Friday Faves //

Y’all, it’s FRIDAY. This weekend is SO special. Some of my family & Joe’s family will be coming down this weekend & staying with us. Yipee! We are celebrating Joe’s Birthday and also celebrating Father’s Day with his dad & my stepdad. Next weekend, I will be hiking with my dad. Happy Dad’s Day! It’s pretty sweet that I have so many dads. I have a dad, stepdad, dad-in-law, & sorry y’all but my heavenly Dad trumps them all. I’m so thankful for each of them! We are also celebrating my Sweet Husband this Saturday! His birthday is next Wednesday & we’re celebrating with family this weekend. It was a surprise but because it’s kinda complicated to plan an entire weekend with 20+ people alone, I decided to tell him! Thankfully, he was excited to know. But.. I have a special secret surprise day planned on his actual birthday & I am not letting this cat out of the bag!

In honor of such a fun weekend just beginning, I want to share my faves from this week!

1. 20140613-082923.jpgEarth Fare’s chocolate cupcake. Okay-confession-… my husband and I may or may not have traveled to earth fare 3-4 times this week to get their amazingly delish chocolate cupcakes and we may or may not have endured a flash flood/thunderstorm to get said cupcake from said grocery store. Okay, we did. We use the excuse that everything in their cupcakes are healthier than the normal preservative-packed cupcake. Whatevs if they’re still filled with sugar & calories. WE LOVE THEM.



We have a flower!!! I have been waiting on and watering this little guy for months now. Each morning, I give him a little drink & wait for him to sprout in the sunlight on our kitchen windowsill. One morning, my husband woke me up to let me know that we had a sunflower! It was sweet. This is our first plant we grew together in our home. It reminds me of the quote, “bloom where you are planted”. It’s so easy to wish your life away. Wish you lived somewhere else, doing something better, in a happier place. But really, if we are just patient and trust God, we will blossom & grow right where we are! And we can find happiness & peace where we are at because we trust that God, the sower of every seed, placed us in the perfect spot. And His Son is all we need to flourish and grow! {the little tiny pot beside the sunflower is our strawberry plant. It was only $1 at target, okay. 😉 we may never see actual strawberries but it’s still fun to watch it grow!}



My hubs & I decided we were going to TRY to eat better. {I say this after I told you about the cupcakes.. keyword TRY hehe} I have been making my very own smoothies to drink for breakfast, as a snack, or a lunch substitute. I also add a handful of kale and/or spinach to eat drink so I know I am getting all the nutrients I need. I normally add coconut water for the liquid + tons of fruits. Yesterday, I added cranberry juice (no sugar added) to see if I enjoyed it better than coconut water. Eh, I think I will stick with my coconut water. I don’t have set recipes for each drink. I like to keep it simple though. My staples for each drink is one big kale leaf (stem removed), a handful of spinach, 2 fruits, & a liquid (natural coconut water). LOVE THEM! My fave has to be my kale apple drink. Granny smith for the win!



No one ever told me how hard it is to get your house in perfect shape. I thought it would just kinda happen & I would never be one of those people who keep everything. Well, life surely happens. It has taken us almost a year to get our guest room just how we like it. And wouldn’t you know, it took less than 2 hours. Surprise, surprise. All I needed was a little company-the hubs, motivation-family staying over in less than a day with nowhere to lay their heads, & a vacuum-which we had all along. I hope I’m not the only one to procrastinate in the house. Right?! We decorated our guest room in a beach-y theme. We already had the nightstand and the lamp from Joe’s old apartment. (Win!) We added shelving to the walls that I found in a closet & topped them with seashells from our last beach trip. I went around the house looking for things I could add to the room instead of going out and buying everything. Add a candle (Christmas gift), a cute frame (from our wedding),  & a bible (extra we already had) & you have yourself a cozy guest bedroom!



Yesterday, I visited my friendly neighborhood sbux for a little r&r. Oh, and I wrote the Romans chapter 2 review here! Which you need to check out if you haven’t already! The nice little cashier dude gave me a half-off venti cool lime refresher because he said he added something “special“… still not sure what that means but I haven’t turned green yet, so I think I’m in the clear. It was a blessing! I love me a cool lime refresher! I also started the #100happydays challenge. You can find it here. It’s a challenge to be happy for 100 days. It’s free & fun. I just love a good photo challenge every now and then. You can check out my #100happydays on Hot Tea and the Empty Seat’s Facebook page! This pic was my day #1. 🙂 HAPPY!


how has your week been?




Life Lately…

Life lately has been all kinds of things. As I think of all the life going on, I come to one word that sums up this season of life that I am in: refreshment. Whether it be deep talks over coffee with a good friend, a much-needed fun date with the husband, or a reminder of our heavenly home, I am being refreshed….



Over the weekend, we were able to visit both of our families for a bit. It was refreshing to see them and catch up. Right after being married, I wanted to go back home pretty much every single day. After growing closer to my husband and learning to trust God where I am at, both my husband and I think of trips back home as more special and dear to us than before. The trips are fewer now because we don’t feel that sting of needing to go back home because together, we are at home. We treasure times spent with our families now more than before & I know that that is a gift from God. I even got to snag my coffee cup I bought right before getting married that I kept leaving at my mom’s house. It’s now where it belongs & so am I.


