books + food: the irresistible blueberry bakeshop & cafe

Hi friends!

I recently finished a cute little love story and I think it’s a great “lay by the pool” + “soak up some sun” + “drink some iced coffee” kind of book.  It’s not award-winning and it’s totally predictable, but I just really enjoyed it! It’s called The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe.

It also had a long list of DELICIOUS foods! It made me hungry and I was longing to travel out to Maine for all the goodness. I am currently in a book club that meets every few months or so and I always put together the food list for our meeting. Then we split up the list and enjoy the foods of the book while we discuss the story and our favorite characters.

Even though this wasn’t a book for the book club, the food was just too good not to list somewhere. So, I hope you enjoy the list and make the blueberry muffin recipe at the end.

IBBC

  • Blueberries
  • Melon
  • Bananas
  • Cinnamon Buns
  • Coffee
  • Apple Cider Doughnuts
  • Tuna Salad: albacore, celery, onion, capers, mayo on mixed greens
  • Sandwiches: Rare roast beef & brie with sliced tomato on toasted french baguette; Chicken salad with baby greens, tomato, sprouts, grapes and crumbled gorgonzola; Oven-roasted turkey breast, savory stuffing, and fresh cranberry sauce on whole wheat
  • Desserts: lemon pound cake, carrot cake, double chunk brownies, walnut fig bars, chocolate croissant bread pudding, blueberry pie, strawberry-rhubarb pie
  • Margaritas
  • Shrimp with Rice & Green Beans
  • Twin Lobsters with drawn butter
  • Meatloaf with mushrooms
  • Mashed potatoes with butter
  • Clam Chowder
  • Higgins Root Beer
  • Fresh Corn and Tomatoes
  • Salad: spring greens, cranberries, walnuts, and goat cheese topped with raspberry vinaigrette
  • Half a succulent free range chicken roasted in butter and fresh herbs with mashed potatoes and garden fresh carrots
  • Iced Tea
  • Fried Clams
  • Grouper Sandwich
  • Chateau Beychevelle 2000 Saint-Julien
  • Blueberry Muffins
  • Vision of the Bakery: Turnovers, cakes, croissants (maybe blueberry ones!), lemon pound cake, peach cobbler, pomegranate-ginger muffins, chocolate chip cookies
  • Tea Sandwiches: Cucumber arugula, curried chicken, bacon & egg
  • Chilled Carrot Ginger Soup
  • Apple Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich
  • French Baguette with Smoked Ham and Brie topped with field greens and finished with dijon mustard

I hope you enjoyed reading about all these foods!! Now go enjoy them and the book. Also, I wouldn’t lie to you – here is that blueberry muffin recipe I found online:

blueberry_bbakeshop

xo sarah

three things i’m loving in june

Happy June! I wanted to share some of my favorite things with you.

  1. My S’ip by S’well thermos from Target. Bret saw it and knew I would like it. It’s yellow and has a bunch of little honey bees on it. Keeps my cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for way longer than a normal water bottle.
    J fave 1
  2. Summer board shorts I found on amazon. I always feel a little exposed in my bikini, but I’m really liking these swim shorts. They’re conservative, cute, and comfortable. I got a pair in coral and in aqua because they are super inexpensive. I recommend getting one size bigger than you normally wear in shorts.
    J fave 2
  3. Chicken Soup from La Especial Norte. Recovering from surgery means lots of couch time, Gilmore Girls, good books, and soup. The BEST soup I’ve ever had is from La Especial Norte and it totally hit the spot.J fave 3

What are three things you are loving?!

xo sarah

our full life: march, april, may

Hello again!

I’ve missed this. It’s been a while since I have posted and I am looking forward to writing and sharing some things here! Finding time to keep up with blogging is difficult, but I recently had a surgery that has forced me to rest. So, silver lining, folks!

In March we enjoyed lots of celebrations:

March Collage

  • A beach birthday party for one of our favorite 12 year olds
  • Started two very different, but very good novels: Landline and The Nightingale
  • Went to dinner and a Jose Gonzales concert with one of our favorite couples ever
  • Celebrated 5 years of marriage with my sweet, handsome, enthusiastic, funny, strong, kind husband
  • Spent a weekend away in Las Vegas on the lake, enjoyed a Gordon Ramsey burger, and the best breakfast I’ve ever had at Bouchon Bakery
  • Bret treated me to some shopping and I ravaged the Anthropologie sale rack
  • Date day at VGs, Zumbar, SD Zoo, and El Indio
  • Celebrated EASTER SUNDAY at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad
  • Celebrated my husband turning 30 years old! Whoa…good thing he has the best baby face I’ve ever seen.

