Easy, Yummy, Healthy…

S

 

Ingredients:

(Makes 10)

  • 5 Sheets of Nori (I found these in the asian food section of Walmart, so you can probably find them anywhere!)
  • 1 4 oz salmon filet, cooked and cooled
  • Sriracha (to taste, I used about 2 tsp)
  • 2 tsp Mayo (optional)
  • Veggies of choice (I used alfalfa sprouts)

I almost feel guilty posting this as a recipe.  But if you are anything like me, you get bored with healthy foods and then you become completely uninspired by eating healthy and then you end up eating half a bag of oreos.  (Just me? Oh ok cool.  Ignore this)

Anyway, I went to the grocery store way too hungry and ended up grabbing some nori and salmon.  I just wanted something easy, yummy, healthy, and that didn’t suck.  This was it.

Instructions:

I baked the single salmon filet in the oven with just a pinch of salt.  I then flaked it up and let it cool in the fridge before adding some Sriracha and mayo.  The mayo can totally be taken out, or even subbed for something else like greek yogurt.

I then cut the nori sheets in half, added the sprouts (avocado or cream cheese or cucumber would be equally awesome here!) then topped it with the salmon.

Done!  

So easy.  It totally cured my craving for sushi (yes, I realize it’s not raw fish…but the flavor is the same) and by eliminating the rice this is super low calorie.  I had 5 and was totally satisfied.  It’s a great easy lunch the whip together.  I totally recommend it and am so glad I randomly picked up nori!

Let me know in the comments below if you make these and how you make them your own!  Also, what healthy meals have you been making lately?  I want to cheat off your meal plan!

How a book is ruining my life…

Such a simple task I was given, a fun one even, but I found myself wondering the aisles of CVS with my brain and heart pinging against each other.  Will I ever be the same?  Will I ever be able to go back?  I’m not sure.  I think I’m ruined.  The conundrum that plagued me; buying makeup.  But not just buying everyday makeup.  Buying makeup for girls who have been rescued from sex-trafficking.  What a fun opportunity to get to bless these young women who have endured horrible, inexcusable pain.  So I walked in and my typical cheap, uber money-conscious self walked straight to the dollar shelf.  My hand was practically hovered over a $2 foundation when I heard myself wonder “Would you buy that for myself?”  There are many cheap things that I willingly don on a regular basis.  But foundation is not one of them.  We women know the perils of cheap foundation.  Dry, cake-y, streaky, nightmares upon our skin.  The chance of a breakout alone is not worth the pretty price tag.  The answer was no.  No I wouldn’t wear it.  So why would I so willingly get it for someone that I would consider “less fortunate.”  If the second commandment is “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (Mark 12:31) then why do I willingly jump to the cheap rack?  So that I can get more things and feel better about myself?  I could buy 5o things for $50 or I could buy 12 higher quality items for the same. Why would I pick the former as the best option?

I blame Jen Hatmaker.  Her book “7” has put me to thinking about every move that I make.  I already made the decision not to get pajamas at H&M for these girls.  The idea of buying clothes from a sweatshop for girls who were rescued from similar situations seemed a bit counterintuitive.  How can I justify the celebration of freedom when it another is still in bondage?  Ouch.  So many jabs in the gut over this.  It’s a balance and yet it’s not.  I could go crazy over each purchase I make wondering the ramifications of my decisions.  Or I could just be more conscious about the decisions that I do make.  Sometimes being a good steward doesn’t just mean being a good steward of finances.  Sometimes it means being a good steward of time, relationships, and choices.

The book “7” taught me to be a conscious consumer as well as a conscious Christian.  How am I hurting when I want to help?  How are my decisions effecting others.  What can we all do to love our neighbor in the same way that we love ourselves?

(Side note:  I highly recommend the book “7” by Jen Hatmaker to you.  But be forewarned that you will clean out your closets and inevitably become a crazy person by world’s standards)

Confessions of a Book Nerd…

My name is Bekah and I’m addicted to reading.  I know this is probably a great problem to have, but perhaps it has gotten a little out of hand.  Between the wonderful ebook and audiobook selection at the library (hurray for not having to leave the house) and my constant pillaging through amazon, I have accumulated quite the list lately.

