February 2017 Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the February installment!

Current favorites:51hg3cuofzl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

Book: I’ve been enjoying Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. I’ve been taking notes like crazy (8+ on my computer) and trying to absorb all the wisdom. I love how she writes such practical things in a way that I had never thought of before. I’ve also read Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, another book of hers, and it was fabulous, too! It currently resides on my nightstand. : )

Food: My family made some chocolate-dipped strawberries and lemon_berry_chia_front_01__04872-1423265860-1280-1280bananas this week when we had dinner together. They were so simple, but so tasty! I also sampled some delicious Whole Me lemon berry chia granola at the Fit for Her Minneapolis event earlier this month, which I loved!

Verse: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10. I love being reminded that I, that we, are God’s masterpiece, His workmanship, something He’s immensely proud of and satisfied in. We aren’t mistakes. We aren’t accidents. We’re beautiful and beloved treasures of the Most High. Not only that, but He has good things in store for us. He knows each of us so well that He has set apart things for us to do, unique ways for us to impact the world around us. How amazing is that?!

Song: “Road Less Traveled” by Lauren Alaina. I love the reminder to stand out, be different, be yourself, and not find your worth in your appearance or your ability to fit in.

Why do you keep on staring?
That mirror, mirror, it ain’t fair at all
Dress sizes can’t define, don’t let the world decide what’s beautiful

You won’t make yourself a name if you follow the rules
History gets made when you’re acting a fool
So don’t hold it back and just run it
Show what you got and just own it
No, they can’t tear you apart

If you trust your rebel heart, ride it into battle
Don’t be afraid, take the road less traveled
Wear out your boots and kick up the gravel
Don’t be afraid, take the road less traveled on
Take the road less traveled on

Don’t follow anyone
March to the rhythm of a different drum
Why do we analyze, break out, and criticize the crazy ones?

You won’t make yourself a name if you follow the rules
History gets made when you’re acting a fool
So don’t hold it back and just run it
Show what you got and just own it
No, they can’t tear you apart, no

If you trust your rebel heart, ride it into battle
Don’t be afraid, take the road less traveled
Wear out your boots and kick up the gravel
Don’t be afraid, take the road less traveled on
Take the road less traveled on
Take the road less traveled on

Put your hands up, show me that you’re one of a kind
Put your hands up, let me hear your voice tonight

If you trust your rebel heart, ride it into battle
Don’t be afraid, take the road less traveled
Wear out your boots and kick up the gravel
Don’t be afraid, take the road less traveled on

TV Show: I’ve been watching Revenge on Netflix, and I love how complex it is, even if it thgets a little darker and more diabolical than what I usually gravitate toward. I can’t anticipate what happens next and am continually surprised at how all the characters stories and motives are so interconnected. I also watched all of Hart of Dixie and fell in love with the characters. It helps that Needtobreathe’s music was featured in a few episodes (including a huge dance number in the finale), and they performed on the show, too!

Memory from last month: I had a really good time hanging out with some of my best friends for a galentine’s party a few weeks ago. We had lots of treats, watched the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies (sort of, we may or may not have talked all the imageway through them), and did each other’s makeup, trying all sorts of new products. It was so good to catch up with them and just spend time in each other’s company.

I also had a wonderful time at the Fit for Her Minneapolis event hosted by nourish move love, Fit Foodie Finds, and The Her Initiative. We had an intense HIIT barre workout, ate delicious snacks, perused some amazing products from local, women-run businesses, and raised $6,700 for clean water and hygiene education!

Looking forward to this month: My sister’s birthday is in March, and I’m excited to celebrate with her!

 

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!

 

 

Book image source: https://www.amazon.com/Gifts-Imperfection-Think-Supposed-Embrace/dp/159285849X

TV show image source: http://masterherald.com/

Wholeme image source: wholeme.com

January 2017 Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the January installment! It’s a little bit late– the end of the month came faster than I was expecting!

Current favorites:

Book: I’m still loving (and plugging along slowly in) my big hardcover copy of The 387086Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s so good but so long!.

