Wednesday, February 25, 2015

an old mill + coffee shop

there is an old abandoned mill in our city that is now being used for art studios, office space, and there is even a coffee shop. our church office is actually in the mill since we don't have a building. old structures like that are always so neat to explore and snap photos of. 

on Sunday, Thomas and i were out running errands and decided to stop in at the coffee shop and try out their chai tea. so, we got our tea & then explored inside the mill a bit. it was kinda creepy because not a lot of people were in there on a Sunday, but it was really neat also to see the wear & tear, the color, the openness. it's not something you get to do everyday! 



do you have any reclaimed buildings where you live?


Monday, February 23, 2015

real talk | life change happens in the mundane


in different Christian environments i've been in, in the past, the emphasis was always put on "big" things. big events, big change, a big number of people believing in Christ. it's not bad to want those things at all, but in environments like that i often felt that if i didn't do big things then i wasn't doing anything at all. if i wasn't signing up for 2 years in Africa after college, i wasn't doing big things for the Lord. if i worked in Corporate America, i was just blending into the world. you get the drift.

these things were not taught and they were never said. it is simply how i felt, how i took it. but i did feel like that for a majority of my life. people i knew were doing amazing things and my story didn't look like theirs. and a part of me thought that my story must be wrong.

over time, the Lord made me realize that just isn't true. my story won't look like other people's stories, because we all have different stories. i can't compare & contrast something that isn't meant to be the same. the only measuring stick i need to use for my life is His Word. 


so, one thing i took away from environments like that is that my emphasis shouldn't be solely on the big. a lot of times, the big changes that we see come about because of the small moments in life. God works in the loud & huge events, but He works in the quiet small conversations as well. God works in the big, but more often than not God works in the details. do we notice God in the mundane details of our lives? He's there.

the ordinary moments far outweigh the extraordinary moments of life. we are called to be disciples in everyday life, in the extraordinary & in the ordinary moments. especially in the ordinary moments. 

He's there when you're up at 2am studying for exams.
He's there when you're changing your child's diaper for the fifth time that morning.
He's there when you're scanning someone's groceries to make ends meet.
He's there when you're sitting at a computer crunching numbers 10 hours a day.

the majority of life is filled with small moments and mundane details. and this is where life changing work is done. He uses small moments in big ways. so when you feel stuck or when you wonder how changing diapers is bringing glory to God... remember that God is found in even the quietest of places. look for the opportunities He sends you, they are there. 


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

frozen

you know how people get snow storms & then have days of fun playing in the snow, making snow angels, building snowmen, and having snowball fights? well, in South Carolina we rarely get snow. instead, we get ice. you get all the cold & power outages that you do with snow... except none of the fun. but considering that we only get about 3 days each winter, instead of 5 straight months of it... i am not complaining!

since my work uses laptops, i have the capability to work from home. which means that when the offices are closed, Thomas gets a day off & i still have to work. i make some time in the day to explore with him, though! last year, we made a snow penguin & a snowman on my lunch break! this year, since it's just ice we just skated around our driveway and took pictures. we also let our basset & bunny out very briefly to experience the cold - the basset had fun but the bunny hated it! (i don't blame him!)

while i was outside snapping photos, our neighbors horse came running up to the edge of our yard. luckily he just stood there staring at me & didn't try to jump over the fence and gallop into our yard! i wasn't looking forward to being knocked onto the ice by a horse. after about a minute the owner heard the horse & came over and got him safely back into the field. it is always interesting living in the country! :)



do you get snow or ice where you live?



