Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christmas Cards!

Scripted Blessings Religious Christmas Card
Customize your Christmas cards this year at
View the entire collection of cards.

Well, I just wanted to share with you all the great deal we got on our Christmas cards (we saved almost $40).

Shutterfly has a 40% off sale on all of their cards, as well as free shipping on orders over $30 until tomorrow.

So, if you normally send out photo cards... this is a GREAT deal!

Note:  This is a sponsored post (I get compensation for posting this), but I the opinions are mine (I still think the cards are super cute).

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Non-Denominational Christian's Thoughts on LDS and the Election

My parents taught me that an honest question deserves a well thought-out and thorough answer.  As the child-full-of-questions, they carefully explained life, the universe, and everything when I asked (even when they were to the point of exasperation).  Gosh, I'm thankful for their example.

My friend recently posted the following on Facebook (here's the link:

And I told him I would give him my response.  So, without further ado...

I think what you're asking is, "Why do Christians support Romney when he doesn't believe most Christians are part of the 'true church'?"  Completely legitimate question, but let's start with some background.

What do I think about Mormon's Exclusive "Church"?
Though Mormons believe they are Christians, most Protestants and Non-Denominational (e.g. "Bible" churches) Christians don't believe they are.  Protestants and Non-Denoms believe that one becomes a Christian by faith alone (believing that God/Jesus is who he says he is and did what he said he did), while Mormons believe that works are also a part of becoming a Christian.  This is obviously a broad-stroke picture, but the point is that they don't agree with traditional Christians.

Mormon theology is based on the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon.  Protestants and Non-Denoms (and probably Catholics, but I'm not certain) don't use the Book of Mormon because it doesn't meet the requirements for the Biblical canon.  As you probably know, there are a lot of gospels (think "The DaVinci Code"), but only some are part of scripture.  Some of the requirements are the following:  that they should be primary sources, written close to when the events happened, and verified by the rest of scripture.  Some problems with Joseph Smith's revelations are that they were to one man (privately), much later than the rest of scripture, and they contradicted the other parts of scripture.  (There's a lot more on this in the book The Case for Christ by Strobel.)

With all of that said, I don't see why there couldn't be Christians who are Mormon.  It would be silly to think that every person adheres perfectly to every tenet of their denomination.  I think it's very likely, given that they have the same Bible that I do, that some Mormons have the same saving faith that I have.  I'm not in any sort of position to say that specific people are or are not Christians; God and the person are the only ones certain of the state of a person's soul.

So, if a person believes in Jesus' saving work on the cross, then I believe they are part of the Church (universal).  If they think that I'm not part of the Church since I don't go to their LDS church, then I think they are misled.  But, knowing who is and who isn't part of the Church isn't a requirement for salvation, so it's not essential.

What does the responsible Christian do if they don't (spiritually) agree with either candidate?
So Romney doesn't think that I'm a Christian.  Well, I suppose that doesn't matter so much to me.  I disagree with both candidates on different (Christian) issues; neither lines up perfectly with my theology (and I doubt any candidate ever will... unless I ran for president... Lord, help us all).

The responsible Christian will consider the issues most important to him or her and then find the candidate that most aligns with those issues.  Honestly, you could substitute "American" with "Christian" in the last sentence, because the general principle is the same, even if the issues are different.  I think it's less about rooting for someone on your "team" and more about finding someone who you agree with.  We get so caught up with labels (and I do think that labels are helpful in some situations), that sometimes we can miss glaring discrepancies.  It's important to know the facts.  It's also important to know what you believe and why you believe it.  This is what my friend was getting at (I think), and I agree with him (and I say "way to go" for holding me accountable).  You know who you are -- thank you.

EDIT:  I suppose the main idea here is that I'm voting for my president, not my pastor (an important distinction).  America's not a Christian nation, and so I don't expect the president to play the pastor role.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Recipe: Raw Granola (Swedish Museli)

I am such a big fan of breakfast.  Before we were married, Handsome infrequently ate a granola bar before his first class, but now I've convinced him to start every day off right.  Breakfast helps you wake up, starts your metabolism going, and doctors say that breakfast-eaters have a healthier weight than non-breakfast eaters.  (Have I convinced you yet?)

