"On her tongue is the law of kindness..."

"On her tongue is the law of kindness..."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Glazed Carrots

In honor of the Christmas holiday, I received a beautiful book titled, "What to Cook and How to Cook it" by Jane Hornby. This delightful gem includes photo images that depict each step of the cooking process, how-to instructions, and a wide selection of menu items. After fingering through the large book, I have already tabbed several items to try, the first being glazed carrots (found on page 314 - 315). Enjoy.

1 3/4 pounds carrots
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp sugar
1 handful fresh, flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper

Cut the carrots into 1/2 inch rounds. Put them into a medium pan with butter, sugar, and 4 tablespoons water. Place the pan over high heat, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, then let the carrots cook for 10 minutes. Uncover the pan; the carrots will be almost tender.
Cook for 5 minutes more, uncovered, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the carrots are coated in a shiny glaze. Stir now and then as they cook. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Roughly chop the parsley leaves, then stir through the carrots. Spoon into serving dish.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Yummiest Cookies!

After one of my most favorite things - a hair cut and style by a friend and super great stylist - she left me a little goodie bag with three yummy and delicious cookies. After me and the hubs consuming them all right when i got home we decided that I needed to get the recipe and make some of these delicious little gems for ourselves. So, the cookies are made for the holiday gatherings, and here is the recipe for your own little cooking fun! Enjoy.

1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
semi-sweet chocolate chips
chocolate Hershey kisses

Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl.
In separate bowl, mix butter and peanut butter (can slightly melt butter and peanut butter). Add sugars; mix well. Add egg and vanilla extract; mix well.
Gradually add dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips (1-2 cups).
Roll dough into balls. Place sugar on small plate and roll balls of dough in sugar on plate and then place on ungreased baking sheet for 6-8 minutes at 375 degrees. When removing cookies from the oven it may look as if the cookies are not done, but they are.
After removing cookies from oven, immediately place a Hershey kiss in the center of each cookie.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fettuccine Alfredo

Better Homes and Gardens' Fettuccine Alfredo was the dinner selection of the night and I've put the recipe below. We added boneless chicken tenders cooked in olive oil on the cast iron skillet to the recipe, and you can also add shrimp, beef, or broccoli if you prefer.

1/2 cup half-and-half, light cream, or whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
6 ounces dried fettuccine or whole grain fettuccine
3/4 grated parmesan cheese or reduced fat grated parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper

1. Allow half-and-half and butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook fettuccine according to package directions. Drain pasta. Return fettuccine to saucepan; add half-and-half, butter, and parmesan cheese. Stir gently until fettuccine is well coated. Transfer pasta to a warm serving dish. Sprinkle with pepper. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thumbprint Cookies

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Raspberry and/or apricot jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until just combined, and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 15-30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls, or use a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon to measure out the dough. Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

Alternative: You can make variations of the jam in the center of the thumbprint cookies - try raspberry, strawberry, peach or apple jam or preserves prior to placing cookies in the oven. Or, you can cook the cookies and after they have been removed from the oven and cooled, you can add a frosting.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Little Giving, A Little Love...

Yesterday myself, along with so many friends and ladies of Guts Church, participated in Guts Girls Gives Back, a yearly Christmas event in which the women of Guts Church join together and visit local pregnancy centers, orphanages, fire and police stations, and those in need in order to spread a little cheer. As one of the groups of girls who visited local fire stations, we took coffee, cookies, and sports equipment to two stations in Broken Arrow. It was a great opportunity for us to thank them for all their hard work, show appreciation for keeping us and the city safe, and let them know that there were people thinking of them this holiday season. The firemen were so thankful, some surprised, and one gentleman simply said, "we can't believe you guys would go by and take this to so many stations." It was a humbling experience for me because it only took a couple hours out of everyone's day to deliver these items and yet it made such a meaningful impact on those we visited with.
Following this experience, tonight at church Pastor Bill spoke about being consistent within the areas of our lives because of the example that we are to others. And then he read 1 Corinthians 16:14, which states, "Let everything you do be done in love." He spoke about how God is love and the love of God never fails. When we show love to those around us we are displaying the love of God because he lives on the inside of us. And what a wonderful representation of Christ when we display love to others.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holiday Cards...

