our full life: week thirty

OFL 30

To be totally honest…last week was very poignant for me and my family. I am always praising God, and trusting His goodness, but it was a week of loss, grieving, and utter dependence.

My Great Grandma passed away on Saturday morning. Her name was Eva Caroline and she lived to be 98 years old. She was a beautiful person with a warm and loving heart. It is God’s grace that she lived as long as she did, acquiring so many amazing memories and people to love. I know she has a legacy that will continue to live on through the countless lives she touched.

I am still a little unsure about how to explain how I feel. I was blessed to have a couple of days with her before she died. To hold her hand, pray over her, talk to her some, and say my goodbyes. I had never watched somebody die before and be so completely unaware. It was painful, heartbreaking, and exhausting. Most of all, it was a reality check and reminded me of the shortness of this life we are given. I kept listening to a song during those last days called Forever Reign as performed by Austin Stone Worship. This verse (refering to Jesus) was incredibly encouraging and challenging for me:

You are peace, You are peace, when my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true, even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy, You’re the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life,
In You death has lost its sting

This week’s pictures are few. I documented the gorgeous skies from her last days as well as some of our last moments together.

Thursday sky

our hands

friday walk

portrait

thursday sky 2

I pray my great grandma is with Jesus and enjoying all of His glory.

xo sarah

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

We can fully, completely, totally, and abundantly trust in God’s goodness.

We see God’s goodness in times of celebration, friendship, blessing, and success. However, His goodness does not cease to exist in times of heartbreak, death, loss, and loneliness. We know God is always good because of the gospel.

Titus 3: 3-7For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

This may not be what everyone would believe as truth, but I would greatly urge you to. God has patience and forgiveness for all of His children who have gone astray. There is nothing we could do to earn His salvation…we can never be good enough, strong enough, or sinless enough. We will always fall short of the glory of our God, but Jesus has made a way for us. We must simply believe that God is good and He has loved us and saved us by sending His Son Jesus to live the perfect life we could never live, and die the death that we deserved. This is amazing grace and it should lead our hearts to repentance and faith.

Here are some more verses about God’s great goodness to us:

Psalm 23: 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Psalm 25: 7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!

Psalm 145: 7-9They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.

Enjoy God’s goodness this day and everyday in Jesus name, AMEN!

xo sarah

this abundant list

TAL 30

  1. Sun tea – hibiscus style.
  2. Remember when you were in Jr. High and you would spray cucumber-melon all over yourself before school? Here that is in popsicle form….in a good way.
  3. Summer picnic essentials & inspiration for the perfect picnic meal plan!
  4. Poetry for the soul.
  5. Ever tried a S’meach? Let’s do it!
  6. These bottle stoppers remind me of mini ice cream cones.
  7. Holy cow…milk toast! Dreamy.
  8. High tea essentials & the perfect tea sandwiches to serve!
  9. 8 creative “At Home” date night ideas.
  10. Next time we are in San Francisco, I have to experience sipping tea in the city and farm dining in the country!
  11. The chandelier tree…SO pretty!!!
  12. Sunday. A sweet video that reminded me of our dating years.
  13. Daily marriage encouragement and a heartfelt prayer.
  14. Summer dinner: shrimp salsa with slow-and-low dry rub oven chicken.
  15. 25 free colorful summer fonts!

Enjoy these links, enjoy this summer, and praise God for all our JOY!

xo sarah

mini lemon tea-cakes

LTC 2.5

This summer season calls for a little piece of lemon refreshment. These are they. And with a tart and slightly sweet glaze, you will have trouble eating just one. I suggest taking a seat outdoors, pouring yourself a generous amount of hot or iced tea, and enjoying a good book while you pop these in your mouth, one by one.

I owe the name of this dessert to my wonderful taste-testers (thanks, ladies!). This sweet treat was inspired by a cookie recipe, but they are definitely not a cookie. My taste-testers helped me determine that they’re not scones…they’re not muffin tops or biscuits…they’re not baked doughnut-holes…but they ARE mini tea-cakes! The outside is sweet and dainty while the inside is dense and perfectly chewy. Most importantly, the lemon flavor is explosive! If you love lemon, you will love these. Just don’t be surprised if your friends start calling them “Delicious Balls of Goodness.” Mine sure did. Things just got weird, I know.

First things first: making the dough. It will smell (and taste) perfectly lemony. This dough is then rolled into 24 small portions and baked until puffy!LTC 3

Next is the glaze: lemon, lavender sugar, and poppy seeds steal the show.LTC 4

LTC 5Would you look at that? Just the right amount of everything.

