This week I was looking at my shelves in our family room, and saw they were covered with so many gifts from people we love. Actually, I feel like a majority of the things I own were bought by people who care about me deeply. It makes the mixer I use more meaningful when I know my dear cousin Wendy bought it for me, or the nail polish more fun to put it on when it came from my college friends.
A crafty-gift from our dear friend Abby McMullen.
The “infinity” statue is from my boss in college, Tig, as a wedding gift! The Willow Tree angel next to it from is from my sister, Kellie.
A decoration picked out by my stylish brother.
Even our books! When I wanted to start gardening, Mom and Caleb both bought me different books so I can learn from the best.
This plan was a housewarming plan from Caleb’s best friend (Drew) parents! It looks a little rough in this picture, but has actually survive 1.5 years. That is impressive for a Hannah house plant.
These physical items are some of the many that serve as great reminders of how many people have influenced my life. You may look around my house and see art work or decorations, but I see friends.
This past year I have been on a bracelet kick (not to be confused with March Madness brackets). Earrings and necklaces are great, but there is nothing like four different things wrapped around my wrist. It can turn any outfit into something adorable. I love the sound of bracelets clicking together as I go to reach for a notebook, or they way the catch the light as I’m getting into my car.
I love bracelets of all shapes and sizes, but when they have a deeper meaning it’s even better. The first bracelet on the left is from my mom when I left for college and just turned 18. She wanted me to look at the hearts and remember how much she loves me. I still wear it often and remember her dear love. The other heart bracelet on the right is something my sister and I share. I bought her and I matching bracelets for Christmas, so we can think of each other from a few hours away.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, fancy, or even new. Give me bracelet and I’m happy.
Caleb works with someone who went on an adventure with her husband recently- they started canning and selling their own paprikash sauce! She sent Caleb home with a jar, and we were excited to dive it.
I have a mean recipe for chicken paprikash, so I was a little hesitant to try something out of a jar. When I popped it open, it smelled great!
The instructions looked easy enough- dump it in with some chicken… so we did.
We set it on the stove and let it simmer for about 1.5 hours. The wonderful paprikash smell took over our kitchen as I started to make some dumplings to go along with this dish.
Much to our excitement, it turned out great! We ended up serving it with some sour cream and happily ate the leftovers the next 2 nights. Well done, Jozef’s Premium Paprikas- two thumbs up! This meal was super easy, delicious and traditional. You can get a jar of your very own- click here!
Warning: If you are not into girly things, you should probably just skip over this blog post.
My dear friend Niki introduced me to something last month called “Birchbox”. Check it out here!
The concept is pretty cool- “Each month, you’ll receive a selection of samples that we’ve tried (and retried) ourselves. We source our samples from both well-known brands and emerging gems. The women’s subscription includes everything from skincare to makeup, as well as fun non-beauty extras.” Still not convinced? Here is a cute video that makes you want to sign up.
Last week, my first BirchBox arrived!
The bright pink box that showed up at my door!
The adorable box inside. You have to admit, their marketing appeal is pretty great.
… and look at all my fun new products inside!
Here is my first product attempt- a pink lip plump! Apparently it makes my lips bigger and pinker.
Here is to a few months of girly fun- thanks Birchbox!
If you happened to check my twitter, you saw I lost something important last week.
If you saw my twitter on Tuesday, you will see my mom and I went to fix this problem!
And now, here is the result
The combination of winter coat sale (because swim suits are out already), 20% off coupon, and Mom’s Macy gift card = a free coat! Thanks Mom!
A great quote from our pastor two weeks ago I have been praying on-
Do I make choices based on my view, or based on God’s direction? Do things I do make sense because of where I am now, or because of where Christ is leading me? Can I follow his voice when it doesn’t line up with what I always thought I would happen?
Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
Proverbs 20:24 A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?
Psalm 37:23-24 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Let me tell you some down sides of the internet.
Radio call in game shows- The internet has completely ruined any kind of call in trivia show that radio stations do. When you are asked what the capital of South Africa is and it takes you 15 seconds to “remember the answer”, I know you are on Google. The answer is Pretoria by the way. I googled.
