A Day for Celebrating.

Today is a very special day in our household! 


Today is this guy's birthday!!

AC, my goodness am I so grateful to Jesus for making you. I admire you so much and learn from you every day. It is such a gift to be loved, provided for, and protected by you. Thank you for living daily with conviction and making me laugh every time I am around you.


















Life with you is such a sweet and exciting adventure.
 Life with you is truly my greatest joy!

"For I long to be with you..that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine." Romans 1:12

Time to celebrate!
Lizanne

Summer Memories {Volume Two}.

{Join up with our Summer 2014 Bucket List here!}

















9. Peaceful quiet times 10. Glorious sunshine   
12. Supper clubbing  13. Puppy snuggling

I hope y'all are soaking up these sweet summer moments. 

Love ya, mean it
L

Life in Community.



This past Sunday at church, during our study of Ephesians, our pastor spoke on the importance of community. I feel like this sermon touched on something that has been stirring in me for awhile, so well, it's time to talk about our small group. And to post two blurry pictures that describe them. :)

The past few years have been a crazy, winding road of unknowns. Yet, they have also been the most fulfilling and joyful days of my life. I am confident that those that God has placed on my path have been major players in this.

I remember being newly married and SO insanely happy to be Andrew's wife. A few weeks had passed of us living together, and over dinner I asked A what he seemed to be thinking about so deeply. He sweetly replied, "honestly, I am just a little lonely." While this may have caused a little bit of a stir to his new wife ("Do I, with my homemade dinners and tidy home and unending affection for you, not fill you up?!" laugh ;)) I completely agreed with him and quickly admitted, "me too."

You see, during our dating days, and way before that even, we fortunately had a group of amazing friends from home and college that were always there for us- in both a physical and spiritual sense. Both Andrew and I tend to be private on the front (can you believe that about me? here blogging? ha!), so when we find those "good" relationships, we tend to hold on to them and cherish them...and admittedly, take them for granted. And then, after the whirlwind of wedding and moving and floating in marital bliss, we both realized, over our plates of chicken tacos, that all of our people were all at least eight hours away and well, we were lonely. 

Don't get me wrong, though. Despite missing my friends, I think moving away after getting married (or any time, really) does so much good for you as a person. It's so freeing to explore a new place and all it has to offer. A move is also good for your marriage, as you learn to truly rely on each other and be each other's companion through transition. And, in my experience, a move is also oh-so good for growing your trust in Jesus because it's made clear that he has been, and is continuing to be, the provider of your every need. Breaking away from the comforts of the secure and well-known is a great catalyst for personal growth. 

And also don't get me wrong on the thinking Andrew isn't enough. He is more than enough when it comes to being a husband, I mean my goodness, I could go on and ON! Yet, Andrew wasn't made to be my everything, nor was I made to be his. Those are just roles too big for any one person to fill. I think that doing life with my best friend is one of the happiest places in my heart, and I know that he feels the same about me...but we were made for community. We all need that group of people around us, besides our spouses, that provide happiness in the other spaces that need filling.

I also believe that there is a difference between a group of friends with common interests and hobbies, and real community where real conversations happen about real life and all that comes with it: the good, the great, the not-so-great...and the oh myyyy. ;) I think it's easy to find that first group of right-away friends, that are great for grabbing a game or some beer, but the deep community, like any good thing, takes awhile to cultivate. Sure, it can start over dinner or a football game, but it grows in to late nights talking about a hard situation, or working together towards something you both believe in, or just sharing something that you might not with another group...and that's where our small group steps in and saves the day.

We meet on Sunday nights at someone's home and share a meal around the table together. Hellooooo, Bread & Wine to my soul! ;) We talk about work, life, what book or tv show we are currently obsessing over, our fun weekend plans, our families, and friends far away. After dinner, we "retire" to the comfy couches and chairs,and discuss our current study, Fresh Air. Over time, those couches and those people have become such a safe place- a place to share the good and the bad and even yes, the oh my. I learn so much about Jesus through them and I just love being around them. I try not to think about how our group is constantly in rotation, as we just said farewell to an awesome couple (thank ya, air force ;))- but I know that these friendships have already made their mark on me and the goodbyes are really more of a "see ya later".


God heard our prayers and has used our small group to give us much-needed community. My small group loves me and grows me. I am so grateful for them, and I'd love to encourage y'all to find a small group to be in...like now. ;) Ha. Of course, it can be awkward for anyone at first, but once you get past the small talk, you find a group that doesn't just get together for an hour a week, and you get in to a good and sweet spot that helps you find rest and encouragement for the days ahead. Ah, life in community!

Friday Favorites!

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

Here are some things making me happy this morning:

"A cheerful heart fills the day with song." Proverbs 15:15

My patriotic puppy last weekend in her flag bandana. I never knew rescuing a little stray dog would be such a gift! Sure, she sheds terribly and likes to wake me up way earlier than needed, but she is our loyal walking buddy, the sweetest snuggler, and our friendly welcome wagon combined with a fierce little guardian. Thinking of adopting a dog? DO IIIIIIT.

Sounds of Summer at the Riverwalk. We walked to the second concert of the series last night to enjoy some good music in the great outdoors. We love downtown living!


This shampoo. On sale at Target and just smells like the beach and happy summertime. 
I don't know if it has any hair benefits, but I feel like I'm on vacation and tan when I use it so that's good enough for me.

My Erin Condren planner- the best planner ever! Lays flat, has plenty of space for lists, is personalized, comes with cute stickers for different events, and keeps all your life happening organized. Bonus: it's adorable! I bought this when it was on sale, but will gladly buy the full-price version here soon, and I would recommend the investment to any other planners out there! The new line is already out on her website.

