Monday, December 30, 2013

Resolutions vs. Revelations


Oh hey 2014...did we skip over 2013? Flew by me somehow.

I'm wondering what you think of when you hear people talking about New Years Resolutions. Do you shrink back in defeat? Feeling like you're setting yourself up for failure? Do you not even want to try? Or maybe you're one of those people who muster up all the resolve in the world to really, really accomplish your list this year.

Me? I'm kind of in the middle. I try my best not to beat myself up on the ones that didn't get accomplished. Or if any of them got accomplished at all. (yeah that happens more than I'd like to admit.) But I also find myself typically in a place where I want to better myself, I want to set some goals, I want to at least try. But not yet.

I urge you-as well as myself-before a single goal or resolution is set. Before you buy the gym membership or the fancy new Bible devotional book because this is the year you are going to read through the Bible in a year. Take it before God. Take some time out where you can get alone with God and seek His will over your year. What does He want you to accomplish, what areas is He asking you to lay down and completely surrender to Him, what things really need your focus and what things need to be set aside for awhile? Pray. Seek. Ask. I believe with my whole heart there is a place for goals or resolutions-but only after they've been revealed to you from your Heavenly Father.

Now after that-I wanted to share a way that I approached my 2013 goals because it was unlike any other year and I found it more effective. (Note: I didn't say perfect...I still didn't get everything accomplished. But I feel like I did make progress on many of them, and any progress is better than no progress right? Right.)
So after praying about different areas that God was leading me to work on this year, I grabbed a notebook and made a page for each "area" I was working on. Such as...

Page 1: Spiritual
Page 2: Marriage
Page 3: Home
Page 4: Business
Page 5: Personal
Page 6: Health

On each page I list different things I want to work on or goals I want to make in that area. Underneath that I list each month of the year with a couple of lines in between each one. That way each month I have a place to come back to jot down my progress. This was a really fun way to track how I was doing on my goals and see it broken down by month. At the end of each month I went back to this journal and wrote down how that "page" was going.

Each page has probably 4-5 different goals, and while most of them are very personal between just God and I, there are a few I'd love to share!!

Personal page-
*Read 10 new books...5 Fiction & 5 Non-Fiction (Taking suggestions on that one by the way!!!)
*Tell people on Facebook Happy Birthday more. (Seriously I know this one is ridiculous-but really, it's so simple and makes someone feels special! So why don't I ever do this?!)
*Create more-just for fun
Marriage page-
*Date my husband more.
Spiritual page-
*Memorize more scripture (I have a certain number I'm aiming for.)
*Read through my Daily Chronological Study Bible
Health-
*Drink more water!!
*Get in better shape overall
Home-
*Find a good cleaning schedule & stick with it!


Hope this helps!! Happy almost 2014!!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Scripture Sunday

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

It's late here, or early-however you may see it.

And as I washed my foil tin pie containers for cinnamon rolls my mind was swirling with so many thoughts, and you were one of them.

Yes-you.

The community, the friendship, the love and fellowship I have met through this little blog of mine.

And while my dough is rising for our Christmas morning cinnamon rolls, I had to stop and say a little something to you all. I'm picturing you like I often do, sitting across the kitchen table from me with a cup of coffee. Tonight we're at my parents house, the Mr. is already snoozing away in their guest room, and surely in a few hours I will join him. But first, rolls must rise...and words must be shared. And if you're anything like me-a few tears as well.

My heart is full tonight thinking about the Baby in the manger. Friends-has there ever been a night such as this? All of the anticipation is weighing on me heavily. It's not just the Baby in the manger that my thoughts seem consumed by tonight-even though the miracle and wonder of that alone could keep me awake all night. Do you know what really has me awestruck?

God came.

Ya'll, we weren't just sick. We were dead. Dead without Him. Apart from Him I am nothing but shackled to this world and sin. And no matter how hard I try, no matter how many New Year's resolutions I set or how much resolve I muster up
I can never break free from the chains.


So I imagine God discussing eternity with His Son, the wonders of heaven and the reality of hell. I imagine Him saying something like...You know the only way they will ever get from the darkness of that world to the light of this world is if You go there.

Leave there. And come here.

To exchange the perfect holiness with the Father to the utter despair and darkness of this world. To put on flesh and dwell among us-dirty and beat up sinners who have had the life knocked out of them by someone or something and are making a mess of life. To rub elbows with them, wash their feet, love on them-the worst of them. After He came He lived the perfect sinless life we couldn't live and died the cruel harsh death we should've died. And all of that puts a lump in my throat bigger than the moon. But tonight I'm consumed with 1 single thought---

He came.

No matter where we are in life or what season or trial we may be going through-that 1 fact changes everything. Everything.

Merry Christmas friends. May you be lost in wonder as I and caught up in the goodness that is Him & Him alone.




Linking up with: Caroline, Emily

Thursday, December 12, 2013

When it rains it pours

I'm torn. All I really want to do is make this post fun and happy and Christmasy. I've got diy projects & recipes to share for crying out loud!
But my heart isn't in it tonight. The promise to myself and you all to remain real-no matter what-is pulling my heart in a different direction.

My heart is heavy. I shared a bit why in my last post here.
The holiday's after losing a loved one is just plain tough. No matter how many twinkly lights I hang around our home or how many Christmas memories & traditions I try to make for my own family, there's no escaping it. It's hard, and comes with many, many tears. And sometimes you just need to stop trying to make the best of it and let the tears flow freely by glow of a Christmas tree.

My sister is battling a lot of deep personal problems right now, and besides praying for her, there's not a lot I can do about it. I miss her something fierce. I keep telling myself...it will get better, I will get her back, He will restore, He will heal.
But some nights I still find myself weeping thinking...why wasn't it today Lord? I need my sister.

My dad is a member of Baptist Disaster Relief. For anyone who may not know what that is, they are a team who gets called up after a natural disaster to help clean up, rebuild, feed people, pray with people. Minister. They usually get the call and have to be ready to go in a matter of hours. It's a calling that I know my dad feels very strongly about and I'm so grateful for his heart. Last week he got called up to get to a place where a winter storm had absolutely ravaged a community, and he had to leave so quickly I didn't get a chance to hug his neck and tell him goodbye. It's a small, seemingly insignificant issue. However it has tugged at my heart ever since. This morning as he worked to pull large oak trees from people's homes, he had an accident, and he was thrown from the ATV vehicle he was working on.
My heart sank.
He should be ok, and although very sore, is recovering tonight.
But tonight I find myself weeping thinking...I can't lose anybody else Lord, please.

Ultimately these are all the things I'm feeling. My heart is feeling heavy and broken. But these things I know...