I love cold cereal.  I could eat it for every meal, but I find that a lot of the cereal at the grocery store is too sugary for me (either that or it's like tiny pieces of cardboard).  This Swedish Museli is perfect for me.  The oats are soft with a little bite, the nuts and apple give it a nice crunch and the fruit makes it just the right amount of sweet.  I hope you enjoy this easy, healthy breakfast as much as I do!

Raw Granola (Swedish Museli)
by Lauren Spare

1 c. Dried Cranberries
2 c. Old Fashioned Oats (not instant)
2 Apples, grated
3/4 c. Sliced or Slivered Almonds (toast for more flavor)
3 1/2 to 4 c. Milk

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Let sit overnight or for several hours before serving.

To eat: scoop a portion into a bowl. Top with sugar or honey to sweeten, add additional milk or some yogurt, to taste.

Museli will last a week in the fridge.

Friday, August 24, 2012



This morning I heard God say to my heart, "There is nowhere that I will not go to rescue you."

Be encouraged.

God never gives up on us.  Ever.

Monday, July 23, 2012

To my Teenage Self

Moving back to the place that I grew up calling "home" has been surreal.  Hundreds of faces and places bring a rush of memories--most happy, but some that still bring tears (and some that fall in both categories).  I'm nearing a quarter-century in years, but ten years ago seems like yesterday, and I feel an overwhelming thankfulness well up in my chest when I think of how far I've come.

Sometimes, I can't help but wish some things were different, and pray that others will see that I am not who I once was.  I know I can't change the past, and I'm thankful for the things I've learned from my mistakes, but if I could write a letter to my teenage self, here's what I would say:

  • Keep your eyes on the horizon.  Everything looks big at first, so back away, take a deep breath, and trust that mountains are climbed step-by-step (so keep walking...).
  • You are more than your looks, your brain, your choices, your wit or your charm; you are a beloved child of the Living God.  Everything else is secondary, at best.
  • Don't be so hard on yourself.  Lighten up, girl!  This is just the beginning (and mistakes teach you more than perfection).
  • Don't be afraid of the dreams that God has put in your heart.  Don't listen to the lies.  God will lead you.  You will push through.  Be brave and trust Him.
  • Similarly, don't be afraid of the gifts God has given you.  You have much to offer.  Be gracefully confident.
  • In relationships, what matters most is if you were loving.  You cannot control other people, but you have complete control over yourself.  You cannot make someone admit they hurt you, and they may never be sorry, but you still must forgive them.
  • Dating is for marriage, because there's nothing "fun" about a broken heart.  Trust me.  (Oh, and gentlemen really do exist.  Sometimes, you have to wait for them to grow up.)
  • Above all, follow God.  Nothing.  Else.  Matters.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On Gadgets and a Reluctant Fondness

Well, folks, I'm still living the dream up here in the big ol' R.C., trying to avoid headaches from styrene fumes (but only when I have to visit the shop and look important).

A few days ago, my work provided me with a new phone... an iPhone, to be exact.  And I chose it.  (Feel free to let out your collective *gasp*... I'll wait.)


If you've ever brought up the PC vs. Mac debate or any Apple products around me, you have probably heard my (humble?) opinion on Apple.  They're kind of like the popular girl in high school.  Everyone loves them and everything they do, and they do whatever they want.  They're beautiful, sure, but (to outsiders) annoying (at best).  (Do I sound like the jealous nerd in the corner, yet?)  To Apple's credit, their products are high quality and so it's reasonable that they are popular.  But they're not the only quality product out there (and I have a soft spot for open-source software).  I've always said I won't judge anyone who has Apple products, because they are a good choice, but it's best to be an informed consumer (and maybe not over-pay so you can have the "it" brand).

So, you may be wondering why I have an iPhone.  Legitimate question, really.  Truth is, it was between an iPhone and the crufty ol' Blackberry, and considering the things I need to do with my device, Apple was the logical choice.

