Friday, August 21, 2015

Spiritual Growth + Grateful//

Sitting here, taking a break from doing laundry + cleaning house before we get ready to leave for our 8 day Cruise early tomorrow morning. I am feeling so grateful today, because this week has been a really good one for me. So many great things happened and I just have this feeling that some wonderful breakthroughs are about to happen in my life!!

A few things that happened to me this week + some reasons that I am grateful:

>> I met a great friend this week- sometimes you just meet that person and hit it off instantly & have that spiritual connection + same morals & level of faith- that rarely happens to me, but it did this week! I love when I can talk to someone about God & be on the same level- that's an amazing thing!

>> I made up with my sister & we talked things out, I have forgiven her for things that were done and we have met up a few times for coffee and things have been going really well. I'm excited to grow our relationship better and stronger.

>> Among all of the reasons that I am grateful, this one seems the most trite. But, it did make me really happy so I am adding it to the list. I finally fit back into a pair of my old skinny jeans! I haven't fit into these jeans for several years, so that's a pretty great way to start off my vacation!

>> Had some spiritual eye-opening things happen to me this week- Revelations really. I'm excited to keep praying and see what God has in store for my life//

>> I stood up for myself against a bully & didn't run away or cry like I used to- I was cornered (once again) privately (they were actually waiting on me to walk into this room so that they could attack me) and this person verbally attacked me about several things and I stood my ground, I was firm but nice at the same time and walked away. I refuse to continue to allow another person to run over me or try to bully me- I'm tired of it. I'm the nicest person until someone continues to pick at me and push me and push me. God doesn't expect for me to be a punching bag for anyone- I don't believe in retaliation, but I believe in standing up for yourself. I was so proud of myself, I can tell that I have become a much stronger Christian. "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Matthew 10:16

>> I have more confidence in myself  lately and I have noticed that I care less of what others think of me or if they choose to like me or not. I'm a strong Christian and I am fully dedicated to living a life devoted to God and that means that I won't be accepted by this world- I don't want to be part of things that are not of God. I want to find more like-minded Christians that truly believe in God and live dedicated to him and don't put limits on what he can do. My faith in God is huge- in my eyes he can do anything that I believe and pray for. God is so amazing- He is the most wonderful presence in my life- I refuse to live without him- I couldn't and wouldn't want to face this world on my own//

I am excited for things that God is bringing into my life- I feel the seasons changing- just a small shift, but I have been feeling it lately. This vacation has come at the perfect time in my life- I need a break to get away and just pray and talk to God. I am so excited to just relax and not worry about things. I will be back in about 10 or so days from now to blog all about my trip!! See you then!

What are some blessings that have happened to you lately?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Trusting in God to Meet all of My Needs//


I have a confession to make, recently the hubby and I were researching vacations (for about 1 month) and I was saying things like- we could travel here, but we can't afford the price. Or if only we had this certain amount of money, then we could go on this vacation. Later, I thought about it and realized that I was being negative about the situation- instead of worrying about finding a vacation that we would both love, I was more worried with how we were going to pay for it. I wasted so much time, worried about the money part that I should have just found one that we loved in the first place and purchased it and used that extra time to do something more productive. You can make more money, but you can't get more time// In the end, we ended up purchasing the vacation that we wanted, even though it cost more than what we wanted to spend. Life is about experiences and  you can't take money with you when you die. 

I have noticed in today's society, overhearing so many people complaining about money and how they spent this amount on this or that so now they can't "afford" to do this or that to the point where it comes off really negative.  Recently, I caught myself doing the same thing, saying how I would like to do this or go there, but I couldn't "afford" to.  I started to really think about how negative this type of talk truly is and if I say that I am a child of God and I trust in him to meet all of my needs, then why am I saying that I can't afford to do something? Now this is not to say, that I should go out to eat every meal of the day or go shopping all day every day, because that is going overboard in my opinion, whereas, a vacation for the hubby and I is a necessity because we have been working hard for the past couple of years without taking much of a break, besides a few days here or there. We should be believing that God will provide us with all of our needs- we shouldn't be complaining about what we don't have or how  we can't afford this or that. No matter what my bank balance may be, I know that if I need extra money, that God can increase the money that I do have.  Let's be honest, He's the one who owns it all anyway, not us. I don't know about you, but I would much rather put my trust in my Heavenly Father than anyone else on this earth, myself included, so I plan on trusting him to meet all of my needs!