Making up statistics/facts to impress your friends- Back in the day, you could make up a measurement, a story you heard, or a funny twist on history and no one could correct you. Now, someone just whips out their cell phone and double checks before they show any sign of acceptance. If your story isn’t mentioned on Wikipedia under “Celine Dion”, she probably doesn’t have a dolphin tattooed on the bottom of her foot like you said.
Finding things out that you NEVER wanted to know- I have always wanted to life coffee. I love the smell, I love how cool people look when their drinking it, and I just want to walk into a Starbucks and order something fancy. However, my taste buds will not comply. Therefore, I have spent the past 15 years of my life trying different hot teas. I always like the tea, but at the end of the day I usually don’t write home about it. Well my friends, I recently discovered Chamomile, and I cannot get enough.
I have been on a kick of drinking this every morning, and I’m continually craving it. This winter, I have gone through boxes of honey chamomile, mint chamomile, and just the plain old chamomile. I have it with breakfast, when I get home, and once before bed. How did I never drink this before?
So back to why the internet is bad. I Googled chamomile tea tonight to see if I could learn any fun facts about my new beverage choice. Here are a few things I learned-
As with all herbal products, moderation is the key to avoiding adverse reactions. Some of the potential side effects of chamomile include drowsiness, so use it with caution if you are driving or operating machinery. High doses of chamomile can also cause vomiting and/or skin reactions in some individuals. If you are allergic to ragweed pollen or have hayfever, you may have difficulty using chamomile.
Using chamomile during pregnancy is not recommended, since it is considered to be an abortifacient (a substance that induces abortion). Chamomile is also not recommended if you are currently taking blood thinners, since chamomile contains a substance called coumarin (which is also a blood thinner).
Is this an herbal tea or a prescription drug commercial? I’m trying not to be too dramatic though- they listed some pleasant things about my new tea as well! It helps with migraines, stomach aces, anxiety, and insomnia. Sounds pretty magical doesn’t it? My personal favorite fact however…
Chamomile has been found to be advantageous for lightening your skin tone. Simply bring two quarts of water to a boil with 2 chamomile tea bags in it. Then place your face above the steaming pot of chamomile tea. A bath in water mixed with chamomile tea works too.
If you find me sitting at the kitchen table with my face in a bowl of boiling tea water, do not be alarmed. I am just trying to lighten my skin tone.
Look what popped up in my yard this weekend- spring is coming!
This season is such a great reminder of what God promises us- a new life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
This past month I have been reading a book called “Kisses From Katie”. I think I could write 30 blogs about all the lessons God taught me from this book. I thought I would share one of the largest lessons I learned from the book, obedience.
First off, let me tell you about the book. Katie was a high school senior, class president, and all around awesome teenage girl. But, she felt God calling her to leave all she knew and move to help the people in Uganda. Once she was there, God asked her to love the people like no one else did, start a ministry that reaches hundreds of children in her community, and adopt 10 of her own children. Wow.
I HIGHLY recommend the book. It has challenged the way I view God following His voice.
Anyway, in the book, Katie tells a story of trying to get one of her children in the bath every night. She tells of chasing this child down and fighting with her every night to get her into the bath. Katie said she would fight and fight, knowing she had what was best, but her daughter just didn’t wan’t it. Katie said it wasn’t as much about the actual bath, she was always trying to teach her daughter obedience. Once Katie finally got her daughter in the bath, it was like her daughter all of a sudden would remember she likes to take baths! She would splash around in the water and play, and Katie would just sit back and smile.
