Here We Go

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 was a big year for this little space. I put more time into it than I ever have before. I worked with several brands, joined a few blogging networks, hosted and co-hosted new projects, took a class, and found the topics that seem to be "mine".

After years of mostly keeping to myself, I made some really great friends! You know who you are, but you can't know how much you encourage me as a Christian and inspire me as a woman and as a blogger. If we could all live in one city I'd love that...but, I'm grateful for the community we have built together!

We're all making plans for 2015. There are a few things you should know:

* The goal that I'm most excited about is that my side bar is going to look different. I'll be contacting people asking if they'd like to advertise their blog or Etsy shop on my side bar - for FREE. This is a way for me to give back to all of you. Consider this an invitation to contact me if you're interested!

* Earlier this month, Ask & Answer began because I just couldn't wait any longer. I thought round one was a lot of fun.  We'll keep this up as long as you all continue to enjoy it!

* I'm working on ways to make navigating OLD material on my blog a little easier. There are so many new faces around here, I'd love to make looking around fun for you!
* Kiki and I are already talking about hosting another letter exchange. I hope you'll help spread the word! What time of year works best for you?

* I'm toying with the idea of switching up the design. Does my purple font drive you nuts?

I have a few other things up my sleeve too. For now, I'm enjoying some special time with my family and hoping that in 2014 Through * For * By has brightened your day, encouraged your soul, and given you many reasons to praise God!

Happy New Year!

Purpose of God

Monday, December 29, 2014

Every now and then Jay will stop by for a visit just because. It's usually in the afternoon and it almost always turns into a theology chat session. Earlier this month, I came home to find his Jeep parked in the driveway...I hoped he hadn't been here long because I didn't want to miss out on his visit! 

I wasn't disappointed. I joined the conversation happening around our table and talk quickly turned to a time years ago when Jay worked his way through parts of Chambers' book in a new way. He looked up a topic in the index and read and re-read every entry that was listed until he had his questions answered. This came up because we were talking about the purpose of God.

Jay left me with the challenge of looking up "purpose of God" in the index of "My Upmost For His Highest". I began working my way through the entries reading and re-reading them one by one. The entry from May 22 is the perfect reflection on this last Monday of 2014. The Scripture for that day comes from John 17:21. It says, "...that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us..."

If you are one of God's people, whatever is happening in your life, or has happened in your life, is working together for a purpose. John 17 tells you why and verses like Romans 8:28-29 leave you with full assurance. Chambers puts it this way, "...Jesus has prayed that you 'may be one' with the Father as He is."

As we finish up the last few days of this year and prepare our hearts for the one ahead, it is the perfect time to take stock of where we are as children of God. May we find great comfort in this great will of God! May even our troubles be viewed as blessings.

I want to leave you to consider this question from Chambers, "Are you helping God to answer that prayer, or do you have some other goal for your life?"

Join me in answering it honestly and reflecting on it often.

What I Learned in November

Monday, December 22, 2014

November 27, 2014

Miracle on 34th Street is ALSO a book.

Book clubs on Good Reads are a great idea!

Shopping by myself is not TERRIBLE, but I really do hate it.

First novels CAN be wonderful. Leave it to Madeleine L'Engle to teach me this lesson with her very own first novel, "The Small Rain".

It is both OKAY and AMAZING to bust out Christmas early. This year, I pulled out the music and movies on November 1st and I decorated two whole days BEFORE Thanksgiving.

My Grandma used to sing this song called "We Need a Little Christmas", but I had forgotten all about that song until I heard it on Pandora. It's a favorite once again!

Frozen turkeys are injected with a bunch of salt. This means that when you brine a frozen turkey you can and should use way less salt. After several years of SUPER salty gravy, this year's brine led to the perfect gravy. This year we used 1/4 cup of kosher salt even though our recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of kosher salt.

What did you learn in November?

PS - I'm taking the rest of the week off!
May you all have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Affogato Share This With You

Friday, December 19, 2014

I'm pretty sure that I first heard about affogatos last fall...And last winter I promised to tell you about them, but then affogato I forgot!

It turns out that they are slightly strange, but also really, really yummy! Saying "affogato" is an added bonus.

The possibilities are endless. Basically you just combine your favorite coffee with your favorite ice cream. There's even room for toppings if that's your thing.

For me, the perfect affogato consists of one scoop of peppermint ice cream topped with regular old black coffee.

 Scoop your ice cream into a mug. Add however much you like!

Pour hot coffee over your ice cream. 

I take my time drinking these because as the ice cream melts, the coffee gets sweeter and creamier and colder.

serves 1
one scoop of your favorite ice cream
12oz. hot coffee
Place scoop of ice cream into a mug. 
Pour hot coffee over your ice cream.
Drink immediately!

Have you had an affogato before? 

What elements will you bring together when you make yours? 

The Circle: Christmas Wish Lists

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

1  /   2   /   3   /  4   /   5   /   6

CONFESSION: I used this wish list graphic in a Currently post a few months ago! It contains some "wishy" items, some "gotta have it" items, and one item that has already been taken care of.  

