My Favorite Cookbooks

Some of my most popular posts are food related ones, so I thought it’d be fun to share where I get a few of my recipes from.

The great thing about technology today is that if you’re struggling on what to cook, Google is right at your fingertips. While this is usually how I find recipe inspiration, I’ve also been gravitating toward using cookbooks.

Yes, you have less options when using cookbooks, but that actually makes the process of meal planning (I’m working on a post dedicated to this concept.) less daunting. Additionally, I’ve recently discovered some cookbooks full of healthy and easy recipes.

Skinnytaste One and Done

Skinnytaste One and Done is my current favorite cookbook! As a working momma, I need quick and easy recipes when preparing supper, and this book delivers in that area!

Recipes we’ve tried and liked from this cookbook:

• Chicken cordon bleu

• Chicken fajitas

• Spicy fried chicken sandwiches

• Everything (but the) bagel chicken roll-ups

• Creamy cheddar-broccoli soup

• Complete BBQ chicken dinner

Skinnytaste

Skinnytaste is on the list because it has recipes for all courses: breakfast, lunch, appetizers, supper, dessert, etc. As with all Skinnytaste books, the dishes are on the lighter side.

Recipes we’ve tried and liked from this cookbook:

• Dad’s jammin’ crepes

• Slow-cooker Santa Fe chicken

• Grilled steak sandwiches

• Petite baked crab cakes

• Chicken rollatini stuffed with zucchini and mozzarella

• Skinny chicken Parmesan

• Lemon-roasted asparagus

• Warm-apple pear crumble

• Baked bananas floater a la mode

The Defined Dish

Have you ever heard of Whole 30? If so, you know the focus of it is clean, healthy ingredients. The Defined Dish is Whole 30 approved. While we don’t necessarily participate in this meal plan, having a cookbook geared toward it ensures that the dishes will be wholesome.

This is my newest cookbook, so I haven’t had a chance to try too many recipes yet.

Recipes we’ve tried and liked from this cookbook:

• One-pot hamburger helper

• One-pot chicken pot pie pasta

• Meatloaf meatballs with mashed potatoes and green beans

If you ever struggle with knowing what to make for supper, I highly recommend purchasing one of these cookbooks to help with meal planning.

Sarah

My First Impression of Our Bible Study

Happy Friday!

I talked about this on Instastories the other day, but honestly, life has been pretty crazy this week. School started back, and I have a student teacher, which are both wonderful things, but my days have been busy. As a result, when I’ve been getting home from school, spending time with Daniel and Isaac and relaxing are about the only things I’ve been doing, hence a lag in blog posts.

However, I finished Week 1 of The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer and want to share about my first impression of the book. (If you’re new around here read this blog post and this one to get caught up.).

Difficulty Level

Have you ever read a commentary of the Bible or done a study and everything was written in such a way that it was difficult to understand? Yeah, me, too. The Armor of God isn’t like that. My friend, Allie, owner of Downtown Allie, said it best – This study is simple and easy to follow. Trust me, you’ll be able to understand what Shirer is saying.

Time

Recently, I’ve had a phrase swirling around in my mind, “We make time for what’s important.” It’s true. What’s “important” to you? Here’s a convicting exercise: pull up the screen time on your phone. How much time do you spend on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. each day? You probably don’t like the answer when you compare it to how much time you spend doing meaningful things (quiet time, family time, exercising, etc.); I know I sure didn’t.

With that being said, each day of The Armor of God has taken me about 20-30 minutes. However, when I finish each day, I feel “full.” Honestly, you won’t even realize how much time you’re spending going through the material because it’s so interesting.

Discussion

While Bible studies can be done alone, there’s something about working through one as a group that adds camaraderie and accountability, which is something that everyone benefits from. Obviously, we can’t all meet in person to discuss the material, so instead, I’m going to be doing an Instagram Live each Sunday at 8:oo p.m. CT while we do the study.

The general idea is, I will lead the discussion and talk about concepts that stood out to me. This will also be a time when you can write in and share what resonated with you, too. My hope is that everyone will interact with each other.

Falling Behind

I know that some of you are kind of “late to the game” so to speak and may not have ordered your book soon enough to be finished with Week 1’s material before my first Instagram Live. That’s okay!

I will say that each week has five days of material, yet there are 7 days in a week, so you have extra time to get things done.

I’ll also be saving my Lives to my IGTV, which you can watch at a later date, if necessary, so you can still listen/watch/participate in our discussion.

Why I’m Doing This

I’m a teacher and believe that is my calling. With that being said, I’ve wanted to lead a Bible study, geared toward young women, for a long time (Whether you’re young in age or heart, everyone’s invited!).

After making the decision to move forward with this, I can’t tell you how many women have reached out to me and said things like, “I’ve been wanting to do this study for a long time,” or, “This type of thing is exactly what I’ve been looking for,” or, “I need accountability,” or, “I’m so excited to join you in this study.” All of these interactions have shown me there is a void that many people need filling, and that’s what this study is for.

I can’t wait to see what the Lord does through our study over The Armor of God!

Sarah

5 Days of Workouts

Hey, everyone! I hope you all had a good weekend! I’m officially starting back to school today and am trying to get back into the routine of it.

Many people make resolutions or set goals at the beginning of a new year, and one of the most common ones is to exercise more.

One of my proudest accomplishments of 2020 was getting into a consistent workout routine. I talk more about how that happened in this post, but one of the components that has helped me stick to working out 5 days a week was to change up my routine and find exercises that I enjoyed doing.

Heather Robertson has become my favorite “instructor” because her videos are effective and easy to follow, and she puts out new ones every few days.

I have to say that I’m not a personal trainer, so I can’t say that what I do is “correct” or right for you, but during a typical week, I try to mix up my workouts so I hit all the major muscle groups. Upper body is my favorite, so I usually start the week targeting that area. You’re supposed to give muscle groups at least 48 hours to recover, so I try not to target the same area two days in a row.

The following is an example of a week’s worth of workouts that I typically do.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Hopefully, this will give you a starting point if fitness is something you want to work on this year.

Sarah

Bible Study Schedule

This sounds wild to say, but happy New Year! Though 2020 was a rough year for everyone, it’s also hard to believe that it’s gone!

With that being said, I wanted to give you the game plan for our “Bible study book club” schedule. I talk more about the study in this post, but just as a reminder, the book we’re going through is The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer.

While the following schedule is the plan now, it’s also subject to change.

This book does have a video component, but I won’t be watching it, although you’re more than welcome to! The link for the videos is in the book, but it costs to rent the clips, and you can get just as much out of the study by only doing the “homework.”

I’m so excited to begin this journey with each of you, and I can’t wait to see what the Lord teaches us over the next few weeks!

Sarah

Seeing 2020 as “Half-Full”

While they say, “Hindsight is 2020,” I’m not sure if that phrase will ever have quite the same meaning after this year. There’s no denying, it’s been rough, but I’ve been doing some reflecting over the last few days and decided that I want to look at the past year as “half-full” rather than “half-empty.”

Social Distancing

Half-Empty: I feel like there have been quite a few new phrases coined in 2020, “social distancing” being one of them. As humans, we gravitate toward each other, so it’s been tough staying six feet apart, wearing masks, and not having as much physical contact.

With that being said, we’ve been “forced” to be around those we live with more, which can sometimes lead to tense moments, and being fed up with the same people. Trust me, the Holts have been in that situation more than once.

Half-Full: During an average week, how much quality time do we spend with our actual family? 2020 has allowed me to be at home more with Daniel and Isaac, something that would’ve not been possible any other time. I know that one day, this will all be over, and I’ll be so thankful for the time I spent with Isaac during such a pivotal stage of development.

Closed Restaurants

Half-Empty: When everything first started closing down in March, I felt overwhelmed about all of the cooking I’d “have” to do. However, until we really couldn’t eat out, I didn’t realize how often we’d been doing it.

Half-Full: 2020 taught me how to meal plan and cook strategically. I’ve started using cookbooks and have found quite a few recipes that are easy, healthy, and make enough for leftovers. Most of the time, I enjoy cooking now and find pride in feeding my family.

