Saturday, May 30, 2015

Snapchat Etiquette.

I feel a calling to make the world a better place.

Because of that, I am laying out some simple "Snap Chat rules" I think would benefit all of it's users.

1) If you are adding a video with really loud, obnoxious noises (IE: a song, concert, etc), please give a picture warning beforehand. The caption could read like the following: "LOUD VIDEO IN NEXT SNAP!" or "IF YOU ARE IN CLASS/MEETING TURN VOLUME DOWN." It's just polite and helpful.

2) Does anyone else remember going to concerts during the pre-snapchat days? I remember when my friends or myself would go to a concert, and when a specific song would come on, we would call each other to let one of our other friends who couldn't make it listen to the song with us. Remember how you could never really hear or understand the words through the phone? Well, attaching video doesn't really do anything other than letting us all know where you are. We still can't understand the music. Also, you sent me in shock with the loud, obnoxious noises with no warning beforehand.

3) Just think about the story you are telling, especially if you post everyday. Is it captivating? Does it have character development? Are you stretching your creativity? Spend some time really creating a story people WANT to watch.

4) Keep your snaps somewhat mysterious. I will sometimes go DAYS without posting so that I hopefully have my audience guessing and wanting more. "Where is Kelsey? WHAT IS SHE UP TO RIGHT THIS SECOND?" "IS SHE DRIVING? WHAT SONG IS ON THE RADIO?" "IS SHE WITH HER DOG? WHAT IS HE DOING?"

5) Don't post ALL of your snaps to your story. Sometimes, it's important to make your friends and family feel like they have earned the rights to EXCLUSIVE snaps.

6) Don't ignore/not respond to someone's text/call and then immediately view a snap they send you. They will get mad at you.

7) Don't send anything you wouldn't want the recipient to screen shot. My sister and mom are notorious for sending crazy pics and then are all "Hey! Delete that!" Nope, blackmail.

I hope these tips are helpful for you. Any little bit that I can do to make a positive impact on others and the way we communicate is a responsibility I do not take lightly.

Also, please do not take me seriously.

But seriously, give me a warning before putting videos in your story.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Christianity Is Not A Debate

I think it is human nature to defend our beliefs. Sometimes, disagreements can be misinterpreted as attacks against my intelligence, my way of thinking, or my value system.

Honestly, when someone tells me that they disagree with everything I believe about God, my first instinct tells me to defend and explain why I'm right.

But, I often have to ask myself---what am I defending? Am I defending my own honor? Am I defending my own "intelligence?" Am I defending my own pride?

 Am I truly defending the gospel and what it calls me to?  Not really.

I found that I spent more time arguing and debating my beliefs with nonbelievers than I was praying for them.

I found that a lot of my "defenses" were actually not very loving or grace-filled at all.

I found that I tried to limit God and His power by coming up with the "perfect explanation" of what I believe and why I believe it. (It's impossible to put what God did in my life in a 2-3 sentence rebuttal, by the way).

I found that taking the defensive role took away my ability to have a real conversation and my ability to say, "Yeah, there really are some things I struggle with, too."

So, I'm praying for an ability to lovingly and gracefully handle situations when people may or may not be looking for an argument/debate about my beliefs. (I know there are people who like to get a rise out of others, and people who ask questions out of general curiosity. :))

I'm praying for a heart that longs to see people find and experience Christ's love and grace instead of a mouth that tries to (unsuccessfully) change how people think by talking too much.

I'm praying for opportunities to have those difficult conversations, but to allow the Holy Spirit to work instead of relying on my own "power."

I'm also praying for those who have told me they have doubt and disbelief. I think working through that and figuring out why it's there is crucial and I pray that you find God's tremendous love and peace in the midst of it. To pretend that I never experience doubt and disbelief would be a huge lie, but I promise, He has never failed to pull me from it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Your Character In My Story

“We meet no ordinary people in our lives.”  - C.S. Lewis

I am often reminded of the limitations in my own mind and heart. I think a lot about "how far I've come" until I fall right back into what's comfortable, which is often behaviors that are destructive and hurtful to others.

