Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Thankful List

Our Pastor here read a verse from Psalm 33 a few weeks ago that has been running through my mind a lot:  "Praise befits the upright."  Praise, thankfulness, adoration, gratitude...all these words we use when we talk about praising and giving thanks to God.  They are suited for us.  Let's wear ourselves out with praise, not just because it's Thanksgiving, but because it is beautiful for the people of God to live lives of praise.

My friend Julie has been writing Monday Gratitude posts that I've really enjoyed.  She always inspires and encourages me in my walk with the Lord, so I thought I would put feet to what she's taught me, and make my own Thankful List this week.

1. warm bedding
2. coffee with cream and sugar
3. electricity
4. healthy children
5. the ability to have children
6. a husband who "loves me more than babies love breast milk" (he just told me this)
7. a husband who keeps me laughing (see above)
8. in-laws who came to visit us and have watched my children, helped around the house and spent precious time with us this last week.
9. 10 hour date with my husband on Sunday
10. direction about our future
11. parents who celebrate 37 years of marriage today
12. siblings who love God
13. God's Word that I can open freely every day and read in my own language
14. the gospel
15. family who is hosting us for Christmas this year, since we will be in transition
16. Down syndrome
17. leaves that change color in Florida
18. neighborhood children that play in my backyard
19. a playground for my kids
20. the ability to walk and run
21. good books
22. steak and shrimp for Thanksgiving dinner
23. my education
24. people I've met on Instagram that point me to Jesus
25. technology
26. the conviction of the Holy Spirit
27. friends who live all over the world
28. sunsets
29. quiet early mornings
30. music
31. tickle fights between my husband and children
32. daughters who care for their brother
33. vanilla lattes
34. a gift card to purchase said vanilla lattes from my favorite coffee shop
35. a sister who's opening her home for my girls' birthday party this year
36. a new Advent book that looks incredible (order yours here in time for Advent which begins on Monday!)
37. Jesus--the greatest gift of all time
38. the love of a great God

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Home I've come to love

During the 8+ years we've been married, we've lived in seven different cities, purchased two homes, and rented various apartments.  Each place has been unique in style, age, and function.  All of them have been home.

This place that we've been in for the past four months in Florida didn't feel like home when we first moved in.  We were without belongings for almost two weeks which stretched us, contributed to my closing the blinds and refusing to answer the doors, and we were frustrated living here for about two months.  The carpet and fixtures are dingy.  The rooms are smaller than we're used to.  We don't have a beautiful yard like our home in Georgia.

But something changed.  We began to feel at home here, not because the interior became more beautiful, but because our hearts accepted that this was the place God had for us right now.  Our home, this town, this season of life.  These months have been a gift, and our home has been a part of that gift.

Things are not centered on the walls.  My children decorate their room in ways that I dislike, and they love it and get much delight out of creating their own space.  Mason's bed is on the floor and doesn't look how I would want, but at least he's not falling out of it every night.  Our front porch has a random assortment of items on it, including a dead mum and fishing poles.  But these things are evidence to me of a fun hobby to enjoy, and not being overly worried about appearance (something I needed to work on).   The living room is missing two lamps because my son finally broke them after pulling them onto the floor multiple times.  You will see items where they 'don't belong', books placed haphazardly on bookshelves, and dead branches, pine cones, and seashells on the piano.  The upstairs bathroom door stays off of the hinges at all times (unless we have company like we do right now) because it's almost impossible to bathe my children with the door on.   And you'll notice a pillow behind the headboard in our master bedroom.  (When your bedroom backs up to your neighbor's bedroom, you have thin walls, and your bed squeaks....well, you get the reason for the pillow...)

I miss my granite counters, deep bathtub, large windows, window treatments, and extra square footage.  I look forward to the day when I have space to store papers and use my seasonal decor.  I would love to have neatly made beds and clear surfaces at the end of every day.  I like pretty things and beautifully decorated spaces.  Some day I'd like to have those things again.

But do you know what I've come to learn?  Those things are not necessary for me to feel at home.

Home is created when I cultivate an attitude of gratefulness and joy in my heart.  When I  accept God's plan, regardless of how different it is from my own.  I can choose to be thankful for what He has given me because I don't deserve any of it.  I can embrace the different places and circumstances He gives me because I trust that His purposes are good and best and He is at work in my life.

Today, I want to invite you into our home, the home I've come to love.

You won't find these pictures on Pinterest or in a magazine, but this is our life right now, and it is good.

May you have a blessed weekend!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Next Steps & New Blog Name

Living in Florida has resulted in a new hobby for Bradley.  And, we found out yesterday that we'll be able to take this hobby with us!  Virginia Beach, here we come!!

