Tuesday, March 31, 2015

These are a few of my favorite things...

Esther 2: 17
" Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval, more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. "


The story of  Queen Esther is fraught with beautiful women, betrayal and triumph. Esther's beauty and obedience saved the Jewish people. The book of Esther is a quick read, and if you haven't read it before or are unfamiliar with it, please take a few minutes to peruse through it. Lord, I pray that I find favor in your eyes today.

Today, I would like to try something a  little different.  I'm going to share my 5 favorite things.  Now, of course, these 5 things will more than likely change from time to time. So, I will update my list for you as the seasons change or something new and wonderful comes my way.  Here's my list of 5 favorite things...for right now.

1. My Bible- actually there are 2 things that I like here. First, in my actual hard-bound study Bible, I love the stick-on tabs to mark the books. It makes study very quick and easy.  Second, I have a Bible app downloaded onto my NOOK.  I love it! I can look up Bible verses with ease and even change to different Bible translations with the touch of a finger, and...it even gives me a verse of the day. Loving it!

Nimble in your hand, in white or black.
2. Scented Candles- there is something very comforting about a fresh smelling, warm glowing candle. My favorite scents are food related scents (of course!) like: pie, cookies or even coffee.  Sometimes I get lucky and find a fresh clean scent that I like, like Yankee Candle- "Clean Cotton".

Image result for yankee candle clean cotton
3. Nail Polish-  I change my nail polish like I change my clothes. It makes me happy! It also makes me feel pretty and  put-together. I also like to try new trendy shades ( much to my husband's chagrin, he likes classic reds and pinks). So I try not to spend a lot of money on nail polish.  I usually buy my nail polish at Target or even Rite Aid.  They have reasonably priced brands and usually a nice selection of the latest colors. My newest shade is a very pale pink by Sinful Colors- " Easy Going"

Image result for easy going nail polish sinful colors
4. Coffee- I can't get through a morning without my coffee. I really enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the morning.  It doesn't even matter how hot it is outside, hot coffee=morning. But, with the warmer months approaching, I also enjoy iced coffee or blended coffee in the afternoon. Of course, Starbucks is my first choice. Love, love, love my Mocha Frappuccino!
Image result for starbucks mocha frappuccino
5. Nautical anything!- I've always liked nautical fashion for the summer months; for my children and for myself.  Also, I've always wanted a home by the water so that I could decorate with some nautical flare. Nautical home fashion is everywhere this year. It makes me want to redo my whole house!  You really don't have to live near the water to enjoy this trend. Here's some great nautical home fashion from Target .
Threshold™ Embroidered Lobster Decorative Pillow - Pink
I'd love to hear about some of your favorite things. Comment below and let me know what you're loving right now.  Maybe it will be my favorite next time!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ooh, I love the bunny!

Leviticus 11: 6
" The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. "


Spring finally seems to be settling in.  I haven't seen any new little bunnies around, just lots of squirrels and birds, but I know it won't be long.  My 8 year old keeps reminding me that last year, I ran over one of those cute little creatures in my van right before Easter.  It wasn't one of my better moments. She even made up a song to the tune of  "Here Comes Peter Cottontail"; something that ends in " SPLAT! ".  I don't believe I've ever eaten rabbit before.  And if I ever decide not too, I could always cite this scripture in my defense; however, I would then probably have to give up bacon too, so... probably not. I'm thinking of rabbits today because, of course, Easter is this coming Sunday.  I know some Christians don't want to associate Easter to  bunnies or rabbits.  Please forgive me if you're one of them.  But, I like the symbolism rabbits have of springtime and renewal. Isn't that what Jesus died for? To make me new and clean before God? I certainly couldn't get there on my own (believe me, I've tried; not happening here!). I pray today that you confess your sins (we all have them\, Lord knows I do), and invite Christ into your life. He will make you new again!

Last weekend's community Easter Egg Hunt was cancelled due to the weather (snow and sub-freezing temps!).  It is rescheduled for this weekend. Hopefully we won't have the same issues. If all goes well, I'll have my youngest children out on the lawn this Saturday knocking over all the other neighborhood children to get the prized plastic eggs! Here's what my youngest will be wearing, if all goes as planned...

