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fashion advice from the bros.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

For the ladies:

How you know you might be on trend...

If you hear a reaction from the guys in your life that goes something like this:




"Are you really going to wear those?"


And I am convinced that if they refer to my boots as "pilgrim shoes" my new ankle booties are ADORABLE. As in, Rachel Zoe would be proud. BANANAS. 

So it's almost like... reverse pyschology... or a a hidden compliment when the boys react adversely to my wardrobe.

And it seems that most guys fall into this category. (Not all, but most!) If they haven't seen it before... it freaks them out! No worries my dear- guaranteed your girl friends are going to be drooling over those pastel colored jeans and biker jackets and grandpa sweaters and leopard loafers and in a few months, the boys will be accustomed to them!

So when I get a negative reaction to my outfit like the above, which happens frequently, I say HOME RUN BABY! 

Zucchini Chocolate Peanut-Butter Brownies

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I was desperately craving chocolate on Saturday night and so of COURSE I turned to Pinterest (where else?!) to find myself a semi-healthy treat. So ladies - tell all naysayers and haters that Pinterest IS a wonderful and necessary tool! ;)

And this is the recipe I pinned a while back from FastPaleo.com! Zucchini in the title? Perfect. I'll pretend it's good for me. But since I was missing a few of the ingredients the recipe called for, and was craving really chocolate brownies I modified it a bit. I doubled the original recipe because, well... that's what we do here! And I also substituted some of the original ingredients with what I had on hand, as well as added cocoa powder for extra chocolate goodness. I've included the recipe with my modifications below, but go here for the original recipe!

Zucchini Chocolate Peanut-Butter Brownies

3 cups grated zucchini
2 cups peanut butter
Sprinkling salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup honey
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 - 2 cups of chocolate chips

Mix ingredients thoroughly and divide into 2 well-greased 9x9 pans.

Bake 25-28 mins at 350.

EASY PEASY. And let me just say these brownies were a HUGE HIT. Very moist and rich and chocolate-y and not to mention semi-healthy - so indulge with a clear conscience!

Enjoy. Xoxo!

oh, brothers

Thursday, September 5, 2013

(Featuring Jonathan, my 9 yr. old brother)

I am blessed to have five brothers. Yes F I V E. And my brothers are THE best. Here is why...

They are the best because...

They smack you on the arm, push you through the door, tell you something ornery, and follow it all up with a "just kidding!"

They are the best because...

They eat everything you bake (that you managed to not burn) with gusto and appreciation. In fact you can be sure all cookies you make will be gone within 24 hours. Doesn't matter if you made 2 dozen or 12 dozen. They'll eat them. And you'll feel like Top Chef.

They are the best because...

They lift the heavy stuff for you. Of course you might have to bribe them with a candy bar, but no big deal.

They are the best because...

They are full of surprises. You just never know what to expect when you share a bathroom with boys. The scariest of all sights greet you when you enter a bathroom a brother just exited. And you just never know what might be left behind. And all you wanted to do was brush your teeth!

They are the best because...

They are extremely stealthy... and they stealthily sneak things around corners. When you are blissfully unaware. Like cameras to film you when you are not looking your best, with flashes that scare you and you think it's lightening.

They are the best because...

They are extremely gifted pretenders. Especially when they pretend they are going to throw a baseball at your face. And of course you wince and they laugh hysterically. This is fun for all, of course.

They are the best because...

They love to share. Especially when it doesn't belong to them and when it is VITAL, I repeat VITAL for your survival, like when your iPhone cord is missing at midnight and you just wanted to charge your phone with YOUR cord before you go to bed.

They are the best because...

They appreciate your expensive shampoo and conditioner! So much that they use it. And even if you hide it in a cupboard after every shower, they manage to FIND it and use it.

They are the best because...

They are the star of the show at all the sports they play. Which is really fun when they play a thousand million sports and when you sit through a thousand million games you at least want to watch them win!

They are the best because...

They drive to your work when you are afraid late at night to walk you to your car.

They are the best because...

They will answer any techie question with the greatest of ease.

They are the best because.....

They show remarkable intuition and sensitivity when they know you are really, really hurting and not just being a drama queen.

They are the best because...

They don't hold grudges.

They are the best because...

They make you laugh and forgive them... immediately following the moment you contemplated murder.

They are the best because...

They will come to your house when you are having a melt down and pick you up and take you to the library and help you with your research paper... (that YOU procrastinated on) until the library shuts down. Even when they have to get up at the crack of dawn the next day for work.

They are the best because...

Because they are an awesome blessing from God. I am SO GLAD I get to do life with all these brothers. Praying I never take them for granted!


