Friday, January 30, 2015

Devotional from January 30, 2015

Perfection. P-E-R-F-E-C-T-I-O-N. Ten little letters forming a word that should be thrown out of the human vocabulary, for no one has the ability to obtain it. The dictionary defines ‘perfection’ as:
the condition, state, or quality of being free or free as possible of all flaws or defects.
The funny thing about this definition is that it asserts that being perfect brings freedom from something.  Now, I want you to stop and think of a time when you felt the most free. What was that like for you? Who were you with? What triggered that feeling inside of you?

Unmasked and unashamed

Altering ourselves to fit a standard of perfection set by someone, other than God, can actually trap us and prevent us from truly being the women God had designed us to be. True freedom can come from knowing that who we are is not dependent on who others say we are, or whether or not we measure up to someone else’s ideal physical standard.
What we need to realize is that who we are depends on who He says we are.
There is such a freedom in knowing that we are loved and accepted by a Heavenly Father who sees me for the real me. It is freeing to know that we do not have to wear masks around Him or present some false advertisement of ourselves to get Him to continue loving us.  

What to truly value

  • Have you ever felt the need to please others by living up to their ideal of perfection?
  • Are you struggling with breaking free from trying to obtain perfection ? If so, I would encourage you to see the contrast between what Hollywood values and what God values.  Here are just a few differences between the two.

1. Your body

Hollywood says... that women should do whatever it takes to be as slender as possible.
God says... He created your inmost being and knit you together to produce something wonderful (Psalm 139: 13-14). This means that the shape you have was picked out for you and you, alone.
God did not intend for people to be cookie cutter images of one another. No, of course not! He designed your body to be different than your mother’s, your sister’s, and your best friend’s. He has given you this body and wants you to enjoy being uniquely crafted! People come in different shapes and sizes and all are beautiful and all are WORTH loving. Embrace whatever shape you are and know that  you are one of a kind!

2. Success

Hollywood says... success is having a fancy job and making a lot of money.
God says... success is when we are using the gifts and passions He has given us to make a mark on this world for Him. Colossians 3:17 says, “and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord, Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”.
What are you passionate about? Do you enjoy writing? Dancing? Basketball? Art? Business? Whatever it is, work hard to bring Him glory and honor. Give thanks for what He has provided for you, and don't rely on worldy measures of money or status to define your success.

3. Your Beauty

Hollywood says... beauty comes from products such as eye-liner, mascara, lipstick, powder, and perfume. The advertisements we see constantly stress this idea and assert that women who wear these products will land the perfect job, be quicker to catch that certain guy’s eye, or somehow be of more worth than those who do not.
God says... Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)
Although I don't believe there is anything wrong with wearing make-up, perfume, etc., I do believe that they have the ability to become a distraction from us working on who we are inside.
The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
This verse tells us what God is truly concerned with - our hearts. It is okay to want to look your best - there is nothing wrong with that! However, what's more important is your inner beauty. He would rather us focus on being women who are completely in love with Him, which manifests itself in our daily walk with Him.

Who will you follow?

So… it’s up to you. Who will you follow? Will you look to the unrealistic standards of perfection set by Hollywood to define yourself, or will you look to God? 
Want to know how to scrap the ideals set by Hollywood and live with a healthy mindset based upon God’s truths? Here it is: you must start living in light of the fact that God’s opinion about you matters more than anyone else's. By focusing on God’s opinion of you, you will be breaking the chains of bondage you were once in and running in freedom to a life of perfection—God’s way. Now, doesn’t that sound like a life worth living?
*adapted from here:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Devotional from January 29, 2015

In tennis, the term love means nothing. It's the only place I know where love is empty and scoreless. The proper way to describe a score of zero to zero is to say love-all. With our Savior, it's different; love means something. It means a lot. Jesus teaches us to love at all costs even if we don't get love back; we love because He first loved us.
The Jews despised the Romans because they oppressed God's people, but Jesus told them to love their enemies. Such words turned many away from Christ. Jesus, however, led by example. Jesus loved the whole world, even though the world was in rebellion against God. And Jesus asks us to follow His example by loving, no matter the cost.
Love means action. One way to put love to work is to take the initiative in meeting needs. This is easy to do with people who love us, people whom we trust; but love means doing this even for those who dislike us or want to hurt us. Let us not allow an empty version of love to dictate the the way we treat others. Love should mean something, not nothing. Let us love how Jesus taught us to love: sacrificially and without expectations.

