Sunday, March 31, 2013

He Is Risen!

Source: viaAnna on Pinterest

Friday, March 29, 2013

Crown Him

This song by Chris Tomlin which combines the traditional hymn "Crown Him With Many Crowns"  with "Majesty" gives me chills. Literally.

How amazing is my Savior that He died on the cross for MY sins after living a sinless life years and years ago? Not only did He take the wrath of my sins, He took the wrath for all of us - you, me, all who lived before us and all who'll live after us. And after dying on the cross, He ROSE again. He defeated death. 

The boys and I were talking about Easter one night as we were riding in the car. We talked about how Christ died for us and then rose from the dead in defeat of death. As we talked, it hit me - do I really recognize daily the HUGE sacrifice my Savior made for ME? Yes, I know He sacrificed Himself for little me, but do I really always show Him the love and praise He adores? My humble efforts won't ever be enough to repay Christ for what He did for me - and for you - and you know what the best part is? He doesn't expect me to. There are no good works I can do, nothing that I can say or anything I can buy that will repay Christ for His LOVE sacrifice. He doesn't ask me to do anything other than to simply TRUST Him, LOVE Him and FOLLOW Him. And that's all He wants from you, too. If you don't know Jesus as your Savior and Lord, I hope that you'll consider getting to know Him. He loves you, created you and wants to guide you.

Happy Easter!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.
1 Peter 1:3-4

High Five for FRIDAY!

1. Sweet desserts with two of my sweeties at Chick-fil-A Wednesday night.
2. The new Hazelnut Macchiato at Starbucks is delicious! I didn't think anything could be better than the Caramel Macchiato, but I think this one is.
3. Family game time. We've had so much fun playing games this week with our little guys!
4. Manicures and pedicures with my sister. I got a gel manicure for the first time (yes, sad I know), but if it really lasts three weeks, I'm sold.
5. I've been on a hummus and pita chip kick this week. And it's been good.

Linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday Because Sometimes You Just Need to Be Thankful

I haven't done one of these Thankful Thursday posts lately and I want to do so today. My heart is literally overflowing with thankfulness today.

1. I am thankful for my husband. Really thankful. I don't want to sound cliche, but I don't really remember my life much before him. He's enriched my life in ways I couldn't imagine and I'm so thankful for that. He's the best. Hands down.

2. I am thankful for our boys. They are the coolest, funniest, sweetest, smartest and kindest little ones in this world. And no, I'm not a bit partial. ;)

3. I am thankful for answered prayers. Kevin's mom's surgery went really well yesterday. Besides a long day of waiting (especially for her and my father-in-law), things went well. She should be coming home today. Kevin has also had some good things happen on the job hunt and we'd appreciate your continued prayers about that.

4. I am thankful for a sister date tonight. My sister and I haven't had any real girl time in a long time and I'm looking forward to a manicure and pedicure with her tonight.

5. I am thankful for Chickfila. We've eaten Chickfila literally about five times in the past week. And I won't apologize for it. It is delicious. And makes my heart happy. Especially the little 99 cent sundaes. Who knew that 99 cents could taste so good.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Cara Box Reveal

I have really enjoyed participating in the Cara Box exchange through Kaitlyn at Wifessionals

This month, I received a box from Carissa at Lilies and Silk. Items in our box for this month were supposed to start with the letter of our first name. Carissa decided to use "Belle" {the boys call me Anna Belle (and my middle name isn't Belle)} and I'm so glad she did! She sent a bag of "B" goodies and I love them all! The boys have already taken over the fun, blue ball. We played catch with it last night!

My package had a book {Mended by Angie Smith}, beach towels, blue nail polish, a blue ball and a beach survival kit. I've been looking for a new book to read and have wanted to read Mended, so I was really excited when I saw it in my package! Carissa also sent the most encouraging note!

Thanks for an awesome March Cara Box, Carissa!

Random Notes for the Day

I have actually written a list of 27 things I want to do at 27 AND a list of 30 things I'd like to accomplish before I'm 30. And I'm sharing them on the blog next week in honor of my birthday.

I'm in need of a good read. I downloaded a book that's on the best seller's list, but I just can't get into it. Any suggestions?

