5.29.2015

#morethanaframe: SMILE



I'm so happy this week's #morethanaframe prompt was "SMILE." I think we all need to be reminded that even during hard days, or days that we are really struggling, there is always a reason to smile. We might even smile in the midst of the mess, just simply to acknowledge there is beauty in the broken. Thank you all for sharing your hearts with us week after week. You all make me smile.


A photo posted by Kelli Bueker (@adeeperjoy) on


"Use your smile to change this world, but don't let this world change your smile." 💛 As you can tell from the quote, this week's prompt is S M I L E. With all the negative things that happen in this world on a daily basis, it's hard to actively remember the positives. As I come to the end of my birthday month, I want to remember all the smiles: from the drunk stranger on Bourbon Street, to my best friend(s) in beach chairs, to even the sassiest 2 year old wearing a purple bathing suit. Even more, the smiles from kindergarten graduates, when Pandora plays the perfect song on a roadtrip, and the joyful coworker who always wishes me a great day, no matter what. 💛 I want to etch the way their mouths turn upward into my memory. You are somebody's reason to smile today, don't ever forget it. #morethanaframe #smile
A photo posted by Cassie Lynn (@alwaysablogsmaid) on





A photo posted by Candace Montague Groberg (@candacegroberg) on


And in case you missed mine:


Do you want your photo to be featured? We have ONE week left of prompts! Pour your heart in to your caption and tag it #morethanaframe and you might be featured next week!

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5.27.2015

Spicy Chickpea & Squash Stew + GIVEAWAY!

Today the lovely Catherine from A Short Blonde is taking over the blog. Catherine is a lifestyle blogger who lives in Nashville with her husband, Jordan. Catherine believes in stretching her mind, traveling far, and always having a stash of dark chocolate near. Join me in welcoming her to Sage!

Pinterest is my go-to resource for meal planning inspiration. My husband and I prepare and eat gluten and dairy-free meals in our home. Jordan doesn't have to restrain from gluten or dairy (he loves both), but he has been willing from day-one to go down this path with me!

Gluten-free/dairy-free can be synonyms of complicated and bland, but I'm learning it doesn't have to be that way! My aim is to keep things simple and limit substitutions: soups, chills, one-pot meals etc are our go-to's. 

 As soon as I saw this spicy chickpea stew on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it! This meal is filling, healthy, but also extremely easy to prepare. Even as a carnivore, it's good to have a few solid vegetarian dishes in your arsenal to serve to guests. 





Ingredients (adapted from Dolly and Oatmeal): 

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 3/4-inch pieces (about 6 cups).
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt (we use kosher salt)
freshly ground pepper
2 medium onions
8 large garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
3 medium carrots, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup chickpea cooking liquid, or filtered water
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (I used a mixture of fire roasted + regular for extra kick)
2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (roughly two cans)
shredded chicken (optional)

Instructions: 

To keep things extra simple, I used pre-cut squash from Trader Joe's. 

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and toss squash with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Stir, and continue roasting for another 10-15 minutes or until browning and cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.

Warm remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, Saute for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in garlic and cook for 3 minutes more.  Add cumin, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in carrots and 1 cup chickpea cooking water (or water), and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add chickpeas and crushed tomatoes, then roasted squash; simmer uncovered for another few minutes. The flavors meld together even more the second day!  

Serve with quinoa or rice. Garnish with parsley. 



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5.25.2015

Obstacles to Submission

Submission
One of my favorite things to do while I run is listen to podcasts. I especially enjoy listening to sermons during my long runs. Two of my favorites are Redemption's Hill Church and The Village Church. Matt Chandler, the head pastor of The Village Church, has this way of delivering the gospel that just completely penetrates my heart and makes me think long and hard about the message.