* Classic Trench Coat - I've loved these coats ever since I was a little girl! I don't know how practical they are where I live since it's always either super hot or super cold, but this is a WISH list. 

* Donut Pan - This is a for real gift idea for me. I would put this thing to some serious use! 

* Milk Frother - I hear that Nespresso machines are amazing. I don't have room in my kitchen for the machine and I don't really have one for this either, but again, this is a WISH list. 

* Slippers - Another real gift idea. My current slippers have all seen better days. A nice pair of slippers would great.

* Knife - My Mom picked up one of these knifes at Wal-Mart four summers ago. It became my FAVORITE knife, but I need a replacement! (NOTE: After a trip to Costco, this item has since been taken off my list.) 

* Display Box -  Another real gift idea. I've heard Hobby Lobby has these and I think they are gorgeous! I love keeping things that I use often out so that I can get to them easily. I'm always looking for cute 
options to keep them contained. 

What's on your wish list this year?

Be sure to link up with Kiki so that we can all see your posts! 


DIY Type

Monday, December 15, 2014

I am not creative at all. Pretty much all of my friends and family members ARE crafty. When I saw this book, I immediately thought of my sister.

As you probably guessed, "DIY TYPE" by Dana Tanamachi comes with letter stencils and several different shape and border stencils. The stencils themselves are not quite as fancy as I thought they would be, but it turns out that this book is meant to be a starting point.

You will find several pages of ideas and how-to's to get you started!

"DIY TYPE" will be a great tool in helping you to create so many things. I'm loving the cake idea and I'm hoping that my sister will make a banner of some kind.

I'm confident all of you will love this book! My friend Robyn used one of the design stencils to dress up a mug.

I'm telling you, the possibilities are endless!

Pick up your copy HERE

Are you crafty?

What would you use stencils to make?

* I was provided with a review copy of this book by Blogging for Books. All thoughts are my own honest opinion.

Ask & Answer pt. 1

Friday, December 12, 2014

November 8, 2014

On Monday, I introduced this new series HERE. You asked a bunch of questions and we're ready for round one! Don't forget to share your answers in the comments. 

Here are mine.

How did God save you? 

Long story short, God saved me through a VBS that I didn't want to go to. I was 9 years old and that was only the beginning. :) You can read a more thorough version HERE (or HERE or HERE) if you're interested. 

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Years ago my Mom found out about Christmas Crackers. They're British and they're loads of fun. We crack them one at a time so that we can take turns putting on our crown, checking out our prize, and telling the joke that comes inside.

What is your most embarrassing moment?   

I asked my family to help me out with this one...I think we agreed that it was the time I was caught cheating. Please, let me explain myself! 

We were at our home fellowship group and about 20 of the "young people" gathered around to play spoons. I had never heard of this game before. With that many people it was very loud and competitive. I joined in and I was doing very well!!! All of a sudden, a boy that was sitting behind me piped up, "Hey!!! You can't do that! Victoria's cheating!!!!"  

It turns out that you need FOUR of a kind to pick up a spoon first, not three. I was terribly embarrassed, because I honestly thought you only needed three.  

During what time of day are you most productive?

The after dinner hours used to be my most productive time, but right now I do my best work between 8am and 1:30ish.

And that brings us to the end of round one! Be sure to share your answers.

If your question wasn't asked, I'll include it in another round. Feel free to ask more questions any time!

Sometimes we VLOG

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Well, it happened...I vlogged and I'm sharing it with all of you! You can thank my friend Faith and her Golden Vlog link up (which you should most definitely join, by the way)! 

It seems to be the custom in the vlogging world to apologize for all of the silly mistakes and to use some variation of the word "vlog" exactly one million times in the posts that surround them. I'd be here for quite a while if I tried to do all of that, so let's just get on with it.

It's my first vlog, it's 3 minutes long, and my Mom's only comment was, "You didn't even wish them a 'Merry Christmas' or a 'Happy New Year'!!!"

Here are the questions that Faith assigned this month:

1. What's your favorite Christmas song (and sing a few bars?)?
2. Do you open presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
3. Are you a last minute present wrapper or are you done buying and wrapping presents way in advance?
4. What's your favorite Christmas movie?
5. What are a couple things on your wish list?
6. What is a favorite Christmas memory you have?
7. If you are married, how do you split up time with each family?
8. Do you stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve?
9. Do you get dressed up or get comfy in your pjs?
10. Do you have your resolutions planned by the new year or think of them once the year is here?

Thanks for watching! I'd love to hear your vlogging (and EDITING) tips! 

