Thursday, November 28, 2013

a [thanksgiving] happy list.



the freedom to be thankful and express my gratitude. God's love. family. turkey. reflecting on the numerous blessings from God. laughing at all the black friday craziness, remembering how we used to be the craziest of them all. g-ma's mac & cheese. family traditions. cooking with mama. football. chocolate pie. afternoon naps. putting up the christmas tree. leftover turkey sammich melts. the macy's day parade. playing card games. hanging out with my cousins. walks with mama to work off all that turkey and pie. laughter. listening to music while we cook and bake. new traditions. love. food to eat. a roof over my head. freedom. faith. reminders that i am blessed beyond belief. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

weekly musings.



i am lacking in writing inspiration, so here are some random thoughts:

- driving thirty minutes every morning to get a skinny peppermint mocha almost seems worth it.

- the texts between daddy and i are about one thing: OU sports.

- sixty degrees one day; twenty-nine the next. oklahoma weather be crazy, y'all.

- even when it's fading, fall is beautiful.

- sometimes i judge my daily productivity by how much jelly i cleared.

- why did the rapper carry an umbrella? fo' drizzle.

- the daily oklahoman printed one of my instagrams in the paper.

- i have been drinking orange juice like it's going out of style.

- speaking of style: remember when jnco jeans were cool? oh my, WHY? i still love the nineties though.

- i am on the hunt for cute, inexpensive stationery.

- i've held my newborn cousin during church for the last two weeks. oh goodness, she is precious!

- my love for the flightless tuxedo bird reached an all-time high yesterday. i watched penguins: waddle all the way and cried more than once.

- WHOA with the cyber monday emails.

- i used to write posts like this on myspace. ha! myspace.

- i'm taking myself on a date tomorrow to see my homegirl, katniss everdeen.

- i am borderline disgusted with thanksgiving being the new black friday.

- they make those size stickers tiny and clear so people like me will walk around with them on all day.

- youth group has been averaging 18-25 kids. this makes me smile with tears in my eyes.

- “is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” -corrie ten boom.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

iphoneography.










the best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. as longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, i know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. and i firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.
[anne frank]

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

free christmas printables.



when i made these cute printables, i wanted to incorporate my favorite things about my favorite season. 
the first printable is from the BEST christmas movie ever, home alone. it's a classic in my book.
the second printable has a cute snowman. i love snow, but there aren't many white christmases in oklahoma. a girl can dream though.
the third printable is a simple "merry christmas" with a little emphasis because there is no "X" in christmas.
the fourth printable is the reason for this season, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. good news & great joy for all

if you would like a printable, leave a comment below! i will email you the file(s).



Monday, November 18, 2013

give thanks in joy.


i rave about she reads truth all the time, but no other site or app or book constantly challenges and encourages me in my daily walk. today is the first day of the she reads truth: give thanks in all circumstances plan. the scripture reading is the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers. back then, lepers were considered ceremonially unclean, which required them to keep their distance from other people, essentially making them outcasts in the community. i can imagine the shame and pain they felt, the burden of being looked at like filth. but when they saw Jesus, they cried out to Him, begging for mercy and healing.

i gotta stop right there. while studying this text, i started wondering how they knew who Jesus was? how did they know He could heal them? how did they know? the only logical answer i can think of is someone had to tell them about Jesus. whoever that person was had to get close enough to tell them His miracles and tell them what He had been doing. knowing they were unclean, that person didn't let it stop them from telling the lowest of the low about this man named Jesus. it took boldness, and i find it beautiful.

so they are crying out to Jesus. makin' somewhat of a scene, i reckon. some are probably thinking they lost their marbles; others might be looking at who they are shouting to. but the lepers don't care. they shouted and cried, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" 

He looked at them. He didn't ignore them. He didn't pretend to be busy fixing His clothes or talking to the disciples. He looked right at them and said, "go show yourselves to the priests." the priests are the ones who decide whether or not they are deemed ceremonially clean. so they went to the priest. scripture doesn't say they hesitated or asked why. they simply did what Jesus said and were cleansed.

but the story doesn't stop there. my eyes welled up with tears when i read verses fifteen and sixteen. "one of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, 'praise God!' He fell to the ground at Jesus' feet, thanking Him for what He had done."  

he came back to Jesus. one of the healed lepers, seeing he was no longer unclean, went back to give praise and thanks to Jesus.

but how many times am i like the other nine? i pray, weep, and long for something. i cast my worries and cares at my Father's feet, and trust that in His time, He will answer. and then when He does, what do i do?  maybe throw a "praise the Lord!" out there or tweet "God is SO good!"

i want to be like the healed man.

