Friday, August 22, 2014

Thursday Picks #6 (on Friday)

This is Thursday picks on Friday and apparently I'm not great at keeping all of the rules.  In fact, last night we had double carbs (pasta and bread) and NO SALAD gasp!  And this afternoon I had bread and cheese
for lunch...not pizza (although that's pretty much the same thing, isn't it?!).  I blame it on spending the first part of my life growing up in Portland, Maine where I frequented this pizza place with my family called Lisa's Pizza.  
Lisa's Pizza Old Orchard Beach
   Old Orchard Beach
At Lisa's Pizza they served Pizza with a big side of pier fries (aka. krinkle cut french fries) drowned in salt and malt vinegar.  Oh and then don't forget the fried dough (or Indian Fry bread or elephant ears as you westerners have mis-named this heart-stopping delicacy) for dessert!  Pretty much, what you're hearing me say here, is that my rule breaking can be directly correlated to my days spent eating at Lisa's pizza.  
Now that we've established the cause of this one particular dysfunction of rule-breaking and posting Thursday pics on Friday without any kind of conscience, let's get on with it, shall we?!
Starting with books!

The Best Yes by Lisa TerKeurst I have not yet even cracked the cover on this one, but I can not wait to dive in.  This is speaking to so many women on so many levels who are struggling with feeling stretched beyond reason for no good reason other than the fact that we seem to say yes too often to too many things! Lisa's an incredible writer, story-teller and has an awesome sense of humor.  You can check out her video preview to her book study on this book as well here as well!

The Ragamuffin Gospel  -     By: Brennan Manning
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning "Though lip service is paid to the gospel of grace, many Christians live as if only personal discipline and self denial will mold the perfect me.  The emphasis is on what I do rather than on what God is doing.  In this curious process God is a benign old spectator in the bleachers who cheers when I show up for morning quiet time."  
Do I even need to say any more about this rich book that has been on my shelf for years and now I am taking the time to devour?!  Check it out, it is life-shifting and soul-challenging on so many levels.

Waiting Well (from the Story of Marriage Series by John and Lisa Bevere) taught by Hannah Cusack who works at Messenger International and is an incredible powerhouse of a prayer warrior and Jesus lover! Incredible podcast on what happens to grow our faith in the waiting seasons!

Coffee With Chris (by Christine Caine and friends) is my all-time favorite go-to for great advice on leadership, living out the call(s) God has placed on your life, and all-around sound Biblical in-your-face truth about how to live your life on-mission for the Kingdom!  In this episode Chris interviews Executive Pastor of Faith Community Church (also Boston Marathoner/avid runner/athlete) Dawn Jackson.  Definition of Rest was a powerful reminder which delves into the importance of training wisely and resting wisely in order to build the necessary muscles for a particular race/mission.


Selah, You Amaze Us album is incredible!  This is my current favorite off this new release but you can listen to songs from the entire album at this link!

Hillsong Worship, No Other Name Album is brand new from Hillsong Worship and the entire thing is incredible!  Click the link here to listen

& more...

These are some of my favorite clothes (on sale at right now), recipes, and the shirt Jennie Allen was wearing at the IF:Gathering in Austin that I am obsessed with and cannot find anywhere...  Here goes:

Amy Lace Accent Tank from Ruche in the Under $20 category

Global travels Medallion Necklace From Ruche for just $14.50!!

Tulum Beaded Earrings from Ruche $9.50

Take if From Here Dress- From Ruche $29.50

Ok people, Jennie had this shirt on at IF and I love love love it!  I have looked and looked and looked online to find one like it and can not find anything like it anywhere!  Anyone know where I can get one of these?  Help a sister out!!
*Jennie Allen, friends in the Ausint area, anyone who has a connection to where to find this kind of top...if you're reading this...cause I'm so sure you are....where can I find this?!
Hey, it's worth a shot!  :)

lettuce wraps
Kelly Minter's Lettuce Wraps

Mini Blueberry Galettes- From The Pioneer Woman web site-  These are easy as pie!  No really, they are!  I am not by nature a person who makes/bakes desserts for my family for after dinner but decided I needed to use up some blueberries that would otherwise spoil before they could all be consumed by my family.  I was able to whip these up in approx. 10 min flat!  And I'm not known for my speed in anything other than--possibly a foot race.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday Picks #5

If taking a nap on a boat could be a part of my Thursday Picks would be.  This afternoon I had the most glorious nap on a pontoon boat.  It's summer-time and I rarely nap with the fast pace of family time in summer, but today was the mother of all naps.  The sound of the lapping water, the warm sun, music on my ipod...

