Quality Time…’ain’t nobody got time for that’

I got a little crazy last night. I know, I know this is completely out of character for me, but I just couldn’t resist. I took the ‘5 Love Languages’ assessment to find out my primary love language. Turns out I’m a fan of ‘quality time’. It’s funny to me that this is even a love language. How could your love language not be quality time? Doesn’t everyone love quality time with their spouse? I would think if you never spent quality time together, you wouldn’t know the person you are with very well. That doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship to me.

I feel like back in the day, people just enjoyed the company of their spouses. They didn’t have trashy reality shows and iPhone’s to distract them from one another. They spent real, quality time together. They ate meals together without the television on or their cell phones glued to their ears. What has our world become? We have let technology rule our lives. We’ve let it get in the way of those people right in front of our faces.

Plus we’re just busy. Always running, never stopping to appreciate each other. We always have somewhere to be or someone to see. It’s exhausting.

I get it. I’m guilty of it too. I don’t always give my husband my full, undivided attention when he’s talking to me. I sometimes hush him if he’s talking during ‘Revenge’ (don’t mess with me when that show is on!). I sometimes text a friend during dinner when it could have waited until after we ate. I overbook us with too many things in one weekend. I know I have room to improve.

But we need quality time together. We have to make the time to be alone with one another.

But here’s my question to you: can you go an entire evening without any distractions from your spouse?

If your answer is ‘no’, then I challenge you to give it a try. Because quite honestly, the more you show that person he or she comes second to Honey Boo Boo and your precious Blackberry, the more you push him or her away. Eventually they won’t want to spend that quality time with you anymore either and then what will happen to your relationship?

If your answer is ‘yes’, good for you! I challenge you to continue to set aside a night each week where you turn off the tv and your phones and the computer and just be together.

Trust me, it’ll be worth missing an episode of one guy date twenty women at the same time. Anything would be worth missing that. Sorry, Sean.

I will leave you with this video for your enjoyment. You’re welcome.

“I Love You, Because…”

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

This year I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to top last year’s Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt I made for my husband. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but he did love it a whole lot. Ok, our marriage doesn’t depend on awesome gifts or anything, but I wanted to do something equally as special for him this year. So, I searched and searched and searched for the perfect gift to get/make him. Then it happened; I found my pinspiration from a young new mom trying to encourage her helpful husband, found here. How cute is she?

I thought it seemed like the perfect gift for our home. I put my own touches on it, using a different frame, paper, font and felt flowers. I also added to the frame scripture from 1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.” It is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. It’s because of God’s love that I am even able to love my husband. So with that in mind, I can share specific reasons I love him to encourage him daily.

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It’s true. He really does do the laundry every week. I’m so thankful!!

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He absolutely loved it! ::pats self on back::

Enjoy your day, all you love birds!

farewell facebook.

I remember when facebook was cool. Before it became a place of sharing pictures of every meal; before it was freedom of speech at it’s [not so] finest, and before everyone felt like they had to come up with a status better than the last guy to get maximum ‘likes’ and feel good about themselves.

I hardly remember what life was like before I had facebook. I do actually remember setting up my account, though. It was at the end of my senior year of high school, because back then you could only join if you had a college e-mail address, nowadays my cat and my one year-old niece can have a facebook. I just need some time away right now. I need time to focus on the things that matter and enjoy the relationships I have in my life, not on the internet.

Today is Ash Wednesday, which begins the Lenten season. Therefore, I have decided to give up facebook for the next forty days. Will it be a challenge? Of course. Will it be worth it? You bet.

I didn’t just give up facebook to prove to the world or to myself that I could do it. I didn’t just give it up because it sometimes annoys me more than anything (especially when a big event occurs), but I have reasons for why I am doing it.

1. Distraction. Everyone knows facebook has become this biggest distraction on the planet. We can’t go two minutes without the itch to refresh our news feed so we know exactly what everyone is doing at that exact moment. Who are we? A bunch of stalkers if you ask me. I spend a lot of time checking my facebook throughout the day and especially in the evenings if I have nothing going on. It has taken time away from cleaning when I need to, projects I have needed to finish, planning, and most importantly my quiet time with the Lord. It’s completely my fault for placing it above things I shouldn’t, but the Lord tells us to rid ourselves of the things that distract us from him [Hebrews 12:1]. So here you go, Lord. No more facebook for Jill…at least for a while.