Remember how my goal this year was to read 26 books?  Well I hit 27 books on July 31st.  Yea guys, I’ve ready 27 books so far this year.  For the sake of full disclosure, I have read 24 books since May.  MAY!  I know this is pretty typical of some people, but this is a lot for me!  It’s to the point where I feel weird if I’m not listening to an audiobook while cooking or cleaning…

Anyway, I’m not going to share the full list of 27 books with you.  But I am going to let you know what my top 10 favorites have been!  So here we go.

1.  “Soul Keeping” by John Ortberg

Favorite Quote:  “What matters is not the accomplishments you achieve; what matters is the person you become”

This book guys, it’s amazing.  It was refreshing and challenging in the best possible ways.  John Ortberg wrote one of my all time favorite books “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” and I’ve been a huge fan of his since.  If you realize that the rhythms of your life are becoming taxing to your soul, this book is for you!

2.  “Anything” by Jennie Allen

Favorite Quote: “The idea that we would actually hand it all over to God and say, “Go. Build it. Do whatever you want with all I have” . . . it is terrifying.”

Bonus Quote:  “We move and love and restore not to matter but because we have been moved, loved, and restored.”

I read this book in a whirlwind of 6 hours and it is by far one of my favorite books.  The concept of saying “Ok, God, I will do Anything” is scary and vulnerable in the best possible ways.  Jennie brilliantly tells us what it looks like to live life in light of eternity.  Life is so short in comparison and living in complete abandon is totally worth it.  My favorite part of all of it is that “Anything” looks different for each person.  For some it means “move to Africa” whereas others it could mean moving in to help an aging parent.  But surrender and obedience is the objective.  Surrendering to someone else’s calling is not obedience! Sigh, Just, GAH!  This book is so so good I could not possibly recommend it enough.

3.  “Jesus is_____.”  by Judah Smith

Favorite Quote:  “The greatest hindrance to recieving the grace of God is not their scandalous sins- it’s their empty good deeds.”

I’ve read a LOT of Christian and Theology books in the past 8 years because of school.  If I’m being honest, there is nothing in this book that I would consider new revelation to me or something I had never heard before.  But this is the book that I want to have 10 copies of to give out to people who are new to Jesus and just figuring things out.  It is so concise and Judah Smith is so easy to follow that another title for this book could be “the ABCs of who Jesus is.”  I totally recommend reading it and then giving a copy to everyone you know.

4.  “Dad is Fat” by Jim Gaffigan

Favorite Quote:  “There were times in my life when I had one thing to do all day, but I still couldn’t get to it. “I gotta go to the post office, but I’d probably have to put on pants. And they’re only open till five. Looks like I’m going to have to do that next week.”

This book is hilarious.  I will fully admit that the above quote depicts my life more than I would really care to admit.  This was one of the books I listened to on audiobook and I recommend doing the same.  Jim Gaffigan is just hysterical and I’m not sure I would have gotten the full comedic effect had I tried to read the book instead.  This book is truly so so funny and the audiobook is only 5hours long.  Get it!

5. “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst

Favorite Quote:  “Knowledge is wisdom that comes from acquiring truth. Insight is wisdom that comes from living out the truth we acquire. Discernment is wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit’s reminders of that knowledge and insight.”

I am not the person who has a problem saying “no” to things.  I know a lot of people who overwhelm their schedules with things that suck the life out of them because they have a hard time saying no.  I’m not that person so I really thought this book wasn’t going to be for me.  But it was.  Because sometimes I say no to things that are still good in the fear that it will suck away my soul too.  The balance is knowing when to say yes and when to say no.  This is another easy read and I highly recommend it.

6.  “The Next Generation Leader” by Andy Stanley

Favorite Quote:  “A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets the leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent. Next generation leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside.”

I love Andy Stanley’s leadership podcast and listen to it regularly.  So I knew I needed to read this book and it did not disappoint.  He covers 5 different areas of effective leadership and I found myself going “YES!” over and over.  I’ll definitely be using this as a leadership training tool, a reminder to myself as a leader, and a rubric for leaders over me.

7.  “Garlic and Sapphires” by Ruth Reichl

Favorite Quote:  ““While cooking demands your entire attention, it also rewards you with endlessly sensual pleasures… The seductive softness of chocolate beginning to melt from solid to liquid. The tug of sauce against the spoon when it thickens in the pan, and the lovely lightness of Parmesan drifting from the grater in gossamer flakes. Time slows down in the kitchen, offering up an entire universe of small satisfactions.”