LTC 6

Make sure you let those cookies cool down. Don’t they look tempting just sitting on that baking sheet all lemony and perfect? Yikes.LTC 7

Last we have the whole drizzling each cookie with a spoonful of glaze thing happening.LTC 8 

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! And make sure you share them…your friends will thank you kindly!

Ingredients:

Mini Lemon Tea-Cakes

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Lemon Lavender Poppy Seed Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tsp. lavender vanilla sugar (I was gifted mine from Savory Spice Shop)
  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the but­ter and sugar in a mix­ing bowl with a wire whisk. Add the egg and mix well. Add the ricotta cheese, sour cream, almond extract, and the lemon juice and mix well. If using an electric mixer, you can switch to using the paddle attachment. If you’re a pro and going at it the old fashioned way, you can switch to using a wooden spoon.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and kosher salt in a separate bowl with a wire whisk. Add to the wet mixture until well combined. Do not over mix.
  4. Use a spoon to scoop out dough and roll between your hands to make into a ball shape. You should have enough for 24 small portions.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Switch the baking sheets on the racks half-way through the baking process. The tea-cakes will be golden brown on the bottom and puffy on top. Let cookies cool completely.
  6. While your mini tea-cakes are baking, mix all the ingredients for your glaze in a small bowl. Once the mini tea-cakes are cooled, drizzle each one with the glaze. Let the glaze harden for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!!!

Finished product: DEE-licious!LTC 9

xo sarah

our full life: week twenty-nine

OFL 29

This week one one of the busiest I’ve had in a while. However, it was also one of the most refreshing and restful. Don’t ask me how that worked out, but I think it has something to do with all the time we spent celebrating God and our community.

mom gardeningMy mom was here visiting from Idaho. She and I spent our Monday together over good coffee and great conversation. Mom also blessed me by helping me replant my garden with a bunch of beautiful succulents.

replantingYay for all the beautiful cacti and succulents. I am especially excited for my aloe vera plant. You can read all about how to make this diy pallet planter right here.

meatloaf nightI made Bret’s favorite this week: paleo meatloaf with homemade tomato sauce.

babysittingI got to watch this adorable babe on Friday. We had fun perusing the aisles of Costco and trying samples.

our dayLater at home, I folded laundry while this cutie “played” Slam-wich and zombie dice.

barrelsWine tasting for the first time ever. I really enjoyed it! Thank you to Witch Creek Winery and our sweet friends, the Cherry’s!

wine tastingAging barrels in house.

grilled peachesWe had our newly-married friends over fr a BBQ. Kebabs and caesar potato salad with a fresh summer dessert!

dessertSome of us wanted caramel with our grilled peaches and vanilla ice cream.

fields anniversaryOur church celebrated 10 years together this Sunday! God is so good! There was an awesome worship service, a delicious catered meal, and wonderful friends to eat with.

cinnamon bunsYes, this really happened. And it was amazing!

Have an abundant week! God bless!

xo sarah

this abundant year

One year ago, today, I published my very first blog post.

I didn’t know what to expect. I loved reading blogs, but I never thought I would be the one writing one. I was really excited, and I knew it would be fun to try something new.

Before my first blog post, I wrote on a small piece of paper the reasons for wanting to start writing and I took a photo of it:

2012-04-19_1334859762

Basically the paper outlined my priorities and values in my life: Jesus, the gospel, living life abundantly, my husband, my role as a wife, taking care of and pouring into my home, and being inspired by Gods design for biblical womanhood. My about page says more.

I think I have accomplished my goals for what I originally set out to do here, but it was not all by myself. I did have a clear vision and some specific goals to accomplish, but definitely needed help making it all happen!

I am so grateful to my friend Nicole of Gidget Goes Home and a contributor on Simple Mom. She helped me set up my WordPress account, showed me some photo editing websites, and helped me with getting a Gravatar. She is such a sweet friend and a true sister in Christ. I really couldn’t have done it without her! I also couldn’t have done it without my husband. I had not written much since college and was a little rusty…slash…very rusty! He is such a word guy and he truly helped me with editing my grammar, sentence structure, and flow. Thanks husband!

I hope you all have enjoyed reading and seeing this blog grow. I have!

A little side story…I really wanted to reach 100 followers before my one year anniversary of starting this blog, and I did! A couple of days ago, I reached 100 and that’s all thanks to God and you readers! I was so excited to get that notification and I hope to reach more and more people each day, week, month and year! God is so good and I feel so blessed to be able to do this.

Check out some of my most visited and favorite posts:

Happy one year anniversary to This Abundant Life!

Thanks for reading everyone! Love you!

