Thursday, February 28, 2013

#PrayerDare: February Recap

If you remember at the beginning of February, I began participating in the the #PrayerDare. 
{you can check out this post for a refresher}

All month long I've been praying for my husband & it's been really good! 
I have to be honest, I have not done it every day as it's meant to be done.  However, both Mike & I have been really blessed by the way I have decided to do it.  
I thought it would be really cool if I prayed over him & so every few days (just because that's the way it's worked out), we sit down together & I pray. 

Let me give you an example of one of the prayers:
 "Lord, I pray that my husband will seek your face, desire your glory, and understand your will.  Grow him in grace and in knowledge of you. (1 Peter 3:18) And may he humble himself before you and hold himself accountable to your word.  I pray his heart will be diligent to honor you. (Prov. 4:23)"

Very specific. 100% Biblically-based.
It's been awesome to hear Mike say after various prayers how much he needed that specific prayer, that day.  He has so appreciated this experience. 
And for me, it's been a blessing to be able to pray for specific needs that I know I don't think of on a regular basis. 

Overall though, this experience has made me think a lot about marriage & I don't think it was any coincidence that this past month the sermon series at church was all about marriage as well. 
The series was called "To Spite the Devil" & it came from a quote from Martin Luther in regards to why he got married.  He said he got married "to spite the devil". 
The Enemy is crafty, deceptive & down right nasty.  
And one place he creates absolute mayhem is in marriages. 
I think it's awesome how the dichotomy of good vs. evil truly plays out in marriage.
It's such a beautiful depiction of the kind of relationship that Jesus wants with his church, as we display unconditional  love, if we forgive as Christ does & show compassion.
But at the same time, aren't we the ugliest people towards our spouse? I know that's how it is for me. My husband definitely sees  my most sinful side. 
All the rudeness, selfishness, pride, lack of self-control.

We spent roughly 4 months in counseling last year working through some issues that really, for us, could only be dealt in a counseling setting.  
We both learned so much during that time & really so much about how desperately we each need Jesus.
How this dependency on Christ is what will hold us together & make our marriage be the best that it can possibly be.

So as I spent the month praying over my husband, I was reminded of the urgency for which I need to cling to Jesus & daily be crying out to Him for our marriage because we are in a battle, & on my own, I'm not strong enough to carry the weight of this fight.  
But I've put my hope in the One who is. 
I trust in the One who will be my shield & my strength.
I believe in the One who is always victorious! 

And though I know it's not always going to be easy, 
I look forward to seeing how God uses our marriage "to spite the devil".

PS ~ a new month of #PrayerDare starts Friday...join us, won't you??

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

That's Pintastic: White Chicken Chili

Recently we've had a couple babies born at church which means I've been in the market for some meals to cook.  When I'm bringing meals to people, I really try to do something different. Not crazy different because I want to them to eat what I bring, but something that is just different enough that I can be pretty confident no one else is going to bring them the same thing.  

When we had Eli, we were blessed by the meals we received, but we did eat chicken just about every single day that someone brought us a meal.  Please don't get me wrong, it was such a huge blessing to not have to worry about dinner, but let's be honest, chicken almost every day for 2 weeks.....kinda makes you want to not eat chicken again for 3 months.  And I really do like chicken!

The most recent meal I made is one of my new favorite recipes & I thought it might be fun to share because I found it on, yeah, you already know what I'm going to say, don't you?
Yes, Pinterest.

Which means it time for another installment of:

This recipe is for White Chicken Chili & seriously might be the easiest, most delicious ever!
You can find the recipe here.

Now you'll have to forgive my photos & lack there of. 
I have to admit that taking photos of food is not my thing, so this isn't going to be a step by step guide for you.
You'll just have to trust me that it's super easy, ok?

I mean really it's as simple as boiling some chicken, shredding it, opening some cans & dumping the ingredients into a pot. 

Just to give you a little variation on the recipe, instead of regular cream cheese, I use neufchatel because it's a little less fat, but you don't lose flavor.  I also add in tomatoes because I'm a fan of tomatoes in my chili.  The original recipe doesn't call for them.  

 I usually serve it with some tortilla chips & treat it like a dip. 
Seriously, so good! 

But I believe that all chili should be served with cornbread. 
I'm pretty sure it's a rule. 