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. -Lamentations 3:21-26
And that is all that's keeping me going.
And it is enough.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The struggle

Disclaimer: This post brought to you by many tears (ugly cry face).
Let's talk "pet sins".
If you're like me at all, as soon as you read that phrase a particular struggle with sin popped in your mind instantly. You know that area, that sometimes you justify by saying to yourself "it's not that bad", and then sometimes you get real with yourself and just want it gone but feel powerless to do anything about. That's where I've been the past couple weeks. I've been chased down by some past sins, in the form of worries and anxieties. You know the kind you know you've been delivered from and then on a bad day you're sitting there wrestling with those thoughts again and thinking-woah where did that come from?

Well, that's where I've been the past few weeks.

Hope has felt rare and distant, though I know in my soul it wasn't. Peace felt hard to find, though I believe He never left me.

There are quite a few things I could blame for this rough spot I've found myself in, but I'm less interested in focusing on that than on how to get out of it. However, I know-and desire-for God to do what He's purposed to do in this trial. I've walked with Him too long to think for a second that He has allowed this trial for nothing. And the favor He has showed on me-oh the grace. Just a few nights ago I was weeping saying between sobs-I just really need a break. Which was true-I've been over-worked (self-imposed as it was), over-stressed, and over-done for a while now. With no possible time for a break for weeks, I just sobbed myself to sleep that night and prayed for a way, or at least some extra peace. 24 hours later, enters a major snow storm where not only am I given a break-I am stuck at home and forced a break. Because out of nowhere and no way for a "pause", He goes and makes a way.
I'm making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19)

It's given me some extra time to think, to pray in the dark with only the glow of the Christmas tree. Here's what He's speaking over me, I pray it meets you in your need as well...

Satan loves for fear and anxiety to enter our lives for many reasons. He knows it is a guarantee way to take our eyes off of living for God and on to surviving for ourselves. When I'm struggling in this area my mind is primarily on ME. What's difficult, how I'm going to get through this or that "hard thing", or even worse-how I am going to get out of that hard thing!
Here enters a worse fear than the rest: I'm risking completely missing my calling, my purpose, and what God has planned for me to do.

So I'm handling this season of life with much prayer, and caution-that I wouldn't lose all God has for me to do.

Oh-and Happy December friends, and as always, thanks for letting me be real with you.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Random Thoughts...

Re-washing already clean laundry because I have left them in the washer too long is one of my biggest pet peeves. Happened twice this week. Really?!

Lately if I feel like a good cry I just pull up Ron Pope's "You're the Reason I Come Home" on YouTube and think of the Mr and boo-hoo. Beautiful.

I've been afraid to speak this out loud-I know a lot of passionate people about this one (including my sister). But the Mr and I had the time of our lives putting up the Christmas tree a couple of Saturday's ago. It was like we were kids sneaking cookies out of the cookie jar or something-wrong...but not so bad...you know? In no means does this mean I am skipping over Thanksgiving! Since we don't really celebrate Halloween in our home, we focus on Thanksgiving the entire Fall season (because it's very important to us). I just have a pretty Christmas tree to add to my "Thankful List".
Still be my friend??

Speaking of Thanksgiving, this is my first Thanksgiving at my parents house to get to contribute something to the meal and I'm thrilled! I'm not at all providing the whole she-bang. Just a side or dessert and maybe an appetizer for before the meal. I've been trying out different recipes on the Mr. for the past few weeks to try to find just the perfect ones.
Any ideas?? I'd love your input! Think random side that you can't live without/unique dessert/favorite appetizer?

Almost finished with our 2012 Family Book.
Almost 2 years to complete that project is normal, right??

Back to the Christmas topic-I am attempting to make a lot of our decorations this year, so I'm starting early so that they are ready to go in Decemember. Things I'm attempting: stockings out of heirloom family blankets (no pressure there right?), our family Advent calendar that we can use for many years to come, a unique twist on garland, and an ornament chandelier out of some beautiful ornaments I found in the back of an antique store in the middle of Spring. Watch out for some diy posts coming up on some of these projects!
Especially if they actually work!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tasty Tuesday-Best Chicken Ever {Crockpot Edition!}


Ok friends-I almost didn't share this recipe, because it doesn't really feel like a recipe? I thought about doing the normal "Tasty Tuesday" thing on here with the pics and full write up. But it felt too similar to snapping pics and writing up a recipe for "The Best Glass of Ice Water You've Ever Had". Not so much, you know?

But then my first bite into this dish the other night and I thought dang it why didn't I get pics of this? I've got to share this one!! So sadly there are no pictures for this one, nor a "recipe" as one would know a recipe to look like. But I do think this is the best, moistest, most tender, and easiest (ok enough adjectives there) chicken I've ever had.

Roughly chop up a yellow onion and place this in the bottom of your crockpot. (No science here to the size you want to chop your onion pieces. I had Mr do this for me while I got ready in a hurry that morning, so that gives you an idea of how mine looked. Just whatever you know.)

Next take a whole fryer chicken, mine was roughly a little over 5lbs. Place it on top of your onions in the crockpot and season however you want. If you want to make this into some mexican dishes, throw on some taco seasoning. Italian dishes-garlic powder and italian seasoning. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with mine, so I kept it pretty basic with salt, pepper, and a tad of all-purpose seasoning salt (which I later realized was over a year old. Clearly it's time to clean out the spice cabinet.)

Pop the lid on and set the crockpot on high for 6-7 hours or until the chicken is completely done and falling apart.

That's it. So even though I still feel a little silly for sharing a recipe that feels as easy as sharing how to make ice water, I hope you try it and love it. We enjoyed it that night paired with some veggies on the side, and today I made delicious homemade chicken noodle soup out of the leftovers. A crockpot recipe + leftovers that can be turned into a million different dishes=the best.



Linking up with: Emily and Mandy.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Marriage Mission Field (Part 2)

{part 1 here}

There is no fear in love.- 1 John 4:18

Before I had opened my eyes, my mind(worries) had already taken off. The weight of the anxiety of marriage combined with the normal stress of wedding planning was weighing on me to say the very least. It all just seemed too much and this particular day I remember feeling like the move from the bed to the floor was akin to walking to China. Impossible.

With eyes still closed, tears started escaping and the cry of my heart was more a desperate plea than a simple prayer. God...I HAVE TO KNOW. Can I really do this? Can I really be a wife? Can I leave my family? Can I let down every single wall, let go of every single reservation I've ever had of marriage and devote myself completely? All of my doubt fears came from me-not the Mr. My love for him was sincere and huge, in fact if I didn't have that love for him I probably wouldn't have made it this far in our relationship. I couldn't bear to think of a life without him. But I also couldn't bear to think of giving him a half-hearted life with a half-there wife. It was all or nothing. That's what he deserved.