Stay at Home Order

Half-Empty: At first, it was nice to have a reason to stay home, but after a while, it got easy to complain at how boring it was. I feel like adults and kids alike either said or thought, “There’s nothing to do.”

Half-Full: With all that extra time, I chose to focus on my physical and spiritual health. I’ve grown more in my walk with Christ than ever before and have done some impactful studies along the way.

Additionally, I’m more committed to working out than ever before and have consistently been exercising five days a week for over nine months. It’s so empowering as a woman to see muscle tone and build endurance, so I’m thankful that I took the extra time 2020 gave and used it for something productive.

Closed Schools/Distance Learning

Half-Empty: When schools suddenly closed back in the spring, teachers were thrust into an unprecedented situation, and we didn’t know what to expect when the new school year rolled around.

My own district started several weeks later than expected, and when students did come back, it was on a staggered schedule. It’s been difficult balancing teaching students who are attending school in-person and those who chose the distance learning route, and there have been quite a few frustrations along the way.

Half-Full: However, teachers have had more time to work in their classrooms than ever before, even if it was spent preparing digital lessons. For myself, I’ve converted everything that I do to computer-based and can count on one hand how many times I’ve made copies this year.

Cancelled Family Gatherings

Half-Empty: Honestly, this had been one of the tougher parts of 2020. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only times I see some of my family, and those gatherings either looked different this year or were non-existent.

Half-Full: While I didn’t get to see my extended family as much, my immediate family has spent more time together than ever before. Rather than rush from one event to another, we got to relax more and spend quality time with those we did get to see.

I know that some of you have had a horrible year. You’ve lost loved ones, your job, your house, etc. However, I hope that today’s post has also encouraged you and that 2021 will be a fresh, positive start.

Sarah

Christmas Recap

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, regardless of what it looked like this year.

I have to say that I enjoyed taking last week off from writing blog posts. I didn’t realize how much time and energy I put into these until I wasn’t doing them, but with that being said, I’m back and feeling re-energized!

I want to share what Christmas looked like for us this year, along with some yummy recipes I’ve made over the last few weeks.

Family Gatherings

Thursday, December 17

We had some family passing through, so we had Christmas at Mom and Dad’s on this night. Breakfast for supper was on the menu, then it was present time. The kids enjoyed opening presents, then playing with each other’s toys. Fortunately, everyone was pretty good at sharing (or maybe they were just distracted).

Friday, December 18

The church that Daniel grew up in has a meal and singing every third Friday night. It’s something that his parents started a long time ago, so Daniel continues to go. Since it was Christmas, Isaac and I tagged along.

Can you spot Isaac?

We brought pajamas for Isaac to wear on the way home because it was late, and we had a long drive.

Thursday, December 24

Even though we’d already exchanged gifts, Daniel, Isaac, and I still went over to my parents’ house. We had supper and then watched a movie. Honestly, it was nice to relax and enjoy each other’s company, rather than the frenzy of opening presents.

Friday, December 25

We celebrated Christmas as a family of 3 during the morning. We don’t go all-out on presents or do Santa Clause because for us, that’s not what Christmas is about. However, Isaac had fun opening his gifts, and I had a special scavenger hunt prepared for his “big” gift, which is something that my dad did for my brother and me growing up.

Honestly, it didn’t go at all how I expected, ha ha! Isaac wanted to play with his new toys rather than hunt for clues. However, after quite a bit of prompting, he finally found all of the clues and his new tool bench.

Next, we went to Daniel’s mom’s to have Christmas brunch with her and his sister. By this point, Isaac really had the unwrapping down and helped everyone with their gifts.

New Recipes

I’ve done a lot of cooking over the past few weeks! From trying out my new air fryer to making dishes form my cookbooks, it’s been so nice to eat at home.

Breakfast

Donuts – These were really good and fluffy. After they came out of the air fryer, I sprayed them and dipped them in sugar and cinnamon.

Breakfast pizza – This was okay. I like my breakfast casserole better, though.

Main Dishes

Everything but the Bagel Chicken Roll-Ups – I used the recipe from Skinnytaste One and Done, but this recipe is the same.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup – This was a hearty soup that we had in the bread bowls mentioned below. Daniel and I definitely preferred it with bread dipped in it.

Bread Bowls – I’ve never never made homemade bread before, and while this was a lengthy process, the end product was delicious!

Dessert

Sugar cookies – These were really good and a neat way to involve Isaac in cooking.

Peanut Butter Banana Brownies – These turned out really soft, but honestly, they didn’t taste too much like brownies. The banana and peanut butter flavors were stronger than the cocoa, but they still tasted good.

Sarah

Outfits of the Week + What I Cooked for Supper (12/13– 12/19)

I’m officially on Christmas break, and I couldn’t be more happy about it! My outfits over the next few weeks will probably be super basic and casual, but here’s the somewhat put-together outfits I donned this week.

dress (similar, similar, similar) / cardigan (similar) / booties

peplum top (similar) / scarf (similar, similar) / jeggings / booties

striped shirt (old from Old Navy, similar, similar) /  leggings / sneakers (Mine are from Soles of Savannah, but here’s the link for the manufacturer’s website. They’re cheaper at Soles!)

flannel  / jeans (similar) / booties

dolman sleeve sweater / jeans (similar) / loafers (similar)

We had family visiting this week, so I honestly didn’t cook much, but here are the recipes we did try.

Main Dishes + Sides

Tex-Mex turkey tacos – I used the recipe in this Skinnytaste cookbook, but this one is an adaptation and very similar.

Chili – This recipe is so easy and is a go-to this time of year. I have some family visiting, so I made this and took to my parents’ house, and my mom made potato soup, too.

Breakfast casserole with hashbrowns – This is a quick and easy meal to throw together on a busy morning or weeknight.

Layered Doritos casserole – I have to put in a disclaimer that this isn’t necessarily a healthy dish and isn’t something I make when it’s just Daniel, Isaac, and me. However, we had a get-together to go to, so I made it for that, and it was really good.

Dessert

Caramel apple crumble – Although the recipe makes enough for two, simply double the recipe if you’re making this for more people.

Sarah

6 Ways to Dress for Christmas

Do you dress “Christmasy” this time of year? There’s something about Christmas time that just makes me want to!

Here are six ways you can dress for Christmas, and chances are, you probably already have some of these pieces in your closet.

1. Red or green top/sweater

This one’s pretty straight forward, but by wearing a top in one of these shades, you’re instantly dressed for the occasion. I tend to gravitate toward red more so than green because of its vibrancy, but either one would work.

dolman sleeve sweater

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

2. Christmas t-shirt

While I don’t really wear t-shirts, I know a lot of people love them. There are so many to choose from, and there are also quite a few people who make shirts as a “side-gig.” I know they’d appreciate you buying from them.

Downtown Allie has some really cute options, too.

3. Plaid

Plaid, especially red plaid, screams Christmas to me. It’s also a comfortable way to dress for the occasion.

plaid shirt

plaid shirt (similar)

flannel jeans / booties

4. “Christmas” scarf

Usually it’s pretty cold around Christmas, so you’re probably already used to wearing scarves. As previously mentioned, there are certain colors and patterns that make me think of Christmas, so incorporate that into your scarf.

sweater (similar) / jeans (similar) / scarf / fedora (similar) / booties

peplum top (similar) / scarf (similar, similar) / jeggings / booties

5. Holiday earrings

I don’t necessarily mean wear earrings in the shape of trees, presents, or ornaments, but that’s fine if you want to! I really like red earrings for a pop of color in an otherwise neutral outfit.

red statement earrings / dolman sleeve sweater

1 / 2 / 3

6. Red nails

Classic red nails are a great way to “dress” for Christmas. They’re also appropriate all year.

Let me know which of these you’ll be incorporating this year.

Sarah

Cozy Sweater from Downtown Allie + Discount

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Sweater weather is here, and if I have to wear one, I want it to be cute! Enter this leopard sweater from Downtown Allie. It’s super soft, very warm, and not itchy at all, which are all requirements that I look for in a sweater.

