Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Currently

Happy Easter!!

reading Left to tell, the incredible story of a woman who lived through the Rwandan genocide in the early 1990's. {book review coming soon} And MANY blogs, my girl Kodie started up her page this week and I cannot wait to see where blogging takes us! 
writing a few posts for the upcoming week, we have court twice for Baby M.
listening Drew Halcomb & The Neighbors {basketball in the background} it's a chill, rainy day - perfect for Drew & Ellie! 
thinking that I cannot believe it is April. Was this week really my birthday? Where did March go? 
smelling what's left of a yummy Easter lunch, Thanks Mom! 
wishing that my room would clean itself and that the weekend was just a little longer. I'm not ready to start studying for tests next week. Summer, hurry up!
hoping we can cook some good, healthy food this week!
wearing yoga pants and my duke sweatshirt {representin' for the game this afternoon}
loving watching Baby M grow! It's incredible all of the changes in just one month. {Bear with me - I'm not a mom, I don't know how this stuff works}
wanting to run. a new morning routine. Night class is killing me because I have no motivation to drag my booty out of bed before 8. 
needing a job, a new workout routine and some motivation to get through the April school slump - where's the coffee!?
feeling a little sad that Ash just left to go back to school, but ready for the week and to get back into routines. 
clicking through pictures of the weekend/week and feeling so very blessed!

Head on over to Link up with Lauren.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

We're on Facebook!

My Wandering Heart is now on Facebook and we got a new look on the blog! 
Click the link and like the page.

Get updates on things happening around the blog before it goes live! 

At the Cross

Easter is a time of reflections for many. If you are a believer, this is the season that we look to the cross and reflect on what happened there over 2000 years ago. For others, Easter symbolizes the true beginning of spring - new life, new goals and anticipation of the warm weather on the way. 

For me, Easter is a story of redemption. In the events that occurred during Christ's final days on this earth, He redeemed mankind - He purchased my life. It is a story that is dark and sobering. A story of torture and death. And then, great and marvelous light.

"Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 
And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, 
"Hail, King of the Jews!" and struck him with their hands 
Pilate went out again and said to them, 
"See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him." 
So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, 
"Behold the man!" When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, 
"Crucify him, crucify him!"
{John 19:1-6}

This death, this suffering brought salvation to every man. The ultimate sacrifice of love. 
My sweet readers, take this to heart. Be still and truly reflect on the weight of what happened on the cross. We do nothing to earn this great gift, we have only to receive it.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 
{John 3:16}

I am a filthy sinner. I deserve nothing but death. But when Jesus shed his blood, it poured over me and washed me white as snow. That is overwhelming for me. This ultimate display of glorious power was the ultimate gift. But it did not end in death, the story continued three days later. Sunday we celebrate! After his death on the cross, Jesus was buried in the tomb and three days later He rose! He is the almighty. He has conquered death and He has conquered the world. I believe that he lives and He loves us.

Have a blessed Easter weekend!! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday's Letters {3}

Dear spring, you might possibly {could it be?! I don't want to jink it} be showing your beautiful face. Today is going to be a warm 65ยบ and glorious. I love the budding trees and colorful flowers that you bring into my world. Seeing a  sunrise without being able to see your breath is refreshing!
Dear ant that just ran across my computer screen - ain't nobody got time for that!! Where did you come from?! Go away!! 

Dear Friday, you made it. I'm sad to see you here because I know that Sunday is soon to follow and Ashley will be leaving us {commence sobbing}. BUT this week brought my birthday & Easter so I guess it is acceptable that you finally came around. Today, you mean so much more than any other Friday. You are Good Friday. This  day we remember & reflect on the day that Jesus was crucified. The day that the sins of the world were laid on His shoulders & He took all of it on for me, for us.
Dear Jesus, how do I begin to thank you for your sacrifice. It is the season when all turn to look at the cross but few understand what it means. Thank you for giving me parents that told me about & showed your love for me - It changed my life. Thank you for the intimate relationship that we share, for your forgiveness and your death. I cannot put into words the emotions that well inside of me when I think back to what it must have been like the day that you laid down your life/ the bloodshed, the pain, it is overwhelming to my soul. Tears of gratefulness flow and my heart is broken over the ways that I fail you daily. My heart overflows with thankfulness.
You are the only thing good in me, Oh Lord. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

