Enduring All Things: April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Easy & Delicious Greek Turkey Burgers

Once upon a time, a few months over a year ago, Pearson and I decided to try to do the Whole 30 challenge. We were going to eat paleo for 30 days. Well, we lasted about 5 days, and I don't think they were even in a row... I think the biggest thing I missed was the cheese. I grew up eating cheese on almost everything. I mean we even added more cheese to our frozen pizzas before baking them. I love cheese. But, it really isn't the best thing for you, you know?

So when I was given the opportunity to try Sargento Ultra Thin Slices through Influenster, I was super excited! Have you heard of or seen the Ultra Thin Slices? They are pretty cool. The slices are a lot thinner than most sliced cheese so each slice is only 40-45 calories, BUT they don't sacrifice any flavor! Pretty cool, right? AND they have 9 flavors to choose from!
So I got my influenster VoxBox in the mail which included a voucher for a free package of Sargento Ultra Thin Slices, and an adorable lunchbox! I went to Kroger and decided to try the mild cheddar and I must say, they taste fantastic! I loved them on regular lunch sandwiches, so I had to try them on something different.

I took this recipe for greek turkey burgers and tweaked it a little. We eat a lot of turkey meat because it is leaner than beef and I like the taste a lot. And we are huge fans of feta cheese and anything greek so I had to give it a try!

Greek Turkey Burgers
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 4 oz feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or basil)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • A griddle
I forgot to include the parsley and pepper in this picture. Oops... I'm new to recipe blogging
Directions:
1. Spray your griddle with non-stick cooking spray and turn it on to 350°
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Get your hands dirty and really mix it all up breaking the pieces of feta as you go (or have your husband do this).
3. Form patties out of the mixture and place them on the griddle
4. Cook for about 15 minutes (or until cooked to desired finish) flipping frequently
5. Place a slice of Sargento Ultra Thin cheese on each patty a few seconds before removing them from the griddle.
6. Serve on buns with your choice of toppings (we had condiments, lettuce, and tomatoes) and a side of your favorite potato chips.

The burgers were a big hit! The hubby LOVED them and insisted we do it again soon. The Sargento cheese definitely made a difference!

Disclaimer: I received these products [Sargento Ultra Thin Slices] complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are mine.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How to Make Your Spouse Love You More {from my experience}

For the Girls: How to make your Husband love you more...
  • Scratch his back
  • Make him (yummy) dinners
  • Support his decisions
  • Believe in him
  • Play video games with him
  • Do the dishes every once in a while - It's usually his job in our house
  • Affirm him with words; Kind words, Humble words, and Encouraging words.
  • Scan every quiz he grades one at a time into the computer while he continues grading so he doesn't have to do that in addition to the grading.
For the Guys: How to make your Wife love you more:
  • Clean the entire apartment while she is out of town.
  • Leave her flowers, chocolate, and love notes to find when she gets back.
  • Take the dog out when it is extra cold or when she don't feel well - It's usually my job
  • Empty and refill the dishwasher - my least favorite chore
  • Let her buy whatever she wants, whenever she wants - is this one too much of a stretch?
  • Ask EVERY morning if she slept well and EVERY evening how her day was
  • Pick out thoughtful gifts
  • Take out the trash.
  • Answer silly questions for her blog and don't complain when she talks about you on the internets
Now just to clarify, I in no way condone conditional love in a marriage. I love (and will love) my husband no matter what he does because I promised to love him unconditionally when I said my vows on that wonderful Saturday evening 21 months ago. But these little things just make that choice a little easier and might make your spouse a little happier which will make your life a lot better. :) Just trust me on this one.

What are some things you do to make your spouse love you more (or vice versa)?
Thanks for reading!
P.S. There is only one thing in the "For the Guys" list that Pearson doesn't actually do. Can you guess which one?
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Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Bloglovin
~What are 3 things you cannot live without in your life? The internet, my phone, and my fiance. They are my top 3 favorite things. The internet and my phone give my the ability to talk to whoever I want! 
~What is your favorite go-to meal to cook and eat? Actually I don't cook. Eric does all of the cooking. I would rather starve to death than cook anything other than frozen pizzas, Hot Pockets, or mac & cheese.
~What is one thing at the top of the bucket list? Any kind of travel. I want to see as much of the world as I can. Preferably with Eric, because you know, he makes sure I eat. 

Be sure to check out these awesome posts! Seriously, they are all fantastic!
~The time Eric took over the blog for a day
~The 5 People I Hate on Facebook
~Why I am Not a Food Blogger
Continue reading »

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Letters to the World {April 2014}

Well it's time for my letters to the world again. This month, surprisingly I didn't have a bunch of letters ready, so when I decided to put this post together a couple days ago I had to come up with all my letters. But I really had no trouble coming up with them. Enjoy!
Dear Ohio,
Seriously, I just want Spring. You are doing a little better about it this week, but I would have liked this a little earlier. I still love you, but work with me here.