We got this outfit at Kohl's when we were Easter outfit shopping last week.
It's actually "Jumping Beans" separates.  So stinkin' cute!

I love the anchor details on the top that match the leggings perfectly. And I needed to add this pic because she's...
 so stinkin' cute!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bacon, bacon, bacon!

Romans 14: 20
" Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat something that causes someone else to stumble. "


Forgive me if I'm causing someone to stumble.

 My family loves bacon. As a family on a tight budget, I don't buy it as often as I used too. Why is it so expensive?  One package barely feeds my hungry family.  Bacon is everywhere these days.  Did you catch the new " Bacon Wrapped Crust DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza " from Little Caesars? Oh my goodness!
But, what really intrigues me is the mix of sweet and savory. So I've been keen on trying bacon donuts and cupcakes.  The best cupcake that I've had (hands down), is the "French Toast" cupcake at Flavor Cupcakery and Bake Shop. It's available every Tuesday.

Bel Air, Cockeysville Cupcake Cake Bakery
Delicious! (and they look perfect)

Last week, I found maple flavored cake mix and icing on sale at Target and I had to give it a try. I just followed the baking instructions on the package for cupcakes.  Before I baked the cupcakes, I baked 5 slices of  bacon that I sprinkled with brown sugar, on my broiler pan at 375* for about 12 minutes. Already yummy, yummy!  When the bacon was completely cooled, I crumbled it into small pieces.  Then, when the cupcakes were cooled and iced, I topped them with the bacon. Can I get an Allelujah!?  The house smelled so good, I wanted to lick it! Here's a pic of my cupcakes...

Delicious! (and rustic looking)
I'm not sure how long the cake mix and icing will be available, but I'm thinking I need to go back and buy some more! Let me know if you have a good maple cake recipe, I'll keep you posted if I find a good one.  Also let me know what great bacon recipes you've tried and want to share. I pray I haven't caused you to stumble on your diet or fitness routine. I saw a great quote from Martin Luther the other day, that makes me feel good about this post.

It's true that a good diet is the best medicine when it suits the individual, but to live medically is to live wretchedly . . . I eat what I like and will die when God wills it." - Martin Luther, Table Talk   

Amen to that! Have a blessed weekend.




Thursday, March 26, 2015

Conquerors

Romans 8: 37-39
" No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord "


This verse has been on my heart since the women's breakfast at my church on Saturday.  They showed a very dynamic video that ended with these verses. Everytime I watch it, it makes me tear up, and then I just want  to go out and run a marathon! I probably should train a little more before I actually do that., but you get the idea. I was so inspired that I made my family watch it before dinner last night. I told them that we are a team and that that's how we need to go out into this world, as conquerors! Spoiler alert...we already won! The victory is ours in Jesus Christ our Lord!! NOW GO OUT THERE AND WIN ONE FOR THE GIPPER!!!

Whew, sorry about all the capital letters. I'm alright now. Maybe I missed my calling and I should have been a pentecostal preacher? Oh well, I don't think that's an option right now, Lol.  I did, however, want to touch base with you today about another race I'm thinking about running.  It's The 2nd Annual Strike Out ALS 5k and 2 Mile Walk. My brother-in-law, Tim was diagnosed with ALS last spring. He is a miracle! I watched him cross the finish line last fall after walking 10 miles, to raise awareness for ALS. He and my sister-in- law Cindy give all the glory to Jesus. I encourage you all, no matter where you live, to reach out and support those living with ALS by making a donation or sponsoring an event. Click on the links above to find out more information on ALS.


