Thursday, May 30, 2013

the LORD looks at the heart

Ello Lovies!
Am I only one who goes around trying to speak in a British accent?
Oh, I am? hmm.

Anyways I was thinking.. about talking about something.. that I feel may get a response that isn't nice. But I am going to write it anyways, because it's been on my heart a lot.
Us girls. We have Bums.
and boobs.
and bellies. 

We all have em.
But I get sad when I see them and they don't belong to me. mmm k?
Let me explain.

We were at a hotel this past weekend and I actually felt bad for a lot of the dads, husbands, single guys, etc, hanging out around the pool with their families and friends. 

You girls, the ones I saw at the pool, the ones I see at the beach, my students, my friends, you are all incredibly beautiful. I don't care what color hair you have, what type of clothes you wear, if you have little feet or a large nose, blue eyes or brown, dark skin or white ghost skin like me.. You ARE GORGEOUS. 
However, we don't need to wear revealing clothing to let others know that. 
I'm specifically speaking of bathing suits but obviously this goes beyond that.
A while back I was reading a post on The Natos. LOVE her. 
She had a lot of wisdom on this subject. Even started a cute little trend.. #turtlenecktuesday. Instagram it. 
The number one thing that stuck out to me about her concern with this was her desire to reveal it's not about the clothes you wear.. God isn't interested in that. What He IS interested in, is your heart, dear friends. 
You matter to Him in a way you will never matter to someone else. He wants the absolute best for you. He isn't interested in setting rules or making you feel like a weirdo for choosing what's right.
That is NOT why He asks certain things of us.
 Typing this makes a lump form in my throat. Because I know that all He wants is to protect you. 
To pour out His unfailing love on you. 
& like it or not, He knows best. (You know how our parents always said, I know best because I'm the parent.) 
Ya, that.
When it comes to God, that is 100%, undoubtedly true. 
Now let me get real with you. 
Do I 100% of the time dress in a way that I believe the Lord would want me to? Is my heart in the right place every time I buy a new shirt? Do I care more about looking "pretty" to others than I what God thinks when He looks at me? 
Listen, I am not perfect. 
In high school, I remember walking onto campus, the first day of my freshman year, with my new found.. boobs.. and a low cut shirt. I thought I was so sexy. 
Although I didn't follow Christ then, I claimed to. 
I wonder now what people thought of me. Especially considering my claim to know God.
Really none of that matters, I am only telling you to illustrate a point. I fall short in this area too. My heart is not always in the right place with this. But I do have a deep desire to minister to woman in this area. 
Because I know what it's like to be liked for my body. 
I know what kind of attention I get when I wear revealing clothing.
I know what guys are thinking when I wear things I shouldn't. 
So I stopped. 
I became very cautious of this and thus, the bikinis were to be no more. 
Confession: I just bought one last year. 
We were on Vacation and I was with my husband. I thought, "oh he's going to love this cute little bathing suit I found." 
I even scored it for next to nothing.
I bought it but the whole time I was thinking I probably shouldn't..but...
in my head I'm thinking, I had spent all summer getting fit so why shouldn't I be able to look good in a bikini? This is how I allowed it to become acceptable. After all, I was with my husband, so it was perfectly fine. Right?
Although I don't wear it anymore, it got me thinking about why I bought it in the first place, thus the confession on me not being perfect.

