read through the Bible in a year

Good morning friends!

I have a small post this morning, with a big commitment.

I know it is not January 1st. It’s January 31st to be exact. Nonetheless, I am starting something new. Something wonderful. Something abundant and life-giving.

A few days ago, I stumbled across a new (to me) blog called Grace and Salt. The post that drew me in was about a one year commitment to the Word of God. Here’s the post and line that caught me:

I am committing to reading The Bible from cover to cover this year! And I’d love if you joined me. I’ve learned that when you have someone walking alongside you in something, you are far more likely to complete the task. So, who wants to join with me and dive into the most perfect book ever written?

I quickly answered, “I do! I do!” So…I know this is the end of January, and not the beginning, but it’s never (ever) too late to start. I began the reading plan a few days ago and will try to catch up before 2015. Either way, I totally agree that knowing someone else is committing to the same thing you are is super encouraging and really gives you the accountability to keep going. Plus, spending time reading about The Lord, worshipping Jesus, and giving Him praise is an incredible gift.

I have not completed this challenge in my lifetime yet, but I am so pumped! Throughout the year, I will post about where I am in the Bible and what God is teaching me about the gospel. And if/when I become discouraged or fail, I can believe and rely on God’s provision of grace. Also, I just read a really encouraging article titled, We Need a Savior, Not a New Year. Great perspective on the goals we pursue and plans we make – especially in light of this commitment I am making.

That being said, I would love to ask you ALL the same question: So, who wants to join with me and dive into the most perfect book ever written?

You can find the plan for every month of the whole year HERE. Let’s do this!

Bible in a Year- Grace & Salt

I will end this post with some fitting Scripture to encourage us in this challenge: Ecclesiastes 7:8 – “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”

MANY thanks to the writers of Grace and Salt!

xo sarah

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honey chai tea latte

cl 2Honey Chai Tea Latte. We all know it, love it, and want some more of it. A sweet and spicy drink with a creamy finish. Hot or cold…this drink is a comforting treat.

When I think of chai, I think of:

Lofty coffee shop, rainy days, my sweet sister, wholesome ingredients, coffee cake, great company, Savory Spice Shop, ginger, and good reads.

chai ingredients 1When making your own chai tea at home, the first thing to do is to gather all of your spices and tea together. I love when I have the time to measure everything out ahead of time and see how each ingredient plays its part. It’s a beautiful thing. Literally.

chai ingredients

chai ingredients 3Then you start boiling, steeping, and incorporating. Look at all that delicious milk and honey. Two of my favorite things.

chai makingAnd straining all the liquid into a pretty teapot is the last step. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a pretty teapot. It can be strained into anything you like!

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Honey Chai Tea Latte (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 pieces of crystallized ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 7 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp. anise seed
  • 2 Tbsp. strong black tea (I used darjeeling)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup milk (skip the milk if you don’t want it to be a latte)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, add all the spices to 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Then cover the mixture with a lid and let it steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Uncover and then add the black tea. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the honey and stir. Then slowly stir in the milk. If you don’t want it to be a “latte” you can skip the milk, and move on to step 5.
  5. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a teapot or jar.
  6. Serve & Enjoy!

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I’ve been enjoying Honey Chai Tea Lattes all week. And you can too! By the way, the pretty cake is from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Cinnamon Swirl – a perfect pairing!

Definitely making this again. Let me know if you have any questions.

xo sarah

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

This week I wanted to share a new song I’ve been really loving lately. It’s called Grace Alone by Dustin Kensrue from his latest album The Water and The Blood. You can listen to the whole album here!!!

I have been so touched and encouraged by all of the truth in the lyrics below. Please read and pay attention to what is being communicated. The words are so simple and at the same time, so profound. In short, the Gospel is so clearly and amazingly laid out in this song.

We rejoice that God has taken it upon Himself to call us to salvation and forgiveness. God has adopted us, predestined us, and called us His own. Please be encouraged and enjoy!

