Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Happy Tuesday friends!  One of my passions is cooking, and I an always trying to find ways of making yummy dishes a little healthier. Today I am going to share a really yummy recipe with you all!

 Homemade Baked Chicken Nuggets

 Ingredients:

(2 large) skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into even bit sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tsp olive oil
5 tbsp whole wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
3 tbsp panko
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
olive oil spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°.
Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray
In one bowl, combine panko, breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese.



In a separate bowl, put the olive oil.
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces-think Chic-Fila nugget size!
Dip a couple chicken pieces into the olive oil, and then into the breadcrumb mixture.



Then place on baking sheet.
Finally, briefly mist the nuggets with olive oil spray.
They're ready to bake now! Bake for 8-10 minutes, then turn over, and cook another 4-5 minutes!







 We love to add a baked sweet potato or sweet potato fries as a side, but you can also do a salad or some mixed veggies.

Original recipe adapted from www.skinnytaste.com

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Life Strategy 1: How to Get Out of that Funk

Have you ever felt sad or angry for no reason? Have you ever been blue, but couldn't quite figure out why? I have. Its something that sometimes is embarrassing to admit that our lives aren't as perfect as we make them out to be on social media, but I just want to be real here.

I believe happiness is an attitude. I believe being grateful is the simplest way to be content. I believe that comparison of joy. I believe that Jesus is THE source of true joy.

I believe all that, and have to tell you that I still have days, weeks, sometimes that I am in a funk. Jen Hatmaker called them doldrums on her blog, which is just a fitting word. I don't always have a reason for feeling down, blue, grumpy, or discontent with my life, but it sneaks up on me and all of a sudden, I don't want to do anything else but lay on my couch and watch Grey's Anatomy reruns every night.

All the things that help me get out of these funks, I don't feel like doing. Eating healthy food always makes me feel better, physically and also emotionally, but when I'm in one of my ruts, instead I chose processed food, full of sugar and carbs. I'm also not the tidiest person out there, but I absolutely hate things out of their place, I hate clutter, and feel bad about my self and my life when my apartment is a mess. But when I am in a funk, the last thing I feel like doing is getting up off my couch and cleaning. It takes work to dig your way out of a funk, you know? Work you just don't feel like doing.



Its okay to have days where you're down, its okay to not be 100% happy, cheerful, and bubbly all the time. Sometimes, life is plain hard. Sometimes my joints ache to the point it is painful to walk. Sometimes, work is so stressful I can't think straight after work. Sometimes, you get in a fight with someone close to you, or someone hurts you by the sins the commit against you. Its okay to feel how you feel. The bible doesn't tell us not to be angry, but it does tell us not to sin in our anger.

Something that I've been reminded of on this Overcome the Lie Challenge is that my feelings don't rule me. They are real, and they matter, but they don't dictate my life. Overcoming negative thoughts and emotions is a process, but I've found at least one tactic to fighting the lies that our emotions are capable of telling us.

For me personally, I have made a list of things that make me feel healthy. Physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And when something sends me into one of those funks, my action plan is this: do one thing off this list a day. Start choosing the things that bring me joy and peace.


-praying
-eating healthy
-journaling
-reading a good book
-a clean apartment
-exercising
-getting outside in nature
-having a cup of coffee with a good friend
-encouraging someone close to me
-going on a date with my sweet boyfriend

I realize that no one of these things are going to suddenly change my outlook on life or take my mood from down and depressed to happy and joyful, but its a start. One small thing at a time. Together, these things will help me climb out of those dark moments, days, weeks.

Whats on your list of things that make you feel healthy? How do you get out of a rut?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Spring,
I'm so glad you're finally here! The sunshine you bring makes  me a happier person to be around. I can't wait for all the fun outdoor adventures to come, like hiking, camping, and bike riding. 



Dear accounting final,
Please be nice to me. I am sorry I haven't studied like I should. As soon as I am done with this blog post, I promise to hit the books.


Dear my sweet talented hair dresser,
Thanks for sprucing up my locks this morning, I feel like a new woman!


