Friday, August 30, 2013

A Fun Project!

Have you seen this cool canvas art on Pinterest?

photo credit
Adorable, right? Well, we tried it out recently and it was a big hit! I am already planning to make a "faith" and "hope" for our walls. This is an easy, priceless, and fun project for your little ones (who am I kidding? YOU too!) to do!

* Canvas. Wal-Mart sells a set of two large canvases for less than $10.
* Fingerpaint. We used Crayola's Washable fingerpaint. It sells for $5.99
* Tape. Any painters' tape is perfect.
* Imagination

Simple. Fun. And meaningful. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Making a Car Kit

A clean car is something that makes me smile. A lot. And with a two year old little boy, a clean car can be more like a dream than a reality. But I still try to keep it as neat and tidy as possible. Recently I put together a car kit. So today I am going to share with you what I have in my car, the car kit I put together, and how I have it all organized.

First, in my console, I have some CDs and a few movies. I also have an umbrella, a mini-flashlight, my taser (*ahem*), extra sunglasses, chapstick, a pack of Wet Ones, and some Febreze.

In the backseat, I have two rolls (one under each seat) of paper towels. These have been invaluable! I will always, always, always have paper towels in my car!

Also, I have Nathan's leash under the passenger seat. I try to keep his leash and Selah's baby carrier in the car at all times.

Now for the car kit.

I used a basic, empty baby wipes box and then I then I thought of all the times I was away from home and needed something that I did not have. After a little thinking, I put the following in the box.

In the container, I have:

  • Baby wipes
  • Makeup remover wipes
  • Scented trash bags
  • A small pack of Desitin
  • A small bottle of baby lotion
  • Boogie wipes
  • An Emory board
  • Nail polish remover wipes
  • A pen
  • Stain remover marker
  • Orajel
  • Dramamine
  • An extra thermometer
  • Mini travel toothbrushes
  • Alcohol pads
  • Tylenol, Pepto, and Alkaselser tablets 
  • Band aids
  • Lip gloss
  • Hand lotion
  • Sunblock
  • Bobby pins
  • Safety pins
I also have a few personal items in there as well. And YES all of it fits perfectly in the wipes container. YAY!!

Do you have a car kit? What's in your car? You know, besides crushed cheerios..... :) 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Miley, Gaga, and Me: Answering My Daughter's Future Questions

Mommy, why is she in her underwear? Because she doesn't know Jesus, baby. And because He is not living inside her, she doesn't know why He tells us to cover our bodies. She does not understand the shame she is bringing on herself when she exposes what God said to save for marriage.

Mommy, why is she moving like that? Because she thinks that she is desirable that way. She thinks she is beautiful and wanted if she acts seductive. But you know what the Bible says? It says that way leads to destruction. Always be a lady. Be kind, gracious, gentle, modest, and pure.

Mommy, why is this music bad? Because it praises what God said is sin. It is not glorifying His name or encouraging our hearts. It is just a cheap counterfeit that the devil wants to use to fuel our minds with the world.

Mommy, should I not look? Oh I wish you couldn't see! I want to protect you from these images and videos and magazines and movies and billboards and commercials. But I cannot shield you from everything. I won't always be there to guard what comes into your view. Just set your mind on Jesus, baby and do all you can to protect your eyes and your heart.

Mommy, all my friends are.... I know sweetheart. And there will be many times when you will stand out and be alone. The Bible says that the world's way is wide and God's way is narrow. They may listen to this, watch that, or go there, and they will want you to join in their fun. Just stay strong. It is not worth it.

Mommy, why don't they just follow Jesus? I don't know baby. I just don't know.

Mommy, should we pray for them? YES! You pray that their hearts will receive the truth. Pray that they will allow Jesus to transform them.

Mommy, why is it everywhere? Because that is the world we live in. There are too many who do not know Jesus. And when Jesus is not in the hearts of people, then sin takes over everything.