Now, I don't want anyone to take what I am saying and say, well I believe that you should live within your means and not purchase that vacation. And to that I would say, I am very smart with my money and do live within my means. I  don't shop full retail, I shop mostly at consignment shops or wait to buy items that have been marked down. We also don't go out to eat much at all and when we do, we are conservative. Even on our new home, my husband took his own time and hard work and did most of the construction and saved us thousands of dollars. The cruise that we chose, even though it was more than I wanted to pay at the time,  was still a discounted pack & go rate so that ended up saving us money as well. I am all for trusting in God with my needs but that's not to say that I'm not smart with my money at the same time. Kind of similar to, when I had the flu last week, I started praying  to God for healing, but I also took my Elderberry cough medicine and flu medicine- you have to use common sense along with prayer. 

A really good example of how God provides, sometimes without us even asking, happened to me recently. I saw these pretty leather sandals in the window of an expensive leather shop in St. Augustine, Florida last year and I fell in love with them but I didn't want to pay the $200 + for them (I believe I have a photo of them on Instagram). They were simple, but very pretty. Recently, not only did I find that same pair of shoes, but I found a couple of other pairs that were very similar- they were all very inexpensive and I knew that God had done that for me. God loves all of his children that love him and He wants to take care of us when we give our lives over to Him and do His will, even when no one is watching.  It may seem like a simple thing to someone else, but God knew my heart and how I really loved those shoes and He blessed me..if you ask me, that's pretty amazing. I love God with all of my heart and I live for Him daily and I know that He loves me and wants the best for me. I trust in God in every area of my life and He will always take care of me and provide my every need// No matter what comes my way I will always trust in Him//

Just take a look in the Bible, these are just a handful of times (there are many more!) it mentions how God will take care of you:

Philippians 4:19- But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 

Matthew 6:31-32 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

Matthew 7:11- If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him?

Luke 12:24- Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse or barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

16th Wedding Anniversary//

Today is our 16th Wedding Anniversary! I can't believe the hubby and I have been married 16 years now- it seems like the time just flew by. I am so blessed to have met my husband when I was 19 years old- he really helped shape my life in such a positive way.

We have the same values & morals, the same things in common- a love for travel and adventure, gourmet food, good music, learning new things and an overall love for living life to the fullest. The fact that we accept each other, flaws and all is pretty amazing- I am so blessed to have a love like this. He loves and supports me like no one ever has, he has my best interest at heart and protects me//

We have had so many amazing times together but also some tough times that only helped to make us stronger. At times, it's been us against the world and we stood together and fought whatever battle we were faced with. We were made for each other-  he is part of my soul and when we're not together, I am less of myself. There is this amazing mental, intellectual, emotional and spiritual connection that we have that no one else gets//

We have so many more wonderful memories to make together! We plan on waiting to celebrate our wedding anniversary during our upcoming cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, so I am very excited for that! Hope you enjoy the photos!

About to get married!! Best day of my life// 

 This was when we were engaged- we were going snorkeling//

Our first apartment that we paid for with our own hard-earned money//

Washington, D.C.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Beach Day!!

 We drove to Seaside this morning and when we arrived, it was crowded and by crowded I mean, tons of people, so busy that there were lines for the foodie trucks, no place for parking. Huge crowds and lots of noise is definitely not my cup of tea. We made the decision to move on to a less crowded beach, so we ended up settling on the Santa Rosa Beach area and hopefully go back to Seaside in the Fall when there are less people at the beach.

We ate at the Perfect Pig in Santa Rosa for lunch. I ordered the quiche & the hubby ordered the pulled pork sandwich on brioche. Lunch was delicious and our food didn't take long to arrive- which was great because I was ready to get to the beach! Such a cute spot for lunch- it was obviously very popular because there were no seats left when we arrived & they seated us by the bar, which worked out well because it was a quieter spot with just the two of us.

It was such a gorgeous day! I ended up reading 2 books and got a nice tan- great day in all!!

 Snacks for the road

Found this cute swim-suit + sandals at Target for our upcoming cruise!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Finding the Silver Lining//

Hello y'all! Sorry for disappearing- usually when I don't blog, it's because there is just so much going on in my life. I hope that changes soon, because I really love coming here to write. Remember when I wrote about how I had been sick? If you haven't seen the blog post, you can check it out here.

The good news is that for the past week, I have been feeling much better! Not all of my symptoms are completely gone, but the really serious ones have not come back after 7 days- so I am claiming the healing! I still do not know exactly what was wrong with me, but it was something extremely serious and I know that because of  the prayers from friends and family- that God heard our prayers and healed my body. I could feel whatever it was, constantly eating away at my insides and losing weight rapidly- definitely not a good feeling. But I never stopped praying and never stopped believing that God was going to heal me. When the enemy tried to sneak in with words like stomach cancer and pancreatic cancer, I refused to claim it- I prayed and declared healing over my body. Jesus said, "For truly if you have faith as a grain of a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from here to yonder place, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

To be honest, I didn't realize how much my health truly meant to me, until it was being taken away. It is extremely devastating to be in my thirties and having to deal with health issues. It has been a huge wake-up call for me to make some changes in my life. I am still unable to eat gluten or soy without having reactions like my throat closing up, so I have had to eliminate them altogether. Dairy and sugar still aggravate me as well so I am looking into changing over completely to stevia and possibly coconut milk, hopefully that will help.