Dear boyfriend
I love and respect you so much. Thanks for always pointing me back to Christ. Your honesty, encouragement and love is more than I could ever ask for. Thanks for doing life with me. You're my best friend.

Dear RA Medicine, Enbrel,
Thanks for making me feel about 1000 times better, I really am glad. But if you could stop causing huge injection site reactions the size of golf balls, I'd love you even more.


Dear coconut chai lattes,
I love you. That is all.

Happy Friday, Friends! Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why you need to be in a book club

I am really going to study for my accounting final...I promise.
But first, after threats from my dear friend Karissa about posting these pictures from the other night,
I decided I needed to take a minute to brag on my really awesome book club.
We are reading Beautiful Battlefields by Bo Stern.
Its a great book, really. Changed my life, and my view on trials in our lives, and how God makes those seasons beautiful in His time.

But, I am going to confess something. 
We haven't talked about our book in weeks. 
We have great intentions, but instead, we do other really fun things.
Sometimes, we have "themed book clubs".
One week, for instance was Mexico Night .
Katie wore a sombrero, I made margaritas and tacos,
and Stacey made guacamole. 
Other nights, we get pedicures and drink wine out of paper cups.
Sometimes, we go out to dinner and talk about life.


What started as book club has morphed into an absolutely
vital, cannot miss weekly event where I get to spend time with some of the best girlfriends ever,
and we laugh, talk, pray for each other, and spend time together.
Are you in a book club? Do you read the book?
Or is it an excuse to just spend time with some of your best friends?
When life gets crazy, its hard to find time to get everyone together regularly.
Thats why you need a book club!


 PS: Sometimes we try to make each other Pin-famous and take pictures of each other's cute outfits.
Sometimes, we realize we were never meant to be fashion bloggers, but we still dream big.



Lately...

I've had such a crazy week already, and its only Wednesday!!

Here's what I've been up to lately...
1. Coffee dates with this guy. Seriously, drinking coffee and talking about life with him is easily my favorite thing to do.




2. Winery Tours on a Saturday afternoon
Because whats better then touring a beautiful vineyard with your best friend and a free glass of wine?

3. Getting healthy...or trying. I've been tracking my food everyday, and have gone and worked out twice this week. I used to run daily, but when I got diagnosed with RA, I had to take a break and I am finally feeling well enough again to start working out, and hopefully run. I am physically able to workout now, but mentally, coming back from a LONG break is hard.

Oops, excuse my language ;)
4. Helping my friend Stacey plan her wedding. We picked up these bridesmaid dresses at Dillards for $45! A steal, I say! I can't wait to stand next to her as she marries the man of her dreams.


What I should be doing, but am not:
Studying for my accounting final this week! I'm going to start tonight, I promise!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

100 Questions


I stumbled upon Love the Grows: 100 questions to ask before you get married a few days ago while browsing Pinterest, and as I was reading through some of the questions, I realized that although I feel like I know Ronnie very well, I didn't know how he would answer some of these questions. Some of the questions seemed like they would be uncomfortable to ask and answer, and I realized that those were the questions that we probably needed to talk about the most! 

Last night we started going through this list, picking out questions that seemed interesting, or that we geniunely didn't know about the other person. We are going to ask each other a few questions a night until we finish the list. I think that these are important to talk about openly and honestly. Communication isn't one of my biggest strengths, and its something I have been and want to continue to work on, so I am excited about these questions and their potential to inspire great conversations. 

These questions were adapted from a book, Don't You Dare Get Married Until You Read This by Corey Donaldson. Maybe once we finish this book, we will order that book.

I recommend these questions for couples who are seriously dating with the intent to marry, engaged couples, and even married couples! 

Sex/Romance/Love
If we eliminated physical attraction from our relationship, what would be left?
What is the best way for me to show that I love you?
If I put on weight, will it affect our sexual relationship? How?
Is it important for you to know that I'm a virgin? Why or why not?
What do I do that causes you to question my love?
What turns you off sexually?

How would our relationship be affected if for medical reasons we could not have children?
Do you think being in love means: (1) Never having to say you're sorry, (2) Always having to say you're sorry, (3) Knowing when to say you're sorry, or (4) Being the first to say I'm sorry?


