Monday, October 20, 2014

Coffee with my Lord | Resting In His Unfailing Love

Hurrah for sticking with a post series!

(No, really ... HURRAH! I hardly ever stay consistent with my endeavors.)

Today, dear friends, I am sipping a cup of black coffee and rejoicing in the God Who makes all things new. Recently, I came to my beloved and asked him to forgive me for a few pre-marriage offences I had committed against him. I was amazed when he asked for my forgiveness for the very same things. My eyes filled with tears as I gave my handsome man a hug and we both praised God for working in our hearts individually before bringing us together over the same issue. What a good God we serve. He is always faithful to chasten His children. Unlike us, He will not overlook sin. He knows that the cost will be far worse in the end. I am so thankful that He means for us to be truly holy, righteous, and pure -- praise God for Jesus' unspeakable gift of being able to live like we should!

Today, I aim to lift my eyes to the hill and rejoice in the God Who fights for me, for us, and rest in His finished work.

What has the Lord been teaching you over your cup of coffee? I would love to hear!

With love,


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tea and Me | On a Cold October Evening

|| Put the Kettle On can be found here ||

"The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured coziness." P.G. Wodehouse


It's not normally for me.

Because I prefer my coffee ... in a cute mug ... hot and fresh and black.

But my consumption was exceeding the proper amount.

When my husband came home and found me floating in a sea of hot, brown deliciousness (again) he asked me to consider the alternative.


Ew, I said. It will have to be filled to the brim with milk, I said. Impossible, I said.

Yesterday's cup was awful, plum awful. It was too weak, too diluted, too cold. Never again, I said.

And then today came with its cool weather, fresh, homemade cookies, relaxed schedule, and mocked me. I had to find a caffeine free, hot beverage since my coffee consumption had already been had at 10 am -- so I gave tea one more try.

And somehow I enjoyed it.

So here's to my new relationship with tea -- may it never overstep the strong memories coffee and I have and may it always be there on cold October days.


Here's a bit of cheesy/romantic/tea fun ... I'll be sure to try this out on my hottea tonight. ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Photo Gallery and a New Home

Hello, dearies!

Yes, that's right -- we've left our bungalow for a one mile trek across town and a two room rental that nests at the end of a street. Brown walls and creamy white trim have been making Dalton and I feel warm and comfortable in this new space. There are no leaky sinks, no leaky roofs, and no leaky sewage pipes -- blessings indeed! Though we loved our last place, our honeymoon home, it is so nice to have a dependable landlord and the knowledge that, unless the Lord moves us, we can plan on settling in.

So without further ado, (and because I'm about to put my feet up, turn the Disney music up, and drink my coffee up) show yourself around!

Our living room is so spacious! Perfect for guests and (maybe one day) babies to wonder around in. There is so much room in comparison to our last rental that we are able to enjoy ample seating space -- both couches and ottoman fit nicely! 

Of course you want to see the toilet room -- don'cha? This bathroom is such a treat to Dalton and I -- the walls are not crumbling and the vanity isn't moldy -- two aspects we were happy to leave behind and there is plenty of space for us both to get ready. Although, I do miss the "closeness" our tiny bathroom seemed two bring. ;)

The bedrooms are very roomy and we're loving the carpet! These shots are of our room ... isn't that closet dreamy? The little signs hanging from the closet say good night -- the prefect touch of shabby/rustic/romantic. (Can you spot the creeper? ;)

I know what you're really thinking ... "Very nice, Frannie. But where do I sleep when I come to visit?" (Because ya'll know you're cordially invited if ever you happen to be scadaddling through Jefferson City.)
Well, sweet friend, there is no where for you to rest -- at least not now. The spare bedroom (which I am so loving!) is currently overflowing with crafting materials/innumerable sets of glass dishware (from our generous wedding guests)/work out equipment. However, it is my goal to have this room tidied and ready for happy, visiting souls by tomorrow. :)

As you tour the last bit of our happy home you'll find yourself in the kitchen -- and what a fun place to be in! I am loving the fresh cupboards, the pretty counter top, and the deep sink ready for washing dishes. I must confess that I do miss (very much) the lovely cabinets my beloved painted in our previous rental. They were beautiful labors of love! All in all, I am very much enjoying my updated kitchen -- I cannot wait to have family and friends over for coffee made in this very room.

