for whatever reason, this morning i woke up feeling very nostalgic.  (maybe it was the fact that i had an awesome sleep, and the kids didn't get up until almost 10am! thankyouverymuch spring break...)

as i (finally) got ready to come into the church to work, i put on the necklace Gavin gave me for our first anniversary and i remembered that first year of marriage.  it wasn't easy, but there was so much fun!  i remembered how happy he was to give it to me and how he actually ended up putting it on my neck a full 2 months before our special day, just because he wanted me to have it.

as i carefully untangled it (no, my jewelery is not super-organized) i remember how as a little girl, i always took my tangled necklaces to my dad and he always was able to make them straight.  there's a tiny knot in the chain i'm wearing today, perhaps i should take it to him....  i always used to marvel at his thick, rough fingers were able to do such delicate work.

as i looked through a friend's facebook photos of their experience taking young adults to Passion Vancouver, i started to feel all excited inside as i remembered all the fun we had in Atlanta and the awesome experience of worshipping with so many people.  i think of it every time i listen to the new album that was recorded during the conference.  i jokingly tell people that i can totally hear my voice on a few of the songs....

even more, as i looked on the faces of these friends, i remember how we met them very early in our time in Durham, NC.  i thought about how the Lord brought us to that state and how He brought us to that little church where He introduced us to this sweet family from our home town - only the Lord!  and for all the 'trouble' with facebook (the potential for time-sucking and the depressive feelings that can occur) this is one of those times where the Lord can really use it.  what an amazing blessing to know how He's continuing to use and move in the lives of people.  what a beautiful gift to see people I know, even if just for a little while, use their talents for His kingdom.  

my heart feels so mushy today....but this is exactly what i needed for this day.

i prayed and asked the Lord for inspiration this morning as i'm sitting down to get (hopefully) most of my prep done for the Easter weekend.  this nostalgic is the answer to that prayer, i'm certain.  soft feelings of recollection are exactly where i need to begin as i reflect on the days leading up to the Lord's last time around the table with His friends.  a tender heart is what i need to take me to a place of vivid imagination as i consider the day my Lord was hung on the cross.  and this buzzing of excitement is just what i want to feel as i think about the day His friends found the empty tomb - when the light began to dawn on them, when they saw a glimpse of what this meant...

look back, my friends - it can give you what you need today to look forward.


hop on!

Well, a little late to the party (as usual), I've finally decided to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon.

I resisted for quite a while.  I loved looking at friends pictures and got recipes from the links of people I know, but I just wasn't sure it was for me.  I doubted that I would know where to find "cool" pictures of pretty rooms, and craft ideas and wardrobe collages....  I figured anything I would do would just be a copy of someone else's boards and pins.

Those were my classic "self doubt" reasons, but there was another reason I resisted.

I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to handle it.  I think it's pretty common for people to struggle with the whole social media phenom.  Facebook drains times from a day and makes us think that everyone else is living the life I've always wanted...  Blogs (some, not all) can give the perception of perfection - parenting, exercising, cooking, organizing, loving and living with grace and beauty...inside and out... Twitter says everyone has something to say - except me?... Even Instagram can be a stumbling block - how does everyone else seem to take the most elegant photos?...

I was concerned if I started pinning, I'd start pining - haha, see the play on words?  But would it be true?  Would pinning pretty things and crafts and recipes I'll never have or do or make cause the seeds of discontent to be planted and sprout...into a beanstalk worthy of climbing?  At this season of life, can I trust myself to handle this?

And then one day, as I dragged a link to my desktop I noticed that my desktop was full of links that I didn't want to lose or forget.  I also noticed that they didn't display an image, so when I went to look for a specific link, I had to open each one until I found it (oh the humanity).  I realized that I was essentially using my desktop as a pinboard! (maybe this is how the idea was born??)

So with a prayer for strength and moderation, I set up my boards - unique to me and possibly boring to others.  I pulled together everything off my desktop and found some good ideas from friends near and far.  I've tried new recipes and gotten lots of inspiration.  I'm committed to knowing my limits - there are days that I don't click that pretty P if I know I'm tired and possibly feeling want-y, but overall it's been a super organized way of keeping track of things.

What's your favorite thing about Pinterest?