This book. L-O-Ving it so far! Here is a description from the site:
Jesus is greatly revered, harshly criticized, and sorely misunderstood. Judah breaks down who Jesus is and explains to readers how understanding Jesus more fully will not only enrich their lives, but also give them meaning, as well as save them. 

My new Chacos! I tried some on at the store ($115) then bought them at Sierra Trading Post with a promo code for $60. I used to hate the idea of chacos because I thought in order to wear them you had to give up things like washing your hair (with summery shampoo, nonetheless) and pedicures (which I so desperately need, see above). However, the granola gal in me caved and I am so glad! These are perfect for our many summer strolls and trips to the lake. They are super comfy and I know they won't fall off my feet while wading in the water or climbing hills. And yes, I still wash my hair and am getting my nails done this afternoon..laugh.

Pioneer Woman Salsa. I am never buying the jarred stuff again! This is so easy to whip up, and makes a LOT for the same price. It is so fresh and everyone that's tried it has loved it. You can make it (recipe here), too!

Sunday Night Summer Movie. I went to see "The Fault in our Stars" with a girlfriend from church last Sunday. As well all know, it was very sad, but it was so incredibly sweet and touching! I would highly recommend it. Plus, this little song from it, is a great addition to the workout playlist.

What are the things making you happy this week? Please share!

Much love,
Lizanne

{Trader Joe's Link Party} Greek Grilled Chicken Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.


Welcome to week two of the Trader Joe's LinkUp!

This week we are featuring salads and I made the following:

Greek Grilled Chicken Salad with Homemade Lemon Vinaigrette.


Instructions:

Grilled Chicken
One pound of chicken breasts
1 cup TJ's plain yogurt
2 Tsbp TJ's Olive Oil
Dash of dried oregano
Dash of dried parsley
Zest and juice from one lemon
Dash of fresh cracked pepper and salt

Place chicken in ziploc bag or glass baking dish
Mix the rest of ingredients, pour over chicken, and let marinate for at least 3 hours
Grill chicken (or bake at 350 for 30 minutes) until the juices run clear

Salad mix
TJ's brussel sprouts or leaf lettuce of choice (I have been on fresh brussel kick lately! yumm!)
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 large fresh tomato, chopped
1 small red onion, diced
1 bunch of fresh basil, diced

Homemade Lemon Vinaigrette
1/2 cup TJ's olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
Dash of salt and pepper
Place all into mason jar and shake until combined!

*This recipe is completely paleo, however, it would be wonderful with a generous helping of feta cheese and some olives, too, if that's your thing ;)


Place salad ingredients in a bowl, chop the cooked chicken and place on top, then drizzle with lemon vinaigrette. Oh-so summery and delicious!



Go ahead and linkup your salad ideas, too!


summer with trader joe's


The link up will take place on each Tuesday, beginning Tuesday, July 1st. Our team of bloggers will post a recipe each week that uses at least two ingredients or items from Trader Joe's from the following categories:
Week #1 Sandwich
Week #2 Salad
Week #3 Cocktail
Week #4 Mexican
Week #5 Indian
Week #6 Best Party Snacks
Then, you can link up your recipe (using at least 2 TJs ingredients or items), too, and it will appear on all 5 of our blogs. The following week we’ll feature the recipe that got the most views.
Here are the rules:

1. Your recipe must use at least 2 Trader Joe’s ingredients or items.
2. Your recipe must fit with the featured category of the week.
3. Please comment on at least 2 other recipes. That’s what a Link Up is for!
4. If you link up a photo (and we hope you will), we have the right to use it if it’s the following week’s featured recipe.
5. Please use the link-up button at the bottom of this post in your submission.


With Passion and Mercy.



Here is a Monday treat for y'all!

"God you pursue me
you're unrelenting
with passion and mercy
unstoppable love that never ends!"

{Trader Joe's Link Party} Sandwich Round Up.

summer with trader joe's


Hi, friends! I've been able to join in a blog linkup party with some amazing lady bloggers! Each week we will be providing fun recipe ideas from ingredients found at Trader Joe's. 

But, wait, our closest TJ's is two states away?! That's ok, Amazon Trader Joe's shop to the rescue! ;)

Last week, I was having some blogger issues (hence the new layout though, so yay for that!) so I was unable to blog during week #1.  However, the other ladies made some amazing looking sandwiches that I wanted to feature here.

Here you go. Enjoy, guys!








I hope this gives y'all some summer, "no cook" inspiration!
You TOO can link up with the above icon. Happy eating!
Lizanne

The link up will take place on each Tuesday, beginning Tuesday, July 1st. Our team of bloggers will post a recipe each week that uses at least two ingredients or items from Trader Joe's from the following categories:
Week #1 Sandwich
Week #2 Salad
Week #3 Cocktail
Week #4 Mexican
Week #5 Indian
Week #6 Best Party Snacks
Then, you can link up your recipe (using at least 2 TJs ingredients or items), too, and it will appear on all 5 of our blogs. The following week we’ll feature the recipe that got the most views.
Here are the rules:

1. Your recipe must use at least 2 Trader Joe’s ingredients or items.
2. Your recipe must fit with the featured category of the week.
3. Please comment on at least 2 other recipes. That’s what a Link Up is for!
4. If you link up a photo (and we hope you will), we have the right to use it if it’s the following week’s featured recipe.
5. Please use the link-up button at the bottom of this post in your submission.