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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Whether you're traveling or staying put, surrounded by family or spending time with friends, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

I'll be taking a two week break (or so) from blogging. But don't worry, I will be back in January!

Friday, December 21, 2012

it's more than a mouse in the house

Home ownership is a blessing and a curse. We love building equity with each mortgage payment, but miss picking up the phone to call the landlord when something goes wrong. There is so much responsibility that goes along with owning a house. 

I mention it last week, but there's a little problem plaguing this old house lately: mice. It's kind of funny because I teased my Granny for years about mice. We'd usually buy her birthday cards with mice on them or give her a stuffed mouse of sorts. When I went to college she mailed me a mouse Beanie Baby and I brought it to her house and would hide it in various places as a joke (thankfully she has a great sense of humor).

In reality, mice are not that cute. They pop up in the most inconvenient places and terrify me with their sudden movements across the kitchen. I get anxious every time I enter the kitchen in the evening, pausing to do a little dance in the doorway or make noise, giving them time to disappear before I see them. What's more amazing is how they can seemingly disappear into the smallest crack.

Yesterday, my friend posted this photo on Facebook saying she it was such a cute treat from a friend. I quickly scrolled down the page so I didn't have to keep looking at it. If someone brought me such a "cute" holiday treat, I don't think I could bring myself to eat it. Or maybe I would, just so I wouldn't have those eyeballs staring at me! 

As much as I don't want to admit my fear of a tiny little creature like a mouse, I think we all have fears, whether they are rational or not. And even more so, I don't want to admit my house has mice living in it. I don't want to admit it to myself or a friend and I really don't want blogland to know. 

Perhaps, my fear lies more in being judged for not being able to rid our home of mice (we caught two of the suckers this week alone)! I share all of this to say, being a homeowner isn't always easy and as much as I may want to show off pretty photos of our home looking ready for Christmas or tell you how we solved the mouse problem, I bring you the truth.

What irrational fear(s) do you have?!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

question of the month

I'm excited to introduce several of my awesome blog sponsors to you this month. I asked each of them to answer the question of the month.

bloglovin' // facebook // instagram

blog // pinterest // instagram

blog // facebook // twitter

blog // twitter // instagram

Take some time to connect with these lovely ladies via their blog or one of their preferred forms of social media (listed under their answer). I hope you'll join in and tell us what you look forward to most at Christmas time and why!

Oh, and I'm sharing a favorite Holiday recipe over on The Arizona Russums today!

Monday, December 17, 2012

pretzel candy poppers {recipe}

I love pretzels and chocolate. I just can't pass up the combination of sweet and salty. And since the Christmas season is often busy with added events to the calendar such as parties to attend and shopping to be done I keep my 'baking' simple.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good sugar or spritz cookie (and am so grateful others make them). But I've learned I don't have the time or patience for them until I'm on Christmas vacation. For the first 2-3 weeks of December, I find myself committing to bring a treat and I am truly happy to bring something sweet to share. But with all the additions of the month, I have learned to go with easy to make treats that don't require a lot of labor on my part.

A week ago, I made salted caramel pretzel bark using a recipe I found via Pinterest (my version picture above). It was so easy! It only took about 10 minutes of prep, 5 minutes in the oven and then a few hours to set in the freezer. Cutting it was probably the toughest part, but even that only took 10 minutes or so. They're very tasty and everyone was asking for the recipe!

A few years ago, a friend shared the following recipe with me and I've been making it for holiday parties ever since! They only take about 10-15 min of prep (depending on how many you make) and bake for 5 min.

pretzel twists
hershey's hugs ((or kisses))

Preheat oven to 250 Fahrenheit
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy clean up
Line up pretzels as close together as possible
Unwrap all hugs/kisses and place in bowl
Place one hug per pretzel (try to center as much as possible since it will melt)
Place cookie sheet in oven for 5 minutes
Remove cookie sheet and place 1-2 M&M's per hug/kiss
Place cookie sheet in freezer to set or leave in oven overnight (oven should be turned off and let cool a bit)

I love being able to bring a homemade treat for a dinner party or Christmas gathering and no one has to know how simple and quick it was to throw one of these candy treats together!

