PEACE OUT TUMBLR.

Well friends, the time has come for ssheart and tumblr to break up. Sad I know…but it’s actually not. I moved my blog to a brand spanking new site and I’m celebrating by having my first giveaway! So go ahead and check it out… www.ssheart.com

I’ll be closing this guy down soon…sorry tumblr friends!

If you follow this blog on bloglovin be sure to follow my new one here!

Exciting time are ahead, thanks for coming along for the ride :)

-s.s.♥.

8 months ago link

YOU’VE BEEN GOOD TO US 2013

Oh, hey there 2013, you’ve been good to us.

I still am marvelling over the fact that it is new. years. eve…. weren’t we just here last week?

2013 brought me many beautiful adventures. I can’t help but smile when I look back and reflect on what I was able to experience. The year wasn’t always smiles, there were hard, ugly times but again I will hold to the truth that God is faithful.

Here are just a few of my favourite moments of 2013…

In April James and I went on a road trip to California. Our stops were Portland, Redding (Bethel), San Francisco, LA, COACHELLA, Salvation Mountain, San Diego, and Disneyland (of course)

The trip was absolutely incredible, my favourite moments from it had to have been front row at Beach House at Coachella (it was particularly special because Beach House was the first band that James and I ever bonded over), stopping in at Bethel for a church service, exploring Salvation Mountain (soooo magical), listening to “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis on our 16 hour drive day and Disneyland (of course!!)

In July James surprised me with a teensy, 7 week black fur ball. He was a born cat-hater but was converted into a cat-lover after a couple hours with that little black fur ball. At first we thought the kitten was a he so I named him Richard Parker but after some googling, we figured out he was indeed a girl!! I named her Coco and she has been such a little joy to me (aside from the random biting and scratching and litter box emptying..)image

In August James and I had the privilege of going to India with a group of awesome people from Adore. It was life changing. Getting there was a miracle. We had A LOT of money to raise and God provided every last penny. THANK YOU so much to all of you who gave and prayed and supported us!! I still can’t believe we went to INDIA. The trip was very challenging in a lot of ways but man, did I ever see God move. It was such an honour to serve at Living God Church. A few of my favourite moments were seeing 300 youth show up at a youth conference (and witnessing a ton of those surrendering their lives to Jesus!!), having the honour of speaking to teen girls, meeting the incredible interns who taught me what true service means and seeing James do what he does so well- leading worship and training up worship leaders. It was such a blessing to be able to serve alongside James. I’ll never forget you Chennai. (You can read more about our trip on our joint blog)

Another one of my highlights was seeing James pursue his dreams and launch LIIRA.  He poured out his heart and soul and worked his butt off! I know I’m biased but check out my man’s website and buy the single on itunes!! Can’t wait to see what God has in store for LIIRA in 2014. Proud of you babe. xo

A few other highlights included seeing my sister marry the man of her dreams in June, seeing my sister-in-law marry hers in September, Illumiante (obviously!!!) and seeing God move in mighty ways at our church!!

May you have the best NYE and embrace 2014 with anticipation. Praying for your best year yet :)

Peace out 2013, you’ve been a trip.

Stay gold,

s.s.♥.

8 months ago link #diary

WALK IT OUT // REFLECTIONS ON MY ONE WORD 2013

Tomorrow at the stroke of midnight we’ll be entering into a new year…2014 is coming!!!

As I look towards the new year, new resolutions always try to creep into my mind..lose weight, spend more time with God, don’t eat sugar, write a book, run 5x per week… I start out with good intentions but when the months go by without having resolutions met, I become some crippled, shame-filled monster afraid to even try at any resolutions. Please tell me, I’m not alone here.

A couple years ago, I heard about picking ONE WORD to define your year. That sat well with me. (She Loves Magazine blogged about it hereThe thing I like about this ONE WORD thing is, it’s not complicated. Have a word that you want to define your year? Go with it. Can’t think of a word? Pray for one. But when you get one, own it and work it gurrrl. Write it out and put it on your fridge. Blog about it. Tell your grandma, tell your boyfriend, tell your cat (uhhh maybe not, i don’t think cats are very good accountability partners..sorry coco.) Last year some friends and I gathered for a ONE WORD dinner. We ate some delicious food and spoke about our ONE WORD.

In 2012, God gave me the word BOLD. He called me to rise up like a lioness and be BOLD. (You can read more about my BOLD year here

And then 2013 came along where my ONE WORD was WALK. I have to be honest with you, when I first heard the word in the depths of my heart, I felt a little ripped off. My word the previous year was BOLD, (come on!) Give me SOAR or RUN or FLY or GLORY or even JOG but nope…WALK. (You can read about my mini argument with God here)

But oh, my Lord knew exactly what I needed for 2013. Here are a few treasures that I discovered this year.