I am so pleased with Kaden's birthday invitations! I'm in marketing, but have no design experience as far as actually designing things go, so I was really excited at how these have turned out! Now on to more party planning!

We've been playing a lot of games in our family lately. And it's been fun! 

I'm not sure that I like the new format of Pinterest. I guess it doesn't really matter

I really wanted this dress for Easter, but our local store doesn't have it in my size.

I've been listening to Spotify at work. And I'm obsessed with Darius Rucker's "Wagon Wheel." I need to see him in concert again soon. I also saw this pin on Pinterest which made me think of this song.

Source: viaAnna on Pinterest

I'm looking forward to a girl's night with my sister tomorrow night. We're going to get manicures and pedicures. She has her senior prom Friday night and I've got these things called runner's feet. {And a three year old who told me I needed to polish my nails the other night. He requested green, blue, orange or purple. Some people can pull those colors off, but I do more neutrals and then some bright pinks or reds. I don't think orange polka dots would be appreciated at work.}

Speaking of work, after nearly eight months here, I'm finally organizing my office. I have two giant cork boards on two of my walls and I'm finally using them. I decided it was time to make it look like I'm staying.

Please pray for our family today. As you're reading this, Kevin's mom is either having or has had her surgery. Please pray for an easy recovery and no complications. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Build 'Em Up: The Joy of Playing

I'm linking up with Erin from Blue Eyed Bride, Kelly from Kelly's Korner, Jennifer from Life in the Green House and Courtney from Lil Light O' Mine for Build "Em Up! 

To read my first post on bringing faith to life, click here.

When I was younger, some of the things I looked most forward to about being an adult were being a wife and mom, writing checks and dressing up for work. I always thought the sweetest sounds would be those of the pitter patter of little feet running around the hardwood floors and the squeals of laughter coming out of my children's mouths.

I have to say that when I think of those things that make me happiest now, my mind is immediately drawn to those things I thought about when I was a teenager. (Except the whole writing checks part. That I don't enjoy so much. And some days, I really wish I could wear jeans to work, but that's another topic for another day.) There is nothing I love more than spending time with my husband and our kids. I get more joy and happiness out of little family moments that may seem so insignificant than I do out of most other things.

At their ages (five and soon-to-be four), the boys love being with us. They want us to play with them, want us to sit on the floor with them, want us to do things with them and want us just to listen to them. There's nothing greater than that. Our den and their playroom may look like a tornado has swept through and thrown Thomas and all his train friends across our rug along with what seems to be one hundred or more Matchbox cars and race tracks that seem to cover nearly every surface of the playroom floor, but that's ok. We have fun.

While we sit on the floor and build train tracks (when Kevin and I get the chance to be the train track builders - we have a little engineer in the making who goes by the name of K.C.), we're doing so much more than just building a play space; we're building memories and strengthening bonds. We're literally putting together pieces of a track, but more importantly, we're showing our boys how much we love them and want to spend time with them. And really, time is all they want.

They want to know we've missed them when we come in from work every afternoon. They want to know we're proud of the pictures they've drawn at school even if we can't always make out what the pictures are. They want to know that we love snuggling, tickling and giving them kisses. They want to know that they are valued even though they're small.

A few nights ago, I was packing sandwiches for the week. Kaden, my little chef, asked me if he could help. Making sandwiches for lunches is not on my list of favorite things to do, but I'd rather make them than have them eat Lunchables every day. Instead of just finishing the job, I said, "Sure buddy" and proceeded to move my sandwich making operation including Easter shaped cookie cutters (sandwiches are more fun when they're cut into shapes!) to the boys' picnic table. His eyes lit up with excitement as he assembled the sandwiches piece by piece - bread, cheese and ham - and then picked out duck, carrot and rabbit cookie cutters to use to cut his sandwiches into shapes. Sure, I had a lot more mess to clean up, but seeing his smile and how excited he was to make lunch for himself and his brother was priceless.

When I'm at home, I try to focus completely on my family. Yes, it's hard sometimes with all the other tasks that have to be done like making dinner, packing lunches, doing homework and giving the boys a bath, but I really try my hardest to get as much done when they're not at home or when they're asleep so that my nights and weekends can be devoted to them. It may mean I'm not involved in Twitter conversations, posting pictures on Instagram or watching the hottest new TV show, but for me, it means I'm trying my best to make sure my husband and our kids feel valued and loved.