As I cried out in desperation this verse slowly and quietly began to circle my mind...There is no fear in love...There is no fear in love...There is no fear in love...There is no fear in love...There is no fear in love...There is no fear in love...There is no fear in love.

And that was the day I knew. Not the day my fears went away, I still struggled with the fears of what if I wouldn't be enough/do marriage "well enough", but deep down that verse kept resounding in my head and that was enough to remind me...keep going...keep trying...this is right.

Marriage isn't about me anyways. I believe it to be the greatest demonstration of God's love towards us on this earth. We are called to die to self and become one with our spouse, which is not always easy, but in complete honesty-its the been biggest blast.

I'm not sure what most brides think during that moment on their wedding day right before they walk down the aisle. You know what I mean? The moment where all of the pre-ceremony/getting ready hullabaloo dies down, in front of you is your family in their prospective seats, your smiling bridal party, and that darned cute groom of yours. All that's left is you. A part of me thinks that most brides think of something more profound than I did. But I distinctly remember a prayer I simply whispered. It was something of repentance of my lack of trust in Him the past few months, combined with a plea to help me do this right. Not the walking down the aisle thing (although I'm sure my bridesmaids had some kind of bet as to at which point this klutz was going to wipe out) but the becoming the wife I knew I had been called to be.

And even though it's a day by day (sometimes hour by hour) process, He has been faithful to do just that.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Scripture Sunday

Thursday, October 24, 2013

the struggles under the rock

I had plans of a fun post today, of a look around our Fall decorated home with a fun diy I was so excited to share with you all. But God just took this in a whole different direction, and as I heard someone simply put it today...things just go better when I do things the way He's asked me to. So the "fun diy" post will still be coming in the next few days, but for today, here's my heart friends...

I had one of "those" nights last night. Nothing huge-just seemed to be litterally bombarded by things tempting me to worry. I was doing everything I could to stand firm against them. But as I drove home through the dark streets last night, I saw something shiny in the road, and I tried to straddle it, but I heard that I had definitely hit it. I started thinking of the potential demise of my tire, and how our finances couldn't handle it right now (let alone the fact they are brand new stinking tires, barely a month old)-and that's how I got bombarded by Reason #29480 to become overwhelmed and lose myself in a sea of worry. I still tried to fight it. I told myself it was probably just a pop can, forget about it.

Literally, minutes later, a yellow flashing light pops on my dashboard.

"Low Tire Pressure".

My bottom lip began to quiver as I turned slowly into our neighborhood (yes, gratefully I was seconds away from home).

As I got out of the car holding my breath, I heard the hissing air out of my right front tire.

The floodgates broke ya'll.

I just stood in the driveway sobbing like a crazy lady. (Sorry neighbors.)

I tried to rationalize it you know...remind myself it's just a flat tire, and it happened so close to home-what a blessing! But deep down I knew the flat tire was just facade that was masking a whole box of problems that had been kind of thrown at me. The day had been one temptation after another to worry- my sister is struggling in a lot of areas in life and my heart is broken for her knowing I can't fix it all, my mother had just hung up the phone with me asking me to pray for my dad with some health issues-it made me want to go get a hug from him but he happens to be thousands of miles away on a business trip, and the sound of my mother's voice made my concern want to raise even higher, the Mr. and I are happen to currently be in a season of life where we have a lot of very big decisions to make-and I don't remember the last time we were able to just set it all aside for 24 hours and do nothing-and my heart was in desperate need of it tonight. Above all of that, if I were to be completely honest...I seem to be walking in a bit of daze of grief these days. This time of year, for one reason or another, makes me miss my aunt so much I can hardly breathe. Grief is a funny thing like that I assume. Hitting you in some seasons of life harder than others...with sometimes a reason...and sometimes no specific reason at all. Either way though, the struggle and the pain is just as real.

So while the Mr. worked in the driveway putting on the spare tire, I sat on the couch thinking of all of these things, sobbing. One thing came to mind out of the clear blue...
Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I...Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I...Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I...

"Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe." -Psalm 61:3

Higher than my fears
Higher than my questions
Higher than my doubts
Higher than my finances
Higher than my grief
Higher than my insecurities
Higher than my mistakes.

From the depths of the darkness and the heights of the mountains of joy, He is the Rock. The unchanging, everlasting Rock.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tasty Tuesday-Brownie Fudge Pie

If I absolutely had to name my "Top 5 Desserts of All Time" this one would without a doubt be on it. Probably even Top 2.
I feel like it is a must on your holiday dessert table for a fun addition to your normal pumpkin and pecan pies. It is the richest, creamiest chocolate fudgey-goodness under a brownie-like top. It is absolutely, insanely delicious AND easy. One of those fast, dump all the ingredients in the mixer, let it go, and pour it in the pie crust and bake. So let's get started!


1 9-inch pie crust
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. Combine all your ingredients, mix together thoroughly and pour into pie crust.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, being very careful to not over bake. Nobody likes a burned brownie!

Allow pie to cool, then serve with a dollop of whipped cream or cool whip on top.


Linking up with: Emily, Mandy, Feeding Big, Chef in Training, Darlene, Jacinda, Ali, Make Ahead Meals, Pint Sized Baker, The Recipe Critic, Make it Yourself Monday, Mom's the Word

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Marriage Mission field (Part 1)

"And the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh." -Mark 10:8


There are some young girls who spend their days decorating their hair with yellow flowers (also known as weeds) and pretending to walk down an imaginary aisle (also known as a very crooked/uneven sidewalk), to their Prince Charming waiting on the other end (also known as...nothin but thin air...)
We call these the good ol' days. When every girl is somehow guaranteed they will end up with Prince Charming and their life together will be more than a fairy tale.
But then....life happens.

People walk out on us, dad's get busy and forget to nurture that side of their daughters that is practically crying out desperate for their attention, boys do "boy things" and break girls hearts-and they promise forever at 17 but by 17 and a half they just don't think you're as pretty as you once were.

And this...and worse...happens over and over and over sometimes.
For years.

So you do what any girl in there right mind does-you just stop. Stop trying to win that boy's heart, because you know they won't keep yours like the rest of them didn't. Stop trusting that other one who promises to be different, because you know they never are. Stop letting your guard down, because frankly you're just tired of being hurt over and over and over again.
At the end of the day you'd rather be alone than broken.
And I get that. I've been there.

But then God does something totally new, and you know He's asking you to trust Him and to allow Him to protect you instead of the walls you've put up yourself. And it's scary. You've grown accustomed to those walls. You've probably even decorated them if you're like me.

