No Regrets

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I came across some pictures the other day from a winter day almost five years ago. I had forgotten all about that day and all of the snow that came down only to be followed by beautiful blue skies. 

Anyway, some of those pictures are sprinkled throughout this post! I hope you enjoy them as much as I have been. Things here have been wet and grey and brown. Oh and cold. Very cold. Looking at these pictures is a nice reminder of what winter can be....eventually. 


While these pictures are beautiful, I want to talk about something else....I want to talk about living a beautiful life. 

We go through life trying to make everything as perfect as possible. With every season, we have lists and ideas for things that we want to do and see. That is all just fine. But, too often, we end making more out of all of these THINGS than we should.

Life becomes stressful. We become....well, we become OVERWHELMED We can't wait to get to the weekend or the next trip or home to escape it all.

What kind of life is that? 

What kind of life is it to always be striving and stressing and looking for the next thing. That thing that will give us another moment of happiness and joy and peace. 

What kind of life is it to constantly be looking for ways to ESCAPE? 

I've been reading several books (two of them are completely fiction) and just started a sermon series.

The two fiction books are about families striving for the perfect get together. In one, a sister is planning a perfect reunion/surprise party. In the other, a mother is planning a perfect Christmas.

In both, tragedy strikes in the form of a car accident. Serious injuries happen, brain activity becomes scarce, and "organ harvesting" is considered.

I cannot even imagine having to make that decision. In both books, organs are taken and given to others. Because of one family's tragedy, another family is given a chance at life. The unexpected happens and some receive something that leaves them shocked while others receive something that they have been hoping and waiting for.

In both books, families battle with life and death. With longing for heaven and dealing with life on earth. Some of the people have regrets. Some learn about what is really important before it is too late.

In the sermon series, a new to me pastor named Art Azudia is talking about Jesus' request for our sanctification, the reason for His request, and the basis for His request all from John 17:17-19.

He opened the first sermon by asking how many people have wanted to just be DONE with life on this earth. How many people have thought about the glories of heaven and found themselves longing for life there?

Heaven is going to be awesome...But, there's something Jesus saved us for. Jesus came to earth to save His people so that His people could live on earth becoming like Him. As they become like Him, others will continue to hear about Him. 

More people are constantly coming to KNOW about God. Some of those people are coming to saving faith. 

So, WHY live a life of regret?

You ARE SAVED. You are STILL alive. It's not time for heaven yet.

It's time to be sanctified. It's time to be made like Jesus.

ENJOY enjoying God right NOW...Through the details of His creation, His Word, and spreading that same treasure to the people around you.

This Christmas, this holiday season....Enjoy things but don't let life or anything in it make you overwhelmed.

Love God. Love people. Hate sin.

Jesus prayed for you...He meant EVERY word:

"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth." John 17:17-19

In everything, God speaks to His people. I haven't quite put my finger on what He is trying to tell me right now. I want some cut and dry truth out of all of these seemingly "random" things that have come into my mind lately. I didn't plan or seek any of them, but I am seeking His truth.

What have you been learning lately?

What Scriptures keep coming up? 


Thanks to everyone who has been commenting lately! I LOVE hearing from you, even if you're just dropping by. :)

We're All Talking About It

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Well, the very first weekend of this holiday season has come and gone. Things have been quiet around here, but I thought it's about time for that to change!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I hope that it included lots of time with those you love, some good food, and safe travels. I hope that it was a time to consider just how much you have to thank God for! 

Our holiday was nice. There were eight of us around the table this year. Small, quiet, and just kind of nice. There was one guest (my BROTHER) I missed quite a bit, but I trust that holidays apart won't be forever. 

As usual, as soon as Friday morning came, I was up cleaning and decorating for CHRISTMAS. 

Aside from SUMMER, Christmas is by far my very favorite time of year. 

I don't have to tell you. I think you can list the reasons all by yourselves! 

After I got the decorating done, it felt nice to sit for a while and read. This book is actually pretty cheesy, but I read the other books in the series, so I had to read this one too. 

As I sat there reading, resting from the craziness of Thanksgiving, and enjoying the pieces of Christmas all around me, I was just kind of overwhelmed. Life is really pretty good. Did you know that?

