Sunday, April 18, 2010

Food, Friends, Babies & Fun

We have an absolutely amazing weekend! And spent lots of time with that little face...too CUTE!

It is not very often that Allen and I have a weekend with no set plans or my goodness one where where we have no where to go...out of town. We long for weekends with nothing to do. They are just so refreshing and this weekend was just what the doctor ordered. Haha! Not really but boy it sure was a great & relaxing one!

Friday afternoon, AB & I went to his sister's house to watch our niece & nephew, Joe & Ella for the afternoon. We had such a great time! We played inside, played outside, went on a walk & just had good ol' fun. Then Friday night, we met my old college friend Loryn for dinner. We sat outside on the patio, enjoyed the nice weather and live music. I just love Loryn & am so glad that even 5 years after college (eek, we're old, ha) we have continued to keep in touch.

Loryn & I at dinner

AB & I after dinner

Saturday, AB & I lounged around for most of the day. I made breakfast & then took a nap on the couch with the patio door was pouring down rain all morning! We kept the patio door up pretty much all day Saturday & just listened to the rain fall. Not very often do we get a chance to sit back, relax & take in what's around us. It was so nice & relaxing! Saturday afternoon, we ran some errands & AB was so sweet to take me to Hobby Lobby to get some fabric I needed to complete some orders. He really despises HL (well any store for that matter) but he is a sweet one like that :) we also hit up Old Navy! Then Saturday night, I tried out a new recipe from Barefoot Contessa.
We had shrimp & scallops provencal, roasted brussel sprouts, mac n cheese (for AB), a bottle of wine, with strawberry shortcakes for dessert. YUM! After dinner, we watched the end of Overboard (I love that movie!) and the end of Pure Country. Oh how I heart George Strait, King of Country! It was such a great way to end the night.

Strawberry Shortcake!!!

This morning, we had plans to attend church. As our alarm was going off, AB's sister called & asked if we could keep Miss Ella for the day. AB was a bit hesitant (Ella is 5 months old) and I said of course we'd love to keep Ella for the day :) Ella's momma wasn't feeling so well & had a fever so AB got dressed & headed over to pick lil' pumpkin up! was adventurous! You see AB wants a baby so bad. He can't wait to be a daddy! Well, today was a great experience for him. He is realizing now...napping might have to take a back seat while having a baby because well kind of hard when you need to be watching her at all times. Haha! We took her to Tar-jay & through the Whataburger
drive-thru! I managed to get her to take a 2 hour or more nap. AB said to me "I think you were born to be a momma!" ha :) thanks hun! I loooove babies!! And my mom & sister are quiet the baby whispers so I guess I know a little about babies. We also played dress-up (I know our poor daughter...), took pictures, played, cried (Ella - not us), had tummy time & one stinky diaper. Thankfully Nonnie (me) was able to take care of that since Uncle A was not. I'm telling you...we had a great time & AB learned a lot about having a baby in the house. Ha!

Miss her little pants I made :)

Look at that precious little face!!!

Love, love her! And all the PINK!

Since I had such a fun-filled weekend, I have gotten anything done around the house. Looks like it's going to be a busy Monday for me. And tomorrow is my momma's birthday!!! Wish I lived close to her because I'd love to bake her a cake & well just spend her birthday with her.

Oh life is so rough at Nonnie's & Uncle Allen's...haha, I love it!

Well...dinner won't cook itself so I better get going. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!!! I can't believe it is the middle to end of goodness, time is flying!

Have a fabulous week! Much Love!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In Due Time...

Warning: this is a rather lengthy post & one that you might call "deep!" But it is as real as it gets for me...

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."
1 Peter 5:6

So I will admit, I am probably my own worst critic. I guess I have to also admit I can tend to be a cynical person. I realize I have lots to learn about myself but lately I have been learning a lot. Some good, some not so good.

You see, the thing is I tend to allow myself get caught up in my struggles, in the things that are going wrong - instead of what's is going right. I tend to see myself as unworthy, hopeless, and undeserving. But the truth of the matter is none of those things are true. So why do I struggle so much with this issue?

