciative of the hotel. He said that God grabbed ahold of him right then and there and reminded him of how it felt the first time that he stayed at this hotel. He said it rocked him to his core, that he could so easily forget what God had done in his life. 

This is so easy for us to do, isn’t it? We think about the Israelites leaving Egypt and how shortly after they are rescued, God makes bitter water sweet, food fall from heaven, and parts a sea, for crying out loud, and yet they were convinced that they were better off in Egypt. Not only can we struggle with wanting something better or new but we can easily think backwards and desire what we once had. Even if what we had was causing us great harm. 

Paul says it like this: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4: 11-13

The truth is we ALL struggle with discontentment, being thankful, and this kind of stewardship towards people, our blessings, and God. We sometimes think just getting out of the situation will make everything better when the reality is, that if our hearts are not transformed by God nothing will ever satisfy us. 

This world tells us we can always have something better but nothing in this world is better than the one who created you. When we begin to serve Jesus and people, what we find is peace and joy which gives life to contentment.

Trying to remain thankful for our home that brings so much comfort and joy! 

Gods Hands work

I think restoring furniture may be God’s way of speaking to me these days.  

You may have read my post about being restored and how God spoke to me through the restoration process of a vintage dresser.  As I began a new 1800s piece that was gifted to me by a dear friend, I again heard God’s still small voice.  I quickly realized that the gorgeous, vintage piece that stole my heart is fragile, weak, and crumbling in spots. This chair will need to be handled with care and special attention. 

 If I am being honest, I didn’t want to take the time to really sand and prep this piece because I am impatient and, like many of us, I want instant gratification.  So I grabbed my fragile, priceless piece and began to spray paint it a beautiful cream color. 

It only took about 30 seconds to realize this was not going to be what’s best for this piece long-term. To cherish and truly restore the chair, I need to clean and prep it before finishing it with new paint. At first I thought, “Is this how it is with us, Lord?  When we are too old and just too fragile are you done working on us? Do you just put a coat of paint on us and hope it looks okay and lasts? And when there’s no more hope do you just discard us?” 

I immediately thought about someone in my life that I often think is never going to change and that God may be done with and that they just might be “too old and set in their ways” to change.  This is the point when I realized I was going to need to do some gentle repairs as well as some light sanding if I truly cared about the outcome of this priceless piece. 

Through this, God showed me that he is never “done” working on us nor are we un-restorable.  Some pieces need different equipment or a gentler hand. They may never look brand new and may still be fragile and broken in spots but the beauty is in the age of the piece, not the condition. 

The maker of this vintage heirloom didn’t intend for it to end up broken and dumped. It was made for a purpose but time, life, treatment, and weather affected the chair drastically.  God also reminded me that his work looks different than our work; and how quickly we give up on people and want people to change instantly. We also feel we can save, fix, and finish people with our own strength, when ultimately God is the one who is doing the work.  

As I was working on this piece I found myself a little irritated because my hand sander needed to be repaired, the battery to my cordless sander needed to be charged, and it was getting dark in my work space so I was struggling to do the work properly. This reminded me how we often want to do or say the right thing, but our tools are not working right, they need to be charged, or we just can’t see the situation clearly and need to wait until there is enough light to do or say the right thing.  

Sometimes we need to work on our own hearts, be poured into, rest, and pray for God to work so hearts will be softened. We need to trust in his perfect timing. Even though I want to be done now I know that if I take the time to do it correctly it’s going to be worth it. I also know that even though it will take me longer, God is going to use that time to teach me really beautiful things I never would have learned had I just thrown a coat of paint on and moved onto the next project.  

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God is in control and doing the work in people’s hearts; we are just the tools that he uses. He calls us to LOVE people and to do his work with care and thoughtfulness, meeting people where they are, having patience, using our whole heart, loving gently, and forgiving the way he forgives us.   

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10

Beautiful before and beautiful after...

As a makeup artist/hair stylist I truly love spending intimate time with women and getting to find out about what makes them who they are.  I believe all women desire to feel beautiful, accepted and understood. 

As makeup artists, we love how fun makeup can be but I often feel what it does or our presentation of "before and after" photos are misunderstood. I want to clear that up a bit if I may... Like I said before, getting your hair and makeup done is just plain fun! (And let's be real, having someone else do it feels really good.) For us in the industry, it is about spending time with women and sharing with them what we are passionate about. I think women are at their most beautiful when they are at home completely natural either snuggling their babies, pursuing their dreams, or just checking out at the grocery store. So to all of the non makeup wearing  skeptics out there that think we are all about the "after" shot, I want to ensure you we LOVE the "before" shot even more! To be honest, if you hung out with me for a month you would quickly see that my makeup face only comes out about 1-2 times a month, because I am a momma first and that is the hardest yet most rewarding job I have been given. 

