Blessings Under Disguise.

If I had to honestly sum up the past week in just a couple of words, it would be “really tough.” My friends can agree from my multiple text messages, they agreed our life has been crazy. It just felt like one thing after another kept going wrong. Emotionally we were exhausted, physically our bodies needed so much sleep and the enemy was full on attack. But in all of the things that went wrong or were frustrating, there were blessings. Blessings that only would have happened, if we went through these situations.

A stomach bug hit our group of teens on our last day on our Spring (couldn’t call it winter because it was 75 degrees 😉 ) Camp.  It was terrible and we felt so bad for all of the kids who got sick. Now we look back and see how the sickness was a blessing. A blessing under disguise. A blessing to be able to connect and bond with our teens, in a way we may not have been able to if we weren’t all sick.

img_3113_edited

Just a small handful of our amazing teens God has blessed us with! 

I was driving last Saturday (later in the day after our long morning of everyone being sick) on our way to Buffalo, to drop my brother off. On our way, a deer decided to run in front of our car. I was driving and hit that poor thing going 65. As if the day couldn’t get any longer. Thankfully we were all okay but our car was totaled. That was the last thing we needed. It was an older car, with a lot of miles so didn’t expect more then a couple of hundred dollars back. But God is faithful and gave us way more then we could have ever guessed! If the car was traded in or even sold, we would have never gotten that much.  A blessing under disguise, even though hitting a dear would have not been our first thought.

17124932_1264992383582606_279372773_n

We said goodbye to this car yesterday. Lots of memories and long car rides together. 

To add to the stressful week, our power was out for almost 48 hours. The blessing in that, haven’t quite figured that one out yet. haha  I thought a lot about this past week this morning, and thinking back to what we went through not only physically but emotionally. As much as we continued to say, we just need this week over, we are blessed. Blessed to be able to take our teens on a weekend away and thankful we weren’t hurt in the accident. Blessed to have such amazing family and friends who offered to take us in when our house was 42 degrees. Even when life seemed to be out of control and everything that could go wrong did, God was and is still in control.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” ~James 1:2

At the beginning of the year, I picked a simple word. That word was joy. Wasn’t really sure why, but it just kept getting put on my heart and now I believe this is just the beginning. Beginning of seeing joy through these trials, when my first reaction is to pout and get frustrated. And not only just having joy but continuing to see the blessings that God gives us. Blessings under disguise.

what-seems-to-us-as-bitter-trials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Process.

A process to make healthy eating a lifestyle. Over the past few months, my husband and I have taken on the challenge to eat better and work out. We did really well for about two months, but totally failed the working out part. Then the holidays came and of course the Christmas cookies are just too tempting. I think I made close to 300 cookies over the span of December, now I’m so done with cookies.

Once we started slacking on our eating, we felt lousy and just bleh. Determined to get back on track the beginning of the month, we decided to cut out all processed foods. Getting simple recipes from “100 Days of Real Food,” and joined her 6 week challenge of cutting out processed foods. Basically not buying any food that has more then 5 ingredients on the ingredient label. Anything that you can’t pronounce counts as processed.  Going on week number 2, we can notice a huge difference. More energy, feeling stronger and the list goes on.

This is not some diet plan we are following but a lifestyle change. A change to take care of the body that God has given us with our short time here on earth. And eating healthy is fun and honestly so much better. I have always loved taking care of my body. I was a competitive gymnast for 10 years, I had to love working out. Because of those years of pushing myself hard and self-discipline, it sticks with me today. Sure I will never have my super fit gymnast body again but I can still be in really good shape and it all starts with feeding my body the proper food.

Yesterday was a baking day to get some things stocked up in the freezer. I made my own bread with only 4 ingredients. Whole wheat flour, yeast, honey and water. The best bread ever and so simple!

img_2698_edited

Not totally sure what happened to my second loaf but it still tasted great!

img_2702_edited

Also made some simple whole wheat banana oatmeal muffins which I bagged up and froze for a quick snack on the go! img_2692_edited

Last night I made up some overnight oats. I’ve heard of making these for so long but for some reason never tried it. Such a quick easy breakfast and it tasted amazing! Topped it off with some fresh strawberries!

img_2710_edited

Lunch today, one of my favorites for a quick lunch to put together. Half an avocado, with some chick peas, a little bit of tomato (because I just don’t like them), onion and some lemon juice on a piece of toast. So much flavor packed into each bite. Yummy.

img_2716_edited

This is a journey and of course we are gonna cave and buy Chinese food once and a while because that food is so terribly amazing. In the end, I know exactly what we are putting into our bodies and feel great! God created food so we can enjoy it, but in proportions and the correct ingredients. What are you doing to eat healthy and stay fit this New Year?

Being Intentional.

Being intentional about prayer. A couple of weeks ago, I was challenged. My husband and I have been going through a series by Francis Chan and his wife, You and Me Forever. This series has not only challenged our marriage but it has challenged me personally in so many ways. Lisa Chan expressed how prayer for her was always a struggle and something she really just didn’t want to do. I related completely. She went on to say how one day, her friend was over and how they decided to pray together. Pray for each other, their husbands, marriages, families and whatever else was going on in the season they were in.