Mommy, should I be like them? No, little one. Do not think you have to dress like that, act like that, or be like that to be attractive or successful. Your self worth doesn't not come from flaunting yourself or taking your clothes off. Be like that sweet old lady who diligently teaches Sunday School. Or like our Pastor's wife who tirelessly gives and counsels. Be like your praying grandmother. Or the missionary we read about. Let those that are making an eternal difference be your role models. Not Miley Cyrus or Lady Gaga. You are worth so much more, little one.

Friday, August 23, 2013

They Grow Up Fast

Here they are. So tiny and precious, both just a few hours old. My little boy and my little girl.

Sometimes I really miss those newborn days.

But the days and milestones that follow are a wonder in and of themselves.

Now my little boy is a two-year-old package of dirty fingernails and dried tomato juice on his face.
He is an imaginative, laid-back, precious, and sweet little man.
Once he was a babbling little crawler. Now he is a talking runner with plenty of energy.

Now my little baby girl is a six-month-old bundle of cute smiles and squishy baby rolls.
She is a fierce, adorable little go-getter, with a hunger for adventure.
It only took six months for her to sit up, crawl, and pull up. She is growing fast.

People told me when I was pregnant with Nathan to cherish the moments.
Because it goes by fast. They grow fast.
I nodded and smiled and said that I would do just that.
But I did not believe they would grow this fast.

DO cherish the moments. 

I am the type of woman who likes to have things in order. Clean. Or tidy at best.
But the dishes can wait sometimes.
That load of laundry? It will be there come naptime.
But messy kisses and baby giggles? That doesn't last long. 
So I am soaking it up.
Soon my little boy will be a big boy. 
In a blink, he will be in 1st grade....5th grade...high school...
Soon, my baby girl won't be squealing and blabbing. She will be talking. Running.
Soon, they will both be grown.

They grow fast. We only have a few short years to influence them.
Only a few long days and nights to teach them.
Only a little while to hold them, nurture them, and get them ready for adulthood.

Cherish every second.
They grow up fast.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Wise Woman Builds Her House

Proverbs 14:1 says, "Every wise woman buildeth her house: 
but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands."

That scripture has taken on new life for me because we are currently in the process of building a house.

It's exciting, yes. But oh my golly, it is exhausting! All the details like what type of windows, what color doorknobs, what kind of faucets, paint colors, tile, carpet, counter tops.... my brain has exploded again and again.

But I keep going back to that verse.

"Every wise woman buildeth her house..."

Now I am trying to be wise in this whole house-building thing. I want quality that will last, but I also don't want to overspend on things that do not matter. In every decision I am thinking ahead. I am thinking of my current children, of possible future children, of holidays and birthday celebrations, of entertaining, of growing old with my husband here. I am trying to make the most out of every space and considering the needs of my family. It's hard work. And it takes wisdom to make long-term decisions.

So we are trying to be wise in building our house. But the verse in Proverbs isn't really talking about a literal house. And that's why I have been meditating on it. It's talking about our home, our children, our family.

Now this is where I get a little nervous. I mean, that's a big verse. A wise woman builds up her family and a foolish woman tears it down. How could I possibly tear down my family?? Let's take a look.