But enough about glorious napping.  I have just a few things for you this week, but they are worth checking out for sure!  Here is this week's Thursday Picks!  Enjoy!

We're starting with blogs this week because I can hardly contain myself about this particular blog.  I came accross this one this week and fell in love with it!  If you love organizing things (I don't) or if you are organizationally challenged (I am) this is such a super fun blog for real people living in real homes with real families!  This has been a go-to for me recently and has some great easy ideas to stream-line your organizing!!

A bunch of my favorite Gospel loving, people loving, world changing chics are on a trip to Rawanda together with International Justice Mission.  The team includes, Jennie Allen, Jen Hatmaker, Wynne Elder, Jessica Honneger (founder of Noonday Collection), and several others.  They are each taking turns blogging their adventure here:

Ok, BEST current start-(or finish)-my-run song.  Heck, it's even awesome in the middle of the run.  Brave seems to be a theme lately and I'm embracing it!  Plus, I love just about anything by Shawn McDonald

This one by for King & Country has been played over and over on one of my favorite Radio Stations AIR1, but I can not ever get enough of it!  Love this song and reminder.  Plus, Max is awesome at singing along with the intro part-- OOOoooohh  Ooooohhh Oooohh :)


Messenger International is a ministry I have come to know and love.  A few weeks ago, Hannah Cusack, Messenger staff member and amazing prayer warrior woman taught a session on Waiting Well.  You can listen here by clicking on Hannah's picture.  So worth the listen!

Alright, that's it for this week.  I am still working my way through the previously listed books and will update with books as I wrap up the current reading list!

Happy happy Thursday, friends!  I'd love to hear, what from this list, you are loving.  Comment below!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Saying No to Say Yes

If emotions were logical they'd be much more convenient.  I suppose that's not the point the Creator had in mind when He wired us, though, is it?  This week I have found myself on a roller-coaster of emotion for no apparent reason-- can't even blame it on the hormones.  I have found myself incredibly sensitized to both the happy and the sad, the joy and the pain of moments within each day.

If you know me, you know this is not in any way normal.  A glimpse of my three blessings playing and laughing together evoked the largest grin and tears.  A slight, inadvertent email or comment wounded where it normally wouldn't.  What normally wouldn't have even stung, brought pain like a scraped knee-- not deep pain, but pain to tears, none-the-less.  

And while I haven't fully discovered the root, it seems it may have something to do with the joy and pain of saying lots of no's to little (and some big) things so that I can say yes to better and more lasting things.  Saying no or "I can't" to the many things so that I can say yes or "I can" to the things that are in the now, and some that are still in the far or not-to-far off not yet.

How much of my worth has been wrapped up in what I'm doing, rather than why I'm doing it?  A lot.  I know better.  I study identity in Christ.  I teach people on finding our value in nothing other than Christ and the limitless worth He has placed upon us.  And yet, even here I find myself tripping.  Tripping over my pride.  Tripping over control issues.  Tripping over the fear of What if I don't matter here in a particular setting anymore?  Tripping over things I have felt were important.  Tripping over things I felt incapable of doing (like organizing my home-- you know, hypothetically speaking).  

In the midst of this I have this deep need to scale back.  My scaling back has not been a sudden urgent under-taking, but a subtle more intentional move to live on purpose and remove things and activities that keep me from living free.  Free of stuff.  Free of noise.  Free of too many options.  Free of feeling overwhelmed by having too many commitments.  Free to love my man well.  Free to train up our very own 3 disciples and to pour and pour and pour into them.  Free to chase them down the sidewalk as they go racing by.  Free to kiss my love goodbye in the morning with a real good kiss rather than an I need to move onto the next thing as soon as you leave peck.  Free to find my identity in the One who loves me more than I could ever dream or imagine, rather than in any accomplishment or pleasing of any person.