I've failed as a friend, sister, daughter, and wife.
I've hurt others intentionally and unintentionally. 
I've been hurt by my friends, siblings, parents, and husband. 
I've played games to let them "earn" my forgiveness.
I've pushed people away and refused to forgive them.

I describe others and my experiences with them based on just that--my own experiences (paired with my own opinions and assumptions).

I will admit that when I have a falling out with someone, I want affirmation that I was right and they were wrong. 

I will offer forgiveness (internally or externally), but will find myself experiencing days filled with resentment towards that person. 

I will exhaust your capacity to listen to someone vent. 

I will innocently share my testimony while still missing the point---I will spend more time comparing who I WAS with THEM--whoever the characters in my story may be, instead of focusing on Christ and the great love and grace he has to offer. Also, forgetting that God's grace and love is intended for THEM as well, not just for me and who I may be talking to---so if my testimony spends more time explaining the "crowd I used to run with" instead of my own heart and the change that took place, there's a problem. 

So, what is the point of this post?

I guess it's to say that relationships are messy. I haven't figured out how to be the perfect friend, sister, daughter, and wife. I will fail you. I also haven't figured out how to perfectly give you grace and forgiveness when you fail me. But that's the beauty in it, right? We aren't perfect, but we serve a Perfect God that shows us mercy and forgiveness perfectly.  I'm so thankful to follow and seek One who doesn't have limitations and is able to open my mind to my own little by little each day. I am thankful for His Spirit that takes my selfish, insecure, and jealous heart, and fills it with love, grace, and mercy---no matter how many times I stray. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

How To Prepare For Wedding Season

Here we are! We're back to that time of year again- the save the dates and invites should have been rolling in for a while now, but the actual weddings are soon approaching.

I thought I'd write a quick post on how I prepare for this season full of showers, ceremonies, and receptions. I will also share some quick tips I've learned.

I personally have never planned a wedding- we did a quick and easy ceremony with immediate family only, but do not dismiss my advice---after being both a bridesmaid and guest at countless weddings, I assure you, I am a professional wedding guest. it goes:

1) Having a separate budget  for weddings is probably a good idea, but sometimes it is so much more fun to be like "Oh my gosh, I am sooo broke from allll of these weddings and events I am invited to." It makes you sound important. So the separate budget is optional.

2) RSVP in a timely manner. I have been both a good and bad RSVPer and have received both the appreciation and wrath from being both types. I'd rather receive the "thanks so much for RSVPing BEFORE the "RSVP BY" date!" than the opposite. :)

3) Think BEFOREHAND about songs you would like to request to the DJ. The pressure is intense at the reception to think of something. You should have a variety of mindless/fun music to sweet/romantic songs. Also think to yourself--- "could people dance/sing along to this?" Also, I suggest songs keeping the bride/groom/audience and their preferences in mind.

On my personal list: Uptown Funk -Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars (because : TOO HOT!)
                                  This Is How We Do - Katy Perry (because: bridesmaids always like their one anthem-- I'm serious ...there is always at least one point in the night when they are the only ones on the dance floor dancing together)
                                  Lose Control- Missy Elliot (because: there's always that one guy/girl that cranks out the crazy awesome dances moves that puts everyone else to shame)
                                  American Kids- Kenny Chesney (because: this will get the people who do not like to dance at least singing along)
                                  Drunk On A Plane - Dierks Bentley (because: irony)
                                  Shake It Off - Taylor Swift (because: even though it's overplayed, it's easy to dance to)
                                 The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra (because; You're never too old to boogie, and this song is awesome)

Look at all the strategy I put into the songs I pick! Any good DJ will likely have these jams and will play at lease one or two of them, but, if not, you can always suggest them and be the cool one who knows how to keep the party flowing. (If you do not get these results, it's not my fault, blame the musician).

