If You Don’t Love It, Don’t Do It

If You Don't Love It, Don't Do It

Being an adult is hard, am I right? We’re asked to make decisions that don’t make sense half the time, to think about our future, and to step out in faith. It’s scary, it’s stressful, and sometimes we royally screw it up. There’s no formula to follow to make a right decision, but I’ve begun to believe this mantra: “If you don’t love it, don’t do it.”

Now of course this doesn’t apply in every single decision. I don’t LOVE scrubbing the bathtub, but it has to happen or mold will take over. I don’t LOVE going to the dentist, but I should go if I would like to keep my teeth. I don’t LOVE paying my car registration, but I do love not going to prison, so I (get my husband to) take care of that. Some decisions are a given because they’re necessary. But sometimes, we have a choice.

A few months ago, my husband received an opportunity that would bring in a little extra money. As we discussed this option, I could see that he didn’t want to do this. He could, absolutely. He could have easily done it. But he didn’t want to. He was dreading it and I knew he would be miserable the entire time. We decided that he wouldn’t take that opportunity and prayed that God would open a different door. God was faithful. He opened a door for us, and now my husband is doing something that he enjoys.

Just recently, I had to make a choice. I had to choose whether or not I would continue to be part of a group that I had joined a while back. When I started, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but that had since dwindled. I am able to be a part of this group, and I bring something to the table, but I no longer wanted to be a part of it. Deep down, I could feel that I didn’t love it. After talking it over with my husband, we decided that I would take a break.

We didn’t love those things, so we chose not to do them. I believe that God gives us a lack of desire to show us that we are not called to do that.

In life, there will be hard things that God asks us to do.

Two years ago, God asked me to move out on my own and take a teaching job in a town where I knew virtually nobody. I was scared. As I prayed over this decision, I felt God’s peace. I took the job and it was the best decision for the time.

Almost a year ago, God brought feelings into my heart for the man that was just my best friend. It was terrifying. As I prayed over those feelings, I felt God’s peace. I let Him have control. Three months ago, I married that man, and it was the best decision of all time.

A few months back, God asked me to consider giving up teaching. Unsure of what I would do, I began to pray. I was uneasy. As I prayed for my future, I felt God’s peace. I married my husband and became a homemaker, and it was the best decision for us (read the full story here).

I knew that I needed to do these things because God gave me a desire and a peace. I loved teaching. I love my husband. I love being a homemaker. And through those feelings and desires, God gave me a peace.

When God wants you to take a step, you will know. You may be scared, afraid, or uneasy, but you will also be excited. You will want it, even through the tears and uncertainties. You will feel a peace, even if it is small and seems to be cowering behind your fear. Peace is stronger, because God is peace. And when you have peace, that is when you know.

God will not put you in a position that you hate. It may be a hard job or a position that you didn’t ask for, but that doesn’t make it wrong. If you’re facing a decision, as many of us are, take it to God. If you don’t feel a desire for it, an excitement for it, a love for it, then don’t do it. God has more for you.

What big decisions have you had to make? How did you know that it was the right decision?

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Why We Need To Teach Girls To Be Brave

Why We Need To Teach Girls To Be Brave

We live in a world where girls are usually taught ones of two things: they’re “just” pretty, or they’re absolutely equal to men and should do the exact same things. The first was an unfortunate development of self-esteem movements, and the second is the ugly mission of feminism. I don’t agree with either.

Girls should be taught that they are beautiful. It’s important. God has created them to be beautiful and He finds joy in their recognition of His work. But let’s face this logically. Girls aren’t equal to men. We aren’t as strong, we aren’t built to do hard labor, and many of us find little, if any, joy in the work of a man. We’re made differently. Wonderfully, but differently.

But where does this leave us when it comes to bravery? Many girls are taught to be the damsel in distress, waiting for the man of their dreams to save them from the dragon. I don’t buy that. I’m not that kind of person. I also don’t buy into the fact that the girl needs to slay the dragon. There must be an in-between.

There is. God calls girls to His beauty, and also to His bravery. He calls them to be intercessors, prophets, healers, worship leaders, teachers of the Word, the list goes on. And His gifts are best manifested in us when we step into those callings in bravery.

Let’s look at beauty first.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4

In this verse, Peter calls women to something higher. In today’s world, many women see this verse as a restriction, but I see it, and I believe Peter wrote it, as a freedom.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…”

Peter says that this is not where your beauty should originate. We’re not restricted to what people see (hallelujah). He doesn’t say that fancy hair, pretty jewelry, and nice clothes are a sin or evil in any way. That’s just not where your beauty should start. Many good Christian women wear plenty of jewelry and have snazzy clothes (some of us live in running shorts), and they’re not living in sin. They enjoy it, and it’s something that God has given them to enjoy. But it’s not where they get their beauty, their identity.

“Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…”

This. This is where your beauty should come from. There’s something deeper than what people see. Your beauty should come from what’s inside of you. A gentle spirit that loves people and loves God. A quiet spirit that builds others up and serves. That is the beauty that God has created within women. It is to be cherished. It is a gift.

