Friday, August 30, 2013

Faithful Friday!

This is one of my favorite verses... it holds such a loving and caring message for each of us individually.  It is something I think about often, and recently I was reading and found a passage from my book that I felt went along with it well, on the subject of having faith in the Lord's plans for each of our lives. So I thought I would share it today...

"The Lord does not tell us what our future holds.  We may know that He has given us specific goals and called us to various assignments, but we do not know the details of how everything will fit together.  That is where faith, wisdom, and obedience come into the picture.  God doesn't usually show us distant details.  He gives a glimpse of the horizon and then just enough light to take the next step." -Sarah Mally

I love to think of that last line... a glimpse of the horizon ahead.  I think that paints a beautiful picture... if we can see the horizon of where we are headed, we can be comforted to know that we have enough light to go forward, trusting and hoping.  It reminded me of when you are on a road-trip and all you can see ahead of you is the horizon of the land.  But it is just enough, because with each new point on the horizon, you can see bits and pieces of where you are going.  So you never have to fear being stuck without enough "light" to get you there.

We can be sure that God will put the plans He has for us into action in this way, and because He set those special plans for us and for our future before we were even born.

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Faithful Fridays are hosted by Joy at her sweet blog, Doodlebug.  You can visit her blog by clicking one of the links to read her Faithful Fridays posts or link up!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!


Friday, August 23, 2013

Faithful Friday!

I hope you're having a wonderful Friday!!

It seems that Fridays roll around so fast each week.  But that's a good thing since it's such a nice day of the week.  It also seems that on so many Fridays, I find something I want to share that I feel led to in the most amazing way :)

This week, I want to share this...
This is something I found on Pinterest recently.  First of all,  I loved the photo...
everything about it, from the journal to the handwriting, to the mug, to the lovely old rustic painted
table, to of course the Psalm written♥
I am constantly amazed and graced by verses I am reminded of.  There are so many
scriptures where we are reminded of the confidence we should have in God!  What other reason
would there be for them to have been written other than the fact that the Lord wants us to
have confidence in Him in all things.
I find comfort and joy in this... to be able to say in our hearts that we WILL see the goodness
of God in our lives and in the world around us, no matter what things we feel we are going through.
This is something I have been thinking about and that I find to be a wonderful thing
to be able to hold to in our faith, a blessing in our everyday lives to have on our minds.
Having confidence in God in every area can be hard sometimes.... it can be difficult to be completely
confident and faithful when we see things going down in our lives or in the lives of those we know.
That can be so disheartening and makes it often harder to trust God and have that confidence.
But it is really something to be able to say "I will see the good in every day, the good the Lord
has for me in each moment of life, the good He has for those who may be suffering now, but have something SO much better in store down the road.  I will see the goodness in everything about God.  I am confident that He has good things for the future, and that He will take care of my family and I despite any trials".
I also believe this has much to do with seeing every single bit of goodness that God IS.
Who He is.  And seeing the goodness of Him in the evidence of it... not just in the big things of our faith, but in the evidence in front of our eyes in this world... all the beauty left around us in this world... the mountains and waterfalls and sweet, precious animals.  Even in those things, God's goodness is constantly present.
I am inspired by this in my faith, and it is something I am moved to work on in my heart.
What an important part of our walk with the Lord to truly feel confident in your God and in what He can do- always.
Blessings to you!
Have a beautiful weekend :)
.           .          .
I am linking to Faithful Fridays, hosted by my friend, Joy, on her blog Doodlebug!
You can visit her blog to join in and to read her faith-inspiring posts.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Faithful Friday!

I find so much comfort in this verse!
It's funny, because I was thinking about this earlier today and then I just came upon this.
The Lord's words here are so loving.  I'm so thankful for his protective and loving spirit that is evident here.  He gives us His peace, so that our hearts can rest easily in Him, knowing that no matter what we may face as far as trials go in this world, He has already overcome all of it!
This makes me think of how incredible it is to have such a loving God...
When we face anger or harsh words from others.
When we feel inadequate for a certain reason.
When we are made to feel unworthy in some way by peers or people we come across.
When we face tribulation for our faith.
When we feel discouraged from our convictions by the world.
Whenever we feel like this, our hearts can be eased and we don't need to worry because we can know that it is promised to us that these things can be overcome through our Savior.
I hope you have a beautiful Friday!!
God Bless you♥
& thank you for reading!
.           .          .        
I am linking to Faithful Fridays with Joy!  You can click the links to read her post today, as well as her past Faithful Fridays posts and her sweet and inspirational blog, Doodlebug, overall :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Old-Fashioned Homemade Applesauce

Recently, I spent some really enjoyable time in the kitchen...
I made homemade applesauce!!