What's your go to holiday treat?

Friday, December 14, 2012

friday finds & favorites #13

Happy Friday! Another busy week? Why is it that we look forward to December all year long and the month seems to pass more quickly than any other in the year?!

A few highlights from my week:
>> Decorating our Christmas tree
>> Doing some holiday "baking" (more on that next week)
>> Yummy meals that made lots of leftovers (turkey one night and pot pie the next, plus a round of carnitas tacos, followed by enchiladas)

Other stuff I love:
Have you heard about privacy changes Facebook rolled out this week? Read more info on Mashable.

We started receiving Christmas cards this week and I've been trying to decide how to display them. I was grateful to find this idea via Pinterest.

I've always wanted to "ring and run," but this story of doorbell ditching touched my heart.

I've got a list of things I want to do in the coming weeks and one of them is rearrange the bookshelves. Betsy had some great suggestions I'll want to keep in mind.

Need a break from Christmas tunes? Check out Melissa's great mix.

Have a great weekend!
I hope you'll grab a button and link up your post with me and Erika! Want to know more about this series? Check out the"rules."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

gift ideas from Jessica

Still have some gifts to buy? Looking for the perfect thing for a dear friend? I'm excited to introduce you to Jessica who blogs at Swish ans Swoon. She's joining us today with some gift ideas!

Hello there, I'm Jessica from Swish and Swoon, and I'm so happy to be guest posting today. Thanks, Beth, for having me! I'm a wife and mama who loves sharing my life through my blog along with the hand-picked deals. For this Christmas season I've had so much fun pulling together some real girl budget gift guides. Here are some amazing gifts I've gathered with the Christian friend in mind. Please note I'm a Christian, but I would NOT be offended if you bought me some really fabulous boots or something like that from Anthropologie.

1- Map of the World $14. This would be perfect for those who have a heart for missions. I love the scripture! 2- Bethel Worship For the Sake of the World. $9.99 download. This is an amazing worship CD in heavy rotation over here. 3-  So Worth Loving Shirt. $38. I think the message on this shirt is so good.  4- My Heart Country Canvas. $20. I think this would be a great gift for those who may have gone on a missions trip to Africa, or perhaps adopted a child from there! 5- Bless the Lord $40. Absolutely beautiful. Love. 6-  As For Me and My House Wooden print $62. This needs to be on my wall now! 7- When Heaven Invades Earth $10.87. This is one of my all time favorite books. It's my heart.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas traditions

Growing up, I would look forward to pulling out our advent calendar and reading what was hidden in each day's pocket. I also loved to help decorate the house for Christmas, pulling out wreaths, stockings and all the ornaments. My favorite tradition was opening one gift on Christmas Eve after we read the Christmas story from Luke.

Another favorite tradition started with my mom; each year she'd get an get an ornament for me. I still love pulling out my ornaments of a Cabbage Patch Kid, Care Bear, flute playing cherub, and various angels (just to name a few). I've adopted this tradition as my own by either making an ornament or buying one to represent the year. I haven't yet decided what this year's ornament will be.

As an adult, Christmas traditions take on a different form. We can keep the ones we like and create new ones. This will be our third Christmas as a married couple and I like to think we've claimed a few traditions of our own:
+ get a live tree and string it with white lights
+ listen to Christmas music when we decorate the tree
+ my version of holiday baking doesn't involve sugar cookies (even though I love the taste of them)
+ watch The Holiday
+ see a live Christmas concert in Boston

Over the past few years, we've had a mantle (shown above). I've love to decorate it a bit different every year. This year, I went with a white and silver color palette with pops of green and red. I used this printable I found via Pinterest. The bottles are upcycled glass bottles I saved and removed the labels from; some are spray painted.

What Christmas traditions have you made your own?

Friday, December 7, 2012

friday finds & favorites #12

Happy Friday! It's been a busy week for me. How about you? I am really looking forward to some time off in a few weeks for Christmas and New Year's. You may have noticed it's got me blogging a bit less, so pardon this month being a bit sparse.

