Cupcakes and Sunshine

Monday, May 28, 2018

13 Things I'm Thankful For This Week

I took some intentional rest time the past couple of weeks, and goodness I needed it. You know when you take a few days off and then all the tiredness hardcore hits you? My days have looked a little bit like that- restful and more still than usual. But also  full of friends, community, leaning in, and learning. Here are 13 things I'm thankful for lately:

1. This rustic Red, White, and Blue berry galette

If you are looking for a Memorial Day treat, this is it!

2. Encouraging friends. 

When I first moved to Texas, Community was my word of the year because simply put, I had very few friends.  I had previously come from a college town rich with community and many of my friends (who were more like family and walked with me through some tough tough times) now lived in different states. I was starting all over.

A new city, new job, new everything. But I prayed hard for community, and I'm still seeing the fruit of those prayers today. Another new everything season is approaching, but I'm thankful for these friends who are going to be nearby. Life is tough- you need your people.

3. These roommates.
 These are our last few weeks living together, so we've been soaking them in.

I can't imagine these past couple years without these encouraging ladies!

4. 4 and 5-way chats:

Our girl Meg is in Africa, and our community group has looked a little different. Even across the country and world, these girls pray for me, hold me accountable, encourage me, and love me so well. We laugh and we cry and we laugh until we cry. I've said it once and I'll say it again: life is tough- you need your people. These ladies point me to truth and Jesus. Thankful.

5. Love that Lasts
I thought this book was going to be a bit on the cheesy side based on its cover, but no, this book is a must read. I think anyone and everyone should skip right over the Amazon "add it to your cart" button and just press "buy now."

You know when the Lord sends you the exact right message that you need to hear at the exact right time? I needed this book. I'd let you borrow my copy, but I've written in all of the margins. It's an easy read, and I really think it could change your life. Up next on my list is Fervent.

6. Signature Sins

I've been walking through this book, and I finally finished it after a couple weeks. It is definitely more scholastic in writing style, and not what you'd consider an easy read due to content, but wow is it eye opening. It is required for a few seminary classes, but was not assigned to my class. A few friends suggested it, so I borrowed a copy and I've loved it. It's not your surface level book, it digs deep into "taming your wayward heart" and overcoming signature sins. I definitely suggest it.

7. I'm thankful for the best gluten-free cupcake I've ever had at Sprinkles.

Not only is it the best, but it has a "G" on it for gluten-free that looks very similar to a Georgia G. Go dawgs.

8. Emily Freeman The Next Right Thing Podcasts

The description line for these podcasts is, "If you're in a season of transition, waiting, general fogginess or if you've ever searched "how to make a decision" on the internet, listen in as best-selling author and host Emily P. Freeman helps create a little space for your soul to breathe so you can discern your next right thing in love." 

^Um, yes. These podcasts are encouraging and bring a lot of new perspective. 

9. Baby snuggles- lots of them.

Love this boy! 

10. Hand written notes: 
My sweet roommate Abby has written me encouraging notes all year long, and this one made me laugh....

 Chicken sausage, fab beat drops, and beauty trends. That just about sums things up- ha! (also #biotin is really great!)

11. On the "fab beat drops" note, here are some songs that I can't stop playing this summer: 

Say Hi by Codeko 

I Like Me Better by Lauv

In Too Deep by Loren North

Legend by The Score (is it too early to jump ahead to fall and football?)

Burn the House Down by AJR

Starting Fires by Disco Fries

Sticks and Stones by Cass

Feel Like by Andrey Azizov

Claustrophobia by 3Oh!3

Where the Love Goes by Anjulie

Would You Ever by Skrillex

Love you Like That by Dagny

Can't Get Enough by Cass

If you're wondering what else I'm listening to this summer, it's my Life Lately 2018 playlist. (& Sam Hunt's acoustic album)

12. and on the "beauty trends" note, Castor Oil is my new favorite thing. 

It has so many uses and is a great price. I have a lot of friends who spend hundreds on eyelash growth serums- castor oil is ~$10 and is the same thing. Rub a little on your eyelashes before going to sleep or rub it on your cuticles for soft skin and nails.

And well, as far as the chicken sausage goes- I suggest Trader Joe's and Applegate- ha!