I pray that the race you run today is full of victory, my fellow conquerors!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thank heaven, for little girls

Psalm 127: 3
" Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. "


I am truly blessed, I have 5 beautiful girls.  My 2 oldest are making their way in the world already... one's acting and the other is finishing her teaching degree at UMD. I'm so proud of them.  The other 3 are still at home and going to middle school, elementary school, and "Mommy Daycare", respectively. Quite a span! And... they are all so different; from each other and from me.  I thought when I first became a mom, that it would be so fun to have a little "mini-me", but nothing could be further from the truth.  They aren't me at all, and sometimes when they do act like me, it's not the me I want to see even in myself!! God,  forgive me! I can't wait to see what God has in store for them. I pray daily for their protection ( for their bodies and their hearts), for their success in life (whatever form that may take), and most importantly, for their salvation.  "Thank heaven for little girls... they grow up in the most delightful way"

Last weekend, I took the 3 little girls Easter outfit shopping. We go to a pretty casual church, so no one is expected to wear a bonnet and gloves.  Although the girls no longer dress alike (my 11 & 8 year old), I still like to coordinate their outfits.  After much trial and error (and a few tears, mostly mine!),  we finally made our decisions.  Here's a preview of my girls in their Easter outfits.

Here are my babies in the dressing room at Kohl's.  I like that everyone is in a combination of  black and pink. We had a coupon, everything was already on sale and...we got Kohl's Cash! Now Momma can go back and get something, too! 

I'd love to hear about your Easter plans this year. Do you go to an egg hunt? Do you get together with family and have a big dinner, or a quiet family dinner at home? Do you have any special recipes? Please comment below and share. I'm going to share some of my Easter traditions in some upcoming posts as well. 

I pray you have a blessed day today!




Tuesday, March 24, 2015

God Strong

Deuteronomy 31: 6
" Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated. don't give them a second thought because God, your God, is striving ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you. "


This weekend I went to a women's breakfast at my church and the theme was "Be God Strong".  What a wonderful event. First of all, there was food! But more importantly, there were some wonderful speakers and musicians and there was worship and fellowship.  There were over 300 women at this event. If you've never been in a room of 300 Christian women worshipping and praising God; do it. It is powerful!  Being "God Strong" is different than being just strong.  Being " God Strong" is the confidence that you don't have to do or be anything on your own, that you have God "striving ahead of you...right there with you".  He is all the strength you need. "He won't let you down; he won't leave you".  Now that's the kind of strength we all need to strive for.

About 2 weeks ago, I published a post "Get fit...quick!".  I was wondering how everyone was doing?  I'm not really sure if I lost any pounds because I don't step on the scale very often. For me personally, I know how addicting that can be, and I begin to base my self-worth on the number on the scale. Not healthy for me. I did however step on the scale this morning. I have to say I'm not unhappy about the number that I saw. I'm glad I at least have an idea about where I am, and hopefully what direction I need to go.  My main goal is to get fit and healthy.  I also started an exercise and diet routine. I shared with all y'all (hee hee), that my goal was to run at least twice/week and do an exercise circuit at least three times/week.  I also made a conscious effort to cut way back on my sugar intake (another addiction) and joined a sugar detox accountability group.

Well, I think I'm doing alright. I have to say that I changed up the exercise circuit (which I did do last spring) to a "Slim Down Challenge; Three Moves, Three Weeks".  Basically, I am doing 25 push-ups and 100 sit-ups each night for 3 weeks.  In addition, I am still running at least 2 times/week and, I am cutting back on my sugar intake. One of the major changes for me was to cut out the flavored creamer in my coffee in the morning. I have to say that I am not as strict on the diet as some are in the group. "Life is too short to never have a chocolate chip cookie." I actually heard Michelle Duggar from " 19 Kids and Counting" say that on television the other night. That's wisdom!

Click on highlighted link above to see this challenge in more detail.

Comment below and let me know if you've made changes in your life recently. We can encourage each other. I pray that your daily workout contains a good dose of hand raising in worship and deep knee bends in prayer!




