Thursday, January 30, 2014

throwback thursday // what am i learning?

>> there are some posts from way back when i first started the blog that i'd like to highlight. so, i'm reposting some of them & i'm calling it throwback thursday! this post was originally written January 28, 2013. enjoy! <<

Most of what the Bible has to say about marriage does not come flagged up under a heading of “marriage”. It’s not just the famous “marriage passages” that shape a gospel-centered marriage, but the whole Bible-story of God’s good creation, humanity’s wicked rebellion and God’s gracious redemption.

To understand why marriages struggle—as they all do—we need to understand the nature of our sin. To make marriages work, we need to understand how to apply the truth about God and His salvation.

All of our relationships, including our romantic relationships, are meant to make Jesus look big more than it is meant to provide us personal fulfillment. When we make personal fulfillment our ultimate priority in our relationships, ironically enough, we find ourselves frustratingly unfulfilled.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

real talk // i know how you feel....

my church is going through the book of Mark this year. yes, it's going to take us an entire year (at the least) to go through this compact gospel book. this past sunday was our third sunday in this series & we studied Mark 1:9-15. below are my notes.

these verses are divided into 3 snippets:

snippet 1 | verses 9-11
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heaves being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

snippet 2 | verses 12-13
The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness 40 days, being tempted by Satan. and he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

snippet 3 | verses 14-15
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

compared to the other gospel books, Mark is very compact. he doesn't go into too much detail in these three snippets, as the other gospel books do. the central point of all 3 of these snippets is to show Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. the book of Mark holds up that image - the author doesn't necessarily go into every detail, but he records enough to show that Jesus is the Son of God.

snippet 1 | God didn't say "You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased" because Jesus needed affirmation. Jesus knew He is the Messiah. rather, God said this to make a declaration for all to see that Jesus is the Son of God.

snippet 2 | the author doesn't go into detail of the struggle Jesus went through in the wilderness. he simply points out that Jesus is victorious through this temptation. the point is that He is not a detached deity that is watching the world from a distance, but the incarnate Son of God that can identify with our needs.

snippet 3 | there are three things that make you a good persuasive speaker: words that are true, speaking to something with passion, and credibility to speak to the matters you're speaking to. Jesus is the Word, so every word he says is true. Jesus has passion. He identifies with the frailty of the human condition because He has been 100% human... so He has earned the credibility to speak into our lives.

you know how when you are hurting & someone says to you "i know how you feel..." & you think to yourself "no, you don't know how i feel, you haven't been what i've been through..."
well, Jesus is the only one with the credibility to say "i know how you feel" and be true & honest. He can identify with us because He has been there.

the point of the gospel wasn't simply for Jesus to come & die. if that was the case, He would've died on day one. instead, he lived 30 something years in the same world that we live in. so, when you are hurting, be comforted by the fact that you can go to He who understands what you're going through.

when you're hurting, you're more likely to go to a friend that understands you than a professional that will give you 10 ways to feel better. yet, with Jesus, we get both. He's been there... He came sympathize with our weaknesses and He also knows the solution we need. because of Him, we have hope.

Hebrews 2:14-18
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Hebrews 4:14-16
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


for frequent highlights, follow me @robina_black

highlights from my last few weeks:
- we are adding color to our coffee table one hobby lobby giftcard at a time!

- i made the frame for my giveaway winner - Kai! (it's in the mail to you!)

- on January 16th we finally took our Christmas tree down. (and we may have only done it because we were going out of town....)

- we went up a day early for my business trip & did some sight seeing! behind us under all of that snow is Lake Erie!

- we also hung out in downtown Cleveland

- i got sick the first night of the business trip & watched Harry Potter to feel better. this always results in funny conversations with my husband because, sadly, he just doesn't get HP!