I had a great childhood filled with so many memories of my parents playing with me, my nana letting me cook with her and my mom going out of the way to do fun things even if it meant she had a lot to clean up afterwards. That's the same kind of childhood I want our boys to have. I want them to feel the joy Kevin and I have in playing with them. I want them to know that even though we have to clean them up, messes from fun are ok. I want them to know that there's nothing we would rather do than invest in them.

At the end of the day, there's no better feeling that to be greeted at the door by sweet little ones (and a sweet big one) who are dying to tell you about their days and dying to have you play with them. I want the boys to know that for me, too, there's nothing more that I want to do than to come inside and spend my night playing with my family because there's nothing better than lots of fun, laughter and love.

Follow me on Bloglovin'.

Monday, March 25, 2013

If I were to buy myself birthday gifts

My birthday is in nine days! Nine whole days! And then I'll be twenty-seven.

I thought I'd have fun with this post today and talk about what I'd buy myself were I to buy myself some gifts {and to be 100% truthful, maybe this list will help out my husband and mom!}. Really, there's nothing I need for my birthday. I've been so blessed with my family. A few pairs of cute shorts, some shoes and other pretty things are just an added bonus!

Source: viaAnna on Pinterest

Tropical Breeze

Royal Rowena

Weekend Roundup

Happy Monday lovelies!

We had a great weekend; I hope you did, too! 

Friday night, Kevin and I went out birthday shopping for me. While I didn't find anything I wanted, we had a great time! I love date nights! 

The boys had their last soccer game of the season Saturday morning. It was a rainy day, so while I watched from the car, they had fun playing. We always have a "party" after the last game and the kids all get trophies. They are still excited about their new trophies!

My three soccer boys! I love them!!

Kevin and I went to eat breakfast number two (we may have had some donuts for breakfast after we picked them up for the soccer party. Might I add that I believe that was the first time I've ever eaten donuts for breakfast!) with his parents after soccer and then it was back home to get some things done around the house.

Since the weather was rainy, I decided I'd run on our treadmill. I was feeling good and enjoying my run and decided I'd do 5 miles which turned into 6.2 miles. I ended up running the 10K in 43:05. I love running the Cooper River Bridge Run, but haven't run it in a few years and even when I ran it, I ran with people who aren't really runners and I'd like to see how I'd do on my own. While I don't think I'll be able to break the 40:00 qualifying time for the first coral, with my run Saturday, I know I can get in the second. Here's to running the bridge again next year!

Yesterday, we got to our Sunday school class and no one was there. At the last minute, our teacher got sick and our class decided to join another class. We got there a few minutes late so we missed it. We went ahead to the grocery store and got groceries for the week before going back to church. Kevin has been laughing about it because I always find some way to get him to the grocery store. I always do the grocery shopping, but lately, he's waited in the car quite a few times or gone in Target with me.

We had a great time last night! We gave the boys a Berenstain Bears game for Valentine's Day and played it for the first time last night. They had fun and each won once which always makes things better! After bath time, they had a dance party in the dark (the videos are hilarious!) and then we watched Mighty Machines before bed. I love fun nights with my family!

We're looking forward to a super week! Please keep Kevin's parents in your prayers as his mom has her surgery Wednesday.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Letters, Confessions and Fitness


dear kevin: I love you. That's all! dear k.c.: Daddy and I are so proud of you for being recognized as a "Terrific Kid" at school! Of course we already know how terrific you are, but we're excited that you were recognized!" I love you more than all the stars in the sky! dear kaden: You are too sweet. And I'm sorry I made you angry when my Luigi got the frozen flower on Marion Brothers Wii! I love you more than all the candy in the world! dear stephanie: I'm excited for all the cool things happening in your life! And I didn't ever think I'd see you wear orange! And I also forgive you for calling me old. ha ha dear martha stewart: My three-year old has picked out an incredibly difficult cake for his upcoming birthday. Want to help a lady out?  dear summer weather: I know spring just arrived, but I can't help it that I'm already craving you. dear God: Thank you for answered prayers and loads of grace!