Also over the weekend, we attended the funeral & life celebration of a dear man in our home church who finished his race well and left this earth to be with our mighty and sweet Jesus. His name is Bob & I have known him since I was young. He founded & was president of a mission organization focused in Romania. If ever was a man who LOVED Jesus and served Him in every way, it was this man. I always saw him in worship with a smile on his face and arms directing worship. He wasn’t perfect but he was in love with Christ. Thousands and thousands of people, here in the US and in Romania, have been changed because one man loved Jesus so much that He answered the call to go. His life is an inspiration to me to focus ONLY on Jesus & the souls around me. Before his death, I read pages upon pages of facebook posts written by all of the lives that he had touched for Christ. He truly was just a man who served a great God and now He is in the presence of His great God & Savior. Please pray for his wife, Yvonne. Having a husband myself, I can only imagine what she is feeling. I am so thankful that she is in love with the Man who has her man of over forty years safe now in His everlasting arms. It amazes me how the death of a Saint opens up eyes (especially mine) to the reality of Heaven. It’s not a fairytale, far-away place. It is the presence of God in REAL LIFE. Oh, I cannot wait to get home.


Penny, our Siberian Retriever puppy, made some new friends on our family land this weekend. I’m not sure if she wanted to play or chase them down. They were quite curious as well to see a little deer-looking things sniffing at them.


My mother-in-law’s tree right outside her window that is always all kinds of pretty depending on the weather. I especially love seeing it today since it’s 50 degrees and rainy this week. It reminds me of this verse six in Nehemiah 9… “You alone are the Lord. You have made the heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their hosts, the earth & everything on it, the seas and all that is in them. And you preserve them all. The host of heaven worships you.” It’s encouraging to know that just like God preserves the beautiful flowers, trees, and the air itself, He preserves us. You and me. We are His beloved children. And He never ever leaves us.


 I had the delightful opportunity to meet up at a little coffee shop with a dear friend who is finishing up her dental hygiene schooling. We talked about our family, faith, & fears. We are both so much alike {and it’s such a relief to know I’m not crazy} and we both have quite the same personality. The weekend before, on my girls retreat, we took a personality/spiritual gifts test/quiz/cool thing. It revealed what I totally knew was true. I am a type C personality which means cautious, reserved, serving, & sensitive and showed me things I needed to work on spiritually speaking. It was encouraging & refreshing to know that I am not the only one dealing with fear and other things. We were also able to talk lots of photography as we are both up&coming photographers. Oh, and I tried a macaroon for the first time ever. Delish. These things are just too cute. I am now on a mission to be the next macaroon baker. We’ll see. 😉


And last but certainly not least, my husband and I spent our beautiful Sunday very well. After worshipping, learning, and hearing God speak to us, we set out for downtown. We ate at our favorite local restaurant, went bike shopping only to learn that the bike shops are closed on Sunday and then found ourselves in our new favorite cupcake shop. I indulged in a cookie dough cupcake that had actual cookie dough baked inside the cupcake & hubby inhaled a reece’s peanut butter and fudge cupcake. It was safe to say that our gluten-free diet was over for the month. HA! But it really was. We were proud. And I have decided that I can’t/won’t go back to bread-eating. Oh, besides all of those delicious cupcakes that are calling my name right.. about.. now..

❤ cheers to a new week. and a VERY SPECIAL week, at that. In six short days, we will celebrate the resurrection of the ONE who changed history & eternity forever!

Here is the song we sang Sunday in worship that completely broke me down. While trying to trust God in the hard & good times, I want this to be my heart’s song no matter what.








-iAmThankful Day Seven-

Latte. Frappacino. Coffee. Tea. Iced. Frozen. Hot. Soy. Nonfat. Espresso.


Day 7 of iAmThankful, I want to express my undying love for coffee shops.

I love tea and coffee and all of the sorts, but it is within those four walls of a coffee shop that I have my most prized moments with God.

There is just something about the coziness, quietness, and smelly-goodness that helps me focus so easily and powerfully on God. He has revealed so many awesome things to me while at coffee shops.

Back home, snuggled between rugged, old buildings and antique train tracks, my favorite coffee shop lies. Sweet Sallies. Home of the Drew’s Brews coffee flavored cupcake and African Sunset red tea (okay, I think they just order that but, whatever, I love it!)

It was there that I was inspired to start this blog. I remember sipping my hot tea and looking over at the empty seat in front of me and picturing Jesus sitting there wearing a warm smile, calling me to enjoy life with Him more fully!

When I was single, It was there that I spent countless hours praying for my future husband. (Yay for answered prayers!)

It was there in a coffee shop, that I met with other fellow Christian girls and we studied and prayed and ate tons of cupcakes. Such sweet times! (Literally!) Coffee shops are the best places for bible studies, btw! Time with Jesus + Tea + Cupcakes…. Makes me happy just thinking about it!

It was in a coffee shop that I was mentored and encouraged and prayed for by my dear friend, Cheryl, even when we were both in desert-places. She now leads an awesome bible study and has like five jobs! God is good.

It is in coffee shops, that I meet up with precious best friends when I come back into town. We share stories, updates, good news, bad new, and all that God is teaching us!

It is in a coffee shop that I am writing to you now. 🙂 It just seemed like the perfect place to enjoy a Pumpkin Latte on this chilly day.

I love spending time with God in coffee shops. I hope this will inspire you to find a time where you can escape to a coffee shop and call upon our dear Father who is with you in that empty seat for some one-on-one time! And of course, enjoy a nice, hot tea!

Maybe one day, my husband and I can own our own coffee shop. You all better visit!