The Past

Which childhood experiences influence your behavior and attitude the most?
Could any feelings of affection and romance be revived if you met a previous boyfriend/girlfriend even though you feel strongly committed to me?
Is there anything in your past I should be aware of?
What did you dislike the most about your previous partners?
If your past boyfriends/girlfriends listed your most negative characteristics, what would they be?
Do you keep letters and memorabilia from past relationships? Why or why not?
Are you comfortable continuing this relationship if there are things in my past that I am not willing to share with you?
Have you ever been involved in any criminal activities? What were they?
Did your mother or father abuse each other or you in any way- sexually, emotionally, or physically?
Have you ever been able to overcome a bad habit? What was it?
Have you ever been violent in past relationships?

What are your views on pornography?
Have you ever, or do you now strugglie with pornography?

Trust

Have there been times when you were uncomfortable with the way I behaved with the opposite sex? If so, when and what did I do?
What do I do now or what could I do in the future that would make you mistrust me?
Would you be comfortable transferring all your money into my bank account?
Who comes first, your spouse or your children?
Is trust automatic until something occurs that takes it away, or does it evolve over time?
Do you trust me with money?
Is it permissible for us to open each other's mail?


The Future

How are we different? Could this be a source of future conflict? Do our differences complement each other?
Do you anticipate maintaining your single lifestyle after we are married? That is, will you spend just as much time with your friends, family and work colleagues? Why or why not?
How did your family resolve conflicts when you were growing up? Do you approve or disapprove of that method? what will you change or not change to resolve conflicts in your future family?
Is there anything about marriage that frightens you?
Would you prefer to live in the city, the country, or by the beach? Why?
If I wanted to move away from our families for work, would you support me?
How would it affect you if I travel on my own frequently to (1) visit family, (2) earn income, (3) pursue a hobby, or (4) deal with stress?
Suppose we are experiencing trouble in our marriage. In what order will you seek help from the following to resolve our conflicts: (1) divorce lawyer, (2) your parents, (3) a brother or sister (4) a marriage counselor, (5) me, (6) a church leader? Why?
How will you support my hobbies?
How do you feel about having our parents come to live with us if the need arises?
Is there anything you would regret not being able to do or accomplish if you married me?
How will we schedule holidays with our families?


Children

Do you want children?
If we are unable to have children, should we adopt?
Do you anticipate raising our children (1) the same way you were raised (2) completely differently from the way you were raised (3) a mixture of both?
How long would you like to wait before having children?
Other than formal schooling, what types of education will our children get and how will they receive them?
When we have children, who will change the diapers, heat the bottles, prepare the meals, do the housework, bathe the child, get up in the middle of the night when a child is crying, take the child to the doctor, buy clothing, and dress the child?
What types of discipline would you implement to correct a child's or a teenager's behavior? Were these practices you experiences or are they new ones you have developed on your own?


Annoyances

If I had bad breath or body odor or wear dirty clothes, will you tell me? Should I tell you? Why or why not? How should we do it?
What is nagging? Do I nag? How does it make you feel?
DO you approve without reservation of the way I dress?
What does my family do that annoys you?
Would it bother you if I made body noises all the time, like passing gas or burping?
Is there anything you do in your line of work that I would disapprove of or that would hurt me?
Do you believe that you should stick with a marriage if you are unhappy all the time?
When do you need space away from me?


Communication

Whenever we have difficult feelings about each other, should we (1) remain silent, (2) say something as soon as the difficult feelings arise, (3) wait a certain amount of time before raising the issue, or (4) do something else? If so, what?
If you always say you are going to do something but never do it, what is the most effective way to bring this problem to your attention?
What did you admire about the way your mother and father treated each other?
What is the best way for me to communicate difficult feelings about you so that you are not offended?
Who should know bout the arguments we have?
What makes you not want to talk to me?
Do you feel you could communicate with me under any circumstance and about any subject?