13. Intentional Fringe Time: 
A few days ago at a work retreat, I was talking to my friend Emily about how years ago when I was a gymnast, our coach would tell us to make use of all of our "fringe" time- the little moments throughout the day that were just full of empty space.

In those fringe moments, our coach told us to do toe-raises, squats, push-ups, situps, etc. Those little moments where we'd replace our empty space with intentional small workouts would add up and make us stronger.

I've recently gotten rid of a lot of social media because I've realized I've been filling my empty space with Snapchat, Instagram, and other unintentional time consumers. I've been more intentional in filling my time with quiet time, encouraging podcasts, and creative outlets, and it's changed my heart in a lot of ways.

Happy Memorial Day, friends. Enjoy time with your people, rest, and soak it in! hug big, pray bigger.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Rustic Red, White, and Blue Berry Galette

I had written out a "life lately" post and was going to make this Rustic Red, White, and Blue Berry Galette a small part of it, but then realized this recipe needed an entire post of its own. Also, I've been feeling a little anxious lately, and usually some quiet time with the Lord and some baking do a lot of help.

Nothing says summer like sweet berries! Some of my very favorite memories are of picking wild blackberries in Florida, fresh strawberries in Georgia, and ripe blueberries in South Carolina.


So I thought I'd mix them all together, and kick off summer with a rustic galette right here in Dallas, Texas for Memorial Day weekend.

Rustic: constructed or made in a plain and simple fashion, in particular.

Rustic: how I've been trying to live life lately- slow mornings, lots of coffee, real phone calls instead of texts, an actual alarm clock instead of a phone, lots of books, deleted snapchat, watch-free weekends, long walks, limited social media. Life is a lot better rustic.


Also, nothing has me reminiscing on the past more than summer holidays. A little reminiscing helps ease some anxiousness too.

Firstly, you will want to make your dough ahead of time. It will need to be refrigerated 2+ hours before baking. This will make your dough easier to roll out and will cut down on any shrinking that happens during the baking process. 

Be sure if you are using frozen berries, to pour off excess juice-- soggy galettes aren't as great. 

Mixing your berries with a little bit of cornstarch will allow your galette to better hold its shape once baked. If you have extra berries, sugar, and cornstarch, you can reserve and save for pancakes.  :) 

Some galette recipes do not call for it, but corn meal is very important and makes for an even more rustic pastry. 

And old fashioned vanilla bean ice-cream is a must! Must have vanilla specks. 

Thankful for those who have served and are serving our country. Happy Memorial weekend, friends! 

Rustic Red, White, and Blue Berry Galette
Dough Ingredients: 
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of corn meal 
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp. salt 
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup ice cold water
7 Tbs. butter

Berry Filling: 
2 cups berries (I used both fresh and frozen) 
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 Tbs. sugar

1. Mix first 4 dry ingredients. Add cold, cubed butter and mix with a fork until dough is crumbly. 
2. Add yogurt and water slowly. Press together until dough forms. 
3. Roll into a ball and refrigerate 2+ hours. 
4. While dough is chilling, mix berries, cornstarch, and sugar. Allow to sit at least 15 minutes to allow cornstarch to rest with the berries. 
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
6. Roll out chilled dough onto a large baking pan. Fill with berries and wrap edges around the berry filling. (this doesn't have to be perfect- the more rustic, the better!) 
7. You can brush edges of dough with egg wash if you desire, and place in oven for 35-40 minutes until dough is golden brown. 

Top with old fashioned vanilla bean ice-cream, and enjoy. 

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Much to Celebrate

I've been asking the Lord to open my eyes to see the goodness in each day. I so easily can forget that God withholds no good thing from those who believe in him, and knowing and trusting in this promise brings so much hope for the present and future. Some days are full of learning- some patience, humbling, and challenges. Sometimes even the hard way.

But God is so good and withholds no good thing.

This weekend was a celebratory one!

One of our best girls, Meg, is heading to Nigeria for the next few months to serve and love on some people in need. Meg is one of those friends who exudes compassion and love and wow, what a joy it is to know her. She is humble, kind, loving, and we're sure going to miss her!   

We also celebrated the end of a busy work week and made a trip to the theater... 

and a celebratory dinner because our girl Sarah is GRADUATING!

