valentine’s day (…and what i’d tell my 21 yr old self if i could go back)

valentine’s day is my favorite holiday.

i give no apologies for that fact. i am cheesily in love with everything cheesy about it. i love the heart décor, the heart shaped pancakes or sandwiches, the chocolate… ahh yes, the chocolate.

i love the romantic part of it… exchanging gifts with my husband and making an entire day about hearts. sure, we celebrate “love” but the holiday seems to focus on material love. ya know, the gifts, the food, the dates… it’s actually pretty superficial. that’s not real love.

as we mommas have learned, becoming an adult brings many lessons. one big one is love. love is not romance and getting carried away with another person. it is not the fluttering of your heart or wanting to be with someone every second of every day.

true love…the love that matters, the love that lasts… is not a feeling.

don’t get me wrong… again, i love valentine’s day… it is my favorite.

but we cannot get it confused with true love. as a young bride, if my husband didn’t live up to my ever-exceeding expectations of the romantic day i thought he should plan, i felt like he didn’t love me. it sounds so extremely silly to me now, but that is truly how i felt. poor guy!! the pressure he must’ve felt on that day. he probably dreaded it for the entire year leading up to it. who could possibly live up to that?! and then young girls wonder why they can’t find the “perfect guy”. oh my…

HE DOES NOT EXSIST. i mean, c’mon… sweetheart, we aren’t perfect either. if you’re anything like me, an early morning before my coffee is grounds for my over-the-top “unperfectness” (spell check just loves my invention of new words! ha!)

true love is so many things. if you want answers, just open your Bible. the Word of God has so much to say on this very topic. however, in a marriage relationship, here are a few things i have learned (and am still learning) love looks like.

love takes the garbage out.

love goes upstairs in the night when the baby cries so your spouse can sleep.

love makes coffee each and every morning (even though he doesn’t drink it)

love makes lunch for the other when they are running late for work.

love prays for the other, even though our own day is the “worst day ever”.

love does dishes.

love gives a hug or a listening ear.

love forgives. and forgives again. and forgives. did i mention it forgives?

love doesn’t take things personally.

love tries to look at situations from the other perspective.

love listens to hear…not just to respond.

love is worth sacrifice.

love is a gift.

 

what can you add to this list?

oh and….

  HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

 

 

 

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what is your word?

i have heard so many people doing away with resolutions this year. and i don’t blame them. how many times do we set ourselves up for failure by making our inspirational, and often unattainable, lists.

each new year, i try to look back over the previous year and evaluate how i did with my resolutions. and guess what… most of the time, i cannot even recall what i resolved to do, change or improve. please tell me i’m not alone. because if i am, then my new resolve will be to remember my resolutions. and my #2 will be to not quit my day job to become a comedian…. because, well, you know, that wasn’t funny. get it? no? yeah… moving on…

in place of resolutions, some of my friends have been coming up with a word for the new year. just one word. fantastic! i can remember one word. maybe.

i decided to think about doing this and i felt like there was much value in this idea. so i prayed and thought for a while…weeks even. one word was consistently returning to my heart.

it speaks life to my soul. it teaches me and reminds me. it comforts me. it convicts me. it strengthens me. it’s what i didn’t deserve. it’s what i want to give. i want to show this… to myself and others. it calms me. it brings clarity.

one word. one word taken from THE Word. something that my Jesus emulated so well.

grace.

what is your word?

Mary’s Example

she was young and vulnerable. she loved God with all her heart. but most importantly, she was chosen.

chosen. hand-picked by God.

it’s hard for me to imagine or put myself in her place. she was likely 16 or so. while that age at that time doesn’t resemble that age now, i still have a tough time wrapping my head around what it must’ve felt like for her.

if it were me, i’d be a basket case. no, really, i’m sure that’s why God chose Mary to carry His SON. but i still can’t help but feel like she struggled with emotions that we’d struggle with, had WE been chosen. fear, loneliness, nervous, doubt, confusion… yet also, excitement, wonder, peace…

but God knew she could handle it. not because she was perfect, but because she trusted Him to give her what she needed, when she needed it.

do we do that?

or do we tend to feel called to something, only to dismiss it thinking we are incapable, unworthy, or inexperienced? Mary could’ve easily had that response.

but she didn’t.

in this world, we long for people to look up to… ones that can be an example of what a “Christ-like” woman looks like…here is one we can look to.

when God asks something of us that may seem to be a challenge, we can recall this story and know that He has bigger plans to glorify Himself through the calling… and He knows that we are able…through Him.. to do it. we just need to only trust Him.

i’m sitting here thinking of the times i missed His calling all because i didn’t feel capable. really?! yikes. my desire is to honor God and do what He wants me to do, yet, when that actually happens, do i trust in myself (or lack thereof) and decide not to do it? usually.

how sad. because… all i needed to do was trust in Him.

if He calls us to it, He will carry us through it.