This is beauty. This is the beauty that God has designed for girls, for women. It is something that we need to grasp and allow God to work in and grow in us. It’s a wonderful gift, but it’s not the only gift.

That brings us to bravery.

“Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God…”-2 Samuel 10:2

Courageous is defined as not deterred or brave. To be brave is to not be deterred, to be ready to face danger or pain.

Following Christ is not an easy life. Even if we lived in a world that was mostly Christian, it would still be hard, because God calls us to do hard things. That’s what builds our faith. If we are not brave, we will be deterred by the first bump in the road. When your baby is sick, when your house burns to the ground, when your best friend passes away … you will quit. You will sit down, and you will say I’m done. Without bravery, without faith, we can’t face the pain of this life.

I don’t believe that the Bible says to be courageous or have courage over 25 times just to encourage men. I don’t believe that’s the case at all. God has intended women to be courageous, to be brave. So what does that mean?

We NEED to teach girls to be brave.

I’m not really talking about physical bravery. If God calls a woman to join the Army or the police force or some other position that requires physical bravery, then that is honorable and she should obey. But deep down in our girls, in us, we must develop a sense of bravery. A sense of courage. A sense of being ready to face whatever God has for us. A sense of not being deterred, no matter the cost or the fight.

In this verse in 2 Samuel, it says to be courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God.

We are not called to be brave just because it helps us. We are called to be brave for the sake of our people. I said earlier that God calls women to be intercessors, teachers of the Word, and so much more. If we are not brave and if we do not bravely step into our calling, other people miss out on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As my pastor would say, “Who is going to miss heaven because you didn’t do what you were supposed to do?” There are people that only you, only I, only the checker at the grocery store, can reach. If we don’t step out in bravery, they might miss heaven.

We are also called to be brave for the cities of our God. If your church doesn’t make a difference in your city, you may want to re-evaluate your attendance. If YOU don’t make a difference in your city, you may want to re-evaluate your FAITH. Now, I know I live in a town of 600 people. If I make a difference with one person, that’s a good percentage of the town. Some of you live in huge cities. But what are you doing for your city, your neighborhood, the person that you share a fence with? Are you serving, is your church serving? Maybe that scares you. You know what scares me? People going to hell. Be brave.

If we don’t teach our girls to be brave, the world will teach them that they don’t have to be brave. We need to teach them. They need to be brave because God has called them to step out in faith, and that can only be done through bravery. They need to be brave because people need to hear about Jesus, and you can’t witness without bravery. Finally, they need to be brave because our cities need saving, and it takes bravery to keep people out of hell.

I’m not saying girls need to be Katniss or G.I. Jane. They also don’t need to be Barbie or Sleeping Beauty. But we must teach them to be brave, for the sake of our people, our cities, our God.

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Friday Faves: Mountain Edition

Friday Faves: Mountain Edition

Fri(yay) is here again! Which means it’s time for ………..

FRIDAY FAVES!

I know you’re totally as excited as I am. This week, I’ve got a book (what can I say? I’m a bookworm), my FAVORITE kitchen utensil, and, of course, THE MOUNTAINS!

(This post contains affiliate links, but I only promote products that I use, trust, and love. See my disclosure policy here.)

Can I get an AMEN?! My absolute FAVORITE book right now is For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. Y’all, if you don’t know about Jen Hatmaker, get thyself to Amazon RIGHT NOW. She wrote Interrupted (her story of how God wrecked her comfortable Christian life) and 7 (during which God will wreck YOUR comfortable Christian life). She is absolutely my favorite author. She speaks truth in a way that goes deep into your soul, but she’s funny as all get out at the same time. She’s amazing. My husband laughs at me because every time he says something about Jen Hatmaker, I reply with, “Oh, I love her!” Every time. But really, I love her! We could totally be best friends! (Jen, if you’re reading this, take note.) Okay, back to the book.

For the Love came out last summer and I read it in 3 days. I would have finished it sooner, but my highlighter died (agony) and I had to get a new one. I was talking about it the other day, so I had to start reading it again. And oh my goodness. I still love it so much! The premise of the book is breaking free from the judgement and critical attitudes that women in this world have for each other. Life is not perfect for any of us, but it’s good, and God is good, and that’s what Jen (first name basis) is here to show. She pulls some deep biblical truths, but also shares the most hilarious stories. I couldn’t keep talking about this if I didn’t love it so much. I leave you with a snippet of Hatmaker wisdom:

“We are called to this work, and it might not seem like much, but if you play your one note and I play mine and she plays hers, together it will create a beautiful song that sounds like freedom for the captives and good news to the poor. May the brokenhearted be healed and ashes turned to beauty in our generation.”
For The Love, Jen Hatmaker