Thursday, August 29, 2013


Do you speak it? 

Today I came across an article that not only made our entire office laugh hysterically, but also, made a point. It is from an article in Relevant magazine called: "20 Christianese Phrases We Really Need To Stop Saying" by John Acuff. 

This one REALLY got me:

Just Sayin'
"Christians use this phrase as a "Get out of jail free card. We write the most vile, bitter statement and then punctuate  it with "just sayin'," as if it makes the rest of it invisible  It didn't. We still saw what you wrote. You know who would have loved this phrase in the Bible? The Pharisees. Can't you see them saying to Jesus, "Whoa, Jesus, you healed a guy. That's great. Healing is awesome. It IS the Sabbath though. Just sayin'." If we only retire one phrase on this list, I hope it is this one." (John Acuff)

Isn't that so good? Good and uncomfortably true. It made me think, along with all the other "Christianese" phrases, how many things I allow to come out of my mouth so thoughtlessly, without thinking about it. Not even just "Christianese" but full on gossip?! Or rudeness? 

My younger brother hasn't quite caught onto the fact that "Just kidding" doesn't make a variety of ornery behaviors "okay". Despite my best efforts to explain this to him multiple times, he is still under the happy delusion that "Just Kidding!" is a hallpass for... anything! Haha... But seriously, I wonder how many times we as "adults" are guilty of the exact same behaviors. I KNOW I am. Maybe we are a little better as disguising it than a small boy, but still... it's definitely a thought that has me challenged! 

"Even a FOOL who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent." -Proverbs 17:28 

BOOM. Here's to keeping my mouth shut! 

Think before you speak. THINK before you speak. Think BEFORE you speak... 

Just sayin'. 


people > tasks

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lately I have been wrestling through a few challenges... some growing pains. I love it that God loves me enough to convict me and change me - but the process is often painful... as well as exciting! And although i have by NO MEANS learned this lesson, I have a feeling I am not the only one who might be able to identify...

One of my greatest strengths is that I am a hard worker... I am very task oriented and conscious of what my responsibilities are and love to wholeheartedly dive into them! And ironically, I have often immaturely prided myself on my hard work ethic... ;) (Keeping it real here friends...)

The huge downside to this tendency is that I often view interruptions to my schedule as inconvenient and totally unwanted, and often struggle with feeling irritated and impatient when my plan is thrown off, when I feel like I lose my rhythm in the middle of a big project.

But in fact, those interruptions are almost always represented by people. People who are precious in God's sight and who should be valued MORE than I value my precious time and my important tasks.

I have been convicted by this as I think back on my day at times and wonder what did I get done?! I like to break out the measuring stick, to cross things off my list. But you cannot "measure" people. You cannot "cross them off the list" as finished.

This has been something God has been stirring in my heart for a while now, and then I was HUGELY convicted at a Beth Moore DVD bible study last week. Beth talked about the famous chapter from 1 Corinthians 13... "If I have not love, I am NOTHING."

And I have heard and read this chapter so. many. times.

But this time, it HIT ME. Even if I serve the LORD with my "git'r done" attitude and get THINGS DONE (good things!) for Him, but don't treat the people along the way with love - I may as well have done nothing. All of that hard work, those things I think are soooooo important are nothing if I can't lovingly welcome each interruption (person!) along the way.. And instead of viewing people as a distraction from the tasks I have to get done, to view people as MORE important, MORE valuable than my to-do list. That is what is most important in God's eyes.

So this is the prayer of my heart - that I would be SO FILLED with God's love that I would love people well. That I would someday learn to welcome, and even invite the unplanned interruptions and to handle with love and grace the unexpected. And no, I am not there yet, but am peacefully trusting God for HIS strength in MY weakness. 


"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." 
1 Corinthians 13:2 

inconsistency and grace... and making missteaks

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sometimes, I think about blogging, and then look back over my inconsistent blogging track record and think... no, oh nope. Don't do it unless you are going to STICK TO IT, A-man-duh. Make a blogging schedule and... blah blah blah. And then I scare myself away from relaxing, enjoying the process, and typing out a few thoughts.

And so, I don't do it, because there is a darn good chance I won't do it perfectly-always-forever! So what if it's only a blog post every three months? THAT IS OKAY. The moment I start putting pressure on myself to perfect and formula-ize (is that a word?!) something, to make a plan to be the best-amazing-talented-consistent (insert blank) EVER, odds are I won't enjoy the process OR I won't do it at all.

Truth is, you are never going to be a star athlete, a great photographer, a world-changing disciple of Jesus if you don't start somewhere, and be willing to throw pride and expectation of instant PERFECTION to the side. Be willing to be a learner who enjoys the process and who probably will make mistakes.

