Tuesday, April 29, 2014

To Everything There Is A Season

My world had been rocked.  I have put off blogging for as long as I can because I know this is something I have to do.   I have learned so much about myself, my God, and my perspective on life in just one week's time.  I temporarily said goodbye to one of the dearest, sweetest, most precious women in my life last Tuesday night.  My life as I know it, along with the rest of my family, will never be the same.  I still don't feel like this is real.  She was in my life for 26 years and 1 month, and a piece of my heart went with her.  I can't go on blogging here without this special tribute, as she was a reader.  I remember her telling me how she loved to keep up by checking this blog...  Needless to say, she left behind a world of influence in my life. I wanted to share a few things with you in her honor...

A few things I learned from my Aunt Karen: 

1.  Keep a journal: Karen was an avid journalist   She had several journals that she left behind.  My Uncle has found such comfort in having these journals and all that she included in them.  Earlier this week, she inspired me to begin journaling again.  I can remember her telling me she loved that I kept journals (when I sporadically did) and there is just something timeless and romantic about journaling with paper and pen.
2.  Be fearless and fight: Since the day she was diagnosed with cancer, she has been a fighter.  She fought with all she had to hang on to every minute of life.  My Aunt was a true warrior and not only that, she was thankful for what she did have and cherished every moment of her life though it was often a struggle.  In fact, one of the songs she chose to be sang at her funeral stated, "When the sun comes up tomorrow, Lord I'll be praising you..."
3.  Love my husband:  I like to think my Aunt and Uncle had the best love story of all time.  I witnessed it for 26 years and can't wait tip they meet again in heaven...I can't wait to witness that reunion.  They loved each other unconditionally all while keeping God as the center of their marriage.  I will strive for their kind of love with my Mr. for the rest of our lives.
4.  Love & Serve my God: Up until Karen couldn't come to church at all, she always participated in every church activity and served others in one way or another.  She taught, she organized and planned, she cooked and baked, she drew, she wrote, she sent cards...you name it.  She did it.  She served the Lord with all that she had up until her body could go no more...enough said.  We have no excuse to not serve him...
5.  Trust in God's Word: Karen included so many of her favorite bible verses in her journal.  You could tell she drew strength from the scriptures she chose.  God's word is not just a story to read.  It is the living word of God and as the Bible said "sharper than a two edged sword."  Indefinitely, we should treat it as more than a book.  I am guilty of that.  God help me to do better and follow in her example to cling to your word!
6.  Plan: My Aunt Karen was the BEST planner.  She planned our wedding, our showers, our family dinners, our church activities (you name it).  She even had planned her funeral and all the things she wanted to leave behind for her family.  I think I am a planner by nature, as it has always been my instinct to plan everything as well.  I'm thinking I may have had a little influence here though...;) 
7.  Learn from the Past:  I really don't know how to word this, but one thing that always stood out about Karen to me was how she loved older things.  She loved Andy Griffith   The Waltons.  It's A Wonderful Life.  Vintage lunch boxes.  Older names.  Older people (lol).  She learned from the people and the times she admired.  The Kardashians did NOT impress her...LOL!  In a world that often shuns the older ways...she understood their value and significance.  Love that about her...
8.  Cherish: Karen cherished the important sentimental things.  As I was at her and Uncle Todd's home this past week, I went through several of their photo albums.  If you ever had given her a card, picture, etc. you better believe she saved it.  Every. single. card.  I had ever given her was there.  She kept it.  Anything that belonged to a loved one that she possessed, you couldn't pay her a million dollars to let go of it.  She cherished the things that matter. 
9. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers-Eph 4:29.  I often remember her encouraging or complimenting someone.  I don't think we can do this enough for one another and I am often so caught up in myself or what I need to be doing, I fail to take the time to encourage others.  
10.  Send Cards: She and my Nana both have always sent cards.  I used to follow in their footsteps, but in the past couple of years...I have been lax.  It is my intention, to pick up where I left off and make sure I continually send cards, real, handwritten cards, to encourage, to thank, or just to say hey...to reach out to those who need that little reminder that someone is thinking of them.  The world needs so much more of this!

There are so many things to write here, so many pictures and memories I could share that I know I have left many out.  It's really hard to put everything into a post at a time like this.  But I did my best with a week to reflect (when I wasn't at work!)

I'll end by saying, Aunt Karen is not gone.  In fact, she is more alive then she has ever been.  She is with Jesus, with a new and perfect body, thanks to her faith in Jesus Christ.  I feel her sweet spirit with me daily since she passed.  Her life will forever influence the woman I am, and will become, as life ticks along.  Her example has shaped my life more than she will ever know.  Thank you for all you stood for Aunt Karen...I will NEVER forget it.