In April we enjoyed:

April Collage

  • Co-Birthday 30th Birthday Party for Bret and Steve
  • Beach walks and runs
  • 2 Fountain Valley girlfriend dates
  • Fun celebration work dinner
  • Guy and Girl hang outs with our Jr. High kids
  • Candle making class at Mr. B’s Necessities shop
  • A beach birthday party for one of our favorite sweet 16 year olds
  • Broke my pinky toe playing beach soccer
  • Spanish themed Cooking Club – I made olive tapenade toast and mushrooms sautéed in garlic and white wine
  • Spike ball Sunday
  • My mom came to visit from Idaho! We had a beach day, watercolor night, Community Group, and dinner together at Benihana (her first time hehe).

In May we enjoyed:

May Collage

  • Bret traveled with one of our Pastors to Reno for an Acts 29 Conference
  • Primos tacos and gelato with our Community Group
  • Date Night at Target and The Flying Pig
  • Mother’s Day dinner at my oldest and best girlfriend’s house
  • Book Club meeting for The Nightingale with the best french food spread ever
  • Said goodbye to the palm tree outside our front door…I loved that thing
  • 8th Grade Graduation party with our Jr. High kids – SO fun!
  • Lofty Coffee with Jocey
  • In home massages (late Christmas present for Bret)
  • Memorial Day appreciation and BBQ with friends

Something else that happened in March and is just now beginning to wrap up is an unexpected health update. My GP looked at my neck back in March and she thought my thyroid gland looked enlarged. She ordered an ultrasound which revealed that my thyroid was normal size but they could see there was a mass growing on the right side. I was then sent to a specialist. He did a biopsy and recommended I get it removed due to its large size. The biopsy came back a few weeks later as negative – PRAISE THE LORD! But I still had to consider surgery. I felt the most peace with moving forward with surgery and I am sure glad God directed me that way. Just this last week, they removed the mass and the Doctors laughed to each other when my husband asked how big it was. They said, “That thing was impressive!” So the mass is gone, it’s not cancerous, and I still have most of my thyroid intact. Recovery isn’t fun, but I am so grateful for God putting good doctors around me and for helping me to get healthy. I’m also so grateful for all the people who have prayed for me – God heard all of those prayers. And for those who have brought me flowers and food and cards and blessed me with your company. THANK YOU SO MUCH. My body is in pain but my heart is full.

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Until next month…I hope you enjoyed hearing about “our full life” over the last few months.

xo sarah

3 things i’m loving in february

Happy February…or End of February is more like it…haha! I’m really up to the final hour with this one. But I didn’t want to miss sharing my favorite things with you.

  1. Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice. I have always loved citrus and acidity, but I always forget about grapefruit juice! I bought it this month and love pouring myself a glass. It’s so refreshing and full of Vitamin C.
    Grapefruit-Juice
  2. Watching re-runs of Friends on Netflix. Friends is always good for a laugh and, even though I have seen it a million times, I still love it. We are looking forward to the episodes with Paul Rudd coming up soon.
    friends show
  3. Painted Nails. I usually have plain nails and I pick at them. It’s a horrible habit and they never look pretty. This February, I kept them groomed and painted and I have been loving it.

I’ll post some more things I’m loving in March! What are 3 things you’re loving right now?

xo sarah

our full life: january & february

Hello friends!

Can you believe February is already over!? What happened to the time?? Now, March brings Daylight Savings and EASTER! Wow…2016 is flying by. I wanted to share what the past couple of months looked like in the Theis Family.

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In January, we enjoyed:

  • LOTS of rain and hail at the beginning of the month
  • Yummy gelato at the shop down the street from us
  • Annual Tea Party with my friends from OC
  • I celebrated 1 year working for Planning Center Online
  • I also celebrated my friend Stephanie and the coming of her sweet baby Poppy Marie
  • We had dinner at a co-worker’s house and got to meet his sweet family
  • We went to Winter Camp up at Mile High Pines with our Jr. High students
  • I got sick…the cold, the fever, the whole thing everyone is getting
  • This is the best news of all right now: I had the OBGYN appointment I had been waiting for and we saw that ALL my abnormal cysts are GONE! Praise the Lord!!!! The doctor had all good things to say and I go back in 3 months for another check-up to see if anything else that may have changed. To say I was shocked is an understatement.