For the Mr. and I our dating period was brief but fun. I had managed to let him in just enough to call him my boyfriend, but deep inside I think I knew I would never let him in all the way-because that was something I did not want to do with anyone ever.
So you can imagine my surprise when 3 months later he asked me to marry him. Don't get me wrong-I was beside myself with giddy. But late that night when all I could do was go back and forth between staring at the new ring on my finger and the ceiling, I started thinking.
Marriage, huh. That was probably going to require me to let every single wall down. Straight down to the foundation. Talk about out of my comfort zone. Plus-I still lived at home with my parents-and at risk of sounding like a silly 5 year old, I liked it. My mom is my best friend and we stayed up late talking almost every night. How was that going to work?? Let alone the fact that I couldn't figure out how I was going to be able to jump out of bed and put on my make-up every morning and jump back in bed before that darling husband of mine woke up and saw me without mascara. Within 24 hours of weeping with joy at the proposal of my dreams by the man of my dreams and celebrating all day long, Satan had already managed to remind me....

There was no way I could ever do this marriage thing.

Part 2 continued next Monday....

Linking up with: Kendra, Nan

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Because it is Finished, I am not

When He had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit." -John 19:30

I've said many times on this blog that I long to be completely real with you all, because if I'm not then what's the point? There have been somedays easier than others to walk that out. Todays post is a hard one, and it comes to you all with much prayer and many tears.

The other day I had a really randomly great day. You know what I mean by that right? Nothing special or big-no holidays or birthdays. Just a good day. The Mr. was exceptionally handsome that day, and when we woke up we started laughing so hard about something that we both felt like kids again wondering if mom would come tell us to keep it down. It was a gorgeous day that included a drive in the country with the windows down and hymns on the radio. A lunch date with my mother that led to good talks and shopping.
Nothing life-changing.

But later that day I did something I hardly ever do, clean out my wallet. My mother had bought me a new one and I was eager to change everything over. So I braved the gross looking crumbs and wads of receipts and went to town with a trash bag nearby to empty out my old one. A few mins into the project out fell a handful of cards that looked like ordinary business cards. I flipped them over to see what they were and soon realized exactly what they were.

Therapy appointment reminder cards.

(This is the part where I sit here weeping on this side of the computer screen, reminding myself to stay real, stay real, stay real, no matter what.)

Ya'll it stopped me in my tracks. In the middle of a beautiful day, filled with so much love and laughter that you wish you could bottle it up, was this reminder of what once was. To say it was gut-wrenching would be an understatement. It took me back to those days, to that dark season of my life. You probably don't want to hear how many times it took me to even dial the number to the Christian counselor that I had already spent weeks praying over before I could even pick up the phone, or how I felt physically ill the morning of my appt. When I got in the car that morning I thought, I'm just going to get coffee...we'll see how I feel about going after that. 30 mins later I somehow ended up in that waiting room. I remember sitting in that waiting room thinking...how did I end up here? And looking around at the other people in the waiting room thinking...how did any of us end up here? My loving mother and my boyfriend (now Mr.) had both graciously offered to go with me but I knew it was something i had to do on my own. Well with God. Just me and God. Because there are some places you can go with only God and you. And this was one of them. When my therapist stepped out and ushered me into her office I remember she pointed to the couch or the chair and said cheerfully, sit wherever you'd like. I instantly chose the chair-it was closest to the door. That day she started by asking me what brought me there and do you know what I said??
Nothing.
I just burst out into sobs. And sobbed. And sobbed.
In a total stranger's office surrounded by who knows what, the floodgates broke. 2 years of depression and anxiety and living through an abusive relationship and my best friend getting cancer and then my aunt getting cancer and dying had all taken it's toll on me.
I don't remember how long we stayed like that. Me sobbing in a silent room with a stranger. But I remember it was a while. I think I remembered finally mumbling the words "It's been a really, really hard couple of years and I really don't like the way I'm living."

I look back at the time in my life with tenderness. I was living scared-constantly. I was living broken. I was living discouraged. Which had led me to believe--was I living at all?

So I spent awhile in these therapy appointments. Once every couple of weeks I would go, coffee in hand, and do my best to do something besides just sob. (I mean sobbing still happened some...clearly). Some of you may be scrambling to find the "unfollow" button as I speak, but this is the truth-this is the real me. I just don't have it all together guys.

Here's where it gets good guys---
I'm not that girl anymore. I still don't claim to have it all together or to have all the answers, and I probably never will. But I'm ok with that. Because of what Jesus did for me, because of His blood shed for my life and all of it's mistakes and crazy-ness, I'm not that person anymore. When Jesus said on the cross, It is finished-He meant it. The guilt is finished. The old way of living is finished. The fear is finished. The old you is finished.

I've come to learn that life is hard. Really hard. For days, or weeks, or months, or yes-even years on end things are just tough and you don't see an end in sight. No solution to be found. But because of the sacrifice made on the cross for you and I, we have this promise...because it is finished, I am not.



Linking up with: Whatever Wednesday, Wise Woman, Encourage one Another.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Scripture Sunday

Friday, October 11, 2013

AND THE WINNER IS!!!

The Beatrice Lanes giveaway winner is...

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Congratulations Kelly!! Please email me at newmrsadventures@yahoo.com to let me know which print you would like and your mailing address!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A reputation of living well

I have a thing for Proverbs. I try to read one each day in my quiet time, the chapter matching the date. So since it's found in Proverbs 3 I'm assuming I came across this verse last week on October 3. That evening I was thinking about that chapter I had read that morning, and I started looking through different versions of it on my Bible app on my phone. The way this verse is worded in the Message stopped me in my tracks, and I haven't been able to forget about it yet.

Earn a reputation for living well in God's eyes and the eyes of the people. -Proverbs 3:4

Living well.
I started wondering-what does that mean exactly?

Is it the way we eat? Our church attendance? The way we treat the people who drive us the most crazy? (You know who I'm referring to...)
Is it spending 8 hours a day in deep prayer and study of God's Word? Is it organic everything?

I guess it could be a number of those things, if that's what God has called you to. I think "living well" looks different to each of us because we've all been given different spiritual gifts, different callings. I'm in that place too, where I can hardly define what it means to "live well" in God's eyes- and to do it so well and so consistently that we earned a reputation for it. Because let's be honest I can have a good day every once in a while where I can go to bed at night with a smile on my face and think...I think I loved my husband well today, I didn't even complain about the fact that he appears to be incapable of putting the throw pillows back on the couch after he's sat there (it's a thing). But I'm guessing that eventually I'm going to be tired or grouchy or hangry (anger induced by severe hunger) and I'm going to say...honey I love you more than life itself but for the love of all that is good can you please just put the darned pillow back where you found-it just once! (Clearly I've thought this through a little too much...)
And that's not really building my reputation. Reputation is legit. It's what you are consistently, not just on a good day.

So here's what I've concluded "earning a reputation for living well in God's eyes and the eyes of the people" looks like for me personally.

