Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DIY wedding favors


 bag of milk chocolate chips
bag of white chocolate chips
bag of  pretzel rods
pearl sprinkles
wax paper
baking pan
metal bowl
jute twine
tag paper punch
hole punch

( the amount of bags of chocolate chips and pretzels will depend of how many you are making.
I made 100 pretzels so I used 4 bags of milk chocolate chips, 1bag of white chocolate chips and 4 bags of pretzels.)

Place a little bit of water in the pot. Probably 1/4 of the pot and boil it until it's gently boiling then reduce to low. Place your metal bowl on top of the pot and pour your chocolate chips into it.

With a spatula start mixing the chocolate chips as they melt. * You have to keep mixing and keep the heat on low or else your chocolate will burn and get dry (and will also taste horrible)

While the chocolate chips are slowly melting, cover a baking pan that can fit in your freezer with wax paper.

Then take one pretzel stick at a time and dip the end into the chocolate ( I used my spatula to help goop on the chocolate a little further down the stick) and then place on the wax paper.


another easier way to dip the chocolate is to use Wilton's tall dipping containers. This is what I used this time and it went by so much faster!

Melt white chocolate the same way.
After it is melted in a bowl, place in a small Ziploc bag and cut the tip just a little.
Drizzle over pretzels.

Also, take your pearlized sprinkles and shake a small amount over other pretzels.

Once all of them have hardened in the freezer, place one of each kind of pretzel in wilton's clear pretzel rod bags.

Then, tie with jute and put your customized tag on it!

Click HERE for the monogram tag tutorial!

Monday, November 25, 2013


The #SheReadsTruth community is amazing. Amazing on so many different levels. My favorite thing to do within that community, other than my own devotional, is to check my IG feed of #SheReadsTruth to see what others wrote & what God revealed to them. It is such a strong community of women & I love it. If you have not checked it out, I strongly suggest that you do. I have "met" great women through this. 

I am currently doing their Thanksgiving plan & yesterday, Sunday, the topic "In Wandering". 

I read through it & thought wow because of what the writer just went through, again, with losing a baby. My mind was so fixated on that & how grateful I am for 2 healthy children & my heart just aches for her. 

Then I go back through & journal the spots that God is speaking to me. And He took me to a whole new level. Typically the second time I read it is when God really talks to me to reveal to me what I need to hear that day. But this topic was stronger than ever


In times of wandering what do you do? Do you run to or from God? Are you seeking earthly answers or trusting God that He reveal His answers in His time?

I went through a time of wandering. A BIG time of wandering. I became a Christian in July 2005. I was an active Christian in the church as well as participating in Bible Studies. But I never grew as a Christian should. 

1 Corinthians 13:11 -- When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

In July 2009 I began my stages of wandering. I was still in church for about 9 months. Then I stopped going after that. I was searching for answers that God wasn't giving me so I stopped seeking Him & started seeking answers of the now, or earthly answers. I randomly went to church, trying to find a church that reminded me of home (I moved from Indiana to California in this time). 

Last year, October 2012 I finally stopped searching for God & saw that, well He was right there in front of me. This. Whole. Time. I began my journey over with Him. I repented of my selfish ways, I stopped seeking earthly answers, & started walking with Him. 

In this past year my relationship with Christ has grown far more than my first 4 years as Christian. I look back & somewhat get frustrated with myself that I did not take advantage of these years getting to know my Lord and Savior. And then I get frustrated during the time I disappeared from God. See He never disappeared from me, but I ran the other way. 

But what is frustration going to get me? Yesterday God confirmed that those wandering times did in fact lead me right back into His arms. I have the best relationship with Christ that I could possibly have at this moment in my life. And I praise Him for that.

I praise Him that I sought an earthly answer & never found it, but I found Him & His Truth.

I praise Him that He forgives me for my wandering.

I praise Him because I have a God who is faithful & He will NEVER fail me.

I praise Him that at the end of my wandering He gave me the deepest desire to know Him.

**Looking for some encouragement from others? Sign up to be a pen pal! Click HERE**  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

It's Tough Being A Woman... Recap Of Our Esther Study

Just this last week, Tiffany and I (Julie) along with Sybil from Peace It All Together, finished up our study by Beth Moore on the book of Esther.  It took us over 5 months to finish but it was such a rich time of learning and fellowship.  I feel truly blessed to have spent this time with these two Godly women and to have been taught by the amazing Beth Moore.  If you've never experienced a Beth Moore study may I suggest that you do so ASAP!  Her studies have been life changing for this life-long Christian girl!

Sybil has dedicated a blog post to a recap of our study and asked Tiffany and I to contribute!  Check it out at Sybil's blog here.

