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Aug 30, 2012

I am Getting Stronger! In Only the Important Ways

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Every so often I will feel Satan creep in with a stupid, wonky lie about how I need this or that or about how happy I would be if I had those blogger's shoes or a bigger house. In my recent re-commitment to Christ, I've committed to seeking His Truth in a more desperate, diligent way. My testimony has evolved in such a momentous way, through things I wish I could take back, that I now officially realize my great, desperate, crazy huge need for redemption and grace--how I am completely helpless without that gift. 

So, back to my beginning thought about that dude Satan: something cool that's happened is the more I'm in the Word, prayer time, and listening to uplifting music, the easier it is to tell Satan to "bug off" when he's trying to ruin a good thing. He sounds more ridiculous with time!

The closer I become to the Creator of all Things, the more often I see how He is in all things. Working through things for me. Nudging me to not rely on my pitiful attempts at "being a good person" and to focus more on presenting a flawed heart at the Lord's feet and just plain ole accept what He's done for me (without saying, but Lord, I did that. And I will sin again. Are You really going to let me off the hook? Don't You have some point or privilege disciplinarian system?). Photobucket
Nope, no point system!  He delights in me. He sees past my pitfalls and chooses to bless me.
He is presenting me with opportunities to bring hope to others. Presenting me with opportunities to say no to flesh and yes to the narrower path.

A path that leads to life.

I haven't always been an optimist, but being married to one has made me a believer and practicer!
It's easy to be optimistic when I take a step or two back and look at all that the Lord has done for me, especially in his meeting me in my re-commitment to Him.

Today, at this very moment in August, with crickets chirping outside the window, with Wilder "needing a wipe" on the potty, with dishes tucked away in the dishwasher, with our day finding solace & relief in its near completion, I am humbled by God's bounty in my life. It's in these precious moments of a day I will never live again, that I'm accept blessings from the Lord: 

~a husband who prays with me morning and night
~a daughter who still likes to cuddle at night; she strokes my face and hair
~a son with such a sensitive spirit; he breaks my heart (this is good) every day
~a preschool that is going to teach Wilder the most important Thing in life:
(letter from his teacher)
Photobucket  ~Story's obsession with shoes
~working at a boutique that is letting me re-evaluate my role there as a vendor (I am downgrading)
~selling a wreath at the shop today!
~the forgiveness of a friend, and hope for new memories with her
~sweet moments with my accountability partner, whom I desperately have to have
~left over chicken and noodles!Photobucket
 
You know, I don't deserve these blessings. Because I am a sinner, I deserve death. But I know one million percent that Jesus paid the price of death for me, and that when God the Father looks at Mindy Harris he sees his perfect bride...someone with a perfect record (Jesus' record...Jesus traded mine for His). Oh, what manner of love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called sons (and daughters) of God!

Aug 28, 2012

Recipe: Mini CHOCOLATE Pies

 
Anyone else out there have endless respect for food bloggers? Food is so hard to photograph! Anyway, big shout out to all the food bloggers out there who make us fat by just looking at the pictures, who inspire us to touch meat, and compel us to learn what the heck to do with an artichoke.

Chocolate is my best friend. I have found that people fail me. And I fail people. But chocolate and I have a perfect record. We never disappoint one another.

Today's recipe is derived from a Hershey's Classice Recipes cookbook.

Let's get started:
Mini Chocolate Pies
Ingredients:
1 package (4-serving size) chocolate cook & serve pudding and pie filling mix (don't use instant)
1 cup MINI semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 pckg (40z) single serve graham cracker crusts (6 crusts)
Whipped topping
Additional mini semi-sweet chocolate chips for garnish
(you will need milk as called for to make pudding; and I garnished with a chocolate bar)

-prepare pudding/pie filling mix as directed on package; remove from heat. Immediately add 1 cup small chocolate chips; stir until melted.
Cool 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-pour filling into crusts-press plastic wrap directly onto surface. Refrigerate several hours or until firm. Garnish with whipped topping and small chocolate chips.
Makes 6 servings
five for you, one for them. :)

Aug 26, 2012

A Blog Report!

I thought it'd be fun to do a blog report today.

We can pretend like we are in a really important meeting.