So there you have it, folks. 
Your dinner one day this week.
You are welcome!
 {unless of course your husband is picky & won't eat beans. not mentioning any names.}

Monday, February 25, 2013

life lately

here are some words that i would use to describe "life lately":


maybe these will help explain my choice of words....

 this past week my boy has been sick.
when i became a mom i kinda forgot about that whole cleaning up vomit & diarrhea thing. 
when you have a newborn, spit up & baby poop are kind of exciting in a weird "i'm a new mom & i love everything about my baby" kind of way, you know?
this was, well, not quite so exciting.  
i think i did more laundry this week than i have all month!
so this week required us to lay low, but when baby boy is sick, it means quality snuggle time.

i did need a lot of coffee though. 

thursday night i was pretty concerned about dehydration so i asked a few friends to pray & friday morning, wouldn't you know he woke up at 6:30 am like nothing ever happened! 
the power of prayer!

but before this week....

 a roadtrip to visit my BF & Eli's future wife & brother-in-law

props to all moms of 3! getting 3 kids out the door is a job! 

"cheers" after fun at the gym!

 getting out to enjoy some sorta warm weather
(we take every opportunity we can!)
some bounce house fun

eli's finally starting to say some words & one day i found him wearing mike's press pass, pointing at the picture saying, "da, da, da"
so sweet!

donut date on fauschnaut day

mini-date with my love

this will soon be our new bookcases!

i'm finishing up the soul detox reading plan with she reads truth....good stuff!

ok so i have to explain this.
a couple of weeks ago i got a message from an old friend who recommended i try out for a Wal-Mart commercial.  She was trying out for one in her area & informed me that they were looking for moms in my town as well.  i thought, sure, what do i have to lose?
so here i am before my big skype interview trying out some reactions i thought they might like.
i did end up getting a call back to be the "alternate mom"....yes, the understudy.  
so i may not have caught my big break this time, BUT they did tell me i was on the priority list for the next time they come film here.  
don't worry, i'll keep you all in the loop!

being the "alternate mom" meant i had to be on call on the day of filming & therefore had to be ready & waiting should they need me.  you know, just in case!
so the night before i asked mike to help me look through my closet to help me find something to wear.
i mean, i could've been on tv so i had to look good, right?
my normal yoga pants and sweatshirt that i'd been wearing for 3 days just wasn't going to cut it!
the producer had sent me a dress code ~ all the things i could not wear. 
and all those things i couldn't wear, yeah, those were all the things i had in my closet.  
get a load of this ~ my husband actually told me i had nothing to wear!
can you believe this?
what man tells this to his wife?
that just meant an emergency run to Target!
remember, this could've been my big break.
and while we were there, we had a little family fun!

oh yeah & then there was valentine's day too...

first, the hubs let me have some "me" time so that i could work on a project.
now we finally have something hanging on our blank walls.  

then we exchanged gifts.
my hubs gave me an ipad mini!
i was so blown away!
 i cried.
(so in this post when i said i couldn't remember when i last cried, totally forgot it was this moment!)
it was awesome!! 
and still is awesome...i love it!

then we grabbed dinner from chipotle because it's one of our favorites!

whew! that was a lot. 
i hope life has been ___________ for you lately too!
(fill in the blank with any of the positive words listed above. i wouldn't want to wish you a smelly, tiring life, of course!)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I'm It!

 So, I've been tagged & I must say, this is game of tag that I don't mind being "it".  Holly over at My Life, as Mommy & Wife  (check her out!!) tagged me to share a little bit about myself. 

1. Where were you born? Towson, MD - It's sad to me that I can't really claim to be a Marylander anymore since I've now lived in PA over half my life.

2. Were you named after someone?  I remember the time that I found out that my only cousin on my dad's side was named after our grandparents' dog, Shawn. Then my parents informed me that I was named after a Beach Boys song about a dog named Shannon.  I was quite offended at the time, but now I find it pretty funny!

3. If you have children, how many do you have? My husband & I have a son named Eli who is 17 months old. 

4.  How many pets do you have?  We have a cat whose given name is Emilio "Dink Dink" Sanchez Tribianni, but we just call him Dink.  (He was mine before we got married & his name - it's a long story!) And we have a golden retriever mix named Charlie that we rescued from Kentucky a little more than 3 years ago. 

5. What was your worst injury? In terms of an accident, when I was 4, I was riding on the back of my dad's bike in one of those seats (you never see them anymore!) & my foot slipped out of the little protector thingy (you know what I'm talking about, right?) & got caught in the spokes of the bike. It ended up tearing my Achilles tendon & I had to wear a cast from my knee down so that my Achilles would heal correctly.  I was too small for crutches so I was forced to crawl everywhere. So, yeah, 4 years old, knee-high cast, that was pretty bad!

6. Do I have a special talent?  When I was younger I would always imagine what talent I could show off if I was ever on Letterman for his "Stupid Human Tricks" segment.  Here's what I got: I can tie my hair in a knot with one hand.  (From all those years of hair-twirling) Probably not Letterman-worthy. 

7. What's your favorite thing to bake? Well, pretty much if I can eat the batter, then it's my favorite thing to bake. 

8. What's your favorite fast food? I stopped eating fast food a while ago, BUT if we are ever in the area of a Chick-fil-a, we ALWAYS make a stop. ALWAYS.