*not sure who to credit for this one. It was posted on a Facebook feed and I thought it was to good not to share. If anyone knows where this comes from I would be happy to post the proper credit.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Devotional from Friday January 23, 2015

When was the last time you had a really good belly-aching, tear-dripping laugh? Or just some plain old fun? For that matter, what is your theology of fun? Perhaps you’re thinking it’s not spiritual to have fun, or that it’s not important in a Christian’s life, so you don’t make the time. I believe God created fun and humor because He knew that we would need the soul medicine it would provide in a fallen world.

There’s something that God built into creation that is enjoyable. Imagine the fun God must have had when He created all the animals. Next time you’re at the zoo just look at all the zany creatures; there can be no doubt that we have a fun God and that there is a purpose for laughter in our lives. Since we are created in the image of God as Genesis 1:26 says, then having a sense of humor is part of how we’re wired.

If you have a hard time discovering fun, surround yourself with those people who live life joyfully. My life has been lavished with people who enjoy life. And they are contagious! Even when there has been nothing to laugh about, God has helped me to find the humor in some small thing. 

If you look around, there is always something to laugh about or enjoy. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh: a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” We have the “time to weep and the time to dance” part down, but unfortunately not necessarily the “time to laugh.”  

Fun is simply having a sense of humor or lightness; taking a recess from the responsibilities of life through recreation and relaxation. It’s making time for ourselves and others. Play and rest need to be given a proper place of dignity because we have been designed by God with a need to play. 

How can we enjoy life when it seems like a never ending stretch of work? All work and no play makes for a very heavy existence. God fashioned us with a need for enjoyment and fun. He not only gave us a weekly day for our bodies to rest and relax, but on top of that He declared it “holy.” So give yourself permission to have some holy fun!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

I know there are a ton of blog posts out there about painting your kitchen cabinets, but I'm posting this anyways cause I'm just so darn happy with how they turned out!
 Our cabinets were not horrible, but they were just your standard builder grade oak. Plus there are a million different wood finishes throughout the house so it was driving me CRAZY!!! There is also not a lot of natural light in our kitchen so I knew when we moved in they would need to be white to help reflect for light.
This is after the first coat of primer. Can I just tell you how terrified I was? I mean look at that! It's horrible!!! 
 After like 3 or 4 coats of primer, I realized this was going to be a lot of work. This is when I took a break and made french fries. I told myself I was being an awesome mom to make homemade fries for my kids while doing the kitchen cabinets, but really it was just for me. I was already "over" this project and needed some serious comfort food to keep me moving forward.
 And no I did not take my cabinets off to paint them. I had 1 week to finish this project and that would have slowed me down. It worked out just fine and my kitchen didn't look completely disheveled when I wasn't working on it. This is about the worst that it looked. And I'm ok with that!
 After the primer it took about another 4-5 coats of paint and a million episodes of watching Bones while working and it was done! I LOVE how it turned out and my house feels so much cleaner and brighter. My only recommendation is to make sure you add Flotrol to your paint to help eliminate brush strokes. I used a cabinet roller, but it will still leave some texturing behind, but the Flotrol gets rid of that! Don't forget the Flotrol!!!

Devotional from Thursday January 22, 2015

Oh my goodness I say as I walk into a friends house. “Look at her super clean house? Why isn’t my house always this clean? No one will want to come to my house cause its not as cute!”

