Current Faves: God Bless America Edition

Happy Belated Independence Day!

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays, right after Christmas of course. All of the patriotic outfits and decorations, the food and fireworks, hanging out with friends and family... it's all so summery and festive.
 I'll be honest with you though.. I had a harder time getting excited about celebrating our nation's birthday this year. I think mostly because for the past couple of years it's all just been bad news on top of bad news followed by more bad news, and there's only so much of that you can hear (or purposefully tune out) without getting discouraged. I love my country and I've always been proud of it as a whole, for it's incredible history and so many of the amazing freedoms that it stands for... but this year I've struggled to feel that pride. Everything is a mess. And yes, I know there hasn't ever been a perfect moment in our history, but there seems to be more disunity and unrest than in years past, and it's been harder and harder to stay optimistic.

But as bummed out as I can get watching my country that I love not do well, God is faithful to remind me that I'm a Christian way before I'm an American. 
And Jesus is not American, nor are we His favored nation.
Worst case scenario, this country totally loses it's marbles and falls apart (which I still think we're pretty far away from) - God will still be on His throne. And He definitely doesn't need the USA or any other man-made institution to bring about His glory and rescue His people unless He wills it.

Having said that, when we went to our town's parade that morning and we watched multiple floats filled with veterans waving at us pass by and behind them people carrying huge banners welcoming home the recently released prisoners of war, so many emotions of honor and pride swelled up within me. It really did help me remember that if there's any reason to not give up hope, it's for all of the men and women who sacrifice everything for us to live in the Land of the Free. (Cue the ugly crying.)

And in spite of all of my deep inner turmoil over a silly holiday, we ended up having a fantastic day. Even though the morning was rainy, our kids loved the parade (mainly the part about candy being thrown at them) and we all had a great time with friends that night.

It should also be noted that only one child was burnt by a sparkler, which is statistically much better than we've done some other years.

(The child, of course, was Boaz.)

And now here are a few of the things I've been enjoying this summer, that I think you would too:

Technically it's a 'mini casserole dish', not a butter crock.
But you guys... I hate butter dishes. I do.
They're completely impractical, because butter never actually stays in a nice, rectangular shape, so they're always a total mess which WASTES BUTTER and that's just flat out unacceptable. I've been a butter dish anarchist for a while now, but none of the other dishes or containers I've used instead were as adorable as this one. I'm feeling very pleased.

This mini casserole dish is part of PW's summer line and it comes in teal and navy blue, both with floral lids. I've only been able to find them at certain Walmarts, so grab one up quick if you spot them.

BUT if you can't find one of hers, I have seen little mini dutch ovens in the Target Dollar Spot this summer, which would be a charming alternative.

2.) I Do Again 

A couple weeks ago I picked up I Do Again and was instantly hooked. In it Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs share their amazing testimony of how God reconciled their marriage after an affair was had and they had been divorced for 7 years. Their story is INCREDIBLE, you guys. It is an absolutely amazing testimony of the way God redeems our mistakes (even huge ones), heals our hearts, and satisfies our longing for intimacy.  It was such a blessing to be able to listen to their story and see when and where those seeds of discontentment were planted early on, so that we have the opportunity to protect our own marriages before it causes that level of damage. And I was so encouraged by their honesty and vulnerability about what a struggle it can be to trust God through loneliness and the process of healing.
 The Scruggs' have a marriage ministry now, where they use their testimony and insight to counsel other couples, which just yet again shows how Jesus can take a dumpster fire of a situation and use it to actually save other marriages. Ugh. I can't get over it.

Get it on Amazon HERE and don't forget to grab the tissues.

My love and devotion to these tortillas goes back many years, but I make it my life's work to get as many converts to them as I can.
Unlike most tortillas in grocery stores, these are uncooked, but once you make them at home you have delicious, authentic-tasting tortillas that you could honestly just eat plain, they're so good.  All you do to cook them is throw one on a heated nonstick pan, flip it over, and it's done in less then a minute. Yes, it's more effort than just buying packaged cooked ones, but once you try it, you'll never want to go back.
You can find them at Costco, Walmart, and most local grocery stores. They'll be in the refrigerated section (near the cheese), and I highly recommend using them for breakfast burritos or a Chipotle-style spread with carnitas, cilantro lime rice, and pico de gallo (like I did the other night.)

" SCRUMTRULESCENT, I can barely move."

4.) My newest garage sale score

Garage Sale season has been in full swing, my friends, and what a glorious season it is! Going garage sale hopping on the weekends in summertime and finding treasures amongst other people's trash is truly one of life's greatest joys, in my opinion.

And speaking of treasure, I found these amazingly hideous chairs at a sale for ONE DOLLAR EACH and I made sure to nab them up before I had to elbow any old ladies out of the way to get them.
(I'm kidding. I do become a shrewd haggler at garage sales, but physical confrontation hasn't ever been necessary... yet.)

I brought them home, spruced them up, and voila! New dining room chairs.

It truly is amazing what one can accomplish with a can of spray paint
and a coupon from Hobby Lobby.

(I think I'll have that put on my tombstone.)

It took me a little bit to decide on which fabric to go with for the chairs, but I ended up with this one because I liked the vintage script and postage stamps, plus I thought the colorful birds added some whimsy.

I find it so cathartic to turn old, gross things into something pretty, and give them a fresh start in life.

Of course, their fresh start does happen to be in a household with three young children who always have either dirt or paint or jelly on them... so I can't exactly guarantee their new life will necessarily be better.. but hey, we'll enjoy them for the whole 2 weeks they last.

Once I got these, I decided to repaint my other dining room chairs and the bench, so that they could all match and be friends. They used to be a barn red, but had had enough years of use that they needed a makeover too. The darker furniture definitely has been something to visually get used to, but we're happy with it. 
(Also, please don't be fooled by this dining room that I managed to sort of keep clean for 10 minutes while my kids were outside. What you can't see are the soggy rice krispies on the table or the bright pink playdough stuck to the rug. Let's keep it real, shall we?)

Hideous old chairs like these are EVERYWHERE. Even if you don't have a ton of garage sales in your area, thrift stores and consignment shops or even craigslist are lousy with outdated but sturdy chairs that are super cheap and just need some TLC. 
Find them. Paint them. Love them.

Well thanks for hanging in there with me while I'm kind all over the map right now.. politics and butter dishes just get my blood pressure all sorts of worked up.

I hope had a happy 4th and are living your best summer life.


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