Dear HIMYM,
I think you've gotten a bad rap. When I first watched the finale, I was a little upset. Pearson and I turned off the TV and sat in silence for probably a whole 5 minutes before either of us said anything. But the more and more I think about it, the more it makes sense, and the more I like the surprise ending. I love how everything was so well thought out and fit together.
via
Dear Coffee,
Thank you for doing your job. For waking me up in the mornings. The problem is, I can't ever seem to be awake enough to make you in the morning. I need to remember to set everything up at night and set you to automatically brew in the morning before I wake up.
Dear Husband,
Thanks so much for cleaning the apartment while I was gone last weekend. And for having flowers, chocolate, and cute little love notes waiting for me to find this week. Thanks for making me feel loved, you're the best!

Dear Ohio State,
Is this seriously your finals week? This seems really early, but I am not complaining. No classes for my husband to take or teach over the summer means more time for him to spend with me, right? I hope so anyway.

Dear Candace Cameron Bure,
Come on girl! I am voting for you so much every week. I am so glad you're still in the competition, but I want you to do better. I know you can. You just have to believe in yourself! I wanna see you win that Mirrorball!
Dancing With the Stars
Dear Pip,
Why are you so afraid of Daddy's guitar?? He's not going to hit you with it. It sounds great when he plays it. I don't understand why you run and hide when he gets it out. :(

What would you write in an open letter to the world?
Thanks for reading!

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Blog // Bloglovin // Twitter // Pinterest
~What are you looking forward to the most in the Spring and Summer? Not freezing to death anymore. And moving overseas--always an adventure!
~What is your go-to cure for bloggers block? Chatting with my husband, eavesdropping on random conversations, spending time away from the computer.
~If you could be any fictional character, who would you be and why? A slightly more moral and hygienic version of Captain Jack Sparrow. Because honestly, it's the honest ones you have to watch out for...no, wait. Because his clothes are awesome and he's got a knack for coming up with brilliant though slightly farfetched plans in the nick of time.

Go say hi to Rachel. She never ceases to entertain. And while you're there, be sure to check out these great posts...
~Why I'm Not Impressed by Target
~Rachel at the Movies
~My Stalker Story
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

40 Days With Jesus - The End of a Lent Journey

On Ash blessWednesday, I started going through my 40 Days with Jesus journal from Naptime Diaries (the journal is not dated so you can still get one and start it any time). This study was such a blessing. Not only was the content great and I learned a lot, but since other bloggers were doing the same study, I was motivated to stick with it. At least at first.
For the first half of the journal, I didn't miss a single day. I would wake up, make coffee, and read the bible every day. But for some reason, about halfway through Lent, I started slacking. I kept forgetting to read or I'd wake up late and never find the time for it that day. I'd skip a couple days then read three passages in one day to catch up.
This is not how the study was meant to be done. I need that pick-me-up every day. On days I don't read, I can tell. And on days when I read three passages in a row, I don't get as much out of each passage as I could. And why does this happen? Because I am lazy and I put other things ahead of my relationship with God. There is no excuse for that! Sure I'm human and I will mess up sometimes, but He deserves so much more than our best effort. And since my best effort is all I can give Him, I should be doing just that.
Since I finished the Lent journal, I've been doing this promise journal (above). My grandma gave me this back in 2009 and I never used it and forgot about it for a while. When I was at my mom's a few weeks ago for work, I found it again and decided to bring it home withe me. I'm excited to get into it. I plan to keep it up until it becomes second nature to wake up and immediately open my bible.

As far as the Lent study itself, I certainly learned a lot. I learned that true biblical Hope can be defined as the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future. What this means for me is that I hope in His Word which says Jesus was here on Earth and that He is coming back and I should eagerly wait like a watchman waiting for morning [Psalm 130:5-6].
I also learned that Jesus can make me bold like he did with Peter and John in Acts 4. There are so many times in life that I feel inadequate and think I don't know enough to teach or bring others to Christ. But I have the Holy Spirit and I have Jesus by my side to help me along the way. Why do I not display confidence in Him? Also, even when I don't see or feel Jesus with me, I have my brothers and sisters. The church was meant to be a community where we all help each other along [Acts 2:42-47]. We should take advantage of that.
And lastly, I learned that "blessed to be a blessing" is such a recurring theme in the Bible. I've heard it before, but I never realized how much it is threaded through the pages. The theme of the entire bible, of course, is love. But being a blessing to others is so much a part of that love. It is taking the love a step further and showing it. This concept should be entwined into everything we do. Just one example from Jeremiah 29:7f shows us that God wanted these people to bless the city they have been exiled to! It would be human nature to be bitter toward the city and to sit there in self-pity, but these people are not only supposed to find joy in their suffering [James 1:3], but they are to seek out the needs of others around them and bless them in any way they can. What a concept!
So from now on, I am going to seek out the needs of others on a daily basis. I will find ways to bless people whether it be in a big way or a simple way. Every day I will strive to be that blessing to others because God tells us to, but also because I may be the only bible someone ever sees.