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

I usually do a Gospel post on Mondays, but it just didn’t happen this week. However, there is no reason why I couldn’t do a Gospel Wednesday post, now is there?

GW

Today is a very special day, once again. Today is the day we preach the gospel to ourselves, once again. I can’t expect to face the day with the right attitude or a pure heart without preaching the good news to myself, once again.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen! 1 Timothy 1:15-17

I hope this encourages you. I hope this reminds you of the Father’s love for us. I hope you can preach the good news to yourself every moment…it’s the only way to live. I hope this reminds you of God’s goodness, greatness, graciousness, and glory!

xo sarah

our full life: week twenty-eight

OFL 28

Summer, sun, walks and babies. Enjoy week twenty-eight…even if it is a little late!

morning rosesRoses and ivy on my morning walk.

retro bagRetro bag from my decade. I bought it in High School and now it’s appropriate to break out again.

cucumber smoothieCucumber for my smoothie.

burger saladThis is my husbands FAVORITE dinner: Burger Salad. It’s literally a burger on top of a salad. I added some grilled summer vegetables and called it a day.

pink sunsetPink sky making the ocean pink. I love pink. I really loved this sunset.

hudson babyHudson keeping it real in his make-shift “hat.” The sun was beating down hard on our walk to the park.

movie nightBret led a Movie & Theology night for our Jr. High students. Finding Nemo and Luke 15.

toast breakfastToast Breakfast: smashed avocado & sea salt on one and crunchy peanut butter & banana on the other.

bach toesJr. High girls beach day! SO much fun!

pixiesThis is Frankie. This is his first pixie stick. It was magical!

Love you!

xo sarah

our full life: week twenty-seven

OFL 27The beginning of the week was busy…but when Wednesday night rolled around so did our four day weekend. It was fantastic. Happy week 27 and Happy 4th of July!

in n outIn N’ Out at 9pm on a Tuesday. Sometimes, it just happens.

in n out sunsetPurple clouds all up in this beautiful sky.

discovery lake 1My one, and only, older brother was visiting from out of town. I’ve missed him so much!

discovery lake 2More beautiful skies at sunset. God is good!

flower powerSummer blooms.

RWBGetting ready for our Red, White, & BRUNCH party with a sour cream coffee cake.

the fourth 2Happy Independence Day! Here we are all dressed in our red, white, blue for a backyard family BBQ.

the fourthPre-gaming it. Great spread for an even greater day.

the fourth 3From the front porch.

tranquil tea 2The next morning was spent with some of my girlfriends out in Downtown Fullerton at Tranquil Tea Lounge. My bestie is so pretty.

tranquil teaI LOVE tea. So many to choose from!

tranquil tea 3Tea time for four!

joy journalsThis picture is worth a thousand words to me. I’ll give you a few: lavender lemonade, paleo snicker-doodles, great conversation, and making joy journals with my wonderful and kind-hearted sister in Christ. Susan, it was just lovely. Thank you again!

fourth leftoversRed, White, & BRUNCH leftovers for breakfast. Winning.

coffee cubesCoffee cubes. These will make delicious homemade blended iced coffee treats soon!

Have a great week!

xo sarah

red, white & BRUNCH!

Red, White & Brunch

This Independence Day was one to be remembered!

It was the first 4th of July party my husband and I have ever hosted together. While it was a tad stressful to plan, we were SO excited to put together the menu, cook together, and open our home to some of our closest friends! We had about 20 people over (including kiddos) from our Community Group for some delicious food, treats, and drinks. Everyone enjoyed themselves and we even had a couple guests suggest to make it an annual event!

I hope you enjoy reading about our menu! It is just the right amount of savory and sweet, and would be perfect for any brunch.

brunch 2

First, this delectable coffee cake. It’s a sour cream coffee cake with a maple glaze. I also sprinkled a little maple sugar on top. It was moist and sweet with just the right amount of spice. Recipe from the amazing Shutterbean.

brunch 3

brunch 1

Next, we adapted a recipe from Joy the Baker and made the easiest sausage croissants and dark chocolate croissants (pictured below)! The kiddos loved these options the most.

brunch 6

brunch 5

No brunch would be complete without a fresh fruit salad! This one had chopped granny smith apples, blueberries, strawberries, and green grapes. Tossed with some fresh squeezed orange juice for a little sweetness. YUM!

brunch 4

Now this was the show stopper. A breakfast pizza with bacon, egg, three kinds of cheese, and arugula, with an extra kick from some red pepper flakes. O.M.G. Everyone raved about it and a few asked for the recipe. All props go straight to Shutterbean for her delicious dough and pizza genius. The only thing that I added was a little rendered bacon fat underneath the cheese. You probably think I am crazy, but trust me…you will not be sorry you did it.