We are still so overcome with awe at our living in this home -- our last place, though very dear, had become a sort of burden with the many maintenance issues and our landlords lack of dependability. We are so honored and praise God for sending us on in His way and timing! Thank you, Lord!

With love to you all!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The DIY Bug and 6 Awesome Cures

I've been bitten by the DIY-bug -- you know, the one which seems to bite when the craft budget is low, possibilities endless, and your sewing machine rests 153 miles from your aching fingers. Thankfully, we don't let limitations hold us back (do we?) from accomplishing the making of beauty. It may mean hemming with a hot glue gun, crafting cards from the most obscure cuts of paper, or repainting a frame with chalkboard paint but we get it done (unless, of course, a couch, bowl of cookie dough, and Les Miserables happens to be available ;).

In honor of the crafting-bug I present you with several amazing sites and my favorite tutorials -- read 'em, enjoy 'em, and marvel at the creativity bursting from your screen. I promise these ladies will spark the DIY flame in you. Maybe then we will avoid gobbling cookie dough this afternoon ... then again, maybe not. ;) 

|| I am crazy about this no-sew burlap curtain -- what an adorable way to dress up a window! ||
|| I love Chelsea's site and as a renter I love her down-to-earth advise on sprucing up your home! ||
|| I loved these curtains and plan on trying my hand on them soon! ||
|| Open, rustic shelving has been on my mind a lot and I love these beauties! ||
|| Don't you just love this drum light made from basics like canvas and embroidery hoops? ||
|| Yes, I'd love to learn how to make adorable and affordable curtains! Wouldn't you? ||
What sort of "bug" has bitten you lately? The travel bug? The holiday decorating critter? Or maybe its something as great as the Anne of Green Gables bug? Whatever it is I would love to hear about it! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Coffee with my Lord | Starting Up

There is nothing better than a clean, joyful, loving relationship with Jehovah God. And early mornings and hot coffee and good friends -- wonderful blessings I enjoy. And that is why I am beginning a new (and hopefully consistent) series on Of Mess and Glory. I want to share what the LORD is doing in my life (and hopefully hear what He is doing in yours too!).

Lately, the Lord has been gently spanking me; chastening me into a closer walk with Him. His word says in Hebrews 12,

" ... My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."

Having grown up in a home where Mr. Spanky (the household spanking rod) was a regular, well known member, I know that spanking hurts. But nothing aches more than an uncleared, sin-filled conscience; nothing is heavier than a heart burdened with sin; nothing destroys more than a lack of justice.

Thankfully, our Abba Daddy always pursues us. He faithfully chastens our proud and stubborn hearts desiring that we allow His proddings to lead us to repentance and freedom.

Last night, as Dalton and I watched a movie about Cain and Abel, we marveled at a new thought for us. After murdering Abel, Cain was rightfully punished for his sin; yet, God still showered mercy upon him by placing a marking upon him and promising to avenge him if ever another man killed him. Even in sin, God maintained a relationship with Cain. It was Cain who left the presence of the Lord. Sin requires a punishment ... it always has and always will. But, in His tremendous mercy, God has met the requirement of our sin -- through the death of Jesus Christ. Justice was met. My punishment has been given ... to Someone else who willingly stood in my place.

I am so thankful that I can repent of sins and be forgiven ... because God mercifully and justly provided a sacrifice for me. I am also thankful for God's chastening hand -- even though it often hurts, His faithful proddings sow seeds of revival and repentance in my heart.