I also just finished Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift: An Advent Devotional. I checked it out from my local library in ebook form. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available during Advent, which is when it’s intended to be read. It still was a really good read. I liked how it incorporated Scriptures that I don’t generally associate with the Christmas story and had a lot of application material and questions.

Verse: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” -Genesis 50:20 and “If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” – Esther 4:14. There is purpose behind everything that happens. I need that reminder.

Food: My parents got me a spiralizer for Christmas, so I’ve been playing around with making noodles out of vegetables lately. One of my favorites was Ambitious Kitchen’s unnamed-2avocado basil pesto zucchini noodles. They were delicious! I also made a taco lentil soup from AK that was amazing, and the fact that it made several servings was a great bonus!

Song: I’m really loving Beloved by Jordan Feliz. I wrote more about a few songs that have been touching my heart lately in a separate post that you can read here.

Show: I’ve been watching a lot of things on Netflix lately, and they’ve all been great! I finished watching what’s available of Bones, and can’t wait to get caught up on the last seriesofunfortunateevents_netflixseason that was on TV. I watched all of A Series of Unfortunate Events and LOVED it! I never got into the books, but the 8-episode series was really entertaining. I also watched One Day At a Time and thought it was both funny and poignant.

Memories from this month: My dad, my sister, and I went to a Phil Wickham concert at the Mall of America on a Friday night this month, and we had a great time together! I also had a crafternoon get-together with a few of my college roommates, and it was a blast! We made crafty things and chatted the whole while, and we’ve made plans to get together again to craft even more.

Looking forward to this month: I’m looking forward to The Her Initiative’s Fit for Her event in Minneapolis in a few weeks. I follow Nourish Move Love and Fit Foodie Finds, who are hosting the event, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun! I invited some friends to go with me and already bought my ticket. There’s going to be a workout, snacks, and products that support local female-run businesses. Check it out!

 

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!

 

 

Image sources:

Book: https://www.christianbook.com/the-greatest-gift-an-advent-devotional/ann-voskamp/9781414387086/pd/387086

Series of Unfortunate Events: mvlteenvoice.com

December 2016 Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the December installment! It’s later than usual, but I think it makes more sense to do it at the end of the month instead of in the middle.

Current favorites:

Book: I’m really liking my big hardcover copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. My sister gave it to me for my birthday, and it’s been fun to read. I envision the characters much like they appear in the BBC show Sherlock, and I think that makes it even better. I’d like to think I can tie the disparate threads together to figure the 51sksyfzidlmysteries out alongside Sherlock, but alas, I am more like Watson, struggling just to keep up but enjoying the ride nonetheless.

I also just started reading Lauren Graham’s new book called Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between), and it’s every bit as lovely as she is.

Verse: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'”- Luke 2:8-14. I don’t want to ever cease to be amazed by the Christmas story. For it truly is remarkable and certainly is the Good News.

Food: I made some delicious miso-roasted broccoli that I enjoyed. And my relatives were raving about the stuffing I made for Thanksgiving (okay, so not technically in December, but recent enough). I made it again for Christmas, though, so that counts, right? I also made some delicious 2-Ingredient chocolate truffles that I loved.

Song: All the Christmas songs! Really, though, I can’t pick a favorite. Some have fond memories associated with them (like Silent Night and All I Want for Christmas is You), while others are good reminders of what the holiday season is really about (like O Holy Night and O Come Let Us Adore Him). Of course, some other songs are just purely fun (You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch and Jingle Bells).

YouTube Clip: I’ve been watching Jimmy Fallon and James Corden videos that are holiday-themed, but I’ve also been enjoying Pentatonix’s Christmas videos. They’re so talented!

Memories from this month: Christmas! Christmas is my favorite holiday, hands down. I love decorating, making cookies, hanging lights, making hot chocolate, listening to and singing along to the songs, picking out presents, and spending time with my friends and family. It was so good to get to spend the holiday with so many friends and family. I had a unnamedgreat time at my church’s Christmas Eve service at the Crowne Plaza, and was surprised to see how many people we had! It was also so very good to spend some quality time with my college roommates who were in town for a reunion of sorts. Their friendship is one I truly cherish.

