Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

I must admit, I was not into this whole 'Royal Wedding' at first.  I was getting irritated by it dominating the news every single day for the past few months.  But today, I decided to watch it because....well, I just love weddings.  And I am so happy I did. 

It was beautiful...everything about it.  Kate's dress was ah-ma-zing and the way William looked at her when he first saw her was so sweet.  They really do look like they are head over heels for one another and that makes me happy to see two people genuinely in love marry one another.  But the thing I loved most about their marriage - it was all about God.  That is the most important component of marriage.  Marriage was created by God and it's so important to honor His word and His love.  It made me teary eyed.  You're probably thinking I'm nuts, but I always tear up at this stuff.  When I see weddings, it reminds me of my own wedding day and all those emotions start flooding back.  Oh how grateful I am for my husband and for marital foundation in God and his love & teachings.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  -Romans 12:1-2

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.  -Ephesians 5:22-33

If you want to watch, and both have full coverage videos.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Weekend

Hey y'all!  I hope every one of you had such a great, blessed Easter weekend with your loved ones.  For my family & friends in Arkansas, praying for that rain to stop!!  I know y'all have had some crazy scary weather for the past few days.  And I think it's still hitting you guys pretty hard right now.

We had such a great weekend and were blessed with some gorgeous weather.  Saturday, Jared and I spent some of the day at the beach getting some much needed R&R.  We had a pretty low key weekend, which was nice for a change.  I baked Saturday night and used my KitchenAid mixer for the first time.  I love it!!!  I can't even explain how much of a difference it makes.  I mean, my cooking tastes the same, but I felt like I cheated and someone else prepared it.  It is amazing!  If you love to cook and bake, I would highly recommend you get one.  My dad uses his grandma's from the 1920s.  They seriously last forever!

Sunday we got up and went to church.  My mom and dad came with us as we had such a wonderful Easter service and message.  Pastor is on fire these days and his message feels like it is directed right at you.  When I leave, I always feel so refreshed.

After church, we headed over to my parents' house for Easter dinner and an egg hunt.  I am so mad though, I forgot to charge my camera and didn't get any pictures.  The only ones I have are from my phone.  I was responsible for bringing dessert (it seems that always happens).  I made carrot cake and it was a hit.  My Meemaw gave me a bunch of passed down dishes a few months back and I thought this milk glass plate was perfect.  I wanted to thread purple ribbon through it, but thought about it too late.  Ahh well, maybe next time!

Getting ready to frost the cake.  I love homemade cream cheese frosting, yummmm...

Ready to go to Mom  & Dad's

My little niece was so cute in her Easter dress.  She is my little love.  I couldn't get her to be still AND smile, it was one or the other.  Here's the best picture I could get of her.

Is she a prisspot or what?!  LOL, sweetest thing ever.

We had such a great weekend with good company, it was hard to believe it came to end so quickly, but Monday morning when I showed up to work, I was granted an extra day off (much to everyone's surprise)!  Apparently Friday night, after everyone had left, the hot water heater on our floor burst and spewed water all weekend through the building.  Floors 7, 6, and 5 are in BAD shape.  It's a total mess.  But we're at work today.  On our unexpected day off yesterday, Julie and I decided to spend the day at the beach.  It was much needed!  I love her so much.  I am so blessed to have a best friend that's my sister-in-law as well.  The beach was great, but let me tell you...we got fried.  AND we had sunscreen on.  Is was like it didn't even matter, that sun was potent. 

This is us today...ha ha ha.  Not really, but you get the point.  Sunburns stink.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

And my what a GOOD Friday it is.  I hope everyone has a blessed Easter.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Struggles & Easter Story Cookies

Do you ever just get down on yourself sometimes?  Whether it be by people saying hurtful things to you or about you?  Or maybe you just don't feel adequate enough.  I have felt that way the past few days & I'm snapping out of it.  That's just silly of me to think like that.  When this feeling was at an all time high on Saturday, I opened my email to find this daily Bible verse:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15 

God truly knows my heart.  This was a nice reminder.

Today this one came through:

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. – John 12:25-26 
I needed to read that.  The Christian walk is not always easy, it was never designed to be.  It's all about faith and knowing there's a bigger plan.

But even with all of that, how selfish of me to even think I may have it a little rough.  This week marks Jesus' journey to Jerusalem where he was greeted, then ridiculed, beaten and nailed to the cross where he died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I may have everlasting life.  Words can't describe how incredible that is.  That is what Easter is all about - it's not about chocolate bunnies and colored eggs.  It's about our Savior who died for us.

