I’ve basically grown up in the kitchen…
- My parents have pictures of me in a car seat on the counter playing with a ball of cookie dough while Mom makes Christmas cookies.
- I have very fond memories of baking a cherry pie and cinnamon rolls with my Great-Grandma.
- There have been a couple of times in recent years where I’ve had the privilege of frying liver and onions with my Grandma.
- For years I’ve watched and helped my Dad and siblings cook the Thanksgiving turkey.
- I’ve spent pretty much every Christmas making Christmas cookies with my Mom and siblings.
- I love the Harvest time of the year. It reminds me of canning together as a family. We’ve made all sorts of yummy things: Salsa, peaches, apple butter, pear sauce, etc.
- From an early age we were given the option on our birthdays to either cook a dinner at home or go out to a restaurant of our choosing for dinner. I spent many years with my Dad making some sort of Italian carb something or other at home.
The way that I learned to cook was simple—watching and learning from those around me.
This is just one area in life of where those around me have been examples of how to live life here on this earth. But, we have an even better example: that of Jesus Christ.
“…Leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.” ~1 Peter 1:24
While on this earth He showed us how to live a life that was pleasing to God. He showed us how to love all people—even those who were different from us. Instead of looking to those around us as examples of how to live a godly life we should be looking at God Himself.
Until next time,
At church the past couple of weeks we have been discussing our influence on others. About how we have an influence on others whether we know it or not and what type of influence we are—what type of influence we should be as followers of Jesus.
I think that in today’s culture it is all too easy to get caught up in the hubbub of it all that we forget our true calling as Christians.
“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
We as Christians are called to love. Above all else we are told to love God and love others. One of the reasons that Jesus came to earth was to be our example—to show us the way to live a life pleasing to God (John 13:15).
I think that sometimes we can get so caught up in what we want and how we see things that we forget about what God wants and what God sees.
God doesn’t care about skin color or political party affiliation. He cares about people.
- God created ALL MANKIND (Genesis 1:26-27).
- Jesus died for ALL MANKIND (2 Corinthians 5:15a).
- Jesus’s resurrection is for ALL MANKIND (1 Corinthians 15:22).
- God wants all ALL MANKIND to have eternal life with Him (2 Peter 3:9).
We are all the same. We’re all humans living in a world corrupted with sin. And we all sin—no man is better than another (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8). And we all need Jesus because without Him we have no hope—He is the ONLY way to Heaven (John 14:6). We are all His Sons and daughters (Galatians 3:26). We are all part of HIS FAMILY. And in His eyes there are no divides (Galatians 3:23).
He has graciously gifted us with the talents that He wants us to have and placed us just where He wants us in His body (Romans 12:6a, 1 Corinthians 12:18). It is not our job to be jealous of others or to judge them. It is our job to love God, love others, and use what He has given us to the best our ability—working for God and not man (Ephesians 6:7b).
“Jesus love the little children,
All the children of the world,
Red and yellow, black, and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world”
We are called to do the same…
Until next time,
Hey everybody! It’s Friday–That means it’s time to think back over our week and think of a few blessings. I’m sharing mine below and would love if you would leave yours in the comments below!
1) FALL IS HERE!
Actually it’s here officially at 4:02 pm, but I’m planning on celebrating all day long! The funny thing is the weather hasn’t gotten the memo that it’s Fall yet. Here in Ohio it’s forecasted to be in the mid 80’s for the next week. :/ But, we’re just gonna embrace it and be thankful for it–the last little bit of Summer weather. How do you plan on celebrating the arrival of Fall? One way you can celebrate is by visiting my shop here and purchasing a fall product to use everyday! 🙂
2) Celebrating my 21st Birthday with family
I am very thankful that I was able to celebrate my 21st birthday with family. On my actual birthday I just celebrated with my immediate family. On Wednesday I had a sudden surprise enter the kitchen…
I was sitting at the kitchen table waiting on the oven to preheat and cook lunch. While I was waiting I scrolled through Facebook and was watching a business related video with my back facing the driveway when Mom walked past. I seriously thought nothing of this. Then there was this noise—still didn’t think it was any big deal UNTIL I looked up and my Grandparents were suddenly standing there! They had decided late Tuesday night to come down and surprise me for my birthday. I’m still super stunned that I had no idea what was going on and didn’t hear the car door… We visited for a few hours and then we went to Cracker Barrel and had dinner! Grandma even told the waitress that it was my birthday so she brought me a free ice cream sundae (which was really good, by the way)! 🙂
3) Golden Hour Photography
This morning while Trinity was eating breakfast I decided to run outside for a few minutes and get a couple of pictures. I had heard other photographers talk about the “golden hour” which is that little bit of time right after sunrise and right before sunset when the light is at it’s best. I was pleasantly surprised by how soft the light was and just how easy it was to get pretty pictures. I didn’t stay out there long but here’s a couple of my favorite pictures.