With this being the hubster and my first married holiday season we are preparing in full force. We will be sending out our first couple holiday card as Mr and Mrs and I am amazed at the super cute plethora of personalized photo holiday cards that are available. Here are some of my favorites...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Come along with us...

This year, as the hubster and I embark on almost 4 months of marriage, we find ourselves at our first married holiday: Halloween! So, with every effort to make this Halloween a memorable one, we learned how to carve pumpkins (thanks to two very special friends)! Due to my intense love of owls, and the multiple owl decor objects present in our apartment, I thought it was next to impossible for the hubster to select the owl design for our couple pumpkin adventure; but, yes, to my happy delight the owl was chosen!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Place Called Home...

Kevin and I have been newlyweds for just over 3 months, and one of the biggest to-dos for me as a wife was to create an environment that was safe, peaceful, and, of course, wonderfully decorated. Even though I am still shopping for the perfect pieces and waiting for it all to be complete, here are some of my favorite inspirations...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Recipe of Caramel Apple Cupcakes!

So, now that I'm a newlywed I am fascinated with new recipes - special food treats for me and the huz to enjoy. So, please feast your eyes on our newest discovery: caramel apple cupcakes! You're welcome. Enjoy.

1 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Rome (or baking) apples (peeled and shredded)
1 1/2 cups chewy caramel candies
1 tbsp heavy cream

Preheat over to 350 degrees
Line cupcake pan with liners, or spray pan with cooking spray
In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
In medium bowl, whisk eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth. Whisk in oil and vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture. Stir in apples.
Spoon batter into pan until almost full (3/4 full) in each cup
Bake approximately 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool.
In small bowl, combine caramels and cream. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir, and then repeat at 25 second intervals until caramel icing is melted and smooth.
Spread frosting generously on cooled cupcakes.

*Caramel frosting will be very sticky until cooled. So, refrain from eating frosted cupcakes until icing has completely cooled.

Monday, August 30, 2010

So, you don't think God is faithful to His Word?

"Teaching is a tough market right now." "Did you hear about all of the teachers who got laid off?" "All of those budget cuts are really going to affect teaching jobs, huh?"
Yes, ever since Kevin graduated from Northeastern State University this year with an Elementary Education degree, we have been bombarded with "facts" regarding the current state of the economy and the lack of teaching positions available. *On a side note, it is fairly annoying to know that individuals think this is actually "good" and "pleasant" conversation. Why would we ever want to focus on the negative of any situation?
However, Kevin and I did understand the "facts" of the situation. Yes, teaching positions were scarce. Yes, teachers were being let go. Yes, schools are decreasing their budgets and pay for teachers. And these were all conversation starters that directly followed, "what did you graduate for?" "teaching." "oh, did you know..."
With the public's incessant need to inform us every chance they had of the drastic and devastating state of teaching positions, Kevin and I made a different choice - what we see, what we hear, and what the current situation looks like does not determine our level of faith or our trust that God can move on our behalf. Of the upmost importance to us was that this situation offered the potential to showcase to the world visible faith in God's Word and God's timing. We simply had to trust God's Word and not doubt; speak His Word over our situation, our life, and trust that His Word never returns void of power; trust that God will move mountains on our behalf, that we operate in unmerited favor, and that those who trust in Him and His Word are never disappointed.
About 3 months later Kevin received a phone call from an elementary school regarding a teaching position for 4th grade. The elementary school let Kevin know that they weren't in need of a 4th grade teacher until an unexpected enrollment of 15-20 students occurred prior to the first week of classes, requiring the school to hire an additional 4th grade teacher. So, the elementary school called a local university, which just happened to be the same university Kevin graduated from, and requested recommendations from the university for their newly opened teaching position. The university recommended Kevin.
Kevin never applied for this teaching job. He doesn't know anyone from the elementary school that inquired of a recommendation. And, he's never visited the elementary school or sent in an application. The only explanation for this is that God moved on our behalf. That's it. And, that's a pretty amazing place to be. What's even more amazing, is that there are individuals in our life who aren't saved, who have heard of this situation, and the words out of their mouths are, "This has to be God."