Okay, next is something you may laugh at. I really enjoy cooking and baking (no, don’t laugh at that.) When I first moved into my house a couple of years ago, I didn’t really have any kitchen appliances or utensils or anything. I bought quite a few, but they were all from Wal-Mart and maybe not top notch quality. In fact, the first time I used the 1 cup measuring cup, the handle snapped off. Cool. So, when my husband and I were setting up our wedding registry a few months back, we found these awesome measuring cups. Now before you tune me out because I’m talking about measuring cups and that’s weird, I’ll tell you WHY they’re so great! First, they’re thick and heavy duty. They’re stainless steel so they hold up over the test of time. Second, they’re easy to clean. My old one had grooves on the sides where flour and other dry ingredients would get stuck and I would have to scrub and scrub. These just wipe right out. But finally, why we picked these, is that the handle isn’t attached; it’s actually part of the cup. This makes it a lot harder to break the handle off and, again, makes it more durable. I know it’s weird that I’m talking about measuring cups as one of my favorite things, but I cooked and baked a lot this week and just realized how much I loved them! 🙂

Mountains

Finally, my overall, number one, top favorite thing ever: THE MOUNTAINS! We are currently on our way to vacation with my family in the mountains! My family goes every year, and this will be my husband’s first trip with us. We hike, spend time with each other, eat good food, play in the river, fish, walk around, and just have a great, relaxing time. Another benefit is that we live in Texas, and during the summer, the state is basically on fire, so the mountains give us a few cooler days. One of my dad’s favorite quotes is, “The mountains are calling, and I must go,” and I couldn’t agree more! This is going to be a wonderful adventure! 🙂

What are your favorites of the week? Anything you’re just absolutely loving? Share it in the comment section below!

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“You Make Tortillas?!?!”

You Make Tortillas?!?!

Y’all, I’m white. And I’m not talking ethnicity. I mean, that’s true too. But down to my core, I’m white. As white as the day is long. I still say things like “fo rizzle” and “crack-a-lackin.” Nothing about me is on point, on fleek, or on anything else. I love Friends, I can’t jump, and I’ve competed in an ultimate frisbee competition. I am white.

So when I say things like, “Yeah, we had tacos for dinner last night. I made tortillas and…blah blah blah,” the response is always the same:

“YOU MAKE TORTILLAS?!?!”

Yes. I’m white. Yes. I make tortillas. Yes. They’re delicious.

I grew up on homemade tortillas. My mom (same ethnicity, surprise) made them frequently and we all loved them. I wasn’t a fan of soft tacos at the time (hard shells all the way), but I’d just eat the tortillas by themselves or with cheese melted on them (the glory of my childhood).

When I moved out on my own, tortillas were one of the first things that I made. I can’t say that those first few attempts were successful (are tortillas supposed to be black?), but after a few tries, I’d perfected it.

Now, I make a batch of tortillas almost every week and my husband and I devour them. They’re good with tacos, burritos, a chicken and cheese melt, vegetable medley (recipe to come next week), and (our personal favorite) topped with cinnamon and sugar. The recipe is really simple and once you nail down the cooking time for your stove, you’re set! I’ll give you a step by step guide, with the shortened recipe at the end.

There are two things I do before I start. First, I put two pans on the stove and turn the heat on to medium. My mom always uses a griddle, which works great, I just don’t have one. 🙂 This gets your pans heating and ensures that your first and last tortillas all cook at the same temperature. Second, I gather all of my ingredients, so I’m not running around like a chicken with my head cut off looking for baking powder while my pans are smoking.

Tortilla ingredients

Mix together your dry ingredients: 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 3 & 1/2 cups of flour. I use both white (2 cups) and wheat (1 & 1/2 cups) because I think it has a better flavor. You can use just white flour, but you can’t use just wheat. If you choose to use wheat flour, you have to include white flour, as well. Next, add 1/4 cup of oil. I use vegetable oil. Mix that in with your dry ingredients. It will form a few little balls that resemble BBs (which you can see in the picture below).

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Once the oil is mixed in, add approximately 1 cup of warm water. The more wheat flour you use, the more water you will need. I start mixing the dough with a spoon. Once it is somewhat mixed together, I use my hands to form a ball.

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You may need to throw it onto the counter and knead it a bit. I normally do, just for good measure.

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Once you have the dough well-mixed and kneaded, split it into 10-12 balls.

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Roll out each ball into a tortilla-like shape. (Honestly, I can’t ever make a round tortilla. Just do your best.)

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You like my tortilla-colored countertop? 😉

Place the tortilla in the pan for 1-2 minutes (depending on your stove) on each side.

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When they’re all done, you’re ready to eat! Yay! You did it! And look how pretty they are!

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A couple of things. First, I roll out the tortillas as I’m cooking them, but only because I’ve done this many times. If you’re new to it, I would start by rolling them all (or a majority) out first so that you don’t burn the tortillas (speaking from experience). Second, you’ll need to adjust the time and temperature depending on your stove. I put mine on a 6 and it takes 1 minute on each side, but this is the result of trial and error. So just play around with it and see what works for you.

That’s it. Try it a couple of times and I guarantee you will master the art of tortilla making. It’s a super simple recipe and process! Go ahead; I have faith in you! 🙂

Homemade Tortillas

Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups flour (white or mixed with whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • approx. 1 cup warm water
Instructions
  1. Heat pans/griddle on stove on medium heat.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder with your fingers.
  3. Add the oil and mix until mixture resembles little BBs.
  4. Begin adding the water a little at a time until you get a firm dough.
  5. As the dough starts to form, you may want to mix with your hands and throw it on the counter to knead it.
  6. Add flour or water if needed.
  7. Divide dough into 10-12 balls.
  8. Roll them out and put them on hot pans/griddle for 1-2 minutes, then turn them over for the same amount of time.
  9. Keep an eye on them since all stoves are different.
  10. ENJOY!