I confess that...

... I really, really, really want to see the new Tina Fey and Paul Rudd movie. My husband? Not so much. Granted, he chooses much better movies than I do. We watched "What to Expect When You're Expecting" on our honeymoon and that was only because the movies we wanted to watch were out at RedBox and he was being sweet, but still that was about the worst movie I've ever seen and wasted two hours of our lives that we won't ever get back!

... While I haven't worked out at the gym but twice this week (once at my gym and once at another), I'm feeling pretty good about my fitness.

... I can't WAIT to share Kaden's birthday party with you all! The theme has been chosen, invitations have been designed and I'm in full-on party planning mode. I love celebrating our little ones (and my big one!)!

... I really don't feel old, but  my sister asked me last night if I was too old to come visit her for the weekend when she goes off to Clemson this fall. Hello, I'm only 26!

... I have a mild obsession with photo books. I'm working on Kaden's three-year book in hopes to have it here by his birthday!


Rest Day - I had a race Saturday.

3.1 miles/21:32 - Sports Medicine Challenge - 1st Female, 9th overall (first prize money -> $100!)

Rest Day

5.5 miles/ 40:15; Upper Body; 80 push ups

Rest Day - I travelled for work and couldn't work out.

50 push ups

6.5 miles (1.5/10 minutes on treadmill; 5 miles/37:00 outside); Upper Body; Abs; Glutes

Total Miles: 15.1
Total Non-Running Workouts: 3

This coming week, I want to increase my mileage, focus more on my abs and glutes and try to do yoga or pilates one day.

This week was not the healthiest for food. While I didn't eat horribly and took my lunch to work most days, we ate out at night a few times. I'm going to have a good meal plan for next week that I'll share with you.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I Can't Believe

I'm linking up with one of my favorite bloggers for I Can't Believe!

I can't believe that I've been married to this guy for FIVE months!

I can't believe that my birthday is in TWO weeks! (This is a picture from my 26th birthday)

I also can't believe I'm officially making a 30 before 30 list! And I feel old.

I can't believe I won $100 cash at my race last weekend.

I can't believe it's already time to start planning this sweet little one's FOURTH birthday!


(And I can't believe how much he's changed this year! The baby face is all gone.)

I can't believe it's finally Spring!

A Thankful Heart

On Wednesdays, I usually write a list of random things that are on my mind. Things from what's making me smile to what I've been eating to things I want to do. Today though, what's on my mind is the goodness and grace of Christ.

Recently, I wrote that 2013 has been a rough year. Yesterday, I felt so much hope and joy and my heart is overflowing with thanksgiving. Not to share too many details at this time, but my husband had a great interview that has given us both hope. Please continue to pray with us that the doors for the job for him will be opened. I am so thankful for the opportunity he had yesterday!

Last week, I also shared that we recently found out that Kevin's mother has cancer. After a series of tests that didn't determine where the cancer is, she had more tests Monday that confirmed that it is breast cancer. And it's the best possible scenario. It's very small and contained and at this point, we know that she will have surgery and more than likely radiation, but do not expect her to have to have chemo. I am so thankful for this answered prayer! 

Thank you, to all of you, who have been praying for our family!

Linking up with Shanna.

Giveaway: KitchenAid Mixer!

KitchenAid mixer giveaway
I'm excited to be participating in an awesome giveaway with Newlywed Moments and some other lovely ladies on this first day of spring! To celebrate this day, we are giving away a KitchenAid Mixer!! Why? Because it's a must-have for any newlywed kitchen. I absolutely love my mixer and use it often. I love that I can leave it mixing while I work on something else! It is so very helpful! One lucky reader will win this white-colored KitchenAid Classic Series 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer!

Rules & Information: -- Giveaway is open to U.S. readers only. -- The winner will be verified, so please enter honestly. -- The winner will be notified by email on 3/27/13 and will have 24 hours to respond.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Weekend of Celebrations

My weekend update is coming to you a day late!

We had a great and busy weekend. We started the weekend off with a fun Friday night. We ran out to grab Mexican for dinner with Kevin's parents. It was delicious!