Your life is shaped by the words you speak - you have the choice to allow the circumstances you encounter to happen, and you can accept them as they are; or, you can speak the Word over your life, over your family and your friends, over your finances and your job, over your home and your belongings and know that those who trust in God's Word are never disappointed.

Monday, August 16, 2010

If you only knew...

I just finished watching Christine Caine's message at Guts Church (gutschurch.com) from the Guts Girls Goes Aussie event over the weekend and it spoke so deeply to my heart. Christine relates a story of her daughter, who from the time she was born has had the Word of God spoken over her life - she has been told that she's intelligent, beautiful, the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath, that she is blessed and highly favored... And when her daughter was five she got in a fight at school with a young boy who took a teddy bear from her and her daughter pulled it back from the boy. The boy looked at her daughter and said, "you're ugly and dumb." The little girl pulled her shoulders back and said, "no, i'm not. my daddy says that i am beautiful and intelligent." "How much junk could we eliminate from our lives," says Christine, "if we would know and believe what our Father says about us and believe nothing else?"
After letting the message sit with me, think on it, process it, I got on Facebook and read countless status updates and posts between girls who are speaking about boyfriends who don't treat them well, and boyfriends who are rude and disrespectful to them, girls speaking demeaning and degrading comments about one another, and I can't help but relate to Christine's message - what if they would simply believe ONLY what the Word of God says about them and nothing else. And, in doing so, they would surround themselves with others who treat them according to who they are, which is a child of God.
And then you think of those individuals in your own life, those who you are entrusted to and entrusted with, who speak against their own health and the health of their loved ones, who speak gossip and idle chatter, who pronounce defeat on themselves and judgement on others, and you think, "if only you would believe what your Father says about you, and apply that to loving those around you and treating those you come in contact with as children of God." What a different world we would have, and what a different outlook on christians and christianity the world would have of us. We would actually act in accordance with what we profess. And THAT would change the world.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What makes you come alive...

With back-to-school season in session, I have multiple friends and family members attempting to decide what they want to be when they grow up. It's a multi-faceted question, really. So often, what we want to be, become and do changes at an instant, and we are drawn to various job positions according to our passion, love, or sometimes bank account.
No matter the question, how it arises, or what the motivating factor behind it is, I always seem to respond in the same manner - do what you love. If only it were that easy. It's a simple phrase that holds so much meaning because so often individuals do not make decisions regarding their work based on what they love and are passionate about. The decision of job selection and acceptance is so easily made according to what's available, what will pay for bills and what's closest to friends and family. But, what if the purpose behind your job pursuit, your career pursuit or your college major choice, was what truly made you come alive, instilled passion within you, and was something that you absolutely loved doing? I doubt you would ever regret where you are or wish you had made a different decision, and you would daily step into a position that allowed you to bestow your gifts upon the world. Not bad, really.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Your Words

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight..."
Psalm 19:14

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits."
Proverbs 18:21

You have what you say - the words you speak today provide seed for your future, and will reap a harvest in your life. Blessing and cursing, life and death, are all available and will come to fruition through the words that come forth from your mouth - what are you speaking today? What do you speak over your family, your friends, your finances, your job, and all the small areas of your life that you think aren't a big deal to offer up criticism or judgement. Comments such as, "my husband doesn't do anything; he's worthless," or "my kids are so lazy, they don't do a thing," or even comments about your health, such as, "I always get sick in the winter" are seed that go forth into your life. God's Word promises us that as we speak God's Word it goes forth to accomplish what it was sent to do, that it never returns void, and that it will reap a harvest. Choose the words you speak wisely; you have what you say.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Some of my favorite quotes of all time...