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ofl jb 1

In February, we enjoyed:

  • Our Community Group women started gathering every Saturday to share the stories of how Jesus saved us
  • I had some fun beach days
  • Bret started an apologetics class at Talbot
  • My Book Club gathered to discuss “The Lake House” and eat all the yummy foods that came up in the book
  • I had some crazy, fun, wonderful weeks at work culminating in our Planning Center University event
  • Bret got a new position and a raise at his work!
  • Bret and I celebrated Valentine’s Day on Coronado Island
  • My dad and I shared our birthday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • I finished my second book of the year…trying to read 12+ this year
  • Bret and my CG Leaders threw me a Birthday Party with all my favorite things and fun games
  • Bret and I have gone on 2 Saturday coffee dates and finally checked out Local Tap House together…look at this silly, wonderful, best friend of mine!

ofl jf 2

I’ve kept up the Bible reading that I started in January which is such an accomplishment for me. I hope I can keep saying that as this year progresses! And February was a wonderful month for celebrating and making memories. I won’t soon forget it.

Goodnight from here!

xo sarah

3 things i’m loving in january

Hi friends,

If you didn’t see my post from October, I mentioned a podcast I absolutely love: The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. Every episode, she asks her guest 3 things they’re loving right now. I thought that would be a fun post series! These things can be anything: things, places, people, food, books, concepts, and…like I said, anything! I think this will be fun to share my ideas and then you can also you can share three things you’re loving with me in the comments! Good plan, right? YAY!

Here are the three things I’m loving right now:

  1. The Lake House. I’m reading this book for Book Club (which is another thing I’m really enjoying) and it’s been great so far. A compelling mystery with lovely and intriguing characters. I can’t wait to see where the author takes it. It’s also fun because I am in charge of making the food list for the book club get-together, so I am keeping my eyes peeled for all the food mentions. So far the foods that came up are: lemon cake, fresh bread w/preserves, tea, and pear cake. YUM!
    Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 5.37.31 PM
  2. Organic Cinnamon Spice Oatmeal from Trader Joes. It’s instant oatmeal and I usually do from scratch, but I just haven’t had the time. It’s so filling and feels like such a treat. It only has a few whole and simple ingredients.
  3. My Frye boots. Bret “wins” at Christmas every year…and he did it again with one of my most favorite gifts from him: real leather boots by Frye Company. They’re classic, comfortable, and sturdy. I’ll get some good years out of these.
    Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 5.38.16 PM

I’ll post some more things I’m loving in February! What are 3 things you’re loving right now?

xo sarah

our full life: oct. nov. & dec. yikes!

Hello all!

Wow…I haven’t logged on since October! Maybe 31 days of writing really wiped me out or something? Haha!😉

I think I have been behind in writing and enjoying the blog for lots of reasons. I think the main reason is that this has been an especially hard season of life. New challenges, new fears, and lots of teachable moments.

2015

However, I am nothing if not OCD. It would drive me crazy to have October, November, and December go unrecorded or unacknowledged. Yes, life has been rough – but, as always, it’s our life and it’s very full. In other words, an abundant life! This post would take FOREVER if I posted all the pictures so I will just give you my favorite highlights.

In October, we enjoyed:

  • Southern Cooking Club with friends
  • A special double-date down in La Jolla
  • A Whiskey Tasting 30th Birthday Party
  • A movie night with friends to watch Willow
  • Sunday Church
  • Fields staff bowling night & Bull Taco
  • Our planted palm trees growing by the bedroom window
  • Florence + The Machine concert! Woohoo!
  • 2 pumpkin carving contests
  • Temecula corn maze with our community group
  • A new haircut – bangs!
  • Beach walks and iced tea
  • Youth Group Costume Bowling
  • Boss’s Day at K1 racing
  • Costume contest at work

oct 2015

In November, we enjoyed:

  • Disneyland!
  • Garlic knots from Knockout Pizza
  • Idyllwild fall getaway for just the two of us
  • A breathtaking hike
  • Book Club to discuss In the Unlikely Event 
  • More moving into the new building at work
  • Homeless bag packing and note-writing with our Jr. High kids
  • Happy Hour Cooking Club
  • Thanksgiving!
  • Star Wars Marathon – Episodes 4-6
  • Mediation by the beach
  • A busted lip and ruined shoes

NOV 2015 IMG_9470

In December, we enjoyed:

  • My company held its annual retreat for 2015. It’s my job to plan and execute the weekend and I am so blessed that it all went smoothly. I am glad to hear all my co-workers enjoyed themselves up in Los Angeles. You can read about it here: https://get.planningcenteronline.com/2015/retreat/
  • Some of the things we did: Queen Mary, murder mystery dinner, Universal Studios, Wolfgang Puck buffet, Samba, and too many great conversations to count.
  • 1/2 a dozen holiday parties
  • Christmas Under the Stars with The Fields
  • Christmas Shopping
  • Disneyland again!
  • Staff breakfast potluck
  • Lots of traveling to ALABAMA
  • Our first tornado scare, taking cover in the basement
  • Sweet time with parents, grandparents, siblings, and our beautiful nieces
  • Visiting family churches
  • Birmingham Zoo
  • Sweet Tea and TV
  • Railroad Park and Steel City Pops
  • Alabama Biscuit Company
  • Bass Pro Shop (my first time)
  • Beach walks & Mexican food at home
  • Ringing in the New Year with our bestest friends in the world.

DEC 2015DEC 2015 2

I will be back on this January, friends!🙂

So far in January I have done more exercise, tried to eat less sugar, and am reading a lot more of my Bible…you know, your typical New Year’s good times. I love resetting and making the good things priorities again. What have you been up to?

Goodnight from here!

xo sarah

i love lists : interview with bret

It’s the last day of 31 Days of Writing! I’m making it in just under the wire, but I’m making it!

I should have made a list of all the reasons I love Bret so much, but that post would take me forever. One of the reasons I love him though is that he edits my blog posts for me almost every single time. He is just really good at it, so just as much as I have been writing for 31 days, Bret has been editing for 31 days  :)

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For my final post in the #31daysofwriting challenge, I am interviewing HIM with the same 24 questions I wrote about myself earlier in this series. He is the person I love talking to most in this world, so I hope you enjoy him in this post for the loving, funny, and kind-hearted man that he is. Here we go!

  1. What is your middle name? Madison. After the President.
  2. What is your favorite drink? Wild Cherry Pepsi
  3. What is your favorite song at the moment? You Never Change by Austin Stone
  4. What is your favorite food? French Fries
  5. What is the last thing you bought? Dinner at Noodles & Co. with my wife (that’s me, guys!)
  6. Favorite book?: The Dark Tower Series by Steven King
  7. Favorite Color? Crayola crayon Cerulean Blue
  8. Do you have any pets? No, but I’m a dog person.
  9. Favorite Cologne? Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani 
  10. Favorite Holiday? Christmas – I love that the holiday is about Jesus and enjoy giving gifts to people. I always try to out-do, out-spoil, and out-surprise my wife each year. I must “win” Christmas.
  11. Are you married? So far, happily😉
  12. Have you ever been out of the country? Yes – to London, Mexico, Vancouver BC, and all over the Caribbean.
  13. Do you speak any other language? I speak some Spanish, or hablo un poquíto Español.
  14. How many siblings do you have? I have an older sister named Sarah. She is one of my best friends in the world.
  15. What is your favorite store? Apple Store…though I can hardly ever afford to buy anything in it.
  16. Favorite restaurant? Charley’s Steakhouse in Orlando, FL.
  17. When was the last time you cried? Singing worship in the car this week.
  18. Favorite Blog? Just yours (aww isn’t he sweet!)
  19. Favorite Movie? Two answers: all time favorite movie = Star Wars: A New Hope; seasonal favorite = Pacific Rim.
  20. Favorite TV show? Two answers: all time favorite = The Office; seasonal favorite = The Walking Dead.
  21. PC or Mac? Mac, the one that actually works…at least until the planned obsolescence kicks in.
  22. What phone do you have? iPhone 6S Plus
  23. How tall are you? 6 foot.
  24. Can you cook? The short answer is no.

That’s him in 24 questions! Love you, babe! Thanks for being my biggest fan and blog editor all the time.

(This section here wasn’t written by Sarah, but by her editor and husband. Thank you all for reading the blog and encouraging my wife. She doesn’t get to write as much as she used to – which really bums her out – but she loves writing to you all and always aims to bless and inspire you with her God-given gifts. I happen to think she’s pretty good at it and I try to let her know that, but maybe you could let her know, too? Leave a comment about your favorite post from the #31daysofwriting! Thanks and blessing to you,  -bret)

#write31days #31daysofwriting

xo sarah

i love lists : crafty friends

Happy Friday!

Today I want to share about some of my most crafty friends. These friends are lovely people making lovely things for this lovely world. Please enjoy this list and get inspired! Think about how you might be able to use their services and/or products to bless yourself and others.

