Friday, September 30, 2011

Ramblings on Writing


To all the writers out there, how true does this quote feel sometimes? I really do love writing, it’s been a passion of mine since I was teenager. I’m so thankful to have it as an outlet. It’s such a fun and freeing experience when the words just seem to flow from the pen (or ahem, computer keys) with ease. But then there are those times when it feels like such a battle to get something that makes sense out of my jumbled brain and onto the blank page I’ve been staring at for over an hour, ya know? But when the work pays off and you’re reading over something you’re proud of; it feels so good having written. The creation process is both magical and maddening.

Tonight I was working on a blog and feeling so stuck… I made progress on it but have yet to finish it. Sometimes it feels like the hardest part for me is just getting myself to sit down and actually get started. I tend to procrastinate.

Tell me, am I the only one who does this? I sat down in front of my computer to write, stuck and just staring at a blank page, I thought I might as well check twitter for a minute… or 20 minutes to be exact. I clicked off and then realized I was kinda hungry. So I made me something to eat then sat down again ready to write. Minutes later, still staring at the blank page, I thought “I need some sort of inspiration”… so I go to Pinterest. Now, anyone who is a Pinterest addict like myself knows how big a mistake that is because once you get on Pinterest, you don’t get off lol, you’ll be there for hours. Finally I thought, okay I have to stop “pinning” and start writing. But my sweet tooth and need for sugar kicked in at that moment and over powered this resolve, and before I knew it, I was in the kitchen making Rice Krispie’s Treats lol. How sad is that? Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this! ;)


Somewhere in the middle of all this procrastination, I did get some writing done, and I’m happy with what I have so far… it just needs to be completed.

But I’m trying to remember to just start writing something even if I don’t quite know where to start. Because every time I stop waiting for inspiration strike and just begin; that’s when it usually starts flowing. It’s funny actually, a lot of times I’ll be staring at a blank page feeling like I have nothing to say. But when I just push through it and start writing I end up realizing not only do I have something to say, but sometimes I have too much to say. Writing can be such an odd irony, can’t it? Fun, freeing, but at times very frustrating.

"It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.” - The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Recipe: Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites ~

If you are a big peanut butter and chocolate fan (which let's face it, who in their right mind isn't? ;)) then you'll love my new snack obsession; Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites! So if you're in need of a snack of peanut buttery-chocolaty- ... pretzely? goodness (and you know you are) then pull up a chair!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites -


My sister and I found these delish Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites on one of our favorite blogs, Vanilla & Lace, and had to try them. They have become one of my favorite snacks as I have always been a big peanut butter and chocolate fan. They are a cinch to whip up and take hardly any time at all. No baking required here, just mixing, putting together, and chocolate dipping (and c'mon, how fun is that?).


The peanut butter mixture in the middle is really rich and creamy, while the pretzels give it a nice crunch, and the chocolate makes it taste like a peanut butter cup...only better. The recipe says to use chocolate chips to dip them in, and while I have done that, I prefer buying the dipping chocolate that turns into a hard shell, but either one will work fine.



1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp softened earth balance (or butter)
1/4 cup powdered sugar (use more if you like things especially sweet)
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP brown sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Combine peanut butter and earth balance in a large bowl with a fork or whisk, or in a stand mixer. Add the sugars and mix to combine. At this point if the filling will roll easily into balls without sticking to your hands you’re ready to go. Refrigerate to firm up, if needed.

Use a teaspoon measure to scoop the filling. Roll each portion into a small ball, then sandwich them between two whole pretzels. When all the balls are rolled and successfully sandwiched, stick the whole tray in the freezer for about half an hour.

Melt the chocolate chips. Remove the pretzel sandwiches from the freezer and quickly dip each half-way into the melted chocolate. Return to the tray and repeat with remaining sandwiches. When all are dipped, return the tray to the freezer to set up completely. Store the sandwiches in the refrigerator until serving time.

Monday, September 26, 2011

End of Summer Playlist!

I know it’s a little late for a summer playlist seeing as how we are officially a few days into fall, though sadly in Texas you wouldn’t know it (Tx missed that memo). ;) But I’m a notorious procrastinator… not proud of that fact, but it’s true, and I somehow never managed to post my summer playlist. I wasn’t going to do it after all but I thought these songs were too good not to share. These are the songs that walked with me through the scorching hot-drought ridden Texas summer and made my days a little brighter! Hope you guys had a fun summer and wishing you a lovely fall (my favorite) season! :)


Courage, my love, will make me bolder. Expecting softness can lead to foolishness. When I choose my color, be razzle dazzle rose.”  - Razzle Dazzle Rose by Camera Obscura (song lyric I constantly had in my head this summer)



Sunday, September 18, 2011

Heart Condition…

“When everything inside me looks like everything I hate, you are the hope I have for change, you are the only chance I’ll take.” – On Fire by Switchfoot

Change is a funny thing. Life changes can happen at the speed of lightening – bam – before you know it, nothing is as it used to be. And you’re left in the dust wondering to yourself what the heck just happened.