Some wild mushrooms just off the deck…
I absolutely LOVE this lighting… 🙂
What are some of the blessings that you have noticed in your life this past week? I’d love for you to share them in the comments below! 🙂 Have a great weekend!
Until next time,
“From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.” ~John 1:16
Something that I’ve come to realize is that I often let that one little thing that I don’t have rob me of the joy of all the things that I do have.
This life that we live is a gift from God. He didn’t have to leave a perfect Heaven to come to a very messy earth. But He did. He didn’t have to show us love when all we’d shown Him is hate. But he did. He didn’t have to show us grace when we didn’t deserve it. But He did. He didn’t have to die on the cross for OUR SINS. But he did.
He came to give us a life of abundance–to show us that with His help we can overcome the Devil and take back that good life that He died to give us (John 10:10).
“…Choose this day whom you will serve…”
Recognizing and acknowledging the blessings that we have from God is a choice. We can very easily let that one thing that we don’t have ruin our life or we can be thankful for all that we have been given and choose to seek and find all those little blessings that are in our lives. The choice is ours to make and ours alone. What will you choose today?
Until next time,
For most people turning 21 is a HUGE deal. They are finally a full-fledged adult. However celebrating my 21st birthday is huge for a different reason. Turning 21 is a reminder of God’s grace and love and glorious plan for my life. Although I have no memory of this, I was born a preemie—three months early to be exact (my original due date was December 23).
Weighing in at a whopping 1 pound 4 ¼ ounces I spent the first 92 days of life in the Neonatal Insensitive Care Unit (NICU). I easily could have died or been diagnosed with a life changing disease. However I have NO health issues attributed to being early. I am a normal 21 year old female (who just happens to be very short…).
As l look back over the years that I have lived I can see how God has been at work shaping me into the woman I am today. Being homeschooled for the last five years of my educational career although challenging has given me the freedom, confidence, boldness, and passion to do what I am doing today. Blogging and owning my own business. To be honest I never saw myself doing this. But it is something that I love and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I am very thankful for this life that I am able to live. The support and love of so many family and friends along the way and those who have sacrificed for this great nation that I call home. I am also thankful for the life that I have in Jesus. Without Him I really wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m thankful for His sacrificial death on the cross to forgive me of the sins that I commit daily. I am thankful for His resurrection and the hope that I have because of it. I am also thankful for the love and grace that He pours over me that I really don’t deserve.
I want to encourage you today. No matter your life story. You have a purpose. There is a reason why you are still breathing. Find it and use it to glorify your Heavenly Father. Look for and rejoice in the little itty bitty things that God places along your path. Trust in His timing and remember that God is NEVER EVER LATE. He’s right on time–His time. He is not surprised by anything that goes on in our lives and His plans are for our good. Hang on for the ride of your life. It’s usually not where you thought you’d be (or how you’d get there) but He knows us better than we know ourselves and he has the big picture in mind. Keep working faithfully in the little things knowing that He sees you. He sees your heart and loves you unconditionally. Let go and let God do what He does best: love and lead.
Until next time,
Hello everybody, welcome to your Friday! I hope that you have had a great week seeing all of the little ways that God has brightened your days. Here’s some of the blessings I’ve noticed this past week.
1) Our First Responders
I’m thankful that God gives everyone different strengths and weaknesses. The things that I can’t do or can’t do well someone else exceeds at. I’m thankful that God knows that we need all sorts of different people to do all sorts of different things. Monday was 9/11. A day that to thousands not in the United States of America is just another day. To Americans it’s a day that we will never forget. It’s the day that we were attacked for being that light on a hill–that place of freedom. Each year on the anniversary we remember. We remember loved ones that died. Those that sacrificed so that others could be saved from the smoke and fire. And we remember that even in the worst tragedies God is there with us and won’t let us face these hard things alone. I am beyond thankful that there are those willing to run into the fires while others are fleeing. I’m thankful for the sacrifice that they and their families make day after day and year after year so that we can all be kept safe.
2) The Fall decorations are out!!
As many of you know I have been super excited and counting down the days until we can finally decorate for Fall. On Tuesday we pulled out all the decorations and put them around the house. We decided to decorate the outside Monday night because it was supposed to rain all day Tuesday. It didn’t take us long to put the decorations out but I LOVE it. The house looks all warm and cozy and festive. 🙂
3) THE BEAVER DAM IS GONE!!!
So remember earlier in the Spring when I mentioned the Beaver Dam and how we were working on getting rid of it? Well, good news! It’s GONE! I remember thinking that it would take us FOREVER to get rid of it but it really didn’t take that long. The days that we were outside cutting wood we would just pick up a pile of the Beaver Dam and throw it on the fire every so often. We even took down one of the smaller trees back in the corner.
