Friday, August 16, 2013
There are a lot of reasons that people blog. To share their family stories, to document a trip, to give style ideas or tips, to share recipes, to voice opinions, and the list I'm sure could continue. When I started this blog, my intention was to provide some of my favorite recipes and random moments in our lives. While I have done that some, I have not exactly stuck with the food theme and that is ok. You see, God has placed it on my heart to post more about Him and what He is doing in my life. Not just on this blog but in the social media world. Social media can get a bad reputation, and there are definitely times that it is abused, but there are also times that it can be so positive. I've tried to make it a point to "like" or "follow" people or groups that point me & others to Jesus. When my Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook feed is full of scripture, encouragement, and love, I can't help but be uplifted and want to share that with others. Sure, you may have moments that you feel you need to vent, or post about "that" person in the grocery store, or complain about the crazy weather or traffic. But if we made more of a point to post about the positives in life--and I believe there is always a positive, always a blessing to be thankful for-- would we not be encouraging each other more? There have been several times that I felt I needed to post a specific prayer request because I knew that my friends would pray with me. There have also been a few times when I felt convicted about a post I was going to do that I later would have wished I hadn't. There are just simply some things that should be left off of social media, handled in private, or just not even acknowledged. I don't ever want to seem like I have everything together or that I am some Pollyanna person all the time. I do strive to keep my focus on God, which then leads to a better attitude. But that is His work in me, not anything that I do. I have my own struggles as well. Selfishness, insecurities, worries, and more. I have learned that when I fill my mind with God's Word, that those struggles are so much easier to battle using the armor He provides (Ephesians 6).
So all of this is to say, I am wanting my social media outlets to be an influence for Christ. I want God to use my posts to speak to people. I want to be held accountable for what I do and say. A sweet, new friend recently called me and told me about the The Influence Conference. It is a weekend conference for bloggers & social media lovers to learn, share, and fellowship with others who are after the same goal: to make much of Jesus. It didn't take much for Brittany to convince me that the conference was where I needed to be! After hearing from her, reading more about the weekend, talking with Dustin, and praying for God to direct me where I should go, I felt that signing up was what I needed to do! The way He has orchestrated the whole thing is amazing! I am so excited to learn more from some women who have been an incredible influence in my life recently, share what God has done in my life, and meet some new friends as well! If this sounds like something you would be interested in, I encourage you to check out the link to the conference website!
A little over three months ago, Dustin and I lived in Kentucky. I was brand new to blogging. I didn't know Brittany. I had read a little bit of the She Reads Truth devotional plans but not consistently. I had never heard of the Influence Network. As we were moving, I felt in my heart more of a pull to have a structured quiet time. I picked back up on the devotional plans. I met Brittany and then she told me about the Influence Conference. I am fully convinced that God has orchestrated the whole thing and I'm so thankful. If you would have told me 4 months ago that all of this would be happening, I am not sure that I would believe you. I wanted to post recipes-- I still do & will (I have a great one that I can't wait to share!). But I want this blog to be more than that. I want to be more than that. My prayer is still to share God's goodness. For Him to use this blog and me for His glory, not mine. I have thought about deactivating my social media accounts to get rid of the gossip, inappropriate posts, negativity, etc. But then I reconsidered. Social media can be used for a much greater purpose-- to reach so many more people with the love of Christ, to encourage, to support, to pray with and for people, and to share God's Word. So that's my intention. Yes, I want to share random parts of our lives. I think God loves us in those random, special moments too! I want to share our favorite recipes that have allowed us to taste His goodness. But more than anything, I want to share His love and truth because it has changed my heart and life. At the end of the day, His Influence is what matters most.
Have a blessed day & be an influence!
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
I have been thinking of some ways to share more on the blog. I always love when bloggers do posts about their "favorite things". I feel like it helps you connect more and also find out about random new things! So my plan is to post 7 of my favorite things on the 7th of each month. It could be anything like products, tips, recipes, songs, books, verses, things, etc. I think you get the picture… My goal is to share things that I enjoy with the hope that you get to know me a little better and maybe find out that we have mutual interests! I would love to hear your favorite things as well so feel free to share them in the comments!
1. The Number Seven
I chose "7 on the 7th" because 7 is my favorite number. It really became my favorite number when Dustin & I set our wedding date to be July 7th (07/07). Once we had that date set, it seemed like everything somehow pointed to seven-- my ring has seven diamonds on each side of the center stone, we got married at 4:30 (4+3+0=7), our minister's grandson is named Seven (no joke! he's adorable!), & then we knew that seven is said to be a "complete" number in scripture. All of those neat coincidences made the wedding planning even more special. To this day I get excited when I find a seven somewhere. This photo is a little hook I found at TJMaxx a few months ago. I just couldn't resist bringing it home!
