Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tough Times

My family's going through some tough things right now. I don't know how people get through the difficulties of life without a Savior they can depend on. There would be no hope.

Baby S, I'll meet you in heaven some day soon. I can't wait.
                                         Love, Aunt Natalie

Monday, October 29, 2012

Customer Photos

I love seeing my designs on other people and lately have been receiving a lot of photos from proud NS Pottery owners. If you own some NS Pottery, send me a photo of yourself and/or your home "wearing" the item, and I would love to include you in my facebook fan page or even here on my blog. If you have included some jewelry or pottery in a blog post, I'd love to help promote your post also by including a link with the photo!

Megan / Missy
Phoebe's home

Thanks so much to all these wonderful ladies for sharing the love!
Want to join in on the fun? Snap a photo of yourself or your home and send it my way through email (nspotteryATgmail) or send me a link to a blog post where NS Pottery has been included. You don't have to have a blog to participate!

Have a wonderful Monday!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Under Pressure


Ever since the Martha Stewart American Made competition (which I didn't win, by the way) and the Influence Conference, my inbox has exploded. I've been given opportunities that I used to dream about. I want to do "all the things." But now, I'm feeling the pressure. I don't know how to handle it all. 

Yesterday, I was a total ball of stress and even found myself in the midst of a melt down.
It's scary taking risks. 
It's scary saying "yes" to things that I don't know I'm capable of, all the while trying to be reasonable with what I can actually handle. 
Prayers, please.

Last night I was reminded that having joy has nothing to do with our circumstances and everything to do with our attitude toward life. I can let the future and my unending to-do list for the remainder of this year sweep me up in a flood of overwhelment and "I can't do this," or choose to take one day at a time and give it to the One who holds my entire life in His hands. What am I really living for anyway?

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. (Acts 20:24)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Christmas Ornaments


I'm the kind of person that doesn't like to think too much about the next season because I want to fully enjoy the one I'm in now, but it's true- Christmas ornaments are in the shop! It's hard to believe, but Christmas is just over 8 weeks away.


Available in snowflake, gingerbread man, and folk art star, they come in sets of two or four, perfect for gifting to teachers, neighbors, and friends. Discounts are available for orders of twelve or more in case you want to deck your whole tree in them like we do.


Check them out here!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bleeding Out


My thoughts today are courtesy of Jessi Connolly and the Influence Conference. (And if you think I'm going to stop talking about Influence any time soon, you are wrong. I have been deeply impacted by this community.) I was familiar with Jessi and had occasionally read her blog for some time before I met her at Influence, but let me tell you, she is 100% genuine, straight-up amazing in real life. But the thing is, her amazing-ness does not come from herself. Yeah, she's all kinds of adorable, but I see Jesus in her through and through, and that is what makes her so amazing. I experienced His love through her and for that, I am forever grateful. She's the real deal.

Jessi shared her life story with us (which will be available for purchase online for those of you who weren't at Influence- sign up here to be in the know). It was a story of hopelessness and despair turned into beauty and grace. She encouraged us to "minister out of vulnerability." Our mess can be used by God for His glory. We are fragile, imperfect human beings, but our purpose and greatness comes from our merciful Savior and what He wants to do in our lives through our mess.

So often, we try to do it all ourselves (because we are part of the DIY generation, after all), which would explain why so many people live burned-out lives, not able to put anything more on their plate. Where is the joy in that? 

"When we minister out of ourselves, we will bleed out."

We can't minister out of ourselves- we aren't good enough. "We want to be the sacrifice, but He's the One who did the work."

God has taught me a lot about the blood in the past several years. It is only by His blood that I am redeemed. His blood is life-giving, salvation, and the only way we can stand before God unblemished. Have you accepted the gift of His blood, of His forgiveness?

Let's stop doing it all ourselves, and let Him do it through us. Let's agree together to be sold-out for Him, to approach each day asking Him, "What is Your list for me? What do You want me to do?" We can't do anything for Him without first letting Him fill us up.

The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! 
(Hebrews 9:13-14)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Baked Squash & Apples


Nothing beats the flavor of butternut squash and sweet apples covered with a crunchy/gooey pecan topping. I'm a big fan of foods that double as household decorations before they are consumed. Stock up on butternut squash now while they are available and they will stay good for several months. Once you try this recipe, they may not last that long though.



SQUASH & APPLES (serves 4)
-1 butternut squash
-2 baking apples
-3 TB. coconut oil or butter, melted
-1/3 cup unrefined sugar (such as this) or brown sugar
-1 TB arrowroot powder or cornstarch
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Peel and slice butternut squash into 1/2 inch thick slices. (This takes a good knife and a little muscle, but I promise- it's worth it.) Arrange in a 9" x 13" pan. Cut apples into 1/2 thick slices and place on top of squash. Combine remaining ingredients and spoon over squash and apples. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes.



YUM! Enjoy :)

Recipe adapted from Simply in Season


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Influence Outfit: Gray + Orange

(cardigan, ruffle tank- Old Navy // orange jeans- J. Crew Factory // flats- Gap // necklace, rings- NS Pottery)

Since I actually have photos of myself wearing more then sweat pants, I thought I'd do a fun little outfit post. I don't normally wear "nice" clothes when I'm at work in the studio because they wouldn't stay nice for very long :) The gorgeous lady in the second photo is my new friend, Danielle. Danielle and I met at the Influence Conference last weekend, and it was definitely a God-thing that we became friends to quickly! She's in the process of starting a blog (with a vision she's had for 5 years, so you know it's going to be good). I can't wait to be part of it and share more with you when she gets it going!