As I think about the Beaver Dam being down I can think of three blessings–three things that I am thankful for.
- IT’S GONE! Now when we look out the sun room windows we don’t see a huge pile of sticks that need burned we can now dream and plan ways to use that space more effectively.
- Working together. It took all five of us working outside and working together to be able to finally get rid of it. Those memories of working together will last us a lifetime.
- Wood for Christmas. I know that it’s a little early to start thinking about Christmas but one of the things I have wanted to do Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is to have logs burned in the fireplace instead of the 4x4s or slats. Now, I know that all wood burns and provides heat but I just think having logs in the fireplace for Christmas would be very old fashioned and pretty. Since we took down a tree from the back corner we have 2018’s Christmas wood. 🙂 We even found a few small pieces that were stuck in the Beaver Dam that we can use this year!
What are some of the blessings that you have noticed in your life this past week? I’d love for you to share them in the comments below! Have a great weekend!
Until next time,
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
1 Corinthians 6:12
It’s a question that I was asked a lot growing up, a question that I now try to ask myself when I’m tempted to do something that isn’t in my best interest.
That question: Will this glorify God or not?
It’s a very simple question with very simple answers. Answers that we may not like. But answers that will bring us a whole lot more joy in the future.
WHY ARE WE HERE ON THIS EARTH?
This is yet another question that gets asked so often. Again, the answer is quite simple. We are here on this earth to glorify God (Isaiah 43:7). The work that we do–no matter how simple, is to be done like we were going to give that completed project to God (Colossians 3:23).
It’s not about how much money I can make or how big of impact I can make. We live to shed light on One name and One name only. Jesus Christ. His Name is the only Name we should strive to place in lights. Now, this doesn’t mean that we should just replace our name with the Name of Jesus on every form we ever fill out. It means that we should allow God to work through us (Philippians 2:13). The way we live should be a direct arrow back to God.
THE FREEDOM WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN
We as God’s beloved creation have been given a great freedom. The freedom of choice. We can decide what it is we want to do and how we want to live. God being all powerful could have just made us do what He wants us to do. But, He didn’t. He gave us a choice. He lets us decide if we want to follow His plans for our lives. God is not going to just ignore the hopes, dreams and desires we have for our lives. He created us (Genesis 1:27). That means that He created those hopes, dreams and desires in us. He already knows that they are there. We have to trust that He is working in our lives and that His plans are there for our good. As we yield our will to His He gently changes our desires to be His desires.
Just because He gives us this power of free choice doesn’t mean that we should abuse it and sin all we want just because He offers us grace (Romans 6:1). We should try to stay away from sin and not willingly walk into temptation. But we should also know that it’s not impossible to sin. Just because we have committed our lives to Jesus doesn’t mean that we will never ever sin again. All humanity sins (Romans 3:32). But, the good news is that there is grace that Jesus died to give us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
So, lately when I’m tempted to make a decision that may not be the best for me at that time I have asked myself this one simple question. Will this bring glory to God? Answering this question honestly and acting on our answer will not be easily done. But, it will be better for us in the end.
Until next time,
I’ve realized recently that I’ve really been searching for contentment for years–I’ve just looked in all the wrong places.
I’ve looked to Social Media thinking that if I could just figure out a way to post more than I do I might just feel like I actually “do” something with my life.
—What I failed to realize is that life was happening right before my very eyes…I was just too blind to see it. Everyone’s life is different. Passions, desires, and convictions differ with each person. I kept trying to fit the mold of the crowd not remembering the simple truth that though I live in the world, I am not of it. I could NEVER fit in no matter how hard I tried.
I’ve looked to the social profiles of the famous thinking that just maybe one day I’d be able to meet some of these people whose work I have enjoyed. Hoping for that one social media post that would make me “somebody cool”.
—I failed to see that being “cool” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They are people just like me with their good days, okay days, and down right ugly days. They have struggles just like I do and those struggles can be deep and ugly. Acting is just that, an act. A way to put food on the table. Most of the time the characters that we so deeply wish to be be like and admire are just fictional people brought to life by an author and a really good actor. They aren’t real. As much as we want and wish them to be–they’re fake.
I’ve tried living vicariously through those in viral videos and vlogs…thinking that maybe one day I could be like them. Have a relationship like they do with the same joys and trials and struggles that they have. Maybe some how seeing what they go through could prepare me for something similar.
—We can’t know the future. People are different and unique. The way that I see and process something may be vastly different than the way that you see and process that very same thing. Watching someone else go through it doesn’t mean that you will feel those exact same feelings the exact same way.