2. She Reads Truth
If you aren't familiar with She Reads Truth, I highly recommend you check it out! It is an online community that shares daily devotional plans. If you have a smart phone you can follow along with their plans using the YouVersion Holy Bible app. Just search through their different plans. If you don't have a smart phone, you can find their plans on their website. They have plans for several different books of the Bible as well as various topics. I have really enjoyed and gained so much from the ones that I have done. They also have Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram accounts that I enjoy following as well. The devotionals are so real and true. Each one is coupled with scripture so you are in the Word each day. Love love love it! Of all my favorites in this post, please remember this one & check it out!
I really love aprons. I was about 5 when I got my first apron. My Meme made it for me & I would wear it all over the house with nothing on but my Disney Princess panties-- not really a photo appropriate for the internet, & yes there is a photo! It is pink with my name appliquéd on it in plaid fabric. The apron is still at my momma's apartment. I think it would have hurt her feelings if I asked to take it-- plus it's not like it still fits. She's where I get my sentimentality. But I do have these lovely aprons that I adore having up in our kitchen. The green one was given to me by my former boss as a wedding present. I just love the vintage look it has. My momma gave me the one in the middle with cherries on it as a present for my birthday this year. The grey and blue one was given to me by my sister in law. Each one is so special to me! Bonus fact: Dustin made the wall hanger that they are on as a gift for our first anniversary when we were dating. He's just awesome. It started out pink and as a place I put my purses, then when we got married it was painted Florence (Annie Sloan chalk paint) and became a towel rack. Now it holds my aprons and I love it!
4. Snail Mail
Who doesn't love snail mail!? As much as I love receiving mail, I love sending it even more! My momma taught me at a young age to send thank you notes and letters. We moved several times when I was little so I would write letters to my friends and family. I just love the thought of brightening someone's day through sending a card or letter. Texts and emails are nice, phone calls are even better, but there is nothing like an old fashioned card in the mail. Since we have moved from our hometown it has made my day to get sweet cards from dear friends back home. These vintage seed pack stamps are my favorite. I may or may not stock up each time I am at the post office. I will be so sad if they discontinue them. Pretty postage and stationary are just an added bonus in the whole deal.
5. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
I must thank my MIL for introducing me to Annie Sloan. If you are not familiar with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and live in Western Kentucky, mosey on over to Flower + Furbish in Paducah, KY to pick up some of the best paint ever! *Side note: While you are there, allow Sara to design your wedding flowers or your home. She is a genius! She did our bridal party flowers! If you don't live in Western KY, I apologize for not knowing where there are other places to purchase this goodness. So about this paint-- the colors are divine, the application is so easy--no sanding/priming necessary, and the results are splendid! Dustin and I recently painted a corner cabinet in Old White and French Linen. I'm in love with it! I plan to share more photos of that project in another post.
6. School/Office Supplies
It's that time of year--School Supply Season! I would be lying if I said I don't miss that part of each school year, even through college. In the early years, Lisa Frank folders, stickers, and pencils were THE supplies to have, right?! Then there was the classic, monogrammed LL Bean backpack that I still have. My first year of college I joined a sorority (one of the best decisions that I've ever made) and we received bags with our letters on them from our Big Sisters. In addition to the cute bags, there was/is always the dilemma of finding the perfect planner. I love planners. I have tried several (DaySpring, MyAgenda, Lilly Pullitzer, etc) and each one has been nice but I am still on the search for the perfect planner. I am to the point now that I may try to make one myself. I picked up these lovely supplies a few days ago at Target. The cute mini binder is perfect for me to store sermon notes, prayer requests, and other papers I like to hold onto. I may actually use it to make my new agenda for 2014. The gold striped binder I'm using as a journal for my quiet time. The Paper Mate Flair pens are my absolute favorites. They're like writing with a thin marker. I love them!
I couldn't leave out a recipe in this first post of favorites. I have been on a vinaigrette kick lately. I love vinegar--on fish, on greens, used for pickling, in dressings, and I even clean with it! I love the sour punch it gives. While a vinaigrette is far from complicated, I had never made one until recently. Basically it is oil, vinegar, and seasonings. So simple and so flavorful. Just mix everything together in a jar and use it for anything-- dressing for salads, to flavor roasted vegetables, as a marinade, or whatever suits your fancy. This particular dressing was a Moroccan Vinaigrette. You can follow the link for the full recipe. It is delicious! I have made it twice and enjoyed it on salad, sautéed with spinach, over roasted vegetables, spooned over rice, and added to Beef Curry. Once I finish this batch I plan to try other recipes. Like with other recipes I post, I love that it is using all whole ingredients. No long list of ingredients that sound like they belong in a science textbook.