- our car got covered in brine from the roads up there

- while in Cleveland, we visited (the lobby of) the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame while looking for a public restroom. (we did find one, by the way)

- i worked from home the day after i got back & the dogs didn't understand why i couldn't play with them

- after getting back from the business trip, T & i started our whole 30 over & are excited about it!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

whole 30 // thai chicken & broccoli

one of the things on my 30x30 list is to complete whole30 with my husband. my word for this year is balance & one thing that desperately needs balance is our diet. i've done whole30 before & liked the habits it instills, so my husband has decided to do it with me this time around! i'm excited because i think it will be nice to have someone to be accountable to.

to give a back story, the first time i did whole 30, i got sent on a business trip my last week & didn't get to finish the full 30 days. this time, Thomas & i planned and started on January 13th & that same day i found out i was going on another business trip (which was last week). with all of the unknowns about travel & schedules, it wasn't practical to try so, we started over when we got back from the trip & are on day 2 of our whole 30!

this is one of our favorite recipe finds since doing whole 30. it tastes a little coconut-y but it is delicious & that is coming from someone who doesn't like coconut flavor! enjoy!

Thai Chicken and Broccoli

2 lbs chicken breast (cut into bite size pieces)
1 tbsp coconut oil
4 cups broccoli florets
1 cup canned coconut milk
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp smoked paprika

o1 // heat pan on medium. add coconut oil & brown chicken on all sides
o2 // add broccoli, milk, & all spices to the pan
o3 // cook on low for 15 minute or until chicken is thoroughly cooked

Thursday, January 23, 2014

throwback thursday // submission

>> there are some posts from way back when i first started the blog that i'd like to highlight. so, i'll be periodically reposting some of them & i'm calling it throwback thursday! this post was originally written January 21, 2013. enjoy! <<

We submit to things everyday. We submit to the speed limit. We submit to our boss. We submit to our hunger. We submit to those in authority over us.

But for some reason, when we read "submit to your husband" (Ephesians 5:22) we cringe. Part of it is our human nature, and the results of Genesis 3 - (16) "your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." Another reason, especially true for me, is that we have seen men abuse their role as the leader. We've seen men that hold it over their wife's head, and do not treat her in a loving or Biblical way. And it affects the way we see submission. It fuels our already existant desire to rule over our husband.

Right before that verse is Ephesians 5:18b "be filled with the Spirit....(21) submitting to one another out of reverance for Christ." Submitting is emphasized for the wife, because the husband is the head, the leader. Yet the Bible tells both spouses to submit to each other out of reverance for Christ. Although, this submitting is a bit different than the submitting in verse 22. Submitting out of reverance for Christ is putting the needs of another before your own. helping your spouse to be the person God has called them to be, helping to bear burdens. Submitting is asking "how can I best serve or encourage my spouse?"  It is not being a victim or a doormat. The reason is, because Biblical submission is not a one way street.

When we submit to each other, we build each other up. When we build our spouse up with the truth of Christ, we end up building ourselves up too. Submitting to each other out of reverance for Christ, is putting your spouse's needs before your own. That is how Jesus lived, focusing on others and not Himself. When we do this, we honor Jesus. Looking at submission this way, it is not downing ourselves, but lifting others up. That's why it must be mutual.

I think the Bible commands both spouses to submit like this, and then adds on that wives are also to submit to their husbands as the leader of the family. Both submit out of reverance for Christ, yet wives submit even more, by respecting your husband and recognizing his role as the head of the family. Yet, the Bible also instructs husbands to love their wife as Christ loved the church. Christ does not take advantage of the church or His position. When husbands love their wives in this way, it is easier for the wife to respect him and submit to him because she respects him.

For me, T has helped me with this. Because I used to cringe at the thought of submitting to a man, because I thought about submission completely wrong. When T takes the initiative, he takes the responsibility, but he also includes me in on what is going on. He leads well because he looks to Christ first. And because he loves me well, I do respect him. I view him as a man whose leadership I want to follow and submit to. He makes it easy for me to respect him, because he is a respectable man.

