Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

It's hard for me to admit openly but lately I have been suffering from anxiety. Unless you've ever experienced it before, I think it's hard to understand just how terrible it is. It's something you cannot control in the moment but I have been working very hard to manage it and not let it consume my happy life. 

I've mentioned before on this blog that I receive daily devotional emails {Proverbs 31 Ministries}. The five minutes I take to read it, is by far the most favorite part of my day. Yesterdays devotional really touched me and reminded me that when I start to feel worried or stressed, I need to hand those thoughts over to my Faithful Father. Whether you suffer from anxiety or not, we all have the occasional stressers in life and I think everyone can relate to the below devotional...

APRIL 29, 2015
How to Sleep Worry Free

"But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’" Luke 18:16 (NIV)
A friend looked deep into my eyes and asked, "What do you miss about being a child?"
In the middle of playing a silly game of questions with a group, the room faded away and memories of my childhood popped into my mind like bubbles surfacing from deep waters.
Playing with my brother in our treehouse.
Fun Fridays with my favorite teacher at school.
Riding my banana-seat bike down the street with friends.
Most precious … moments snuggled between my parents while our family read together at night.
Although it sounds idyllic, it wasn’t perfect. Just like I’m an imperfect parent, my parents weren’t perfect either. But as a child I felt loved, encouraged and most importantly, safe and carefree. As I longed for the feeling of safety that blanketed my childhood, I looked at my friend and answered, "I miss having no worries."
Being an adult is fraught with pits of peril — financial shortfalls, job instability, parenting challenges, marriage conflict and the general stress of being responsible for yourself and others. For me, childhood was free of all those things. But that day, as I faced my friend’s question, adulthood felt like a heavy weight.
The next day as I sat in the quiet of early morning, God whispered a single word into my heart … trust. He gently showed me the weight of adulthood I had shouldered. He nudged me to consider the hours I’d spent awake staring into the dark ruminating, with no resolution. He refreshed the sense of deep longing I’d felt the day before when I’d expressed my desire for childhood. The good old days of no worries.
And He called me back.
Trust is the mark of a child. Of course I had little girl concerns when I was young, but why didn’t I feel the weight of worry? It was because I trusted my parents. They took the weight of responsibility to shelter me — allowing me to feel safe and worry-free.
Although not all parents do this well, protecting our children from adult problems is still part of a parent’s job description.
The funny thing is my trust was partially based on illusion. As parents, my husband and I have tried to do exactly what my parents did for me. We don’t tell our kids about adult problems because we don’t want them to worry about things they can’t fix.
It’s not that we don’t have problems or that we’re completely in control. The truth is, we’re not in control. But there’s good news for those who are faking control while lying awake at night and for those who have never felt safe.
God is a Father who is entirely trustworthy because He is truly in control.
As God’s children, we have a heavenly Father who is worthy of trust. All our obsessive worry over our responsibilities and concerns doesn't change a thing, so let’s resolve to try something different. Let’s give up our illusion of control and rest peacefully like children in Jesus’ unfailing care.
Now, instead of letting worry consume my nighttime thoughts, I’m learning to pray childlike prayers. I lay in the dark handing over my worries one by one to my faithful Father instead of grasping them in my powerless hands. I’m still in the process of training myself to trust, but I’m sleeping well at night while the One who never slumbers carries it all.
Lord, I’ve shouldered my cares as if I’m the one in control. Help me become like a child, handing all my stresses, worries and responsibilities to You, my faithful Father. I trust You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (NIV)
Philippians 4:6-7, "Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."

What worries and responsibilities fill your thoughts and keep you awake at night? Write them on a list.
Reflect a moment. How has your worry changed the situations on your list?
Before bed tonight, pray through your worry list and hand each burden to God. Tell your Heavenly Father you trust Him with each one.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Recipe, Crock Pot Chicken n' Dumplings

My nanny made the best chicken n' dumplings. To this day when I think about them, I swear I can taste them in my mouth. I wish you could all taste them too because they were to die for. Unfortunately my nanny passed away and no one ever got her recipe. I'm sure she didn't even have one though... making chicken n' dumplings was like second nature to her. Every now and then I get a craving for them and I do a crock pot version. Let me assure you, these are NOTHING like my nanny's. But they're still good and worth sharing to all of you!

