Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Hopes + Dreams

Firstly, let me just say that I have NEVER been a goal setting type of person. I have literally had countless conversations with people where I've actually bashed making resolutions and goals. HA-HA.

Well, I'm still weirdly afraid of January 1st fever and the ridiculous need to make resolutions that you KNOW.. are going to be out the door come March. Even when we have the best of intentions and desire to do the best of things with our year, month, just gets busy and we either forget, move that thing down the priority list, or struggle in it and therefore give up altogether because we feel so bad that we "failed." 

That's not how I want to spend the first weeks of my year and certainly not what I want to be feeling on December 31st of 2015.

Each year brings such an opportunity for new life. New wisdom and new opportunities. So does every other day of the year, but something about starting a new year just feels like a clean and fresh slate. 

2014 threw me for a loop. I left campus ministry in a flash, had a brand new baby, and was staying home daily all alone (a very new thing for me). It started off pretty depressing to be honest. I had a lot of transitioning into this new lifestyle as a mom. But you know what happened? I was met by God in the most amazing way. In some of my biggest times of need, in the middle of the night feeding Reaghan or at the end of my rope or lonely as all get out, HE was there for me. He guided me towards some creative passions I haven't been able to explore for quite some time because I haven't had time. And He did something beautiful in that.

Now I'm on the cusp of what feels really exciting and scary. I'm stepping out into the brand new (to me) world of creative entrepreneurship and it's really kind of crazy. I daily feel like I have no clue what the heck is going on while simultaneously feeling a kick of adrenaline in my gut.  

Although goal setting still freaks me out (I may have been incredibly nauseous setting the below goals this past week) I truly deeply believe in the power of intentional living. The reality that we can live on purpose and not by accident (a Lara-ism I've come to really enjoy) and that if we sit down to think, pray and dream about making the things that matter most to us happen, that they actually CAN happen if the Lord allows. 

So, here are 10 things I'm hoping for and dreaming about in 2015. Just a little snapshot of what I hope this year will hold for me + my family. 

PS: I've used Lara Casey's PowerSheets to help me get to this list...I highly recommend them. 

Alright, this is getting long and I like short I'll come back another day and share a little deeper into each goal and what they mean to me. 

Have some goals of your own? Share a link to your blog/instagram/whatever below and I'd love to cheer you on! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Does God Even Care?

I mentioned a couple posts back that I am building a new brand focusing on my passion for helping people get into their kitchens and use it as a place to bless others. My heart and mind can't stop dreaming of all the small and big ways I can work to make this happen for people. 

I have been working with Brigette Turner on my branding and can I just say, I have been moved to tears, squeals, and nerve-induced stomach aches because of her ability to just GET ME and the heart of my brand. I cannot wait to show you some sneak peaks be sure to follow me over on Instagram for all the details. 

It has been so incredibly important that I know for sure that God cares about the stuff that my brand and business is about. I have all these dreamy thoughts that set my heart on fire, but I had a moment of uncertainty recently where I really wondered -- does God even care? Does He care about getting food on people's tables in a meaningful and joyful way? Does He concern Himself with the mom who is struggling for inspiration in the kitchen? Does He care about a simpler and more relationship-filled life? What I found in the Bible has been sooo encouraging and affirming. Here's a small snapshot:

* God is a creator, and has given me creativity as He designed me in His image (this was really important for me to understand, and root in my heart. Watch Tim Keller for more)
* He cares about inviting strangers into our homes:
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in" (Matthew 25:35)
* He cares about encouraging others (2 Cor. 7:13)
* He cares about refreshing company (Romans 15:32, 1 Cor. 16:18)
* Investing in relationships is more significant to Jesus than the preparations that go into hospitality (Luke 10:38-42)
* God intended food to be enjoyed freely, but because of the brokenness of this world, we must work hard for it. 
* Food is a provision from the Lord that brings joy (Acts 14:17)
* Food does not bring us near to God (1 Cor. 8:8)
* All of this Romans 12:9-13
* Jesus eats with the lowly and outcast (Matthew 9:9-13)
* Jesus is radically welcoming -- He cared most about the hurting, weak, children, and the sick. 
* In the end there will be a marriage supper, a feast with all God's people rejoicing around the table. 
"On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines." (Isaiah 25:6 )

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Magic and other thoughts...

Age seems to bring the realities of life with burdens and stresses that still continue on throughout the holiday season. This year in particular has felt like a straight up fight to keep the focus on Christ during this season. December has probably been the busiest month of the year for me so far, and I have a hunch it's really not supposed to be like that. This makes me want to structure my year around making next December a month of rest and reflection. Running a million miles an hour while simultaneously trying to rest and reflect? For the record, that doesn't really work very well. 

However, how sweet God is in the midst of chaos and crazy. 

The magic of Christmas truly is in the miracle of Christ's birth. There really is no amount of gifts, cups of hot chocolate, fires lit and snuggles in thick wooly quilts that can compare to the beauty and magnitude of Christ coming to the world as a baby. As I sit and show Reaghan the nativity scene in our living room, I love telling her "look, Jesus was like you!" It helps my heart relate to him so much deeper to know that he came in such a humble form to meet us right where we are. 

