Life, Thoughts on Things, Travel

A Door of Hope | Joshua Tree

December 2, 2016
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I remember so vividly the time I laid there, wondering how I had found myself in the wilderness so quickly. Dry. Parched. Unsure of how exactly I would live the next day, or feeling aimless like there was no direction because everything looked the same.

I would love to say it was because I was some martyr. Because suffering can somehow be glamorous in today’s society. But really, it was something the Lord was trying to prepare and refine me for. I kept putting trust in myself while trying to control everything around me. I kept thinking I was the one dealing the cards, but it wasn’t the case. Pride drove my actions and emotions, then suddenly I was stripped of everything.

Not all, but most people have been through some sort of ‘desert’ experience. Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness before God called him to lead Israel out of Egypt. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years before entering the promise land. David spent time in the desert hiding from Saul before God later made him king. And Jesus was led through the wilderness for 40 days after being baptized. And though you may not have ‘literally’ been in the wilderness, figuratively, there are seasons of life where we live through difficulties where hope feels out of reach.

During our time in California, we took a day trip up to Joshua Tree. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but when we arrived I had so many strong emotions and deep feelings. It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been to. Part of it was due to the fact that I had never been anywhere like Joshua Tree and its uniqueness made it all the more lovely. It was this deep overwhelming sense that I had been there before in a dream… That the Lord had showed me this place before. Miles and miles of harsh land surrounded us. As we drove, I didn’t even have words to share with Ian (which is very unlike me). Continue Reading…

Life, Style

My New Every Day Watch • JORD Wood Watches

November 30, 2016
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Victoria can attest to this, but I’m not always easy to shop for. While I do have a list somewhere with cool gadgets and things I like, when it comes to occasions or the holidays, I typically prefer a good meal, a trip to the movies and some quality time with her and Cove. But, when Victoria sent me a link to JORD Wood Watches, I have to admit, I got a little giddy.

You see, I’m not really a timepiece kind of guy. I’m not sure why, but when it comes to the millions of wristwatch choices out there, nothing really excites me. Even with how involved I am in the digital / tech world, the Apple Watch to me is still just a “nice-to-have” and I don’t have one yet because it doesn’t excite or make my life easier. So when it comes to my every day, I don’t wear a watch because there’s nothing unique out there that has caught my eye… Until the other day…

Continue Reading…

Edibles, Home, Life, Thoughts on Things

Thoughts on Things | Christmas trees, Traditions and My Favorite Recipes Currently

November 28, 2016
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Although last year was one of the best Christmases because we became a family of three, it also felt like we skipped over everything due to our newborn fatigue and the fact it was almost 80 degrees here. Now that we have a little boy walking around, I am so excited for this year’s festivities. Everything seems more magical when you are experiencing it for the first time with someone. Cove now points at the tree when we ask him where the ‘Christmas’ tree is, and whispers when we get close to the lights like he is experiencing something magical. It might be the fact I have an almost one year old, that I am curled up on the couch with the lights twinkling behind my coffee cup or that I’m watching the Gilmore Girls revival, but I am just so sentimental and nostalgic right now over the holidays.

For the past five years Ian and I have been married, we’ve had some really great traditions just the two of us this time of year. We always talked about traditions we would start when we had kids – Ian really wants to cook a big breakfast with french toast on Christmas morning. I have always loved traditions of serving other people over the holidays, and showing our children what it means to be a servant and that giving is better than receiving. Both Ian and I’s families volunteered at Must Ministries when we were younger, helping families in need shop for their loved one’s Christmas presents. I would love to hear your favorite traditions as a family! What are things you remember doing with your parents when you were a kid? The quirkier the better! That makes it more fun! Continue Reading…

Home, Life, Style

The Ultimate Shop Small Christmas List Guide

November 22, 2016
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I am a huge believer in shopping local and shopping small businesses. The founders of these businesses have so much passion and love behind their work, you can trust you are getting quality pieces with meaning and intention behind them. If you are still shopping for Christmas gifts, I highly recommend shopping from these beautiful businesses and getting the ones in your life gifts that are made with a lot of love and care.

I have a huge stamp of approval on all these items and have most of them in my own home. Continue Reading…

Photos

The Bateman Family

November 22, 2016
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I love getting to photograph families more than once, so it was such a treat to be able to capture the Bateman family for the second time this year. You may remember their sweet little newborn Mackenzie. She’s so beautiful with such a vibrant and happy personality now. And you can see why. Her parents are a stunning couple with beauty inside and out. I hope you enjoy their images! Continue Reading…

Home, Life

3 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Smart and Secure

November 20, 2016
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I have always loved technology and gadgets, but it’s a love / hate relationship. My fear of where technology CAN go and where I think it will, stops me from integrating it into our home most of the time. The high price of smart home products also plays a huge role into my decision. The smart home concept has matured over the past few years, and prices for these products has become more affordable.

When a new smart gadget comes out, whether it be a smart security camera, wifi connected light switch or a smart lock, I like to wait a while for all the issues to be worked out. I also research a lot to evaluate whether it’s actually safe for my home. You can’t look at the internet without seeing some new privacy breach or hacker turning your car into a brick wall. To help give me peace of mind, I invested into a strong and secure Wi-Fi set up, to make sure we’re protected from the start. With the price of smart home products beginning to go down, I’ve been itching to see how they can make our home energy efficient, our live’s easier and most important, secure for my family.

This brings us to 3 ways we’ve made our home smarter and more secure with TP-Link products. For full-disclosure, I’m still trying out these products and determining how they fit into our home, but after a week in, I’m not seeing any way we won’t have them in our home. They’re very affordable and the installation for the Smart Wi-Fi Light SwitchWi-Fi Smart Plug and Wi-Fi LED Bulb with Color Changing Hue we’re simple and quick. Not to mention I can control everything from the Kasa app.

Continue Reading…

Photos, Travel

Why We Chose To Travel With Our Baby

November 18, 2016
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After we left San Diego, we spent a day driving up the coast to Malibu. Traffic was a beast, and when you’ve got a baby crying in the backseat, it can make things feel ten times worse. After an hour or two, we made it to El Matador Beach. I fell in love with this place when we went to Malibu two years ago, so I knew it would lift everyone’s spirits that day. It was overcast, but the sun started peaking through the clouds when we got there, which made it even more magical. Cove was so happy and kept waving at the ocean. As we walked around it started to sprinkle, but instead of running to our car, we just decided to dance in the rain (literally). It was such a fun memory and it helped put the traffic / travel trauma behind us. Afterwards, we had dinner at Malibu Farm, which was right on the pier and had such a beautiful atmosphere. It was a perfect way to end the day.

Some days traveling with a baby can be extremely difficult. You never know what to expect, so you can plan your day one way, but you have to be laid back and know that there is a good possibility that things aren’t going to go the way you thought they would. When Ian and I first started traveling together, we would begin our days before sunrise and go past sunset every day so we could see everything possible while we were there. We obviously knew that wouldn’t be the case when we started traveling with Cove. Instead of being bummed about missing things, we just added additional days to our trip since we knew things would take longer. That way when there are melt downs, extra long naps or you just need to pull over at the nearest playground to let them crawl, you aren’t missing out on seeing things, you’re just making memories in a new place.  Continue Reading…