GRACE ALONE

I was an orphan lost at the fall
Running away when I’d hear your call
But Father, you worked your will

I had no righteousness of my own
I had no right to draw near your throne
But Father, you loved me still

And in love before you laid the world’s foundation
You predestined to adopt me as your own
You have raised me so high u above my station
I’m a child of God by grace and grace alone

You left your home to seek out the lost
You knew the great and terrible cost
But Jesus, your face was set

I worked my fingers down to the bone
Nothing I did could ever atone
But Jesus, you paid my debt

By your blood I have redemption and salvation
Lord, you died that I might reap what you have sown
And you rose that I might be a new creation
I am born again by grace and grace alone

I was in darkness all of my life
I never knew the day from the night
But Spirit, you made me see

I swore I knew the way on my own
Head full of rocks, a heart made of stone
But Spirit, you moved in me

At your touch my sleeping spirit was awakened
On my darkened heart the light of Christ has shone
Called into a kingdom that cannot be shaken
Heaven’s citizen by grace and grace alone

So I’ll stand in faith by grace and grace alone
I will run the race by grace and grace alone
I will slay my sin by grace and grace alone
I will reach the end by grace and grace alone

How has God’s grace been worked out in your life?

xo sarah

our full life: week four

I can’t believe January is almost over! This month has been one of growth, refocus, and preparation for the year to come. It’s also been nice to get back into the routine of everyday life. Here we go week four!

working at targetRunning some work errands at Target. Not too shabby!

hw bread I made Wilma Fandey’s famous Honey Whole Wheat Bread. Such a good loaf!

green juicingMade my first green juice with our new juicer: Kale and parsley with orange.

working at peetsPeets is the perfect place for our team to plan all things Jr. High Ministry.

burger loungeDouble date night with our friends/neighbors at Burger Lounge. I finished my burger before I remembered to capture all of its glory. YUM!

pannikin tea time Tea time with friends at Pannikin.

loaded nachosSaturday Night Loaded Nachos!

That’s about it. I hope you experience God’s grace in the week to come.

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

I have been so challenged lately by my idols. They are flaring up big time.

I despise it, but I idolize the approval of others.

I want my husband to think I’m perfect (as if!). I want my oldest friends to see me as caring and successful. I want people to approve of the career path I’m on. I want people to love my blog and appreciate my creativity. I want our finances to be “right” in the eyes of others. Basically, I want everyone to like me. A LOT.

AUGH. As you can see, it is a real struggle. While most of these things are not inherently bad, the problem is with my own heart. I have shared the honest truth with you all, and – at the same time – a bunch of shallow lies.

Lie: I do not already have all of my husband’s love and approval.

Lie: I can be perfect.

LIE: Being caring and successful means I have gained worth.

LIE: My career defines who I am.

LIE: This blog is my source of approval or measure of my creativity.

LIE: Our finances will someday be “right”, according to the world.

The hardest part of this struggle is that I actually know THE Truth. The ultimate, unchanging, never-ending, all-encompassing, incredible Truth.

The only approval I need is from God above. Based on my sin, this is impossible. With Christ, this is absolutely possible and entirely accomplished. In Christ, I have 100% of God’s approval. I have ALL of God’s love. When God sees me, He no longer sees my wickedness, but He sees Jesus’ blood that covers me. His righteousness was given to me; His “success”, His “creativity”, His “wealth”, and His “care” was transferred to my account. Jesus held nothing back when He died on the cross. He bore all my shame, all my sin, all my pride. Jesus is God. He stood in my place and He is my salvation. I do not need to long for praise from people in light of this truth, but to give all praise to Jesus and His great name.

I hope you can fully trust God’s truth as you live this life He has given you. God’s grace gives us the choice to trust Jesus and the choice to turn from our evil ways. I want to make that choice today and every day. I want what God says about me to be the only thing I believe. I want to praise His holy name forever and ever.

xo sarah

our full life: week three

This week was a much needed, and long awaited return to routine and living! I am so glad to be feeling better and spending time with the people I love. Here is how week three went:

chubbyThis cute pug is named Chubby. I got to spend some of my working hours this week with him.

working at the daysI spent my first day back at work at my bosses house sipping tea (and working of course). It was lovely.

Love FrameLove cares more for others than for self.

my desk Whatever you do (in this case, eating breakfast while I work) do all to the glory of God.

paris cake My very talented boss made his beautiful wife this Eiffel Tower cake! So rad!

dehydrated pineapple My husband and I dehydrated some pineapple slices for gifts. Major success!

fig orange almond scones Fig orange and almond scones with a simple vanilla icing.

baby shower 1 My beautiful sister and her baby shower prize.

baby shower 2One of the most gorgeous baby showers I have ever been to for my friend Kerri. Complete with these perfect sugar cookie party gifts.

tea party 13 Annual Tea Party.

bfffiveThese girls have been in my life for more than 13 years. I love them so much! And now we have another girl to love too.