Ever since elementary school I have kept a record of my favorite quotes, scriptures, revelations, inspirations, and church service notes. Here are a few of my favorite quotes...

"Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You."
Psalm 5:11b

"I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I eat and read and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life - whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts."
- Elizabeth Gilbert, "Eat, Pray, Love"

"It's easy for us to point a finger or to judge. How many of us simply notice those who come across our path and pay attention to the needs and cares of those around us.
- Christine Caine

"Take personal responsibility for the individuals in your life, for the sphere of influence present in your world."
- Christine Caine

"Before you can be in a satisfying relationship, you have to be able to be happy and complete on your own. You have to be okay to walk through the world on your own, as a whole person, before you can be a part of someone else's life."
- Jim Carrey, on "Oprah", February 18, 2008 when speaking of his relationship with Jenny Mccarthy

Dal centro della mia vita venne una grande fontana, from "Eat, Pray, Love"
- from the center of my life, there came a great fountain
I love this phrase because in order for something to have the ability to flow from within you there needs to be an abundance of it. It reminds me of all the things I hope and desire to flow from the center of my life: love, peace, patience, wisdom, truth.

l' amor che move il sole e l' altre stella, from "Eat, Pray, Love".
- the love that moves the sun and the other stars
This phrase is so beautiful to me because the love that is spoken of feels so magnificent. And, although it was not meant in this context in Gilbert's book, I can only think of the immense, overwhelming, and all-consuming love of God to perfectly compliment this phrase.

"Walk in the rain, smell flowers, stop along the way, build sandcastles, go on field trips, find out how things work, tell stories, say the magic words, trust the universe."
-Bruce Williamson

"We turn not older with years, but new every day!"
-Emily Dickinson

"Be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars; to be satisfied with your possessions; to despise nothing in the world except falsehood and meanness, and to fear nothing except cowardice; to be governed by your admirations rather than by your disgusts; to covet nothing that is your neighbor's except his kindness of heart and gentleness of manners; to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends...and to spend as much time as you can with body and with spirit."
-Henry van Dyke

"The experience of each new age requires a new confession, and the world seems always waiting for it's poet."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A leader does not demand of others what he does not demand of himself."

"There is no use trying", said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things." "I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour each day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
-Lewis Carroll, "Alice in Wonderland"

"The creative process never stops."
- Oscar de la Renta

"There isn't a mirror in the world that can show you how beautiful you are on the inside."
-Phyllicia Rashad (Mrs. Cosby)

"Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance."
- Bruce Barton

"To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child or a garden patch... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
- Emerson

"Show me a day when the world wasn't new."
- Sister Barbara Hance

"I am still in the process of growing up, but i will make no progress if i lose any of myself on the way."
- Madeline L'Engle

"We are all in the process of becoming."
-Joyce Meyer
I love this quote because it's a simple reminder of how not only are we in a process of becoming, but we are in control of what it is we become. Your daily choices affect where you will be tomorrow and the level of your character.

"The world changes as iI speak."
-Pastor Bill
this quote reminds of the importance of the words that i speak, and how just as God formed the world with His words, we are made in the exact image of Him with all the power and authority that He has, and therefore as we speak we frame our world into being. If you keep silent you receive what you're dealt; if you speak, you have what you say.