  1. Hand Lettering Co.
    Our friend Chris Wright, along with his beautiful family, operates the amazing Hand Lettering Co. We met Chris over 5 years ago at our previous church. We served in Jr. High Ministry together, got to see Chris get married to his sweet wife Carly, and got so excited when Hand Lettering Co. began. When the Wrights started a business creating hand lettered Scripture art, Bret and I were so impressed…we still are! I love that the Wrights goal was and still is to use their God-given gifts for God’s glory and to encourage others. It’s no surprise we have an original piece, along with many other prints, framed in our home and offices. Follow them on instagram.
    wright Collagewright Collage 2
  2. Make+Do Handmade
    Our friend Brittan Weaver is one of the most creative and passionate girls we know. She has never given up on her desire to make art and share it with the world. She has an eye for beauty: natural, soft, classic, and fun. Brittan has been a part of my life for over 8 years! She is beautiful inside and out and I am honored to call her friend. Head over to Make+Do Handmade to find calligraphy, invitations, watercolor prints, headbands, flower crowns, and seasonal gift items. Follow her on instagram!
    BW Collage
  3. The Trunk + Key
    Our friend Sarah Trunkey sells vintage maps from the 1930s. They are beautiful for framing in your home as decor or to be given as a gift. Her maps are perfect for weddings and house warmings. The most wonderful part of her products is that all profits currently go toward the Trunkey family adoption fees. What a wonderful use of funds! Bret and I have known the Trunkeys for over 3 years now and they truly have a special place in our hearts. Sarah is a self-taught bookbinder, a lover of beautiful paper, a vintage map hoarder, and a Hoosier Girl turned SoCal Gal. Trunk + Key is a representation of the amazing family of God.
    T&K Collage
  4. Shamrocks & Tangerines
    Our friend Amanda Picard is a master crafter! Amanda is a full-time mom to her sweet baby James and wife to her husband, Jimmy. She is known for her quilts around our church family, but most recently she has been very involved in the diaper business and created her own brand – Lucky Diapers. Lucky Diapers are a one size pocket diaper. They have 5 waist positions and 3 rise positions. They are lined with suede cloth to help wick moisture into the absorbent insert to keep your baby’s bum dry. So cool, right!? Follow Shamrocks & Tangerines on instagram.
    ST Collage
  5. Mr. B’s Necessities
    Our friends Shem and Lara Gott started the most incredible company, crafting all-natural soy candles, soaps, and now deodorant made with essential oils. Lara also makes beautiful handmade jewelry. Their candles are in almost every room in our home, their soaps are out on the counter and in the shower, and we hope to have their deodorant soon! Mr. B’s new storefront in Oceanside is just perfect! We love that it’s right next to, not one, but TWO coffee shops. Shem and Lara are some of the sweetest and most genuine people you could meet. Their children are adorable and their passion for God’s glory is evident in all that they do. Shem and Bret serve in music ministry together at The Fields, which is a joy as well. Follow Mr. B’s on instagram.
    MB Collage 1 MB Collage 2

Aren’t these folks amazing?! I mean, seriously! And I have even more crafty friends out there too…but that’s another post for another time. Hope you enjoyed this list! And please, visit my friends on instagram and check out their amazing crafty products!

#write31days #31daysofwriting

xo sarah

i love lists : 5 favorite wedding details

Hi friends,

Better late than never! It’s day 29 of write31 at 9:30pm and I’m throwing together a post as quick as I can. This has been a wonderful challenge for me for sure! Today I’m talking wedding details.

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Pinterest wasn’t a thing when I got married. There were blogs, and catalogs, and magazines, but no Pinterest. I can’t decide if all the endless and amazing pictures of weddings would have been a good or bad for me in the wedding planning process. Nonetheless, I loved our wedding day and I think it would have been Pinterest worthy! So many incredible moments and memories, but like I said, today I’m talking details. Specifically, 5 of my favorite details from our wedding day.

  1. My Wedding Day Attire: I loved my dress! I wore a bracelet my dad gave me when I was 16, I was gifted a pearl necklace by my granny, I borrowed earrings from my sister in law, and I wore a blue vintage garter and blue suede shoes. It was all so special and beautiful to me. Bret’s Wedding Day Attire was SO handsome and dreamy too! attire 2attire 1attire 3
  2. The Flowers. Bret and I do youth ministry together and one of our students’ mother offered to be our florist. She is amazing! Especially because I was such an indecisive bride when it came to picking just one flower. flowers 1flowers 2
  3. The Music. Bret and I sat down one evening and picked all our songs. I can still rmember that night so vividly. We both were teary-eyed that night imagining what it would be like: the procession, the ceremony, the first dance, all of it! Bret is a musician so I can see why this was so important to him.
  4. The Espresso Cart and Donut Bar. Enough said, right!? It was amazing and people still comment on it. coffee 1coffee 2
  5. The Balloons. I loved these big yellow balloons I saw in a magazine. I am so glad I made the splurge.balloons 1balloons 2

There are so many more, but I decided to limit myself to 5. I could spend much more time telling you about the pinwheels, the hair barrettes my MOH made, the candy bar, dessert table, ice cream cart, the wedding wishes tree, the guest book, more of the decor, the venues, the invitations, SO MUCH MORE!

