Thursday, September 8, 2011

Courtney's Makings

Hi Friends,
I know I've pretty much abandoned this blog, giving all of my blogging time and energy to The Pink Peony lately.  I wanted to let you know that my friend Courtney from Nashville has given me a stinkin cute owl pendant to feature on  If you love it as much as I do, check back daily for additional entries.  :)  Hope all is well.  Lots of love....d

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Happy Weekend!

Here's a little of what we've been up to lately....

Mission Week was a few weeks ago with our high school youth group - we did local missions projects for a few days, then headed to St. Pete for a youth conference and a day at Busch Gardens.

{Painting at The Blake}

 {Team 1 ready to venture to our next mission project}

{B & kids on the tram to Busch Gardens}

I'm a gluten free girl now, so I've been trying my hand at gluten free cooking - here are a few new recipes I've come up with....the recipe for the Roasted Eggplant Caprese Salad can be found here.

 {Parmesan Shrimp over Pesto Quinoa Noodles}

More recently, it's Blue Angel weekend here on P'cola Beach, so yesterday we joined a few friends on their boat for an afternoon of food, sun & the blue angel show!  We love our blues here in FL...

And after all the fun and sun...Blakely and I are enjoying some r&r today.  He's the best little buddy....

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How Great is Our God

So much has happened since my last post - I wrote a little about it here, if you'd like to read.  I always vow to be a more consistent blogger, but the only thing that seems to remain consistent is my inconsistency.  Oh well...there's only time for so much.

Through all of my recent adventures and experiences, I've come to realize some really cool things & I thought I'd take a moment on this overcast, Sunday afternoon to share.  Grab your favorite iced drink, or maybe crank the ac and put on your sweats (as I like to do...shhhh, that'll be our little secret - till the next power bill arrives atleast) and read on...

Over the past 2 weeks or so, I've found myself being a listening ear to many friends and acquaintances around me.  Not one word shared has gone unfelt, unheard, uncared or unprayed-for.  (I'll come back to this in a minute.)  My husband shared a video of Louie Giglio from the "How Great is Our God" tour (click the link to watch, I highly recommend it. It puts life into perspective.) in the high school youth group last week and it struck a heart string.  For those who don't have time to watch, Louie shares pictures of our solar system and beyond to give us an idea of how vast God's creation really is and how small we are in the grand picture.  This has been something God's been repeatedly showing me since my last post.

When taking off from our small little airport a few weeks ago, I looked down and saw my "city" below - becoming smaller and smaller with each second that passed, till it was but a blurry spot below the clouds.  "That's my world," I thought.  "All of my problems, my fears, my possessions, my loved ones, my memories - most of them belong right there and (morbid, but true) it could all be wiped away in an instant and the world would go on."  With that thought came, "but somehow in the smallness of my world, God cares."  He cares.  He cares so much that He called me by name and invited me into personal relationship with Him.  The only thing my mind can possibly relate this to is ants in an ant farm - it's as if I had an ant farm on my kitchen counter and I somehow knew each ant personally.  Imagine if I named them and then invited them to get to know me.  Sure they're busy little creatures, running frantically to find their next grain to offer to their queen, they're distracted, but they've been invited and with that invitation comes my love, affection, care, protection and concern.  That sounds ridiculous, I know, but it's the only image I can put to God calling me out of this world and offering me life & love.  I so quickly get caught up in my little world and I (meaning to or not) make it all about me.  It's amazing and awesome that He cares.  In the midst of say, caring for and tending to the universe, He takes time to listen to and care for me (and you if you let Him).

Bringing it back to the burdens I've carried for my friends who are hurting.  I think of the bridge in the song "Hosanna":

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

That song has become an ernest prayer of mine, and I'm seeing it happen before my very eyes.  He's breaking my heart for the things my friends and family (& the world) around me are experiencing and I believe this is a very small taste of the burden He feels for our pain and our heartache.  He cares.  I don't know who's reading this and/or what you're going through, but as my heart breaks for the people around me these days, know that He cares whether you know Him personally or not.  Contrary to what the media would like you to believe, there's a God who created YOU and He cares for His creation.  