What you'll need:
1. 1 lb boneless chicken breasts
2. 2 cans of cream of chicken soup
3. Refrigerator biscuits
4. 1 chopped onion
5. Frozen peas
6. Halfed baby carrots
7. 2 tablespoons of butter

What to do:
1. Combine your veggies and 2 tablespoons of butter. Then add the chicken and soup.

2. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours
3. Cut uncooked biscuits into smaller portions and add to the crock pot. Stir. Cook for another 30 minutes.

Note: I used an entire can of biscuits and in my opinion it was a bit much. Perhaps use 1/2 or 3/4 of a can instead?


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Freddie Gray

I have been torn with whether I should post this or not. At first I didn't want to give any more attention to this terrible terrible situation which shows Baltimore in a bad light. In the end I feel I should address what has been going on in my city, my home. After all, this is my little piece of blog-land to do what I please... I hope you don't mind and I apologize if you don't agree with something I say :)

I'm sure by now you have all heard about 25 year old Baltimorean, Freddie Gray. On April 19, 2015 he died of a severe spinal cord injury after police arrested him. Freddie Gray was laid to rest yesterday... may his soul be at peace now.

Since Freddie's death, the city that I was born and raised in, has turned upside down. What the media has documented has nothing to do with Freddie Gray's wrongful death and everything to do with black vs. white, civilian vs. police, and angry senseless rioting. Peaceful protests have been spoiled by rotten individuals. Something I cannot and will not respect. I proudly support the police and would like to make that known. I would also like to make known that I love the country I was born in. I am disgusted by the people of Baltimore who tore down the American flag at City Hall and lit it on fire. If you do not like this country, then leave. In fact, PLEASE DO. The hypocrisy of the people who burned the flag is unreal. They desecrated the very flag that represents the Constitution that gives them the right to protest and assemble to begin with. They desecrated the very flag that protects the freedoms they are demanding. I wish they knew how ignorant and uneducated they made Baltimore look to the rest of the world. I am ashamed.

I am also ashamed of our mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake who stated that she gave protesters "space to destroy". I'm sorry, what? Destroying our city is unacceptable and those who would like to do so, should not be given space for it. They should be given space in a jail cell. Her lack of leadership and accountability is the reason it took so long for the National Guard to be activated. Ultimately I believe Governor Larry Hogan should be recognized for stepping up to the plate in this time of need. Bravo to him!

As for the Freddie Gray case that is being overshadowed by rioters, there is no doubt in my mind that the 8 police officers who arrested Freddie used excessive force. Shame on them. I pray that justice is served. There is also no doubt in my mind that Freddie Gray was a problem citizen. You can see his criminal background here or by going to the Maryland Judiciary Case Search and searching "Freddie Gray". If you don't want to have a problem with police officers then don't break the law. Plain and simple.

{I HIGHLY respect this...}

{... NOT this}

That's all I have for now folks. I'm afraid if I say more, it may not be contained. I hope you don't mind me using this blog to share my personal feelings about what is currently going on in my city. Have a great day and a great week and please pray for Baltimore! Today we clean up the mess... 


Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekend in Pictures

A weekend that revolved around dogs... the best kind of weekend if you ask me! From babysitting Jon's sister's dog to volunteering for Baltimore Bully Crew, it was great and just the way we wanted to spend it.