But I hope you enjoyed these 5. None of these details would have been captured without our amazing photographer, Jessica Davins (formerly Hannon). We are forever grateful!

Okay, okay…one last picture. The Kiss! Best Day ever ever ever!❤

the kiss

p.s. can you see all the handmade pinwheels?

#31daysofwriting #write31days

xo sarah

i love lists : 10 fun dates

I love dates! Dating in the day, dating in the night, dating all day! Dates with Bret are something I really look forward to. To have specific time cut out just for us is so special and important.

I hope you enjoy these 10 tried and true fun date ideas!

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  1. Picnic on the beach. Grab a big blanket, your favorite foods and drinks, and enjoy the waves and each other’s cute faces.
  2. Breakfast at your favorite place and a walk afterward. My favorite is Claire’s on Cedros.
  3. Movie night IN. You can switch off between guy movies and girl movies or do rock-paper-scissors. Variety is good and so is the cuddling on the couch during the movie part.
  4. Adventurous dinner date. Trying new things together makes for great memories and whether it’s Argentinian, Japanese, or French – try something different!
  5. Build a puzzle, drink good coffee, and indulge in your favorite dessert.
  6. Hike! I love hiking because there is so much good conversation and a common goal. My favorite hikes are in Torrey Pines and Idyllwild.
  7. Relive your first date ever. Whatever it was, it can be special and funny to do all over again.
  8. Go restaurant hopping. This makes the night really stretch out (which I love). Appetizers at one place, main dish at another, and drive-thru ice cream cone or froyo on the way home.
  9. Seasonal Activities: carnival, farmers market, surf competition, fair, classic cars, etc.
  10. Live music! Another good one, just takes a bit of planning. Or you can grab the local brewery schedule.

P.S. Make sure you get your girl some FLOWERS, guys! 787a6f475325170b417479ec08056f9f

What are your favorite dates?

#write31days #31daysofwriting

xo sarah

i love lists: words

drops keep fallingThere have been some rocky days lately. There have been days that felt cloudy and messy and hard to navigate. In all of it, there are a few words that I think God has been teaching me to dwell on.

  1. trust
  2. rest
  3. dependence

By God’s grace, I will follow Jesus each day of my life and believe that that He is reliable, good, and faithful.

By God’s grace, I will find all of my calm and peace in Jesus. Anxiety can trouble me, but there is rest in the presence of God forever.

By God’s grace, I will cry out to God each day with a genuine heart and say, “I need you.”

What words has God been causing you to dwell on lately?

#write31days #31daysofwriting

xo sarah

i love lists : 15 ways to be hospitable

I have been told that I have a gift of hospitality. What a wonderful compliment!

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hos·pi·tal·i·ty – the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
synonymsfriendliness, hospitableness, warm reception, welcome, helpfulness,neighborliness, warmth, kindness, congeniality, geniality, cordiality,courtesy, amenability, generosity, entertainment, catering, food

“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.” –Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