Most recently, in a sermon about how men and women in different life stages can come together for the gospel, Matt Chandler said something that hit me HARD. Something that brought wisdom to a struggle I have been dealing with essentially my entire life. When speaking about the series this sermon is a part of, which is aimed towards women, Matt said:

"...I felt, as I was writing this, this thing in my gut. I felt this kind of tension in my gut, because although we have clearly shown that to be a helpmate is not inherently inferior because we see that God himself is our help, most often throughout the Old Testament, there is and will always be an aspect of submission to who holds the primary responsibility for the one that is to help with that responsibility. And so, as I was writing, here's what I felt in my gut: Lord, how are women who have known nothing but men who abuse and belittle and take advantage of and use them as commodities, as recreational devices, how will a woman who has been nothing but harmed by men POSSIBLY going to hear this [i.e., submission] and understand it as beautiful? It's hard to be called to submission in a world full of little boys. It's hard. It's hard to walk in submission when you're surrounded by a herd of morons."  (You can hear the whole sermon here if you're interested. This excerpt starts around minute 15.)

WOAH. Am I the only one that found this powerful? I literally had to stop in the middle of my run to go back to the beginning of this and listen to it over again in order to feel the full weight of his words. In those moments, I think I came to the realization that maybe my inability to be submissive, or rather my lack of desire to be submissive, in my role as a wife comes down to my past experience with men (and obviously my sinful nature as well... but we will save that for another day). The way that I have been belittled, disrespected, and emotionally abused has prevented me from appreciating submission as beautiful. All of a sudden, it became so clear. My past experiences have caused me not to fully trust my husband, even though I know he is a FEARLESS leader who serves God faithfully.

I KNOW deep down the beauty of submission, but to be totally honest, it TERRIFIES me. I'm absolutely terrified to let go of control and let someone else lead me while also trusting that they won't harm me. It's always in the back of my mind that I could be hurt again at any moment, even though I know there's truth in God's promises.

I have been wondering how my life would be different if I were able to truly forgive and move past my experiences with the "little boys" of the world and accept the SOLID TRUTH that God has blessed me with a MAN. A man that won't hurt me like I have been hurt before, a man that will respect me, and love me, and pray for me, even when I don't deserve it. I'm praying that I will learn that truth. That I will internalize it so deeply that submission will stop terrifying me and that I will begin to live my life more submissively.

Have you struggled with submission in your role as a wife, student, friend, employee, etc?
 
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5.22.2015

#morethanaframe: TRUTH



This week's #morethanaframe prompt was all about TRUTH. I love seeing the different interpretations of the prompt and diving into each of your lives alongside you. It's so special that we have a place to come and open up honestly. A place where we can find love, support, and those going through similar seasons. I'm so excited for what this community has become!



Can I talk a little truth here?? It's long, but it's full of truth. I've been less than committed to my Bible study over the past few weeks. Actually, that's a lie--I've been completely absent and it shows in my life. I'm impatient, distracted, and unkind. Truth is, I just feel like I can't get it all together...when one area of my life is thriving, another is suffering. Where is my balance? Can I be the "perfect" woman? As I read through Proverbs 31 this morning, it seems picture perfect, but a goal that I'll never achieve. I mean, I can barely work 3-4 nights a week, make my marriage a priority, and keep a house clean...much less make dinner every night, be a good friend or attentive sister/daughter...and thinking of adding kids to the mix throws it over the edge. How do women do it? No wonder we're all burned out. But then God pours His freedom over my heart and makes me realize only in Him will I feel worth...that this isn't a checklist for what it takes to have it all together...that this Proverbs 31 woman isn't the only goal I need to strive for, because she is imperfect, just like me. "This woman is not the goal--Christ is the prize we seek." @lifelivedbeautifully // I'm diving head first and whole heart into LLB Proverbs 31 study with every intention of turning my eyes to the cross and realizing that I CAN be a woman who has it all together, a woman of courage, ambition, compassion, and grace, just like the Proverbs 31 woman. All because of Jesus, not because of my own works. He holds it all together. My identity is in Him alone. #LLBproverbs31 #saturatedinscripture 🙌🏻💗📖 #morethanaframe #truthtalk
A photo posted by Rachel Dillard Walker (@mrsrachwalker) on