In reading a blog one day, I came across this cookie recipe.  I got it from here.  It's a nice Easter activity to do with your children to remind them of the true meaning behind all of it.  If I'm blessed to have children, I know this will be a tradition in our home. :)

You will need:
Your family Bible
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole pecans
1 zip-lock baggie
1 wooden spoon
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites

Preheat oven to 300° F.

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.

Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. The soldiers made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on his head, and they put a royal purple robe on him. “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, and they hit him with their fists.
John 19:1-3
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.
Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:28-30
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:10-11
Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.

A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.
Luke 23:27
So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know we belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him
Psalm 34:8
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah1:18 and John 3:1-3.
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 1:18
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
John 3:1-3
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Matthew 27:57-60 

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.
“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
Matthew 27:65-66
GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20-22.
I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
John 16:20-22
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.  There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.  The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”  So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
Matthew 28:1-9

Friday, April 15, 2011

Show Us Your Life - What is Your Reading List

I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner Blog for SUYL Friday.  This Friday's SUYL is about what is on your reading list.  Currently, I'm trying to read the Bible all the way through so that's consuming my reading until I am done.

Photo by Patsy Brown Photography
This is me crying like a baby on our wedding day.  Jared bought me a study Bible with my new name inscribed on it as a wedding gift.  He wrote the sweetest message inside that I flip to every now and then when I need comfort or encouragement. 

I've read two really good books in the last year or two that I would highly recommend.  The first is Water for Elephants.

Jared suggested I read this about 2 years ago, so I did.  It was such a great book.  I remember after I was finished, we talked about how they should make it into a movie because the story was so perfect and fitting for a movie.  A year later, we saw the first advertisement that they were going to do just that and now we can't wait to go see it.  I think it comes out next Friday.  Such a good read!  Definitely read it before you go see the movie.

My friend, Love, suggested this next book to me.  It's a fictional book based on Dina, the daughter of Jacob, from the Bible.  It was so good!  I definitely enjoyed it and would recommend it.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Sorry I've been MIA, but it may be for a bit longer.  Life is just a little hectic right now (isn't it always).  But seriously, my free time consists of driving to and from work.  At least I have views like this while driving home.

And this weekend is jam packed with weddings!  Two on Saturday, oh boy!  But I couldn't be happier for my family & friends.  Weddings are fun. :)

In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on how to remove weeds from your yard, it would be much obliged.  Our house is a rental, but we still want a nice yard.  J is a little OCD about the yard (what, J is OCD?!  gasp!) and spends his evenings pulling weeds only to have them return in a day or two.  We need a heavy duty weed killer that's also animal friendly since the mutt likes to play outside. 

Any suggestions?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Anthropologie Window Displays

In honor of Earth Day, Anthropologie (a fav store of mine) has revamped their window displays with corks.  This is possibility one of the neatest ideas I have ever seen & I just had to share!  Look at this...

 Umm I am LOVING this outfit above!  Pencil skirts are my go-to piece of clothing.  Now, if only I could talk the hub-sand into letting me purchase the top & skirt.  I already have a yellow belt just like this one... ;)  Yeah, not a chance.

Aren't those so creative? 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Meal Plan, Some Inspiration & Wedding Bliss

My MIL sent me a great email today and I wanted to share it with y'all.  Take the time to read it, it really is beautiful.  And I promise, at least some portion of it will apply to your life right now.

Everyday be thankful
For what you have and who you are

Even though I clutch my blanket
& growl when the alarm rings,
Thank you, Lord, that I can hear.
There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes closed
against the morning light as long as possible,
Thank you, Lord, that I can see.
Many are blind.

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising,
Thank you, Lord, that I have the strength to rise.
There are many who are bedridden.

Even though the first hour of the day is so hectic,
Thank you, Lord, for my family.
There are many who are lonely.

Even though our breakfast table
never looks like the pictures in magazines
and the menu is at times unbalanced,
Thank you, Lord, for the food we have.
There are many who are hungry.

Even though the routine of my job
often is monotonous,
Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work.
There are many who have no job.

Even though I grumble and
bemoan my fate from day to day
and wish my circumstances were not so modest,
Thank you, Lord, for life.

Look back and thank God.
Look forward and trust God.
Look around and serve God.
Look within and find God!

God closes doors no man can open.
God opens doors no man can close.

Whew, I thought that was pretty spot on, didn't you?!