One to Grow On

Baby M, you are one month old today! 
 I don’t know what your birth was like, if your mother was in labor for hours or if you came quickly. You were a healthy baby girl and you are growing like a weed! Just three short weeks ago, you were brought into our home and the love story has now begun. You have already been spoiled by hugs and lovin’ - the moment you wake from a nap and realize that we are make sure we have not forgotten that you are here! Yep, your lungs work very well. We are ready to see you smiling at us! 

You have just about grown out of the newborn clothes but we are still squeezing you into those adorable tiny sleepers! We have bought you three types of bottle - I think we finally found a winner and your tummy seems to be appreciating our efforts. We now talk about your poop habits like it’s part of our normal day, well because it is {welcome to the world of babies}. Mom & Dad get 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night, that is something we can work on! You fall asleep all day and leave me here with the tired old people! You are giving me so much practice for the future, invaluable lessons that I am so thankful for. 

Honestly, you are a chunk. But we love little brown fat roles, they are too cute to handle! My sweet sister, we do not know what your future holds. For now, that is something that the Lord will save for another day. Regardless, you are loved my dear. I know that the longer you are in our arms, the more we will fall in love with you. For what you have already been through, you are resilient in spirit oh little one. 

Love you, nugget! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It's My Burfday

Par-tay!! Today, we celebrated 21 years of {my} life. I am so very blessed! I love that my family decided my entrance into true adulthood should be light hearted & so fun; hints the princess cake!

We celebrated a late afternoon cake snack with the family, Baby M, Mamaw & Papaw. I loved each of my presents but the very best surprise was my new D3200 Nikon! I'm already in love!! 

Thank You to everyone who has wished me a Happy Birthday - Ya'll are the best!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Guest Post {Ashley}

If you missed Ashley's intro, you can read it here. Thank you, Ashley, for sharing your heart with us. 

What is your Jericho?

We all go through that period in our lives where we just want more than anything to know God’s will for our lives. We have gotten to the point where we want to take up our cross daily and follow Him, but WHERE? While reading through Joshua, I found myself becoming jealous. I know that sounds weird since with this passage we usually hear things about trusting God and just doing what he tells us and everything will work out great; our “walls will fall” just like those around the city of Jericho. But reading through this story I’ve heard time and time again, I wanted to get something else out of it. I am always amazed at the different meanings I can find in a single passage. Anyways, while reading through this passage yesterday, I found myself wishing that I knew what my Jericho even was! I feel like I am sitting with my army and trumpets waiting on the signal from God, but still I am left wondering. In Joshua 6, the scripture says, “Then the Lord said to Joshua...” WOAH! I mean what Joshua did was incredible, I’m not discounting that. I’m sure that people mocked him and scorned him for not immediately attacking the city. But, the LORD SAID. Oh what I would do some days to hear the Lord, or even to be one hundred percent confident in what He wanted me to do. At this time in my life, I think it’s normal to feel this way. I’m being told to choose what I want to do with my life, where I want to live, who I want to marry- all things that will have a forever impact. While I think about things such as missions, I know I am called to be involved, but WHERE, HOW, WHEN? If only God would place a giant city in front of me with specific orders on how to defeat it. I know I could impact the world through international missions, however my heart hurts for the lost right here in Knoxville or back home in Memphis. I am totally broken and there is no way to help everyone, everywhere, so where do I go? Who do I help? I stand paralyzed in fear that I won’t choose God’s perfect will for my life. I know in the Bible it says something to the effect that if you are doing good for the kingdom, God will bless you, but if you are in God’s PERFECT will He will bless you the most. I think this is my worst fear. When I get to the point where I can look back on my life, I don’t want to think “well, I did good but I could have done better.” So for now, I wait and pray. I know that there is a time where I will have to pick to go one way or another, to take one job or another. For now, I wait prepared with the armor of God, fighting the daily battles in preparation for my Jericho.

