Monday, April 30, 2012

more than words

There's a quote I first heard when I was in middle school. My youth pastor asked us, "How big is God? Well, how big do you need Him to be?" I'm dealing with that thought right now. I've had to remind myself how big and capable God really is and choose to trust He'll take care of me. 

And sometimes that's hard. My head will spout off verse after verse about God being faithful but it doesn't always seep into my heart. So I have to remind myself...over and over...until I start to believe it. Until the doubts are chased away. Until it becomes more than words (yep, I totally thought of that song when I wrote this so you can click here to watch the music video :). 

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I was in the midst of preparing my Saturday Spotlight post when I decided to go a different route. I read a post by Jon Acuff this week that has been on my mind ever since. He talks about we're surrounded by God's greatness through nature. He does such a great job that I won't attempt to paraphrase but I want to share some of those pictures that capture the theme of his post to me. I love looking at pictures of nature - I absolutely do. I love how you feel so small but at the same time like you're a part of something bigger than yourself. To look at the vibrancy of the colors and try to fathom the One who made it all. I encourage you to step outside your own front door and look at the beauty waiting to greet you. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

recipe: snickerdoodle bars

I saw this and oh my (I feel like that's my default reaction most of the time), how yummy does that look! I've never had or made anything snickerdoodle before but I'm definitely giving this a try! 


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 1 TB cinnamon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 TB milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  1. "Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom of 9x13 pan. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl beat butter until cream. Beat in sugars. Gradually beat eggs and vanilla until combined on low speed. Beat in dry ingredients until combined.
  3. Spoon 1/2 the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture (1TB of each) evenly over batter.
  4. Spoon teaspoons of remaining batter evenly over cinnamon/sugar mixture.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.
  6. In a small bowl stir glaze ingredients (1 cup powdered sugar, 1-2 TB milk, 1/2 tsp. vanilla) until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over bars. Enjoy!"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

prove it

God has done so many things for me. He's so faithful but it's as if I forget all of that when I'm really needing Him to show up. And this annoys me about myself. I don't want to have unwavering faith when everything's great but be overcome with doubt when I need a breakthrough. But isn't that how things go? We can easily praise God and thank Him for His goodness when life is sunshine and smiley faces. It's a little bit harder to still praise Him when the storm clouds roll in.

But that's how I want to be. Even if I'm standing in the middle of a downpour, thunder rumbling and lightning crackling above me, I want to be able to find something to thank Him for. I want to remember all the times He's proven His love and goodness to me.

I think that's just how we are. Life and faith are way less complicated when things are easy. We don't like confrontation and find comfort in routine. Yet sometimes we grow most in times of trials. And sometimes God answers us in ways we didn't expect. Ways that are for our good and better than what we could have thought ourselves. You just have to trust. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

book review: "constantine codex" by paul l. maier

“A few pieces of centuries-old parchment tucked inside a tattered book lead famed archaeologist Jonathan Weber and his wife Shannon to what could possibly be the greatest find in church history – a discarded biblical manuscript whose ancient pages reveal a secret that will change the way the world views Scripture. 
Is it one of fifty copies commissioned by Constantine the Great and lost for centuries? Or the most sophisticated forgery of all time?
When the manuscript is stolen, Jon is swept into a deadly race to find it and prove its authenticity before it’s lost forever. Everything hangs in the balance – his career, his reputation, even his life – but he’s willing to risk it all in one final daring attempt to determine the truth.”
I felt lost with this book. I made it halfway and had to put it down to review some others and wasn’t hooked enough at that point to want to see what happened next. I felt like Maier gave me too much information and I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. I just felt like I was having to work really hard to get through it and that wasn’t a good enough reason for me to finish it. Part of the reviewing process is that you might not like every single book you review and that was unfortunately the case with this one. If you’re into history, I think you’d enjoy it but it just wasn’t for me. 
I received a copy of this book from Glass Road Public Relations for my honest review. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

book review: "divergent" by veronica roth

I first heard about Divergent from Reading Teen, where it was featured as a "Reading Clean Spotlight." I put off buying the book but whenever I would see it in the store, I'd be reminded that I wanted to read it. I finally caved and picked up a copy last month. It then took me a few weeks to actually read it but after reading the first chapter, I was hooked it - I finished it in a weekend. Yes, there's some violence - quite a bit - and there's one choice word, used less than a handful of times. But overlooking that, I liked the book. What makes me even more excited is that the second book is set to come out May 1 so I don't have to wait long before seeing where the story picks up. However, Veronica was nice enough to include the first two chapters of Insurgent at the back of the book. What I also liked is the playlist for the book she included. I was able to agree with her on almost each song choice and what part of the book it corresponded with.

Though I haven't read The Hunger Games, I've seen the movie and would make the comparison - and have heard it said - that it and Divergent have some similarities - so if you like one, you'll probably like the other. If you like fighting with a little romance thrown in, then you'll probably enjoy Divergent.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

saturday spotlight: jessica with "how about orange"

I googled "craft blogs" yesterday, wanting to find some fresh inspiration and Jessica's blog was one of the first search results. I've not been able to look at all of her blog but what I've seen is pretty awesome :) Her origami bows out of magazines has me very excited! I'm going to a baby shower next month and I'm thinking I'll just have to try this out for that. I'll just have to. 