{Kiwi fit in just fine with our two big dogs. Duke, our cat, on the other hand likes to keep his distance!}

{I don't think having 3 playful pups is going to help our grass grow back but oh well}

{On our way to the PetValu event}

{Jon with Bishop- one of the most adorable BBC pups}

{It got cold so Bishop requested a hoodie ;) }

{Sunday morning play session}

{My boys!}

{Our back yard is starting to come together. Now we just need some string lights and a patio umbrella {I'm trying to find one at a reasonable price... suggestions?}}


Friday, April 24, 2015

Five On Friday

1. We have a house guest for the weekend! Jon's sister and her husband are headed to Key West so we are babysitting one of their dogs, Kiwi. Corrado and Harley cannot contain their excitement. Duke on the other hand is keeping his distance...

2. A few weeks ago I asked ya'll for book recommendations. I have decided to go with The Girl on the Train and I can't wait to get started. I think I can hear my bed, kindle, and a glass of wine calling my name tonight!

3. I'm obsessed with the watch that came in April's MissionCute box. It's even more adorable in person, on my hand. Love, love, love

4. I don't know if ya'll saw this or not but about a week or two ago, Oprah posted a photo of herself on Instagram eating a Pappa's crab cake. At first I was like wow Oprah got food from Baltimore delivered to her just because it's her favorite... damn. But then I learned that Pappa's ships anywhere in the US. How did I not know this!? Pappa's is less than 5 minutes from my house so it doesn't make a difference to me. I just think it's amazing that Oprah loves a crab cake that I eat on a regular basis. Pretty cool.

5. Baltimore happenings- Wicked @ The Hippodrome, Dwight Yoakam @ The Lyric, Orioles vs Red Sox @ Camden Yards, and this Saturday Jon and I will be at the Perryhall Pet Valu with Baltimore Bully Crew


Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Bachelorette Party Weekend

Last weekend I was headed to National Harbor with a group of beautiful girls to celebrate a beautiful bride. I have to tell ya, National Harbor is absolutely gorgeous but the restaurants tend to be a bit pricey. But that's to be expected at any tourist destination I suppose!

Friday afternoon we arrived and checked into our condo at The Wyndham. We walked around for a bit before deciding on Cadillac Ranch for dinner. That night we drank and played the game Dirty Minds. We laughed and laughed until we couldn't laugh any more. 

Saturday morning we were treated to breakfast by the mother of the bride {thank you!}. Next up was a day full of shopping. My favorite store was Charming Charlie. The prices were on point and their stuff was so cute. I got an adorable dress on clearance for $20. I win!

{Charming Charlie}

{A hot sauce shop had a sauce so hot that you had to sign a waver to taste it. Needless to say, I bought it for Jon!}

After some down time we decided on McCormick and Schmick's for dinner. Some of us weren't feeling too well (including me) and didn't really get to enjoy the meal. We planned on heading back to Cadillac Ranch that night for some bull riding but instead decided to sip on drinks and play more games in our room. It was refreshing to be with a group of fun girls and be able to relax and laugh!

{Our photo shoot after dinner}

{The view from our room at night}

A good time was had by all and by noon on Sunday I was home to my hubby and sweet dogs. I missed them! But I think they enjoyed having a boys weekend while I was away ;) 9 more days until the bride and groom say "I do"... we're in the single digits!!!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

MissionCute April 2015

April's MissionCute box benefits Lot 2545. Meaning that when you sign up for this monthly subscription box, 50% of net proceeds will go to this amazing non profit organization. How awesome is that!? Lot 2545 helps homeless boys in Kampala, Uganda by providing them with food and shelter, clothes, school or vocational training, weekly counseling, medical care, Native Ugandan staff members who can help us understand each boy's unique emotional needs, and fun stuff! Like occasional trips to the beach, swimming pool, zoo, or the movies.

Starting at just $17, MissionCute also provides a box of cute goodies each and every month just for you. I love it because it's a gift I give to myself and allows me to give back to charity too. It's such a surprise when it shows up on my doorstep after a long day of work! Here's what this month's box looked like...

... A fun 5x7 print, scarf, watch, "love" necklace, and key chain. Not a member of MissionCute yet? Follow my personal invite to join!

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