He makes it easy for me to build him up, and bear his burdens, because he leads well in submitting in this way. He always encourages me and helps me think through things and pushes me towards Christ. He leads by example. When I see him doing this, it makes it easier for me to as well.

p.s. i'm also over at Beka's blog today doing a Q&A! check her out @ Sunshine to the Square Inch!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

real talk // dagger list

We destroy arguments & every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:5-6

many years ago, i went to a Bible study taught by a family friend, Cathy Baker. i can't remember exactly what we were studying, but i remember that she handed us a sheet of paper that said "dagger list" on the top. she then explained, on the left side of the paper you write constant thoughts, doubts, fears, etc. that you continue to struggle with. on the right side of the paper, you write verses that speak truth on that particular subject. you keep the list in your purse, wallet, etc. so you always have it with you. then, when you are struggling with one of the items, you pull out your dagger list & use those scriptures as daggers to kill that thought with the truth.

this has always stuck with me because i am an over-thinker & over-analyzer. the dagger list has proven to help me take my thoughts captive to Christ. it's neat & very handy to already have defenses in place for things i struggle with. that way, i can just pull the list out & i already have specific truth right at my fingertips.

friends, there is a war going on everyday & whether we realize it or not, we take part in it. it's a war not of flesh, but of spiritual things. the struggle is real & we need to have defenses ready before we ever engage in battle.

think of a tree for a second, if you will. if a tree has shallow roots it can stand up, yet when a storm comes most likely it will fall because it's not prepared with deep root defenses. yet, when a tree has deep roots & is prepared before the storm, it stands tall even through the hardest of storms. that's how we need to be, we need deep roots that are rooted in Christ & his truth. in the middle of battle is not when we need to worry about our defenses - they need to be prepared before hand.

i encourage you all to make your own dagger list & use it to speak truth into your life! below is a glance at the first page of mine!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

passport to fun // paris

on January 11th we had our first Passport to Fun adventure to Paris, France! to be honest, i wasn't sure how this one was gonna go because i didn't have as much time to prepare for it as i had hoped! i kept it low key & we had a picnic @ the Eiffel tower in our living room!

i was going to rent Ratatouille or Hunchback of Notre Dame to watch for a fun Paris movie. however, a month ago the last Blockbuster near our house closed. so, we went to a movie store near our work & the only movie about Paris i could find was Passport to Paris with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. i was excited because i loved the Olsen twins when i was a kid, but i'm not sure that Thomas was thrilled at the choice of movie. we did watch it & it was cheesy, but it was still fun!

we had a photo op in front of the Eiffel tower which was a lot of fun! for our picnic we had a baguette & Brie, quiche-like bread bowls, grapes, wine, & puff pastries! it was our first time using the picnic basket we got for our wedding & it was a lot of fun. plus, Thomas got a stamp for Paris in his passport!

Friday, January 17, 2014

coffee date

today i'm linking up with Kiki @ In Its Time & Amy @ Taking Steps Home to go on a virtual coffee date!

1. Where are you seated (near the counter, near the window, near the door, against the wall, etc.)? 
i love being cozy & in true introvert fashion, i'm seated at a table in the corner. i've chosen the table that is near the window surrounded by exposed brick. since i find staring into someone's eyes a tad awkward, i like to glance out the window and people watch occasionally during the conversation.

2. What are you sipping/munching on?
well, if we are at Starbucks & they still have some of their holiday drinks left, Pumpkin Spice Latte is my drink of choice. it's the right balance of sugar & espresso. (even in my virtual world i'm living by my word of the year - balance! i am committed!) if not, i will be drinking my coffee black - true to my name! if i'm having a non-coffee drink then it is a chai latte, hands down!