Finance

What justifies going into debt?
What are all your current personal debts?
Do you feel stress when facing financial problems? How do you deal with that stress?
How often do you use credit cards, and what do you buy with them?
How should we prepare for a financial emergency?
Do you feel that lack of money is a good reason not to have children?
When our child is born, will he or she go to daycare or will one of us stay home to take care of the child? Who will it be?
Will we have a budget?
Who will pay the bills?
How do you feel about helping me pay my debts?
What are your feelings about saving money?
Do you prefer separate bank accounts or assets in different names? Why?


Miscellaneous

How would you rank all the priorities in your life: work, school, family, spouse, friends, hobbies, and chuch? Does your ranking reflect the amount of time you spend on each?
Are you closer to your mother or father? Why?
Do you prefer a set daily work schedule or flexible work activities and timetables?
What do you fear?
What influence, if any, do you believe my family should have on our relationship?
Do you believe that our parents should know our financial condition, whether good or bad, just because they want to? How far should this go?
How would you react if our son or daughter told us they were gay?
Do you harbor any racial prejudice?
How do you feel about having guns in our home?
Is there anyone close to you who feels we should not get married? Why? Should we discuss this?
What health problems do you have?
Have you ever had any psychological problems?
When you are in a bad mood, how should I deal with it?
Do you like pets?


Friday, April 19, 2013

Finally, Friday!

What a week it has been!!

I started the 40 day challenge with Overcome the Lie and so far, I have loved it. The challenges have mostly been to just spend some time with God and connect with him. I confess that often, I let worldly things get in my way of time with Him, so this past week, I've been very intentional about my time in the word as well as in prayer! It's been great.

On Tuesday, I asked God how much He loved me and he gave me this verse: "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.“So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows." -Matthew 10:29-31

I've read that verse countless times, and have always loved it but being reminded that God says that I am valuable, I am priceless, I am loved, I am precious, I am important, despite all my sin and failures was incredibly powerful.
Also on Tuesday, one of my best girlfriends got ENGAGED.


The best part is that myself, and 3 other of our friends all got to be a part of her engagement. We tricked her into going and getting pedicures and going to "Paint and Sip" for our friend Karissa's (She's a doll, check out her blog here) birthday, but really instead of Paint and Sip, we dropped her off at a lake where she followed a trail of flowers to meet her man. He was a total gem and even planned a photographer to capture these sweet moments, and then we all go to give our friend a hug afterwards. SO GREAT!

Speaking of proposals, we are having a wedding planning date this afternoon, and I am really excited!!

On Wednesday night at youth group my youth girls poured out their hearts about how their fathers have affected their relationship with God, both good and bad. A year ago I had a group of reserved and anxious girls, who didn't want to share anything deeper than the weather or their upcoming test at school. This week was really special, and we prayed over our girls that no matter the relationship they have with their dad, that they will feel their Heavenly Father's love and grace. That they will start to see him as their perfect father, the one who will never fail them, give up on them, or abandon them. Powerful stuff!


I'm wrapping up my last week in my accounting class, and I really need to get on that studying for my final thing. I am getting my masters in Human Resources, and I have to say I struggle with the math parts of the requirements, and after accounting, I am DONE with all things statistics, accounting, and math.

Have a blessed weekend, friends.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Overcome the Lie

Recently I stumbled across the Overcome the Lie 40 Day Challenge.

I would encourage you to check it out, it begins tomorrow and I know that God is going to use this to move in my life as well as the other ladies participating.

As I quickly signed myself up for the challenge, I started to think about lies. Lies that I have believed, and lies that I still believe. Lies that hinder my relationship with Jesus, lies that threaten to damage my self-worth, lies that build walls between my loving boyfriend and I.

Some of the lies that I have believed include:

The lie that I am not good enough, not good enough for God, not smart enough, not funny enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough. Not loving enough, not domestic enough, not a fast enough runner. It goes on an on. But I don't have to be enough. Jesus is enough. In the broken world we live in, our hearts will never be truly satisfied with what the world can give us. We weren't made for this world. Jesus is the only thing that can satisfy my longing for more.

