Thursday, February 27, 2014

Top 10 Ways to Bring God into our Homes

I love lists. And I am absolutely passionate about practical ways to invite God into our homes and families more. So basically this Top 10 Thursday post is one of my favorites. Let me start by saying 3 things-
-I am in NO way suggesting that these are the only Top 10 ways to bring God into your home or that these are even the absolute best. These just happen to be my husband and I's favorites. If you have ways that work for your family that aren't on this list, I would honestly LOVE it if you would comment below with what works for your family.
-Secondly, the absolute best, most important, and first thing we should do to invite God into our homes is simply...ask Him. Pray, pray, pray and when you think you've prayed enough, pray some more. I believe with all my heart that a cry for Him to fill our homes, our families, our marriages with HIS Presence will absolutely be honored. With that said, this list is full of some practical things that we like to incorporate into our routines that invite God to work and live in our midst.
-Finally, if this list makes me sound like we have a perfect home/marriage/family...we DON'T! This list is absolutely our desire and what we strive for...but there are days, weeks, and even months where we don't come close to incorporating half of this list. So we try again. And again. And again. Don't let mistakes and imperfections presently decide mistakes and imperfections for the future. Start today with just one of the ideas and you're doing one more thing today than you were yesterday!

I pray this helps give you some ideas!!

1) The Dinner Table Jar
This one is by far one of the easiest ideas but one of my favorites! Take a jar-any jar, empty out the pickle jar, save the mayo container, clean it, dress it up or leave it plain, take an old candy dish...anything! Put it on the middle of your dining room table or wherever you and your family eat dinner together. Whenever you hear of a need (whether it's in your own family or across the world in a missionary's family) write it on a little piece of paper, fold it up, and put it in the jar. Then every night that you sit down for dinner draw a prayer need out of the jar and pray for that need while you pray for dinner. Since the Mr. and I don't have any children we don't argue much on who draws the prayer need out of the jar! But I love the idea for once we have children letting them take turns drawing the prayer need and praying for them, teaching them the importance of prayer and praying for our friends and family.

2) Sticky Note Scripture
Memorizing Scripture is a huge part of our home, marriage, and even personal life. Hiding God's Word in our heart is absolutely KEY to being victorious in our life. So each week we try to memorize 1 new Scripture together. Once the Scripture is chosen we write it down 5-6 times on sticky notes or index cards. This helps first of all because the more you write it the more you memorize it. Secondly we tuck those cards away throughout our home. The bathroom mirrors are always the first stop, then as we wash our face or brush our teeth throughout the week we are still seeing it and working on putting it to memory. Other places are to stick it in a book we are reading as a bookmark, desk, kitchen, or even the car and school/work lunches.

3) Worship Music
I'm one of those people who like background noise. Sometimes I flippantly turn the tv on without even knowing what's on, just so I have that background noise. But when I think about what I'm doing I think it's a little ridiculous. Whatever is on the television, even though I don't know it, is filling our minds with whatever junk they're potentially talking about...even if we don't realize it. It's just as easy to push play on a "Worship" playlist and let those sounds and those God-honoring words fill our homes, and ultimately our hearts and minds. I mindlessly find myself singing along, or hours later those words will still be in my head while sitting in traffic or running errands. It changes the entire attitude of our home and I try very hard to have that going in the morning as we are getting ready for the day.

4) Family Devotions
The Mr. and I try to begin each day in the Word together. Realistically I'm sorry to say this does not always happen, and sometimes it does but it's at the end of the day instead of the start of it. This is one of the hardest ones to implement for us, but it also has one of the biggest influences. When we've gone weeks without getting in the Word together I can tell in a major way. We are so short with each other. The tiniest things annoy each other. We are biting and snapping like children. And it typically doesn't even make sense and we get to the end of a day where it seems like we've just "bickered" all day and look at each other and say huh? Why are we upset with each other? I'd say 99% of the time we can look back over the past few days and weeks and realized we've skipped out on our Couples Devotion time. Give us a few days back in the Word together, seeking God's will and praying together and we're back to normal. I definitely don't see it as purely coincidence that the thing we find hardest to find time for is also the one with the biggest effect. To me this has the enemy written all over it.

