Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our Thanksgiving

Absolutely so much to be thankful this year, it is overwhelming!

Michael and I spent this Thanksgiving with his mom's family earlier in the morning, then visited his dad's family that evening. Since both my mom and dad were visiting my brother in Texas this year, we only had two stops this year.

Michael's mother is an amazing cook who, thankfully, is quick to share all of her secrets and recipes with a young new wife, like me. I ALWAYS look forward to her meals, but I was especially looking forward to her Thanksgiving meal since it pretty much consists of some of my favorite foods: butter, carbs, fat, and butter. In that order.

Her meal, did not disappoint! I'm STILL enjoying slices of pie with the flakiest crust you've ever had (the extra pooch at my waist is proof of that). It was delicious food with a lot of laughs and memories.

Then later that afternoon, we picked up our stuffed bellies and drove them across town to Michael's grandparents' house. Again, delicious food and the love of a lot of family, greeted us. Michael's grandma always makes those quintessential American foods that are always a welcome site on the dinner table: yams with marshmallows, gooey macaroni and cheese, and green bean casserole. Not to mention, for the past few years my father-in-law has deep fried a whole turkey in peanut oil.


Talk about the most moist turkey you have every tasted. Can you tell I enjoy eating? No? I guess I hide it well. ;)

So, as Thanksgiving ends and the rush of the Christmas season begins I've been stopping to think about what I'm thankful for this year, and every year. I saw a lot of people on social media sites listing all the things they were thankful for in their lives. At first, I wondered why I didn't feel the need to do so? Honestly, because I couldn't think of anything unique or remotely interesting to anyone else. But this is my blog and I'll do what I want!

Here it goes:

I'm thankful for patience. How patient is our God. We sin, we stumble, and he still comes looking for us and loves us. Just like he still came looking for Adam and Eve after the fall. I'm thankful that my husband is patient with my whining and absent-mindedness. I think I would drive myself up a wall, but he laughs and tells me to calm down and do one thing at a time.

I'm thankful for the work that I do. There are a number of days that I don't do much but clean up the house and cook meals. A lot of people would consider what I do as a wife to be mundane, work. Heck, even I think it's mundane most of the time. But I still find God in the things that I do. I find him in the food in our bellies, the warmth of our oven, the roof over our heads, the breeze while I carry laundry inside.
"We ought not to be weary in doing little things for the love of God.  For God does not regard the greatness of the work but the love with which it is performed."  -Brother Lawrence 
I practice seeing the joy and importance of what I am doing. There wouldn't be any dirty dishes in the sink if we didn't have food to eat. I wouldn't be doing loads of laundry if we couldn't afford clothes to wear, and there wouldn't be a floor to sweep if we didn't have a warm home around us.

I'm thankful for that. :)

Next time this week: Another beauty post!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Current Beauty Favorites: Part One

I consider myself pretty much a novice when it comes to beauty/skincare. I remember a few years ago, a college friend of mine telling me her brother had just finished esthetician school. I looked at her with a very confused look on my face, not having a clue what she was talking about. Not wanting to look like a dummy, I asked her where he'd be working now--hoping it would give me some clue as to what an esthetician was. She looked at me sort of strangely and said, "Umm... a spa most likely."

Yeah, I was that clueless about skincare. Maybe it's no surprise I had the biggest acne breakout of my life that same year. Haha!

Anyhow, I've come a LONG way since then that is why nowadays I really appreciate when other women share what works for them in the beauty and skincare department. Not to mention, now that I've been learning and training myself in makeup artistry, I love learning what works for different skin types and textures.

So here are a few of my current beauty favorites. I'm sure they'll change and I'll add more later, but for now here are a few that I currently adore! Just FYI, I've got dry/normal skin. I very rarely have oily skin so just keep that in mind if you're thinking of using these products.


1. Urban Decay Naked Palette and Naked 2 Palette

I don't think these need much of an explanation. These are pretty much the Kitchenaid Mixer of the makeup world: if you don't have one you desperately want one, and if you have one you don't know how you ever lived without it.

I really like these since my go-to makeup look is a bit of an understated neutral eye. These are perfect for me!

