From Bed, Bath, and Beyond to Abortion

I’m not sure how it happened. It was one of those “and one thing led to another” moments – I can’t explain what happened in the middle.

I got online to to look at bathroom rugs on the Bed, Bath, and Beyond website. It was supposed to be a few minutes of my life that would save me time when I got to the store. A deep red rug to bring out the little bit of red in my shower curtain. So simple!

And then…

I got on Facebook – I think. I’m not completely certain. However, I know that I clicked on something, got sidetracked, and ended up reading an article about the connection between Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen and the connection between birth control and abortion and breast cancer.

By the end of it, I had not chosen my bath rug, but I had worked up a decent amount of stress about my chances of getting breast cancer.

Seriously?!?!?! How did that even happen?!?!

My bathroom with the new bath mat

The crazy thing is, I think this happens more often than I’d usually notice. I wake up and have a great time with Jesus. I go into work thinking about how the Lord is faithful and amazing. And then I get sidetracked.

Not sure how or when it happens, but suddenly my mind is being occupied by how much money we don’t have, all the things that must get done that day, and I’m dying again.

It might not be cancer, but it works like one. It grows and works it’s way through my brain and into my mood and upsets my perspective. Instead of keeping my eyes on Him and remembering Truth, I’m suddenly occupied by all these thoughts that never should have been there in the first place!

Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about. Maybe your mind doesn’t wander, you don’t get sidetracked, and anxiety doesn’t ruin your good. I pray that never changes.

However, if you are like me and you understand, I pray that you and I would learn to keep our eyes fixed on our Savior. Fixed. That we would not get sidetracked by all the other stuff. That we wouldn’t allow the distractions of the world or the things we can’t control have any space in our minds. But instead we would trust – trust – our Heavenly Father completely.

Advertisements

My Thankful Post

I love being thankful. It’s not just about Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that reminds people to be thankful for all the ways they are blessed. It seems to me that we should be taking time to be thankful all the time.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but through prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4

“Enter into his gates with THANKSGIVING and his courts with praise…” Psalm 100:4

“And be THANKFUL.” Colossians 3:15b

From what I can tell, we should be thankful constantly. We should have our eyes open to our blessings in every moment. Every day.

Some of the people I’m thankful for

To put this into practice, I started a gratitude journal. Every morning, I would sit down with the journal before opening my Bible and list my blessings. I don’t remember who I heard say this, but I heard a quote that said something along the lines of “get before the Lord with thanksgiving every morning until you are filled with joy.”

I love it! A simple change of perspective. Every day. All day. It helps to keep our eyes on our Lord.

Going into this Christmas season when we want to do so much for others and for ourselves, but are not always able to, let’s remember to be thankful. Let’s remember to keep our eyes on the One Who has filled our lives with blessings and thank Him.

Pumpkin Puddin’

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I love pumpkin! (Insert awkward pity laugh here). I also love food blogs! More than food blogs, I love dessert blogs! (Don’t judge me). I used to bake all the time. Baking and making dessert was therapeutic for me. For my friend’s son’s birthday I once make a Spongebob cake!  The stress of it all made me de-stress somehow.

Wednesday night we had a Thanksgiving dinner of sorts with some of our high school friends from Young Life. I volunteered to be in charge of the food. How to make a dinner for people and not serve dessert is something that I have not quite figured out. So, to the Pinterest board I went!

Mostly I looked a pictures, but I did click on a few recipes for inspiration. After reading and thinking, I opted for a banana pudding of sorts without the bananas, but adding the pumpkin! And adding the whipped topping! Yum!

A few things before we enlist on this dessert journey:

I often don’t follow recipes. Instead, I look at a bunch of different recipes then make it up as I go. Hopefully this will be an inspiration to you more than anything.

I don’t measure. If I’m actually following a recipe I do, but otherwise I just guess and check. Add spice. Taste. Add spice. Taste.

