Tuesday, December 31, 2013

instaweek

for frequent highlights, follow me @robina_black


highlights from my last two weeks:
-we made Elah Tree's pretzel rolos a few times to take to parties (so delicious!)

-we had both our families over to see the house, hang out, & eat!

-my mother in law gave us a Christmas pickle! my sister in law hid it in our tree & the first person to find it Christmas morning got to open the first gift! it was fun to start this new tradition & even more fun because i found it and got to open my gift first!

-i got my #greatChristmas2013 gift in the mail! & it is awesome! (stay tuned for a post revealing the goodies on January 7th!)

-it was our first Christmas as a married couple & it was a super special morning! we woke up & got to spend the morning having us time! we made breakfast, drank coffee, & enjoyed our first Christmas together! it was so nice to have some down time & just enjoy each other!

-Thomas came up with a great idea & we used one of the old windows from our house to build something together! full DIY post will be posted on friday!

-laying on the couch next to the tree watching Christmas movies!

-handing out all of our gifts to our family on Christmas! we made a lot of our gifts so we were super excited to hand them out!

-meeting at the mistletoe :)

-after all the hustle & bustle of Christmas, the husband & i took the weekend off & rested! it was definitely well needed!

how was your Christmas?

p.s. i've only been blogging for a few months, so i don't have an awesome blog year in review. i do, however, have a year in review post about my life - you can find it here!

Monday, December 30, 2013

DIY // passport to fun

 

if you remember, my husband & i went on a roadtrip for our Christmas gift this year. however, we did do a small stocking for each other as well. we set a really small budget for it - so that meant being creative! i saw this idea & thought it would be a great thing to make for Thomas because [1] he hates flying, so we probably won't ever travel to all of these places, [2] it fits in a stocking, [3] i already own a printer, ink, & scissors - so it doesn't cost a thing, and [4] it's the gift that keeps on giving all year!

Thomas absolutely loved this gift & we are both super excited about our upcoming 12 dates this year! i had a lot of fun putting this together & would love to share the process!

 

materials needed:
color printer
color ink
printer paper
cardstock
scissors
glue
& a creative mind :)


step 1: choose which 12 places around the world you would like to "visit" & choose which day during each month this date will take place. then, add your details! you can do whatever you want to for these themed dates - be creative! some ideas would be to decorate the house with something that represents that culture, cook or buy dessert that is from that culture, watch a movie that's based in that country or culture, do an activity that's done in that country - the possibilities are endless! i created a list in Excel so i could keep everything straight. for each date, i included the month & day, the country, the food, the dessert, the movie, the activity, & the decor. 
 

step 2: create an itinerary based on your themed dates for each month of the year! choose which 12 places around the world you would like to "visit" & choose which day during each month this date will take place. i created my itinerary in Excel by inserting shapes for the headings. (i'm an accountant, so i pretty much do everything in Excel!) below is the template i created.


step 3: print out your plane tickets for each of the 12 places! i printed the tickets off at this website. i love this website because you can even change the airline name, which just makes it fun! for example, i was able to make our flight to France be with Air France! after i printed the tickets, i glued them to cardstock to make them a little more durable. you could also print them on cardstock if your printer can handle it!

  

step 4: if he's going to be flying around the world, he's going to need a passport, which you can print here! once you print the 3 pages, glue them together & fill out his information! then, find a picture & glue it on the inside page. i got lucky because my husband had just gotten his passport & i had his extra photo, so i just used that. 


step 5: what is a passport if you don't have a record of where you've been? you need passport stamps from all the places you'll be visiting & you can find those here! you may not find all of the places you want to visit on these stickers. a few of mine i had to google & i found similar looking "stamps" to print. if you have sticker paper, you can print these out as stickers. i just used regular paper & will glue into the book as we do each date!


step 6: make a tag to put with the gift explaining how it works. i made the "passport to fun" picture at the top of this post, printed that out, & wrote the explanation on the back.


i would love to include some of my themed date ideas, but my husband reads this blog & i don't want to spoil the fun :) instead, i'll do a post about a few of the dates afterwards! sound like a plan?

this really is a great gift that you could do for any occasion! & then have fun with it throughout the next year!