  • I can tear down my husband by not being a safe haven for his heart. (Proverbs 31:11)
  • I can tear down my children by yelling, getting too exasperated, and/or provoking them to anger. (Colossians 3:21, Proverbs 15:1
  • I can tear down the peace of my home by harboring an attitude that does not glorify God. (Ephesians 5:9-10)
  • I can tear down my children's trust in me by being more preoccupied with my cell phone or laptop than in listening to their hearts. (Proverbs 31:27)
  • I can tear down the sacredness of my marriage by blabbing of private issues to friends or family. (Proverbs 12:4)
  • I can tear down the innocence of my children by not being watchful to outside influences. (Isaiah 21:6)
  • I can tear down the priority of my home by belittling my work in serving my husband, keeping my home, and leading little hearts to Jesus. (Proverbs 22:6, 1 Peter 3:1-2)
There are lots of ways I can pluck my 
home down with my own two hands. 
What are ways I can build it up?
  • I can build up my husband by following him, praying for him, loving him, helping him, and being a wife that he can trust and praise. (Proverbs 31:12)
  • I can build up my children by encouraging them and by exercising self-control when their sinful nature refuses to obey. (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 4:6)
  • I can build up the peace of my home by opening my heart and working with my hands to make it a sanctuary. (Proverbs 31:20)
  • I can build up my children's trust in me by being a listening ear, a mouthpiece of wisdom, and a safe place for their hearts to turn. (Proverbs 31:26, 28)
  • I can build up my marriage by not defrauding my husband, by making my man a priority, and by keeping the sacred sacred. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5, Proverbs 31:12)
  • I can build up and preserve the innocence of my children by safeguarding and being diligent to protect my home from the enemy. At any cost. (Song of Solomon 2:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:22)
  • I can build up my home, my marriage, and my children by obeying God's Word and living it out. (Titus 2:3-5)
The doors and windows that were just recently put in our home are reminders of the things I must protect my family from. All the little details of building a home serve to make me think about all the little things that make for big things in raising a family. The foundation that was laid in the beginning of this whole process reminds me that everything we do must be built on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 127:1
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Let us build up our houses, ladies.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

God Has Not Forgotten You

Home from Wednesday night youth meeting, she walked into her room, tossed her purse and Bible on her desk, then dropped to her bed. With a tired sigh that went beyond physical fatigue, she just sat there silently, lost in thought.

Another night with Church friends who were more like acquaintances....

Another night having to ignore the silly giggling from "that couple"....

Another night of being given scowls and glares when she spoke of anything remotely concerning set-apartness....

With a pounding headache and an aching heart, she sat there, silently, wondering what she should do. Nobody wanted to live differently. Nobody really even liked her. Oh they liked parts of her, I suppose, but nobody truly wanted to be her friend....and she knew why. She was different. She believed different things.... like love being worth waiting for; like purity being something to prize and protect. She dressed in a different way.... no miniskirts or plunging, low necklines. She acted differently too. She didn't shameless flirt with the guys around her. She didn't let out the cute little giggle when a guy made eyes at her. She didn't bat her long eyelashes their way or sway as she walked pass them. She was far different from those around her and, though she was proud of that fact, the frustration of being utterly alone in her pursuit of "different living" was beginning to weigh on her.

"Lord," she prayed. "Have you forgotten about me?"

With tears in her eyes, she looked down at her bedspread. "God....were you watching tonight? Did You see? Did You hear? Father, I know I have chosen the right path and the right way, so why am I hurting right now?? Why am I lonely tonight when they are not? God, are You still there??"

I remember that night. Actually, I remember many nights exactly like that. Sadly, in my pursuit of purity, I had no support system outside of my parents. If it hadn't been for them, I would have probably been driven to lowering my standards. But oh, how I wanted to be different! I wanted to be truly set-apart. Because of the fact that practically everyone my age thought I was crazy in that area of my life, there was no one to encourage me to hang in there other than my mom and dad. At that time, I was having so many attacks from friends, Church people, and even family members who thought that my way of living was unrealistic, outdated, lame, a form of abuse from my parents, and the like.

It hurt.

I remember that night as I sat on my bed, trying to keep tears from pouring down my face. I felt
lonely that night. I felt forgotten by God. And it was then that He gave me these words:

Come back to me.

In moments of doubt and frustration and loneliness, instead of wallowing in self-pity, what we SHOULD do is run back into the comforting arms of the Lord. His strength is made perfect in weakness. When we stray a bit from Him, we begin to feel its effects. We grow stale in our faith. We begin to doubt. We get lonely. We even wonder, as I did, if God has forgotten all about us. After that night, I tried to take those moments of loneliness as a call from my Father to come back to Him. HE never leaves. We do the leaving. We do the straying. And though WE may forget the many promises that He has made, He never forgets.

When we hurt, He feels that hurt and longs for us to allow Him to comfort us.

When we are lonely, He aches with us, yearning to wrap us up in His arms.

