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Thursday, November 27, 2014

give thanks

Today is a day for being thankful…but I'm striving to have that attitude every day. I remember watching a message by Steven Furtick's wife, Holly. She said whenever she was feeling ungrateful she would take the bracelet she was wearing off and switch wrists, naming one thing she was thankful for. She would continue switching her bracelet until her attitude had changed. I like the idea of that. Of stopping and taking time to think about all the things I have to be thankful for. The small things. The big things. And the things on the way. I'm thankful for my family, my church, and my job. A warm bed. A car to drive. That I'm healthy. And I'm thankful for a God who is never late in His timing. Who always answers my prayers. May we never forget to be thankful. 

"Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him." - Psalms 100:4 (Message)

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

recipe: crockpot chicken and dumplings

Life is busy right now and blogging has sadly fallen to the wayside. I'm almost halfway through my second year of teaching and it's very exciting…but I'm still working on making time for everything else :) A goal for the new year! However, I've been doing a little cooking and wanted to share this great recipe! I made a few changes but it's super easy and the perfect cozy dish! This was a Pinterest recipe and I'm very excited to add it to my #pinterestsuccess list - because that doesn't always happen!


Ingredients
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I bought a rotisserie chicken, let it cool, and shredded it)
2 Tbsp. butter
2  (10.5 oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1/2 onion, diced OR you can use 2 Tbsp. dried, diced onion (I used neither)
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
4 Grands flaky refrigerator biscuits (the can I bought had five biscuits but I liked having more dumplings)

Directions
You can click here to read the full directions but since my chicken was already cooked, I did things a little differently. Add everything but the biscuits and cook on low for about an hour and a half. Add the biscuits and turn on high for an hour, stirring occasionally. 

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

book review: "the mason jar" by james russell linger felt

What if your old college roommate called, raving about a book someone sent her, calling it the most beautiful book she's ever read? "But," she said, "i's about you." The author is your college ex.

In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather's desk; letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark, debutante from Colorado. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she vanishes, Clayton is left with unanswered questions.

Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar. 

A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who write a book about her and a reunion they never imagined.

I wanted to read this book for several reasons. I have a current obsession with Mason jars, I'm a Southern girl myself and understand the draw of another country. I liked the story within a story, wondering how Finn would react when he saw Eden again and if they would have another chance to be together. There are so many lessons in this story, solid truths in Grandpa's words. Lessons about not being afraid to love and living life. And I couldn't help but think about my mission trips to Guatemala as Finn spent time in Africa, helping the children he met and the people find a better way of life. I think I liked the story so much because of being able to identify with Finn in so many different ways. I also liked Eden. I loved her excitement for life and I mentally sighed when she gave Finn the painting she had made. Oh goodness. I like happy endings and though both Eden and Finn had endured a lot of pain and frustration in their time apart, I'm glad they found their way back together!

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. You can read more reviews on the tour by clicking here.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

hope


Hope. I went to Guatemala this summer and that was the word that kept coming to mind as I prepared for the trip. We took hope to the people we met; some of who had never heard of Jesus and the salvation He won for us so long ago. The trip was ten days full of ministering, loving and sharing the gospel with precious Guatemalan people. We visited a hospital and had the chance to pray for those who were sick. Looking at the children in the beds, with the parents sitting by helplessly, they needed hope. We went to six different schools, performing a few dramas and playing with the children. They were all smiling and excited to see us. We brought them hope. At one school, all the children wanted us to sign their shirts. It became a frenzy of children tugging on us and pointing to their shirt. I went to Guatemala last year and was so excited to go back. The people there stole my heart; especially the kids. I teach kindergarten and those little faces got to me. I met a little boy named Paco and once I picked him up, I didn’t want to put him down. The trip was amazing and I know there’s more to come I’m just not sure what.