Or, as I saw recently on Pinterest: "Be willing to make missteaks."

So PRAISE God He doesn't leave us the self-centered, pride-filled, bound by the pursuit of perfection people that we are. Praise Him that He loves us enough to change us, and to pour grace over each of us in the process.

I am blogging today simply to say: don't let your pride stop you from experiencing the abundant life God has for you! LET'S MAKE MISSTEAKS! Anyone with me on this one?

Maybe I will be back soon... with more emo selfies! Ha. And maybe I won't. And I am alright with that!

Okay, let's be real... sort of alright with it. Trying to be!

Ps. Thank you for reading this little rant to myself. You are a trooper.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

This week I have been reading Exodus. And loving it! I've always been a Psalms and New Testament kind of girl, but my new bible reading plan has me reading something out of the Old Testament every day. And it has been good. Wow. So rich. I've been reminded that ALL of God's word is living and active! Not just the parts I'm familiar with and can easily relate to. There is such richness in the stories and testimonies of the people of the Old Testament. And these were real people, who failed grossly and terribly more often than not, but served a God bigger than their failures.

Anyways, this week I have been reading anew about how the LORD brought the Israelites out of Egypt. About the miracles, and the majestic way God redeemed His people from slavery. HE brought them out, there was no mistake about it.

One thing in particular that struck me as I read about the Israelites sojourn out of Egypt, was their unbelief:

"The Egyptians pursued them...

When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold; the Egyptians were marching after them; and they feared greatly. They said to Moses "What have you done in bringing us out of Egypt?... For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."

Exodus 14:9-12

Despite ALL God had done to bring them out of Egypt, at the first challenge that presented the Israelites "they feared greatly". When they saw that the Egyptians were hot on their trail, the only possible outcome they could conjure up was imminent death. And they were in misery because of their fear. Had God actually failed them? No.

And, not only that, but they remembered the past with rose-colored glasses. Excuse me, but it seems they are forgetting something HUGE. They were slaves! They were horribly mistreated by the Egyptians. What kind of a life is that?

And yet, they longed for Egypt. For their slavery.

"It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."

 Not because it was good, but because it was a future that they could predict. It was familiar. They could anticipate what was going to happen.

What killed them was their anticipation of their horrible fate, their imaginings, their unbelief that God would continue to be faithful when the time came. 

And He was certainly faithful. He literally rolled back the waters of  a SEA for His people, and more than met their need in a grand act of power, and completely demolished the Egyptians.

I can so identify with the Israelites. How often do my fears of the unknown, my limited imagination for what God can do with the certain obstacles I face FILL me with fear? And greatly diminish the joy of today?
I can tend to have such a limited, minuscule  finite view, and live in fear because of my unbelief. Because I could not dream up if I tried the GREAT THINGS that God has planned. Because, just like the Israelites, I forget who God is and the wonders that He has already done.

The Israelites saw an impossibility  and left God completely out of the equation. I don't want to make that same mistake! NOTHING is impossible with God. Absolutely nothing.

Ps. Go here to watch an AWESOME talk given by Bianca Olthoff on the Israelites exodus from Egypt.

THIS is the day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"THIS is the day that the LORD has made,

I WILL rejoice and be glad in it."

Psalm 118:24

Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work, the LORD brought the above verse to my heart. I woke up feeling discouraged, and prayed for the LORD's strength as I fumbled my way to the shower.

And the LORD graciously answered my prayer. Almost like THIS is your verse for today, Amanda!

And so, I have been thinking about this verse - actually been singing it to myself (in my head of course, yikes!) in that sort of sing-song children's praise song I learned waaaaay back. Probably in AWANA Club! Anyways. This verse is POWERFUL. So much truth in each phrase.

I love that it says "THIS DAY". As in not yesterday, not tomorrow, THIS day. TODAY.  I need to be reminded to live in today. To not live in the past or the future but TODAY.

And then - "that the LORD has made." HE made this day! He MADE it. He knows exactly what is going to happen, He designed it, and as His redeemed child, it will be for my GOOD. He is SOVEREIGN, in control.

And then - I WILL REJOICE and be glad in it. There is determination there... to choose to be joyful. As in, I CHOOSE to be thankful today. Perhaps that means I am gritting my teeth and determining that I will be joyful, darn it! Haha. But really, it is a choice. And all too often I don't choose to rejoice and be glad. I whine and complain and feel sorry for myself!

This verse that I have known all my life, became SO fresh and new and powerful in my life yesterday. Such a reminder that God sees my needs, and reaches down to meet them. He sees your needs, friends! He is the "God who sees".


Saturday, February 2, 2013

He RESTORES my soul. 

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