Wonder and Lordship

Welcome home!!!! I feel like I have been gone for years. A lot has changed in the last four weeks. ¬†Not the least of which is my appearance! I am thirty-one weeks pregnant now ūüôā ¬†Baby Piper is growing and growing!

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Drew and I were gone for three weeks attending a missions training conference. It was an extremely important conference for me because I have been very on the fence about moving away and doing missions. I have never been on a missions trip before or had any formal training, and I was scared to death!  We spent seven hours every day in classes and training, and the evenings were spent in the streets outreaching or in the homes of new friends having lots of conversation.

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God did a lot of work in my heart those three weeks, softening me to Him and to His lordship. I have been so afraid of anything outside my comfort zone, and this was probably one of the limits of that.  For three weeks, we lived in less than ideal living conditions and learned about Islam and were continually challenged in our faith.

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¬†I realized while there that for the longest time I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior, but I often refuse to acknowledge Him as Lord, meaning giving Him complete control of my life. ¬†Jesus tells His disciples they have to leave everything to follow Him. ¬†They have to be willing to lose anything they have.

I “give” Jesus my life, but I hold back all the parts I don’t want Him to have. ¬†I am ok with following Him so long as He doesn’t call me anywhere I don’t want to go. But that isn’t what discipleship means. Discipleship means reckless abandon into Jesus. ¬†He may never call you to missions in Africa or to sell your house and move to a smaller one, but reckless abandon means He becomes so valuable and beautiful to you that you would do anything He asked, and we strive to do this on a daily basis.

Sometimes this may look strange to us or to our families, but it’s what Jesus asks. ¬†When Paul tells the Colossian church that Christ is now their life (Col. 3:3-4), it means He is the lifeblood and sustenance. ¬†We don’t gain our lives and live them the old way, the way where I dictate everything. ¬†Instead we give them up to Jesus and gain our truest self.

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While at this conference, I learned so much about the sovereignty of God. Over and over, I had to ask myself the question, is He really worth this? Until I decided that, discipleship really just meant bekkaship. My tongue would say Jesus has my whole life, but my heart and actions would contradict it.  I recently read this article by Pastor John Piper, and it really showed me how incorrect my thinking has been.

Anyway, all that to say, I’m very excited to be thinking and praying more about missions with Drew, and we are taking steps to make this calling a reality! I will keep you all posted. The pictures in this post are recent ones I’ve taken on all our travels this summer that have made me wonder at what God has done. ¬†Wonder is one of the keys to seeing and savoring God, or so Piper says, and I believe him. ¬†The more we wonder, the more likely we are to dwell under His lordship. ¬†Jon Bloom calls wonder the antidepressant of life. When I look back on these photos, I think he is right.

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Welcome, Baby Frenchie!

So I’ve been gone from my new blog for a while…pretty much like 9 months. ¬†A lot has happened in that time…worked a new job and quit the job…traveled a bit…started my master’s program…got pregnant…

Wait…

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Yep, it’s all true! ¬†Drew and I are so excited to be a little over four months pregnant. ¬†Baby Frenchie will be making an appearance come November 10 (approximately…)

We can hardly wait to meet Frenchie. ¬†In two weeks, we will hopefully find out the gender. ¬†It’s been an incredible 18 weeks so far. ¬†God is teaching us so much about selflessness and faith. ¬†We feel so in awe of the little one we have made…At first we were absolutely terrified, but the Lord has given us so much rest in Him, and we know that He planned this exactly the way it should be.

We have been getting more and more excited, especially thanks to so much of the excitement from our families and those around us.

Last week I felt Frenchie kick for the first time.  It is one of the coolest and weirdest feelings I have ever felt.  I still cannot fathom a little baby moving around inside of me.  The baby is much much bigger than the above ultrasound.  That was taken about six weeks ago.

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And all the little things that come with them!  These are some sweet booties my dear friend Jess made for me.

Baby Frenchie is part of the reason I came back to the blog.  I had almost decided to give it up since my posts were few and far between, but with the baby coming and us moving to the Middle East in a little over a year, I still think it will be such a fun way to keep people in touch with our lives and culinary adventures! And now Baby Frenchie too!

