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Thursday, February 27, 2014

4 Years Together and a Lifetime Ahead


I haven't gushed about Bill in awhile, so pardon me while I dote on him :)  This man… God sent him straight to me.  This past Valentine's day marked 4 years as a couple, and I genuinely feel like I can't imagine life without him.  He really loves me the way I need to be loved and shows me every day that he will always be by my side.  


He has healed a lot of wounds of rejection from my past, but not just because he married me, but also because he continues to pursue and surprise me in the little ways that show that he truly understands me deeply.  I do not need or appreciate big, fancy or expensive gestures, jewelry and gifts are not my thing.  I feel loved when he spends time thinking of me in small personal ways.  

A homemade meal, flowers for no reason, cards and just taking time to genuinely sit, turn off the tv and want to hear about my day - those are things that speak to me heart.  When I go to a girl's night and he cleans the bathroom while I am out, so that I do not have to do it when I get back.    When he pours me a little more wine on a Friday night because he noticed my glass was empty.  When he orders Hazelnut coffee in bulk on Amazon because it is my favorite.  When he brings me a thin mint out of the freezer while I am reading a book in bed.  When he stops a movie in the middle on a weeknight because I fell asleep on the couch and he gently wakes me up and tell me its bedtime.  These things… they just show so much love. 


As I was warned, it is easy to fall into a marriage rhythm, but I like ours.  I REALLY like ours.  I like doing things for Bill and making him dinner and making him coffee in the morning and getting up 2 hours early to be around him for 10 extra minutes.  I like that when he comes home he needs to get into comfortable clothes before I can initiate deep conversation.  I like getting the mail with him, and treating it as something we do together rather than just another chore (we also treat grocery shopping this way).  The point is, I could get frustrated with the mundane, normal tasks, but as long as I am with Bill, I really do not mind.


He makes my life better.  
He is my sweetheart and my best friend.  
I will always be his.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Season of Reading - Free Fall To Fly


For something to qualify as a good memoir for me, it needs to be vulnerable.  I need to feel the person's pain and happiness and every emotion in between.  I genuinely felt like I was on a roller coaster with the woman who wrote this book, and that made me feel like I was reading a wonderful story, because life is a lot of ups and downs, so it felt true.

This woman and her husband move their family to New York City, as they are feeling led to do by the Lord, and soon learn that not all adventure is easy.  They face extreme loneliness, depression, frustration and exhaustion… and it lasts awhile.  While there are moments of hope, and ultimately the story ends in grace, she really wrestles with trusting the Lord in the midst of free falling, and anxiety prevails time and time again.

Being no stranger to anxiety, this part resonated with me.  Although, I have never had full blown attacks like she has, I do relate to the feeling that anxiety overcomes your thoughts and you are left with only the shell of a once exuberant and thriving person.  It is interesting to read her describe her emotions and how she learns to place trust in the Lord in both a physical and emotional sense.



I also love what she touches on about sharing our stories.  I think far too often people are ashamed of who they are and what they struggle with, when in reality if we are honest we feel weight come off our shoulders and we can more completely be ourselves.  It is a catch 22 in some ways, because in order to be comfortable you have to be honest, but most people feel more comfortable when they have their "stuff" hidden.  However, this is not true relationship as the Lord designed it in my opinion, and we need to dig deeper with friends.  Keeping everything swept under the rug is not helping anyone: Friends, Family, Relationships and Marriages alike.  



In other words, I love that she shares her raw, emotional, overwhelming and exhausting story.  She is being real and honest and vulnerable, and the world needs more of that.

I can only hope to be more like her.  I admire the nature of this book and hope you take the time to pick it up and invest time reading this woman's story, as I think many can relate to her struggles and tendencies.

Monday, February 10, 2014

C'est La Vie - Lavender Love

I've been missing my "C'est La Vie" posts lately!  

By way of reminder, awhile back I wrote my goal for this series of posts: I want to make this section of my blog relaxing images. When I hear this phrase, I feel tension release. I imagine a hundred different scenes that all transport me into a place that would make me rest easy. Isn't it amazing that we each have different places and things that speak to our hearts?

Lately, I have had lavender on the brain.  I want to bake with it, I want my clothes to smell like it, I want to soak in a tub with a lavender essence and I have been using lavender lotion like it is going out of style.

When I look at these images, I can almost smell the fresh scent :)

lavender soap & oil~ https://www.facebook.com/thesoulfuleclectic

Harvesting lavender...can you imagine the fragrance in the air?  Planting a few of these this year for sure!

Tie dried lavender around candle holder. Not only is it pretty, but the candle warms the lavender and releases a wonderful lavender scent!

Love this! Would love to plant this up my driveway

Lavender soap http://myschoolhouserocks.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/laven-dont-better-things-to-do-with-lavender-than-i-did/

✯ Harvest Time - Provence, France

I can only hope they relax you as much as they relax me.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Food I Ate Friday - Pulled Pork Goodness

Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Ingredients

2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (4-1/2- to 5-pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), twine or netting removed
2 cups barbecue sauce (optional)


Directions

1. Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the stock or broth. Combine the sugar, chili powder, measured salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork and place the meat on top of the onions and garlic. Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.

2. Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker. Set the strained liquid aside.

3. If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce, if using, and mix to combine. If you’re not using barbecue sauce, use a spoon to skim and discard the fat from the surface of the strained cooking liquid, and then add 1/4 cup of the liquid at a time to the slow cooker until the pork is just moistened. Taste and season with salt as needed.



Friends... This is so easy and so yummy.  
Find the original recipe here - Gotta give credit where credit is due :)

We paired it with sweet Hawaiian rolls and I'd recommend coleslaw as well.  This is the perfect recipe to throw in the crockpot on a morning you are having a group of people over, or to make ahead of time for a weeks worth of lunches! 

Eat well my friends, and have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Season Of Reading - The Mark of the Lion Series

Mark of the Lion Rivers, Francine 1 of 1

This series. 

It's beautiful.

The main character leaves you speechless.  She is the least selfish person imagineable, but also manages to embody humbleness.  Honestly, it is such a realistic example of living a life for the Lord.  She will leave you evaluating if you would do the same things given the circumstances.

I think I avoided reading these books for awhile because often times with "Christian" literature comes extreme cheesiness, however, this series manages to avoid that and shows a very real element of the Christian struggle in relation to love, life and persecution.  I did not find myself rolling my eyes, but rather strongly relating to her plight despite the fact that we are of two different worlds.

I cannot even begin to relate to the characters socio-economic situation, as they are set across an ancient backdrop in Rome and its surrounding cities where Christianity was illegal and people were slaves and servants in wealthy homes.  The story manages to weave in people from all across their society and show how they become intertwined.

I want to give you a synopsis, but I feel as though anything I write would give away too much.  Here is what I will say…  If you are open, please give these books a chance.  You will not regret investing the time.  They really remind us to hold our values strong and never stop trusting that the Lord knows best.  In addition, they feed that part of you that wants adventure, love and drama in a good long read that will bring you to anger, tears and shock.

Please, please let me know when you read this!  

I cannot wait for more people to talk to about it :)