Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

Breath Taking Heights, And Choking Swamps

First up, I want to say thank-you to each of you dear ones, that took the time to leave such encouraging words in my last post. A peace washed over me soon after reading all your sweet words. And even though I do not know if GOD is going to fulfil my desires to become a mother, I do know that HE holds my future, and HE does know what is best for my life. :D
 
...........................................................
 
"Romance, sex, and childbearing are temporary gifts of God. They are not part of the next life. And they are not guaranteed even for this life. They are one possible path through the narrow way to Paradise. Marriage passes through breathtaking heights and through swamps with choking vapors. It makes many things sweeter, and with it come bitter providences.”
John Piper, This Momentary Marriage Quote 
 
It was an emotionally turbulent week last week. Filled with highs and lows. Flying high, with my returning to regular communion with GOD. And then the disappointment at not being a mother. 
 
And I am ashamed to say, that I tended to push my husband away while I was hurting.
 
But the LORD showed me how wrong that was, and after asking HIS forgiveness, I asked Justin for his.
 
GOD does not promise us happiness in this life. It is only a temporary pleasure, on this path we are taking to our forever home in heaven (if we have accepted HIS Son into our lives).
 
 
I am thankful for this gift of marriage.
 
 
As last week showed, it is filled with breathtaking heights, and swamps with choking vapors.
 
 
But marriage does make the path of life sweeter.
 
 
I feel blessed beyond measure to be a part of a marriage. And I cannot wait to continue this path, and see where GOD is going to lead us next.
 
 
Pics are from some much needed quality time, spent this past weekend.
 
What has the LORD brought into your life, to make the path sweeter?
 
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!
Angel

Friday, January 23, 2015

Learning To Trust, If I'm Not Meant To Be A Mommy


I'm sitting here in my favorite computer nook of my house, wrapped in a blanket, with an outstanding cup of coffee sitting beside me. I look outside the window, and I see my birdfeeder hanging, and several birds flitting back and forth to it, even with a light rain beginning to fall.

My workout for the day is done, laundry is caught up, 1 batch of laundry detergent has been made, the house cleaned, Bible reading is in, and 3 chapters in "Babies First Bites and Beyond" is done.

I've been reading quite a bit on parenting, child care, and pregnancy of late. Which is nothing really unusual for me. I was reading every book on the subject I could get my hands on before I was even in a courtship. :D

With rainy days, come contemplative days. And I can not help but wonder today, will the LORD bless Justin and I with children? And if not, can I be content in that fact?

I am going to be open and honest on here with ya'll. I hope you don't mind that. ;) I just feel like getting some thoughts out in the open air, to help clear the mind. Any who...

Before Justin and I were married, we talked about whether or not were going to use a natural means  of birth control (Fertility Awareness Method, I am FIRMLY against the pill, with it's abortive, and hormonal effects).

We decided that we would. I'm not sure we had a great reason to or not. We just wanted to spend a year, getting to know one another better, before children. ( I am not saying children will cause a strain on a new marriage. I've known several couples become pregnant with months of being married, and they praised the fact it brought them closer together as a couple. I'm also not saying everyone should avoid pregnancy for a year, or more. This is just what we felt led to do in our lives )

Our one-year anniversary came in April of 2014, and we talked about whether we would stop trying to avoid a pregnancy or not. At that point Justin said he was ready to be a daddy. But I did not feel as if I was ready to be a mommy.

I was going through some health issues, and I was trying to resolve them through natural means (herbs, nutrition, etc.) Physically, I did not feel I was ready to become pregnant.

Justin was fine with that, and with his AMAZINLY patient self, said it was fine with him to wait until I felt ready.

By October, I was feeling as if my health was returning, and I caught baby fever.

When my cycle started that November, I asked Justin if he was still ready to be a daddy, and he responded with are you ready to be a mommy.. I said I was ready, and we stopped "avoiding".

I will admit I was terrified those days that led up to that first period. I just "knew" I was pregnant.

But, as GOD would have it, I was not.