So, dear friends, how has God been leading in your life? What new lessons have you been taught? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Hoping your coffee is good and your heart at peace,


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fall Decorating | On A Budget

Fall is rapidly approaching -- beautiful, cool evenings are closing warm, harvest-filled days, chestnuts are covering my favorite sitting spot, and leaves are changing into their very best. 
Happily, the fun doesn't stop outside the door! I love bringing Autumn's beauty into our home: creating a place full of comfort, peace, and refreshment simply by decorating. However, no matter how much I love browsing Hobby Lobby's aisles, we , as newly weds endeavoring to stay faithful to our budget, couldn't convince ourselves to spend $40 on one wreath (no matter how cute it was!).
What's a girl to do?
Hop over to Pinterest, browse DIY books, and put her creative genius glasses on, of course!
Join me as I share my joys of decorating on a newly wed's budget ... if anything, you'll have fun chuckling at my attempts!

My momma always decorated her front porch with the seasons ... a tradition I cannot break! Utilizing an old pair of mud-boots, pinecones collected on a neighborhood walk, a sprig of fabric leaves, and your own chalkboard greeting is a fun way to welcome guests in.
Oh, and then there is our very important friend, Owl. He was very delighted to be given the seat of honor (protecting the basil, of course). To add some spice and texture I used a few of the tree rings I asked Dalton to cut for me last year. :)  

Collected chestnuts are scattered gingerly along the living room windows and splashes of orange and red leaves (and the occasional flash of golden rod) help tie the room together. Of course the coffee table has a few books begging to be read but this time they are accompanied by the ever-available (and free!) chestnuts, leaves, and Dalton's beautiful black bean candle. We had collected wax from previous candles planning on reusing it for some craft. Earlier this week, my beloved had a blast drizzling wax over the dried beans --the way the wax melts round the beans creates a very beautiful and unusual candle. :) 

The hope chest in the dining room is covered with our beautiful table runner given as a wedding gift along with various jars tied with twine and filled with chestnuts and tealight candles. Beside the candles is the adorable harvest blessings pumpkin we found in our local Walmart. We also bought a white pumpkin from Aldis --this is Dalton's favorite purchase! He absolutely loves it!
(Pssst ... want to know how to drive your husband nuts? Buy into the idea that using tree branches as a floral arrangement is cute, ask him to gather said branches, then place the arrangement in a prominent place of the house. Say, the dining room table. (See above.) I promise you, if he is anything like my man, he will never run short of  hate-speech against your super cute, totally DIY, free, fall find! And, if you're anything like me, you'll be sure to get a good chuckle ... because you know its not going anywhere! ;)

Remember the fabric balls my mom and I made for Fourth of July? I recovered the balls with a different fabric and gave them a home on the bakers rack. It's a super easy, fun, and affordable way to bring splashes of color into your home.
I am so thankful for the many blessings Autumn brings and I cannot wait to see what the coming months surprise us with. In the mean time, I hope that our home and all my little, sometimes silly, touches create an atmosphere that speaks of love, peace, and most importantly,  a God who loves.
What are/were some ways you made your house a home when you were a newly wed? (Or a poor college student, or a single mom, or a stay-at-home daughter ... ;)
I'd love to hear about it!
|| This week I linked up with A Blossoming's Life's Monday blog hop ... Wow! Big things are going on! ;) Head on over and see what other amazing, crafty things are happening around the world. I know I will be! ||

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why I Never Get Bored

Growing up we were never allowed to be bored. If ever my siblings and I happened to utter that terrible word our mother was quick to offer her usual phrase of inspiration:

Don't tell me you're bored or I'll let you wash the dishes!

You can now see why we always found some way to entertain ourselves.

Thankfully,  now that I'm a grown adult and no longer live with my mom and her inspiring threats, I still have an anti-bored weapon. His name is Dalton Duncan.

Yes, married life often provides me with great (sometimes embarrassing) entertainment. Here are a few of my knight-in-shining-armor's shining moments:

1) Once, upon finding several adorable mushrooms my husband insisted I take pictures of him pretending to be using an umbrella.

