LET’S HAVE COFFEE

Posted by Tori on Mar 8, 2013 in coffee

 Hi there. Today, I’m linking up with Alissa for a coffee date. I think that today, especially, is the perfect day for it since I would love nothing more than a real life coffee date…comfy and cozy, warm and relaxed with a good latte and a good friend. But, alas, since that is a luxury I cannot afford today, this virtual ‘lil date will have to suffice.

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Here’s my mug. And my leggings. And my comfy spot.

If we were having coffee today, I would have lots to tell you! First, I would be bursting to tell you that William and I are heading to Houston (our first time in Texas) next month, just for a weekend getaway alone. I am REALLY EXCITED!! So, if I have any Houston buddies out there, email me your favorite spots and restaurants!

Next, I would tell you that I am glad this week is ending. It has been really great, but really packed. I’m not so much glad that it’s ending because I’m ready for it to be over, but because I am ready for the weekend to be here. I am ready to relax with my hubby and my babies and just have some fun.

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This is one I snagged last Saturday morning. Aren’t these two the cutest?!

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Mmmm. If we were having coffee today, I would be eating a slice of this super yummy cake I made yesterday on a whim. And I would definitely share some you. I randomly tweeted, “It’s clear to me the best way to spend this afternoon has to be baking a cake. It’s the only thing to do.” So, that’s exactly what I did. Don’t regret one bit of it!

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Haha. Not sure exactly what it is about this picture that makes me smile so much. Maybe it’s just that I am crazy in love with him! Today, he got right up to my face, kissed me, gave me a big hug, and said, “I love you. You’re my best mommy!”

Well…that would probably be about it from me over coffee today. I would mainly rather listen to what you have to say, truth be told. I hope that you have a FANTASTIC FRIDAY and a great weekend. Soak up His goodness and drink in His love for you. It’s far more lavish than even what we can see from where we sit.

“You hem me in, behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high; I cannot attain it…How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” Psalm 139:5-6,17

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MY MONDAY RANDOM RAMBLES.

Posted by Tori on Jan 14, 2013 in ayden., coffee, family., recipes.

Today, I’m linking up with my friend, Carissa, for MISCELLANY MONDAY! I do this every so often when I’m feeling extra random. Hope you can relate and aren’t scared away…

1. I’m not tremendously fond of how sickness lingers after you begin to feel better. Really ready to feel like myself again. Plus, I am spending way to much on Lysol & Clorox.

2. My boy turns THREE THIS WEEK!! Seriously, it hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s doing weird things to my heart. I guess I should get used to it, because it doesn’t look like it will get any easier as my babies get older. Ayden is getting so big & becoming more and more grown up everyday. I am crazy in love with him. God has blessed me way over my head with that boy.

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3. I have been super blessed and encouraged by this girl’s blog series on the book of Psalms (every Tuesday & Thursday on her blog). If you haven’t met Nadine yet, you need to. She is so in love with Jesus & His Word, and He’s using her to change this world. Love her to pieces.

4. Have you tried Starbucks’ new Vanilla Spice Latte? I’m usually not a “vanilla latte” girl, but I really like this one. (Told you this was random, right?)

5. In case you missed it, I guest posted over at Savory Concoctions, my friend, Jennifer’s food blog last week. I shared a recipe for Pasta Chicken Salad that I stole from a good friend and actually make quite often. It’s yummy. Check it out.

Welp. That’s about all I got. I hope that you have a wonderful week, and that you are blown away by His favor & love.

Psalm 3:3-5
3But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
4I was crying to the Lord with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah.
5I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.

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2012: LOOKING BACK AND RECOUNTING THE WONDERS

Posted by Tori on Dec 31, 2012 in a good word., beauty, coffee, family., thankful heart.

Recounting the wonders. As I was forming vision for this site, the Lord kept bringing the words of Psalm 40:5 back to me. Over and over. It’s a verse that has meant a lot to me over the years. On my wedding day, it’s what I prayed would become the testimony of my marriage. And, I can honestly say — as I look back over my life, my marriage, my years as a mother — is my testimony. It has remained true in every season.

“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.”

But, that’s what I want to try to do — recount the wonders He has done — as I remember all that 2012 has brought. When I was sketching out ideas and remembering things that have happened this past year, so many things flooded back to me. Were I to revisit all of them, we would be here until next year. So, at the bottom of the post, you’ll find some of my favorite moments in pictures.