When people treat me with warmth and genuine friendship it is then safe to be me. Safe to share life together, to enjoy a meal, to stay a while, and to help in return. Hospitality is important because it is important to Jesus. Jesus has always been on mission to bring the Kingdom of God to this world. He came to serve and not to be served. That is the heart of hospitality: service.
I am by no means the best at this, but it is something I really enjoy. Making sure other people’s needs are met is a burden I gladly bear. I want the people in my life to be served, have joy, and live life abundantly. Whether it’s lighting a scented candle or serving the finest seafood feast, hospitality comes from the heart – not the pocket book. In addition, whether you are single, married, male, female, or a household of 15 – hospitality is important, doable in your own way, and is a good opportunity to bless the people in your life. So here are 15 ways to be hospitable:
  1. Host people! Whether you have a small one bedroom apartment like us, rent a room, or have a bigger home…open it up! Invite people in to your life. The invite means more than the size or looks of the space. People feel honored by an invite and parties/dinners/get-togethers are a great way to show people you are grateful to have them in your life.
  2. Give a tour. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel more comfortable in a space and with the person I’m visiting when I get to see their whole home. What’s behind all the doors? Maybe it’s a psychological thing. And, while difficult, I think it’s a good thing to let people see your mess. Life is messy – let’s just be in it together.
  3. Scented candles. I know this is so simple, but a great smelling home is inviting and restful for people. You could also try the stovetop potpourri method.
  4. Put glasses out on the counter when guests arrive with a couple of drink options available. It makes the “what would you like to drink” question less awkward for guests to answer. Most importantly – always have ice in the freezer, cold water, and room temperature water. I think if you have water needs under control, then the other drinks are not as important, but are the added bonus. I like having some kind of iced tea and beer available at all times.
  5. Having cute straws with your guest’s name on it is such a nice touch. Completely unnecessary, but special. I just went to a Southern-themed cooking club and our host did the whole name-tag on your straw thing and everyone loved it. And no one loses their cup or causes you to do more dishes than you need!
  6. While on the subject of drinks, always have regular and decaf beans at your disposal. Then you can grind them fresh and let people be picky with how they like their coffee. Half & half or whole milk is great to keep on hand as well. And what guests wouldn’t love some homemade creamer!?
  7. Serve good food…and good food doesn’t have to mean expensive. First thoughts: risotto, pasta with fresh sauce, simple green salad, roasted vegetables, roasted chicken, bread with cheeses, grilled sausage, fresh fruit, corn salad, chips & salsa.
  8. When people are in your home or at your gathering, dessert is always a must. Go simple or go extravagant, but it must be there. For a simple dessert, try my chocolate chip cookies. You could even put out a plate of Oreos and your guests will love it!
  9. Have blankets on the couch. People can get cold, but not want to trouble you. Blankets draped over the couch or folded up by your couch pillows is a nice touch.
  10. Background music. This is such a fun way to show hospitlity. It can set the mood, add energy, and start conversation. We really like playing Ray LaMontagne, Austin Stone Reveille, The Civil Wars, The Lumineers, and Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack.
  11. Make sure you sit down, too. If you are hosting everything, but never take the time to sit down with everyone, have good conversation, ask intentional questions, and listen to your company, then you are just an entertainer. Entertaining is great, but it’s not necessarily hospitality. And it can be exhausting. Sitting down communicates love and quality time.
  12. Let people help you. A family works together and people feel like family if they are able to contribute to a common goal. Ask for help with serving the plates, ask for a part of the meal to be contributed, or ask your guests to put their dish in the dishwasher when they are done. I wouldn’t mind being asked these things – it’s all for the goal of being together.
  13. If your guests decide to stay over, make sure you give them a fresh towel and washcloth, a box of tissues by their sleeping area, and offer a cell phone charger and a good book for them.  If you really want to serve your guests, then maybe you could put a small jar by their bed with some special treats: hotel sample toiletries, chocolates, and a sleep mask.
  14. There are also ways to show hospitality if you are going to someone else’s home. A great idea is to bring a house warming gift. Something you would want as a treat: a bottle of wine, a cinnamon broom in the fall, a baguette, a special soap, a bag of tea or coffee. (pictured above)
  15. Have fun! Relax. Play a game. Tell embarrassing stories. Let your guard down. Be in the moment as much as you can. Inspire and encourage your guests. Make sure they know there is something different about their time with you and that your hospitality comes from our awesome Maker.

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What ways do you show hospitality!? I know this list above is not extensive in the slightest. Fill me in on your secrets!

#31daysofwriting #write31days

xo sarah

p.s. FRESH FLOWERS! I love having fresh flowers in the house. I think my guests like it, too. There’s something special about the flowers being from nature and then brought into the home to enjoy. Trader Joe’s always has some inexpensive bundles!

i love lists : lazy sunday

Happy Sunday friends!

What did you do this wonderful day? For us, it was cloudy, full of activity, and at the same time slow. While we have a lot of responsibilities on Sundays, something about today felt like a lazy Sunday and I’m grateful for that. 

