this abundant list

TAL 7 18 15

HAPPY SATURDAY! Waking up to thunder, rain, and lightning was unexpected, but welcome! It’s been a slow morning with green smoothies and toast with goat cheese and tomato slices. I’ll be relaxing at home until our Jr. High pool party this evening 🙂 What are your Saturday plans?

Whatever they are, please enjoy these summer inspired weekend links!

  1. 20 Summer Bucket List items for your family.
  2. How adorable is this summer swim suit?!
  3. Pinning & Twinning made my Minature Roasted Eggplant recipe.
  4. My new favorite author and the perfect summer reads can be foud here.
  5. The most EPIC road trip EVER!
  6. Moscow mules…in popsicle form!!!
  7. A challenge to all of us women out there from Piper.
  8. 2 fresh new looks for your home: one patriotic and one natural. Enjoy!
  9. 8 favorite summer outfits. Yes please!
  10. Whether you’re working, traveling, or picnicking…here’s how to pack healthy lunches.
  11. Even though I want every day to be a beach day, I still have to keep my house clean.
  12. My new favorite thing: Happy Hour Podcast with Jamie Ivey!
  13. Summer dinner made EASY and DELICIOUS.
  14. Need camping list items and tips? I’m your gal. Make sure to check out the whole 3 part series.

Happy Saturday & Happy Summer! Enjoy this season that the Lord has made!

xo sarah

not one single thing

Hi friends,

I posted earlier this week and mentioned I was going to share about the hard season I’m facing. There’s really no exciting way to say this: I have been facing anxiety.
I have friends and family that have experienced anxiety as well, so I know that this is nothing new under the sun. It’s just new for me. And I hate it. It just sucks.

The anxiety arrived out of nowhere. My heart pounds, my fears are raging, my thoughts are scrambled, and I feel on the verge of tears. I am just fragile and weak. It’s extremely frustrating and almost crippling. Like I said, it just sucks.stamped.jpg

And honestly, there is not one single thing causing my anxiety. I can’t point to one thing and conclude that that is the thing wearing on me. There are layers there. Many, many layers. However, I think underneath all the layers is unbelief.
Unbelief that God is in control, is good, is enough, is everything I need. My heart is not believing these truths and that is sinful.

And in the midst of this unbelief and suffering (because that’s truly what it is), I am praising God for four things:

  1. I am praising God for the grace and fogiveness found in Jesus. It’s amazing that God never leaves me no matter how unbelieving my heart is. Grace upon grace.
  2. I am praising God that I have been able to share these feelings with many close friends and family. I have truly felt their prayers and there are no words for how helpful they have been. It’s so comforting to know I’m not praying alone.
  3. I am praising God for my husband. He talks me down, reminds me of the truth, and loves me so well. He knows there are times to let me cry and times to kick my butt (figuratively, of course). He listens even when I don’t know how to communicate.
  4. I am praising God for His Word. Without a doubt, I could not be getting through each day without God’s Word. This is good for me to experience because there have been SO many days that I can get through without Scripture. That is heartbreaking and not the life I want to live.

The fact is, anxiety is normal. But just because it is normal does not mean I shouldn’t battle it to the death. Anxiety/unbelief is battled by grace and grace alone. It is by God’s grace that I can meditate on God’s Word and ask for the help of His Holy Spirit. By His Word, God promises to wipe away my unbelief so that I can see clearly. And the Holy Spirit sanctifies me through this.

Here are some of the Scriptures that have been so helpful for me during this time:

  • Pslam 103: 2-5
    Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
  • Pslam 34: 4-5
    I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
  • Hebrews 4:2
    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
  • Mark 9: 24
    Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
  • Psalm 38: 9
    O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.
  • 2 Corinthian 4:16-18
    So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

parker 5

If you have ever faced anxiety, I am so sorry. I feel your pain and it is terrible. We always have good news in Jesus, promises in the Word, and prayers on our behalf. We can rest in the gospel always.

I will be praying for you as I pray for myself.

xo sarah

our full life: week forty two

Here’s what this past week looked like:

lunch dateMy first pho experience. It was pretty much what I expected and I enjoyed it; especially with one of my favorite people there to talk to.

oh what JOYOh what JOY! It was a good mail day on Tuesday. Can;t wait to make so many of these recipes.

the habitWe finally got to try out The Habit with my dad. This was the aftermath.

pandemicDouble date game night. So fun to see the boys get really into it.

good day AHHHHHHHHH.

good old days Foot shot with some of my favorite peeps.

watercoloring Water color projects and flower tea with sweet Tiffany. ❤

aliyaYes, this baby is really that cute. She is such a doll!