But then .. there’s another kind of change, the change of heart and attitudes that seem to take all their freakin’ sweet time. It’s like life’s own dirty rotten trick.

And that’s exactly the trick life is playing on me right now.

This season has seen some of the hardest life changes for me. It’s been a season of losing and letting go. Dreams seeming to die without much hope they’ll ever see the light of day again. Plans and things I was sure of have proven that you can’t really be sure of anything in this life but Christ. It’s just been difficult. And let me tell you, I will be the first one to stand up and admit that I’ve reacted to them all wrong. All wrong. Yes, these changes have proven time and time again to be nothing short of annoying, frustrating, and downright sad. BUT, reaction is everything. And I’ve failed terribly in reacting in a loving, Christ like manner. It’s so evident that I can no longer deny it; I need a change of heart and attitude.

But darn it, it’s a slow, maddening process.

You see, in the midst of all these frustrating changes I did something that I know better than to do, something I don’t fully understand why I did… I pulled away from God. It was subtle really, but sooner or later I wasn’t even praying or seeking him anymore. It wasn’t that I made any conscious decision to stay away from him really … I just started avoiding him. My heart missed him but I let myself get so distracted by the hurt that I just stopped talking to him. Because of this, my heart was becoming harder and harder by the second. I was just letting the hurt and pain swallow me up.

"Do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness," - Hebrews 3:8 (NIV)

I became depressed and just felt angry and hurt. And soon enough, as it often does, all that anger, sadness, and hurt that I was harboring in my heart came to a head. Suddenly, it became painfully evident that a change had to be made before things in my heart got worse.


That’s how sin is, it’s like a cancer, if it’s not dealt with as soon as possible, it spreads. Before you know it, every cell in your body is infected. You’ll begin to look at your behavior, all the outward manifestations of what’s going on inside, and you’ll wonder how you got there. Sin spreads fast, my friends.

Now, standing in the rumble that remains, all that’s left to do is surrender to God’s healing rain; letting it fall on my heart and finally begin a healing process. It’s going to take some time of digging out the stubborn weeds and replacing them with good soil so maybe in time, a beautiful harvest can spring up there. But surrender feels good. No, it feels freeing. I’ve been spending more time with the Lord lately, and my heart feels lighter and more refreshed than it has in months. My heart really did miss him.

It’s so easy in these hard seasons to ask God, “where are you?” But he never leaves or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). I’ve found in my life the times I’ve felt that way are the times where I’ve left. He was there all along. He was faithful.

I’ve also been listening to a sermon series by Landon Schott called, “Out Of Order”. This series is so what I need right now; what a God send! Landon preaches about sins and behaviors that have our hearts and lives out of order and in complete chaos. I want to write about it more later when I have finished the whole series, but it really hit me when he said how if we want God to move in our lives we need to bring order to it; the biggest way to do so, by putting him first.

This seems to be a common theme for me right now. Because I also heard a sermon by Damon Thompson on The Ramp tonight that I’ve heard before but, man, it’s fitting for where I am right now. In the sermon he says “glory follows order”, and if we want to see God’s glory in our lives we need to bring order to it; by putting God first and laying down our sins. A common and important theme for me right now.


I want God to move in my life; I want to see his glory in my life. And I’m ready to let him into the places that I’ve tried so hard to keep from him so he can heal what’s broken. To let him take the hurt, pain, and anger away and replace it with glory. I was tolerating it, making excuses, and justifying it, but I simply can’t do that anymore. I need him to work in my heart. I know this is going to take time and it isn’t going to be easy. In fact, believe it or not; as I’m writing this there is something that is tempting me to go back to that angry and annoyed place. But I need to and have to choose to surrender. Because I’m sick and tired of dealing or .. ahem.. not dealing with this heart condition. I’m fully aware Jesus is the only cure for it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Music Break - “My Father’s Father” by The Civil Wars

Thought I’d stop in today and share a song that has been on constant rotation in my headphones lately. It comes from this amazing duo… you may have heard of them by now (and if you haven’t you are in some serious musical deprivation, my friend) , The Civil Wars! The song, “My Father’s Father”, is so beautiful and totally calming to me. Not just the song itself but the way that Joy and John Paul sing it. I find that I have the goofiest grin on my face whenever I listen to this or any song by these two (it’s sad really lol). But this one in particular is a favorite for me right now.

And seriously, how completely and utterly magical is their chemistry and connection in this video?? It just makes the whole thing that much more enchanting… and it really makes me understand why people have such a hard time believing these two are not married. I always say there are two things almost everyone says, apart from how amazing their music is, when they are first introduced to The Civil Wars; one being that John Paul is a dead ringer for Johnny Depp (so true) and “wait a minute, they’re married just not to each other?”. Those tend to be the two general responses lol.

Okay, I suppose that’s enough gushing for now! Enjoy the lovely tune! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fall Album Releases & Tours

With summer coming to a close and fall looming just around the corner (can’t come soon enough) there are also a lot of new tunes and tours just around the corner as well. Some of your favorite artists are gearing up to release much anticipated albums and head out on some must see fall tours. This is a good season for some new and awesome music that you don’t want to miss. Read below for a list of albums and tours that I’m looking forward to!

Album Releases:

Vice Verses by Switchfoot


(September 27, 2011/Credential Recordings)

It’s hard to believe that San Diego rock band, Switchfoot (who happens to be my very favorite band) is gearing up to release their 8th studio album. The cd entitled, “Vice Verses”, is set to hit the market on the 27th of this month, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that this has been one of the most anticipated albums of 2011. The guys have actually been talking about this record since the release of their last record, Hello Hurricane, in ‘09. Lead singer, Jon Foreman, has stated that the theme of Vice Verses is the polarity of life, “Vice Verses is a record of tension and release. It’s an attempt to describe the polarity of the human experience. The sunlight and shadow. The highs and lows, laughter and pain, hope and fear, doubts and belief.”  The first single, Dark Horses, is already receiving radio play and rave reviews. September 27th can’t come fast enough for me!

To pre-order “Vice Verses”, click Here

Odd Soul by Mutemath


(October 4, 2011/ Teleprompt / Warner Bros)

Rock/experimental band, Mutemath is set to release their 3rd album, “Odd Soul”, next month. I’ve been a longtime fan of these guys and always get excited to see what they have up their sleeve as I know it will be something crazy and creative. I recently heard the title track, “Odd Soul”, and let me tell you, it rocks! Lead singer, Paul Meany has said that they took a different approach to writing this record, doing it all alone, “The idea of complete isolation was the only thing that appealed to us. No camera guys, no producers, no engineers, no record label people, no management… NO ONE would hear or comment on what we were doing until we were done. The three of us would share the new found guitar duties, lock down in my house in New Orleans and not come out until we had something we thought was great. No matter how long that took. Thankfully, it only took about 6 months.” Be sure to pick up “Odd Soul” on October 4th and check these guys out on tour!

To pre-order “Odd Soul”, click Here

Ghosts Upon The Earth by Gungor


(September 20th/Brash Records)

I just recently discovered the passionate and moving worship music of the band, Gungor. I had been hearing a lot of buzz about these guys but had never heard any of their music. After one listen, I was head over heels for their creative and almost whimsical worship songs. They are just about to release a new album entitled, “Ghosts Upon The Earth”, on the 20th of this month. I have yet to hear any songs from this new record but I’m really looking forward to diving into it. If you aren’t familiar with Gungor and want to know more about this album check out this video they made where they discuss all that and more.

To pre-order “Ghosts Upon The Earth”, click Here

Emergency by The Ember Days

ember days

(August 30, 2011/Come&Live!)

New Zealand rock/worship band, The Ember Days hold such a special place in my heart. I’ve followed their music since I saw them in concert in ‘08 and they just keep getting better with each album. Their new album entitled, “Emergency”, actually just released on August 30th. The band has stated that the title of this new record came from a dream that Jason Belcher (vocals/guitar) had one night, “The title, Emergency, came from a dream I had of a burning house. It was on fire and there was sufficient time to put the fire out, but everyone in the house was asleep. God has been showing me how I need to match my priorities with His and love others as He loves me…with an unconditional love.”  The Ember Days are known for passionate worship songs with a rock twist and ethereal yet epic instrumentals. And from what I’ve heard of “Emergency” so far, it’s no exception.

“Emergency” is available for free download through Come&Live! as well as for purchase on iTunes 

The Great Awakening by Leeland


(September 20, 2011/Essential Records)

Baytown, Tx worship band, Leeland is set to release their 4th studio album on the 20th of this month. The theme that runs through the album entitled, “The Great Awakening”, is one of a revival of the body of Christ, and is said to be inspired by historical fathers of faith such as theologian Jonathan Edwards and Salvation Army founder, William Booth. And as lead singer, Leeland Mooring, has stated, it also seems to have marked a personal revival in their lives, “We've all been going through a personal revival in this band. We've felt God taking us out of a plateau, shaking us up and saying, 'Don't cruise anymore.'  That's where we are; feeling like God wants to bring a great awakening to this generation."  The band has seen some changes lately as one of the members recently left to join the army and the band added a new member, Jack and Leeland’s sister, Shelly, as bassist. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the band’s love for the Lord that comes through in their passionate worship music.