Monday, February 16, 2015

winter, spring, and the seasons of life


there's something about the season of winter that makes me dread it each year. i love fall but it's bittersweet because it's always a sign that winter is on the way. dark. ice. lethargic. the cold hitting my skin as soon as i walk outside. the pitch black when i get home from work. something about it just brings about a general down feeling.

but there is hope of the sunshine & warmth that will come along in a few months. it's so perfect that Good Friday and Easter come around the first day of spring. Good Friday (winter) being the death of Jesus and yet, Sunday (spring) and His resurrection is coming. there is hope and anticipation.

i can always look back to springs of long ago and remember the warmth & joy of the season. i can look forward and know that spring is coming again. it gives me hope. in life, there will always be seasons of winter. physically and emotionally. but in Christ, we have hope.

we can look back and remember how He has protected, blessed, and guided us. we can look back and reflect on the joy He brought in the midst of pain. we can look back and see His fingerprints of grace all over our lives. we can look back and see how He has carried us through.

then we can look forward with hope and anticipation. we can look forward and know that He will continue to do the same. in those seasons of winter, when we look to Christ, spring is in our reach.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

a letter to my single self

this month i am co-hosting the circle link up with Kiki! join us! write a letter to your past self & link up your post below!



Past-Robyn,

you've always been that kid who knows who she is and what she wants. that's a good thing. but college is about to be a whole new playing field for you. you are about to experience new things and meet lots of new people, so don't lose yourself along the way.

the stigma of being single is worse at a Christian college. i wish it wasn't, but it is. even though right now you are okay with being single, when you enter into that environment, it will start to wear on you. you will get annoyed a lot, but at the same time you will learn so much. resist the urge to roll your eyes every time you hear "ring by spring", "MRS degree" or "it will happen when you least expect it". some days will be just plain hard. so keep these close to your heart & remind yourself of them each day.

we were made for relationships. and it's okay to want one. it's okay to want to get married. Jesus is the only one who can complete you, but a spouse can compliment you. that's how God set marriage up. it's not a sin to long for that. but just make sure marriage doesn't become number one. Jesus first, marriage second. always. 

have patience. not patience because you're "waiting on a guy" - no, i mean patience with people who ask you about your singleness. you will need so much patience every time you hear "why are you single?" or "have you found a man yet?" i honestly think people don't hear the way it comes across, or they are just at a loss for small talk. respond to the questions honestly, but do it with grace.
(when you start dating Thomas, you will constantly hear "when are you guys getting married?" and when you are married, you will constantly hear "when are you having kids?" - these questions require just as much patience and grace!)

being single just stinks sometimes. it's one of those things in life that is just tough. when you struggle with being single, it does not mean that you don't love Jesus enough. it does not mean that God is punishing you. it does not mean that relationships are an idol in your life (although it could mean that, so check your heart). it just is what it is. 

you do have amazing opportunities right now. it's just a fact, without kids or a husband you have more independence and more freedom. embrace that. while it's okay to want a relationship, don't stop living your life to dream of the future. embrace where you are in life at this moment, because you never know when your path will change. (that goes for ALL seasons of life, not just singleness)

your worth is found in Jesus. really hang on to that truth. you want to know who you are and how much you are loved? look to Jesus. life is so much more than being single vs. married & future-Robyn is so glad that you will learn that lesson early!

so for now, just know this. it's okay to get frustrated about being single. it's okay to just face the fact that it stinks. those feelings are legitimate because it's a struggle, but don't let those feelings affect the way you live your life. don't buy into the lie that your relationship status is equal to your value. take those feelings to the Lord & lay them down at His feet. He will carry the load for you. your worth is not defined by your relationship status - it is defined by Jesus Christ. don't you ever forget that!


love,              
Future-Robyn








Monday, February 09, 2015

quick + easy | chicken pesto pasta


you know those people who make everything from scratch, are always in the kitchen, and have endless amounts of creativity when it comes to food? i love those people, but i am not one of those people. i really dislike cooking, mainly because of the time it takes. when i get home after 12 hours of commuting & working, the last thing i want to do is cook. 

so, i try to find recipes that are 
1) few ingredients
2) quick to prepare & clean up
3) filling & somewhat nutritious

week nights are very short in our house, so we have to be creative when cooking at home. to be honest, it's why we haven't been cooking at home a lot these past few months. but in order to eat somewhat healthy & save money, we are trying to cook at home as much as we can now. so i am pulling out some of my quick & easy meals!

this is one of my favorite meals! you can skip the chicken & serve as a side dish (it goes great with fish) or include the chicken and serve as a full meal. 


