Thursday, February 27, 2014

throwback thursday // love, a verb

>> 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 February 4, 2013. enjoy! <<

Love is, at it's most fickle state, a feeling. What we really feel is affection, attraction, better about ourselves.

Real love, is an action. The Bible commands us to love one another. Since you cannot command a feeling, it has to be an action.

Our culture views love as a feeling - and you should only act lovingly towards a person if you feel lovingly towards them. This is why many relationships and marriages turn into train wrecks. They don't see love as an action they agreed to make when they got married, and they don't see it as a commitment.

The Bible warns against our heart, and what we feel, in Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful about all things, and desperately sick" - I think most people would agree that if we only did things when we felt like it, we wouldn't do most things we do on a day to day basis. Most days, I didn't feel like going to school - but I went because I committed to going. Most days, I still don't feel like getting up to go to work, but I committed to being here, so I go. Why should love be any different? Why is that commitment the one that doesn't seem to matter anymore?

So, then, when people divorce because they simply "fell out of love" - what really happened is that they got lazy & selfish and decided to quit loving the other person. To quit serving, forgiving, understanding, etc.

C.S. Lewis speaks on this, saying "Do not waste time bothering whether you love your neighbor; act as if you did. . .When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him."

Some days I will feel as if I love T, and I'm sure other days I may feel as if I don't. But when I take my vows before God and T, I am committing to love him every day for the rest of our lives. Even if I feel as if I would rather be selfish, I need to love him by serving him, being encouraging, and understanding. The opposite is also true, if we let ourselves continue to act as if we don't love each other, we may come to actually not.

Tim Keller brings the point home - "Love between two people must not, in the end, be identified simply with emotion OR merely with dutiful action. Married love is a symbiotic, complex mixture of both. Having said this, it is important to observe that of the two, it is the latter we have the most control over. It is the action of love that we can promise to maintain everyday. . .The ego rush (of passion) cannot be sustained and cannot take you very far down the road of learning to love the person you really married. . .You must stick to your commitment to act and serve in love even when-no, especially when-you don't feel much delight and attraction to your spouse. And the more you do that, you will find your more ego-heavy attraction being transformed into a love that is more characterized by a humble, amazed reception and appreciation of the other person. The love you will grow into will be wiser, richer, deeper, less variable."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


for frequent highlights, follow me @robina_black

highlights from my week:
- doodling some of my favorite quotes during lunch! this one is an Elisabeth Elliot quote "God has promised to supply all our needs, what we don't have now, we don't need now." so good.

- we obviously had a dog filled week! Dixie has mastered the beg. she also started her own blog! follow along with her here!

- one of our 52 dates in 52 weeks was to go to an animal shelter - so we went to the humane society & played with puppies! it was glorious!

- we took the dogs on a walk this weekend at a park near our house. the basset never really learned to walk on a leash, so we are teaching her!

- Sunday lunch with my family & playing with the nephew

- this awesome spring time weather! i am so ready for this weather every day & more daylight!

favorite reads:
the idol of comfort | Wonderfully Complex
remember the good | In Its Time

how was your week?

Monday, February 24, 2014

whole 30 // a reflection

the first thing on my 30 by 30 list i decided to tackle was to do whole 30 with my husband! today is day 30 & i am so proud of us! i wanted to do a reflection post on our last 30 days to process our experience. this reflection is mainly my take on how it affected my body, but i've asked Thomas for some input from his side as well.

my word for 2014 is balance & part of finding balance is having a balanced diet. it's easy for me to "get in the groove" and find motivation, so i eat pretty healthy most of the time. however, when i eat bad.... i eat BAD - it's like my appetite is screaming "go big or go home!" so my body just gets overloaded with junk and sugar. so my diet definitely needed some balance.

whole 30 is not meant to be a crash diet although someone could certainly make it into that. it's not meant to be followed for 30 days and then go right back to your old eating habits afterwards. it's not even really meant to help you lose weight, although eating healthy tends to have that affect, especially right at the beginning.

the reason we chose whole 30 is because it instills habits for a healthy lifestyle. no diet is beneficial if you only follow it for a certain amount of time and then forget about it when it's over. if you do something for 30 days consecutively, it helps to instill the habit in you. after 30 days, my body is used to getting energy from good fats instead of carbs. after 30 days, i can look at any label and tell what the bad ingredients are. after 30 days, i would prefer to spend some time cooking a healthy meal than settle for convenience food.

if you'd like to learn more about whole 30 & what the program is, click here.