2. Gossip. This is a big one for me. I don’t think it’s one that always occur to us, but facebook is a very dangerous place for gossip to start. I find myself a lot of times scrolling through my news feed and feeling like it’s okay to gossip about someone, because “hello, they put their issues on facebook, that gives me permission to talk about them to others”. Wrong. It’s so easy to fall into this trap. It’s never okay to put someone else down. It’s never okay to gossip. We should always be an encouragement to our friends [Ephesians 4:29].

3. Deception. Get real. Our lives are never really what we make them seem on facebook. We put all of our best moments, accomplishments, and pictures up for the world to see, but we hide our mistakes, fears, and failures. We can’t let people know we actually mess up, that we actually have problems. I’m very much guilty of this and it’s time to stop. If and when I do get facebook back, I want to be better about sharing my struggles and setbacks. I want people who are possibly struggling with similar things to know they are not alone. We are not meant to go through this journey of life alone.

Like I said, this WILL be a challenge. I already know that the devil is just waiting to tempt me daily…he already has. But! When I am tempted, I have scripture I can turn to in order to help me through it,

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. –1 Corinthians 10:13

PTL [Praise the Lord]! Amen!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Last Friday night was an unusual one. My husband and I got to just relax at home together. It’s rare that we don’t have something going on during the weekends, so it’s definitely a nice treat when we don’t. It’s also really rare when my husband makes an appearance in the kitchen, so I had to take full advantage of this occasion.

On this particular Friday, I was in the mood for pizza, but I didn’t just want your typical tomato sauce, pepperoni pizza. I wanted barbecue chicken pizza. It is my favorite kind of pizza to order at restaurants, but I’ve never tried to make one at home from scratch (ok, the crust wasn’t completely from scratch).

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tossing the dough like a boss

I’m so thankful for nights like those. I’m also thankful I married my best friend, because we have fun doing just about anything…pizza-making included.

Here is the recipe we used to make it:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pizza crust mix (I use Jiffy)
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced and cooked
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3/4 green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Make dough according to the instructions on the package (use a floured board to roll out the dough then transfer to pizza baking pan)
  • Bake in oven for 3 minutes
  • Take crust out and add sauce, toppings, and cheese
  • Bake pizza for 15-17 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is fully melted (see picture above) :]

It’s extremely easy and delicious!

#winterjamrejects

It was a chaperones worst nightmare.

On Saturday, my husband and I took some of the members of our high school youth group to Nashville, TN to a Christian concert called Winter Jam. When we arrived and saw how many people were outside the building, we knew it wasn’t a good sign.

“Why aren’t these people inside right now?”

Why isn’t the line moving forward?”

Millions of questions went through my head as I prayed that it didn’t mean they were sold out.

But it did.

My heart sunk in my chest. I literally wanted to sit down and cry. I knew that we were responsible for these twelve lives and I felt like we let them down by not getting in.

Just as I thought all hope was lost for what was supposed to be a great night of fun and fellowship, I heard the voice of an angel.

Ok, maybe not literally an angel, but pretty close.

Matthew West was playing his guitar and singing an acoustic version of one of his songs. We followed the voice until we got as close to the outdoor stage as we could. There were still a TON of people gathered around the stage. After he was finished singing, he said that he didn’t want the winter jam rejects to completely miss out on the fun so they were going to bring the concert to us outside.

A feeling of relief came over me as we continued to enjoy the concert, getting to see Jason Castro (American Idol Season 6), Toby Mac, Royal Tailor, Jamie Grace, Capital Kings, and a few others perform. We were blessed with incredible weather and I am so thankful that the situation turned out to be a good one in the end. The kids had a blast and even got some autographs from some of the artists afterwards.