3. What do you want to get off your chest first (can be as deep as you want)?
my word to live by for this year is balance. yet, it's already 3 weeks into 2014 & i feel anything but balanced. i know it is going to take a lot longer than 3 weeks, but i am so ready for life to just settle down a little bit. i make plans & then life interrupts them... and i feel like i can't get things done. lately, i'm asking God for patience & flexibility because the older i'm getting, i'm noticing that i'm less patient & less flexible. i think the real issue is that i feel the overwhelming need to appear & feel "put together" (whatever that means, anyways!) instead, i just need to embrace the messy part of life, learn to laugh at myself, learn to admit when i'm wrong, & be more vulnerable.

4. If you could choose anyone (besides us of course) who would you have a coffee with?
that is a very tough question. my first date with my husband was at a coffee shop. it was the first time i tried a Pumpkin Spice Latte & it was so nice to just sit down and catch up on life. a lot of times when we get coffee, we go through the drive through & take it home. but every now & then, we'll sit down and enjoy the coffee together without the distractions that your own house brings. it's very relaxing, cozy, & refreshing. that's what i enjoy about coffee dates, so anyone who would enjoy that too, come along! :)

5. What is inspiring you lately? 
honestly, i have been very inspired by the blogging world. i love reading & discovering the girls behind the blogs i read. i love seeing projects you guys are working on, reading advice you have and what you're learning, and the adventures being had through everyday life. reading blogs is what inspired me to start blogging & inspires me to continue on this fun journey!

6. What are your plans after coffee? 
i am headed to work! then after work the hubs & i are packing up because he's accompanying me on my business trip next week & we are heading up on Saturday to have some adventures before the work week starts!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

throwback thursday // permanence

>> there are some posts from way back when i first started the blog that i'd like to highlight. so, i'm reposting some of them & i'm calling it throwback thursday! this post was originally written January 17, 2013 - again almost exactly a year ago! enjoy! <<

I was thinking about our culture, and just how life works in general.

Our culture doesn't look at anything as permanent anymore. In the business world, people change jobs about every 5 years, and typically change companies a few different times during their career. People typically live in a few different houses during their adult life. Some people live in different states every few years. Increasingly more people have more than one marriage in their adult life. Our culture is that we are always changing - nothing is consistent. I think maybe that's why our culture can't understand God. They say the Bible is no longer relevant because our culture is always changing & the Bible is outdated.

Then I started thinking about my life, and how life works in general for most people. You grow up going to school. You go to Elementary school for a few years, and then you change to Middle school. You go there for a few years, and then you change to High school. You go there for a few years, and then you change to college or straight into a career. You even change careers or career direction a few times. When you're in college, you move in for a few months, then move back home - 8 times if you go for a full 4 years. During the summers you take trips, and then you have to come back home. For me, I lived in Alaska for 3 months, and then came back home.

Marriage is permanent. It's not only a commitment, but a covenant. It's a covenant you make to God, your partner, and yourself. That you are in it for good. I think the reason a lot of marriages fail, is because people count on love being a feeling, an emotion, instead of a choice you make. And I don't doubt that marriage is hard, and some things are just tough to get through and take a lot of time. But emotions and feelings aren't what gets you through those times. So I think when people count on love as an emotion, eventually it wears away, as all things do. That "honeymoon" stage dies down, and reality is left. The mess of marriage of two sinners. But choosing everyday to love someone despite how you feel, because that's the way Christ loves us - that's how marriage lasts. I know this with my head, and I hope to use the knowledge everyday during my marriage to T.

Marriage is probably the most permanent thing I will do in my life. Unless you want to count being a parent. But even with parenting, your child lives with you for about 18 years, and then they move out(if you're lucky). Everything is temporary. Everything but marriage. It's so exciting and yet so different from anything I've ever done in my life.

Thinking about changing my name to Robyn B & never being Robyn P again. Thinking about moving into a house with my husband, and never living with parents or friends again. Thinking about being a wife, and never being single, a girlfriend, or a fiance again. It's all so different. Something I'm very excited about, yet also something very hard to wrap my mind around, because I've never experienced anything like it before.