January 26 - February 1 || week 1
this first week was better than my first whole 30 where my body was super exhausted from the lack of carbs. i think the reason this time was easier is because between my first whole 30 and this one i didn't eat a huge amount of carbs. i ate them, but my body wasn't as reliant on them this time.

i've been so surprised by how little i snack when i start each whole 30. i normally eat little bits of food all day, but when i start whole 30 my body is so full after each meal since i'm not eating empty calories. we both felt so much better this first week just by eating clean & we loved it! we could definitely tell a difference even after only 7 days!

February 2 - February 8 || week 2
this is the week where it gets real. it wasn't a super tough week for us, but we did crave some junk food a little bit. we had an entire conversation over all the different flavors of potato chips one night before going to sleep & i'm pretty sure it was driven by a little craving.

my body was more exhausted this week, but i think it had more to do with my crazy work schedule than adjusting to whole 30. i did notice a difference with my sleeping this week though. before whole 30, i woke up constantly during the night. however, this week i slept through the night each night. that is one of my favorite "side effects" from whole 30!

February 9 - February 15 || week 3
this week was super busy and kinda flew by. our bodies have both felt so much better & Thomas noted that he felt he had way more energy. during this week we went out to eat a few times & we are getting really good at tweaking salads to be whole 30 approved. but Thomas stated that he is definitely ready for sandwiches again!

Valentine's was actually super easy on whole 30. we made steak & broccoli at home to enjoy and it was delicious! sure it would've been nice to have a dessert, but we didn't need it & we didn't really miss it either! (although he did buy me some reese's hearts for when we are finished & i stuck them in the cabinet out of sight! if anything is my weakness, reese's is!)

we did try a few new recipes this week & found some that Thomas loves! this was definitely nice & made it easier for us because i was starting to get tired of the same food each week!

February 16 - February 24 || week 4ish
this week everything kinda evened out! our energy levels were good &
i'm pretty sure my stomach shrunk because i can hardly finish a meal without feeling full. and it's such a great feeling to get full off of healthy food!

salads have become one of my favorite things to eat, which is not normal for me! i never ate salads before because i was convinced they couldn't fill me up, but they really do! and this is a salad without ranch dressing, cheese & a ton of croutons!

this week our conversations before bed haven't revolved around junk food, like our chip conversation in week 2. instead, we've been discussing fun things like what baby animals are called! for instance, a baby owl is a fledgling, a baby penguin is a chick, & a baby turtle is a hatchling. who knew!

so, after 30 days do we feel like it's helped us instill a habit of healthy eating? the simple answer is yes! you don't realize how long 30 days is until you do something like this. we feel like our bodies are thriving off of healthy foods & good fats. we are both excited to continue this healthy lifestyle & taking care of our bodies! we do have to admit that it is nice to have the freedom to a little variety now that we've finished though. not that we are going to go crazy & eat ALL THE JUNK FOOD... but it's nice to introduce other healthy options back into our diet. i, for one, am excited about being able to eat black beans & steel cut oats! if that's the "worst" thing in our diet from here on out, we're doing pretty good!

even though we didn't do whole 30 to lose weight, we did lose some weight just from cutting out the empty calories! we collectively lost 30 pounds total - Thomas lost 20 & i lost 10. which i'd be lying if i said that wasn't nice. but you know what the best thing that happened is? how healthy, great & alive we feel! :)

if you are interested in doing a whole 30... you can find some of my favorite recipes below - just click the picture to go to the recipe!
also, if you have any questions, want more recipes, or need suggestions - please don't hesitate to email me!


have you ever done a whole 30 or similar program? what are your thoughts?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

real talk // be brave.

do you know Megan over at Rivers & Roads? she has a print shop that you can find here! i wanted to share with you her "be brave" print. it is not only gorgeous, it is also inspiring. & it gets me thinking, what does being brave entail? are you only brave if you fight off a dragon & save the princess? or is being brave something more?

maybe you're brave when you take a little time out of your day to intentionally show love & grace to someone else.
maybe you're brave when put your spouse or your friends needs in front of your own.
maybe you're brave when you share your struggles & allow your vulnerability to be encouraging to others.
maybe you're brave when you let go of the bitterness in your heart & choose to forgive.
maybe you're brave when you say yes to that opportunity without knowing all the answers & trust God with the details

i love this reminder to be brave everyday! i have the print displayed on the mantel in my bedroom in hopes that each morning when i wake up & see it.... it will be a simple reminder for me to be brave through the help of Jesus!

how can you be brave today?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


for frequent highlights, follow me @robina_black

highlights from my week:
- it snowed & we took some pictures at a mill near our house - so pretty!