I would appreciate all of your prayers for My Uncle as she is his world, and also her family.  
God bless:)

Ecclesiastes 3

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Holiday Home Tour: Easter & Spring

It's time for me to bore you with another one of my holiday decorating sprees:)  When I think of Easter and Spring I think of the words "fresh, light, airy" and all things having to do with flowers (though I am a little partial to keeping them in the house year round...), pastels, and sunshine.  If I could decorate for holidays "for a living," I would in a heartbeat!  <insert sigh here...>
Dirty Front Porch...Welcome!
Kitchen & Dining
Favorite Flowers - Dining Table Centerpiece
Jesus is the reason- Buffet
My OCD is kicking in here now that I noticed the garland is overlapping.
Good grief - Living Room
A cheap greeting card I framed to stay budget savvy while keeping my seasonal corner fresh:)- Kitchen
This picture is very busy thanks to everything in the mirror...but here is the gist - Entryway 

Easter Shelf Styling - Living Room
(again these most prints are greeting cards;)
Fuel Coffee Station - Kitchen 

 Art work c/o Cam (his finger prints made the flowers by the cross:)-he loved painting!)-Guest Bath
Cam's Mini Learning Station - Ottoman in Living Room
Well that's it!
In regards to the weekend...NEVER have I EVER been so happy to see Friday in my life!!
 I have a very special prayer request for you to keep in mind, if you would whisper a prayer regarding this request it would be much appreciated.  God knows all about it.
Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Basket Goodies

I am so excited for our upcoming weekend of our church's annual Easter egg hunt, watching Peter Cotton Tail and It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown 1000 times while baking, and waking up Easter morning for Sunday morning church service and Cam's First-ish encounter with the Easter Bunny!  I guess this is the first holiday Cam may actually have an idea as to what is going on...which has made putting together Cam's Easter basket an absolute blast this year!  I hope his reaction is a tad bit more enthusiastic than last year's...poor little guy!
I used the same Easter basket as the one I purchased for him last year at Target (and plan to stay with that tradition as long as it will hold up!)  I really wanted to make sure that the things in his basket were not only fun festive things he would enjoy, but I wanted it to capture the true meaning of Easter with the resurrection of Jesus!  I wanted to share this book, "God Gave Us Easter"...as it is  the perfect addition to a toddler's Easter basket as a way to share the true meaning of Easter, while tying in all of the childhood magic holidays tend to bring.  I. love. this. book.
{Shoes, similar } {Spring Is Here} {Angora Bunny} {Carrot Toss, Target} {Jelly Belly Bubbles, Dollar Store} {Bubble Bath, Dollar Store} {Bunny Ears, Target} {God Gave Us Easter}{Basket Cover *On Sale} {Basket, Target}
P.S. I filled his Easter eggs with Yogurt bites, but would have LOVED the idea to fill them with Annie's bunny treats and Peter Cotton Tail Organics if I had the opportunity to swing by Target before time for Peter's big delivery;)
I also loved this bunny, he had so much character!  And this book looked so adorable...it is hard to choose:)  What did Mr. Cottontale fill your baby's basket with this year?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Tales

Happy Hump Day everyone!  I don't know about you but I'm excited about this lovely Easter week and weekend!

  First things first though...the computers I have been using to blog have both more or less crashed:/. Needless to say...I have had a hard time getting access and opportunities to share lately.

So our weekend tales are taking place on hump day this week:) and being typed via cell phone.  (Not necessarily a bad thing because we are that much closer to another few days off!;)

You can pretty much vouch that we kicked Easter celebrations off early Friday evening with my favorite flowers and some pastel baking...

We used this recipe via Pinterest except toned down all the chocolate with some Oreos and chocolate chips.  (Just add 2 snack sized packs of each of these crushed cookies and your good to go!)

Saturday morning Cam and I snacked on these fruity festive treats until daddy rolled out of bed to cook breakfast.😁

We actually ended up watching Peter Rabbit (did NOT realize SANTA stars in this classic😏) and read a couple of books...yeah, he slept in BIG time this weekend. #jealous

Finally!!:). Family breakfast.

