Sunday Evening Walk

Balboa 3
On Sunday nights I often get into a check-list mode of planning groceries, outfits and other activities for the week before crawling into bed. Somehow the summer has flown by, and before we start getting shorter days I wanted to take some time on my own to visit a favorite nearby beach town. During about a 30 minute walk, I absorbed the quaint surroundings and golden sunset. I allowed myself to get refreshed and relaxed before heading back to work the next day. It was recharging and I had no regrets, even if the do-list had to take a back seat for the moment.
Balboa 1Balboa 2Balboa 4Balboa 5Balboa 6Balboa 7Balboa 8


In His Presence

blog pic

One of my favorite scriptures is found in John 4:13-14 – This is where Jesus asks a Samaritan woman for a drink at a well and tells her “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water, springing up into everlasting life.”

I’m so thankful that when I dwell with the Lord in his presence, there is a thirst in my soul that he quenches. Spending time with him in reading the word, praying or journaling is so foundational for my life to function! This is the fountain of water that does not dry up. These moments enable me to keep dwelling when I want to honor him with my time, with the things I say, how I treat others, and make decisions. Of course our flesh longs and cries out for unfulfilled desires, but there is still a fulfillment in him as we wait in faith for what we’ve asked.

I was reading back through some sermon notes from this fall and one teaching, in a simple and impactful way, outlined the signs of His presence. It’s been a perfect reminder for me that when we’re in the presence of God, there are benefits that outlast any temporary solutions we devise. In Him we find our help, no matter what we’re facing.

If you’re feeling dry or empty, void in any of the areas of peace, joy, clarity, or rest – take hold of the truth that each of these are found by trusting in and spending time with Jesus. Below are some key verses to take in as a reminder for all that God desires to do for you!


“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” – 1 Cor 14:33

“Peace I leave with you, peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27


“You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11

“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10


“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” – Psalm 36:9

“Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105


“Come to me all you who labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest” – Matt 11:28

“I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for you alone O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” – Psalm 4:8

Life Lately


Earlier this year I started reading the devotional “Savor” by Shauna Niequist, and have really enjoyed the writing style in her daily stories. I mentioned this to my cousin Stacy and she gifted me with her first book “Cold Tangerines,” published a few years back. I’m absolutely loving it; her essays so easily open my mind and heart toward God, where I can’t help but slip into a mode of reflection. Though our backgrounds differ, I’ve found her outlook and struggles in life to be so relatable. It’s been a refreshing read that puts me in a place of gratitude, with the reminder that the goodness of God never changes.

I haven’t had the opportunity to make a naked cake, but I thought this version was so cute for fall! It would come together pretty easily using a box mix as they recommended (I would probably make pumpkin with cream cheese icing), and the added flowers give such a darling, rustic, fall touch.

I started pinning again! My poor Pinterest account was long-neglected for a couple years, but I’ve happily started adding new boards and pins for the inspiring items I find every week. No more overloaded bookmarks!

I discovered a pretty tasty and healthy snack while at work. Dip sliced apples in some pumpkin pie Greek yogurt, and you have a sweet, low calorie fall treat to get you through an afternoon slump.

This weekend I’m finishing up the last discipleship class from the series of classes at my church. Taking these the past two years has been quite an adventure, and it’s catapulted me further in my walk with God in a way I didn’t think was possible. The main thing, and the most basic, was reading the word every day. There’s SO MUCH we can glean from God’s word, so much to learn about His character and all that He’s promised for a life of freedom. Becoming disciplined to dive into the word each day only further opens the door for this, as knowing the Truth is what sets us free!

Cherry Almond Coconut Granola

granola1I love good, quality granola, and when I have time to make it at home, it’s such a treat! My favorite combination is simply almonds, coconut, and dried cherries, and this recipe came together really well. It’s very easy to assemble, and will make your house smell like oatmeal cookies. The added crunch tastes fantastic over some plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey. If you don’t prefer cherries, cranberries or raisins would also work great. The recipe makes a generous amount, so be sure to share some with friends who will enjoy it too!granola2granola3Cherry Almond Coconut Granola

Yield: About 6 cups

1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 cups old fashioned or rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, nutmeg, and salt in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add in the oats, almonds, coconut flakes, and dried cherries until all is mixed and evenly coated.

Using a spatula or wooden spoon, spread the granola out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until evenly toasted and fragrant. Cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container. Will keep for over a week stored in a cool, dry spot.

Recipe adapted from Pastry Affair

The Practice of Gratitude

coffee img

Like most kids, I recall asking my parents “why” a lot. At times it may have been for the sake of learning or curiosity, but more often than not, it was an attempt to get out of something. Why do we have to go to the grocery store now? Why do I have to do that chore? Why can’t I do my homework later?