And in case you were wondering, I did not stop cooking. ¬†Although, it’s true what they say- first semester of pregnancy is a total beast! I stopped cooking for a very long time, and it was miserable. ¬†It was like parts of my personality were gone. ¬†Thankfully, Frenchie and I are well into the 2nd trimester, and we both feel great! ¬†Food is such an important part of our life- it is hospitality and a way to bring people together.

Here are some photos of our adventures in the kitchen the past few months!

Brown sugar cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream and salted caramel drizzle

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Pork chops with smoked corn sauté and truffle mashed potatoes

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Lemon curd tart with a blueberry compote

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“She put in all she had”: Lessons in Giving

I’ve never paid much attention to the story of the Widow’s Mite from the Gospel of Mark. ¬†It seems fairly simple and self-explanatory…she gave all she had to the temple offering, etc. ¬†But in the last two days, God has brought this story to my attention through a modern re-enactment in my community.

We’ve been living in Hillsdale for over a month now, and I have dominated much of that time by job hunting and stressing about money. ¬†It’s been an up-hill battle to trust God to provide for our needs. ¬†Do we ever think about God as who He says He is? ¬†I certainly don’t…I put Him in my own little box where I can make Him act just the way I want Him too.

But He isn’t like that. ¬†God is big. ¬†Really big.

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Drew told me once that God reveals Himself today through people…through the body of His people. ¬†And we are the outward expression of Him to the world. ¬† You can see Christ in your community, if your neighbors are actively loving and following Him. ¬†You can see Him everywhere.

Our town is very small and rural. ¬†People don’t have a lot, but what they do have, they share. ¬†This was hard for me to accept at first because I hate asking for help or favors. ¬†This is where the Widow’s Mite comes into play. ¬†I’ve been seeing this in the last month we’ve been here, especially yesterday and today.

Yesterday was a particularly busy day, and I was feeling a little overwhelmed.  A knock on the door brought a dear friend and neighbor with a bucket of beautiful apples from their orchard they wanted us to have. I was so touched by the warmth and sincerity she offered, giving us fruit from their trees and driving all the way to town to do it.

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After she left, Drew and I met our friends at the fair. ¬†They were so kind and bought our tickets and showered us in blessings while we were there. ¬†Drew and I are continually amazed at this community that those who have little to give still give it with all their hearts. ¬†We’ve been invited to dinner, given fresh eggs, warmly encouraged and prayed for, mentored, and welcomed into families.

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The generosity of God is unfathomable.  He loves to give His children good gifts.  He loves to remind us that His love is an overflow-endlessly pouring into us that we might abide in Him and in turn overflow in our communities.  Though we give all we have, we may be sure that our Great Provider will always meet our needs.

Drew and I were expecting to have our needs met through me finding a job, and yet God decided to humble us and love us through our new community.  He revealed how my inward focus made Him so small.  When I turned outward, I could see Him, and I could see His sovereignty.

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above, raining down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no shadow or variation due to change.”

Hello, Michigan!

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Well, after a two month break, I’m back at the blog. ¬† It was my honest intention to keep blogging right up to the day of my wedding, but that never happened. ¬†For all of you who are getting married, a word to the wise: don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself.

My two big life changes that happened during my absence from LoveAndBasil are:

1.  I got married to Drew! Finally! (compliments of AlexaMarie Photography!)

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2. We moved to Southern Michigan!

We now live in the beautiful little town of Hillsdale, Michigan, where both Drew and I went to college. ¬† Our little apartment is downtown above a store. ¬†It’s so much fun to walk outside and be in the heart of the city. ¬†Three doors down is Drew’s favorite breakfast cafe, the beautiful post office is next door, and four doors down is a little grocery market.

I wanted to give you a few little snapshots of Hillsdale.

When you walk out of our apartment, you see this to the left

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And this to the right,

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The post office is the building off to the far right.