I’ve always struggled with comparisons. We might have a sister we've adored and wanted to be just like her. We might have had a friend with cute freckles on her nose and we wanted freckles too. We played tournament tennis and we wanted to perfect the backhand and make it look like my Wimbledon idol.

It’s so easy to look around at the friends we have and find an inordinate desire to walk like them, talk like them, witness like them, pray like them, and know the scriptures like them. But be careful! It's a trap! A comparison trap- and unfortunately I have found myself all to often caught securely in it. Have you?

For me, half of the problem was my own insecurity. Another piece of my problem was a sincere desire to be the very best for God, and when I saw someone doing that, I tried to copy her. Comparisons usually lead to copying and that is not all bad if you copy the principles and not the particulars.

You can’t copy spiritual gifts, however, even if you have gifts in the same area. God has made us uniquely and intends for each of us to be ourselves. Escaping the comparison trap is a question of being sure of your own identity.

The most freeing thought for me has been, “If I were them, who’d be me?” Why would God make me one of a kind if He wanted me to try being a clone?  No matter what, just smile and insist on being you!

*modified from

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


We had such a fun time camping with a few of our homeschool friends at the end of August. We actually slept in a tent. If you know anything about me that is quite the feat. I'm not a big camper. But we ended up having a really good time.
 In the morning, our two oldest girls decided to go exploring without telling mom and dad. They came to the tent slightly giggling calling for us to come help them. When I opened the tent door this is what I found. I was less than amused, especially since we didn't bring extra clothes!
The mud was SERIOUSLY CAKED ON!!! 

The mud had to be scraped off!
This is the creek they decided to explore...
And this is where they got stuck! Thankfully a nearby camper heard there cries for help, got a stick and pulled them out.
 Once they were all cleaned up there was no shortage of snake hunting . . .
 and frog hunting. SO MANY FROGS!!!
 Porkchop shot his first bb gun.
I think he liked it! 
 We were sad we couldn't stay the full weekend with our friends, but the hubby had an international flight he had to get back in time for. But on our way home I was able to snap this shot of the Manti temple. So beautiful! Can't wait till we can do this again. Hopefully we can stay the full time!

Devotional from Tuesday January 20, 2015

We all have good days and bad days.  Often, a really bad day follows a really good day.  God, however, is always the same, whatever our days may bring.  David found that out.
One day young David had arrived at the battle scene where he heard the giant Goliath, from the Philistine city of Gath, defying God’s people.  So David bravely killed him (1 Samuel 17:32-51).
King Saul took David to his palace as his servant, but became madly jealous of David and tried to kill him (1 Samuel 19:9-10).  So David became a fugitive.  He traveled to the camp of Achish, the king of Gath, and threw himself on his mercy.  The servants of King Achish did not trust David, and David was afraid.
David had killed the king’s giant, yet he was afraid of the giant’s king!  How can we do so well one day and so badly the next?  I know, don’t you?  David gives me courage to know that I don’t kill a giant every day.  Some days the giant gets us, and we fail badly.  Then we may feel like running away.  We may lose all sense of focus and feel so down that we have no energy to do anything.  As with David, our days will be filled with victories and defeats.But remember, God didn’t give up on David, and He won’t give up on us.  So we mustn’t give up!  We need to repent, redo, regroup – whatever it takes – but not let the giant drag us down.  God loves us, even in our failures.  Don’t ever forget that.

*found on

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Wedding!

This past summer my amazing sister got married! 
I'm so happy for her and her new hubby! They are perfect for each other and can't wait to get to know my new brother in law better.

The decorations at the reception were perfect! Most of what we used to decorate with came from the company my sister used to work for Lights for all Occasions.
And everyone got to take their glasses home as a thank you favor.