Areas I've scaled back or said No to thus far (both willingly and some with some inner-resistance) so that I can say Yes to being neater, more intentional, and more present in any given moment:
  • Clothing- creating a minimal choice closet since I only wear a few things regularly anyway
  • My kitchen- this is a work in progress, but I was inspired by a blogger who said that Goodwill is the cheapest storage space you can find anywhere.  Most items you rarely, if ever, use can be found at Goodwill easily for just a couple bucks.
  • Decor- anything that hasn't been hung or doesn't "go" with the decor now is outta here. 
  • Social Media- Taken a break for the most part for the summer from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  I may look FB or Twitter for various intentional reasons, but not on there looking merely to look.
  • Commitments- meeting with women for coffee regularly is something I've reluctantly had to push pause on as well as some other ministry commitments.
There are more, but that at least gives a bit of an idea.

What about for you?  What would it look like for you to scale back?  If you were to scale back, what would you begin to eliminate or minimize in your life?  What would there be more room for if you went ahead and took some action?  

I would love love love for you to leave a comment so I and others can hear your thoughts on this.  It would encourage me and quite possibly other readers, so jump in with me here.  Would you?  Let's hear it.

Also, I would love it if you would jump over to the Thursday Picks Edition #4 blog to see links to books, blogs, podcasts, music, and more and share your favorite things right now too in the comment section of Thursday Picks!

Thursday Picks Edition #4

All is quiet and THIS is what's happening at my house right now.
They fell asleep.  Just right out fell asleep in the middle of the day!  The little man is sleeping too, so I need to get this post up and go find myself a spot on an empty couch!  And after reading, you should probably indulge in a little nap too.  Although I can't say that I recommend Sweet Seriah's face on the book on the floor method... Ouch.


This one by Ann Voskamp had me weeping.  Because it's a theme that resonates with me that I've been digesting for months now and because it's just where I'm at and maybe you are too.  There's more on my insight (much much less eloquent than Ann's) to my present state here.
               Photo from from A Holy Experience Blog by Ann Voskamp

Because it doesn’t matter what any gatekeeper says: Mothering a mess of kids is as important as preaching to a stadium for a month of Sundays. 

The size of your ministry isn’t proof of the success of your ministry. The very Son of God had a ministry to 12. And even one of them abandoned Him. Forget the numbers in your work. Focus on the net value of  your work.
Ann Voskamp- 

The Secret to Overnight Success Blog
Paul Angone, author of 101 Secrets for Your Twenties, writes a blog at that is great wisdom, funny, and just all around helpful not just for 20-somethings, but for 30-somethings as well.  Paul wrote this post that was featured in last week.

"Overnight success is a seductive lie. Success doesn’t happen in a night, it happens in the thousand nights that no one will ever write a song about."                                                                                                   ~Paul Angone

So I'm still working through several of the previous books I posted on Thursday Picks previously, but with an adventurous toddler and two active girls, I've been looking for some family-activity-oriented books so I picked these up at the library.

I Love Dirt by Jennifer Ward
15 Minutes Outside-365 Ways to get out of the house and connect with your kids  Rebecca P. Choen
Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker (I have heard GREAT reviews on this memoir-ish read)
The Rythm of Family-Discovering a sense of wonder through the seasons Amanda Blake Soule

God I Look to You- Bethel Worship (Jen Johnson)
On repeat and repeat and repeat in my house and car right now.

Tenth Avenue North- Islands
Powerful EP this from Tenth Avenue North.  You can listen to the whole EP by clicking through the playlist link below.

I love the Coffee with Chris Caine podcast more than just about any other!  It's short and packed full of great leadership and spiritual teaching.  This particular podcast on June 30th, Chris chats with Boston Marathoner and pastor Dawn Jackson about Definition of Rest.  So good.  So so Good!  Go listen right now!  Remember, it's titled DEFINITION OF REST.
PODCASTS - Christine Caine

That's it for this week!  I'm now off to my couch seat before the voice in the baby monitor starts making requests "Mama."

Friday, July 4, 2014

Exhale: Link up Five Minute Friday Un-edited Write

Exhale.  The Yoga teacher instructs the class to exhale.  When you breathe properly you will reach further, stretching those sore tight muscles.  Exhale.  At the end of the yoga session this is the prize as I lay perfectly still, relaxing each and every muscle.   Exhale.  I lay there and find myself  thanking my God for how He makes muscles and bones to work and for a healthy body to stretch and move.  This is a gift I treasure dearly from Him.