  Here's the thing. 
I know a lot of girls might not believe me when I say this.. and that's fine, my students look at my crazy too, like I looked at my mentor when she told me the same thing.
Not only do we not need to receive attention in this way (because God looks at our heart, not our appearance) but we need to consider that we are causing husbands, dads, brothers, sons and friends to stumble in a way that they are sincerely trying not to.
I don't know about you, but I personally feel bad for them. Yes, they are more visual than us. Yes, this is a big struggle in men's lives. That is why we need to be concerned with honoring them with the way we dress.
I realize that you might have never even thought of this.
I get that because I never did either. I just knew it was a way to get attention and guys thought I was "pretty" so why not? 
You look good? AWESOME. show it off to your husband. 
Don't have one? Pray about the day you get to make some guy very happy and then save your beautiful body for him.
But please, please, prayerfully consider how you dress around men or anyone for that matter. Because even if the men you are dressing that way around aren't married, chances are someday they will be, and my question would be, how would you feel if you're husband was around that all the time? 
 I wish I would have considered that a long time ago.
Here's what I imagine some are thinking, because I would be to. 
"Why are you telling me to watch what I wear? Shouldn't men be able to contain themselves? I shouldn't have to worry about whether or not they're looking at me and if they can't control themselves, then that's their problem, not mine." 
Well then, I would say read this:
"Let’s try and put ourselves in a guy’s shoes. I think we can all agree that as girls, exercise is important to us. We want to stay healthy and are often working on getting fit. We work out and stay away from carbs or sweets. We use all of our willpower to not eat the chocolate cake on the counter! Now, let’s pretend that someone picked up that chocolate cake and followed us around all the time, 24/7. We can never get away from the chocolate, it’s always right there, tempting us and even smelling all ooey gooey and chocolate-y. Most of us, myself included, would find it easy to break down and eat the cake. And we would probably continue to break down and eat cake, because it would always be there. Our exercise goals would be long gone in no time."-Source

Ladies, it is not our concern to think about what the guys responsibility is. It is our concern to consider our hearts in the matter and ask God what He would like to see happen in our lives.
First, can I just say I love you? 
Secondly, It is my sincere hope that anything I said, you would take to the Lord in prayer. If you ever read anything on my blog and think you might disagree, please, feel free to kindly email me. But first, I would urge you to pray about it. If you still feel I am wrong, let's talk. I would love nothing more than a good talk with a friend with our goals being the same, and that's to honor God in all we do. 
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. Romans 14:13
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Sam 16:7

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

{SO What}Wednesday

So What Wednesday
  SO What If:
-I missed last weeks edition of So What Wednesday. It happens.
-We stayed up watching Friday Night Lights until 1am. After many people telling us to watch it, we did. As for the 1am thing.. I have no idea what's going on. We are usually in bed by 9, 10 tops.
-I am ridiculously excited to start having a monthly allowance to spend on whatever I want. This may sound weird.. but that way I can limit it and when the money is up, it's up. Yes, this will certainly include my Starbucks addiction. Don't worry, the husband will get an allowance too.. I guess ;)
-I had just made myself a banana oatmeal smoothie and then my husband came home with a Starbucks so I just let the smoothie sit there and get gross while I enjoyed my chai. #firstworldproblems
-I actually got dressed today & yesterday. Wait, that's a good thing. 
-Thought it was so sweet when my BFFL told me she loved reading my blog. It's always good to hear people enjoy what you write and hopefully are encouraged by it!
-It was 6 o'clock last night, we had a meeting in 30 minutes and I hadn't prepared anything for dinner. Oops.
-I am loving this new/old love my husband has found in his guitar lately. He is just so darn cute when he plays and sings. 
-I lost a follower over the weekend. Well, it does kinda make me sad.. wish I knew who it was. I bet it's because I have very little time to comment on blogs these days.. (however, I DO read them!)
-I get really excited when I see my recipes pinned all over Pinterest. It is pretty cool to see something you love be shared by others as well!
-I have decided I want to be friends with so many new bloggers I have found recently. They are just so darn sweet & cute. However, they all have HUGE blogs with a ton of fans. I can't really see them taking an interest in befriending me.. 
-I just now discovered the spell check on my blogger template. Um, sorry about that guys. 
Happy Wednesday Loves!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Our Weekend {And a lot of promises}

This weekend Nathan and I were so blessed with the opportunity to just hang out together. After a long school year, and an horribly long couple weeks at work, we had a weekend at a resort here.
It's funny how you just keep going, going, going without realizing how badly you need a break. Sunday morning we slept in until 9:30, which is incredible if you know us. Nathan usually wakes up between 4-6am and I am usually up by 7am. I don't think we have slept that late since before we were married. Crazy.

We did exactly what I said we would.. laid out in lounge chairs all day and held hands, made a Starbucks run at least once a day and at night we got cozy by the pool and talked for hours. About Jesus, our future, our past, our dreams, our plans, our marriage. You name it, we talked about it.
It truly was such a special time for us. I was definitely looking forward to some time alone, but never expected this weekend to turn out so peaceful. 