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:17

I'm a huge fan of traditions. I want Saturday morning traditions, and dinner time traditions and bed time traditions and holiday traditions. I'm obsessed. But this year, Reaghan is only one so it's been hard to think of traditions that we could start that would make sense for her age. Some things on the list are: reading the Christmas story from the The Jesus Storybook Bible, taking pictures with Santa, and going to look at lights. 

I love when she comes into the living room and points to the "TEE!!" (tree) with excitement! Decorating the Christmas tree has always been my absolute favorite Christmas tradition. We used to do it on my birthday every year growing up. We are definitely the family with sentimental mix matchy ornaments, so hanging them on the tree is like a fun trip down memory lane. 

For traditions that will last through the years, I have my eye on this Christmas Memories Book (which I saw on my friend Hayley's coffee table the other night). I hope to get it soon and start recording memories for this year. 

I also have my eye on this Advent Calendar for next year!

I've been following the hashtag (#mddadvent) on the Advent Calendar and getting super excited to do fun and meaningful things with Reaghan next year surrounded around Christ. 

What traditions do you plan for your family and kiddos? Have you felt the slump of Christmas as an adult and wished you could get back to the magic? 

Also! I'm linking up with some wonderful bloggers....have a blog? Join in on sharing what Christmas looks like for you. 

affiliate links used....all compensation I receive goes straight back into this blog!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My Cooking Spot // Sweet + Savory Salmon

During the winter my husband and I love to eat our fill of stews and soups. Made with homemade bone broth to keep us healthy and because a warm bowl of stew is just so comforting to eat alongside a fire on a chilly winter night. We like to mix in some lighter meals to balance it out and this week I was craving the lightness of a salad. We baked this salmon, flaked it with a fork and mixed it in with some greens, cherry tomatoes, blueberries and homemade vinaigrette. A super simple dinner that we absolutely savored.

I love that this can be prepared all in the morning (perhaps before you leave for work) and the only work required in the evening will be to pop it in the oven!

You can find the salmon portions in the seafood section at your grocery store. We have been using plain goat yogurt and loving it's tangy mild flavor, but feel free to use any kind of plain yogurt here -- Greek, full fat milk, or any other. We use coconut aminos instead of the regular soy sauce to avoid soy as much as possible and choose a healthier option. And it tastes exactly the same! I've seen it in the natural/organic section of our grocery store, or you can pick it up online. I also keep my salmon in the freezer until I'm ready to make this dish, so it doesn't go bad sitting in the refrigerator for a few days!

This recipe serves two people, but if you'd like to add more, just add one salmon fillet per person and a 1/2 cup of warm water to the marinade.

See the full recipe at My Cooking Spot today!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Living On Purpose: Doing What Matters

Hi! I promise I haven't been neglecting this little blog or you as a reader intentionally these past few weeks. If you follow Lara Casey or Emily Ley at all, you have heard the above statements in some form or fashion. These two ladies host an intensive called Making Things Happen twice a year, and dedicate their lives and businesses to spreading the message that to live on purpose means not chasing the world's definition of perfect. After years of chasing the world's version of perfect by saying "yes" to nearly every good opportunity, I am soooo down with this message, completely soaking it in and reminding myself often to slow down and focus my energy toward what matters most to me. 

Since starting this journey in June, I have met some of the most amazing women and bloggers. I attended the Influence Conference which was nothing short of life changing. I have grown so much in just 6 short months. At the same time, typing that seems CRAZY to me, I cannot believe I've been blogging for six.whole.months. And from the person that thought it was so weird to blog. I started this to share recipes with women and hopefully bless some people. I think that's happened and I couldn't be more thankful. 

Since the Influence Conference I've really been praying and asking myself where this blog should go. I haven't been sure how God wanted to use my online influence. Recently I've gained so much clarity and am getting more and more excited about it every day. 

Over the last month my mind has been a spitfire of idea after idea, all surrounding around the burden to help women get into their kitchens with less fuss and more joy, blessing others and deepening relationships in the process. 

So, I'm trading in a constant schedule of blogging for a a few incredible things that will allow the above statement to happen. As I have thought long and hard about these things, prayed, processed and sat in the silence, God has placed an incredible burden and excitement on my heart for a small business. It's what I'm focusing a lot of my daughter's nap-hours on these days, which means this blog is getting a little less attention. 

I want to build something very intentional with this online space and use it to crazy bless lots and lots of women. I'm trading in something good for something so much greater, and it feels really good. 

If I have time and feel passionate about sharing something, I will definitely be here sharing it. But for now, many of my recipes are going into a product I feel will bless and serve many women. In addition, I'm learning my way around the crazy world of starting a small business, so ANY insight out there would be much appreciated :) 

Is there something in your life that you know you need to be more intentional with? Share with me and let's keep each other accountable to making the things that matter happen. xx