My prayer is that all women will know where their beauty comes from.  You are loved, you are prayed for, you are sought after, you are thought of, you are brave, you are strong, you are found, you are beautiful, and you ARE his beloved. 

Photography by Christine Shields

Becoming who you were meant to be, restored and made new

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

When I think of my life I think of it in two different sections: with Jesus Christ and without him. When I was a little girl growing up, my mother explained to me her belief in Jesus and that he died on the cross for my sins. As I grew up, I quickly realized it was way more fun and easy to choose my own path than conform to someone else’s route. I am the kind of person that does everything 100 percent or I don’t want to do it at all. If you asked me if I were a Christian growing up, I would tell you yes, because I did believe the words my mother spoke to me; however, I was living a very different life than what “the bible” teaches. As every human knows we are natural born sinners, and we love what tastes good even if it can cause harm to ourselves or upon other people. As beautifully created women we live our lives primarily based on our feelings and our emotion.

When I sit down and think about my life and the place God has brought me, I cannot help but start to cry.  Ten years ago, I was the girl you could hear talking from across the room, which is still true but God leaves the parts he wants to use.  The difference is I was lost, hungry for attention, lonely, addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, and was desperately seeking something to fill that emptiness I could physically feel in my chest.   When I was 22 I had something happen that has forever changed my life. I was able to reconnect with a long lost half-sister. She is now my sister and in no way is considered to me as half she is my sister 100 percent. Meeting Selena was very exciting for me because she was strikingly similar to me but also very different.

Selena and I were instantly knit together and unstoppable in each other’s presence. There was a very obvious distinction between us that I was very curious about. Selena and her husband were Christians.  They were unlike me and lived life differently from what I would have considered a Christian. They loved me and I never felt “different;” I believe that we are called to this type of love if we call ourselves Christians. They never pushed Christ on to me nor did they condemn or judge me for my lifestyle.  I showed Selena the beauty of VIP and she showed me the beauty of Grace.  During the summer that I was going to turn 22 something began to change and stir in my heart. I moved in with Selena and Nate, which meant moving to the suburbs and far away from all of my friends. God literally removed me from any temptation that could harm my life. I remember crying myself to sleep the first week of settling in. 

My heart was broken from a recent break up and I was so scared and vulnerable. I remember watching Nate and Selena and the way they lived. I desired deeply to have a partner like Selena had. Nate cared for her, nurtured her, respected her, and covered her in Gods love. Nate is one of the most incredible men I have ever met in my life and the love he has for his wife is what gave me the desire to want to know “their god.”  Selena gently asked me if I wanted to go to church with her, I wanted to be respectful and so I agreed to go. I will never forget sitting at Athey Creek Christian fellowship. It was a very modest church, full of tons of smiling people and had a warm feeling to it.  When the pastor, Brett, began to share the message I was immediately interested in the way he shared his love for God. I thank God for Brett and for using him in my life.  I went to church again the following Sunday and accepted Christ into my heart. Brett asked during prayer that if anyone would like to accept Jesus into their heart that they could look up to him. I just remember the tears streaming down my cheeks and knowing in that moment that my life would never be the same. I knew in my heart I was choosing him 100 percent and that it was what I was made for. I didn’t accept Christ because Christians were telling me that my lifestyle was wrong; instead, I got saved because they showed me the love of God through their actions.

Now we can fast forward to today…A husband I don’t feel I deserve, three beautiful, wild, fearless daughters and me. 