Looking forward to this month: I’m looking to things getting sort of back to normal, honestly. The holidays are great, but they bring a special kind of stress along with them. I also think the beginning of a new year is really refreshing, like an opportunity to start over in a way and refocus.

 

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!

 

 

 

November 2016 Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the November installment!

Current favorites:

Book: I’m ever-so-slowly going through Akin to Anne by L.M. Montgomery, which is filled 6224501with short, sweet stories about characters finding long-lost relatives and encountering charming little challenges they overcome every time. It’s adorable and a great filler for short periods of waiting or for a before-bed read to end the day on a positive note.

Verse: For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” -Zephaniah 3:17. No matter how I measure up to my own or this world’s standards, God loves me just the way I am. Further, He actually rejoices over me — and over you — with singing. How crazy and amazing is that?!

Food: I made a really good jasmine coconut rice bowl with roasted veggies, curried avocado spread, pecans, and pomegranate arils a couple weeks ago. Yum! It was one of
fullsizerender those meals that made me look forward to eating leftovers. And it made my kitchen smell good every time I heated it up, which is always a plus. I also made some really tasty maple pumpkin muffins that I’ve been enjoying for breakfast lately.

YouTube Clip: This is why you shouldn’t cut your own hair. Let it be a PSA for the rest of us.

Website: She of Noble Character is a new endeavor started by my good friend Cambria. She’s using it as a way to share Scripture and encouragement with other women. And there’s a fabulous line of jewelry, too! I like seeing her posts on social media, and I’ve already gotten a couple of her necklaces as gifts.

Memory from this month: I just got back from a mini reunion with some of my college roommates. We drove out to the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin for a weekend together, and it was a blast! We ate until we were completely stuffed, toured the town square,
bought some cheese, played hours of card games, FaceTimed the girls who couldn’t make it, made homemade pizza, and celebrated a couple birthdays. I’m so blessed to count these wonderful women as my fullsizerender-1friends, and while I certainly miss living with them, it was really good to reconnect, and we can’t wait for our big reunion in December!

Looking forward to this month: I volunteered to host Thanksgiving this year with my sister at our new townhouse. I’m a little nervous about it, but I cooked a turkey last December, so it can’t be that hard, right? I really am looking forward to getting the family together over some good food! And, of course, our family tradition of Black Friday shopping with our cousins. And Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life comes out on Netflix!

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!

 

Book image source: goodreads.com

 

October 2016 Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the October installment!

Current favorites:

Book: I’ve read a few good books lately. I liked The Lake House by Kate Morton in its usethe-lake-house-by-kate-morton of different time periods and the pursuit of solving a mystery. The characters were likable and relatable, too. The plot had enough twists in it to keep me guessing, which I always appreciate. I’ve also been working through Wicked by Gregory Maguire. For some reason it’s taking me a while, but it’s interesting to read about characters who I only considered as minor when watching The Wizard of Oz. I tried reading it years ago but couldn’t get into it, and I’m proud to say I’m actually intrigued by it this time, even if it has been slow going. I also started reading No One Knows by J.T. Ellison this week, and find that my interest is piqued. It has me turning page after page, trying to figure out whodunnit.

Verse: “The Lord replied, ‘Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” -Habakkuk 1:5. “This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” -Habakkuk 2:3. Sometimes it seems like things are taking forever, like our plans aren’t unfolding the way we want them to. But it’s comforting to know that God the-afters-live-on-forever-300x300is moving, even if we can’t quite see what He’s doing just yet. He has a plan, and it’s a good one.

Song: Battles by The Afters is one of my top picks lately. I like the reminder that I’m not fighting my battles alone, and there is always hope. I have God on my side, and I have no reason to fear. I started a playlist called Truth on Spotify (one of my favorite ways to listen to music!), and this one quickly got added to the list.