2) Date days often involve some kind of fun, creative plan of his (he really is the more creative one in the bunch). Like the time he sent me on a huge scavenger hunt or that awesome day when we secretly drove to our parent's homes and gave them a good surprise.

3) Dalton hates getting his picture taken; actually, he hates cameras in general. He thinks they are over-used and take away from the moment ... two legitimate reasons. Nevertheless, I insist that we must gather some sort of proof that we are in fact married and having the time of our lives for the Facebook world. So, to accommodate both of our desperate pleas we've found a satisfying middle ground. I get to take pictures if  A) I tell him first B) he is doing some sort of pose.

Here's the proof:

Here he felt it appropriate to mock the "Men Working" sign

Interpretive dance with hot-mits

He thought getting a whole loaf from Panera was an amazing feat

4) Scene: Sitting on the couch enjoying a good conversation, Dalton leans over as if to kiss his bride ...

Me: *Yelling!* "Dalton, stop sucking on my nose!"
Dalton: "Hehehehehe ..."

5) I think Dalton is convinced that whenever a male applies shaving cream to his face his wife also should be covered in like manner.

6) Scene: My mom, Dalton, and I are finishing a nice, meaningful conversation in the dining room. Dalton rises, plays around with his Ipad, and then sits on the floor looking as if he is meaning to do some leg stretches. We look. He stretches out his legs like a grasshopper and rubs them together while his Ipad plays cricket sounds in the background.


7) Upon finding stray turtles on the street Dalton likes to offer bits of lettuce to the newcomer:

8) Scene: Enjoying a conversation with guests in the living room. A momentary silence.

Dalton: "Do you see those two owls on the bookshelf?"
Guests: Nod with interest
Dalton" "I carved those out of the prison soap." Grins with happy jubilance.

(Dalton has a love for mixing up conversation ... he feels that the world spends too of its time talking about normal, empty things and believes that one of his missions in life is to liven and stir people up in good, fun ways. It makes me smile.)

9) On early mornings when Dalton is already up he will very gently carry me to the living room couch, gather my pillow and blanket, snuggle me in and proceeds with his activities. It's a special, fun, unique way to sleep in. :)

10) Scene: Dalton's mother's hair salon. Telephone rings. Dalton rises to answer the phone:

Dalton: "Dalton's House of Ecstasy, Dalton speaking."
Me: *Face palm and extreme blush* "Dalton!"

I am so thankful for my funny, original man. His extreme, unique personality has often astonished my shy, safe personality ... needless to say, I've blushed and sputtered more in the last year than in most of my life! But I can say I have been better for it!

What crazy/funny things do your family members do? Or maybe you're the more original one in the family? I'd love to hear! 

p.s: This post was largely inspired by Rachel from The Random Writings of Rachel. I have always found her Angelism posts to be hilarious and realized that, I too, have a few stories to tell. Why don'cha hope on over to her blog ... I know you'll love it!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Today's List

:: source ::

It's a great day to be alive.

I mean to really, really be awake and alert and in awe of this world.

In our area of Missouri a nice chill has fallen over the land along with an overcast gray sort of sky. It's time for leaves to begin changing colors, pumpkins to adorn porches, and scarves to make an appearance ... at least I think it is time.

So in honor of this day (and because I'm suffering from an acute batch of homesickness ... but wait, my home is here ... why are hearts so contradictory?) I'm purposing to be alive and awake and in awe of this time. I'll do some thorough cleaning of our small bungalow, listen to this lady's play list, sing worship songs, watch Sense and Sensibility, and give thanks;  for things like a husband's gentle love, clothes to wash, and a Redeemer.

What is your part of the world looking like? How are your spirits doing? I'd love to hear.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Seven Marriage Facts I Can't Keep Quiet About

I thought I knew everything (or almost!) about marriage. I knew all of the Scripture written on two becoming one.  I had observed and spoken with several happy couples asking for their keys to success. My parents themselves were a great picture of matrimony. But experiencing something is a whole lot different than dreaming about it. Here are seven things I've learned since saying "I do" that I just can't keep quiet about!  
Marriage is way better than you have ever imagined

Marrying Dalton is the best decision I ever made. Life has been so fun ... I mean, every thing is better when you're living life with your best friend. I wish I had known just how wonderful marriage really is ... I hope our marriage is a constant declaration of how great and good God is.