About 3 years ago I was at a yard sale when something caught my eye.  It was a dresser that looked about 100 years old and in terrible condition.  It was bright green with a little of the paint removed.  However I could see that underneath all of the paint was something beautiful, something crying out to be restored.  I bought the dresser for a price knowing she needed to be brought back to life.  Recently I decided to move my office downstairs and knew immediately that I wanted to finish that old dresser for the new office.  I have had the dresser for about three years and have worked on getting the paint off throughout that time. For those of you who have used paint remover, you know that it is messy, stinky, tiring, and can even be harmful if not slowly and carefully removed.  When I started to work on her again about a month ago I made the commitment to finish her.  Over the last four weeks I gave up on her two times, every time I would get frustrated, come upstairs and think about how I could just buy a new dresser. (And yes, if you are wondering the dresser is “her”) ;) 

The lord spoke to my heart that he never gives up on his people and gently reminded me how he never gave up on me.  Every time my heart would soften and I knew I had to continue to try.  I thought removing the green paint was the hardest until I had to remove all of the screws, nails, and old wooden wheels from the bottom of the dresser.  This task had me using every tool in my husband’s collection, sweating, and at times left feeling pretty frustrated.  Once I removed all of the paint, wheels and residue I had to literally clean out the inside of the dresser and its drawers. I had to make a special trip to the hardware store to purchase new screws that were longer and stronger because the old ones were unable to support or hold the top of the dresser together. When I was cleaning out the dirt, dust, and residue from inside the dresser the Lord showed me how he does this in our hearts and minds if we let him.  This thought brought me to tears and filled my heart with love and thankfulness but also sadness and deep sorrow for broken women all around the world desperately seeking something to fulfill them. 

At this point I knew the Lord was doing a great work in my heart and showing me the reason he desires purity and goodness in our lives. He was showing me that my past, even though not his choice for me, was something he is using to reach the hearts of other women.  At this point of restoring the dresser, I had different feelings about the dresser and was beginning to smile every time I went downstairs. I couldn’t wait to put the first coat of paint on her but knew she had to be ready for that. I went over her a couple times to make sure all of the green paint was off, the big holes were filled, that she was sanded smooth and ready for her first coat of ivory paint.  I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was after I finished the second coat of paint. I really wanted the knobs to be special, so I was patient with choosing. Once I identified that I wanted the vintage black milk glass, I spared no expense purchasing them. I knew that was going to be the finishing touch, what would make her stand out. I was able to chat with a women that runs an antique store, she thought my dresser was very old and worth treasuring.  What I find sweet is that I spoke with her before she was finished and the only pictures she saw were of the dresser taken apart and stripped; yet she could see the value and worth. I believe this is how God sees us: beautiful and worthwhile, even the bare bones.

There is nothing we can “do” to add to what Jesus did.  The law is impossible to follow perfectly that is why God sent his son to die for us. Is faith without works dead? Yes, but our works is not what saves us… We are in desperate need of a savior and he is waiting patiently. He is a perfect gentleman who is not going to force himself on anyone, but is waiting for each and every one.  God has always had a special love for women like a dad loves his little girl, only wanting to protect and provide for her.  There is proof in his word of multiple times that Jesus protected and used women in powerful ways.  I know for me I just have to look at my own life to see how much he loves and cherishes me. That old dresser that once was broken, filled with dirt and dust, is now beautifully restored. She is in no way perfect but neither am I or any of us. We can be made perfect in Jesus and he can heal and restore us. Trust me, I was that old dresser that had been used and abused but was bought for a price and am currently being restored.  God is teaching me that I am unique, irreplaceable, and most of all, his beloved.  

Austie Eckley - Relaunch 2014

This morning I have to take a huge breath because I am so nervous, anxious, scared but most of all excited about relaunching Austie Eckley. My first love was always hair and makeup before I started creating headpieces and accessories.  When I first started making little things I never thought I would fall so in love or that people would actually buy them.

It is always difficult to explain my business and I overexplain it so that it flows and is cohesive. When I have to fill out paperwork and it asks me what I do I am always torn because I start with “Hair, Makeup” and then think, “But I also make headpieces, and I really love to do that, too, but I probably don’t need to put all that. … LOL.”

So, let’s be honest, I really needed to ask the Lord what it is He has for my business. As most of you know, my first priority is my relationship with the Lord, my husband, and my girls. When our girls were in the NICU I spent a lot of time in prayer asking God what my business was supposed to look like and how I could be successful with my family coming first. I was excited but very nervous about the very clear answer I got. This is why I gave my website and brand its own facelift.

I am excited to introduce you to the new Austie Eckley site. I am putting more time and emphasis on the headpieces and accessories, and will now be selling them on my site. My hope going forward is that my website will become a go-to bridal boutique, offering hair, makeup and headpieces/accessories. I want to be able to create the entire look for my brides. I also wanted to offer a lookbook section for brides and clients. This section has complete looks with a description of each.  I will be refreshing these looks as seasons and trends change. I want this site to be a resource to help brides decide and create their look.