This current is trying to wreck me
Like castles of sand, castles of sand.
My fear, like an enemy army
Is marching again, but I’m making a stand.

You surround me on every side
Your love is my armor I fear no evil.
Darkness runs from your light
So I won’t be afraid, I won’t be afraid.

You’re going before me
And oceans are parting
You’re fighting my battles.
When my feet are failing
And my heart is shaking
You’re fighting my battles.

Fighting my battles.
Fighting my battles.
Fighting my battles.

Time after time you’re my refuge,
You heal every scar you’re guarding my heart.
Your promise, the hope that I cling to,
My rescue, my friend you come rushing in.

And surround me on every side
Your love is my armor I fear no evil.
Darkness runs from your light
So I won’t be afraid, I won’t be afraid

You’re going before me
And oceans are parting
You’re fighting my battles.
When my feet are failing
And my heart is shaking
You’re fighting my battles.

Fighting my battles.
Fighting my battles.
Fighting my battles.

Fighting my battles.
Fighting my battles.
Fighting my battles.

In my weakness you are strong
Every trouble you have overcome
In my weakness you are strong
Every trouble you have overcome
In my weakness you are strong
Every trouble you have overcome
You have overcome

You’re going before me
And oceans are parting
You’re fighting my battles.
When my feet are failing
And my heart is shaking
You’re fighting my battles.

Food: Slow Cooker Curried Butternut Chili from Hummusapien. I’m so excited fall food img_0975season is finally upon us! I love pumpkin, apples, squash, chili, soup, spices, tea…basically all the fall things. And dark chocolate. Always dark chocolate.

Blog: I just discovered Feel Free to Laugh, a blog by Jordan Baker Watts, and it’s fabulous! She’s so funny and real, sharing highlights and lessons she’s learning the hard way, always through a lens of humor and humility.

Memory from this month: September was so full of great things! Our church celebrated its third birthday, which was such a good time. And we had a surprise birthday party for img_0972my dad. It was really good to gather the family and some old friends together for him, especially since he didn’t see it coming. I went to an apple orchard with my best friends, helped frost 500 cupcakes for a wedding, had a girls’ night, and helped coordinate the food for my cousin’s baby shower, all of which were just as much fun as I expected and more.

Looking forward to this month: I’m looking forward to celebrating my good friend’s birthday this weekend with some fun adventuring that her sister planned. She doesn’t know what we’re doing yet, but I got let in on the surprise and I think it’s going to be a great, fun-filled time! We’re even planning on turning it into a sleepover like we’re back in junior high. : )

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!

 

 

Book image source: www.beniceorleavethanks.com

Album image source: pathmegazine.com

September 2016 Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the September installment!

Current favorites:on-which-side-of-the-road-do-flowers-grow

Book: On Which Side of the Road Do the Flowers Grow? by Wendell E. Mettey. I’ve had the ebook version of this book on my Kindle for a long time, but found myself in need of another book to read the other day, and finally cracked it open. I like the sweet stories about the people Reverend Mettey encountered throughout his life and the encouragement each vignette provides. It’s not always incredibly happy, as most of the stories end with the individuals dying, but their stories and joy live on in those whose lives they touched.

Verse: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10. I have liked this verse for a long time, going back to it often. I need the frequent reminder that I am not alone. The God of the universe is with me, so I have every reason to hope, trust, and have faith that everything will work out– maybe not the brave_moriah-petersway I always want, but in a way that is beautiful in the end.

Song: Brave by Moriah Peters is my current favorite, one that makes me turn it up every time I hear it. My sister and I were jamming to this song on the way to work this week, and I was once again reminded of the powerful truth the lyrics hold. Not to mention the upbeat tempo that makes for a great sing-along at the top of your lungs!