I don't talk about it here much, but many things about my life aren't the way that I would have them. For some reason, God has them that way though. Some days, it takes work for me to TRUST that these things I would change, aren't changing and that's for my GOOD.

I know, we all have things we would change. We all have things we would have done differently. For a moment, I forgot about those things. For a moment, I was completely okay with how life is, right now.

I think it was Saturday that I made these sweet treats. I've had my eye on them for a while and decided that they would be the perfect thing to break out my Christmas apron and open the kitchen of Christmas.

You can check the recipe out over at HERE.

I'm still trying to find a GREAT sugar cookie recipe. You know, one that tastes good and is easy to work with. I've only made sugar cookies a few times and I've just not found one that I love. Send me your favorite recipe, k? 

So, I blogged. I shared some pictures. Now it's your turn!

How did you spend your Thanksgiving?
Why do you love the Christmas season?
What's the BEST sugar cookie recipe ever? 

PS Sorry the pictures aren't very good...I took them with my iPad, right from where I was sitting. 

Me Myself & I: November

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

1) What are your top 5 favorite movies to watch during the Holidays?

*White Christmas
*Christmas in Connecticut
*Holiday Affair
 *It Happened on Fifth Avenue
 *Shop Around the Corner

2) It's the month of giving thanks, what are you most thankful for?

(I answered this yesterday....Here's the rest of my answer today.) This will sound cliche, but honestly, the thing that holds everything else together in my life is my relationship with God. Without Jesus, I couldn't have that. Without it, I would be a lost, crazy, sad, angry, mess. 

3) If there was a quote or verse to describe your life, what would it be?

"By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace towards me was not in vain.
 On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, 
though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." 
1 Corinthians 15:10

4) Who in your family are you most alike?

That is tough...I'm not really sure. My Mom and I have the most in common. However, we are also very different in our personalities. 

5) What is your favorite drink order at Starbucks? 

Hands down, a hot salted caramel mocha.

* * * * * * * * * * * * 

Over the last week I have been working on a few things and it's been nice. The Thanksgiving shopping and planning are DONE. Advent planning has been going on for a little while. Christmas shopping has definitely started. 

I have spent countless hours reading and studying. It kind of  looks like this....

The *new* little table by my chair looks like this. I love this corner now! It's a great place to sit while I read, blog, write, think, pray, or visit. It'll be fun to see what ends up there. Right now: a book I just started reading, a cd, and some nail polish.

I settled in early last Thursday evening to watch the first official Christmas movie of the season. I "cheated" a few months ago, but that doesn't really count.

I lit a candle, got all nice and cozy cozy, and started up "Shop Around the Corner". Here Jimmy Stewart is convincing his boss that only "people who like to smoke candy and listen to cigarettes" will enjoy this Ochi Chornya playing cigarette box.

I hope the days leading up to your holiday have been filled with nice things too! 

I'd love to hear (or read on your blogs) your answers to the me myself and i questions. Answer them in a comment or leave me a link! 

Thanksgiving Our Way

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I saw this link up and thought it would be fun! So, here we go....

Since we’re all “lifestyle” bloggers, we thought we’d let that be our theme: sharing all different facets of our holiday. Choose as many of the items as you’d like from this list to share about:
+ Thanksgiving Family Traditions
+ Favorite Recipe
+ Fashion for Turkey Day – What do you plan to wear?
+ What Thanksgiving means to you in one word
+ Your “Pinterest” table decor muse
+ A photo of something you’re thankful for
+ An inspiring quote about thankfulness
* * * * * * * * * * *

My favorite family traditions are the MENU and the COOKING. Every year we eat the same foods. Every year my Mom and I cook the meal. Missing the days when her Mom joined us helps me treasure the days we still have together all that much more. It won't be long until my sister finds herself part of the tradition  too! 

There are usually games of skip-bo played in the kitchen. I have my Grandma to thank for that tradition. 

And other than that, it's just a bunch of people eating a bunch of food and sitting around talking about a bunch of things. 

