Thursday, November 17, 2011

Taking A Break

So....I've been doing alot of thinking these last few weeks. 
Six months of consistant blogging, learning HTML code, designing
buttons and links,
hosting giveaways and sharing our sweet everyday moments has been

But in my heart, there's a struggle. 

A little voice saying maybe it's time to take a step back. To listen hard. Look deep. 
Evaluate my purpose in blogging. 
I've been ignoring the gentle prompting in my heart up until last week. 
That's when I knew for sure that the little voice I kept ignoring was really
the Spirit of God...
asking me to surrender. 

My pastor has been speaking recently on spiritual growth. 
His first two points on the subject were
Desire and Sacrifice.
I have the desire.
Now I need to sacrifice. 

My time is not my own, and while I strive to use the days I'm given 
the best way I can,
there's still so much more I could be doing. 
Bigger things with a bigger purpose. 

So I'm taking the rest of the year off from blogging. 
You'll still see me pop in from time to time...
and I have a sweet friend's guest post coming  just in time for 

But when I come back in January, I hope you'll be as thrilled with
some major changes and big announcements to
Today Is Sweeter
as I am. 

Right now, I just need to 
seek His face!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas with all those you love...
see you in the New Year!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Forty Years

I am a sailor
and you're my first mate
We signed on together, we coupled our fate. 

We hauled up our anchor, determined not to fail
For the heart's treasure together we set sail

With no maps to guide us we steered our own course
We rode out the storms 
when the winds were gale force

We sat out the doldrums with patience and hope
Working together we learned how to cope. 

Life is an ocean, Love is a boat
In troubled waters, It keeps us afloat
When we started the voyage there was just
me and you
Now, gathered round us
we have our own crew.

Congratulations to my wonderful parents, celebrating 
40 years together

you are an inspiration and encouragement to all of us
who've just 
set sail.

Love you Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The W's (WIWW and A Winner)

What We Wore....
Sunday Morning
Skirt: Kohl's
Top: Hand Me Down
Shoes: Target

and Sunday Night...
This is the 
'My Wife is a Nut-Case and We're Going to be Late for Church'
Sweater: Old Navy
Corduroys: Kohl's 

This is the
'Mom, Can't You See I'm Doing Something Sneaky'
Shirt and Sweater: Hand Me Down's
Jeans: Target
Shoes: Target

Sweater: Target
Jacket: Rue 21
Khaki's: Kohl's
Shoes: Bongo from Younker's
Jewelry: Avon

Winner of the Grace For Grace giveaway is...comment #27
Kelly, who said

I also tweeted about this giveaway!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Detroit Trip

L. to R. starting at the top...
1. In front of Comerica Park  2. MGM Grand Sign  3. Comerica Park Entrance
4. Hockeytown Cafe  5. Ford Field  6. My yummy dinner!
7. Joe Louis Arena  8. Hockeytown Puck  9. Josh with the Detroit Tiger
10. Gordie Howe  11. Red Wings starting line up  12. Comerica Park baseball
13. Fox Theatre  14. At the hockey game  15. Jimmy Howard

Our overnight trip to Detroit was everything I expected it to be, and everything that
I didn't expect it to be.
Call me a dreamer, but I guess in thinking of Detroit (I hadn't been since I was a kid)
I was envisioning Chicago...New York...a nice big city with tall buildings and great shopping. 
Detroit is a ghost town.
It is run-down, sad, gloomy, and has an almost eerie feeling. 
On one hand there are three multi-million dollar sports stadiums, and on the other
there are 100 year old buildings with crumbling foundations and blown out windows. 
There are season-ticket holders, and there are people who don't have a place to sleep at night. 

It left me with a lot to think about...
Josh and I were celebrating our 3rd Anniversary and this trip left me feeling
connected, appreciative, refreshed,
and in love with my guy. 

It also served to reaffirm a deep unsettled feeling in my heart...
a feeling that I've been wrestling with for a few months now. 

There was a man. In a wheelchair.
He asked us for our change as we waited to catch the shuttle to the Red Wings game.
Josh gave him what was in his pocket- probably not more than a dollar or two.
And as I watched the man wheel away from us and across the street, 
I realized he had no feet. 

So often we judge people and ask questions later. So often we think,
" Oh, he's just looking for booze money."
But what if he isn't?
What if he's a veteran?
What if he's a man who lost his job when the company he worked for sent his job overseas?
What if he has no food? No bed. No hope. 

Some people would call those thoughts naive. Overly emotional. 
But I think what my heart is feeling is
I longed to help this man. I longed to know if there was a shelter he could go to.
A meal he could eat. 
A place he could rest. 
And I've been feeling that feeling for other situations too lately. 

The child sold into sex slavery. 
The mama who has lost her unborn baby. 
The man about to lose his home. 
The orphan with no mama or daddy. 

I guess what I'm saying is that our get-away trip left me thinking about alot of deep things.
And I'm not quite sure I've wandered my way out yet. 
My heart feels burdened.
My hands feel ready to act. 
And I don't want to be the kind of person who says, 
"Oh, what a shame...that's so sad"
and then walks away.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Update

Well friends, I promised to tell you about our weekend trip to Detroit 
and never managed to get a post together!
Tomorrow is the day. Promise....for real. 
Here's a sneak peek from the Red Wings game...

Last week, I shared an amazing Etsy shop with you.
Grace For Grace
The winner of that fabulous giveaway will be chosen this Wednesday...

But today, I want to tell you more of Tiffany Rachal's story...the talented designer of Grace For Grace. 