"One does not see anything until one sees its beauty."
-Oscar Wilde

"Two things a woman should always be: classy and fabulous."
-CoCo Chanel

"So many motivations and decisions when i was younger were made out of fear; fear that the world would come crashing down. But, when i became older, i learned to take a breath and know that everything will be okay."
-Joey, from "Dawson's Creek"

"If you ever dream of beating me, wake up and apologize."
-Muhammed Ali

"I realized, late that night, that other people had feelings and fears and that my interactions with them actually meant something, that I could make them happy or sad in the way that I associated with them. Not only could I make them happy or sad, but I was responsible for the way I interacted with them. I suddenly felt responsible."
-Donald Miller, "Blue Like Jazz"

"What I believe is not what I say I believe; what I believe is what I do."
-Donald Miller, "Blue Like Jazz"

"I am learning not to be passionate about empty things."
-Donald Miller, "Blue Like Jazz"

"Some people settle...and others refuse to settle for anything less than buterflies."
-Sarah Jessica Parker as 'Carrie', Sex in the City

"Mediocrity always attacks excellence".
-author unknown

"You attract to yourself and your life what is on the inside of you."
-Kathy Freston, author of "The One"

"Winners have simply formed the habit of doing things losers don't like to do."
-Albert Gray

"Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak."
- Michael Garrett Marino

"I want to change the world, which means not being the center of my own universe."
-Grace T., Guts Church, 2nd Mile Instructor

"As I am, so shall I associate, and so shall I act."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The man who finds life will find it through trusting God."
Galatians 3:11

"Those who trust in the Lord are steady as Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstance."
Psalms 125:1

"Don't be afraid of your past; it has no power over you except for what you give it."
Joyce Meyer, "The Confident Woman"

"Your priority is not to keep everyone else in your life happy by doing all the things they expect."
Joyce Meyer, "The Confident Woman"

Monday, June 28, 2010

Martha Stewart's Basic Pancakes Recipe

Last night Kevin and I made Martha Stewart's Basic Pancakes recipe (listed below) and used a cast iron skillet that I purchased over the weekend at a flea market. Can you say delish?

1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Assorted toppings, such as butter, maple syrup, confectioners' sugar, honey, jams, preserves, sweetened whipped cream, or chocolate syrup

Preheat oven to 200 degrees; have a baking sheet or heatproof platter ready to keep cooked pancakes warm in the oven. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter (or oil), and egg. Add dry ingredients to milk mixture; whisk until just moistened (do not overmix; a few small lumps are fine).
Heat a large skillet (nonstick or cast-iron) or griddle over medium. Fold a sheet of paper towel in half, and moisten with oil; carefully rub skillet with oiled paper towel.
For each pancake, spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter onto skillet, using the back of the spoon to spread batter into a round (you should be able to fit 2 to 3 in a large skillet).
Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and keep warm in oven. Continue with more oil and remaining batter. (You'll have 12 to 15 pancakes.) Serve warm, with desired toppings.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What All Newlyweds Should Know

This list comes complete with an experience on behalf of Kevin and myself, which garnered each item's placement... I will be updating it as we go. Enjoy.