Over time I’ve realized a couple of things…
- I can’t in any way, shape, or form predict or create my future. I can’t make people just fall out of the sky and land into my life just when I want them to. That’s not up to me. That’s up to God. I have to trust the promises. The promises that He HAS A GOOD PLAN FOR MY LIFE (Jeremiah 29:11), hears EVERY PRAYER THAT I PRAY (1 John 5:15), that HE LOVES ME UNCONDITIONALLY (Romans 5:8) and that HIS GRACE EXTENDS TO ME TOO (Titus 2:11).
- Life won’t just fall in your lap. You can’t just wish and pray for things to get better or an attitude to change. You have to work for it. Change is a conscious decision. Trust me, not living vicariously through others lives and accepting your own life–the challenges, joys, strengths, and weaknesses you have been given IS NOT EASY; BUT IT IS WORTH IT IN THE END!
So, I ask you today, where are you searching for contentment? Are you looking to the amount of reactions or likes you get on your social media images or are you looking to the Only One who can give you true contentment?
Until next time,
“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you”
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
~2 Peter 3:9
As I was researching for this post I came across these two verses and I got to thinking… While Jesus was on the earth He set us an example that we should follow (see 1 Peter 2:21-24). He showed us how to live and what is really important in life–loving God and loving our neighbors (Matthew 22:37-39).
God has shown us His patience in His Word. During the Exodus there were numerous times where the people grew impatient and wanted something NOW. They cried and complained against Moses and God heard their complaints and heeded their cries (Exodus 16:2-4). He is patient with us today–not wanting anyone to “perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
I have known for sometime now that patience is not one of my strong areas. I want something and I want it NOW–or as soon as possible. But God’s time-table is very different from our own. “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”–2 Peter 3:8.
See, the way that the world teaches us to think is so vastly different than how God wants us to think. The world tells us that if we don’t do this or have that by a certain age we are missing out and life is just passing us by. But friends, that is not the case. Life only passes you by when you don’t take advantage of the life you have been given. God’s plans for you are good (Jeremiah 29:11). You are His (1 Corinthians 3:23). Trust His promise to work all things for your good (Romans 8:28).
Sometimes God’s plans take time. He is patient with us; let’s be patient with Him and trust Him in all things (Proverbs 3:5-6). He’s got it covered.
Until next time,
We spent quite a bit of this past weekend cutting wood in preparation for winter. As we were cutting, moving, and stacking hundreds of wood pieces I was reminded how life is similar to wood. Here are a few of the important lessons I’ve learned from wood.
EVERY PIECE IS USABLE
Every piece of wood that we cut has a use. The small scraps we use in the fireplace on the weekends when we have more time to spend filling the fire box. Pieces that have nails we burn outside in the fire pit so as not to scuff and scratch the fireplace. 4×4’s are used along with the slats in the fireplace. The 4×4’s burn longer and are good to use during the night. Slats don’t burn quite as long but are good to stack in the fireplace and fill in some of those cracks.
As it is with life: NO HUMAN IS UNUSABLE! God can use anyone! He has specific plans for each and every one of us (Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:10).
“The human body has many parts,but the many parts make up one whole body.”
~1 Corinthians 12:12
CUTTING MAKES IT EASIER TO USE
The skids that we cut are big. Most of them are taller than me and too heavy for me to lift. Until the skids are cut into the various sizes they are way too big to fit into the fireplace. They can still be used just not for heat in the fireplace. Cutting them to size ensures that they can be used effectively for heating the house.
Sometimes we have to go through challenges and hardships so that we can be a better light for God (James 1:2-4, Matthew 5:14-16). We are clay in the hands of God. He is the Potter (Jeremiah 18:1-10 and Isaiah 64:8). God knows where the best place for our service to Him is. It is our job to allow him to complete His work in us and be willing to be used as He sees fit (Philippians 1:6). When we make mistakes as we will (Romans 3:23) there is grace to cover every wrong. God can redeem even the worst mistakes that we make in life and turn them for our good (Romans 8:28, Genesis 50:20).
IT NEEDS TO BE STACKED ON A FIRM FOUNDATION
I’ve learned this one from experience. We had a stack of slats that ended up toppling over because it wasn’t stacked on a very firm foundation. It didn’t have support as it got taller and as a result it grew very wobbly and unsteady, eventually falling over.
Life can be the same way. If we don’t start with a firm foundation as we try to grow and reach new heights without the proper support we will eventually crumble.
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
Jesus and following His commands needs to be our foundation. That way when the storms do come we will be able to withstand them and grow from them.
One of the things I love about these lessons from wood is that these lessons were something that I was able to learn just by doing something I do often. What are some things that you do often that teach you spiritual lessons? I’d love for you to share them in the comments below!
Until next time,