This is one of my favorite recipes from my childhood, and I love that I can make it now that I’m an “adult” (ha!). Do you have any favorite childhood recipes that you now make for yourself? Share in the comments below! 🙂

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3 Reasons I Love Essential Oils + A Free Printable (Or Three)

3 reasons essential oils

“What is she talking about? Essential oils? Oh geez, she must be one of THOSE. Run away, run awaaayyyyy.”

I hear ya. That was me a few months ago. I had several friends who use essential oils for everything under the sun, and I thought, “Sure, that works for them, but I’m not that crazy.” Well, I am officially that crazy now. 😉

Essential oils are a wonderful alternative to traditional medicine. I know, I know, that sounds super hippie-ish. Hear me out, though. I’ve got 3 reasons why I love them, a couple of ways you NEED to try them, and then some free printables to share with you at the end! 🙂 Let’s get to it!

(I mention several brands and products in the rest of this post, and while I include affiliate links, I am only sharing brands and products that I use, know, and trust wholeheartedly. See my disclosure policy here.)

Reason #1: My Own Story

Somewhere in my teenage years, I developed absolutely ridiculous seasonal allergies. I would sneeze my head off and be congested almost all year. It doesn’t help that I live in rural Texas, where trees and flowers and weeds are everywhere. One summer, I was working at a camp, and it was so bad that I actually had to see an allergist. They did allergy testing and found out that I’m basically allergic to everything, year-round.

That was basically me. So, they put me on four different medications: two in the morning, a nasal spray, and one before bed. In addition to that, I have asthma, so I had an inhaler to use before I run. And you know what? It worked! All the medication worked! My allergies were gone, I could breathe clearly, and it was great!

Until this past year. Don’t get me wrong, the medication was still working. But I suddenly became very uncomfortable with taking all these medications and not even knowing what was in them. I knew I couldn’t just stop taking them and try to suffer through allergies, because I might actually die. I began thinking about different alternatives, and essential oils came to mind. I decided to give them a shot.

In February of this year, I ordered four basic essential oils: lemon, lavender, peppermint, and melaleuca (tea tree), along with coconut oil to use as a carrier. I mixed up my first blend, took a deep breath, and stopped taking all of my medication. I didn’t slowly remove the medications from my routine. One day, I got up, and I just didn’t take them. I began using my allergy blend between 3 and 5 times a day and … it worked!

I haven’t taken any allergy medication since February and I’ve had no trouble with my allergies. Here’s what I do instead.

When I wake up, I use Ocean Spray nasal spray (it also comes in a version made specifically for kids). This was highly recommended by my husband’s dentist to reduce swelling in nasal passages. Unlike many other nasal sprays, the only ingredients in Ocean Spray are water and saline. The saline attacks the bacteria to kill it and clear your sinuses out. I cannot begin to describe the difference this nasal spray has made for my allergies. Instead of the allergens and bacteria just living in my sinuses, I clear them out and start fresh every day! It’s such a relief!

That was a digression from our talk about essential oils, but I just couldn’t leave it out! My allergy blend of essential oils is lemon, lavender, and peppermint (4 drops of each), and I use coconut oil for the carrier oil. This is a basic allergy blend, but it completely relieves my allergies! I may have a little bit of allergy trouble when I wake up, but after nasal spray and oils, I’m good to go for the rest of the day! Not only do I feel good, but I actually know what’s going into my body. That brings me to …

Reason #2: Natural

Essential oils are natural. I use the Melaleuca brand oils, because we order all of our home and health supplies from them. Oils can harm you if they are not high-quality, so I am only going to use oils from a brand that I trust. I absolutely trust Melaleuca. They have a wellness guarantee that they only use the highest-quality ingredients. They have been proven time and time again as a leader in natural and top performance products. If you are interested in Melaleuca, comment or send me a message and I’d love to tell you more! 🙂

When I was on allergy medication, I took four medications and an inhaler regularly. Though I’m sure the ingredients to those are posted somewhere on the Interwebz, I never looked them up. And if I had, I most likely couldn’t have pronounced them or known what the ingredients actually ARE. With oils, I know exactly what I’m putting in my body.

When I use my allergy blend, I know that I am putting lemon, lavender, peppermint, and coconut oil into my body. And because I use a company with a guarantee of high-quality products, I know that these ingredients are natural and do not contain any additives or anything that could harm my body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 

Glorifying God in your body doesn’t just mean going to church and not doing drugs. Those are great; don’t get me wrong. But I think there’s more. I think God wants us to think about the food that we eat, our exercise habits, and what we put into our body. For me, taking a bunch of medication full of unknown chemicals wasn’t glorifying God in the best way I personally could. I’m now choosing to take care of my body, and I believe God is glorified through that.

Reason #3: MONEY

If you’ve ever shopped for essential oils, you may have raised your eyebrow when you read that. But it’s true. Switching to essential oils has saved us money in multiple ways.

