Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Book Review: The Best Yes



Chances are that a lot of you like being busy, you like helping people, and you like having many things going on at once in your life. It's so tempting to want to be the girl who can pull off a million different things perfectly at the same time.

And it would be great if we were actually capable of doing these things. After all, so many of the things that we want to do are good, but I am sure that you know that the more you try to do at once, the less anything gets done.

In order to be effective, you have to say no to some things. But, how do you know which areas need a no and which need a yes?

Before I left for France, some friends of mine gifted me with a book by Lysa Terkeurst called The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands.

Lysa Terkeurst shares practical strategies and personal stories that help you discover the Best Yes answers in your life. The advice that she offers makes sense, but I wouldn't have thought of it by myself. Of course, throughout the book is the theme that we need to rely on God to show us the best decision. However, it is so hard to always know what relying on God looks like, and it's too easy to think that we can just rely on ourselves instead. It takes effort and intention to trust God, but the more that we do it, the more likely we are to continue to do it.

If you find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed by busyness, or if you feel as if you don't know what path to choose amidst the millions of choices that you make every day, The Best Yes is a must read.

Have you read The Best Yes? What books have you been reading lately?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fantastic Violin Cover of T-Swift's Shake It Off + Blog Schedule Updates

You would have had to have been hiding under a rock not to have heard that Taylor Swift has a new album out, 1989. Like quite a lot of people, I am a huge Taylor Swift fan. I haven't bought the album yet, but I like all of the songs that I've heard so far from it.

You know what else I like?

Covers of songs with violins.

So, imagine how excited I was to see this string cover of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" by Chargaux. Now in addition to being a Taylor Swift fan, I'm also a Charly and Margeaux fan. Once you've listened to their cover, you'll be a fan, too.



Now for the blog updates.

We're planning to post more often here. The schedule that we're aiming for is something inspirational on Mondays, something book related on Tuesdays, and DIY, recipe, or lifestyle related on Thursdays. Possibly there will be other additions throughout the week, but we're hoping to stick with this set-up for a while.

Now you know what day to check for your favorite topics.

Thanks for stopping by today.

You can follow us on Bloglovin, Twitter, and Pinterest to make sure that you don't miss any new posts.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Things to Do in Paris

If you could only pick one city in the world to visit, what would it be? The city of your dreams? Would it be Paris?

While I hope that you're able to travel to many places in your life, if you only ever went to Paris, you would still have an amazing adventure. Paris is a unique place. I've been lucky enough to visit Paris several times, and I'm in the process of planning another trip.

If you're planning to travel to Paris, I have a few recommendation about places that you should visit while you're there. Of course, there are so many different things to do in Paris, but these are a few of my favorites.

Places to Visit in Paris
Musée D'Orsay - Sometimes when you walk into an art museum, you know that you're supposed to appreciate the painting that you see, but unless you know about art, you aren't exactly sure why. That is not the case at the Musée D'Orsay. First of all, the Museum is in an old train station and the building itself is beautiful. Second, the Museum has artists you are likely to know. Degas, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh. Most of the paintings are easy for the casual visitor to enjoy. This museum is my favorite one that I have been to so far in Paris.






Musée Rodin - Another great art museum in Paris. In addition to the art itself, this museum has a beautiful garden. You will see Rodin's famous The Thinker. There are also plenty of other statues scattered among rosebushes and other flowers. If you are in Paris during the warmer months, you must spend time in the garden.



Palais Garnier (Opera House) - If you have seen The Phantom of the Opera, you may recognize this place. Yes, the book is set in this Opera House. The inside of the Opera House is absolutely stunning.



Sacré Couer - Head up to this Basilique in Montmarte for one of the best views of Paris. On the way up be sure to stop by the artists' stalls and take a look at the paintings. There are also a few good places to stop for crêpes in Montmarte, so I'd advise that as well.

Louvre - You knew that this one would be on the list. Chances are that you do want to see the Mona Lisa. There is lots of art to see in this museum. You could spend days in there, and not see everything. That being said, if you're pressed for time or if you want to avoid crowds and art isn't your thing anyway, you might want to chose a different art museum.



Notre Dame - While you could just view Notre Dame from the outside, it's worth taking the time to walk through the inside as well.



Eiffel Tower - It's up to you to decide whether you want to spend the time and money to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower (I personally would, but it's ok if you don't). However, you should explore the area in front of the tower. Bring a picnic for a meal and enjoy the view. Also, the Eiffel Tower sparkles on the hour at night until midnight. You need to see this.

Other Things to Do


Eat a crêpe. This must be done. I'd advise nutella and banana.

Walk down the Champs-Élysées. This where many famous shops are. You'll want to window shop. Stop by Laduree for a macaroon or two if the line isn't too long.

Spend a day at Versailles. Where Marie Antoinette lived. The palace is stunning. It's outside of Paris, so visiting it will involve a day trip.

Walk along the Seine. Either bank of the river is good for walking and people watching.

Shop at Galleries Lafayette. You don't actually have to buy anything at this huge department store, but you should take a look around. It reminds me of Macy's in New York or Harrod's in London.



There are so many more great places in Paris, but that's my list of current favorites. Do you have any suggestions or questions?  

If you found this list helpful, we'd love it if you'd or

Linked up with Travel Tuesday on A Compass Rose

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Leave the Comparisions Behind

Today's post is going to be a little different from normal. Usually I stick to topics like recipes, how-tos, and books. Partly because those are areas that I absolutely love, and I would be doing those things even if I didn't have a blog to share those interests with you. But partly, I always stick to those areas because they feel safe. I feel as if I know how to write about those topics, and I don't know if I can write about other areas.