LINKS TO EACH MONTH'S POST
January - Paris, France
February - Tokyo, Japan
March - Dublin, Ireland
April - Mexico City, Mexico
May - London, England
June - Rome, Italy
July - Ghanzi, Botswana
August - Bangkok, Thailand
September - Athens, Greece
October - Munich, Germany
November - Moscow, Russia
December - Beijing, China


Friday, December 27, 2013

farmhouse // the kitchen

the kitchen is the next room we will explore in our little farmhouse! it actually didn't change that much, we just got some awesome new appliances for our wedding & decorated a little more! 

here is a look at the kitchen before we got married - it was really clean & looked great! 



the main way the kitchen changed after we got married was inside of the cabinets that you can't see. it was very unorganized before because Thomas had so much stuff people had given him. so, once we got married we cleaned out the cabinets & organized them! 


[o1] one of my husband's groomsmen made us this wine rack for our wedding gift - we love it!
[o2] the sunflowers are the ones i used to do a mock bridesmaids bouquet, the crate we have recipe books in is what we used for the favors at our wedding, & we have some of our advice cards from the wedding hanging on the window!
[o3] we got the zebra wall art from Ross & we have extra appliances on the top of our fridge because we don't have a lot of counter space.
[o4] we got a nice rug for in front of the sink & a little green kettle for the stove!


[o1] the pictures were already hanging on the wall, but we got the coffee cup clock for our wedding
[o2] we got the spices, colorful knives, & crockpot as wedding gifts also!


we love our little kitchen & it looked so great before we didn't have to do much to it! we tried to display things, but be as efficient as possible with our counter space, too. 



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mary, did you know?



during this Christmas season, i am highlighting & reflecting on a few of my favorite Christmas songs. 

Mary, did you know?

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you've kissed the face of God

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am

this is easily in my top 5 favorite Christmas songs. i love everything about it & it gives me chills everytime i hear it or sing it. i love trying to imagine what Mary thought while she was raising Jesus & what would go through my head if i were her. even being on this side of the Cross & having the complete Bible & complete access to God that we have, i know that i don't even come close to understanding who Jesus is in His entirety. but, i love that. i love that i serve a God so BIG that he can't be fully understood! 

a few sundays ago my pastor actually brought up this song. he was referring to Luke 1:30-33 "And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.'" and he said "i can clear up the question we've all been asking....yes, Mary DID know! but, 'Mary, did you understand?' isn't as catchy of a song title" - that made me laugh, but then he said something else about Mary. he said that her faith was another big miracle surrounding Christ's birth. i guess i always think of Jesus being born to a virgin as a miracle. and Jesus being 100% God yet also 100% human as a miracle. and Jesus dying to save us as a miracle. but i've never given much thought to Mary's reaction, her faith & trust in God. but that is also a miracle & another testament to the Lord's faithfulness!

"And Mary said, 'Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her."
[Luke 1:38]

her faith is so inspiring. i don't think my reaction would have been what hers was. she knew that she would be an outcast - pregnant but still a virgin. she knew that Joseph may have a hard time believing as well. she knew that this would be no ordinary child & could only dream what her future held. yet, she wasn't afraid, she didn't run, she didn't question the Lord. she asked how it would be, but she didn't question God's choice in using her. she simply said "let it be" and gratefully served the Lord. 
when the Lord asks things of me, I want to answer like Mary - "yes, Lord, I am your servant. let it be."


Simple Moments Stick

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

He is here!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”


source


And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

you shall call His name Immanuel...

[Isaiah 7:14]

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."


[Luke 1:26-38]

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 


And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.


source

Monday, December 23, 2013

DIY // Christmas Plate

remember that really awesome Christmas plate my coworker made me? well, i thought that was a super awesome gift to give someone, so i wanted to try my hand at it! unfortunately, i don't have a Cricut like she used to do my plate, so i had to work around that!

i think it came out cute for my first try & my friend Jenna seemed to like it. so, i wanted to share with you guys this incredibly easy gift idea! what i like about it is that they can use it every year as part of their Christmas decorations! plus, it's handmade so they will most likely think of you when they put it out each year! i love giving thoughtful gifts like that!