(1) When moving into your new apartment, get used to the fact that you will be making multiple trips to the grocery store. Most often, these trips will proceed a conversation such as this, "Me: Can you grab the tomato sauce out of the pantry. I'm ready for it. Him: Yeah, sure. There you go. Me: (while staring blankly at the can of tomato sauce) We don't have a can opener."
(2) When using your bakeware for the first time, a "gas" smell that might make you turn off the stove and call every relative on what to do when your stovetop smells like gas may occur. This is most often the result of cooking with a new pot. And besides, your stovetop is electric.
(3) Communicate. You and your new spouse are merging lives and you don't have the same habits. Communication will be key in handling conflicts of habit in terms of money, credit cards, monthly spending/budgeting, cooking vs. eating out, amount of time you each want to spend with extended family, whether you want a tv in the bedroom, whether you want to sit at the dinner table for meals or in front of the tv, importance of sweets and sugar in the house, etc. Often, your actions on these topics are habitual and you don't necessarily take the time to think of why you do what you do - same for your spouse. The most important thing is to communicate your expectations to one another and find a compromise. You can't change what you don't acknowledge.
(4) You will not necessarily love the same grocery stores. Kevin has become FASCINATED with the dollar store, while I have had a love of Target since high school. Compromise: what the dollar store has, we will buy. What the dollar store doesn't have, Target will and we shall run wild and free through the aisles.
(5) Thank You Notes are Required. Yes, there is alot to do during your engagement, wedding planning, shower attending, wedding, honeymoon, and getting settled in - BUT that is still NO excuse to neglect thank you cards for gifts, those who helped you during your wedding, your wedding party, and parents. Thank you cards are a necessity because they do take time - those who receive a thank you note in the mail know that you had things to do, but that you chose to take time to hand write a note to thank them. When time passes, people won't necessarily always remember that you wrote them a thank you note, but they sure will if you fail to send one.
(6) Hold the Opinions, Please. There is no doubt that the two of you will be inundated with opinions - everything from what insurance company you should choose to what your monthly payments on all of your bills should be. It is wonderful to have a great support system around you and to use their wisdom, but, ultimately YOU BOTH have to live with the decisions that are made, not anyone offering their opinion. So, listen to those who have gone before you and use their information, and your own investigating, to make the best decision for the two of you. You are the only two who know what you feel comfortable paying each month and what is of the most importance to the two of you.
(7) Your foundation is crucial. As newlyweds you will be making quite a few decisions, refiguring your lives to best coincide with how your wish to live. The most important aspect of this transition is the base for your decisions - what is your foundation and the purpose behind all of the decisions you make? write it down, revisit it often, and always remind yourself when any heavy decisions come up in your life - how you do anything is how you do everything, so make sure the consistency of your decisions does not waiver because you are focusing on the circumstances that surround you.
(8) watch your words. your words hold power and life, and what you choose to speak over your marriage, your spouse, your relationships, your home, your health, your finances, is seed for your future. there is never an excuse or a reason to speak ill words over your spouse or your relationship - this is your lifeline, you are joined as one, and you will see the fruit of the words that you speak. choose wisely and intentionally.

When You Lose Your Thankfulness...

A couple of months ago Scott and Vanessa Houston, elders at GUTS Church, spoke during service about what they had learned during their marriage and what decisions they had made to place their marriage on a solid foundation. One thing that Vanessa said that stood out so clearly to me was, "When you lose your thankfulness you become self-centered." This provided huge revelation to me, especially as I am entering into a new phase of my life - marriage.
Kevin and I have been extremely blessed throughout our lives, and our hearts swell as we think of all of our family and friends who have supported us, blessed us, and given to our new life together. It is so easy in a marriage, and even in life, to think of what needs to change in another person, what you think can be better, focus on what you don't have or what you think you need, but it is in those moments that if you truly sit back and see all the blessings that have been poured out over your life it allows you to focus your attention on how thankful you are. God daily loads us with benefits, but oftentimes we are too busy or too distracted to notice them.
In mine and Kevin's lives, we are so thankful for all that's been given to us and know that our lives showcase the promise of God being fulfilled on the earth. It's so amazing to know that we, as Christians, live the greatest life imagineable!