A few highlights from my week:
I got a new phone :) and have been enjoying the ease of sending text messages (my old phone's keyboard was a mess and the screen was shattered)! I'm also pumped to use Instagram on it, rather than my iPad!

Getting our Christmas tree over the weekend was  fun. The poor thing only has lights on it and is awaiting proper decor, which we'll get to this weekend.

Time with our community group.

Other stuff I love:

Confession: I'm a total sucker for children's books. I have a collection with my own little Christmas section, so I was excited to see these Christmas Books highlighted on Beautifully Rooted.

I nee to make something like this DIY holiday dessert stand from Jen.

This news story is almost too good to be true. If you've ever lived in an area that has deer crossing signs, I'm sure you'll appreciate it too!

Need some gift inspiration for a social media loving friend/family member? Or maybe you'd rather make a gift, don't miss Virginia's suggestions.

Have a great weekend!
I hope you'll grab a button and link up your post with me and Erika!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

blog content how to's from Hayley {The Tiny Twig}

Hey friends! I have a very special treat for you today. As promised/hinted in yesterday's post, you get an up close glimpse of the author of The No Brainer Blog, Hayley Morgan. She's right here to share her tips on finding, creating and planning awesome content for your blog!

Why Create Awesome Content?

Creating memorable content is key to growing your readership. Gone are the days of relying on Search Engine Optimization to draw people to your blog. These days, I'm focusing on creating great posts that people are compelled to share with their friends. I'm never looking to write a viral post (I'm not one for banking on luck), but I'm looking to impact 15-20 people enough that they will excitedly share my work with their circles of influence. If I can do that day in and day out, eventually those drips will turn into a streams of readers.

How to Plan Awesome Content

Think of things you are passionate about. Make a list. Think of problems you see in the world around you. Make a list of the solutions. Think of those things people say you're great at. Make a list. Think of recipes you love, places you want to visit, goals you have, stories you remember. Make a list. Make lots of lists. Keep a notebook in Evernote with all those lists as individual notes--these notes are fodder for great posts. As you have thoughts, sentences that form, resources to use relating to those post ideas, clip to them to your "post notes". When you finally round out an idea enough, then sit down to write the post. At that point, you should have enough of a head start that you can focus on the delivery rather than the actual content.

How to Find, Plan, and Create Graphics

These days, people are drawn to posts with memorable images. They make the post more compelling to read and more natural to Pin. There are many ways to create great graphic posts. First, you can take your own images and spruce them up in an application like Photoshop or PicMonkey. Second, you can buy stock photos (or find free stock photos). I like iStockPhoto for that purpose, and you can buy the smallest size because you're only using it online. You can also add text to those graphics. The other option is to search online (via flickr or a simple search engine query). If you are using someone else's photo that you haven't paid for, make sure to gain direct and explicit permission to alter the photo in any way (that includes, in my opinion, to adding text or doodles).


Hayley Morgan wrote newly released eBook The No Brainer Blog (and also, The No Brainer Wardrobe!). The eBook helps women cast a vision, define their voice, and refine their blog space to ultimately propel their blog to be successful on their terms. Hayley also writes at The Tiny Twig, a lifestyle blog inspiring women to create lives of more passion and less fuss. She recently hosted The Influence Conference and is launching The Influence Network in January 2013. You can follow her on Twitter, "like" her Facebook page, or follow her days on Instagram for the latest updates, resources she loves, and a peek into her life with 3 (almost 4!) boys.

Monday, December 3, 2012

What I'm into {December}

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Ours was the perfect combo of relaxing and checking things off the to do list. Saturday started off with a dusting of snow, which was perfect to out us in the mood for buying our Christmas tree and decorating our house. 

what I'm reading
+ The No Brainer Blog (more on this soon) -I read the whole book in one sitting, but haven't completed all the worksheets yet.
+ 7 -it's taken me entirely too long to read this, but I love Jen's writing style and I can pick it up when I have just a few minutes to read.
+ The Meaning of Marriage -I've only read the intro, but I can't wait to get into it.