Have a wonderful week and make memories, readers!

xo sarah

our full life: week 21, 22, & 23

Hi again, friends!

Here is what the past (VERY busy/overwhelming/sad/happy/blessed) three weeks looked like:

monday chores.jpgMonday = chores & 5 loads of laundry day. Little did I know that this one of my last Mondays at home for a while. I was asked to pick up more hours at work and while it keeps me away from what I love doing most (home-making), I am earning a little extra money for the future. 🙂

restraunt dinner at home.jpgThe picture doesn’t really do it justice, but this dinner was, in the words of my husband, “restaurant quality.” White wine braised chicken thighs, savory wild rice, and steamed asparagus with olive oil and garlic.

new starbucks.jpgStarbucks has been tempting me lately.

tues dinner.jpgDinner when Bret is gone: Eggs. Every. Single. Time.

neighborhood.jpgThe neighborhood.

dessert night.jpgI work within two (now three) separate youth ministries. Sometimes the same type of events fall at the same exact times. This time it happened with a Parent Dessert Night that I helped put on. Costco run to the max!

peets deal.jpgPeet’s always gets me with their coupons. Free vanilla macchiato? Don’t mind if I do!

mussels .jpgMussels in the Harbor. It was great to have lunch with our sweet Nannie.

nannie date.jpgChula Vista Harbor boat life.

peony season.jpgPink Peonies, take me away.

kettle date.jpgMy sister in Christ, walking pal, thrifting buddy, and beautiful friend Luanna.

taco tues.jpgTACO TUESDAY!!

granny's view.jpgI will miss this view. Not nearly as much as the people leaving it.

GBD2.jpgBaking Day with The Fields youth girlies! ❤

GBD.jpgThe “fruit” of our labor: chocolate pecan banana bread, chocolate oatmeal cookies, mint fudgey brownies. I just wish we had used more chocolate…

AND WE’RE (I’m) BACK!

xo sarah

this abundant list

TAL 41

  1. This fall dinner is number one for a reason. Definitely happening next week.
  2. How about them breadsticks? They look like a lot of work, but worth the reward.
  3. I want to go to the Hotel San Jose. I haven’t been to Texas yet.
  4. These pushpin pumpkins look so simple and very cute.
  5. This is real: avocado onion rings.
  6. FIFTY craft blogs worth checking out!
  7. Baby girl ideas.
  8. Popcorn + hot cocoa = YUM!
  9. Some real TRUTH about the body image struggle.
  10. This jam is my jam.
  11. Using your gifts and passions to bless others…and an ice cream party? Um, yes.
  12. Hey husband, can we please make this clementine wall happen someday?

Happy Saturday!

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 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

away for a good while

Blogging is fun.
I get so excited to write out pieces of my life and share them with you.

It’s been a while since my last post and I’ve been bummed about that. Then I started to think about why it’s been so long…well, it’s because LIFE is happening!

Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks:

  • I made an heirloom tomato quiche, courtesy of The Forest Feast. I could live on this dish.

  • My husband and I had our youth group over to our apartment for a “Movie & Theology Night.” We made lots of pizza, watched WALL-E, and talked about how the Gospel can be seen in everything; even a Pixar movie!

  • My brother and I have been talking a lot more. He lives out-of-state for work. Some people say we look like twins.

  • I had a wonderful IKEA and El Indio date with the hubs. It’s the simple things.

  • We started P90X. Enough said.
  • We saw Florence & The Machine in concert. She blew my mind. Holy freaking moley, her voice is incredible.

  • Our family celebrated my sister’s and my niece’s birthday. God is so good to me. I admire my sister beyond words…and don’t even get me started on my baby niece. ❤

  • I made Apple Pie for the first time with my sister and my bestie. Apple Brownies were made as well. Thank you for the recipe, Martha.

  • Fall began and the rain came! We also picked out some pumpkins at Bates Nut Farm with our Jr. High students. These kids are gems.

  • I met a few of my girlfriends for lunch in Irvine. CUCINA Enoteca is my new favorite place. Seriously, YUM.

Well…have I proven to you there has been absolutely no time for blogging? Now, I just hope I can start where I left off! Thanks for reading, friends!

xo sarah

simple pleasures

I love the simple pleasures in life. What girl doesn’t love a little treat every now and then, right?! I especially love when those treats help me make my little apartment more of a home; those are some of the best kind!

My husband and I have been married for about a year and a half now and until a couple of months ago I had been doing all my ironing on a towel laid down on the carpet….not the best! But it was pretty comical:

So after multiple subtle hints, my hubby took me to get the perfect ironing board! It is great quality and has a light blue polka-dotted fabric cover. It is made by Real Simple so you know it has to be good! To top it off, he picked me out some pink peonies from Trader Joe’s. Pink peonies are one of my favorite flowers and they always remind me of my wedding bouquet! Yes, these things may seem silly, but I really felt appreciated and spoiled all at the same time.