- cuddling with the dogs near the heater! 

- this lovely necklace arriving in the mail from Milk + Crown! she is rebranding & having a 40% off sale on everything in her shop! this necklace is gone, but there's a similar one here

- the dogs loved playing out in the snow... for a short while at least! our basset had enough after 5 minutes & the sheltie loved catching snow balls in her mouth! 

- i had to work from home while the office was closed, but during lunch one day me & my husband made a snowman and this awesome little SNOW PENGUIN!

- friday we had to go back in to the office so we parked our car down at the end of our driveway so we could get out. we basically had to ice skate down our solid ice driveway to get to our car! it was an adventurous start to the day!

- my favorite thing about giving gifts is wrapping them! i love adding fun pictures & embellishments to gifts! this past Christmas Beka at Sunshine to the Square Inch shared her washi tape wrapping paper & since then i've been incorporating that idea into my wrapping!

- we each gave each other a small gift for Valentines since we don't do a big dinner or anything. i gave Thomas this book (Matt Chandler - To live is Christ, To die is gain) & he got me this stylish burlap SC flag for our yard!

- this past weekend i got some mail from The Happy Cactus - this lip gloss holder keychain being part of it & it has come in so handy!! 

- Saturday Thomas & i went thrift store shopping as one of our 52 dates for the year! it was so much fun & i got this comfy Gap sweater for $5! favorite find! we also found a silver creamer dish made in the 1800s which was pretty neat! 

how was your week & weekend? how about your valentine's day? :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

whole 30 // simple sesame broccoli

we are on day 23 of our whole 30! i'm so glad we decided to do this together! we are feeling so much better, we have more energy, & we're sleeping better too!
i wanted to share another recipe! this is seriously a simple & quick dish! plus, it's seriously good!

Simple Sesame Broccoli

1 large broccoli, cut into smaller pieces (or 1 bag of frozen broccoli florets)
2-3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds
coconut aminos

o1 // in a wokpan, heat the oil & sesame seeds for a few minutes
o2 // add the broccoli & scoop around frequently for 10 minutes
o3 // in the last few minutes, add some coconut aminos to taste

that's it! so simple & a delicious side! we love eating this with salmon & grilled pineapple!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

throwback thursday // preparing for marriage

>> 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 31, 2013. enjoy! <<

"Most people spend more time preparing for their wedding, than their marriage."

I heard this said the other day. I don't want that to be true for us.

Being in the process of planning a wedding, I understand that it is a lot of details...TONS of details and tons of preparation. You have to get certain things done at certain times - it's a lot!

Yet, how many more details/preparation/attention should we give to starting off our marriage? A wedding is only one day - not even a full day, at that. Yet a marriage is for the rest of your life. And a marriage has messier and more time consuming details than a wedding. Even more reason to start preparing early & preparing as much as you can before getting married. It's a good challenge!

The preparation isn't only us as a couple either. Preparation extends to my relationship with God, my future spouse's relationship with God, both of us dealing with our own pasts and working through things that hinder our view of a Biblical relationships, our relationships with our families, preparing our individual minds to see things through a lens of "us", preparing ourselves on dealing with money, etc.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

introducing // our dogs

i'd like to introduce to you our (sometimes) sweet dogs! we both had a dog when we got married so we have two now & it's been interesting seeing them adjust to each other! they are pretty much bff now though!