Lots of love and prayers being sent to people around me these days...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Superwoman Fail

WARNING : This post just may make you look at me differently - it's raw & maybe a little too honest.  If you haven't noticed already, I totally don't have it together.  Read on if you need to see the proof...

After several minutes of rambling and impatient shaking of the head, "You didn't hear a word I just said.  Ma'am you need to make a decision, I have a dog waiting in the tub and don't have time to wait for you.  I'm either shaving him or you need to take him home and comb your high maintenance dog yourself."  That was the tail end of a long & unnecessary conversation I had at 7:45 this morning with a new groomer in town (I'll save his reputation and just hope that his impatience with a potential paying customer was due to the stress of opening a new business).  Needless to say, this conversation seemed to have set the tone (and pace) for my never-ending day.

You know the days that seem as if you're trapped in a snow globe and some kid hyped up on pixie stix and fruit-by-the-foot is violently shaking you so that the dust never has a chance to settle?  For some weird reason, in the midst of these types of days, I feel like superwoman - just hand me my cape and I'll add flying to my list of things to do.  (Does superwoman fly?  She really should, if she doesn't.)  But it's when the sun sets and the dust finally settles that I see helpless me (minus the cape), a wreck because I've burned the candle at both ends and have nothing left to offer at the end of the day.  Just a really tired and haggard-looking me - major superwoman fail (in my opinion).

Tonight after my marathon day week (is today really Wednesday?  where did last monday - this tuesday go?), I found myself sitting on the floor of my office with guitar in hand (a rarity these days) just sobbing words of nothingness.  Who knows what I was singing croaking out through those tears, all I know is that when my fingers hit the fret board and my lips decided to move, my heart couldn't hold it back any longer - I verbally (and I suppose somewhat musically) vomited on Jesus.  I haven't done that since pre-marital days - not in that fashion at least.  Since being married, I've not allowed myself to unravel - I can't afford to fall apart.  If I fall apart, the whole house comes crumbling with me.  Instead, I sometimes talk to God (and myself) in the car on the way from point A to point B - venting in spurts; or sometimes (in a way I'm not so proud to admit) I have a freak-out-on-the-husband sort of moment.  But usually I just find myself sprinting through my daily routine, taking massive breaths in and exhaling serious breaths out (cheeks flared and all).  So not healthy.

Don't get me wrong - married life has been fabulous, but with it has come a whole new world of responsibilities and expectations (most of which I've put upon myself, B's a pretty easy-going {and helpful} guy).  The biggest change, however, has been my relationship with the Lord.  Daily devotions get pushed behind or squeezed in between workouts, meal planning, grocery shopping, project finishing, teaching, cooking, cleaning and who knows what else I manage to fit between waking and sleeping hours.  Those quiet nights with my Bible opened and guitar and pen in hand have become distant memories and tonight reminded me how desperately I need/miss them.  Married or single, divorced or widowed we all need those moments - whether the last one we had was this morning or last year, we need them to carry us from situation to situation, season to season.  Without them we become a powerless and tired superwoman - doing everything in our power to tackle our to-do list, but finding our reflection to be a bit older and less beautiful than when we last saw it.