The thing that I am most thankful for in this life is PEOPLE. We are spread out, but I have a pretty great family. On top of that, I know some amazing people who FEEL like they might as well be family. And I am always up for meeting a new "stranger"....Grocery stores, airplanes, new cities...It seems that everywhere I go I am reminded just how much I am glad that God put so many other people in this world. 

America's Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration 

Christmas in New York City's Grand Central Station
Lastly, I want to share with you the reason why I am most thankful. You see, all of this, my life and all of the wonderful things in it is what it is because of what Jesus has done. His desires for me is what keeps me going. His desires for me are what keep me thankful

Jesus said, "Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, may be with Me
where I am, to see My glory that You have given Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world." John 17:24

That's my hope this Thanksgiving. Thankfully, I know that this is promised me. Someday I will be with Him, where He is seeing His glory with all of the others who are His, FOREVER. 

In the meantime, I guess we have a bit of work to do. Enjoy your holiday for it is only a foretaste of the thankfulness you may feel forever. 

Frankly Friday

Friday, November 16, 2012

Remember Monday? The day that began as one of THOSE days?

I got through it. I learned something from that day. As wrong as everything was going I wasn't "feeling" any worse for it. If anything, I was one more thing away from breaking down into some serious laughter. 

So, the fresh snow was turning to a slushy mess? meh!

So, my "caramel sauce" tasted great but looked nothing like caramel? meh! 

So, the dough for my cinnamon rolls looked like a continent and was dry and tough? meh!

So, it was after 11 before I was ready for the day? meh! 

So, the living room table was covered with crumbs and water rings and fingerprints from company the night before? meh! 

No big deal. 

All of that was just STUFF. For the most part, stuff does not bother me. Stuff is not eternal.

Now, people...People bother me. If I am not getting along with someone or if something comes between us...I am a MESS. Trouble with people is what gets me down. Not just down, but down right uneasy. 

It's a good thing, I think. Stuff is NOT eternal. People and relationships most certainly ARE eternal. 

God wants us to be uneasy when we're not right with people. He wants things to be right between us. 

This Friday, keep these things in mind:

Let STUFF go! Give a big "meh" and laugh and realize just how funny stuff going wrong is. 

Love people! Give a big care and prayer and work as you realize just how important people are. You may not be able to fix things with people. But one thing you can do is your part and move on if they're stuck on things staying strained. 

Thank God that He gives us grace to laugh at what doesn't matter. Thank God that He helps us grow to maturity as we deal with what matters very much.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Earlier this week I came across a post that really packed a punch. You should go over and check it out!

I think I have mentioned it before....I am definitely a doer. I know that my works don't save me. I know that I could have died the day after I got saved and I would have just as much of God to enjoy for all of eternity.

BUT. I get caught up in the doing and being something "amazing".

In reality, even with all of my trying and thinking and studying, I'm something pretty NOT amazing.

I get tired. I get sick. I get grumpy. I snap at people and lose my patience. I get lazy.

God is constantly reminding me of two things:

Who He is

Who I am not

As I see my sin and His glory, I see because of Christ.

In Christ, I must keep looking. In Christ, I see what I am through Him and I see that I have all that I need.

There is one verse that I have in my head but apparently I didn't memorize it quite right because I can't seem to find it right now. I did find this one though....

"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire."
2 Peter 1:3-4

The point is this, whoever we are, wherever we come from, in Jesus Christ we have been given all that we need. We are complete. We are ready to treasure God right now and forever.

God is pleased with me because He is pleased with Christ. End of story, beginning of an amazing eternity.

So, as Amanda said in her post, this week, be the woman God knows you to be.

God knows you and He knows you in Jesus. Just rest in being that lady.

Let what you are trying to be and who you already are collide so that your striving would be a joy. Get in the Word and let it fill you with hope in Christ and faith in all that He has promised.

Christmas Spirit

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Do you usually cling to fall and wait for Christmas? 

Or, do you usually jump right into all things Christmas as soon as you can?

Is this year any different? 

This year I'm clinging to always Christmas never winter. I've probably said it a dozen times already and I'm pretty sure I'm serious. 

I've made up my mind. This year, I'm pulling out Christmas early. I won't decorate for a while, but the music, movies, books, and thoughts of Christmas are all mine. No waiting for me this year! 