materials needed:

a white plate
decorative paper for the background
Christmas-y ribbons, stickers, cut outs, etc.
plate stand

i couldn't find a solid white plate, so i found an off-white plate with some light blue on it & it looked kinda snowman-ish to me!


step 1: cut out your background for the plate. 

 i tried to cut a circle with the chevron paper, but that didn't quite work out so i cut a square!
i also meant to go back & round the corners to make it look a little more "round".

step 2: decide how to arrange your "scene" on the plate & start gluing! 

step 3: if you have empty corners, add some ribbon to fill it out!
place your plate on the stand & voila! gift & decoration all in one!

what are some of your favorite gifts to make?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

DIY // Starbucks Ornament



my husband & i got Starbucks a lot when we took our road trip to DC last month. so, we had a lot of the cup sleeves in our car by the time we got home. we wanted a way to remember our trip, so we decided we would make an ornament out of one of our Starbucks sleeves from DC. you guys, i am all about some simple crafts & this is as simple as they come!


materials needed:
starbucks sleeve
plastic ornament from a craft store
paper shreds

 

step 1: cut out the part of the sleeve you want to use
step 2: stick into the ornament
step 3: fill the rest of the ornament with paper shreds

the only thing that's tricky is trying to keep the starbucks sleeve center & straight. i stuck a pen through the top of the ornament to hold it in place while i put the shreds in.

what ornaments have you made for your tree?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Gather 'Round, Ye Children, Come...


during this Christmas season, i am highlighting & reflecting on a few Christmas songs & what Christmas really is.  

 Gather 'round, ye children, come

Gather 'round, ye children, come
Listen to the old, old story
Of the pow'r of Death undone
By an infant born of glory
Son of God, Son of Man

Gather 'round, remember now
How creation held its breath
How it let out a sigh
And it filled up the sky with the angels

Son of God, Son of Man

So sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
He gave up His pride and He came here to die
Like a man

Therefore God exalted Him
To the place of highest praises
And He gave Him a name above every name
That at the very name of Jesus, Son of God

So sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
He gave up His pride and He came here to die
Like a man

So in heav'n and earth and below
Every knee would bow in worship
And ev'ry tongue would proclaim
That Jesus, He reigns with the angels

So sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
He gave up His pride and He came here to die
Like a man
my husband introduced me to Andrew Peterson's amazing Christmas album when we started dating. the album tells the story of Christ starting back in the Old Testament & works it's way to the birth of Christ. it's such an amazing Christmas album!
this is the first song on the CD & one of my favorites! just thinking about how Jesus came to earth, not as God, but as a human - so He could relate to us. He gave us the very best example of letting go of pride when he came down and died for us. to save us. Jesus - "who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:5-8)
let that sink in this Christmas season. remember who Jesus is - He is God - yet He became a human, a baby at that, to save us. remember who He is - a servant, humble, obedient. 

Megan at Rivers and Roads actually posted a player of the entire cd on her blog last week. so, if you like this song, go listen to the whole thing here!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel



during this Christmas season, i am highlighting & reflecting on a few Christmas songs & what Christmas really is. 



O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, O Son of God Most High
Deliver us from sinfulness and pride
Restore in us a childlike heart
To consecrate and set us apart

Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, O come, Emmanuel

O come, O Savior of this world
The long awaited promise You foretold
And right the wrongs that man has done
We pray Your glorious Kingdom come



i think this is, by far, my favorite song that's played at Christmas time. the thing i love the most about it, is that it applies during any day of the year, not just at Christmas. it's natural to think about how Jesus came & how He'll come again around Christmas time, but it's something that we should live in light of every single day. i love the theme of deliverance & hope this song portrays. 

Emmanuel means "God with us" - He came to be with us, He is with us now, & He will come to take us home where we can be with Him FOREVER! it's incredible to think of how Jesus left His Father & came to earth as a human, a baby, to give us hope. to give us redemption. to give us a way to God. AND He isn't done! He's coming back! He will deliver us once & for all. 

in light of that, how can we not be filled with hope?