Change is okay

I've written a lot about this but I cannot  emphasize this point enough. Marriage changes you ... and for the better. I am so thankful to God for molding and shaping my life (some times in ways my flesh finds uncomfortable) through our marriage. But it was really hard for me to accept that it was okay for change to happen. Really hard. 

Babies don't just come after having sex

(Goodness gracious! Did she just use the s-word ... yes, my dear, she did ;-) 

This seems like a funny point but it really is important. All my life I had an idea that babies were so easy to make ... it simply isn't true! And this can be very frustrating for the young, hopeful couple. Don't fret those first (and second and third and ...)  negative pregnancy tests and late cycles steal your joy ... learn to enjoy the days fully without frustration taking over. I promise you, that is the better way of making days joyful and good! 

Your body will change and adjust

So. Incredibly. True.

This is totally important. I had no idea that marriage would effect my body as it has. Emotions, chemicals, and hormones are all working on overdrive ... and I mean it!

 If you're anything like me you like having a certain amount of control over your own body ... so when you cannot explain the weird crying spells, do not understand your body's off track cycles, and feel like a fifteen year old girl all over again ... pour yourself a cup of coffee, kiss that amazing man of yours, stop apologizing, and relax. It's normal and you're doing an awesome job as a wife. 

It takes time

I wish I had known (more fully) this simple truth: A good marriage requires time. This is really important to remember. Some days marriage can be really hard ... like bickersome, miscommunication, unmet expectations hard. But then there are those magical days when it blending our two lives into one seems as natural as can be. 

So when it gets hard just keep on loving that great man of yours. Like some of my favorite characters say, "Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it?" Time always brings new beginnings.

There will be days when you feel scared to death 

I know this may sound like a disagreeable statement but I firmly believe that everyone faces this sometime in their marriage. It's a facet of love. After all, love, at the end of the day, is a renewed, conscious choice for your beloved. Good marriages are simply two committed souls choosing to pursue one another.

And there will be days when you wonder what in the world you were thinking. It could be hormones or maybe an unresolved argument or maybe your business went bust or maybe a child is sick ... no matter what the problem is fear will always try to use it as an entryway. It's a feeling -- something you should never build on.

Don't let it. Nip that fear, that nagging worry, in the bud. And then do something great for your spouse. Bake them cookies, give them a hug, or pray for them. I promise that that conscious action of love will whip fear in the backside and tell it to crawl back into the hole it came from.

And days when you know you made the best decision ever

Marrying my Mr. Duncan has brought so much joy and beauty into my life. I know God better because because of it. Life have so much more meaning because we are one. I laugh more. I smile more. Life. Is. Good. There is sweet, growing, beautiful peace which permeates our entire home ... and I'm so thankful for this chance of loving my man and journeying life together always.

So, there's 7 things I simply can't keep quiet about ...  if you were to join me for bagels and coffee you'd believe me! :) Which thought resonated with you the most? Or maybe there was something else you discovered? I'd love to hear from you!! 

Before I go, here's a picture of my wonderful, new nephew! Isn't he the sweetest?


Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Part of Me Missing

I miss my husband and I'm not ashamed to say it. 

But there was a time when I was ... When I couldn't stand to reveal to the world my need and desire for my one and only (or for anyone to be honest). 

You see, I grew up in a world where independence was looked highly upon ... No need for WWIII to break out just because daddy was away on a business trip. And I am so thankful for that--I'm glad that I learned not to fall to pieces when family members were away from the nest. 

Unfortunately, the independence I learned to value and appreciate created in me a distaste for anything dependent. Which can be a hazardous mixture in marriage. It isn't fair to your other half when you are okay with wanderlusting the globe alone and unattached; and, though it may reassure your traveling mate that you'll be okay when he or she is away, it doesn't speak love to be so nonchalant and capable when they're away. 