Dixie | basset hound

she is pure basset: stubborn. she gets in really lazy moods where she'll lay there & you can do pretty much anything to her. she tends to lay on the carpet we have around the house. she loves to lay on our mat under the kitchen sink & constantly be in the way when we're cooking. it drives Thomas crazy. she will try to eat your food if it's in her range, whether you're there or not. she used to always sneak up on the couch (that we don't allow her on) in the middle of the night. she's really smart though, because whenever she'd hear us get up she'd jump down. she ate an entire loaf of bread one night...and still ate dinner. she stole a stuffed pig out of my room years ago & sleeps with it every night. she uses it as a pillow, laying her head on it. i swear she thinks she's a person. she also will grab the pig some nights & drag it into the living room with her. it's hilarious because it's about as big as she is. my dad bought her a Serta for dogs (ridiculous) before we got married & it came with her. needless to say, she's spoiled.

Bailey | sheltie

Bailey is a herding dog. this results in endless entertainment for her trying to herd Dixie. she herds by pulling Dixie's ears. before Dixie came to live here, Bailey would try to herd Thomas by biting at his heels. she is such a spaz & constantly runs into things. she barks whenever you open the outside door or even look like you're leaving. she has to follow you around the house wherever you go because she loves to be around people! Thomas has a laser pointer that he'll shine on the floor & she will try to catch it like it's a bug. it's hilarious. but if he puts the light on someone's shoe or leg... she won't try to get it. it's like she knows not to pounce on people. while we were on our honeymoon we asked Thomas's parents to get Bailey a "puppy cut" so she wouldn't shed as much & when we came home she was completely shaved! Thomas made fun of her so much. she's fully grown her hair back now and looks like a sheltie again! but i sure miss the clean floors!

Bailey's "puppy cut"

p.s. Dixie actually has her own blog! check her out here

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


for frequent highlights, follow me @robina_black

last weekend/week was the longest of my life! they are making some changes with payroll (that i just learned how to do on my business trip 2 weeks ago) and i had to close out the month of January...let's just say it wasn't pretty. friday (Jan 31) i worked from 8-6 at the office without a lunch. then came home and worked until 10:30. worked a little bit Saturday morning and then worked for a few hours on Sunday afternoon. Monday through Wednesday was close for the month of January - i took my computer home Monday & Tuesday night to work some more at night. then Wednesday i got home at 6:30 and was asleep by 7. my husband woke me up at 8 to eat dinner, but i couldn't even stay awake to eat. so i fell back asleep and slept until 6am the next morning. that is ELEVEN hours! i don't think i have ever been so exhausted! (so there's a little peek into accounting life for ya!)

i normally post a picture every day on instagram because i'm a little obsessed, but my instagram feed was pretty much crickets until Thursday! 

highlights from my week:
-we did manage to take the rest of our Christmas decorations down around the house. we haven't packed them up yet, but we've at least relocated them all to one spot - the dining room table! (we are so lazy this year)

-my basset loves to snuggle sometimes & she will wrap her arms around my arm - it is so adorable!

-Saturday we had a date night for the first time in a few weeks thanks to my crazy work schedule & business trip! 

-on said date night we went for a walk & i just love that pretty sky!

-i discovered a new salad at Panera that i am in love with! it's called chicken cobb with avocado & it is super delicious! with some tweaking it's whole 30 approved too!

-for some reason i obsessively take pictures of our food - here is dinner from last night! it's called chicken & veggie crockpot goodness and it's actually a recipe from way back when on Beth's blog that i had saved to my computer & it's one of my favorite dishes! we cook it on Mondays and then i have it for lunch for the week! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

whole 30 // turkey sausages

we are on day 16 of our whole 30! i love turkey sausage & homemade always taste better! we make these for a quick & delicious breakfast or even a snack at night. this recipe makes about 26 sausages, so we freeze them & then just stick them in the microwave while we're getting ready for work in the morning. we eat them by themselves or in scrambled eggs. they're really simple - you just add spices, roll up, & stick in the oven!

2 tsp ginger
3 tsp salt
3 tsp sage
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp black pepper
3 lbs ground turkey

o1 // combine all the seasonings in a small bowl
o2 // mix seasonings and ground turkey well
o3 // form into patties & place on baking sheet
o4 // bake on 350 for 30 minutes or until no longer pink inside

do you make your own sausage? what's your favorite kind of sausage?

Thursday, February 06, 2014

project 12 // 01

Amanda over at The Lady Okie came up with a brilliant idea & i love it so much that i'm doing it! it's called Project 12 - you take a picture of you & your spouse at the beginning of each month & then do a blog post to recap that month. it's a really neat way to track your year & fun to look back on when the year is over! 

