{INSTA-LOVE}

Oh, Friday.  I’m so happy you are here.

We’ve been having some good times around these parts.

Here’s a sneak peek into our daily, via the lens of instagram.

1/2:  This quote and these children.  I pray that I will always treat them as “the most important work”.

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3/4: Superhero birthday party for the cousin and some time for mama to relax and be filled up with good wisdom and delicious lemon bread.

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5/6: Another wonderfully inspiring and wise book (fiction this time) and my girls wearing their mama’s old rompers.

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7/8: Hiking and exploring are the way to this little one’s heart.  I love her sense of adventure!

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9/10: Fingers drawing “A’s” in the sand and toes in the wildflower patch.  Pretty much perfect if you ask me.

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11/12:  An impromptu girls night at the Drive-In to see Cinderella.  I even drove the ‘stang.  I felt so cool. Husband promised me a rose garden for my birthday last year, and we started planting it.  I’m in love!

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13/14: I finally purchased a new (working) printer and I have been printing every free printable I can get my hands on!  Also, this verse.  It can sustain me on the toughest days because He can sustain me.

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15/16: It was ridiculously hot yesterday.  At least for March.  So shades were a must, obviously. The good thing about warm days is warm evenings and mornings and adorable bed-headed babes in shorty pajamas.

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Well, the littlest one has not taken a single nap today.  Not one.  So, I’m off to entertain her and feed her and hopefully accomplish something!

Have a marvelous weekend.  Any fun plans?  We are installing new windows and I’m thrilled! Home ownership sure changes the things one gets excited about!

{Cast Your Cares}

Life is full of cares isn’t it.

Great and small they crop up.

Daily cares.  Monumental life decisions or trials.

Thankfully, we have One who cares for our cares, however great or little they may be.

I find myself at a time where many cares threaten to burden me down.

They range from trivial to serious, but they all threaten to steal my joy and my rest.

So, I rest in the care of God and trust that He will sustain me.

We have new windows to install and numerous home and yard projects that we never seem to find time for.

We fear that should we conceive again, we may lose another child.

We have two cars with problems that need to be addressed, but little time or money to fix them.

We wonder about our future and our finances.

We have parties to plan, events to coordinate, weddings to travel to and attend.

We have side jobs looming and taking up much of our time.

But, you know what?  We have God and we have His promises!

Rest in that today, no matter your cares. DON’T BE SHAKEN.

castyourcares

{In Green Pastures}

My daughter and I are memorizing Psalm 23 together.  Well, truly, I wanted her to memorize it and I am re-learning it along the way.  I’ve always loved that Psalm.  Probably all of the allusions to nature.

“He make me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters.”

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I’ve been thinking about the “green pastures” part and I had a sort of revelation.

Nothing monumental and something I should have noticed long, long ago.

You see, all my life I have dreamed of living somewhere beautiful. I grew up amidst mountains and redwoods and I traveled to many places with epic views and scenery beyond compare.

I always said to anyone within earshot, “Imagine waking up to that view every day.  Imagine living here!”

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Skip forward to living in a coastal town in central California and I thought those dreams were gone forever.  I would have to be satisfied with this place and content to visit other places.  I have been praying for “contentment in spite of” the views out my windows.

Now, this is ridiculous, because these hills are literally right out my windows.  One from my bedroom window and one from my daughters’.  They are obscured slightly by houses and trees, but they are there.  Oh, and a one minute drive and short uphill walk brought us to these incredibly vistas.

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God literally answered my prayer of having a beautiful view out of my window, but I had failed to notice it because it wasn’t the sort of view I expected.  I dreamt of glacial peaks and forrest and meadows of wildflowers. I’ve always been deeply impacted by rugged terrain and beautiful scenery.

Perhaps, God answered my prayer without giving me my ultimate dream because I need to have a longing.  I need to be unsatisfied by this world at times in order that I might hunger for another world, a better world that I can not have in life.

Perhaps.

For now.  I will rejoice and praise God for this answered prayer.  I will try, try, try to stop lamenting what I do not have and rejoice in what I do. I will “lie down in [these] green pastures”.