My mind and heart are still processing everything I heard and experienced at Influence last weekend. I definitely feel like I left with much needed business wisdom and spiritual encouragement, so watch out!

Linking up with the Pleated Poppy

Monday, October 15, 2012

Influence Conference Recap


I'm home from the Influence Conference, and let me tell you, it was everything and more that I hoped it would be. I am beyond blessed to be able to call this group of women "friends." I have never been in the midst of so many genuine, passionate, God-adoring women, and I'm hoping that their wisdom and passion has rubbed off on me at least a little.


Casey (& baby Apple!)

Last night as I laid in my bed, I thought about the most prominent messages I heard and how the Lord has answered (and continues to answer) so many prayers in my life. I was terrified of being with 200 women that I didn't know in "real life," and the Lord sweetly told me multiple times that this IS real life. The people I meet and relationships I develop over the internet are REAL, valuable, and important. 

handmade business ladies before dinner

my roommates Ashlee, Alissa, & Carrie 

"all the single ladies" dinner

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to share lessons, bits of wisdom, and new friends that I made during the course of the last four days. I hope if you were not at Influence, that you will be blessed and encouraged to live the unique life God has for YOU. And remember, there's always next year.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Creating Community: A Link-up

Today, I'm on my way to the Influence Conference & should arrive at the hotel around 11:00 am. It almost seems surreal to be meeting people that I've only ever seen through a computer screen, yet feel like I've known half my life. Since we will be making this blog community a real-life, tangible community this weekend, I'm co-hosting a blog link-up with my roommates (Carrie, Alissa, and Ashlee) for the conference. Go check out their blogs and link up with us so we can get to know you! Carrie tells us more about the link-up below.

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

This month I'm writing about 31 days of dream chasing. I could tell you time and time again that I seriously couldn't be doing all this dream chasing without community. The community I have found both online and offline in the city I live have been so invaluable to me. The kind-hearted people I've encountered have pushed me to dream bigger, work harder, and chase more than I ever thought imaginable!


Community is something that is so vital within the blogging world. It allows us to share pieces of our hearts, tell our stories, as well as encourage one another along the way. The point of this link-up is to bring us together, to build more community, and to walk through life together. Feel free to link up your home page, your about page, or a post where you are sharing your heart.


Here are a few rules:

1. Follow the host
2. Follow the co-hosts
3. Connect with other blogs; leave a comment, follow along, or send an email! 
The point of this is to make some new friends!!

**If you would like to co-host this link-up send an email to chasingbigdreams@gmail.com!**

Monday, October 8, 2012

Influence Conference + Fear


This week I'll be packing my bags for the Influence Conference! I am so excited for this opportunity to be with a group of like-minding blogging women, but a few nights ago I woke up at 2:00 am and COULD NOT GO BACK TO SLEEP. I was scared. My mind was reeling and my stomach was in knots.

I thought, What am I doing? Why would I want to be with 200+ women that I have never actually met, 5 hours away from home for 3 whole days?

Thankfully, my little episode has passed, but I know walking in to that hotel, the butterflies will be with me. But so will my God. He's worked everything out for me to be able to do this, and I know it will be an incredible opportunity for not only my business, but my personal life as well.

"In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free. The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me." Psalm 118:5-7a 

AMEN.

Have you ever been to a blog conference? Leave me some tips below!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chicken & Vegetable Stir-Fry


Here is a great basic stir-fry recipe. Stir-fries are great for incorporating lots of veggies in your diet and are relatively quick to prepare once all your ingredients are chopped. I like to include onions, broccoli, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, and carrots, but you can add whatever you and your family like. Fresh pineapple also works wonderful and adds a bit of sweetness to the dish.

Since not all vegetables get tender in the same amount of time, add harder vegetables first and finish with more softer varieties. Onions, broccoli, and carrots need several minutes of cooking time before softer varieties like bell peppers, sugar snap peas, and pineapple are added.


CHICKEN & VEGETABLE STIR-FRY (serves 4-6)
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
- 5-6 cups cut-up vegetables 
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2 TB. olive oil
- 3 TB. arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 TB. soy sauce

In large skillet or wok, stir-fry chicken strips in olive oil over medium heat, 10 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove from skillet. Add more oil as needed and stir-fry vegetables until tender-crisp, 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and mix. In a separate bowl, mix arrowroot, chicken broth, and soy sauce and add to skillet along with the chicken, stirring several minutes or until mixture thickens. Serve over brown rice.


Serve with chopsticks if you can eat that way. I prefer to use the fork method. Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall Cleanup


I started doing some fall cleanup in the garden last week. My dad built some raised bed boxes for my perennial border, so I pulled up all the old plants that weren't doing so hot. I'm excited to start fresh next spring! Any favorite perennials I should include? Buster is obsessed with all the walnuts that are falling from our black walnut tree. He thinks it's a tree that drops balls to him everyday. Christmas in October!

Hope you're enjoying fall!

Monday, October 1, 2012

TV News Clip

I finally have the news clip that aired on WKYC in Cleveland two weeks ago for those of you who didn't get to watch it! Big thanks to news reporter Sara Shookman for visiting my studio & filming me at work! Bigger thanks to my heavenly Father for making all of this possible! Enjoy my television debut :)


NS Pottery News Clip from Natalie @ NS Pottery on Vimeo.