Saturday, December 31, 2011


This has been a good year. I've done some fun stuff but am soooo excited for next year. I've just finished my Finish Year list and will share that next week. I'm excited at being able to accomplish some really cool things and have just an overall excitement for 2012. I'm believing for God to do some amazing things and am pumped about it!

Some things that I did this year:
- saw Jonny Lang in concert for the first time
- jumped off a boulder into the water really far below - I felt this was a "now I can say I've done this" moment
- went to the beach - it was our first serious family vacation in a long time!
- had the privilege of hearing Aquila Nash speak
- was able to meet Ryan Stevenson at a concert he was part of at my church

Next year is going to be crazy awesome! By focusing on smaller goals instead of really great sounding how-can-I-possibly-make-this-happen goals, it's going to be very cool to see how God works things out. Next year is going to be different than any other year because whereas I've always made resolutions for each year, this time I'll be actually able to achieve them. A whole lot of smaller steps eventually add up :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

by hand

I've recently started knitting and am excited to show what I've been up to! I was able to make two scarves for Christmas gifts and one for me as well. I've also learned how to use a loom and am LOVING it! It's tons faster than needles though I do enjoy using those as well. I'll go into details about the size loom and needles, number of stitches and kind of yarn I used later but I'm so excited at how these turned out! If you knit as well, I'd love any advice or tips you may have :) I just love being able to make things by hand - it's something I want to do more of next year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

finish year

I subscribe to a lot of blogs - it's actually probably something I need to work on purging because I just don't have the time to read them all but one that I enjoy reading is Jon Acuff. His posts are honest and thought-provoking. A few days ago he introduced the idea of Finish Year and I'm all for it. I always write out goals for the coming year but my problem is that I think too big. I write down these goals that I have no idea how to achieve instead of working on the stepping stones that would lead to those dreams. For instance, I want to be a published author. Last year I wrote down "to be published" and yet I've done nothing this year to work towards that. Jon gave the example of a friend who wants to get married. Instead of that being a goal, he's going to focus on asking at least three girls out. It's all about making it do-able instead of overwhelming. Finish Year is about focusing on attainable goals that will eventually add up to bigger ones and that's exactly what I need for 2012. This isn't a complete list of my Finish Year goals but a starting point:

- write at least two posts for (in)courage (I'm excited because I already have the idea for one of these!)

- edit my current query letter and submit to at least five literary agents

- comment on at least one other blog a week (I have a theory that if I want people to read and comment on my blog, I need to return the favor)

This is nowhere near my whole list but what I could think of off the top of my head. These three are all writing related so I haven't even listed personal and spiritual goals. I'll be sure to post my complete list once I'm finished. I can't begin working on these goals if I don't have them written down :) What about you? What would you like to accomplish next year?

Monday, December 26, 2011

daily readings 2012

I was going to spend this week's posts reviewing this year by sharing book reviews and recipes, etc. But I've decided to go in a different direction. I'll share my thoughts from this year later this week but today's post I want to share the books I'll be reading for daily devotionals next year. Maybe one will stick out to you and you'll read along with me. I like devotionals because they're short reads and it's always cool for me when I'm reading similar thoughts in each one or the reading will coincide with something my pastor has said recently or be relevant in some other way.

- Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer
- Hearing From God Each Morning by Joyce Meyer
- The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer (I'm already reading this but continuing with it into next year)
- A Year with C.S. Lewis
- Experiencing God Day-By-Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby

I'm excited about all of these books for different reasons. The last one I wasn't planning on reading. I've read it three times, the last time 2007. I came across the book today and was reading my thoughts on some of the daily readings. I thought it would be good for me to go through it once more and see where I was at those other points in my life compared to now. I think all of these will be great books to encourage me and grow me. I'll probably share things on here that jump out at me so be ready :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

don't leave!

So I've been having issues with my home internet, making it hard for me to post. I had all of my ideas ready to share with you but technology had other plans :( I'm working on getting it fixed - thank you for sticking with me - and super excited about 2012! It's going to be a great year and an awesome journey! Thanks for coming along with me :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

saturday spotlight: alison with "ingredients, inc."

Alison has some great recipes. Some really great recipes :) I first became a fan when she introduced me to her cookie dough truffles. She has some amazing recipes out right now that I'm very excited to try. Like her molten cake in a mug or her peppermint dark hot chocolate mix. Take a look at her yummy blog for yourself!

Friday, December 16, 2011

unto others

A few weeks ago I went with our youth ministry to help serve food to the homeless. We partnered with a local non profit organization. We knew it would be cold so we bundled up, loaded a bus and headed out. It's so cool to see the teens step out of their comfort zones (and leaders too :) to serve others. We helped distribute clothes and blankets as well as food. This is the second time we've done this and it's just a great way to forget about ourselves for a few hours and think about other people. These teens are seeing people their own age living on the streets and I hope they walk away realizing how blessed they are to have a warm bed and a home to go to. I want to always be thankful for what I have and never take it for granted.