What did you learn from your Lent journey? Go link up with Oak and Oats this week!
Thanks for reading!
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"It's Great to be at Harding!"

Y'all, I had a fantastic weekend. If you don't know, I went to Harding University for Spring Sing. Here is my recap post from last year's Spring Sing if you wanna take a look.

I guess I'll begin at the beginning. Thursday morning I embarked on 10+ hour drive to my Nana's house. It really wasn't so bad. I don't mind driving. I spent the hours thinking, praying and jamming with Carrie, Taylor, Tim, The Boys and many others!
So the best part of going to Nana's house was the fact she had no idea I was coming! I didn't get to see any of that side of my family over the holidays for the first time in my life and it was really a bummer, so when I decided to head to Searcy for Spring Sing, I had to take advantage of being only a couple hours away from them. So I made a little pit stop at Nana and Pappy's house Thursday night and it was a wonderful time. (Pappy knew I was coming, but Nana was completely surprised).
Me and Nana // Pappy and Nana
Thursday night they took me to the Cove, which is a mom-n-pop restaurant down by the lake. I had the best burger I've ever tasted! I spent Friday chilling with the grandparents before heading out for the 2.5 hour drive to Searcy where Harding is.

While I was in Searcy, I had meals with my brother, uncle and cousins, Kellum (my best friend since Freshman year), Meghan (my old roommate), Ashley's in-laws (we got to know them well at her wedding), and Ashley and Taylor by themselves. It was so great to catch up with all these people.
Me and Kellum. Excuse our sleepy looks. I basically rolled out of bed and drove to Cabot Saturday morning to see her.
I had a coffee date with Ashley and a Fro-Yo date with Tyler (my brother) and Mary (his girlfriend). I also ran into a bunch of people I didn't really plan to but I am so glad I did.

And, of course I saw Spring Sing with Meghan. The theme was "New" because of a lot of new things going on at Harding right now, including, but not limited to a new university president who started in that position this year. The Knights show "The Show Heard 'Round the World" deservingly won first prize. They actually swept all the categories, which never happens. It was pretty crazy! We went to the Saturday Afternoon show so we snuck back in Saturday night (with what seemed like half the school) to see the awards.
Top:  the program for the show. Bottom: Knights receiving their award. Sorry it's so blurry.
Another cool thing about Spring Sing is that people in the show always do a flash mob before the show. It is usually very good but I missed it this year. :( I was on campus for 3 of the show times but I still missed it every time. But what was different about this year was that after the flash mob, the actors had to stay in character until the show started. So there were garden gnomes standing perfectly still on the fountain and in the grass. There were "little kids" running around the courtyard and playing duck-duck-goose. Cave men spoke in grunts, and Colonial men spoke in Old English. It was really cool!
Members of the "Freckles and Fur" show playing duck-duck-goose after the flash mob.
Sunday I went to the wonderful Easter service in the Benson Auditorium. Dr. Bruce McLarty (the new university president) gave a fantastic sermon. We took pictures after church, ate lunch and I soon headed home on another 10+ hour adventure.
Me and Ashley // Me and Tyler Easter morning after church
It was so great to be back on campus. I miss my time there, but it gets weirder every time I go back. I was so sad that I only knew a couple people in the ChiO's show. But it was a very refreshing weekend and I was so glad I got to see everyone.
So how was your weekend?
Thanks for reading!
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Monday, April 21, 2014

My Writing Process: A Blog Tour

So a couple weeks ago my real life friend Jennifer (who also blogs) asked me if I wanted to do this Writing Process Blog Tour. It sounded pretty interesting and even though I am not much of a writer outside of blogging, I do really enjoy it. So I decided to play along.

Before we start, you should go check out Jennifer's blog. I just love reading her posts because she is so honest and down to earth and Preston is such a cutie! And you should totally congratulate her on the announcement of her 2nd child on the way!

Alright, let's get to the questions.

What am I working on?
I actually have a lot of things in the making for this blog. I want to do some more of my own recipes and some DIY projects when I (hopefully) have more time in the Summer. So maybe you'll be seeing a little more of those type posts in the future along with the typical posts about life, love, and faith. 

I am not a writer. I don't really consider myself one, but I do enjoy it. I like to think that my writing makes sense and that while a typo may sneak in every once in a while, that I am pretty good at the grammar side of things. When I was younger, I was so much more creative than I am now, but I want to continue to use this blog to stretch that creativity.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Really both Jennifer and Alex (the blogger who tagged her for this) hit the nail on the head with this one. I am different because I am me. I like to think I don't have much of a niche or genre because I like to talk about lots of stuff; marriage, faith, pop culture, books, goals, my life. The list goes on. So I am a married, Christian, Lifestyle blogger along with a good portion of blog land. But what makes me different is that I am me, not them.



Why do I write what I do?

I started blogging because when Pearson and I got married, we moved 500+ miles away from everyone and everything we knew. I wanted to easily keep friends and family up to date with our adventures. Now this blog has turned into so much more than that. Now I blog not only for family and friends back home, but also for the blogging community and sometimes to just get things off my chest. I have always been a journaler and blogging has all the benefits of journaling, plus you can meet awesome people.