We're looking forward to being closer to family and still being able to live near the water.  Now, we have a lot of decisions to make before the kids and I head out of here in just 6 weeks.  I already started looking into housing and schools yesterday.  This process can always be a bit overwhelming, so we'd appreciate your prayers as we strive to be wise in our choices.  I couldn't get to sleep last night thinking through all of the things that I need to get done.  I'm asking the Lord for calmness of spirit. 

It's been over a month now since I shared that I'll be launching a new blog.  Well, October was a full month for me writing every day, so I didn't have as much time to work on the finishing details of my new blog.  But, things are underway now, and hopefully sometime within the next 2 weeks, I'll be ready to start writing on my new space!

In the meantime, I've had to request a change to my Facebook page, and because of that, I decided to share the name of my blog with you now.  Here's my new name and logo:

I tossed around many ideas for a name, and finally landed on this one, and I love it.  It summarizes exactly the things that I enjoy writing about, plus it gives me the freedom to truly be what's called a 'lifestyle blog'.  That means I'm not limited to cooking or decorating, or even motherhood.  I can write about my life--whatever is happening--and my desire is to share all of that in light of the truth of God's Word.  Again, a more eloquently written description will be coming. :)

During the first few weeks of my blog launch, I'm planning to host some giveaways.  I'm really excited about this next step for my blog and I want to celebrate it.  For you, it's just a treat, because you'll have the opportunity to win some fun new things.  This is where some of you come in!  

If you own an Etsy shop, online store, sell a product that you think my readers would enjoy, or know someone who does, please contact me!  I'm looking to highlight some great products during this celebration giveaway.  You can email me at onlyfromscratch (at) gmail (dot) com.  

Here's what I'm looking for:

1. A shop who would be willing to donate an item(s) to be given away.

2. Shops who would provide discounts for Life with Truth readers.

3. Shops whose products I LOVE that I can purchase from and highlight in a blog post/giveaway.

Happy Friday to all of you!  

May you have a refreshing weekend!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What I Learned in October

It seems hard to believe that we're already into November!!  I went to the mall on Saturday and was shocked to hear Christmas music playing.  While I love the holiday season, I also really love November and I refuse to think about decorating and getting ready for Christmas right now.

Emily hosts these end of the month link-ups every month, and I love to think back through the different things I've learned.  Some serious, some silly, but all lessons worth noting.

1. Southern food continues to be my favorite to eat and cook.  I was sent a copy of the new Southern Living Community Cookbook to review, and let me just tell you it is hands down, the best cookbook I've ever used.  I've made several recipes from it, each of them being a hit.  Sweet Potato Biscuits, Butternut Squash Soup, Grillades and Grits, Sausage and Pinto Bean Dip, just to name a few that I've cooked so far.  I look forward to trying out more recipes, including a Hummingbird Cake, which has been on my 'to-do' list for awhile.

2.  Persimmons are a fruit that grows on trees.  They look like oval oranges, but aren't supposed to be eaten on their own; usually you put them into jams or baked goods.  We didn't taste any, so I can't comment on the flavor, but I had always been curious about these things.

3. Cotton fields are beautiful, particularly when the cotton is ready to be picked.  It's like big snowballs growing in a row.  We found this patch on a back road near an Alabama farm.  I might have picked some to take home...

4. Losing weight in my 20's was way easier than losing weight in my 30's.  In college, I could simply cut back on my calories.  I've found now that doesn't work.  Exercise and cutting back are necessary.  But, when I combine them, it works.  As of this morning I've lost 62 pounds since giving birth to Jennavieve 15 months ago.  This is very exciting to me, and it's fun to finally wear some clothes that have been collecting dust in my closet for the past few years.  My favorite pair of  red pants will be worn this year, without fear of ripping the seams when I bend over. Ha!

5. Running is way better with a friend.  I had a goal to try and do a 4-mile run by the end of October.  My sweet friend Trish was in town for the weekend and she agreed to accompany me on Friday.  With her help I did it!  Having someone to talk with made it go by more quickly, and I didn't even want to give up.  Now, my goal before Christmas is to try for a 6-mile run.  I may need to find a running friend :).

6.  Writing everyday on this blog is not realistic during this season of life.  I thoroughly enjoyed the #write31days challenge, and had fun with my topic, Made to Pour, but it's been nice to take a break the past few days from writing.

7. Fall does come to Florida, it's just not full of cold weather, brightly colored leaves, and snuggling under blankets.  There is beauty to be found, though, and the colors on these plants by the ocean are gorgeous.  I have always loved wearing shorts and a long-sleeved shirt, so this weather is perfect for me.  My sandaled feet are quite happy each day, and it's possible I'll still be wearing them come Thanksgiving.  I'm very much okay with that.

What did you learn in October?