Making things the way the women and families did in the olden days is something I love so much... just getting to see the way they made things on their own and the work they put into things that we can just buy in a second at the grocery store.
And I think they way they did it is so much more fun... not to mention, I think of all the quality moments mothers and children spent in their kitchens making everything homemade and from scratch.  I bet they made so many wonderful memories.

The recipe I used for this turned out so wonderfully!  It is from an American Girl book from probably my favorite American Girl, Kirsten.  And I believe American Girls are so classic- there's no age limit to loving them :)
The book is called Kirsten's Cookbook:  A Peek at Dining in the Past with Meals You can Cook Today.  I loved looking through all the recipes throughout, and something I loved were all of the neat facts and things they teach you on the bottoms and sides of the pages, like little extras of knowledge.

Since it was a recipe that was meant to be able to be used by really young girls to older girls to make, the directions are nice and simple to follow.  And the whole recipe is simple.  Just because it's simple, though, doesn't mean it has simple flavor... It turned out so good!

Here is the recipe, shared from the book:

8 apples (granny-smiths work well)
1 cup cold water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
(and I added very little sugar also!)

Paring knife for peeling
Cutting board
Measuring cup and spoon
5 quart saucepan with lid
Wooden spoon
Potato masher
Serving Bowl

To make the applesauce...
Wash apples, dice each into four sections.  Cut away the cores.  Add the 1 cup of water to a saucepan.  Add the apple pieces to the saucepan.  Turn on the burner to medium high.  When the water starts to boil, turn down to medium low.  The apples will be simmering.
Cover the pan halfway with the lid.  Lower the heat again if the apples start to boil again when they should just be simmering.  Stir apples once in a while so they won't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Simmer apples for about 40 minutes or until they are very tender.
Turn off the heat.  At this point, I let the apples cool down for a few minutes and took them off of the burner.  Then mash the apples using a potato masher until they make a smooth, thick sauce.
Stir in the cinnamon.

I used our corer to core and split the washed apples into sections, then peeled them. 

Simmering apples... such a wonderful aroma.  Reminded me of the last time we
made a hot apple pie.

Adding the cinnamon, and stirring it in.

I'm glad I took photos of it right after I made it, because it was gone pretty soon afterward! haha.
It was delicious.  If you make some yourself, I hope you enjoy it!
And just to let you know, I actually cut the recipe in half because I only had 4 apples instead of 8.  So it would really have made twice what you see, about 2 jars :)

It was neat- and a lot of fun- to be together in the kitchen and see the way that applesauce is made from scratch, the way the pioneers made it.  Just like Kirsten in the book♥

For a fun, country feel, I added some gingham fabric to the top.  I think that would be a nice touch especially if you're giving someone something homemade like this as a gift!  And of course, everything's better in a Mason Jar.

A little old-fashioned, chilled applesauce sure was a nice Summer treat!  (It's delicious warm too!)
It's always a wonderful feeling to go back to the simple things, and the nostalgia of feeling like you're Caroline Ingalls making things the old-fashioned way is just a bonus :)

I hope you have a blessed day!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Clean Content Books!

I hope you're having a wonderful Saturday!

I am very thankful for today... a little rain, spending the whole day with my family, and working on lots of fun projects.  Now we just need some sweet tea and make some cookies and it'll be perfect :)

Today, I wanted to share something I came across recently that I am really excited about.  It pertains to books and reading...

I fell in love with books from the time I could read and never looked back.  But the thing was, as I got a little older, I noticed that it was harder and harder to find books that met my standards as far as content.  When I started reading Young Adult books, I noticed that quite a few of them had content in them that I didn't feel comfortable reading.  And it was always a book that was about something wonderful and totally innocent, but a "scene" would be thrown in there or some pages would have cursing.  And God was really working in my heart on reading cleaner and cleaner books in that sense, because I admit that there have been times when I didn't use my better judgment.  But I've always tried to think about everything I do in a way I was told growing up.... which is to think about Jesus sitting right next to you while you're reading a book or watching a movie and really ask yourself if you would be embarrassed or ashamed of it?