How does your writing process work?
I'll admit, most of my blog post ideas come from other bloggers. I'll read a post, fall in love with it, take the idea, make it my own, and publish a post. Those are the kind of posts that I have "planned" for a long time until I finally get around to writing and publishing them. Other times, I speak from my heart about an issue or something God has revealed to me lately. These are the ones I typically journal first. Then I type that journal entry into a blog post, tweek it a little, and publish. Lastly, sometimes I just want to share what's going on in my life.

Alright so to continue the tour, I've spoken to the following lovely ladies who will fill this out next monday. Be sure to check them all out!



P.S. I am guest posting over at A Beautiful Ministry today. Be sure to check it out!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Summer Playlist

So I am ready for Summer. As far as I am concerned, we can just skip right over Spring and go right into pool sitting weather. However, the weather seems to be stubborn and won't give me what I want. So I have found a couple ways to help combat that. The number one way is that I made a Summer playlist on spotify and have been listening to it 24/7 for the past couple weeks. 

Here is the link in case the player doesn't work: Summer Playlist
So there are a few songs on there that are actually about Summer or things you do in the Summer, but some just remind me of my Summers growing up and some I just love and had to include. It's mostly country, which shouldn't be a surprise. And of course I had to include "In Summer" that Olaf sings in Frozen.

What songs should I add to my playlist?
How do you combat the stubborn weather?
Thanks for reading!

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Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Bloglovin
~What are you looking forward to most about Spring and Summer? Oh there's so many things I'm excited about for this Spring/Summer! In May, hubs and I are going to our first military ball (formal event) which I'm super excited about! And of course July means the Fourth AND our 2nd anniversary. Of course with the military nothing is really set in stone but these next few months look pretty promising! 
~If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Hmm....I think I'd have to pick...yikes this is a hard question....uhm I'd think I'd have to pick either telekinesis (the ability to manipulate objects with your mind) or teleportation (because that would be really handy to visit family....and well you know...to save the world).
~What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday? Sleeping in late, going to the beach and then settling in on the couch with the hubs for popcorn and a movie. 

Go say hi to Elizabeth and learn more about her military wife life. While you're there, be sure to check out these great posts!
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dear Harding

As you know, I will be traveling to Harding University (my alma mater) tomorrow for the annual Spring Sing. Spring Sing is a production that the school puts on every year. I explained a little more about it in this post from last year. Last year Pearson and I both went and it was a glorious weekend. You can read all about that here. This year, Pearson can't get away from school so it's just me, but I am still super excited. I will be staying with my BFF (aka my Maid of Honor, Ashley who I've talked about before, several times, and I made her a coffee mug) and her husband.
Me and Ashley on her wedding day :)
So I thought it was appropriate today before I leave to write an open letter to Harding and talk about all the reasons I miss it. Don't get me wrong, I love my life now. I know you have to grow up and move on and I wouldn't change any of my life. But I still miss my college experience. So here it goes (fair warning, it might be a rather long letter).

Dear Harding,

Thank you for being what you were to me and to so many students over the years: home away from home. We were young, on our own for the first time, and very impressionable. You were a safe place. Some people said you were too safe and didn't prepare us for the real world after graduation. I disagree. You didn't keep any secrets. You simply made the transition from high school to real-life a little easier.

I miss your safe atmosphere at times, but mostly I miss the people and opportunities that made you up. I miss your social clubs. Especially Chi Omega Pi (naturally). I miss the sisterhood I had in this club. I miss club week, functions, beauing, Spring Sing, and even bi-weekly meetings. I miss seeing all my sisters all the time and having that bond.
Spring Sing 2009 :)
I miss dorm life. I miss living in one building with hundreds of girls in the same boat as me, and, for the most part, with the same christian values as me. I miss being an RA (resident assistant) and being able to help residents with anything from checking into their room to boyfriend troubles. I miss the sisterhood of the RA's. We had to deal with a lot of not fun stuff and we bonded over that. Not to mention the training we had to endure together. I miss being tight with the dorm mom and deans because of my RA position and knowing what goes on behind the scenes to make dorm life so great. I miss staying up late with my roomies being ridiculous, laughing, and filling in our notebook of absurd quotes! I miss cooking with and for my roommates (and receiving the same favor) and doing the "awkward kitchen dance" in our little, poorly laid out, dorm kitchen.
Me and my beloved roomies!
And my other roomie pretended to kill me :)
Believe it or not, I miss classes. I miss how kind and helpful the teachers always were. I miss the small classes and how I always knew my classmates so well and we helped each other as well.

Also believe it or not, I miss Chapel. I miss coming together every day with the whole student body. I miss the unity of the school and the fact that the whole school experienced the same thing that morning. We all heard the same announcements and jokes and we worshiped the Father in the same way. I miss the hilariously awesome student announcements every Thursday. I miss "Cliff & Clax." I miss fighting the crowd to get a chicken biscuit after chapel.