I am just reminded again and again of how much The Lord has in store for us, plans I can't see. Things I look forward to but don't even realize how awesome they will really be because I can only see with my tiny human eyes. I can never see the big picture and often deny Him glory for these wonderful things He has done in my life. I don't even acknowledge that these things I have, these people in my life, are from The Lord. I am fully aware though  that every good & perfect gift comes from The Lord and that I should sing praise to Him for this.

The night before we left and the next day, I was feeling incredibly anxious. I tried to get a hold of it but I was having a tough time. I went to The Lord in prayer and in His word, begging for some relief.
I went to my husband for assurance and prayer. I sent a text to my closest friends also asking for prayer. All of which helped me so much, I am beyond thankful for each of you.

Then as I sat down to type this I realized what was going on. The Lord had just blessed my husband and I with a weekend away.
To spend time with each other, to spend time strengthening our marriage. Loving each other and pouring into our family.
Of course what would come next but the lies of the enemy? How could I have expected anything less of him. After all he is the father of all lies.
And so he discouraged me, instilled fear in my heart and took sound reason from my mind.
he tried to ruin what had happened this weekend.
Ruin the stronger bond that was formed between my husband and I and try to make me forget the good things The Lord had just done for me. But I refuse to give in and let him do that.

Then, like a flood, the Lord reminded me of all these scriptures one after the other. Promises I had read and He was now reminding me of.
 For the word of God is quick and powerful sharper than any two edged sword... Hebrews 4:12
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
 He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4


These words I will cling to. I will speak them to my heart silently and out loud.

 I refuse to be conquered when I have The Lord on my side. The Almighty fighting for me. I refuse to let the enemy take something The Lord meant for good and use it for evil. I will praise The Lord for what He has done in mine and my husbands relationship this weekend and move forward knowing that with The Lord we are able to do great things.
 And you know the cool thing? The best things even when I feel this way?
 Every single time this happens it's always because God has something big in mind for me.
 For us.
He has plans for us to further His kingdom and all the enemy is trying to do is stop us, but he can't, because my God is bigger. God will win every single time because He is who He says He is and He is my savior. My rock. My ever present help in time of need.

I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always by my side..
He protects me and prospers me. He has plan and a future for me full of hope in the midst of the hopefulness the enemy wants me to surrender to and I will not. I will only surrender to The Lord. My rescuer.

Oh, and how did we decide to end the weekend and begin a new week? Reading The power of a praying wife/husband together.
 God wins again. He always does and He always will.

 So please,  Be encouraged friends.
Having a rough time right now? Things hard or even feel unbearable? God will sustain you. You only need to be still and know that He is God. He is going to fight for you. And He has big plans in store for you. Don't let the enemy steal the joy that The Lord is waiting to bring to you!

*You should probably Google Chris Tomlin's song Whom shall I fear, God of angel armies..

Friday, May 24, 2013

REAL Good things in life {FAB Friday}

With my crazy busy life lately I only have time to schedule posts. 
Um, I am NOT a person who schedules posts. I just don't like it. I just like to sit down and write. I am usually too antsy to get it posted that scheduling it annoys me.
Nonetheless, it must happen.
So here, read my scheduled post. 
Here are some REAL good things going on right now. 
  Saturday the hubs and I are leaving for a mini stay-ca at a hotel I scored on priceline.
We weren't able to do anything for our anniversary and we are both beyond excited. I cannot wait to be lying by a pool holding my flippin' cute hubby's hand eating cheddar popcorn. (it's what I do when I am on vacation)
School is officially out for the summer. This means many things to me. Mostly, we have so many awesome things coming up, including Jr. High Camp at Hume SD, The High School mission Trip in L.A. Skid Row, and finally some real vaca time with my love. Summers are also less stressful youth wise.. no tearing down or setting up the youth room we borrow, not as much prep and just a whole lot of fun and Bible teaching.
What also came with summer is whole bunch of my little college friends either graduated or are out for now. Which means more time with my sweet friends! 
We finally had our first trios group Thursday night. You guys. This is something our church is doing to build stronger relationships and openness and grace with others. I knew I wanted this as soon as we began throwing around the idea and the night went better than I could have possibly imagined. I may have felt led to share my deepest darkest secrets and who cares, I am so glad I did. No, I am beyond glad. I know so much healing will come from the time I get to spend with these 2 special girls. For all of us. I am looking forward to more times of sharing and speaking truth. To have the chance to just be completely raw and open, knowing all they will return is grace and likewise, I to them. I am thanking the Lord for bringing us together, so alike in our stories, so unmistakeably brought together by a God who loves us all and wants us to grow with each other. 
That my sweet, best friend is having a baby girl and man is she the cutest little prego. Loving this stage of our friendship and realizing that even though she moved, we're closer than ever. Looking forward to spoiling L and loving on that little monkey. 
The Nehemiah, She Reads Truth plan right now is rocking my world. I am loving this story and Nehemiah's heartfelt attempt to honor God in everything he does regardless of anything else. Oh man. 
  Just life. Being at a place I haven't experienced a lot.. and that's just recognizing I have no control over certain things but God does and that's the BEST thing for me. Looking forward to whatever He has in store for me, fully trusting He knows better than I do what would bring Him (&me) joy. 
Have the best weekend ever friends. Live purposefully and show love. I'll fail at this I'm sure, but it's OK, God will pick me right back up and use me some more. He's cool AWESOME like that. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Love for you.