I've believed the lie that God is mad at me. That lie separated myself from God for years. I believed that I wasn't worthy of forgiveness. Although I grew up going to church and hearing truth, it wasn't until I was 22 that I learned that God was a God of grace, and forgiveness. Learning the truth, that Jesus died for my sins on the cross, that I was forgiven, restored, redeemed, and loved set me free and changed my life. 
Although I've learned that God loves me, flaws and all, that his love is perfect even when I am imperfect, I still struggle with being controlled by fear and lies. I am praying that the next 40 days, I learn just a little more about the God that loves me. I pray that I carve out more time for Him, that I stay close to his loving voice, that I trust him a little more. I pray that if you feel led, you sign up for this challenge and make room for Jesus to work in your life too. I pray that you can recognize the lies you're believing, and by the power of Jesus, you overcome those and live fearlessly in truth and love.




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How being sick changes your life

When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, my life changed.

The disease affects my joints, and sometimes, I feel like it has taken so much away from me. But by the grace of God, I've been feeling SO much better over the past few weeks, I feel like I am taking my life back, little by little.

My body doesn't ache like it did six weeks ago. I am completely off of steroids, which was a goal of mine this year: To manage my RA without Steroids.

 Getting dressed isn't painful, I don't wake up in the middle of the night hurting. My hands don't hurt, cooking isn't challenging anymore, and I can open jars again without assitance. I've even went out for a couple of runs, which were more walking than running, and my knees still aren't 100%, but its a big change from when just getting out of bed caused me pain and running was absolutely out of the question. I literally can't thank God enough for blessing me with sweet relief from the constant pain I've felt since October.

God has also blessed me with a job that provides excellent insurance that allows me to get the best care from the best doctors in Idaho for my RA. I've recently been put on a medication that without insurance costs 6,000 a month. This medicine has literally changed my life. I feel like a new person. My mom said the other day "You're finally smiling again." The medicine I am on is Enbrel, which I take in combination with Methotrexate. I have to give myself injections once a week, which isn't fun, but its something, with the help of my sweet boyfriend I've been able to overcome the anxiety and look at it as something that is good and helpful for my well being.
My weekly injections


I expected my life to change when I was diagnosed. What I didn't expect was for having a chronic illness to affect my career in the ways it has. My boss has been more than accomodating when I need to take off early, come in late, or leave in the middle of the day for doctors appointments. But today was supposed to be my last day at my company, but instead, its not.

I went to my new job on Monday and had a bad feeling. I didn't feel comfortable there, and felt extremely anxious. From the day  I was offered the new position, I kept waiting to feel the peace of God about leaving, and starting at a new company. I chalked up not feeling peace about it to the fact I was nervous. But when I arrived at the new company, I felt very uncofortable and anxious. As I tried to get settled in my new office, my new position, my new role, I read through the insurance coverage policy and my eyes instantly saw the words: preexisting condition.

As I read closer, it all boiled down to this: The insurace doesn't cover pre-existing conditions.

And that was that. All my fear, and anxiety and dread about leaving was justified in my mind. This is why peace about the situation was absent. I spoke to my bosses, who graciously let me "take back" my two week notice, and I spoke to the company and told them that I didn't feel like it was the right move for me, personally or professionally.

This experience has been humbling for me. To go back to my bosses and say "Wait, I changed my mind, I don't want to leave." This experience has made me so grateful for the job and insurance I already have, and the exceptional medical care I recieve because of it. It has made me grateful for gracious and forgiving employers and coworkers. It has made me somewhat anxious for my future, wondering if there will be a place for me when the plant I work in closes and the new one opens.

 But I trust God and I have seeen how he had his hand in this situation, and I know He will take care of me in the future as he is now. He is faithful.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Last Monday

Today is my last Monday at my current job!

I am a big ball of emotions about it though.
I am really excited, but really nervous too.
I am ready to close this chapter of my life, but also going to miss a few of my coworkers.

In honor of this last Monday, my co-worker Ju-Ju (Her real name is Julie, but I've renamed her, she loves it, trust me) has snapped a few photos.
Mostly you will see my way too small desk, my really attractive uniforms,
and my next door neighbor, the smelly refridgerator and microwave.


Also on my desk:
Iced Lemon Water
Coffee in my precious coffe tumbler my cute boyfriend gave me
Fruit
A pink pen
My ipod speakers so I can replay Kip Moore's CD over and over and over until Ju-Ju begs me for relief

This weekend, the boyfriend had all four of his wisdom teeth removed and he spent most of all of the weekend sleeping and lounging on my couch. Being the good caretaker I am, I mostly lounged too. You know, to keep him company.