TV show worth watching
+ Nashville -I never aspired to be a country singer, but I do love Connie Britton and admire a television show that's shot on location.

movie that I've seen
+ Hugo -my brother has been telling me to watch this one for months and we finally did last week. I love a good children's story. It was the perfect combination of intrigue and wonder.

in my kitchen
+  2 turkeys -in the freezer, but we haven't planned what exactly they're for
+ almond flour -I'm waiting for the perfect recipe to try it
+ mice...thankfully we've caught more than one. Sadly, there is evidence we have not caught them all!

in my ears
+ Christmas music and more specifically Pandora's Indie Holiday station, A Very She + Him Christmas, John Denver and the Muppets (a childhood favorite), Sufjan Stevens' Songs for Christmas

what I'm looking forward to
+ Christmas and all the anticipation that comes with this time of year
+ Snow! Last winter was quite disappointing as far the amount of snow, so I am hopeful we will get a few good storms
+ Baking for the holidays

What are you into lately?

Friday, November 30, 2012

friday finds & favorites #11

A few highlights from my week:
Time with dear friends. Our trip allowed us to spend some time with a friend I've known since I was in high school. And I also got to catch up with two of my former roommates last night while my husband was in class.

A girl's night with a new friend.

Quality time with my husband this week.

Other stuff I love:

I haven't started decorating for Christmas, but it will happen this weekend! This garland idea, collection of Christmas printables, and kraft paper (pictured above) have left me inspired.

Need some gift ideas?! If you're in the creative mood, check this out but if you want to go more traditional read on.

And for all my friends who love to read, this Christmas tree idea is for you. Actually, I may suggest it to the Mr. since we surely have enough books!

My love of pumpkin will never die and I'm trying to think of a reason to bake this.

I'm not usually one for wall paper, but these patterned paint rollers have me thinking about what room they'd work for in our house!

Have a great weekend!
I hope you'll grab a button and link up your post with me and Erika!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

30 days of thanksgiving ((wrap up))

Sometimes blog plans don't go as intended. I had mapped out this entire month of things to blog about daily to express my gratitude. I'm not exactly sure when things fell apart. I was inspired to share more than the things I am thankful for, to be more spontaneous in my writing and at times I worried it would bore you.

I'll end this series with a list of the things I've shared on Instagram and blogged about or meant to blog about.

1 -a second vehicle
2 -blog partnerships
3 -my husband
4 -my family
5 -all the work we've done on our home renovations
6 -living in a free country
7 -being married to a man who loves to cook
8 -our dog, Milton
9 -neighbors
10 -church community
11 -my family's military heritage
12 -online community of She Reads Truth
13 -blog friends
14 -a closet full of clothes
15 -hospitality
16 -inspiration from bloggers
17 -emails/texts from friends
18 -time off from work to recharge
19 -colleagues who inspire me
20 -anticipating Christmas season
21 -intentional rest
22 -quality time with friends
23 -ease of travel in the US
24 -spending time with relatives
25 -lifelong friendships
26 -heritage of faith
27 -baking
28 -ease of listening to Christmas music (Pandora, Spotify, etc.)
29 -my health
30 -my job

((I'm linking up with Carina today))

What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 26, 2012

turkey day + weekend

We ate.
We laughed.
We rested.
We traveled.
We shopped (with a gift card).
We visited.
We cooked.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and for those outside the US, December is quickly approaching and everyone will soon be in the Holiday spirit! We enjoyed good food on Thanksgiving day, time with friends and a weekend filled with some travel and seeing some family. It was quite lovely all around.

Have you started playing Christmas music yet?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

seeking rest

Our lives are scheduled and the nights we find ourselves both home with no meeting to run off to are rare. Because of the various commitments my husband and I have, we often feel like life can be a juggling act. There may only be two of us, but there are appointments, classes, work schedules, volunteer roles and more to track.

We share a google calendar, rather than a paper one hanging in our kitchen/office. We are more likely to be away from home when we're making plans and by updating the shared calendar we can keep tabs on the other. In addition to the shared google calendar, I have my work calendar and my blog calendar, all of which sync to my phone and iPad.

Source: via Federico on Pinterest

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone when I think I am over-scheduled. It has taken months to make dinner plans happen with another couple in our church. In our culture of busy-ness, it's as if you're not busy, you must not be doing anything worthwhile or so you're made to think.