"let all that I am wait quietly for God for my hope is in Him."
Psalm 62:5


they were fed

i seem to have a little trouble with being regular in linking up to feed my family friday over at farmgirlpaints, but that doesn't mean i haven't been feeding my troops!  i actually took the time to take pictures one evening last week and then didn't get a chance to post.

i have been trying a few new recipes, but always go back to our favorites.  (and just to be honest, there other night i tried a new recipe and it was dee.sguss.ting.  even i couldn't eat it!)

today's recipe is one i've been making for over 10 years!  it's from the campbell's soup recipe book that i got as a wedding shower gift.  i don't remember when i first tried it (or why it's the only recipe from the book i've ever made), but it's in regular rotation in the Hall home.

Country Chicken Stew

: : in a 3L sauce pan over medium heat, cook 2 slices (or more) bacon until crisp.  Transfer to paper towels to drain, reserve drippings.

: : in hot drippings, cook 1 medium onion and 1 tsp dried oregano until onion is tender

: :  Add 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, 1 soup can water, 4 medium potates, peeled and cut into chunks, 2 medium carrots sliced; heat to boiling; reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

(apparently i stopped taking pictures - i probably had some littles at my feet...)

: :  Stir in 1 cup frozen cut green beans. Cover and cook 10 minutes; stir in reserved bacon and 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (usually i use 2 chicken breasts); heat through and serve.

Can you see peas in this stew?  Yes, I forgot to put beans on the shopping list
-the family tried to be flexible about this radical change.

it makes about 5 1/2 cups, though I usually try and "beef" it up a little by adding more of the veggies.  if you want any leftovers at all, or if your family are hearty eaters, you probably want to double it, which is easy enough to do!

Served with "Red Lobster" biscuits, this one is a hit every time (for those nights when you just need a supper-win!)



There are moments in my life that I've had such a distinct image pop into my mind, that I've had to know it was the Lord.  It doesn't happen all the time, or even often, but once it's there it won't go away and I'm brought to my knees in worship.

I can't tell you how powerful that is for me - or maybe you know? - because I don't feel like worshipping every day.  I know every day has a reason to praise, but my human-ness keeps from seeing, or even trying to see....

This time the image came with the lyrics of a song right after I heard of the passing of a very dear man.  I thought of his wife, his kids and grandkids.  I thought of the many people in our church (including me!) who would mourn his loss even as they praised God for his well-lived life.  I stood at my kitchen sink looking out at my bird-feeder, coffee in hand, as you'll often find me...

"You stood before creation
 Eternity in Your hands
 You spoke the earth into motion
 My soul now to stand"

I saw Jesus, hands stretched before Him, holding the earth, delighting in this thing He had made.  I saw His eyes wet with tears as He peeked into each life, each hurt, every broken heart.

"You stood before my failure
 And carried the cross for my shame
 My sin weighed upon Your shoulders
 My soul now to stand"

I could almost feel His heart beating with the longing to be our answer.  "If they knew.....if only they knew..."
The image created a feeling that almost hurt.  Lord, You know that I know.  You know that I'm Yours!

"So what can I say?
 What can I do?
 But offer this heart, O God
 Completely to You"

In this broken world, where loved ones leave too soon.... where people hurt people....  where I live with my own inability to stop failing...  all I can do -ALL I can do- is offer my heart to the One who made me, delights in me, has a plan for me - who stood in my place just so I could walk with Him.

"So I'll stand
 With arms high and heart abandoned
 In awe of the One who gave it all
 My soul, Lord, to You surrendered
 All I am is Yours."

Under the weight of my world, I can stand because He stood under the weight of the whole world.  He carried the burden to the cross, took it all - gave it all - and rose to life to give me the freedom to live.

worship Him - only Him.

  The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high; 
   he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness. 
 He will be the sure foundation for your times, 
   a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; 
   the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure. 
isaiah 33:5-6


hello monday

i've seen others do this, time to join in the fun...

hello monday!

hello kids in great spirits, heading off to school.

hello waking up beside my best friend.
 hello chatting too long and being late for work.

hello good mood - long time no see!

hello getting organized, catching up and making plans.

hello James - what do you have to teach me today?

hello online fun with friends and cousins.  
hello to blood and faith connections that make life sweeter.


hello Lord!  
thank You for monday.
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