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Writing is so important to me. The Lord uses the writing process in so many ways to grow me spiritually. That’s part of the reason I love blogging so much (one of the selfish reasons, I guess). So, here are some posts that have really changed me and meant something very deep to me.

 Dear Ayden
Jesus Lives
What’s Real and What’s Not
Sowing and Reaping
I Exalt Thee
ONE THING REMAINS (Probably my most treasured from 2012.)
Sovereign Over Us
Stronger (No Playing Favorites)
That’s What it’s all About
We Serve a King and a Kingdom
Perfect Doesn’t Mean Pretty

This year has been full. Full of great things, full of hard things, but mostly just full of His faithfulness. I am thankful that the Lord designed us for seasons, and that He’s constantly at work in us and for us — whether we realize it or not. So, I am closing the book on 2012 with a grateful heart. Lessons learned and ready to embrace what’s coming in 2013. Thankful that He uses even (or especially) the hard and confusing things to prepare us and work good for what’s to come.

Whether this year has been one of plenty, blessing, and abundance, or one of pain, difficulty, and confusion, rest in the truth that He is. (In Greek it’s Ego Eimi). I AM. He’s got this and He’s got you. Right in the center of His sight & His hand. He won’t be surprised by anything that comes along with 2013. He’s busy making something way bigger and better than we can see. For our good. And His glory.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

 

 Cheers!

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REASONS TO SING

Posted by Tori on Dec 5, 2012 in a good word., coffee, thankful heart.

Man. Over the past couple of days I have had (what seems like) a million deep ponderings swirling around in my mind and heart. It’s hard to pin them all down. And maybe I don’t need to. At the end of the day, though, one thought remains vibrant and clear: I am so grateful.

For life,
for new beginnings,
for thunderstorms,
for sunrise,
for the crisp winter breeze,
for people,
for silence,
for laughter,
for sips of coffee,
for each breath.

For Him — all by Himself — He never leaves; never changes; always loves… always is exceedingly, abundantly more.

And His Word.

Psalm 103:1-5
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

 

Job 26:7-14
7 “He stretches out the north over empty space
And hangs the earth on nothing.
8 “He wraps up the waters in His clouds,
And the cloud does not burst under them.
9 “He obscures the face of the full moon
And spreads His cloud over it.
10 “He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters
At the boundary of light and darkness.
11 “The pillars of heaven tremble
And are amazed at His rebuke.
12 “He quieted the sea with His power,
And by His understanding He shattered Rahab.
13 “By His breath the heavens are cleared;
His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent.
14 “Behold, these are the fringes of His ways;
And how faint a word we hear of Him!
But His mighty thunder, who can understand?”

 

Luke 1:46–55
46 “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

I am overwhelmed that this great God would condescend to save one such as me.

I love that His Word speaks for itself, tearing down every man-made wall, penetrating the heart and soul, transcending all generations and all cultures, standing forever.

Ask Him to speak fresh today. Loud and clear.  For when He does, you won’t be the same. And neither will your world.

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THE OLD IS GONE

Posted by Tori on Nov 26, 2012 in a good word., beauty, coffee, family.

I think we ALL knew it was time for a design change around here about four years ago. (Ok,  I’m exaggerating a little…but not much.) If you don’t know or can’t remember what the old site looked like, count yourself blessed. It was just a standard fill-in-the-blanks WordPress theme with a whole lot ‘o mess.

Several months ago, my (IT nerd) husband encouraged me that I could redesign my own site. Now, any of you familiar with what is involved in WordPress theme design knows that this was a laughable dream. But, he bought me a stack of books on HTML, CSS, PHP, and Photoshop and I got to reading. And this is what I came up with. (I say “I,” but you should know that William helped me a lot.) It is not perfect, and I will change it again someday, but it does do a much better job of communicating my personality and complementing my vision and voice for this slice of internet. I hope you enjoy it, and find it easier to read and navigate.

The Lord brought the words of Psalm 40:5 to me as I was beginning to form a vision for this site. This verse has been so true in each season of life I have lived. It says: “Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” That’s what I want to attempt here – declare the wonders He has done. What’s He done in my life; through His word; in His people. It will not even scratch the surface of what He’s planned for us, nor the depth of His character. But for as long as He gives me words, that’s what I want to do with them. Hence, the tagline you’ll be seeing around here: recounting the wonders.

Please make yourself at home. You are most welcome here. Pour a cup of coffee and stay a while.

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november is here!

Posted by Tori on Nov 2, 2012 in coffee, family.