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What is your ideal view? Mountains?  Beaches? I’m a mountains and rivers girl, all the way.

{Restless}

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Today is one of those days when the world seems alive.

It’s incredibly warm and a breeze is blowing.  The green grass on the hills seems to radiate its brilliance.

I watched baby horses and their mamas run and nuzzle on the hillside as I drove home from some park and lunch time with the girls and the hubby.

It was mesmerizing.  Those moments fill me up. Just ask my husband.  He knows the power that places of beauty have over me.  He’s heard me describe in detail the hues of an alpine lake or babble on incessantly about the many places I’d love to see.

I guess I was made to live outdoors, to live in an era where horseback riding was a daily thing, or to live out a Lucy Maud Montgomery novel among tall trees, wildflowers, and epic vistas. I even have a Pinterest board solely dedicated to beautiful places.

Moments and feelings like these revitalize me and energize me.

However, they also spark a flame.  It’s that restless flame that creeps up over and over.  The one that urges me to plan vacations.  The one that inspires me to head out to the beach or up a mountain.  It’s a good spark, but the fire can also be blown other ways by the wind.

It can be blown in the direction of restlessness and discontent.  A longing to live a life I am not living.  A desire for far off places that are out of reach.

So, I revel in the moments and breathe in the freedom I sense as I watch those horses run.  I dream of the beautiful places I have been and I thank God.  I savor the moment and the memories and cling to a hope for the future.

Our God is, after all, an awesome God. He made this beautiful earth and made in it reminders of himself and his awesome power.  I do not want to hold beautiful places and adventures higher than I hold my Lord.  I don’t want my joy focused more on those moments than on Him.

After all, those moments and those places?  They are fleeting.  They will pass away.  He never will.

“Our hearts are restless, until they rest in you.”

This phrase has a place on our wall for the year.  I definitely need the reminder. Do you?

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{How the Pioneer Woman Changed my Outlook on Cooking}

Cooking.

What comes to mind when you think of it?

Love? Hate?  Meh?

I don’t know that I really had a strong feeling other than feeling strongly that it was my duty to take care of meals and having a desire to do so and to do so well.

So, I wouldn’t say I ever loved cooking, but I was passionate about it in some ways.

Due to our financial situation I had been really trying to cook inexpensive meals.  Due to my busyness as a mama to two little ones just 19 months apart and as a work-at-home mama with three online jobs, I looked for recipes with the titles, “quick” and “easy”.

Many of these meals were delicious.  Some were just ok. Others I won’t be making again. My husband rarely complains, unless I really prod him for his opinion.  He’s awesome like that.  He’ll eat whatever is placed before him.

However, just because he doesn’t ask for more does not mean he doesn’t deserve more.

Here’s where The Pioneer Woman came in.

I love her. Her cooking show became available on Netflix and I was all over it.  My husband, too, became engrossed and I soon wasn’t able to watch an episode without him.

I made a few of the meals and they were delish, of course.  Hubby and I even made one of the desserts together for my sis-in-law’s birthday.

But, I’ll tell you what.  It wasn’t merely the tantalizing meals that inspired me.  It was a few other things entirely.

First, her attitude.  Her joy in cooking.  her delight in providing meals for her husband and children, extended family, ranch hands, friends. It was so evident.  I know it is a show, but I feel like many cooking shows focus on ingredients and the joy of the food itself.  However, Ree focused on the people she was feeding: what they liked, their favorites, how to make it special for them.

Truly, it inspired me.

Then, I considered this.  I thought about the fact that every time her husband walks into their kitchen for a meal, he knows the food will be good.  He knows it will be hearty.  He knows it will be to his liking.  I began thinking what a blessing that is to him.  He works hard all day and then can look forward to a delicious, well-thought-out, purposeful meal that is designed to please him.  Wow! The same goes for her children.  They know what they will find at the dinner table each evening.  No doubt, they want to come home for meals!

It reminds me of Proverbs 31: 11 ” The heart of her husband safely trusts her, so he will have no lack of gain.”

He trusts her to feed him and to consider him when menu planning and cooking.