Plus her paper candle holders! Oh my gosh! How awesome are these?! I want to make some for my room! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

book review: "the secret of indigo moon" by g.p. taylor

"Erik Morissey Ganger, famed explorer and detective (well, in his dreams), and his mischief-making sidekicks, twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple, didn’t go looking for a secret tunnel beneath the school. They never intended to make the acquaintance of a shifty private eye with a nose for trouble. It wasn’t part of the plan to come face to face with an old enemy, one with an agenda of his own that could destroy them all. And unraveling the “secret of indigo moon” was the farthest thing from their minds. At Isambard Dunstan’s School for Wayward Children, these things just seem to happen."

I've read G.P.'s YHWH and am currently reading the sequel, Yeshua. I've had this second of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles on my shelf for a while and didn't realize they were all by G.P. until now - I find it fun when I can make those connections. I've not read the first book in this series and I wonder if that might've helped me as I began The Secret of Indigo Moon. While I had a bit of a hard time following along, I absolutely LOVED the combination of words, comic, illustrations and different sized fonts woven throughout the story! This is the first book I've seen like that and it added a whole different element. I thought the story was a bit rushed and felt a little lost at times but the way it was presented totally made up for it!

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House for my honest review.

recipe: peanut butter cookie dough cups

I looked at this and oh my. I've made cookie dough truffles before and this seems to be similar with the addition of peanut butter. What makes me even more excited is that this is a modification of cookie dough dip - cookie dough is one of my favorite things if you didn't know :) You can go to Jessica's blog to look at more amazing pictures of these.

2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
"In a small saucepan, heat butter until melted. Whisk in brown sugar until dissolved, then let it bubble for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter. The mixture will be liquidly. Whisk in vanilla. Let sit and cool completely, about 20 minutes.
Line a mini muffin with with liners. Melt 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips (I do mine in the microwave, heating on full power for 20 seconds, stir, 30 seconds again, and stir until melted). Drop 1/2-1 teaspoon of chocolate into each liner, then use a pastry brush to brush chocolate up the sides of the liner. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes. By this point the butter + sugar mix should be cool. Whisk in powdered sugar, salt and flour, until combine and few lumps remain. Fold in mini chocolate chips. The dough will be wet, but pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden.
Remove muffin tin and cookie dough, then place 1 teaspoon of cookie dough (I somewhat rolled mine) into the chocolate cups. Place back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Melt the remaining chocolate chips, then cover each cookie dough top with chocolate, smoothing with a spoon. Freeze again for 15-20 minutes. These are fine out in room temperature for a few hours (they may soften a bit) but I like them best stored in the fridge.
Note: I’m sure if you temper your chocolate and let it sit at room temperature these will harden without the freezer, but this is what works for me best."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I'm currently reading Nurture by Lisa Bevere. She included this quote and I really like it. Her book is about the importance of us, as women, to reach out to other women and embrace who God has called us to be.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

- Marianne Williamson

Monday, April 16, 2012

imperfectly perfect

I bought this vase a few weeks ago at Hobby Lobby, wanting something spring-ish to put on my desk at work. I had to look at several before I found one I thought was perfect. It wasn't until I brought it home that I noticed a slight imperfection with the top polka dot. If you look closely, you can see where the white either smeared a little bit or something. At first I was upset, frustrated I didn't examine the vase closer before buying it. But then I thought about it. Why would I expect perfection by an imperfect human? (Unless of course these are mass produced on a conveyor belt of some sort - if so, let's just pretend each one is hand crafted :) ) And then it made sense to me. We honestly can't expect perfection when we ourselves are flawed. It's the imperfections that add character to a piece of art - it makes it unique. So I like my vase. I added some purple flowers to it and I smile each day when I walk into my office. Imperfectly perfect.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

saturday spotlight: sierra with "blue robin cottage"

I'm keeping this spotlight simple by showing you a huge reason why you should visit Sierra's blog. This amazing tote right here:

This was in her recent post and I got very excited when I saw it! I'm thinking of making this in a bigger version because I like my purse/bag to be wider as opposed to taller. Either way, I love this idea!

Friday, April 13, 2012

like that

You know how you can hear a song but it's only when you take the time to listen to the lyrics that it clicks with you and you realize "I like this song!"? That was me with "Live Like That" by Sidewalk Prophets. I keep forgetting about them until I hear one of their songs and am reminded all over again why I like them so much. Just to warn you, this will probably get stuck in your head but that's ok because it's such a great song! To me, it's about refusing to settle and striving to walk in the plans God has for us. To reach out to the hurting and the lost and love like Jesus did.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"the no brainer wardrobe"