If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I really like leopard print, so this sweater was a must!

leopard sweater /  jeans / booties

For whatever reason, I feel like there aren’t as many printed sweaters, so I was excited when Allie brought this one to her shop.

I like how it looks paired with distressed jeans and booties for a fun look.

Don’t forget how important it is to shop at small businesses this year! I know Allie would really appreciate your support.

Also, you can use use SARAH15 to get 15% this sweater and the dress that I shared on this blog post.

Sarah

Life Lessons from Women in the Bible: Anna

Happy Monday, y’all! hope you had a great weekend.

Today I’m focusing on Anna from the book of Luke and four concepts we can learn from her story.

Anna was known as a prophetess at the temple. This doesn’t mean she was a fortune teller, rather she was a teacher of Scripture to other women. She’d been a widow for a long time and was pretty old when she appeared in the Bible. She lived at the temple and constantly prayed and fasted, awaiting the coming Messiah.

Well, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple at this time, and received a blessing from another man, named Simeon. Anna overheard them and realized that everything she’d been praying for was right there. She immediately began praising God and told everyone she encountered about Jesus.

Anna knew that there was a Messiah coming who would save the world. This shows she was knowledgeable about Old Testament Scripture. If she hadn’t, then where would her hope have been?

It’s important as Christians to be grounded in the Word. We need to know what the Bible says, not only so we can live it, but also so we can tell others. That doesn’t mean that you have to have the whole Bible memorized, but it’s vital that you be able to support your views.

The only thing that fasting [by itself] will do is make you hungry. However, fasting and prayer done together show a deep desire to seek the Lord’s will. Anna fasted and prayed for over sixty years. There’s no doubt that her devotion to the Lord was real.

I’m not saying that everyone should stop eating and only pray for the next few days. However, prayer is a vital part of being a Christian and fasting while doing that shows commitment to the Lord.

During Anna’s time, many people were looking for the coming Messiah. However, they expected him to arrive with pomp and circumstance and as a powerful leader since He was known as a King. Jesus was actually the opposite of that. He was born in a stable, and his stepfather, Joseph, was a carpenter, so His family would’ve been on the poorer side. Regardless, Anna recognized Jesus for who He was.

While we can’t see Jesus in the flesh like Anna did, we have the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us. There have been several instances in my personal life lately where I felt like God was telling me to do something. I pushed those feelings aside for a while, but the conviction continued, and when I finally did acknowledge His prompting, and listened, I felt such a peace and much closer to Him.

After Anna’s encounter with Jesus, she never stopped talking about Him. Imagine how many people came to know Him through her testimony.

As Christians, it’s our duty to tell others about Christ. Maybe you don’t know every single Bible verse that talks about how to be saved (I know I sure don’t.), but you can tell others what Jesus has done for you. I recently did a post, sharing how I became a Christian. The great thing about sharing your testimony is that no one can dispute what Jesus has done for you.

I hope you have a great day!

Sarah

Previous “Life Lessons from Women in the Bible” posts:

Eve

Sarah

Rahab

Ruth

Hannah

Mary

Outfits of the Week + What I Cooked for Supper (12/6– 12/12)

How was everyone’s week? We had state testing every day this week, which made for some long days, but the semester’s winding down quickly.

As usual, here’s what I wore this week, along with what I cooked for supper. Enjoy!

sweater (Mine’s from Marshall’s, similar, similar) / dress / booties

utility jacket

sweater / jeans / flats (Time and Tru from Walmart)

criss top (similar) / jeans (similar) / leopard sneakers

top (similar) / joggers / sneakers (Mine are from Soles of Savannah, but here’s the link for the manufacturer’s website. They’re cheaper at Soles!)

poncho (similar) / leggings / sneakers (Mine are from Soles of Savannah, but here’s the link for the manufacturer’s website. They’re cheaper at Soles!)

Main Dishes + Sides

Grilled chicken wraps with sweet potato fries

Slowcooker Santa Fe Chicken – Daniel ate this in a tortilla, while I added avocado, shredded cheese, and plain Greek yogurt (in place of sour cream).

Grilled steak sandwiches with zucchini fries – I couldn’t find the exact recipe online, but it’s from this Skinnytaste cookbook.

Skinny chicken Parmesan with roasted asparagus

Dessert

Vanilla cake donuts with maple glaze – This recipe is from this cookbook. I made it for breakfast last weekend.

Sugar cookies – These were delicious, but let me just say that cooking with a toddler is not for the faint-hearted, ha ha!

Sarah

Polka Dot Dress from Downtown Allie

I have such a difficult time finding dresses in cooler months. Everything seems to be short sleeve, short hemmed, or super thin. If that’s the position you’re in, I have a solution for you: this adorable polka dot dress from Downtown Allie.

Polka dots are one print that will never go out of style, so this is a timeless piece to add to your closet.

Additionally, the drop waist and buttons are fun detail that make this dress a little more eye-catching.

This is something that would be perfect for church, date night, errands, or even school.

Dressy

This is one of those dresses that doesn’t require a lot of accessories, so it’s easy to throw on and go. While I do like the length for professional purposes, adding a tall boot is going to make your legs look shorter, so I prefer booties to elongate my legs.

dress / booties

Casual

Y’all know how I feel about a good denim jacket. Throw it over the dress for a more casual look. I also like adding sneakers and love how they dress this dress down. See what I did there? Ha ha!

dress / denim jacket (similar) / sneakers (Mine are from Soles of Savannah, but here’s the link for the manufacturer’s website. They’re cheaper at Soles!)

Don’t forget how important it is to shop from small businesses this year. I know Allie would really appreciate your support!

Also, let me know which look is your favorite: dressy or casual?

Sarah

DIY Ribbon Bow

Question: Are you a present wrapper or gift bag kind of person? I have to say, I’m definitely in the former group, especially since I’ve learned how to make bows to add to presents. I’ve learned that even if your wrapping looks bad, adding a handmade bow makes people think you’re a professional gift wrapper, ha ha!

flannel / jeans (similar) / loafers (similar)

The great thing about this method is that it works for year-round presents, and I bet you already have all of the material you need.

Supplies

wired ribbon

thin ribbon

scissors

wrapped present

Step-by-Step

1. Cut a strip of wired ribbon the circumference of your gift and tie it in a knot. If you wish, do the same thing and tie another ribbon perpendicular to the previous strand. This creates the appearance that the ribbon/bow has been wrapped around the gift.

2. Take the wired ribbon (still on the spool) and fold it over. The size of the gift will determine how long the fold has to be. For explanation purposes, let’s say you fold it over about 5 inches. Continue to fold the ribbon over and over, maintaing that 5 in. length (or however long yours is). The more folds you have, the more voluminous your bow will be.

3. Cut the ribbon from the spool.

4. Keeping everything together, cut slits in the center on both sides of the folded ribbon. Be careful not to cut all the way through!

5. Take a small piece of thin ribbon, and slide it into the slits, tying a knot on the back side.

6. Using the small ribbon, tie your folded ribbon onto the gift, covering the knots created earlier.

7. Take one fold at a time and twist 360 degrees. Continue to do this until your bow is formed.

There you have it! Your present wrapping will turn heads at your next party.

Sarah

How I Became a Christian

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all having a good day.

Today, I want to share something very personal with you: how I became a Christian.

I’m one of those people who was going to church before I was born. My parents are both Christians and are still married after 31 years. When I was growing up, I was at church every time the doors were open, and grew up knowing all of the “right” answers.

When I was in the 6th grade, my Sunday School class started reading the Left Behind series for kids. To be honest, those books terrified me. I knew that I had never asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life, and if the rapture (when Jesus is coming back to get those who are saved) happened, I would be “left behind.” For a while, I lived in constant fear. If my family was quiet, while we were at home, I’d find them just to make sure they were still there.

This continued for a while, and then one week, my church had a revival. One of the preacher’s sermons was about Jesus “knocking on your hear’s door.” I felt like He was pounding on mine. I went up during the invitation, prayed a prayer, and was later baptized, but nothing in my life really changed.

