A Month of Thanksgiving: gifts here, there, & everywhere

Since I am just a few many days behind in my month of Thanksgiving challenge (prompts can be found here), I decided to post one gift from November 7 to November 14.

November 7, a gift from my window

My African Violet just started blooming last week.  I have had this beauty for over a year and I just couldn’t get it to bloom.  What a joyful surprise when I looked up from the bubbles in my sink, to see little buds start to take life.

November 8, a gift sweet, salty, and sipped

Umm, can you say pumpkin spiced latte or salted caramel latte?

November 9, a gift of harvest

The love my brother has for farming and working with his hands.  He is one of the hardest working men I know.  I’m thankful for the work he puts in for a good harvest.

November 10, a gift found in Bible reading 

I love it when God has pointed me to a verse or passage that I’ve read before, but the Holy Spirit brings forth new insights or new application into my life.

November 11, a gift of remembrance 

I’m so thankful for the beautiful stone that was put in place in memory of my mother-in-law early last month.  So many of her close friends gathered around sharing their favorite memories of Jo.  I am so thankful for their stories and how their lives have been touch by one very inspirational lady.

November 12, a gift at noon

Having a dark Dove chocolate treat after lunch.

November 13, a gift behind a door

Opening the mailbox to find birthday cards!

November 14, a silent gift

White snow falling late at night.

 

 

A Month of Thanksgiving: 3 gifts of government

Today’s gifts of thanksgiving weren’t necessarily difficult to list, but made me stop, and think to be truly thankful.  For anyone who knows me, you probably know I don’t usually get into government or political conversations.  I am fascinated by the people who are interested, who are knowledgable, and who work to keep our government at the local, state, and federal levels running.

After much thought, here are my three gifts of government –

1. God’s Ultimate Authority 

“For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

Romans 13:1

God has appointed our leaders.  He is in control.

2. Our Founding Fathers and the Celebration of Our Freedom

I can’t but be thankful for their vision and earnest devotion in writing our constitution and laying the foundation of our country.  These men were great leaders, and I am thankful for the legacy they left behind for our country and government.  Every 4th of July, in the midst of parades and fireworks, we remember the foundation of our government – freedom.

3. Voting

How many countries have the right to vote?  I am thankful for the opportunity to vote, for those who have exercised this right.  And I am thankful for the godly men and women who were voted into positions of influence and leadership for our country.

November Goals

Before diving into November Goals, let’s do a quick recap of my October Goals (you can read them in more detail here)

1. Take more pictures.  This is going to be a challenge for me – carrying this goal over to November!

2. Find a creative outlet.  I tried watercoloring at a free workshop given by the public library.  I learned a lot of techniques, bought my own paint set, and now to continue practicing…

3. Blog more.  Well the first few days, I met my goals…and then in was November.

4. “Have coffee” with a new friend.  Well, I didn’t have coffee, but I am figuring out new ways to hangout with people and get to know them better.  I invited a friend to a Zumba Class at the Wellness Center.  Later this month, I am hosting a Harry Potter Movie Night.

5. Organize my closet.  A work in progress.  I did go through my closet and got ride of a few bags of clothes.  Now its figuring out what my style is and what items my capsule wardrobe need to be complete.  Shopping trip coming up!

November Goals

1.Take more pictures.  With all the fun, exciting and highly anticipated month ahead (birthday, trip to North Dakota, Thanksgiving, and more) capturing the moments is a MUST!

2. Blog more + a Month of thanksgiving.  My talented and beautiful friend, Lindsay at Martin Marriage Chronicles, has challenged me to use November as a time to be reflective and thankful.  Multiple times throughout the weeks in November we will both be posting things we are thankful for.  We invite you to do the same!  Link your blog to ours OR comment what you are thankful for this month.  I will also be using Ann Voskamp’s (author of 1000 Gifts) daily prompt found here.

3. Get a jump start on Christmas shopping.  Should I be saying Christmas shopping this early in November!?  I always wait last minute and end up scrambling to get what I really intended to gift.  Plus, all the creative gift wrapping seen on Pinterest has made me want to give more thought into the presentation of the gift.

4. Recipe Organization.  My meal planning has come directly from Pinterest and Budget Bytes.  This has made me rely heavily on internet access, remembering where I found recipes, and a very food splattered Mac.    I want to find some simple, yet unique recipe cards to write down my favorite go to recipes.  I always loved having handwritten recipes from my mom and grandma–handwriting is an art I don’t want to lose with all the conveniences of technology.

What are you November Goals?