 And it's a rare moment when my kiddos are in coordinating or matching outfits so I tried to take the opportunity to get a picture, but our youngest kiddo was full of attitude that night.
 See what I mean!
My sister asked if I would make her cake and cupcakes and this is what I came up with. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!
 She also asked if I would make cupcakes. They were SUPER tasty! And the role brownie bites with caramel frosting weren't half bad either. Not bad at all! :)

 And even though she was being super spunky, at least I got this super cute picture of these two! They danced the night away and ate more sugar than I want to know about. It was the perfect day!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Snapshots of summer

We were pretty consumed with wedding stuff this last summer, but we did fit in a few things here and there. Cousins came to play for a week. Summer doesn't get any better than late warm nights. The girls took advantage and played cups till the mosquitos started to eat them alive.
 And free slurpee day at 7/11! The perfect treat on a warm day.
 And while getting our free slurpees the girls spotted this and they "made" me get it. :)
 And summer is never complete with out swimming in grandma and grandpas pool. This last summer Porkchop became super brave and learned to do flips into the pool. If you you know this kid at all this  is quite the feat. He didn't even like to put his head under the water just a couple months before this picture.
 And my amazing uncle entered our kiddos in a soap box derby race. He built and painted the car and it turned out AMAZING!!! The kids LOVED racing and Honey did some serious maneuvering when another driver crossed over into her lane. She kept her cool and swerved out of the way and won the race. Oh! And the other driver ended up being totally fine. It was such a fun experience! 

Devotional from Friday January 16, 2015

Do you enjoy life? Really enjoy it? We often wish life was simpler, but we are the ones in control of our schedule. We are also the ones who can hold ourselves back or experience life to the fullest with joy.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost,” said Eleanor Roosevelt, “to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
10 Ways to Enjoy Your Life
  1. Enjoy your meal. Take time to cook your favorite foods. Share them with friends. Slow down and enjoy it.
  2. Enjoy your hobby. Block out time to be creative and to energize your soul.
  3. Enjoy your music. Put on your favorite music when you’re cleaning house or making dinner.
  4. Enjoy nature. Take a walk. Pick a bouquet of wildflowers. Pause and stare up into the clouds. Listen to a bird sing.
  5. Enjoy a book. Pick up your favorite book to read it again, or try a new author you’ve been wanting to try!
  6. Enjoy your friends. Write a letter. Pick up the phone. Send an email. Set a lunch date. Plan a weekend away.
  7. Enjoy your home. Paint the wall. Clean the closet. Relax on the front porch, or settle into your favorite chair.
  8. Enjoy rest. Take a nap. Plan a lazy weekend.
  9. Enjoy God. Spend time in His Word. Go to Him in prayer. Consider all He’s done in your life.
  10. Enjoy today. I love this quote: “The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead,” Marjorie Pay Hinckley. Today is the day you’re living . . . enjoy it!
Now, what about you? How do you enjoy your life?

found on

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Bridal Shower

My super cute and talented sister got married over the summer and I was lucky enough to be able to throw her a bridal shower.
This was the table for people to set the gifts on. For my gift I asked her future husband what he loved about Chelsea. I then made a chalkboard sign with all of his responses.
This is how it turned out!
This is the drink table. I wish I took a better picture of the water bottle labels. I designed them to say Eat, drink and be married. 
 And no bridal shower would be complete with out good food. My sister LOVES breakfast foods so I ran with that. Mini pancakes topped with a little ring and raspberry, mini yogurt parfaits, quiche, bacon, grapes, mini donuts and donut holes, french toast sticks and an assortment of homemade syrups.
And then as a take home favor I canned strawberry jam in these super cute little jars and then made the labels using my moms silhouette. I hope the jam tasted good! I never got to try any of it! :( But it was pioneer woman's recipe so it couldn't of been to bad. :)

Devotional from Thursday January 15, 2015

In our spiritual lives, we all have "winters"  and we have to winterize for them in order to face them. When winter comes it is a time of bleak and dark dreary days. We must face the fact that winter can be hard and trials are hard. Just like the season of winter, our spiritual "winters" can leave us discouraged, lonely, and depressed.