5) Church is Not an Option
I have loved church for as far back as I can remember. My sister didn't have the same feelings, and she didn't stay in the church as a result of it. My parents allowed her at a certain age to decide not to attend church with the rest of our family anymore. While I don't say this as a critical viewpoint against my parents (I see their side and I see their need for peace), I do disagree with it. As for my family church is not an option. If you're tired I'm sorry, you're still going. If you have extracurricular activities I'm sorry, you won't be participating on Sunday or Wednesday. Fellowship is a huge, integral part of our spiritual growth. Church is where I grew in my faith and made life-long friendships that have nurtured my faith. I believe there is power in attending church together as a family, setting aside that time as priority for church only, and serving together as a couple and letting that be a visual reminder to children of the importance of the church in their personal life. (Side note-sadly, my sister is a grown adult now and still has no desire to be in church. It breaks my parents hearts, as well as mine, and has stood out as a big lesson to me.)

6) Husband as the Spiritual Leader
This one is clearly Biblical, but there are practical ways to "live" this one out. One of the biggest ones for our home is the Mr. praying over me on the way out the day each morning. Each morning when he hugs me on his way out the door for work he stops and prays-out loud- over me. Ya'll...this changes my whole day. Honestly. This is so powerful. There are also times throughout the day when he may be able to just tell that I'm struggling with something that he will come over to me and do this again. May I just encourage some of you that may not have this kind of husband right now? Tell him. This may sound silly and it will most definitely feel awkward at first, but the spiritual benefit far outweighs that. If he doesn't know you want him to pray with you-ask him to. Pray that God will remind Him to do that. Also, when he does do it, make sure you tell him how much you appreciate that and how much that means to you. My husband was always very "off and on" with this one and never very consistent. But once I sat him down and told him how much I appreciated him for that and how that really did change my whole day, he started taking it a lot more seriously.

7) Pray for Each Other Throughout the Day
Make sure that you are taking time throughout your day to stop and pray for your spouse and your children. At first if this feels odd trying to get into a routine and remembering it I suggest setting a few alarms on your phone throughout the day. Put your spouse/childs name as the title of the alarm and stop and take a few minutes to pray for them. Eventually this will become so much of a routine that you can probably even delete those alarms. If you are a stay at home wife/mom you might even walk into their bedrooms and pray over their room-I really believe this is powerful. At the end of the day on your way to bed pray over your house, over each room even, and your people who live in it. Prayer walks in your pajamas around your house in the middle of the night can sometimes be the sweetest moments.

8) Talk about God
This one may seem to go without saying, but much of the words that we speak talking about God. Open up. Talk about what He is doing in your life, in your personal quiet time, what you are seeking of Him, what He is doing in someone else's life. This not only is inviting God into our everyday home lives, but it's also encouraging intimacy within the family unit and letting our kids know it's ok and encouraged to talk about God. Anytime and all the time. I would be more than happy to be awaken by my child in the middle of the night to hear what God is doing in their heart. I'll take that.

9) Let your Kids see your Quiet Time
I don't have kids, but this one I remember from growing up. I vividly remember watching my mother have her quiet time every morning. As a result, I wanted one too. My parents never once told me to "go have a quiet time". No...that was a deep, grown desire that I feel was largely thanks to seeing it play such a huge role in my parents lives.

10) Serving Together
Maybe it's as simple as helping a neighbor out with their yard, or as large as taking an overseas mission trip together. Whatever it is I believe it is crucial for the family unit to learn at a very early age what it means to serve God together and minister to other people. One of my favorite ways to do this growing up was what my mom would call a "cookie day". We would spend all morning baking lots of cookies and talking and laughing together. Then after lunch we would group them on disposable plates, get in the car with the church directory, and pray that God would show us where to go/who needed a little encouragement that day. Those were some of my absolute favorite memories growing up. God never failed to lead us to a whole plethora of people who just needed a little something that day. From shut-ins to frazzled caregivers.

Linking up with: Domesblissity, Kathy, Hearts for Home, Thoughtful Thursdays, Proverbs 31, The Pin Junkie, Mother's Niche, Link'n Blogs. God's Growing GardenSweet Bella Roos, Lamberts Lately, Hope in Every Season, Moonlight & Mason Jars 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tasty Tuesday-The Best Party Punch

While the Mr. and I were still dating I attended my first family get together with him where this punch was served. My life was changed ya'll. Not only did I end up marrying into that precious family that I adore, but I also met the most delicious punch I've ever tasted.

Since then I have asked for the recipe no less than 239018 times because I am constantly scribbling it down on scraps of paper and then losing it. (Mother in law-I apologize for that). Every single time I have made it I have had dozens of requests for the recipes, and this past weekend I made it for a bridal shower where the bride not only begged for the recipe for her upcoming wedding reception, but also requested a straw to drink it right out of the punch bowl.

Right there with you girl.

This one is hands down my favorite party punch, not only is it delicious and super simple as it's made the day before the event, it can also be made any color depending on what flavor of Jello you choose. Make this one for your next get together, and have copies of the recipe on hand. Trust're going to need them.

Here's what you'll need...

2 small boxes of any flavor of Jello (in these pictures I used Lime)
1 cup boiling water
1 large can (46 oz.) Pineapple juice
1 can (12 oz.) frozen Orange juice
1 cup sugar
10 cups water
1 2 liter bottle of Sprite

Start by dissolving the Jello boxes with the boiling water.

Then simply add all the other ingredients EXCEPT the Sprite, mix well, and freeze.

Remove from the freezer 2 hours before serving, and let it thaw on the counter. Then add the 2 liter bottle of Sprite and mix it in. It will still be slushy.

And here is the delicious finished product. Enjoy!

Linking up with: Emily, Mandy, Nikki, Cynthia, Ali, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Pint Sized Baker, The Recipe Critic, Kathy, Kayla, Megin, The Pin Junkie, Mother's Niche, Link'n Blogs

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Woman at the Well

Last week absolutely put the cray-in crazy. (My friends reading this totally just disowned me for saying that.) Between hosting a bridal shower, unexpected doctor's appointments, in-laws visiting, and wedding season kicking into high gear at Beatrice Lanes leaving me working on custom wedding invitations until dawn. I was overdrawn emotionally and physically exhausted.
I also forgot until the last minute that the Mr. was going to be out of town all weekend for a ministry conference with another pastor friend of his. Let's just say that I didn't handle that rude reminder with grace. It was more like a teary, blubbering mess of me telling him...if you really feel like God is leading you to go to this conference then I want you to go-but if not I could really use a break with just us. He handled me graciously, but said that he did genuinely feel like God wanted him at that conference, hugged me, prayed over me and was on his way.
So there was that.
While there is nothing wrong with wanting to spend some time with our spouses, it all led me to remember one thing...I'm the woman at the well. I'm needy. Worn out. Exhausted. Done. And looking for my drink at the wrong well.

I haven't had 5 husbands, but I've been to more than 5 "fake wells" in my lifetime to find my fulfillment.
And I do that so swiftly, without even acknowledging it. This weekend was a perfect example. I was worn out, needy of rest, thirsty, and my first response was for my husband to stay home with meet those needs for me. It's not right for me, and it's not fair to him. Anytime I'm seeking a false well to be something to me that I know only God alone can be for me, we all lose.

I'm grateful for my husband's leading to do what He feels like God is calling him to do, and for the ability to gently and lovingly saying no to me when I need it. Without it, he would have stayed home this weekend and we most likely would have had a great weekend together...but guess what? It's Monday morning again. I would've already been thirsty again. That's what always happens when I go to the wrong well. So I'm going into this week living off of the Living Water within me, and praying I stop seeking my fake wells.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst." -John 4:13

Linking up with: The Modest Mom Blog, Sara Elizabeth, Kendra, Nan, Kayla, Kathy, Put a Bird on It

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Scripture Sunday

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tasty Tuesday- The Best Oven Baked Fries

I discovered and tweaked this recipe as my own a few years ago when I was really focusing on weight loss and was looking for a healthy french fry recipe that was also super quick and easy. (Because if it wasn't quick and easy, I was probably going to grab a bag of chips. Let's be honest.) Years later my family still requests this recipe even though weight loss is the last thing on their mind! It's absolutely delicious, and most likely you have all the ingredients right now. Don't you love it when that happens! Here's what you'll need...

This is for a single serving. I would plan for 2 small potatoes, or 1 large potato, for each family member.

Printable Recipe

-2 small potatoes
-1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-1 Teaspoon salt

(Feel free to add any other seasonings you think you would enjoy! This is just a good base, or a good basic french fry recipe!)

After washing the potatoes cut off 4 sides of the potato skin, leaving the top and bottom and a little on the sides.

Then slice thinly and cut into a large "matchstick" kind of cut. Toss with the olive oil and salt until everything is lightly coated. Depending on the size of your potato(s) add more or less.