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - Matthew 25:40

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I just finished a group book study of Beth Moore's So Long Insecurity. The time together was just as good for me as reading the book itself. I'm still working on finishing the book but I've been thinking about it lately. The study guide is great to do along with the book because it just helps you get more from the reading. One chapter talked about women in our own lives we look up to and why. The study guide asked the question about the kind of legacy we want to leave and what knowledge we would want to pass on to younger women. I think about the girls I work with in the youth ministry at my church. And I think about what I would want to say to them. I would want them to know that they're enough. That they don't have to be anything more than who they already are in order to get a guy's attention. That there's nothing wrong with them and how God made them. They don't need to be taller or thinner or have a super cool accent in order to be loved more. They're beautiful just the way they are. I would want them to stop looking for fulfillment and purpose in a guy and instead find it in God. I would want them to stop feeling as though they have to try so hard to be accepted. I would want them to know they're not a disappointment or a failure - not a mistake or an accident. I would want them to know how much God loves them and that He has a beautiful plan for them. He's not forgotten them or too busy to care. They're enough.

Monday, December 12, 2011

recipe: brownie banana bread cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting

I made these last month and oh. my. Not only is the picture amazing but they tasted pretty good too :) I had a little trouble with the frosting setting - mine was more of a "pour on and then lick your fingers after" as opposed to "frost like a cupcake and look pretty" consistency. I got the recipe from How Sweet It Is (that's her picture too) - great food blog (as well as her other random thoughts). There are several steps involved but well worth the effort :)

Brownie Layer
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips, lightly tossed in flour

"Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy – about 3-4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and mix until combined, scraping down the bowl a few times. With the mixer on medium speed, add in flour, salt and cocoa powder, mixing until just combined. Line a cupcake tin with liners, then spoon about 1/2-3/4 of a tablespoon of brownie batter in each cup. Press down with the back of a spoon coated in non-stick spray."

Cupcake Layer
- 1 1/3 cups flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup butter, melted

"Combine dry flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside. In a bowl, whisk egg and add brown sugar, mixing until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract. Add sour cream and melted butter and mix. Stir in dry ingredients, then add mashed bananas and mix until batter comes together. The batter will be thicker than normal cupcakes. Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measure, scoop batter in liners over top of brownie batter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, then let cool completely before frosting."

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting- 3/4 cups of butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
- 8 ounces (1 brick) of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

"Beat butter and cream cheese in the bowl of your electric mixer until completely combined and creamy, scraping down the sides a few times. Add in brown sugar and powdered sugar, beating on low speed and gradually increasing to medium speed. Add in vanilla extract. Beat frosting for 4-5 minutes on medium-high speed until really creamy and combined. This frosting is not very thick or study, so make sure to either frost immediately before eating, or keep in the refrigerator for up until 30 minutes before serving."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

saturday spotlight: glenna with "knitting to stay sane"

I've just recently started knitting. It's something I've always thought would be pretty cool to learn but never had the motivation to research what kind of yarn I would need or what size needles. But finally, finally someone gave me the push I needed and helped me get started with the basics. I'm working on my first scarf and super excited to be able to show it off once it's finished :)

I'm also looking at connecting with those who have vastly more knowledge on the subject than I do which brings me to Glenna and her blog. I haven't explored her site a whole lot yet but she's definitely got my attention with this hat she recently made:

Since I'm still working on the basics, just the idea of using two colors amazes me. Glenna has some great ideas - go have a look!

Friday, December 9, 2011

tweet of the week

"Shout out to the guy who waves a hanky during your sermon...he's just trying to get a rally going." - Matthew Barnett

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

book review: "to win her heart" by karen witemeyer

About the book: "Having completed his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father's knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But small towns leave little room for secrets...

Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town's new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.

Levi's renewed commitment to his faith leads Eden to believe she's finally found a man of honor and integrity, a man worthy of her love. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian's affections?"

My review: I really liked this book! It's the first I've read by Witemeyer even though I'm familiar with her other titles. The cover is what initially got my attention - I think it's super cute. The story took a few unexpected turns but had the kind of ending leaving me smiling. I enjoyed the character of Levi - I thought he was sweet and liked how Witemeyer made him seem believable. She showed his struggle to move beyond his past and start a new life. I immediately connected with Eden since she and I both share a love of books. I also smiled at when Levi said he would simply come back each day to read until he could check them out. Just watching their relationship develop was very sweet. This was a great, light read!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. You can learn more about the book from Karen Witemeyer's website.

Monday, December 5, 2011

recipe: mini chocolate cheesecakes

I made these last week and while I wasn't prepared for the total time involved, I thought they turned out well. As usual, I learned from the experience of what to do differently next time but they were definite crowd pleasers for the party I took them to. I found this recipe from the Betty Crocker website. One of the things I like about the site is being able to print out just the ingredients needed (super handy when making a trip to the store). I've not made cheesecake before so I had to really keep an eye on the these so I wouldn't bake them too long. I think I ended up leaving them in for close to thirty minutes and they turned out fine. Tackling the whipped cream was another matter. I stuck the bowl in the freezer so it would firm up and ended up leaving it in too long. In my attempt to unthaw it, it became too thin. I had to buy a can of spray whip cream and then added mini chocolate chips on top instead of an Oreo. Hopefully you can take something away from my experience and have a better result :)

I'm thinking about making mini bite-size versions of this and using mini oreos with it.

9 creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies or 18 vanilla wafer cookies
2 packages (8 ounces each) plus 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs

Whipped Cream3/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream
2 tablespoons granulated or powdered sugar

"Heat oven to 350ºF. Line 18 medium muffin cups, 2 1/2x1 1/4 inches, with paper baking cups. Split sandwich cookies in half. Place 1 cookie half, middle side up, in each cup. Or place 1 wafer cookie, flat side down, in each cup.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar and the cocoa until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Divide evenly among cups (cups will be almost full).
Bake cheesecakes 20 to 25 minutes or until centers are firm. Cool 15 minutes (cheesecake centers will sink while cooling). Refrigerate in muffin cups at least 1 hour; cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour longer before serving.

