Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Trio of Pumpkin Delights...Yum!

In honor of the crispness in the air outside today and the fact that I am wearing a long-sleeve shirt for the first time this year, I am sharing a few pumpkin recipes I intend to try this fall. If you want to get to the recipe, click on the recipe name in the paragraph. Easy Peasy!

First up...Inspired Taste brings us Pumpkin Scones inspired by Starbucks. While visiting my family last week my dad spoiled me by taking me to get Starbucks Pumpkin Lattes EVERY DAY! He certainly knows the way to my heart. Now that I'm back home and back to drip coffee (with coconut  creamer...yum!), this is a way I can still keep up with the pumpkin love!

Next, I think my heart did a little flip when I saw these eye-catching Pumpkin Pop Tarts with Maple Glaze from Joy the Baker. Oh my goodness, is your mouth watering? I think I'm drooling on the computer keys!

Lastly, a healthy(ish) pumpkin treat. At this very moment I have these delicious-looking Pumpkin Muffins from Health Magazine baking in my oven. I am making them for the ladies in my Bible Study tomorrow (AKA my muffin-testing guinea pigs). If these muffins taste as good as they smell and look, we hit a home run! 

Stay tuned to hear how they turn out, and please share your favorite fall recipes in the comments below!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Cheerful Heart is Good Medicine

I have missed you, friends! Baby Girl and I are currently visiting Grandma and Grandpa as well as Auntie in California, so we have been much too busy playing and laughing and visiting to think hard enough to get a good blog post out. We are not apologizing though, because we have been having a fabulous time and enjoying every minute!

I do have a minute now, however, because Grandma, Grandpa, AND Baby Girl are all plain worn out and snoozing soundly. Since nap-time equals writing time, here I am! (Don't you worry, I got a couple of good naps in this week too, thanks to the Grandparents, and they were absolutely wonderful!)

One thing that has been bouncing around in my head today is the verse, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (This great piece of wisdom can be found in Proverbs 17:21-23). It makes me think, Do I have a cheerful heart, or a dull spirit? Sometimes I know I have a cheerful heart. I can feel the pep in my step and the easy smile that comes with contentment. Other times, however, I can be mopey and discontent...letting circumstances or mindsets suck the life out of me and leave my bones dry.

I notice that when I choose to have a cheerful heart--to be thankful instead of envious, to be joyful instead of complaining, to be agreeable instead of divisive--I create an atmosphere of peace and harmony in my home or workplace or wherever I may be. Surprisingly, I have a lot of control over the environment I am in. I can't control others, but through my cheerful heart I am an influence for the kind of environment I want to create.

How about you. How do you make the choice to be "good medicine" for your family?

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Letter to My Daughter

Dear Daughter~

As I watch you sleep all curled up in your tiny footie pajamas, part of me can't fathom that someday you will be young woman. I will probably still sneak into your room when you are a teenager, just to catch a glimpse of my "baby" snuggled up and peaceful. On that day I will possibly find you stretched out with your feet and arms dangling off of the bed, headphones in your ears, a physics book with homework unfinished lying next to you. I can picture you reading this fifteen years from now, rolling your eyes at your sappy mom. But you will always be my baby, and I will always be your sappy mom.

I catch glimpses of the woman you will one day become, and I have such joy as I think of it. I see a fire within you already--a fire I know has been placed there by your Creator--and I wonder, will you make the choice to use it for His glory? You will have a choice of where to direct that passion deep within you. While you're young, I will do my best to help you channel it in ways that will help you grow in character and learn self-control. There will come a day, however, when I will no longer hold the reigns of your life, you will. I hope that at that time you will have learned how to bridle your fire so that it burns beautiful instead of destructive.

You are strong and you persevere through difficulties as you learn all the things a young one must learn. I already admire you. You have experienced bumps and bruises as you keep trying to grasp a skill or try something new. Sometimes there are tears, and yet you keep going. I know that as you grow there will be many more bumps and bruises. Sometimes I will be there to kiss them and make it all better. We both know, however, that the majority of the time I won't be able to make it all better with a simple kiss. You will have to feel the pain and work through the emotions that go with it. I have to be honest, I don't want you to experience any of it. I want to rescue you. Yet I know that just as gold is purified and refined through experiencing heat and pressure, so am I. And so are you.  It is all a part of living this beautiful thing called life.