I was never involved in anything “bad,” and was considered a “good person,” but at that point in my life, I didn’t really understand that you have to build a relationship with Jesus and continually work on it.

As the years passed, I’d have doubts from time to time but would push them aside because I thought, “I’ve already been in front of the church and said I was saved, and I’ve already been baptized. It’d be too embarrassing to walk down the aisle again.”

When I was about 15, the doubts of my salvation increased, and I asked my mom if we could talk to our pastor about everything. We got to church early one night, talked things over, and in my pastor’s office, I truly asked Jesus to be my Savior.

I’m not saying that my walk with the Lord has been perfect since then because that isn’t possible. However, I strive to live a life that honors Him, which I hope comes across in my interactions. I understand the importance of keeping an active prayer life and not just reading the Bible but digging into it.

I pray that if you’ve never asked Jesus to be your Savior, that you’d do so today. Words can’t describe the peace and assurance that comes with salvation!

Sarah

Outfits of the Week + What I Cooked for Supper (11/29 – 12/5)

dress / booties

sweater (Mine’s from Marshall’s, similar, similar) / jeggings / booties

joggers / cardigan (similar) / sneakers

top (similar) / kimono sweater / jeans (similar) / booties

popcorn sweater / jeans / booties

top (This top is old from Downtown Allie, but here are some more leopard options from her store.) / jeans (similar) / booties

Main Dishes + Sides

One pan chicken and veggie bake – We keep frozen diced chicken on hand, so I just mixed it and veggies with olive oil, salt, garlic, pepper, and paprika and baked it in the oven. It was so easy!

Turkey burgers – I didn’t have any buns, but I toasted some loaf bread, and these turned out pretty good! I made enough for two nights, and we had sweet potato fries on the first night and these zucchini fries on night two.

Grilled chicken salad

Garlic honey chicken and fried rice – I just did my own variation of the fried rice, but wanted to include a recipe, in case you’ve never made it before.

Chili and grilled cheese sandwiches

Dessert

Baked bananas – These are quick, easy, delicious and healthy!

I hope today’s post gave you some inspiration both with your wardrobe and your closet.

Sarah

Life Lessons from Women in the Bible: Mary

It’s been a few weeks, since I’ve done a post about lessons from women in the Bible, so I’m excited to get back into it today!

Mary was a virgin and betrothed to a man named Joseph, but before their marriage, an angel appeared to her, explaining that the Spirit of the Lord would come on her and allow her to conceive (although she was a virgin). Her son would be named Jesus, and He would be the Savior of the world.

While that’s the very short version of her story, there are several things we can learn from her experiences.

There are some religions that believe that Mary was sinless and can bestow blessings on others. In the Bible, she states that she needs a Savior. The only people that need saving are those who are lost.

The Bible teaches that we’re all sinners, and we’re born that way. If you’ve ever been around young children, you know that nobody has to teach them to do wrong; they just naturally act that way. Daniel and I learned that pretty quick with Isaac! However, the only way to be saved is to admit that you’re a sinner, believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, and ask Him to be your Savior.

During Bible times, women got betrothed around 13 years old, meaning that was probably about how old Mary was when she got pregnant. Remember, she was a virgin. What do you think the world thought when her pregnancy began to show? Even Joseph contemplated ending their relationship because he thought she’d been unfaithful, until an angel appeared to him and explained what was happening. If word got out about her, she could’ve been stoned. However, Mary knew that she was carrying God’s child and faced everything with resolve.

When we act as Christians and do the Lord’s will, the world will criticize us for it. Remember, the world hates God, and therefore, they hate us. They will mock us and throw our shortcomings in our face. However, it always pays to follow the Lord, even if we don’t receive a reward on this side of eternity.

Think about it: Mary was Jesus’ mother. Even before He was born, she knew what He would be destined for. As He grew and began His public ministry, there are several accounts of Mary being around. She was even there at the foot of the cross when He died.

As a teacher, I see the impact that no support at home has on my students. Many of them come from broken homes, and their parents could care less about what they do (if their parents are even around). As a result, they make poor choices due to a lack of guidance, and as they grow older, the cycle continues with their own kids.

If you have children, I urge you to love them, pray for them, attend their ballgames, help them with their homework. Obviously, don’t condone poor behavior, but raise them to know right from wrong. Don’t try to be your child’s best friend; they have plenty of those. Rather, guide them to live a wholesome, productive life.

I hope you’re encouraged today!

Sarah

Previous “Life Lessons from Women in the Bible” posts:

Eve

Sarah

Rahab

Ruth

Hannah

I’m Starting a “Bible Study Book Club”!

As Christians, it’s essential that we stay in the Word (aka read our Bible). However, sometimes it’s hard to know where to read, so it’s helpful to have a devotional/guide for assistance. Furthermore, it’s important to have accountability because, let’s face it, it’s hard to live for the Lord in a world that’s forgotten Him.

With all that being said, I’ve decided to start a “Bible study book club.”

This is something that’s been on my heart for a while, and I’ve finally decided to get the ball rolling on it! Additionally, after asking on Instagram, it seemed like something y’all want, too.

The book we’ll be going through is The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer. It’s one I’ve wanted to do for a while, and I think it’ll be great to use for our study. I’ve also heard from some friends that have completed it, and they had nothing but good things to say about the study.

I will say that this “Bible study book club” will require work on your part. The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer is in a workbook format and has you read various Scriptures from the Bible, answer questions, and make connections to your own life.

What I like about this is that it makes you read your Bible and dig into what it says. To grow as a Christian, reading a couple of verses a day won’t cut it. You have to be in the Word to build on your relationship with God, and that’s what this Bible study will do.

The whole study will take 6 weeks, and each week is broken into 5 days worth of material. Unlike a devotional for every day of the year, if you get a bit behind, you still have some time during the week to complete the material.

We’ll be starting this study on January 3 because I feel like everyone is always more motivated at the beginning of the year. After doing a poll on Instagram, it seems like more people are interested in having our “discussion” via Instagram Live. Right now, my plan is to do an Instagram Live at 8:00 CT on Sunday nights. The first one will occur on January 10, but I’ll keep you updated.

I’m so excited for this endeavor and can’t wait to grow in the Word with you! Don’t forget to order your book!

Sarah

A New Way to Decorate Your Christmas Tree

Happy Monday, everyone!

I know quite a few of you have had your Christmas tree up for a while, but I’m in the camp that waits until after Thanksgiving, and by after, I mean as soon as our families left our house after Thanksgiving lunch, I asked Daniel to get my Christmas decorations down from the attic, ha ha!

Growing up, one of the most “challenging” parts of decorating the Christmas tree was deciding how many ornaments to use. You know what I’m talking about…too few and the tree looks bare…too many and it looks cluttered.

If that’s you, I have a great alternative to tell you about: ribbon.

Last year, I started incorporating ribbon as part of my Christmas tree decor, and it totally changed the look of the tree. I know some people like to do different themes each year, and ribbon is an easy way to change that up.

You really want wired ribbon because it’ll be easier to get it into the shape you want. While some people have one stream of ribbon going all the way down the tree, I’ve discovered it’s easier to cut it into strips that are 7-8 inches long.

Once you get your strips cut, simply twist the ends around the branches. It doesn’t have to look perfect because once you add ornaments, the twisted part will be covered up.

Do this all around the tree. I usually have two different types of ribbon, but this would also work if you wanted to use the same kind.

Once the ribbon is how you want it, start adding ornaments and accessories. I’ve learned that the ribbon is a good “filler,” and you don’t have to use as many ornaments, as a result.

Isaac and I always get a picture in front of the tree. This year it was pretty hard because asking a toddler to stay still and smile for a picture doesn’t exactly work, ha ha!

This is what last year’s tree looked like. I don’t buy new ornaments every year, but by changing the ribbon, the over-all look of the tree is totally different.

Also, I can’t get over how much smaller Isaac was!