4) PRACTICE those dance moves. For Real.

I've made the TRAGIC mistake of doing the Bernie during the Wobble. THEY ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT DANCES- and there are tutorials on Youtube for both. I'm serious--I've already been watching and practicing.  (Two additional songs to suggest if they are not played---then you can be the one everyone tries to learn the moves from.)

5) Don't be that person sitting at the table judging the people that are out there dancing. Just remember---dancing is an ART, not matter how crazy it may look. 

Well, that concludes my list of how to prepare for wedding season. How do you prepare? Did I miss anything?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

That Time I Ran A Mile In 9:11

Today, I ran a mile in 9 min and 11 seconds.

Maybe it was my body wanting to burn off the ice cream I ate for lunch.

Maybe I was rushing to get out of the heat.

Maybe my dog pulled harder than usual.

Maybe it was built up stress and anxiety longing to be released.

Maybe my gps/running app is broken.

I know a lot of you don't think that's very fast, but when my previous PR was 10:30, that's BOOKING it for me.

All I know is---it's probably not going to happen again anytime soon.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Celiac Friendly Yummies

Finding gluten free options at restaurants can be very difficult. It's not as easy as "just don't get a bun or eat the bread." Gluten hides in seasonings, glazes, and cross contamination from prep/pots/pans/fryers is real. Because of this, we have been eating at home a whole lot more. (I'm working on a list of dishes to eat at restaurants/fast food restaurants. I still get sick from some "gluten free" items at restaurants.)

I've tried various gluten free pizzas and pastas, and even though I don't get sick afterwards, I've noticed I still don't feel nourished and satisfied after eating them. Another reminder that just because something is labeled as "gluten free." that is should not be classified as a "health food." (Sorry "organic" pepperoni!) It is still super tempting to rely on frozen pizza and burritos instead of whole foods that are more beneficial to my health and wellness.

That being said, I recently ordered the new Whole30 book. I basically want to try ALL of the recipes. I'm sad to admit that I've only lasted 15 days on a Whole30, but even in that short time, I was able to realize the impact food has on me and it helped me discover how foods with gluten made me feel. I am planning on doing another one soon----this time I will get through the full 30 days.

I am obsessed with skillet meals right now. I love the combo of meat, veggies, and seasonings. I love how all of the flavors blend and I love how easily the reciple can be adjusted to whatever meat/veggies./seasonings I have in my kitchen. Kielbasa, Pepper, Onion, and Potato Hash is one of our favorites.

I currently have a love obsession with Butter Chicken . It was my first gluten free meal that I ate in a restaurant, and I want it all of the time. I will probably make this Dairy-Free Butter Chicken recipe when I do my next Whole30. I've learned that I can be a tad more generous with the spices (especially the Cayenne Pepper) and it is completely up to me how spicy or cinnamon-y I would like it to taste.

 Since it is so nice out, we are all about using our grill. We sometimes will have a "chicken seasoning" party in our kitchen and each choose different spices and seasonings we want to use to make our own chicken. We have some really awesome spices from TongueSpank (thanks Maria!) that we frequently use, but sometimes I will just use lemon pepper seasoning and put my chicken over some spinach.

Alex and I are also on a hardcore brat/sausage phase. I've noticed that because I can no longer eat buns, I have to eat a lot more food to feel full. These Oven Baked Potato Wedges are the perfect side dish to help fill me up. They are so good and heat up really well the next day.

There are plenty of gluten free brats/sausages, but I was super excited to find the Aidells brand. Pineapple juice is listed as one of the ingredients in a few of their meats, and because pineapple and I don't get along, I kept looking until I landed on these two flavors: Cajun style and Italian style. So.Freaking.Good.I.Want.One.Right.Now.

I'd like to conclude with one last message. I would not be writing this post if it weren't true: