“Megan’s Havana Banana Smash”

Hi quarantine buddies! Here’s one of my favorite things to make when I’m STARVING at breakfast time:) It’s super filling so be prepared to skip lunch or split this diet-killer with  a friend (or you know.. if you’re me.. just eat the whole darn thing cause you’re hungry and actually want to FEED yourself like a human not a bird!)

INGREDIENTS

  • Honey
  • 2 Slices of bread
  • Butter
  • Bananas
  • Peanut Butter or Nutella
  • Cinnamon
  • Mini Chocolate Chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Start warming a griddle or a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Butter the outside of two slices of bread.

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3. Spread peanut butter on either side of the bread.

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4. Slice a banana and add a layer of the slices on top of the peanut butter.

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5. Sprinkle with honey and cinnamon.

6. Add chocolate chips and put the two slices of bread together.

7. Like a grilled cheese, allow the sandwich to toast on a griddle until the bread is golden brown.

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8. Turn heat to low and wait until the peanut butter appears warm and softened.

9. Enjoy!

 

Adding to Accessories

Another DIY project to keep your hands busy during the quarantine! The tassel trend is growing fast, and, with a little embroidery floss you can easily hop on that train:) We all probably have old costume jewelry that we don’t wear. Even if you can’t replicate my project exactly, I hope this inspires you to get creative with some old jewelry.

Supplies

  • Old earrings
  • Pliers & Scissors
  • Embroidery floss
  • Small metal jewelry rings

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Steps

  • Tie a small knot at the neck of the earring

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  • Begin wrapping the floss tightly around the earring. Make sure that you don’t leave any loose strands or visible spaces! If the floss starts to slide around, add a small dot of hot glue on the back of the earring to provide more support as you go.

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  • As you reach the base of the earring, thread in your metal rings. These are where you’ll start the tassels later.

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  • When you’ve made your way completely around the earring with your first strand, tie off in a knot. Choose a different color to start you first tassel and knot the end around your ring.
  • Start looping the new strand through the ring over and over until you reach your desired tassel thickness.

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  • Once you’ve reached this thickness, twist the same strand around the top of your loops to create the neck of the tassel. Tie off in a small knot and cut the extra floss. Cut the base of the loop to separate the strands of the tassel. Repeat the process for the other two rings.
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Before & After

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Memory Mobile

Hello from quarantine all! I hope you enjoy the next few projects. Seeing as how we are all living through our first major pandemic, we have a lot of time on our hands. Maybe even some extra time to get your creative on ey?! This DIY mobile is a simple and versatile way to add natural elements into your living space! It’s versatile design allows for pictures to be easily updated whenever you want and it can be modified to fit the supplies that you already have. Enjoy!

Supplies

  • Wood stick
  • Pocket knife & Sandpaper
  • Fishing line
  • Small stones
  • Embroidery floss
  • Polaroid style photos
  • Clothespins
  • Twine

Steps

  • Finding a Stick: make sure that the stick you choose is not wet or rotting; you want this project to be in your house without any additional critters. When you’ve selected your stick, use a pocket knife and your sandpaper to smooth the surface. Feel free to be creative here and leave some bark visible for added texture!
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Here is the stick that has been smoothed with a pocket knife and sandpaper
  • Adding Textural Interest: To add some unique elements to my craft I chose to wrap one end of my stick with an old choker necklace that I never wore. When I hung the finished mobile on the wall, I tucked dried flowers at the end. If you have allergies artificial flowers are an option!
  • Attaching the Basics: I used a combination of fishing line and twine for each of the strands of the mobile. This is where you’ll attach your photos and anything else you want to hang. A loop of twine was used to create the hanging strap at the top of the mobile. Make sure you use a strong twine here because this is how you’ll hang your wall art later!
  • Adding Attachments: I used hot glue to attach strings of pebbles to the fishing line. It’s easiest, here, if you glue the fishing line between two stones. I also chose to hang embroidery floss tassels. My mobile is decorated with neutral colors but it would be interesting to choose bright colored tassels and hang strands of colored beads or artificial flowers here!
  • Photos: The polaroid photos are really the perfect size for this project. I don’t own the camera, but I invested in a mini printer that my phone can bluetooth to. Highly recommend! Clothespins add a cute touch to the project and are the perfect way to hang your photos.
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The Finished Product!
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The Finished Product!

For the Days of Doubt

Hello hello friends! It’s been quite the long-time-no-see situation here (awkward laugh..awkward laugh). I’ve been working on a few DIY projects recently, but in the midst of school and the storm of life that I’ve been walking through, I haven’t found the time nor the motivation to upload them to the blog. So my sincerest apologies for the LONG hiatus, but I hope this next post finds you in good will. Keep an eye out for the up and coming DIY project, I think you’ll love it.

I’ve been walking through quite the season of life friends. I like to joke around and say that my life is a ‘cosmic joke’…and that God is up there laughing at me sometimes. In light of that, I do not lose the realization that people walk through battles MUCH harder than I do. And yet, losing this tendency to compare the weight of our situations, I am still able to see God working through the seemingly small things.

One of my favorite things about attending a Christian university, is the constant opportunity to have meaningful conversations. Today, I was feeling especially discouraged by some of the feelings I’ve faced. This season has held a lot of questions for me about my identity. There’ve been times where I ‘ve felt alone, worthless, unwanted, temporary, used, stained by sin, and a screw-up. (WOW that’s a lot…) Over a meal with friends, I was reminded to remember where my place stood. At the Lord’s table, I am not sitting at the head. I am the daughter not the father…meaning that my role in that meal is not to prepare it, but to gratefully consume it. Trying to be perfect–to hold on too tightly to my own plans and desires–means that I loosen my grip on my trust in the Lord. “What would happen,” one friend asked, “if you were to loosen that grip. To open your hand and let the Lord take hold of whatever you’re waiting for?”

In light of that conversation, the passage I opened up to today caught me by it’s surprising (although not surprising cause, you know, God is literally GOD) relevance. Mark 4: 35-41. The passage about rough waters. (Ironically the girl who loves the sea is continually led to passages about it…check out my last post;) ) But back to our topic.. the passage:

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as he was. And a great windstorm arose, and the waters beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

(Mark 4:35-41 NKJV)

“Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Wow. That hit hard. Translation… Teacher do You not care about us? Why aren’t you doing anything? We know how WE want you to fix the situation, so why haven’t you done it? We don’t like where we’re at, you seem to be doing nothing about it, so that must mean you don’t care about us…Right?

Wrong. How many times in my feelings of inadequacy and aloneness, have I jumped to conclude that He didn’t care as much about me? That He only saw my sin? That I was somehow less loved, less cared for–that God is not who He says He is? I am the men in that boat. The men who held on too tightly to a plan that wasn’t being executed the way they wanted it to be. And God’s response to me today?

“Why are you so fearful”…. (Why don’t you trust that I have it under control?)…”How is it that you have no faith”…(How do you not see that I love you, that I will keep this boat afloat, not you?) I don’t know the end story of the game, but right now I do no my next play. To stay in the boat despite the waves. To look to the teacher when I feel overwhelmed and seasick by the rocking. To remember that He is the one behind the wind. The wind that is blowing us toward our destination…

~Megan

Parmesan Asparagus

Hello bloggies,

Here’s another family favorite for you to try and enjoy! It’s a simple, delicious, and healthy side dish perfect for Easter or any time you’re looking to make a quick addition to your meal. Tell me what you think and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • Asparagus
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese (can use powdered but fresh is best!)
  • 2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Spread 2 tablespoons of olive oil evenly across a baking sheet.
  • Spread asparagus onto the pan allowing them to evenly be evenly coated with the oil.
  • Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven.
  • Sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese (as much as desired) over your asparagus.
  • Place in oven for 2 more minutes. Enjoy!

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The LORD called your name, “A green olive tree, beautiful in fruit and form”

                                                                                                                               Jeremiah 11:16

Asking for Some Faith

“Why”

We start asking that question just about a year from the time we say our very first word. Question after question rolls off our childhood tongues and later from our worried adult hearts.

I never truly stopped questioning things. Part of that is a grasp for a sense of control–the result of thickened skin, of protective walls that I’ve hedged around myself in response to hurt. Trying to map out my future is like a defense mechanism, a way for me to prepare myself for what’s coming, in the hopes that I might dodge hurtful situations.

“What”

What will my life look like?

“How”

God, how will you do it?

And when things don’t go how I expect:

Lord, why is this the direction my life is going? Show me the lesson, teach me the meaning, the point behind this. Because in this moment I can’t find it on my own. It feels like I’ve been hurt so much even when I thought that I was doing the right thing. If I could sum up the book of Job (who in the face of suffering struggles with many of the same questions) in one word, I would choose the word faith.

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?….Have you ever given orders to the morning,

    or shown the dawn its place,
 that it might take the earth by the edges
    and shake the wicked out of it?”

-Job 38

The Lord powerfully reminds Job who is in control of the universe. He asks Job rest in the fact that the Lord is in control, to remember that He holds Job’s life in His very hands.  How much faith that takes!

God’s plans for us are exactly that.. GOD’s plans. Not my plans. He knows our first breath to our last and every moment in between. If you’ve grown up in the church you’ve been fed this theme, this idea that we should find rest in the fact that God knows our future, many times before. It takes A LOT of faith to sit back, to never question, to wait, and to trust in plans that you cannot see.

Lately, I’ve been pondering the idea of vulnerability. And faith, I think, is vulnerable. Completely giving up all control–dropping all expectations and questions–well that’s a dangerous business! We’re asked to produce these massive amounts of faith out of broken and weak lives. In these lives that have been touched by broken promises, by disappointment, and copious amounts of pain, where is this strong faith supposed to come from? Because Lord knows when I’m struggling through something, there’s times I don’t feel like I have an ounce of strength left in my body.

The faith that trusting in God’s plans requires doesn’t come from our broken lives, it must come from outside of them. This kind of faith is a gift. And it’s a gift that only God can give. The song “Give Me Faith” speaks directly into this,

I need you to soften my heart
And break me apart
I need you to pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me
All I am, I surrender
Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life
‘Cause I may be weak
But Your spirit strong in me
My flesh may fail
My God you never will
I may be weak
But Your spirit strong in me
My flesh may fail
My God you never will
-Elevation Worship, Give Me Faith

On our own we could never sum up the amount of faith that God is asking us to have, the kind of faith that we need to fully trust His plans. It’s by being vulnerable, by stepping completely aside, that we receive this strength. So while it might seem radical for me to say that faith is vulnerable, I say it with the realization that it is because faith is vulnerable that faith becomes strength. Our flesh fails. It’s weak and broken. Leaning on the gift of faith we recognize that we do not have to do it on our own. That Jesus Christ who lives in us, empowers us to have the faith necessary to fully lean on all of God’s promises. It’s terrifying to step aside and to surrender. But it is this motion, this response that allows the gift of faith to be enacted in our lives.

I’ve been wrong about what I thought the Lord was doing in my life. There’s times when I’ve been so sure of things, only to find that my assurances were moving in a different direction than God’s. This is the ugly part when vulnerability can hurt. But the beautiful thing about faith is that it is not limited. It starts again and again each day. Giving our lives to Christ means that we must rust what He says continually, not only when we think we know what His plan is. It means that even when we are wrong, when our flesh fails, we do not start questioning our God. Where faith surrenders complete control, assurances of love fill our lives. His Spirit is strong in us, no matter our weakness. Ask God for continual renewal of strength this month. Ask Him for that unending and unfailing faith– the faith that is vulnerable and raw, the faith that can surrender everything over to Him. Ask for these things, and I suspect you’ll start to see your life shaped in ways you never would have before imagined. God has a funny way of expanding our little minds to reveal big things:)

To Remain

Waking up in an icy cold room, I slip on a robe and walk to the kitchen where I’ll prepare the morning’s breakfast. Once again, I find myself missing the comforts of home. I miss the feeling of soft carpet under my feet when I climb out of bed. I miss the pantry full of breakfast choices. I miss the hustle and bustle of my family rushing to get ready for the day. But most of all, I miss the people I can count on–the ones whose love I know will remain despite any storm. And I cannot wait until I return.

It’s How We’re Wired

While you may not be reflecting on the comforts of home from a dorm room, I’m willing to bet there’s a sense of yearning in you. Because our hearts were wired to yearn for and to lean towards God, it’s ingrained in our very nature. The problem? That’s not always where we reach. These instincts are often projected onto aspects of life that we try to separate from God. Leaning, wishing, hoping, expecting, yearning–these are postures we pass through in the rhythms of life.  Are you constantly awaiting the next moment or hoping for the future? If you’re anything like me, I willing to bet you might be.

Productivity or Preservation?

We spend a lot of time planning. I’m not talking about big plans like jobs, marriage, kids, and houses. I mean the simple planning. The planning that consumes our day with tight schedules. The planning that leads us to look ahead to the events of the upcoming week and worry about them in the present. img_5499I find myself constantly swayed by a balancing act of worry and calm. We’ve been trained by a society that’s oriented towards productivity. Taught to never waste time, to “seize the day,” to make “every moment count,” it’s like we’re gripping onto something that we fear is going to be taken away from us.

“If I don’t study long enough, that grade is going to be lost. I’m going to lose my career and all of my future plans will fail.”

“If I don’t work more, I won’t be paid enough. I won’t earn that promotion. I won’t be able to live the comfortable life that I desire.”

“If I don’t do XYZ in my relationship, he/she won’t like me enough and I might feel alone.”

Any of these sound familiar? We’re all in different stages, all trying to walk through different storms. And you know what? It. is. exhausting. Afraid we might lack something, we suffocate in our desire to preserve it. While we were made to yearn for God who can satisfy, we’ve begun to lean towards and desperately hold on to the things that cannot.

Where You Stay, I’ll Stay

What’s more is we are constantly told to move, and we’re reminded to do it fast. Lines like “God’s got big plans for you. You’re going to be a kingdom-changer if you choose to follow Him” are fed to Christians on a regular basis. And don’t get me wrong, there is much truth to those statements. img_5493We are called to follow in the footsteps of our Savior. But often, I think we can misunderstand what that following looks like. Because following doesn’t always mean moving. It doesn’t always involve looking to where the next footprint is going to be made. In some seasons of life “following” might really mean “remaining.” And it can be just as hard.

 

Withstanding the Storm

In Mark 14 : 22-33 Jesus leaves His disciples on a boat and climbs a mountain where He begins to pray in solitude. While Jesus sat calmly praying in the presence of the Father, no doubt there was increasing worry, fear, and turmoil in the sea below. The passage tells us the boat is being “tossed by the waves” and the wind was “boisterous.” In the middle of the sea, surrounded on all sides by raging waves and enveloped in darkness, there is no question these men were experiencing great fear. In fact, because of their fear and lack of faith these men believed Jesus to be a ghost when they saw Him walking on water towards their vessel. The disciples would have been desperately praying for God to calm the sea, for safety, and for the return of their teacher.

When we hear this story we tend to focus on the miracle that occurs when Jesus walks on the water. But if we look closer, we find there’s a sharp contrast between the despair and chaos these men experience on the sea,  and the peaceful attitude of Jesus who sits calmly on a mountain top amidst the storm. Standing on the mountain top with the wind raging against Him, Jesus–unlike the disciples that night–had no doubt that the windstorm could be calmed.

I think our lives often look like that night. Only we tend to reflect the disciples’ reactions more often than our Savior’s. When a storm hits our life, we pray for it to cease. We are afraid and doubtful, and sometimes our faith falters. Instead of remaining peacefully in the storm, we yearn for the calm. img_3252.jpgWe hope for the next moment, for the future when “all will be well.” But I think, sometimes, we are called to just remain. Let the wind and the waves rage against us. But rather than fearfully struggling to reach safety, we might practice a little of what Jesus did: Stand firmly in our faith and know that amidst the storm, or the moment we do not wish to be in, our Father is there listening to our prayers sustaining us.

It is in this posture, I believe, that we can find rest. When we remain in God, we accept the position He’s placed us in. Instead of yearning for the present to be over–instead of awaiting a ‘better’ future that we have planned for ourselves, we wait and we listen. Perhaps the storm is happening for a reason. If we yearn for God rather than for the calming of the storm, Jesus will walk through the raging sea with us. And when, in His own timing, He climbs “into [our] boat, the wind will cease.” (Matthew 14:32). So friends, I encourage you this week to examine where you’re at in life right now. Is there something you’re yearning for? Examine what it would mean for you to remain in Christ and in the role He has placed you in, rather than reaching for the next moment ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Country Christmas Tree

This unique tree captures the comfort of a rustic theme while still maintaining the elegance of a classic Christmas. The mix of oversized and mini glass balls give the tree the illusion of being fuller. Mixing in glitter as well as silver among the white ornaments adds a bit of sparkle to the tree. Rustic elements are pulled in with the burlap ribbon, yarn star, cotton balls, and pine cones.

This is the first year that we decorated a themed tree. Every Christmas prior, we decorated the tree with handmade childhood ornaments, collectable snowmen and santas, candy canes, etc. I was afraid that I would miss seeing these traditional ornaments on the tree this year, but we still found a way to add personal touches to the tree! Making wood-slice ornaments painted with our family initial was a fun family activity and added the character our themed tree lacked.

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