Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Silliness...

I stumbled upon this little gem earlier this week...

Back story:  Before my husband was my husband, and before he was my boyfriend, he was my best friend (sweet when you read it here but agony when you're living it and suddenly realize that you have fallen for your best friend and aren't sure what he's feeling.  That's a story for another day though).  Anyways, when we were friends, I went with him to visit his family back in upstate New York.  We got stuck in traffic and as I usually always have paper and pen with me for whenever creativity may strike, I penned this little number:

We're stuck in traffic in the middle of Virginny,
Surrounded by cars and trucks a plenty!
We really don't know why we're standing still,
Dave is wondering, "What's the deal?"
Maybe there's a wreck all over the lanes,
Now covered with blood and guts and brains.
Maybe a chicken truck spilled all its load
and now there is poultry all over the road!
Whatever it is, this is what I say-
Get off the road so we can be on our way!


(A bit callous and I do apologize if I have offended anyone with the brain and guts part.  At the time I think I remember that I had told him that I could write a poem in under 5 minutes and he didn't believe me. Thus, I was going for speed and not content) :) 


Throwing Out My Sharpies

Sometimes it's nice to look back on my walk with God so far and realize how far we've come.  (It's a nice change of pace from the times I keep doing the same stupid thing for the thousandth time and wonder if I will ever get to the place of spiritual maturity.)

The older I get, and the more I learn of God and His faithfulness, the less I tend to worry.  It's quite a shock to my system, this not worrying thing, because I am a classic worrier.  I grew up being a people pleaser and a worrier about everything.  I always felt the pressure of having to have all things under control and would hold myself to incredibly high standards.  (Basically, I had no idea what grace was, and that had a lot to do with things).

God has proved himself over and over in my life.  Isn't that such a wild thing, that God proves himself to us?  He doesn't have to.  But because He is a personal God, He does.  I have learned to trust Him.  I know--know in a heart level and not just in my head type of way--that all things do work together for good like Romans 8:28 tells me.  That all of the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful and it is His desire to bless us.  His timing is perfection.  His intentions towards us are rooted in the deepest, wildest kind of love.  He has it together way more than me.

I've learned, and am still learning, this, and it has had a profound effect on my tendency to worry.  Now, don't get me wrong, I still frequently feel that tug in my heart to start doubting His goodness or to start freaking out about one thing or another.  But, I have learned to recognize that pull towards worry and to immediately repent of it.  And you know what?  I have so much time on my hands from not worrying, that sometimes I don't even know what to do with myself.  I'm learning to fill those gaps with praise and thankfulness or anything else that occupies the parts of my mind that worry used to monopolize.  It's amazing how much space in our head can be consumed with doubt and worry and fear.

I've learned too the value of trusting God with my plans.  I dream hard and dream big, but sometimes, God's plan isn't the same as the plan I am envisioning for myself.  And that's OK.  I'm learning to dream in pencil and leave the erasing and editing to God's discretion.  I think in my 20's I had such a hard time because I was writing plans and dreaming dreams in Sharpie.  My type A, control freak self wanted things planned out in writing, and man, I had a hard time when those Sharpie plans did not work out.  I made a mess of things because I kept trying to push.  To be honest, I was Eve in the garden.  I was listening to the enemy tell me that God wasn't worth trusting; that He was trying to hold something good from me.

Oh, how I want people to know how good God is!  So many people sit in our churches and in our small groups and love Jesus and walk with Him but don't really know the depths of His goodness. 

I love making plans for my life.  I love envisioning the future with my husband.  Often my prayers lately have been for God to "be in our minds".  Meaning, I want Him to put in our minds what He wants for us; the vision for our life.  I love dreaming and planning.  I also love the surrender of those dreams to God.  I'm learning to embrace the editing; those times when God erases the pencil dreams and pens in something greater.  Even if I can't see it yet.  It's like watching someone paint.  You can't tell what it's going to be yet but time does by and you wait a little and then wow, a masterpiece was being made right in front of you and you didn't even realize it until it was all done.  That's life with God I think.  And I'm learning to trust and embrace the process.

So here's to throwing out Sharpies and living in pencil.  What is God up to in your life right now that you can't even see?  A whole heck of a lot if you're willing to let Him.  I hope it's a beautiful journey for you.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Purse and Jewelry Organization

I am female and therefore am prone to accessorizing.

Now, I would not say that I have a full blown obsession.  I've pared down over the years.  I love necklaces.  I used to wear them daily but then when I started nannying full time and had little hands yanking on whatever was around my neck I got out of the habit.  I'm trying to get back into it.  And like any respectable woman, I have a collection of purses and bags for any occasion. (Though really, I go to work and church and the grocery store, and that's about it.  I should get rid of some bags that I never use but they're so cute I just can't bring myself to do it).

So, what is one to do with all of these accessories?  I found that jewelry boxes just left my stuff in a big tangled mess.  So, enter my mother and a trip to Kirkland's and you have this:

 This is one of those cheap displays for decorative plates.  But, as you can see, it makes an excellent and cute way to showcase your necklaces.  You can find these several places. (Kirklands is a good place to start).  This one isn't real metal either, so it's super light.  I chose one with lots of curls on it, one, because I liked how it looked, and two, because that provided a good edge to hang things from.

 Here's a close up.  And yes, I group my necklaces by color :)

A few years after I found the necklace holder, I spotted this coat hanger at Pier One imports and thought it would be perfect for storing my purses and bags.  Clutches or bags I don't want to hand are stored up top, and others hang below.  It's a great way to keep everything out and not stuffed in a box in my closet, plus, I think it's great living artwork so to speak.  Plus, it matched the necklace display perfectly!  Score!

I love that these both hang on a wall instead of taking up precious space on my dresser.  I have found too, that I more likely to actually use the things I own if I can see them and access them easily.  The purse one could always be relocated to a hallway or entry way some day if we ever move.

How do you keep things organized? 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Currently Crushing

This video:


I heard this song on the radio a couple of weeks ago and liked it.  Now that I've seen the video, I love it.

Is it sad that it's such a shock to see a current music video that celebrates lasting love?  I think so.  It's not something our culture seems to value.  It's good to see things like this that celebrate lasting love, and not love of the moment.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

By faith...

Ever hear those, "A Quick Word with Beth Moore" segments on the radio?  I often catch them on one of our Christian radio stations while I'm on my way to work in the mornings. 

This morning, Beth was talking about Hebrews chapter 11 (The "Hall of Faith" chapter).  She talked about it being God's testimony of faithful lives; that all will appear in that testimony is what we do by faith.

"By faith, Amanda..."

She spoke of the people mentioned in Hebrews 11 and how they did many, many other good and Godly things.  But it was the things done in faith that were recorded in that testimony.

It made me think about what my faith will say about me.  What will be written about me in God's testimony of faithful people?  What will I do in faith?

Boldness of faith is a theme that I cannot run away from right now; God is dunking me in so many references to and conversations about it.  Think he's up to something?  I know He is.  I'm hoping that when God opens up His book of faith one day that there will be pages and pages of things we did by faith.  What a privilege that we are invited to faith so often in our journey.  As difficult as it may be to walk through, just think of the glory it brings to our Father.

And now, this song is playing in my head:




Sunday, February 17, 2013

Perfect Pie Crust

Traditionally, I am not much of a pie person.  Or cake even.  (Give me a muffin or cinnamon roll however, and I'll tell you a different story).

However, occasionally I do like a good pie.  I have a strong aversion to store bought pie crust.  It always tastes like plastic.  Does anyone else feel this way?

Pies are a hard thing to master from a baking stand point.  Especially the crust.  I was scouring the Internet for a quick and easy pie crust recipe and came across this little gem of a recipe.

It is fantastic!!  Super easy, and so so good!


Doesn't that look so yummy?  My mom had brought me some homemade pearsauce, so I used to that to make her Applesauce Pie.  Similar to an apple pie, only you use applesauce and not apples.  Easy peasy and oh so good!

**Now, please do not think you can achieve good results with a can of Mott's or other store brand applesauce.  Granted, I've never tried it that way.  We've always used homemade.  If you don't have homemade applesauce sitting on your shelf, or a Mom like mine who brings you some, I'm sure you could find some somewhere.  Or even make it; applesauce (from what I hear) is a pretty easy thing to make.

Here's the recipe for Applesauce Pie:



Make pie crust (or use store bought; your preference)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For filling, mix together:
1 pint apple/pearsauce
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour

Pour into unbaked pie crust shell.

For topping, mix together:
3/4 c flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c sliced thin butter
Crumble/mix and spoon on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. You can put foil on top the last 5-10 to keep it from browning too much.


This is a really easy, really fast pie to make if you have company coming or just want to satisfy that apple/cinnamon craving.  Enjoy!

Linking up at Grace at Home

Friday, February 15, 2013

Be gone temptation!

It's that of year again where I have to fight off temptation at every turn in my local Kroger.  Although it is just past Valentine's Day, they are everywhere, tempting me with their sweet, creamy yumminess.  Yes, it is the return of these:

Cadbury 
Cadbury Creme Eggs.

These things are sugar perfection for me.  Chocolate bliss.  A perfect little oval of heaven.

I love the caramel kind and the chocolate kind.  But oh, the original!  It is my favorite favorite candy, made all the more desirable by the fact that it only pops up during the Easter season (or the months leading up to it evidently as they are appearing now).

Some people hate these.  To me, they are perfect.  I have to fight the urge to spend half my take home pay on them and hoard them in a box somewhere where my husband can't find them so that I can enjoy their sleek sugary goodness year round.  I have determined that if I ever develop Type II diabetes, these little guys will be the reason why.

Do you love seasonal candy?  Halloween is a big season for me (hello little sugar pumpkins!).  Christmas not to much though I do like to bake a bunch of yummies then.  Valentines, eh, nothing special.  But Easter?  Oh my.  We are taking some serious diabetes-inducing goodness!  Consider these:

1.  The Cadbury Mini Eggs
(Cadbury clearly has the market on Easter treats)

(pic)
These little eggs are divine.  Crispy outside.  Creamy inside.  Small enough that you can devour your weight in them and think that you haven't eaten that many.  These are a sweatpants wearing food.  :)

2.  Behold, the chocolate bunny:

(source)
These are the pinnacle of Easter candy I suppose.  (Though my beloved creme eggs are still the cream of the crop for me).  Beware of these though, as they can be quite deceiving.  Some of them are hollow, filled with nothing but air and the disappointment of women everywhere.  Solid ones are the only "real" ones worth buying and increasing a pants size for.  Does everyone else start with the ears like I do?

3.  Robin Eggs

Buy them here!
These little malted marvels are a treat for the senses.  So much better than those plain malted milk balls you can get year round.

4.  Jellybeans, but only this kind:

you know you want some!

I do not like or recommend regular jelly beans (even the jelly belly kind).  These however, are oh so tasty, and have the ability to make me ridiculously hyper.  I plan on having a bag some day during labor just to give me the energy and will power to keep going!

5.  These little guys...

Marshmallow Peeps
...um, no.  I ate them as a kid because obviously neither my brain nor my taste buds had fully developed yet.  These are gross.  But must be included because they are iconic and when I think of Easter I think of Jesus, and I think of these.

So there you go.  I am salivating after writing all of this and I think my drop of blood sugar signals that I must go to Kroger at once and buy some of these, both for my health and the integrity of this list.  Agree?

Happy Eating!



God of miracles

Yesterday I had coffee with a dear friend of mine, and she shared some good news.  A friend of hers (whom I also know through her) recently found out she was pregnant.

After nine and a half years of trying.

She's pregnant.

With NO fertility treatment or drugs.  Just because God said it was time.

She's already past her first trimester.

To those who doubt that God doesn't still do miracles, this my friends, is a legitimate one.

Wow!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Daffodils

(pic from here)
In honor of the first daffodil that has bloomed in my yard, here is my very favorite poem in the world:

Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Books that Influenced my Christian Walk

There have been many books throughout the years that have profoundly affected my walk with Christ in one way or another.  I realize there is a lot of personal preference when it comes to books.  Other people have read some of these books and gotten nothing out of them.  I have read books other people have raved about and didn't feel anything at all.  So, take these with a grain of salt!  These are some books that have changed me: my theology, how I view God, how I view myself, etc.

1.  "The Ragamufin Gospel"
by Brennan Manning

 Oh my, this was the cream of the crop for me.  If you're a "good girl" like me, or a perfectionist like me, or someone who struggles with feeling the urge to perform for God (again, like me) then you need to read this.  Nothing made me understand true grace better than this book.

2.  "Chronicles of Narnia" 
by C.S. Lewis
I wasn't a big fantasy genre fan growing up so I didn't even read these until I was in college.  Oh, the things I was missing out on!!  I love stories, so these spoke to me more than they probably do the average person.  It absolutely amazed me (especially in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and in "The Last Battle") what an amazingly accurate portrait of the gospel these stories painted.  "The Silver Chair" is my favorite.

Side note:  I was very upset when the movies came out and Lucy was not a blond (she was in the books).  I love Georgie Henley and think she did a good job, but she's not blond!

3.  "Captivating"
John and Stasi Eldredge

Yep, I rode this bandwagon in college.  John Eldredge's books were flying off the shelves in my early 20's and I read (and loved) every one of them.  I have a poet's heart so I could identify with John's writing style, which I've heard can be a little too much for some people.  This was a great read for me at the time when I was single and longing to be pursued because the book speaks to that ache of a woman's heart really well.  I wonder how I would respond to it if I read it now; perhaps I need to test that?

4.  "Blue Like Jazz"
by Donald Miller


I know a lot of people have issues with Donald Miller, and with this book, but for me it was really essential to get me out of my cultural theology and into actual theology.  If you grew up in the Bible Belt, you need to read this.  I grew up in a "You can't be a Christian and not be a Republican" culture, and this book really helped me break beyond the religious-ness of "Christianity", especially the Southern kind.  "Blue Like Jazz" was really influential in helping me grasp what following Christ really looked like.

5.  "One Thousand Gifts"
by Ann Voskamp

I read this book this past summer and while it was a little hard to get into at first, I am so glad I stuck with it.  She totally changed my heart and transformed my mind in regards to gratitude.  A fantastic read that I highly recommend, especially to women as we so easily fall prey to comparing ourselves and our lives to others.

6.  "Disappointment with God"
by Philip Yancey


If you haven't been disappointed with God at least once in your life, I challenge that you are either A) in denial, or B) not really walking with God.  This book helped me heal and see God for who He is, and not just who I imagined Him to be.  Great, great read.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Things you Need to See

1.  These fantastic aerial photos of tulip fields in Holland. 


Aren't these so pretty?  It looks like God made a quilt :)


2.  This song is my current addiction. 


"There is no power in hell
Or any who can stand
Before the power and the presence of the great I AM"

I love songs that remind me of God's God-ness.  Amazing.

3.  I confess that most of the Superbowl commercials this year were practically porn.  I mean geesh, what kind of society have we become??  But, this was fun--definitely my favorite:






Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Always Up to Something...

Three months from today I will be 31.

Thirty.  One.

I'm ok with it.  More than ok actually.  So far, my 30's are cranking up to be a very good decade.  It amazes me though how quickly time goes by.  How we wish and wish for the next season and then wake up one day and think, "Where did the past 3 years go?" 

Time's a funny thing like that.  One thing I love is that God working is as consistent as time passing by.  He is always, always, always moving.  Working within us.  Moving around us.  Making things happen.  Keeping things from happening.  He is the ultimate verb; always in motion.  The God who does.

I was thinking earlier today about the people in my life where God's movement is evident.  I love, love, love seeing Him so at work in the lives of those around me.

I have a friend getting her nursing degree and busting her way through all of that.  I have a friend who just decided to quit her job and be a stay at home mom.  I have friends raising money to bring their baby home from another country.  I have a friend who is quite possibly starting a whole new career.  I have friends who are being held so tenderly by God after experiencing a miscarriage.  I know people who are experiencing the new world of life after college and are in that sweet place of trust and tension where they don't know what God is doing, but He's there and He's teaching them things.  I have a friend who has decided with her husband to get out of debt and be better stewards of their money.  I could go on and on.

It's refreshing for me to see the movement of God in the lives of those around me.  Sometimes it feels as though God isn't working in my life, and I think seeing him so active in the lives of others reminds me that He is working.  Often when I can't see what He's doing in my own life it's sweet of Him to show me His presence in the lives of others.  And sometimes, when God is doing something big and evident in my life, it's good to know that others will see that and be encouraged.

Three months to thirty one.  It doesn't seem like that long of a time period.  Yet I know that God can accomplish a lot in that short amount of time.  I'm excited to watch him work over these next few months, both in my life and in the lives of those around me.  Oh how much our God accomplishes!  And here I thought that I get a lot done sometimes!


Monday, February 4, 2013

A Weekend Experiment: Weekend without Internet

(photo from here)  
So, this weekend I did something unheard of.  I turned my computer off at work at 3:30 Friday afternoon (yippe for early days at the office!), and did not get on a computer again until 7:45 this morning.  That's right, I went a full 64 hours and 15 minutes without internet.

No email.

No Facebook.

No Pinterest.

I survived.

Better than that, I actually enjoyed it.  I felt that I lived.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not one many would consider Internet dependent.  I don't have Internet on my phone, I don't spend countless hours on Facebook.  It is amazing though, for a "moderate Internet user" such as myself, how a weekend without it makes you realize how much time you have. 

Ah, time, that elusive creature we continue to search after and hunt for.  I had more of it!  I mean my goodness, do I really want to spend such a precious commodity as time seeing other people's status updates instead of actually doing something worth updating about?  Do I really want to spend an hour and a half Saturday morning browsing other people's creative ideas on Pinterest instead of actually creating something myself?  The answer, of course, is no! 

There is nothing wrong with browsing Facebook of perusing Pinterest.  I just didn't realize what a trap the Internet had become for me. 

Now, it was slightly inconvenient not having it.  I couldn't pull that recipe off Pinterest that I had wanted to try.  My husband and I couldn't go to IMDB to figure out what other movie that actress has been in (IMDB has saved my sanity on more than one occasion!).  So, yes, having the Internet readily accessible is awfully helpful.  But I must confess I really, really loved going without it.  I cooked, I sewed, I cleaned out our refrigerator.  I watched a movie with my husband and we actually watched it, as opposed to both being on our laptops doing whatever while we "watch" it.

I definitely encourage you to try a weekend without getting online.  It's amazing how much more living you get done when the Internet is not there to suck your every minute, and for what?  Here's to spending more time living life, instead of spending our time getting updates and pics of how other people are living theirs!