Lessons From My Mom

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Last month Kiki wrote about "being good enough" and as I was typing out a comment, the idea for this post was born! 

March 3, 2012

I don't think I talk about my Mom on this space very much. She is hands down the most influential person in my life. We have been extremely close pretty much my whole life. She has taught me so many things and if I could just remember half of them I'd be sure to go places!

My Mom always taught me...

 To do my best - She pushed me to do things well, but to be okay with my limits.

To not be afraid of failure - Her exact words go something like this, "The only thing worse than failing is never even trying."

To listen up when learning opportunities show up - Her Dad told her "The only stupid question is the question that you never asked." and she made sure to pass that same wisdom on to me. Pay attention, ask questions, and GIVE IT A SHOT.

That I'm okay - This started when I was a baby. She would always acknowledge the pain and then quickly move on to helping me "brush it off" and reminding me that "it isn't any trouble just to S.M.I.L.E."

These pieces of advice have never let me down.

See , Mom? 
I have been listening!
And don't quote this post 
next time I'm struggling 
with something! :) 
I love you !

Christmas Reading

Monday, November 24, 2014

Every December something called Christmas comes over me! Picking out an Advent study, pulling out the decorations, heading to the library on a hunt for some quick Christmasy novels, and baking until right before December 25th never get old.

The only thing different this year is that Christmas came over me in November! I've held off as long as I can, today I'm going to spread some cheer to you. This is also my very first post feature pictures taken with the fixed 50mm lens that I just got a few weeks ago!!! I LOVE it.

"The Christmas Cat" by Melody Carlson was the first Christmas book that I read this year. It's a very short read, but true to Carlson's style, packed with several great plots! I've received a lot of teasing for reading this book...I am not an animal person, but that didn't keep me from enjoying it!

I've been reading Carlson since I was ten or eleven years old. If her name is on the cover I'm going to give it a try for sure. We all have our favorite authors and she has been one of mine for years.

Let's talk about her latest release and then I'll tell you about my Gingerbread Hot Cocoa recipe...

"The Christmas Cat" is mostly set in present day Vancouver, WA and begins just before Thanksgiving. A man named Garrison is the main character and he begins the book with a few things to sort out. After being a missionary in Africa, he returns to the states and finds himself single, living with a buddy, and without a job. To complicate matters even more, he ends up losing his Grandmother and becoming the executor of her estate which includes six cats who are going to need homes.

Garrison's dilemma unfolds in Vancouver with a fair amount of humor, a smidgen of romance, and some good lessons that we can all relate to along the way.

You'll become pretty fond of Ruby (the sweet older neighbor lady) and I hate to admit it, but even the cats themselves!

Sometimes you just need to read a good story and "The Christmas Cat" is exactly that. It's not one that will make you cry. The humor won't have you rolling your eyes. It really is the perfect book to enjoy with a hot drink on a cold winter day!

Grab a copy of "The Christmas Cat" today and be sure to tell me what you think!

* * * * *

A few years ago on my Grandma's birthday, I was baking up a batch of Ginger Cookies and I came up with the brilliant idea to use some of the spices from that recipe in hot cocoa.  This cocoa is pretty much Christmas in a cup if you ask me!

This recipe is not exact. I use less than an 1/8 of a teaspoon of each spice. You can adjust the amounts to your taste!

While the kettle is on the stove, pour your cocoa mix, a little ginger, ground cloves, and cinnamon into your cup.

Add your water and stir VERY well to make sure that all of spices are thoroughly mixed into the drink. Cinnamon can be a little stubborn, but it will come together. Pour in a splash of half & half and stir one last time.

Top with a dollop of whipped cream or some marshmallows and ENJOY!

12-12-12 Gingerbread Hot Cocoa
makes 1 serving

1 pkg hot cocoa mix
touch of ginger
little more ground cloves
little more cinnamon
splash of half & half (or milk)
optional: whipped cream or marshmallows

Set your kettle on to boil. Combine hot cocoa mix, ginger, ground cloves, and cinnamon in a mug.

Add water and stir VERY well until all of spices are dissolved completely. Stir in a splash of half & half.

Top with whipped cream or marshmallows.


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

Julep Friendsgiving Box

Thursday, November 20, 2014

When the November box was released, Julep had a special "build your own box" option.  So far, I've found that Julep has great customer service and makes getting products that you are sure to love super easy. 

