Smoothie Bowls

Summer is officially upon us (!!!), which means I pretty much crave smoothie bowls nonstop. Instead of spending a fortune on tiny acai bowls at coffee shops, I love making them myself at home and then adding whatever toppings I have on hand. Here is the basic “recipe” I use:

-1 cup(ish) frozen fruit
-1 frozen banana
-frozen spinach (maybe 1/2 cup?)
-protein powder if you have it (keeps me fuller longer + adds flavor)
-cinnamon (duh)
-enough milk to mostly cover all the ingredients in the blender

Blend, pour into a bowl, add toppings and enjoy! Easy peasy. 🙂

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Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Josh and I are headed to a friend’s wedding up in New York and are super excited to celebrate with them!

Perfect Love

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” -1 John 4:18

I have to confess: I forget this truth so often. I can spend hours and even days wallowing in fear- fear of the future and the unknown, fear of failure, fear of the opinions of others- without ever stopping to remember the solution. The solution to my fear isn’t knowing how my future will turn out or having all the answers, but instead resting in Christ’s perfect love.

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[Photo Credit]
Thinking on the above verse always leads me to Romans 8…

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ “ -Romans 8:15

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39

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[Photo Credit]
These beautiful truths resonate with my spirit every time I read them, but it doesn’t mean I always fully believe them. When anxiety wells up in me and my mind seems to override what I know in my heart to be true, I want to pray these Scriptures back to God. Do I trust His word, or do I not? Do I trust that nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ, or do I not? In those moments of fear that can come so unexpectedly, I want to practice remembering my identity and what it means:

I do not have the spirit of slavery, but the Spirit of adoption as God’s child.

Nothing in all creation can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

There is no fear in His perfect love.

Shepherd Youth Ranch

I grew up riding horses and have been missing it so much lately! On Saturday I went to a volunteer orientation at this place called Shepherd Youth Ranch in Creedmoor, NC (just outside of Raleigh). They basically use horses as “therapists” of sorts in order to help a variety of kids- those who have been abused and are recovering from trauma, and also those with autism.

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I am so into their mission statement:

“Our mission is to provide restoration and hope to those in need, through the unconditional love of Christ and a unique relationship with horses.” 

It seems like an amazing organization that genuinely seeks to love and serve others, not to mention it would be a great way to get my horse fix. 😉 Hoping to get involved there soon!

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“all true delights”

“Christ is the very essence of all delights and pleasures, the very soul and substance of them. As all the rivers are gathered into the ocean, which is the meeting-place of all the waters in the world, so Christ is that ocean in which all true delights and pleasures meet.” -John Flavel

I heard this quote in church last week and just had to share. So beautiful!

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Bouquets at the Raleigh farmers market 🙂

Celebrating Smallness

I love any book that reminds me to slow down and take notice of the beauty in small, everyday moments, and Simply Tuesday does exactly that. Highly recommend!

“Noticing, celebrating, and embracing our Tuesdays is an outward expression of an inward posture. Maybe if I practice noticing the small in my daily life I will come to identify with the small in my soul. Maybe small won’t be something I fear or shrink from, but will be something I learn to embrace- slowly, quietly, with practice and intention.”

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As I begin to slow, I see smallness is not a punishment but a gift. Rather than something to fear or run from, my smallness can be a celebration, an invitation for me to lie back on the wide, green earth and let the world spin the sun right up above me. I can breathe a sigh of sweet relief as I realize I had nothing to do with it.”

Chapel Hill Evening

It’s no secret that I love Chapel Hill. This past Saturday we met up with Josh’s parents (and their cute new dog, Bo!) to eat at our favorite restaurant there, Med Deli.

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“This is what dreeeeams are made of…”Hilary Duff

Afterwards, Josh and I walked past the place where we got engaged (pictured below!) and listened to a jazz band playing outside on the patio. We also meandered down to Weaver Street Market and got a few “delicacies” (Josh’s term for random treats that we don’t need but buy anyway).

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So thankful for slow, relaxed summer evenings!

Childlike Faith

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is what it would look like to become like a child the way that Jesus asks us to. To be honest, that has always confounded me. I think kids are adorable, but they aren’t necessarily known for their wisdom or sophistication. And maybe that’s the point. Maybe Jesus is telling us to stop assuming our adult selves are so wise and important and live with a little more trust and abandon.

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“He [Jesus] called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And He said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'” -Matthew 18:2-4

Recently I was sifting through old photos with this verse in mind and was struck by the carefree spirit that came through in photos of me as a child. I wasn’t yet weighed down by expectations placed on me by society or myself or even the church. I know many people look back on troubled childhoods in which they were forced to bear burdens meant for adults, and that saddens me. However, I am grateful that when I look back on my own life as child, I see someone who lived freely in each moment and trusted her parents for the rest. Isn’t that what God wants of us, too, as His beloved children?