And so it has been for my last 3 cycles.

I'm not worried about not being able to get pregnant at this point. I am however, in awe at the fact that, as a friend put it one time, sex doesn't mean a baby.

It is only GOD's hand at work in your body, when you and your husband are expressing love toward another, is what makes a baby.

Will I become pregnant as time goes on? I don't know.

Maybe GOD has other plans for mine and Justin's lives.

Would I be joyful if HE did not see fit to bless us? I'd like to say yes, but I know it would be hard.

I'm not saying it would be impossible to be okay with that. GOD has brought me through so many trials in my life. There are countless times I have made plans for the future, to have GOD show me that HE has something different in mind.

Giving up hearts desires are just plain hard. But, in the end, we can rest in the knowledge HE is in control of our lives, and only wants what is best for us.

 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29:11

I fully trust the LORD with this aspect of my life. I just pray that if the LORD does not have children in my future, I will be able to trust in HIS grace, and wisdom.

What is the LORD teaching you to trust HIM about?

Have a wonderfully blessed day! Thanks for stopping by!
Angel

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Filling My Heart With Everything, But HIM


I mentioned in Mondays outfit post, that last week was a week bursting with energy. It was not just physical energy that was flowing freely in me, it was mental energy. I felt a “reviving” of sorts. And I can only attribute that revival to one thing: getting back into GOD’s word.

Last year was not my best year for spiritual growth. I slacked SEVERELY in personal devotions. And prayer? It happened primarily when something was going wrong.

I look back and see, that my not being in constant communion with my LORD, came from the fact that life was, and is going so well.

I’m married to the man of my dreams. We have a beautiful house. I’m relatively healthy. And there are no major family issues to speak of.

Toward the end of last year, I began to notice a change in me. And it was not a good one.

I was feeling depressed most days, and let down at everything.

I looked back at pre-marriage blog posts and saw in my words joy and peace. A peace I wondered where in the world went!

And I began to remember. Before I was married, or further back to before Justin and I were even courting, life was pretty difficult most days.

I did not have any close friends, and I struggled with loneliness.

GOD used those times to teach me one important lesson. That ONLY HE can fulfil your deepest heart’s desires. Not people, not money, or stability in life.

I had to come to a point in my life where HE was my all. That no matter what is going on my life, ONLY HIS love, and grace is what brings true joy to our lives.

So, I lived a joyful life as a single woman. Then as a young woman in a courtship, and finally as a new bride.

I always told myself that I would not put Justin, or anything else in my new life, before my relationship with GOD. And I believed that thought.

But somewhere along the way, that changed.

It wasn’t something I noticed right off. I think it crept in slowly.

Not doing a daily devotional. Not reading encouraging blogs, or articles. And simply not talking daily with HIM. My defenses were weakened, and my flesh began to control me.

At the end of last year, I set a goal. I said I was going to get back in GOD’s word on a daily basis.

And so I have.

And I am beginning to feel that joy and peace, that I thought I lost, return.

GOD is so good!

I fail HIM every day. But HIS mercies and grace, they are unfailing.

Ladies, try not to be like me in your early days of marriage (or any stage of life). And think that while life is going great, you can let your defenses down.

Stay in GOD’s word! Fight to be in it daily! Talk with HIM EVERY chance you get! It will make you all the more stronger for when the tough times roll in.

I cannot say it enough. ONLY the GOD of this universe can meet your every need. People will fail you. But HE will not. HE is always there for us, no matter where we are at in our lives. :)

Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!
Angel

Monday, January 19, 2015

Feeling Comfy In Blue and Black

Last week was an unusual week for me in the health department of life. I had energy.
 
 And I'm not talking about normal day to day energy. I'm talking about overflowing, gotta clean the house several times a day, do the normal exercise, then walk around the yard 10 times, try a new recipe each day, wake up early, stay up late and it not affect me, man I can not sit down, kinda energy. Which, is a bit scary for this usually dragging around gal...
 
So, I took a smidge of that energy, and scoured my closet at 6:30 am, for a new outfit combination for teaching last Tuesday...
 