Customer service example: My first box came with a bottle of their Freedom Polymer Topcoat. I was getting ready to use it and I accidentally dropped it. It landed just right and BROKE. They offered to send me a brand new bottle free of charge. That's what I call customer service!

Getting products you love with ease example: The Friendsgiving Box. Is there even a better way to thank your customers than to offer to let them build a completely custom box? I don't think so!

The November box included:  "Sawyer" from the Boho Glam collection, "Marzia" from the It Girl collection, and "Devon" from the Classic With a Twist collection . I chose "Bonnie" as an add on.

They also included two little candies, a coupon, one of their little quote cards, and a couple of mini catalogs.

I tried Sawyer out first. It is one of those polishes that looks like different colors depending on the light. And I already know that I'll be layering Bonnie on top of EVERYTHING, all year long!

As always, Julep would like to offer a free trial box to you! Simply click HERE to take their style quiz and get started. I should note that they've just released the selections for their December boxes!

What are your go-to winter polish colors? 

Are you on the hunt for a specific color?  

* While this is not a sponsored post, I have included affiliate links.

The Circle: November

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I'm so excited to announce that I get to co-host this month's The Circle link up with Kiki!!!

I met Kiki earlier this year and we have become great friends. She teaches pre-school and she has a serious knack for taking pictures of everyday things in ways that make them look beautiful. She is also the brains behind The Circle which happens to be one of my favorite link ups!

The theme this month is to share 5-10 of your essentials. What things make you you?

1. Reformation Study Bible - I received this Bible when I graduated from high school and it is something that plays a HUGE part in my life.

2. Walking and Photography - I snapped this shot during a walk on Cape Cod. Wherever I go there are two things that I always do: find a walking route and take pictures of things that catch my eye.

3. Reading - My favorite genres are literary fiction, mysteries, and auto biographies/biographies. I especially love reading outside.

4. Gardening - Thanks to Julie I use these gloves. Thanks to Alice I use steak knives. Thanks to both of them, my Mom, and my Grandma I have come to love growing flowers and vegetables.

5. Baking - My favorite room in every house is the kitchen. Cinnamon Biscuits are one of my go-to recipes.

6. Bags - I picked up this purse when I was supposed to be Christmas shopping a few years ago. I didn't "need" it, but it was THE perfect bag. I'm always carrying things for other people and I have quite a few essentials (remember THIS post?).

7.  Family Time - It's no secret, I love people. I love pulling out a board game and some snacks and spending time playing games with my friends and family.

So, what are the circles of YOUR life? I hope you'll join us by linking up!!!!

In Its Time


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

July 22, 2014
Last month I picked up "Cold Tangerines" by Shauna Niequist and I couldn't put it down. (You can read about that HERE.) The essay about friendship titled "Swimming" really grabbed my attention.

On p. 49 Shauna said these words:

  "Friendship is acting out God's love for people in tangible ways. We were made to represent the love of God in each other's lives so that each person we walk through life with has a more profound sense of God's love for them. Friendship is an opportunity to act on God's behalf in the lives of the people that we're close to, reminding each other who God is...We get to remind each other about the bigger, more beautiful picture that we can't always see from where we are."

It's true.

I have been blessed with so many friends. When I look back, I realize that facing the hardest times together have been some of the sweetest. Staying close and connected takes work and every now and then we need reminders that the work of friendship is worth it. (I wrote one HERE back in January.)

Today I'm writing to remind all of us of the treasure that we have in being able to be friends to one another. May we think about our relationships with people as a means to show them a little more of the God that created everything and holds it all together.

Whether it's a phone call, a card, a coffee date, or a cleaning party - God gives us so very many opportunities to reach out to one another. May our reaching out not be for worthless things, but for more of Him. May we love one another and be friends with one another in a way that points all of us right back to the very source of friendship, namely God Himself.

Every single one of our friends was once a stranger to us in the same way that God and His grace went completely unnoticed. May we be the type of friends who help our friends to be glad that they know us. More importantly, I hope that we can all be the type of friends that make ignoring God and His grace impossible!

Be a friend today, take time to be with God and then share Him with those around you.

Take time to thank the friends who stand beside you doing the same thing.

It's friendship and it's beautiful.