The outdoor concert ended a lot sooner than if we had gone to the indoor one, but it actually worked out great because it gave us time to explore the Orpyland Hotel. Some of them had never been in it before, which made it fun.

But here’s the main point of my post:

God taught me a valuable lesson on Saturday. All too often when things go wrong or don’t go the way I had them planned, I think I’ve failed. That’s the Devil talking. I didn’t fail.

The Lord just had a better plan for us that night. It’s that way with the little things and the big things in life. His plan is always so much better than ours and sometimes we don’t see that until we look back on the situation and see how great it actually turned out. He says in scripture, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8), meaning we don’t always understand why things happen the way that they do, because we can’t even think on God’s level, but we can take comfort in knowing that we are in good hands…the Creator’s hands. He loves us and wants to take care of us. And he assures us he will take care of us when we put our trust fully in him. Something I need to work on myself!

And maybe, just maybe because we didn’t get in to the concert, that meant that others who didn’t know Jesus could get in and come to know him as their personal Lord and Savior through the testimony of the artists and speaker. And that my friends, is the best things we can hope for! Amen? Amen.

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jason castro rockin’ the dreads

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grammy nominated royal tailor

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toby mac layin’ down the beats

Books to Read in 2013

I’m not much of a reader. I have a history of starting books and never finishing them. You could say I’m a quitter when it comes to reading. No one likes a quitter.

Sometimes when I actually write out goals for myself it makes it easier to accomplish them, rather than just saying, “Oh, I want to read that book someday.” Psh, that’ll never happen.

So here is my list of books I would love to have read by the end of 2013:

  • The Shack by Wm. Paul Young (my husband actually just got this book, so it’s already within reach!)
  • Radical by David Platt (this is one I bought, started, and never finished)
  • Adopted for Life by Russell Moore
  • One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
  • The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
  • Desiring God by John Piper
  • Give them Grace by Fitzpatrick & Thompson

I plan to do a short book review/what I learned after I finish each book. Stay tuned.

Do you have any other book suggestions for me to read in 2013?? I’d love to hear of any I missed!

Interchangeable burlap wreath: winter edition

It’s that time again…change out the burlap wreath. If you’re just tuning in, here are my previous burlap wreaths: fall and christmas.

And if you’re just now tuning in to the crafting world, here’s my tutorial on how to cut burlap strips.

My favorite thing about winter is SNOW! So here is my newest wreath. Nothing speacial, but I like it.

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It must have worked, because we woke up this morning to our first snow fall!!

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I traded my pink gameboy for pink lipstick.

Wouldn’t it be nice to stay a kid forever? Seriously, think about it. To never have the responsibilities and stresses of adulthood, to never have your heart broken or never have to work? Wouldn’t it be nice to never grow up? I think that way at times. You know, the times when things are hard. The times when things don’t go my way. Yeah, I think about being a kid again.

Because when you were a kid, your biggest worry was which beanie baby you were going to get in your happy meal. And then, sadly, you get to that (all too young) age when you start feeling the pressures of wearing make-up and more mature clothing and finding a boyfriend to hold hands with at the movies. You start to see that it’s not cool to have a pink gameboy anymore and it’s time to trade it in for some pink lipstick.

At that age, everything about being an adult seems fun and cool and exciting. You don’t necessarily see the hardships and the responsibilities. I was that way. I couldn’t wait to grow up. And look at me now…wishing I was a kid again. Isn’t it ironic?

Society has a way of making us feel like we need to be striving for the opposite of what we are. Kids try to look and act older. Adults work so hard to look and feel younger. That is so messed up, isn’t it? We should just be content with our age. There are so many great things about being younger and older. Each stage of life is beautiful and we should cherish them. I have to remind myself of this on occasion.

It’s okay to be young and enjoy being young. There’s nothing wrong with being old and loving it.

So maybe there are days I want to be my kid self again. But if I had stayed a kid forever, I would never have the responsibilities and stresses of adulthood that strengthen my walk with Jesus Christ everyday. I would have never had my heart broken only to lead me to the man the Lord set out for me to spend the rest of my life with. I would have never had to work for a company I love with people who constantly encourage me and laugh with me every day.