Have a very wonderful and blessed week.

xo sarah

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

Good morning friends!

I learned something new this week and I’ve been so excited to share.

Let’s start with Scripture in John 1:16 – For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

What is it to receive grace upon grace? It is to receive BLESSING! What is His fullness? It is His ABUNDANCE!

It is incredible that Jesus has given all of us blessings that flow from His abundance. However, what I learned this week was what a blessing actually is!

A blessing is anything, good or bad, that will help us to experience and know more about who God is. It is a new opportunity to give God praise. Another privilege to see God more clearly.

It is amazing to me that God longs to bless us, and to give to us out of his abundance. God doesn’t want to hide His face from us, but wants us to know Him fully. He deserves our praise!

I was reading my devotional about this and it had a great section I will paraphrase: “You can be blessed in the midst of a terrible situation, because being blessed doesn’t mean you have no trouble or struggle or sorrow; it doesn’t mean you aways experience success or comfort. Instead, it means that in the midst of the trouble and struggle and sorrow, you find yourself deeply secure, profoundly content, and happy in Jesus. To know God, walk with Him, and share life with Him – that is the essence of blessing.”

This really helped me put into perspective what blessings really are. It changed my heart to be more in tune with giving God praise and finding Him in all areas and at all times in my life. I am more convicted to be content with what He has given me, because He is helping me to know Him more. I am encouraged to see the biggest blessing, or “grace upon grace”, that God has ever given me: The Gospel!

The gospel teaches me how Jesus saved me, transformed me, and gave me the great opportunity to know God. To know His love, grace, sacrifice, kindness, faithfulness, and incredible forgiveness. THAT is a blessing that keeps on giving!

How has God revealed Himself to you through His blessings?

xo sarah

our full life: week one & two

Our Full Life 2014…Here we go!

First, you will get a peek into our California Coast vacation (I hope to post a full re-cap here very soon). Second, you will see a week of me being laid out sick. It’s all about balance people. Enjoy!

Morro splashMorro Bay Beach break.

morro shadowsLooking up at Morro Rock and I just had to capture our crazy shadows!

morro lunchFresh fish, shrimp, and chips on the marina.

morro viewKiller view.

cambria pinesCambria Pines.

Hearst kitchenIn the Hearst Castle Kitchen. OHHHH my….it was so so awesome! They even had fresh bread baking to add to the experience.

oakland drinksVisiting our friends Tony & Tiffany!!! They took us to Chop Bar in Oakland. Crazy good mussels and burgers. And, yesI am aware of how many cocktails are at our table.

oakland ice creamLemon Sorbet in downtown Alameda.

SF friendTaking the Ferry to San Francisco!

SF buildingBrick & Blue.

SF bay bridgeBay Bridge at twilight.

NYE spreadNYE dinner spread (not pictured: champagne cocktails). Tiffany is an AMAZING hostess BTW.

CA coastThe views on this trip are unbeatable.

aquarium 1Monterey Bay Aquarium. Such beauty!

aquarium 2Up close and personal with one of my absolute favorite animals.

gracelyn visitBack home & visiting our best friends’ new baby girl.

juicer magicOur parents got us an awesome juicer for Christmas. Here we have fresh pear, pomegranate, and orange juice!

doctor visitEnded up in the doctors office this week. Acute bronchitis is NOT fun.

friendshipWe have some really awesome people in our life. One of which is my friend Susan. She left me this care package on our doorstep the other day. It had tea, soup, a candle, fresh baked cookies, and a much needed card of encouragement. THANK YOU friend!

sunny walkWhen you are glued to the couch, you don’t get much sun. This was a much needed sunny walk. Thank you Jesus.