I can pretend like I am a big wig blogger who has an assistant who types up the meeting minutes.
 I will even wear a bra for this meeting, and brush my teeth.

Work with me here why I channel my career woman days..back in corporate America when I wore business suits and horrible pantyhose.

I became a pantyhose guru. sheer toe, control top, tummy minimizer, barely there...
Here's how the meeting would go:
(first, donuts and cookies)

Number of years blogging-almost five. Plan to continue? yes. DUH.

Number of published posts-988. Celebration at 1,000? yes!

How is the blog revamp being received? Quite well. My readers love the bright colors.
Number of sweet emails from readers who's lives have been changed through some of my posts? 
Perhaps a dozen, but to me it's as many as the stars.

Top referrers? Blogger, Facebook, Breezy Acres blog, StumbleUpon, The Wiegands

Potential blogging conferences to be attended in 2012?
Hopefully, the Influence Conference in Indianapolis.
Were budgetary "cut offs" not currently happening, I would pick up one or 2 more, like SNAP & Blissdom 

Best piece of blogging advice thus far? Focus on original content!! Then network!
Official mentors I currently have in the blogging world: none, but would like. Although I am very thankful for the women out there willing to respond to emails and share knowledge

Blogs I avoid: those lacking originality, honesty, realistic glimpses at life and heart issues; I am usually turned off if there is any hint of wanting success for the wrong reasons, or conceitedness

Blogs I admire: those that make a difference:

Bloggers I mentor: none, but would like to.
Number of regular contributors to my blog: none, but am open to that if it's a nearly perfect fit

Etsy shop grand reopening: in consideration

Advertising sales: trusting God 

Outfit posts: running out of cute summery things & where's a spray tan when I need it, Ash?

Amount of joy and satisfaction gleaned from being myself to a wonderful, sweet, attentive audience?
Too lofty to quantify!
Sweet dreams, little blog, and all of you who read it.

Please, take a donut for the road.
And aren't you glad you didn't have to wear pantyhose?

Aug 25, 2012

I Love My Online Friends GFC Hop

How has your weekend been, sweet lovelies? I'm here today to mention a blog hop that has been fun and beneficial to be a part of. It's through my friend Tami's blog, The Things We Find Inside
Because I am so picky about my blog being aesthetically pleasing (nor do I want information overload or to focus on things that don't have eternal value), I have never hosted or co-hosted a blog hop that helps bloggers gain more social media/etc followers. 
But this week I decided to go for it, just this one time, and co-host a GFC hop with my friend Tami. I feel like she is an honest blogger who is out to help others seeking to grow and make new friends.
She and I have both talked about the importance of page views, so go into this hop with that in mind as well. We can build relationships through this and find cool blogs, too!

I'm all for supporting one another.
Thanks for your listening ear!
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Welcome to the I Love My Online Friends 'GFC' Hop. Last week we had 95 link ups. The magic number is 130 to break our record! I hope that this is the week for it. Do you think we can? For more info on the hop and guest hosting, please read HERE. Well, are you ready? Let's go hopping! RULES FOR THE HOP 1. Please follow your host and the fab five on Google Friend Connect (GFC). Tami @ The Things We Find Inside Mindy @ Marigold Road Rebecca @ New Momma Beckers Heather @ Mommy Only Has 2 Hands Robin @ Sunshine State of Mind Amanda @ Mommy is Coo Coo 2. Link up your homepage and start hopping around. Remember, this is a blog hop, you've gotta do some hopping in order for it to truly be worth your time. When you get a new follower it's always nice to return the favour. Visit their blogs, leave them a comment and/or return the follow. 3. You are not required to, but it would be great if you could tweet about the hop and/or grab the button and share it on your blog. The more people that see this hop, the more blogs for us to visit and the more followers we gain.
Thanks and Happy Hopping!

The Things We Find Inside

Aug 23, 2012

Aug 22, 2012

Party Planning How To: Plan a Kid's Party on Less than $50!


One of my favorite memories from childhood is the birthday parties my momma threw us girls. They dwindled a bit as we got older and didn't care as much. But those ones when we were younger, with the decor and "loot bags" were simply wonderful!

