Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  Only two more days to go until a nice, long weekend!  Today, I'm loving...

... Starbucks Ice Vanilla Soy Lattes.  I am not a coffee lover-- I usually get tea when I go to Starbucks.  But last Friday morning, I desperately needed some caffeine at 5:30am, so I stopped to get something that I hoped wouldn't taste too yucky.  And it turns out that these are delicious!  So of course I've gotten one every day this week.  Oops...

... Suki skincare.  My face has been breaking out like crazy recently, so I've started doing a couple things to try to stop it. First, cutting out soda, dairy (hence the soy latte above...), and most sweets.  Second, I switched my skincare to this brand, which is 100% natural and vegan.  So many chemicals in skincare products actually cause inflammation and irritation.  I don't know if anything I was using was irritating my face, but I decided to give it a shot (even though I have not eliminated chemicals in my makeup, so I'm obviously not all that consistent with it).  I bought the trial kit for clarity, which is a 60-day supply of six products in mini sizes designed to help clear up irritation/redness/inflammation.  I've only been using it since Saturday, and already I'm really loving some of the products-- the cleansers and toners are fantastic.  Jury is still out on the masque and moisturizers.  I'll definitely be posting more about it after I've given it some time.

... our pool opens this weekend!  Oh gosh, my favorite thing in the world last year was Saturday mornings at the pool.  It's been so hot the last two weeks that I've been dying to float around in that pretty blue water with my book.   I can't even tell you how excited I am that it's almost here!

... my husband.  I know I've talked recently about my love for my family, my friends, and my paralegal.  But there's no one I'm more thankful for than Donny.  Every day, he makes me smile and laugh.  My days are so much better because he's there to share them with me.  He encourages me to be more like Jesus through his words and his example.  He loves me, his family, and even people that he doesn't know.  He's always willing to lend a hand to someone and tries to meet others' needs.  I couldn't be prouder to be his wife.

What are you loving today?  Link up with Jodi and Rachel!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

DIY Essential Oil Bath Salts.


I love essential oils.  And I love bath stuff from Lush.  My friend Katie does too.  We often buy each other bath bombs and other goodies from Lush.  But for her birthday this year, I decided to try to do my own with my doTERRA oils (click here or contact me if you want to try some)!  Of course, I turned to pinterest for inspiration, and I found lots of tutorials.  But I ended up blending a few of them together to get what I really wanted. 

I decided to make three different "flavors" of salts.  Lavender for relaxation, Balance for calming and de-stressing, and the Citrus Bliss just because I know it's her favorite scent.  Citrus Bliss is invigorating and uplifting, and it smells heavenly!

INGREDIENTS:

3 parts epsom salts
2 parts baking soda
1 part citric acid
Food color to your preference (optional)
Essential oils of your choice

DIRECTIONS:

In a large (completely dry) glass bowl, mix the salts, essential oils, and food coloring with a whisk until combined. You'll likely have to stir for a while to break up the clumps of food coloring, but they'll eventually mix in well.  

A few tips that I learned:  1) Make sure you use enough food coloring at this stage where your salts are pretty saturated with color.  You still have white ingredients to add to this that will make the mixture a lot lighter.  And 2) a little essential oil goes a long way.  I used 1c. salts, 2/3c. baking soda, and 1/3c. citric acid, and five or six drops of oil was plenty.

Add in baking soda and whisk again to combine well.  Then whisk in the citric acid last until it's all blended and clump-free.

Store in airtight, glass containers (essential oils and plastic do not go well together).

And enjoy!  You can use just a few tablespoons for a fun, fizzy bath.  Or if you want more of a detox bath, use about a cup of the salts.  

Let me know if you try it and what you think!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend Update.

Friday, I spent the day volunteering for the National High School Mock Trial Competition.  I was really excited to do it before I realized it required me to be somewhere two hours from home by 7:30am...  Which meant that I was up on Friday at 3:40am.  Yikes.  I got halfway to Raleigh before I passed a Starbucks that was open!  But every now and then, I do enjoy watching the sun come up, and it was a once-a-year event, so I wasn't complaining too much.  
I love driving into downtown Raleigh-- so pretty!
And, of course, I can't possibly go to the Triangle without driving through my favorite place-- Chapel Hill!  Gosh, I love this place.
I had a blast at the tournament and saw some really fantastic high schoolers present their cases. Every time I go to one of these things, I really want to coach a team! And then I realize the time commitment that that requires... I don't know if I can teach a community college course, be in a weekly Bible study, play tennis, volunteer at a halfway house, AND help coach a mock trial team this fall. Wow, my head hurts already from just thinking about it. I'll just have to pray and seek God about what he wants me to do and what he wants me to say no to. 

Saturday, I managed to recover some sleep from the day before and actually read some in a book.  I actually read more than 200 pages this weekend!  I'm so glad that I got to spend time in a book-- I've missed it.  I started Jeffrey Archer's Only Time Will Tell, and it's really interesting.  It moves very fast, and sometimes I think it might be too fast.  But the story is fascinating, so I'll reserve judgment until I'm done.

Sunday, we had a wonderful day at church.  The message and Bible Fellowship lesson were about the Bible.  I mean, duh, of course it was about the Bible.  But more specifically about how God's word is true.  God's word is reliable.  God's word is our source.  And God's word is the standard that everything must line up with.  

And so of course, this morning, I was immediately challenged to put this into practice.  I had some difficult court cases and dealt with some difficult and unreasonable people first thing that made me want to be mean and nasty right back to them.  But I'm trying to live my life more intentionally and  Spirit-led by acknowledging that my reactions are my choices.  My feelings may not be, but how I act and respond and the thoughts I dwell on most certainly are.  Fortunately, I have this graphic as my phone background as a reminder to me that through the power of the Holy Spirit, the mean and negative thoughts I think do not have have to rule me!  I can capture them and bring them under the power of Christ and make them obedient to how He tells me to live-- to love and value people and not automatically think everyone who disagrees with me is an idiot.  It is NOT easy, and in my own power would be impossible.  But then again, no one ever said that following Jesus and trying to be more like Him would be effortless.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday.