Saturday was a big day for us. It started out with a race for me. The Sports Medicine Challenge is one of my favorite races and I had a blast running the 5K. I love when I get to see Kevin and our sweet boys at the starting line and was so excited when I spotted them as we were getting ready to race.

The course for this race is great. It winds through some neighborhoods, so the view is nice. I was the first female and ninth overall!  My time was 21:32 for this race. Even more exciting, I won $100 along with the nice, engraved medal. Most of the races that have prizes are gift cards, so I was really surprised when I opened the envelope and found $100 inside!

Love them!

The boys also had a soccer game Saturday morning. They are just so cute playing soccer! I was upset that I didn't get to their game. My race was at 9 and their game was at 10, but by the time they got to the awards, it was 10:30. As I was pulling into the Y, Kevin and the boys were driving out. He said they both played really well and they had fun, too!

After lunch, we went outside to enjoy the beautiful weather! (It was in the high 70s - beautiful!) We walked through the woods behind out house and went exploring and the boys rode their Gator around the yard.

Kaden and I also went shopping to buy some things to decorate for Kevin's birthday party that we had Saturday night. Kevin's dad cooked a delicious dinner and we all went to Kevin's parents to celebrate round two of his birthday!

We enjoyed playing after church on Sunday. Kevin is playing in a flag football league and we went and watched him. On the way to his game, K.C. told Kaden that he hadn't ever gone to a Clemson game before. I think he thought Kevin played for the Tigers!

I love weekends spent outside playing with my sweet family!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday's Confessions, Letters and a Weekly Recap.

follow via bloglovin' here.

Alright, it's that time again. Time for some confessions, letters and a quick recap of my posts this week.  Happy Weekend!

This week, I'm confessing that...

... I'm insanely happy it's supposed to be in the 70's all weekend! Bring on the summer!

... I didn't work out or run as much as I usually do and it's killing me. I really don't like missing my runs or going to the gym, but sometimes, things happen and I don't get to. I'm really trying to work on it, but it's tough.

... I feel like I've been a downer with a post or two these week, but I write as a journal for myself and I want to be honest. While you'll mainly only get happy posts from me because I'm happy and smiling most of the time, every once in a blue moon, I have a bad day. And I'm trying to stop beating myself up about it. 

... I really need to schedule my hair appointment before I leave the salon rather than waiting until my roots are starting to show and scramble to get an appointment.

... I'm really excited about Kaden's birthday! I love planning, hosting and doing and I can't wait for his party. I've got it all planned out in my head. It's time to start ordering.


dear kevin: Thank you for being an incredible and supportive husband. I can't believe we've already been married five months. Time flies when you're having fun! I love you more than words can say.
dear boys: I am absolutely over-the-moon proud of you. You're growing up way too fast and you amaze me everyday.  I love you two more than running, chocolate and shopping combined! {side note: the boys love it when I tell them I love them more than running and chocolate because they know how much I love those two things!}
dear stephanie: I get teary thinking about the fact that you're going to graduate in two months. Where has the time gone? I am unbelievably proud of the young woman you are. I know you have a lot of decisions to make that are going to change your life and I know you're going to make the right decisions. I miss you! We need some sister time soon!
dear kayla: Why aren't OH and SC closer? I really think we are twins separated at birth (and by a few years!). I'm crazy happy for you and all the goodness coming your way!
dear positivity: Thank you for coming back to me during this post. Please don't leave again. It's not cool. 
dear God: Please continue to work in my life. I know I'm not the only one that's been having a rough time lately. It seems the devil is on the prowl. Help me to stop sweating the small stuff and take care of that big stuff like only You can do.
dear kevin: I'm really excited about red velvet cake. You don't know how much joy I get out of doing things like celebrating you and baking for you. I also have quite a good time enjoying cake. I love you!
dear legs: Let's be fast tomorrow, ok?
dear readers: You don't know how much your comments and e-mails have meant to me this week. Your encouragement is so uplifting! I am blessed to be getting to know some of you and I look forward to calling even more of you friends! :)

Recap of the Week

And tomorrow, don't miss my list of must-reads from recently!

Health and Fitness Friday

I'm happy to be back linking up with Jen for this week's Health and Fitness Friday!