Happy November! I am so excited that this month is here. It is filled with so many of my favorite things: frequent and spontaneous trips to Starbucks, watching football with my man, colder weather, and warm, yummy dinners with family. What are your favorites about November?

This year I have been reflecting a lot about how and where I spend the short hours of my day that I’m given. I have come to see that they are not always spent on the right stuff or with the right attitude. I have come to see that where I spend my time reflects what is really meaningful and important to me; not necessarily what I want to be the most important to me. So, I am asking and inviting Him to make some changes. One of those is in the area of generosity and hospitality. I want to SEE other people – their needs, desires, struggles – and invite them in. Give freely and joyfully as a instinctive response to others. I want to use my home as a place where friends and family are welcomed and loved lavishly. So, there’s never been a more perfect time than now. Lord, change my heart and allow me to reflect your generosity and grace. I want to be about what you’re about – nothing more, nothing less.

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july 2012 birchbox review!

Posted by Tori on Jul 23, 2012 in beauty, coffee, Instagram.

So, I thought my June Birchbox was fun, but I have absolutely loved everything in my July Birchbox!! If you aren’t familiar with Birchbox, check them out. I know you will love them! Here’s a little about how it works: Each month, you receive a box filled with samples of high-end beauty and lifestyle products. It’s such a neat treat (especially for a mama of 3 under 3 who doesn’t get out much) to receive brand new beauty products each month. Each box is just $10 & it’s always a fun surprise to see what’s inside! Once you get your Birchbox in the mail, you sign in online for a list of the products you received, more information, videos on how to use the products, as well as the option to purchase them with free shipping during that month. With each product in your box, you have the option to submit a small review and receive 10 points. 100 points are worth $10 for future redemption in the Birchbox shop on any product they carry or promote. Pretty neat! (And, if you save up your points, you could get your favorite item free!) For more information, or to subscribe click here.

Birchbox teamed up with Glamour this month to offer a box that provides an experience for each of our five senses.

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So…what was in my July box, you ask?

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Color Club | Blue-Ming: A bright, summery, green-turquoise nail polish. This polish definitely screams summer fun! I loved having it included in the box. The full-sized product is just $8! Can’t beat it! This one was definitely a winner for me.

Gloss Moderne | High-Gloss Masque: This is a vitamin-rich conditioning cream to restore shine, and replenish hair after exposure to sun, heat, & pollution. You apply it in the shower to rinsed hair for five minutes and then rinse it out. I have enjoyed using this one. I let it replace my Moroccan Oil and it did a decent job. The full-sized product retails for $39. I’m enjoying the sample, but plan to return to my Moroccan Oil for the long-term.

Harvey Prince | Eau Flirt: This is a flirty perfume with layers of citrus & jasmine over a base of lavender & pumpkin. Sounds iffy on paper, at least to me, but it actually is quite nice. It’s light, youthful, and absolutely perfect for summer! The full-sized products range in price from $55-$98. It’s definitely a product I’ll keep in the back of my mind next summer when I’m shopping for a new fragrance.

Manna Kadar | sheer glo shimmer lotion: This shimmery lotion can be combined with your foundation, or used alone as a highlighter to cheeks and browbones, or can be used as a lotion anywhere you would like to boost radiance without adding shine. This one was fun to try. It feels light on the skin, and really achieves the look it advertises. It reminded me of a tinted moisturizer I used to use and really loved. It retails for $29. Not too bad, but not something I’m ready to add to my daily routine.

suki | Balancing Kit: This came as an all-in-one set with the goal of calming, and purifying your face, leaving it smooth, hydrated, and healthy. It was fun to get an entire set to try all at once (cleanser, clay, toner, moisturizer, etc.). The full-sized set is $40. You get everything you need to care for your skin from morning till night. So, it really is a nice value.

LÄRABAR | über: So, I’ll admit, it was super fun to get to try a new snack in my Birchbox! These bars come in four flavors: Roasted Nut Roll, Apple Turnover, Bananas Foster, and Cherry Cobbler. I sampled the Roasted Nut Roll and it was tasty! Loved it! You can buy a variety pack of the bars (16) for $27.95. A bit steep for a snack, but if you buy me one, I’ll eat it!!

Birchbox Exclusive | Earbuds: As an added bonus in the box, I received a pair of earbuds! How fun?! They are cute, bright neon green and pink. I am keeping them in my purse and have loved using them! Thanks, Birchbox! (Retail, $0.)