 
And I am quite pleased with how it turned out...
 


The shirt is a Goodwill find from last year. But I never wore it until last week. It fits perfect at the top, but the sleeves have always been a bit "baggy" and the shirt itself is pretty long.
 

And I've never found the right skirt to go with it, until now.
 

 The skirt is one I picked up at Belks before Christmas. It was originally $40. I got it for $14. Oh yes...
 
 
With my sleeves rolled up, this was a very comfy outfit. Perfect for keeping up with my K-3 class all day. :D
 


What do you think? Does the long shirt go with the long skirt?

How have your energy levels been of late? Any new projects or ideas swirling in your head?

Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!
Angel

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How I Keep Up My Excercise Routine

Pre workout, deer in headlights look...
 
I mentioned in this post from last July, that my primary reason for wanting to be physically fit, is to be ready to serve, in any capacity, where the LORD calls me to. Whether it's motherhood, or travelling to a foreign mission field, (the first being the more likely scenario), I want to be able to serve my LORD, to my fullest ability, without adding any hardship, that could be avoided by simply exercising daily.

As I have done my whole adult life (all 6 years...), I set a goal on New Year's Day, 2014. I said I was going to keep up a daily exercise routine. I will admit, up until last year, keeping up a regular exercise routine was really difficult. But for the first time in my life, by GOD's grace, I achieved my goal. :D

Unless I was sick, or feeling really under the weather, I completed some form of physical activity at least 5 days, every week.

Sometimes it meant getting it in at 5 am, when there was a particularly busy day ahead. Other times it was kicking it out at 10:30 in the evening because I fought against any movement the entire day.

But I did it.

And along the way, I learned some tricks to help keep me motivated, to keep pushing on. And I would like to share those with you. My prayer is that they will be an encouragement for you, in your journey to good health.

~ Set a goal, or choose a specific motivation. I had several goals when I set out to achieve my goal of exercising daily. The first, I will not deny, was to lose some weight I had put on our first year of marriage. The second was to be physically ready to maybe become pregnant later in the year. That was a huge motivator, and still is.

~ Find something you love to do. I am NOT an athletically inclined gal. But, I love weight lifting. I've always had this weird love for lifting heavy objects, so this activity is perfect for this wanna be tough gal. It makes me angry when I can't lift a certain weight, and makes me work harder to lift heavier. I also love being outdoors when the weather is right. So, when I can, I will run, walk, or bike. Exercise doesn't have to be a certain routine. Just get up and move in a way you enjoy.

~ Set a plan. Every year that I have set my goal to exercise, I realized I never set a plan. I just sort of meandered through my set workout time. Doing whatever exercise came to mind. While I was moving, I was going no where. I had no direction. But last year, I went online to BodyBuilding.com, and chose a plan from their site, that was planned out for beginner female weight training (including weekly HIIT routines for fat loss, which I really wanted). All the exercises I needed to complete were in spreadsheet form, for me to check off when completed. There was no more wandering and wondering what in the world I needed to do. :)

 ~ Buy clothing specifically for working out. A few days after I started my routine, I went to Ross and picked out two pairs of workout pants, and two shirts. Every couple of months, I would pick up a new Under Armour shirt on the clearance rack at Dicks Sporting Goods, or a pair of shorts. I don't know about ya'll, but when I get new clothing, I 've got to wear them soon. So, knowing I was going to be able to wear my colorful, comfy clothes was a HUGE motivation to work out. :)

~ Lay out your workout clothes before bed. And if you can, put them on first thing in the morning. I found this tip online somewhere, and incorporated it. Knowing I had my workout clothes ready, or on me, was a great reminder to get the work done, and SOON. :)

~ Compile a playlist that gets ya movin! My playlist of workout music is not what I would listen to regularly. My list ranges from country, pop, and hip hop. And I ONLY listen to those songs when I am working out.