The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.
[John 1:9-18]



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

instaweek


for frequent highlights, follow me @robina_black


highlights from my week:
-decorating our house for Christmas

-doing simple & cute crafts with my husband

-getting cute pictures of my nephew

-wrapping gifts & placing them under our tree

-date nights to local coffee shops & chai lattes

-starting our own Christmas traditions with the advent calendar from Naptime Diaries

-dinner with friends

-Christmas movies by the glow of the tree

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow



remember our pumpkin carving party we hosted in October? we asked everyone to bring their favorite fall treat. my friend Amy brought pumpkin spice puppy chow & it was delicious! my husband & i had never had that flavor before & we were hooked! so, we had to try our hand at it! i love puppy chow & think any flavor is a great holiday treat! it doesn't particularly taste like pumpkin spice, it just tastes like a bowl of goodness! plus, it only takes about 10 minutes to make! we will definitely be using this recipe for Christmas gifts this year! & if you're looking for a delicious treat to take to that party, look no further!

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow


ingredients:
2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
12 oz package white baking chips
1/2 cup (heaping!) Biscoff spread
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
9 cups corn Chex cereal
(confession: i usually use 1 cup less cereal so more mix gets on each piece!)


step 1: pour powdered sugar into a large sealable plastic bag & set aside. place your chex into a mixing bowl.


step 2: combine white baking chips & Biscoff spread into a bowl & microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir . microwave for an additional 30 seconds, then stir.

  

step 3: stir pumpkin pie spice into Biscoff mixture. pour mixture over chex and toss to coat.


step 4: pour chex into plastic bag & shake to coat with the powdered sugar. once the cereal is coated, pour mix into a strainer to get rid of excess powdered sugar.


i love original puppy chow, but this is definitely a close second! these are really, really sweet though, so i can't eat much at a time!
what's your favorite holiday treat to make?

p.s.
i have also decided to start offering FREE sponsorships! check out my advertise page for details!
 

Friday, December 13, 2013

year in review

oh, i love doing things like this! so, when i saw this link up hosted by Nicole, i just knew i had to join!
 

What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
goodness, this year was packed with things i haven't done before! i got married & i got a new name! i went to Yellowstone National Park! i got my first full time job as a financial analyst! then, i transitioned to my second full time job (with the same company) as a staff accountant! my husband & i joined a group of people starting a new church plant in our city! i started this blog! & i took my first business trip!

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
i don't make new years resolutions! 

Did anyone close to you give birth?
no, but a few friends will be next year!

Did anyone close to you die?
yes, my uncle & a boy from camp.

What countries did you visit?
Bahamas

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
free time! :) it's been a VERY busy year! also, organization/balance. my husband & i are still newly married and trying to find our jive with our new schedules & everything.

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory?
May 17th! my husband's birthday & the day we got married!

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
well, i'm not going to say getting married simply because i don't really view that as an achievement, per se.
my biggest achievement would be landing my awesome accounting job!

What was your biggest failure?
not slowing down enough. 

Did you suffer illness or injury?
thankfully, no. 

What was the best thing you bought?
we bought our first car together! 

Whose behavior merited celebration?
my husband's :) he is very patient with me & a constant support!

Where did most of your money go?
student loans. boo. 

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
marrying my best friend & moving in with him to have sleepovers every night!!

What song will always remind you of 2013?
"At Last" by Etta James. it's the song we used for our first dance at our wedding.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
reading.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
procrastinating.

How will you be spending Christmas?
cuddled up by the tree with my new husband!

Did you fall in love in 2013?
i fell more in love :)

Who were your best friends?
Thomas, Rebecca, & Jenna

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?
goodness. i'm not sure what was meaningful to others! hopefully a lot though!

What were your favorite TV programs?
well, we don't really watch tv. but, i do watch Once Upon A Time on hulu & that show is awesome.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't have the time or energy for hate :)

What was the best book you read in 2013?
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. seriously, if you are single, newly married, or been married for 40 years - read this book!! 

What was your greatest musical discovery?
she & him

What did you want and get?
to be married to my best friend for life :)
and a super awesome accounting job!


What did you want but did NOT get?
free time!

What was your favorite film of this year?
FROZEN! yes, it's the most recent movie i've seen, but it really was such a great movie! i think it's the best movie Disney has ever done. plus, i've only watched like 3 other movies during the year & none of them compared!