Spread these in a single layer onto a cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper for super easy clean up) and bake at 400 for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.

Printable version found here!

Linking up with: Emily, Mandy, Nikki, Darlene, Cynthia, Ali, Melt in your Mouth Mondays, The Pint Sized Baker , The Recipe Critic, Kathy, Kayla, Kayla

Monday, February 17, 2014

Confessions of a Control Freak

On a cold snowy night last December I found myself alone in a dark room lit only by a small Christmas tree, on my knees sobbing uncontrollably. I was finally facing something that I had run from for weeks. I found myself sinking. Again.

Years ago I found myself in a mess of depression and anxiety and it took me by surprise. Though I've been a chronic worrier all my life, I never suffered like I did during that season of my life. I had been through a few huge devastating blows and it had all proved to simply be too much. It caught up with me. God saved me though. He used people like my mother (mark my words-I'm fairly certain her mansion in heaven will have an extra room or two for walking through that season with me the way she did), a few close friends to confide in and cry on, and good Godly counsel. It was a chapter I was eager to close and move on from and minister to people the way those people had been so gracious to minister to me through. And that is exactly what happened.

Fast forward a few years...I'm married now with a completely different life, happily still ministering to others out of my pain and my mistakes and growing and learning. So back around November when I had some of those same feelings pop back into my life I was completely taken aback. At first I wrote it off as just "being too tired", I needed some rest, I needed a break. I fought myself for weeks convincing myself that I was still fine-just having a bad day...everyone is allowed a bad day right? But if I were being real with myself those bad days were happening daily. I was too afraid to admit it though-even to myself.

Finally I broke the "tough exterior" on that snowy night in December. I wept before my Father and cried out, asking Him how I got here again? What happened? I thought I was completely over that, I thought that old person was dead. I told God (its ok to laugh at me at this point...really I am too looking back) that I was done with that part of my life, that depression and anxiety simply could not effect me anymore. I had a family of my own now and too much to take care of to waste my time with that and further more it's Christmas time and I just want to enjoy it and have fun this this "rubbish" I really have no time for and I won't be messing with it anymore. I politely ended that little "speech" with...Thank You God. Clearly I had somehow told Him how it was going to be and how this was all going to go down.

For reals. Who in the world did I think I was?

The next morning I woke up in an incredible mood with a new found resolve and attitude from my "talk with God" the night before, wondering why I hadn't done that weeks ago. I cheerfully woke Mr. up and almost said the words to him...Hey babe, I know I've seemed a little off lately, but don't worry that's over now because I told God I was through with that last night. It's still going to be the best Christmas ever, ok?"

Gratefully I didn't. Grace ya'll...pure grace.

A few hours later the resolve had vanished into thin air and I found myself weeping all over again and completely dumbfounded by it. Hello? I was done with this. I told Him!

Can I let you in on a little secret? I lie to myself so much. Unintentionally as it may be, I run around acting like I decide this or that. I protect myself by doing this or not doing that. I call the shots. But in reality?
Not a chance.

It wasn't over like I had decided. God wasn't through with it-even if I was. There was so much more of my "stuff" that needed healing.
Christmas was a nightmare. It's hard to be around happy people on the happiest day of the year and pretend you're happy too when inside you feel terrible. Christmas night was literally one of the hardest nights of my life. But I ran smack into Him like you wouldn't believe.
While most people were celebrating the New Year and making resolutions I could only think of one-survive.
At the beginning of the year I found myself back in counseling, and as I explained-or couldn't really explain-what had brought me back there, I could do hardly anything but weep uncontrollably. Which is basically what my first appointment was---me weeping uncontrollably as I just kept did I get back here??

I'm still in the thick of the thing. Some days are better than others, but nonetheless, I know He isn't finished with what He has planned for this part of my story. I heard someone say the other day how when we are going through something so difficult and it's just you and Jesus and you don't know how you'll get through then you keep your eyes on Him and you make until noon on Jesus. Then you make it until dinner time on Jesus. Then until bedtime. Then through the night. And suddenly you have made it through the day on Jesus Christ alone. That's my story ya'll.