Someday you will have to navigate all the complexities of growing up. Boys, jobs, heartache, betrayal, your first love, moving away from home, becoming your own person, and so much more. I hope that you always keep God first in your heart. It is so easy to let things get out of perspective, and often that is when we make our biggest mistakes. I know, of course, that there will be times you will make choices that are dangerous or painful--we all do. There will be times when you fall flat on your face and end up covered in mud. Know that you can always come home, always. Even more importantly, know that you can always come back to Jesus. He will not hold your mistakes over your head or stand in shock at your poor choice. He will be waiting with arms open wide for you to come back. Every time. Even when I fail you as a mom--when I say or do the thing that hurts more than helps, when I am not there for you even though you need me--God will be. Without fail.

I want to promise that I will be a perfect mom, but if you've been my daughter for more than five minutes I'm sure you already know that is not the case. I can say, however, that I will try to be a good mom. I will make it my priority to love you well, to love your dad in a way that shows you how to someday love your own husband, and to love God well enough that you can see what an authentic relationship with Him looks like, and how much joy it can bring. 

I'm sure I could go on and on...I never am good at wrapping up my thoughts succinctly. I guess I will end with this. You are so loved. Even when you don't feel worthy of it. Even when you can't tangibly see that love displayed. When you doubt the reality that anybody understands you, really knows you, or cares deeply for you. It is still true. There is One who loves you greater than I. You are never alone. I hope that gives you the strength to stand strong in trials, and the courage to strengthen others who need that love as well. I am so glad you are my baby girl.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ten of My Favorite Things

 In no particular order, for no particular are ten of my favorite things!

"The Proposal"...This movie is definitely one of my top ten. Conveniently it is also in the Hubs top ten list so it gets watched several times a year. It is funny and romantic all in one and leaves you with that happy feeling at the end!

"Love Does" by Bob Goff...This book is a bit like caffeine for the soul. It leaves you feeling more energetic and filled with life. The chapters are nice and short, but filled with great truths and hilarious stories. (The hubs and I read it together, reading a chapter a night right before was a great way to connect and give us something to talk about).

Bare Feet...One of my absolute favorite things about summer is naked feet! I love the freedom that comes when I can pack my socks and boots away and let my toes wiggle like they were intended to do!

Pedicures...This obviously goes along with bare feet, but I just couldn't leave it
out! My FAVORITE way to unwind and relax. Nothing beats the massage chair and foot massage that comes with a professional pedicure.

Pumpkin Lattes....Specifically, Starbucks Pumpkin Lattes. I am not sure what the difference is but there is something that says "FALL IS HERE!!!" when I take that first sip. Yum...I can't wait!

Madlibs...When the Hubs and I were dating we would spend hours at the bookstore filling out madlibs and reading them off to each other. Maybe it's nerdy but they crack me up and remind me of those bookstore days. Pure, simple, nostalgia.

Trace Bundy...He is a phenomenal guitarist who is not only interesting to watch but there is something about his music that makes me feel peaceful and lively all at the same time. My favorite album? Definitely Adapt. It has it's very own section on my Ipod!

Walking Through a Park & Feeding the Ducks...The simplicity of taking a walk and listening to the sounds of nature around me gets me every time. Watching those ducks scramble around for breadcrumbs brings a smile to my face every time.

Flowers...I rarely spend the money to buy fresh cut flowers. To be honest it seems like there are so
many other things I could do with that twenty bucks. But when I do splurge on a bouquet, it makes me giddy like Christmastime! I get butterflies when I walk in and see that shining bouquet on my table...silly, but true. 

Love...The sappy romantic in me loves to see love in action. Whether it is budding love in a young couple, enduring love of an aging pair, love shown to a homeless man on the street through a kind act, or the love of a mother to her child they all get me. Images of love remind me that God is near.