Everyone wants to know they are wanted.

Everyone needs to know they are needed. 

It wasn't until a friend told me that it was okay to feel lonely when separated from my beloved. That it was normal to feel like half of me was missing ... since half of me truly was. Freedom broke out in my heart. It's okay to need someone; to not want to leave without your other half; To miss others. 

So here's to missing my husband ... May the interestate grow smaller and smaller in distance and the home lights burn brighter with each passing mile.

Monday, August 25, 2014

How I Manage to Make Chips and Other Things

Homemaking has been such an adventure for this go-by-the-book, eat-the-same-(wonderful)-meals-over-and-over-again kind of gal ... the kind of woman who doesn't stray too far from the tried and true recipes of old. And so marriage has afforded me the chance to break away and try new things. I mean, when you've already spent your food budget for the week and all you have left is a container full of refried beans, a few remaining pepperonis greasily sticking to their bag, green beans and two handfuls of turkey burger you get to be creative. (And have a lot of fun, too!)
Thus, my chip making adventure was born. I was looking for a way to vary our diet while conversely pondering what I should do with the last few flour tortilla shells limply laying in the fridge's crisper. 13 minutes later I was baking at 400 degrees a marvelous creation. "Homemade" tortilla chips are truly amazing. They are super easy to make and taste really good ... we've stopped buying tortilla chips altogether and opt to "make" our own. (Which is a big thing since tortilla chips are a hit around these parts.)
   Flour (or whole wheat or corn) tortilla shells
    Seasoning ... cumin, salt, garlic salt
   Simply slice the tortilla shells into the desired amount
   Arrange the now triangle pieces onto a baking sheet avoiding overlapping
   Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with seasoning
   Bake at 400 for 7 minutes, flip the chips and cook for a remaining 6 minutes
   Dip those yummy creatures into something good! You made your own chips!


I love recipes like that ... the kind that are personal and are ready to eat and taste really good in dip and cheese. :)

What other bits of fun have I been having of late? Well, I'll let you in on the surprise day I've planned for Mr. Duncan. After the scavenger hunt he put on for me I knew I needed to put something together for him. Tomorrow my beloved man will be walking about hunting for clues while I pack a few bags for a day at the beach! I can't wait for tomorrow to arrive ... my beloved has never been to a beach before ... what a pleasure to take him for the first time!

Well, I'm off to begin supper ... what delicious treats have you been cooking lately? Or what new adventures have you undertaken? I'd love to hear from you!

Love and blessings,

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Checking In

Ah, me ... how happy I am to be alive and well in the month of August. Rain has been soaking our dry grounds, college beckons me to class, and lessons are being learned. Thank you all for the sweet messages I received after my last post--such encouragement given! I am so glad to count you as my dear friends and sisters in Christ even when distance separates so. :)

This post will be a mirage of items all stuck in a few short lengthy paragraphs. :) First, I want to tell you about the many pleasant things which recently occurred.

 In honor of last month's goal to visit the zoo I must share a few pictures. We so  enjoyed visiting St. Louis' zoo. It is a lovely place full of well-kept grounds, yummy smelling foods and of course many animals. We arrived at eight o'clock in the morning and had a blast visiting the different areas. My favorite animals of the day? The fluffy chickens, hippos, the big cats, and the grizzly bear. D loved seeing the akapi best. :) It was extra special to have been joined by my mother-in-love, sister-in-love, and niece. So fun!

a meerkat or two

a naked mole rat // these are the funniest creatures

hello, from the Duncans!

a red panda sneaking away
The following days have been just as pleasant. Last month, we made the decision to begin a non-rushed hunt for a new home to rent. I spend a lot of time looking for houses, touring them, and then informing the hopeful landlords that it isn't what we're looking for but I hope someone bites soon. :) We both liked this apartment though ... a third story, well preserved home from the early 1900's. What's not to love? even though this home isn't for us I hope it will find a happy tenant soon!  