It's living in His Presence. Not just a good quiet time and a prayer before each meal a day. It's lingering, staying, dwelling in His Presence. Because everything else that I want to do well (glorifying my God, loving my husband, being a good daughter and friend) they will all be added unto that. Because Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." So seek Him I will. That I may earn a reputation of living well.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tasty Tuesday- Slow Cooker Italian Drip Beef Sandwiches

Don't forget there's still 3 days left to enter the Beatrice Lanes giveaway! Details at the end of this recipe!!

When the Mr. and I were engaged things were crazy busy. Really really crazy. We were both juggling school, work, a ministry, and wedding planning. Some weeks date night happened, and some weeks it didn't. But the one thing that did happen every single week?
Tuesday nights.
Every Tuesday around 4 while he was still in the church office I would head to his place and start making a nice meal for us, and as soon as he could get away we would promise each other no school/wedding/job talk-only a funny tv show and dinner and being together.
And it might have saved us and our sanity. Just saying.
There were a few days that I knew I wouldn't be able to make it to his place early to make something. So on those days I had 2 options. Forfeit our Tuesday nights (not a chance) or teach myself how to use the crockpot his grandparents had given me that Christmas.

So I learned, and fell in love with, my slow cooker. This recipe was one of the very first recipes I ever made, and it was by far one of our favorites. It still is, I make it all the time and every time I do it takes me back to those Tuesday nights.

Here's what you'll need:

Printable Recipe

1 5lb rump roast
3 cans of beef broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 .7oz. packages dry Italian dressing mix

Place the rump roast in the slow cooker.

Combine all other ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Pour over meat in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. 1 hour before serving take meat out and shred with forks, then return to slow cooker for the last hour.

You can dress up this sandwich any way you like! Here's my favorite way though:

Sauté slices green bell pepper and onion.

We use individual sub or hoagie sandwich bread, spread a thin layer of mayonnaise, and use a slotted spoon to pile a nice serving of meat on the sandwich. Then we top it with sliced mozzarella and the sautéed green pepper and onion and serve it with a side of the broth from the crockpot. I really can't tell you how delicious and easy this recipe is. I hope you love it as well!






Printable version found here!




Linking up with: Mandy, Emily, Cynthia, Keeping up with the Johnsons, Make Ahead Meals, Cindy, Julie, Chef in Training, Pint-Sized-Baker, What's for Dinner?, Table for Seven.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Scripture Sunday

Friday, October 4, 2013

fab friday

Happy Friday friends! It's been a busy week, and with the weather looking to be like the "perfect" fall weekend, I am more than ready for a simple weekend at home with the Mr. Let's highlight the best parts of this week!

1.) Obviously, a dream coming true. Beatrice Lanes began Tuesday!! Check out the shop here, and enter the giveaway for a free print of your choice here!

2.) Proverbs 3:4 (Message)- Earn a reputation for living well in God's eyes and the eyes of the people. I'll probably talk about this verse more next week, but for right now, let's just say it rocked my world this week.

3.) Finally marking off some very long put off projects.

4.) The way God is moving in our church right now. It's hard to explain, but the redemption and excitement in our church is practically tangible right now. Praising God.

Happy Friday Friends! This week has meant so much to me and you all have supported me so. Thank you.
Thank you so much.

Linking up with: The Pink Momma

Thursday, October 3, 2013

giveaway

Happy Friday-Eve friends!! This week has been crazy around here-launching a business is no joke! I'm looking forward to Friday like you would not believe. But before we can get on to the weekend, how about a giveaway!? In a continued celebration of opening week at Beatrice Lanes, I'd love to give one of you lovelies a free print of your choice!!
Here are the rules:
Go "like" Beatrice Lanes facebook page here for 1 entry.
Tweet about this giveaway for 1 more entry.
Go to the etsy shop here and comment on this blog post which print is your favorite for 2 entries.
Got it? Any questions/issues please let me know! The giveaway will run for 1 week and I will announce the winner next Friday, October 11.

Want to share this giveaway with your readers?? Feel free to use this link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/M2M4NmYzZjUwNTc0ZGM5YjZlNzllMDY5MGU1N2IwOjA=/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Top 10 {Fall}

Ok guys, I know this link up is actually called Tuesday Top 10...which would kind of suggest this post should happen on a Tuesday. But I'm a rebel (not really, I'm a major scaredy-cat of breaking rules), but this one seemed way too fun to pass up just because it was a Wednesday.

So here's Tuesday Top 10 (on a Wednesday) Fall edition/rebel style

1.) Hot apple cider. For the taste AND the way it makes my house smell. The best.
2.) Wrapping up in oversized sweater jackets, making getting out of bed on the cooler mornings not so bad at all.
3.) All things cozy.
4.) Gorgeous fall colors. The reds, plums, burnt oranges, golden yellows.
5.) This is the beginning of Holiday decorating season for me. Sure I do a little for spring and summer, but this is the time of year I go all out. And I love it.
6.) Football. Oh for petes sake I can't believe I just typed this, and I'm sure my sister and best girl friends that have known me forever are choking on their gum right now. But since I've been married, I actually look forward to Football on Saturday's with my man. No, I don't understand it all. But there's just something fun about the snacking and being lazy all day while the Mr. watches football and I curl up next to him with a book, or netflix on my laptop or napping. (I feel much better after that confession)
7.) Cozying up under blankets.
8.) That beautiful crisp-ness to the air. It just puts a smile on my face when I walk out the door.
9.) Scarves & boots.
10.) Soups. I have such a thing for soups going in the crockpot on a cooler fall day.

Linking up with: Kate @ Life as I Know It.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Dream & Announcement

I have mentioned recently the reason for my absence has been a dream I've been chasing and how I couldn't wait to share it with you all.
So today I get to. Finally. I'm a terrible secret-keeper when it's so exciting.

For as long as I can remember I have had a love for design. Various things have stopped me from pursuing those dreams though, and finally a few months ago Mr looked at me and said, what in the world are you waiting for? While I instantly could think of a good long list of reasons that this was the worst time to be doing this, I did agree to being open minded and praying about it.

So here I am 3 months later. A little braver. A lot more exhausted. And a Graphic Design business owner.
I still blink back the tears every stinking time I think of that.

It would take me months to explain all the doors that God opened to make this day possible. And I could never adequately explain the journey I've been on that brought me to this day, I'm looking back and a part of me feels like I physically fought my way here every step of the way. You know what's funny though? It was me I was fighting. My fears. My doubts. All me. Because I've been blessed with the most supportive husband in the whole world, I had a constant cheerleader. I have always said that if I went home one day and announced to the Mr. that I was walking to Mars tomorrow he would say nothing but-babe you'll be so great at that!!!
So this, well it was no different. I have tears streaming down my face as I think of all the ways he has stood by the past few months. He has dried my tears when I determined this wasn't possible. He has taken over the house when I have been bombarded with so many things to do. He has taken huge, scary financial risks for me-and never thought twice.