Joshua 6:1-22

Monday, March 25, 2013

She's Baaaack!

My long lost little sister has finally returned to the 'ville for spring break! {Hallelujah}
A little intro to my main girl, Ashley {future guest blogger}
She is a freshman at the University of Tennessee Knoxville; 19 & way too smart for her own good! Her major is microbiology with hopes to head to medical school. {like I said, too smart} Ashley dreams BIG and inspires me daily! She is bilingual, with a minor in spanish and has a love for all things South American. 

Ashley has plans to visit Zambia summer 2014, and I can't wait for her to experience all that the Lord is doing in that small African country. Ash is a great person to ask for advice, she is wise beyond her years and thinks through things like a champ. My girl is a choco-holic, sweet tea lovin', woman of God.

My relationship with my Ash is a sisterly love that is irreplaceable. We fight, we get on each others nerves, but at the end of the day she is my best friend & I know she's always got my back. I can't wait for you to see her heart!


Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Perm Plan

"We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes." 
-David Platt


 A word that I can use to describe foster care. That's why people are not lined up to do it! The stories, the faces - they enter  your home and your heart and you fall in love. But foster care only exists because something in a child's life has gone wrong. Falling in love is not hard for my family. Taking toddlers out on the town is challenging but it's not impossible. For us, their exit from our home is heartbreaking. It takes faith - God is the only one that can watch over them now, their lives belong to Him. We worry, we cry and after all of that - we do it again because if we don't, who will? Just because it is hard for us, should that be a reason not to love those little ones that have nobody to love them? God has given us a command - care for the orphans. My family has felt this call as a strong pull on our hearts. Baby M is the newest part of the plan; our newest love! Once you hold her in your arms, everything changes. 

 And speaking update!

Baby M has had a big week! 

{If you have not meet this little one, you can find her here.}

Today, she had her two week check up with the pediatrician - now weighing 8lbs 1oz {she is growing so fast} She will also have a doctors appointment Monday. If you are a mom, you probably understand this - Baby M is confusing day and night {asleep all day, awake all night}. This may be a result of some of the things that happened to her during the pregnancy. My poor parents are falling asleep all over the house during the day and still managing to work {how miserable}. But ya'll, they are incredible - 45 and kickin' it like they are 30; Your everyday heroes.

Thursday, we had a meeting with the family to make a permanency plan {the exit custody plan}. The permanency plan will be approved by a judge at the ratification hearing {April 5} & we will now have visitation with the family every Monday. There will be a adjudication hearing April 1st {when I figure out what that is, I will let you know} Foster families stay busy, busy, busy! It is an uncomfortable journey but we are in it to the end. I guess what they say is true, “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  

Here's to a Saturday full of basketball, coffee and love!  

*By no means is this meant to brag on my family in any way, I only want to give you insight into foster care and my family's decision to be a part of the system.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday's Letters {2}

Dear Baby M, you made it another week - it was a busy one but we are finally back to normal and you are finally pooping, YAY! {sorry, too much information} Please learn to sleep through the night so that Mom & Dad can get some rest. They are too old for all of this! {HAHA} 
Dear Ashley, I am so glad you are home! My life just is not the same with you living six hours away. Your visit is the best birthday present I could have asked for. Welcome home! 
Dear Spring, please come back. The bitter cold and crazy winds are just not okay with me. You tempted me with a few perfectly sunny days and then ripped it all away. I want warmth!
Dear Readers, enjoy that little quote {above}. For now, smiles and shining faces will be my sunshine while we are stuck in these dreary winter temps. I appreciate you joining me!

Happy Friday, ya'll! 


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Shrimp Pasta Alfredo

Recipes are my best friend. Unlike most southern gals, I cannot cook {like at all}. But I'm working on it - I have gotten much better at following recipes {small victories}. When I am given a chance to cook, I go for it, because I need all the practice I can get. Whether you are a seasoned culinary genius or stumbling through the kitchen {like me}, this recipe is a cinch and delicious! It got raving reviews from everybody at this house!

{originally posted at chefintraining}

Spaghetti (I used the high fiber)
1/2 pound frozen shrimp
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 large tomato (diced)
1 (8 ounce) package fresh mushrooms (sliced) 
15 oz jar Alfredo Sauce
1 cup frozen peas
Parmesan (topping)
Salt (to taste)
Olive oil1

- Cook pasta according to directions on package.
- While pasta is cooking, put 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, and mushrooms in a skillet and cook about 3 minutes.
 - Add shrimp, Alfredo sauce, peas, and tomatoes. Cook about 6 minutes or until shrimp is cooked.
- Drain pasta, add salt to taste, then toss with a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Put spaghetti on serving plate and top with warm shrimp Alfredo sauce. 

Hunger Is a Love Problem

Feeding children is something that is so near and dear to my heart. I have never written about this specific topic but I am in love with companies/campaigns that are devoted to feeding the hungry {especially children}. No child deserves to be hungry, period. 

Proverbs 22:9 "Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor."

The Bible is very clear that children are special to God. World Hunger states that in 2012 there were 925 million people that were hungry worldwide. That is approximately 1 in 7 people that will not have enough food to eat today. 

This week, one of my favorite companies {Sevenly}is raising money for Feed My Starving Children. This Christian based non-profit seeks to lift those that are hungry out of their current situations by providing food for those in need across the world. Sevenly is amazing and their products are top-notch! If you can, join them in supporting this incredible cause. 
{Their focus this week is Haiti}  

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Letter to Me

If you have read many of my posts, you know that I served on the mission field for close to three months this summer. After my time in the Philippines, we had a week in Alabama to debrief before finally returning home. During this week, we took time to write a letter to ourselves that would be mailed many months after we had slipped back into everyday life. I  received my letter last week and I wanted to share it with you because I feel like it is a good reminder to us all. We have all been through something in our life that we don't want to forget; we want to remember exactly how we felt in those moments and never forget the way it changed us.

This letter was written August 2, 2012. I hope that through my words, you can remember a time that you were spiritually on fire - allow the Lord to take you to that place and never forget the freedom you have in Christ alone and how it felt for your heart to be held in His hands. 

"I hope this letter finds you almost done with a semester & that this prayer serves as a reminder & encouragement.

Dear Lord, may I never forget what it felt like to be on the front lines of a spiritual battler. Thank you for giving me boldness & courage, for walking with me always.I pray that you push me out of my comfort zone, please continue to interrupt my life - give me opportunities to speak your truth & wisdom into the darkest parts of this world and into hearts that have become hardened to the light. Lord, I am so scared of falling back into routines and every day life - I will continue to sit with you Lord, to be change & enthralled by your beauty & marvelous presence. This summer I learned that, with you, I am stronger than I think, I can be bold

Never forget to live for the Kingdom. The things of this earth with pass - even the ones that you love - but the Lord remains. Don't make decisions for today, remember your witness & the things you have seen." 

Keep fighting the good fight,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

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Monday Morning Blues {on Tuesday}

Let me just say, jet lag is a real thing. We took the red eye from LAX and got into Memphis around 7:15 am {Monday morning}.
 I am SO glad to be home!

It is always inevitable that when I travel I get tired and when I get tired I tend to revert back to a three year old. I know it is horrible, but it's true! I'm all about adventure but lack of sleep leads to tears and frustration and just plain ole moodiness. Times like this always teach me something about myself - things I need to change and things that make me, me! 

{and now it's Tuesday morning, ehh afternoon and I still have not posted this} I slept through an hour of class yesterday before making the mad dash to campus for the rest of the lecture and a quiz. Yes, it is starting out as one of those weeks. This post will probably just as scatterbrained as I have been in the past 48 hours {so sorry}!