2. The Beauty Blender and Cleaner

I just picked two of these guys up. Let me warn you, they're not really on the cheap side. I considered picking up a knockoff brand, but I heard over and over again how the knockoffs unfortunately did not perform as well as the original. Now that I have one of these, I'm hooked! These work so well at making your liquid foundation look flawless on the skin. If it's in your budget, I HIGHLY recommending trying one of these out. the cleanser also works pretty well so far. I haven't had it long, so we'll see. My only complaint about the beauty blender is that it stains really easily. It's a bummer since if I'm doing someone's makeup I pretty much want my tools not only to be clean, but also look clean.

3. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain & Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment

I've been using these Revlon Balm Stains pretty much every day. These are great! They don't seem to dry my lips out the way most lip stains do and they are pretty moisturizing. The two colors I own are: Romantic (left) and Honey (right). Even when the actual balm wears off of your lips, the stain will stay on all day. And of course, Blistex. I use this stuff everyday. It keeps my lips so moisturized. Also, I recently read in some cheesy celebrity magazine that Blistex is Angelina Jolie's "beauty secret". She uses it everyday to keep her lips soft. She's got AMAZING lips so I figure this stuff's got to be pretty good, right?

4. Rimmel London Stay Matte Pressed Powder

I'm currently on the lookout for a good high-end pressed powder. I've been hearing a lot of great things about the perks of pressed powders, so I've really been wanting to try one out. I just gotta save up for one and then decide which one I want. I'll keep you updated! For now, I've been using this matte powder. It works REALLY well, especially for a drugstore brand. I've noticed that it keeps my face matte for about 6-7 hours. After that my face does start to get a bit shiny, but not very much. I heard so many good things about this stuff online and from some beauty gurus, that I had to try it. I'm pretty happy with it so far. I just really want to try a powder that has some more coverage. 

That's all for now! I've got some more current favorites that I will be posting soon! What are you favorite beauty products at the moment?? I'd love to know!

*all of these products were purchased by me. this post is not sponsored by any of the companies mentioned.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Extravagant Blessing

 i felt like i was going to fall out of the canoe while this guy was reeled in (hence, the crooked picture!)

Last week Michael and I had the opportunity to go fishing with a friend of ours. We are so fortunate to have friends that treat us like family and invite us into their homes and "homes away from home", so that we can share wonderful experiences with them.

This fishing trip was no exception. We had a great time fishing from our friend's canoe, relaxing in the water, and sharing some great conversation. Even though the fish weren't really biting (I caught one though!) it was a beautiful day out on the lake.

At one point, we were anchored out by some buoys watching the sun disappear behind the pines, and we saw a huge bird take off from the tree tops off to our right. We all watched it quietly--hoping it was what we thought it was, but not wanting to get our hopes up--and lo and behold, our dreams came true. It was a beautiful bald eagle.

The bird was gorgeous! It took off so close to our canoe and then sailed low, right over our heads. The entire fishing trip was worth it just because of that eagle.

Usually, Michael and I throw back all the fish we catch, but this time we all decided to keep the two we caught that day and see how they tasted. To be completely honest, I felt a little badly not throwing mine back. I know, I know, I'm such a softy!

The entire trip just felt like it was so full with God's presence. I mean, from the gorgeous weather to the beautiful bald eagle, to the fact that we were going to share food that we had all worked together to catch. The whole time I was reminded of John 21:3-7:
"I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
I mean, that is just a wonderful and amazing story. Jesus visits his heartbroken friends and blesses them extravagantly, like he so loves to bless us. And they are so beyond overjoyed to see him, they dive into the water to reach him at the shore. I love that story so much.

I feel like so often we see the true nature of Jesus in simple experiences like this. A loving and compassionate Abba. I feel like there are times in a person's life where we feel like God must be angry with us. There are others who go their entire lives thinking they serve an angry God. With stories like the one above, how can we think that for long?

No, we didn't catch a boatload of fish that day and it would be so easy to fall into anger and disappointment and miss the beauty of Christ. How many times have I passed a moment where he was showing me his love? How many times have I missed the extravagant way he loves to bless me? I want to live fully in those moments!

He blessed us that day and he blessed us extravagantly. The beauty and serenity we witnessed that day is not something we see on a daily basis and it is a wonderful respite when we get to witness those moments.