I did manage to do some laundry, and washed a LOT of bowls because of the amount of liquid food he consumed. On top of that, I got really crafty and made these really cute glitter mason jars for my new desk at work.

I am going to put pens and highlighters in them (I LOVE HIGHLIGHTERS)
But what else should I put in them?
Paperclips? Binder clips? The possibilities are endless.

I also printed this sweet little printable to hang in my office.

This new job is a fresh start for me.
An office full of people who may or may not know the love of Christ.
And the one thing I want to do is share God's love with them.
I want to be the light of Christ to my new co-workers and patients by the way I treat them, the words that come out of my mouth, by my actions.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness"- Galatians 5:22

Instead of thinking of all the ways I've failed to display gentleness, and patience and kindness
at my old job, I can decide today to display these to not only my new co-workers,
but my family, my friends, my boyfriend, and everyone else I come into contact with.

Its a new start, a new beginning.
Thankful that God's mercies are new every morning.



Friday, April 5, 2013

That Time I Blew Up Kip Moore's Twitter Feed

Let me start off by saying that I don't know if I have ever won anything before!
I've never won a contest on the radio, I've never won a raffle drawing, I've never won a race.
I'm not one of those lucky people that win cool prizes!

But when my girlfriends and I found out Kip Moore's concert was sold out before we could buy tickets, there was only one logical solution.

Start blowing up his twitter feed every day a week before his concert until he pittied us enough and gave us tickets. So , blow up his twitter feed we did. He even tweeted me back one day and told us we should've been on the ball quicker and bought our tickets before they sold out, but on the day of the concert, he'd tweet a chance to win tickets.

We continued tweeting to him on a daily basis, and the day of the concert, here is what my twitter looked like:
And then, it happened. After two hours of keeping my eyes on twitter, and not doing one bit of work whatsoever, he tweeted "The first fans to tweet the second verse to backseat win tickets to tonights show"
I couldn't breathe, couldn't type, my heart started racing as I text my friend "Kip. NOW."
I looked up the song, but it was a brand new song, with no lyrics online.
So naturally, I found this shanty little youtube video a fan took at one of his concerts,
and played it as loud as it could go in my office about 20 times
until I could make out the lyrics.

After 4 hours of tortue, he announced the winners....
Me, one of my friends Stacey, and some other lucky girl.

Not only did we win tickets, but we also won these sweet little things...
MEET AND GREETS
Not only did we win FOUR TICKETS to this sold out concerts,
we get to MEET him?!!!

So me and three of my best friends got all dressed up for our boyfriend Kip,
and proceeded to the VIP entrance.
We parked ourselves up front next to the stage, and waited til 9:00 PM til we got to meet him.



This is about the time where Kip asked me my name, and I told him,
and he said "OH Brittany Cooper, the one who has been blowing up my twitter feed all week?"
YEP. He told me he loved the tweets, and also that he loved my dress.

So, that was the highlight of my 25 years on this earth.
YEP.



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I have a confession

My boyfriend and I haven't kissed.


We've been dating since August 2012, and are waiting til our wedding day to share our first kiss.

Whenever someone learns this little tidbit of information about us, their eyes get really big,
and they try to hide their disapproval by saying something along the lines of
"That's really sweet/cool/interesting."

Neither of us are perfectly pure Christians who have never kissed a member of the opposite sex.
Neither of us have a perfect dating history in which we protected or old boyfriends/girlfriends
hearts and purity like we should've.
Neither of us believeing kissing is bad, or that every couple should abstain from it before marriage.
But for us, it is the right choice.

The thing is, both of us have experienced where kissing leads to.
Both of us have made decisions we wished we hadn't,
and we've both dealt with the sting of regret.
We've fallen to the temptation of sin in our lives and in past relationships.
Kissing isn't the sin in itself, its just the on-ramp to sin.
For me personally, stopping at just kissing my boyfriend would probably be next to impossible.
We don't even want to open the door to sexual sin, and strive to protect the purity of our relationship.