And, (keep this on the D.L., ok?) I actually really like it so far.  Especially Siri.  With all the things that happen in a day, my best effort to remember something later is a total failure.  I love the "reminders", but wouldn't use them if I had to type it all out and configure it every time... Siri to the rescue!  Just tell her when or where and what it should say and she's got you covered.  Everything else on the phone I could take or leave, but Siri is incredible (and so far, no one else has been successful at a similar product--I heard S-Voice by Samsung is close, but not there yet).

There you have it, friends.  Over and out.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Living the Dream

It hit me the other day that I'm living my dream:  to graduate college and to be a design engineer.  It's incredible.  Somebody pinch me!  I'm pretty sure that just yesterday I turned 16 and this morning I graduated high school... when did college happen?  And getting married?  And getting hired full-time?  (And passing Heat Transfer?)  There were so many hard days, sometimes I wasn't sure I would make it through.

Honestly, it's not as perfect as when it was on the horizon, but that's just life.  Nothing is ever perfect, but it can still be lovely.  There are at least a million things I don't know, but I have great coworkers and a great supervisor who have been a big help (and very patient).

I'm standing here at this milestone, and I have many more dreams that I hope to see realized, but I am so thankful and all I can think to say is:

Here I raise my ebeneezer
Hither by Thy help I've come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home

(From Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

DIY: Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

I made this!

Handsome and I's conversation a few weeks ago, while I was supposed to be helping him unpack our office.

Me:  I need you to help me make a crafty-craft.  (Blank stare from Handsome.)  I need you to drill something for me...
Handsome:  What kind of "crafty-craft" are you making that you need me to drill something?  And weren't you going to help me unpack?
Me:  I will.  I promise.  I just don't feel like it.  So... will ya help me? (Insert cheezy grin and puss-in-boots pleading eyes.)

Thus, the mason jar soap dispenser project, herein known as MJSD project, commenced.

I first saw this project on, but found that it was a little more involved than the post made it sound.  I share below how it went for me and things I learned along the way; my edits are in italics.

  • Mason jar (pint size) and lid
  • Old soap bottle (with pump)
  • Ruler
  • 2 Part Epoxy (plastic & metal kind)
  • Toothpick (or something else to mix and spread the epoxy with)
  • Cardboard/Paper plate to mix epoxy on
  • Drill with hole attachment (with largest drill bit you have)
  • Scissors or Boxcutter
  • Marking pen
  • Leather Work Gloves (please don't cut yourself!)
  • Tin Snips
Choose a jar about the same height as your soap dispenser
(I really like that mine says "Mason Jar" on it)

1. Cut off top of old soap bottle just below the thread.  I marked with a permanent marker, and then tried to cut with box cutters.  WEAR GLOVES!!!  I found that the plastic is really thick at the top, so just cut part of it off as best as you can, and then you can trim it later with your tin snips (or other heavy-duty scissors).  You will probably have to use a lot of pressure to cut, so BE CAREFUL!

I, obviously, didn't cut on my original line, but I cleaned it up later with tin snips.

2. Use pen to measure and mark a circle in the lid of the mason jar.  You may not know this, but it's pretty hard to measure with a pen, so I used a ruler to get a rough estimate.  Draw a tiny X where the middle is and then measure the circle width with your X in the center (see below).

Mark where to drill with an X and a circle

3. Drill hole in lid of mason jar.   Drill a hole in the center with your largest bit, or use a hole attachment if you have it (mine was a 3/4" hole).

Get someone with a steady hand to drill for you

3a. Use tin snips to widen hole until the threaded plastic part fits through.  WEAR GLOVES and BE CAREFUL!  I had no success when I tried to file the hole smooth, so I wouldn't bother, unless you're a very patient person.

These are tin snips.  You can get them at a hardware store.

Not enough yet!

Don't worry too much about sharp edges, the top part will cover it.

It probably won't be quite flush with the bottom, but that's okay,
epoxy is strong stuff and will hold it together.