I know that when we're at the bookstore, there are always so many books that look interesting, but I haven't had any idea of what would be in them content wise.  Sometimes I try to scan through, but that doesn't always work since you can't possibly see every page.  This is something that I've experienced a lot... being interested in a book and not know whether I should get it, or being immersed in one and finding things in it I knew I wouldn't want to read. 
All in all, finding clean books can be difficult.

Recently, though, when I came upon a website called Rated Reads, I was so happy to finally have a source where books were rated for content!  I always wondered why they never did this for books the way they do for movies.  And I may just be slow, and this website may have been around for a long time already, but it's new to me and I'm just so glad to have found it.
Rated Reads explains the content of books and rates them as: None, Mild, Moderate, High, and DIRT.  Which I thought that was funny that they don't say "extremely high" or "very inappropriate"... they just call it dirt.
It's very convenient and helpful, and you can search or browse by title, author, and genre.

Then, as you can imagine, when I found a second website that also rates books for clean content, I was more than delighted!
This second one I found is called Compass Book Ratings.  I think I might prefer it a little more actually, because it provides more detailed, specific ratings.  The books reviewed on their site are rated on a scale for profanity/language, violence, and immoral scenes.

Between the two, I think I was just so thrilled to have a resource to help me weed out the books I won't want to read and find the gems :)
I have already found many books that I put on my "to-read" list to check out at the library or buy when I'm ready!!
Whether a book is clean in content is something that is important to me.  I know it doesn't matter to everyone.  But if you're reading this, and reading clean books does matter to you, then I hope these websites will be as much of a gift and delight to you as they have been to me!
And you'll probably love these resources even more if you are in love with books overall... if you're one of those people who loves to get lost in a book like it's a new world, understands the beauty of "new book smell", or the sound of the crinkling of book pages.

You may already know about these places, but whether you do or not, I hope they bless you and help you find books you love.  I just wanted to write about it and share because it's so wonderful to be able to know the content rating of a book before reading it, and I think that many of you might find it useful, too.

Happy reading!!

I hope you have a blessed weekend!

{photos courtesy Pinterest}

Friday, August 9, 2013

Faithful Friday!

Isn't this powerful to think about??

In walking with God and working to make him a bigger and bigger part of your life as you grow, there are so many miraculous things about Him and His love for us that are so beautiful to think on.  I believe this is definitely one of them.
Something that I have thought about before is the kindness and love the Lord shows us through his amazing gift of prayer- a direct line to heaven!  But what I hadn't thought about as much was how absolutely amazing it is that our prayers are delivered and received not only lovingly, but quickly.

This made me think about how even as a children, when most of us were afraid of thunder and storms at night we had to get up out of bed and go to our parents to feel safe.  We couldn't just automatically, that very moment of fear, tell them how we felt and feel comforted.  It is the same with everyday life... we have thoughts or problems we feel we need to talk about with our family or a friend, but still we have call them.  And sometimes they aren't even available to answer.  And this point is especially true of older times, when the only way to get in touch with a loved one far away was writing a letter and waiting sometimes weeks for a reply!
But with God, he is available the very moment we need Him... whether it is thank Him for a blessing, tell Him a fear we are dealing with, or ask for help with a struggle.  Even though he knows our hearts and everything we want to tell Him already, isn't is a beautiful blessing to know that the exact second we need to talk to Him, He is there.

His love and grace is upon us in this way.
Who knows how many millions of miles away heaven is from here?  ...but our prayers reach God faster than light or sound.  That's amazing to ponder.

.          .          .

Every Friday, I link to Faithful Fridays with my friend, Joy, on her blog, Doodlebug!
You can visit and read her faith inspiring posts here :)

Happy Faithful Friday!!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend♥

Monday, August 5, 2013

♥Homemade Summer Wreath♥

I think if you have a homemaker's heart or a decorator's heart, one of the things you look forward to most about the changing of seasons is the chance to get to decorate for that season!
It's something I always love.
For Summer, inside our home we have made a few changes by adding some brighter flower arrangements, setting out summer candles on our fireplace, and also making our kitchen feel a little more cheery.  But there's something about decorating our door that I always enjoy.  It's such a simple thing, but a lovely one.  It's the first thing someone sees when they come over, the first part of your home that will invite them, and it's so nice to see something pretty and homey before you even walk in the door.
Since we're well into Summer, I thought I would share our door décor this Summer :)  It was fun to make, and was just a simple project that I loved doing.