Blessings friends!

xo sarah

this abundant list

TAL 14.1

  1. My sweet parents got us a juicer for Christmas and I have loved experimenting. This post has some great recipes!
  2. Resolutions and goals can be a great planning tool. However, picking just ONE WORD for the year might bring more inspiration.
  3. What would you do if you were given a 24-hour retreat? My friend Nicole had an idea I can relate to.
  4. Healthy and indulgent snacking with a burst of energy!
  5. My husbands mom and I were just talking about this process over the holidays.
  6. Six ways to be UNlovely.
  7. This maxi dress is calling my name.
  8. And I think this cool bottle opener is calling Bret’s name.
  9. A challenging article about being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  10. Almonds…Croissants….and sweet, sweet sugar. Yes please!
  11. What to make for Breakfast? Maybe this yummy baked oatmeal.
  12. Or better yet, CAKE!

Hope you enjoyed these links. Thanks for reading!

xo sarah

sick & resting

Hello friends!

Well, my goal to be posting more regularly in 2014 came crashing to a halt. However, that does tend to happen when you pick up a case of acute bronchitis…booo. I’m getting better day by day. Drinking lots of hot tea and asking my hubby to do little things for me. He’s the best. He even puts up with me taking a million instagram pictures of him (see below):

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The biggest part of getting better is REST. Hitting the pause button on “life as usual”. This is hard for me to do. I am not a workaholic, but I do tend to have lots of plates spinning all at the same time. It’s very hard for me to let my home get out of order or tell people no. I need to grow in this area.

So what has rest looked like for me the past couple of days? I’ll tell you.

Sleep. Water. Prayer. Green tea. Honey. Homemade OJ. Vitamins. Watching movies. Inhalers. Reading. More prayer. Tissues. Magazines. Naps. More prayer! I know God will heal my body according to His purposes. I trust Him. So, until then, I am resting.

As I said, I have watched some movies. A couple of guilty-pleasures: The Parent Trap (Lindsey Lohan version) and She’s The Man. Also, a great heart-felt comedy with Paul Rudd and Tina Fey: Admission. And of course, I had to get a romantic drama in there too: The Lucky One (a little too raunchy for my taste, though). Four movies people…that should be a cure in itself!

I also spent some time reading. I have read through a few magazines (mostly Martha Stewart & Real Simple) and tore out what I like. My stack to go through is becoming unbearable, so making a dent in it has been nice. I am also reading two devotional type of books: Comforts From Romans and Abundant Life Day Book. I hope to get through more of East of Eden as well. Lastly, I spent time in the Bible meditating on Scripture. I refreshed my mind with a chapter out of Genesis, and then dwelled on the attribute of God as Creator. Time well spent and very restful.

Something I have been learning for a while now is that true rest comes from God alone. Knowing that He is always good and faithful. Enjoying Him and His abounding love. Believing that He is always with me is a constant comfort. His graces are new for me everyday and I can safely abide in that truth. The Gospel tells me that I am saved, made new, and belong to Jesus. He quiets my soul and brings peace to my heart. Ahhhh…just writing that out is restful for my spirit.

You can expect a new post from me later on tomorrow though! I will be writing a new This Abundant List post…because clicking around the internet can be pretty restful at times like this as well!

P.S. – I totally wanted to add one more instagram of Bret, but I held back the urge. You’re welcome.

xo sarah

resolution day recipes

Happy New Year Friends!!!

2014

Something I would love to do more of on this blog is share more of my recipes and adventures in the kitchen. Probably about 10% of what I make in my kitchen actually makes it into a post with a recipe. It’s mostly because taking pictures becomes hard for me when the lighting is wrong, my props are limited, and my hands are a mess. I know: excuses, excuses. I will make it a goal this year to do more recipe posting.

I hope sharing a review of some of my recipes can help you in the year to come.

  1. My most popular post to date: Perfect Roast Chicken.
  2. My most personally used recipe: Granola Bar Glory
  3. Best for busy weeks & tight budgets: Perfect Turkey Chili
  4. Best for healthy refreshing treat: Blueberry Green Tea Slushies
  5. Great salad for crowds: Theis Family Salad
  6. Great salad for everyday: Sweet Kale Salad
  7. When you’re in the mood for Mexican: Tacos
  8. When you’re in the mood for Italian: Cheesy Baked Penne
  9. Indulgence for your morning coffee: Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake
  10. Indulgence for your afternoon tea: Mini Lemon Tea Cakes

I hope you can make some of these recipes and enjoy them as much as our family has. Let’s start the year off on the right foot: with love and joy and delicious food!

xo sarah