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” -1 John 3:1

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Who’s ready to rock an orange one-piece this summer?!

One thing my counselor told me is that Jesus never told children to become like adults, but He did tell adults to become like children. That has stuck with me, and it is something worth pondering. I often read Jesus’ command to become like a little child and brush it off, pointing to other verses in Scripture that esteem planning and responsibility. It’s true that Jesus calls us to a higher standard of living, one characterized by wisdom and discernment. The more I think about it, though, I think that childlike faith actually goes hand in hand with those virtues. It isn’t an uninformed faith, but rather one that is simple and uncomplicated. It isn’t clouded by constant doubt or worry. It is one that loves God, loves others, and lives in joy and hope without being anxious for tomorrow, because “each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).

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That poor dog, though- not so carefree 😉

I once heard a story of this concept being illustrated by a pastor during children’s church, when the kids came down to sit at the front and hear a mini lesson. According to the story, the pastor took a $20 bill out of his wallet and held it out to the adult members of the congregation, asking if anyone would like to take it as a free gift. Of course, everyone was skeptical. Why is he doing this? They probably wondered. What are his ulterior motives? There may have even been several people who needed that money, but pride prevented them from publicly accepting it. Having no adult takers, the pastor then turned to the group of children gathered at the front and asked if any of them would like the $20. The kids went wild, waving their arms and jostling around excitedly in hopes that he would pick them to receive the gift. I think this is how Jesus wants us to receive the Kingdom of God- excited, expectant, and trusting that there is only good coming from His hands.

Give us childlike faith, Father.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loving Lately [#10]

It feels like SUMMER here in Raleigh! Bring on all the iced coffee, books, and anti-frizz products for my hair. 😉 Below are some recent favorites that are making these long, warm days even sweeter:

1. The Dear Daughters podcast. These feel like a therapy session. I always look forward to listening on my way to work in the morning!

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2. Alter Eco dark salted brown butter chocolate. The name says it all. Found this bad boy on sale at Weaver Street Market and couldn’t pass it up.

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3. Wonder by RJ Palacio. This book was so beautiful and endearing! It’s about a boy born with a craniofacial anomaly who goes to public school for the first time. Prepare to cry many sad + happy tears.

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4. Sola Coffee Cafe. Love finding new (to me) Raleigh gems! I met a friend here one evening and we sat outside and chatted and it was so lovely. I also went back to try some of their coffee, which of course was fab.

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5. The Songs of Jesus. Josh gave me this devotional as a gift awhile ago, and I have just recently started going through it more regularly. Each day includes a few Bible verses, a short commentary, and a prayer. Reading through the Psalms is just plain good for my soul, and Tim Keller offers some great insight into them.

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Hope you all are reading/eating/listening to something wonderful right now!

Lake Day + Winston Salem

I love taking little weekend trips! This weekend, Josh and I went to Lake Norman to celebrate my dad’s girlfriend’s retirement, then on our way home we stopped in Winston Salem to visit Josh’s brother and check out his church.

On Saturday we spent most of the afternoon out on the boat and briefly went swimming in the (cold!) water. When we got back, we ate some delicious seafood chowder + garlic bread that my dad had made!

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The whole day felt so summery and fun. 🙂

On Sunday, my dad made us brunch (he is becoming quite the chef!) and then we hit the road for Winston. Winston is such a cute little place and Josh and I walked around pretending we were house hunting.

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We were strolling around downtown and saw a place called Burger Batch that had an amazing menu, so we stopped in for lunch/dinner/whatever it was!

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The above deliciousness is nothing less than a sweet potato waffle topped with bacon, fried chicken, maple syrup, chopped pecans, and some unidentified yet amazing cream sauce. I KNOW.

After eating we went to an evening service at Two Cities, which is actually a church plant of Summit, our church in Raleigh! Everyone there was so friendly and welcoming and we basically loved everything about the worship service. Kind of makes me wish we went to a smaller church! Maybe one day. 🙂

Now we are back in Raleigh and Josh is starting his LAST clinical placement of grad school! Woohoooo!

Capital Area Greenway System

Although Josh and I have lived in Raleigh for almost 8 months now, it still feels kind of new to me. For example, when well-meaning people give me verbal directions involving a variety of Raleigh roads and landmarks, I just have to smile/nod and then jump into my car and immediately whip out Google Maps.

…I’m working on it.

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As a way to get to know Raleigh a bit better and also to get ourselves out into nature more often, Josh and I are exploring the greenway system! So far we have done: Lake Lynn, Shelley Lake, and Mine Creek Trail. I’ve enjoyed all of them but my favorite was probably Mine Creek, because it takes you along an actual creek (go figure) and you have to climb over some rocks so it made me feel outdoorsy. 🙂

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Looking forward to slowly but surely exploring the rest of the Raleigh greenway trails!