With that all said, I have a huge passion for commercial and editorial makeup, and still desire to book this type of work if given the opportunity. 

Doing what I do comes with really great things and it also comes with really hard and sometimes frustrating things.  When I first started making headpieces, I thought it would be really fun and cool to name each piece with a vintage name … until I realized everyone was doing that and not to mention local designers would end up having the exact same “vintage names.” At first, this was incredibly frustrating, but I quickly realized this is nobody’s fault; it’s just that if it’s a cool idea, chances are other people are going to do it, too.

One of the changes I wanted to make was to address the name issue. I went back and forth on different ideas until my sweet husband had an idea that I fell in love with.  I have been scouring my Bible and the Internet for some of my favorite verses -- mostly about love – to use as style numbers.  “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens” (Song Of Solomon 2:2) is a very personal and sweet verse in my heart. This was one of the first verses my husband wrote to me when we were dating. This verse has been my entire inspiration for the new collection and website changes, and I hope it will also reach the hearts of women who need to know their inner beauty.  

I look forward to thoughtfully picking each “style number” to suit each special piece. My whole life I have been worried about what people think of me -- whether my business choices are the right ones, if my work is good enough... and the list goes on.  God did so much work in my heart while our girls were in the hospital and I no longer fear those things, especially when it comes to Jesus. I want to share His love in a special way that reaches deep into the hearts of women. I pray that the Lord will use my business, headpieces and me to glorify Him. I will not live in hiding over my love and deep belief in Him, and I know He is in control of every decision I make.

I could not be in the place I am in without some other very special people. There have been so many who have helped me, prayed for me, brainstormed with me, watched my babies, donated their time for me, texted me incredible inspiration pictures and text, edited for me, that I could not be doing this without them. I don’t want to attempt to name them all because there are too many to name and I know I would forget someone.  I do want to thank Christine Shields, my extremely talented photographer. Christine has been there for me on this journey, through thick and thin. She is one of the most talented, beautiful, creative and loving people I have ever had the privilege to get to know. She has saved me in more than one scenario; always texts me right back even if I am coming up with the craziest ideas and she has to talk me off the ledge; and she always makes me laugh when I need it. Mostly, I know she cares deeply for me and my success professionally, as well as our friendship personally. Christine is going to do many great things and I am blessed that I was able to have her as my main photographer.

I also want to thank my incredible husband --  not only for supporting me as a partner in life and love and parenting --  but also for the hard work he has done to help me with my relaunch. He has spent countless hours working on my new website, not to mention the time he has spent with our daughters so that I could catch precious moments to focus on my work.

Lastly, something I have always wanted to do is donate to a cause I believe in. I am going to donate 5 percent of every headpiece and accessory sold to NICU families in need. The process of getting our babies healthy and home was so exhausting emotionally and physically -- and was very expensive even with the best insurance money can buy. I can’t walk away from it without a strong desire to help in some way. I have a couple different ideas and goals to help support these families as well as the needs for these new mommas preparing to go down this grueling road with their babies. I look forward to keeping you posted on this very exciting part of my business.

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Use promo code RELAUNCH to enjoy 10% off through June 30th.

Photography by Christine Shields

Video by Ashlee Murr

Reflecting back and looking forward

As most of you know, I have been out on maternity leave taking care of our sweet unexpected twin girls as well as big sister Eleanor. The past 7 months have been a crazy whirlwind for our family and I have just been taking in every minute of it with Thanksgiving. I want to update everyone on what is in the future for Austie Eckley. I have a lot of big changes happening and I can’t wait to share them all with you.

Many of you have been following our story, and know that our little girls were fighting for their lives in the NICU for over a month. During this time, a fellow colleague of mine broke into our home and stole my entire hair and makeup kit along with some clothing and other small items. I want to address this because I have had a lot of time to reflect these past 7 months. When this happened, I was not going to allow it to have any part of my world because my focus was bringing my little girls home. I think it is important that I talk about it and admit that what happened to us was not a small thing and that not only was it wrong, scary, and personal, but it was also against the law. I would like to say I have forgiven this person. However, the truth is that I am still very angry, confused, hurt and deeply saddened. We are confident in who we think did it as was the detective on the case, but unfortunately we did not have enough evidence to prove it. I have chosen not to expose this person because I truly believe they will have to answer to God. I also believe we reap what we sow and pray that this person will be able to one day come clean. I also pray everyday that God will give me the strength to truly forgive this person so that I can be free however I am not going to let this situation rob anymore of me.