After hearing that, for the second time actually, it grew heavy on my heart. Was I really afraid to commit to praying consistently each day? What did I have to lose? Absolutely nothing. I should want to share my heart with my Father, thank Him and give Him my time. I sent a long text to a dear friend, asking if she would join me on this journey of prayer. She accepted. So each day after our husbands go off to work, before the to do lists begin, we call each other. We share whats been on our hearts just over the past 24 hrs and what we should pray for. We pray for our husbands, that God would continue to grow them into strong leaders and strong men of God. We pray for our marriages, that God would protect us from the attacks of the enemy and that we would be the light to those around us. We pray for our families, her little one and our future children that they would come to know the Lord at a young age and that they would be used in a mighty way. We pray for each other, that God would continue to work on our hearts and continue to mold us into the wives He’s called us to be. We thank Him. We thank Him for the blessings He has poured out on us and the work He is doing in our lives.

Our quick, “lets call each other and pray for 10 minutes,” has turned into over an hour long conversation and prayer time. I have never felt so refreshed. My mind and heart is focused in the right place throughout the rest of my day. Not only have these times strengthened my walk with God but also with my best friend. Such a blessing to me. Are there days I don’t want to set aside this time? Of course, but if I am not intentional about my prayer times everything else in my life is so meaningless. I want to look back at the end of my life and not regret what I did with my time. When we strive for an eternity mindset all else in this world doesn’t matter.

I challenge you, if you do not have a time set aside to pray, I challenge you to do so. Call a friend up and do it together. Having someone who can keep me accountable has almost made this harder for me. I can’t just accidentally forget about it, be too busy or put it off. I am being intentional about prayer. I’m not waiting until the new year to start either, I’ve started now.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~Matthew 18:20

 

 

Cookies.

Cookies, a random, simple title. Growing up one thing, my brothers and I would do was make cookies for just about every holiday. We’d get dropped off at my Grandparents house for the day and just make cut out cookies. Now these aren’t just any sugar cookie cut outs, these are something special. I have yet to find a recipe out there quite like the ones my grandma makes. Even though she always says, “I just found it in a newspaper,” it still makes them grandma’s cookies. I actually just found the cookie cutters at my parents house that we always use, a whole garbage bag. A garbage bag, filled to the top with cut outs for every holiday.

I always looked forward to these times. Special memories were made. My grandma would always say, “don’t eat the cookie dough (though I’d always steal some when she was not looking) or do not roll the dough too thin!!” I do not really remember when there was a season when we didn’t make cookies together. I remember one year for Christmas we decided we would triple the recipe. Triple. Unless you want to spend your whole entire day pulling cookies in and out of the oven, I do not recommend ever doing this!! We spent hours upon hours. Then you realize you have to frost the endless amount of cookies. We made hundreds of cookies that day and had no idea what to do with them all. So we loaded up plates and my brothers went door to door on our street dropping off. We decided to never do that again! 😉

This year was the first year, I made these cookies in my own home. Fall cut outs, leaves and acorns. I called my grandma and asked her for the recipe that I should have memorized by now. This year my husband helped me make them but nothing does compare to the many memories made in the past making these with my grandma and my brothers. New seasons and new memories to be made, but those will always be dear to my heart. She always says, “We never had many traditions that we did together” and I always say that making cookies together was the best and I’d rather have just that one then a bunch. I’m thankful that God has given me such an amazing family. I’m thankful for these times and the memories created.

Cherishing the memories of the past and looking forward to the new memories ahead.

 

In Our Family

This will probably be my favorite project that we have worked on. Super special to both of us, as we establish a culture in our home. Before we got married we always talked about the culture we wanted to create in our family and when people would come to our home. Our foundation lays on Christ but we wanted to branch off of that more.

What are characteristics we want to reflect in our life to those around us? After a lot of prayer and going to the Word, we wrote down what we believe God wants us to create in our family. Now I say family, rather then home, because we want these characteristics to go with us wherever we go. Not just something that is lived out between 4 walls but a lifestyle. The characteristics we have chosen are mainly taken from 1 Corinthians 13, because ultimately we love because Christ first loved us.

The wood is not perfect, my letters I painted are not as even as I had wanted but that ok. We are far, far from perfect and often times lose patience, don’t “feel like” forgiving, are prideful and the list just goes on. But what do we have to go back to? I look at this on our wall in the living room every day and it’s a constant reminder to keep my attitude in check. To keep my eyes focused on the One who will give me strength to do all these things. I can’t do it on my own though, literally impossible. What is the culture you want to build in your family? Thank you God for loving us unconditionally and giving us grace each day!

Fall.

I love Fall. Fall is when I can finally decorate the house to be all cozy and the almost colder weather arrives. Last year I went crazy and bought decorations for Christmas the day after when everything was on sale but realized I never bought any fall stuff. So looked up some ideas and made a trip to the Dollar Store. Seriously that place is the best. I was able to pick up the cutest decorations to create things for about $20. I am all about buying things cheap and looking for good deals so I can be picky. Sure some of the things are not the best quality but if you can be creative, you can totally work with it! Here are some pictures of some of the things I created (just click on the pictures to see what I did).

You do not have to spend lots of money to decorate, just some simple things to create into new things. Hope this makes you ready for Fall and warm hot apple cider!

Creative Satisfaction.

I’ve been wanting to get back into blogging for quite awhile now but just hadn’t have had the motivation to do so or the words to even put down. When coming up with the name for this blog, I picked these two simple words. Creative and Satisfaction. Why? Because I love being creative. I love creating things from nothing and turning it into something. My wonderful husband said this to me a few weeks ago,

“In your creativity you will find your satisfaction when you are being creative for Christ.”

Satisfaction is my reminder that I’m creating things because of the gift God has given me and then using it to glorify Him and bless those around me.

To what I’ll actually fill this blog with, I’m not completely sure. Recipes, projects I’m creating, or just what’s been on my heart. Either way, whatever I share I pray it encourages you.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”

~Ecclesiastes 9:10-11