Friday, April 9, 2010

a little insight

i am reading "searching for God know's what" by donald miller and although i am fewer than 50 pages into it, miller mentioned something that is sitting pretty heavily on my heart. he talks about how there was a time in his life where he became upset with God, only to realize later that it wasn't God who he was upset with but the individuals who falsely and improperly represented Him - individuals who proclaimed it was God's hatred for mankind, a particular sexual orientation, or a specific ethnicity that caused 9/11; or, individuals who take bits and pieces of the Bible to twist for their own use, negating the actual message proclaimed within the scripture itself. How he became upset with individuals who misrepresented what he knew to be true.
On Easter Sunday a group of protesters gathered outside my church, picketing the message proclaimed within the walls. Signs and posters stating, "Jesus Kills" and "This church leads to hell" were held in the hands of men and women wearing "God loves you" t-shirts. Naturally, an intense emotion of protection rose up in my heart. How could someone falsify the very nature of God. I became intensely protective, knowing that it was God's Word, His nature, that has physically healed, saved, and rescued my friends and family, that has protected me and provided for me. And these individuals are speaking against the very nature of my God. But, almost as suddenly as the intense emotion of protection rose up it was quieted. Because, they didn't get it. They didn't understand. They didn't know the nature of God because they didn't know God. They hadn't spent time with Him, in His Word. Because it is an
intimate relationship with God, a knowing of His nature and His Word, that allows us to understand who we are and what we are called to be. it allows for a changing of ourselves to represent who He is. And they had never experienced it.
So often it is easy for us to become upset with those around us, to criticize, point the finger, judge and condemn, hold another individual to a standard we have set for them. We've always been told growing up, or I would assume most have at some point in their lives, that we are to not speak of others unless it is something nice; some have even been told that we are to pray for others, even those who don't show kindness to us. This is hard because it isn't natural. Nothing about this seems or is fun or exciting or seemingly worth our time. But, what if we began to understand that those in our lives or who cross our path don't mean to intentionally hurt or criticize or condemn us, but instead they just haven't come to a place where they get it yet. They haven't learned enough or experienced enough of God's nature to allow a change to take place in their lives. And, until they do, they might not act like Him. But, we can. As hard as it may be naturally, we can.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

of marriage...

i went floral shopping with one of my best friends this past week and she mentioned to me how impressed she was at how laid-back i am within the wedding planning process. i should allow everyone to note that my type-a, highly oganized personality could easily make way for an unpleasant planning time for all those involved. my fiance has also mentioned how proud he is at my "laid-backness." with this information, i have come to a conclusion: the wedding is one day. i want to prepare myself for the marriage.
so many women find themselves idolizing a single day, a moment at their wedding that they wait and plan for during the length of their engagement. i can fully acknowledge my guilt in this statement, there have been many moments throughout the planning of the wedding where i have slowly found myself entering a process of thought where i placed my expectations, my needs, and my wishes far above those around me. it was in these moments that i had to remember that it doesn't matter. truly. in one month, in one year, in ten years, i won't remember everything that went wrong or whether or not i was able to find the "exact" shade of grey to perfectly match the invitations, but i will regret treating the people i love most in my life without the proper respect and care. and in this recognition, my attitude and my attention changes to allow the process of celebration be celebratory, not only for myself, for my soon-to-be husband, but for everyone involved.
here is the truth: on the day of your wedding something will happen that was not expected. you can place all your effort in the hope that it will not, but something will. with all of that said, when the wedding day is over and the honeymoon comes to an end, you will live out your daily lives with the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. have you prepared yourself for that? have you planned?
i want our wedding to be representative of the love we have for one another and a celebration with those who have helped us throughout our relationship by providing love, support, and encouragement. but, it is still just a day, and i am far more excited for the rest of our lives together.

In marriage, "if everything the two of you put your hand to prospers, the enemy will try everything he can to cause disagreement and division." - pastor bill

"you don't get positive results with negative motivation. responses that are rewarded will be repeated. " - pastor bill

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Of Wish Trees...

In lieu of a guestbook, which I would never read or acknowledge after the wedding, I have found an idea that I hope to use and one that I find beautiful and romantic: The wish tree. I will, of course, tweak it slightly, but the presentation is amazing. I love everything about it. I hope you do too...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Of Wedding Planning...

so, wedding planning has been coming along swimmingly. We have the date, the location, the wedding party selected, my gown, my bridesmaids dresses, the tuxes, the save-the-dates designed by a friend/amazing graphic designer and ordered, the guest list completed, finished both of our registries, and we'll be meeting with the photographer tomorrow and possibly cake testing...whew. it's been such a busy month and a half!