~Use Pinterest. But with caution. When I say use Pinterest, I'm not talking about pinning "inspirational" photos, of fit, and nearly naked women. I use it to keep a collection of at home workouts, and inspirational sayings to memorize when a workout is a bit on the rough side.

~ Change it up. Maybe you are like me, and you get bored easily. Every few weeks I change up my routine, and will incorporate some new exercises to catch my attention. This is also great for challenging the muscles to work in a new, or different way.

~ Pray. Above all else, prayer is what keeps me going most days. I can't tell you how many days last year I would break down crying in a workout, thinking I could not keep this up. But, those cries turned into prayers, that turned into strength, to make it through.

Oh yes, all done!
Oh, and keep these two thoughts in your head also...

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
1 Timothy 4:8-9
 
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:29-31

What are some things that keep you motivated to workout?
 
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!
Angel

Monday, January 12, 2015

First New Recipe of 2015: Chicken Sliders

One of my 2015 hopes and goals, is to try as many new recipes as I can this year. While meal planning last week, I searched through several cook books, and found several simple ones that were added to the top of my list. Three were put on the menu for this week.

They are "Black Bean Soup", "Citrus Balsamic Chicken", and "Chicken, Spinach, Feta Sliders".

I tried out the sliders on Sunday.


The original recipe looked amazing, but I knew I had to alter it. The main reason being that it called for ground chicken, and I do not own a meat grinder.

So, I decided to pan cook one chicken breast (our own homegrown, and butchered meat) in olive oil, seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper. Then I sautéed the spinach in the same spices, shredded the chicken, and placed them both in a bowl to be mixed with about 1 ounce of feta cheese.

I then mashed some avocado to spread on some homemade, whole wheat rolls. The chicken was then added to the rolls, and served with some baked rosemary potato crisps for the hubby, and a romaine, and sundried tomato salad for me. :D
 
 
A very simple meal to prepare, but at the same time healthy, delicious, and nutritious. This one is definitely in the book to be made again. :)
 
Have you tried any new recipes of late?
 
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!
Angel

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Hopes For The New Year


Happy New Year!
 
If you count January the third as still being the New Year...
 
With the New year, it's typical of most people to look back at what was accomplished from the previous year, and to set forth goals for the year ahead. I'm no exception to this. In fact I love this time of hoping for the future.
 
I look forward to goal setting every year. No, I don't always follow through. But, I find the New year to be a wonderful time to let hope bloom, for a new day, and new goals to work on.
 
What are some goals I hope to accomplish this year?
 
Read the Bible every day. No skipping days, if at all possible. I became really slack in this area last year. I did not make it a priority most days, and I can tell that my spiritual life really suffered because of it. :(
~Be completely alert to my husbands wants and needs. I tend to struggle with listening to him, and to my shame zone out when he's talking sometimes. With the LORD's grace, I hope to be fully "there" in a conversation, ALL the time. :)
~Become hospitable. This will be a huge challenge for this quiet introvert. Aside from family, we have not had any guests in our home for a meal or fellowship. It's a challenge I am ready to accept, with the LORD's help of course. ;)
~Read more, learn more. I'm pretty sure I can count on one hand how many books I read last year. I have about 60 healthy living books on my Kindle that I need to go through. And there are several on my shelf I purchased last year, that have yet to be read. :P
~ Branch out in my culinary skills. I just basically want to experiment with as many recipes as possible. I have several that I've been sticking to since being married, and to my husbands dismay, may cook on one too many occasions... :P
~Complete 2 sewing projects. I did not do ANY sewing last year. This year I hope to polish up some old skills, and get to sewing! :D
~Research and possibly start a soap making business. Not so sure if this one will come to pass, but I am giving it a lot of thought and prayer. :)
~Keep up my habit of exercising. Last year I made my usual resolution of exercising daily. For the first time ever, I kept it up. :D With the LORD's strength, I plan to keep up weightlifting 4 days a week, with 3 days of HIIT. I would even love to try and incorporate some Yoga in there a couple days. :D
~Find a naturally minded doctor. We currently do not have a primary care physician. I would REALLY love to find one in our area, that is geared to natural healing practices. Not just someone to hand you a bottle of pills. If any of you know how to go about finding one, I'd love to hear about it! :D
~Grow our family? This one is not really a goal, but a hope. We are not "trying" to become pregnant, but we're not naturally avoiding it either. I leave this hope in GOD's hands. :)
 
In fact, I leave all of these hope and goals in GOD's hands. No matter how much I might try and think I have my life in my own hands, it's not. I rest in the knowledge that GOD is holding my future, and I leave it ALL up to HIM. :D
 
What are some of your hopes and goals for the future?
 
