Friday, April 30, 2010

The One With The Strawberry 5k

Strawberry Chase 5k tomorrow!
I am more excited about the strawberry part than the 5k, but I love racing and know it will be a fun morning!

So, sweet dreams! :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The One With Chocolate, Coffee, and Cookies

I was looking for a recipe to make chocolate covered coffee beans and found....

A Triple Chocolate Espresso Bean Cookie Recipe!

As if today's amazing weather and finishing up classes was not awesome enough, this recipe definitely made my morning :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Experiencing God's Power Through Praise

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D. read more at Church of the Apostles website

It is easy to praise God when the sun is shining, our children are making good grades in school, and we have received a promotion at work. But when the storm clouds gather, the grades start to slip, and the pink slips are read, the last thing we feel like doing is praising God. Yet, this is the very time when we need to lift our voices to Him in praise.

When we praise God, we proclaim our faith in Him. The psalmist writes, "As for me, I will always have hope. I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure" (Psalm 71:14-15).

A sacrifice of praise is something that we offer to God — in times of well being and in times of sorrow. Never allow praise to become a habit or a trite activity. It is a priceless honor to kneel before the throne of our Lord and Savior.

One of the greatest misconceptions concerning praise is that it is something we do for God. However, nothing could be further from the truth. God does not need our praise, but certainly, He desires it. He knows when life takes an unexpected turn toward sorrow or when a serious illness lingers for months and even years, praise has the ability to lighten our hearts and fill us with a sense of love and security that can only come from one place — heaven's throne.

Praise teaches us to be joyful and thankful regardless of our circumstances. It prepares us for God's service and helps us to see beyond our present circumstances to the immense possibilities that are ours through faith in Jesus Christ.

No matter how deep our sorrow or how grave our circumstances may seem, we can learn to praise God while acknowledging His sovereignty over our lives. A.B. Simpson wrote, "Lift up the hands that hang down. March straight through the flood, and lo, the waters will divide, the Red Sea will open, the Jordan will part, and the Lord will lead you through to victory."

This sounds like good advice, but what do you do when life becomes so dark that it seems impossible to praise God? How do you lift your voice to the Lord in praise when your husband has left you or your daughter has terminal cancer? How do you praise God when you have just received word that your loved one has met a sudden death?

You begin by realizing that praise is a sacrifice — an offering to the Lord. It does not lesson our sorrow or, in many cases, change our immediate circumstances. It will, however, bring light to our darkness — a light that Satan cannot extinguish.


Nehemiah wrote, "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). Praise teaches us to turn our eyes away from circumstances to the One who has the ability to heal, save, renew, and mend every broken heart.

There is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is something we experience for a moment and is often short lived. Joy is eternal. It comes only as a result of living a life of praise. Praise comes as a result of a heart that is overflowing with joy that may even come in lonely moments. Suddenly, you find yourself being comforted by the One who created you and who understands your grief and sorrow. You may feel as though you cannot praise God but if you will just take a step toward praise, you will sense God's arms surrounding you.

Your praise can be as simple as this: "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God." Let praise steady your heart when trouble comes and gain God's perspective on your current situation. Take time to thank God for what He has done for you. He has saved you and given you an opportunity to know and love Him. Remember He loves you with an unconditional love and will not withhold His love from you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lilly for a Rainy Day :)

It's wedding and graduation season and Lilly accessories are the perfect way to make any gift adorable! There are tons of cute Lilly handmades on Etsy. Perfect shopping to perk up a rainy day! :)

Cute Little Tote

Clutch and Headband

Decorative Hanging Letters

Half Apron

Monogram Pillow

One week left! I am determined to love every moment of it! :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Where I Want to Meet God

Great God,

In public and private, in sanctuary and home,
may my life be steeped in prayer,
filled with the spirit of grace and supplication,
each prayer perfumed with the incense of atoning blood.
Help me, defend me, until from praying ground
I pass to the realm of unceasing praise.
Urged by my need, invited by thy promises, called by thy Spirit,
I enter thy presence, worshipping thee with godly fear,
awed by thy majesty, greatness, glory, but encouraged by thy love.
I m all poverty as well as all guilt, having nothing of my own with which to repay thee,
But I bring Jesus to thee in the arms of faith,
pleading his righteousness to offset my iniquities,
rejoicing that he will weigh down the scales for me, and satisfy thy justice.
I bless thee that great sin draws out great grace,
that, although the least sin deserves infinite punishment
because done against an infinite God,
yet there is mercy for me, for where guilt is most terrible,
there thy mercy in Christ is most free and deep.
Bless me by revealing to me more of his saving merits,
by causing thy goodness to pass before me,
by speaking peace to my contrite heart;
Strengthen me to give thee no rest until Christ shall reign supreme within me,
in every thought, word, and deed, in a faith that

purifies the heart,

overcomes the world,

works by love,

fastens me to thee,

and ever clings to the cross.