Exhale. I say to my oldest as she braces herself for her 11-year old check up shots.  If you exhale and look up or away, it won't hurt as much.  She relaxes, releasing the tension in her shoulders and barely notices when the needle pricks.

Exhale. I think to myself at the end to the day while I watch my three little people, born of my heart but not of my womb, laugh and play together.  I want to breathe in the sweetness of the very moment.  Chasing the littlest not-quite-two year old down the side-walk, his giggles delightfully smacking me in the face as I follow him on his little bike.  The cares of the day fall off.

Exhale.  This is what happens when my man and I finish the tucking in and the praying as we collapse on the couch looking forward to time side by side, ending the day the same way we began our original story --with just the two of us.

Exhale.  With much fear and intimidation I finish my first ever Five Minute Friday Post.  Thank you, Lisa-Jo, for the inspiration.

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday free write.  This was my first time and it was scary, challenging, and awesome!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thursday Picks Edition #3

Daughters and Dating, Raising Girls That #fightlikeagirl, Eyelash Extensions, and Some Other Fun Stuff

Disclaimer: This post is heavy on the chic stuff and heavy on the blogs I'm loving.  Who am I kidding?!  My husband is the only male that reads this blog anyway... Read on ladies.  Read on.

We're starting with Blogs today because, well, just because!

Daughters and Dating is authored by Jen Wilkin over at her blog,   Because I'm preparing to have a 6th grader.  Because I'm preparing to have a 6th grade girl.  Because my strongest desire is that she be bold in her faith, firm in her convictions regarding purity, and wise in her choosing boys...  And for many more reasons, this is a great quick read!

*image from Jen's Blog Post

Fight Like a Girl. My friend (incredible gifted leader, teacher, lover of Jesus, and author) Lisa Bevere wrote a post on her ministry page at Messenger International that was so powerful regarding how we view women and women in ministry, in particular.  I absolutely love what she's written and to top it all off, she's put her book, Fight Like a Girl on sale for just $5.  The book delves deeper into the conversation of what unique role women play in the church and in the world.  In the blog post she asks these fascinating questions that I am still pondering over:
What should it look like to Fight Like a Girl?
Is ministering or leading #LikeAGirl celebrated at your church?
What do you think women were uniquely created to fight?
What is the power of being a woman?
Check out the post here:
Fight Like a Girl Post

5 Minute Face from emily jones blog is a great quick tutorial on super quick fresh-faced make-up routine.  After working as a Mary Kay Image Consultant for 7 years, I have come to appreciate the art of make-up and how it can enhance one's own natural beauty.  This post led me to explore more about Lash Extensions.  Don't even get me started.... ok, since you got me started, I must continue....Lash Extensions-> I WANT them.  There I said it.  Problem is, they cost more money than I spend on any one thing in any given month and then the re-filling procedure every 4 weeks isn't cheap either.  So for now, it's $15 Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara in Black for me.  But a girl can dream, right?  Watch Emily and check out her blog which is normally full of interior design on a budget content!

My all-time favorite summer-time happy album is my friend Katie Herzig's album, Apple Tree.  I was borrowing a friend's car the other day and this was in the cd player and I had forgotten how incomplete my summer is without this on repeat!  You can listen here and purchase songs or entire album here or on amazon.
Apple Tree

Dad Is Fat- by Jim Gaffigan
I am almost finished laughing my pants off with this one by Jim Gaffigan!  If you're looking for something that is a quick read with short episode-type chapters that are (mostly) not interdependent upon one another, this is a great read!

Ex-Muslim by Naeem Fazal is the newest book on my shelf.  Naeem leads Mosaic Church in Charlotte, NC and has come to teach at my home church each year.  He is a dynamic teacher who grew up in Kuwait as a Muslim and moved to the US shortly after the Gulf War in 1990.  This is a great read that Naeem has skillfully crafted telling his story in his voice with all its intensity and humor.

That's what I'm into this week.  Hope there's something that you find interesting here.  If not, tune in next week for Thursday picks to see what other incredible resources, fashion finds, music, podcasts, etc. I am finding out there in cyberspace (and sometimes in real life).