9. Would you bungee jump? 10 years ago, I would have definitely said yes. Now, not so much.

10. What is the first thing you notice about people? I notice what they are wearing. Not sure what that says about me, but it's the truth.

11. When was the last time your cried? Hmm...I choked up the other day listening to a worship song & a few days before that listening to a song by Jason Mraz.  Music does that to me. But an actual tears-flowing, snot-blowing cry? I'm really not sure! 

12. Any current worries? I am not a worrier.  I mean I have concerns that people might be able to smell the kitty litter box that I've neglected to change for the past few days when they come in the house, but as for worries, God is in control & He told me I have no need to worry, so I don't.

13.  Name 3 drinks you drink regularly.  Coffee. Chocolate milk. Water.

14. What is your favorite book? I have such a hard time picking "favorites" because I have such diverse taste.  I will say one of my all time favorite books is "Once Upon a Potty".  I still laugh every time I read it! It never gets old!

15. Would you like to be a pirate? Ok, to be honest, my first thought was I don't have what it takes to wear one of those girly pirate outfits & make it look good, so therefore I would look like a boy pirate & that just wouldn't be fun for me. Also, I think being out on a boat in the water for extended periods of time would get really old.  However, if I could be on the boat tied to the dock & sing pirate songs, that might be fun for a few hours. 

16.  What are your favorite smells?  Coffee.  Lilacs.  Anything coconut. Burnt matches. (I know, it's a little weird, but it's true)

17.  Why do you blog?  I ask myself this question a lot.  I like having this outlet & I hope that by sharing bits & pieces of my story I can encourage & influence others in a kingdom-impacting way.

18.  What song do you want played at your funeral?  Maybe the one about the dog named Shannon? I'm kidding, I've never actually heard it!  I've told my husband I want my funeral to be a celebration & a worship service because I know that's what I'll be doing, so I guess all my favorite worship songs!

19.  What is your least favorite thing about yourself?  Probably the fact that I think most people who have not known me more than 10 years have no idea who I really am because I have a really hard time allowing myself to "be me". 

20.  What is your favorite hobby?  I dabble in quite a few things: photography, crafting, DIY projects, reading. 

21.  What do you look for in a friend? Someone who is true to their word & that will agree to any crazy ideas that I come up with for us to do.

22. Name something you've done that you never thought you would do.  I once gave my friend Tara a pedicure. If you know me, you know that THIS IS A BIG DEAL! I HATE feet. Despise them.  They are the grossest things EVER to me.  I can't stand looking at some people's feet, let alone touch them without gloves on of course.  Even that would be stretching it for me.  But as a token of our friendship our Senior year of college, the night before graduation, we gave each other pedicures.  This was a history-making day, people. 

23.  What are your favorite things to do? Hang out with Mike & Eli, hang out with my parents, Instagram (I'm such a junkie), do projects, read (though I don't do it as much as I like), go to Target to shop the endcaps, go antiquing & thrifting, take roadtrips to Chalfont, Pa :).  

24.  Any pet peeves? Oh, a few too many.  Currently, my pet peeve is the shortening of words that are not meant to be shortened.  For example: obvs, totes, adorbs, gorg  (No offense if you practice this current trend) I'm just not sure why people think this is an acceptable thing to do. 

25.  What's the last thing that made you laugh?  My husband just showed me a video called "bad lip reading" & it was kind of funny.  You can find it on YouTube. It would be too much to explain & I'm tired of typing.

So, that's it. Perhaps you learned a thing or two?  

I'm tagging the ramblings of aimymichelle & Wonder Mom.  They are 2 of my newest followers & I'd like to get to know them better! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

valentine's day mug swap

I don't think it's any secret that I love to give gifts.
Christmas is my favorite time of year not because I get gifts but because I get to give gifts. 
If asked what one of my strengths is, I would say gift-giving. 
And please know that I say this most humbly, but I truly try to give gifts that people are going to love.
I am constantly making mental notes during my interactions with people so that when it comes time to give a gift, I'll have a stash to pick from.  
Even if we aren't close enough to exchange gifts, if we've known each other for awhile, I've probably figured out a gift that I would give to you were we to exchange gifts.
{that's probably weird, right?}

So one night while waiting for hubby to get home, I somehow stumbled across a new-to-me blog, 
Sew Caroline.
And on this new-to-me blog I discovered a wonderful little treat. 