When we are tired of waiting, He is there, ready to sustain us with His strength.

In your pursuit of purity and in your season of waiting, I want to encourage you to, as Mary Slessor once said, keep close to Jesus. Do not stray from His presence. In those moments of loneliness, please remember that God has not forgotten you, nor will He. He sees far beyond what we see and is scripting a beautiful love story for you. All you have to do is give Him the pen and trust Him.

Originally posted at The King's Bride

Monday, August 12, 2013

Not My Will, But Yours

Today I am thrilled about this beautiful post, written by one of my dearest friends. I am so encouraged by her life and her passion for living for Christ. Today, she encourages us to trust the Lord's will for our lives.

Not my will, but Yours. Ever find yourself saying those words? I've said them often, fully believing I was ready for it. the last 2.5 years I've learned a LOT about what it really means. You see, I'm the type that wants to plan for everything. Before the last 2.5 years I had everything planned out exactly. If you wanted to do something with me, then you needed to contact me at least a week...probably advance. Not because I was terribly busy...I just wanted everything planned out. I did not handle ambiguity well at all, and spontaneity – it was just a word in a dictionary to me as I did not partake in it at all.

The end of 2011 was the beginning of the end of that, however! I was being courted by a guy who was my best friend. Shortly after Christmas, my Dad said yes. I knew it, because Dad had handed Ben one word written on a 3x5 card: “Yes.” (I still have that card!) I had it in my head that Ben would THEN go by a ring and ask me in 3 months...when he came back from the Coast Guard Academy for Spring Break. But the next morning after Ben was given permission, my Mom was acting strangely before Ben and I went to the top of a mountain top for the day. “Sarah, don't you want to take a shower before you go? Sarah, don't you want to put on a nicer pair of pants? Sarah, I'll do your hair for you!” On the top of the mountain, Ben proposed and I said yes. Several times. But it set off a chain of events that is forever changing my life. In the next month we moved our wedding from 12 months away, to 5 months away. I worried that I couldn't get everything done. Everything went smoothly, thanks to my Mom and some awesome friends who helped and it was one of the best days of my lives. After the wedding, I thought everything was going to go back to neatly planned out and perfectly organized. But it was not my will, my plans, or my perfect organized life that I would meet shortly thereafter. It was His.

It started out with my surprise pregnancy. I was thrilled, but totally unprepared. I got pregnant on our honeymoon. We wanted kids fairly soon...but we were thinking more down the road of having this happen like a year after marriage. Cue the thoughts of panic, excitement, worry, and joy. For the next 9 months we lived in a whirl of excitement getting ready for our baby...but that wasn't all! My husband is a Coast Guard officer. The Coast Guard motto is “Always Ready Always Prepared” and I got an excellent dose of that real quick. A bag lived by our bedroom door pretty much always packed in case Ben got called away or went on a semi-scheduled patrol. When he left, I never knew for sure how long it was going to be. A day? 3 days? A week? Two weeks? A month? If we wanted to do something on the times where he was home, it was always spontaneous because we had no real plan or schedule. We had the times when he was home...and when he wasn't. The first year, I called my mom in tears many times because I didn't have a plan. Because I didn't know what was going to happen. I wasn't trusting God with what was going on, and at times I was completely miserable.

Since then we've had many things happen that I have had to learn how to let go of and let God handle. Planned and unplanned Coast Guard patrols. Moves and transfers from one coast to the other. Pregnancies, birth and miscarriage – all the hopes, joys, and sorrow that envelope those. Job schedules, and the life of being a wife and a mother. So little of it can I plan...I just have to trust God that He will work His will and it will be right for us. I still like to plan. I get downright giddy if I can plan something in advance and it actually happens! And lack of planning still stresses me out at times. But with His help, I'm learning to relax, go with the flow, and even enjoy spontaneity. And I've learned some of what it truly means that it is not my will, but God's will. He is the Author of all....and I need to let go and let Him have the pen in my life. It's easy to say the words, but it's another to live it. But as we live it, I truly believe that He grants us a peace and joy that we don't have otherwise. It's a hard lesson to learn, but it's 100% worth it.

