i love lists : things worth waiting for

There have been a couple of posts lately that I have alluded to some “news” I was planning to share. I haven’t been able to put the words together until now, I guess.

This year has been quite the turn of events. I feel like I just had my 27th birthday, and at the same time, I don’t even feel like the same girl who wrote this post 8 months ago: on turning 27. I felt so full of life, hope, and excitement. And just a few short months later, I felt so full of fear, anxiety, and confusion. I explained that whole experience in my post: not one single thing. I had to learn to lean into Christ and fix my eyes on Jesus like never before. I grew in prayer and in relying on Scripture. I was truly learning to need God every moment.

Then, in the first few days of August this year I had a baseball-sized cyst burst on my left ovary. Oh goodness, it was painful. It was also heartbreaking when the initial news was that there was a possiblity I had cancer, an ectopic pregnancy, and a bicornuate uterus (which makes having children difficult…and is probably my biggest fear in life).
Then I came to find out that none of this was true! Um, talk about a roller coaster! I had some CRY days…you know those days? Where you just ugly cry and weep and mourn. Doctors told me that my pain and injuries were abnormal, but normal (yeah…idk). They told me to wait and heal and come back in a few weeks because they weren’t exactly sure what they were looking at.

Well, it’s October now and the news didn’t really get better. I still have a very large black area on my left ovary. It could be a cyst and it could be some issue with my fallopian tube. They just aren’t sure. So now I have to choose: surgery or pills. I don’t want to do either. But either way…this, seemingly, puts having children on hold indefinitely. If you know me at all, you know that being a mother is one of the deepest desires of my heart.
Ultimately, I know that God is so so good and He already has this all figured out for us. Whatever the outcome, I belong to Him, He has given me all of Himself, and I have received the joy of Salvation. This is all my hope. But, yet again, I wait.

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I started saying this thing this summer, “I think the theme of my life here, that God is always trying to teach me, is to wait.” Today I thought I would share a list of things that have been worth the wait…and I hope to someday come back to this list and add “children” to it. Until then, here’s what God has granted me thus far, though the waiting was hard:

  1. My husband. He was my crush, my friend, and dream guy. He still is. Worth every bit of the wait.
  2. Friends. There were many times of loneliness before God brought the right friends into my life.
  3. Physical intimacy in marriage. I think we can all relate to why waiting for sex and connection is a challenge. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.
  4. College acceptance. I know I ended up at the right school and program, but before I got there everything felt so big and unknown.
  5. Job. It took a while before I started working a full time job after college. I wanted it to be something I would actually really enjoy and that would utilize my strengths. And now I have a legitimately cool job! Although…I still don’t know “what I want to be when I grow up”, ha! (unless you count being a mom…but we went over that, hehe.)

The 5 things listed above may seem like a short list…but, goodness, so many many months and years went into each of them.
What can I see in all of them? God’s sovereignty, His faithfulness, and His love in all of it. So why wouldn’t that be true for my future “waits” as well?
Like I said before, I hope to come back to this list someday and add “children”. Maybe even adding more education through CCEF…owning my own bakery/coffee shop…being a missionary in a foreign country…

God has it all in His hands. And His hands are GOOD.

What are some things God has made you wait for? Can you see the value and worth in it after the fact?

#31daysofwriting #write31days

xo sarah

on turning 27…

SO, I turned 27 this week. And it feels good. No, it feels very good.

When I was in Jr. High, I thought 27 was OLD. I also thought that I would probably have, like, seven kids by now. But that’s a whole other story. All that to say, I haven’t always had the best expectations when it came to my age. So…as a 26 year old, I was freaking out about turning 27. Dumb, I know. But it felt so much OLDER in my head.

Well, surprise-surprise, I was wrong again. I just feel good! Excited, hopeful, peaceful, and humbled.

27 adventures[Picture from a birthday hike with my sweet dad. He and I share the same birthday!]

I received so many sweet and caring birthday texts/calls from people on Monday. I loved each and every one. My favorite came from my sister in Alabama (love you Sare) and my other favorite came from my friend Luanna. She said “Happy Birthday” and proceeded to tell me why I am now her favorite age. I asked her why 27 (she is now in her early 30’s) and this what she wrote:

Lots of reasons. Seemed like I was finally old enough to have some wisdom/life experience under my belt, but still carefree (no kids). We had a tight group of friends we did real life ministry with and I finally had a job I wanted that paid more than just peanuts. Also, I was in super good shape. Yep, 27 was a good year for me. Plus, I mentally got stuck there so now you’re my age. ūüėČ “

Luanna has been a friend of mine for only a few¬†years, but it has felt like longer, in the best possible way. She is my peer and also someone I really look up to. She is a lovely person and wonderful friend. I am so thankful God placed her and her family in my life. Plus, she really makes me laugh…like, big belly laughs and long silent laughs. The best.

