Happy SAD!

1521319_10101742593735110_1734426431_nI’m pressed for time this evening, but did have some links I want to share in light of the coming weekend. For some of you, the weekend is looming. Others of you are anticipating the weekend. ALL of you are loved this weekend.

It is no secret that I love Valentine’s Day. The pink, the red, the cards,and the sweet spirit of showing one another affection and honor are some of my favorite things. Most of all, it’s always an opportune time to reflect on God’s love for us and ways that should move us to love others.

So—here’s some link love for your weekend! ❤

Valentine’s Day Hopes ~ This post helped the focus of my heart shift upward. It can get tilted so easily.
“Hopes deferred aren’t a dead end, but a gracious redirect. They are a pointer to the “living hope:” our Savior, Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:3)….If Valentine’s Day magnifies our misplaced hopes, we must put our hope in God (1 Pet. 3:5). We do this by focusing on all that God promises to be for us in Jesus Christ.” 

Remembering the Unquantifiable Love of God ~ Just in case you forgot how much God loves you and WHY He loves you.
“God’s love for us goes farther than even time itself, into the deep recesses of eternity past. It stretched all the way from forever, forward to the cross, and will continue into eternity future.”

23 Things That Love Is ~ Because knowing we’re loved unquantifiably by the King of the Universe moves us to demonstrate that love to others.

The Real Truth About Boring Men ~ This is one I’ve tucked away and read over and pray over often, especially since the world throws so much cheap garbage in front of our faces and calls it romance.
“How a man proposes isn’t what makes him romantic. It’s how a man purposes to lay down his life that makes him romantic.”

And a Shane & Shane song keeps coming to mind, mostly because of the lyrics. Take a listen?

I am loved
Regardless of the things I’ve said and done
No mistake can change your mind
I’m your design, God
Your love is mine right now

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“We love because He first loved us.” {1 John 4:19}

Sending you BIG hugs and wishing you a happy one! ❤

You. Are. Loved.


Valentine Blondie Bars {Recipe}

So. I love Valentine’s Day. Like a lot. Towards the end of January, I start getting sucked into the hearts, the pink, the red, the lace, the sweets–all of it. What 25 year old who hates hearts buys little kid heart pencils?

Starbucks Love

Whatever. I’ve learned to embrace my love for Valentine’s Day for the benefit of others. I actually gave a friend a gift the other day in a Valentine’s Day gift bag–nevermind that it was actually a belated Christmas present.

One of my favorite expressions of love is food, so when I saw these cute treats on Pinterest, I just had to make them–and who better to share them with than my LCA Band kids? They’re the guinea pigs for all my new sweets. Conveniently, my little cousin came over on Friday night and this gave us a fun, interactive project to do together. (No worries, I shared some with her, too.)

These little blondie brownie bites are super easy to make and are oh-so-festive for any occasion! You can simply change out the color of the m&ms to match the current season.

Valentine Blondie Bars
adapted from BakedPerfection.com

1 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 C. butter
1 C. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 T. vanilla extract
2/3 C. + 1/3 C. m&m’s (1 C. total)

Preheat oven to 350o.

Melt 1/3 cup butter. Add 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and mix well. Cool slightly.

While waiting for this mixture to cool, in a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

Add one beaten egg and vanilla to the butter/brown sugar mixture and blend well. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well. Mix in 2/3 cup m&m’s. Spread in well-greased 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup m&m’s on top. Bake at 350o for 20-25 minutes. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

My parents thought these should have nuts in them, but they think that about every kind of dessert. If you have similar taste buds (really I think it’s all about the texture here…so similar texture buds?), throw in some walnuts.

Valentine Blondie BarsI also made some of Anita Stanton’s Better-than-Boxed Brownies.

Lastly, if you’re wondering where I found the Valentine Blondie Brownies recipe, of course I found it on Pinterest. I even have a whole board dedicated to Valentine’s Day. You can check it out by clicking here.

one thousand gifts {#1252-1286}

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
for His steadfast love endures forever!”

{Psalm 118:1}

Valentine’s Day was this past week. Even though I’ve never had a valentine, it’s always been one of my favorite holidays.
I’m not one of those “Single Awareness Day” people.
I think of the holiday as an extra special day to concentrate on all the love displayed in my life.
I celebrate how much LOVE my Creator and Savior has shown to me.
I give thanks for the precious friends and family God has placed in my life to spur me on to love and good deeds.
I pray for my Lord-willing future spouse.
I delight in the thousands of ways God manifests His love through His grace.

1252. finishing a major project!
1253. learning new skills
1254. {hard eucharisteo} being taught patience while driving
1255. productive staff meetings at menchies
1256. reflecting—sometimes hard, but worth it
1257. eventually finding joy in filing
1258. delighting in God’s flawless, unrelenting love. {jeremiah 31:3}
1259. a happy huns day
1260. getting things accomplished
1261. a hershey kiss
1262. {hard eucharisteo} praying for someone i don’t even really know
1263. typing
1264. flexibility
1265. promise that His Word won’t return void…even amongst crazy, chaotic classes
1266. a semi-warm day, though rainy
1267. mrs. evans letting the “strange lady” (me) into the junior high entrance
1268. making music with teenage girls
1269. six jobs in a day: 3 charity/3 real
1270. going on a walk with the dog, wearing a red coat and scarf
1271. gershwin
1272. coffee that stays warm ’til noon
1273. tweaking resumes
1274. ham + apple quiche and indulging in tiramisu, but especially being recognized as i placed my order
1275. the lunchbox for dinner
1276. {romans 8:1}
1277. teachable moments–snagging them whenever they come
1278. learning scales in chick-fil-a
1279. good movies
1280. long saturday night car chats with shanna
1281. cheesecake
1282. a cooperative church copier. perhaps i made the last copy on it today?! a girl can dream.
1283. panera hazelnut coffee, strawberry bread, and keeping warm with my sunday school gals in our 60* room
1284. the grandma and granddaughter at starbucks chatting allll about sunday school, honeymoons, and how big God is! precious.
1285. being reminded that praying for someone is one of the deepest forms of friendship
1286. hearing the old, old story. ♥

Since reading One Thousand Gifts, I started my own journal of grace-gifts God blesses me with every day. I will spare listing all of them here, but I will try to share some of my favorites every Monday.