If you know me, you know that the kitchen is my favorite place to be.  I love food and eating and learning about food.  This book was right up my alley!  Ruth Reichl is a former food critic for the NY Times and this book is about that time in her life.  It is such a fun read!  She talks about her different experiences as she dressed in disguise in order to give untainted reviews to the people of New York.  This book is light and fun and will truly make you hungry.

 

8.  “Interrupted” by Jen Hatmaker

Favorite Quote:  “God does not change, but He uses change—to change us. He sends us on journeys that bring us to the end of ourselves. We often feel out of control, yet if we embrace His leading, we may find ourselves on the ride of our lives.”

This book is similar to Jennie Allen’s “Anything” the biggest difference being that Jen Hatmaker tells more about her personal story.  She talks about how different her plans were from Gods and how complete surrender has radically changed her life.  It’s great!  She’s so raw that I felt like listening to a friend talk about her journey.

9.  “Yes, Please!” by Amy Poehler

Favorite Quote:  “That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.”

I love Amy Poehler.  This book is as funny as you would expect it to be.  But I was also pleasantly surprised to see how inspiring it was.  She talks about her work ethic and why women should support each other.  Really great stuff.  I also really enjoyed reading her birthing plan.  That alone is worth getting the book in my opinion.

 

10.  “This Time Together” by Carol Burnett

Favorite Story:  When she almost peed her pants while talking to Marlin Brando on the phone.

I love Carol Burnett.  I blame this on my mother.  She obviously wasn’t really on the TV when I was young, but I was exposed to enough clips of her show to appreciate it.  Of course, I also appreciated her role as Miss Hannigan in the film adaptation of the musical  “Annie”.  This is also one I recommend listening to on Audio book because her stories in her voice just felt like listening to a wise person telling you about their life.  I loved hearing about her first days in Hollywood and her days in New York.  If you’ve ever been a fan of Carol, you will truly adore this book!

 

Tell me, what books have you been reading lately and love?  I’m needing more ideas to feed my reading obsession!

 

Visits with an old friend…

I picked up an old friend for a short visit the other night.  There is just something so comforting about familiarity that makes me smile.  We stayed up late just being with each other, just like old times.  Great friends can do that, pick up where they left off and never skip a beat.  That’s exactly how it was and it was delightful.

We watched Top Chef together and smiled knowing that our time together would come to an end soon.  That’s the worst part about short visits, knowing that they will end.  Knowing that the hurt of separation will be deep, painful and difficult.  But the key is to enjoy the time while it lasts; to bask in each others presence.  To just sit there and know that these moments are precious and times are short.  The key is to not focus on the moment that you say “see you later” but be fully in the now.

The next morning we said our goodbyes and indulged one last time in the moments that make my heart flutter.  It was sad that it was over and it left me feeling weighty, sorrowful, and automatically looking forward to the next time we will meet.  I already look forward to that moment when I can take the warm, fluffy crust and dip it in garlic butter.  When I can enjoy the perfection of melted cheese with salty pepperoni and smokey bacon.  Yes, the other night I caught up with my good friend Pizza Hut Pizza after a multi-month hiatus and 1 month of eating healthy.  The reunion was glorious, albeit very difficult the next day when I felt the need to drink 1 bazillion gallons of water.  But still.  The reunion was sweet and delicious.  I decided at 9pm that I wanted pizza, went and got some and it was one of the best “YOLO” moments in a long time.  I still don’t regret it.

Can you relate?

Do you ever go on health sprees and just need to break it with something utterly terrible for you  before you lose your mind?

Do you reunite with favorite foods the way you would an old friend?  Or is that just me and my stress eating/ binge eating/ food loving problems?

Living Room Remodel Reveal!!

n am terribly good at being extremely hard on myself.

I look around our house that we have been slowly renovating for the past 10 months and all that I see is what we have left to do.  The dining room is still pumpkin orange, the spare rooms need flooring to be laid, my master bathroom needs to be painted and currently also needs a toilet since we have been working on the flooring in there.  Baseboards and doors and doorknobs (oh my!) all need attention.  The list is endless and some (*most*) days the list of what still needs to be done feels insurmountable in a thousand different ways.