As Thanksgiving draws near, I will be out of the office for five consecutive days, and I find myself anticipating rest. We have plans to travel to see family several states away, but I am looking forward to a break from our daily routine. If all goes as "planned" we will eat too much, watch television/movies and catch up with loved ones while wearing our slippers.

Rest can be a hard concept for us to grasp in a culture that praises synced calendars and glorifies multi-tasking. December is just around the corner and it's often the busiest season of all, with holiday parties to attend, shopping to be done and goodies to be baked. This year, I want to reclaim the season and seek rest. It will likely mean saying no more than usual and letting a few people down. But quieting our weary bodies and resting our overactive minds will allow us to find joy in the true reason for Christmas.

How do you rest?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

anticipating advent + a giveaway

Advent is one of my favorite things about December. Not only, do I love listening to Christmas music, but I love reminders in our home of the coming of Christ. I love celebrating the weeks leading up to Christmas and have done so in a variety of ways over the years.

Source: via Darla on Pinterest

Growing up, my mom often made an event of advent, having interactive calendars for me and my brother to follow each day of December leading up to Christmas. I once bought a book that was a compilation of 31 devotionals based on Christmas hymns, but most of the hymns I had never even heard of.

Earlier this fall, I heard Heather Borersma was writing an eBook focused on advent devotions. I was thrilled when she sent me a copy of her new eBook last week. I have been looking it over and am so excited to dig in!

She uses Scripture in each day's devotional reading, dividing the weeks up into four sections: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The layout of the book is beautiful, with four full color pages for each section.

Guess what?! You can win a copy of Heather's eBook, We Will Wait: An Advent Devotional Guide! To enter the giveaway, use rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 19, 2012

exhausted + grateful

Ah, it's finally the week of Thanksgiving. I'm reminded I'll soon be sharing a holiday meal with friends and having a repeat of turkey dinner days later with my grandparents. But I am already exhausted. As I mentioned last week, and you may have noticed if you follow me on Instagram, I spent my weekend in conference mode with my professional association.

The time away from home, surrounded by colleagues and college students was both energizing and exhausting. As one of a team of about twenty who worked to plan the conference for the past 10 months, I spent the weekend knowing the schedule ins and outs, yet trouble-shooting as unforeseen but small issues came up.

Being with others who have a similar job to me is refreshing. They get what I mean when I say I have to go to work at 8pm for a "late night event" or understand my excitement over building signage. These are the people who speak my work language.

Whether you're a single gal, double-income no kids (DINK) couple, or a stay at home momma, I bet we've all experienced finding those friends who get it when we talk about our everyday life and don't have to explain what we mean because those friends have experienced similar situations.

When I was packing last week, I had fun putting together a few business casual outfits for the weekend. And what's funny is that I ended up not wearing two of those pictured. Oh well, you can only plan so much, right?!

These are my people. The ones who speak my language of working in student affairs. They work tirelessly with college students to mentor, inspire and care for them in their life outside of the classroom, planning co-curricular programs, offering on-campus jobs and teaching them life skills.

I'm grateful to have a job I love. I am thankful for this community of colleagues. I am blessed to be where I am in my career. My career does not define me, but it's given me colleagues I can look to for support and that is truly more than I could have asked for when I embarked on this path years ago.

As Thanksgiving approaches, what are you grateful for?

Friday, November 16, 2012

friday finds & favorites #10

Happy Friday!
I'm in Connecticut for work this weekend, but I have to tell you the conference theme (I'm on the conference planning team, so I have been living, eating and breathing this stuff all week). Our theme is Where UCONNect and the conference is being held at UConn (University of Connecticut).

Since I'm all about connecting (at least I try to be around here), what better Friday Finds than to share what blogs this month's sponsors read. I asked each of those lovely ladies over there --->  to share their must daily read blogs.