Bottles of essential oils can range from around $5 to $40. There are some oils that are very rare, and they are even pricier. I’m not generally one to spend $40 on a bottle of anything, but let me tell you why I’ll do it for oils.

First, when you use oils, you don’t use very much. For my allergy blend, I use four drops of lemon, lavender, and peppermint, and that one blend lasts me over a month. I also add oils to my diffuser, but it is only two to four drops at a time. There may be times when you use more oils, especially if you are making things with them (soaps, cleaners, etc.), but in general, you don’t use much at a time. I bought my oils in February. It’s now June, and I won’t have to re-order any until July or August.

I will also spend this much on oils because it’s nothing compared to the medication that I used to take. An inhaler is $30; I bought one every six months. As far as my monthly medications went, I spent $12 on nasal spray, $20 on Allegra, and around $20 on my other prescriptions. That means I was spending over $50 JUST ON MY ALLERGIES! Thinking back, that was ridiculous when there was another way!

Essential oils seem like a lot when you make your initial investment, but over time, they save you money on both medications and doctor visits. I used to visit my allergist every six months, and it cost me $60 every time. Not anymore.

Once I discovered what essential oils could do for me, it was a no-brainer. They save me money, they help me take care of my body, and they took away my allergies! I’ve mostly talked about allergies in this post, but essential oils help with everything from soreness to chigger bites (as we’ve recently discovered) to the flu! They are extremely versatile.

How I Use Oils

I use oils in two ways: roller balls and a diffuser.

I’ll start with the roller balls (you can also use an old oils bottle for this). I think these are super convenient because you can take them anywhere with you. I always have at least one in my purse. I use the roller balls from Melaleuca, but these are also great and are high-quality, sure to last. All you do when mixing up a roller ball is add your oils and fill the rest with a carrier oil. For my allergy roller ball, I add 4 drops each of lemon, lavender, and peppermint, then I fill the rest of the bottle with coconut oil. Pop on the top and boom, there you have it! Relief in a bottle! It takes a couple of minutes and is really so easy.

The other way I use oils is diffusing. Oh, diffusing. How I love thee. Many companies, including Melaleuca, give you the option of purchasing a diffuser through them, but I’ve found that my Radha Beauty diffuser works just as well and is perfect for what I need! You can change the color of it (which would be great for a nightlight for a child) or turn the color completely off. It will do a mist every 30 seconds or a constant mist, just depending on what you want or need. The most common time that I use the diffuser at night. I add 2 drops each of lemon, lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus. I add water to the fill line, set it on the 30 second mist, and it helps keep our sinuses clear while we sleep. It’s perfect for us. On the nights I don’t use it (because sometimes you’re just so tired you can’t take 30 seconds to fill a diffuser), I can tell a difference when I wake up pretty congested.

There are so many other ways to use oils (soaps, cleaners, bracelets, necklaces, etc.), but these are the most common and the easiest to start with. Now, to what you’re really here for …

THE FREE PRINTABLES!

I’m a very organized person. I love planners, color coding, and lists. So for me, it really helps me to have these printables. Here are the three printables that I’ve created for you (and me) to use:

my diffuser blends.pngMy diffuser blends: This is a great way to keep track of the blends that you love to use in your diffuser. There are so many recipes out there, especially on Pinterest, but if you don’t pin it, you may have trouble finding it again. I like to use this sheet because I can write down the name or purpose of the oil, as well as the oils that go in it and how many drops to use. It makes life a lot easier when I go to mix a congestion blend and I don’t have to hunt Pinterest or try to remember what I did last time.

my roller bottle blends.pngMy roller ball/bottle blends: This is very similar to the diffuser blends printable, but with it, you can keep your roller ball recipes separate from your diffuser recipes. Same concept! 🙂

 

 

my inventory.pngMy inventory: This printable is invaluable! How often do we need something from the store, forget to write it down, then have to go without it until we can get back to the store? The same thing happens with oils! We order from Melaleuca once a month, so I forget something, I have to wait until the next month, which is a bummer, because of course you always need something when you don’t have it! On this page, I keep monthly track of what oils I have, how many of each oil I have, and what I need to order at the beginning of next month! The “need to order” section is also a great place to jot down oils you would like to try the next time you order.

These printables help me keep track of my oils and my recipes, and they keep my life in order. You can download any of them by simply clicking on the name of the printable and it will pull up the PDF. Feel free to print these out, share them with your friends, and get your oils organized! 🙂

Whew! What a post! Now it’s your time to talk. Do you use essential oils? If so, what’s your favorite blend? If not, have you ever wanted to?

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Smoke Alarms and Store-Bought Pizza

This post may contain affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy, click here.:)

Smoke Alarms and Store-Bought Pizza

As of the beginning of this writing, it is 10:30 AM on Monday morning and the laundry is completely finished. I am unstoppable. BRING IT ON, MONDAY!

Mondays are hard, aren’t they? Just waking up; it’s almost painful. It was for us this morning. Especially after I had a dream that my husband moved to Florida without me (RUDE). But my 24-year Monday survival rate is 100% so far, so I think I’m doing pretty good.