To pre-order “The Great Awakening”, click Here


Switchfoot & Anberlin -


(September 25, 2011 thru October 23, 2011)

Okay, I just realized that not only did I put Switchfoot’s cd 1st on the list but I also put their upcoming tour first too! That should tell you how much I kinda love these guys! ;) Any Switchfoot and Anberlin fan will tell you that this tour has been a long time coming. Fans have made it known for sometime now that this was a dream tour for a lot of them. When I first started hearing the rumors of a Switchfoot/Anberlin fall tour I just about flipped! Switchfoot and Anberlin both being two of my favorite bands. This co-headlining tour starts on the 25th of this month and runs through October. I’m planning on making it out to the Austin date in October and am beyond thrilled. As silly as it may sound, this show will be like my Christmas, no really, I’m not going to sleep the night before…I just know it! ;p This is sure to be a tour not to be missed. 

For tour dates, click Here

Music with a Mission Tour -


(September 01, 2011 thru October 16, 2011)

One of my favorite bands, Hawk Nelson, is headlining the first annual Music with a Mission Tour. This tour, which is in partnership with Compassion International and, is jam packed with Christian music favorites as well as a few up and coming bands. Music with a Mission seems somewhat reminiscent of The Rock & Worship Roadshow in that it’s about more than just a night of great music, “The MUSIC WITH A MISSION TOUR has partnered with several organizations, including Compassion International, Jedidiah Clothing and serving in support of TOMS shoes. Attendstar Ticketing will unite both fans and artists to prove that music is more than just a melody; it can have a genuine purpose.”  I’ve had the chance to see both Hawk Nelson and Fireflight in concert and they are amazing live bands. If you get the chance be sure to check it out!

For tour dates, click Here

 The 7 Tour -


(August 01, 2011 thru November 30, 2011)

If you’re behind on your Christian music news you may have not yet heard, yes, David Crowder Band is calling it quits. So many fans were upset and taken by surprise by the news. But the good news is they are in the middle of a farewell tour called “The 7 Tour”. And they are bringing some class acts along with them for this one last hurrah. I have had the privilege of seeing the David Crowder Band in concert last year at The Rock & Worship Roadshow and loved them. Be sure not to miss your chance to say goodbye to this great band.

For tour dates, click Here

The Rock and Worship Roadshow Fall Tour -1110

(November 03, 2011 thru November 20, 2011)

This has truly become of one my favorite tours, my family and I have gone twice and definitely plan to keep attending. The Rock & Worship Roadshow, which was started by MercyMe, had it’s first spring run back in 2009 and has been a huge success. They are now doing their first ever fall tour, with dates running throughout the month of November, hitting cities they missed on the spring tour. And they are taking along some really great bands for the ride. The funds from The Rock & Worship Roadshow go to an organization called, Imagine a Cure, benefiting children with Juvenile Diabetes. So not only is it for a great cause but it’s a wonderful night of rocking out and worshiping with thousands of people.

For tour dates, click Here

Sounds of Hope Tour -

sounds of hope

(September 01, 2011 thru November 15, 2011)

The Sounds of Hope Tour is sure to be more than just a concert, with co-headliners Building 429 and Leeland you can expect not only a night of great music but of worship as well. I had the chance to see Leeland in concert back when they first released “Sound of Melodies” and it was such a powerful worship experience. And from what Jack Mooring has stated, it sounds like this tour is no exception, "As our schedule allows, we want to have a church service before the concert and just worship, pray for people, lay hands on people, believe in God for healing and salvation; awakening, basically."  Also, opening for the Sounds of Hope Tour (great name by the way) is a new up and coming band called, Royal Tailor. I plan to catch a show later this month and I’m so excited for a great night of music and worship.

For tour dates, click Here

ValleyScapes Tour


(September 2011)

Tyler, Tx natives, Eisley have just begun a month long tour in support of their newest record, “The Valley”. The tour, which is called, ValleyScapes, also features the music of the band Marksmen and the Dupree’s younger sister, Christie. Eisley has been a favorite of mine since I saw them in concert back in ‘05. I loved getting a chance to hear all their lovely and whimsical music live. Unforutately I won’t be able to catch them this time around but if they are coming to a city near you, get out there and sing along!

For tour dates, click Here