There are some things that can make the cold of our winter very intense. We need to winterize and guard against them.
  1. The Cold Air Culprit of the World.
    When we are going through trials and hardships, we sometimes tend to let our guard down and it's so easy for worldly influences to take over in our lives. It seeps through the cracks around the doors and windows just like the winter air. It may be the influence of worldly friends, worldly music, worldly thinking. It all can work overtime on us as we face trials in our lives. We've got to dig out the caulk and weather stripping and block those cracks and holes. Using God's Word is the best way to do this. If we have it in our hearts, it can help stop the winter air of the world from seeping into our lives.

    "Thy word have I hid in mine heart,
    that I might not sin against thee."   Psalm 119:11

  2. The Icicles of Cold Attitudes.
    During the winter it is easy to develop a bad attitude. It doesn't take much at all for some of us. In comes the dreary days, the cold and chill, and drip...drip...we have formed those icicle attitudes. We become cranky and out of sorts with our family and anyone who we come in contact with. We also tend to complain more about anyone and anything.

    When we are in the midst of a trial we sometimes automatically go into icicle attitude mode. We don't have any fellowship with anyone to help encourage us through our trial because who wants to be around us? We have to remember that no one else can fix our bad attitudes. Only we can do that. It's not easy either to adjust your attitude during a "winter" because the weight of that ice is bearing down on us. I've found that the simplest way to start working on adjusting a bad attitude is to take a step back and just remember who God is and who we are not.

    "Be still, and know that I am God:"   Psalm 46:10

  3. The Blizzards of Circumstances.
    Winter can bring so many things along with it. Blizzards being one of the worst as the effects it leaves is so devastating. Circumstances in our lives can also be devastating. Bills mount up. Family members get sick or even die. Relationships get sour, and many other circumstances weigh down on us until we think we can't go on because we can't see what's down the road. I think that during these times we need to remember that God sees the outcome. He's our Potter and we are the clay.

    "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he 
    hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."   Job 23:10

  4. The Jack Frost of Depression.
    Better bundle up because if you are going trough a trial, then depression is going to come nipping at your heels sooner or later. Just like the dark and bleak days of winter have a depressing effect on us, trials seem to frost our lives with depression. The problem is that when we are in the midst of a "winter", it is so easy to just let it nip away at us. I think depression is one of the worst things of a "winter" because I've had my problem with it and it still seems like it is always there looming and wanting to nip...nip away. There's no easy way out of depression but keeping our lives in tune with God can help guard against it. Regular personal devotions and a time with God each day can go a long way in dealing with it.

    "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry 
    aloud: and he shall hear my voice."   Psalm 55:17

Prepare Your Winter Emergency Kit.

When you live where you have severe cold you know that there are things needed in order to prepare to endure the winter. As Christians, when our "winters" and trials come into our lives we must learn to prepare for them as well. Here are a few basic things we should have on hand.

    "Spiritual Winter Emergency Kit"

  1. Non Perishable Food--Scripture
    Have some things on hand to sustain you through. Memorized Scriptures can help more than anything. Just a phrase of Scripture to grasp in the dead of our "winter" can be a great comfort to us.

  2. Extra Blankets and Warm Clothing--Fellowship
    During a "winter" some people forget about attending church and fellowshipping with other Christians. How much more it is needed when trials come into our lives. Having fellowship with other believers strengthens us. We need their love, support, and prayers. It becomes a real warmth to us.

  3. Drinking Water--Christ the Living Water
    Bottled water in a winter emergency is a must. We need it to survive just like we need the Living Water. We need Christ and His Word to live. Relying on Him will keep us from a parched existence. Drink in His love, His promises, His blessings, and His strength. Looking to Him in the face of our trials and circumstances will help see us through our "winter".

  4. Emergency Candles or Flashlights--God's Guidance
    The electricity may go out because of the weight of snow and ice on the power lines so we always need a light source to have on hand. God's guidance is our light source. We can't get through our daily lives, let alone our "winters" without following God's direction and leading. Staying sensitive to God's leading will keep us going in the right direction and will help us to see a little more clearly.