I love our apartment.  My favorite things about it are:

1. ¬†The butcher block Drew made out of an old filing cabinet for our kitchen! We don’t have much counter space, so this little guy comes in handy. ¬†It was super easy to do- an idea we found off Pintrest of course!

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2. ¬†The old wooden trunk is our coffee table. ¬†It’s made out of barn siding, and we found it in an antique store in Delaware, Ohio.

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3. Probably my absolute favorite part of the apartment is our comfy bed!  Drew made the headboard himself! We picked out a mattress from Ikea, and it is sooo comfortable!

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Hopefully there will be more pictures to come! ¬†Drew and I decided on our honeymoon that we re officially “foodies.” ¬†We ate our way through two weeks of bliss (and probably gained 10 pounds!). ¬†Since being married, cooking has been our favorite hobby together. ¬†It’s been a little crazy since we got back, so I don’t have any recipes to post now, but stayed tuned! ¬†They are on the way! I promise to eat and tell ūüėȬ†

Goodwill Treasure Hunting

I am a firm believer in shopping at Goodwill.  Just the name makes me shiver in excitement.  Remember those hot summer days in childhood when you would pretend to be a pirate and dig for buried treasure?  Somehow that excitement of treasure hunting has never left me.  When I was eight, I was convinced I was an archeologist.  I would spend hours in a small ditch near our house finding bits and pieces of broken glass and old china, especially after a rainfall.

A few days ago, I found myself down at Goodwill, looking for potential treasure. ¬†Drew and I have slowly been making a list of furniture for our home, and yesterday was a banner day! ¬†We realized we have almost everything we need. ¬†I’ll post later about the awesome projects Drew has been working on (I never knew I was marrying the world’s best handyman!), but for now I want to show off my Goodwill find.

Picture this: ¬†A wide-open room filled with a maze of furniture, clothes, and old VCR tapes. ¬†You wind your way through it all, hoping to find something you can re-do and post on your blog (ah vanity…). ¬†Your taste begins to disintegrate as you wander through the store, and you question your judgment. ¬†Then you see it. ¬†A pair of brass lamps.

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I have to acknowledge that I was a little unsure at first. ¬†I typically scorn these lamps as being 80s castoffs. ¬†However, the price tag won me over. ¬†Two perfectly good lamps. $50.¬† $20. ¬†Nope, $10 dollars. ¬†That’s right. ¬†Five minutes later I was the proud owner of two lamps. ¬†Home we go. ¬†Some tender polishing and a little white spray paint and….

VOILA!

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Here’s to Goodwill and spray paint!! ¬†This short little blog post is really nothing more than an encouragement to go to Goodwill and see what you can find. ¬†Over and over, my Mom and I look at each other as we pick something up and say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure…” ¬†May the same hold true for you, fellow DIYers! Now we just have to find some shades….

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Wedding Crafts In the Works

Hooray!!! After four hours of hard work, we have 11 tissue paper flowers and 22 sheet music wheels!

(Note: We are only about half way on the sheet music and a third on the flowers, but who cares!!!)

I’m getting married in a barn on an organic farm- Jorgensen Farms. ¬†It is so beautiful. ¬† I cannot wait. ¬†Drew will be there. ¬†That is what matters most.

But, just to feed that crazy, lovable, DIY/craft-loving girl in me…here are a few things we did today…

Mom (right) and Cynthia- best friends and great crafters!

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Hooray for tissue paper and sheet music!

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The fundamental components of our DIY Barn Wedding:

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Martha Stewart has a great tutorial on making tissue paper flowers. ¬†It is SO much cheaper to buy tissue paper in bulk (I got mine here from a site called Nashville Wraps) and¬†do them yourself rather than buy the Martha Stewart or David Tutera packets. Youtube a video tutorial…we had to watch one a few times…

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The sheet music wheels came along nicely…I found giant stacks of sheet music in an antique store, and I used one sheet to make one wheel (halve the sheet to make)…

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Pause for some iced tea and more yummy snacks (this time a quick antipasti platter…)

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Mom and Cynthia did the flowers, I did the wheels.

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Ta-da!!! 1/2 of 1/3 of the centerpieces is finished ūüôā

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