Anyway, back to the text. This text was so interesting to read because I could relate to it 100%. It’s a really true depiction of¬†how I am feeling about 27 right now. Here’s how I relate to Luanna at 27:

  • I love where God has brought me, what He has taught me, how He has challenged me, and the ways He is transforming me. All glory be to Christ.
  • I absolutely cannot wait to have children. I am still waiting for that blessing to come, but until that day, there is a lot my wonderful husband and I can be care-free about: schedules, dinner times, date-nights, having a nightcap, reading books, spontaneous adventures, binge-watching Netflix, and being bride & groom.
  • I am at an awesome church with an incredible community. So many brothers and sisters to support me, love me, pray for me, do ministry with me…and vice-versa. God regularly blows my mind with this reality. He has made me very rich.
  • I just got a super cool job at a local software company. At first, it felt like I was living someone else’s life. Now I’m in it. And I’m loving it so much. It’s challenging for sure, but it finally feels like I’m where I want to be.
  • I just started pouring more of my time and energy into eating really well¬†and working out more. It’s been fantastic and just what my husband and I are needing right now. And I’m really excited that one of my birthday presents was a fitbit!
  • I also plan on having lots of adventures this year: Texas, surfing, Florida, Disneyworld, Alabama, camping, and COOKING. A creative kitchen goal for me this year is to cook/bake 29 adventurous things before I turn 28. I want to make macarons, my own cheese, chocolate croissants, cornish hens…oh the possibilities. This will most likely happen on what we like to call “cheat days”. I’ll try my best to post the outcomes here.

So there you have it. 27 is already shaping up to be a good year. A very good year.

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What did you like about being 27?

xo sarah

our full life: week thirty nine

Hey there, hi there, nice to meet you!

Here’s what the past week looked like for us:

rbi aboveBret had a fancy work dinner this week at the Rancho Bernardo Inn. The Veranda where we ate was so gorgeous at sunset.

rbi husbandI am so grateful that this is the man God chose for me. He is so diligent, loving, and admirable. Oh…and FUNNY! ‚̧

snack lunch My snack lunch at work.

tradition drinks¬†Road trip tradition. Treat yo’ self!

cheekysB is for…beautiful weekend getaway in the desert with Bret.

cheekys 1B is also for BACON FLIGHT!

parker 6The Parker Palm Springs.

parker 2I’m glad I don’t know how to make this crazy delicious mojito at home.

parker 1Loungin’.

parker 5Bret and I walked the grounds of The Parker sipping on cocktails and soaking up the sun.

parker 4 Giant game of chess, anyone?

parker 3We discovered a reception being set up for later in the evening. So pretty!

parker 8 One of my favorite plants/flowers/color combos ever.

parker 7Smiles & sunnies.

la quinta 1Sitting by the pool reading books was SO amazing. Even more amazing was having 3 days with the love of my life in desert paradise.

Now, back to the grindstone. God’s mercies are new every morning and every morning we can trust in Him.

Until next week…week 40!!!

xo sarah

this abundant list

TAL sept 14

  1. Beautiful photography from my friend, exploring Yellowstone.
  2. Excited to make SOUP this fall.
  3. And on that note…another delicious recipe¬†for, you guessed it, soup!
  4. Thought provoking post about life with kids.
  5. I love this company so so much.
  6. I like the idea of these pillow cases. It would be hard to get them just perfect.
  7. Thinking about making this super simple DIY chalkboard.
  8. Re-watching Gilmore Girls through again…and I really hope #12 happens!
  9. A new way to learn! I love learning.
  10. GREAT read. Humorous, inspiring, and convicting.
  11. These doughnuts and this cake will get us in the mood for October. Mmmm!
  12. The guy in this iPhone video is my husbands doppelgänger minus about 8 years. So weird to watch!

Have a great weekend! Spend time with the ones you love and get outdoors. ‚̧

xo sarah

 

 

our full life: week eighteen & nineteen

Blog burn-out. This is what happens to me when life is sad, confusing, and hard. I don’t feel like writing and sharing as I normally do. I know there is probably others out there that can relate.