1. WALK it out. Get off your butt and start walking.  James and I live less than a 20 minute walk from the church. In our first 9 months of being married and living where we lived, I didn’t walk to work once. INSANE hey? For some reason, in the spring I started making walking to work a priority and you know what? I actually enjoyed walking. I actually really, really, really enjoyed it. You might say, I fell in love with walking. Walking to work soon became not enough for me and soon enough, I found myself walking on my lunch break as well. On these walks I would find myself talking to God in a different way than I have experienced. We would walk and talk in a non-rushed manner. Sometimes there would be a lot of conversing and sometimes there would be a lot of silent smiles. Sometimes we’d walk quickly and sometimes we’d walk slowly, stopping to take a picture of freshly fallen leaves. These walks would clear my mind and often God would drop tidbits into my mind that I wouldn’t have been able to hear if it was filled with its usual busy-ness. If I was having a stressful day, I would go for a venting power walk. These walks would usually begin with me yelling at the devil then move to claiming Jesus’ victory and freedom over mine and my family’s life/whatever situation was stressing me out. Walking even caused me to become healthier and was a major companion in helping me lose 10lbs (running & healthier eating helped as well). I’m so thankful that God introduced me to walking this year. It’s been a great relationship and I feel it’s going to last a long time :)

2. Keep WALKING. Don’t stop. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. I learned that walking through life takes P-E-R-S-E-V-E-R-A-N-C-E. Sometimes prayers remain unanswered. Sometimes (a lot of the time) life isn’t how you planned. This is a hard thing for type-A, control freak me. But I have learned this year that God is faithful and when you’re up to your thighs in the messiness and brokenness of life your only option is to keep walking. Keep going. Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep persevering.

3. WALK intentionally. So I’ve been doing some distance education through Summit Bible College and my most recent course had me complete a word study….you’ll never guess what word I had to study in greek and write a paper on…yep, you got it, WALK!! (amazing, hey?) So as I studied WALK as it appears in Ephesians 4:1, I discovered that how you walk determines how you live.

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to WALK in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” - Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV

Wow, just wow. I was challenged in that moment, and I am still being challenged. Humility, gentleness, patience and love. Christ has called me to live with these virtues, every single day as I walk through life. He’s still teaching me and always will be teaching me and I’m ever so thankful for His unending patience. 

2013, you’ve been a good one. Thank you Jesus for continually walking with me. Tomorrow I’ll be back with highlights of the year.

Thanks for reading :)

-s.s.♥.

8 months ago link 1 note #diary #devotions

RING IT IN

hope you all had an amazing Christmas! mine was very low key with ALOT of family time and eating…delightful.

we had our first 11pm Christmas eve service and it was so beautiful. as you know, my preferred bed time is 10pm BUT some things are worth staying up for….like singing silent night at 11:59pm…breath taking.

can’t believe it’s almost 2014! today i’m bringing you some inspiration to wear while ringing in the new year…

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

happy shopping :)

xo,

s.s.♥.

8 months ago link #catwalk #nye

NUTELLA STUFFED BROWN BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

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i made you another cookie…

nutella stuffed brown butter chocolate chip cookies with sea salt. oh yes. this is the mother of all cookies. don’t even get me started on this cookie. 

i made these for a christmas baking exchange that i hosted with a few friends. 8 of us girls gathered and we each made 7 half dozens of a certain cookie to trade. usually you make a dozen but i couldn’t handle having 7 dozen cookies around! 

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i wrapped mine using kraft paper (target), string and some evergreen from our Christmas tree.

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cute packaging? obviously from rachel.

it was a great night, laughing and chatting and eating and exchanging cookies. i highly recommend having a cookie exchange!

and without further ado, here is the recipe for the mother of all cookies…

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nutella stuffed brown butter chocolate chip cookies 

makes two dozen cookies

ingredients needed-

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 cup unsalted butter

1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

1/2 jar of Nutella, chilled in refrigerator

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

directions:

1. whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

2. brown the butter by melting it in a saucepan over medium heat. start whisking the melted butter. keep whisking and the butter will begin to foam. keep whisking. after a long time the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. allow it to cool for a little while.

3. mix the butter and sugars in an electric mixer until thoroughly blended. beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. then add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. fold in all of the chocolate chips.

4. now chill your dough for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator,

5. preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. after the dough is chilled, measure about 1 1/2 tablespoons of it and roll into a ball. flatten the dough ball very thinly into the palm of your hand. place 1 teaspoon of chilled nutella in the middle and fold dough around it; gently roll into a ball. place dough balls on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart and flatten with your hand gently. 

6. bake the cookies 9-11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. cool the cookies on the sheets for 2 minutes. sprinkle with a little sea salt. transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

7. enjoy!

recipe slightly adapted from ambitious kitchen

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have fun devouring these!

-s.s.♥.