With that said I am hopeful that God will continue to work on my heart and help me move forward. I am so excited for 2014! I have been working very hard the last couple months brainstorming, sketching, planning, and most of all seeking God on what Austie Eckley is going to look like going forward. This time has made me ask myself what do I truly love to do and what am I the best at… I am not going to share too much but I am completely rebranding and plan to relaunch Austie Eckley spring of 2014. This is going to include new packages, an entire new collection of headpieces, accessories, and an entire new focus. I also have some fun little surprises I am praying for and working on as we speak. I am so excited to share this new venture with all of you and I hope and pray you love it as much as I do.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you would like to keep up with Austie Eckley please LIKE and follow me here.
Austie Eckley

The Path Of Grace

You were too early for us, but not for God…

Penelope and Lillian were due July 22nd ,2013, but they were born May 5th, 2013. They were almost 3 months early. This was not the first surprise we had faced with this pregnancy. We didn’t find out we were expecting twins until after our 20 week ultrasound! The good news at the time was that they had their own amniotic-sacs and placentas. Now that I was expecting twins we had to Switch doctors and were told that they were actually sharing the same placenta, but had their own sac, which meant that they were identical, but now had a high risk pregnancy.

We do not know many of the details, for example, how we did not know we were having twins for so long, or about the placentas or amnio-sacs. I do remember waking up one morning and telling Justin that I didn’t feel right, and that I had grown really big, really fast. Justin along with a lot of my friends and family, just chalked it up to being pregnant with twins. I knew it was different, and at 27 weeks I began to get very uncomfortable and was even waking up early in the morning with what felt like back labor. I was monitored and sent home on moderate bed rest, and ordered to drink as much water as possible.

The next week I went to my scheduled 28 week ultrasound. My technician did the ultrasound, and I was informed that I needed to head directly to the high-risk Perinatologist at Providence St. Vincent. This happened to be the one time I had Eleanor with a baby sitter. This marked the start of many miracles, both big and small, but all enormous to Justin and I. Justin and I met at the clinic and we went from bliss to complete fear in a matter of 2 hours. The Perinatologist (specialists for high-risk pregnancies) was concerned with not only our tiny unborn little girls, but they also informed me that I was in the beginning stages of labor. These doctors, although very serious and direct, comforted us the best way they knew how. I was exactly 28 weeks pregnant and I was admitted into the hospital. I was so scared, but was comforted deeply by my husband and the belief that God loved these babies more than we did.

Once I was admitted into the hospital, Anti-pardem nurses and doctors started the process of trying to keep our little girls in my womb for as long as possible. I was given Magnesium, which is a slow muscle relaxer that is supposed to stop contractions. Along with this came serious discomfort, and I was hooked up to heart and contraction monitors around the clock to make sure our babies were stable. My vitals were checked regularly, and I was only allowed a certain amount of fluid due to the magnesium. Magnesium is also supposed to help protect the babies’ brains and spare us enough time to get steroids in my body for possible lung immaturity. The doctors informed us that every day, every hour, and even every minute that the babies were in my womb was a milestone.

Our big milestones were 24 hours for the first round of steroids and then 48 hours for the second. Our daughters were also observed by ultrasound every day to monitor any concerns. The girls had shown signs of “twin to twin transfusion syndrome”, as well as some slight skin edema (swelling in the skin). We also learned that the reason I had gotten so big and so uncomfortable was due to Penelope having 3 times as much fluid in her sack than normal. These were all signs pointing to twin to twin transfusion. The first night I stayed at the hospital without my family was extremely hard. I woke up at 4 o'clock in the morning and began to pray and ask God to have favor on my family. He answered and very clearly spoke to me... I will never forget the words, "This is going to be long and hard, but I will be with you the entire way.” I held onto HIS words throughout the entire process.

Once we reached 48 hours my contractions had almost come to a stop. The doctors decided to take me off of the Magnesium to see how my body reacted. I was allowed my first shower in days and was also able to drink as much water as I wanted! That moment was like Heaven! I was only off the Magneseum for less than a day when my contractions started again. Something was different this time, and I knew deep in my heart that our girls were going to come. My labor started for the second time around 12pm Saturday afternoon. I was dialted to a 5 and it was clear that there was no stopping my body...the doctor was called to come back to the hospital for the delivery.