I miss the beautiful campus and how it changes but remains just a gorgeous with every season. I miss the infamous swings on which I had many deep conversations with my then-boyfriend, now-husband. I miss that anywhere on campus was just a relatively short walk away. I love that there were always things to do on campus. There were always movies shown on campus on the weekends, there were so many great concerts and fun festivals on the front lawn.
Just a portion of the lights on the Front Lawn at Christmastime
I miss the student center. I miss walking around and almost always seeing a friend because you know practically everyone on campus. Even going back last year we kept seeing and being stopped by old friends in the stu. I miss hanging out in the stu and looking at the time, realizing you were there for much longer than you meant to be. I miss checking my mail and getting so excited over a letter, let alone a package!

And lastly, I miss the community Harding provides. The way the entire community comes together in the midst of tragedy is beautiful. I love that the community is still around me. If I meet a fellow alumni now, we already have so much in common. We have so much to talk about and there is a bond that nobody can describe.

So thank you, Harding. Thank you for making my time in college the best of my life. I miss all these things about you, but I love that I can look back and remember the good times and that I am still so close to so many of the wonder friends I made thanks to you.

Love, a somewhat nostalgic former student

For those of you who stuck with me to the end, thanks you! And I apologize it this was too sappy or boring if you didn't attend. What do you miss from your college experience?
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Let's Have a Coffee Date

So I've seen this coffee date post going around blog land and I thought I would jump on the wagon. So, will you join me for coffee? You know you want to!
If we were having coffee... I'd probably talk way too much about how excited I am to go to Harding University this weekend for Spring Sing! You would get tired of me talking about it long before I became aware of how much I was talking about it.

If we were having coffee... I'd complain about how, before today, I would have told you how glad I am that it is finally spring here in Ohio. This winter was so terrible and I never want to live it again, and yet here we are on April 15th with snow falling from the sky. You'd probably agree because this winter was terrible everywhere and we would have a conversation dreaming of all the things we will do outside once it starts to stay warm consistently and complain about how we thought we were at that point already.

If we were having coffee... I'd ask about your plans for Summer and tell you that we don't have anything big planned because Pearson will be getting ready for his Candidacy exam. But that's okay because after he is done, we are gonna celebrate with something big!

If we were having coffee... I'd tell you that I feel like I am in a rut just doing the same things week after week. I'd add that I think my trip to Harding will help that. Whoops. There I go talking about that trip again. But you'd understand and agree because being cooped all winter has us all feeling like that.

If we were having coffee... We'd talk about our dogs or children and laugh at everything they do these days. We'd promise to get them together some time and maybe actually make plans and write them down in our planners.

If we were having coffee... We'd probably discuss the HIMYM finale. Because everybody's seen it, right? We'd discuss the ending, whether we liked it or not because everybody seems to be strongly for or against it. We'd both argue our points, whether we agreed with each other or not. And we'd probably end up laughing at the fact that we care so much about a TV show.

And lastly, if we were having coffee... I'd tell you how thankful I am that you are a loyal reader of my blog and that, more importantly, you are a great friend!

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Blog // Pinterest // Twitter
~What is your favorite go-to meal to cook and eat? hmm. I'm really trying to improve on my cooking skills however, my baking skills rock! I'd have to say right now my favorite go to dinner meal is Meat loaf with a side of mac & cheese and a veggie. I'll be posting that recipe on my blog sometime soon so stay tuned. :)
~What is one thing at the top of the bucket list? GOING TO PARIS!! And all of Europe really. It's my dream to drink coffee at a Paris Coffee shop and watch the Eiffel Tower and then go to England to have some English tea.. It's my dream and I will see it happen while I'm still young :)
~What are 3 things you cannot live without in your life? He completes me in all areas. Without Him I'm a mess but with Him I'm a art of perfection in His Image. He is my reflection and my Beloved. I can't do anything without Him. And my two loves Leon and Evie. They bring joy to me every single day.

Go say hi to Heather. She's sure to encourage you as she always does me. While you're there, be sure to check out these awesome posts while you're there!
~Dealing with Mommy Guilt
~The Most Important Work
~To The Ones Who Married Young

P.S. it was totally NOT planned to spotlight "Like a Morning Cup of COFFEE" on my Coffee Date post. It just happened like that. :)
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Monday, April 14, 2014

I don't want to find happiness

I've seen a lot of posts lately about being happy. Post that tell me to love myself, do things for myself, set aside time for myself etc. All this stuff is good. Great even. But we can't rely on these things to keep us happy all the time. They won't and they shouldn't have to.

Other posts (like this one by Cassey of Blogilates) have said to surround yourself with people who build you up. They say to be kind to others and treat them well and you will be happy. But we shouldn't put the weight of our happiness on other people either.

You see happiness is an emotion that is controlled by our experiences and how we perceive them. We cannot expect to be happy all the time because there will be sad and difficult seasons in our lives. And even little day-to-day things will leave us feeling "happy" one day and possibly "sad" and "depressed" the next.