When I think back to when I first started blogging, I am still in awe of what it's become.
I have this tiny little space of the Internet that's all mine. 
I have a "web address" and buttons and ad space and my very own header. 
I love pouring into this blog and hearing from you, friends. 
I love that you care and that so many times a comment can remind me why I blog. 
I am so, so encouraged by your sweet words. I am filled with so much joy whenever you say God used something I wrote to speak to you. 
If you're reading this, thank you. Thank you for commenting on my blog even when I haven't had a chance to read yours. 
Thank you for still loving me when I don't respond to your comment. 
I know every blogger says this, but I truly do read every comments. Even if I'm not able to respond, I love to hear from each and every one of you. 
Thank you for not caring that this space I do have is so, so tiny. But still taking time to read what I say. It means more to me than you'll ever know.

I am at a place where my life has just gotten so busy. And that's ok. It just means some things I love, like my little blog space has suffered. 
I have thought about giving up. 
I kept telling myself it wouldn't matter anyways..  My blog isn't growing, and no one would care. 
And even if that were true, even if no one did care and even if my blog stays this little forever, I will keep blogging because I know God uses me here. I know He gave me a heart for writing, even if its not that good. I know it was Him who put the idea in my head and the desire in my heart. 
I didn't even know what I would say when I started writing. But The Lord did. 
He brought this at the exact time I needed it. He gave me friends who love me and pray for me. A best friend even. One I talk to all the time, who I pray for and who prays for me. Someone I share life with even if its from states away. 
God gave me this little space. A place where He knew I could share my heart and find healing. A place where He would be glorifed, and I hope He is. 

In the meantime, I am hoping to spend more time here because I love to and I want to be an encouragement to anyone who needs it. I want to live a fearless life, a God chasing life, in all that I do. I'm not meant to just "live" but to change others lives by allowing God to do His will in mine. This life is so precious, there is so little time and more than anything, I just want to do whatever The Lord desires from me because nothing else could possibly matter as much. 

So much love to you friends. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

God Chasing {Writing our Family story}

This morning I drug myself up out of bed at 6 to go to the gym with my friend. After not sleeping well. Figures. 
I swam laps for about 20 min until I got a horrible headache, felt like throwing up, and wanted to die. 
Clearly, I am out of shape. 
I don't know why I told you that.. maybe I was hoping you could relate somehow and tell me how horribly exhausted you feel after working out, but it has nothing to do with what I am going to write about.. I just wanted you all to know I am obviously in need of a more frequent work out routine.


The past couple of weeks we have been going through an incredible series about writing our family story.
As it stands, the rest our lives, and our families lives, are unwritten.
No matter what happened in our past, the legacy our family will leave behind, is up to us.

Before this series, I knew there were things the Lord wanted to to change within our home but I just kinda ignored it.
Then, Sunday, we ended the series.
We were given the opportunity to choose one saying that we wanted to define our family.
Something we felt God wanted for us.
Something we desperately wanted for us.
I was sitting next to Nathan and all I kept thinking was fearless.
I wanted our family to live a life free of fear.
Trusting the Lord in everything and in turn leaving no room for fear at all.
We were asked to consider and pray over what we should write before we walked up to grab our stake. (this is what we wrote on and later would put in the ground of our front yard to signify our decision)
I looked at Nathan and I said, "Fearless."
He smiles and says, "That is exactly what my first thought was. Let's take it a step further. God Chasing. 
Me: What does that mean for us?
Nathan: To continually keep the Lord before for us as our family fearlessly follows after Him!