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
well, i turned 25 this year! that's 1/4 of a century, folks! where has the time gone?
on my birthday, i had to work, but after work my husband took me to a birthday dinner & to get cake pops!
the restaurant we went to, actually gives you 50% off your meal instead of a cake slice & a song if it's your birthday! so, that was really neat! those songs always make me feel awkward anyways.


What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
i read somewhere once that satisfaction is the realization of how blessed you are and not fulfillment of what you want. i love that definition & would have to say that the only thing that could make me feel more satisfied about this year is understanding truly HOW blessed i am.

What kept you sane?
God, my husband, friends, & family

What political issue stirred you the most?
politicians acting like middle schoolers & shutting the government down? that was ridiculous.

Who did you miss?
Rebecca - she lives so far away! i only got to see her a few times this year, & for the next 2 years she'll be in Russia!

Who was the best new person you met this year?
well, i met a lot of awesome people this year & they're all the best! :)
including all the awesome bloggers i've met!


Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
it's better to be kind & loving than to be right.
(marriage taught me this....although it still hasn't fully clicked! i'm stubborn)


Quote that sums up your year:
time is like money....what you spend in one place, can never be spent elsewhere!

Sunshine to the Square Inch

Thursday, December 12, 2013

santa, baby.



i wanted to take some time during this Christmas season to highlight & reflect on a few Christmas songs & what Christmas really is. 

Santa, baby

Santa baby, just slip a Sable under the tree for me;
Been an awful good girl, Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a '54 convertible too, light blue;
I'll wait up for you, dear; Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Think of all the fun I've missed;
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed;
Next year I could be just as good... if you check off my Christmas list

Santa baby, I want a yacht and really that's not a lot;
Been an angel all year; Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa honey, one little thing I really do need...
The deed... to a platinum mine, Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with the duplex and checks;
Sign your 'X' on the line, Santa cutie,
and hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree with some decorations bought at Tiffany;
I really do believe in you;
Let's see if you believe in me...

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing... A ring...
I don't mean on the phone; Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight


i wanted to start with "Santa, baby" because i think it's a great (but sad) representation of us. i love the music in this song & i love singing along to it, but i don't like what it portrays. i think the song was originally written to be a tongue & cheek portrayal of Christmas, but it's become more of a reality of our society nowadays. lately, i've started to see this song as a reflection of my heart...our hearts.

i chose to highlight this song not only to reflect on the materialism of Christmas, but because i feel like we treat God like santa a lot. most of the time i catch myself praying by simply asking for things & sounding just like this song. granted, i don't pray for convertibles & yachts too often, but i ask God for selfish things. i ask Him to keep me & my family healthy and safe, i ask Him to give me His peace, i ask Him to guide my heart & mind. yet i don't thank Him often enough for all of the things He does for me. i don't reflect on who He is and just sit in awe of His presence. i don't shout praises out to Him. i think we can get into a habit of our prayers being only requests, and not praise. when it really should be both. certainly He wants us to ask things of Him, yet what He really wants is our hearts.

i also find that i ask God to hurry a lot. in my human perspective, i think time is running out & i ask the God who holds the universe in His hands to hurry. yet, God's timing is way better than mine & i can learn so much in times of waiting. & i wonder what is it that makes me think i need to hurry so much? is it our culture? is it my sinful heart? how much do i miss because i'm in too big of a hurry? how much of Jesus am i missing this holiday season because i'm too busy with everything around me?

in this Christmas season, is my heart longing for presents or His presence?


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

it's our first Christmas together as a married couple & we decided that we must have a real tree! so, we found a cool little farm around here & cut down our own! i've always loved tiny trees & every year i begged my parents to get the smallest on the lot, but they never did. this year, however, i got to pick a small tree AND take it home! 


this tree is seriously only a few inches taller than us! ahh so cute!

my hunky husband cutting down our first tree!

that's my brute strength in action there, folks!

our finished tree! 


we had so much fun decorating our house for Christmas! 

Celebrate banner from The Parcel Post Company

Jim Shore nativity set - we got it at our Christmas shower last year!

 
when you don't have a mantle, you get to be creative! (stockings from Target)

advent calendar from Naptime Diaries

this snowman (from Pier 1) is so wacky & cute! (he drinks too much coffee while we're gone!)