4. Mix epoxy and apply to the lower rim of the bottle top.  This stuff is hard-core, so try not to make a mess.  Read and follow the package instructions.  Mine had to sit for 20 minutes, undisturbed, and then had a full-cure in 24 hours.

Here's what I used.

Use a toothpick to apply the epoxy.  Let it sit according to package directions.

5. Insert the pump dispenser through the bottle top and screw tightly to secure.

6. Let the epoxy dry according to the instructions.  I did this earlier, it makes more sense to me to let it cure separately so you don't accidentally fuze it all together... unless that's what you want.

7. Fill with your favorite liquid soap.  Or with the soap that was in the bottle you just destroyed to make your pretty, new mason jar soap dispenser!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Here's a recap of the last three weeks!

So, first it was this:

Then, it was moving...

Next, it was this:

And now, we're back home and getting ready to start our jobs on Monday!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


It has been my experience
 that the adventure is nearly always,
worth it.
It's a good thing I was sitting down when Handsome told me the news:

"The moving company could only do it Monday.  They'll unpack on Tuesday."

I felt a thousand bricks land on my heart and saw a tidal wave of anxiety on the horizon.  My hand landed softly on my chest, and pressed hard to hold back the wave.  I sat for a moment in the stillness.

One week.

That's all I have left here.

Like a fish out of water, I forgot how to breathe for a moment, but I fought to remember that Grace held me and holds me still.  And a strange mix of excitement and sadness rose up from inside of me, swirling together like the jam I mixed into my yogurt this morning.

Then chaos and a thousand memories swept over me and I felt, for the first time, that we were leaving this place.  It is one thing to know--because I have done that for some time--but quite another to feel as I am doing now.

It's not holy ground, but it feels like it sometimes.  So much of my heart is tied here, so many memories are anchored to these buildings and walkways and trees, and there is a part of me that wonders if I'll ever return, if it will ever be the same again?

On the threshold of adventure, I know, it has to feel this way.

A grain of wheat has to fall to the ground and die, before it can realize its full potential.  So, here we go.  We leave and we let this part of our lives live on in memories, because we trust and we know that the next part is worth it.

Handsome and I will be moving close to our families, where we both have Engineering jobs (PTL!), and, hopefully, an exciting future in the next stage of our lives.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Blessed to Call these Women "Mom"

This mother gave me life, and a life in the most selfless
way possible.  I am forever grateful and thankful for your
sacrificial love and the example you've set.

She changed my diapers, put me in time-out, taught me to
sew and canoe and all-the-other-important-skills-a-girl-needs,
wiped away my tears and listened to my hopes and dreams.
She's my biggest cheerleader and the one who will tell me
the truth, even if it hurts.
She gave me herself.
I'm also thankful for the newest mother in my life...
My mother-in-law who has been a gift to Handsome,
and, in turn, to me.
She is a wonderful hostess and an excellent listener,
with a great sense of humor!  Such a joy to be around!

This post is part of the:
1000 moms project

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Making the Most of It

In March of 2009, I went on a study tour of Israel.  It was a 10-day trip, 7 days on the ground, hiking "the best of the lands" and being taught scripture where it happened.  In March, and basically no other time of the year, Israel is green, lush and about 70 degrees--it was beautiful!

This one's not green, I know.  It's in En Gedi, where David hid from Saul.
Well, the weather was beautiful all but one day.  The first day we were in Jerusalem in rained... and rained... and rained.  But that didn't stop us (most of us).  I was soaked to the bone and shivering... and that was all that I could think about.

Not that I was in Jerusalem (the holy city!)...

Not that I should soak this up because I may never go to Jerusalem again (please let it not be so!)...

No, all I could think about was that I was cold and wet.  All I could think about was my own personal comfort and how much I wanted to get back on the bus, better yet, back to the hotel where it was warm and dry.  (Gosh, I'm so mature...)