I'm so humbled.

So today, October 1, it is my deepest joy, and wildest dream to officially open Beatrice Lanes. I so hope you will love what you see as much as I have loved creating it. I have some local retail space, but for all of you blogging online friends I invite you to check out my Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/BeatriceLanes

I am running a Grand Opening special throughout our first week of business so be sure and go to our facebook page here to grab the coupon code for 20% off before it expires on October 8. I am also accepting custom orders right now! I would be honored to work with you on your invitations, announcements, or even Christmas cards. All info is on my etsy shop page, or feel free to email me at beatricelanes@yahoo.com for more info.

Friends thank you, thank you for your support.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tasty Tuesday-Apple Cake

Here's the thing, I love pumpkin-everything as much as the next gal. Really I do.
But I have to pace myself. If I start on the pumpkin train now, by the time Thanksgiving comes around I'll hardly be able to look at the pumpkin pie. And we can't have that ya'll.
My solution? I like to begin the Fall season with apple-everything. I mean apples, brown sugar and cinnamon-y goodness is just too good to skip over right?
And this apple cake my friends is a definite win. It has been passed down through many, many generations in my family. Any and every family gathering, I can guarantee you this cake will be on the table. Every time. Unless you showed up late and every last crumb has been devoured. In which case I sympathize with you-I've been there. It is also super simple.

I made this cake last weekend, and between 2 adults it was gone in 2 days. Shameful. We love it not only for dessert but for a sweet breakfast also. You can absolutely serve this as a wonderful dessert or a sweet brunch side dish. No matter how you serve this, just make sure you do!

Here's what you'll need:


2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups thinly sliced & chopped apples (there's no exactness to this, just make them bite-size)
2 tsp. vanilla

Begin by mixing the oil, sugar and eggs together.

Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Finally add the apples and vanilla.

Delicious much?

Simply grease a 9x13 dish and pour in

Warning: this cake batter is very, very thick. I still vividly remember the very first time I attempted to make this cake on my own instead of just helping with women in the family make it. It was a cold snowy day early on in our marriage and I had decided to surprise my cute sleeping husband by letting him wake up to the smell of this delicious cake baking. Instead he woke up to a teary wife because I was so positive I had ruined it somehow because it was so thick. Much to my surprise, it came out just as perfect as ever. So please-don't have a cooking meltdown like myself-it's supposed to be that thick.

Pop this in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour. Start checking this at the 45 minute mark. It's a very moist cake and you want to keep it that way!!

Printable version found here!

Enjoy!!!




Linking up with: Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, Emily, Mandy, Chef-in-Training, and Pint Sized Baker.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hello there

Hi friends. I've missed this place so! I've got lots of thoughts swirling around so this is sure to be a bit random.

Church was incredible this week. So many things have stuck with me but this one in particular:
Heaven is full of answers for prayers that were simply never prayed..
I shudder to think.

I am embracing this Fall season fully with a heart of gratitude. In our home we don't do Halloween, we do Thanksgiving for the whole Fall season. (By all means, please don't see this statement as an "attack" for those who celebrate Halloween. This is just what we feel is best for our family.) These days I am so grateful for this season of cooler weather and a few moments to pause and remember to have a heart of gratitude. I won't lie-I'm also loving the decorating, cozy Fall candles, and apple cider.

Colorado-oh how I ache for you. Tears well up in my eyes every time I see the news, I'm praying for you all.

Last week was a crazy week, Mr. and I were practically passing each other coming and going. The good news about that? I did not mind a bit all the football we watched over the weekend because at least I got to watch it in the arms of the man I adore.

Do you remember this post? The part about following a big dream and taking a big risk? Well I'm doing that. That's why I've been a little mia around here lately. I'm pouring all my heart and soul into this and covering it in prayer and hoping for the best. I will be announcing it here soon and I'm so excited to share it with you all.

Happy Monday friends. May we chase hard after Him, encourage each other daily, and love extravagantly.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tasteful Tuesday Party

Today I am co-hosting one of my personal favorite weekly Blog Parties! If you're new here I'm so happy to have you! Leave me a comment if you're a new follower and I'll be happy to follow back! Meet Emily from Nap-Time Creations:

Hi readers of New Mrs. Adventures! I'm Emily and I blog over at Nap-Time Creations. I'm so excited to be hosting my weekly link party with Stephanie today{Tasteful Tuesdays}, is a link party that runs every week from Monday evening until Friday morning, and every other week the party is also be posted on an additional blog..... so MORE exposure for YOU and your TALENT! We all like more exposure right? So link on up and get your stuff shown on TWO great blogs

 photo 0d2d7ad9-e02c-4ce1-ae08-cc746b7f09e1_zps72c63903.jpg


I post features on Nap-Time Creations each weekend. Usually around a theme... some recent round ups have included:


Home Décor Ideas



&



You can link up on either blog and still be featured! 


Follow Nap-Time Creations so you'll never miss another party!


{E-Mail} {Bloglovin'} {G+} {Facebook} {Pinterest}






Sunday, September 1, 2013

Scripture Sunday

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday Words

Lately God has been working on my heart with relationships in my life. I've been trying to pay more attention to the way I act when difficult circumstances arise, the words I speak AND how I speak them over those closest to me, the length (or lack thereof) of my fuse when I'm stressed or exhausted. It's a difficult situation. These are the people in my "corner", who know my the best and accept me at my worst. I have a husband who is a Godly man, who loves me well and treats me with such honor and kindness.
I have a mother who I have an uncommon bond with. She is a mix between my best friend and hero and the hours (that probably added up to years) that she has spent on her knees over my life have shaped me into the woman I am today. Forever grateful.
I have a group of best girl friends that I have done life with since we were 12 years old. They have stood beside me through the darkest days of my life, and they each took their place beside me on my wedding day as the best bridesmaids a girl could have. I know what a gift that is, to have friendships that contain memories that range from sleepovers where we laughed and prank called the boys we had crushes on, to going through teenage heartbreak, thinking we were going to just die when we all went off to college, and now getting to still doing life together living just few miles apart.

While these people are some of the greatest blessings in my life I worry that because they allow me to be so "myself" all the time, I let my guard down too much. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting a life of "fake-ness", but we also have to remember that our initial responses can often be of our fleshly desires and feelings. When I've had a bad day I know that I can be real with these people and gripe and complain and even sometimes treat them badly or snap at them unintentionally.
But I just really don't want to.

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. -Proverbs 17:9

A few mornings ago I read that verse on the back porch and it stopped me in my tracks. Instantly God reminded me of this area that He has been working with me on.