Sarah

Outfits of the Week + What I Cooked for Supper (11/22 – 11/28)

I’m starting off today’s post by linking everything I wore this week.

dress (SARAH15)

sweater poncho

olive cardigan (SARAH15) / tank / leggings

henley / leopard leggings (similar)

sweater (similar)

sweater / jeans (similar, similar)

Since Thanksgiving was this week, I didn’t cook as much “regular” food as I usually do. What I mean is, there were several evenings when we had family gatherings to attend, where I fixed a traditional Thanksgiving dish, and several nights we ate leftovers. I figure most of you were in the same situation.

Main Dishes + Sides

Pizza – I’ve shared this dough recipe multiple times, but this is a quick and easy recipe to use.

Chicken Parm Stuffed Peppers – These are really good! Additionally, leaving out the pasta makes this a low[er] carb dish.

Chicken quesadillas and Mexican rice – This is one of our favorite dishes! I just cook diced chicken in a skillet and sprinkle it with taco seasoning, then add peppers and onions and let it all finish cooking together. I add chicken and shredded cheese into tortillas and let them cook on each side.

Dessert

Nutella S’mores Bars – I halved the recipe for us.

Have a great day!

Sarah

Thanksgiving Recap

Happy Friday! I don’t know what your work schedule has been like this week, but being off of school and spending time with family has done my heart so much good!

When you have multiple functions to attend during the holidays, sometimes it can be overwhelming. I’m going to break down how we handled Thanksgiving this year.

Saturday, November 21

My mom’s side of the family always does Thanksgiving and Christmas the Saturday before the holiday, and this year was no exception. Even in the midst of COVID, it was decided that we’d still get together.

Isaac had a blast! He basically ran around for the whole time and thoroughly enjoyed playing with his cousins. The only thing he ate were rolls (He kept swiping them from the food table.) and dessert. I know, I know, you’re thinking that is not a suitable meal for a toddler. However, if you’re the parent of a toddler, you know that sometimes you have to pick your battles!

Thursday, November 26

We always host our immediate families on Thanksgiving day. In 2015, a few weeks after we got married, we decided to have our families over and do all the cooking. We stayed up until midnight the night before prepping everything. Let me just say, after that, we developed a greater appreciation for our parents/grandparents for doing all the cooking for so many years, and now we ask our families to bring food, too!

I’ve learned how important it is to involve Isaac in things, including cooking and preparing for company. I had some brown wrapping paper and cut it into a long strip. Then I drew leaves, pumpkins, etc. and let Isaac color it. It was a fun way to get him involved with Thanksgiving prep.

I was just a little proud of how my apple pie turned out. It’s hard to tell, but part of the crust is braided. The recipe is linked in this post.

As usual, Isaac provided quite the entertainment. Dad said it’s like going to a dinner-theater but for free.

Saturday, November 27

Daniel’s mom loves to cook, so we went to her house for lunch. She had a garden over the summer and sometimes still finds veggies in it. She had a green bell pepper for Isaac, which he ate better than the other food. As previously mentioned, we’ve learned when to pick our battles on making him eat.

Unfortunately, my dad’s side of the family decided not to have a big get-together this year because my grandfather just turned 95! We missed them but are thankful do the family we did get to see.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your Thanksgiving, regardless of what it looked like this year!

Sarah

9 Things I’m Thankful For in 2020

Hey, y’all!

This time of year always makes me very grateful. Though I know I should have those feelings all year, and I do, the thankfulness is more pronounced during the holidays.

Here are a few things I’m especially thankful for this year:

Salvation Through Jesus

The older I get, the more astounding it is that anyone thinks they can “make it” through life without Jesus. Life is hard; 2020 has proved that over and over. There have been so many times where, if I didn’t have my faith, I’m not sure how I would’ve made it.

Jesus gives me hope, strength, and peace, and I pray that if you’ve never asked Him to be your Savior, that you would do so today. We’re not guaranteed tomorrow, so it’s important to have our hearts right now.

Also, if you are a Christian, yet aren’t as close to the Lord as you should be, I encourage you to draw closer to Jesus. I have something in the works that will hopefully help you in that area, so stay tuned!

Opportunities to Serve at Church

You may know this, but Daniel is a full time pastor. For a long time, I felt like I was just a pastor’s wife and didn’t really have an opportunity to serve. A few months ago, I started teaching the women’s Sunday School class and am really enjoying doing that!

As Christians, it’s important to use the spiritual gifts we’ve received to serve Jesus. I feel like I was put on this earth to be a teacher, so it’s exciting to be able to use that gift at church, too.

Moreover, I’m quite a bit younger that my “students” at church, yet these ladies listen to me and encourage me. As a young woman, that is so uplifting to receive that from ladies that are older than me.

Health

COVID-19 has brought a whole new perspective to health. I’m thankful that my family and I aren’t battling sickness! We can get out and do what we want when we want, which I know is not an ability afforded to everyone.

I’m also learning how important it is to take care of my body now, so that it’ll take care of me in the future, and I’ve been working out consistently for quite a while (more about that in this post). I realize that there are so many who can’t do this because they’re bound to a wheelchair, fighting a viscous disease, etc. and I don’t take this for granted.

Daniel

I am so blessed to call Daniel my husband! He is kind, selfless, and hard-working. He is the embodiment of how a Christian should be and constantly makes me laugh. Daniel’s also my biggest cheerleader in this blogging endeavor and constantly encourages me. He’s the best daddy to Isaac, and I’m so thankful to be his wife!

I won’t say that we don’t have rough days, but we’ve learned a lot about marriage over the last five years (check out this post for more about that). We’re committed to each other, and I’m so thankful to have a spouse who will fight for our marriage.

Isaac and His Development

Parenting is one of the hardest yet most rewarding jobs one can ever have! Though Isaac is two, sometimes I still look at him and can’t believe that the Lord chose me to be his mother! He brings so much joy to everyone he meets, and I’m so proud of how much he’s learned.

This is something I’ve never talked about, but Isaac has some delays with his speech and isn’t saying as much as two-year-olds normally do. This is an issue that runs in the family, so it’s not entirely surprising, and his pediatrician is aware of the situation. He understands everything and communicates in his own way, but the language has just been absent.

However, he’s been able to formulate more words lately and is increasing his vocabulary. He’s recently learned how to say his name, and if your child ever struggled with speech, you know how much these accomplishments get celebrated! I’m so proud of him!

Time with Family

It makes me so sad to think about how many people have missed time with their family due to a fear of COVID. While we’re blessed to be healthy, Daniel and I also talked about how much we’d regret getting to the end of our lives and mourning all the time we missed with our family.

During this time, we’ve continued to visit our families, and I’m so thankful that we have! Time is precious, and I never want to take it for granted.

A Creative Outlet Through Blogging

My blog is almost four months old, and I’m so thankful for the community that has arisen through this venture. I hope this comes across in my posts, but I’m having so much fun blogging. This site has become my outlet and de-stresser. I’ve been able to reach more people than I ever thought possible, and I thank each of you for your support.

Graduate School

You may or may not know that I’m working on my Master’s degree in Instructional Leadership through Tennessee State University. While I enjoy being in the classroom now, I also know that’s not where I want to stay for the rest of my career. By having my administrative license (which comes with this degree), I’ll have more opportunities down the road.

I’m in a year-long program and should graduate in May. I’ve said it time and again, but the Lord lead me to start graduate school at exactly the right time, and it’s going really well (though I’m happy to be finished with classes for the semester).

olive cardigan (SARAH15) / tank / leggings

Downtown Allie Collaboration

If you’ve been around for a bit, you know that I collaborate with a local boutique, Downtown Allie, from time to time. Allie, the owner, and I graduated high school together, so we’ve known each other for a long time.

I’ve really enjoyed working with her the last few months and bringing you deals for her store. Not only has it been encouraging to build a friendship with someone who shares in my beliefs, but it’s also been rewarding to support a small business, so if you haven’t checked out her site/store, you definitely should!

The cardigan I’m wearing is from Downtown Allie and is still in stock. You can use SARAH15 to get 15% off of it.