  

Here’s what we did today:

  1. Woke up early to get to church by 7:30am for Bret to practice the music set before service starts at 8:45am.
  2. While Bret was practicing, I ran to a cafe for coffee and a bagel…pastry for Bret. 
  3. I put my makeup on in the church parking lot and a friend came early to sit with me and we talked for a bit.
  4. 1st service of church we listened to preaching from Daniel chapter 5 and learned a lot about pride and the gospel. 
  5. 2nd service we taught our Jr. High group about Daniel chapter 4 (we always stay one week behind with them so their parents have already heard it first).  We prayed with them and enjoyed hearing their thoughts.
  6. We had great conversations with friends and then headed home. We don’t usually do this, and I don’t know what came over me, but we got McDonalds for lunch on the way home. 
  7. As we ate our lunch, we watched a couple episodes of Friday Night Lights. Man, that show is addicting. 
  8. Bret took a nap because he is feeling like he might be getting a cold and I picked up the house/dusted/cleaned the kitchen. It was actually very relaxing.
  9. Then I layed down with Bret for a while and started writing this.
  10. Now we are off to our monthly church meeting called DNA (Discipleship through Nurturing and Accountability). I always love those meetings with our church staff and leaders. It’s so encouraging hearing evidence of God’s grace in people’s lives and hearing our joy in the gospel time and time again.
  11. After DNA we usually grab a late dinner with friends and try to still get to bed at a reasonable hour.
  12. When I get home tonight, I hope to straighten up our bedroom and bit, read more of my book-club book, and pray with Bret as we prepare for the week ahead. 

Phew!! Long and busy day, but I’m praising God that it actually felt so refreshing and “lazy” in a lot of ways.😉

#31daysofwriting #write31days

xo sarah 

i love lists : nieces and nephews

While learning to be patient for having children is so difficult at times, the gift of having nieces and nephews is such a treasure.

Today, I was honored to hang out with two of my oldest girlfriends. We ate pastry, walked around San Clemente, and drank lots of tea. It was splendid. While driving back home to Carlsbad, I got to talk to my bestest friend Jocelyn about our friendship, our families, and how much we miss being a part of each other’s everyday lives. You know you have a true friend when you can be completely honest about this kind of stuff. We also talked about what role my husband and I share in the lives of her 4 children. It’s an honor to be their Uncle Bret & Auntie Sarah and we love them so much! We are hoping to set up a regular dinner with them going forward so our families continue to grow together rather than getting lost in the busy shuffle of daily life.

I was then reminded of our role as Uncle Bret & Auntie Sarah to our sweet nieces in Alabama. We love them and miss them so much! We want to Skype more, send more presents, be as involved as possible. It is hard to articulate the closeness and love that we feel for all 6 of these nieces and nephews. Maybe it has so much to do with the closeness and love that we feel for their moms and dads! Our nieces and nephews are a treasure, a gift, and hold a very special place in our hearts. Today’s list will introduce you to these sweet babes we are honored to be Uncle & Auntie to. I hope you can catch a glimpse of how cherished they are to us.

Our sister and brother in law have 2 children: Lucy and Hazel.a8

baby hazel.jpg

  1. Lucy is 4 years old. She is super sharp, very articulate, extremely fun, and crazy adorable. We love making Lucy laugh and laughing with Lucy. Lucy is adventurous and sensitive to those around her. She is full of love and steals your heart.
  2. Hazel is coming up on 2 years old soon. She will melt your heart and you just want to squeeze her. She loves playing with her older sister and keeps you on your toes. Hazel has big brown eyes and such a sweet dreamy smile.
    Our best friends Jocelyn and JC have 4 children: Uriah, Ezekiel, Gracelyn, and Levi.
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  3. Uriah is 5 years old. He is a leader. He has strength and a heart of gold. He will crack you up, work hard at every task, and take competition to the next level. He is also very sweet in giving all the hugs, kisess, and back scratches you want.
  4. Ezekiel is coming up on 4 years old. He is sensitive, loves playing with his older brother, and will talk your ear off. He has the most beautiful eyes and spunky blond hair. He loves sharing what he is interested in so he feels connected to you.
  5. Gracelyn is coming up on 2 years old. She is SO cute, just the right amount of sassy, and loves her mama and daddy. She is already showing her servant’s heart in little ways. She is protected by her brothers and feels so comfortable getting in on their boyish games. She is going to be a little heartbreaker.
  6. Levi is only a couple months old. He is so chunky, sweet, and is the most cuddly boy. He loves to move, to be rocked, and participate in all the action. I am so excited to see how his personality develops.

Life is so much better with these boys and girls in the world. Bret and I wouldn’t be the same without them and we hope to take every moment we can to make sure they know what a blessing they are. Praise God for nieces and nephews. Praise God for families. Praise God for His plan to bring His people together for His glory.

What are your nieces and nephews like? What qualities do you cherish in them?

#31daysofwriting #write31days

xo sarah