The advent season is a time to reflect on the birth of Jesus. Every year, I have seemed to focus on a different truth. I haven't quite found a theme for this year yet. 

I do plan on going through this book by John Piper. 

I've got my iTunes and Pandora switched over to Christmas music. I've been enjoying a new Christmas book and look forward to finding some more at the library. 

It's going to be a nice long season! 

The Scenic Route

Monday, November 12, 2012

I am very happy to be able to report that Friday's dinner turned out pretty awesome! Crepes, ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and blueberry sauce. Pair it with breakfast sausage and you have everything you need.

The rest of the weekend I enjoyed plenty of tea, reading, a few games of Huggermugger, a movie called "Columbus Circle", and a dinner in with friends. Somehow, it just kind of flew by. *Note- The movie was pretty good. Quite a bit of language but very clean otherwise.*

Anyway...What I'm really wanting to tell you about are the events of this morning.

I woke up to find that it snowed last night. Things were looking bright and white. As the morning has progressed, things are warming up and starting to get pretty slushy.

I was moving at a snail's pace and one thing after another seemed to be going wrong. Seriously, it was going so wrong that I have been on the verge of breaking into hysterical laughter!

Over the weekend I came across this recipe and decided to make it this morning for breakfast.


Care for a piece of advice? It's a piece of advice I have given myself over and over again. I heard it from my Mom for years. I didn't listen to her and I don't listen to me. Listen! It'll just make your life a lot easier! The advice is this: when trying a new recipe, TRUST them, use what they say, and don't skimp or make substitutions.

Why am I telling you this? Oh, simply because this morning as I was attempting to make caramel sauce things didn't go so well all because I didn't listen.

There I was in my pajamas attempting to make caramel sauce without 1/2 & 1/2 or cream. I found a recipe that called for milk instead. I should have known better. It didn't work. I threw that away.

Round two, I used a recipe that called for cream and used a little less milk than the cream it called for. The result? Caramel sauce that tastes awesome but looks nothing like caramel. Maybe I could have just cooked it longer and that would have made it look right? After throwing out one batch, I didn't chance it.

Meanwhile, I'm making the dough for the cinnamon rolls...The dough just didn't turn out right either. I'm blaming it on the weather.   That shape? Yeah, I can't take credit for that. That's how it looked when I plopped it out of the bowl. It's a lesson in geography.

By this time, I was listening. I did exactly what the lady said. I should have added some extra milk because the dough that was supposed to be STICKY was pretty dry. I didn't add the milk. I followed the recipe and the sage wisdom I just shared with you.

So, there I was. Still in my pajamas. Still too lazy to get dressed and go to the store. Still trying to listen not listen and turn out some cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

It's now just after noon. I am showered and dressed. I finally ate one of those cinnamon rolls.

On this day, and always, get dressed. Go to the store. Follow the recipe.

In the meantime, enjoy this not quite fall not quite winter stuff!

On the Road

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I just realized that Thanksgiving is VERY close. 

Now that the freezers are in order, the pantry is stocked, and Christmas shopping has begun, I am ready to get into the holiday swing of things. 

I admit, I get a little anxious for the holidays. 

Even with all of the predictable traditions, things have changed so much over the last few years.

 I long for the holidays to be like they were. I long for everything to be perfect. Every year, something else seems to change. It's not all bad, but these changes and the unexpected changes to come keep me on my toes. 

Growing up, I always said that Thanksgiving was my favorite. It used to mean getting together with family. Then it meant that my Grandma was coming to visit for a while. Now, it means getting together with a bunch of people that are like family. 

My Mom and I cook up the same meal every year. We have a unique menu full of foods that I absolutely love.

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is spending the day in the kitchen with my Mom. It's by her side that I learned to cook.

We don't do everything the same and sometimes we even go back and forth over how something should be done.  Our Thanksgiving cooking time always reminds me of all the times that we used to cook together.

As soon as Thanksgiving is over, I do one more thorough cleaning and then it's time to pull out the Christmas decorations. The center piece of our Christmas decorations is the nativity set that belonged to my Mom's parents. 