Also, I considered how all this must make Ree herself feel.  To know your husband loves your cooking.  To know he enjoys the meals you make him.  To feel the appreciation and the pride that you were able to care for your loved ones in this simple and necessary way.  How inspiring! How energizing!

Finally, I took note of my husband’s reactions to the meals on the show.  His evident desire to eat something similar to what he was seeing.  If that’s not motivating, I don’t know what is?!

So, I renewed my cooking with new purpose.  I decided I would be willing to spend a little extra money on food in order to make sure hubby was getting meals he really enjoyed and wanted. Think, meat.  Then, I chose to not focus solely on “quick” and “easy”, but on quality as well.

In Proverbs 31: 14 we are told She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.”

She puts forth extra effort, not merely what is required.

Thankfully, many of The Pioneer Woman’s meals are fairly simple.  Just because something has a lot of steps or ingredients does not mean it is hard.   In addition, we still have “easy” nights of baked potatoes, or grilled cheese with tomato soup, or tostadas.  They are the exception, however, not the rule.

My husband has been praising my cooking more and more and he gets excited about certain meals.  If I make homemade bread then I am placed on a pedestal by him.  How can I deny him that joy simply because it is inconvenient for me?  I can’t and I shouldn’t.

I always tell him I am not a good cook, I just care and can read recipes! It’s so true.  You don’t have to be naturally good at it.  You don’t have to even like the act of cooking.  But, if you love your man and if you can read, you can change your outlook on cooking.

After all, Colossians 3:23 tells us, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”  

So cook as unto the Lord and see how you are blessed and your family is blessed as well.

Maybe you like healthy meals and less meat and even though your husband doesn’t complain, you know her prefers meat and potatoes.

Maybe he has a favorite meal that takes a long time to make.

I’m not sure of your circumstance, but I am sure that your husband will appreciate your efforts, even if he only shows it by licking his plate.

Don’t know where to start?  Here’s a simple step:

When you menu plan this week, ask your husband for two meal suggestions (anything he wants).  Then, go from there.

To help you out, here are a few favorite recent recipes:

No-knead Bread

Lemon Bread

Perfect Pot Roast

One Pan Quinoa Chili

 

Enjoy!

 

{He is Able}

In this season of life, there are many unknowns and many questions.

Sometimes I wonder how on earth various difficulties will be overcome.

The not knowing can be stressful for a planner like me.  The worry can wriggle in the back of my mind and color all I do with a tinge of anxiety.

It’s not a good feeling.

But, all those questions?  All those mountains that seem insurmountable?  They are nothing in light of the power of my God.

And so.  I trust.  I sink into His promises with relief and let the worry and the anxiety and the stress slip quietly away as I am covered by His truth.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. 

Ephesians 3:20 – 21

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{insta-love}

It has been an interesting week.  I haven’t been at my best with my attitude and different worries have been plaguing me.

I feel drained and there is just SO MUCH going on these days between my online teaching, planning events, child rearing, and all the rest.  I need to just take a deep breath and LET GOD.

But, there is always always so much good, which is why I love instagram.  It highlights that good and reminds me how marvelous this life is that God has granted me.

We had lots and lots of outdoor time: playing with the water table, hiking, visiting the park, going on walks.  I may miss having “Real” weather, but sometimes sunshine in winter is nice.

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My level of busy right now is crazy, but I found a VERY easy bread recipe (link HERE).  Hubby loves him some bread, so I made a loaf.  It’s so pretty.  My toddler doesn’t nap (but needs it) and that makes many of our afternoons rough. She miraculously napped the other day and then, of course, her sister did not.  So, I snuggled her on the couch and read her books rather than lamenting my unfortunate fate.

 

 

 

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It actually rained a bit over the weekend, so we built a small fort and the girls basically lived in it and it was adorable. Also, during her quiet time, the toddler literally “read” this many books.  I kid you not.  She looked through each and every one.  She is her mother’s daughter.

 

 

 

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Today is Friday and my parents are coming into town.  I am looking forward to some family time and celebrating my nephew’s 5th birthday. 5!  How that happened I have no idea!

 

How was your week?  Overwhelming, idyllic?  However it was, give it to Christ. It’s easier that way.  Promise.