BUT back to what I was saying about learning things about myself - traveling is one of the ways that God shows me just how little I am. Growing up in the South, it is easy to forget that walking the path of Christ-centered living is not easy. For me, it is much easier to pray in a restaurant or openly discuss my faith when I know that someone else in the room is probably a believer & most of the people have probably  been to church. But when I leave the South, my little bubble is no longer there and the real world steps into play. It is so much harder for me to be bold when I wonder if I am the only person in ten city blocks that has a heart for Jesus, when the darkness is so evident and God must truly be sought after. 

Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden."

 It is in these moments that God shows up big - He reminds me that we are the light  and he has placed us in the world to shine.
 During a hike we took through Muir woods this weekend, mom and I saw so many situations that were completely shocking to me - families shouting at one another, children completely ignoring the instruction of a nearby parent and many other things that made me want to run back to the car and speed away. This path has one long trail with three cut-offs that would lead you to the other side of the loop and therefore a shorter hike. We decided to take the full loop {the longest trail}. As we walked, more and more people would take each cut-off and the trail began the grow quiet. We had the chance to talk about faith & life - what a treat!   

Mom made a statement that was just so true - the trail resembles a life in Christ. At the beginning, there are many people milling about, making noise and enjoying life. At each cut across, more people would make their way across a bridge as the longer trail continued straight ahead. They wanted to see the beautiful redwoods and once they did, they were off to the next sight {leaving the trail behind}. The longest trail was steeper, harder to climb but in the end it was incredibly rewarding.

 In this life, few people will take the longer, less-traveled path. Some get distracted at the beginning and are led across the bridge with the masses of people. Others continue on but are not willing to make the climb during the difficult parts of life. 

And then, there are those that cling to God. These are the men and women of faith that I long to be like. With God as an ultimate role-model, we can seek Him during the good and bad - He will not lead us astray and He is always on the trail beside us. Simple comparisons are sometimes the best way for me to find out where I am and where I want to be - learning more about who I am in Christ and how much more I can grow every single day.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Coming Soon

Check back Monday for a post-trip recap and a new week full of posts! Once I get back to a real computer, I will be sure to get things back up and running for the new week. Feel free to spread the word on social media, I love new readers!

One last picture of the bridge and the sunset in Sonoma - today was spectacular!

Friday, March 15, 2013

San Francisco {day 2} & Friday Letters

Friday Letters {my first}:

Dear San Fran, thank you for a day full of adventure! The weather was incredible and we finally got to see the Golden Gate Bridge without fog {success}! Your city is incredible but I'm starting to find more and more reasons why I love the south {since when do you have to pay 10cents for a bag at Macy's?!} Dear dad, you are incredible. No seriously, what other man would keep a week old baby, work & let his helpers jet off to roam the country?! Like I said, incredible. These memories I will never forget. Dear sweet readers, thank you for stopping by and sticking with me! I love input from {new} friends and family.

The verse of the day is just too good for me not to share with you, enjoy!

"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will exult over you with loud singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Rejoice in the Lord's mighty presence!


China Town

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company
A hidden treasure, for sure!
Lombard-The curviest street in America!

The Painted Ladies

It was freezing & WINDY!

The doors were so unique & beautiful

Thursday, March 14, 2013

San Francisco: Photos {day 1}

See ya later TN, I'm moving to California! Nah, I guess I'll stick it out in my southern homeland for now {but for real, Memphis needs to step up its game}. If you have never been to San Francisco, you should seriously consider a visit - this place is beautiful! I have never visited a city with more character and personality. The houses, the people and the scenery are so full of life; Its completely refreshing {and great for people watching}. We have already started to make our way around the city with ease and the public transportation is a breeze to use. We are enjoying this city by the bay - cant wait for more tomorrow!

Happy Thursday {on the West coast}!!

Bay Bridge on our night tour

Piet 39
It's the Golden Gate Bridge, don't you see it?!

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