Currently pt. 8

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 2, 2014

watching: Christmas movies!!! Last week we discovered the cheesiest series on Amazon called "House of Anubis", you didn't hear about it from me. ;)

listening : Pandora's "Christmas in New Orleans" channel. A podcast that's moved up into my top five is BBC's "The History Hour". The episode on the events surrounding the death of Glen Miller was the one that really won me over!

wrapping: Presents that are TOP SECRET!

making: Lots and lots of plans. I'm being vague now, but I'll spill the beans soon.

anticipating: The fulfillment of all the plans that are being made. Excited doesn't even begin to describe my feelings!

Normally, I link these posts up with Jenna and Anne

Introducing: Ask & Answer

Monday, December 08, 2014

December 20, 2010

Every once in a while, my friend Megan puts out a call for her readers to ask her questions. She always invites them to join her by sharing their own answers in the comments.

Since I love getting to know people, I've decided to put my own spin on this little project and bring it to Through * For * By! It will be called "Ask & Answer".

Here's how Ask & Answer will work:

Once a month or so I'll put a call out for questions.

I'll choose three of your questions and I'll add one of my own.

When I answer them, I'll invite all of you to share your answers in the comments!

So...What questions do you have this month? They can be serious questions like, "Who has had the biggest impact on you?" Or they could be a little more trivial like, "What is the most common color in your wardrobe?"

Comment below or send me an e-mail! I think this is going to be a lot of fun and I hope you do too.

The Boston Girl

Saturday, December 06, 2014


Boston is one of my favorite places and the early 1900's are one of my favorite times in history to read about. This novel caught my eye because it's all about an 85 year old woman looking back on her life and recounting her story to her 22 year old granddaughter. "The Boston Girl" by Anita Diamant is available for pre-order and will be releasing on December 9th. 

I've got to begin by saying that I was slightly disappointed with this novel. It's no secret that I've done some great reading this fall. This one just didn't keep up. It wasn't terrible, it just wasn't what I expected.

Addie (Diamant's main character) seems completely real. Born in 1900 to immigrant parents who happen to be Jewish, Addie wants nothing more than to BE an American Girl. She tries hard. It's difficult for me to read about "the grass is always greener" characters. The striving we do as young women usually takes us places we never meant to go. It's no different for Addie and her friends. Those are the kinds of elements and plot points that will probably draw other people in. 

As far as I know, this book is fiction. Diamant did incorporate events from the past as well as places and the way culture would have impacted the people who lived during those days. That's the part of the book that fascinated me! 

"The Boston Girl" has a little bit of everything. You'll love some of it, you'll want to shake Addie and her friends sometimes, and you'll be shaking your head in agreement in other places.

*I was provided a review copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own honest opinion.

The Scenic Route: Thanksgiving 2014

Monday, December 01, 2014

Last Saturday is when I feel like Thanksgiving really started. That morning, I went shopping with my Mom and brother to get all of the food. I was in charge of making the list and managed to forget to write down "turkey"....In fact, I was all ready to check out without even grabbing a turkey. I'm really not looking forward to old age. I'll be TERRIBLE by then!

Later that day, we played Turkey Bingo (where my brother proceeded to WIN a turkey)! 

We spent most of Sunday at Jay's house along with Al and Alva for an early Thanksgiving dinner. Jay is an excellent cook and a perfect host. Days at his house are always fun! After dinner, my brother and sister played Monopoly and the adults sat around visiting. We passed around coffee and sweet potato pie and kept on playing and visiting until late into the evening. 

My Mom and I worked together to get everything prepared on Wednesday. And that night we watched The West Side Story and my sister and I played Horseopoly. (I won. Write that down, please!)

And that brings us to the day of Thanksgiving....

The sunrise was beautiful!

First things first...Coffee for her, water for me, and checking in with all of our relatives on the east coast while the rest of the family sleeps.

Stuffing the turkey!

I stepped outside for some fresh air. It was 60 degrees this Thanksgiving and we all welcomed the warmth!!!

Polishing the silverware and "smiling" because I wanted a picture of everyone watching my Mom doing the work.

The table is ready for this year's feasters: uur family (minus my brother), Grandma Karen, Ron and Julie, and Mackenzie and his wife (I don't know how to spell her name).

And this is the part where I ate a sandwich, we played skipbo (I won that too...), and then I called my Grandma to wish her a happy Thanksgiving. I didn't pick up my camera again until AFTER the food was served, consumed, and put away. I kick myself!

We ate right around 2 and I think that the kitchen was all cleaned up by the time I took this picture. My sister is ready to continue the game of battleship she had started earlier that day with my Mom.

Meanwhile, my brother continues working on the video he has been editing ALLL DAY LONG! (I'm really not passive aggressive. Honest!)

Once again...I put the camera down and didn't take any more pictures. The rest of the day was spent eating dessert, visiting, and then half the guests left and Mackenzie and his wife stuck around for a rousing game of Horseopoly. We agreed to play for 1 hour...At the 1 hour mark I'm pretty sure that my brother was winning, but everyone begged and begged for another half hour. Two and a half hours later, I had pushed everyone to bankruptcy except for my brother who just needed to land on one of my properties to be out of the game.

That was Thanksgiving 2014.

Tell me about your day!