Not too long after that...baby took great "is he sick" nap (as this never happens), the Mr. went fishing and I began the grueling process of switching out fall/winter wardrobe to Spring/summer...needless to say it totally snowed yesterday!😑

We finished off the weekend with a visit to the dollar store (this does not agree well with my LLoyd Christmas shopping antics and our budget), sunny afternoon play date, cookout by the lake, and a trip to dollywood to visit the carousel, birdies (his favorite part), and train!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

30 Day Challenge: Slackers Anonymous

I would like to invite you to a 30 day challenge to read your Bible every day in the month of April (albeit we are 10 days into the month...).  My church's youth group posed this challenge at the end of March, as well as suggested we adopt a prayer buddy to help us to carry out the task.  My sister and I adopted one another, and now I'm adopting YOU😉.  I wonder, how would my life be different if I was disciplined enough to read the word of God every. Single. Day?  I wish I could honestly say this is something I did.  But I am weak and self consumed 99.9% of the time.  I'm looking for growth, change, and for God to speak to me and use me through this experience.  Hope to share what I learned through this process, and (of course) I would LOVE to hear from you as well if you decide to complete this challenge!  Good luck and Happy Hump Day!😘 #slackernomore #pandp30daychallenge


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Dinner Table

I'm not going to lie...I about began this post with "Pt seen today in room to address..." ahhhhh!  Two crazy, hectic days back at work and I wonder if that mini vacation was a dream!?  Tell me it isn't so!
I've been pretty vocal about my NYR to cook more and with more wholesome and clean ingredients.  Well, I'm here to say I started strong and have fizzled out.  On the way home from the beach this weekend, I burnt my phone's Pinterest app up meal planning for the week.  Until payday...aka Friday...I am trying to come up with some *clean-ish meals with ingredients we already have in stock to last us until the next grocery run!  (We planned budget spending too-lol...yea.  We are really ambitious!)  If your like me, your husband (or someone in your house eats like a 10 year old) and doesn't like anything green.  So I have to be creative in cooking "cleaner."  Here is what I threw together...
Creamy Vegetable Chicken Fettuccine
5 Chicken Breast Tenderloins
1 Container Buitoni Fettuccine
1/2 cup Parmesan
4 TB butter with olive oil and sea salt
1/2 tsp Truvia
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 cups frozen mixed veggies
1 cup whipping cream

1.  Bring water to a boil for chicken and veggies in seperate pots until thoroughly cooked.
2.  Drain chicken and slice.  Set veggies aside.
3.  Boil the noodles.
4.  Melt butter in pan on low. 
5.  Add whipping cream to melted butter,(no one said this is low fat...more on that in another post) mix well.
6.  Add truvia, seasonings, and chicken (vegetables too if everyone will eat them!).  Allow to simmer.
7.  Pour over noodles, mix and serve!
Very quick and yummy meal!
And most importantly, this is the perfect opportunity for family time
throughout the crazy and hectic week when parents have to work full time.
As for the dinner table these days, we are teaching Camster to pray, trying to minimize distractions such as phones (aside from the quick pictures before I call everyone to the table...;) and T.V.'s.!

One of my main goals in life is for this time to be special for my family...it's the simple things.
Cam loved it:-)  Who are we kidding?  He would like fried cheese on a stick!  Well...I would too. #guilty #itsasouthernthing
Great mix of grains, protein, and vitamins and fiber!
And I like to show the not so pretty/perfect images as well...
We ended up having to leave Mr. Fitz in the bathroom today instead of laundry room.
AND came home to this...Thank you, Mr. Fitz. we didn't need the handle on that basket anyway! #smh #noregardforhumanlife
*clean-ish: You could say striving for cleaner and less processed food without being a stickler...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Date with the Sunshine State

The Mr. and I were just chatting about how refreshed and rejuvenated we feel after returning from our "mini vacation" to the Sunshine State this weekend.  I'm not gonna lie, I was running on very little steam after the super crazy winter we had, first birthday party planning, and work/mommy/wife duties!  It's is absolutely amazing how stepping away for a few days from the day to day demands of life, will give you just the dose of motivation needed!  Here's a couple of sweet memories we captured this week...
Breakfasts at the Beach <3
I though these were too cute to add to our beach easter egg hunt
HOWEVER, my Mr. and sister thought I was ridiculous...
Pineapple Egg, Tutorial here:)
The egg hunt didn't go so well...But he enjoyed the pineapples BOOM!;)
The pool was the fav!
Fitzy enjoyed laying under the table...for whatever reason.
Miss Rhode Island, please describe your idea of a perfect date.
"That's a tough one. I'd have to say April 25th. Because it's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket. 
My idea of a perfect date would be a man who takes me to a romantic dinner, and then we walk along the beach barefoot discussing books and - and music and - and movies.
RANDOM but fitting for some reason?  For those of you wondering...Miss Congeniality.
I could eat him.  Yep.

Alternating clapping his hands and pointing at the sea animals.  It's safe to say he enjoys buffets!
And I have to say...my favorite part of the trip was probably our evenings on the beach.
Can I just say how much I love Baby First TV again?

This week has given me motivation to return armed with cleaner meal plans, budget controlled spending, time management, and a clearer direction as for where I want to take this blog...I just hope I can live up to all of my expectations without running out of steam first;) 
Thank you for stopping by!

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