What are you most thankful for today?

Sarah

My Favorite Dessert Recipes

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? We actually relaxed and had a lot of family time, which was so nice!

If I had to choose between salty and sweet, I’d definitely choose the latter! I wish it was acceptable to eat dessert for every meal, but alas, my pants wouldn’t thank me for that if I did it.

Today I’m rounding up some of my favorite dessert recipes that I make for family gatherings (or for Daniel, Isaac, and me if I’m being honest). Hopefully this will give you some inspiration if you have Thanksgiving meals to attend this week.

waffle cardigan (similar) / leopard top / jeans / booties / insulated tote

Caramel Apple Crisp for 2 – While the original recipe makes enough for two people, I’ll at least double the it when I make this dessert for family. You can also swap out the apples for any other fruit, and just leave out the caramel.

Nutella S’mores Bars – This is my all-time favorite dessert! Enough said!

Cupcakes – I wish I could find the site where I originally got this recipe, but I’ve been using it for years, and can’t locate the original creator. The key to long-lasting, moist cupcakes is sour cream. I know that might sound weird, but you can’t taste it once everything is baked, and your cupcakes will stay fresh for days (if they last that long)!

Chocolate Chip Cookies – I get Nestle Toll House chocolate chips, and this recipe is on the back of the package.

Apple Pie – Mine and Daniel’s families are coming to our house for Thanksgiving, and this is what I’m going to make. I did a practice try over the weekend, and though the whole process took a while, it turned out pretty good, I definitely recommend adding ice cream!

Cheesecake – I know not everyone is into cheesecake, but I really enjoy it! Top with fresh fruit for some extra flavor.

Banana Cake for 2 – I’ve shared this recipe a few times, but it’s something different than typical desserts served at functions. Like the caramel apple crisp, I just increase each ingredient if I’m making this for more people.

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies – I once took these to a gathering, and there was a guy there who owns, runs, and works at a well-known restaurant. He said these were the best peanut butter cookies he’d ever had. I only bake mine for 6-8 minutes because I like soft cookies versus crispy.

Chess Squares – If you’ve never tried these, you’re missing out! They are mouth-watering good! Beware though, you’ll want to eat the whole batch.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies – I make these all the time because they’re both easy and delicious!

What’s your favorite dessert?

Sarah

Outfits of the Week + What I Cooked for Supper (11/15 – 11/21)

As always, here’s what I wore this week. I went with more casual looks because my principal allowed us to wear jeans, since it’s the week before Thanksgiving break.

Several pieces are from Downtown Allie, and you can use SARAH15 to get 15% off those items.

I’m also sharing what I cooked this week, including TWO yummy dessert recipes.

poncho sweater / shift dress (SARAH15) / boots

sweater (SARAH15) / jeans (similar) / leopard loafers

long sleeve / vest (SARAH15) / jeans (similar, similar) / booties

trumpet sleeve sweater (SARAH15) / jeans (similar) / leopard loafers

color block cardigan (Here’s the 2020 version.) / peplum top (similar) / leggings / flats (Time and Tru – check local Walmart)

black jacket (this year’s version) / striped tunic (similar) / leggings / sneakers (I linked the exact style, but I got mine from Marshall’s.)

Main Dishes + Sides

Chicken quesadillas and Mexican rice – This is one of our favorite dishes! I just cook diced chicken in a skillet and sprinkle it with taco seasoning, then add peppers and onions and let it all finish cooking together. I add chicken and shredded cheese into tortillas and let them cook on each side.

Chili and grilled cheese sandwiches – Soup and chili are so nice this time of year. Daniel and I tag-teamed supper on this night. He made the chili, and I cooked the grilled cheese sandwiches.

Grilled chicken wraps and sweet potato fries – I love sweet potato fries and actually prefer them to regular ones.

Sausage and peppers – Yes, this was on last week’s menu, but it’s so easy and tasty!

Hamburger steak, roasted veggies, macaroni and cheese – These dishes are pretty straight forward, but my guys really liked this meal. The macaroni noodles I get actually have a recipe on the back of the box, which is what I use.

Dessert

Banana Cake for 2 – I’m all about quick, easy, and delicious desserts, and this banana cake hits all of those points. Rather than split it into two ramekins, I just make it all together in a small dish.

Homemade apple pie – I’ve never made apple pie before and wanted to try the “lattice crust” because the finished product looks so pretty. This is an actual picture of the one I made, and the only thing that would’ve made this better would’ve been some ice cream!

Have a good day!

Sarah

Sweater Dress

We finally made it to Friday! While it’s been a good week, it always seems like the days leading up to a break drag by.

As the temperatures drop, the need for warmer outfits becomes more necessary. If you’re a dress lover, like myself, that doesn’t mean you have to give them up during cooler months!

sweater dress / booties

I recently picked up this dress from Target, and while not all sweater dresses are created equal, I like the fit of this one. It’s not too baggy and shapeless, yet it’s not overly tight either. This would be a great option for Thanksgiving, since we’re all probably going to eat more than we should.

You could also add a belt to cinch it in and give yourself a little more shape.

The burnt orange color is also great for fall, and this is a color that I don’t normally gravitate toward, so it’s nice to get outside my comfort zone.

I hope you all have a great day!

Sarah

12 Thanksgiving Outfits

Hey, y’all! I hope you’ve had a good week so far.

With Thanksgiving next week, you may be wondering what to wear. No worries! I’ve rounded up a few looks that would work really well for whatever your family gathering will look like this year.

Additionally, several of these looks are from Downtown Allie and you can use SARAH15 to get 15% off the specified items.

poncho sweater / shift dress (SARAH15) / boots

sweater (SARAH15) / jeans (similar) / scarf / fedora (similar) / booties

flannel jeans / booties

waffle cardigan (SARAH15) / leopard tank / jeans / booties

 tank / cardigan / scarf / flats (Time and Tru – check local Walmart)

sweater dress / booties

olive cardigan (SARAH15) / jeans / booties

trumpet sleeve sweater (SARAH15) / jeans (similar) / leopard loafers

striped sweater / jeans (similar) / booties / fedora (similar)

striped top (similar) / vest (SARAH15) / jeans / booties

joggers / denim jacket (similar) / sneakers (linked in this post)

chenille color block sweater (similar) / jeans (similar) / flats (Time and Tru – check local Walmart)

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you having a traditional family gathering, or are you keeping it more low-key this year?

Sarah

Downtown Allie Sweater 4 Ways

As you all know, Downtown Allie is one of my favorite boutiques. I recently picked up this sweater from her shop and know that I’m going to get a lot of use out of it!

The cream color allows it to go with anything, and it’s thin, so you won’t get too hot when wearing it. With that being said, I recommend wearing nude undergarments or a nude cami underneath.

Also, Allie has given me a discount code to share with you! SARAH15 gets you 15% off select items, and I’ve indicated which pieces this applies to.

Check out the four ways I’ve styled it:

Dressy

I have an upcoming post on how to layer sweaters/tops over dresses, and I love the way these items look together! The fun pop of print is really cute with the neutral top. I would definitely wear this to church or for date night.

sweater (SARAH15) / dress (SARAH15) / booties

Business-Casual

I really like having a neutral outfit with a printed shoe for a fun twist. The combination would be perfect for a business-casual work environment or for teachers. Add some fun accessories for added interest, and you’re good to go!

sweater (SARAH15) / jeggings / leopard loafers / headband

Thanksgiving

Since this top is thin, adding a cozy scarf is a great way to warm it up. I also like how the fedora and booties make it a little more edgy. This would be a really cute outfit for Thanksgiving, too. I’m working on a post to give you some outfit inspiration for the upcoming holiday, so stay tuned.

sweater (SARAH15) / jeans (similar) / scarf / fedora (similar) / booties

Weekend

One of my favorite parts about this top is that it covers the booty, therefore making it leggings-friendly! I added a longer tank underneath for a little extra coverage in the front, too. Pair this with sneakers and a cap, and you’ll be super cute and comfortable as you run errands over the weekend.

sweater (SARAH15) / tank / leggings / sneakers (I linked the exact style, but I got them from Marshall’s.) / Nike cap

Which outfit is your favorite?