There was a moment before the delivery I will remember for the rest of my life. I was laying in the hospital bed holding Justin’s hand, as well as his sister Meghan's, along with his Mother Joanne...and we were all crying. Joanne prayed and asked for Jesus to protect me, my babies, and that HIS will would be done. That was the first time in my life that I was able to give everything to the Lord. It was a breaking point in my life that made me realize I had no control, and that ultimately everything is in God’s hands. This was just the start of Gods transformation in Justin and my life.

After trying to hold off labor for close to 15 hours, another round of Magnesium, countless prayers, tears, and so much discomfort, our little girls were born. Our girls were delivered by C-Section at 5:07 and 5:09AM Sunday, May 5th, 2013...Cinco De Mayo! I didn’t know what to expect because my first child was a beautiful natural birth. The one thing I was so fearful of was that my babies would not cry. God is so good! He knows our fears and nurtures our souls! Both Penelope and Lillian cried loudly and vigorously for their tiny weights of 2.2 and 2.3! I knew at that moment that Gods words were true, and that our little girls were going to be ok!

I was not allowed to see my babies right away. Justin followed a team of 10 doctors and nurses into the NICU. After I was stable I was wheeled back into my hospital room without my babies in my womb...or my arms. This was an extremely hard time for me. I was still numb from the chest down, I had no idea if my children were ok, and I didn’t have Justin by my side. Praise God after an hour I was wheeled in to meet my precious daughters for the first time! I was still numb and on a stretcher. My little girls were inside their new “womb” in the incubators. They each had a dozen cords attached to their tiny bodies, hooked up to 3 separate monitors, and a CPAP machine in place to help remind our little babies to breath. I was allowed to reach my hand inside the small opening of the incubator to hold their tiny hands for a couple of minutes. I was later able to hold my girls skin to skin, (which they refer to as “Kangarooing”). I looked forward to my kangaroo time each and every day I woke up. I will forever cherish that time that I had with them.

Our little girls were in the NICU for 48 long days plus the 6 days I was in Anti-Pardem. I never understood what it meant when people would say situations were for Gods glory until this past 2 months. Our little girls did everything they were supposed to do. We were told countless times how amazing they were, and how they continued to surprise the doctors and the nurses. Through this process I would drive to and from Beaverton every single day, as well as making sure my precious Eleanor was taken care of. I still cannot believe how strong and incredible my sweet Eleanor is. She was my rock throughout the 54 days. I had to bring my milk in without a baby, and continue to pump 8-10 times a day in order to prepare to nurse twins. I am so blessed and happy to say that both of my girls are exclusively fed on breast milk today!

I had many days where I would just cry for no reason. There were also times I would question why God chose this for our family. I know now it was because he loves us so much! We would not be who we are today had we not went through what we have gone through. We experienced someone breaking in to our house while I was in the Hospital by someone we knew. For us... it didn't matter. For the first time in our lives we could truly see life for what it was, and see the big picture. It was a speck compared to what we were going through. If anything, we felt sad for this person that they could take advantage of us while we were in this situation. The great thing is the good in people far outweighed the bad! We were, and are still stunned at the kindness and generosity we endured throughout this process.

Not only did we receive love from the incredible doctors and nurses we grew so close to, but from all of our family, friends and complete strangers! People put their lives on hold to make sure we were taken care of. We had meals provided for us for over a month, complete care for Eleanor, gifts, donations for my stolen products, cards, text messages, phone calls, visits, and most of all prayers! I was able to keep a prayer journal of all of the people that came to the hospital and prayed with and for our family! I believe that our girls were prayed for every minute that they were in the hospital. I even had a nurse stop me when I was leaving to pray for me because Eleanor was also in the hospital for food allergies. Our daughters were born to GLORIFY God! Who HE is, and to show us what really matters in life.

We checked into the hospital April 30th and the girls were discharged June 22nd, exactly 1 month before my due date. I prayed and begged God to send them home together, and again he was faithful! We have been home now for over a week and are taking in every moment with our 3 beautiful daughters!!! We had to deal with food apneas the first couple of days home, and this was almost enough to break me. Again, I prayed and begged God to help them grow out of these, and of course they did! Our life has been changed drastically in under a year! If you told me a year ago this is where we would be, I would have said that I could not have handled It. I know now that I can do all things through Christ, and that without him I am nothing. I was able to spend some very sweet and intimate time with HIM throughout this process that has changed me forever. Truly and deeply. My goals, dreams, and desires have all changed. I feel grateful and lucky that God chose this path for us. I live for him and for no one, or nothing else. I pray for everyone we were able to reach during this process and hope that our lives have glorified him!