Chicken Pesto Pasta
serves: 3-4 people


INGREDIENTS
1 box of bowtie pasta
1 jar of Classico basil pesto
2-3 chicken breasts, cubed (we used Perdue Italian Style)


INSTRUCTIONS
1) cook the pasta per instructions on the box
2) cook chicken & cube
3) stir pesto sauce & chicken into pasta & enjoy!



what is your favorite quick & easy meal?


Wednesday, February 04, 2015

o1 | project 12

Project 12 | a picture for each month of the year



HIGHLIGHTS
- i chose REST as my word for 2015. it is especially fitting because Thomas's job ended this month & we had no idea what the next chapter was. i made Thomas a print of Matthew 11:28 to remind Him to find rest in Jesus through the unknown & also in the new journey ahead.

- Thomas actually got a job offer just a few days after his previous job ended! it is a job that he will really enjoy & it is definitely a job from God because the timing was just so crazy. he started last week, so he was only out of work for a week and a half & this month was just a whirlwind. God has definitely blessed us through all of the fear & unknown... and now through this opportunity!

- i am steadily making my way through the Harry Potter books! i decided to re-read all of them in one sweep & i am loving all the details i've forgotten about! it's crazy how movies capture the story so well but leave out so many details! the books are way better!


NOTABLE EVENTS
January 3   - our last family get together for Christmas
January 15 - Thomas's last day of work
January 16 - Thomas's job interview
January 20 - Thomas got the job offer
January 26 - we traded in our CRV and got a new-to-us Accord (for me!)
January 29 - Thomas started his new job


THIS MONTH LAST YEAR [ON THE BLOG]
- we made a coffee table out of a window from our house!
- i chose balance as my word for the year.
- we started our passport to fun dates off with a picnic in Paris!
- i created my 30 by 30 list & have slowly been crossing things off.


what are your highlights from January?


Monday, February 02, 2015

monthly goals | February


recap January goals


purge & simplify
we got a lot of progress done on this in January! we moved in a craft storage dresser, a bakers rack, and a treadmill so our house was very crowded for a while! we downsized to one closet (we have cloth closets because there's only one tiny built in closet in our house & it's in the bathroom) and donated a lot of clothes we don't wear anymore. we moved some furniture we want to keep for our next house into the barn & we cleaned out some of the clutter. man, it makes me tired just typing all of that!

spend time reading
Thomas & i are steadily making our way through our Bible in a year reading plan. it has been nice to end each day reading the Word together. #findtruerest
i also spent a lot of time reading by myself & it was nice because having time to read is restful for me. we watched Catching Fire (finally) & that made me go on a tangent to re-read The Hunger Games trilogy. i read all 3 books in a week - i love stories you just can't put down. i also finished The Nesting Place - such a refreshing viewpoint!

plan out DIY Christmas gifts 
i made a list of everyone we buy for & brainstormed some ideas of what we can make. i've got about 85% of the list connected with a gift and even started a "supplies" needed list. so that is good for now! :) i feel that making every gift is a little more doable now that i can see it in front of me!


February goals

drink more water
as a rule, i generally just drink coffee & water. i occasionally drink tea & rarely drink sodas. but coffee has become too much of a staple lately.so this month i want to slowly cut out coffee and drink more water.

purge & simplify
why do i get the feeling this is going to be on my monthly goals all year?! we still have clutter to go through, organize, and throw out. so i'd like to get more of that done this month.

exercise 3x a week
for 2 years now i've been sitting at a desk for 40+ hours a week. during 2014 it was more like 50 hours a week. that is a lot of sitting! during this time of the year when it's cold & dark when i get home from work, i just need to push myself to exercise regularly. i haven't done much in the past few months, so i'm starting out slow with at least 3 days out of each week.


what are you hoping to accomplish this month?