 

holiday bake hop – christmas morning quiche

it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

i could write about all the reasons why that statement rings true.

or i could just show you… and by that, i mean with a mouth-watering photo of the yummiest breakfast ever (and a super sweet surprise at the end, so read on)…

or maybe it just seems that way because we eat it while relaxing around the Christmas tree, holiday music softly playing from Pandora and watching our daughters open their gifts.

as i thought about uploading the photo, i decided that i’d also share the recipe. you know, just in case you’d like to recreate the beautiful morning i described.

oh, and did i mention that  you can make this ahead of time? throw in the coffee pot that has a timer and your Christmas morning just got better…no hassle or baking! and may i suggest cute Christmassy (yes, that IS a word… maybe…) paper plates as well? because, really, who wants to do dishes on Christmas?!

quicheChristmas Morning Quiche

*1 prepared pie crust (didn’t i tell you it was super easy?!)

*10 eggs

*1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

*1/2 cup shredded motzerella cheese

*1 Tbsp minced onion

*4 oz chopped deli ham

*salt & pepper to taste

*unroll one pack of the prepared pie dough (or double the batch and make two since you already have the dough) and place it in pie plate, crimping sides, if desired. or you can just wing it and call it a “rustic” look like i do. no one will judge…and if they do, they will apologize profusely after digging in. i promise. in a bowl, crack eggs and wisk in onion, salt and pepper. mix in cheese and ham. pour into pie crust. bake 375 F for 25-30 min. Let cool and serve!

i make this Christmas Eve and after it’s cool, i stick it in the fridge (if we can keep from eating some…. it smells heavenly!) until morning… then i just slice it and reheat it in the microwave in the morning. usually, we take a bite, open a gift…take a bite, give a gift… and so on.

i assure you, it will make your Christmas morning less stressful! and it is embarrassingly easy! but…shhh… it’ll be our little secret, okay? okay.

but, wait!! there’s more… (I’ve always wanted to say that, by the way)

SURPRISE!! if you click on the gorgeous Holiday Bake Hop graphic below, it will take you to many more scrumptious Christmas recipes…all in one blessed place. clearly, a few of us bloggers have made this Christmas season a more joyous one for you… right? right.

ready, set… click!

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oh… and…

you’re welcome.

 

fall family fun

i love traditions.

they are heart-warming and fun… and full of… well…memories.

this year wasn’t any different.

each year i host a “fall family fun day” for my side of the family. it’s just a fun time for us to get together, eat, laugh and make memories. it has become a Halloween alternative for my family, so we make sure the candy is flowing. and that’s always fun. ya know, pump the kids full of sugar and hope the weather is nice so they can go outside to burn it all off before bedtime.

now that they kiddos are getting older, i think the adults eat more of the sugar (except what i hide in the cupboards… don’t judge).

i try to make the food fun as well. some years are simple and some I’ve gone all out. this year was fun to put together, so i thought i would share some snapshots.

fall fam fun 2.jpg

i chose a “chili bar” theme for the main meal… (chili, corn bread, baked potatoes, hot dogs and the extras that go with it). it was easy and could be made/purchased ahead of time.

fall fam fun 1.jpg

of course, the veggie dip had to go in a pumpkin. i saw it on pinterest… oh, it was a blast getting the dip container IN that pumpkin. my poor husband. he must love me… that’s all i will say about that. oh, and we don’t typically put candles in the brownies… clearly, we celebrated my daughter’s birthday as well on this particular day.

so while these parties take time and effort, the memories that come along with it are priceless. it was fun to find ideas, and my mom and sister graciously brought some of the yumminess to contribute. we ended the day with a huge bonfire outside… and hot chocolate. ahh autumn was in the air. totally worth it.

next year i think we’ll let the kids plan it…. hooray!

umm… maybe.