Love you all!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 - PRAY CONTINUALLY (Part 2)

"Be joyful ALWAYS.; 
give THANKS in ALL circumstances
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Last week I wrote about the first three words of this verse - "be joyful always." How did that go for you? What did you choose to find joy in? I hope you continue to find joy in the best and worst and most normal of time. It's God's will for you that you are joyful!

Today we're talking about praying continually. To some people, prayer is a foreign thing; to some it's scary. I've known people that think their prayers aren't heard, that they just talk to a wall or ceiling. I've know Christians that are afraid to pray because it won't be "good enough." Prayers can be short or long; on your knees, aloud, or in your heart; it can be a shout to God, it can be a cry for help. Prayer is about talking and about listening.

The simple fact is - prayer is a conversation.

For me, prayer is an ongoing conversation throughout my day with my King, Protector, Comforter, Creator, and Shepard. I need God in so many different ways, depending on the day and sometimes my prayers start by calling Him by the name I need him. "Jesus, my King, I am in awe of your blessing...", "My Comforter and Protector, I need your now as I am afraid", "Savior, like a Shepard, lead me!" I ask God for what I need in my prayers, I tell him why I am afraid and how I don't want to be, I share with God my hopes and dreams, I ask Him for strength on the tough days, and I seek His will and plan for my life when I may be lost. I thank God for blessings, big and small, I pray for those in need of healing or grace, I pray for my marriage that it would grow and flourish into what God intended it to be, I pray for my son that he would grow big and strong and come to know Jesus. My prayers are asking, telling, listening, begging, seeking, thanking, praising. 

Prayers are active, ongoing, conversations with God.

In her book, The Power of a Praying Woman, Stormie Omartian writes, 
“The battle for our lives, and the lives and souls of our children, our husbands, our friends, our families, our neighbors, and our nation is waged on our knees. When we don't pray, it's like sitting on the sidelines watching those we love and care about scrambling through a war zone, getting shot at from every angle. When we do pray, however, we're in the battle alongside them, approaching God's power on their behalf. If we also declare the Wordog God in our prayers, then we wield a powerful weapon against which no enemy can prevail.” 

If we're not praying for the loved ones in our lives, who is? If we're not praying for the salvation of our friends and neighbors, who is? Who is covering them in prayer and protection? There is an enemy among us who will do anything to devour our souls, to ruin our lives, and to stop anything and anyone from praising the name of Jesus or growing in Him. If we are not praying against Him, who is? There is POWER in the prayer. Never doubt what God can do and how much he loves to have a conversation with you.

Pray continually... this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

God Thing

You know those times when something happens and you know it is a God thing. It could be an event you needed at a particular moment to boost your spirit or an old friend coming to visit you at a down time in your life. I absolutely love those moments. For me those moments are even more proof that God is living with us and helping us.

For example, I was at church today and the youth pastor asked me if I would like to sponsor an event with the youth. It is a three day trip they always go on and I went on while I was in the youth ministry. I have always dreamed of being a sponsor for this event and have been thinking a lot about it recently. So today when the pastor asked if I wanted to help out I knew it was a God Thing and I was/am super excited to be His disciple in this way!

Have you ever had these moments when you knew that God was speaking to you or helping you on your path? I call these moments "God Things" because it is something that happens that I don't fully understand but I know that He does:]

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

DIY monogram wedding favor tags

First design you monogram on any program that you have. I used photoshop.
The font I used was Janda Celebration Script. The P is size 110 and the J&K is size 50.
The date is font Vijaya in size 30.
After you design your monogram and date then print them out on cardstock in the color of you choice. I chose ivory for these.
 I then cut out each monogram in a rectangle around them so that the tag punch would fit.
This tag punch is from Michaels. It is the Recollections 2 3/16in.
It was $9.99 and I used a 40% off coupon.
  Take your tag punch and turn it upside down in your right hand and then take you monogram already cut into a rectangle and place the rectangle with monogram facing you so you are able to see where the punch will cut. Then squeeze your right hand and punch it out.

Then take a regular hole punch and put a little hole for hanging/tying to the favor of your choice.
And.... this is how they turn out!
Next Tuesday I'll be sharing what I used them on!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

1 Thessalonians 5:16 - Part 1: Be Joyful Always

A few little verses in 1 Thessalonians have been speaking to me lately and I wanted to share them with you. It's about three very simple things, yet we can sometimes make these actions so complex and so tough to do. So I'm breaking them down in three parts over the next 3 weeks. Let's dig into what God's Word has for us!

"Be joyful ALWAYS.; 
give THANKS in ALL circumstances
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

To be joyful is to feel great happiness or delight. The Bible is filled with verses about being joyful, singing joyful songs, and tells us when to be joyful. Nehemiah 8:10 says "the joy of the Lord is my strength" and to be "joyful in hope" (Romans 12:12). What causes you to be joyful? Family, friends, kids, wealth, traditions, holidays, your job? How about your spiritual growth? Or your kids learning Bible verses?  What brings you joy? Is it worldly things or eternal truths?