But the thing is, I don't care about being "happy." 

Say, what??? That's right, I don't care much about finding happiness in life. What I want to find is joy. Because that's what God cares about too. Now don't get me wrong, God wants you to be happy. In fact, almost everything on Cassey's list is also a commandment from God (Seriously, I found scriptures for them). But He never promised that life will be full of of rainbows and butterflies all the time.

So what I want is a deep, spiritual joy that comes from knowing that I am the daughter of a Heavenly King and that one day I will be in Heaven in the presence of that King and my loving Savior. That trumps everything else that happens on this earth. Everything. This joy does not sway with circumstances. It is not a rollercoaster of ups and downs like my "happiness" might be. It is deeper than emotion.

We learn about this joy in the Bible when James tell us at the beginning of his book to "Count it all joy...when you meet trials." In order for someone to consider trials a testing of their faith and to count it as joy, that joy has to be rooted deep within them. That's the joy I want.

So next time you are at a low point in your life and are feeling unhappy, remember that God sees the whole picture, remember what he sacrificed for you, and remember the reward he has promised if we follow his Word: we will one day be singing with the Angels and nothing in this life will matter anymore.

Thanks for reading!
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Friday, April 11, 2014

What A Fantastic Week It's Been

This week has actually gone by relatively fast for some reason. And it's been a pretty great week. The weather has finally been a little warmer and we are getting rain instead of snow! I just love listening to and watching thunderstorms. It reminds me of how awesome our God is.

So anyway, I am starting this week's countdown with 6 because there was just so much to share! So lets get started, shall we?
6 Things I Loved This Week
  • My Chromebook
  • This yummy smelling Spring Candle
  • My Newest Premier Necklace
  • My Summer Playlist on Spotify
  • Hershey's Kisses. Sometimes you just need some chocolate, you know?
  • Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches. I have been trying to eat a bigger breakfast (it's the most important meal of the day) but I don't want to wake up earlier and cook anything. 1.5 minutes in the microwave is all you need for these!
5 Posts I Loved This Week
4 Exciting Events
  • I saw The Addams Family Musical in Columbus on Tuesday because one of my good friends got free tickets through her theatre connections.
  • I absolutely loved the show. Especially the lovely Jennifer Fogarty who played Wednesday Addams. She was amazing. So I tweeted at her and... She retweeted me AND tweeted me back!!!
Too bad she isn't a verified celebrity on Twitter. But she should be!
  • I am going to Harding next week for Spring Sing! Yayayayay! Read a recap from when I went last year here.
  • We are most likely going to finish HIMYM this weekend so I will finally know the ending and can stop avoiding spoilers
3 Posts I wrote
  • Sharing Things With My Husband {Marriage Goals Link-up} (Mon)
  • My Weekend in numbers (Tues)
  • My Personal Goals for April (Thurs)
2 Confessions
  • I still have clothes in the dryer since Sunday. I have been pulling things out as I need them. Maybe I'll go through the whole load like this.
  • I broke down and bought a diet coke on Tuesday after seeing The Addams Family. I was really tired and thirsty and couldn't think about anything else.
1 Reason to Smile
  • Jesus paid my debt with the ultimate sacrifice. One day, I will be in heaven with The Father thanks to His Grace and Mercy!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Personal Goals for April

As I was writing my marriage goals post last weekend, I wrote down several other personal goals for this month. After reading this post from Hayley of A Beautiful Exchange, I decided I would share them on the blog for accountability. Hayley talked about the importance of setting goals for ourselves, not just the ones we have with our families. And she recommended telling other people about your goals so they can hold you accountable.
So here are my goals for this month...
  1. Finish the entire Blogilates April workout calendar. I have started her monthly calendars before, but I have never completely finished one. I know there will be days when I can't really workout (like when I am driving to Spring Sing next weekend), but if I don't have an excuse, I am sticking to the plan (unlike this past Sunday when I skipped the workout for no reason).
  2. Eat healthy and don't drink any soda. I have broken this a couple times, but for the most part, I've been good.
  3. Keep track of our finances on Mint.com. We are in a marriage class at church on Sunday mornings and the past couple weeks we have talked about finances. The teacher keeps stressing how keeping up with your budget and your spending together as a couple (instead of just spending what you think you have to spend) helps so much with stress in your marriage. So Pearson and I are both going to start paying more attention to our budget.
  4. Pray all the time and read the Word every day. I've done pretty well with this because of my 40 days with Jesus journal. I like having a set reading plan, so when I finish the journal, I will have to find another plan to keep me on track.
  5. Decorate the guest room. We have some pictures on the walls, but I have a vision and I would like for it to be done this month. I will write a post about it once it is done. ;)
  6. Set aside time for blogging and stick to it. This way I don't feel like I need to blog when I shouldn't or when I would rather be doing something else.
  7. On that same note, I am going to blog less. I will keep it to 3 or 4 posts per week instead of 5 to 6 like I have been. And even if I don't get 3 posts published in a week, that is OK. I was starting to feel like a slave to my blog and I hate that because I love blogging so much. I never want to resent it.
  8. Set aside time to read. I love reading, but when I am busy, that's what gets neglected. If I back off on the blogging some, I can have more time to do things I want to do and reading is one of those. I want to finish Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini before my book club meeting on the 25th. And I want to start the next Percy Jackson book after that.
What are some of your personal goals for this month?
Thanks for reading!
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Blog
~What are you looking forward to most about Spring and Summer? HEAT is what I'm looking forward to the most in Spring and SUmmer! It's been such a cold Winter, and I just want some heat!
~If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Oh, I know this right away because I've had many discussions with the Mr. about it... My superpower would be flight. I want to be able to jump into the air and soar. OH, and also carry at least one person with me. THis would save SO MUCH on airfare!~What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday? My favorite way to spend a Saturday would have to be a lazy morning filled with coffee, breakfast, and a newspaper in bed. Then possibly a hike or long walk, taking a few photographs along the way. For the afternoon, it would include cooking a great meal and just overall relaxing!