Let me tell you about our weekend. Friday night, we ate dinner, waited a couple of hours, then ran. (The Texas death heat forces us to run late in the evening, much to my dismay.) It was one of those runs where you literally want to die. We got home and decided to watch a movie (Bourne Legacy, so good!). All that to say, we ended up going to bed really late (we’re old souls that are in bed before 9:30 every night). So we’re laying there, and my husband had already fallen asleep. I was drifting off to sleep, when suddenly …

BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!

The smoke alarm goes off. The smoke alarm that I didn’t even know had batteries in it (yeah, I know, that’s not safe, blah blah blah). The smoke alarm that has literally NEVER made a sound for the entire TWO YEARS that I’ve lived here. Yeah, that smoke alarm.

And it wasn’t even the one little beep that it does when the battery is dying. It was the “OH MY GOSH YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE AND YOU’RE GOING TO DIE” beep.

It starts beeping, and my husband goes into attack mode. We maybe watch a little TOO much Jason Bourne, because I’m confident he could have taken down a killer at that point. We jump out of bed to see what’s happening … and nothing happens.

Seriously. It did the three quick beeps and then never made another sound. We checked the oven and stove just to be sure, and nothing was on. Nothing was on fire. Our house is still standing. Just a little heart attack on a Friday night. You know, the norm.

funny fire alarm meme:

Thankfully, after the terror of Friday night, Saturday was pretty uneventful, and Sunday came all too quickly. On Sunday mornings, I have to be at church several hours before service starts for band practice. We don’t get out until around 12:30, but I insist on us having a nice meal for Sunday lunch, so our options are Crock Pot meals (this is an excellent resource for that, by the way) or something that can be cooked in less than 30 minutes.

I had a pork tenderloin in the freezer for a few weeks now, and I finally decided I was going to make it. I got on Pinterest and found a recipe. It looked great, so I figured I’d just take about 15 minutes on Sunday morning and throw it in the Crock Pot.

Well, um, yeah. Apparently I didn’t actually LOOK at the recipe, because when I opened it up on Sunday morning, I had about 12% of what I would actually need to make that meal. Plus, the tenderloin is browned before it goes in the slow cooker, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

Wife fail.

Defeated, I told my husband that I had no idea what we were going to do for lunch. He spoke these words:

“Do I need to pick up a pizza?”

The “perfect” (hahahaha) little homemaker in me cringes at the idea of eating store-bought pizza for Sunday lunch. On top of that, we eat extremely healthy and store-bought pizza definitely does not fall into the health-conscious category.

But the other part of me really loves it, and we were out of options, so I told him yes. He went by the store after church and got a pizza AND a bag of Baked Lays, because he loves me and knows they’re my favorite.:) We ate our pizza, and you know what? It was DELICIOUS, and Sunday lunch is no worse for the wear. I’d call that a success.

We survived a smoke alarm and store-bought pizza this weekend. How was your weekend?

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Friday Faves: A Book, A Movie, and a Pasta Creation

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IT’S FRIIIIIIIDAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY! We made it, y’all. What a week. Mine included patching jeans for the first time (yikes!), an awesome photo session with our favorite senior (who happens to be my brother-in-law), planning for Vacation Bible School, and mentally preparing myself for our vacation next week (mostly just zoning out a lot)! Mountains, here we come! But first, here’s what I’m loving this week:

Boom! How about that for a quote to get your weekend started?! I’ve been reading Restless by Jennie Allen for, well, probably the past 10 months. (In my defense, I was planning a wedding for much of that, and had no time to breathe, much less read.) I picked this book back up a couple of weeks ago, and wow. To say God speaks is an understatement. It’s part book, part journal. Every chapter or two, there are questions for you to work through. It’s powerful. We were made for so much than just working our lives away. This is my favorite quote so far: “We were made to work in the mundane, but we aren’t defined by the mundane.” BOOM! (Again!) If you want a book to push you out of your comfortable little world or to help define why you desire for so much more in this life, look no further.

The Truman Show (Jim Carey,personally think it is his best part) http://www.totalfilm.com/features/30-most-righteous-movie-breakouts

My husband LOVES movies. LOVES THEM. He’s a filmmaker; I would expect nothing less. Me? I’m not really a movie a person. I’m content to watch Finding Nemo every couple of months and go on with my life. But he loves discovering new movies. For probably  a month, his brother has been raving about The Truman Show (1998). Y’all, I don’t like Jim Carrey. At all. I was EXTREMELY skeptical, to say the least. We watched it last Sunday, and I have to say that it was awesome! It’s such an interesting concept! Truman (Jim Carrey) has lived his whole life as the star of a reality show, but he has no idea. One of the most thought provoking lines from the movie is: “We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented.” It’s such a great parallel of how the devil tries to trap us in the world of sin. He makes us think that sin is the only world, but once we realize there’s something different outside of that world, we are no longer content. It is such a great movie and I highly recommend it!