No one ever told me
This would be easy
But I never knew
That it could be this hard
Oh the worry the worry the worry
Is weighing on me
Could you help me break down
All these question marks
And make me

Brave
I’ll fight like a soldier
Brave
Rise like a warrior
Brave
Won’t stop till the final day
Brave
I want to be stronger
Brave
Gonna be bolder
Brave
Look up and I see the way
You make me brave

I know, I know, I’m no superwoman
But impossible is possible with You
So no, no, no more running, no more hiding
Strike the fire so I’ll be fearless too
And make me brave

…None go with me
Still I’ll follow
Through the joy
And through the sorrow
Cross before me
World behind me
There’s no turning back

Brave
I’ll fight like a soldier
Brave
Rise like a warrior
Brave
Won’t stop till the final day
Brave
I want to be stronger
Brave
Gonna be bolder
Brave
Look up and I see the way
You make me brave

Food: The best thing I made in the last month was Pinch of Yum’s BBQ Chicken Sweet img_0780Potato Pizza. It was delicious! I’ve tried making a sweet potato crust for pizza before, but it didn’t come off the pan too well. This one held together much better, and the toppings were spot-on. I was really sad when it was all gone. I guess that just means I’ll have to make another one!

Blog: Food Faith Fitness by Taylor Kiser. I like the recipes Taylor shares– they’re both healthy and tasty, made with real ingredients. Sometimes they’re indulgent, sometimes they’re not; she strikes a good balance of both. I also like that she posts Sunday Reflections, where she writes about a specific passage of Scripture and what it’s been teaching her, along with prayer requests. She’s really honest about where she’s at in life, and writes like she’s talking to a good friend. Check it out!

Memory from this month: Our family trip to Nebraska img_0805and Colorado was the highlight of the last month for me. I loved getting to see members of both sides of my extended family that I hadn’t seen for a long time. And I got to fly a plane with my cousin for a little bit!

Looking forward to this month: My church is having our fall launch this Sunday, so I’m really excited to see our hard work pay off. We’ve done a lot with new signage, a different location, and new equipment, so come check it out if you’re in the area! We also have our third birthday celebration in a couple weeks– I can’t believe we’ve been around for three years! I’m looking forward to celebrating everything God has done with my church family.

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!

 

 

Book image source: http://moneysavingmom.com/2015/08/free-ebooks-how-to-reduce-food-waste-jump-start-your-day-plus-more.html

Album image source: thesoundopinion.com

August 2016 Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the August installment!

Current favorites:

Book: Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, by L.M. Montgomery. I read these books when I was younger and held onto my copies of them, thinking I might reread them or pass them on. I’m so glad I picked them back up this month. I love the sweetness and innocence of Anne, coupled with her quirks. I identify with certain aspects of her personality and like getting a look into life during a different era. Definitely a classic.

Song: Keep Your Head Up by Andy Grammer. I’ve had this song on my running playlist for a long time, and it always encourages me to keep going. But I also have come to appreciate the motivation when my plate is overflowing with to-do lists, tasks, plans, and chaos.

I’ve been waiting on a sunset
Bills on my mindset
I can’t deny they’re getting high
Higher than my income, income’s bread crumbs
I’ve been trying to survive
The glow that sun gets right around sunset helps me to realize
This is just a journey
Drop your worries, you are gonna turn out fine
You’ll turn out fine
Fine, oh, you’ll turn out fine…

But, you gotta keep your head up
And you can let your hair down
But, you gotta keep your head up
And you can let your hair down

I got my hands in my pockets kicking these rocks
It’s kinda hard to watch this life go by
I’m buying into skeptics
Skeptics mess with the confidence in my eyes
I’m seeing all the angles thoughts get tangled
I start to compromise my life and my purpose
Is it all worth it? Am I gonna turn out fine?
Oh oh, you turn out fine
Fine, oh oh you turn out fine

But, you gotta keep your head up
And you can let your hair down
But, you gotta keep your head up
And you can let your hair down

Only rainbows after rain
The sun will always come again and
It’s a circle, circling around again
It comes around

But, you gotta keep your head up
And you can let your hair down
But, you gotta keep your head up
And you can let your hair down

Verse: Isaiah 40: 29-31: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” I’ve always loved this verse (I may have already included it in a Favorites post, but it warrants another one!), at least since high school. But especially in this season of chaotic running from one thing to another, draining myself of all my strength and energy, I love the reminder that I don’t have to do it all myself; I can lean upon God and rely on His strength to accomplish all that is before me, climbing mountains and soaring above obstacles.