I had a race this past Saturday and I'm still on Cloud 9 about meeting a goal! I ran the 5K race in 20:15. I was the 2nd female overall and 9th overall. Even though I didn't win, I was all smiles! I haven't ever run a sub-21:00 5K in a race and was so excited when I saw the official results!

Workouts for the Week
As you'll notice, my workouts for the week aren't quite what the usually are. In fact, I haven't been to the gym since Saturday. I'm going to blame the time change on that way. I think it's had us all messed up in the mornings and our evenings have been busy. However, I've still worked out. I've been doing pushups every hour behind my desk {while I silently pray that no one walks in my office} and then some ab work and lunges with weights at home. I've run far fewer days {and miles} than normal, but that's attributed to this time change, something to do most evenings and a busy work week which hasn't allowed me to run during the day {I can normally squeeze in a run at lunch a few times each week, but this week has been packed!}. I'm not trying to make excuses, but I like to look back on these posts and see how I've done.

Rest Day - I had a race on Saturday!

3.1 miles/20:15 in the Race for Pieces.  I PR'd!
(You can read all about it here.)
Gym workout for arms, abs and glutes.
Another 3.1 miles/ 22:26

3.1 miles/ 22:04

70 pushups (I started doing 10 an hour at work)
25 lunges with 40 pounds

 200 twisting sit-ups with 10 lbs; 80 pushups

80 pushups
1.5 mile walk around the neighborhood with the boys in the stroller

80 pushups
3.8 miles

Total Miles: 13.2
Total Workouts: Gym (1), Abs (2), Arms (5), Glutes (2)

Healthy Eating
This week, I decided to track everything I ate. I'm starting from Saturday because I can't really remember last Friday's meals/junk!  Unless otherwise noted, I drank water.

Breakfast: Better Oats Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Oatmeal pre-race
Lunch: Plain Cheeseburger at the race
Snack: Froyo with my mom - tart vanilla, a little NY Cheesecake and some Pomegranate topped with mango, kiwi, granola and a few pieces of cookie dough and half a Reese's Cup
Dinner: Buffalo Wild Wings with Kevin - 2 parmesean and garlic boneless ribs and 2 sweet barbecue ones; we shared an order of homemade chips; Coke to drink
Snack: Rice Krispie Treat and a Gheradelli Caramel Square

Breakfast: Honey Nut Chex
Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, Chobani (Blueberry) and about three of the mini almond rice bars from the last Nature Box
Dinner: Barbecue Chicken from the crock pot, rice, blackberries

Breakfast: Chobani (Strawberry) and some dry Honey Nut Chex
Lunch: Pita with ham, cheese and spinach; roasted red pepper hummus with a few pita chips and about a cup of fresh blackberries.
Snack: Coffee, 1 Reese's Cup
Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, two orange danish rolls (and they were good!)
Snack: Handful of trail mix - raisins, peanuts, coconut, some kind of seeds
Lunch: Grilled chicken gyro, baked potato, tea
Dinner: Homemade lasagna, salad with oil and vinegar, fruit, slice of caramel cake (Kevin's birthday)

Breakfast: Banana, tall Caramel Macchiato w/soy, pumpkin bread
Lunch: Chicken, rice and gravy, mac and cheese, collard greens, fruit, pecan pie (Have I mentioned I live in the South? This was at a lunch meeting and the only choice I had.)
Dinner: Cheeseburger minus a bun, baked beans, a few chips, fruit, and a small slice of caramel cake

Breakfast: Grits, some dry Honey Nut Chex
Lunch: Small salad with ham, mozzerella cheese and oil and vinegar; strawberries and blackberries; pita chips and hummus; trail mix
Dinner: Cheeseburger and potato salad (we ate out at a local restaurant), tea
Snack: Chips and one chocolate hazelnut pirouette rolled wafer

Things I've Noticed
I need to eat more vegetables.

I need to eat more fruit.

I do a good job drinking mostly water. Other than one coke, tea, and some coffee, I only drank water.

I did really well taking lunch to work. Lately, I've been eating out too much at lunch and I'm proud of myself this week. I only ate out for lunch twice (once for Kevin's birthday and once for a lunch meeting).