In chilled small bowl, beat all Whipped Cream ingredients with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Spoon Whipped Cream on chilled cheesecakes. Cover and refrigerate any remaining cheesecakes."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

saturday spotlight: alison sweet

"Alison Sweet, your place to find up-cycled, eco-conscious accessories. All items are made with donated and found cotton/jersey materials. Super soft and light weight. Perfect to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Designs and fabrics will change regularly. If you like it, buy it because it's not guaranteed to be here tomorrow. But, sometimes I have enough material for one more. Want to up- cycle your own t-shirt into a new favorite accessory? I love custom orders! I've turned in some of my softest tshirts into the softest scarves."

From now until December 22, you can get 15% off your entire purchase from Alison by using the code FALL15. Perfect for any Christmas shopping you might have!

This is her super cute Ivory Flower Infinity Scarf - love it!

You can learn more about Alison at her Etsy shop and her blog. You can follow her on Twitter and also find her on Facebook.

Friday, December 2, 2011

book giveaway: "the strange man" by greg mitchell

Congratulations to Jessica for winning Never Let You Go by Erin Healy!

This month I'm giving away a copy of The Strange Man by Greg Mitchell. Contest will end on Friday, December 30 at 8:00 p.m.

For bonus entries:
- tell me how you heard about my giveaway
- become a follower of my blog

*Giveaways with the above logo are books that aren't new but still in really good condition.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

tweet of the week

"One of my Pre-K kiddos was dancing to the Michael Jackson music playing in his head during breakfast. Made my day :)" - one of my tweets when I was working with a Pre-K class.

Monday, November 28, 2011

busy bee

So life is a little busy right now. I'm not complaining because I'm excited about everything that's going on but it's definitely causing me to be creative with my time as I try to fit it all in. Blogging would fall under the "trying to fit it all in" category. I have some ideas for upcoming posts and want to get back to sharing from my heart - it's just a matter of making time for it. I'm hoping that when the Christmas program at my church is over I'll have some extra time to play around with. I have some fun blogs I want to share as well as recipes and book reviews. I'm looking forward to what's to come next year with Snidbits. Thanks so much for sticking with me and being a part of it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

saturday spotlight: kate with "centsational girl"

I've only recently discovered Centsational Girl (thanks to Sugarbelle) and really like her site! She has some really, really cool ideas and I'm super excited to try some of them!

For example, her recent post on recycling sweaters into amazing pillows!
Please take a few minutes to look around her site and you can also subscribe to have new posts emailed to you. I noticed she's had some giveaways lately so hey, you might win something fun :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

happy turkey day!

I hope everyone has an absolutely wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

book review: "forbidden" by ted dekker & tosca lee

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card authors are:

and the book:


Center Street (September 13, 2011)

***Special thanks to Sarah Reck, Web Publicist | FaithWords & Center Street | Hachette Book Group, for sending me a review copy.***


TED DEKKER is a New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty novels with a total of more than 5 million books in print. He is known for thrillers that combine adrenaline-laced plots with incredible confrontations between good and evil.

Visit the author's website.

TOSCA LEE left her position working with Fortune 500 Companies as a Senior Consultant for the Gallup Organization to pursue her first love: writing. She is the critically-acclaimed author of Demon and Havah and is best known for her humanizing portraits of maligned characters. She makes her home in the Midwest.

Visit the author's website.

Check out the Forbidden Facebook!


Many years have passed since civilization's brush with apocalypse. The world's greatest threats have all been silenced. There is no anger, no hatred, no war. There is only perfect peace... and fear. But a terrible secret has been closely guarded for centuries: Every single soul walking the earth, though in appearance totally normal, is actually dead, long ago genetically stripped of true humanity.

Fleeing pursuit, with only moments to live, a young man named Rom stumbles into possession of a vial of blood and a piece of cryptic writing. When consumed, the blood will bring him back to life. When decoded, the message will lead him on a perilous journey that will require him to abandon everything he has ever known and awaken humanity to the transforming power of true life and love.

But the blood will also resurrect hatred, ambition, and greed.

Set in a terrifying, medieval future, where grim pageantry masks death, this tale of dark desires and staggering stakes peels back the layers of the heart for all who dare to take the ride.

Product Details:

List Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Center Street (September 13, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599953544
ISBN-13: 978-1599953540


My review: I've only read one Ted Dekker book but have read several by Tosca Lee so I was excited for the opportunity to read a collaborative effort by the two of them.

I liked this book! I read Immanuel's Veins by Dekker last year and wasn't overly crazy about it. I could see some similarities between that book and this one but I could also see Lee's influence (mainly from her book Demon) and thought they balanced each other out very well. The book had the whole good vs. evil and a strong emphasis on blood (as was the case in the other Dekker book I've read) but there was also a sprinkle of romance and lots of action. I found myself pulled into the story and eagerly turning each page, wondering what would happen next. Forbidden is the first in the The Books of Mortals series and I'm looking forward to the next book, due to come out next year.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

saturday spotlight: "the sweet adventures of sugarbelle"

I was looking through my un-read emails today and found this post that has had me excited all day! For me, presentation is just as important as the baking itself so knowing I can make my own cake and cookie stands is just the best news! She got the idea from Centsational Girl. I love Sugarbelle's ideas for cookies - they're amazing! She is super creative with how she makes cookies - they're all absolutely adorable.