Food: I’ve been eating a lot of quick meals lately since we’ve been so busy with moving prep, but I made some tasty pita bread and have been loving nighttime snacks of stovetop popcorn and trail mix (especially when I find discounted nuts in the bulk section at HyVee!).

Blog: Avocado a Day Nutrition by Rachael Hartley. I stumbled upon this blog this summer, and I’ve really enjoyed reading more about health, nutrition, and food. I like Rachael’s approach to mindfulness and intuitive eating, and her posts are upbeat, knowledgeable, and relatable.

Memory from this month: This past month has been full of preparations for moving, but the best part was an extended family get-together that my grandparents hosted. I didn’t know until a couple days before that it was a housewarming party for Jackie and me. It was so sweet! And of course, it was really good just to spend time with family, giving myself a break from the chaos of moving and packing plans.

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!

 

July 2016 Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the July installment!

Current favorites:

Book: Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. This book was so good and so hard to read at 51XFKp6q0-L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_the same time. The details of how people were treated during the war were heartbreaking and gut-wrenching. But the hope that permeated it all was so encouraging! I found myself surprised at the ways in which God worked in and through Corrie’s life as she walked closely with Him through such great trials. I especially love how she talked about entrusting things to Him when they were too big or difficult for her to carry. And I liked how selfless and hopeful her sister Betsie was, always finding reasons to be thankful, praying for her oppressors, hoping they would see the light of God’s love. These people endured unfathomable pain and oppression, yet they used their situation to minister to and love on countless others, sharing the hope and joy found only in Christ, even in the midst of great pain, sorrow, and darkness. It reminded me that God truly does use everything for good, if only we will walk with Him and allow Him to work in and through us.

Song: NEEDTOBREATHE‘S NEW ALBUM CAME OUT!!! I can’t tell you how excited this makes me! It made my day. No, it made my week. I can’t pick a favorite. They’re all fabulous! Listen to it now. It will touch your heart, lift your spirits, and probably make you want to dance like nobody’s watching.

Verse: “…Not my will, but Yours be done.” – Luke 22:42. My sister and I have been house hunting for the last few weeks, and the process is tiring and discouraging as we keep returning to square one. I have been in great need of this reminder that God’s plans are not our plans; each place we look at that disappoints us is a place that isn’t right for us. I can either choose to be frustrated about that or grateful that God has spared us from pursuing a new home that would end up not working out or not being all that it could be. He knows the next step for us, and He will reveal it in His time (even if the next step looks completely different from what we’re hoping for).

Food: I made some delicious Crockpot Creamy Cashew Chicken last week, and I threw in some cauliflower and rice/quinoa meatballs (using this recipe), too, on top of some jasmine brown rice. Yum! I also just got some of Bob’s Red Mill’s Old Country Style Muesli, and that’s been really good with cashew milk and a banana for breakfast the last couple of days.

Blog: Emily P. Freeman’s website/blog. I love the variety of her posts and the consistency of the encouragement woven throughout. She shares prayers for specific situations or emotions, reflections upon different life lessons, links she likes from other sites, and more. I started reading her book Simply Tuesday, too, but my library loan expired, so I’m waiting for it to be available again before I can finish it. I just really appreciate the way she speaks love, grace, and truth into the everyday moments and situations of life, opening my eyes to things I wouldn’t see otherwise.

Memory from this month: My Fourth of July weekend was full of fun things! I got to FullSizeRenderspend Saturday evening with some good friends, enjoying Thai takeout and Gilmore Girls. Sunday was my best friend’s birthday, and our church had a big block party with good food and even better company, culminating in a really good fireworks display. Monday rounded out the fun with some time with my family followed by adventures in Stillwater with my best friends, complete with tacos, ice cream, sparklers, and lots of laughter.

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!

 

June 2016 Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the June installment!