I can't wait for this adventure! (4 months exactly from today!)

the winner of my thank you giveaway is Kai @ Coffee with Kai! congrats Kai!!! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


last week i participated in the Christmas Exchange link up & didn't do an instaweek post... so that means i've got quite a bit to catch you up on!

for frequent highlights, follow me @robina_black

highlights of the past few weeks:
- making a coffee table out of an old window from our house! (full DIY here)

- one of our dogs stayed with my sister in law for a week, & the basset hound did not do well by herself, so she took over our bed!

- walks with my husband at the lake! i love that black swan!

- my friend Jenna gave me an adorable "Robin" owl ornament from the owl shoppe

- i chose balance as my word to live by for 2014

- my aunt & uncle gave us sunflower silicone lids for bowls & coffee cups for Christmas. these things are so neat! not only are they super cute, but they keep the bowl air tight & suction so you can actually pick up the entire pot by the lid handle! & i use the coffee cup one all day long at work!

- my stickygram magnets came in & they are so, so cute!

#greatchristmas2013 goodies were revealed! it was so much fun seeing what everyone got!

- our first Passport to Fun date was this weekend. we went to Paris, France! full post with pictures to come!

- my husband & i started whole30 yesterday (one of the items on my 30 x 30 list)
-also, yesterday i found out that i have to go on a business trip next week. a lady i work with put in her notice, so they are shifting around some work & that means i have to travel up north to train on more work! i'm hoping there's no ice on the roads while i'm there! i do have some awesome posts coming your way next week though! :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

chicken & vegetable nicoise

this is probably one of my favorite meals ever! my parents gave me & my sister a cookbook of their favorite recipes for Christmas 2012 & i was so glad this one was in it! it's pretty healthy & super delicious. my husband & i made it last weekend & i have been dying to share it! it takes a little bit of "prep" time, but it is worth it! my husband & i are actually starting whole30 today (which is one of the things on my 30 by 30 list) so i wanted to mention that this meal is whole30 approved if you leave out the pasta!

4 chicken breasts (thin sliced)
4 small zucchinis
1/2 red onion
baby tomatoes
8oz green beans
1 tsp minced garlic
6tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
8oz angel hair pasta, cooked

step 1: combine vegetables & garlic in a bowl. toss with 4tsp olive oil, salt and pepper.
step 2: take a large, heavy piece of aluminum foil (about 18 inches long) and fold in half. place the chicken breast in the center of the foil. brush with olive oil & sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper. surround with seasoned vegetables.
step 3: fold foil over chicken & vegetables. crimp edges together to make a tightly sealed packet. place all 4 packets on a baking sheet & bake at 350 degrees in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes.
step 4: serve chicken & vegetables atop pasta (or not if you're on whole30). enjoy! :)

Friday, January 10, 2014


since i turn 26 this August, i thought it would be awesome to make a 30 by 30 list! i've been dreaming up this list for the past few weeks & already have some ideas in the works to start some of these this year! i've made a tab at the top of my page with the entire list. when items are completed, i will cross them off & add a link to the blog post about it! this excites me because i am all about lists! :)

o1 // be meaningfully involved in a church start
o2 // go on a mission trip with my husband
o3 // read the entire Bible in a year
o4 // pray for someone intentionally each day for a month

o5 // travel outside of the country together
o6 // photo shoot by a professional
o7 // buy a house together
o8 // start the adoption application process
o9 // celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary

10 // complete whole30 with my husband
11 // bike 10 miles in one day
12 // run a race
13 // grow our own vegetables

14 // pay off my student loans
15 // start a Roth IRA
16 // save $5,000 ($1,000/year)

17 // ride a train
18 // visit 5 new restaurants
19 // tour a vineyard
20 // visit 3 new states

21 // complete my masters degree
22 // have a complete technology free day
23 // make a piece of furniture
24 // make a list of 100 things to be thankful for
25 // pay for someone behind me in line
26 // make all of our Christmas gifts one year
27 // keep a written journal for a year
28 // get a new pet
29 // send more snail mail
30 // do something out of my comfort zone

Thursday, January 09, 2014

throwback thursday // marriage

>> there are some posts from way back when i first started the blog that i'd like to highlight. so, i'll be periodically reposting some of them & i'm calling it throwback thursday! this first post is actually the very first post i wrote in this blog. originally written on January 10, 2013 - pretty much exactly a year ago! enjoy! <<

This is not something that I am an expert on, nor something I could cover in one single blog post. But these are the things I've been learning and thinking about during this time that I am approaching marriage. 