As I end my last semester of college, this is the story that comes to mind.  And these are the things I'm wondering:

  • How much did I miss that day in Jerusalem, because my focus was off?  
  • Where is my focus now and am I missing anything because of that?
  • How can I make the most of the little time that I have?
With our rain gear on, touring the Church of the Nativity (Bethlehem)

May you make the most of your day, friend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

DIY: Fitted T-Shirt

Don't we all have a few too-large t-shirts lying around?  A while back I grabbed two K-State ones that had some potential and re-sized them to fit me better.  I wasn't going to share it on here, since it's been done on so many other blogs, but at the prompting of some friends, I've decided to share the tutorial.  I hope it's clear enough--ask your questions in the comments.

I know, it's not the same t-shirt, but you get the idea...

You'll need:
  • T-shirt to re-size
  • T-shirt that fits you well
  • Marker that shows on fabric (sharpie or fabric pencil)
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Scissors
  • Needle for sewing by hand

Time:  1-2 hours

  1. Turn the t-shirt you want to re-size inside-out and lay flat (no wrinkles, line up the seams) on a table or other flat surface.  
  2. Lay the t-shirt that fits you well on top.  Line up collar and shoulders to center.  
  3. Trace around the shirt that fits, extending lines to the edge, as shown (red line).  (Note:  extending the lines makes it an extra-long t-shirt, so if you want it shorter, follow the instructions for shortening the sleeves in step 5)  Pin along the line.

  4. Sew along line.  Turn it right-side out and try it on.  If it fits well, trim excess fabric.  You may also sew another line to finish and reinforce the seam.
  5. If you like the length of the sleeves on the t-shirt that fits, use that to measure, otherwise put the t-shirt back on and roll up the sleeve (one fold on the inside) until it's the length you want.  Pin it all the way around.
  6. Sew a double seam (starting underneath the armpit), 1/4" apart, and 1" from the edge (or whatever the distance was previously).  Trim excess fabric.
  7. If you want a regular neck, you're done!
  8. For the v-neck, I watched this video for inspiration and then went with it.
  9. Cut off the collar and then fold in half to cut out a "V".
  10. Try it on to see if the "V" is where you want it.
  11. Once you're satisfied, lay it flat.
  12. Use the material you trimmed off of the sides to make the new collar.  Sew the leftover strips together to make one long strip.
  13. Fold the strip in half and iron it (Note:  I forgot to do that in the photos, so ignore the fact that it's not folded--the photos are wrong.  Don't be like me, I had to seam rip... a lot).
  14. Pin the collar to the t-shirt, right sides together.  Use lots of pins.
  15. Sew almost all of the way around, 1/4" seam.  Don't sew the "V"... yet.  Leave 1/4" on each side of the point.
  16. Let the finagling begin...  Lay back the ends of the strip and sew as close as you can to the "V".
  17. Pinch the edges together to make a nice "V" shape with the collar strip.  Pin in place.
  18. Sew along the pinched line.
  19. Trim and tack by hand or sewing machine.
You're done!!!  Enjoy your new shirt!  

I've made two of these and plan to make more once I get a new sewing machine (RIP old buddy).  Knit is great because it doesn't fray, so there's no need to worry about perfection here.  Even if the edges don't line up perfectly, no one will notice!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

DIY: Coffee Filter Roses

Do you use Pinterest?  I really like it!  It’s great for helping me organize all of the things I want to make.  Recently, a friend pinned a coffee-filter-rose wreath, and I was instantly intrigued.You can make flowers out of coffee filters that actually look pretty?
The Finished Bouquet

I did a little Google research, and found instructions from the blog Aunt Peaches to make roses on a stem (see her blog for the instructions).  She describes three different ways to make them, but I only did the first two (making my own variations, because following rules can be so boring–even for me!).
The Set-Up:  I used cooling racks and a fan to dry my filters.

I even mixed colors on one rose, but I didn't like the result.

The First Method -- I liked the compact center it made.

The Second Method -- I had to trim the pointy edge.
My tips:
  • You may have to trim your roses a little.  See photo #5 has a pointy edge?  I trimmed that off.
  • I used white masking tape to make the roses and then wrapped them in floral tape.
  • To make the vase:  paint a heavy coat of white acrylic inside a clear glass vase, dry overnight.  Don’t put water in it ever again or you’ll ruin the paint.