This is a tradition I have aimed to perpetuate for Wilder and Story. Every year a birthday rolls around I'm so excited to brainstorm budget-friendly party themes and ideas.
This year was no exception. I had come off of a very exhausting weekend, but was able to pull off the Monday morning party at the park okay! I'm glad a friend arrived early to help set up.
I knew that for Wilder's fourth it'd be sweet to honor his love for books. His nose is always in a book! Over the years I have collected tons of vintage children books, so I knew I had the "base decor" already!
Vintage wire baskets: one mine, one borrowed
Red R.E.A.D. letters: borrowed
Three tired stand: already had
Vintage books: already had
Wooden crate: already had
White quilt: already had
Mason jars tied with chevron: already had
Brown paper "runner": postal paper from dollar store
Bunting: made with scraps of chevron, burlap, and book pages
Paper pinwheels: made for my inventory at the shop, out of book pages
Cake: made by me (quadruple layered of devil's food and butter cake)
Paperware: dollar store
Fresh fruit, M&Ms, alphabet crackers, juice boxes, bottled water, cake mixes and frosting ingredients cost the most.
Then the kid's book treats followed in a close second.
TOTAL COST: $45
I found Richard Scarry board books at the dollar store. I packaged them with gummy worms, a bookmark, and twine. I used vintage book pages stapled to the top of each baggie of worms. These were the kids' favors.

Happy FOURTH Birthday, sweet child of mine.
You are a gift straight from the throne room of God.

Aug 21, 2012

Oh the Happenings! Including a Birthday and God Breaking My Heart

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It's almost 1am and this night owl is still pluggin' away on her day.
We have had so many amazing, wonderful things happening that I can't wait to talk about!

First, thank you so much for your overwhelming support of the new blog design. Please note all the ways you can contact/follow me by clicking on those cute social media buttons under my round picture.

Speaking of CUTE:
Next, given that September is around the corner (huh?) you'll be thinking about who to advertise with. I've updated stats on my Advertise page. The 20% SUMMER discount code will still run in September! Hooray! Don't you want to be on the cutest newly design blog of all time?  *wink*

Also, if your preference is to follow through FeedBurner, that option is available here.
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Next, I just have to share about my weekend.
Friday evening we hosted a small BBQ. It warms my soul to have friends over to enjoy our large covered patio.
Later that evening I met with my "boss lady friend" about my room at the boutique. There will be some changes there I can share about later. All I can say is that I work at the best little shop ever, and the women I work with love the Lord and serving Him.
Saturday I attended a women's event hosted by a church in a nearby town.
I had been asking God to break my heart in a way that needed to happen. In a way that made me truly repentant and sorrowful for recent disobedience to Him.
Well, He did it! That moment, cultivated by an astounding spiritual speaker, will go down as one of the most meaningful, profound spiritual moments in my life's journey. That is one or several posts in and of itself.

All that to say that though I am unworthy, I accept the blood of Jesus Christ over my sins. I accept that when God looks at me, He sees a new creation, washed white as snow. That is liberating!

Saturday evening through Sunday we celebrated Wilder's FOURTH birthday with family. I handled this milestone fairly well. I feel so blessed for every day, every moment that I have with our son. What a gift!

Then today, I hosted Wilder's "friend" party.
I think we will take it easy the rest of the week!
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Shabby Apple giveaway winner is Lynette Ramik; email me for details.

Aug 20, 2012

The Big Reveal: My Newly Designed Blog!

Friends and faithful readers, today is the debut of my newly refashioned blog by Elizabeth at Freckled Nest Design! I am so happy about the new design and have waited patiently for it to come to fruition. Being married to a graphic designer/creative director, I thought design would come easy for my blog. That I could make scads of changes whenever I needed to. But Shawn's work and home obligations made it to where he could not commit to redoing my blog.

Once that realization was made, I knew just the design team I wanted to work with, and that was Freckled Nest Design.

I hope you will take some time to check out the new pages/sections of my blog.
Of notable significance is my "hot topics" section which now houses the main categories about which I blog: Growing in Perspective (and faith), Cultivating Family Life, Eating Tasty Treats, Loving Vintage/Crafts, and Dressing on a Budgie.