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And finally, my latest creation. PASTA MAGNIFICO. (I literally just made that up.) I eat a lot of leftovers for lunch throughout the week (which I love), but sometimes I have to get creative. Here’s what we had in our fridge yesterday: spaghetti noodles (no sauce), chicken drumsticks, and fried ham. (Also like seven French fries, but they didn’t make the cut.) None of that sounded super appealing on its own, so I put on my chef hat and set to work. Trust me, y’all need to make this, so here’s what to do:

  • Toss the spaghetti noodles (or whatever pasta you have) on a plate.
  • Shred the chicken and put it on top of the noodles.
  • Shred the ham and add it to the creation.
  • Top it off with whatever cheese you’re feeling (I used Mozzarella and Parmesan the first time and Colby Jack the second).

Y’all, SO GOOD. Seriously, I just want to eat it all the time. The noodles were the perfect texture, the chicken and cheese worked great together, and then the ham just added a little extra kick to it. I’m in love, and very sad that I’m now out of these leftovers.

Those are my favorites of the week! A book, a movie, and my pasta creation! What were your favorite things that you did/ate/watched/read this week?

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“Honey, Can You Fix My Jeans?”

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Y’all, I’m good at a lot of things: cooking, photography, eating tacos. I mean, I rock them. (Humility, maybe not so much.) One thing I’m not good at: SEWING.

My grandma, who is still an incredible seamstress, taught me a basic hand stitch when I was probably about seven years old. I thought I was going to revolutionize the world of sewing (I was a big dreamer). I don’t ever recall actually sewing anything, other than a few stitches here or there, but I thought I was awesome.

Fast forward 17 years, and here I am. Married. Wifing (it’s a thing). My husband was working with a friend of ours last week and came home with a nice rip in  his jeans. Not a big hole, just an L-shaped rip on the front of the thigh. But these are his work jeans, and he likes them, so …

“Honey, can you fix my jeans?”

“Ummm … sure babe. No problem.”

Riiiiiiight.

So that was my mission this week. Fix the jeans. No biggie. I have a freakin’ Masters degree. I can fix a pair of jeans. I was determined.

And then I stalled. And stalled. And stalled. I mean, you know, it’s understandable. I had to go to the post office AND do laundry on Monday, so of course I couldn’t fix them on that day. And then Tuesday, well let me tell you about Tuesday! I had to make rolls for dinner! Then, obviously, Wednesday is church night, so I can’t fix jeans on a church day. And here we are. Thursday. I couldn’t stall any longer (I actually really hate procrastination).

So I sat down at my desk and threaded my needle. (I actually have a pretty nice sewing machine, but 1. I have no idea how to use it, and 2. I have no thread or anything for it. Hand stitch it is.) After I stared at the jeans for about 10 minutes, I flipped them inside out and started stitching. I was just about done when I decided to turn them partially right side out so I could see how the stitch looked. And …

I had stitched through the other leg of the jeans.

Of course. So I took all those stitches out, re-threaded my needle (with much enthusiam, as you can imagine), and tried again. This time, I was careful to not stitch through the other leg. I got the rip stitched up and I have to say that it looks pretty decent! I’ll probably do another stitch through it tomorrow to reinforce it (this was enough of an adventure for today), but I did it, y’all!

If you are that super awesome wife that can sew an entire wardrobe for her husband, WAY TO GO! You amaze me and you should get all of the awards. Here, have all of mine.

For those of you that struggle to get the thread through the needle, I feel ya. But we can do this. We can be awesome wives. And when we think we can’t, we can just buy our husbands a new pair of jeans (it seriously crossed my mind). 😉

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The Enemy Is Still The Enemy

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We live in an ugly world. It is full of pain, hurt, and tragedy. So let’s take a few minutes and just be honest. We’re not going to blame-shift. We’re not going to try to come up with solutions. We’re just going to discuss the real issue here.

The enemy. The devil. Satan. Stupidhead. Whatever you want to call him.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”-John 10:10

Saturday night, 50 people were killed in a mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando. That is 50 families, 50 groups of friends, and 50 sets of coworkers who are hurting deeply for their loved ones. It’s unthinkable, unimaginable, unbelievable. My mind can’t grasp a hold of 50 people laying there, dead. It’s insane.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the actual news surrounding this tragedy, so let’s bypass that and get to the question that everyone wants an answer to:

WHY?

That’s the question that always envelopes a tragedy and it’s valid. Before we get to the why, let’s look at the why not:

  • This tragedy did not happen because Barack Obama is our president.
  • This tragedy did not happen because of the sexual orientation of the victims.
  • This tragedy did not happen because the shooter was Muslim or born to Afghani parents.
  • This tragedy did not happen because of gun control issues.

So why did this tragedy occur? I have a simple answer for you:

Because we live in a world obsessed with sin.

Sin. That’s it. It’s sin. That’s why people do things like this. It’s just stupid, ugly, hell-bound sin. It’s the same sin that caused Adam & Eve to eat from the tree of life. It’s the same sin that caused Cain to kill Able. It’s the same sin that caused Moses to hit a rock instead of trust God. It’s the same sin that caused David to have an affair with Bathsheba. It’s the same sin that tempts every single one of us each and every day. That is the exact same sin that murdered 50 people Saturday night.