Friday, November 18, 2011

tweet of the week

"The enemy is more sneaky than the guy at church who sits by the girl he likes because he knows the pastor will say, "join hands."' - Matthew Barnett

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

book review: "the story of your life" by matthew west & angela thomas

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card authors are:

and the book:
Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Karri James of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Matthew West is a recording artist whose singles have topped the charts and been named Billboard’s Most Played Christian Songs in 2004, 2009, and 2010. “The Motions” also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Song in 2010. His albums have sold more than 275,000 copies.

Visit the Matthew's website.

Angela Thomas is a sought-after speaker, teacher, and bestselling author of Do You Think I’m Beautiful, My Single Mom Life, Prayers for My Baby Boy, and Prayers for My Baby Girl. She inspires thousands at national conferences, workshops, and through video studies that she filmed and wrote including When Wallflowers Dance.

Visit the author's website.


When Grammy-nominated recording artist Matthew West started writing his top-selling new album, The Story of Your Life (Sparrow, 2010) he asked fans to submit personal experiences. More than 10,000 tales of hope, perseverance, and redemption poured in. With friend and author Angela Thomas, West presents some of these powerful stories paired with meaningful devotions they inspired.

Wendy gave birth to her daughter in jail. When all seemed hopeless, she found God and her life transformed into something beautiful.

Cory, a married youth pastor, had an affair and his life fell apart. With God’s mercy, he and his wife gathered the broken pieces and started again.

Sheila always struggled with severe insecurity. Now she lives confidently in the purpose God has for her.

This unforgettable devotional journey inspires readers to discover God as the author of their unique lives and to share the power of their story.

Also available this season—a companion DVD of the same title and an interactive standalone guide Experiencing the Story of Your Life, which allows readers to personalize and explore more deeply the messages of God’s hope and redemption in their stories.

Before Grammy-nominated recording artist Matthew West wrote his top-selling new album, The Story of Your Life, he asked fans to submit their faith stories. Thousands of powerful tales of hope and redemption poured in. Now West and author Angela Thomas share these amazing stories and the meaningful devotions they inspired.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736943986
ISBN-13: 978-0736943987


Who is the Author
of Your Story?

From Lajos   …

I grew up in Communist Hungary and escaped in 1987 at age 21. I went to a refugee camp as an atheist who mocked Christians, and 18 months later I came out of it turning my life over to Christ. It was a trying, dramatic, and sometimes traumatic experience. But in the middle of what should have been my most hopeless days and nights, I could not deny the overwhelming feeling that I was not alone and the peace that came along with it.

I went to Canada in 1988. Starting a new life in a new country as a 23-year-old was truly challenging. Without my newly found faith, I probably could not have done it. Now I am following Christ and serving Him by going on mission trips. I want the world to know there is a God, a God who is with us in our darkest moments.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1).

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers of rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:15-17).

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…(Hebrews 12:2 nasb).

Matthew Responds   …

Who is the author of your story? How did you get here? Do you see the world as nothing more than one big coincidence after another? Did the oceans just tell themselves they could go only so far? Did the sun just appear out of nowhere? What about all the billions of stars in the galaxies or the intricate design of a human life? Is there an answer for all these questions?

When your eyes see a majestic snowcapped mountain climbing a mile high in the Rockies, does the experience leave you awestruck and amazed? When you hold a newborn baby in your arms, are you filled with wonder as you touch the tiny hands and toes and ears? When you witness a great big world with billions of people moving in billions of directions, does your heart scream, “This can’t be mere coincidence! This could not be the work of human hands! There’s no way this all just happened!”

Even the English astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle concluded, “The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that ‘a tornado sweeping through a junk yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.’ ”

Sadly, more and more people are choosing the former way of thinking. In fact, many studies and polls report that atheism is on the rise both in America and around the world. This really should come as no surprise in a society that places so much emphasis on self-sufficiency. Nike prompted us, “Just Do It.” Burger King invited us, “Have It Your Way.” Apple Computers promised their products would give us “The Power to Be Your Best.”

In our world, all signs point to the notion that you and I are the ones who write the stories of our lives. And so people are choosing to believe there is nothing to believe in. Atheists believe there is no God. And to believe there is no God is to believe we are the authors of our own stories. Yet how can we be the authors of a story we never created? You were not the one who came up with the idea to create you. The decision of whether to believe in God is the foundation that every soul will build its story upon. The story of your life is being written every moment of every day, even as you read this right now. The question you must ask is, who is holding the pen?

In his book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren begins his very first chapter by establishing where we must first look if we are to find a story with true purpose.

You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God—and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.

Warren goes on to tell the story of Russian novelist, Andrei Bitov who had a similar experience to our story of Lajos.

Andrei…grew up under an atheistic Communist regime. But God got his attention one dreary day. He recalls, “In my twenty-seventh year, while riding the metro in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) I was overcome with a despair so great that life seemed to stop at once, preempting the future entirely, let alone any meaning. Suddenly, all by itself, a phrase appeared: Without God life makes no sense. Repeating it in astonishment, I rode the phrase up like a moving staircase, got out of the metro and walked into God’s light.”