What causes you not to be joyful? Do you find yourself unhappy, grumpy, complaining more than you are joyful? Not only does this verse tell us to be joyful... but it tells us to be joyful ALWAYS. That's a hard one. Because we all have tough stuff going on and it's hard to be happy and joyful when we're unsure about our job situation or where the money for Christmas is going to come from. It's hard to be joyful when you're arguing with your husband or frustrated with your kids. But true joy, comes from the Lord, and will help you persevere through those tough situations. James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure JOY, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds." Why should we be grateful and joyful to face trials? Because we know that when our faith is tested it will be a chance to develop perseverance within us. And by facing trials with joy and seeking God's will, we will develop and grow in spiritual character.

Always. That's a hard one. But consider this a testing of your faith, like James described. If we choose to be joyful always, God sees favor in that. Because we are doing what He has commanded of us. The last part of the 1 Thessalonians verse says, "for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." God's will is that we are always joyful. So find joy in the little things this week. Find joy in the drive to work by listening to worship music or talking out loud to God. Find joy in the errands you have to run with your kids. Make it fun and joyful, thank God for you children, for your car, for the money you have to buy groceries. Find joy when your husbands asks something of you because it give you a chance to show him how much you respect and love him.

Be joyful always.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Easy Mozzarella Stick Recipe

I was needing a new snack for my kids and hubby and quick!
They were hungry and I was in the middle of cleaning so I whipped these up in just a few minutes just to hold them over until dinner.
1 package of mozzarella cheese sticks
1 package of egg roll wrappers
garlic salt
garlic powder
marinara sauce
olive oil
1.  Heat up olive oil in skillet
2.  Roll up one cheese stick in one egg roll wrapper. After you roll 2 times then fold ends in and roll the rest up.
3. Fry in oil. Keep turning as each side browns and sprinkle with garlic salt and powder.
4. Place on a napkin to drain oil.
 5. Serve HOT with HOT marinara! Yum!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Be grateful, for He is Good

It's that time of year where thankfulness is the main topic. 

I look at the world & see a lot of broken & hurting people. People that don't have as much as me, people that have more than me... And they are still so broken, left empty. 

There are days that pass that I do not thank the Lord for everything in my life & I hold my head low admitting that. But it's true. We can so easily take everything for granted. We can so easily thank other things that is visible & we sometimes forget the One who actually gave it all to us. 

It being Veteran's Day, if you are in America, take a moment & really thank God for all those soldiers out there that are fighting for US. While we are sitting in our homes with our families "trying to get by" they are sitting somewhere else other than their homes & not with their families fighting for their lives. I thank God for the men & women He has serving our country.

But mostly, this season.. Thank Him. Thank Him for His glorious & radiant Son, Jesus Christ. He gave it ALL for us. I sit here quietly in my bedroom typing away on a computer... And ultimately it all comes down to.. He gave it to me. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Our Thankfulness Tree

The beautiful Miss Kelly posted some ideas yesterday on how to be creative while being thankful this month.  I thought I'd share with you what our family does for the month of November!

We started this tradition last year when my oldest was 3.  All it takes is a big roll of brown paper and some colorful leaves!  Last year I found a beautiful dark gold/brown roll of wrapping paper at the .99 cent store and I traced and cut out my own leaves from construction paper (super time consuming to make 30 leaves that way!).  This year I found a roll of brown bulletin board paper for a classroom for just a few dollars at a toy store and bought a package of foam craft leaves from Target for about $5 - not so cheap but waaaay easier!

(You'll have to excuse my funky looking tree - I'm not an artist!)  Every day my little guy finds something that he is thankful for and I write in on a leaf.  He gets to stick it on the tree!  It brings me so much joy to hear what he is thankful for.  Towards the end of the month he really has to think and be creative to find new things to put on his leaves - we don't repeat anything for the whole month!

Here is our finished tree at the end of last November...

We get to practice thankfulness and add some colorful decor to our home!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thanksgiving Projects

Thanksgiving is just around the corner which for most means family, food, and football. But how do you continue to remember to truly be thankful everyday for the blessings God has given us? How do we teach our children that being thankful means? Here's a few easy projects that have teaching moments in them. Try them in the next few weeks!

String. Close pins. Leaf cut outs. Easy! Write what you, your spouse, and your kids are thankful for on the leaf!

For your home.

Each day of November, ask each child to write what they're thankful for on a paper feather, and stick it into this cute turkey centerpiece. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Valley of Dry Bones

The past Sunday at my church we had guest speakers, a young pastor and his wife. They are starting up a new church in the county I live in. Several things stuck out to me, one of which is that when he got up on that stage to speak you could tell he was filled with the spirit of the Lord. He was so passionate about seeking God's will. It made me want to express that same passion to those I encounter everyday instead of shy away!!