But thankfully, it’s the same sin of which Jesus cleansed Mary Magdelene. It’s the same sin that Jesus called out of the woman at the well. And it’s the same sin for which Jesus died on the cross.

The enemy in this tragedy is not the shooter. The enemy in this tragedy is not ISIS. The enemy in this tragedy is not Radical Islam. The enemy in this tragedy is not homosexuals. The enemy in this tragedy is not President Obama, or Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump.

The enemy is still the enemy.

He always has been. The devil is a liar. He will say anything to lead a person into sin. Like the scripture I referenced earlier in this post, he comes to KILL. Yesterday, he was successful. He got his way, once. But fear not, he will not win the war. In fact, he’s already lost.

No earthly “solution” is going to win this fight with the devil. Nothing. Not putting restrictions on Muslim immigrants. Not electing a new president. Not even defeating ISIS. That is not going to change sin or lessen the impact that the devil has on people. God, and God alone, can do that.

So can we just stop? Can we stop trying to blame anyone and everyone? Can we stop trying to come up with ridiculous reasons about why this happened? Instead, let’s fix our eyes on Christ.

Sin is sin and the devil is a liar. Those two truths are powerful. But what’s even more powerful is this:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”-John 10:10

Find hope in that. Jesus came; he conquered death and hell. Satan got his way, once, Saturday night. But victory? That belongs to God, forever.

Abbey

You Quit Your Job?? What Are You Going To Do? Won’t You Be Bored? … And 10 Million Other Questions I’ve Been Asked In the Last 5 Months

 

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I live in a town of approximately 600 people. People like to ask questions. A lot of questions. Sometimes a lot of questions that you don’t want to answer. But answer you must, or rest assured that they will find the answer. Now I love the people of my little town, don’t get me wrong. And I can’t say that I haven’t used this to my advantage. But if one person knows something, it won’t be long before someone will ask them. It’s widespread from there. All that to say, when someone asks you a question, do yourself a favor before the rumor mill starts running, and just answer it.

Let me give you some background. I’m the youngest of four, born to a coach dad and a stay-at-home mom (who had her teaching degree and stepped into that profession full-time when I started high school). I always wanted to be a teacher. Let me tell you, I taught some serious lessons to my stuffed animals growing up. Teaching was always the goal, the dream. And I met that goal, fulfilled that dream.

I moved to my little town almost 2 years ago, after graduating college with a degree in elementary education. I took a job here as the 4th/5th grade reading, writing, and social studies teacher. After a year of that, I took a couple more teaching tests and moved across the school to teach junior high and high school computer, as well as be the yearbook adviser. (By the way, people’s reactions when you tell them you teach junior high and high school … HILARIOUS.)

So here I was, living my dream. But around October, God started to emotionally remove me from teaching. That seems like a weird thing to say, but it’s the best way I can describe it. I was still committed to my job, and  I was absolutely going to finish out the year, going to teach these kiddos in the best way I could. But I wasn’t as tied to teaching anymore. It wasn’t my life goal, my dream. So what was I to do?

Be a wife.

My now-husband and I got engaged a few days before Christmas, planned our wedding for March, and by the time school started again, we knew I needed to go ahead and resign. I turned in my resignation, it was approved (school systems are weird), and I was all set. And then, the questions started.

You quit your job??

What are you going to do?

Won’t you be bored?

Are you pregnant? (NO, NO, NO TIMES A MILLION!)

When are you going to get pregnant? (I roll my eyes and walk away.)

Why would you stay at home if you don’t have kids?

Do you not think women should work?

Let’s get something straight here before we go any further. If you are a woman and you work, props to you. If you are a WIFE and you work, MORE props to you. I don’t know how you keep your house clean, because mine looked like a war zone the last 8 weeks of school, but props. If you are a MOM and you work, ULTIMATE props to you. That amazes me.

God had begun to emotionally remove me from teaching because He knew what was coming, long before my husband proposed. We decided that I would stop working and be a homemaker because that is what was best for our family. That may not be the best choice for all families, and I know that it’s not possible for some. Thankfully, it was possible for us.

My husband works hard. He provides for us. I stay at home and hold down the fort. I cook, clean, blog, run our photography business on the side, and transcribe. And you know what? I love it. This, this is what I was made for. My husband takes care of me by working hard, providing, and leading, and I take care of him by cooking, keeping the house from looking like it got hit by a tornado (most days, at least), and making sure that everything here on the home-front is taken care of.

So in response:

Yes, I quit my job. I’m going to be a homemaker and an awesome wife (so far, so good). I am absolutely not bored. There is PLENTY to do at home without children to take care of. No, I am not pregnant, and I’m rolling my eyes at anyone who thinks I will discuss when we’re having kids. If you are a woman and you choose to work, that is absolutely your right and I hope you love what you do.

This decision came through lots of praying and seeking God’s will for our lives. We did not rush into it and we did not take it lightly. Much like marriage, future children, or any other decision we make, it is only the right decision when it is initiated and blessed by God. There are days I miss teaching, but I wouldn’t wish for anything other than being a homemaker and wife to my sweet husband.

Til next time,

Abbey