If you read my last blog post you saw that my sweet student Katherine was really in a scary place with an intensive brain surgery and threat of brain cancer.

I felt like I couldn’t live life normally. My days felt sad. I wanted to hit rewind before all this happened. Still, I believed God is good. We were all waiting on Him. Here is some incredible news her father shared with us:

The oncologists called back…and here is what we learned. The mass was so unique, it shows up in less than one in a million, that they sent it to the top clinic in Boston for a second opinion. They are actually going to write an article on it. We are praising God that it’s not malignant. It was some sort of vascular malformation that they don’t even have a name for yet. We are rejoicing over this news! Thank you for your prayers! Please keep praying for her full recovery. They will continue to do MRIs on her, the next one in three months, to monitor her head, but they are projecting a full recovery.¬†When Katherine got the news that it was not cancerous and the prognosis was good for a full recovery, she couldn‚Äôt stop smiling. Tonight when I prayed with her before bed, she actually thanked God for using this to grow her faith and trust in God. Wow! The first thing she wants to do when she‚Äôs all better is to go surfing.

Amazing amazing news. I was blown away and brought to tears. Our God is absolutely in control and deeply loves us! It was a joy to hear of her smiling. I love that smile! Now we continue to pray and lean on God for the days to come.

Here is a glance at what the past couple of weeks looked like for us.

crates and barrel.jpgWork errands at Crate & Barrel. Sometimes work errands are awesome.

Sweet Kathernie.jpgVisiting this sweetheart was a blessing. Her hope in God is inspiring and profound.

student bowling.jpgBurritos & Bowling!!! Our girls definitely missed Katherine.

porch sitting.jpgPorch-sitting in my new sun dress. Enjoying the heat. Giant glass of ice water in hand.

dads jungle.jpgMy dad’s jungle of a backyard. I think I have taken pictures of it before…but it sure is growing!

Dads flowers.jpgTake me away.

snack texture.jpgNight time snack. So many textures.

red fix.jpgNot my usual coffee order. Eliminating caffeine, sugar, and acid for a few weeks. Good thing I love all tea.

p&r marathon.jpgParks & Recreation marathon last weekend. We love Lil’ Sebastian.

That’s about it everyone. I think I’m slowly coming back into the swing of things so hopefully you will hear from me more.

I wanted to leave you with some of the lessons Katherine’s father has been learning that we can all relate to.

Here are some lessons we learned, or relearned that I would like to pass on:

  1. When Jesus says follow me, the story is about Him and not us. God has so graciously written us into that story, but it is His story.
  2. Our sovereign God is a good God and He can be trusted, no matter what may happen.
  3. He will always be walking with us, even if we are not walking faithfully with Him. It’s not so much that we are clinging to God, it’s that He holds on to us.
  4. The trials we face are never wasted by God. Therefore, let’s make sure we don’t waste those either.
  5. Those with a limp lean hard into God. We have been leaning hard!

AMEN!

Until next week, friends!

xo sarah

 

gospel monday

Gospel Monday

A shorter post today. I wanted to share an awesome video that spoke the truth and gave me encouragement this week.

The video is a Matt Chandler sermon¬†jam explaining that the Gospel is not about man’s effort – what we do or don’t do – but about what God has already done through the sacrifice of His son on the cross.¬†It was taken from his sermons “Standing” and “Of First Importance“.

Basically,¬†Matt Chandler says it better than I ever could. So, please watch this and spend some time celebrating God’s amazing grace and wonderful truth:¬†http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mROvpR93QL0

It’s ALL about JESUS!

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

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

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

this abundant list

So…it is here. The big two-five. I’m officially a grown up. Sometimes, my freckles make me look like I’m 17, but not anymore! I’m 25, world. Watch out for all the excitement!

TAL 25

Here is a short list of things I can think of tonight that I would like to see/do/make/eat/read/be this year.