October Goals

My housemate, turned roommate, turned friend (a story for another post) + blogging pal Lindsay at Martin Marriage Chronicles introduce me to many blogs that I make sure I visit as I eat my scrambled eggs and coffee before work.  One of them being Oak&Oats.  After faithfully reading this blog for a month, I was encouraged by her monthly goal setting + overview of her month.  I decided to follow suit – making a list of my own monthly goals.

Too often I have these rambling thoughts of things I want to try or projects that need to get done, but they never go beyond the ramblings or daydreams.  Largely due to the fact that I never write them down, thus have no accountability.

So here it goes to making my month a little more memorable, purposeful, and practical.

OCTOBER GOALS

1. Take more pictures.  I am so bad at taking pictures to capture special moments.  Or pictures that offer a snap shot into everyday life.  You would think it would be easy since my camera is on my smartphone.  Not. The. Case.  I want to document as least one picture a week for the month of October.  My real goal is to be really, really good at taking picture to start LifeProject.

2. Find a creative outlet. I am aching for a creative outlet of some sort.  Scrolling through Pinterest only makes the desire burn brighter.  Any ideas of what I could try?  I’m needing something that is easy on a budget.  Maybe watercoloring, calligraphy, knitting, etc.

3. Blog more.  I haven’t figured out what is realistic goal for blogging.  I either set the expectation to blog more too high or I quickly start second guessing myself on my post topics.  I have yet to finish my 30 Days of Gratitude, maybe I’ll start there..

4. “Have coffee” with a new friend.  My biggest let-down living in Vermillion, which is home to a University is the lack of coffee shops to hang out in with a friend.  The coffee shops here are even less ideal for a good study session.  Going to college in Boulder and working with the Navs at Wyoming, I loved trying to coffee shops and exploring them with friends.  So I’ve had to think outside the box–Where can I hang out with new friends?  What can I do with new friends?  I want to ask either a woman from my church or someone I meet at the gym “out for coffee”.

5. Organize my closet.  Another one of my favorite blogs to keep up on is un-fancy.  It is one of the best fashion blogs I have read and feel as though I can accomplish some of the concepts she does in my own wardrobe and lifestyle.  I would love to go through my closest, throwing things away + making room for new fall clothes.

What are some of your October goals?

Zucchini Lovin’

September is a fabulous month to eat zucchini however you want it…baked, fried, steamed, or stewed.  My favorite of course it to bake with it.  One of David’s classmates has a garden with an abundance of zucchinis, and luckily for us we have been the beneficiaries of a few large ones.  Not only does has she given our stomachs mega satisfaction with zucchini bread and cookies, but she’s also been a great study buddy for David and a Saturday morning yoga buddy for me.  

I’m sure I caught your attention with zucchini bread and and cookies (with cream cheese). nom! nom!  So I thought I’d link the zucchini loving recipes to this post along with a future recipes I’d like to try.  Hopefully, I’ll be getting more from her garden.

 

1// 2// 3*

 

* This isn’t the actual recipe that I used to make zucchini bread, but I wanted to give proper photo credit.  The recipe that I used (which has some awesome and healthy ingredient substitutes) to make it a little healthier is below. 

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups zucchini, grated
1/2 Cup oil (or 1/4 Cup oil + 1/4 Cup unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 Cup honey
2 eggs ( 1 egg + 1 Tbsp. of flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp. of water- let flaxseed mixture sit for 2 minutes.)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 Cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

Directions:
Beat together oil and honey, then add eggs, vanilla, and zucchini.
Sift dry ingredients and add to zucchini mixture.

 

 What are you favorite ways to make zucchini?

 

this summer

With summer comes sun tans and country tunes.  At least it did for me growing up in Colorado.  Summer also meant trips to the lake, countless hours at volleyball and basketball camps, movie dates with friends.  And as I have gotten older, summers continued to stay busy like the rest of the year.  I was either traveling overseas or working a summer job.  One summer I was even planning a wedding.

This summer has taken a different route.

The hopes of finding another part-time job have gone by unrealized.  In South Dakota there have been more rainy days than sunny days.  And my free time has been in abundance.  For a girl who is always on the go and who has put a lot of self worth in productivity and work, free time has not been a time of joyous rest, but rather anxious guilt.  I am chained by the need to work and sit in the company of guilt.

And so I ask the question,

How do I rest while using my time well?

I am free from the identity of work.  And so I rest by I submitting myself to Christ, who gave himself for my sins, delivered me from the present evil age, and made me a daughter of God. I am at liberty to use my free time to glorify God (Galatians 1:10) and to serve others (Galatians 5:13).