Go give Jessy some love and be sure to check out these great posts!
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Weekend in Numbers

So I definitely completely stole this idea from Simply Clark but I LOVED the idea of recapping my weekend with numbers. I haven't done a recap of my weekend on here in a long time because I usually think there isn't much worth sharing, but this weekend was pretty great. AND I really wanted to do this number thing. Anyway, I bet you're wondering what all those numbers mean, so without further adieu, my weekend:
  • 1: the number of new Chromebooks I bought. I love my Acer Chromebook. I have been looking at different chromebooks for a while and I finally decided on one so we went to Best Buy on Saturday and brought that baby home!
  • 4: the number of books purchased or rented (only one was rented). I have a problem. I am addicted to buying books. I'm addicted to reading them too, but that is not such a problem. This weekend, like usual, I went into Half Price Book Store intending to come out empty handed. But I didn't.
  • 9: the number of chapters I read on Sunday. I finished the Sea of Monsters and started Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.
  • 55: the number if minutes I worked out. I am doing the Blogilates April workout calendar which is about an hour every day. Friday was rest day and I skipped Sunday. Oops.
  • 2.5: the number of hours spent at Yabos Tacos with friends after church Sunday Night. It was a night spent with good food, great friends, and fantastic conversation.
  • 3: the number of times I went back to the salad bar at Ruby Tuesdays on Friday. Seriously, that 'garden bar' has to be from the garden of Eden itself!
  • 136: the number of minutes spent watching the new Captain America movie. It was so good! Much better than the first!
  • 6: the number if items we bought at Target when we were 'just killing time' before our movie started and 'didn't need to buy anything'. Again, oops.
  • 18: the number of HIMYM episodes watched. We finished season 8. Bring on the last season! :(
Even though we didn't do anything extremely exciting like go on a weekend excursion, it was a fantastic weekend. It was pretty productive, relaxing, and fun all in one!
How was your weekend?
Thanks for reading!
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Monday, April 7, 2014

Sharing Things With My Husband {again} - Marriage & Relationship Goals {Link-Up}

Last month, my goal for our marriage was to be compassionate and loving when Pearson has to work late. I think I've done a pretty good job of that. Of course, in the month of March, he didn't spend quite as much time in the lab as he did in February (I don't think). But when he did work long hours, I think I was better about not getting mad or taking things personally.
Anyway, this month I have a few goals in mind. The first of is that when Pearson gets upset or stressed about anything, I am not going to get frustrated and roll my eyes and go about my life (I have been guilty of this before). Instead, I will listen to his problems and do what I can do to help. I care about him but sometimes I feel like there is nothing I can do and I don't want to say the same comforting things over and over. But I am going to anyway.
My next goal is to implement intentional, weekly date nights again. Now that Pearson's work is [kind of] slowing down as we head toward Summer, and the weather is getting better, I can't wait to try some of these Spring Dates ideas.
And lastly, I want to share anything and everything on my heart with Pearson. For some reason, I have it in my head that he doesn't care about how I feel or what's bothering me which is completely bogus. I know he cares. This comes up whenever we read marriage books, talk about issues, or of course when he know's I'm not telling him something. I know it really bothers him that I hold things back and I am going to keep working on this.
What goals do you have for your marriage or relationship this month? Be sure to link up below!
Marriage & Relationship Goals

New to the Marriage & Relationship Goals Link-up? Goals help our relationships grow stronger and get better with time as well as help us move forward and avoid the "ruts" of life. This link-up was created in hopes of inspiring your relationship with your significant other no matter your chapter in life and love. We would love for you to join us in making the things we do in our relationships intentional.  If you would like more information, click here. If you would like to sign up for the newsletter, click here. If you are interested in cohosting, click here.
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dirty Laundry, or Dirty Windows

"A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.