I suppose I sat down to write this so that I could have a moment of honesty.  A moment of admitting that I can't do life without Him.  And if you take anything away from this, yes, you may recognize that I'm tired and helpless (and a bit crazy) but more importantly, I don't want you to find yourself where I am - exhausted.  Sure, I've had amazing moments - leading worship (and I've meant every word that I've sung), doing ministry alongside my husband, praying and seeking God throughout the past year and a half, but I've failed to do that in every situation.  More honestly, I've failed to let Him have the things I simply cannot control.  I've failed to have those moments of falling apart, only to have Him pick up the pieces.  Friends, it's worth it.  While I'm prying my white-knuckled fingers off the wheel, I'm handing it all to Him, even if it takes everything I've got.  Tonight reminded me that I'm alive - it's okay to cry - and I so desperately need Him.  No matter how ambitious I am, I'm no superwoman!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crisp & Clean

If you haven't checked out my new decor blog yet, here's a recent entry....follow & share if you like! :)  

With spring in full bloom and summer on our heels, I'm loving bright, bold colors.  And while I'm a total color-lover, a "color" that I absolutely LOVE to see this time of year is white!  It's so clean and crisp, and is the perfect backdrop for all of those bright summer hues that are beginning to pop up.

White can be hard to do right.  It sometimes feels too modern and not so homey, and if you have kids and/or pets, it can be difficult to keep clean.  But whether it's white walls, white furniture or just white accents, it can make this time of year feel a little brighter.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to incorporate white.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Today I celebrate my 24th birthday - it's hard to believe how fast time flies!  

This day always makes me look back on the years past, and reminds me that I have so much to be thankful for!  

I thank God for the family He blessed me with, the husband who so sweetly loves & cares for me, the friends who support me and the mother that birthed me. ;)  

Thank you to all who have been part of my past 24 years.  I am so thankful for each and every one of you.  I would not be who I am today without you.

Looking forward to the year ahead!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Blog!

Hi Friends!

Just wanted to let you know that I finally launched my design/decor blog - it's a work in progress, but check it out, follow me and share it with a friend if you like! :)  

Lots of love!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made....

Words cannot express the heart I have for young women to see their worth, their value, their exquisite beauty from the inside out. So many of my sweet sisters have fallen prey to the lies that have surrounded them since birth - they're not good enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough, not rich enough, not smart enough, the list is endless. I too, have believed these lies at times, but I have a God who constantly reminds me of my worth and value; and my God has blessed me with a family and a husband who remind me that I'm cherished. I realize that not every girl is given the support system I grew up with, so I feel the need to be that reminder, be that encourager. One of my favorite scriptures stands as a beautiful testimony to God's love for His master creation, YOU (and me of course), "For You created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful..." (Psalm 139:13-14)
So sweet sister, be reminded today - YOU have been handcrafted by the Ultimate Creator. You were designed with a specific purpose and you've been given worth because He CHOSE to impart worth to YOU! So start living like it - you're a rarity, a jewel on earth. Something worth pursuit. Find freedom in your worth this week and start living like the girl you were meant to be!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Honesty and hard-to-live-out faith....

So laugh if you must, but I have moments where something wells up inside of me and I feel the urge to give Martha Stewart, Giada, Brooke Fraser and Beth Moore a run for their money. Not that I'm implying that I'm as great (or better) as these women are at what they do, but I have moments were I'm crafting or cooking and think, "I need to capitalize on this and make a business out of it." (I can't even count the amount of businesses I've dreamt up - each one more amazing than the last. :) Or moments where I'm songwriting, leading worship or dreaming up new study ideas for our precious high school girls and I think, "How great would it be to do this for a living? Pour myself out over music and Bible studies 24/7, travel and encourage/inspire other girls/women to follow hard after Jesus, and not have to worry about how we'll pay this month's bills or when the next pay check will be deposited into our account." I don't know if I'll ever have the luxury of not stressing over finances (and maybe I'm naive to think that there are people who don't stress over money at all), but I'd like to think that God gave me gifts, talents, passions, desires and dreams that I should explore and pursue beyond my own kitchen or living room.