A photo posted by Rachel White (@chel_white211) on



This week's #morethanaframe prompt is #truth. And if I'm being completely truthful I would have to admit that I have a serious struggle with my own identity. Sometimes I look in the mirror or at pictures and don't recognize the face looking back at me. I wear so many hats in a single day and it's easy to lose myself. But the more I think about who and what I want to be, the same notion keeps coming to mind. And it's scary to me. So much so that I don't think I've ever really said the words out loud. But the truth is, more than anything now, I want to be a mother. Wow. Just typing that statement is difficult. I'm afraid of what that means. The responsibility. The fact that it won't be easy for me to conceive like it is for so many. It's scary, but when I think about who I really am and who I want to become, this is the #truth that echoes in my heart. It will be exciting to see what the future brings.
A photo posted by moquie17 (@moquieflores) on
And in case you missed mine:

I know I sound like a broken record, but PLEASE continue to lift each other up in this community. Comment on peoples posts, encourage one another! It takes a lot to share our souls on the internet, so let's surround those brave enough to do it!
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5.20.2015

Why You Should Participate in Twitter Chats + Meet Cassie

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Kayla Hollatz to Sage. Kayla is the mastermind behind the #createlounge Twitter chat. She also produces some of the best content I have ever seen, like 29 Ways to Give Back to Your Blog Community. Stick around a bit and soak in some of her wisdom!

Twitter Chats

Twitter chats have changed my life.
There is no hint of exaggeration in that sentence. The conversations I’ve had, the people I’ve met, they all have had a significant influence on my blog’s success. I know you can have the same result.
So what’s a Twitter chat? It’s when Twitter users come together at a specific day and time, usually weekly, to chat about various topics. Chats are run by a host who moderates the community as people respond to the questions the host has posted. It all surrounds around one specific hashtag which organizes the live conversation.
What can you gain from Twitter chats?
You get to connect with “your people”
It can sometimes be hard to find your audience, especially when you first start blogging. We’ve all been there. If you’re focused on organically growing your audience, Twitter chats can act as a great introduction.
You can have real-time conversations
Comments on social media are cool, but what’s even cooler is being able to have a live discussion with multiple people at the same time. With so many creative people gathered in one place, it’s easy to interact intentionally.
You’ll grow your following
By A LOT. The more you invest time into people, the more likely they are to follow you so they can keep up the connection. If you’re stuck on how to grow your Twitter presence, this is a great place to start.
You have a platform to share your expertise
As a blogger, you want to be seen as a thought leader, a prominent figure in your niche. One of the best ways to establish this is through regularly participating in Twitter chats and sharing your knowledge through your answers and replies.
It sparks collaboration
Most of my blog collaborations have started in Twitter chats with fellow participants. There’s a lot of noise on Twitter so chats are a great way to cut through the noise and get right to the stuff that matters: authentic conversations. These lead to effective and downright profitable collaborations.
Okay, so I’ve convinced you that Twitter chats are worth the effort, but where in the world do you start? Here are a few tips to get you started:
  • Reach out to the host before the chat with questions. Most hosts are thrilled to have new participants join their chats (trust me, I’m a host!) and are more than willing to answer any question you may have. We’ve all been chat newbies before, so don’t be shy. It’s also a great way to start building a connection with the host and build your network.
  • Get there 5 minutes before the chat starts. With big volume chats, getting to the Twitter chat a few minutes early helps you engage with other participants before you have to start thinking about answering questions. This time is gold so use it wisely.
  • Use the hashtag in all of your tweets. That way, everyone can see your tweets and conversations.
  • Use A1, A2, etc. This helps other participants know what question you’re answering so they have context.
  • Spend more time engaging than answering questions. I know you want to make sure your answers are absolutely perfect, but all of that time could also be spent interacting with other participants.
  • Answer every reply you receive. If someone reaches out to tell you they thought your answer was on point, that’s so cool! Follow it up with a “thank you” and possibly another question to get a conversation going.