It is easy for us to focus on how much further up the mountain we have to go rather than to focus on how far we have already climbed. (This is obviously a metaphor, I don’t do hiking.)

So I decided to take a moment today to show you the before and afters of one of the most “done” rooms in the house.

Living Room Remodel Banner

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot tell you how much this picture helped my self-esteem and the feeling of actually having progress!

Lets take some closer looks, shall we?

Living Room - Before

 

Here’s a reminder of what the Living Room area looked like before we cleaned the tile (gross!!) and with one coat of primer.  Oooohhhh the coats of primer that it has taken to turn this rainbow colored house into a Coastal Themed sanctuary.

Living Room - After

I personally think this is MUCH better!

A couple things to note in this picture…

-Chairs:  These are the Ikea Poang Chairs.  We followed this tutorial to paint them. (they were $100 each when we bought them.)  Brandon was super skeptical when I first said that I wanted to go check them out.  But they are now his favorite place to sit in the house.  They are surprisingly comfortable!

-Rug:  We got at “At Home” (formerly Garden Ridge).  It’s 12×10 which was very difficult to find without having to sacrifice your first born as payment.  I believe we spent ~$400 for this rug which is a BIG WIN in my book.

-Couch and Love Seat:  We searched long, high and low to find white leather couches, and ended up with these.  They are stone grey and I love them!  Jury is still out with Brandon though.  They are Ashley Furniture (Discontinued), and we special ordered them from a place that Brandon found online that felt super ghetto.  Love the couches though and am still just so happy to have places for company to sit! (since we went several months before that was a thing)

-Floating Shelves:  Are the Ikea Lack Shelf.  They are 72 in. long and took FOREVER to level out… but it’s totally worth it!  I spent months agonizing over how to bring height to the room (and even left my Christmas tree in the corner until February) and we LOVE this solution!  At $20 a piece, I highly recommend these!

-Pillows:  These are actually pillow covers that I got from Hobby Lobby!  Every couple weeks they have them half off.  They are great AND machine washable! I have these and these and stuffed them with old pillows that were too ugly to use. (I spent ~$4 each on them)

-Ceiling Fan:  We got the Hampton Bay Escape fan from Home Depot.   We spent $181.00 on it on sale.  More than we would have wanted to spend on a fan, but we decided that it was a statement piece that would help bring some of that coastal/beachy vibe into the room.

I will be doing a upclose and personal Kitchen post at some point, when it’s actually done and I have actually painted all the doors…. but here is a teaser for you!

Living RoomKitchen - Before

(Gosh that red is awful! )

Living RoomKitchen - After

Since the Kitchenette isn’t technically part of the kitchen, I’ll throw in some of those updates.

Curtains:  From Kohls (another discontinued, that’s what happens when you search for bargains!)  They are Eclipse brand.  We really needed something that would keep the heat out (#floridaprobs) and these do a great job!

Chandelier:  This guy we got for a steal at $68 when it was on sale!  I love it and it is SO much better than the last one… which cast an orange shadow through the room every time we turned it on.  No thanks!

 

It’s so much better you guys!  It’s amazing how quickly I forgot how odd the house looked when we first bought it and that it truly is (slowly but surely) becoming our home!

Ok, one last picture!

Full Kitchen Living Room

(I’d like to interrupt this regularly scheduled program to point out that in this picture you can notice that the tile on the right side of the carpet looks different than the tile directly in front of the carpet.  That is because I have spent HOURS refinishing the grout.  It looks SO MUCH BETTER!  I will definitely do a before and after post on that when it’s done because it is the cheapest, most effective update we have done so far!)

Now that I have taken a moment to look back, I am so incredibly happy with the progress we have made!  It’s been a process, a process that I will rejoice heartily when it’s over, but a process none-the-less.

So tell me, have you ever had the problem of looking at how far you have to go instead of taking the time to reflect on how far you have already come?

20 Minute Fish Tacos…

I am widely known by my family and friends as the girl who loves to cook.

An evening over at a friend’s place is my opportunity to get recipes out of my system.  More often than not I come with a back seat full of dishes ranging from tried and true people pleasers to dishes that I’ve just been wanting to try.  I just love to feed people!

One of the most common questions I get from people is “How long did it take you to cook this?”  I think there is a false perception that good food has to be time consuming.  Sure, there are days where I choose to spend hours developing the flavors of a well simmered bolognese sauce, or I decide to make an Indian feast from scratch meaning I spend time whirring together sauce after sauce in my little food processor.  But on a typical weeknight, I rarely spend a lot pulling together a dinner that is still equally delicious.