Overall, this box gets an A! I would love for you to sign up and enjoy Birchbox with me! Can’t wait to see what’s next!

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miscellany monday. brought to you by starbucks.

Posted by Tori on Jul 16, 2012 in coffee, family., Instagram.

Hey there! I am writing random and linking up with Carissa this morning!

1. Here I am! Yes, I am writing this post from my laptop. In the car. Starbucks in hand. You do whatcha gotta do, right?

2. I really do think that parents of young kids should be immune to all illness. Isn’t being sick and taking care of babies the worst?! And why is it that William & I get sick together? Who knows. Yesterday, we both felt it coming on. Everyone in our house napped for 2 hours. I woke up feeling worse. Like I had been hit by a Mack truck. My head was throbbing, my skin was crawling, and I was not looking forward to this week at all. Took some meds and packed it in early (like 10:30) last night. And prayed. Then, I woke up this morning a little grumpy (just keeping it real), but otherwise feeling normal. Thank you, Jesus!!! I have never felt that bad one day and this good the next. I have no idea what’s going on in this little body, but I am so thankful.

3. William ordered this book for me. Plus two more. One on PHP & one on Photoshop. Note to self: If you ever express a desire in learning anything technical to your IT professional of a husband, he will make sure you have the opportunity to learn it! This can be good or not so good. I’m thinking I’m way in over my head. I am about halfway through this one and haven’t touched the other two yet. Maybe there’s hope for me yet? Who knows.

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4. I love that I began writing this post in the car, but am finishing it on the couch a few hours later. Somewhere in the middle of #3, William called. He was leaving work & headed to grab a bite to eat. So, he met us and we enjoyed an impromptu family lunch! Love extra family time!!

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straw swords with daddy at lunch.

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happy baby ladies.

5. I am really excited to get into this month’s Birchbox & try all of the goodies!! It was a really fun box this month, and I can’t wait to share my review with you!!

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6. I read Jessi’s post today and was seriously blessed! (You will be too.) I feel like she took the words right out of my mouth! It’s something the Lord has been speaking over me lately & impressing on my heart regarding online ministry. So thankful for her.

7. Also, check out the LinkyHere blog this afternoon to learn a little more about me, my heart for this site, and our weekly link-up, Worship Wednesday!

That’s all folks! Enjoy your Monday!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

 

 

 

 

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can i get you a latte?

Posted by Tori on Jul 2, 2012 in coffee, family., Instagram., twins.

As a mama to 3 littles under 3, it is tricky to grab a moment for a coffee date with a friend. But, thanks to this little slice of internet, we can have our very own virtual coffee date whenever it is convenient for us and no matter how many miles separate us. So…can I get you a latte? Let’s catch up a bit…

If you and I were grabbing coffee today, I would tell you that this week has been nuts! Sometimes, when it rains, it pours. You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged since the 22nd! Our site was down for nearly a week. We have changed hosting companies, so we are hoping not to have that trouble again. Truthfully, it was kind of nice to be forced to take a break. Last Sunday, my twins came down with a virus. Then, on Tuesday, I had my four wisdom teeth extracted. That day was rough, but overall it hasn’t been a terrible experience. I was so grateful to have a lot of good help with the kids so I could focus on feeling better. By the middle of the week, the girls were feeling better. Friday, Ayden came down with it. He has been running fever…and last night we were up with him throwing up. He’s been a little better today, so I am praying that all the kids will sleep through the night so William and I can get some good rest!

How’s your week been? Hopefully, it hasn’t been this crazy. But, maybe it has been…or maybe it’s been worse. Regardless, I know that this is true: Our God is faithful. His pursuit of our souls is relentless. And He loves us more than we can understand. That helps me through any week.

“But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He ransoms me unharmed from the battle…Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption…But as for me, I trust in you.” Psalm 55:16-18a, 22-23a, 23c

And…I may or may not whip out my iPhone to show you some pics from today. In real life, I probably wouldn’t…but that kind of thing is way more acceptable on virtual coffee dates 😉

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Thankful for church online with sick little ones at home!

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Brooklyn decided to chill out in the dog bed for a while…I don’t think she minds one bit…

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Finally…Happy 16 months to my sweet baby ladies!! I love you!

I’d love for you to leave a comment and let me know what’s been going on with you and what you’ve been learning…thanks for sharing a latte with me!

I’m linking up (like 4 days late…but who cares?) with Rags to Stiches for our coffee date.

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