If I have learned anything in all my struggles & suffering during the past 9 months, it is that God's love will never fail me. Even when I turn away.

It is so often that I ask myself for answers and it is so often He answers me. Maybe not the way I was expecting or maybe in not the timing I was hoping. But the beautiful thing about all of this & that is that it has allowed me to really dig into His word.

You see I was baptized when I was in the 9th grade. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. I remember the alter call. I remember feeling so vulnerable, feeling so ashamed, and feeling so broken. But what I remember most was the feeling of grace and mercy washing over me & my sins.

I knew I was "his called, chosen, & faithful one."

I think I had a preconceived notion, that that meant I was "exempt" from trials & tribulations. Or more I am just a naive person. I have lived a rather charmed life. Even as a child and I know that is more than most people can say. So now that I am experiencing "life" it is definitely an eye opener to knowing that life is not a bowl full of cherries.

Disappointment is hard for me. I despise disappointment. Just ask AB ;) But yet I often hold on & linger to the disappointments of life. AB often calls me "rain cloud" and it is true. I'd rather relish in my sorrow, than rejoice in my blessings. I think some of it is human nature and some of it is simply the feeling of unworthiness.

So if I know I was "his called, chosen, & faithful one" - why would I feel like this, you ask or really I ask myself?

In doing Beth Moore's Revelation Bible study (which I HIGHLY recommend) - God has revealed himself in so many ways, that I can't even keep track. Lately, I have been blatantly asking him to "reveal himself to me...", "show me what is you are trying to teach me..." let me just say be careful what you wish or ask for! (I actually wrote another post about this last week but haven't had the guts to post it.)

Not only has He revealed himself but I have learned more things about myself, about the love of Jesus, and just about the Bible in general. There are so many magnificent things about God's love that just amazes me. I literately am in awe of Him! I am also more in love with Him, than ever before. In the beginning Beth talks
about the church (which sister, we ARE the church - you & i) has forsaken their first love. (Revelation 2:4) I think it happens and we don't even realize it.

The most beautiful thing about our struggles is we know in due time, he will lift us up. He will lift us up out of that pit. You see, how can we be over-comers if we have nothing to overcome. God created us in his image and he created us to be over-comers. To conquer! Even in death, we overcome! And he never said it would be easy. AB so often tells me "if it were easy, everyone would be doing it..." and I think this is so true about life. Life is straight up hard. Life is cruel. I know I have talked about that before. But sister girl...this life is NOT forever! Thank you Jesus! What is forever is our eternal life with our King of Kings, Lord of Lords.

While I often get caught up in my selfish needs & wants of this world which tell me I am "unworthy". I am also getting caught up more & more in the miraculous love of Jesus, which tell me I am more worthy than ever! I have had to surrender myself all over again as if I was sitting in the pew the day I accepted him in my heart. Over ten years ago.

I realize now I can't really truly understand the depths and power of his love without having to walk through the valleys. Jesus also walked through a dark time, right before he would die for me, for my sins! My sufferings will never compare to the suffering he faced the day he was nailed to the cross.

My mom told me back in November on my birthday that she wishes I would see myself the way Christ sees me. The way he sees my heart. After telling her some of things I have learned and the way I view things differently. Like through my experiences, I have a new found compassion for the homeless. Jesus would often fellowship with the least likely of people. The most of broken spirits and the most humble of people. Mom said something to me that I often repeat to myself "looks like it is good to be in the valley..." and you know she is so right.

This morning, I was reading in 1 Peter and God opened my eyes up to so many things. I realize this post is rather long but I just can't leave this part out (I don't want to forget any of what I'm learning). In 1 Peter, the apostle Peter offers hope and encouragement to suffering Christians. The faith and hope Peter writes about amazes me. Mostly because he is writing during the great persecution under Nero and Peter is executed during this time. How many of us can say we would boldly stand up for Jesus, even if it meant our own life would be taken. Essentially in 1 Peter 1, Peter says that yes, you will "suffer grief of all kinds of trials...and these have come so that your faith - of greater wroth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory & honor..." (read 1 Peter 1:6-9). In the footnotes, it says "We must accept trials as part of the refining process that burns away impurities and prepares us to meet Christ. Trials teach us patience and help us grow to be the kind of people God wants."