There's a part of me that would snap my finger in an instant if this whole thing would be over, but there's another part that is so grateful for what God is doing that I will instead simply let Him continue to work and move like only He can. He's showing me that just like I can't control anything in my life that I tell myself I can control-my circumstances, my life, my protection, my happiness, my days, my relationships-I also can't control the grace and the mercy that He floods me with when I'm sinking. Nothing I do, no matter how much I mess up, could stop that either.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Ugly Mug Valentines Day

It seems I always have the television on in the background when I'm home during the day while the Mr. is at work. Half the time I don't even know what is on or what they're talking about, I just like the noise. Today I caught a bit of a certain program, where a woman was asking advice about her current dating relationship. She explained how incredible boyfriend is, how sweet and loving and all around wonderful...until a holiday or birthday rolls around...then in the gift department he kind of falls apart and gets her something terrible. Her question was, was this problem a deal breaker? Should she stay with her wonderful-but-terrible-gifter boyfriend?

I think I actually said out're joking right?

I am blessed by my sweet husband in so many ways. He is very sensitive, funny, caring, Godly, and selfless. But when it comes to gift-giving, he doesn't exactly excel. Now don't get me wrong, he has improved greatly over the years. In fact this year for Christmas he totally outdid himself and really impressed me (except for the fact that some shipping dates got off and I was still getting presents in mid January). But let's just say...we've come a long way.

A few months ago the Mr was telling me about his day as he helped me unload the dishwasher. As he removed a certain coffee mug he looked at me in disgust and babe where'd you get this hideous mug. I looked at him dumbfounded a little nervous to you? He looked mortified and asked well what did I get to go with it (thinking that must have been stellar and totally gift-saving potential). I hesitantly replied, well there was candy in the mug?? I could tell he wanted to evaporate into thin air as he realized that was literally all he had gotten me for that Valentine's Day. Then we just laughed hysterically over it. But want to know what I took from it?

I thought he was the most wonderful man in the entire world. I didn't see the gift as the stupid looking Valentines mug with candy that had already expired in it (I couldn't make this up if I tried ya'll). What I did see was that my life was crashing down around me at the moment. My aunt, who was my 2nd mother, was dying a terrible death from cancer. And that man with the silly mug had been holding me together for the past 6 months of my living nightmare. He stayed awake with me round the clock when I couldn't sleep, and then would go to school and work all day, and then come back and do it all again. He never said a word about how exhausted I knew he must be. The only time he ever left my side for anytime at all was when he had to for his commitments, other than that he never took a break-never even spent 30 mins on himself to see a friend or go to dinner with the guys. It was work or taking care of me 24/7. And he never complained one time. When my aunt would think of something she would even try to eat he would make numerous grocery runs, even in the middle of the night. He got that taking care of my family during this crisis was the same thing as taking care of me-and he was a pro at it. When he would make these grocery runs he would often come back with something for her as well, a magazine, a book, anything "extra" to make her smile, and I never told him to or what she might like. That was all him. We would try to plan a date night for us to get away from all of it for an hour or two and it never failed my aunt would have had a rough day or she would be doing exceptionally well and I wouldn't want to leave her and he never hesitated, just came with a movie he knew she would like too and would make a night of take out and a movie-me, him, and my aunt.

By the time Valentine's Day rolled around that year we had planned a simple night at his house, him cooking me dinner and keeping the phone out in case I needed to get back to my aunt who had taken a terrible turn. When I arrived that night I was so anxious, worrying about her. Little to my surprise he had decorated the whole house for Valentines Day, had arranged with my mom earlier in the day to give him some of my "comfiest clothes" as well as grabbing my favorite DVD season of the girly-est show ever. After our dinner he told me to go into the bathroom for a surprise, and there was the stack of clothes that I changed into with tears in my eyes for the way he thought of everything to make sure I just relax that night. When I came back into the living room he was waiting for me on the couch with blankets, a marathon of Gilmore Girls waiting, and a cake with 2 forks-and yes "the present"....that mug of old candy.

So I'm no relationship expert, never claimed to be. I don't know everything and I certainly can't judge for every situation or relationship. But to me, if you've been blessed with an amazing man and have to "suffer" through a less than wonderful present every now and then, wouldn't you rather it be that then a terrible husband who can really come through on certain holidays and birthdays?

And between you and I, I love that stupid ugly mug.

Linking up with: We are That Family, Above Rubies

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tasty Tuesday- Cream Cheese Mints

I have to know that somebody else out there remembers the melt in your mouth Russell Stover Rosebud Mints? When I was a kid I was only allowed one every so often because they were so rich. But I distinctly remember in the evenings when we would all watch television I would wait until my mother would doze off and then I would quietly crawl across the floor to the kitchen and sneak a mint. I never remember ever sneaking any other food growing up but those mints. Sadly, by the time I was old enough to buy a box of my own they were discontinued. Probably a blessing in disguise as I would have devoured them all in one sitting. Easily.