Happy Wednesday!  I'm linking up today with Rachel and Jodi for What I'm Loving Wednesday.  There are so many wonderful blessings in my life right now, so here are some that I'm loving today!

- Several weeks ago, I took the Jeopardy online test.  I honestly didn't think anything would come of it, and I wasn't sure how I did on the test.  But I got an email yesterday asking me to come to audition in Atlanta next month!!  I'm nervous beyond belief but super excited!

- I'm loving my Bible study girls!  After my previous small group dissolved, I was so sad because I really felt like I had lost all my friends.  But praise God, He has filled my life with new and wonderful friends, restoring what I had lost and even more.  I love these women so much-- they laugh with me, cry with me, lift me up, and encourage me to be closer to God than ever before.  

- These LePens are the best pens ever.  I remember them from my middle school years, but I bought some recently because I wanted some bright colors.  And they make my handwriting look so pretty!  Plus, look at all those colors!!

- A Different World is on Netflix!!  I used to watch this show when I was young, and it's so good!  Dwayne Wayne with his flip-up glasses and Whitley Gilbert are two of the best tv characters ever.  

- Last week, I met with the director of the paralegal studies at our local community college, and I'm going to be teaching an evening course next fall!  I've never taught like this, so it's definitely going to be a challenge for me.

What are you loving this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tuesday Tunes.

I've been listening to a lot of praise and worship music recently.  There's no better way to start my day, and there's no better way to get me out of a funk when I'm upset.  One of my favorite bloggers (To Overflowing by Lara Williams) posted about freedom when your soul feels like it's suffocating.  How do we get out of this cycle of worry and stress and fear?  WORSHIP!  when I feel overwhelmed, what do I need?  To WORSHIP the One who holds me in his care.  I run to Him, and my fears are alleviated, and I have peace.

These are just a few of my favorite worship songs of the moment:

There's nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You're our living hope
Your presence, Lord
I've tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness


The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Savior of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon him

One final breath He gave
As Heaven looked away
The Son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken...

He is alive
He is alive
Forever, forever


Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing… remains

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me

On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
This one thing remains

In death, in life, I’m confident and
covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid, there’s nothing that can
separate my heart from Your great love...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Month Later.

Wow-- over a month without blogging.  How did that happen??  I really have no idea.  It's not as if nothing has been happening and I've had nothing to write about.  In fact, it's been quite the opposite.  There's been so much going on that I haven't felt like I had time to write it all down.  Several times, I've opened blogger with so many words to type that I haven't been able to get them out in a linear fashion.  So I just gave up.

But I've missed blogging so much!  So here I am again-- hopefully back for good.  Although I guess that remains to be seen.

So what's been going on with us?  Well, we've had some great nights with some great friends.  Our Bible Fellowship class at church has been such a blessing to us, and these people have become such dear, dear friends.
I became a doTERRA consultant, and we quickly made great use of our Family Physician Kit when we both got very bad colds.
Baseball season started!  The Yankees got off to a rough start, but they've been doing great the last few weeks.  Donny thinks I'm nuts, but I go into every season believing that my team can win 100 games.  I've got to have faith in my team!

I mourned the loss of Justified-- one of the smartest shows on tv with two of my all-time favorite television characters.  The ending was so perfect, and I bawled like a baby.
I took the online Jeopardy! test!  I think I did okay, not amazing.  But they can contact me anytime in the next year if I passed and get an audition.
Tennis season began again, and I signed up for the first time in over a year!  Boy was I rusty to begin with, but I'm getting back into the swing of things now.  It's SO fun!

Our firm's receptionist became my third paralegal since September.  I think she might actually stick around though.  So far, she's doing fantastic, and I'm glad I finally found a winner!

I roasted my first turkey!  It was a baby turkey (literally a "Lil' Butterball"), but I did it myself.  So gross to prepare, but it turned out delicious.  And I felt so accomplished!
I haven't been reading as much.  I only read six books in March and four books in April.  I know it might sound like a lot to some, but it's far less than my previous pace.  Even though I haven't been reading a ton, I have read some great books.  It's just a matter of making time to sit down and read that's been the problem.

My brother and his wife came back to NC for a visit, so we got to hang out with them for the first time in many months.  And now I'm anxious for us to visit Los Angeles to see them!
And lastly, but definitely not least, the last month to six weeks have been one of the best times in my personal spiritual life.  David Platt came to our church in March, and he was amazing and challenging, really touching my heart.  My Bible study group finished up Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself study, and it was so great.  We then started Lysa TerKeurst's What Happens When Women Walk in Faith.  And it too is just incredible.  What I've really been learning more than anything is that God is active-- constantly moving and working and leading.  So often I've been guilty of not paying attention and going about my day without thinking about God or spending much time with him.  But thanks to these Bible studies, an encouraging husband and family, wonderful friends, our Bible fellowship class at church, and so many other ways God has revealed Himself to me, I have grown so much closer to God.  I look for Him every day, so I see how he's moving.  Every day, I'm blessed by someone or something, and I'm loving it so much right now.  Of course, I have so much more room to grow and so much to learn.  I certainly don't have all the answers or live like I should every moment of the day.  But I want to.  And that's more than I've been able to say before.  Thank God for his ever present grace and love to meet me in my weakest times and to carry me to places I've never been before.

I wish I had time to read all of your blogs and catch up on what I've missed, but alas, my reader is at way over 1000 posts...  So tell me, what's been going on while I've been away?? 
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