My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to time just how long it took me to pull together dinner tonight.

From start to plate it took me exactly 20 minutes and 56 seconds (this included unloading and loading the dishwasher so I could clean up faster after dinner!)

Here’s whatcha need to make these super delicious (husband approved) fish tacos!

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos (makes 5 tacos):

Tacos:

  • 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped (you could also use shredded lettuce here too)
  • 1/2 cup tomatos, diced
  • 3 tilapia filets (I use frozen and set them in the fridge the morning that I know I want to make fish)
  • lime juice (about a tablespoon)
  • Tortillas (you can use whatever kind you like, I used low carb wheat tortillas because they net 3g of carbs. Two thumbs up for fiber!)
  • salt & red pepper flakes (to taste)

Super Delicious Sauce:

  • 5 T Sour Cream or plain yogurt (plan on about 1 T per taco)
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 2 – 3 T cilantro, chopped
  • onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt (to taste.  usually just one good shake over the top works well)

Steps:

  1.  Set oven for 350.
  2. Put tilapia filets on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper flakes
  3. Put tilapia in the oven, bake until there is no more pink and the fish flakes apart easily (about 15 minutes)
  4. Chop up cabbage, set aside
  5. Dice tomatos, set aside
  6. Mix up the sour cream, chop and add the cilantro and all the other sauce ingredients.
  7. Decide you have more time to fill until the fish is done and do the dishes (at least this is what I do.)
  8. Warm up tortillas (totally optional, but again, I had time to fill so I warmed them in a skillet)
  9. Pull the tilapia out of the oven and drizzle it with some lime juice.
  10. Flake or cut up the tilapia (I like to flake it because I find this easier.  Do you.  Whatever you like is what you should do.
  11. Put together a taco with cabbage, tilapia, tomatoes and sauce.
  12. Boom.  Done.  Eat.

I LOVE these tacos!  They are super filling, really super easy, and are even on a little bit more of the healthier side.  Win, Win, Win!

Next time you need a quick, delicious meal, give these a try and let me know that you did!

Tell me, what is your go to “I don’t have time to make dinner” food?  Do you love fish tacos as much as I do?  Do you show up to your friends house with 2 sides and a dessert because you are kinda a food nerd?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

Giant Taco Piñata…

Sometimes I get an idea where it’s like an itch…These ideas are typically birthed out of procrastination or denial.  They come from the depths of my inner being that tell me that fun is more important than productivity.

So when it came time for me to work on my list of “things to get done before I have people over for a birthday party” the fun began to win out.  I NEED to finish painting my entryway.  You know, to try to give people a slight glimpse into “we aren’t crazy I promise” since currently our dining room is the first thing people see when they enter….  And the dining room currently has piles of flooring, boxes of ikea cabinet pieces, chandeliers we have taken down, and every tool and screw known to man.  It says “Welcome!  You could possibly die here!”… which is not really what I like to exude to my guests upon arrival to my home.  But it’s my reality right now folks.  This is how we separate the men from the boys.  We bring them into our house and say things like “please keep your shoes on” or “sign this liability waver” and if they say “Ok sweet!” we know that they are true friends.

So instead of ya know, actually doing things to make my house a better party area, I decided to spend time making a better party (because I LOVE a good party with activities and fun and the type of things that make people feel like they are a kid again).  

This Saturday is “Nacho Birthday, Lipsync Battle.”  Yes, it’s going to be epic.  Yes, there are going to be nachos.  Yes, people are coming prepared to battle it out using their favorite song.  Yes, some of my friends are taking this super seriously.  Yes, Brandon and I are doing an 80s song.  No, the videos will not end up on the internet.

But how could I possibly “plus” such a fun, flawless birthday party plan?  By creating a giant taco piñata of course!  So while I should have been doing productive grown-up things.  I sat for a couple hours and created a giant taco piñata!  Why?  Primarily because at this moment of my life I wanted to beat the crap out of something until it gave me candy.  It seems like the best possible way to say goodbye to my 26th year of life and to welcome in all the fun that 27 has to offer.  I’m pretty stoked about it really!

Here is the finished product!