Can I get an amen?!?! This is why I am so in awe of Him. He never ceases to amaze me. To show me the why's of life. To assure me, all of this is part of his perfect plan. I love, love, love it!

I want to soak up every moment that God reveals himself to me. Every moment he showers his grace & mercy on me. For the first time in a long time, my spirit is filled with his heavenly spirit. This girl feels the holy spirit inside her again. This girl feels a love that she knows is only from Jesus. This girl knows that there is none like Jesus.

I know I will experience more struggles throughout this life and I know they will be struggles of a different kind. But I also know that in due glories & riches will be heaven, not in this world or on this earth.

I also know that my struggles are a part of my story and testimony. My song that one day will be sang in heaven. And I want to it be a sweet, sweet whatever this life may bring me, I pray through it all, it only brings Him glory!

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

If you are going through struggles in your life and feel hopeless, please know there is hope. I will soon post about my struggle with depression. Also, (I normally would never do this on here but I feel led to do it) if you have never asked Jesus to be ruler over your life and would like to, I would love to prayer with you! I never want anyone to miss out on the love of Jesus.

Thank you Lord Jesus for a peace without understanding, a peace only you can give. Thank you for suffering on the cross so that I may have eternal life...a life without suffering, without sadness, without darkness. Thank you for accepting me time and time again, even when I doubt or feel unworthy - when truthfully because I am yours, I am worthy! You created me and made me in your image and I know you, God, makes no mistakes!

"They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers." Revelation 17:14

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 5:3-5

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Game of Life

Ever feel like giving up?!

Well, that is exactly how I feel today...

Life can be so cruel at times...

As well as so unfair...

And at times so unpleasant...

This is my life at the moment.

Just when I feel like I'm coming up to the mountain top...

The Game of Life tells me otherwise.

I am so tired...



& numb.

I wish I had a magical closet "wardrobe" like Chronicles of Narina to escape too.

I keep telling myself "this too shall pass..." but then again this isn't The Game of Life.

This is MY life. Real life.

And I am not a very good player.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rise & Shine

So this morning I woke up singing this...takes me way back! Way back to the days of children's church & Sunday school. Come on you know you wanna sing along and maybe even do the hand motions - HA!

Rise & shine & give God the glory, glory!

Floody, it! :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cheese Stuffed Shells

Here is one of the new recipes, we tried at our house last week. It was easy & delicious! It might even be kid-friendly but I am not 100% on that since we don't have any little ones to test that theory. And it made plenty for left-overs, always a plus!

Cheese Stuffed Shells
  • 12 ounces, weight Box Jumbo Shells Pasta
  • 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Pepper
  • 1 cup Cottage Cheese (or Ricotta)
  • 1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • ¼ cups Parmesan
  • 10 ounces, weight Package Frozen Chopped Spinach, Drained (thawed)
  • 1 jar Spaghetti Sauce (14 Ounce)

Preparation Instructions

Cook and drain pasta. Rinse with cold water.

Mix cream cheese and eggs; then add salt, pepper, ricotta cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan. Fold in spinach. **I added Italian seasonings in at this point too!

Put a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Fill shells with 2 Tablespoons (or just fill with your hands like I did) of the cheese mixture. Place the filled shells in pan. Pour the rest of the spaghetti sauce over the shells. Sprinkle with additional mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

I found THIS recipe on Tasty Kitchen. If you have never been to Tasty Kitchen - please bookmark it & check it out often. A great variety of recipes and you can also find Pioneer Women's recipes - which are normally to die for! I made a 9x13 pan and still had extra shells left over. I used all of the filling but not all of the shells. I also used ricotta cheese (a 15 oz container) in mine, instead of the cottage cheese. It's a texture thing for me. I even used fat-free cream cheese & ricotta cheese and the taste was still great! We really enjoyed this meal & I plan to throw this recipe into my "go-to recipe file." Hope it's one you will also try and like!