Heidi from Row House 14 reads:
Kendi Everyday // Julie Ann Art // Bubby & Bean

Molly from Still Being Molly reads:
What2WearBlog // Marionberry Style // Clarabelle

Julie of This Gal Cooks reads:
Frugal Foodie Mama // Call Me PMc // White Lights on Wednesdays

Amber from Life Unscripted reads:
Take Heart // Happy Days // Along for the Ride

Maddie of Thriftary reads:
Elise Joy // Two Hoots & a Holler // Living in Yellow

Allison from Whatever the Circumstances reads:
Today's Letters // Big Mama // Words of Williams 

Beth from Until Only Love Remains reads:
Jenny Highsmith // Today's Letters // Maiedae

Other stuff I love:
>> Ready for Thanksgiving? Don't miss this give thanks free printable

>> A recipe for sweet potato hash I wanna try

>> Holiday card update from Heidi

>> Courtney asked some excellent questions about being sponsor-worthy

>> Hospitality away from home

Have a great weekend! I hope you'll grab a button and link up your post with me and Erika!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I love inviting friends into our home. It's such a gift to be able to prepare a meal and share it with friends. Since we've been renovating the kitchen (and other spaces) in our home, we don't have people over too often. Earlier this week, my husband told me how he loves that our somewhat in-hospitable home drives me crazy (think half painted walls and unfinished counter tops) because it reminds him of how much hosting means to me.

I've been thinking a lot about hospitality because Thanksgiving is getting close. I haven't had what most would consider a traditional American Thanksgiving in years. Growing up, my Thanksgiving usually consisted of sharing a meal with my nuclear family of four. We always lived a good day's drive from other relatives, so getting together for turkey was a rare occasion.

And then when my mom passed away in 2001, I learned how to cook a turkey (and the whole Thanksgiving meal). Even though it was a lot of work for three people, I will always treasure those years of calling my Granny when it came time to put the gravy together. For about four years, I would pull out my notes from the previous turkey dinner, and review with her just when to add the flour/water mixture to my boiling turkey drippings (seriously, gravy still haunts me).

Since I was in high school, I dreamed of having a big family like they always show in the movies, with a children's table and lots of adults gathered around a large beautiful table brimming with food. I thought I would marry into a big family and I'd get to take part in something like I'd imagined. I looked forward to the day I'd be one of many, rather than three or four sitting around the Thanksgiving table.

We'll share our Thanksgiving meal with friends in Boston for the third year in a row. We often end up with a group of young professionals living hundreds of miles from our families. It may not look like a movie scene or have a perfectly decorated table. But hospitality isn't about looking like you labored to create a perfectly picturesque meal. It is about making people feel welcome and loved.

Even though my Thanksgiving meal may not be what I at one time imagined, I wouldn't trade our friends for anything. It's only a week away and while I may not know everyone I'll eat with. I do know there will be too much food. We will laugh, share stories and eat pie. And best of all, we will give thanks.


Where will you spend your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

closet challenge {take 1}

I have a lot of clothes. I know I'm not alone in having a closet full of clothing. If I don't think about it, I may not even wear a good portion of what is in my closet. Thankfully, I'm not alone in realizing I need to make a conscious effort in actually wearing EVERYTHING in my closet thanks to Hayley who first pointed this out in her eBook The No Brainer Wardrobe earlier this year.

Last month, Jen introduced an idea she calls the Closet Challenge and I love it! I have been participating, chipping away at wearing every.single.piece of clothing in my closet. Rather than going shopping when I want a new style or look, I "shop" my closet first. I've put together outfits I hadn't thought of before.

Here's how I'm tackling the Closet Challenge:
>> I don't take a photo of every outfit I wear (I haven't taken any outfit photos to be honest)
>> To track worn items, I turn around my coat hangers
>> I don't always plan my outfit the day before
>> I wear items on the hanger backwards
>> Sometimes I start with an accessory (or more than one) I love to wear

My closet isn't glamorous by any means. We've talked about building new his & hers closets since we have a very large bedroom, but it hasn't happened yet. Because my husband and I share one closet, I find myself cleaning it out more often.