as i turn to God in times of need, i will turn to Him in times of joy as well.
i will shout praises to Him. i will thank Him for what He has done.

i will come back and give Him the glory because He alone is worthy of my praise.

weekends are for:




shooting with my new instax camera and writing pen pals.
watching sooner football with daddy and cuddling with my sweet kitty.
shopping trip with mama and drinking a peppermint mocha.
studying God's Word and journaling prayers.
nature explorations and staying up too late watching law and order: svu.
coffee, coffee, and more coffee.
pausing to enjoy a magnificent sunset and capturing the fading of fall.
making lists for thanksgiving and the kids' christmas play.
teaching (14!) junior high kids in sunday school and reminiscing on how awkward i was at that age. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

currently.




creating:
- christmas printables. they'll be (free!) on the blog next week.
- my christmas cards.
- i'm thinking about writing a beauty post once a month. products i love, new finds, etc.
- a crocheted penguin. when my grandma gracie was alive, she crocheted the cutest animals. we have boxes of her little creations.

▲ listening: 
- "desert song" - aj michalka. i literally have this song on repeat when i'm driving.
- "He is with us" - love and the outcome.
- "run run rudolph" - kelly clarkson.
- "christmas tonight" - dave barnes.

▲ reading:
- relevant magazine.
- whispers of hope - beth moore
- people style watch magazine's november issue. 
- hp, book 6. 
- instyle's november & december issues.  

▲ watching:
- i am breaking out the christmas movies this weekend!
- the office, season 7.
- law & order: svu.  

▲ anticipating: 
- tonight's youth group. it's my favorite night of the week!   
- falls creek. it's over six months away, but it is going to be so fun for my youth group kids.
- letters from my pen pals.
- my new instax camera!

▲ praying for:
- korben. i don't have a single high school memory without his mama in it. this family is so dear to my heart. please pray for them!
- the philippines.
- that i can be the kind of role model the girls at youth group can look up to.

marveling:
- how God connects me to people i've never met through blogging. i love meeting new ladies and learning about y'all. 
- beautiful autumn nature. 

▲ learning:
- i can give advice, but sometimes people have to learn it for themselves.
- how to crochet the penguin i mentioned earlier. anyone know of a helpful crocheting website?
- if you scrape the frost off your windows, do it five minutes before you leave. i tried to avoid being late this morning, so i proceeded to scrape thirty minutes before i left. a thin layer formed while i was getting ready. gah.

▲ making me happy:
- going to target on friday! i live an hour away, so i treasure the few times a month i get to shop there. #smalltowngirlprobs
- peppermint mochas from starbucks.
- gold, bronze, and silver sharpies.
- yankee candle's 'pinecone and lime' candle. it smells like christmas.
- chapstick's hydration lock. i've never been a chapstick fan, but this one came in last month's birchbox, and i use it everyday!
- the most wonderful time of the year.

Monday, November 11, 2013

review & giveaway: beth moore's new devotional, "whispers of hope".


when the book of esther is mentioned, a smile always spreads across my face. i completed beth moore's esther: it's tough being a woman bible study a few years ago. during that time, i fell in love with scripture. the study opened my eyes to see that God's Word is alive and just as relevant today as it was when God breathed His words through the authors' pens. i have been a beth moore fan ever since.

when i saw her new prayer devotional book, whispers of hope, i snatched it up like i was one of those crazy day-after-thanksgiving shoppers who hunt for half-priced sale items - minus the christmas sweater and reindeer antlers, of course. i was so excited because, truth be told, my prayer life is not where i want it to be. scripture says, "pray without ceasing", but how do i do that? where do i start?


"whispers of hope teaches the process of powerful Word-saturated prayer in response to a daily bible reading.
in turn, you will better understand how devotional reading and prayer are central to a stronger relationship with God."
beth writes, "i am certain of two things: prayerless lives are powerless lives, and prayerful lives are powerful lives."
WOW. yes.



this book has three features:
- 70 daily devotionals. a brief bible passage to read.
- daily prayer guide. the prayer format is broken down into P.R.A.I.S.E.
- answered prayers. there are two pages in the back to record answered prayers.

i have a feeling those pages in the back will fill up quickly because we serve an awesome God, y'all.
the P.R.A.I.S.E. format is my favorite. writing my prayers and petitions is personal and refreshing. she breaks it down like this:



PRAISE: begin each prayer with praise because He is worthy. i like to write psalms or hymns in this blank.
REPENTANCE: a time of confession and repentance. some days, this blank runneth over.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: submit to His authority in my life. in doing so, i turn from living in my flesh.
INTERCESSION: pray for others. this list never ends, so i divide up the names on different days of the week.
SUPPLICATION FOR SELF: prayer for myself. i share my needs and desires with Him.
EQUIPPING: asking Him to equip me, whether it's ears to hear Him, eyes to see Him, or a heart open to His guidance.