Another things that stuck out to me about this situation is that it was at my church, someone else was going in to talk about a new church! This is huge! Usually churches are concerned about their own numbers and funds and help. Don't think I am bragging about my church here... even if I absolutely love it!!:] I just thought, "How cool that we are one body of Christ, united. Not just one church or another. We are helping each other out and seeking(together) to reach out to every individual in the community." This is huge for the Church today, to stick together. I think it is crucial!

The third thing that stuck out to me from this past Sunday was the story the pastor is using to start this new church. It is...

Ezekiel 37: 1-14
37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

I know that was a lot. But this pastor who spoke is reaching out and calling out to the dry bones in my community, the souls that need awakening who have been asleep and dead far too long. We as individuals don't have to start up a new church but in out work places, homes, neighborhoods, towns, and communities need to reach out to the dry bones. They are desperately in need to wake up just how Ezekiel spoke to the bones in the valley and they rose and a new flesh covered their bodies and a new soul was in them, just like this young pastor is seeking to awaken souls in Elkhart county. Let's be one body of Christ and be the example of the love of Jesus by reaching to those dry bones!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Desires of your heart

Do not be discouraged my your current circumstances.

Maybe you thought you'd be married by 25 or 30.

Maybe you thought you'd have a career by now.

A house.


Dream opportunities.

Open doors.

A better savings account.

Everything you have been believing for.

Maybe your present is not looking like how you thought it would.


Let downs.

People telling you no.

God wants you to know that it's ok.


But, yes, God wants you to have the desires of your heart.

Just make sure you are focusing on HIM and not worldly possessions.

Claim and declare the desires of your hearts.

Never give up.

Keep dreaming and speaking.

Faith gives life to our dreams.

God does hear us!

So do not get discouraged when you think about your current wants.

God has a plan and sometimes it's not in our timing, it's in His.

Find peace in his timing knowing all things will be taken care of.

Keep your eyes on Him during the process and you will be rewarded!

Hebrews 11:3
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I just finished reading Heaven is for Real. I have had it on my nightstand or on my book shelf for years. I kept putting books in front of it. But finally just last week I picked it up. And I picked it up at the perfect time. My kids are around the age that Colton made a trip to heaven. I could relate to some of the points his father was making in the book that not just any 3-4 year old would know this stuff. 

As I sat in church yesterday morning our sermon was over being chosen. 

I am chosen. You are chosen. We ALL are chosen. 

Then the kicker, not all choose to accept Him. 
Why? I find this so hard to wrap my mind around sometimes. Why does it make so much sense to me, but not the person next to me? Why did I choose to accept Him but not this other person? Why me? Why not them? Why God?

And then I get emotional. Tears flow to my eyes, I want them to go to heaven too.

I caught a glimpse through Colton's 4 year old's eyes of what heaven is like. Of course we read about it in the Bible, but when a 4 year old describes it, I can fully picture it & it really makes you think even more about going to heaven. 

1 Peter 2:9 -- But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.

Remember, we are all chosen. We are all chosen to belong to God. Will you make that choice today & everyday? Always remember to pray for those who struggle to accept this. 

Friday, November 1, 2013


I teach a class on conflict resolution every Monday morning at an 18-month rehab program at our local women and children's shelter.  I love spending time with these women each week because I feel like I am learning right along with them often times.  Each week I have started writing on the board this quote during class: "When we consider our debts to each other, they pale in comparison to the debts that the Lord has forgiven us each and every day.  We have been forgiven so much!"  

Sometimes we become so wrapped up in a frustrating or painful situation that we forget that every single day God forgives us over and over.  He forgives the "little" sins each day... the judgmental thoughts that cross our mind, the sarcastic response to our co-worker, spouse or child, the little fib we tell to get us out of a sticky situation, the curse the slips out when we stub our toe or our failure to truly love our neighbor as ourself.  The list is endless and I'll be the first to admit that I don't even realize the amount of sins I commit every day!  Thank JESUS for his forgiveness!  Not only is he constantly forgiving these sins but he pardons my greatest sins... the deep dark ones that I hide from the world.  His blood covers my most painful mistakes, my ugliest of choices.  When I stop and thing about the depths of His love for me and the price that He paid to forgive me every day so that my sins wouldn't kill me, it becomes harder to hold grudges.  That harsh word that was spoken to me - I've said worse to God.  The person who cheated me out of what was rightfully mine - I've been forgiven for doing this as well.  The person who didn't show me the love and affection I craved?  I often ignore God, I am forgiven for that as well.  I know that some deep hurts take time and healing before we are able to come to a place of forgiveness but are you holding on to something out of stubbornness or pride or spite?  It might help to take a moment to remember just how much you have been forgiven for!