If you are a creative interested in Twitter chats, feel free to join my Twitter chat, #createlounge, on Wednesdays at 7 PM CT! We’d love to have you there.

If you’re ready for more chats, check out my resource on Twitter Chats for Creativepreneurs. Let me know how your chat experience by tweeting me at @kayla_hollatz. I can’t wait to see you interacting in Twitter chats!
________________________________________________________________________
Today we also have another guest on Sage, Cassie from Always a Blogsmaid! I have really enjoyed getting to know this lovely lady, and I think she has the coolest name around. She's a huge encouragement to me and I think she might just be one to you as well!





Hey y'all!  My name is Cassie and I am so excited to be here today on Cassie's blog.  Confused yet?  Don't be.  You can call me Always A Blogsmaid, since that is where I write about my life online.  My blog name is a play off of the phrase "Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride" because I am constantly celebrating brides but am nowhere near meeting my groom.  If reading about a 20-something single girl holding other people's babies and bouquets interests you, please join me in my witty attempts to write about my weekends and countless walk-ins to David's Bridal.

1.  What are you passionate about?
I think the main thing I am passionate about is making other people laugh/smile.  It brings me such joy to know that I made someone's day better; anything from sending a letter in the mail or tagging someone in a funny video on Instagram.  I also love finding and/or making the perfect gift(s) for brides, moms-to-be, and loved ones' birthdays.      

2.  If you could learn to do something, what would it be and why?
Perfecting the perfect manicure because I spend at least 47% of my life in a nail salon.  While I will always continue to get pedicures because of that relaxing massage chair, I wish I could paint my nails as wonderful as the technicians do.  I feel so put together when my nails are done and if I ever learned, it would save time and money.




3.  What's something you wish everyone knew about you?
That I have no clue how to style my own hair or even properly blow-dry it.  I am constantly asking my friends if they will "fix my hair" for me.  One of my best friend's is a hairstylist and it's almost embarrassing how many days out of the month her co-workers see me.  If my hair looks good, you can bet your bank account that someone else helped me out.

5.19.2015

Chewy Brings All the Pets to the Yard

Chewy.com dog toy

Chewy.com dog toy

Chewy.com dog toy

I was given these products from Chewy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

If you haven't heard of Chewy (a) you're hiding under a rock and (b) if you are a pet owner, I am sad for you. Thankfully, Chewy should be no stranger to you after you read this post.

Chewy.com cat treats
We started using Chewy about a year ago when we learned that one of our cats has feline herpes (fun, right?) and needed lysine, an essential amino acid, to help fight the symptoms. Chewy was one of the most affordable options for this supplement, which made the decision easy.

When Chewy reached out to me a few months ago to see if I would be open to trying some of their products, I was ecstatic because we had already had such a great experience with them. Since beginning our collaboration, our cats and dog have been spoiled to death with things we would never buy them ourselves.

Chewy.com cat toy
Chewy.com cat toy
Chewy.com cat toy

From treats to toys to grooming supplies, we have been incredibly pleased by the quality of their products (especially considering their competitive pricing) and our pets have been on cloud nine. Their top-notch customer service is just the icing on the cake (or doggy biscuit). What other business will send you a "welcome home" package for your dog complete with tons of goodies? I cannot explain how great it felt to have someone celebrating the new addition to our family along with us.

Chewy.com

If you're looking for pet supplies, I would highly suggest checking out Chewy. Their products also make great gifts! We recently sent my dad a birthday gift full of goodies from Chewy for his new puppy, and they were both quite pleased!

Thanks for being awesome, Chewy. You have definitely earned a customer for life.

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5.18.2015

I Don't Believe in the Devil


I believe in God. A God that is full of goodness, but a God that should also be feared. I also believe that we are called to be disciples. That we are instructed by God to share His gospel with the people around us.