We also had some donuts (obviously) from our favorite place (VG’s), as well as freshly brewed coffee, iced tea, milk, and blended strawberry slushies (leaded for adults & unleaded for the kiddos).

It’s not a surprise that I fully agree with Julia Child when she said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” We were overjoyed to “break bread” with the best people. Until next year, friends! I hope you all had the most amazing 4th of July!

xo sarah

our full life: week twenty-six

OFL 26

Ready, set, LIVE! That’s what this week had a lot of…living! Living in community, in forgiveness, in friendship, and lots of coffee! I hope you like that. I did. The best part of this week was our San Diego day lovingly planned by my sweet husband. Enjoy!

LOFTYLofty Coffee breakfast: Poached eggs, toast, tomato, avocado. Lattes on the side!

wednesday skyThis is real. God…You make beautiful things!!!

cocktailsJamie is muddling watermelon & basil. LOVE the smell of basil.

sesslinsAmazing summer cocktail: check!

onion rings 1Jamie is making us homemade onion rings. Dang…they were good. Bless her!

lofty 2Friends in from OC = lunch date at Lofty Coffee. Iced Salted Caramel Latte & a spicy Chai Latte.

pool partyJr. high pool party for the win! Five minutes later we played the game, “Attack Bret,” and the girls won. (photo credit: Gina Thomas)

C&C 1It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

C&C corndogsAnd what’s on the inside of these mini corn dogs from Craft & Commerce really does count: bacon-wrapped-bratwurst. Cheese fondue & whole grain mustard to dip.

CTC 3Sipping some San Diego brew tea from Coffee & Tea Collective in San Diego.

CTC 2Husband: americano. Wife: hot tea.

CTC 6Mi amor enjoying his americano. Cute & silly…the complete package. Love him.

True kitchen HerbsAwesome outdoor herb Gardens at Fashion Valley’s True Food Kitchen. Cant wait to try that place out!

CLICK HERE to find out more about our San Diego day. Recreate it for yourselves!

Here’s to week 26! It was a goodie.

xo sarah

san diego, i love you!

Ever curious about where to go for yummy food & drink down in San Diego? Well…I’m not an expert, but I am excited to share with you a few of our favorite places.

My wonderful husband planned a San Diego date for us last Saturday and it was SO fun and truly felt like a mini-stay-cation. He really spoiled me and put so much thought into every part of the day. He knows how much I love food, so taking me all over town for treats was absolutely fantastic.

Hopefully you go check out these spots for yourself! You won’t regret it!

Craft & Commerce for a delicious and classic menu with very cool atmosphere.C&C 2C&C 3

Coffee & Tea Collective for the perfect cup of coffee, espresso or tea.CTC 5CTC 4CTC 1

Sicilian Thing for fresh and crispy deep dish pizza. OR Pizzeria Luigi for the best (in my humble opinion) pies in San Diego! sicilian Thing

Starlight Lounge for my favorite Mule ever and the prettiest ceiling I ever did see.Starlight

We noticed a few places while we were out and about that we want to check out  for next time:

We will be back. We will tell you all our recommendations. It’s happening.

Until we meet again San Diego…I will always love you!

xo sarah

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

God is shaping our lives.

Isaiah 64: 8 – “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Our lives are in the hands of God – who is good, loving, merciful, and almighty. He is shaping our lives just as a potter shapes clay.

The difficulties we face bring us against the pressure of the potter’s wheel, and His sovereign hand holds us there. This can be hard if we do not understand the heart of God. We can wonder why we were made the way we are, why we are suffering, or why God is not using us in the ways that we desire. There is the option to resist this shaping with resentment and rebellion. We could even become offended by God, and decide that we will form our life into our image of something better and more worthwhile.

What is better than resentment, rebellion, and living life apart from God and His good plans? Believing in the GOSPEL!

When we understand the perfect blood that was shed and the forgiveness of sins that was given to us by Christ, then we can fully welcome God’s work in our lives as something truly beautiful and eternally worthwhile  We may not always appreciate the way that God is shaping our lives, but we can always trust that God is molding our lives with His wise purposes. Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the dead is the single-most powerful act of love and justice that has ever occurred…and God PLANNED and purposed that in His almighty wisdom. He has that same wisdom in shaping each of our lives! We can completely trust that God is molding us into a vessel of honor that is fit for displaying HIS glory.

We can trust our Maker and the blessing that He gives us in Christ! Amen.

Today’s post was inspired by The Abundant Life Day Book by Nancy Guthrie.

xo sarah