The word foster means to: "encourage or promote the development of (something, typically something regarded as good)".
Let me tell you-in a world of hate, of confusion, of evil, of brokenness, of strife and abuse if there's anything I want to "encourage or promote" it's love. Even if it means letting something go that really bothered or hurt me.

This is something that is easier with people you don't know as well, or just aren't as close with. But it's the people in your corner, where it becomes really difficult with, because we're more transparent with them. Praying we rise up and let God work through us and in us to foster the love He put there in us to begin with.


Linking up with: Retha

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tasty Tuesday-King Ranch Chicken

Let's talk casseroles.
I have a thing for them. I know a lot of people don't, and I get that.
But for me? It's like an entire meal in a dish. And that's just delicious. Especially if it's got melted cheese on top.

So today's recipe is one of mine and the Mr.'s favorite casserole recipes. Every now and then on the weekends I like to bake a couple of whole chickens then just cut them up and have a lot of cooked chicken ready to go for the week in anything from casseroles for dinners, or in pasta dishes or even as chicken salad for quick and yummy lunches. Whenever I do that this is always, guaranteed one of the dishes that come from that week.

Here's what you'll need!

2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
Flour tortillas (I'm sure corn would work as well I've just never tried them)
1 cream of chicken soup
1 cream of mushroom soup
1 can ro-tel (I'm a whimp, so I go for mild)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Shredded cheddar cheese

Begin by melting half a stick of butter in a skillet over medium high heat, then add the chopped onion and green pepper.

Let the peppers and onions cook until soft and primarily translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Then add both soups and ro-tel.

Mix these together and add the 2 cups of cooked chicken. Then mix well again.

After everything is mixed together it's time to start layering! In an ungreased 9x13 begin by layering a single layer of tortillas, then the soup/chicken mixture, then shredded cheese. Repeat once more.

Simply bake covered at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until hot and bubbly. The last 10 minutes remove the foil so that the top layer of cheese gets nice and golden. So delicious! Hope you love it!

Printable version found here!


Linking up with: Emily, Mandy, Chef in Training, Darlene, and Good Tastes Tuesday Recipe Party.

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Crave" Week 7

Hi guys! I missed being here so much last week, but I know it was just the thing I needed. Emotionally and spiritually I'm feeling so renewed and refreshed, like I spent some time actually spending time on what I needed to spend time on. There's a dream I'm chasing these days, that has been on my heart for so many years that I don't really remember life before it. Anyone else know what I'm talking about there? Nonetheless, the past few weeks I've felt God's leading to really start pursuing it. Like for reals. So I've been doing my best to do just that. And friends let me tell you-I don't remember the last time I've felt so excited/scared-out-of-my-ever-lovin-mind about something. Isn't life with Jesus the biggest blast? Soon I will fill you in on all the details, for now let's get along with "Crave"!!!


Welcome to Week 7!! Make sure to visit Crystal & Rebecca's pages, as well as link up at the bottom to join up.

Chapter 11: "Stinkin', Rotten, Horrible, No Good Day"

I've probably said this before (or numerous times before) but this chapter shook up some things in my heart and in my thinking that were desperate to be shaken up. Anyone else? Just as we "eat to celebrate" we eat when times are difficult too-I am so, so guilty on this one. I am so ashamed to say that there are times I know that when something bad happens, no matter how big or small, I reach for food before God. I shudder to think. Don't get me wrong I do turn to God, but more often than not I turn to food first. Just like the story that Lysa opens with in this chapter though, the comfort isn't real, it's temporal at best and leaves us in more guilt and more of a mess than what led us to that bad eating decision in the first place!

This is the cycle that I have been in hundreds of times and just like she says in the book, the only way we have a chance of stopping it is a plan. A part of that plan is realizing that the reason we are reaching for food is to satisfy us-to meet a need that only God can meet. I loved how she shared how she made a plan to combat those times of intense temptations by writing out the Old Lie, the New Truth, and the Favorite Verse.

Chapter 12: "The Curse of the Skinny Jeans"

This chapter was so transparent of Lysa and I really loved and appreciated that. As she begins talking about how good it felt to finally be able to fit into her skinny jeans but how that excitement was short lived, it served to remind us that our happiness really isn't tied to our weight. We will still deal with struggles on both sides of the battle.

"We are taught to remain in God's love so that we won't tie our happy to anything but God. So that our joy will be complete. Complete. As in not lacking anything. Complete. As in filled up to the brink with joy no matter if we are wearing our skinny jeans or not. Complete. As in satisfied with a fullness we can't get any other way. Can you imagine how beautiful it would be to live as a complete person?" (123)

This really got me thinking. How many days of my life have I spent living as an incomplete person. I hate that thought. What I hate even more is to remember that I didn't have to! I had another choice. The same is true today. If I will stop running to other things or people to fill me up and satisfy me I really know that I don't have to spend another day going through life not whole, incomplete.





Sunday, August 25, 2013

Scripture Sunday

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pause


Hi friends!! I'm taking a step back from the blog this week to re-group and refocus. God has been putting lots of ideas and dreams in my heart that I'm feeling the need to put some extra attention on. I'll be back next week with "Crave" week 7! Praying for a great week in the Lord for you all as well!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Scripture Sunday

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tasty Tuesday Turkey Taco's

I love cooking with ground turkey breast when I can. It really is a lot healthier and not much different than the typical ground beef we generally reach for. So last week when it was on sale at the grocery store I loaded up and started experimenting. This was by FAR the best ground turkey recipe I've made up haphazardly ever! Mr. was so excited and requested it for leftovers a few times and has already asked for me to make it again. This is not only one of the most delicious dishes we've had in awhile, but it's also one of the most versatile! We had this yummy mixture wrapped up in tortillas for tacos, on top of chips for nachos, and on a bed of lettuce for taco salad! And it was delicious every way we spun it. Next time I'd love to try it on baked potatoes and pair it with a tortilla soup!

Here's what you need!

Ground turkey breast (Or ground beef)
1 medium size onion
Taco seasoning
Extra virgin olive oil
1 can of black beans
1 can of whole kernel corn
Garlic powder
1 small tomato sauce

(Please disregard the red pepper in the picture-I was just grabbing things that I wanted to try to mix in there and once I cut into the pepper it was bad! But I actually liked it better without it!!)

Start by chopping up the onion and sautéing them in a little olive oil for about 5-10 mins.

Once they start to get translucent add the turkey.

After it's thoroughly cooked and there's no more pink add the taco seasoning (I added about half the packet), some garlic powder to season, and the tomato sauce.

Let this simmer for a few minutes and then add your drained corn and beans.

Let this go on the stove for a little bit until everything is nice and heated up!

Then serve it up!

Oh I almost forgot! I also heated this up for lunch and used the leftovers in lettuce wraps. So so delicious!

Enjoy friends!!
Printable version found here!