There it is. Without God life makes no sense. Without God our stories have no meaning, no purpose. We live, we die, and that’s it. Our stories end when we die. Oh, what a sad existence if this is true. I once wrote a lyric in a song called “The World Needs a Savior” that reads, “Atheists, there are no atheists when the plane’s going down and you’re crying out for one more chance.” I wrote that line thinking about the reality that when people face crisis, they reach out for help. When our nation, which fights for separation of church and state, fell victim to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, we came together to pray.

I remember something my mom often did when I was a kid and we were in the car. Anytime she was forced to slam on her brakes or swerve out of the way to avoid an accident, her knee-jerk reaction was to stretch her arm out across whoever was sitting in the front seat, either my brother or me, and shout a prayer: “Jesus, help us!” My mom is a praying woman. She always has been, both in times of triumph and times of crisis. She knows whom she can call upon. She knows the all-knowing and all-powerful God. She knows that God hears us when we call out to Him in a whisper of praise or a cry for help.

Whom do you call out to in times of crisis? Lajos was once convinced God did not exist. But in the middle of his loneliest, most desperate hour, this “atheist who mocked Christians” cried out to Jesus. “I could not deny the overwhelming feeling that I was not alone and the peace that came along with it,” he said as the undeniable presence of our Creator turned this atheist into a believer. Lajos handed over the pen right then and there, choosing to make God the author of his story.

Maybe you are thinking, “This doesn’t apply to me. I believe in God. I’m no atheist.” Well, let me leave you with this one question. Who is really holding the pen? It is possible to believe in God, go to church, tithe, and do all the things Christians do without fully submitting the story of your life to the true “author and finisher” of our faith. It is a daily struggle to determine who holds the pen, but surrendering our stories to the One who “holds all things together” is the only true way for the stories of our lives to be filled with meaning and purpose.

My thoughts: I didn't realize this was a devotional but liked that about it. It's broken down into 52 stories where people wrote to Matthew as he was preparing for his "Something to Say" album and shared from their own lives. Both he and Angela Thomas take turns responding to the stories. There's one line Angela shares that I highlighted. "All God asks is that we live today for His glory, that we spend this day beautifully relying on Him, trusting what we cannot understand, believing that the heart of God is for us." I really like that, especially as I'm going through a time of having to heavily trust God and not give in to worry. It's a great book and one to read more than once.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

book review: "a lasting impression" by tamera alexander

About the book: "Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she's forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville only a year after the War Between the States has ended, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe. She considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But after he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she's sorely misjudged the man. Finding herself among the elite of Nashville's society, Claire believes her dream to create a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach--but only if her fraudulent past remains hidden.

The Federal Army has destroyed Sutton's home and confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family's honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him and to right a grievous wrong reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined--as well as the woman he loves.

Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves--and each other--for who they truly are."

I really liked this book! This is the first book I've read by Tamara Alexander and I enjoyed the story. It was a bit of a longer read than most books but it all came together to tell the story of Claire and Sutton. I liked them as a couple but I also liked the character of Sutton. I laughed out loud when he told Claire she could call him Willister whenever she didn't expect a response and then stuck to that. The banter between them was fun to read as well. I'll admit I couldn't help but "aww" when he asked if she'd forgotten about her next appointment and it was a picnic lunch with him. I also liked the story taking place in the South - since that's my home. It was just an overall really good read and I will definitely be adding Tamara's other books to my ever growing "to read" list.

You can learn more about Tamera from her blog and website.

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

Friday, November 11, 2011

tweet of the week

"Sometimes when you are the closest to your breakthrough the pressure is the greatest. You have come too far to give up now!" - Joyce Meyer

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

me too

I'm in a book study of Beth Moore's book, So Long Insecurity, with some other women from my church. We watched some of the DVD the other night and one part really stuck with me. She was telling a story about a woman who had went through an especially difficult season in her life. The woman wanted her kids to not lose faith in God even though she was struggling with that very thing. She said she would rock her smallest child, singing "Jesus Loves Me." She finally realized that for God to love her baby meant He loved her too. It was through tears she sang as that truth took hold.

I can easily encourage others that God has a plan for them and He'll work everything out but I need to tell myself that as well. I have no problem believing God answers the prayers of those around me but when I'm still waiting on a response, I might forget that truth. It all comes back to the fact that everything I undoubtedly believe for's for me, too.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Yesterday my pastor talked about the genius that resides in all of us though not all of us tap into it. He said we're all created to do different things and it's when we find that place where we know He's called us that our genius is able to come out. It was a really great message and one I want to listen to again. I've been fighting the feeling of being overwhelmed as I try to keep several spinning plates from crashing to the floor. I want to fulfill the plans He has for me and experience the fullness of my genius. But I know I won't get there without effort on my part. I have to make it a priority to work on the dreams He's placed inside of me and not let that I'm tired or have a lot going on get in the way. There's a book a friend of mine told me about titled The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It's on my "to read" list and the author talks about overcoming the things that can stand in our way as we go after our dreams. I'm not content to live a life that's anything less than what God has for me.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

saturday flashback

Today is normally the day I post Saturday Spotlight's but I decided to do something a little bit different this time. Today we're having a women's luncheon at my church and the guest speaker is Kellie Copeland-Swisher. I best know her from the Commander Kellie and the Superkids videos. Not to brag or anything, but I wrote her and she sent me photos of her and the Superkids on set - I was very excited about it back then. So as I listen to her now that I'm adult, I also want to remember her from when I was little :)

Friday, November 4, 2011


John Bevere was at my church this past Sunday and it was such a great service! He's very energetic when he speaks and I love when people are excited about what they're talking about! He was only able to cover a small portion of the material in his newest book Extraordinary but it was enough to make me want to read the rest and tap into the empowerment we have through God's grace.