I don't count calories, but I do realize that my foods aren't exactly meeting the USDA's "healthy eating guidelines." My goal is to work on that this week.

AND, last week I promised photos. I really want to see the difference on May 10th.

Y'all, believe me when I say this is already a huge improvement.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bye Bye, Google Reader!

It looks like Google Reader is leaving us. I love using it to read through my favorite blogs, but it seems that won't be the case much longer. So while we'll be saying farewell to Google Reader, we'll say "Hello!" to Bloglovin'

I'm already trying to make sure I follow all your awesome blogs on Bloglovin' and I'd love it if you'd let me know if I'm not already following you - I don't want to miss my favorite girls! And for that matter, if you're an old reader, new reader or just happened to show up here today, I'd love to hear from you! I love knowing who's reading and getting to read all of your blogs, too!

I'd love for you to hop on over and follow me on Bloglovin', too! You can click the Bloglovin' link on the left sidebar or use the link below.

While we're at it, here are the other places you can find me; I love to connect with you!

Facebook (As of TODAY!)

To 2013.

2013 has not been my favorite year.  It's definitely not my least favorite, but it's been wrought with challenges.  I don't like to say things are bad because I genuinely believe there is good in everything. But 2013, you're testing me.

On Tuesday, I wrote that I'm a joyful and optimistic person. And that's true. 99.9% of the time I'm smiling and happy and optimistic about everything.  But 2013 is giving me a run for my money. For some reason, I keep falling into a pit and I don't like it.

You see, ordinarily when something is bothering me, I can shake it off. Usually when I feel upset or worried about something, I can get rid of it easily. But 2013 has pulled a number on me. I have worries for so many and insecurities have crept up that I didn't know existed.

In January, my husband lost his job. He had a great job, but unfortunately, when you work in the mortgage banking industry, specifically in foreclosures, and the feds decide to make a deal with the nation's largest banks, your entire department is gone. Thankfully, we're in a good place. Even more thankfully, my husband is optimistic and hasn't let this get him down. I really admire his confidence and outlook.  God is good.

God has provided for both of us in the past and brought us individually through so many things. Knowing this and believing this has helped me have the faith to know that He will provide for us through this. Next week, Kevin has an interview for a job he's interested in. My prayer is that God will continue to open the doors that need to be opened and close those that are to be closed. God is good.

Also in January, we had some of our favorite people hit hard with some things.  It's always tough to watch people you love go through tough times. Thankfully, many prayers have been answered! God is good.

We've also dealt with sickness this year. My nana, who's 85, has a rare blood condition. I'm not even going to try to explain it because I can't, but for about the past month, she's been dealing with some complications from it. Nothing too serious, but still, she's had to have a lot of tests and she and my sweet 87 year old granddad have spent many hours waiting at the doctor.  My grandparents are a huge example of living faith to me. They are my heroes and knowing they have this worry, causes my heart to hurt. Thankfully, some tests she had earlier this week proved to be negative. God is good.

Earlier this week, I shared that my sweet mother-in-law is battling cancer. As of now we don't know what the next steps are, but we are trusting that God is going to heal her of this disease completely. I believe that just as God performed miracles thousands of years ago, He's still performing them today. In addition to praying for complete healing for her, I'm praying for her husband, my strong father-in-law. They've been together for nearly fifty years and I can't imagine how tough it is for him to have to sit back. Please continue to pray for our whole family as we need strength and support for Mary during this time. I'm thankful that this was detected early. God is good.

Besides these actual real things in the truest sense of the word, I've also been doing major battle with some other unseen things. We've talked in our Sunday school class recently about how the enemy, satan, wants to get us where we're weakest. I firmly believe that. But you know what? I also know that when we start feeling satan's attacks, it's because we're growing closer to our Savior and striving to live more and more like Him and that scares him. God is good.

I didn't know the level of worry that accompanies love for children. I worry so much about the boys. I know there's only so much I can control like feeding them and taking care of them. But there are those things I can't control. Things like them making the right kinds of friends in school, having hearts that want to love Jesus and making the right decisions when they're faced with tough choices when they're older. I can rest in the assurance and peace I feel after I turn these things over to God (which seems to happen quite often as I try to take them back under my wing) because I know He's taking care of them and giving my husband and I the guidance we need to teach and love the greatest gifts we've ever been entrusted with. God is good.