Sarah

Outfits of the Week + What I Cooked for Supper (11/8 – 11/14)

Happy Saturday!

Thank you for your input on Intastories about continuing these outfits of the week posts. I’m glad they’re helpful to you!

I also asked about some content you’d like to see coming up, and I got several responses pertaining to recipes, meal planning, and grocery lists. As a result, I’m going to begin adding a weekly menu to these Saturday posts, too.

First up is what I wore this week. I’ve provided links when possible and found dupes for pieces that are old or out of stock.

dress / waffle cardigan / flats (Time and Tru from Walmart – check local store)

dress (sold out online from Old Navy – similar, similar) / flats (Time and Tru from Walmart – check local store)

flannel / jeans / booties

tunic (similar) / leggings / flats (Time and Tru from Walmart – check local store)

poncho sweater / jeans (similar) / flats (Time and Tru has a similar style – check local Walmart)

Other than date night, I cook supper most nights. Lately I’ve been trying to cook dishes that will have leftovers to take for lunch the next day. This week, I tried a new recipe, along with some of our tried-and-true favorites.

Main Courses + Sides

Tex-Mex Cauliflower Rice – This is a new recipe and turned out pretty good! It also made enough to have leftovers for lunch and supper the next day.

Sausage and peppers with brown rice – I discovered this dish back in the spring from one of my favorite bloggers: Caitlin Covington. It’s super easy, and even Isaac likes it!

Spaghetti, salad, crescent rolls – This is nothing fancy. I just brown ground beef and add it to Prego sauce, then dump it over noodles.

Sausage pizza, salad – This is the dough recipe I use. Pizza is always a great meal option because it can be customized to fit all taste buds in the household.

Dessert

We’re big dessert people at my house! I usually try to do at least one on the weekends.

Chocolate oatmeal cookies – These are quick and easy and pair perfectly with a glass of milk! I usually half the recipe for us because, although we would definitely eat the whole batch, that’s probably not the best option!

I did another blog post a few weeks ago with some more family-friendly meal ideas. Check it out here.

Have a great day!

Sarah

Life Lessons from Women in the Bible: Hannah

Congratulations! We made it to Friday!

It’s hard to believe that this is my 5th post about lessons from women in the Bible, and today is all about Hannah.

There was a man named Elkanah who had two wives: Peninnah and Hannah. The former had children; the latter was barren. Elkanah loved Hannah the most, and due to jealousy, Peninnah constantly provoked her.

Hannah’s one desire was to become a mother, and she promised God that if He gave her a son, she’d give him back to the Lord. While she was praying this, Eli, the high priest, accused her of being drunk in the tabernacle because her lips were moving but no words were coming out. Hannah explained the situation and Eli blessed her.

After that, Hannah and Elkanah conceived a son, who they named Samuel. After he was weaned, Hannah took him to the tabernacle to live and be raised up as a priest.

Here are four things we can learn from Hannah’s story:

Hannah and Elkanah continued to worship God regularly, even though they didn’t have children. After Samuel was born, they continued to follow the Lord and focus on their walk with Him.

As parents, it’s so easy to let our children take “center stage” in our lives. However, one day, those children will grow up, move out, and begin lives of their own. If your marriage has been neglected all of that time, what kind of shape will it be in?

Daniel and I have learned the necessity of not only focusing on our marriage but also how important it is to keep God as our focus. We talk more about that in this post.

Hannah’s childlessness increased her prayer life. Even when God didn’t give her what she wanted, at first, she continued to be faithful in her worship.

We all experience trials in life. However, when we go through them, we need to pray more to God rather than grow resentful that we didn’t get our way. He is always on time, and has an answer to your prayer, it just may be a little farther down the road.

Hannah made a vow to God that if He’d give her son, she’d give him back to the Lord’s service. That’s exactly what she did.

I can’t imagine how difficult it was for her to leave Samuel at the tabernacle to grow up, but we need to remember that when we promise God, or anyone for that matter, to do something, that we need to do it. Hannah was blessed with more children because she kept her promise to the Lord, and you will receive blessings, too, for remaining faithful.

Eli was quick to judge and rebuke Hannah, even though his own sons lived immoral lives. While his intentions might’ve been in the right place, his approach wasn’t.

As Christians, we need to hold each other accountable. However, it should be done in a kind way. You can probably think of a time when you were corrected, yet it hurt your feelings because it wasn’t done in a considerate manner. Remember what that felt like the next time you’re the one giving advice.

I hope today’s post encourages you and that you have a great day!

Sarah

Previous “Life Lessons from Women in the Bible” posts:

Eve

Sarah

Rahab

Ruth

Girly Twist on Flannel

Happy Wednesday!

Flannel is a closet staple this time of the year. It makes me think of bonfires and family photos. However, it can also be manly-looking, and as a woman, that may not be the look you’re going for. Enter this darling, baby doll flannel from American Eagle.

flannel / jeans / booties

I got this top about a month ago after seeing other bloggers rave about it on Instagram. I’m here to tell you, it’s worth the hype.

The baby doll cut gives it a girly twist, which I really like, and the plaid print is less “in-your-face” than other flannel tops.

I will say that is runs over-sized. I sized down to an XS, and there’s still plenty of room.

What do you think? Do you like the twist on this flannel or prefer a more traditional cut?

Sarah

Gatlinburg Getaway

Hey, y’all! I hope you all had a restful weekend!

Mine and Daniel’s 5th anniversary was Saturday, and one thing we’ve learned is how important it is to make time for each other (more about that in this post). As a result, we decided to do a little getaway to one of our favorite places: Gatlinburg, TN.

In the mountains vs. beach debate, we definitely prefer the former, and have ventured to Gatlinburg every year since we’ve been married. There’s just something about a little mountain town that seems so cozy.

Due to COVID, we decided to rent a cabin and do our own cooking, to avoid the crowds that were sure to be in downtown. Honestly, it was so nice to cook together, verses me cooking and Daniel entertaining Isaac, like we do at home.

We arrived late Thursday night and ate supper on the road. On Friday, we planned on making breakfast casserole (recipe linked in this post), but we discovered that our cabin didn’t have a baking dish. Instead, we made a sausage, egg, and cheese scramble with a side of crescent rolls and had enough leftovers that Saturday’s breakfast was taken care of, too.

For lunch, we made chili (recipe link is here) and grilled cheese sandwiches and ate on the upper balcony. It was actually pretty warm (in the 70s), so we finished lunch on the lower balcony that was a little more shaded.

Since we had plenty leftover, we had chili for supper, too. I tried to make the Nutella s’mores bars I mentioned in my birthday post, but the oven was really old, so they came out more like burnt crisps, ha ha! Unfortunately, most of the dessert found its way to the garbage.

Additionally, while we did some work, we are graduate students and working parents after all, we also had lots of time to relax, which was the whole purpose of the trip.

Daniel brought his guitar and wrote a few songs, and I got to exercise outside with the mountains in the distance. We also each brought a book and read for fun. It was wonderful.

While we were only gone a couple of nights, it was honestly so refreshing to get away and celebrate our anniversary.

Here’s a link to the cabin where we stayed. While it did have some slightly creepy baby clothes hanging on the walls, it had excellent cleanliness ratings, ha ha. In all seriousness though, it was the perfect size for us, and the views can’t be beat.

What’s your favorite place to vacation with your spouse?

Sarah

5 Things We’ve Learned in 5 Years of Marriage

Today is a very special day: it’s mine and Daniel’s 5th anniversary! With that being said, I have a guest contributor for today’s blog post: Daniel, himself. I talked to him about this post a few months ago and told him I wanted it to be about five things we’ve learned during the past five years. He wrote his list, and I wrote mine, and it was interesting to see how similar our responses were.

I’ve specified who wrote each lesson.