-The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gettin' Back To It!

We had a fabulous time this weekend!

Now, back to the insanity of finals and leading up to them, making end of the semester gifts, and tying up all of the loose ends of the semester and school year! Its such an exciting time!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Formal!

I leave tomorrow for the Spring Formal! I am so excited! I love trying new things and this is definitely one of them! There is so much to do!

Have a great weekend! :)

The back side of our decorated cooler, we went with a Jimmy Buffett theme. I like how it turned out :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wheat and Dairy Free Tuna Casserole!

This turned out amazing! It was so easy and completely delicious! I was very excited about this because it is SO hard to find gluten and dairy free recipes that are worth serving to others! Here is the recipe with my modifications:

  • 3 1/2 cups rice pasta (I used penne) (enough to cover the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan)
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup canned mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a shallow baking dish I use 9" x 13".
  3. Heat 2T of oil in a pan over medium heat, add onion and mushrooms, cook until tender, remove from pan
  4. Add 2T oil to pan and whisk in 1/4 cup flour
  5. Gradually add broth until it forms a sauce consistency
  6. Stir in mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Stir until mixture is smooth
  7. Mix in tuna, mushrooms, onions, and peas
  8. spread pasta in 9x13 baking dish and cover with sauce. (make sure all noodles are covered)
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes
I made quite a few modifications to beef up the recipe a little bit more. Make sure you taste the sauce as you go, so you can make modifications as you need.

The original recipe covered the casserole with rice bread crumbs, which I did not have, so I skipped that step. If you would like to see pictures and read some of the five-star raving reviews the original recipe can be found here.

Happy allergy free cooking! :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Running Bare Foot?

Bare foot running is not a new idea, but it has gained some publicity and a stronger following lately. My initial interest in the topic was stemmed from this article in ADVANCE magazine for physical therapy & rehab medicine.

The author mentions the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, which is now on my summer reading list!

I have not done a ton of research on it, but enough to realize that it is a controversial topic. There have not been many extensive studies completed on it but if you are the researching type Harvard has a great informational site here.

I really enjoyed this article published by Science Daily. Even MSN has seen the trend and published short blip about it.

With my back injury I was completely willing to try it. I have only gone for two runs without shoes now, but my back has felt better after those runs than in has after exercise in awhile.

I love running and do not want to have to give it up just because of injury. I hope this is an answer, if not that at least a better option than running with shoes!

Friday, April 16, 2010

I am not Greek... but I wish I was!

Next weekend, I am going to a friend's fraternity's Spring Formal. Earlier today he texted me asking if I would be interested in making a cooler for him.

Sure, I like crafting, I'm sure it will be fun was my initial reaction. A few moments later as I started brainstorming I realized I had absolutely no idea how to go about this.

What kind of cooler? What am I supposed to use to decorate? What do I put on the cooler?

Thank you for humoring me in my silly dilemma and rantings. I ended up packing it with clothes and bringing a bag for the return trip. It was a fun project.

We ended up spray painting, using markers to color, and then using a spray paint sealant to keep things from smudging. Good times!

I hope you are enjoying the amazing spring weather! :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Overcoming Allergies... The Natural Way

Fitness has a great article up on Natural Allergy Relief

I love nutrition especially when it comes to natural alternatives and vegetarian diets. The human body is amazing and capable of so many things if we only give it the nutrients it needs!

I can summarize this article and most others about weight loss and healthy living in two main points:
  1. Drink LOTS and lots of water and then drink more! A doctor I visited recently said that he believes that many of the chronic injuries and illnesses people suffer from can AT LEAST be improved with proper hydration.
  2. Eat a diet as high in raw fruits and vegetables as possible! When cooked, nutrients and WATER are lost, therefore making the veggies especially less nutritious. Also, fruits and veggies are high in fiber which helps in digestive health and boosts metabolism!
There are my two greatest tricks to healthy living! :)

Back at the Beginning

Tonight we will be initiating the new RAs for next year in. I am SO excited for them! They have an awesome year ahead of them! While being and RA has had its perks and I have grown a lot as a person, I am relived my role is ending.

Because our school is so small I have been able to get involved in the girls on my hall's lives and been able to minister to them in ways I otherwise wouldn't have been able to. I have gotten to know other RAs on campus that I otherwise would not have had much contact with, which I have LOVED. It is so cool to see that despite 100 reasons why we should not understand each other or get along, the common goal of living for the Lord and serving others brings us closer than most other relationships.

This has definitely been a year full of growth, but a year I would not trade for anything! :)

Here are some things I will miss most next year:

Rainy afternoons at Chili's for "Girl Time" :)

RA Olympics, where we took gold this year thank you very much :P

Making gingerbread cookies to look like the guys... well, sort of :)

Weekly meetings... occasionally we talked about serious things :P

Beautiful girls at Christmas banquet! :)

Silly impromptu skits where we all end up on the ground laughing :)

Cook outs with LOTS and LOTS of food and even better company :)

Team building initiatives... which we sometimes completed :P

Living and loving with an awesome group of people who want to serve the Lord and do His will above ALL else! :)

We're meeting on the soccer field tonight so who knows what new things are still to come! :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Fabulously Action Packed Weekend!