As an adult, that question can morph into asking God Why does my life look this way? Why did you make me this way, or allow certain limitations? Unlike having the relentless energy of a child, I’ve found this mode of asking, always comparing is quite tiring. And just like when I was a kid, it’s often an attempt to get out of something. Maybe by my asking, I can change God’s mind, right?

To that end, I’m coming out of a season of asking less of “why” and more “thank you.” I’ve seen that I can continue down a path of questioning or I can just stop and say thanks for what I do have, for what I’ve been blessed with. Even more than that, I have the promises of God, His provision and His presence with me wherever I go. I can talk to Him anytime, ask for His help and know that He’s on my side. What a precious gift!

I see that thanking me puts me in a position of receiving. I receive all that God has for me, rather than asking why I don’t get something else. I’ve started a habit of gratitude while driving to work each morning. No matter what’s weighing on me, or how grouchy I may feel, I jump in:

Thank you for this car
Thank you for my job
Help me be a blessing to each person I come in contact with
Thank you for my family
Thank you for all my wonderful friends
For the church you’ve led me to
For your presence and never leaving my side…

This begins a domino effect, and pretty soon my eyes are opened to how good He is, how much He’s blessed me with, and that walking with Him will continue to sustain me.

I highly encourage you to jump into this. If you’re tired of asking why, then start saying thanks. What do you think you could come up with?

May Moments


May went by in a blur! I remember just thinking, wow, it’s already May, and now it’s already over. The month was filled with a mixture of helping my good friend prepare for her wedding, my usual work schedule, gum surgery, and on a better, lighter note, the items included below!

I try to bake a new recipe at least every month or so, and a few weekends back I gave these PB&J crumb muffins a shot. They turned out really cute and tasty, but if you don’t have a lot of time, they are a bit of a project for a muffin. If you loved PB&J sandwiches as a kid, they will bring back memories.

I started going on “writing dates” with my good friend and fellow writer. These were intentional times we set aside for a few hours, about every other weekend. Writing can be such a solitary act, but it’s nice to do it in a public place, with a friend. I was able to get some posts written, and some things on my heart into words. It was a fruitful month in the area of writing!

I found this encouraging, budget friendly print on Etsy, from a gal that does custom hand lettering. I’m loving the modern calligraphy trend, and prints like this make great gifts or are easy to add to a gallery wall. Check out her shop in you’re in need of any custom hand lettering!

My mom and I spent Mother’s Day at Catalina Island (picture above). It was over ten years ago that I had been there, and a nice way to spend the day in the sunshine. My mom and I had a good laugh when we rented a golf cart (the main way to tour around the island) and took a wrong turn. We ended up on a steep slope, trying to turn around. Oh man, I’m glad the brakes worked! We laughed so hard, it was a memorable moment :-)

Here’s to a fabulous June, and the start of summer!

You are not forsaken


I drove to work, preparing myself for the day with a favorite worship album I usually have on rotation. The lovely melody filled the car and I sang along with the bridge,

Oh How I love you
How I love you
You have not forsaken me

That last line particularly stood out. To sing “you have not forsaken me” indicates our perception, that we many times feel forsaken. The powerful meaning behind this word is “to give up something formerly held dear, renounce; to leave altogether; abandon.” If however, God has captured our heart, and He holds us dear, why would He suddenly change His mind?

When I was eighteen, our neighbor in his early 40s lost his wife to cancer. One particular day I baked him cookies and went over to see how he was doing. I knew he was seeking God and searching for answers. I told him how sorry I was for his loss, and he said “I just feel so forsaken.” It was a heavy statement, but it clearly articulated more than his feeling sad, it was a sense of being completed abandoned, left aside, forgotten and deserted.

There are times when life can be so hard. Answers to questions are unclear and in the midst of heartbreaking loss, a forsaken mentality can heavily weigh down. A good question to ask, is how long should we stay with these thoughts? I know if I let them sit for too long, they can take root and lead to further sadness or a depressed state. I’ve found the only way out of this is allowing the truth of God’s word to take hold– that we are not abandoned or cast aside– and placing that at the forefront of my heart and mind.

In Psalm 37:28, it says “For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints, they are preserved forever.” We are also promised in Romans 8:39 that “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We are so fortunate, that if we ask Him to, the Lord will always lead us back to the truth. Even if you don’t feel it at the time, proclaim who you are – His child, His beloved, His bride. Because of His track record, because of who He is, we can proclaim back to Him with absolute certainty You have not forsaken me.