In those moments, when the Lord speaks so clearly to my heart and I share it with my husband only to find out God was speaking the same thing to him, I get so overwhelmed with the realization of the Father's love for us. 
For Nathan. For Me. For our family.
The truth? What is it that I thought needed to change but decided to brush it aside? 
I needed God to change me.
The way I speak to my husband. 
How angry I get over little things. Things that don't matter. 
How I show him respect and love.
How I honor him.
Because we chose God Chasing, my prayer is to keep the Lord before me. 
That way, He can teach me kindness. 
He can teach me forgiveness and selflessness.
 He can teach me to hold my tongue.
He can teach me to live a fearless life of following after Him.

As we drove the stake into the ground, I knew God had big plans for us. 
That no matter what my past looks like, or what's happened in my family or Nathans, generations before us, God has a beautiful, God chasing plan for our family and I trust Him to lead us to be the family He desires us to be. Fur babies and all.

 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 
You can listen to all the lessons here.
If any of you do this with your family, I would LOVE more than anything to hear all about it. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

{SO What} Wednesday

So What Wednesday
It's Wednesday.. and I will always use today as an excuse to do a So What Wednesday post.

SO What If:
-I am really slacking on being a great blogger right now. Sometimes real life must take precedence even when blogging sounds more fun.

-I can't decide on a place to work so I keep dragging my lap top (and chair) all around the house. Sometimes I'm more comfortable on the couch, or the table (actually no, I hate the table!), or the actual desk. The desk is my favorite but my husband says I am too distracting. ;)

-This is the first day this week I actually got dressed in something other than workout shorts and a tank. Even if it is leggings and a long tank.. it's progress. 

-I seriously love everything coconut. I have been baking with coconut oil, using coconut creamer, and throwing mounds of coconut flakes in every cookie recipe. I'm thinking it's time to go find a coconut Scentsy fragrance as well. 

-I am the grumpiest person in the morning. I don't know what it is, but no matter how long I sleep, I still wake up super tired and annoyed with the world, but mainly my poor husband. 

-I found out my BFF is having a girl so I ran out and bought her the cutest little outfit from Target. It's just what I do. 
-I ate a bean & cheese burrito yesterday. I just.. I wanted one so bad. Sometimes, it's very hard to eat healthy all the time so I just caved. 

-I have a whole closet full of clothes I don't wear and was only able to find 5 shirts I was willing to get rid of. It's not much but I am making some serious progress people!

Happy Wednesday Friends!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Forever Newly Wedded {A Guest Post}

I asked my wonderful bloggy friend, Karla over at Forever Newly Wedded, to answer some questions so you could all get to know her! She even talks about how we are alike.. so I was thinking, we could ALL be friends! She's pretty awesome and has some really fun stories to share with you, so make sure you go show her some love!  

 1.    What are 5 things most people wouldn't know about you?

This is a hard one because I feel like I am an open book & I lay a lot of stuff out there for the world to see.

1. I'm full of opinions! I just choose to keep most of them to myself!  =)
2.  My childhood dream was to be a Radio City Rockette.  Okay, okay, it’s still a dream of mine even now.  =)
3.  I love cheesy stuff.  Not cheddar, or American cheese.  I’m talking, cheesy romantic kind of things.  Roses.  Dinner by candlelight.  Cheesy chick flicks.  I love it.
4.  Newtown, CT is my hometown.
5.  I have never flown on an airplane or been anywhere outside of the northeast corner of the United States.

 2.What are you most proud of in your life thus far?

I have a cheesy answer but, if you read #3 from above, I like cheesy.  With that said, I am most proud of my marriage.  Though I’ve always seen marriage as a gift, it can often be a challenge. I tell people that I like to think of my marriage as this big gold trophy that I shine and shine until it sparkles.  

 3.What is God doing in your life recently and how do you think you could use it to help others?

As you read in #4 up there, I am from Newtown, CT.  Since the shooting at Sandy Hook School where my Dad works, I have struggled more and more with anxiety.  There was a point during the days, weeks, and months following December 14th that I thought I would have to stay locked in my house forever.  I found it difficult to leave the house.  I was having panic attacks everyday.  My anxiety went from fairly normal "once in a while" anxiety to severe every single day worrying and stressing and panicking. 