“A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)

Sarah is a wife to a Coast Guard officer, and a mother to an energetic 1-year-old little boy. She strives to serve her Lord and King, and be a good wife and mother. She loves photography, reading, cooking, exploring, and hiking and has a passion for purity as well as learning about healthy living and eating. Most often you will find her thoroughly enjoying time with her husband and son or making messes in the kitchen.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Italian Chicken Packets

Monday night I tried a new recipe. Oh my yum. It was delicious, simple, and I will definitely be making it again!
photo credit


• 4 cups frozen broccoli cuts
• 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's® Diced Tomatoes
• 1/2 cup light Italian dressing
• 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine broccoli, drained tomatoes and dressing in medium bowl. For each packet, lay two 20x12-inch sheets of regular foil on top of each other. Place 1 chicken breast on each foil packet. Spoon broccoli and tomato mixture equally over each chicken breast. Bring up short sides of each foil packet and double fold top. Double fold both ends to seal each packet, leaving space for steam to gather. Place packets on baking sheet; bake 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in centers (165°F). Carefully open ends of packets to allow steam to escape before fully opening.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dear Single Sisters

Dear Single Sisters,

It is morning and the house is quiet; something very rare with two little ones who love to make noise! The sun is pouring through the windows and I can hear the birds sing their happy morning song. It's a beautiful day.

For some unknown reason, I am thinking of you.

Yes you.

You are sitting at your computer/laptop or scrolling down through your smartphone or iPad. I don't know you. I don't know what you go through in your day-to-day life; your ups and your downs. I do not know your life's ambitions and I don't know the deepest desires of your heart. But I can guess that you desire love. You desire a knight in shining armor. You long for a "happily ever after" kind of love story. After all, that is how our God created us. 

Sister, what can I possibly say to you that would accurately describe how big our God is? It amazes me that when I was 18 years old, single, and wondering if I would ever find true love, God was orchestrating a beautiful story up ahead of me. And I had no idea! When I met my husband-to-be when I was 21 years old, little did I know that my Lord was smiling down, knowing that I wouldn't catch on to His master plan until over a year later!.God is much bigger than our minds can possibly fathom. I know you may be sitting there wondering if He has forgotten you or if He really cares about your relationship status. Maybe you are even skeptical. I assure you that He has not forgotten you, and I can testify that He does care, even about the most minute details of your life. That's the kind of God He is. I used to wonder the same things you may have wondered about. I wanted a noble Knight to charge into my life and win my heart. I wanted a fairytale story and I wanted a love worth waiting for. I wondered if I would actually get what I dreamed and prayed for. I doubted God's faithfulness, but He proved me wrong!

How can I encourage you to wait on the Lord? 

We live in an "instant" world. We have microwavable dinners, instant messages, and everything NOW! And each year, it seems like things get quicker and faster. Day by day, it gets easier and easier to become impatient and discontent. In relationships, it is no different. I remember when I made the choice not to date. I had gotten a glimpse of something big and beautiful. I pictured my wedding day and my wedding night and the more I dwelt on it, then more I wanted to be able to stand before my groom and give him everything. No leftovers. No past history. No baggage. No comparisons. Was it easy to wait? No, it wasn't. But was it worth it on my wedding day? YES, it was!