This week also may have consisted of lots of sun, windows-down old school country music up, and dancing.  Praising the Lord for his goodness and so much to celebrate this week. Happy Sunday, friends!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Life Lately- Things Making me Smile this Week!

I've been in somewhat of a funk lately, where I've been feeling a bit stuck and there have maybe been a couple of sour lemons here and there.

But the best part of sour lemons, is they make seeking and finding the little joys in the everyday actually a little bit easier! Really, seeking and finding joy is easy when you're looking in the right places. Or actually, just looking at all.

Here are some spoonfuls of sugar lately that have added some sweetness to the lemonade and put a smile on my face!

1. Everybody Always: This is one of my very favorite books. I read Love Does years ago, and I've had this book on pre-order for months! Bob Goff, what a guy I tell ya! Give this one a read. It will make your heart happy!

(also, the colorful fingerprints on the front cover are all fingerprints of witch doctors who have given their lives to Jesus!!)

2. These lemon jammies. I'm thanking Jesus that Target is somewhat inconvenient (in comparison to its close proximities during my Athens days), but this past week, I logged into my Target account for the first time in months and discovered I had a giftcard (?!). Definitely purchased these lemon jammies.

3. Maybe there's a citrus theme going on here, but my sweet grandmother sent me a box of oranges- some  "Florida sunshine"- she said. Happy, happy heart!

4. This mini fry pan has been a life changer!

I make breakfast a priority, and every morning I usually have a fried egg, chicken sausage, and fruit. I got a little bit tired of washing a whole pan for one small egg, and THIS pan has been the ultimate morning-time game changer. It's so dang cute too!

5. She Reads Truth Nehemiah Bible Study.

The She Reads Truth study books are not only beautiful, but they help you dig in to the Bible with an in-depth breakdown of chapters, commentaries, maps, application questions and scripture memory cards. Grab a buddy, grab some coffee, and grab one of these study books. Love these.

6. Coffee dates with this roomie! Whether we're in (lemon) pajamas, or hanging at Starbucks, these coffee dates will forever make me smile.

7. Long catch-up calls with friends from home are my favorite, and I've had a lot of them lately. Thankful, thankful.

8. THIS:

Fight the fight for joy. Love this so much!

My friend Sarah let me borrow a book by a DTS writer who has memorized books and books of the Bible and how she does it in every single minute of her spare time. I've been so encouraged and inspired to do the same. If I would just step off social media in the downtime, and begin memorizing scripture instead- I can't even imagine what an incredible impact that would make on my life. 

9. The DROP App. I really don't know how the app makes money for itself, but every time I shop at Trader Joe's, Target, Whole Foods, Starbucks, or Chipotle (which is where I do most all shopping!), it drops points in my account to earn giftcards to Amazon- without even thinking about it. 

Which is how I purchased the above egg pan, lots of new journaling pens (I go through G2's and Pentel Energels FAST. These make me smile too), and a few more things. Favorite app of the moment. 

10. Territory Foods

I love Territory Foods. I don't know how I could have gotten throughout this past year without them. Picking them up each week feels like Christmas. HURRY because they are giving away $50 of free meals <----if you use this code. (Yes, that's 6 meals for less than $10- no gimmicks, no subscriptions).

You can see my post about them: HERE.

11. Cotton Candy sunrises!

What are some things that have made you smile this week? Happy Sunday, friends! 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Consider it JOY!

There have been a couple of rainy days over here, and it's not just this gloomy Dallas weather. There's that saying when it rains, it pours and I've seen a lot of rain in a lot of good friend's lives and my own lately. It's pouring, and these days haven't been the easiest. 

This week, my sweet friend Miea reminded me about making lemonade, and I remembered this post from last year

Some days are unexpectedly tough. I think when graduating from college, you expect change and fear the future, and you're aware that everything is about to be new...but after that, a little life turmoil and rain can be unanticipated. Abrupt changes can throw you for a loop if your heart isn't in the right place. It's during these times that the Lord invites us to be near and come boldly to the throne of grace to receive mercy in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

"And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5: 2-4 Perseverance and Hope! 