Tiffany is a California girl...married for 7 years and mommy to a sweet 3 year old boy. 
She is a teacher...but uses her teaching skills in an
unconventional way. 
As a result of budget cuts in her school district, Tiffany was laid off as a first-year teacher and has not
had her own classroom since. 

This is what she shared with me about that experience....enjoy!
"Earlier this year, I went through some depression that I never saw coming. I had earned my elementary teaching credential in 2007, substitute taught for awhile and was finally placed in my own classroom in 2009. I was laid off from that teaching position as a first-year teacher, and because of budget cuts I haven't had my own classroom since. I was questioning my purpose and I constantly found myself asking God, 
'Why am I still out of the classroom? 
I thought this was the calling that you had on my life. 
Why God? Why?'
After keeping it bottled in for some time and allowing myself to grow bitter and depressed, I finally let my husband know about the seriousness of my questions and desperate need for prayer.
We prayed together and that same night my husband helped me realize that my call to be a teacher 
didn't have to be confined to the walls of a classroom. 

He had always encouraged me to open an online shop, and through my husband, the Lord helped me to recognize that through my paintings I was still teaching. 
...Teaching His word through art!

The Lord called me to be a teacher back in 2003. It's now 2011, and although this mode of teaching is 
so far from what I had ever imagined
His plan is always perfect and He always works all things together for my good. 
My son goes to sleep at night and even after a long day of keeping up with his energy, I am still up into the wee hours of the morning...energized, completing and packing orders, starting new items, painting with worship music playing in my ear buds, and just
soaking in His words and promises. 

I'm thankful that I was obedient and didn't ignore this opportunity. I'm truly walking by faith, not by sight. 
And until the Lord says otherwise...I hope to continue to use the artistic gift that He's blessed me with to 
be a blessing to others!


Such a sweet story, isn't it?
I have been so blessed to have met Tiffany and hear her story. 
Ten percent of each sale in her shop goes toward supporting 
Neetu, a seven year old girl living in India.
"Sending money her way through World Vision helps to tackle the poverty that surrounds her and
assists in providing food, shelter, clothing, disease-free water, and most importantly
a brighter future knowing that...
Jesus loves her."

Remember, you have one more day to enter the giveaway that Tiffany is doing for us.
(Click here to enter)
And don't forget to take advantage of the coupon code to her lovely shop before it's too late!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chocolate Souffle Cake Recipe

From the Luscious Chocolate Desserts cookbook
(by Lori Longbotham)

Here's what you need: 

and here's....

Step 1: Lined spring form pan with parchment paper. 

Step 2:  Chopped chocolate and....

melted with butter over pan of simmering water. 

This is where you can continue with the recipe
grab a spoon and hide away in a locked room with the bowl.

Step 3: When working with so many eggs, I find it helpful to count out what I need and have them in
a carton or bowl. No confusion over how many I've done. (Not that I'm ever interrupted!)

Steps 4 and 5: 

Step 6: 

All done baking and ready for toppings!

One of the best flour-less cake recipes I have found. 
I made this for my mom-in-law's birthday last weekend...
she loved it because she eats gluten free, but could enjoy having her cake anyway!

Love to hear if you try this or any of the other recipes found here

Happy Weekend Friends!!

P.S. Don't forget to enter the Grace For Grace giveaway and take advantage of the coupon code,
you still have time!!
(Click here to enter)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lawnmower Blues

 This was on Sunday...

The rip cord in our lawnmower broke, and Josh was fixing it. He's good like that. 
Blake was helping. 

Hammer and drill in hand...
The boys got the job done and the mower running!

Starting on Monday, this is the conversation I have had
no less than 25 times every single day this week...

Blake: Mu Mommy?
Me: Yes?
Blake: Mommy!
Me: What do you need?
Blake: Mu daddy?
Me: Daddy's at work, remember?
Blake: Mu daddy mow mow. 
Me: No, daddy's at work right now. He will do the mower another time. 
Blake: Mu daddy...(a few words yet to be translated) ...ahhside. Do mow mow. 
Me: Ok

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

Any guesses as to where Josh and Blake will be tomorrow?
Ahh-side (wink*)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Flower Inspiration

Are you a Gussy Sews groupie yet?
If not you can check her out here
I am an official member of her fan club!

Each week Gussy posts a prompt for her Inspiration Workshop link party.
It's an awesome way to meet other other bloggers and to be inspired!
This week's prompt is Flowers. 
So here's my take...

Anniversary Roses from Josh

Silk daisies lined the pews at our wedding

Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?
This is such a sweet idea for an outdoor, rustic wedding!

I am in love with these amazing handmade flowers from Little Birdie Secrets!
Wanna know their secrets?
Find them here!

If we had gotten married in the spring these kissing balls would have definitely been there!
I love how simple and elegant they are...and just enough different to be
so chic.

Will someone teach me please?
I am dying to know how to make these adorable crocheted flowers.
(Or are they knitted??)
If you know how, or know of a fabulous tutorial...
send it my way!

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

**Remember to enter the Grace for Grace giveaway and take advantage of her coupon code here

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trunk or Treat

Blake and Papa
Our little giraffe had a cold and was not a happy camper!

My monkey nephew Jack Ryan

The sweetest ice cream cone niece Addie Paige!

Katie and Jack Ryan

The birthday party Addie hats, pinata, cookies...this girl knows how to party!

 Blake's first taste of Halloween candy!

Don't forget to enter my latest giveaway here!
Coupon code GRACE10  good through next Wednesday