My sisters, if I could say two things to you I would say:
  1. Wait on our God. If you are playing the dating game, ditch the boyfriend until the Author of Love sends you HIS choice. Do not take the writing pen into your hands, but let our Lord script your story. HE writes only the best love stories! Let Him have control. The Bible says that our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and to guard it closely (Proverbs 4:23). Do not give pieces of your heart and body away. Do not throw around "I love You's" because each time you do, it becomes less meaningful to your future husband. Dear friends, I cannot stress the magnitude of the beauty that comes with waiting. It is worth every sacrifice, every tear of loneliness, every dateless night, and every moment you spend patiently waiting on the Lord. Do not doubt His faithfulness. Please, wait. And while you are waiting.....
  2. Fall in love with Jesus. As you sit patiently and wait for your earthly prince to come and carry you away into the sunset (it still happens, believe you me!), fall more in love with your heavenly Prince, Jesus Christ. As you draw nearer to His heart, He will comfort you, strengthen you, and fill your life with joy and contentment....and the waiting won't be much of a big a deal anymore, because you will be totally taken up with Christ. The Bible says that the Lord will give each of us the desires of our hearts IF we delight in Him (Psalm 37:4-5). I encourage you to do so. Learn more about who He is and what He has done and will do. Read His love letter to you. Talk with Him. Lean on Him. Run to Him. Adore Him. The more your mind and heart is captured by Jesus, the more beautiful your earthly love story will be. And rest assured that no sneaky prince-wanna-be will be able to deceive you if you are completely focused on Him. Instead, the noble man of God that the Lord has in store for you will not only be captivated by your relationship with Jesus, he will lead you even closer to Christ! Sisters, please do away with distractions and petty come-and-go things. Fall into the arms of our ever-faithful, constant Companion and Champion, Jesus. You will never regret it.

What more can I say? The choice is yours, but I pray fervently that each of you will catch a glimpse of the glorious love story our God has for you.....and then serve your faithful King as you wait. It is worth it....and He is faithful.

    your sister

Monday, August 5, 2013

Piggy Paint

Having a little girl is so much fun. I am the kind of mom who loves to dress her up, put bows in her hair (even when she is in her PJs), and give her baby dolls to play with.

And so it was only natural for me to want to paint her cute little toes. One problem though - I did NOT want to put the normal nail polish on her delicate nails. I took a long look at the chemicals found in nail polish So I did some digging. And I was all-too-thrilled when I discovered Piggy Paint; an all-natural, water-based nail polish that is completely safe for babies. There are no harsh chemicals, it is odorless and non-toxic, and it is hypoallergenic.

My little bundle of sugar and spice has been modeling her gorgeous little pink toes!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Like a Bride Adorned

A few days before my wedding, my parents presented me with a special gift: a beautiful white gown and robe for my wedding night. Along with their present was a small card. When I opened to read what they had written inside, all I found was this:

Revelation 21:2
Dad and Mom

It didn't take long for me to find the verse which says, And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. a bride adorned for her husband.
I had read that verse many times throughout my life, but that night, just a few short days until my wedding, that verse took on a whole new meaning.
When I think of the new Jerusalem that will come down from Heaven one day, I think of beauty. Glory. Magnificent splendor.....  When the holy city comes down, it will be a sight to behold! And the Bible likens that glorious picture to a bride adorned for her husband. What a comparison!! Before that night when my parents presented me with their special gift, I had always thought that the bride's adorning the verse spoke about was her wedding gown. And it could very well be. However, after I received that beautiful evening gown and robe, I began to really dwell on that verse. a bride adorned for her husband.

....for her husband.

Not a crowd of people. Not her friends or family, but for her husband.

What comes to your mind when you think of that? For me, I think of privacy. I think of intimacy. Sacred. Mysterious. I think of purity. Here is my question: How should a bride be adorned for her husband? Shouldn't she be adorned in holiness? In glory? In a beauty that is reserved for her husband alone.

Far too many women refuse to protect that which is pure and sacred. In our culture, girls and women flaunt their bodies and reveal themselves to everyone around them. Then when they adorn themselves for their husband on their wedding night, they are giving him a view of their beauty that has, usually, already been glimpsed, if not completely seen, by many others. Sadly, the adorning that most choose is NOT likely to be compared to the holy city of Jerusalem in all its splendor and majesty.

If I could encourage you girls, ladies, and brides out there to do one thing, I would encourage you to adorn yourself honorably for your husband. Keep what is sacred, sacred. Keep what is mysterious under wraps. Make up your mind to refuse to dress or act unholy. Your husband desires to be the only one you show yourself to. Adorn yourself for him alone. There is so much beauty in that!


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