Monday, September 30, 2013

On Wisdom And An Invitation For An October Journey

My husband and I talk a lot.  One thing that has been on our hearts lately is a desire to see people, both young people and adults, seek truth and wisdom over empty validation.  My conversations with my friend Allyson have often come back to this same passion.  A passion to see people seek wisdom from God's Word, not the earthly wisdom and advice that leaves them in the same cycles.

A piece of advice I was given many times growing up was to read the book of Proverbs regularly to gain God's wisdom for daily living.  Because it has 31 chapters, it is a perfect "one chapter a day for a month" read.  

Being that October has 31 days, I want to encourage you to try reading and meditating on a chapter of Proverbs a day starting tomorrow!  You will be amazed at the wisdom and insight you will gain from spending time in God's Word.  It sometimes seems "easier" to look to the world for advice or quick fixes, but the results are rarely easy. Doing things God's way can be challenging and seem the harder way, but in the end there is great reward and blessing.  As I have said many times, God's ways work!!!  Learn His ways, and do them!!  You will be astounded at what He will do in your life!

I will be reading Proverbs with you, and trying to update regularly with highlights from what I'm learning or being reminded of.  Let's spend this month together seeking truth and wisdom.

Leaving you with the purpose of Proverbs...

Proverbs 1:2-7 (NLT)

Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.

Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.

These proverbs will give insight to the simple, 
knowledge and discernment to the young.

Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance 
by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friday Nights Around These Here Parts

A few weeks ago, I discovered a new Friday night hangout.  If you are ever looking for me on a Friday night and can't find me, just head over to the local Cracker Barrel.  I will be there with all the senior citizens, enjoying the Friday Fish Fry.  Because I am not exaggerating, that was the best fried catfish I have ever tasted.  I doused it in hot sauce (a favorite so far this pregnancy), ate it with a side of grits, savored every single bite, and seriously considered coming back every Friday for more.  So far it hasn't worked out that way but one day, I will be back!

Jimmy was out of town that particular Friday evening on a Men's Snorkeling Trip/Retreat in the Keys that he had planned.  I had worked all day and taken Madi to tumbling class after school and knew there was no way I was cooking.  My parents and uncle ended up meeting us for dinner, and after our feast the kids and I went home and had a family room campout!  I had decorated for fall that week and they had both mentioned wanting to sleep by the new decorations.  They were thrilled when I pulled out some mattresses and blankets and let them fall asleep on the family room floor watching "I Love Lucy" by the glow of candlelight!  Even though I didn't sleep too well on the couch, it sure was cozy and a fun memory made.

Last Friday night, some of our best friends in the world came into town and spent one night with us.  What a great time we had!

I have known Allyson since I was about three or four years old and from pigtails to church camp to marriage, motherhood, and ministry we have been dear friends.  We met Dave during our college years.  He and Jimmy interned together back then, and were on staff together for several years.  We have definitely been through many seasons of life together.  They have four boys, and our kids had an absolute blast playing together!  They swam and played games like Apples to Apples and made their own movies...the last time they were all together Trevor was a baby.  I knew they would enjoy each other and oh, how they did!  It was a short but blessed visit.  I can't wait until the next one!

Last night we got to share a fun dinner in the home of some friends with their beautiful new grandbaby.  Madi had been dying to hold this little girl, and finally got her chance! She was so excited!  Trevor held her too - it was his first time holding a baby, and boy was he taken with her.  He nuzzled her little face and couldn't get over how soft she was.  It gave me a sweet glimpse of what is to come, Lord willing.  I pray constantly over this baby growing inside of me, and the transition we will all be making as we welcome a newborn into our home again!

These have been our Friday nights.  Food, family, friends, fellowship, fall.

I am thankful.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Quick And Easy, Sweet and Salty Fall Treats!

Now that it's officially autumn, I had to take a few minutes to share with you a super easy fall treat I made the other day.  I know there are quite a few versions of these salty/sweet combinations out there, but for this seasonal version you need a bag of pretzel snaps, a bag of Hershey's Kisses, and some good, old-fashioned candy corn!