What a whirlwind of a weekend! We had an awesome time! Friday night was our Junior-Senior banquet. Dinner was held atop the Sunsphere Tower in Knoxville. We then headed to Pigeon Forge to spend a few hours at Wonder Works I am really not a fan of the whole tourist-y thing but for a night with friends we had a good time :)I got a picture with most of the soccer girls before we boarded the buses to leave. I love seeing everyone all dressed up! :)
Saturday I played in a 7v7 soccer tournament to benefit the International Justice Mission and Epilepsy Research, we lost pretty badly, but it was a lot of fun to get out on a beautiful day and play! We were all SO tired from the night before, but we rallied together pretty well :)
After that we stopped at DSW, to get some shoes to match the dress I posted about a little while ago. Once again DSW delivers with a perfect match! The heels are a little higher than I am used to but the color matches the dress almost exactly, and plus they are Chinese Laundry, so I could not say no! :)

Great Weekend! :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Great Outdoors

A couple days ago we took Peyton (cutest boxer in the world) for his first swim! He didn't really like it but he was SO cute! We tried getting in to see if he would get in with us, it was freezing! After I jumped in you could tell he wanted to come to the rescue but was too scared to jump back into the water :P Oh well, I guess we can try again when its warmer! He loved the hiking once he got used to hopping over the rocks and getting his paws wet :)

It was such a fun afternoon!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Master's Highlights :)

In general, golf is pretty boring to watch on TV. However, I love golf and all of the different tournaments. I especially love the Master's because of the tradition that comes with it. My favorite part of the Master's is the Par 3 course. The players kids are on the course and it is just so cute! I pulled some pictures of the parts that made me smile yesterday :)

Ian Poulter

Zach Johnson

Phil Mickelson

Kids with their dads are the cutest! :)

Where Would We Be Without Mod Podge?

I just came across this blog that completely opened my eyes to the magic of mod podge. Up until now my mod podge experience has not gone further than decoupaging with magazines and tissue paper. Here are some of really cool ideas that I have come across!

Some of my favorites are:

I love the gift idea of tile coasters! Photo compliments of Kristy who has a great coaster making tutorial on her blog Light Refreshmens Served

Who ever thought to mod podge shoes? I would love to try it! Ashley has a great tutorial on her blog Make It and Love It! I love how she uses just the five dollar wal-mart ballet flats to make such a cute custom patterned shoe!

I think I like this tile frame so much because they would be so much fun to make with friends for a craft night or a cute personal gift. Photo and tutorial can be found on Miss Fancy Pants blog!

I love this step stool idea! What a simple way to add fun to such a functional item! I especially love the color and fabric Amy used! The tutorial can be found on Amy's blog that inspired this entire post, Mod Podge Rocks.

How about a switchplate cover? :) I fell in love with this idea when I saw the awesome results on Donna's blog, My Sweetest Things, where the above photo is from. She uses so many different mediums with great results! Another tutorial to check out is this one using fabric to cover the plates with.

It was hard for me to narrow the focus down to feature only six crafts. I couldn't bring myself not to give mention to a few more very very creative and cute ideas! I hope you check a few more of these out!
Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Crazy Counterpart!

Middle Sister is 20 years old as of yesterday!

We just had a tiny little celebration for her but there was pound cake, strawberries, and whipped topping, so needless to say it was a great time! :P

Happy Birthday! :)

He is Risen!

Easter break was awesome and very productive!

It began with a dress hunt, which ended successfully! I ended up buying the first dress I tried on, only after spending four hours searching around! It has always been difficult to find a dress that works well on my frame. One thing I learned is that I need to avoid strapless dresses. As a petite, strapless dresses make the body look shorter making them universally less flattering than other cut dresses. I love the back of this one especially! :)

That was a HUGE relief. Not having a dress was one of those things that was hanging over my head and stressing me, but I didn't realize I was stressing about it until the search was over.

My family then spent the rest of the weekend at a lodge we rent with a few other families in the North Carolina mountains. It was so beautiful and relaxing. We hiked, played on an obstacle course, and completed some low ropes course activities. It was great to be with such an encouraging group where I could be completely relaxed and enjoy the weekend to its fullest! We do an Easter egg hunt every year, however, this year none of the little ones came. SO, this year, for the sake of tradition, there were about 12-15 14-22 year olds searching for eggs. We laughed so hard, I think it was our best egg hunt yet :) I loved getting to live like a little kid again this weekend. It was awesome being surrounded by the people I love for a weekend of praising the Lord! :)