I'm not sure how I found Hayley's blog but I did and it didn't take me long before I subscribed, allowing me to get her posts sent directly to my email. Her goal is to inspire women to "create lives of more passion and less fuss." To help with this desire, she has written an e-book, The No Brainer Wardrobe. I just bought it and am super excited to put into practice her advice. She talks about the importance of deciding what your style is and then building on that. She goes over the different body shapes and what looks best for each. She shares where to find good buys and then gives different examples of how you can mix and match an outfit. She gives great, practical advice to help you look your best. You can download the first chapter and can also buy the book for yourself! It's only $7.99 and is 82 pages full of good stuff :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

recipe: peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with sea salt

I made these cookies a few weekends ago for a bunch of middle school girls. We went up to a cabin and spent the night, followed by a day of shopping and this was a midnight snack (literally! I was baking these around 11:30 at night :). My rule of thumb is to try a recipe before making it for the actual event and I failed to do this - and should have. I'll share my mistakes with you so you can avoid them. First, I forgot the chocolate chips so I made peanut butter oatmeal with sea salt cookies :) They turned out rather well but the chocolate was going to be my biggest selling point with the girls. Some of them were hesitant when they heard the sea salt part but I think most of them at least tried a cookie. These also served as breakfast the next morning :) The recipe says it yields about 4 dozen. However, I think I made right at 2 dozen. I think I ended up making mine bigger than I should have. One thing that I was happy with was the decision to buy disposable pans. They were bubbled in the center and the cookies came right off after they cooled. Sometimes I have an issue with them sticking to the aluminum foil (even if I spray with cooking spray) but these pans were a big time saver and I could just toss them when done. So, here's the recipe and you can go to Recipe Girl's site to look at the picture by picture instructions.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter (or crunchy if you want crunch)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup quick cooking oats (see *Tips below)
One 12-ounce package chocolate chips (I prefer milk chocolate)
sea salt, for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray baking sheets with nonstick spray (or line with parchment or silpat mats).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer at medium speed to combine the butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs one at a time until they are incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and beat until combined.
4. Stir in the oats and the chocolate chips.
5. Drop the cookies in rounded tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet, 3 inches apart. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are set and cooked through to the middle. Timing will probably be about 12 minutes, but check first batch at 10, and then keep checking at 1 minute intervals until they are looking perfect. Then you can set timing for the remaining batches.

Friday, April 6, 2012

book review: "the wedding dress" by rachel hauck

"One dress. Four women. An amazing destiny.

Charlotte Malone is getting married. Yet all is not settled in the heart of Birmingham's chic bridal boutique owner. Charlotte can dress any bride to perfection-except herself. When she discovers a vintage mint-condition wedding gown in a battered old trunk, Charlotte embarks on a passionate journey to discover the women who wore the gown before her.

Emily in 1912. Mary in 1939. And Hillary in 1968. Each woman teaches Charlotte something about love in her own unique way. Woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte's heritage, the power of faith, and the beauty of finding true love."

Rachel won me over with Dining with Joy. I finished The Wedding Dress with a smile on my face and I like when that happens! I thought Charlotte and Tim were just really cute together - even when they had broken up. I thought the third person references just added a fun touch to the story. Though it's a love story, I didn't feel like that element overpowered everything else - it was a good balance. I also liked the historical element of Daniel and Emily. I found myself a little annoyed with Emily that it took her until her wedding day to figure out the truth about Philip but I liked the way Rachel tied their story to Charlotte and Tim's. I'm definitely looking forward to her next book!

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

What is "true" beauty? Join the conversation at Rachel's Author Chat Party Event Page. On the eventing of 4/19 we'll gather to talk about inner and outer beauty and share moments of beauty in our lives.

In the meantime, celebrate with Rachel by entering her True Beauty Giveaway!

One "beautiful" winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Cash Card (Treat yourself to a spa day or weekend

  • The Wedding Dress (by Rachel Hauck)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 4/18/12. Winner will be announced at Rachel's "True Beuaty" Author Chat Facebook Party on 4/19. Rachel will be hosting an evening of beauty (inner/outer) chat, fun trivia, laughter, and encouragement - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club and a live chat with Rachel via Skype.)

So grab a few of your friends and your copy of The Wedding Dress and join Rachel on the evening of April 19th for an evening of fun.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 19th!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

brain food

One of my goals for this year is to read my stack of review books. I've set a goal to have them all finished by the end of May, leaving my summer free to work on other things - I've already been working on a list :) I'm really excited about the books I need to read - here's a few of them:

From the Library of A.W. Tozer by James Stuart Bell
The Whole Bible Story by Dr. William Marty
The Story of Your Life by Matthew West
Nurture by Lisa Bevere
Wholly Jesus by Mark Foreman
Why We're Not Emergent by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

I've also bought The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth. These are ones that I've heard were good (you know, there was a recent movie about the first one that just came out :) and the other is one that's been on my list to read for a while and I finally picked up a copy!

I'd love to know if you've read any of these and what you thought! Happy reading!

Monday, April 2, 2012

book giveaway: "night of the living dead christian" by matt mikalatos

Congratulations to Lisa for winning Sue Ellen's Girl Ain't Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson!

This month I'm giving away my copy of Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos. Contest ends Monday, April 30 at 8:00 p.m. To enter, just leave me a comment along with an email address so I can contact you.

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.