Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday Reflections: Confident in Him

Happy Memorial Day Monday, friends!

First off, I just want to say that blogger has been acting so strange lately and not allowing me to comment on other blogger blogs. :( Has anyone else had this problem? I don't know what to do. I type up my comment, click to post it, and then am sent over to my blogger account to sign in... over, and over, and over. :( Please help!

Ok, on to Sunday Reflections. I don't know if you read my Friday post, but I definitely heard some truths yesterday in church that went along with what I talked about Friday (love when God does things like that!), like this song...

Why should I fear man
When you made the heavens
Why should I be afraid
When you put the stars in place

Why should I lose heart
When I know how great you are
Why should I give up
When Your plans are full of love

In this world we will have trouble
But You have overcome the world

You shine, brighter than the brightest star
Your love, purer than the purest heart
You shine, filling us with courage and strength
To follow You

When we have Christ in our lives, we don't have to be afraid of ANYTHING, because He has overcome the world. He will give us the strength to do what He asks of us.



Let's be confident of God's strength today!


love,
Natalie

P.S. There is a super amazing giveaway going on over at The Wiegand's blog! Enter for chance to win a $15 NS Pottery shop credit among lots of other goodies!

Friday, May 27, 2011

What I Struggle With

Happy Friday, friends!

My internet has been down a lot lately. The past two days it hasn't come on until afternoon, which is very frustrating, but such is life.

I'm going to be vulnerable today. I've been thinking about how much I love when bloggers or real-life people (not that bloggers are not real) ;) share about their struggles. It makes them easy to relate to, more human. You see that no one is perfect. Everyone struggles. Life is just plain hard. We are all imperfect, frail human beings in need of a gracious Savior.

My biggest struggle is

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Fear can be so paralyzing. It can prevent you from being and doing what God calls you to.

I don't like to take risks and get out of my comfort zone. Sure, no one does, but I'm pretty sure my comfort zone is very small, maybe abnormally small. I'm not a bold, outgoing person. I'm way happier at home, in my little cocoon of a studio, working on pottery than out and about in the world, seeing and being seen, but I'm working on it.

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  -2 Timothy 1:7

Fear does not come from God. Satan knows our weak areas and will do anything in his power to destroy us and keep us from fulfilling God's plan for our lives. When I think about how I am a child of the King of the universe, who holds my very life in His hands, obviously I have nothing to be afraid of. I just need to be reminded of that. A lot. The best way I have found to combat Satan's lies and attacks is with the powerful weapon of God's Word.

Here are some of my favorite verses...

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."  -Psalm 46:1-3

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." 
-Isaiah 41:10

"The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you."  -Psalm 9:9-10

Whatever you struggle with, I would encourage you to find Bible verses that relate to it, and memorize them. (Don't you feel like you're in elementary school again?) :) Seriously, memorizing God's Word is one of the most important things you can do. In times of weakness, you can "retrieve" those verses from your memory and allow God to speak truth and power into your life.

Have a fabulous weekend, friends! Bless and be blessed.

linking up with Casey for what's on my heart
love,
Natalie

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Weekend Snapshots

Happy Wednesday, friends!

We had g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s weather last weekend in Ohio, so I spent time outside enjoying the sunshine and sitting around the campfire. My crazy pup is happiest when "his pack" (aka- family) is in the backyard on a sunny day.


He cracks.me.up.

One another note, I was featured yesterday on The Wiegand's blog, written by the gorgeous and amazingly talented artist Casey! Eeeeeekk!!!! You can check it out here.

What fun things did you do last weekend?

love,
Natalie

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday Reflections: Lead Me

Happy Monday, friends! Did ya notice the new look? My blog received a little face-lift over the weekend, and I'm loving it! Thank you Megan and Canon Rebel! 

Ok, time for another Sunday Reflections, where I write about something faith-based that I heard/learned yesterday.

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I was all ready to write about God's holiness and how we are made holy, BUT this song hasn't left me...

I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames, I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling, but on the inside

Oh, I can hear her saying

Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone...

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh Father, show me the way
To lead them

Won't You lead me?

....................................

It is so important to me that if/when God gives me a husband, that he is a man who is the spiritual leader of our household and who depends on God to lead him.

Amen. 

love,
Natalie

Friday, May 20, 2011

Blessed

Happy Friday, friends!

Yesterday was my birthday (I am now a whopping 23 years old!) :) and looking back over the past year of my life, I can't help but realize that I am seriously blessed. Here's a look at some of the things that made yesterday extra special.

-maple-glazed wild Alaskan salmon, herb roasted potatoes, and savory kale




































-brownie pudding cake with roasted banana coconut milk-based ice cream



-my gift bag-loving dog




















-and a "vonderful goot game" of Dutch Blitz (which I won) :)

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This past year has seen the opening of my etsy shop, the start of this blog, and some amazing new friendships. I'm so overwhelmed by God's blessings in my life and can't wait to see what life will hold this coming year.

linking up with Casey for what's on my heart

love,
Natalie

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Have This Friend with CF

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Last Saturday, I participated in a Great Strides walk for Cystic Fibrosis in honor of my friend, Missy.

Missy's Team



















Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes the body to produce thick mucus that leads to lung infections and difficulty in absorbing nutrients from food. Missy has to take countless pills (seriously, too many for me to even remember) and do breathing treatments every day. Plus, she often doesn't feel well. Somehow, she always seems to have an upbeat spirit. I truly don't know how she does it. It's so easy for me to take my health for granted and to feel mopey when I have a silly cold or something. 



















There are walks that take place all over the U.S. and through walking to raise money, advances in treatment are being made right now, adding years to the lives of CFers.