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!
Angel

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Busyness, and Blessings

Well hello there friends and family! I pray that you are all having a blessed day in our LORD! The weather this second to last day of 2014 is cloudy and a chilly 45 degrees! A far cry from the weather we had for Christmas. Temps were up in the 60's and even 70's those days. :D
 
So how was your Christmas? I pray that it was a peaceful, joyful time for you. Mine was mostly that. Lots of coming and goings. But it was a pleasant holiday. I'll show ya...
 
Since Justin and I have been together, holidays are a go, go, go time for us. Long gone are the days I would spend at home, prepearing for the day. Now, I prepare for a whirlwind of comings and goings.
 
It all starts on Christmas Eve. I spend the morning cooking for lunch at Justin's parents, with all of his family. After lunch, presents are opened and everyone sort of sits and visits.
 
Following an afternoon visiting, we then prepare and head out for our Church's Christmas Eve service. Then, it's off to another family dinner, with Justin's extended family. Following that, it's time to head to my parents to visit with some of my extended family that has come into town. Then after they head back to their camper for the evening, my parents, my siblings, Justin, and I then sit down for our annual watching of the "Nativity Story".
 
Following the movie, Justin and I head home and look into our stocking. And then it's time to get some shut eye for Christmas morning.
 
Christmas morning we head to my parents for breakfast, and then presents are opened sometime after that with all the family...

Fun with the cousins
 
My beautiful sister

My granddaddy and his friend

Mama


My brother was pretty happy that I got him some "Dragon's Blood" soap. He was with me in Whole Foods one day and saw it and he begged for it then.
 
Daddy happy to get his favorite, hard to find candy

Justin and I both received the same gift, $25 Outback gift cards. We were able to use them for a date night last night, after going to see "Unbroken".

One amazing, take my breath away, good lookin' man. ;)

 Following presents, and the afternoon meal, it was time for pics...
 
Grandaddy, with most of his grandkids.

 
Ain't they cute? :D
After most of the extended family leaves home, Justin goes hunting, and I stay and visit with my siblings. After he is done hunting, he picks me up and then we head back to our house to open our presents to one another.


 
At long last, we are finally able to just sit, cuddle on the couch, listen to Christmas music, and relax from the busyness.
 
Yes, my holidays are go, go, go. But they are spent with family. And family is one of the greatest blessings of all. :)
 
How do you spend your holidays?
 
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!
Angel

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

From Our House, To Yours...


And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Luke 2:1-20
 
From our house to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas! GOD bless each one of you.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Blessed, This Week Before Christmas

Sleepy.

Oh so sleepy am I today.

Not one inkling of a desire have I, to anything that involves energy today.

Especially that Friday weightlifting session.

The one that includes deadlifts, and lunges.

I'm shuddering thinking about it.

I stayed up until 2 am last night (this morning?)

Hence the reason for the sleepiness and slow going today.

But I feel blessed.

Why?

Because I am alive.

I am saved by grace through faith in Christ.

I had a pretty good week.

I finished my Christmas shopping.

Finished up my K-3 class for this semester.

And I was able to have several girls from my church, hang out at my house last night, to watch a Christmas movie.

And talk until 1 am.

I feel blessed by the fact my hubby is home from work early today too.

Busy and sleepy, am I.

But oh so very blessed.

What are you dear ones feeling blessed for this week before Christmas?

Have a wonderfully blessed day! Thanks for stopping by!
Angel