I would love to hear your thoughts on Thursday picks and if you're finding anything you love as a result of the content you're finding here each Thursday!  Also, any other comments and/or random thoughts are always welcome!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thursday Picks Edition #2

I don't know about you, but summer is the only time I love wearing dresses.  I hate pantyhose and also abhor pasty white legs, so any other time of the year, dresses are out for me.  And then there's the whole aspect of the comfort of just about any kind of summer dress.  So this week's Thursday picks will be a little heavy on the & more category, although, I will also include this week's favorite podcast, musical selection, and blog!  

I would love to hear from those of you that are reading/subscribing to the blog any time and please feel free to let me know what posts you are enjoying and if you are enjoying the newest weekly addition of Thursday Picks.  Thanks so much for reading and following.  If you're enjoying the blog, please tell a friend and send them the link!  I'd so appreciate getting the word out!

Women's lace trim Gauze dress-- love this!  I/m pretty much a sucker for white cotton (that seems to always attract my ever-present-coffee) and this one from Old Navy is adorable.  They have all dresses on sale and there is an additional 15% off coupon online at their web site.

Womens Lace-Trim Gauze Sundresses

Women's Crochet-Lace Maxi Dresses- Ok, this one I ordered from Old Navy and it is now out of stock, but it may show up again by the time this post hits.  I am absolutely in love with the style and fit of this dress!
Womens Crochet-Lace Maxi Dresses
Women's Crinkle-Gauze Eyelet Maxi Dresses - I saw this one (also from Old Navy) on a friend the other day and it is absolutely stunning!  It's much cuter on a real person than it is on this mannequin-- no offense to the pale mannequin intended... 
Womens Crinkle-Gauze Eyelet Maxi Dresses

Women's Suspended Neck Chiffon Dresses -I'm on an Old Navy kick right now, so bear with me.  I didn't try this one on, but seem to be attracted to the bandanna theme and the red and navy dresses.  I love the drop waist and ruffled skirt on this dress, and I like that it doesn't appear to be scandalously short.
Womens Suspended Neck Chiffon Dresses

Blue Multi Color Block Dress -While shopping for a dress for a wedding that I was going to be in, I found this dress on Venus and decided to try it.  I think I now have a new favorite "sporty/casual" dress.  This one is, by far, the most comfortable and best length of dress I have in my closet right now!  It also comes in a white/yellow/pink combination.
Color block dress

Ruched Front Maxi Dress- This happens to be the dress I fell in love with and decided on for the wedding I was in this past weekend and it is the most comfortable, elegant maxi dress ever.  It's comes in Red and Gray and is on sale as well!
Ruched front maxi dress

life: beautiful magazine I love this magazine that has great spiritual growth content, as well as pretty decor tips, incredible stories, DIY tips, etc.  This is the kind of magazine that you want to look through over and over and over again because it is so incredibly pretty and not full of advertisements!

Permission Granted by Margot Starbuck
I started reading this one in April and have picked it up again to finish.  Margot has an incredible perspective on what it means to tangibly love people like Jesus.  Her writing style is comical and her insight from experience is incredibly humble and profound.

Restless- Kindle Edition Because it's on SALE for just $1.99 today only!!

Great summer night music::

All of the Stars - from the motion picture The Fault in Our Stars
I'm loving this one-- this is a version that Ed Sheeran did on The Voice with Christina Grimmie.  It's the first version of the song I ever heard, and, you know how that is when you hear a song and love it-- you love it the way you heard it.  Although Sheeran's version on the Motion Picture album is also really really good.
I haven't seen the movie yet, since I am a firm believer in book before movie--and have yet to read the book.  I currently have the book out on-loan from the library in the Spanish version, since I was #167 on the waitlist for the English version.  I'll let you know how reading the book in Spanish works out for me... so far my progress en espanol va muy lento (sloooowww).

One Republic-Native  As a fan of One Republic, I love this album as much, if not more than their 2 previous releases.   My current favorite, turn it up, open the windows, and crank the music song off this album is Love Runs Out.  Check it out and see if you can resist the urge to turn up the volume.

The Art of Simple by Tsh Oxenreider- Tsh (pronounced "Tish") is a proponent of simplified living.  She has a unique perspective and fascinating guests!  This particular podcast will have you cleaning out your closet just 10 minutes into the podcast conversation regarding minimalism.

There you have it for the week!  Don't forget to leave a comment and let me know what you love (if any) of these selections and/or about the blog!