I discovered that bloggers team up & host gift exchanges via the "blogesphere".
They pair you up with other bloggers & you exchange gifts & blog about it. 
How phenomenal!
Count me in!
 {yes, newbie right here!}

Honestly, I could have cared less if I got anything in return, though it really is fun to find a package waiting for you at the door! I just love the idea of making people smile & letting them know they are appreciated.  I think it means so much when you watch as someone opens a gift & this look of "Wow! How did you know?" sweeps across their face. I think it means so much when you receive a gift that shows that someone took time to pick out something truly special just for you.
{Can you tell yet that one of my love languages is gifts?}
I love when I receive a gift that shows that someone knows me, like really knows me, and didn't jsut run to the nearest store to have something nice to put in a box with pretty paper.
I don't like to waste money & I don't like to waste gifts. 
I want to know that my gift will be valued by the person I'm giving it to because I value them.
When I know I've picked out just the right thing, it brings me pure joy.

I was paired with Susan over at Garden Sage & I guess I'll have to wait to read Susan's post to hear her thoughts on my gift giving skills :)

But, would you like to see what I got??

Here it is when I first opened it. She did a great job of packaging this up!

Hooray for dark chocolate!
{I don't think those made it 2 days in this house}

If you know me, you know I like birds & have started a little collection.
Mike calls me "The Bird Whisperer" because I stop at nothing to save the baby birds that fall out of their nest every year into our backyard.  I drive them 45 min. to a man who runs a bird rescue & he emails me to let me know if he was successful in saving them.
Since this started happening, my collection has grown.
And now this little one joins them!
How did you know, Susan??

I sat him here for now with the only Valentine's decoration you will find in our house!

 Thank you, Susan for your gifts!  It was a blessing to be able to share this with you!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

High Five for Friday

Hi friends! I'm linking up with Lauren again over at From My Grey Desk  & sharing five of my favorite things from the week. 
This week was a pretty fun one, so let's get on with it!

1. She Reads Truth has been following the Soul Detox plan through You Version.  This week has been soooo good!   We've been talking about fear & this is definitely something that I have needed.  This verse {2 Timothy 1:7} is such a great reminder & one that I need to hear over & over & over again. 
2. I participated in a VDay mug swap, which I'll be posting about soon, & this was the package I got this week! Lots of chocolate goodness that didn't make it 3 days.  
3.  We are FINALLY getting started on building our built-in bookcases in the living room.  We've wanted to do this since we moved in 3.5 years ago, so we're pretty excited.  And by 'we' I mean my dad & I. Well, mostly my dad :)
4. I recently started working at our local Y in the childcare room.  It's not a bad gig. I can take Eli with me, & I get paid to do crafts with kids the whole time.  
5. Eli & I took a little road trip to visit my BF...yay!! On Friday we headed over to a local gymnastics place for an open gym.  What a blast!  Here's us trying to corral the 3 kiddos out the door.  Props to mamas of 3!  

Happy Friday!!

Monday, February 4, 2013


at the risk of sounding very cliche, february? already? 
i have to admit, this year is shaping up to be very different than i thought.  
i think i was so spoiled last year with our mild winter because this winter i'm feeling the winter blahs.
i know all the things that you might suggest. i just can't seem to get motivated to do them. 
i'm really praying through this battle. because really, that's how i view it. 
i've been really encouraged by the reading plan i'm doing through she reads truth. 
once again, it's meeting me right where i need it. 

here's what life looks like lately:

 lots of snuggling to keep warm & a little bit of elmo on youtube.

thankful for one warm day to get outside & get some fresh air!

coffee & crafts on a rainy afternoon.

a little fetch with dink. just like the old days. 

2 days, yes, 2 days of happy mail from pick your plum
{laffy taffy included!}

 speaking of sweets...these are the best & i highly recommend you go right now to purchase them. 
go! now! you will not regret it!

lots of independent play going on & i love watching his little imagination working! 

there's something about a pile of fabric that makes me happy.

check out this post to find out more about this!

so even though i woke up today feeling like i got about 2 hours of sleep, i did have a small victory in making it to the gym. 
{thanks to my favorite blonde blonde. even if she did stand me up.} 
AND...there's a road trip in my very near future, like thursday, so this week is shaping up to be a good one! and of course there will be plenty of pics to share.
hope you have a good one too!

Saturday, February 2, 2013


I wanted to share something exciting that I recently found. 
A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a {new to me} blog called A Royal Daughter. 
I was checking out some of her tutorials for technical bloggy stuff & had some questions. She was so quick to respond & help me out. She was awesome!
I was so appreciative, so I spent some more time just exploring her blog.
I enjoyed reading about her & "getting to know" her a little better.
Then I saw this button on the sidebar that really grabbed my attention.
A Royal Daughter

Lately, I've been realizing how poor my prayer life has been.
I know the awesome power of prayer & so I thought this might be a great thing to help kick start an awesome prayer life.

Each month Amanda will provide a topic, along with prayer cards that you can print from her blog.
This month we are praying for our husbands.
I love the idea of a community of women being drawn together to get on our knees and see how God moves!

Won't you consider joining in?
It's never too late to approach the throne!