In a little over 4 months, I am getting married. Over the past year, I've been studying and thinking a lot about what this actually means. As a little girl, I always imagined marriage as something everyone does after they graduate college. I thought you meet the perfect person for you, and live the rest of your lives as happy as can be. I thought that you weren't complete until you found your spouse. I guess I can blame my view of marriage when I was growing up on our culture and how marriage is portrayed. But, my view was wrong and superficial. 

The more I learn about what being a follower of Jesus means, the more I learn about what marriage should be, and also what it is not. Jesus is the only one who can complete me and the only one who can complete T. If either of us were to look to the other to fulfill God's role, we would be disappointed. We were lucky in that we met later in life, after we had come to start to understand our identity in Christ. We are not perfect in this at all, but I think we have a better understanding of it now than we did a few years ago. Before we first started dating we had a conversation about this very thing, and how we always wanted to find our identity in Jesus first, and then look to the other person to complement that. I am so thankful the Lord let us be discerning enough to see that at the beginning of our relationship. Yet I know that we will continue to struggle with keeping Jesus as King in our lives until we leave this earth. 

Phillipians 2:3-4
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

These verses are applicable to the Christian life, but also very applicable to marriage. In fact, many of the general life teachings in the Bible can especially be applied to marriage, because marriage is the analogy God uses to speak of our relationship with Him. 

So, if we are the bride of Christ, and He is our bridegroom, should we not also apply how the bride and groom are to treat each other to our marriages? He stays faithful to us, He loves us, He admonishes us, He pursues us. Marriage, afterall, is the most important accountability relationship we will have on this earth. Our relationship with Jesus is our most important relationship, but God uses marriage to pull us towards Him. 

I've heard these verses a lot, but never really thought of them as verses on marriage. That's something I heard recently, and it's so cool to see the Bible in a different light. 

I'm not married yet, but even in my relationship and engagement to T, I've seen this truth. There have been situations in which we both had to seek the Lord, because there was no way we could handle the situation on our own. We've each had to confess sin to the other, and forgive the other. None of those two things we could have done, had we not prayed and spent time seeking the Lord before, during, and after. There have been times when we've each had the privelage to encourage the other about something they are going through. We've had the opportunity to speak truth into each others lives and correct our way of thinking towards the Lord. 

Marriage is messy. It's two sinners living and doing life together. But, hopefully, it is two sinners who are chasing after the heart of Jesus. Two sinners who are encouraging one another towards Christ. Two sinners that confess sin and forgive through Christ's strength. Two sinners that are striving towards getting rid of selfishness and being servants of Christ and each other. When two sinners, truly follow after Christ, confess sin, encourage each other, and become one - the messy can become beautiful. 

I've also learned that marriage is a lot of work. Our relationship this far has already been a lot of work. But it's work that is necessary and completely worth it. Through our relationship, I've learned more about my relationship with the Lord. I also know I have a lot more to learn!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

word for the year // balance.

i saw Elizabeth and Kiki choose a word for 2014 that they want to have define their year & be more intentional about. i've never heard of doing this before, but i think it's a super awesome idea! you pray about & choose a word that you want to define your year, & then you keep a journal throughout the year reserved only for that word.

i feel like my word was really easy to choose, because it's something that the Lord has been bringing to my mind ever since i got married & it's something my soul has been longing for.