I can only hope we can bless and love other people the way we were blessed and loved. I am so thankful for our family and friends, and most of all for a God that loves us so much!

In Awe,

Austie, Justin, and our sweet sweet daughters... Eleanor, Penelope, and Lillian

Exciting New Work

I am really excited to share a couple shots from some recent work I was able to participate in.

I have had the privilege to meet and work with an incredibly talented photographer and his crew. These are shots for AARP MAGAZINE AND IEEE SPECTRUM MAGAZINE.

I look forward to showing you some of the other exciting projects we have been working on. Once they are published of course!!

AARP MAGAZINE

PHOTOGRPHAER: DAN SAELINGER

STYLIST: DOMINIQUE BAYNES

HAIR AND MAKEUP: AUSTIE ECKLEY

IEEE SPECTRUM MAGAZINE

PHOTOGRPAHER: DAN SAELINGER

STYLIST: BIRTE VON KAMPEN

HAIR AND MAKEUP: AUSTIE ECKLEY

You're a mom and you deserve it

As most of you know I am a mom to a precious little girl. My favorite thing in the world is to stay in our pj's all day and do nothing. However I also love being a girl and taking a little time for myself. I strongly believe its very important for mom's to take a little time for themselves whenever possible. I know this can be challenging so here are a couple easy tips to help getting ready easy with little ones.

Fall 2012 makeup trends

DARK CHERRY

I am so excited about some of the

Fall 2012 makeup

trends I am seeing. I am not going to lie I was IN LOVE with the Top Knot and bright lips for Spring/Summer. However I am saying out with the old in with the new.

The biggest trend I am seeing for Fall is DARK CHERRY LIPS. I think there are two ways you can wear this look for a bold yet sophisticated style.

The first is the bold lip with a dark smokey eye or at least a very thick wing liner...

The second way which is my personal favorite is to pair the bold lip with a natural contoured eye and tons of mascara. This look gives definition to the eyes and cheeks but really allows the lips to be the focus. I personally LOVE the runway version with the super thick "twiggy" lashes.

* A great way to get this look is to use a skin colored blush 1-2 shades darker than your skin tone. You can use the blush not only for contouring the cheeks but also to contour the eyes.

* Apply your crease color with a dome shaped fluffy contouring brush. I start in the outer corner of the eye and move my brush back and forth creating a half moon shape. You can highlight the brow bone and this will also help blend your crease seamlessly. You can also use this shade on the high planes of your cheeks to create highlight above your contour.

* Use a smudging brush to apply it under the eyes. This will give you that gorgeous natural lived in makeup look under the eyes. If you want the super dramatic lashes put a thick coat on with the tip of the applicator brush let it fully dry and then apply a second coat. If you have limp or straight lashes don't forget to curl your lashes before you apply your mascara.

* Once you have chosen your favorite lipstick make sure to purchase a matching lip pencil and possibly a lip primer to avoid from bleeding. Apply your lip pencil first and make sure to fill in your lips lightly so that the lipstick can just glide over the top. If you are wanting to use gloss you only need a little in the center of the bottom lip so that you can avoid excess bleeding.

*finish by using a concealer brush and a little finishing powder around the lips to erase any mes-ups. This will also help your lips pop!

Please check out my

pinterest

board for more "FALL 2012 MAKEUP". I would recommend visiting your favorite makeup store to try out a couple different shades. The same color is not going to work for everyone and its okay to be versatile depending on your ethnicity, coloring, features, age, profession, etc.

I think this makeup trend is going to be super versatile for any fall outfit. Remember ladies there is no reward without the risk. I always get the most compliments when I step out of my comfort zone and rock it. We are strong, bold, exciting, and courageous so go bold or go home this Fall.

Get a new look you can afford

Are you are sending your teen back to school or just looking to add to your makeup collection but are afraid this will burst your budget?

Recently a good friend and colleague of mine and I were chatting makeup. I always get excited when I talk to her because she is what we call the bargain hunter for quality but affordable makeup products. I love this because not all of my clients can afford high priced makeup.

Over the last week I have been collecting a couple of items that were recommended to me. I have been using them on myself as well as family and friends. I have to say I have been having so much fun not only trying new products but also the difference in price. Now don't worry I don't plan to buy "drug store" makuep for my clients. However I love providing advise on "what" to buy when choosing a more affordable route. Also I think this is a great option for teens going back to school. I was actually able to try out some of the products on my beautiful little sister that I am excited to share with you.