(in the name of full disclosure, I definitely didn’t finish the whole thing because 3 episodes of Scandal later and I was pretty done with the project.)

Giant Taco Piñata

Because We Can…

Ephesians 2:13

Good Friday is such an important, beautiful day.  It’s the day that we humbly reflect on how undeserving we are.  How a loving and magnificent God saw it fit to send His son to die for unworthy people just so that He could dwell with us again.  It was always His intention to know us.  The scarlet thread of God’s love for man is woven throughout the Bible.  It’s the thing.  It’s what the entire Bible is about, a Creator wanting to reconnect with His creation.  That’s what Good Friday represents, the act of being brought near through the blood of Christ.

There are several Scriptures that I like to reflect on on Good Friday.  They remind me of the significance of the sacrifice, the importance of Good Friday to how we worship now.  I just thought I would take you on this journey with me…

Mark 15:37-38

37.  With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.  

38. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

How significant this is!  Christ dying on the cross removed the veil in the temple.  The very thing that kept us from being able to access God directly.  The thing that kept our humanness away from His holiness was removed by the act of the cross.  The temple was full of barriers because sinful people could only get so close to a holy God.

Romans 5:8

While we were sinners Christ died for us.

Sin kept us from having direct access to God.  Everything had to go through sacrifice (more on that in a bit).  We have all sinned, we are all sinners, but Christ died for us anyway.  He knew it was the only way for us to be able to have access to God again.  He knew that dying for us was the only way to remove that barrier.

Exodus 25:8

Then have them make a sanctuary for me and I will dwell among them.

I really encourage you to go read all of Exodus 25-31.  It lays out all the rules and regulations for appropriate sacrifice and the laws for being able to approach God.  It always shakes me.  It always makes me realize the depth of the wall of sin that separated us from God.  It makes the depth of why Jesus had to come that much more real.  He was the only perfect sacrifice. Without Jesus, without the works of the cross, we would not have the relationship with God that we are allowed today.

Hebrews 9:11-12

11. When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.

12.  He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.(Emphasis added by author)

Christ was it.  He was the final sacrifice.  He entered the Holy Place through his blood and gained our redemption.  No more goats, no more lambs, no more sacrifices of gold and silver and fine linen, no more going to God through the high priest.  Jesus came as the high priest so that God would not have to dwell in a tabernacle, he could dwell in us.

Ephesians 2:13

But now in Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

We couldn’t get to God, have eternal life, without the blood of Jesus.  Without this day, Good Friday, without the shedding of blood we wouldn’t be able to have the relationship with Him.  We were far away from God.  So far.  The barrier of sin was so wide there was no way that we could have achieved salvation on our own.  This is why the Gospel is so precious.  The love of God surpassed everything.  He knew we couldn’t do it on our own.  He knew that eternal life was dependent on a final perfect sacrifice.  So that we can be near God again.

Hebrews 4:16

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I want you to join me in reflecting on the sacrifice of Jesus.  Focus on the purpose of the cross.  Worship Him and spend time today because we can.  Because before the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we couldn’t.  Know that the body that was broken for you and the blood that was shed for you is beautiful in that it represents perfect love.  It represents that we can come boldly to the throne where before we could not.

Jesus decided you were worth it.  You were worth the pain.  Having direct access between Creator and creation was worth it.  We were once far away, but we were brought near through the blood of Christ.

Remember… EASTER IS COMING!

The Art of Procrastination…

I did it guys!  I finally did it!  After 9 months of having it, and two months of it sitting in a frame on the floor waiting to be hung, my diploma is finally up.

IMG_2569

Can I just point out how gaudy the size of my Master’s diploma is?  I’m not really sure that is a thing.  Are all Masters diplomas this large, or is mine some sort of mammoth anomaly? This diploma is all “in yo face!” to our undergrad diplomas and I kinda don’t like to attitude it’s putting off.  It’s a little showy if you ask me.  Totally unnecessary really.

Anyway, my point is to not start to give inanimate objects a sense of entitlement, but rather to talk about the significance of this diploma.  This piece of paper means so much to me.  It represents a lot of personal accomplishment in my life.  I personally think that every degree is an accomplishment.  It represents hard work, lots of money, and intention.  I think education is a beautiful privilege.  It’s a privilege I don’t take for granted for a single second.  If you have been able to go though higher education, consider yourselves blessed as many people have not been in a position to further their learning process.