Heat your oven to 170 (this was the lowest setting on my oven).  Arrange the pretzel snaps on a baking sheet and place a Hershey's Kiss on top of each pretzel.  Bake in oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the kiss is nice and soft.

Take out of oven and press a piece of candy corn onto each chocolate kiss.

Let cool on plate then enjoy!  

The day I made these I also baked my favorite pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and with some loaf tins and fabric scraps made a bunch of treat baskets to deliver to friends and teachers.  There is something special about receiving a homemade gift, and it's also so much fun to give a homemade treat!  My kids were excited to help hand these out!

Autumn blessings to you and yours!  Soak up the celebration of this beautiful season!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Summer Reflections

As we approach my very favorite season (three cheers for fall!), I wanted to take a minute to reflect on our summer, especially since I didn't really blog the past few months.  When I think about this past summer, I have to give thanks to God for blessing us with some amazingly fun, quality family time.  This really was a special summer!

Our summer fun really started on Memorial Day weekend.  Thanks to dear friends with amazing discounts, we completely shocked the kids and had a two night "staycation" at a Disney hotel.  Jimmy and I are both really into surprises, so the kids had absolutely no idea this was happening.  We actually got them ready for school that Friday then drove right past the school, much to their confusion.  We made it about halfway to the parks before we told them we were going to spend the day at Hollywood Studios instead of school.  There was lots of squealing - but not as much as when we "happened" to bump into some of our best friends at the park...and asked the kids if they'd all like to stay together at a Disney hotel that night...then went around the corner and there were our dear friends from Maryland, hiding in front of Pizza Planet! Honestly, that weekend goes down as one of the best times we've had as a family, and we were extra blessed to spend it in the company of dear friends.  Surprises galore, hours at the pool, roasting marshmallows in the evening, movies on the lawn at night, and Magic Kingdom happiness...I will cherish that weekend forever!

We were also blessed by more dear friends with the use of a gorgeous condo for a week for another "staycation."  Jimmy and I spent the first few nights alone as an early anniversary getaway, then the kids joined us.  The place was gorgeous, and it was a week of date nights, amazing food, games around the table, quiet mornings on the balcony, and cooling off at the pool and water parks.  I tell you, God truly gives abundantly more than we could ever ask or think!  It was a week of laughter and priceless quality time.

I turned 34 this year, and had an exquisite birthday week with amazing food and unique celebrations!

Homemade macadamia nut ice cream at Bern's Steakhouse...can't even describe!!

This birthday lunch shared with friends at the Animal Kingdom Lodge was a one-of-a-kind experience!

On our anniversary, we were able to eat at a favorite restaurant - Ohana, at The Polynesian.  What at treat!

Camp was amazing as usual this summer, with one of our dearest friends as the speaker and a theme I loved - Rooted.  Dave and Jimmy encouraged and challenged the students to become rooted in God's Word and in their faith.  It was a fun, adventurous, spiritually uplifting time in the mountains.

July blessed us with a visit from my brother and his family.  The kids so enjoyed their cousin time, and my parents loved having all their grands together.  They blessed us with two nights all together on beautiful Clearwater Beach.  Such a gorgeous place!

There were also a lot of ordinary days spent at home and simple summer pleasures - summer reading, cooking, softball games, celebrating birthdays, and just living at a slower pace.

I must say the biggest thing that happened this summer was...we found out we are having another baby!!!  The news took us by total surprise, but we are so excited. Life is such a sacred gift from God, and we feel blessed that He is at work forming new life and adding to our family.  I have spent much time covering this growing little life in prayer, and praying that God will help give us the wisdom, strength, and energy we need to raise another child in His love and grace.  It's something to be starting all over - will write more on that I'm sure - but I feel abundantly blessed.  

God, You were so good to us this summer.  Thank You for the time spent, memories made, gifts given.  Thank You for new life and for being all we need.  Thank You now for fall and all the goodness and coziness it promises.  Oh, my favorite time of year is upon us!  I am so excited! May we honor You in this and every season.  That is truly the prayer of my heart.