1. Swallow your pride, and say you’re sorry first.

Me:

During our first year of marriage, we had “disagreements” with some regularity. We were both at fault at various times, and one of the toughest things we learned to say was, “I’m sorry.” However, over the past five years, we’ve discovered that by getting the apology out, the healing process of that moment can begin sooner.

2. Know your spouse’s love language and speak it.

Me:

If you haven’t read The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, we highly recommend it! The premise behind it is that we all have a “love language” (words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch), and when it is “spoken” to us, our “love tank” becomes full.

Daniel:

This book really speaks some great truth. My love language is words of encouragement. As a pastor, I can shake hands with everyone in the church and receive encouragement, but the most important encouragement that I receive comes from my wife. Sarah has grown into a great encourager, and I would rather have encouraging words from her than a million dollars! 

At the same time, I am to be Sarah’s biggest encourager. Someone said, “The smartest thing a husband can do is really turn their wife loose to be all God wants her to be.” It’s a beautiful thing to see a person blossom under the encouragement of their spouse. Friend, if you’re not encouraging your spouse, you’re missing a chance to bless them.

Me:

My love language is acts of service. When Daniel does things around the house, such as picks up toys, makes the bed, does laundry, vacuums, cooks, or gives Isaac a bath, it fills my heart with so much love, not to mention, it takes a load off of me!

When we first got married, I’d get really frustrated because I felt like I did “everything” (In hindsight, I realize that this totally wasn’t the case.) The problem was, Daniel didn’t know that I needed help because I never asked. Make sure that if something is bothering you, you talk to your spouse about it! Staying silent builds resentment, and resentment kills marriages.

3. Trust one another.

Daniel:

Proverbs 31:11 says, “The heart of her husband safely trusts her, so he will have no lack of gain.” I have known couples who didn’t have any trust whatsoever for their spouse, but I trust Sarah more than I do myself. I know she has Jesus as her Savior, the Holy Spirit as her guide in her soul, and she is in the Word of God daily. I trust her. 

However, before someone can trust their spouse, they must know their spouse and really understand them. 1 Peter 3:7 says, “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” 5 years into marriage, I know my wife better than ever. Study your wife, know what makes her tick, learn what she loves, what she can’t stand, what her gifts are, and what her dreams are. I am to understand her. I am to honor her. She is a co-heir of grace with me in Christ.

4. Bad moments don’t make bad marriages.

Me:

When two people get married, there will be tough times, no matter how “prepared” you thought you were. The important thing is to work through those issues and difficult moments. Just because there are times you argue, doesn’t mean you chose the wrong person to marry. Dwell on all of the good times rather than the few bad ones.

Daniel:

In music, it takes multiple notes to make a chord. Played apart, these notes sound okay, but when the right notes are played together in harmony, you’ll have a good sounding chord. I believe early in marriage, we found out that we were very different in several ways. When we focused on these differences, it made us mad and sad. 

By the Lord’s grace, He showed us to focus on each other’s strengths and not the differences. I am very laid back and can procrastinate most anything. I say, “I work well under pressure,” but that’s just a cover for being a procrastinator. Sarah is very task-oriented, very time-conscious, and has most everything in order. As a result, she has “made me” (in a good way) become more on time and just all around more in order in life. I think I have helped her to relax a little more in some situations and encourage her that everything’s going to be okay. Instead of playing different musical notes separately, we are learning how to play a beautiful chord in marriage.  

5. Keep Christ at the center.

Me:

This is by far the most important thing we’ve learned over the past five years. When we neglect our individual relationships with God, our marriage shows it. Satan worms his way between us, and tension arises over silly things.

However, by reading the Bible and praying, and by founding our marriage on these concepts, we’ve grown immensely over the last 5 years. We’ve gone from, “Did I make a mistake in marrying this person?” to, “How can I live life without him/her?”

Daniel:

Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

If you’ve made it this far, you’re a champion and we thank you for reading today’s post!

If you’re married, what’s an important concept you’ve learned?

Daniel and Sarah

Closet Staples: LBD

Hey, y’all!

I want to begin by saying, “THANK YOU!” for the love you showed on mine and Daniel’s previous post, on how we met. He was exited to be able to contribute, so expect additional appearances from him in the future.

Today, I’m continuing my closet staples series with an item that every woman should have in her closet: a little black dress aka LBD.

LBDs come in all shapes and sizes, so find one that works for your body. The one I’m wearing is from Old Navy, and it’s a style they continue to put out year after year.

The great thing about an LBD is its versatility.

Casual

By throwing on sneakers, a cap, and tying a flannel shirt around your waist, you have an instant outfit for when you want to be comfy yet cute.

LBD / sneakers / flannel (Time and Tru – check local Walmart) / Nike cap

Church or Date Night

With cooler temperatures, it’s becoming necessary to dress warmer. By adding a fun scarf and booties, you can easily make this “plain” dress a little more interesting. This would be really cute to wear to church.

LBD /  booties  /  scarf

Night Out

Adding fedora instantly adds a “cool” vibe to an outfit. If you’re going out, this combination makes for a fun outfit.

LBD / olive utility jacket /  booties 

School

As many of you know, I’m a teacher. Pointed-toe, nude flats elongate the leg and a cardigan adds a pop of color and warmth.

LBD / cardigan (similar) / flats (Time and Tru – check local Walmart)

I also want to say that these pictures were taken before I got my extensions, ha ha! I haven’t given them up that quickly!

Sarah

How Daniel and I Met

Hey, everyone! I hope you’re doing well!

Mine and Daniel’s 5th anniversary is on Saturday (November 7), so I thought it’d be fun to tell how we met. I asked Daniel to contribute to the story, so you could get his perspective, too.

This is our very first picture together.

Here’s my version of what lead to our meeting:

I didn’t date much in high school and always imagined that college would be where I met “Mr. Right.” However, while my friends were all in serious relationships while we were at the University of Tennessee at Martin, I remained painfully single. After a long time of me trying to force relationships to happen, the Lord brought me to a low, lonely place and told me that if I kept trying to create relationships, then who would get the credit? I finally got to the point where I gave everything to God and told Him that He’d have to be the one to bring a man into my life, so He’d get the glory. That was around March or April of 2014.

Fast forward to May when I came home from college. My family and I were in search of a church, and at that time, the church Daniel was pastoring was a few miles from my parents’ house, so one Sunday, Dad and I went, and as we pulled into the parking lot, a black truck whipped in behind us, almost hitting us.

You probably know where this is going, but low and behold, Daniel was the one in the truck, ha ha!

Dad introduced us, we exchanged a few pleasantries, then it was time for church.

That afternoon, Daniel sent me a friend request on Facebook and messaged me saying how nice it was to have Dad and me at church.

I found the original message on Facebook Messenger:

Daniel’s version of what was going on behind the scenes:

When I was younger, my momma taught me the principle that if something is worth worrying about, then, it’s worth praying about for 30 days. In the spring of 2014, I began a 30 day prayer for a wife. I believe it was on day 14 of this prayer that I met Sarah. 

The story goes something like this. I was running late for church that morning (which was not unusual at that time in my life), and when I whipped in the parking lot, I about ran over this car backing into a parking space. I thought, “That’s Steve Killingsworth…and his daughter.” I have known Steven and some of his family through playing music for years, but I had never met his daughter. 

I had recently invited Steven to come to church with me sometime, but I wasn’t expecting to see them as I pulled in that morning. I was introduced to Sarah, and we all talked for a few minutes before going in for worship.

When I stood to preach that morning, I looked out and Sarah began taking notes during the sermon. I was impressed! I still remember going home that day after church and saying, “Steve Killingsworth and his daughter came to church today, and she took notes as I preached.”

I wanted to ask Sarah out, but I wanted to be faithful to fulfill the 30 day prayer that I had committed to, so once I finished the 30 day prayer, I asked her out, and she said, “Yes.” 

Remember friends, if something is worth worrying about, it’s worth praying about.  I’m sure thankful that the Lord sent Sarah as an answer to my prayers.

These are our first Facebook profile pictures as a couple. If you’re an OG Facebooker, you know changed profile pictures made a couple “Facebook Official.”