Nonetheless I have been searching high and low for a dupe and ladies and gentlemen, I do believe I have found it. These mints are so super easy and ridiculously delicious. This recipe makes about 70 mints, so make them for your next party, bridal/baby shower, or when you just want to have a bowl of mints. (Not saying I've ever done that or anything.)

Printable Recipe

Here's what you'll need:
3 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup all-vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil
4 cups confectioners' sugar
Granulated sugar

Start by beating together the cream cheese, shortening, and peppermint oil with a mixer until nice and smooth. Gradually add confectioners' sugar until well combine. Roll dough into small balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, using a fork to to press each ball flat and dipping the top into granulated sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and let mints harden overnight.

Printable version found here!

Linking up with: Emily, Mandy, Nikki, Darlene, Cynthia, Ali, Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Pint Sized Baker, The Recipe Critic, Kathy, Kayla, Kayla, Lisa

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Invitation

I've been thinking about my thoughts a lot lately. Scripture has always made God's demands on my thoughts clear---
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. -2 Corinthians 10:5

Being that this is something that I have personally struggled with for a good part of my life, I know this scripture pretty well. I pray it. I've memorized it. Quoted it. Loved it. Believed it. Claimed it. And also, asked God how? How do I take every thought captive? The desire is there and so strong-I want to take every thought captive. First because that is what God has commanded of me, but second because I've been the victim of my thoughts for too long. They have such power in them that they can control the way my day is going to go before I set my feet on the floor out of bed. Lately this is what I feel Him leading me to---begin the day by giving Him my mind, asking Him to control it and to control every single thought that goes through it, for me I'm visual, so I often try to close my eyes and envision myself handing over my brain to Him. (I couldn't make this up if I tried. Crazy as it may sound.) I know that this could determine my victory or defeat for the day ahead of me. After that anytime I have a thought that doesn't line up with the Word of God, any fear, doubt, insecurity, that may creep up into my mind I immediately try to again "visually" hand them over to Him and ask Him to take it from me and use it to His glory. Make Satan sorry he messed with me with it. And after that? I think He's calling me to stop. And come.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. -Matthew 11:29

Stop resolving to try harder. Invites me to surrender more.

Stop pushing through the hard stuff and the pain. Invites me to take upon His yoke.

Stop trying to "get it all together". Invites me to come just as I am.

Stop comparing myself to other women who seem to really have it down. Invites me to see myself as He sees me.

Stop worrying for the future. Invites me to live in the grace He has provided for this very moment, knowing that grace will be there for that future moment as well.

Stop beating myself up for not having a perfectly clean house everyday and staying on top of my laundry schedule every week. Invites me to rest in Him instead of my to-do lists, schedules, and performance.

Linking up with: Darlene, Kathy

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Scripture Sunday

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Top 10 Valentine Picks

I have always loved Valentines Day, long before I ever had a date/boyfriend/fiancé/husband to "celebrate". When I was in high school I had a dream of giving every single classmate a Valentine to let them know that somebody really did love them-date or no date. Well let's just say I didn't exactly graduate from a small school and I knew to pull this off I was going to have to have a small army of help. Gratefully for me I had the greatest group of girlfriends ever. So every Monday night for the entire month of January we would gather at my house with card making supplies and pop in a chick flick and laugh and talk and eat and make hundreds thousands of Valentines cards. We would write simple messages of love and hope and Bible verses about God's unconditional, great love for us. Then on Valentines Day we would arrive at school when the janitor did and all take a hall and slip a card in each and every locker before anyone else got there and saw us doing it. We did this routine all 4 years of high school and looking back, it was probably one of my most treasured memories. Sure there were years I was really wishing I had a cute boy to bring me flowers to school, but ultimately I just wanted everyone to know how deeply loved they were by their God-really, honestly loved by Him. Because after you know that, really really know that, I believe it changes everything.
So without further ado----let's get to the Top 10!


I love this idea! First of all, its gorgeous! Second, I'm always so sad to take down all the lights at Christmas-this would be perfect to be able to leave some up!


I'm thinking of borrowing a friend's kids just to have the chance to make these adorable Valentines!!! Seriously adorable!!