Current favorites:

Book: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I bit the bullet and finally cracked this book open. I appreciate the short chapters, as they allow me to pause whenever I need to (a problem I run into with books that have really long chapters, like those of Jane Austen). I’ll admit I’ve gotten a bit lost in the lengthy list of characters and places involved, but I really like how the plots of seemingly unrelated vignettes always come together in ways I didn’t foresee. I also like how there are morals and Christian teachings woven into the dialogue here and there; I didn’t expect that.

Song: Thy Will by Hillary Scott. I like being reminded that no matter what happens in life, we can choose to submit to God’s will and let go of our desire to control everything. He is God, and we are not. That’s a message I could use more often.

I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here

I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

I know you’re good
But this don’t feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about

It’s hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you’re God
And I am not
So

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will

I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store

I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
So

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

Like a child on my knees
All that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord

Verse: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” -Matthew 6:34 MSG. I shared this verse with my sister this week as a form of encouragement, but it also was a good reminder for me to rest in the present, not worry about the future, and trust that God will work everything out.

Food: Since ending my food-focused month of Project 7, I’ve been excited to include a wider variety of foods in my life, including mangoes, pears, zucchini, asparagus, and of course peanut butter and chocolate (separately and together, ’cause you can never have enough of either one!). And oddly enough, lots of bananas, apples, and oats still because I still like them.

Google Chrome Extension: I have an account with my local county library system and regularly check out ebooks from there (a great way to read for free without the hassle of making trips to the library to return books on time!), and with the OverDrive reading extension for my Internet browser, I can not only read on my Kindle, but also on my computer. It automatically saves my place, allows me to add bookmarks, gives me a progress bar at the bottom to know how far along I am, and has various settings for font size and the like. Check it out!

Memory from this month: My family went to Joyful Noise a couple weeks ago, making it our third annual time going to the festival. To hear more about our experience, check out the post I wrote about it last week!

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!

 

May 2016 Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the May installment!

Current favorites:

Book: Let Us All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs. I read my sister’s copy of this book, and I quickly filled it with little adhesive flags to mark all the lines that struck my heart particularly deep. I love the idea of pursuing bravery, despite the risk, or maybe because IMG_0374of the risk. I found the author to be really relatable, funny, and motivating. The book left me processing how to be brave in my own life, and I encourage you all to pick up a copy and be brave, too!

Song: Just Breathe by Jonny Diaz.

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life
Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel You say

Just breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

Third cup of joe just to get me through the day
Wanna make the most of time but I feel it slip away
I wonder if there’s something more to this crazy life
I’m busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see
That I only have time for me, me, me
There’s gotta be something more to this crazy life
I’m hanging on tight to another wild day
When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear You say

Just breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need

Is to take it in fill your lungs
The Peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe
Let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe

Just breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
Just breathe

Verse: “So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘what’s next, Papa?'” -Romans 8:12-15 (MSG). I’ve been reading passages in the NLT (my favorite everyday translation) and the Message lately to meditate on them and let their meanings really sink in. I really enjoyed the Message’s take on this section of Romans. We’re called to leave the customs of this world behind and strive for a better, a higher, way of living, one that is adventurous and expectant and, dare I say, wonderful.

Food: This month, I’ve been doing my own Project 7 challenge with food, so I’ve been using only sweet potatoes, kale, broccoli, chickpeas, oats, bananas, and apples for my meals. I’ve made some pretty tasty things with them like banana oat pancakes, banana “nice cream” sandwiches, sweet potato crust pizza with hummus and roasted veggies, and banana granola. 

Memory from this month: My good friend Leanne is an exceptional cupcake baker, and img_3987she had a table at a gala last month for an event called Girls, Glamour, and Giving. None of us were sure of what to expect since it was her first event like this, but we were very pleasantly surprised by the turnout. All the sample cupcakes were devoured, packaged ones were all sold, business cards ran out, and satisfied smiles were abundant. We had a great time! (To read more about it, check out my sister’s post about the evening.)

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear them!