Still, today I am going to try. Because a wonderful group of women called #fireworkpeople has a blog tour going on right now. This group is made up of women who have big dreams and who encourage each other. That's something I want to be a part of, so for that reason I'm participating in the blog tour today.

So, even though writing this feels a bit odd for me and I'm going to have to think for a while before hitting the publish button on this post, here it goes.




You know how there are people on facebook or your social media outlet of choice whose posts always seem exciting and who make you just a little bit (or maybe a lot) envious?

I think that at the moment, I might be one of those people.

Right now, I'm living in France and teaching English in two elementary schools in a small French town. The town has a beautiful river going through the center of it, and all of the houses have red roofs made of clay tiles. Each Tuesday morning, my town has a small open-air market with vegetables, fruits, and cheese. If you were to draw a picture of the ideal small French town that couldn't possibly be real, it would look a lot like the one that I teach in.


Basically, I'm currently living the dream of quite a lot of Francophiles (minus the ones who want to be living in Paris).

But.

There's always a but, isn't there.

But, the thing is that I still compare myself to other people.

I am doing exactly what I want to do at this point in my life. I want to be in France. I want to teach English. I want to work with elementary students.

Before I left, I spent some time talking with a friend, and I realized that almost all of my friends are currently working on getting their master's. By the time that I get back, most of them will be either finished or halfway through. And I won't.

Sitting at the table talking, even though I knew that I was about to leave to do exactly what I wanted to do more than anything else, I still felt left behind everyone else.

I felt as if what I had chosen to do wasn't good enough compared to what they were doing.

Which is just absurd.

If we compare ourselves to everyone else, we will never be satisfied with what we have.

It's so easy to forget that life is not a list of tasks to complete and then check off. And even if it were, we wouldn't all have the same tasks on our lists.

Chances are that while you feel down because you are comparing yourself to someone else, another person is looking at you and feeling envious as well. No one comes out well in this cycle.

We should always celebrate the accomplishments and triumphs of our friends, but we shouldn't let that little bit of envy creep in to mar the celebration. Not only does that create resentment in the friendship, but it also keeps us from recognizing the good in our own lives.

Leave the comparisions behind.

Live your own life. Whatever that looks like for you.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween Treats and Tricks



Since I'm in France right now, there isn't much Halloween going on right now. Although there may be small celebrations happening throughout the month of October, it isn't a custom here. Today during my English classes, I taught the children a little bit about celebrating Halloween in the United States. They seemed to enjoy the idea. Some of them even tried to convince their teacher that they should celebrate Halloween at the school. I think that those children really just wanted to go around asking for candy. Which I completely understand.

Although I will not be decorating or baking for Halloween this year, I have found some awesome ideas on other blogs that I'd love to share with you today.

Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies with Burnt Butter Icing- Cranberries make everything better, and the burnt butter icing sounds absolutely delicious.

Candy Dipped Pretzel Rods - Pretzel rods are a good combination of sweet plus salty. They work for any occasion with just a few color changes. A jar full of orange and black pretzel rods would be perfect for a Halloween event.

Witch Hat Cookies - These witch hat cookies involve icing, oreos, and hershey's kisses. They seem super simple to make, but still seem impressive to serve.

Halloween Mummy Cupcakes - It isn't a party with cupcakes. Why not mummy cupcakes?

Halloween Cake Pops - My cake pops never look this good. Obviously, the only solution is to practice and eat all the ones that don't turn out right.

Glittered Pumpkin Centerpiece - Carving a pumpkin is fun, but putting glitter on a pumpkin seems like just as much fun.

DIY Halloween Trick or Treat Bags - With a free printable. If I were throwing a Halloween party, I would send everyone home with these bags filled with a little bit of candy.

Cobweb Halloween Wreath - You know that cobweb stuff that people use to decorate their fireplaces and front porches like a spider's web. Turns out that you can make a spooky wreath with it as well. That stuff sticks to anything, so the process seems easy.


Do you have any awesome Halloween inspired ideas? Share them in the comments below.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Field Notes: September 2014


A few of the things that we've been loving in September.

In my free time lately, I've been watching a lot of TED talks. This one is one of my favorites. A rich life with less stuff.

Here's a great post from Kory Woodard about what she wished she knew before finishing college.

Broken, Made Beautiful. This wonderful site called One Day Lighter has lots of inspiring posts like this one.



We love clothes, but we also know that it's important to know how our actions and choices impact others. Shopping With Ethics: A 5 Step Guide to Ethical Fashion has some advice on how to do that.

Some of you may remember that I've mentioned Tirzah Magazine before for its inspiring, faith based articles. I'm so excited to get to share with you an article I wrote there called Growing Roots in Christ.

I've recently discovered a charming blog called 34 Magnolia Street. While there are lots of great posts, this one about hospitality as a lifestyle is one of my favorites.

Cupcakes are one of our favorite things. So, I can't wait to try this recipe for maple buttercream frosting

Jennifer is currently loving this blog - Southern Curls and Pearls.

I finished watching all four of the BBC episodes of Shakespeare Retold. My favorite was Much Ado About Nothing, of course. I also really liked A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Taming of the Shrew. I had forgotten that basically everybody dies in MacBeth and that one was a little too dark for me. Overall, I enjoyed the adaptations.

Finally, I'll leave you with an adorable bunny.

Enjoy!

Did you see August's field notes?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Guest Post on Escape and Inspire

I'm just stopping by today to tell you that you need to head over to Escape and Inspire. Jenny was nice enough to let me share 21 Journal Prompts with her readers. 

Take your time to enjoy all of the posts on Escape and Inspire. You won't be disappointed.

Some of my particular favorites are How Journaling Can Make You a Better Writer and 5 Easy Ways to Be More Productive.

Enjoy!

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