Then I looked to God.  I’ve always looked to Him.  I was raised in a church & married in a church.  God has always been there for me.  But after December 14th, I was mad.  I was upset.  And though I wasn’t one of the unfortunate people who lost a loved one, I struggled for a while with my feelings about God.  I should have been feeling grateful & thankful & lucky that my Dad wasn’t killed.  He wasn’t even working at the school that day.  I should have been feeling happy that my cousin, who was across the hall from the shooting wasn’t hurt.  But I was frustrated with God. 

Currently, I am leaning on God to help me get through my issues with anxiety and it has worked tremendously.  I read scriptures, I talk to Him on a daily basis, and I pray everyday.  It helps me.  It helps me get out of bed on my bad days. 

Do I still struggle with my faith?  Yes.  I woke up the day after the Boston bombing thinking, “Can I get up today & put my faith in the Lord again?”  Then I think to myself, “What am I without my faith?”   Faith gets me through my day.  Every. Single. Day.

 4. How are you and I like each other?

Besides being some of the coolest newlyweds on the block, after I opened up about my anxiety on my blog, I found out that we are similar in many other ways.  Jess too, has struggled with anxiety at one point in her life, and she took the time to reach out to me when she commented on my post.  We emailed back and forth for a while afterward and she gave me advice & scriptures to read.  I am forever grateful to Jess for this, because although I know that I’m not alone and that tons of people struggle with anxiety, it was nice to hear Jess talk on a more personal level with me and share with me how she overcomes anxiety in her own life.  I truly feel that God used her to help me.  God works in really amazing ways.

5. What is the hardest thing about being a nanny?

Honestly, not much.  I have one of the best jobs in the world.  I get to basically act like a stay at home Mom, and makeup is optional.  =D

All jokes aside, the toughest thing is probably the long hours.  Sure, I get a nice break when the kiddos are napping, but I have to get up wicked early because it’s a long drive to their house, and it’s a long drive home after a long day.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not a 9-5 job.  I put in about 50+ hours a week.  It’s tiring!

6.Being a newlywed, and writing a lot about marriage on your blog, what advice would you give your (future) daughter on her wedding day?

This is an excellent question.  My answer would be, to “live it up”.  The wedding day is approximately 2 minutes long… and the first year of marriage flies by almost as fast.  Take it all in.  Document it.  Heck—try to blog about it.  If you are anything like me…make sure that you write down everything so that you will remember everything.  These next few years will be the best years of your life.  Live it up.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My heart, it's wicked.

 I was scrolling through Facebook this morning, naturally.
When I came across a friend's post..
She said,
"I really wish I was as spiritual on the inside as I might appear on the outside."
Um, what? 
You can openly admit that? 
You mean, you're not perfect and you're OK sharing that with others?

Confession time:
If I don't "feel" perfect, connected, and spiritually right with God, that is not how I respond. 
I respond in fear, thinking something must be wrong with me. 
I shouldn't be struggling with this. 
I shouldn't be thinking about that.
I shouldn't feel far from God and I should definitely be perfect as far as my heart being right with God. 

Her honesty this morning brought me to a place of "duh" this morning.

I replayed this verse over and over in my head:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9

Because I realized, my heart isn't good. What's going on on the inside, isn't always what it appears to be on the outside. 
Because I am wicked. My heart is desperately sick. 
This is true about me. 
But sometimes, I get stuck there. 
I think I am too far. 
too far from good.
too far from grace.
too far from GOD. 

So when my friend shared her heart this morning, God showed me something about myself. 
That I don't have it all together. 
But also that it's OK.
In fact, it's better than OK. Because it means I need Him. 
It means I can't pick up the pieces on my own.
I can't figure out life or make myself good. 
He has to do that for me. 
So I rest on this truth, also shared by my sweet friend:
HE see's the depths of my heart {my wicked, desperately sick, heart} and HE loves me the same. 
 the same.