You can learn more about the book from Amazon and from John's website.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

book review: "letters to a young youth pastor" by calvin miller

About the book: "Letters to a Young Pastor offers every young pastor an invaluable mentor with a heart for sharing his hard-won insights with those who enjoy the victories and carry the burdens of the pastorate. Dr. Miller’s appeal to young pastors lies not in his overwhelming successes, but simply in the fact that he’s been there and done that. As Dr. Miller says, “The all-time great reason that you should listen to me is that much of what I write about in this book is written from the edge. Ministry is not for sissies, and the requirement of the tough times brings us to the edge of our commitment.”

One of the reasons I wanted to read this book is because I work in youth ministry at my church. Even though I'm not a pastor I thought I could still learn from the book. I liked the way it was broken down into different topics - some serious and some humorous. I think one of my favorites was Letter 25: Grumpy Homiletics. He talks about the same child having to go to the bathroom every Sunday: "Not children randomly going to the bathroom. The same child week after week! Slamming the door as if to punctuate her Fifth Amendment rights to protest your freedom of speech. Her parents always sat there smiling, never correcting her, always dressing her in Easter frillery so her performance would be tasteful...You can't actually see any more than her little back when she exits, but I always imagined that on her face was a grin that would chill the nerve of a Vatican exorcist." Overall a good read!

I received a copy of this book from The B&B Media Group for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

with sprinkles on top

Bakerella is one of my favorite blogs on sweets. She did a post last week on the different ways you can use Halloween sprinkles...beyond Halloween. I plan on stocking up once everything is marked down - I'm always in the mood for a good buy :) So please click on the picture to read her post and look at her cute ideas!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

giveaway: "never let you go" by erin healy

I'm starting a new thing on my blog by giving away some books that I've read but want to pass along to someone else. So just to clarify, giveaways with the above logo are books that aren't new but still in really good condition.

Congratulations to Margaret for winning my copy of Running Blind by Shirlee McCoy!

This month I'm giving away Never Let You Go by Erin Healy. To enter, just leave comment with your email address. Contest ends Wednesday, November 30 at 8:00 p.m. (which is a change from midnight on prior giveaways).

For bonus entries:
- tell me how you heard about my giveaway
- become a follower of my blog

Monday, October 31, 2011

tweet of the week

"Never forget or doubt the love God has for you. It is not conditional but a constant love that never fades or ends. Jn 17:23" - John Bevere (via Jon Marshall)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

book review: "sunrise on the battery" by beth webb hart

About the book: "An emptiness dogs Mary Lynn Scoville. But it shouldn’t. After all, she’s achieved what few believed possible. Born in the rural south, she has reached the pinnacle of worldly success in Charleston, South Carolina. Married to a handsome real estate developer and mother to three accomplished daughters, Mary Lynn is one Debutante Society invitation away from truly having it all. And yet, it remains—an emptiness that no shopping trip, European vacation, or social calendar can fill.

While her husband commits social suicide and the life they worked so hard for crumbles around them, Mary Lynn wonders if their marriage can survive. Or if perhaps there really is a more abundant life that Jackson has discovered, richer than any she’s ever dreamed of."

The main reason I wanted to read this book is the reason why Beth wrote it. I was reading the info for this book tour and after Beth read David Platt's book Radical, she was inspired to write about it. I've also read Radical and was excited at the idea of characters tackling the challenge David gives in his book. I enjoyed the story of Mary Lynn and Jackson. They had reached a place that they'd spent the last ten years trying to attain but then they realized, it wasn't really where they wanted to be after all. They found something better - though Mary Lynn had a hard time making the choice to follow her husband. Though their life looked perfect and as if they had it all together, by reading from Mary Lynn, Jackson and their oldest daughter's point of view, I learned that wasn't the case. This was a refreshing book and a great read!

I received a review copy of this book from The B&B Media Group for my honest review.

You can learn more about the book and read an excerpt.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

book review: "God makes lemonade" by don jacobson

About the book: "In God Makes Lemonade you'll read stories from everyday folks - people like you and me who discover unexpected sweetness in the midst of sour circumstances."

This is a great book when you need encouragement. Reading of how God came through for other people is a great boost to my own faith. One of my favorite stories was "Little Norma's Dress" - story about God's perfect timing. I highlighted a line in the story "Waiting to Ripen": Since we don't know where life will take us, let's push on and chase our dreams, even if we can't yet see how they will turn out."

You can learn more about the book and the author as well as purchase the book.

I received a copy of this book from Glass Road Public Relations for my honest review.

Monday, October 24, 2011

book review: "love on the line" by deeanne gist

About the book: "Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man's world . . . which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He's a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line."

My review: I enjoyed this book! I've read several of Deeanne's other books and have liked them all! I really liked the contrast of Luke and Georgie. Reading the conversations of them bantering back and forth was highly entertaining, especially when Georgie thought she would be able to have her way and Luke thought he would get his way. Deeanne also caught me off guard with a one or two unexpected twists (but I'll keep those to myself) - it all came together wonderfully. I read the last line of the last page with a smile on my face - it's a great way for me to end a book.
I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for my honest review.