Last Thursday was our 5th month anniversary! :) I really have fun celebrating these little milestones ... next month we will be married half a year. Time really does fly by when you're having fun!
For the special day, my beloved planned a very sweet surprise for me. Early in the day, before getting ready for work, Dalton left the house saying he needed to run some errands. (Which is very odd since we tend to run to town together ... but D can sometimes be unpredictable in the best of ways so I've learned to have fun with it.)
After coming home D announced that he had carefully planned a scavenger hunt for me throughout Jefferson City and that after finding all the clues I would get a surprise! :) Of course I was flabbergasted ... how does this man do it?! With a kiss on the lips, a pat on my backside, and a happy grin he urged me to begin the hunt while he prepared and left for work.

 It was so much fun scavenging the city. My first clue led me to the local library where I found the next set of instructions under a statue of a large basset hound in the children's section.  From there I walked on toward the river where an imitation Liberty Bell hangs and where the next clue was hiding. Then I walked on to our favorite pizza place, Arris Pizza, and was shocked to find Dalton's truck parked ... but the man himself was gone! I didn't know what to think so I assumed one of his coworkers had picked him up and gone on into work. So, as the clue instructed, I drove the truck to a local movie and book store where I found the last clue enclosed in a movie case. :) The final paper told me to drive to Central Dairy, a delicious ice cream shop, where I was to piece together the clues. The answer: Look In The Glovebox. I looked and found a leave slip and right then my Prince came walking up to the truck! The dear man had secretly taken the day off! It was a lovely day and one I will always remember ... I'm so grateful for my fun, thoughtful, creative husband!

What else have I been up to? Well, I have been enjoying this series:
And I have been having a blast creating invitations for my sister and my sister-in-love's baby showers ... but I can't show you that without giving away some surprise details. ;)
Do tell me how you are doing ... what is going on in your lives? I always love hearing from friends! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

How I Changed

I'm not really even sure of what to write except that I have been thinking about this post for a very long time.

How do you share the changes brooding within you when you yourself can barely wrap your mind around it?

I am not the same person I thought I was nor am I the person I thought I was going to be.

You see, it all began with marriage. It wasn't supposed to be--I mean, I never planned for it (though I desperately longed for it during those early-twentyish years of life). As a young girl I aggravated my tiny, princess-like girlfriends to death whenever they asked me about my dream prince. "Oh, I'm not going to marry," I would quickly reply. "I'm going to be a missionary and never get married ... being married is gross!"

(I think that came from my shy, easily-embarrassed nature and the way my mom always had us cover our eyes during movie kissing scenes ... so, since kissing is gross and you have to kiss when your married marriage has got to be gross!)

Later, I somehow managed to believe that marriage was a calling for the spiritually weak, those who couldn't handle fully living for God. (Can you say wow-was-she-ever-a-prideful-and-sorely-bigheaded-thing five times fast? :) This idea mainly grew from an insecurity buried deep within my girlish heart--I just knew nobody would want me. And rejection hurts. In defense I battered my hopes and dreams with a good dose of hypocritical spiritualism--no men interested in me? Why, that must mean God has something really big and really important for me.

Fast forward four years.

I got married. Married to a quirky, funny, amazing man of God. A man who loves the Lord, who dreams of traveling the world, of doing some sort of good for his fellow man, and who loves extravagantly. A man I wouldn't want to trade for the world.

But it hasn't always been a cake walk. My feelings of being called to something more "spiritual" than marriage bred ideas which I am now desperately trying to root out of my funny little head. Thoughts and questions around the lines of motherhood is a lowly job or submission is *so* old fashioned--who does he think he is anyway?, to what do I do with myself now?

During the early, joyous days of our marriage I battled years of wrong thinking. Who am I? What am I to do? What shall I be? Is marriage going to be enough? Will I ever accomplish anything important? My pride asked questions too--things like, Do you really want to live for somebody else? Did God really say that wives are to submit to their husbands? Do you really want to love and serve and sacrifice for children?