That God, being perfect, loves my imperfect heart. He knows my faults, what I really look like on the inside, and yet, He still chose to love me and call me His own.  
 He calls me to a relationship with Him every day. 
Speaking truth and love into my heart. 
Changing me in a way that ONLY the Lord can. 
He has done GREAT things & He has done this in me: 
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 
Every day, He is molding me, shaping me, teaching me. 
He is changing me. 
& He isn't at all close to being finished..
 I am sure of this, He who began a good work in you (me!) will continue it on to completion until the day (my) Jesus returns. (Phil 1:6) 

How so very thankful for this.
 For His love.
For His patience.
For His hope that He is making me new.

Thank you Beth for your honest, sincere heart. I am thankful for the way you display Christ every single day.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

{SO WHAT} Wednesday

So What Wednesday
  SO What If:
-I didn't do a So what post last week. Why is life SO busy right now?
- I ate 6 cookies the other day and half the cookie dough. That's what happens when I don't bake for 2 weeks. I feel like I am sugar deprived so I eat them all.
-I had an equally bad eating weekend that consisted of (but not limited to) Pizza, Sushi (I ate so much I literally had to go lay down because I was in pain), Mexican food, Coldstone, a whole can of Pringles, and Starbucks-twice. Warning, this happens when you spend the whole weekend with your pregnant best friend. I had No.Self.Control. 
-I am overly excited to get a text from the BFFL announcing the gender of that little baby she is growing! The appointment is finally today and once I know, I can shop. hello. 
-Tonight is our only night of doing absolutely nothing this week. This sometimes occurs when in youth ministry and have a full time job.

-I am considering keeping my iPhone and iPad out of their cases. They look so pretty and I just want to live fearlessly for once!

-I had to return another blender to Target last night (because they keep breaking!) and I couldn't find my receipt. They so graciously gave me a gift card which I used to buy cheese, jelly, and a tank-top. What? 

-We had to change our vacation date. It's a huge bummer that we'll have to wait 2 more weeks, but due to unforeseen circumstances, this will be better for everyone.

-Our Honda needs new tires so I told Nathan we just don't need to drive it then. We work from home anyways and have another car. I don't see the need. 
 -This is the only post I had the time to muster up. I really do love the So What Wednesday series ;)
Happy Day Friends!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Cocounut Cookies

Remember that one day I said I would make my own cookie recipe? 
Yeah, I did that. 
I just decided to grab some ingredients in my cupboard, stock up on coconut oil, and get baking.
Ever since I discovered coconut oil, I have wanted to put it in everything I make. 
It's just that good. Not to mention, good for you!
I have also recently discovered coconut flour.. which I fully intend on using for this recipe in the near future. 
Now, I have a great oatmeal cookie recipe that my dad has perfected. However, he is the only one in our family who can get them just right. Every time I try, they turn out super hard and flat. I think he's hiding some secret ingredient..
Anyways, the ones I made this time, were for sure the best oatmeal cookie I have had thus far. They were soft and chewy but golden around the edges so they didn't fall apart. The were little bundles of yummy and didn't flatten out. They were the perfect little cookie.. and not just because I made them. ;)
So without further ado, I introduce my very first Cookie Recipe:

Oatmeal Raisin Coconut Cookies
What's in Em'
 1 Cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil  
1 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking soda 
1 to 1.5cups Raisins
1 to 1.5 cups of sweetened, shredded coconut 
1.5 cups oats 
How it's done
Preheat Oven to 375
Grease a cookie sheet or line it with a siplat (love my siplat)
Melt coconut oil (15 sec in mirco or until it is a runny oil) let it become room temperature.
Beat the Sugar and Coconut oil until creamy
Add eggs, beat until fluffy.
Throw in the vanilla, beat some more.
Meanwhile, Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Slowly add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Be sure all flour is mixed in
Add Oats, Raisins, and coconut and stir until they're all mixed throughout. 
Use a medium cookie scoop (or a tablespoon works too) and put as many rounded little balls of delicious dough (without eating it all!) onto your cookie sheet. 
Bake for 9 minutes (this time was perfect for me but start out at 7-8 just to be safe!)
Eat them ALL! 
Kidding, do not, under any circumstances do that. 
I ate 6. SIX! I felt really sick the next day.. I hadn't had sugar like that in 2 weeks and had been doing soooo good with eating really healthy. Bad Jess..but they were
Share & Enjoy Friends! :) Happy Baking!