And from the first day, we decided we didn't want to go down that road again.
We wanted this relationship to be different.
A relationship that honors God more above all us.
We hope to be a light to those around us, a message of hope and restoration.
A testimony to the grace of God to the students we mentor, and our friends in relationships, and our family members that don't know Christ.

It never is too late to say "This isn't how I want my story to end."
You cant out sin the mercy of God.
Just because you kissed one, or one hundred boys , or lost your viginity along the way,
it isn't too late for you and your relationship with Jesus, and your future husband.

"But God shows His love for us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
-Romans 5:8
Christ died for us, so we could live. He died, and so we should die to our sins.
We should confess our sins to Him, and recieve his forgiveness.
Our God is one of nothing but love, and grace.
Once I realized one simple truth about God's character, my life changed:
"God isn't mad at you."
He isn't mad at me for all the ways I've failed him,
and all the ways I still fail him each day.
He wrote out the story of my life before I was even born, and knew every struggle I was going to face,
every time I would fall to the temptation of sin, and every time I would turn from him to go my own way.
And yet, He still sent his son to die for me, so I could live.
Waiting for anything, really, is difficult.
But I believe the longer the wait, the sweeter the kiss.
Sometimes, a lot of the time, not kissing is hard.
We struggle, but we know, that one day we will get to share our first kiss and husband and wife,
and as for now, we will get to share the message of two sinners, saved by the grace of God
who desire to honor Him and serve Him every day.
"Its beautiful. Not because its about your story or mine, but because it's about Gods."

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Weekend and a Winner!

After a lovely Easter weekend, coming back to work was especially difficult this morning.

Good Friday

Like I mentioned in my last post, Friday was not only Good Friday, but it was also my boyfriends birthday! We celbrated by going out to eat with some of our best friends at Red Robin. The waiters and waitresses sang to Ronnie and totally embarressed him, and Steph and Jordan's baby totally thought everyone was clapping and singing to her. So presh.

Birthday boy opening his present

Birthday Lunch at Red Robin



In the evening, Ronnie played guitar at our church's Good Friday Service. I went to it with a sweet friend, and we just spend some time in prayer and worhsip, asking God to reveal to us sins in our lives we needed to literally, nail to the cross. It was such an incredible experience to be able to write out that sin in our life, confess it, and ask for forgiveness, and then use a real hammer and nails to nail it to the cross. How thankful am I for His grace and mercy.

Saturday

I had the most productive day on Saturday! I spent the morning doing homework at a coffee shop. I am working on my masters in HR, and am currently in accounting. It might as well be in greek to me, because its pretty difficult for me to understand, but luckily, I have a friend from church who happens to be an accountant, and willing to help.


Saturday morning at the coffee shop
 After homework time, I spent the rest of the day cleaning and organizing. First, I got my car washed and the inside vaccumed and scrubbed. Then a girl I mentor from youth group needed to earn money for a class this summer, so I picked her up and she helped me clean my entire apartment, top to bottom! I also cleaned out 2 garbage bags of clothes and gave them away. Sadly, it was painful to get rid of stuff I haven't worn in over a year, but Jen Hatmaker, author of 7, would be real proud.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday I woke up early with the sun rising and shining in my window, and I thought to myself what a beautiful morning on such a special day. Jesus died for us, and rose from the grave. He came back for you, and he came back for me. He displayed His love for us on the cross, and then conquered death for us. And something that blows my mind is that the same power that rose from the dead, also lives in US.

My sweet friend Bre and I

Three lovely leaders and some of our students from youth group

My super cute boyfriend and I


After I went to church, Ronnie and I went over to our friends house where I prepared Easter dinner for the first time in my life.

On the menu:
Spiral cut ham
Mashed Potatoes
Homemade stuffing
Fruit salad in homemade whipped cream

We all ate way too much, and had such a great time celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior!


In other news, this beautiful girl, Jessica at Lovely Little Things is the winner of my Beautiful Battlefields giveaway!!!! Jessica, can you please e-mail me your address and I will send you a copy of this AMAZING book!

I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend, lovelies.