I've also been dealing with insecurities I didn't even know I had. And I don't like them one bit. I'm a confident person and comfortable in my skin, but recently, I've had these thoughts of insecurities. It's like satan is whispering in my ear "you're not good enough." And I know that's not true because I know I am more than good enough. I was made in my Father's image and my Father is good. Those insecurities are a pathway that satan is using to tell me I'm not good enough and to make me doubt, worry and lose confidence in areas that haven't ever concerned me. That's him trying to keep me from standing strong. God is good.

Through it all, I know that God is good. I've shared bits and pieces of my story on this little blog of mine and the resounding phrase of them all is that God is good. He's good in the happy times, good in the fearful times, good in the times of laughter, and good in the times of tears. He's there to guide me as the sun comes up each morning, comfort my fears in the middle of the night, and give me hope for His plans for my life.

It's like the words from the old hymn "He Is Lord":
He is Lord of the sunshine and Lord of the rain. He is Lord of the good times and Lord of the pain. He is Lord of the mountains and Lord of the seas. He is Lord of the music, Lord of the Children, and Lord of you and me.
God is good! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Jumble of Thoughts for Your Wednesday

 1. I'm so thankful for the beautiful Spring weather we're having! It's finally feeling nice and warm around here. I'm looking forward to running outside all the time again.

2. I had one of the sweetest conversations with K.C. and Kaden on the ride home from soccer last night. We went from talking about cake to saying the months of the year in order to talking about Jesus. I can see little seeds just sprouting in their hearts and the sweetness of it nearly brings me to happy tears.

3. Today marks five months since Kevin and I said "I do!" I also love any excuse to share wedding pictures.

4. Speaking of wedding pictures, I finally ordered my portrait. I got the shipping confirmation last night and I can't wait for it to get here!

This is what we decided on for the portrait. Very non-traditional, but so me!
I also ordered a smaller canvas of this photo because I love this shot.

And I ordered a small canvas of this one. Have I mentioned that my husband loves my obsession with photos and photo books?
5. Caffeine was a necessity today. I've slept maybe eight hours in the past two days and with lots going on at work, I knew I needed some espresso in the form of a caramel macchiato to help me get through the day. The pumpkin loaf didn't hurt either.

6. Speaking of pumpkin, I made some orange danish rolls and scrambled eggs for breakfast yesterday. I think it's safe to say that K.C. and his little brother (who likes to copy him) do not like orange "pumpkin" rolls. Personally, I think they're way better than cinnamon rolls. I guess I lost that one!

7. While I'm talking about one of what seems to be my favorite subject, I made a homemade caramel cake for the first time for Kevin's birthday yesterday. He asked for caramel or red velvet and I decided to go with caramel. I had to make two batches of icing to get it all covered, but it tasted pretty good! (In case you're wondering, those are lucky shamrocks on his cake, not trees!)

8. I'm really looking forward to my next race this Saturday. It's one of my favorite races and they have great prizes. Have I mentioned that I really like running for the t-shirts and prizes?

9. I'm failing at one of my 2013 goals. I wanted to read the Bible through in a year. I keep getting bogged down in Leviticus with all the instructions, so today, I've started a new plan through YouVersion that my friend Kayla recommended to me. I'm going to move this goal to my list of 27 things I want to do at 27. And, wow, I can't believe I'll be 27 in three weeks.

10. I think my sister has almost made a decision about college. She's gotten in everywhere she's applied (I'm so proud!) and I think she's decided on Clemson. Or at least that's the impression I got when she asked me to help her go through the Facebook group of all the girls looking for roommates in the fall. Her biggest concern about saying yes to Clemson is the fact that she's a Carolina (University of South Carolina) fan. I say give her a few weeks to change. I may have also bought a Clemson t-shirt for her to help her get used to the idea! :)

11. I had a great time writing yesterday for the Build 'Em Up link up. I love sharing what's on my heart and I hope that it encourages at least one person.

Linking up with Because Shanna Said So and What I'm Loving Wednesday!