And then there’s my own life. Becoming a teacher has been a process. I’ve had to cling to the hope that God would work things out for me, aligning things so I would be where I needed to be. Last year I was a teaching assistant and there were moments when I doubted. I wondered if I was wrong about my calling and it should be something else entirely. But I held on to hope. I kept believing God, knowing He’s faithful and would fight for me. I'm teaching kindergarten this year at the same school and God is so good. My principal called me over the summer to ask if I was interested in a teaching position. She told me, "The Lord kept putting you on my heart." My prayer had been that whoever hired me would keep coming back to my name. Her phone call totally confirmed that prayer! We can never lose hope as we wait. 

"And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You." - Psalm 39:7 (Amp)

You can learn more about Dayspring's Letterpress Blocks by clicking here.
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Sunday, October 5, 2014

book review: "the sacred year" by michael yankoski

Frustrated and disillusioned with his life as a Christian motivational speaker, Michael Yankoski was determined to stop merely talking about living a life of faith and start experiencing it. The result was a year of focused engagement with spiritual practices - both ancient and modern - that fundamentally reshaped and revived his life. By contemplating apples for an hour before tasting them (attentiveness), eating on just $2.00 a day (simplicity), or writing letters of thanks (gratitude), Michael discovered a whole new vitality and depth through the intentional life.

I read Michael's book, Under the Overpass, several years ago and liked it. I remembered that book when the opportunity came to review The Sacred Year. Michael talks about being dissatisfied with the direction his life was going - constantly moving and multi-tasking. I admit I'm guilty of having too much going on myself. And not just multi-tasking but multi-tasking in regards to phones, social media, etc. "Carr points out that our habitual electronic multi-tasking between smartphones, websites, news feeds, and social media is dramatically rewiring the neurological pathways in our brains. According to Carr, all our browsing and liking and streaming and retweeting has conditioned the ability to focus right out of us." I feel like my phone is part of me and am I the only one who has to have it nearby all the time? So Michael took a year to re-focus and I want to make some changes in my own life. I want to live more intentionally and not be so busy that I can't enjoy the small things or notice them. Michael talks about the beauty of an apple. How it has so many colors and how complex it really is. I want to notice things like that. I know I need to slow down and this is just another reminder of that. Michael says the way to attentiveness is to not focus on everything but "…on the singular. The precise. The particular. The One." By focusing on God, all other things come into focus as well. I liked this book and want to start living intentionally. 

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. You can read other reviews on the tour by clicking here.


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Sunday, August 17, 2014

it is well

I love how songs can really resonate with you at different times in your life. Either a verse or the chorus or maybe the whole song grabs you at the right moment and the song becomes your "theme song." My theme song right now is a song called "It Is Well" by Bethel Music. I love it because the song is really my prayer. To be able to say - no matter what I'm going through or have been through - it is well. To know God is working things out, is beside me and has a plan. I want that confidence that is so trusting. To not have to need the details in order to know God has everything under control. To be able to surrender my desires and plans to the One who has my best interest in mind. It's just a really great song that I'm listening to over and over and over...


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Sunday, August 3, 2014

book review: "when i fall in love" by susan may warren

Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she'd vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled - or maybe yanked - away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime. 

Maxwell Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.

Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace's faith will face its toughest test yet. 

I've been a fan of Susan May Warren and I wasn't disappointed with this book! I love the way Grace finally let go of her reservations and jumped in...to life. I love the way she could throw things together and make amazing dishes - I want to be a confident in the kitchen like that. I liked how Grace and Max had different cooking techniques but it was those differences that made them such a great team. I love the journey that Grace went through in the book. She let go of her fears and gave them to God. One of my favorite parts was when she came across the church service on the beach and was baptized. Surrendering to God and His plan is such a beautiful thing. There are so many other stories going on at the same time and I want to know how those turn out - Casper, Raina, Owen, and Amelia! This was a fun story but also serious. Max was facing some big fears...but finally realized he wasn't really living by playing it safe. This was a good read and I'm looking forward to the next Christiansen novel! 

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for my honest review.

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