As I poured my confused heart out I was astonished to find such patience and care in the Lord and in my husband. Such love reminded me of how God is the author (and approver) of marriage and that He is the Giver of every good and perfect gift (marriage ... and my *awesome* husband!). I was instructed on the importance and joy of raising children and encouraged to find my worth in who Christ says I am and not in who I think I am. I was reproved for the selfish attitude I had toward children and excited when I realized that God leads exactly where He wants.

So, who am I exactly?

I am Francesca. Daughter of the King of kings. Wife of a gentle and good man. Keeper of the home. Sister. Friend. Aunt. Child. A hopeful, want-to-be-a-momma gal.

What do I do? I love. I dream. I attend college. I drink coffee. I sweep floors and fold socks. I make friends. I blog. I laugh. I create.

And that, my dear friends, is good enough for me.

Because where He leads is full of green pastures, still waters, and Him.

Loving and rejoicing in the exact place I've been put,

p.s. Bailey over at My Holy Joy kind of inspired this post. You wouldn't believe how often she writes exactly what I've been dwelling on ... anways, why don'cha march over there and check her site out. I always find something amazing to think on. :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Everyday Blessings

Life is so full of blessings.

And I wanted to share a few of them with you.

So here are *ten,* simple, everyday blessings which brighten my days and I'm sure will add a bit of fun to yours.

1. Crickets 

Making nighttime sounds as the sun fades in pink and grays. (Just as long as those critters stay outside the house ... am I right? ;-)

2. Babies!

My sister is quite lovely and preggo-plump with her first born. Earlier this week, while Skyping, she mentioned how badly her back was hurting her. A later chiropractor visit revealed that she was in fact having early contractions. Wow!

3. Baby showers

My mom, a sweet friend, and I are planning my sister's babyshower. Although I will not be able to attend (she's thousands of miles away) I love tossing ideas around. Here are some of my most favorite themes:

(If you are absolutely loving these check out their homes and other ideas here! :)

4. God's Word

Yesterday morning D and stayed home from church and enjoyed reading the book of James together. It was exactly what we needed to re-connect with each other. My favorite portion was:

This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

5. Downtown Walks

I haven't been walking as much as normal as it has been quite dripping-with-humidity hot lately. But yesterday I ventured out into the sunshine and loved it. The warm sun felt so nice on my skin and I loved walking pass the capital and people-watching the tourist stretch their legs.

6. Trains and Rivers

I am so very thankful we live next to both! Our little home is located in the older part of Jefferson City -- less than a mile away from busy train tracks and the muddy Missouri river. Hearing the sound of a train passing by reminds me so much of my daddy (he worked with trains for much of my childhood years) and I have always lived near a body of water.

7. Worship Hymns

I am *loving* Pandora's "Hymns 4 Worship" genre. It lifts my heart and adds so much serenity and joy to our little home to have worship music playing in the background.

Oh, and I am  l o v i n g  JJ Heller's The Boat Song. So much adorableness.

8. Cheesy, Ranch Hamburgers and Golden Potatos

Need I say anything more than yum?

9. New Friends

Moving to a new city can be a really difficult transition and so I have really appreciated finding kindred spirits out and about this beautiful city. Let's see, there is this amazing mom of three little girls who is always demonstrating lovely motherhood ... something I love observing! (And she brings me milk and veggies in exchange for my watching her fun girls once in awhile! Win!) Then there is the very sweet woman who saw me in church once and then, a few weeks later, noticed me walking down the street. Her love for the Lord is evident and I loved being "dragged" into eating dinner with her and her parents that night. :) Oh, and I can't forget one certain woman who I love chatting with about birth stories, theology, and gardens.

10. Free Finds!

How can I help being excited when I'm getting free bookcases from generous Craigslisters who are downsizing, moving, or changing their d├ęcor? ;-)

What blessings have been coming your way lately? I'd love to rejoice with you!