None of the decorations are home and gardens fancy. Most of them are simply sentimental. They either belonged to my Mom's parents or have just been around so long that I can't imagine "Christmas" without them. 

I decorate with nativity sets, garland (green), red bows, white lights, nut cracker men, and snowmen. 

Someday I would like to change a few things up. I guess I'm just not in a hurry when it comes to that though. 

The days after Christmas lead up to our celebration of the new year and Epiphany. It truly is a season full of holidays! 

What are some of your favorite traditions during the holiday season?

What's your favorite food on the Thanksgiving table? 

Pictures taken from a drive I took last week when I visited my friend. 

Frankly Friday

Friday, November 09, 2012

In "honor" of the 11th Frankly Friday and due to my not having a definite idea of exactly what to write about this week, I'm going to give you 11 random things! 

* Today, is my brother's birthday. He's 20 and still kind of a knuckle head. I think I am more excited about his birthday mail than he is....Long story short, he lives across the country these days. He didn't even bother to go to the post office to pick it up. Monday is Veteran's Day (right?) which means he won't get it until Tuesday. IF he remembers. I love that boy, even if he is Eeyore (or...batman)!

* I have been eating WAY too many cookies. I can't figure out if it's because I want to eat them or I want to bake. Whatever the case, I need to slow down.

* I want this book...I've been seeing it everywhere and it looks like it would be fun to go through.

* And this book too, I'm always up for learning something new.

This article about Francis Chan and his family really shook me up a few weeks ago...It's still shaking me up.

*Tonight I switched things up for dinner. I'm trying out this Tyler Florence recipe. I had a prepping party in the kitchen this afternoon. Now, I'm getting ready to go put everything together.

* Once Upon A Time is on Netflix. Let's just say I could sit and watch every single one.

* Which brings me to my next thing....It's time for those dumb, cheesy, CLEAN Christmas movies again. What are your suggestions? I own a bunch of the old classics and a few Hallmark ones, but I'm always looking for new ones!

* I've been trying to learn to crochet. Why is it so difficult? The good news is that I still have like five months of winter left to learn.

* Five months of winter. It's not snowing here yet, but I know it's coming. Five months of winter. This is the time of year I think about moving to Jamaica.

* Being in the house more has me looking around and wanting to put things on the walls. Pictures, word posters (what do we call them?), shadow boxes, whatever, I just want to change things up a bit. I don't live in a beachy area. I don't have a beachy house. Everything I've been drawn to reminds me of the ocean. It's the five months of winter thing, I think.

So there you go...11 things on the 11th week of Frankly Friday. Hope you have a great weekend! 

Buy good books, watch good movies, love people, don't eat too many cookies, learn something new,  and remember to check your mail! 

Oh, and don't let the five more months of winter thing get you down! 

Philippians 4:4-5

Looking Back

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Today I wanted to share some old pictures with you simply because I happen to know exactly where I was and what I was doing on this day two years ago. 

Two years ago today I spent the day with some friends. We decided to play tourist for the day. 

We walked around Plymouth. 

Walking around a town that is normally so busy and so full of life that is quiet and empty is a strange feeling. There weren't tourists anywhere. There wasn't very much traffic. The shops were closed up for the season. 

We went out onto the Cape and ate on the beach. 

The beach was empty. The ocean was bluer and greener. 

The place we picked up lunch was BUSY. I remember walking in and thinking that we had definitely picked a great place to eat. There were people crowded around every single little table. There were people lined up against every wall waiting for their orders. 

We headed to Chatham where things were a little more lively. We looked in shops, bought some fudge, and just took our time enjoying a chance to slow down. 

Then we went home, built a fire in the fire place, and had caramel apples, apple cider, and s'mores. There may or may not have been some festivities involving Guy Fawkes.

That day was wet and cold and windy. 

I regret that I didn't take more pictures. I don't have any pictures of or with the people I spent the day with. No pictures of Chatham. No pictures of the beach. 

But I do have pictures in my mind. I do have memories. 

Two years later, this day is cold and dry and windy. The people I spent that day with are not near me. One is across the ocean. The others are across the country. None of us are having fires or burning anything in them. 

Today I'll be on my way home from spending a few days with a friend of mine.