Money certainly isn't the focal point, but I have to say, life would be much more free if I didn't feel guilty for spending $6 for dog food or $4 for our preferred orange juice. I'm sure financial worries are a common stressor in homes these days, but as a believer, I have to wonder if God instilled things inside of me that would provide my bread and butter, if only I more persistently pursued them. He asks us to be faithful in the small things, and that's just what I feel the overwhelming urge to do - be faithful in the opportunities to open my home up to young girls needing love and encouragement, faithful to share my voice or musical abilities to charities or organizations who don't necessarily have a budget for such needs, faithful to cook away and offer a taste to someone in need, faithful to watch every dollar spent so that we have enough to give back to the One who gave it to us in the first place - faithful. It's easier said than done sometimes, but faith is where success begins. Faith is taking a leap over a deep, dark crevice and praying your way safely to the other side. But when you have the Creator of the universe holding your hand, that leap doesn't seem so dangerous - it looks more adventurous. So here's to the adventure that awaits. I'm laying down my fears of failure and fears of not having what we need, I'm ready to take my leap of faith and believe that my God can provide exceedingly, above and beyond my wildest dreams.
Dare to dream and dare to step out....want to do it with me??

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Getting Organized...

I don't know about you, but when I'm organized, I feel the air I breathe is fresher, sweeter & cleaner, my heart smiles and my steps have a bounce to them. So today, I sought after that happy feeling of being organized and attempted to clean out my office, organize my schedule for the week and plan out my grocery shopping. Sounds boring, I know, but I feel like a million bucks after the job's been done.

One thing I organized today was a coupon binder (Okay, who saw the recent TLC special on crazy couponing?? My husband and I were glued to it!) - I have a few friends who are coupon crazy and who do it well, freebies are part of their every day life; but I've actually tried it myself a few times in the past, and was disappointed to find processed foods and petroleum filled products to be the primary coupons available. Yet, after seeing the lifetime supply of toilet paper and paper towels one woman had collected through couponing, I decided to give it another shot. So today, I purchased two Sunday papers (a secret to their coupon success), created a few lists on various coupon websites and clipped away. I feel that if I'm saving on staples such as toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels, and baking supplies, then it's all worth it - anything to shave the grocery bills these days. Maybe one day my coupon binder will look like this :
But until then, mine looks a little more like this...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Refresh, Reboot & Reinvent...

It's a rainy day here in the sunshine state, and I LOVE it! My husband disagrees, but I could totally live in Seattle or somewhere gloomy and rainy - it's so cozy (when you're indoors at least). Don't get me wrong, sunshine is great - but we get a LOT of that around here, so the change of scenery is nice from time to time.

I know 2011 is probably the hot topic for most bloggers, facebookers, tweeters, myspacers (does that still exist?), etc. these days, but what's the start of a new year without a blog about it? There's something so refreshing and exhilarating about January 1st - it's an opportunity to reboot, refresh and reinvent. We've all over-indulged and probably over-spent during the holiday season and now we face 365 unblemished days to hit the gym, give our daily diets and weekly meal plans a healthy overhaul, and reconnect with our bank accounts and credit card statements. But for a girl who loves Jesus, this week is an all important opportunity for a spiritual makeover.

I don't know about you, but I feel the first week of the new year sets the tone for the 52 weeks ahead, and each day counts. I've done something different this year - instead of making my mile-long list of resolutions that never seem to materialize beyond January 31st, I've decided to create 12 simple (and achievable) goals, and have paired each goal up with a month in which I hope to see it conquered by. I won't bore you with my list of self, spiritual and financial improvement goals - but I will say that I strongly believe that week 1 could make or break my year of change. So goal #1 is to begin each day with Jesus - no matter how great or how small my window of time may be, I refuse to let another day slip away without connecting with the One who gives me life. And as a firm believer in the power of Christ, I'm excited to see how this small commitment of time and effort (& probably a greater commitment of discipline than I realize) will change my life over the next 360 days. I'm excited about the adventure these days hold and I'm excited to, one year from now, look back and see the growth and strength that came from my daily commitment. Like the rain that's cleaning my roof and watering my yard, I hope that my Jesus will be the water that washes over my heart daily and nourishes the seeds that have been planted in my life.

May 2011 be a year full of adventure, and growth for you as well! Here's to a fresh start!