Katie then reflected on her daughter’s disobedience and said this about her own disobedience to God. “I shudder to think what I could has missed in life because of my disobedience. I am so thankful that God in His grace does not allow me to win. Because usually, the fight is not really about what He is asking me to do. It is not about the bathtub. It is about me, trying to figure out just how much control I have over my life. At this point, not much. I would like to be able to say that I always do exactly what the Lord asks of me. I would like to say that I always seek Him first when a difficult situation presents itself. While I am getting better at it, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I still think what I do with my life should be my decision. God asks, and reasons, and encourages. He gently explains that I do not know what is best for me and that I do not always get what I want. And I just look at Him, not understanding at all what He’s trying to say. Sometimes, I even while and sob and shriek, just like a tired, angry three year old. So God picks me up, exhausted from struggling and plops me in the center of His will for my life. And then a funny thing happens. As I kick and scream and struggle, I remember I like being in the center of God’s will for my life. Hod’s plan is usually pretty great. It is a whole lot better than mine anyway. I am so glad that He does not allow me to win. The more I strive to live in the center of God’s will, the more He asks me to give up, the more uncomfortable I become. He teaches me, over and over again, that he does know best. The “bathtub” the uncomfortable places, they only get more and more difficult. But I am learning to remember, before I even get there, that eventually this will be what is best for me, and more important, what is best for His glory.”
This week, I spent time over my parents house. Caleb was out of town and Stephen was home from school, so it felt like a flashback to growing up- just the 4 of us hanging out.
When I’m around my family, I feel myself going back into little kid mode. If my mom is around to cook, my dad is telling jokes, and my brother is showing me You Tube videos, it’s hard to be stressed out and think like an audlt :) I love spending hours at my parents home and just feeling comfortable. This week was no exception- I loved the time with my family.
I’m very thankful.
Looking back on pictures from 2005. Remembering sweet dates from the beginning of our relationship.
I’m go glad we are still able to share in such joy in our relationship.
Our relationship started in college, when I thought you were only helpful with text books. I would sell old text books and purchase ones through you.. and just then I thought you were great. I had no idea the power you held.
Thank you for having everything I need. When I am looking for something new, exciting, or even bulk packs of Splenda, I know you have my back. I have bought craisins, shoes, batteries, facewash, blankets, yard tools, and DVDs. I don’t remember life before you, and I would rather not even try.
But you don’t stop there, Amazon. You give me product reviews. When I’m at the store debating between two brands, you tell me which one is better. When I want to know how long the strap is on the shoulder bag, you tell me!
What else? Your shipping rocks! I bumped up our relationship to “Prime”, where you send me everything in 2 days or less! Life with you is easy Amazon. Thank you.
p.s. I just ordered this scarf from you and I can hardly wait.
This weekend with Carmen, we were sitting in the kitchen snacking on popcorn. Her husband came in and was laughing that this past week he had eaten a couple dozen cookies. “I just couldn’t stop! If they are in the house, I will eat them.”
I totally relate. I always tell people I don’t bake often because I will just eat it all. I watch what I buy because if I have BBQ chips in the house, they will disappear pretty quick. Brandon and I laughed about this for a while, telling stories of things we ate in one setting, or times when we embarrassingly finished a whole sleeve of Oreos.
Carmen was giggling with us, but then asked us to name the fruits of the spirit. I had no idea where she was going, but I did it anyway.
“Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control”
Self-Control! That is one of the traits God says we should be showing. As a believer, fruit is suppose to grow in my life and make me stand out from others, and self control is one of them!
Matthew 7:16-20 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
John 15:1-8 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
What a strong reminder. I am to bear fruit for God’s glory, showing the world I follow him. This doesn’t mean I “try harder” or “limit myself”, it means I focus more on God. Didn’t you see what it says in John? He is the vine! I am just a branch. I must draw my nutrition, ability, and self control from His strength.
Alright, so I guess I won’t eat the whole pack of cookies this week.
I’ve bragged about this dear friend before- Carmen. Isn’t she beautiful? Also, 7 months pregnant :) Spent the weekend with her and the wonderful Cupples family.
Carmen and Brandon live on a beautiful farm-like property. I wanted to run around outside and take pictures all afternoon, but it was much more fun to be with my best friend. Plus it was freezing. I made Carmen come outside without her jacket to look cute for pictures- thanks Carmen.
Here are Carmen’s two daughters- Teaghan & Channing. I think they were trying to act like monkey’s in this particular picture.
What a beautiful Mom.
Carmen has been such a role model for me over the past 7 years. I have loved watching her grow into a mom, strong wife, and even closer to Christ. Every time I spend a day with Carmen, I’m challenged to be better.