“That laundry is not very clean,” she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” 
Her husband looked on, but remained silent. 
Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments. 
About one month later, the woman was surprised to see nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: “Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?” 
The husband said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.” 
And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look."
via
Have you ever head this story? I just love it. It hits home with me because I am so guilty of this sometimes. I see someone and make snap judgements based on their appearance or situation and all I can see is the negative {I am not talking about judging based on actions or sins here. I mean just solely on appearance}. Sometimes I need to wash my windows and take a fresh look. Maybe I'll see something new and better.

It is so easy {at least for me} to see someone I don't even know and my brain automatically starts thinking about what they're wearing, who they are with, what they are doing, how they talk, you name it and I just assume I know what kind of person they are. Sometimes it's even a game. I love to people-watch and make up stories for the people I see in an airport, park, or mall. When it gets to be a problem though, is when you assume the worst based on appearance and let that cloud your judgement and affect any possible future relations with that person.
I'll give you an example. There is a lady I know who is single and has a small child. She has recently moved to a new town and new church. What do you think the people {especially women- it's just a fact} at this new church assumed about her situation? Well, I am sure they assumed she had the child out of wedlock. They figured she sinned and probably has repented of that sin, but it will still always be in the back of their minds. Well guess what, none of that is true. This lady has never been married and lived by herself for a while. She finally decided she wanted a family and some responsibility so she started the adoption process. A while later, she was given the most wonderful gift, a little girl of her own. Not only was that child a gift to her, but she gave the child the gift of a mother. I respect her so much for this.

Along the same lines, sometimes I see families out in public who's children can't seem to control themselves. I usually assume that it's the parents fault. Maybe they don't discipline them enough or maybe they are making up for something so they let the kid do whatever he or she wants. But it was recently brought to my attention that all kids have different personalities. Some kids are more difficult to handle than others and some even have real mental issues that make listening hard.
The point of all this is that I am trying to be better about making snap judgements. I want to clean my windows so that I can see clearly. I want my mind to be pure so that I can love people like Jesus did no matter what they look like or how their situation seems. I wouldn't want someone to see me walking down the street and think mean things about me or assume the worst. They don't know my story. So I don't want to do that to others either. For all I know, the homeless guy that sits outside that one building every day had everything taken away from him and all this is our of his control. Or maybe he chose this life so that he could help others in need.

I've been trying to give others the benefit of the doubt and get to know the person inside instead of just going off the outward appearance or situation. We all have bad days. Lets build each other up in our minds and only assume the best! Are you with me?
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blogging Randomness

First of all, to clarify for anyone who read my post from yesterday, yes it was an April Fools joke. Not a single word of it was true. I basically tried to answer every question the opposite of what I would actually say. Also, another fun fact about yesterday's post is that it was my 200th post! It is so funny to think that my 100th post went live after I had been blogging for over a year and then it took me less than 6 months to go from 100 to 200 posts. This blog has done a lot of changing and growing over the year and a half it's been around.
I am very grateful for the community this blog has provided for me and the hobby it has become. I love reading other blogs everyday and answering comments. I love hearing of people back home who "never miss a post" and are blessed by my presence on the internet. I am grateful for technology and specifically the world wide web. As we talked about last night at bible study, today we can know exactly what is going on in someone's life on the other side of the world. Whereas traveling to the next city took several days for the prophets in Bible times. Which just made their prophesies that much more impressive. But I digress.

Sometimes I hit bloggers block. And sometimes I am simply not motivated to keep up with the blog for whatever reason. For example, I just spent a week in Georgia for work during which I did very little blogging. When I got home, I just wanted to spend time with the husband. {We watched 26 episodes of HIMYM on Saturday. I am only slightly ashamed of this}. Then Sunday night we went to our monthly book study for young married couples at our church. After this, I really wanted to spend more time working on my marriage and less on the blog.
We're reading His Needs Her Needs by Willard F. Harley for our marriage book study. I highly recommend it!
But it always seems that I get into this little "blogging rut," as I like to call it, at the end/beginning of a month. This is good because I typically have some planned posts that happen around this time every month that "make" me blog. At the beginning of every month, I write a "what I'm doing" post, like I did yesterday, in which I tell the world what I am currently making, cooking, thinking, feeling etc. I always enjoy filling this out and I enjoy even more going back and reading them from past months and seeing how my life and priorities have changed little by little.

Also, the first Monday of every month, I talk about my marriage goals {this month's will go live on the 7th}. This series is a link up and I am one of the rotating co-hosts which keeps me accountable because people are counting on me to host the linkup on my blog. This series is so important because my marriage is the most important thing in my life right now and this is a way to use my blog to strengthen something important to me in real life and encourage others as I do.
 Marriage & Relationship Goals
Anyway, I really don't know what the point of all this was except to maybe let you all know that I have been struggling lately with my priorities and that the blog may take a back seat every once in a while. I love you all and I still love blogging as much as ever. But sometimes it just gets to be a little much. I am not quitting and I am not even going to intentionally and noticeably back off. But I just needed to get these things off my chest. Thank you so much for sticking around and reading. You guys are the best!
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