I love country décor, so when I saw a burlap wreath at the craft store I got inspired by it's country, sort of simple, rustic feel.  And then I saw these bright sunflowers and knew exactly what I wanted to do.  Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers, with the bright cheerful colors.
You could add whatever you like to this wreath and make it very detailed.  But for a simple version, all you need is a natural wreath (one that will fit on your door), a roll of burlap ribbon, as many faux sunflowers as you like, and a hot glue gun.
I folded the burlap, so it would be thinner than it was, then wrapped it around and around the wreath, gluing it down after each wrap on the back where it wouldn't show.
Then, I just added the two orange and yellow sunflowers on the bottom with space in between for the yellow one and glued them down, angling them up a little so they would "pop" a little on the wreath.  Then I added the plain yellow sunflower.

The last thing was looping some of the burlap under the top of the wreath and tying it in a knot and then a bow to hang it from the door!

I got the flowers at Michaels, and everything else at Hobby Lobby.  And with my coupons, altogether it cost less than ten dollars to make.
I'm really happy with how it turned out and how easy it was to make.  When I look at it, it reminds me of sunflower fields under the big, blue skies of Summer and sippin' lemonade on warm days ;)
Just a little Summer make it yourself project!
Hope you're having a blessed start to the week!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Faithful Friday!

Today, I wanted to share something that has impacted my thinking since I read it.  I read it just last night actually, and at that moment I felt that I should share it.  It comes from the book I am reading right now, Before You Meet Prince Charming, by Sarah Mally.
"[The Lord] asks for everything.  Every part of our heart.  Every area of our life.  Since He wants to have first place, the Lord will ask us to surrender anything that hinders our relationship with Him.  It is not just the big areas He requests, but also the very smallest.  A life of surrender is the sweetest one possible, while a life of stubbornness and unwillingness to yield is the most miserable.  Yet, so many of times we are slow to submit and to enter into the freedom and rest God wants to give".
Over and over again in our walk with God, we read or hear something that we know but that we are reminded of that impacts us so much!  This was one of those times for me.  I read on and let the words sink into my heart...
"Oftentimes we are quick to say we'll surrender in the "big" things: 'Lord, I'll go anywhere for You- even to the jungles of Africa'.  But when it comes to the little, daily things, such as surrendering our friendships, forgiving a neighbor, or yielding what we want to do in order to serve others, we're not ready to submit"... "If the Lord asks us to sacrifice our best years to Him, if He asks us to wait when it seems that every other girl at church has a boyfriend, if He asks us to never be married... are we willing?  Any sacrifice we make for the Lord is not a loss, but a gain".
Sarah, the author, brings out that last point because of the theme of the chapter this passage comes from, which is about surrendering our dreams and desires as girls.  A main area of those dreams for many of us is getting married and having a family in our future.  But it goes SO much further than that... it was a blessing to read this, because it was a reminder of how important it is throughout our lives to surrender our hearts, our hopes, and trust God to take care of our lives and our future. 
This can be so hard, especially when we have dreams that are so strong.  I know it is something I find hard at times and when it comes to certain aspects of my life and I know I need to work on it.  But when we remember that letting God write the story of our lives and leaving it up to Him to let the good things we desire to come into our lives, we will always find that we are blessed more than we ever would have been if we had tried to take over everything ourselves. 
When you have a problem or even a hope or want in your heart that you feel distressed about, resolve to surrender it.
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I link to Faithful Fridays with Joy on her lovely blog, Doodlebug.  You can visit her faith-inspiring blog and read her Faithful Fridays post for this week, here!
Thank you for reading.
I hope you have had a blessed Friday!!
God Bless you :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rose Garden Loveliness

Recently, we took a little time to go to a park that had a garden within it.
It was lovely, and made up of all different types of roses!  Because of the heat down here, quite a few were dead, sadly.  But there were still many that had hung in there and displayed beautiful, delicate blooms to enjoy.

The softness of the petals and the beautiful colors of each were so lovely to look at.  Looking back, I wish I would have taken more photos, but here are the ones I did take as we walked around and admired all the blooms.


The fountain at the edge of the garden, with blue-colored water.

It is so pleasing to look at the beauty of soft, lovely, bright colored flowers.  They are a gift to our eyes!  This was a small garden, but had so much beauty throughout.
Another really neat thing about the rose garden was something so meaningful... it was a memorial garden, so each rosebush was dedicated in loving memory to someone who had passed.
Those are a few pictures I wanted to share :)
I hope you have a blessed and wonderful day!!

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