January 18-22 / business trip to Ohio
January 19 / road trip to Cleveland & Lake Erie

January 10 / Saving Mr. Banks
January 11 / Passport to Fun: Paris (here)

January 4 / Brad's wedding & bowling (with his family)
January 12 / birthdays (his grandma & uncle) & church plant meeting

January 26 / we started whole 30
we watched all of the Harry Potter movies!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

farmhouse // the bathroom

we only have one bathroom in our house, which means that not only do we have to share one sink with each other, but we also have to share our entire bathroom with guests. before we got married i thought only having one bathroom would be an issue, but it really hasn't been. of course, if we both ever get a stomach bug at the same time that will be interesting. having one sink in the mornings means that Thomas gets up 20 minutes before i do so he can be out of the bathroom by the time i wake up. i'm sure he doesn't prefer to get up earlier, but it's worked well for us and he doesn't mind.

the funny thing about our bathroom is that it's the only room in the house with a closet. you can see the closet on the left in the before picture. in fact, when Thomas moved into this house the bathroom had two closets! isn't that wild? the other closet was exactly where this closet is, except on the right side of the room. so basically when you walked in the bathroom, you had to squeeze inbetween these two closets & the bathroom was very small. one of the first things Thomas and his family did when he moved in was tear that second closet out. (don't worry....we don't have all of our clothes stuffed into this one little closet. we have two spacious cloth closets in our second bedroom.)

this room didn't change much after we got married. (there's only so much you can do to a bathroom, am i right?) basically, it got some new storage & a color scheme. in the before picture, on the right side there is a dog bowl & a white chair. in the after picture, we added a cabinet for extra storage. over the toilet we added the étagère for more towel space. we got a matching trashcan, soap dispenser, foam bath mat, & towel hook. i love the dark brown accents in the room with the green curtain, green towels, & golden yellow walls. you'll notice we kept the same shower matches the colors really well, it's very nice, & it's not needing to be replaced yet. if it ain't broke, don't fix it. (that's my southern coming out)

for only adding two pieces of new furniture, we added a lot more storage space & it's so nice to have room for everything. the blue cabinet was done by his mom when he moved in, but we did add the lamp shade that matches very well. the hanging window mirror was also done by his mom - she made it from an old window on our house when they replaced the windows. i love it & it's probably my favorite part about our bathroom! a bathroom is a really strange thing to get excited about, but i really do love our bathroom so much. it's a cozy little area, which is what i think we all look for in a bathroom!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


for frequent highlights, follow me @robina_black

highlights from my week:
-i got this adorable tape dispenser from Office Depot for my desk at work! i love it!

-we got snow at our house! i love all of the pops of red!!

-almond butter is my favorite whole 30 snack!

-i won this devotional in Mrs. K's giveaway & i can't wait to start it!!

-my husband cooked some delicious salmon & garlic asparagus!

-i had to work 13 hours friday & over the weekend - so i broke out the good stuff: harney & sons tea!

-i got these awesome nail colors in my julep box! use code FREEBOX for, well, a free box! :)

-we made it to day 7 of whole 30 and celebrated with steak!

-Greg the groundhog said happy groundhog day on Sunday! i'm ready for this little furball to make an appearance in our yard again!

-work has been crazy busy so i am already ready for the weekend!

how has your week been?

Monday, February 03, 2014

whole 30 // ginger crock pot chicken

we are on day 9 of our whole 30! this is one of our favorite recipes we've made since doing whole 30! it's really delicious & super easy since it's a crock pot meal! the carrots really soak up the juices & taste amazing!

Ginger Crock Pot Chicken

Chicken thighs (3 pounds)
Carrots (2 sticks)
Scallions (4 stalks)
Garlic (4 cloves)
Ginger, fresh (1 teaspoon)
Chicken broth (1/2 cup)
Lime juice (3 tablespoons)
Sesame oil (1 tablespoon)
Coconut aminos (1/4 cup)
Salt & Pepper

o1 // rinse the chicken thighs and place in the crock pot in two layers
 o2 // sprinkle the cut vegetables, ginger & garlic on top
o3 // in a separate bowl mix the chicken stock, sesame oil, coconut aminos & lime juice until combined
o4 // pour this over the chicken
o5 // cover and cook on low for 6 hours