Another simple pleasure for me is getting creative in the kitchen. Lately, the weather has been boiling, even in Carlsbad! Bret and I like to cool down with a frosty treat. My special Blueberry Green Tea Slushies always do the trick (and they’re so nutritious)! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 ice cube trays
  • 4 cups of your favorite green tea
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1-2 Tbsp Honey

Directions:

1. Brew your tea in boiling water. Cool to room temperature.

2. Place 3-5 blueberries in each slot of your ice cube tray.

3. Pour tea into ice cube trays

4. Freeze over night. Transfer cubes into gallon freezer bag once frozen.

5. Place desired amount of “tea cubes” into blender with a bit of water and the honey. Blend to desired slushie consistency and ENJOY!

What are some of the simple pleasures you have been given or like to indulge in?        I would love to see or hear them!

xo sarah

what do you want to be when you grow up?

We start asking children this question at such a young age and it definitely starts off being such a fun question to answer. Like we really need a reason to talk about ourselves, our dreams, and our hopes, right!? However, as time goes on, this question can either get more exciting or become very confusing. For me, the answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up?” has always changed year by year and season by season. Yet, in the more recent past I (so very wrongly) didn’t like the answer I had to give: Right now, I work part time and I am a wife.

I graduated CSUSM in the Spring of 2010 with a B.A. in Human Development with emphasis in Counseling Services. I had so many expectations of what life would be like after graduation, what job I would have, how much money I would make, what a difference I would make, etc.
Well…I don’t have the job I thought I would, I don’t make the kind of money I thought I would, and I definitely don’t even have the capacity I thought I had. I now realize that a lot of those expectations were, in some ways, sorely misguided and, worse, even sinful. When I think about it now, I’m not even sure how often I incorporated God’s desires for my life into my own expectations – that should have been my first thought! For a while now, I have struggled with believing the lie that I need to do one very specific thing with my college degree and that if I do not do that one very specific thing, I have failed.  What it basically comes down to is this: I keep telling myself that what I am doing with my life at this time is not “good enough.”

But God has taught me, through His perfect Word and the encouragement I’ve received from both my husband and my sisters in Christ, that those thoughts are completely bogus and, in some ways, even more misguided and sinful than the expectations they stem from. When I believe those lies, I am also believing that God is not in control, or (worse) that He is in control but He’s doing it wrong – Wow – how little faith do I have!? Just because I’m not yet using my degree in the way I thought that I would, does not mean that I am a failure. It only means I’m not using my degree in the way that I thought I would – plain and simple. For the time being, I have been blessed with a great job where I succeed and grow. On top of that, I would never want to belittle one of the biggest callings I have been given: being a homemaker and a wife to the kindest man I know, which brings me great joy and excitement.

I don’t know why I thought my dreams and aspirations would stay the same forever and ever. Especially when I look back and remember all the things I thought I would be when I “grew up.”

Here are some things I have aspired to do/be as a child & adolescent:

dolphin trainer

artist/oil painter

interior designer

writer

editor

book critic

Here are some things I have aspired to do/be during college:

masters student

marriage and family counselor

social worker

SD County adoption worker

wife

Here are some things I aspire to do/be in the future:

wife

mother

masters student

counselor

teacher

own a french cafe

Pretty all over the place, huh!?

Well, here’s the good news: If I do reach some of these dreams, or if I reach none, I am still a child of God, covered by the blood of Jesus and redeemed for His glory. I can never forget my true identity is secure in Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross.

I also need to remember that God’s will for my life is GOOD and that He doesn’t waste a single thing. Everything I learned in college and all the experiences I grew in throughout the past couple of years can be used by Him and for His glory! It just might look different than I thought it would. Maybe my Human Development degree was meant to help me in my own marriage, or in counseling my friends in their marriages, or in teaching my children someday. Or maybe none of those things. Maybe cooking meals for my husband will help me grow culinarily and I will open that Cafe someday. Who knows?! Ultimately, my hope lies in the God who saved me. That’s more than enough.

So, here is a picture of me in 7th grade (yes…I looked that good! j/k!). I have obviously grown and changed a lot since then! It was really refreshing to look at this picture and see the answers I wrote down. It reminded me once again that, even now, I will continue to grow and change for the rest of my life and that’s okay because the God who loves us is in complete control.

What did/do you want to be when you grow up? I’d love to hear it!

xo sarah

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…I’m here to share
this abundant life with you!

xo sarah