How simple yet beautiful is this idea? I love it for around the house this time of year or even for centerpieces if you're hosting a Valentine banquet.

{source via Pinterest-the link doesn't work with it!}

I only wish I would've thought of this one myself. At my local paint store you can get that paint swatch wheel for $5 and look at how many crafts you can make with just that and a punch!

{source} As if we needed another reason to love mason jars! These are adorable, and could easily be double purposed for other holidays as well!

{source} Love this simple look!

(source-again a Pinterest link that doesn't work)
This is adorable if you have Preschoolers in the house!

{source} I have a thing for button art projects. And I have a thing for stripes. So basically this has me written all over it.

{source} Rustic love, I love.

{source} Decorating with old windows or window panes have become such a popular trend lately, and I love this Valentine's twist on it!!

If you're still looking for some Valentine inspiration, I have also created some fun new 8x10 prints centered around love in the shop!

Check them out here! Happy Valentine's Day loves!

Linking up with: 52 Mantels, Lamberts Lately, Thriving on Thursdays, Bloom Designs, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Wow me Wednesdays, Inspire Me Wednesday, Wake up Wednesday, Catch a Glimpse Thursday, All Things Thursday, Create Link Inspire, The Pin Junkie, Jamie, Craftionary

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tasty Tuesday- Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup

Don't forget you can still enter the Beatrice Lanes print giveaway here!!!!

Here we are currently gearing up for yet another winter storm! Now don't get me wrong-I love snow probably a little too much. But we've already had a lot of snow. I'm ready for Spring ya'll. But until then, I"m putting another soup in the crock pot and grabbing my blanket. Today's recipe is super simple and super delicious. Enjoy!!

Here's what you'll need:
1 lb. ground beef
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size squares
1 cup sliced carrots
14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
11.5 oz. V8 juice
1 cup chopped celery (I skipped this since the Mr. hates celery)
3 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tsps. sugar
1 Tbsp. parsley
2 tsps. basil

Brown ground beef and chopped onion until no pink remains.

Now dump everything in the crockpot and set it on low for 4 hours and 30 mins. That's it!

Printable version found here!

Linking up with: Emily, Mandy, Nikki, Darlene, Jacinda, Cynthia, Ali, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Pint Sized Baker, The Recipe Critic, Kathy, Turn it Up Tuesdays, Megin, Kayla, Ladybug Blessings, Nancy, Jessica, Kaysi, Stacy, Mandy, Too Cute Tuesdays, Tell Me About it Tuesday, 52 Mantels

Monday, February 3, 2014

Homesick for Home

She didn't say it with the words but her face spoke it clearly, it was a hard day A dear sister in Christ made her way quickly through the foyer of our church headed to her area of service of greeting new visitors, a gift that is uniquely hers. She does a beautiful job at making sure everyone feels at home, though she doesn't know their story. Which is funny-they don't know her's either. Behind the friendly smile they see is a deep pain from the loss of son a few years ago. And while God has been faithful in His touch of healing as only He can, somedays are better than others.

I did my best to speak love to her by a kind smile and a simple good morning, and she responded with something that struck me deeper than words on this screen could possible convey. Through a visibly tired smile she didn't even say good morning, simply said...Can we just go to heaven now? Before even waiting for me to respond she was on her way again. But I stood there slowly processing those words-Can we just go to heaven now? I envisioned not the grown woman that had stood in front of me, but a small exhausted child at the end of a long day saying through tears...can we just go home now? And you know what? I got it.

As we were created in His image (Genesis 1:27) we're reminded that we were made for much more than this world could ever offer us. Even our best day on this earth could not compare to the glory that is to come, which creates in each of us a longing that can not compare, will not compare, to anything we've ever known. There's also the other side of this though. For those who have lost their loved ones and feel as if they will not be able to take another breath the pain is so intense, let alone continue to function through this fallen world. Isn't there a piece of us deep down that suddenly finds ourselves crying out with a depth that words cannot express-come, Jesus come? It leaves a longing that cannot be met this side of eternity, but oh how I believe it will one day not only be met-but far exceeded. Until then may the cry of my heart be make every second on this count. May I live purposely and passionately for You and You alone. May other's find You by the words I speak and the way I live. But Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Don't forget the Beatrice Lanes giveaway is still happening. Enter here.

Linking up with: Kendra, Nan, Darlene, Jacinda, Kathy

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Scripture Sunday