i cannot say enough great things about this book. this is a great starting point to a better prayer life. if you are struggling in your prayer life or if you don't even have a prayer life or if you are looking for a different approach to prayer, i highly recommend this book.

i have more great news, too. i am excited to offer one reader the opportunity to win this wonderful book! to enter this giveaway, submit your entries through the rafflecopter form below. this giveaway is open to US residents, 18 years and older, now through saturday, november 16th. answer the question in a blog comment (mandatory entry) on the rafflecopter form to be entered, and complete the other options for extra entries!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

disclaimer: 
no monetary compensation was received. the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

thankful + merry.


at the rhema lights in 2010.


i have a confession to make: i am a reformed no-christmas-before-thanksgiving grinch.

say what?

i used to be one of those people. i would not dare utter a christmas carol or hang tinsel until after thanksgiving. i was firm in my ways and gave the eye roll to any pre-turkey day holly jolly-ness. one holiday at a time, people! but then something strange happened at the end of september...

i started humming christmas songs. cue dramatic gasp.
i made a christmas pinterest board before halloween. oh, the horror.
and hey... i liked it.

i have come to the realization that it is okay to let the christmas celebrations begin early. that goes to say that i will not let thanksgiving go by the wayside. i can give thanks and celebrate christmas at the same time. both holidays are about Jesus + family + love + thankfulness, so i say be thankful + merry at the same time!



thanksgiving//christmas to-do list:

▸be thankful and show that thanks with service and love.
▸three words: leftover turkey sammiches.
▸decorate the tree and our front yard.
▸read and study the birth of my Savior.
▸crocheted a stuffed penguin.
▸try eggnog. i'm not sure i'll like it though.
▸make this pinterest craft.
▸watch my favorite christmas movies. home alone and elf are classics in my book. 
▸drink lots of daddy's homemade hot chocolate.
▸wear an ugly christmas sweater.
▸eat way too many red oreos and milk
▸design and mail my own christmas cards.
▸listen to christmas music.
▸drink way too many peppermint mochas from starbucks.
▸make free christmas printables.
▸freak out every time i spot a penguin shirt, penguin mug, stuffed penguin, penguin socks, etc.
▸spread kindness.
▸bake sugar cookies.
▸make paper snowflakes.
▸be in the moment, enjoying family and traditions and the true meaning of this season.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

explore // autumn.











nature explorations is a series about exploring nature. so philosophical, i know. nature is my love language. God's creation stirs the deep parts of my soul in ways i can't put into words, so i capture them with my camera. i feel closest to Him when i am marveling at His handmade beauty, and my prayer is that when others see my work, they will be inspired to seek Him in the humble places of their life as well.

Monday, November 4, 2013

weekends are for:



family time and kitty cuddles. 
enjoying the now and making memories. 
fresh baked coffee cake and lazy sunday afternoons. 
finding inspirations and writing pen pals.
an extra cup of coffee in the afternoon and copious amounts of reading.
putting away summer clothes and cleaning out the closet.
taking the back roads to church and marveling the fall scenery.
cool, fall mornings and spending time in God's Word. 
a random trip to stillwater for chick-fil-a and a peppermint mocha.
nature explorations with a camera in hand and listening to a good playlist while editing.
teaching kids about Jesus and learning from them as well. 
fall time change and taking advantage of that extra hour of sleep. 
making thanksgiving and christmas to-do lists. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

let's be pen pals.



in today's culture, technology allows me to stay connected to family and friends across the globe. i can follow along as they post updates about their lives, kiddos, experiences, etc. while i love social media, i don't want likes and retweets to replace actual relationships.

i pondered ways to accomplish this task while running errands earlier this week. as i opened the mailbox, i remembered the excitement of getting mail when i was a kid. of course, it was usually a birthday card, but nonetheless, that act of kindness brought a little joy to my life. these days, there isn't much excitement in opening the mailbox because bills and junk mail greet my eyes. then it hit me... pen pals!

if i want my relationships to go beyond likes and followers and tweets, why not try the old way of communication: writing letters.
personal, hand-written, technology-free letters. yes, please!

here's the plan:
i want to write at least once or twice a month.
topics can be about life, faith, Jesus, the good & bad, and everything in between.
it doesn't have to be letters. it can be cards, drawings, art, cute scripture cards, etc.

if you're interested in becoming my pen pal, please e-mail me your name, mailing address, favorite color, and birth date.