Have fun. What is the point of being in the kitchen making deliciousness if you aren’t even going to enjoy it?! I say, just go for it, even if the first two points threw you for a loop! Put on some music and dance around the kitchen while you make a yummy mess!

I love making things from scratch! However, this was not one of those times (I said this once before during this post, but don’t judge me). I don’t know much about pudding and so I figured it best to stick to what I know.

It began with three small boxes of vanilla pudding mix. Six cups of milk were added to the mix. I whisked it by hand, but you could use a mixer.

While the pudding set, I crunched up graham crackers. You can buy crushed graham crackers in a box, but it is cheaper (and I like cheaper) to buy the graham crackers and then crush them. I started to do it by hand, but my man suggested that I use the meat tenderizer. Brilliant idea. A food processor would have been faster (but who wants to clean that out just for a few graham crackers?).

I added a large can of pumpkin puree to the pudding. Having never roasted a pumpkin myself, I always use the canned kind. However, if you are handy with the pumpkin, this could be a time for you to shine and to share your shine with little ol’ me! I’m serious. Share it.

Then came the spices. Pumpkin pie spice. Cinnamon. Cinnamon sugar mix. Add. Taste. Add. Taste. Add. Make the husband taste. Yum!

Now it’s time for layering! I love when dessert is pretty. Isn’t it supposed to be? Crushed graham crackers. Pudding. Whipped topping (like Cool Whip – I used 16 oz. bowl). Then again. Crushed graham crackers. Pudding. Whipped topping.

I topped it with crushed graham cracker because it’s pretty and so that the whipped topping wouldn’t stick to the foil when it was time to transport it.

And there she is! Tonight’s deliciousness! They loved it! (FYI: the bowl is from Ikea).

Pumpkin Puddin’

The One Where I was Afraid

Tonight I found myself staring in the face of fear. I didn’t know what to do! It’s unfortunate because just this morning I read a post by a friend about fear. About how it implies that we don’t trust God. Like somehow God is untrustworthy. As if that is even possible!

That means that the problem is with me. With us. The problem is (and I take no credit for this insight) that we are believing a lie. If fear exists, then we must speak Truth into it. That’s why we are encouraged to hide His Word in our hearts (see Psalm 119:11). That’s why we need to be spending time with Him daily. Otherwise, how do we know the Truth from the lie? How do we know when we are falling into a trap that is headed to destruction?

Our feelings are unreliable. Our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Why would we follow it? Why would we believe it? Why would I let this feeling of fear because I have no control and I have no idea what is going to happen keep me from trusting the One Who has proven Himself to be faithful beyond my imagination? Why would I not, instead, cling to Him? Hold on to His promises and remember His faithfulness?

As I type, I can feel myself calming. My fear subsiding, although not disappearing. His Truth is coming to my mind and I’m reminded of a verse that I took the time to memorize a few years ago.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

He is with me always. Wherever I go. Even into this place that I’ve never been. Even when I can’t see what will happen – He does. He knows. He is already there – working things out for my good (Romans 8:28). I am going to rest tonight. Rest knowing this Truth. Rest knowing that I am not alone. That I don’t need to trust my feelings, because I can trust my Lord.

My Clutter Clearing Commitment – the Kitchen (finally)

Today, I turned up *NSync Pandora (I wanted to listen to Christmas music but decided not to torture my loving husband in that way) and finished the kitchen…finally!

Of course, now my hands reek of apple cider vinegar, because I put some with water in a plastic bowl and set it in the microwave for 5 minutes to make it super easy to clean. It worked, but then I put my towel in the bowl to clean other areas of my kitchen. Everything is clean! And smells like vinegar.

Anyway, the fun stuff!

We are renters with a small kitchen and no dining room. I needed extra storage to make my kitchen more manageable. The dining table area was becoming a place to put stuff. All the stuff was accumulating where we should be able to sit and eat. Ugh!