You can visit other blogs on this blog tour, buy the book and learn more about Deeanne on her site.

Deeanne is thrilled to introduce Georgie and Luke to the word in her latest novel. To celebrate Deeanne's publisher, Bethany House, is hosting the Love on the Line iPad2 giveaway an Author Chat on Facebook! Enter today and follow the link to RSVP for Deeanne's rip-roarin' Facebook Party!

One fortunate winner will receive:
- a brand new iPad2
- an autographed hardback copy of Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 7th. Winner will be announced at Deeanne’s Author Chat Facebook Party. Deeanne will be wrapping up the Love on the Line celebration by chatting with friends new and old! So grab your copy of Love on the Line (it’s okay if you don’t have one yet- you might could win one!) and join Deeanne on the evening of November 8th for a rip roaring book chat, a little trivia and lots of giveaways (books, and Amazon, iTunes & Starbucks gift certificates)!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

saturday spotlight: kim with "today's creative blog"

Today's Creative Blog is one of my favorite blogs to visit when I need creative inspiration. Kim has so many great ideas and it's not just for crafts! She has decorating ideas, kitchen ideas, plus she normally has a Fabulous Friday Giveaway each week. Kim also will post about other blogs she likes which I like because it allows me to connect with awesomely creative people I wouldn't otherwise happen across. Head over to Kim's site and find something to inspire you!

Todays Creative Blog

Friday, October 21, 2011

free stuff

I wanted to share some free things I've recently discovered and since I love free things, I'm thinking you will too. There are several places who will be super cool and give you something free - the only requirement is that it be your birthday. My birthday was this past Sunday (a topic I will address in a later post this month) and it was very exciting to receive post cards in the mail for me to redeem my free items. I'm sure there are more that could be added to this list but here's what I have:

- Starbucks - free drink (ANY size)

- Aveda - free Personal Blends Pure-Fume Spirit product

Also, if you're a Bath & Body Works fan and haven't gotten on their mailing list, don't wait another second! They frequently send out coupons for either a free product or a percentage off your whole purchase. You can also get coupons via email as well. If I'm unaware of more free things, please share your wisdom!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

tweet of the week

"That awkard moment when you find out that all these years your toys have secretly made three movies behind your back." - Will Ferrell (via Braden French)

Monday, October 17, 2011

recipe: homemade glazed doughnuts

I've been talking about wanting to learn how to make doughnuts and discovered that Pioneer Woman is one step ahead of me and has the perfect step-by-step instructions for me to follow. I haven't tried this out yet but I will consider it a personal accomplishment once I can brag that the doughnuts I take to whatever event are not bought but yes, that's right, I made them :)

■1-1/8 cup Whole Milk, Warm
■1/4 cup Sugar
■2-1/4 teaspoons (one Package) Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
■2 whole Large Eggs, Beaten
■1-1/4 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
■4 cups All-purpose Flour
■1/4 teaspoon Salt
■Canola Oil

■3 cups Powdered Sugar
■1/2 teaspoon Salt
■1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
■1/2 cup Cold Water Or Milk

To Make the Dough:
1. Make sure milk is nice and warm, but not overly hot.
2. Add sugar to milk. Stir to dissolve.
3. Add yeast into a small bowl.
4. Pour milk/sugar mixture over yeast. Stir gently, then let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Melt butter in separate bowl until butter is almost melted. Stir to finish melting so butter won't be overly hot.
6. Add beaten eggs to melted butter, stirring constantly to make sure the butter's not too hot for the eggs.
7. Add the egg/butter mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
8. With the mixer on 3 or medium-low speed, pour in the yeast mixture.
9. Allow the dough hook to stir this mixture for a couple of minutes, making sure it's thoroughly combined.
10. With the mixer still going, add helpings of the flour mixture in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments until all the flour is gone.
11. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on the same speed for five whole minutes.
12. After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl.
13. Turn on the mixer for 30 seconds.
14. Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to sit in the bowl undisturbed for 10 minutes.
15. After 10 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Toss the dough to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place straight in the fridge.
16. Refrigerate dough for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

To Make the Doughnuts:
1. Remove bowl from fridge and turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
2. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/3-inch thickness.
3. Using a 3-inch cutter, cut as many rounds as you can, then roll out remaining dough and cut as much as you can, etc.
4. Cut holes out of each round using a 1 1/2-inch cutter.
5. Place both doughnuts and holes on a floured baking sheet.
6. Cover with large tea towel and place in a warm place in your kitchen; my kitchen is very drafty, so I have to briefly warm the griddle, then turn it off and set the sheets on top to keep warm.
7. Allow doughnuts to rise undisturbed for at least 1 hour; 1 hour 15 minutes if necessary. Doughuts should be visibly puffier and appear to be airy.

To Fry the Dougnuts
1. Heat plenty of canola oil in a large pot until the temperature reaches 375 to 380 degrees---do not let it get hotter than 380 degrees! 375 is ideal; keep the thermometer in the pan to continually monitor.
2. One to two at a time, gently grab doughnuts and ease them into the hot oil. Allow them to cook 1 minute on each side; they will brown very quickly.
3. Remove doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon, allowing all oil to drip off.
4. Place doughnut immediately on several layers of paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over onto a clean part of the paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over again; the purpose, obviously, is to drain as much grease as possible before it soaks into the doughnut.
5. Repeat with remaining doughnuts and holes. The holes will cook more quickly than the doughnuts; about 30 seconds per side.
6. Allow doughnuts to slightly cool.