Monday, March 23, 2015

Flowers & Stripes

Psalm 103: 15
" The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. "


Life on earth is so fleeting. I'm thinking of the Five for Fighting song "100 Years". I've lived probably more than half of my life already and it seems like only yesterday that I was graduating and marrying and having babies. Now I have 3 children nearly full grown and out of the nest ( of course that leaves 4 to go!).  I can't help but relive precious times of their lives while looking through pictures or finding an old toy or some precious artwork or craft that they so proudly made for me.  We must praise the Lord in these precious moments, forgive one another for those times when we are less than who we ought to be, and live life like we may not have tomorrow with all of those we love. Psalm 103: 1, "Praise the Lord, my soul;  all my inmost being, praise his holy name. "

On Saturday, I went to a Ladies Breakfast at our church.  What a wonderful event. I don't often get out without at least one small member of my family, so just being out of the house with grown women was fabulous!  I actually dressed up a bit.  Even after having snow on Friday, it warmed up to 59 degrees by Saturday afternoon, so of course I pulled out my new shoes.  I also took a bit of a risk (for me) by mixing a bolder striped top with my floral skirt. I added a pretty feminine necklace and I think I pulled it off. Here's some pics of my outfit.

I purchased this necklace at the breakfast.  The women at the church collected jewelry to sell to benefit A21.  A21 is a ministry that helps victims of Human Trafficking.   
Kudos to my favorite 8 year old photographer! (notice the snow in the background). I wish my top didn't look so bunched up on the one side, but you get the idea. I also wore my denim jacket to make it a bit more casual. To dress this look up, you could wear some traditional pumps or flats.  


Please click on the link if you would like more information about A21.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring?

Exodus 3: 5
" Then He said, ' Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground '. "


Where are you spring? Well, I guess officially it's not spring until 6:45pm. I hope by then,at least, it stops snowing!  Not sandal weather here today, that's for sure. Sandals are mentioned at least 22 times in the Bible.  Obviously, given the arid climate, and of course the fact that TOMS and Nike weren't invented yet; you wore sandals or you wore nothing.

This time of year, I'm often reminded of the time when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.  Typically, we remember this event on the Thursday in "Holy Week" ( the week between Palm Sunday and Easter). Jesus washes the feet of his disciples before the "Last Supper". You can find this story in John 13:1-17.  I love Peter's reaction when Jesus first starts to wash his feet. At first he protests, then Jesus explains, " Unless I wash you, you have no part with me".  Peter replies that not only does he want Jesus to wash his feet, but the rest of him, too! You gotta love Peter, thinks first with his heart, not his head. We are told at the end of this story, vs.14 "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet".

 "Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?,  pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant, too" (The Servant Song by Richard Gillard). Lord, I pray that you would give me the grace and humility to serve others as you have served me. Amen.

Now, back to sandals...I bought these beauties yesterday!!!

"Caged Rylee Heel"- Target. They were under $30. You can order them on-line and pick them up in the store to save some extra dough!


I can't wait to style these shoes with some spring and summer outfits, but for today, I'm back wearing flannel and snow boots!

                     Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Now get out there and serve one another!! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

blue and gray

Song of Songs 5: 14
" His arms are rods of gold set with topaz.  His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli."


I don't know why my husband isn't dripping with gemstones... oh well, a girl can dream , right? If you haven't had a chance to read this book of the Bible (aka Song of Solomon), I recommend you do. It's a love poem and it's full of desire and passion. Beautiful imagery about a mans love for his bride, mirroring Christs love for the church. No shades of gray here.

Whew, I may need a cool shower now! On a much lighter note- On Sunday, I wore my new elephant necklace and earrings. They are so cute. I also wore my favorite colors; blue and turquoise. I've shown this top before, but I really think it's a great transitional top. It worked just as well last fall as it will this spring. I know it will be beautiful with some white shorts and capris that I have, add some cute sandals and voila, spring!

Just in case you were wondering, here are my favorite gem and precious stone from the Bible verse above (the lapis lazuli doesn't naturally come in the shape of an elephant.Lol!).
Blue topaz
Image result for lapis lazuli
lapis lazuli












Here's my top and my elephant necklace...

I purchased the necklace and the top at 2 of my favorite local stores.  They have flash sales every week on Facebook, so even if you aren't local you can "shop 'til you drop". I highly recommend that you "like" B. Fabulous and The Pink Silhouette on Facebook.  You can't beat the prices. The also carry Vineyard Vines and Lilly Pulitzer, respectively.