It also represents a very “I can do this” season of my life.  I wasn’t a good student in undergrad.  I never applied myself.  My motto was “Cs get degrees” and as long as I could pass the class, I wouldn’t study at all.  When I decided to quit my job to pursue my Masters back in April of 2013 it felt WEIRD.  It was one of those things I said I would absolutely never do.  Suddenly, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was supposed to do it.  Going back to school was pivotal for me in so many ways.  I learned so much about myself within the process.  I learned that I am a learner, I’m a reader, I’m a writer, I’m a lover of Jesus, I have a purpose.  Getting my Masters grounded me in a time where I didn’t know how to keep my feet planted.  The whole process from start to finish was a time for me to rediscover who I am, find rest, be rejuvenated, and realize that I truly can accomplish anything that God asks me to do as long as I keep Him in it.

This piece of paper also represents provision.  We have 3 pieces of paper on that wall that represents thousands of dollars and we don’t owe a penny in student debt!  I don’t say this to boast, but to talk about how incredibly thankful I am for that fact!  My mom got a job at ORU the day before I graduated from High School.  This coupled with living at home rather than in the dorms allowed me to borrow a minimal amount for students loans compared to many people I know.  Because of our intentional spending habits, Brandon and I were able to pay off those student loans 3 years into marriage.  We also paid for Brandon’s undergrad and my Masters out of pocket.  God has blessed us tremendously in providing us with the right jobs at the right time.  I worked as a Coordinator of Student Services just long enough to save to get my Masters.  Brandon worked hard to keep his 4.0 GPA in order to maintain scholarships, even while working full time and being involved in church AND being a stellar husband.  We knew that not having student debt hold us back from what we wanted to do long term was more important to us than spending on frivolous things in the short term.  So we didn’t eat out, didn’t go to movies in the theatre, only went shopping out of “need” not out of want… the basic things.  I don’t regret it or feel like we missed out on something for a second!

I know that we are blessed, but I don’t think we are special.  We are learning the art of not putting off the things that you know you are supposed to do.  If you are supposed to go back to school, do it!  If you’re supposed to make a big move across the country, do it!  Take the steps today.  Life is too short to procrastinate.  Life is too precious, fun, and waiting for you to live it to procrastinate.  Do the things that help you find who you are and don’t waste your time on the other things.  You’re worth the investment.  Take the leap and do it!

I Took Down My Christmas Tree…

I would hope that through our time together thus far that you have learned that more often than not, I am a HOT MESS!  Like truly.  I have never been the girl that has her act fully together, although I truly like to think that I do.  I am the girl who unknowingly has chocolate frosting smeared down her shirt or shiny McDonald’s hash brown lips.  I would say the best way to characterize someone that is a hot mess would be someone who is going through every day life being awkward without even realizing it.  I am the epitome of a hot mess.

Case in point, I took down my Christmas tree THIS WEEK.  Yes, it was still up.  Yes, I am fully aware that it is February.  And if I’m being honest, really the only reason I took it down is because my mom is visiting and she came for Christmas 2 months ago and I could not bare the laughter that would ensue had my Christmas tree remained in the corner of my living room through the duration of BOTH of her stays.  No no, it had to come down.

The ridicule that comes from being a hot mess is silent.  It’s silent because no one (*cough other than me*) publicizes that they are, in fact, a hot mess.  No one else would tell people that they wake up at 2am, can’t get back to sleep so they stand with the refrigerator door open eating cold risotto from the dish.  These aren’t the things we see when we are scrolling through our instagram feed.  Nope.  No way.  Instead we see the perfectly crafted and photographed day-before picture of plated risotto goodness.  Not the walk-of-shame version of our favorite foods which do, in fact, taste so much better cold straight from the pan at 2 in the morning.

So here’s the point I’m getting at.  I enjoy hot mess stories more than I enjoy the posed stories.  I appreciate the “I rubbed a candle on my wrist because I ran out of perfume” stories.  I relate to the “I used a sharpie as eyeliner today” stories.  Why?  Because my first reaction to these stories is OH THANK GOD I’M NOT ALONE!  Perfectionism is overrated.  I used to strive for perfectionism but now I realize… it’s just not gunna happen.  I am still and will likely forever be the girl with a stain on her shirt and I’m proud to know who I am.