I do not claim to be nor do I try to be the BEST at all these categories that are worthy of singular blogs in and of themselves, but they are the heartbeat of this blog. And the heartbeat of me.
My favorite page is the Why I Blog Page. Here's the copy from that page:

In the blogging world, I am considered a veteran because I have blogged for so long. 

Over the years, my purpose and intent for writing has evolved. Every post I have written, every jot and tittle, every pouring of my heart, has brought me to ONE place of purpose and meaning. And that one mission is to encourage the hearts of women in their journey toward positive self-worth. It stems from a time in my life when I didn't value myself.

 It is my prayer that you can find guidance through my writings. That my writing will challenge you to be the best version of yourself, no matter the stage of life you are in. 

I also blog because it's fun. I stay home with the kids full time, so having an outlet where I can be honest, creative, or witty is highly therapeutic. 

I love to bake, craft, thrift, and wear cute dresses, so you'll see some of that sprinkled in, along with posts about the preservation of marriage, faith, and family.
I put in a lot of time completing homework for this new design, and I must say that it really helped me answer some questions about my blog. Mainly, why do I blog? If your blog needs a fresh change, may I recommend getting down to the nitty gritty of why you blog?
Then pray that God will enable you to blog about and for that reason, never losing sight of your capability in Him, as His daughter.

Thank you for your support all these years. I hope you know that this pretty design is from my heart. I hope it makes you feel the joy of the Lord, the happiness that color brings, the sanity that organized tabs and such offer, and the safety of a lovingly weaved support system.

But mainly, know that I appreciate YOU!

Thank you for celebrating with me.

Aug 16, 2012

Huge Surprise!


A huge surprise is headed your way!

Can you guess what it is?
See you back here in a few!

Aug 15, 2012

Every So Often (A Get to Know Me/Wear post)

I love reading "if you really knew me" posts but I don't like to copy, so here is my version.
So often, I am overwhelmed by the love I feel for Wilder and Story. It is so intense, so always on the brink of making my heart explode. But it never does. There are times I am so overcome with emotion for them, with desire for them to know love, that all I can do is cry.
So often, my heart breaks when I see someone, especially a child, in a wheelchair, or a homeless person lugging his belongings down the street. It is a reminder of the hurt/loss/illness people go through...of a huge sea of humanity with hearts, needs, lives, thoughts, mistakes, longings. And I feel so small and helpless in that sea. It makes me thankful I am hand-in-hand with the One who made the sea. It reminds me that my problems wilt in comparison to those of the majority. It tugs at those heart strings that want to be more involved in ministry and community.
Even at the age of 31, I so often struggle with self-esteem. Wearing shorts in my last "wear" post was a big deal, yo!
So often, I take friendship very seriously. Some friends say I am needy. They are probably right. I am just a quality time girl, and this is a time in my and my friends' lives when we just don't have time for those late night coffee dates anymore. So I resort to texting and just try to make sure the text isn't sent at 1:00 a.m.

VERY often, I hate mornings. Even though Wilder and Story don't get up til 8 or 8:30. Sometimes, when they eat breakfast and watch WordWorld for 25 minutes, I lay down on the couch! I would like to use that time to read my Bible; why do I choose 10pm instead?

Every so often, I nod off during church sermons. I really do try to listen. I just get easily distracted and bored. How did I endure those college lectures?
Every so often, I will think back about college, and what degree(s) I would get if I could return. I am pretty sure I would do entrepreneurialism though I'm not even sure that's a major? Then there's also business management, gerontology, or something with journalism...or history! I'm a knowledge seeker.

Every so often, I will freak out about the 30-day whole foods challenge I'm considering going on on August 20th. I have been eating horribly knowing that I will have to deny myself soon! I am most concerned about being able to afford all those types of foods..and about having self control over sweets. Sweets are a stronghold in my life. I hope I can do it!
Every so often, I can be a very lonely person. I tend to be pretty sensitive if I don't hear from people for awhile. I always tend to think the worst, that it's me, when most of the time, it's because people are busy!
What are your "so oftens"?
What I Wore:

Shirt: FreePeople, Tank: St. John's Bay, Jeans: Candies, Wedges: Target
no jewelry!