First 3 photos courtesy of James Schrock



















Missy, I love you! You are truly beautiful inside and out. I'm honored to call you my friend.

























Don't take your health for granted, friends! Be thankful for it today and look for ways that you can help someone who may not be as fortunate as you.


love,
Natalie

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunday Reflections: It's Not About You

Happy Monday, friends!

Yesterday, we had communion in church, which only happens twice a year, so the focus was really on the body and blood of Christ and what that means for us as believers.

photo credit

























I think it's only been in the past couple years that I have really come to understand the importance and significance of Jesus shedding his blood for us.

"In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." -Hebrews 9:22

"...because the life of every creature is its blood." -Leviticus 17:14a

I have life and forgiveness because Jesus gave up his life, shedding his blood on the cross for me. There was no other way for us to be saved. It really takes a knowledge of the sacrifices that took place in the Old Testament for Jesus' death to make sense (something that I really didn't have until recently). When you understand how important animal sacrifices were back then, it makes perfect sense that Jesus became the once and for all sacrifice that we need for our sinful, human souls.

When I think of how Jesus endured so much pain, scorn, abuse, and rejection, so that I can be saved, how can I not want to live for him? I would be utterly lost without him.

"Then he said to them all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." -Luke 9:23

I wrestle with what it really means to "take up your cross," but I do know that it's something that I need to work at, everyday. Life isn't about me, sad but true. I know I don't always live like I believe that.

I'd appreciate any thoughts that you wise and mature ones would share with me...:) Comments on the blog are always appreciated, but can be left via facebook comment as well.

Deny youself today... because life isn't about you.

love,
Natalie

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spring Trees

Happy Friday, friends!

I love this time of year with the flowering trees in all their glory!
























"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge."    
-Psalm 19:1-2

Have a great weekend!

love,
Natalie

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quail Hollow Craft Show

Happy Wednesday, friends!

As promised, here are some more photos from last weekend's craft show at Quail Hollow State Park in Hartville, in case you missed it.























Pottery rings displayed in a bowl of white beans. I got the idea here from Lean Dog Pottery.



















The ever popular ikebana vase is always one of my best sellers. Gorgeous Spring Green tulips are courtesy of my aunt. (Thanks, Phoebe!) :)



Preparing and setting up for a show is always a lot of work (thank you Mom and Dad!), and I always feel like I need a day or so to recuperate, but it's (usually) very worth it. I'll admit, I'm not the type that really enjoys chatting with random people and trying to get them to buy my work. I try to be friendly, of course, but I guess I figure the work will sell itself, and I know that I personally don't like shops that hover over you, not allowing you to browse in peace.

Thanks to everyone who came out and made my weekend a success!

love,
Natalie

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday Reflections: An Ode to Mom

Happy Monday, friends!

Time for another Sunday Reflections! If you are a new reader (welcome!), you can learn about Sunday Reflections here, and read past posts here.

This post is going to be a little different than the usual Sunday Reflections, as I was at a craft fair all day (more photos to come later!)...




















And this lady was with me... all day... on her day, Mother's Day.










I honestly couldn't wish for a better mom. She has shown me what it means to be a woman of faith and prayer. I know she cares about me and loves me, even when we don't get along. I could never thank her enough for all of the love, prayers, and support that she has given me over the past 22 11/12 years of my life.

I love you, Mom!

love,
Natalie

Friday, May 6, 2011

One Wild Supper- Venison Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Happy Friday, friends!

I LOVE to cook and make most of the meals at home, so I thought it was time to share a recipe! My dad's been picking wild morel mushrooms at some top secret location. (I don't even know where it is!) I wanted to go with him one afternoon, and he conveniently "snuck off" while I was "busy". Humph.




















Anyways, I've been looking for ways to use them- I'm not a fan of the "floured and fried" method. Enter- Venison Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Sauce.




















I started with a recipe for Wild Mushroom Sauce from the Simply in Season cookbook. After I made that, I seasoned the venison tenderloin with salt and pepper to taste and seared it in extra virgin olive oil in a hot skillet for a just a couple minutes per side (it should be lightly browned on the outside, but pink inside- do not overcook). Then I just threw the tenderloin in a pan, covered with Wild Mushroom Sauce, baked for 15-20 minutes in a 350° oven, and wallah!

One happy father!
Buster loved it, too! :) He's not a "vocal beggar" when we eat, but he begs with his eyes.

I made a double batch of wild mushroom sauce for 1 lb. of tenderloin. You could probably use a double batch for 1-1 1/2 lbs. Rice makes a nice side dish because you can use it to sop up extra sauce. I used brown, but wild rice would make the meal even more "wild." :)

Wild Mushroom Sauce

1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 heaping cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh savory or thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

Saute onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until slightly brown. Add mushrooms and water, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add soy sauce, herbs, and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture and stir occasionally until thickened, 2 minutes. Add salt to taste.

recipe via Simply in Season

Enjoy!

love,
Natalie


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quail Hollow Art, Craft, and Herb Fair this weekend!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

I wanted to let you all know that I will be set up at the Quail Hollow State Park Art, Craft, and Herb Fair in Hartville, Ohio this Saturday and Sunday! Here are some photos from last year.




























There will be artisans located on all three floors of the historic Stewart manor house and outside on the lawn surrounding the house (I'll be outside!). You can also come to purchase your herbs and flowers for your garden. There will be over 150 varieties to choose from, but I suggest that you come early Saturday (it starts at 10:00) because from what I saw last year, the plants go quickly.










































There are hiking trails, gardens, and picnic areas at the park, so bring the family and stay the day! If you come, be sure to stop by my booth and say "hi." :)


love,
Natalie