The first stop on my journey was to Fred Meyers makeup section where I picked up some

REAL TECHNIQUES BRUSHES

. I bought the set of 4 brushes for $17.99 and I have to say that I am IN LOVE with these brushes. I also picked up some

WET AND WILD

lipstick in BARE IT ALL 902C and PINKERBELL 968. I actually found out about these lipsticks from Pinterest and I am loving PINKERBELL which I have on now.

The second stop was to Target's makeup section in search for

E.L.F

. I have to say I was very skeptical about this line because they are SO affordable. However I purchased a couple of the products, did a demo on my little sister who needed back to school makeup and fell in love!

Here is what we purchased: The makeup remover wipes, Lengthening and Volumizing Mascara, Tinted Moisturizer in "NUDE", The 1801 Foundation Brush, Under Eye Concealer and Highlighter in "MEDIUM AND GLOW", Tone Correcting Powder, and Shimmering Facial Whip.

First I removed any excess oil with the wipes and then applied the Tinted Moisurizer with the 1801 brush.

Next I used the Concealer mixed with the Highlighter under her eyes.

I also applied just the Highlight at the top of her cheeks and applied a pop of the Shimmering Facial Whip to the apples of her cheeks. I finished off her face with a very light application of the Tone Correcting Powder.

I only needed one coat of the mascara to give her a very youthful natural look.

I was also able to pick up an

EOS

Lip Balm that my little sister informed me off. The EOS Lip Balm's are so fun and certified organic. We finished off Codi's look with an application of the lip balm.

Here is Codi's before and after shot.

Remember that Codi is only 13 so we went for a very natural back to school look. You can for sure take your look up a notch with some of the more dramatic colors. I plan to do a basic smokey eye tutorial soon.

I have also heard that the Suave Dry Shampoo is fabulous...

Happy Shopping!

Stay feeling young and looking beautiful

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is "What products should I use on my skin to prevent wrinkles?" I think people are expecting a magical answer when its simple...SPF. The problem is young people only think about their skin now instead of in 20 years. I know a lot of people feel sexier when they have a tan however the result shows in your skin as you age and can even be detrimental. It is easier to prevent sun damage than to try and fix it later.

Here is the good news...You can still have a sun kissed glow without the harmful sun rays...

I recently had the opportunity to get a spray tan by Misti Eveland. Misti with

Beauty by Misti

is incredible with her customized spray tans. Misti spray tanned my sister and me for an event that we were attending and I must say we felt fabulous!!

Misti uses a product called Aurycle Tan and it is a chemical free, animal cruelty free, vegan, and is an organic product.

Misti offers a variety of packages at her salon and will even travel to your home for a more private setting.

Misti customizes every tan she does and personalizes her tans with an airbrush application. The tan takes about 20 minutes to apply and can last 7-10 days with proper maintenance.

I absolutly loved my spray tan and will include a couple shots of my sister and I from our night out on the town.

I would still recommend applying sun screen every day. Almost every makeup and skin care line sells a product with spf. I personally get my sunscreen from my moisturizer and then I layer my makeup on top of that. If I want more of a sun kissed glow I use a bronzer.

If you are already experiencing sun damage I love and would recommend the

Clarisonic Brush

with whatever skin care line you are currently using.

You can contact Misti through

FACEBOOK

or you can email her at

evelandmisti@yahoo.com

503-329-2452

Beautiful before, beautiful after

One of my favorite parts about doing makeup and hair is the before and after shots. I wanted to share with you all a couple of my favorite's from this year...

If you are a bride, hair and makeup artists, or just someone wanting to learn how to apply your own. Please inquire with me about taking a class to learn more.

Molly Reardon for bridal

I was so pleased with our most recent bridal shoot. I am so excited about these veils because this is a brand new style of veil. We are calling this style an "Eye Blusher". When Portland Bride and Groom Magazine saw "The Evelyn" they loved it and published it. They said it was fresh and new and that makes me a very happy girl...

SUMMER/FALL 2012 PORTLAND BRIDE AND GROOM MAGAZINE

One of my favorite parts about working in weddings is getting to finish the bride's hair and makeup with a customized head piece. I am excited to see what the future holds and all I can say is I AM THANKFUL...

Here are a couple photo's of some of my the newest pieces. The photos are taken by the very talented

Christine Shields.

You can find my pieces for sale

here!

Dress by

Holly Stalder