Before

Shelves seemed like the best way to use the walls to have more space in this room. So, I headed to Target and bought two shelves (they were in one box) and a coat rack to use this space better. A coat rack in the kitchen?! Yes! For my new pots and pans!

After

Organizing this way gave me more space in other areas of the kitchen and it looks so much better!  I had one closet with a bunch of stuff shoved in. Now, the pots and pans are hanging and the non-stick bakeware is under the oven in the broiling drawer.

The sink is a double sink, but there is not much space on either side of it. The counters are nearly invisible – which is even more apparent when there is stuff everywhere.

Before

So, I cleaned it up and now everything has a home!

After

There is no before photo for this, because it was just a blank space. But I found this little white thing at Goodwill for $3! So, I decided to make it into a spice rack! It’s perfect and clears up a lot of space in the cupboard!

Spice rack

How proud of me are you? Just over a week later than originally planned, but here it is! My tidy, uncluttered, and even (dare I say) cuter kitchen! Did you do anything fun to your kitchen this week?

One month

It’s official. We have been married for one month.

One month ago today I was eating chicken ‘n waffles with four of my best girlfriends and Jason (my photographer and friend). One month ago today everyone was fussing over me to help get me beautiful. One month ago today I sat in a bathroom for over thirty minutes waiting to be summoned to walk down the aisle. I held onto my daddy’s arm tightly. I whispered in his ear, “don’t let me fall.” I made my way down the aisle and married my best friend in the world.

10.11.12

The month hasn’t been all I’ve expected. It’s been more. (Although I’ve put a lot of work into not having expectations because Andy Stanley says that expectations are the killer of intimacy). We are learning to live life together. To be a “we.” That neither of our lives are just about ourselves anymore. We are learning what it looks like to have God in the center. We are learning. Every day.

So far the lessons haven’t been too difficult. We have mostly been floating in the love cloud that I’d assume most newlyweds enjoy. Even in the cloud – or the honeymoon stage if you prefer – we are learning. We figure (at least I figure and it seems that we are on the same page) that even though it’s easy right now, we should be learning. Then when it’s difficult, it won’t be as difficult.

One month. One month of marital bliss. And all that entails. One month of my new life. I love it!

Stay-at-home Moms: My Thoughts

I did not sit down at my computer to rant, but I’m a little bothered by something (and it’s not politics). It greatly upsets me when I see those little cartoons that demean stay-at-home moms. I am not a mom. I do not stay home (although I would like to many days). I work outside of my home and the only people I have to take care of on a daily basis are my husband and myself.

That doesn’t change anything! It still makes me angry! I want to yell at the cartoon and find the person who made it just to have a sit down chat about what I’ve seen in the stay-at-home mothers that I know.

One of my best friends and her son

I’ve seen women who are teaching their children values, life lessons, and ABC’s. I see women who have big messes and no time to clean. I watch women give up things to concentrate on the most important relationships in their lives. I’ve seen women who get up early in the morning and go to bed late at night just to have a few minutes of free time. The laundry is never done. The house is difficult to keep clean. They still manage to pray for and mentor others and go on family trips and write blogs and books! I’ve seen them homeschool and cook meals and open their homes to others. I’ve watched them work harder in a day then I do in a week for less gratitude and no money. Their work affects other people’s lives forever. Their work changes the world. Their work makes more of a difference than most. Yet people have the audacity to undermine them.

This is not to say that there is anything wrong with working outside of the home. Leave your kids at daycare and go to work. Come home and try to clean and cook and somehow not miss out on teaching your kids and learning about their lives before they go to bed. This is a completely legitimate way of living; often staying home isn’t even an option. I get that. Just be kind to those who choose to do it differently. Be kind and support those who have given up their careers to serve their husbands and children with their whole lives.

I hope one day that our family will be blessed in a way that would allow me to stay home with my children. To teach them to “love up and love out” (a phrase that I have stolen from my friend Lara) in each moment while they are still small.

Praying for stay-at-home moms today. I admire you.