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Friday, February 27, 2015

winter break, part 2

As a teacher, I'm off two weeks at the end of December and beginning of January. We call this Christmas break. Well, due to some unexpected snow, we had an additional winter break. A two week winter break! The snow is finally beginning to melt and the ice is thawing so we'll head back on Monday but the time off has been nice. I've had free time…to be productive but also be a little lazy. Some things I've done:

1. read (reviews coming soon!)

2. bake (chocolate dump cake - thank you Pinterest!)

3. arm knitting (though I'm still working on getting the hang of it)

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

one word 2015


Last year I joined One Word 365. One Word is a movement to challenge our way of thinking. It's about choosing a word to direct your year. Last year my word was finally. This year my one word is brave. I want to not let any hesitancy or…myself…get in the way of moving forward and tackling this year! I'm reading a book by Holly Gerth called You're Made for a God-Sized Dream. I'm not super far into it yet but she talks about how we all have God-sized dreams inside of us. Dreams that seem too big to happen or maybe too hard…yet they're there. "If you're in a place where it feels like what you've undertaken is much harder than you imagined, take heart. If God has called you to this, then he will get you through it. Here's a secret: God-sized dreams are invincible when we're obedient. He always wins in the end. Does that mean the result will look like what we had in mind at the beginning? Most likely not. But whatever purpose God has for your dream, he will bring to pass. Your job is to not quit no matter what happens. God will take care of the rest." After this book I have a copy of Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs ready to go. So that word - brave - is popping up a lot. And I want to be brave. I want to follow God's leading this year, trusting where He's leading. 2015 is a great year to be brave!  

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Monday, January 12, 2015

recipe: crockpot chicken and dumplings


This recipe is sooooo good! I haven't quite mastered preventing the biscuit from turning doughy, but it's still really good :) I love recipes where you just put everything in the crackpot and you're done. So to recap, super easy recipe that tastes amazing. Win-win. 

What you need:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. butter
2  (10.5 oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1/2 onion, diced OR you can use 2 Tbsp. dried, diced onion - didn't use either in my recipe
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
4 Grands flaky refrigerator biscuits

What to do:
Disclaimer: I did things a little differently because I used a rotisserie chicken that was already cooked - waited for it to cool and then shredded it (such a time saver!). Put everything except the biscuits into the crockpot. Cook on low for about an hour and a half. Add the biscuits (cut into nine pieces) and cook on high for an hour. 

You can read the full recipe here.

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

book review: "a brush with love" by rachel hauck

Overcoming a childhood tragedy, Ginger emerges from the pain and trauma with a gift for bringing out the beauty in others. From the top big city salons to traveling the world as personal stylist to a country music sensation, success was almost enough to make Ginger forget her she would never be one of the beautiful people.
Almost. Now that she’s back home in Rosebud, Alabama and running her own salon, the truth remains: Ginger is still that girl, forever on the outside looking in. But she needs her confidence this weekend. She’s the acclaimed “beauty-maker” for the Alabama society wedding of the decade.
When high-school crush Tom Wells Jr. also returns to town and shows up at her shop looking for a haircut, Ginger’s thinly veiled insecurities threaten to keep her locked away from love. Despite Tom’s best efforts, Ginger can’t forget how he disappeared on her twelve years ago and broke her heart. Can she ever trust him again?
When Tom challenges her to see her own beauty, Ginger must decide if she will remained chained to the past or move freely into a new, exciting future.
I've been a fan of Rachel's for a while. And this book did not disappoint. One of the reasons I liked it so much was because of all the references she made, including the final scene in The Proposal. The biggest reference was to a song that is one of my current favorites. It's called "You Make Me Brave" by Amanda Cook. It's a beautiful song; a challenge to move beyond the shore into the waters. It was so fitting for Ginger and the struggle she went through in opening up to Tomand to God. One of my favorite parts of the book was their wedding at the end. I couldn't help but want to cry at the thought of Ginger's gift to Tom. Of wearing her dream dress despite her scars because she finally understood she was beautiful. I love how tender Tom was with Ginger. In each of their encounters through the story, he tried to follow the prompting he had from God: tell her she's beautiful. I laughed when Ginger told Tom he couldn't get in her car because he was muddy and when he went out into the street, shouting at anyone who would listen that he thought she was beautiful. This was a fun story but also held a challenge. To me, it was a challenge to not let fear hold you back. To be brave. 
I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. You can learn more about the book by clicking here.
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"Fire" up the romance in the new year with Rachel Hauck's newest book, A Brush with Love, by entering her Kindle Fire giveaway! And be sure to catch a sneak peek of the soon-to-be-released How to Catch a Prince!
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 One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • A Brush with Love by Rachel Hauck
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway only runs for a week, 12/30 – 1/5. Winner will be announced January 6th on Rachel's blog.
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{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

Friday, January 2, 2015

brave


I love this song. Love it. I first heard it while on a missions trip this summer. Our team was gathered together for a time of prayer one evening and this song started playing. I remember hearing it and instantly loving it. It was fitting for that time because a missions trip is all about being brave. Especially when going to another country. You have to be brave as you're pushed out of your comfort zone. And ultimately, that's what I want. I don't want to stay the same. I want to grow and change. And then I found a video of how the song came to be. Hearing Amanda's heart makes me love the song all the more. Fear is a nasty guy. I'll admit that I let it hold me back sometimes. I think about the "what if" and decide it's safer to not venture away from the shore. And then I hear that line in my head, "You call me out beyond the shore into the waves." And then I try to be brave. I try to push the fear away and walk towards the waves. Am I always successful? Nope. But I'm trying! And this new year is a great chance to be a little more brave :)


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Thursday, January 1, 2015

welcome 2015!

I can't believe a new year is here! 2014 was a crazy awesome year! So much happened and I know this year will be even better! I saw God's handiwork in so many different ways; through providing my new job to the finances I needed for a missions trip. I love the freshness a new year brings. It's a chance to reflect on the previous year and decide what needs to change for the new year. 

I've picked a verse for this year: "May He grant you according to your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans…may the Lord fulfill all your petitions" - Psalm 20:4-5

2015 is going to be a great year!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

christmas

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. I love the smells of cinnamon, pine, egg nog and wonderful things baking in the kitchen. I love the look of wrapped presents under the tree (and picking out cute wrapping paper!). I love the simplicity of white lights. And then I think about what happened on the first Christmas. Of all the ways for God to send His Son, He chose the form of a baby. I have a hard time truly understanding all of it. How Mary must have felt and all she went through. How she trusted the angel's words instead of doubting. How God's plan to save humanity took place…in a stable. I love how unassumingly beautiful the Christmas story is. 

"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” - Matthew 1:21

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