Linking up with Emily, Mandy, Chef in Training, and Darlene.

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Crave" Week 6


Welcome to Week 6 friends!! Make sure to visit Crystal & Rebecca's pages, as well as link up at the bottom to join up.

Chapter 9: "But Exercise Makes Me Want to Cry"

Lysa opens up this chapter explaining her disdain for exercise-she even admits to praying for a husband who would motivate her to enjoy it more! She finally began running and the way she got through it was making it more of a spiritual journey than a physical one. Things like praying and quoting scriptures were getting her through the physically demanding and sometimes seemingly impossible runs. It was taking her from running out of her strength, which was very small and beginning to do it out of His strength.
I feel like with whatever struggle we might be facing, whether it be eating, exercise, alcohol, relationships, or anything else, we take it to a whole new level when we realize our need, our desperate need, to exchange our strength for God's. Because obviously we can't do it on our own right? Or we would have already and we wouldn't be struggling with it! However, I can't tell you how many times I will begin a week or even a new day with all the desire and all the ambition to do better today.
Eat better.
Exercise more.
Love my husband more.
Clean my house more.
Be more. Do more. More.
But I can guarantee you if I haven't begun any agenda by first asking God for His strength instead of my own, I'll be tired by noon and crying by 6 because I'm such a failure. Again.
It's true for any struggle. It's true for any day.

Chapter 10: "This Isn't Fair"

I have to confess something: at the beginning of this chapter when Lysa is explaining the struggle she faced on the cruise with her husband and whether or not to have dessert I was thinking...it's ok to splurge a little right? You are on vacation?
Well friends I felt like as I turned the first page of the chapter conviction was right around the corner ready to slap me in the face in the most lovingly way possible.
Anyone else?
"Our flesh buys right into Satan's lie that it's not fair for things to be withheld from us." (101)
Instead of giving into the temptation for that dessert, she reached for God's strength. Now I'm not suggesting that dessert wasn't delicious, but it got me thinking, wasn't that strength and comfort she received from the Lord better?
"Weakness is hard, but it doesn't have to mean defeat. It is my opportunity to experience God's power firsthand." (103)
Which makes you see the weakness differently right? Instead of this hardship we're enduring and trying to fight through we could see it as a blessing as a means to draw nearer to our God.
I'll take that over dessert any day.





Sunday, August 11, 2013

Scripture Sunday

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fab Friday

Hello friends and Friday!! This weekend is one that I have particularly looked forward to for some personal reasons. We've been on a journey for awhile with a group of fellow believers and this weekend we will finally see it in it's completion. To say I'm filled with joy and excitement is an understatement! So happy, happy weekend friends-I hope it's as wonderful as you all.

1.) Speaking of the journey we've been on, we had the blessing of one of my favorite way's God works. That's not to say that I don't love the hundreds of other ways, but this particular one just always leaves me with chill bumps and breathless with my love for Him and the overwhelming magnitude of the reminder that He is always working. Always. Even when we don't see it or feel it in the exact moment, we're often given glimpses looking back at the ways He carried us, was preparing us, providing for us all the way. The instance this week was the fact this journey has been over a year coming. There were times we were all filled with faith and trust, but there were also times where we wondered if God would ever move in this area, ever show us clearly His will. One night this week I received an email that was concerning the very beginning of this process-the first month actually-and a huge way that God had begun a work. A work that we wouldn't see with our human eyes for over a year later. But rest assured-He had done it. Those moments you find yourself just blinking numbly at the screen, tears streaming down with so much praise and awe in your heart that you feel you might just explode with gratitude right there. (I'm tearing up just telling you.)

2.) Hot days and rainy nights. It's like beautiful sunny days to finish up this summer, and perfect rainy nights designed just for sleeping. It's the little things friends.

3.) About that rain, I woke up in kind of a bummer yesterday. It was officially the last day of summer vacation for the Mr. before he heads back to school, and I wanted to do nothing but spend it all with him. Unfortunately it was a very busy day, hectic with non-stop plans and the most we would be seeing each other would be in passing at best. Once I finally convinced myself to get out of bed and begin the day I glanced out the window and noticed it was still pouring down rain which meant one wonderful thing-morning plans (outdoor) would obviously be forced to be cancelled. Tears filled my eyes as I whispered, thank You Lord...what a precious gift. The Mr. and I had a glorious quiet morning at home, with Bible study, good talks, pancakes and coffee. The rest of the day still went as busy as we had planned. But I didn't mind as much, I had just gotten an entire unexpected morning with him. So needed and such a blessing.

4.) Since Mr. is going back to school I suppose it's time to get myself back into a better routine as well. You know, like doing laundry more than once every couple weeks. Remember this? Shameful.

5.) Earlier this week I did something funny to my back, slept wrong or something. I've never really had back pain or something "continuous" like that. While I couldn't do much physically this week, it did a lot to me emotionally. It definitely put a lot into perspective, what's important, what a true gift good health is. That I can bend down and tie my own shoes or pick up a spoon I drop in the kitchen. It's those little things that so often get unintentionally taken for granted.


Linking up with: Anne

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tasty Tuesday- M & M Cookie Bars

Let's talk about my current dessert obsession. Cookie bars.
For some reason they remind me of my childhood, which makes no sense really because I can probably count on one hand the number of times my mother made us cookie bars? She baked all the time, but when I was growing up cookie bars were made out of a box mix from the store. Which had basically the same effect as the time I told my mother I really, really knew I was adopted.
And we're not going to go there ever again ya'll.
So I can't really explain why I've been searching high and low for the "best cookie bar" recipe and testing lots of recipes. The Mr. hasn't seemed to mind. So on my quest I stumbled upon this little gem on Pinterest and decided to give it a whirl.



Ingredients:
2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
12 oz. bag of M & M's (Give or take however many I ate before I began baking. Do me a favor and pretend you didn't notice the bag was totally open in that picture. Just keepin it real.)

So begin by preheating the oven to 325 and greasing a 9x13 baking dish. Then combine the flour, salt, and baking soda.

In another bowl combine the softened butter, brown sugar and white sugar. I used a hand mixer. While the recipe says to mix until light and fluffy, mine just never got there. Not gonna lie, kind of resembled sand. (You're dying to try this recipe asap now, right??)

But I just kept on going with and hoping for the best. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix that well also. This time it started coming together quite nicely!!

Now add your dry ingredients and mix until just combined, but don't over mix.

Add in 1 cup of M & M's.

Press these into your prepared dish and try to make it as even as possible. Then sprinkle the rest of the M & M's on top and press down into the top of the dough.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. I like mine super chewy borderline gooey so I took mine out a tad early.

Printable version found here!



Linking up with Jessica, Sarah, Emily, Mandy, Chef in Training, Darlene, and Jacinda.