balance: a state of equilibrium; to arrange, adjust, or proportion

A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.
Proverbs 11:1

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16

i feel like right now i need balance in every area of my life. life has been a whirlwind this past year and a half & i feel as if i will never catch up. i've been so overwhelmed with everything that my new job, marriage, home ownership, double families, & life in general demands.

i need balance....
at work because i'm caught in between my old job & new job and i'm learning a lot of new stuff.
in my free time because i am normally so exhausted when i get home that i don't use my time well. 
in my marriage because we have had such a hectic schedule & some bumps along the way that we haven't had much opportunity for true quality time together. 
in my spiritual life because i have been so inconsistent with my time in the Word & prayer.
in our budget because we've had a hard time nailing down what is doable for us.
with priorities because there is just so much on my to do list.
with family & friend time because there are so many opportunities, but i cannot do everything.
in my diet because our hectic schedule has led us to choose convenience over health & we need to be healthier!

if you know anything about me, you know that i love lists & routine. hello, i'm an accountant! i thrive off of routine & order. when things are very scattered, i do not function well. to say that the last year & a half of my life has been very all over the place pretty much hits the nail on the head. it has been very draining & honestly that's the word i think that sums up 2013 the best for me - draining. it was a great year & i enjoyed it so much, but it has left me feeling drained.

thomas & i have been married for almost 8 months now, and we have yet to find our routine of sorts that works well for us. the week after we got back from our honeymoon, we had to spend 2 weeks building a fence because my dog just did not do well inside all day. two months into our marriage, Thomas got really sick & stayed sick for 2 months. once he finally started feeling 100% again it was almost the holidays & we all know how busy that month between Thanksgiving & Christmas is. 

so, what my soul really needs this year is balance. what our marriage really needs this year is balance.
balance so we can make the most of our days. balance so we can find rest in Him.
balance so we have energy & time to pour into others. balance so we can be intentional with our time.
balance so we can grow in our walk with Christ & also grow in our marriage to each other.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:17

what word do you want your 2014 to be summed up by?

Sunday, January 05, 2014

52 dates in 52 weeks

one thing that i stuck in my husbands stocking was a stack of playing cards that i turned into date ideas. i saw this idea over at Jenny's blog & thought it was a great idea! so, i wrote a date idea on each card in the stack & we will pick one every week to do! i am super excited about this idea & think it's going to be a lot of fun! i'll do my best to post about as many of the dates as i can throughout the year, along with our passport to fun dates. we are going to have a busy year!

Friday, January 03, 2014

DIY // reclaimed window coffee table

when my husband bought our house, he replaced the old windows with modern ones, but kept the old ones. we love decorating with the old windows around our house! he has been wanting to make me a table out of one of the windows for a while. he decided he was going to make it this Christmas, but he only had one day off of work to build it & ran out of time. so, he told me what he was planning & we built it together (with the help of my dad) on our days off for Christmas! i'm actually glad we got to build it together because it was tons of fun to be involved in the entire process! it turned out to be a super awesome coffee table, so i wanted to share with you how we made it!


lumber needed:
two 8ft 1x8 boards (for the outside of the box)
three 10ft rounded 1x4 boards (for the bottom of the box)

hardware needed:
four 1 inch hinges
a box of #8 2 inch wood screws
cabinet handle

other materials needed:
old window
white semi-gloss paint
wood putty

step 1: cut off any extra pieces on the window to ensure that it sits flat on the top of the box

step 2: cut your 1x8 boards to form a box that fits the size of your window

step 3: drill wood screws into your 1x8 boards to secure the box

step 4: cut your rounded 1x4 boards to the length you will need for the bottom of the box

step 5: drill wood screws into your rounded 1x4 boards to secure them to the bottom

step 6: if your last board is too wide to fit, trim off the part you don't need

look at that beautiful box! the hard part is over now!

step 7: lay your box upside down on your window & attach your hinges so the window can open from the top

step 8: before you paint, fill in the screw holes with wood putty to smooth them out

step 9: paint the box white (or your desired color) all over - you'll need 2 good coats

step 10: attach the handle to the front of the window


materials needed:
four pre-cut table legs
one can of dark stain
four leg brackets (to attach the legs with)

step 1: attach the brackets to each corner of the bottom of the box

step 2: screw in the legs to make sure they're all placed evenly around the box

step 3: stain each leg - use as many coats as you need to reach your desired color

step 4: attach your legs to the bottom of the box

ta-da!! now you have a really awesome coffee table that you can also store things in!

we absolutely LOVE the way this table came out & it really adds a lot to our living room!
have you ever made home decor from reclaimed windows?