I'm not perfect at sharing the gospel. In fact, it's pretty hard for me at times. A few weeks ago, it really struck me that something was preventing me from feeling a strong desire to share the gospel. Something was preventing my heart from breaking for those that aren't saved. I felt confused because I so deeply believe in God, and I believe that His goodness should be shared with those around us that don't know him. So what was preventing me from sharing this?

I came to the realization that my problem isn't necessarily related to my belief of God. Instead, it's related to my lack of belief in the devil and hell. Although I think the gospel should be shared, something deep inside me doesn't feel the desperation for those that are lost like I should. I had somewhat of an epiphany and realized that this lack of desperation is related to my lack of belief that these people will go to "hell" when they die. That they will suffer. Now, I do have the understanding that they won't be in heaven, but it's really hard for me to understand what the other alternative is.

Hell is a very strange concept for me. I didn't grow up in church, so it wasn't something I was taught to fear from an early age like many people were. Before I was a Christian, the thought of hell didn't really scare me and it still doesn't. Now, that's a problem. Especially if it's preventing me from sharing the gospel.

I have realized how little I know about what the gospel says about hell. Sure, there's a lot about the devil, but it's mostly symbolism and I sometimes have a hard time understanding it. I have been trying to intentionally further my understanding with the hope that it might help to create this deep desire for me to pursue those that don't know Christ. That I will fully understand what not being saved means for people. I think this is the beginning of a long journey.

Can you relate to this? What prevents you or encourages you to share the gospel?

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5.15.2015

#morethanaframe: AFFECTION


Even though I was involved in helping to choose the prompts for #morethanaframe, I still found this week's prompt, "AFFECTION," to be a true challenge. Maybe it's because I think of the connotation of affection instead of the denotation. The denotation: "a feelings of liking and caring for someone or something" says so much more than our society's connotation which often touts themes of physical affection. I was really impressed with everyone's use of the prompt this week and once again it was really hard to choose which photos to share! Thank you to each of you who participated- we DEEPLY appreciate you and this community!


I've been dealing with some stuff lately. This week's #morethanaframe 's theme is A F F E C T I O N and I had no idea what I'd post until I got to hang out with my little sister over the weekend. There are more than 20 years between us. Years before she was born, I tried to control all the changes that were happening in my family. Every change meant, in my mind, I would be loved less. But when Ava was born and I saw the family fawn over her and love her and all the affection she received, not for accolades or awards or achievements, but for simply being a sweet babe in our family, I swore I would mentally bottle all of that affection for her...and for me. I pictured a glass jar and I became her memory keeper. And I realized that when I was that little, everyone showed me that same love and how over the years, living in this upside down world, and my own sin, I'd forgotten it. It was such an important reminder for me and I promised her silently as I held her in my arms that I would try my best, whenever needed, to unscrew the lid of that jar of love and let her bask in all the affection she was given for just being herself. I wondered back then, and still today as her memory keeper, how it would change how we lived and loved if we could remember the kind of love and affection given so freely just because we were ourselves? After all, God's love for us has nothing to do with achievement or success and everything to do with Jesus. Let's all unscrew the jar.
A photo posted by Nina B. (@nbwearsflowers) on

A photo posted by maghjohnson (@maghjohnson) on



The prompt for this week's #morethanaframe collaboration is the word #affection. Af•fec•tion: a gentle feeling of fondness or liking. Devotion, Love, Tenderness, Caring, Friendship. A glimpse of the man I lay next to each night. We'll be celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary this month and even though I love him with all my heart, sometimes I worry because we've passed that honeymoon stage of our marriage. I've noticed we don't sit as close to each other as we used to and sometimes we lose patience with each other faster than we did in the past. But we both know it's important to make sure the other one feels loved. We give each other small acts of affection on a daily basis; he'll grab me a clean towel in the morning and I'll send him a little love note on his lunch break. I've learned that the small things really do make a difference, and I hope we can continue to share a deep affection for each other throughout our marriage. #morethanaframe #simpleluckblog
A photo posted by Candace Montague Groberg (@candacegroberg) on





And in case you missed mine:


Be sure to join us! We are halfway through!


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