8 months ago link #recipes

SOME THOUGHTS ON CHRISTMAS

Christmas tends to bring a mixed bag of feelings to people. for some, Christmas is filled with high levels of anticipation and excitement as one looks forward to family dinners, church services, baking, decorations, lights, etc… for others Christmas time tends to be filled with anxiety, stress, and depression. the days are shorter. the weather is colder. the family is non-existent… 

i tend to relate more to the former. i get excited to bake and decorate and buy gifts for people. i get caught up in watching Christmas specials and eat way too many sweets. but i also have some not so fond Christmas memories…fights with siblings. that family member continually commenting on my second helping of dinner. the first Christmas after my parents separated…

if i’m not careful, i can either find myself being consumed with commercialistic Christmas or caught up in dark moments of Christmas past…

neither of these perspectives are healthy. i’m thankful for God’s truth that brings us into a clear perspective. i stumbled upon this beautiful verse a few summers ago. it sheds some serious light on the true meaning of Christmas.

it’s a prophetic word proclaimed by John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah. John the Baptist had just been born (which was a miracle in itself because his parents were old and had been trying for a looong time!) and Zechariah starts praising God and prophesying (by the way, he hadn’t been able to speak, so him speaking was a miracle as well… just go and read Luke 1!!) i can just picture Zechariah holding and smiling down at his long awaited son…

"And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.

 Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”

                              -Luke 1:78-79 

Jesus coming to earth is what Christmas is about. He came to give LIGHT to those who sit in darkness and guide us all to the path of PEACE. now that is what Christmas is about. hope and peace and JESUS. isn’t it wonderful that Jesus came for both those who are caught up in Christmas craziness and those who want to push it all away? He came to bring you peace. He came to bring light to your dark situation. 

my prayer is that for a few moments this Christmas season, you would push aside the eggnog lattes, the gifts, the baking, the dwelling on Christmases past, the negativity, the loneliness and grab your Bible and sit. read Luke 1 and let verses 78-79 sink into your soul. allow God’s truth to wash over you. let His light come into the darkest parts of your mind. let His peace fill every single part of you. and then read luke 2 and be in awe of God’s great gift for you.

xoxo,

s.s.♥.

8 months ago link 1 note #devotions #christmas

GINGERBREAD COOKIES W/ CREAM CHEESE ICING

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it’s only december 11th and i have a christmas cookie hangover. like that perma full, i better have tea instead of coffee because i can’t even handle cream kinda cookie hangover. last night i was up until midnight making brown butter chocolate chip, nutella stuffed cookies (I KNOW) for a baking exchange at my house tonight. we’re only exchanging half dozens because me and 7 dozens of cookies could get a little cray…

on saturday two of my lovely sisters came over for a baking session. the recipe claimed it would only make 16 cookies per batch. we decided to triple it and but we ended up with 90 cookies instead of the 48 cookies promised. thankfully we all have husbands with major sweet tooths. 

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funny story about this recipe…because we tripled the recipe, there was no way the whole thing could fit into my kitchen aid. we halved the molasses mixture and then added half the flour…or so we thought… we ended up with two different cookies. the first batch had the extra molasses, so very flat and molassesey and chewy and extremely delicious.

i was a bit weary of the second batch, but upon tasting i realized it was an ok mistake. the second batch was just as delicious, a little less soft but spicier tasting more like a fall cookie than a gingerbread. 

two cookies for the price of one…boooyah. 

both were smothered in white chocolate cream cheese icing which fyi, will cover a multitude of baking mistakes…

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gingerbread cookies with cream cheese icing

makes two dozen cookies

ingredients needed:

cookies:

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1⁄4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
3⁄4 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup cookie molasses

icing:

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp unsalted butter, (room temperature)
3 oz white chocolate, chopped and melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups icing sugar

directions:

1. preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.

3. in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth. add in the egg and vanilla extract. mix until well combined. add in the molasses and mix until combined.

4. with the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture. mix until flour disappears.

5. form the dough into tablespoon sized balls. place the cookie dough balls on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

6. bake for 10-12 minutes. allow cookies to cool for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

7. melt the white chocolate in the microwave or a double broiler. if using a microwave, add a splash of milk and only melt for 30 seconds at a time, pausing to stir in between.

8. in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth. next add the melted white chocolate and vanilla extract. beat until it’s smooth. reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar until smooth.

9. frost the cookies with frosting and then devour!

slightly adapted from two peas and their pod

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and if you have a cat who loves cookies, do try to keep her away from devouring them!!!

happy wednesday :)

s.s.♥.

8 months ago link 2 notes #recipes #christmas #cookies

O CHRISTMAS TREE

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on friday morning we ventured out to get our Christmas tree. i’d like to say we went to a farm and cut it down ourselves but really we just went to country grocer. now isn’t she a beaut? last year we lucked out with this one but i think this year’s is a winner as well.

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we started a tradition where every year we’ll pick up a new ornament. we found this gorgeous porcelain crane in my favourite store in vic, emporia boutique. cranes are our thing and the second we saw it, we knew it was meant to be.

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gotta love that morning sunshine (even though it’s sooo stinking cold!!!)

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and here she be again. i know this is almost exactly the same as the first picture but this one has our tree skirt in it. coco likes to sprint towards the tree and slide on the skirt, twisting it around…she also like to climb up on the couch and swat at ornaments…i’m kinda terrified that one day we’ll come home and the tree will be on the ground…though she hasn’t climbed up it yet, so fingers crossed she won’t start.

is your tree up yet? does your home do real or fake?

ok bed time for me!

over n out,

s.s.♥.

8 months ago link #diary