Five on Friday

The weekend is upon us, yay!!! After my cohesive Friday post last week, this one feels a bit hodge podge, but that's ok. It's what on my mind today. I'm once again joining Darci{and friends} and Lauren Elizabeth. Stop by and say hello to them. :)

{one} Since tomorrow is March and Spring really IS coming, let's enjoy this picture as we dream of warmer, longer days. I'll need to constantly look at this picture this weekend as we have more winter weather moving in. Boo!

{two} Looks like I'll be a T-ball Mom this Spring! It'll be so fun to watch Collin out there playing t-ball, but I'm a bit in denial that we're starting this chapter of our lives. Honestly, how has the time gone so quickly?!

{three} Today is my sweet friend Angela's birthday! Happy birthday, Ang! I'm so looking forward to a fun girls morning/day tomorrow with her and Mia.

{four} Last night I had a hot date with Mia and we went to see the new Son of God movie. It was a good movie! You should go check it out. It'll make you want to dig into the Word and get to know Him intimately for yourself.

{five} Parenthood is back on!!! Yay!!!! Robert and I are all caught up and picking up with this season. We didn't get a chance to watch last night, but we will this weekend. I just love that show.

How's that for a little bit of this and a little bit of that?! I hope you have a great weekend! Come back Monday for a yummy breakfast casserole!

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Thankful Thursday Week 9

Happy Thursday everybody!! It's time for Thankful Thursday with the girls...Mia @ MakeMeUpMia, Katie @Katie Elizabeth & Carly @ Carly Blogs Here! We hope you'll join us this week and share what you're grateful for. Here's what I'm grateful for this week!

{Thursday, February 20} My kids are growing up so fast, so when Emma put her feet in my hands, I loved that they almost still fit. :)

{Friday, February 21} I enjoyed a "mommy break" during naptime with some yummy ice cream & received my first check from Ebates!

{Saturday, February 22} We celebrated Collin's 5th birthday with a Jake themed birthday party with 7 of his friends. He had a great time and I loved seeing his excitement over the party!!

{Sunday, February 23} Real life here, folks! The kiddos wanted to take funny pictures while we ate breakfast...how could I say no?! (No make up, bed head, yikes!)

{Monday, February 24} Collin's 5th birthday officially arrived!! We celebrated with cinnamon rolls for breakfast and cake and ice cream with family that evening. LOVE him!!!

{Tuesday, February 25} Collin received some birthday money and was able to get some new games, apps & books for his LeapFrog tablet. I love how he moves with the tablet as he plays games.

{Wednesday, February 26} When my father-in-law came to visit a couple weeks ago, he came with gifts! He gave us this Nutri Bullet and I am loving it! We enjoyed making smoothies before, but now it's so easy to make them. We enjoy a smoothie almost everyday. It's a great way for me to ensure the kiddos are getting their fruits and veggies. Mommy trickery! :)

There's a glimpse into my week! I'd love to visit you and see what you're thankful for...big or small, so link up with us! Don't forget you can keep up with me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Bloglovin, too!


Sweet to the soul, healing to the bones

There are few things I love more than encouraging others with my words. Our words are powerful! They have the power to bring life. But, I have become very aware of something I was hoping I could talk out with you. I cannot take a compliment. Let me explain.

'Words of affirmation' is my highest love language, which I discovered thanks to The 5 Love Languages (I highly recommend reading this book; it's been wonderful for our marriage). Realizing this truth, you would think that I would absorb any word of praise or affirmation I receive. But it's just not that easy for me.

When Robert compliments me or gives me some kind of praise/affirmation about something, it's usually easier{quicker} for me to accept them from him. Not easy, and I don't always "receive" it the first time he says it, but I come around a lot faster.

But when others compliment/praise/affirm me, I feel completely unworthy of whatever they're saying. Thus, it's difficult for me to accept their words. Not because I don't believe they are being sincere, but rather, because I don't feel worthy of their words.

Thankfully, the Lord has been gracious to remind me that those feelings are NOT from Him!! In fact, I believe those precious words of life are sent directly from Him at just the right moments. Proverbs 16:24 says "Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body."

I don't know, maybe I'm alone in my struggle to accept compliments, but just in case I'm not, let's let those words sink deep within and bring life to us. Let's allow God to love on us through those He's brought upon our path to encourage/affirm/praise us. He says we're worthy of those words, and that's all I need to know.


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5 sweet years

Today my (our) sweet boy turns 5 years old. Five! That's a big one!! Motherhood has rocked my world! As I reflect back on the last 5 years, what I feel the most is...gratitude. Extremely thankful that God blessed us with his precious life...and gave us the opportunity to be his parents.
He is such a sweet boy. Here are some of my favorite things about him.

His heart is tender and he's sensitive to the needs around him. A few months ago I wasn't feeling too well and laid down after Robert got home from work. Collin took it upon himself to make sure I had a steady supply of water, was comfortable in my bed and even laid with me and rubbed my arm to help me feel better. Such a sweetie!

He's smart and loves to learn. 

He loves to laugh and have a good time.

He loves to make people laugh and will do anything he thinks might accomplish that.

He loves his sister. They are truly best friends and I pray it stays that way.

He loves to play outside and be active.

He's the carbon copy of Robert. Even to the point of pushing my buttons. :)

He loves Jesus. I pray one day soon he comes to know Him as his personal Lord and Savior.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but just some of my favorite things about him. He's growing up so much every day, but when I tuck him into bed, I still see my sweet baby.

Happy birthday, sweet boy!! I love you so much!!


Five on Friday: Current Reads

Happy Friday!! I'm looking forward to this weekend as we celebrate Collin turning 5 with his first friend birthday party! How did 5 years go by so quickly?! That's a story for another day. :)

Today I'm linking up with Darci {and friends} for Five on Friday and Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday. I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the books I'm currently reading, getting ready to read or will be reading in the near future. So let's do it!

{one} Balancing it All by Candace Cameron Bure Who doesn't love D.J. Tanner, right? Well, I've come to really enjoy Candace Cameron Bure as a wife and mother and most importantly, a believer in Jesus. Her new book is a fun read detailing how she maintains the appropriate balance in the life.

{two} Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford I was turned onto this book after reading a blog post Rachel wrote back in December. It's all about living in the moment. I'll be reading this along with some other momma friends sometime in the near future, so if you'd like to read it with me (us) let me know!

{three} Restless by Jennie Allen I'm so excited to start reading this book!! I actually snagged the kindle version for $2.99 the other day. Nice! That's neither here nor there, though. This book is about finding purpose within our everyday life, seeing God's will for our life weaved into every twist and turn of our story.

{four and five} Sparkly Green Earrings and The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle. Sparkly Green Earrings is about Motherhood and The Antelope in the Living Room is about marriage. I've heard nothing but good things about both of these books...that they have you laughing until you're crying. That sounds so fun!!
There ya have it, some of my current reads. Here's a question. Would you be interested in a review of each book when I finished reading them? Or, better yet, if anybody wants to read along, let me know and we could read together.

What about you? Are you a reader? What are some of your current reads?

*Find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, & Bloglovin. I'd love to connect with you!


Thankful Thursday Week 8

It's Thursday! You know what that means....time to link up for Thankful Thursday with my lovely co-hosts Mia @ MakeMeUpMia, Katie @ Katie Elizabeth, Carly @ Carly Blogs Here and myself! If you don't already follow them, you should check them out...they're great! And if you haven't linked up before, today's your day! There are no specific rules to linking up, we just want you to join with us as we focus on gratitude every day this year.

{Thursday, February 13} Little miss woke up early, so I was able to sneak in some extra snuggles with her before the day really got started. Love those!

{Friday, February 14} I spent the day with my mini Valentine's. I could not be more thankful to be their Mommy!

{Saturday, February 15} Emma and I were able to babysit baby Robert and boy was Emma in heaven!

{Sunday, February 16} It was beautiful outside! Emma loves to swing, so I pushed her on the swing for a good 45 minutes!

{Monday, February 17} Our week started out pretty rough thanks to a yucky stomach bug taking Emma down. :( I was immediately thankful for a couple things, though. 1) Robert was home from work because his Dad had come to visit from Chicago for a long weekend, so he was able to keep Collin entertained and away from Emma and I as I cared for her. 2) I was able to get completely caught up on laundry & ironing on Sunday, which may not sound like a big deal, but it was. :)

{Tuesday, February 18} Emma was feeling much better by this day, thankfully. I completely forgot to take any pictures, but Mia, Cassie @ True Agape and I were able to attend a blogging class that evening. It was a good class and it was fun to share it with them.

{Wednesday, February 19} Unfortunately, the stomach bug took Collin down, too. :( Again, though, I was thankful that I had been able to do a lot of cleaning the day before, making things easier to deal with this day. (Clearly, I hate stomach bugs and go to great lengths to eliminate those germs from my home.)

There you have it, my week in review, finding something I'm thankful for each day! We'd love for you to link up with us. Share anything you're grateful for in whatever format you'd like.

*You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Bloglovin. I'd love to connect with you!


Power in Prayer

I believe there is tremendous power in prayer. In fact, I believe it is one the most under-utilized tools of believers today, myself included! We see in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "pray without ceasing". And in Colossians 4:2 we are told to "devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart."

Sometimes, though, I can feel stuck and/or overwhelmed by all I can and need to pray for. Am I alone here? Or, I'll set some time aside to pray as I'm going to bed and fall asleep while praying. I can't be alone on that one, right?! So, tools to help me grow in my prayer life are something I very much need and enjoy and I have found a couple great tools I wanted to share with you!

ValMariePaper has an awesome prayer journal that I'm excited to get it (I just ordered it) and start using.  It's a 6 month prayer journal with topics to help jog your mind of specific requests to pray for. There are also sections to record answered prayers and specific Scriptures the Lord uses to speak to you. Love it!!

Another great tool I recently found thanks to Natasha @ Hello Happiness is focused on what to pray for my kids. I really love this!!
I'm excited to utilize these tools! I hope you find them useful, too!
*You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter & Bloglovin. I'd love to connect with you!


Mexi Dip

My Aunt makes a dip called Mexi Dip that has become a family (and friends) favorite. It's no secret that Mexican food is my favorite food, so I like to make this for dinner occasionally and serve it on tortillas, like a burrito, in addition to tortilla chips. It's easy, fast & delicious! I hope you enjoy it, too.


Thankful Thursdsay Week 7

Here we are for another week of Thankful Thursday! I must confess that I was a terrible picture taker this week. It was a fairly quiet week, nothing too crazy or exciting happened. But, it gave me time to really reflect on how important it is for me to be thankful for the quiet moments.

Doing this weekly post and link up focusing on gratitude has been so good for me. It has forced me to take time each day and thank God for the blessings in my life. We're in an interesting season. Having little ones running around means we're constantly busy, but yet, it's quiet, too. We're not stretched super thin with school or extracurricular activities. And I'm perfectly ok with that. Happy about that, in fact.

But sometimes I find myself rushing the season I'm in, whatever season that may be. Always looking forward to the future, anticipating what is next. While it's good prepare for the future, the Lord has been challenging me to really live in the moment. I heard the quote "Life is about enjoying what God has given us and given us to do.

So this week, I'm thankful for this season. I'm thankful for my family and friends. I'm thankful for the task He has appointed me to do at this time. I look forward to the future, but I'm soaking in the here and now.

Also, I'm thankful for coffee! :)


Abide in Him: What does that look like?!

Do you worry? Are you a worrier? I am, no doubt about it. I worry about big things, little things, real things, 'what if' things. And my worrying increased tremendously when I became a mom. Not only do I have myself and Robert to worry about, but these precious children God has entrusted me(us) with! It's a lot to handle! A lot of unneeded pressure and stress I put on myself.
A couple weeks ago, Pastor Alex gave an incredible message on worry, focused on Matthew 6:25-34. God was speaking to me through that message big time! The biggest thing He was (is) impressing upon my heart is to abide in Him. When I abide in Him, the things I worry about blur out of focus. My focus is on Him, not on the worries around me. My focus is on Who He is, how big He is. And my response and reaction to those worry changes because I know who's really in control. 

But when I'm not abiding in Him, my worries blur the reality of Who Jesus is. Matthew 6:32 says "These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs." Worrying dominates the thoughts of unbelievers, not born again believers! This really struck me. If I'm a new creation in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17), I should not be worrying, even obsessing at times, over things that I may or may not have control over. I need to be taking my thoughts captive and giving Him control over my mind!(Romans 12:2)

So what does that really look like in my daily life? Life is hard! There are unexpected tragedies and rough patches in life, so how can I not focus on those worries? How can I abide in Him?

~I have to be intentional about spending time with Him, not just 5 minutes with Him in the morning, but intentional, specific time to sit in His presence. To open His word, dig deep and read the words on the pages and let them sink deep into my heart.

~I have to sit quietly in His presence and let Him speak to me. I can be all too good at laying my requests, needs & desires at His feet and far too quick to move on about my day and not sit in His presence and let Him talk back to me.

~I have to submit to Him daily, sometime minute by minute, when the worries of life try to choke out His voice and presence. I've heard many times that if you're not already in a valley, then you've either just come out of one or you're about to enter one. That thought alone can cause me to worry. However, He has been impressing upon me that, although the valleys will come and life is guaranteed to be hard and bring heartache, I can be prepared for the battle when I'm abiding in Him, abiding in Him when the days are easy and the burdens are light. That way it's just second nature, just what I do, when those rough patches come along.

Since that message a few weeks ago, every single day in my time with Him, I have seen the words "abide in me" or "abide in Him". Is that a coincidence? No way! I'm listening, Lord, and I'm learning how to abide in You. I've been presented some opportunities within the last couple weeks to "put my money where my mouth is" and keep Him in focus and my worries out of focus. And I'm here to tell you, He's faithful to walk me through, or around, those worries!

Oh Simple Thoughts


Sausage Tortellini Soup

This past week I made an amazing crock pot soup. I found it from Andrea @ The McAnally Family and she found it from a friend, who found it on Pinterest. Ha! Did you follow that?! Anyway, this soup was so full of flavor and so easy to make! If you love easy and delicious, you'll love this!

**Please continue to Pray for Mayberry! You can visit Mia's blog for some specific prayer requests today. Let's lift them up in prayer and petition God for miracles only He can provide! 


Five on Friday

It's Friday!! That's means I'm linking up with Darci {and friends!} and Lauren Elizabeth for another round of Five on Friday.

{one} I received part of my Christmas gift from my hubby this week, a lovely, hand crafted latte mug from NS Pottery. I've only been using it for a couple days and I'm already obsessed. I'd love to start a collection and add this mug to it.

{two} After hearing Erin at Blue Eyed Bride talk so much about The Good Wife, I have started watching. I've only watched a couple episodes, but I'm interested. Do you watch it?

{three} Last night was a big night in the Strong household! Collin has had a loose tooth for almost a week. He's been playing with it and wiggling it and tonight it came out! He was so excited for the tooth fairy to come visit him. I can't believe my first born, my baby, will be 5 in a couple weeks!! The time is flying by so quickly!

{four} Spring! I'm so ready for Spring!!!

{five} Please don't forget to Pray for Mayberry as we petition the Lord for a Miracle for Mayberry! You can read more here and follow his story here.

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Thankful Thursday-Week 6

It's time for another installment of Thankful Thursday with my lovely co-hosts Mia @ MakeMeUpMia, Katie @ Katie Elizabeth and Carly @ Carly Blogs Here. I hope you'll join us this week and link up with a recap of what you're thankful for. Remember, there are no specific rules, we just want to focus on gratitude this year. So, here we go!

{Thursday January 30} After a fun morning at swim class, we went to Cheddar's with my parents for lunch. I love my crazy crew!

{Friday January 31} I live in my slippers when we're home, so I get seriously excited over a new pair of slippers!

{Saturday February 1} It was a cold day at home and they were 'flying' around the house with their birds. (side note: it can be freezing outside and Collin still wants to wear shorts & a tshirt. He does not get that from me.)

{Sunday February 2} If I'm being honest, I wasn't thankful for the snow, but thankful that Robert was driving and not me. I tell ya, the longer I live in the South, the worse driver I become in snow and ice.

{Monday, February 3} These two are always under foot as I fix my hair and put my make up on in the mornings. I'd be lying if I said it didn't occasionally annoy me, but more than not, I love having them under foot.
{Tuesday, February 4} I do enjoy a good snack of apples & Nutella. But, I'm really embarrassed to show you this pic. It's more like Nutella & apples than Apples & Nutella. No judging.

{Wednesday, February 5} These two are best friends. Sure, they fight with each other, but they would be lost without each other. May it always be so!
Now it's your turn! Link up with us and share something you're thankful for this week. We'd love to stop by and say hello! :)


Miracle for Mayberry

On September 1, 2012, Mia's brother, Christian, was involved in a terrible ATV accident. He has been in the hospital ever since, fighting for his life, and recovering. It's been a very long, difficult road, but Mia and her family have been walking it with such amazing grace and faith in the True Physician.

I come to you today and ask you to please pray with us for a miracle for Christian, a miracle for Mayberry. We are praying for complete healing and restoration of his body. We are also praying for a rehab facility to open up to him within the next two days. They have learned that, as of this coming Monday, they will be leaving the hospital and do not yet have a place to go. They need a miracle(s)!!

Will you pray, with us, for Christian's complete healing? Will you pray, with us, for the right rehab facility to miraculously open up for him? You can follow his progress here on Facebook,

"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." I John 5:14, 15


Chicken Casserole

Growing up, my mom would make this dinner and it's still one of my favorites today. For me, it's super comforting and a great, simple go-to meal on busy week nights. It's nothing fancy, just simple home cooking. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Many times when she would make this dish, she would serve it with Pillsbury Date Bread and y'all, this was my favorite bread ever!!!!! I would seriously request it for my birthday or any special occasion because I loved it so much. And now it can't be found. I've looked for years, truly years, and have come up empty! Have you ever heard of it or had it before? If you can find it in your grocery store, please let me know!!
Do you have any favorite childhood dinners you still make? Or crazy cravings for food items that can no longer be found?
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