So, you know how I always find the silver lining in every trial? Well, the silver lining to this trial is that now do I not only appreciate being in good health, but also that I finally lost the weight that I have been trying to get off for the last couple of years. I have lost 17 pounds in a 2 month time frame- there is no way that I could have done that without being sick. I was not planning on giving up my pasta and cheese anytime soon- I can't help it, I'm a major foodie! So if there is something to be thankful for through this trial, that would be it! On top of all of that, my faith has become even stronger, if that is even possible. I truly believe that with faith and prayer, that anything is possible!!

I just want to say thank you to the ones who checked on me and prayed for me- the support means so much to me. It's such a blessing to have my health back and I beyond grateful. To celebrate, the hubby and I are going to Seaside tomorrow to take a much needed break! Plus, we are going to celebrate his birthday since we didn't get to celebrate last Monday. Speaking of, I need to go & pack a beach bag- we are leaving early tomorrow morning!

I did some research on Seaside, FL and they have lots of cute little shops and foodie trucks. The Truman Show was also filmed in this little town as well as the Food Network. I am so excited to sample from all of the different foodie trucks!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Enjoyable Weekend//

I had such a nice weekend, mainly because after researching for over a month, the hubby and I finally decided on a trip! We will be traveling to the Turks & Caicos, San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, St. Marteen (we visited there last when we were dating!). We will be celebrating my husband's birthday + our 16th Wedding Anniversary + our home being completed- lots of great milestones to celebrate together! Let's be honest, I am so excited that I have already started researching places to visit & I have already started setting a few things aside to pack! (Surprising, since we still have a month until we leave).

Other than that, we were able to get a few things done this weekend- the siding is officially finished! Now we just need to do the prep work and spray paint the house- thank goodness for the Wagner, because I cannot imagine painting two stories worth of siding- no thank you! I also did the usual house-cleaning, and I finally broke down and washed the couch slip-cover- definitely hard work, but I'm so glad it's done now. Also cleaned out the fridge & did some Food shopping. The hubby is going to be supportive and do the gluten-free diet with me, so we went out & bought everything for the week- I'm excited to see how he likes it!

I also finally decided on a logo for my Etsy Shop and even set aside time to do a book review + request another new book. I really have enjoyed reading lately- it's something that I have to carve out time for, but to me it's worth it because continued learning + growth is extremely important to me//

 Organized the coffee station//

Finished reading this week- great book!

 Costco- lots of new healthy, organic items!

 Free earned coffee drink- Espresso Frappucino made with coconut milk + 2 shots espresso

Tried out the new Grub Burger- gluten free burger + sweet potato fries- it was pretty good!

Purchased some cute Summer Shoes this month- all on sale!

I also had some fun this weekend breaking my camera out to practice some photography- I love where we live - it's like we have our own little forest:) Home is my peaceful place to relax and I love to be surrounded by the quiet and the beauty of nature//

I'm also hoping to surprise the hubby with a little get-away this weekend- just for the day and just the two of us. I'm very excited because we really could use a little break.

That's about it for now- hope that you all had a nice weekend as well!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Book Review//

I recently read this book written by Patrick Di Justo and was very intrigued. I have always been interested in different food ingredients and anyone who knows me well, will find me in the Trader Joe's or Whole Foods food aisle, reading the back of labels before adding things to my cart. Thank goodness that my husband is a very patient man.

But I digress, onto the book review!

This was a quick but interesting read about what is really in the food that we put in our mouth. Very eye-opening on what we eat on a daily basis- for example, did you know that in the Hostess Lemon Fruit Pies, it contains an ingredient by the name of locust bean gum. It's an extract of the seeds of the carob tree. Ancient Egyptians used to bind the wrappings of mummies. Similar, to the way that it keeps the crust from getting soggy in the Lemon Fruit Pie. Not sure if I want to ingest the same ingredient that has been used to wrap mummies and preserve them, but to each their own, right? 

And who knew drinking coconut water, is practically the same thing as ingesting the plant reproduction fluids- basically, when drinking coconut water I am actually drinking liquid coconut endosperm. Now every time I drink coconut water (which is almost a daily basis)- I will have that lovely visual.

I personally found this book to be very interesting and I feel that it's a definite must read for the curious of minds. So next time you're at the bookstore, pick up a copy- I don't think you'll be disappointed!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.