  1. First, take as many pictures as possible. I want to document all our sweet moments like the one above. Squinty eyes and all.
  2. Disney World. I can’t believe it’s happening, but it is.
  3. I want to read Wuthering Heights again. And see the most recently made movie.
  4. I want to walk at least 150 miles this year. Its a small feat…but it’s doable for where my life is at right now.
  5. I think I might dye my hair. Eeek! A vibrant red, perhaps.
  6. S’mores cupcakes¬†and a¬†bloody mary. I will make you in my kitchen.
  7. I would love to diversify my income. A little bit here and a little bit there. Hopefully from the things, and in the areas, that I am most passionate about.
  8. I want to laugh ALOT. I can always count on episodes of New Girl and Parks and Rec to make that happen. And my husband. He is a riot.
  9. Puppy!?! Maybe. Maybe not. Until then, I can just watch CUTE videos.
  10. Chips: kale, sweet potato, beets, bacon, apple. This is happening, year 25.
  11. I would love to see this blog reach many more people for the glory of God. Maybe an e-course is in my future.

That’s the short list. I could probably keep going. I will spare you…and myself.

Until next week, friends, let’s get messy and bold in the kitchen. Let’s have lot’s of coffee dates and movie nights. Let’s make every day count. Let’s pursue every lovely passion. Above all, let’s make much of God in every moment.

xo sarah

sugar, spice & everything nice {housewarming party}

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of throwing one of my close friends a special housewarming party.

My friend’s name is Paloma; although some might know her as D.N.L, Palerma, or P-Town. But I like to call her Palomes.

We have known each other for about 4 years now. We met through our church and served in youth ministry together. We graciously got paired up to co-lead a group of 7th grade girls in bible study and discipleship, and from the very start I knew Paloma was a true friend.

Paloma is an amazing woman filled with love, compassion and grace. I can always come to Paloma for a good laugh, girl-talk, prayer and encouragement. She is also one incredible photographer with so much creativity and pure talent.

Paloma recently moved into her own place and I wanted her to have all the best ingredients a girl might need for life! So naturally, that meant: Sugar (white, brown, honey, agave, etc.), Spice (chili, basil, salt, garlic, ginger, etc.), and/or Everything Nice (giftcards, general housewares, cleaners, knick-knacks, etc.). Thinking of this theme was one of my better ideas, and it came together just beautifully!

Paloma’s lovely guests all brought a dessert or appetizer to share. We had lots of yummy treats to snack on, like these deep dark chocolate cookies¬†brought by our sweet friend, Nathalie. The day was filled with great conversation, fun drinks, and lots of love poured out onto this very special girl, Paloma.

I can confidently speak on behalf of everyone who came: Paloma, we love you, we admire you, and we are so blessed God has brought you into our lives! Thank you for hosting us and being a Light into our lives and this world.

Here are some photos Paloma took at her party:

Good Friends + Good Food + Cutsie Theme = The Recipe for a Perfect Housewarming Party! I hope your new abode is now filled with lots of wonderful goodies and memories, my friend! Love you Palomes!

xo sarah

P.S. Thank you to The Wedding Chicks for the cute Mason Jar Invitation Template. And thank you to my hubby for being a Photoshop genius working so hard to make them just perfect!

this abundant life

An abundant life (John 10:10) is something I deeply desire and always hope for.

An abundant life, I realize, is not free of sorrows or absent of trials but it is completely fulfilling and satisfying for one reason: Jesus. Jesus is the treasure and prize that meets every deepest desire. Hopefully this post convicts and consoles, as well as provokes repentance and encouragement.

An abundant life is firmly rooted in the Gospel. This is the Gospel: Jesus is God. We are sinners. The penalty of our sin is death. Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and was crucified on a cross for our sins. He loved us and so He died the death we deserved to die. Now we can live eternally with Jesus in Heaven and experience the truest form of freedom through the grace and forgiveness that Jesus gives. This free gift of salvation is available to anyone who believes, repents and puts their trust in Jesus. Amen!

The Gospel gives hope, assurance, and makes this life we live truly abundant because we have a relationship with Jesus and forgiveness of sin. There is a passage of scripture in The Bible that really sums up what living life with Jesus looks like, Psalm 23:

      The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

          He makes me lie down in green pastures.

     He leads me beside still waters.

          He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley

of the shadow of death,

          I will fear no evil,

     for you are with me;

          your rod and your staff,

          they comfort me.

     You prepare a table before me

          in the presence of my enemies;

     you anoint my head with oil;

          my cup overflows.

     Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

          all the days of my life,

     and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD

          forever.

My purpose in writing this blog is to bring glory to God, share how He has called me to Himself, and what living life abundantly through Him and for Him looks like for me. Whether that be loving my husband, making my house a home, getting creative in the kitchen, living in community, or exploring this beautiful world‚ĶI’m here to share
this abundant life with you!

xo sarah