We will all have "winters" in our lives, but choosing how we deal and prepare for them can make all the difference in the world. 

So, are you winterized?

*adapted from

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Devotional from Tuesday January 13, 2015

I wonder if when people see our silhouette as Christian women that they can tell who we are. I wonder if they can see that we are lovely and reflect our Creator. 

Lovely in Contrast.
One thing about a silhouette is that it is usually black against a light background or vice versa. It shows up because it contrasts against the background it is against. To be lovely in contrast as Christian women, we need to contrast against the world. 
If we become so like the world, we are just going to blend in. No one will be able to tell where we end and the world starts. There has to be a big difference to have a deep contrast. Keeping that contrast between us and the world will make us lovelier.
Lovely in Shape.
A silhouette portrait follows a shape. It is the outline of who we are and what has molded us. What do we have in our lives that have shaped how we think and how we act? Are we following the leading of the Holy Spirit? Do we depend on God's Word to mold us and help us to grow into lovely Christians? As mothers, how are we shaping our children? 
Lovely in Details.
You've probably heard it said that "it is all in the details". The details of a silhouette portrait are partly what help us identify who the silhouette is of. What are those tiny details that reflect who we are as Christian women? Are the things we think, say, and how we act down to the very last detail lovely? Those small details sum us up so every little piece of our lives has to be in sync with Christ.
Lovely in Profile.
The profile of a silhouette portrait is normally from the side and shows that defining angle such as from the hairline, down the nose, and on to the chin. When we see the profile of someone, it is pretty easy to recognize them. 
Many of us have what we call "profiles" on our blogs, websites, or even Facebook, and other social media sites. Those are things we say about ourselves in order to sum ourselves up. In reality, people profile us by just observing us. They don’t rely on what we say or write about ourselves. They observe how we act, what we say, and take note of our behavior. Is that behavior lovely and reflecting the Lord?

A portrait done in silhouette is just the outline of someone and usually of just one angle. You don't get the whole picture. You see an outline of what that person would look like if you saw them in person instead of just as a shadow. 

Everyone we meet or that comes in contact with us is not going to get to know us on a personal and intimate level, yet they will notice how we act and what we reflect. Will they see love, kindness, and compassion coming from us? Will they notice that we stand out differently from the world? Will they see we are a "peculiar people" (1 Peter 2:9)? Will our silhouette be lovely to see?

When it boils down to it, we draw our own silhouettes just by the way we live our lives. We draw the shape of what we want chiseled in our reflection. We decide what is to be cut out and what tiny details are going to be kept.  

Nowadays with all the paint and photo programs, you can make a silhouette digitally, but in the past a silhouette portrait was made by using a bright light and tracing around the shadow of the person you wanted it to reflect. The closer the person was to the light, the more defined the silhouette would be.  

Isn't that so like with us? The closer we are to our Light, the Lord, the more defined our silhouette will be. Some of those traits of a godly woman in Proverbs 31 will start surfacing. When we trust and rely on Christ, our silhouette will reflect what it should in contrast, shape, details, and profile. 

So, does your silhouette reflect that you are a godly woman?

*taken and adapted from

Someone turns 4

Shortly after the 4th of July we get to celebrate this little girls birthday. She's got a whole lot of personality for someone so small!
For the kids' birthdays I usually take them out for lunch with just mom. She couldn't wait for our "date".
 She got her very first corndog and LOVED it! Can't you tell? :)
 She also requested a pink cake. This cake was so pink I think it even tasted pink. She couldn't wait for it to come out of the oven.
 And she didn't want just 4 candles. That just wasn't enough. And she would not be denied!
 We were also SUPER lucky to have cousins come and stay with us during Piglets birthday. It was so much fun and as I'm writing this I'm realizing I am longing for those summer days and to be closer to family. Miss these kiddos!

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