Heart Check: 
I was recently doing a Bible study that encouraged me to make a list of all the times I've felt closest to the Lord. And as I made this list, I realized most of these moments were all times of unknown, hurt, and pain....rainy, pouring moments when I was on my knees calling out to and trusting in the Lord. We need to anticipate the trials, and remain steadfast and dependent on the Lord in both the good and the bad, so that when these rainy days come, we are prepared to surrender and rest in His truth & promises. The answer to every need: God is faithful, and is always always near. 

“The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door of our heart upon the black horse of affliction.” ~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

This year I fell into a grey area where scripture and worship became somewhat cliche' to me. I was busy, choosing worldly things, treading water, not resting in truth and grace, and lost site of where I needed to be. It took some good friends to say, "Whoah, pause Haley- heart check!" And if I’m honest, my faith felt really weak as I wrestled with the Lord through some anger, confusion, and fears over my life’s circumstances. But these are the greatest opportunities to show and display our faith. I began praying for a renewed mind (Romans 12:2) and dependence again on the Lord. I was back on my knees in the unknown, hurt, and pain. 

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

Thoughts Check: 
A verse I have really been leaning into lately is Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy  think about such things and the God of peace will be with you." I've taken some steps to renew my mind. If you've seen me lately, this verse is probably written on the palm of my hand. 

My thoughts were a mess, and I've decided to replace my time with true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable things. I've gotten rid of music that is not pure and edifying, tv shows, and social media. I've hit "unfollow" on some people and media that are not pointing me in the right direction. If it's not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, I've done my best to get rid of it- thoughts, relationships, songs, media, etc. And I've spent my time replacing it with truth, scripture, books, songs, podcasts, and people that are leading me well and reminding me If the Lord isn't at the center, then it's not the right path. 

Immeasurably More: 
I love words. I've filled journals with hundreds of words and prayers and this week, I've taken some time to look back and see a lot answered prayers from the one-time unknown. I've felt so encouraged and hope-filled! Every time I see Ephesians 3:20 ("Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us"), I think of my sweet friend Alex who boldly rested in this truth during some TOUGH times and sent me to Dallas with this verse in mind a couple years ago. After looking back, I would have never imagined I'd be where I've been, and I'm in awe, expectantly, that he is going to do immeasurably more!!

Grateful Heart: 
I've recently read somewhere that you can't be both grateful and unhappy at the same. And I think it's so true! 

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

Something that has been really helpful for me is writing down all the things I'm thankful for at the end of each day before going to sleep. A joyful, grateful heart is good medicine! Consider it JOY whenever you face trials. 

What I'm listening to:
Without You, Shane and Shane 
Do it Again, Elevation Worship
Glory and Wonder, Mosaic MSC
I Will Wait For You There, Phil Wickham
New Wine, Hillsong
Seasons, Hillsong
Touch of Heaven, Hillsong (love!) 
Sinking Deep, Hillsong Young and Free
Fall Afresh, Jeremy Riddle
Your Love is Better, Will Reagan
Here's My Heart, Crowder
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Sufjan Stevens

I also believe you can't eat cheesecake and be unhappy at the same time either :) 

So here's a cheesecake recipe you need! Cheesecakes can seem a little daunting, because you do have to create a "water bath" to prevent the cheesecake from cracking while baking. The first time I made a cheesecake was for Jenny's birthday circa 2014. It was actually no biggie! See directions below for some tips and tricks.  

1 cup of cookie crumbs (I used chocolate cookies) 
3 Tbs. melted butter

3 packages of cream cheese (Philadelphia brand! Not a fan of generic cream cheese!) 
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of sour cream
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
1 tsp. lemon zest

1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

1. With a stand or handmixer, mix softened cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream.
2. Slowly whisk in each egg (just until combined), lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Do not over mix once eggs are added! This could create cracks in your cheesecake.
3. Double wrap the bottom of your cheesecake pan in aluminum foil.
4. Pour cheesecake mixture into cheesecake springform pan. Set your aluminum-wrapped springform pan in a roasting dish filled about halfway with water, and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.
5. Then turn off your oven, open your oven door, and leave cheesecake for another 60 minutes.
6. Set cheesecake in refrigerator overnight.
7. Pour 1/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk over top, and add sprinkles or other cheesecake toppings. I like to place in freezer for another 20 minutes before serving!

Invite over a few friends- your tribe, your people- share your burdens, your JOYS, and  this cheesecake as well! 


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