I haven't done a meal plan in awhile and I've had some requests for the recipes I actually use on a day-to-day basis (shout out to Lauren M. for this one!!).  So, here it goes:

Monday: Stuffed Shells & salad (posting recipe below)
Tuesday: Pan cooked tilapia and steamed asparagas
Wednesday: Tacos!
Thursday: Baked lemon pepper chicken with steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
Friday: Steaks, baked sweet potatoes and salad
Saturday: Julie and Brian's Couples Shower (yay!)
Sunday: Usually dinner with my mom and dad

Last night was the first time I ever made stuffed shells and they are so very easy.  Next time, I'm going to add in some bread crumbs and spinach.  But this is a good starter recipe. ;)

*15 oz ricotta cheese
*2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
*1 cup grated parmesan cheese
*2 large eggs
*2 tsp dried parsley
*18 large shells
*1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt if desired, and boil large shells for approximately 10 mins.  DO NOT cook them for the time allotted on the box.  They need to be 'al dente' since they are going to bake.  When shells are done boiling, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

2. While shells are boiling, in a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs and parsley.  Mix well.  In a baking dish, pour 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce onto the bottom of the dish, spread evenly.

3. After rinsing the shells, begin stuffing with the cheese mixture and place in baking dish.  Repeat until all shells are stuffed and then top with the remaining sauce.  I sprinkled extra parsley and garlic on top, but you don't have to do that.  Bake at 350 for 30 mins.

4. Once it is finished baking, allow it to set and cool for 5-10 mins.  Enjoy!  P.S. - it is even better the 2nd day!

Well, this is turning out to be quite the blog post.  This past weekend I was in a wedding.  We had SO MUCH FUN!  It was so nice to spend some quality time with old girlfriends and play dress up.  Erin made a BEAUTIFUL bride!  If you want to check out a preview, head on over to Luker Smith Photography's Blog and check out his amazing work! I had a few images from my phone so excuse the poor quality.

 Me and Erin, the gorgeous bride.  I love her!

Whitney, Crystal (and baby!), and myself.  Love these girls!!

We had a blast!  Danced the night away and got to hang out with some old friends - I loved it. 

Sunday was much more low key.  April 3rd had been exactly one year since J had proposed so we headed out to the beach for a quiet day of R&R and some alone time.  It was much needed. :)  I love him so.  Here I was a year ago after he proposed.  My nose is all swollen and my eyes are puffy from crying my little eyes out.  Never had I experienced such tears of joy.  That was the best surprise...EVER!

And here we are last year on Easter Sunday at church, the day after we had gotten engaged.  I can't believe Easter is so late this year!

My-oh-my how time flies.  Hope you're having a good week so far!  And I hope everyone locally survived that terrible weather last night!  Eeek, not a fan of storms!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Show Us Your Life - Tell Us About Your Church

Today I am linking up with Kelly over at Kelly's Korner for Show Us Your Life - Show Us Your Church!  This one makes me happy because I love my church so very much!  Our Pastor is amazing, God does great work through him.  His sermons are neither politically correct or sugar coated.  He tells it like it is and that's what I love.  He preaches the Gospel and every Sunday I leave feeling cleansed.  Our music director is on fire and makes the church come alive with songs of praise.  We have wonderful connection groups, an active youth group, and great mission organizations that are continually doing work locally and around the world to spread God's love and word.  But most important of all, God's presence can be felt inside the walls of Olive Baptist Church - it is alive!

 We love our Pastor!

Olive is a fairly large church, but don't be intimidated by it's large number of members.  When you get involved, it feels so small.  I can walk into the sanctuary and feel at home surrounded by friends.

I am a Southern Baptist by choice.  I was raised in a Methodist church most of my life, but as I got older, I migrated towards the Baptist religion.  My Meemaw is Southern Baptist so I can give her credit for getting me involved and introducing me at a young age.  ;)

I have personally become much more involved in church within the past year.  I feel more convicted now than I ever have in my life.  I have made so many great friends through our Sunday School class and I am forever grateful for that.  We are like one big family.  During times of happiness and times of hardship, we lift each other up.  I thank God for those people in my life.  I am so encouraged through people I've met in the church and feel closer to God than ever before.  I love how it makes me feel accountable for my own relationship with Jesus and for my marriage and relationships with others.  Jared and I owe a lot to the love, support and encouragement we receive through Olive.

If you're in the Pensacola area, I would love for you to check out our church.  Come sit by me!! :)