Thursday, January 02, 2014

real talk // the meaning of marriage

when we got engaged, we did marriage counseling with our pastor. it was helpful & insightful. but i'm a book worm & i wanted to read more and learn more. i knew coming into marriage that no matter how much i read, i would still not be fully prepared for this new relationship & life we were starting. i'm only 8 months in, but i'm starting to suspect that i'll never be fully prepared! isn't that how life works, though? the more you learn, the more you realize you have so much left to learn! i love it & i hate it. 

so, i wanted to read a book on marriage. there are a lot of books on marriage out in the world & a lot of them focus on the differences between men & women. i try to stay away from books like that simply because they are not written about my specific husband. sure, he may exhibit a lot of the characteristics & he may even think a similar way... but i can't get to know my husband better by reading a book about men in general. the only way to understand my husband better is to live life with him & communicate with my actual husband. 

so, i wanted to read a book about marriage, but i didn't want to read a book about the differences between men & women. so what did i want? i wanted to understand Jesus better. i wanted to understand marriage better. i wanted to understand my sin better. & it just so happens that Tim Keller, a pastor & author that i admire, wrote just such a book in the past few years. it's called The Meaning of Marriage. i read through this book before i got married & i am about to read through it again.

i felt like i learned a lot reading through this book the first time. but i wanted to read it again on the other side of marriage! so, i'm inviting you to join me in my journey! :) for the simple fact that life is hectic, this may not be a consistent series where i post about one chapter every Thursday, for example. but, i wanted a place to digest the truths found in this book as i read it. 

before i dig into to this book, however, i wanted to highlight some of the first posts on this blog. i actually started this blog in January 2013 to have a place to record my thoughts on marriage during my engagement. i wrote a few posts while i was reading this book & listening to some sermons on marriage. so, for the next few Thursdays i'm going to highlight a few of those posts & then after that i am hoping i'll be well enough into the book to start this series! 

this book is about marriage, but it is more about the gospel. it's about life. it's about Jesus. it's about sin. it's about truth. whether you are single, newlyweds, or married for 60 years - this is a treasure of a book to read! & if you feel so inclined, i invite you to read along! :)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


years ago, i heard this quote somewhere: "nothing changes on new years day except the date" & it has always stuck with me! it's like a birthday, you don't really feel different & the day is really just like every other day. the fact that it's a new year doesn't change anything... it's up to you to change what needs to be changed. it's always been inspiring to me.

i've never been one to make new year resolutions simply because i don't want to wait until the new year to better myself. when i realize things through the year that i need to work on, i want to start bettering myself then. i've never really liked the "i'll start tomorrow" mentality & in my experience it doesn't really get me anywhere when i think like that. because there will always be tomorrow and tomorrow never comes! instead, i want to start today. afterall, there's no better time to start anything than the present. 

that being said, even on new years day there are things i need to work on & those are the things that i will set my mind to & work on this year. some i'll accomplish this year & some may take a little longer. there will definitely be more added on the way. 

things i am currently working on:
-i've been hitting the gym since last March to get more in shape & take care of my body
-i've been attempting to eat healthier & give my body the nutrients & energy it needs
-i've been working on trying to learn who my husband is, how he communicates, & what pleases him so i can serve him better as his wife
-working towards learning new things & getting experience in my field of work. i am looking at possibly starting my Masters in June & possibly heading down the track to get my CPA

what things are you hoping to accomplish this year?