I organize my closet by:
1 - scardigans, shirts (loosely grouped by color)
2 - pants + skirts + blazers
3 - shoe rack (I also have a shoe rack on another door in our room)
not pictured: dresses (on far right)

I'm linking up with Jen and Erika today for the Closet Challenge

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

question of the month

This month, I asked my sponsors what they're thankful for. 

blog // shop // facebook
blog // facebook // twitter
blog // twitter // facebook
blog // shop // twitter
blog // twitter // facebook
blog // twitter // instagram
blog // instagram
Won't you join them in sharing, what are you thankful for this month?

Monday, November 12, 2012

She Reads Truth {online community}

I know I've said it before, but I am so thankful for the She Reads Truth community that flourished over the summer. Over the years, I have struggled to stay motivated with reading the Bible on my own. I have fallen short when it comes to keeping up with digging into the Word daily. But being part of this online community has breathed new life into my spiritual journey in three ways.

Whether it's training for a half marathon (as I did way back in 2007), or reading my Bible daily, I need people to ask me about it and how it's going. Although I don't have people asking me each day if I read, I am reminded every time I open Instagram or Twitter and see what others are saying/sharing.

Because of She Reads Truth, I am connected to a much larger network of women who are like-minded in their pursuit of Christ. We may not have the same political views or even attend the same church if we lived in the same area, but we have the same desire: to grow in Jesus' truth and that's a beautiful thing.

Using an app I can access from my smartphone or iPad has helped me a ton. I still love to pick up my Bible and read straight from the beautiful leather bound book, but there is something to be said for the ease of pulling up the reading and the questions/commentary that go along with the Scripture in one place (the app). For days when my morning routine was too rushed, I can easily turn to the reading on my lunch break or elsewhere.

Friday, November 9, 2012

friday finds + favorites #9

Today, I'm thankful for internet friends! I'm talking about those people I hadn't met in real life before we became friends. I probably found them through their blog and connected with them via Twitter or by writing comments on their blog and emailing back and forth.

Having friends in the blog world are priceless. Over the years, I've gotten to meet a few of them in person. I've also skyped and texted with them. I've collaborated on projects and learned from them. I encourage you to take the step to connect with your favorite bloggers if you haven't already tried to do so. I'm so grateful that many blogging friendships have been life-giving.

And here's a totally unrelated photo, but I thought it was a good one and we took it last weekend, so there ya go!

A few highlights from my week:
My first red cup of the season from Starbucks. I tried the salted caramel mocha and must say I like it better than a pumpkin spice latte...hope we can still be friends ;-)

Looking at the calendar got me really excited for some quality time with friends and family later this month!

We had our first snowfall of the season. It wasn't pretty because it rained right after,  but it was snow all the same.

Other stuff I love:
Three secrets to creating that perfect focal wall made me rethink what's on our living room walls.

I didn't even think about wearing red, white and blue on Tuesday, but I was so inspired by Molly's outfit post I pinned it!

Inspiration from Allison's living room made lovely.

Looking for a craft project inspired by the season? You'll love this recycled leather leaf necklace DIY from Maddie.

Can't get enough DIY home upgrades? Alli shows off a simple change that added curb appeal.

Have a great weekend!
I hope you'll grab a button and link up your post with me and Erika!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

we love our doggie ((+ #30daysofthankgiving week 1))

Over the last week, I have been tracking the things I'm grateful for via Instagram while also blogging about them. The things I write about aren't the same as what I photograph, mostly because there are way more than 30 things to be thankful for this month.

A week into the challenge, I like having to make an effort each day to consider what to photograph to represent my gratitude. I find myself drawn to photographing actual objects, rather than getting creative.

Today, I'm thankful for Milton, our doggie. He's the most loyal dog I know. He loves to be in the same room as us, and often on the couch in between us. Sometimes he curls himself into a ball and other times he stretches himself out as much as possible. His tail never stops wagging.

And because I'm linking up for a recap of the past week of #30daysofthanksgiving via Instagram, here are my images:

1 a new laptop charger cord (so I could use my computer again) // 2 my husband's good cooking // 3 getting organized // 4 our doggie // 5 a cozy + warm bed // 6 praying for one another for She Reads Truth // 7 warm slippers (it's gotten colder here and we even woke up to our first snow today)

I'm linking up with Amanda and Carina