*As always, I want to give credit to where I adapted this recipe from.. You can see her yummy stuff here.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Letters

Dear Friday, I have been waiting for you! It has been such a long week and I am so glad to see you.
Dear BFFL, Listen girl, I am dying with excitement for this weekend. Pretty soon we'll be sippin' Starbucks Frapps and laying by the pool with our brand new pedis. Plus, I get to see your cute little baby bump and tell that little who HIS/her favorite aunt is going to be. ;)
Love you friend!
 Dear PBNFH, You know I always miss you when I go anywhere.. this weekend will be no exception. I hope you have fun with the boys and win every game. Also, Leroy is so cute.. He actually has some cookies in his belly today if you want one :)
Dear Mom, The ninja food processor-chopper thingy you got us for our anniversary is seriously the coolest. I'm gonna go make some hummus and then maybe a smoothie. Nathan is excited too.. he always wanted a ninja.. ;)
Dear self, I am so proud of you for the cookie recipe you threw together yesterday. I knew one day you would start making your own and they'd be great. I know you ate way too many of said cookies and are feeling like crap today, but it'll pass. Keep up the good work eating healthy, even if you do indulge too much sometimes! (I can't wait to share them all with you all on the blog!)
Sneak Peak :)
 Dear Bloggy Friends, One of you lucky ladies WON the $50 Gift Card to Kiki La'Rue.. I am incredibly jealous.. was it you? You can check it out here!

Lord, Thank you for this week and the deep desire you have given us to seek your word together as a couple. Thank you for rest and giving me peace in the midst of feeling overwhelmed. You continuously show me grace, thank you. As always, I love you and will choose to every day of my life.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

On my heart.

It's been a long time
like.. a really long time since I have written what is on my heart.
My heart just feels so overwhelmed.
With my busy life? Yes. 
But more than that. 
I miss the mornings when I used to get up, with nothing to do. There was no fear of how the day would turn out, all I could hear was the ocean smacking against the sand. 
Nathan and I would wake up, walk to get some coffee, and come sit on our porch. 
I sat for hours, journaling. Speaking to my Savior.
My heart was so full, so filled with awe of the life I had been given. 
It wasn't a feeling, but an understanding of who I was in Jesus.
All my fears were gone and all I did pour out pages and pages of gratefulness.
The only thing that was overwhelming was the peace of God.
For one beautiful week, that was my life.
After all, that's how most vacations go, right?
It might seem silly to compare a vacation to real life, but why?
Why have I been so consumed with the worries of my every day life. 
When will we have time to meet with our small group?
How am I going to save money but eat healthy at the same time?
How are we going to pay for that?
When will we get any time alone?
More importantly, when are we going to have a chance to sit down and pray together? How in the crap am I going to fit all these things into my already demanding work schedule?
How can I find time to just be with You, Lord?
I could go on but I won't because it doesn't matter. 
Lately, I have been longing for a time when it's just me and God. 
Struggling with understanding that He doesn't just meet me in the quiet mornings that I am on vacation. 
He meets me where I am. Every day is new and He is in the morning of every single one of my days. He is there, waiting, longing to spend time with His daughter.
& I'm running around, getting stuff done before I have to go work.
Cleaning the house because we've been too busy to keep up. 
Over sleeping because I am just so exhausted.
How can I get back to you God? These waves I am facing aren't getting any smaller. 
They're growing and coming faster.
How can I let all these things go? How do I find you in the midst of being overwhelmed?
I wish this post was full of encouragement. 
That I could tell you I've figured it out. 
But the truth is, I haven't. 
I don't know how to get back there. 
To allow the Lord to meet me where I am.
To forget the world and run into His open arms. 
To not just read my Bible plan, pray and move on to all the other million things on my mind.
But to spend hours with Him. Learning and soaking in the love He has for me.
To fully cast all my cares on Him because He cares for me. 
I'm certainly not perfect, so far from it that I am just putting one foot in front of the other at this point.
This I do know,
God is right here. He's living in me. 
Waiting for me, patiently. 
Filling me with His hope. 
I know this is true because He is faithful. 
Even when we are not. 
He has never left and He never will. 
So I will press on. 
I will "rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction, and constant in prayer." Romans 12:12
I will "trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding.." Proverbs 3:5
I will "not grow weary of doing good, for in due season I will reap, if I do not give up." Galatians 6:9

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