So there's my first of what I hope to be many, 7 on the 7th. I hope you enjoy the randomness as much as I enjoyed sharing it! Please share some of your favorites! I love hearing from readers!
Have a blessed day!
Friday, August 02, 2013
We've all been there. Maybe you're there now. Waiting. Waiting for school to be over already. Waiting to graduate. Waiting for that vacation that's been planned for months. Waiting for that perfect relationship to come along. Waiting for the job you've always wanted. Waiting for the pain from hurt feelings to go away. Waiting to feel settled in and connected in a new place. Waiting for test results to return that provide hope rather than despair. Waiting for a family. Waiting for the sickness to end. Waiting for a moment's rest because there just aren't enough hours in the day. Waiting for the joy that is promised to come in the morning.
Waiting isn't ever enjoyable. I can't say that I have ever been glad when I go to an appointment or out to eat and the receptionist or hostess tells me that my wait is going to be longer. Really?? I'm already hungry and you're telling me that I have to wait even longer to get my cheese dip?? You know the feeling! Regardless of how I feel about it, waiting is inevitable. It is a part of life-- our moms are always right! What I am starting to learn now is that my attitude while I am waiting is my choice. I can choose to be impatient, bitter, frustrated, disappointed, and a lot of other negative feelings. Honestly, I have felt all of those. But I can also choose to cling to the One who promises hope and a future. I can look for ways to praise Him in the midst of the waiting. I can thank Him for all he has done, is doing, and will do because there is always something to be thankful for. When I shift my focus from me, to Him, my attitude shifts as well. Of course there are moments when I share with God my feelings of disappointment or despair. I believe that He wants us to be real with Him! But I also feel like we could be missing His voice in our lives when we are caught up in our frustrations while waiting. I know I have been so blinded to the blessings around me because I was so fixated on the thing I was waiting for. Lord, please help us keep our eyes on You. One way that helps me keep my focus on Him is time each morning in His Word. Starting my day with a fresh cup of coffee and my Daily Bread has drastically changed my outlook and walk with Christ. Having His Word and Truth to focus on and remember throughout the day is so strengthening, especially in times of waiting.
I've mentioned before that I feel that God knows I need multiple reminders of lessons He is teaching me. Often I feel those lessons come through music. While I have zero vocal abilities and minimal musical talent--although I played a mean clarinet in middle school band (Go woodwinds!)--I love music of all genres. I am especially partial to country. One of my earliest memories is being at my Nana's and standing in front of the tv singing along to the CMT music videos-- Shania, Diamond Rio, Alabama, Martina, Faith, you know who I'm talking about! I have also always loved hymns and the songs played on Christian radio stations. The combination of beautiful notes and words of truth is heavenly. Several of our wedding songs were hymns that have been my all-time favorites-- Be Thou My Vision, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Holy Holy Holy, and more. I am an emotional person, without a doubt, and the words in the songs we sing on Sundays (& throughout the week if you listen to the radio or your iTunes) often moves me to tears because they highlight God's beautiful, never-ending love for and devotion to us. A couple of songs have recently been on my heart to share with you. They have helped me tremendously in my times of waiting.
The first is "Help Me Find It" by Sidewalk Prophets. The lyrics are just perfect. "...If there's a road I should walk, help me find it. If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment..."
The second is "While I'm Waiting" by John Waller. Again, beautiful lyrics. "...While I'm waiting, I will serve you. While I'm waiting, I will worship, While I'm waiting…"
What is so awesome about these songs is that I seem to hear them so often when I get in my car. The good thing about listening to Christian radio/Pandora/Spotify/etc is that you will always be encouraged and reminded of truth. For a while there, literally every time I got into the car I heard "Help Me Find It." That is not an exaggeration. For some, hearing the same song over and over would drive them nuts but in this case I was so thankful to hear that message repeatedly.
It has been on my heart for a while now to share these words and songs with you so I had to do it this morning. I hope that they are as comforting to you as they are to me. While we wait, let's choose to worship and serve. While we wait, I pray that God will give us peace for the moment. I would love to hear what songs or verses are helpful to you in moments of waiting. Please share!
Have a blessed day!