To Glaze
1. Mix all glaze ingredients in a bowl until completely smooth.
2. One by one, dip doughnuts into the glaze until halfway submerged. (Note: completely submerge doughnut holes, then remove with slotted spoon.)
4. Remove from glaze, then turn right side up on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet (to catch dripping glaze.)
5. Serve warm if possible, or room temperature.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

saturday spotlight: "(in)courage"

(in)courage is a really great site. I can't remember how I found it but it's a place where women can go to find...encouragement. You can sign up to receive the daily emails with posts by women who have either been through what you might be going through or could possibly be going through it right now. I was super excited to be able to write for them back in January. They have daily guest posts and while I was a little nervous about sharing from my life, reading the comments from other women totally made it worth it. They have an online book club you can participate in and so many other great things. I encourage (yes, I actually made that joke) you to go and look at the site. I pray you find something to strengthen you and brighten your day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

tweet of the week

"What if everything that has happened in your life to this point was merely a preparation for what is next?" - Michael Hyatt, via Jon Marshall

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

book review: "the art of romance" by kaye dacus

"Sassy Evans and Perty Bradley are determined to get their older grandchildren married off, but when twenty-eight-year-old Dylan comes home after being fired from his teaching position because of the betrayal of his ex-girlfriend, Perty knows her grandson has more important issues to deal with first. Sassy understands her friend's reservations about timing, but she also sees so many ways in which Dylan would be the perfect match for her thirty-four-year-old granddaughter Caylor. With his record of acclaimed paintings and Caylor's bestselling novels, they could complement each other's talents and provide each other support and encouragement. And there's no denying the spark of attraction between the English professor with the untamed red hair and the painter with the unusual tattoos. But neither grandmother realizes the secrets both Dylan and Caylor are keeping from each other. Will pain and embarrassment from the past keep Caylor and Dylan apart, or will they develop the courage to be truthful with each other and discover the true art of romance?"
This is the second book in the Matchmakers series and I really enjoyed it! I absolutely love the cover and the fact that the story is set in Nashville - being a Southerner, I have a soft spot for stories set in my corner of the country. I enjoyed Dylan and Caylor. I felt Kaye did a good job of developing them and then showing their growth through the story. I was able to feel Caylor's frustration with her sister and Dylan's resignation of never being good enough to please his mother. I especially liked the ending when Dylan quoted from one of Caylor's books - I'm a sucker for stuff like that. At times I thought she gave a little too much detail - especially when describing specific parts of Nashville or the campus where Caylor worked but I thought it cool since it means something to me. When I finished the book I had a smile on my face - an overall good read.
I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review. To learn more about the book and download the first chapter, click here.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I'm having to work on slowing down and simply being right now. Life is crazy busy for me and I'm having to make the conscious decision to not constantly be going that I fail to enjoy what's happening right now. I've gotten in the habit of scheduling blog posts in advance so I'm not rushing but the only down side is that I'm not able to share from my heart as much. I'm scheduling tweets of the week, recipes and book reviews but taking me out of my blog. I don't want that. I thoroughly enjoy blogging and this journey I've been on since I began Snidbits. So I'm working on not feeling that I have to always have something going on. I don't always have to have a book in hand or scribbling out a "to do" list or be on my laptop. Life is a one shot thing and I don't want to always be looking so far ahead that I miss out on living my life. I believe that this current season in my life is going to be full of so many great things and I want to savor every one of them. I'm going to take the time to smell the proverbial roses and enjoy right now.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

saturday spotlight: traci with "beneath my heart"

Traci is full of great ideas. I enjoy getting her updates in my inbox, seeing what DIY project she's currently in the middle of. I was looking at her website and noticed she's going to be adding recipes soon - making me very excited! I think my favorite posts include her adorable son, Eli - he just adds something special with his singing to Layla :)

Head over to Beneath My Heart and find some inspiration!

beneath my heart

Friday, October 7, 2011

book review: "grandma's attic" by arleta richardson

"Grandma did what? You might be surprised. When Grandma Mabel was a young girl, trouble seemed to follow her everywhere. And somehow her best friend, Sarah Jane, always found herself in the middle of it too. Whether sneaking out to a birthday party, cutting corners when sewing a dress, or teaching her brother a lesson, Mabel's brilliant ideas only seem to show how much she has to learn. One can find an awful lot of adventure on a farm, even back in the 1800s."

I enjoyed these books! I read Grandma's Attic when I was in middle school and loved it! I was excited at the opportunity to be able to read the stories again. I laughed at Mabel's experiences, wondering how one girl could find herself in so many "scrapes." I think the story about the face cream might be one of my favorites. I liked how the stories weren't super long, making them good for quick reads. I like everything about the books - really great reads!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

tweet of the week

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given and then sink yourself into that." Gal 6:4 (Msg) - I tweeted this after I came across the verse and it was one of those verses that jumped out at me in that moment and I still really like it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

giveaway: "running blind" by shirlee mccoy

Congratulations to Rebecca for winning Covert Pursuit by Terri Reed!

This month I'm giving away a copy of Running Blind by Shirlee McCoy! To enter, just leave me a comment along with an email address for me to contact you. Contest ends Monday, October 31 at midnight.

For extra entries:
- tell me how you heard about this giveaway
- become a follower of my blog