You’re Beautiful

The song I walked down the aisle to was Phil Wickham’s “You’re Beautiful.” In general, I don’t like most Christian songs–as they can seem shallow and often repetitive (but that is a different topic for a different day).  This song is different… and something that I have been needing to be reminded of as I go throughout my day as of late.

The lyrics speak of more than beauty. They speak of God’s glory–His Creation, His Power, His Sufficiency, His Love, His Sacrifice, and His Promise. Listening to this song, I am reminded of the true meaning of this life… I don’t know what you are going through but whatever it is, know that there is life beyond it all. Jesus paid the price. Jesus holds to his promises for eternity–and He is calling you to be his bride. He is greater than all the tasks, busyness, and messiness this life holds. He simply asks us to trust in Him for our most important task–life and eternity.

Good Night. xoxo.

Mandy

I see Your face in every sunrise
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say
You’re beautiful

I see Your power in the moonlit night
Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright
We are amazed in the light of the stars
It’s all proclaiming who You are
You’re beautiful

I see You there hanging on a tree
You bled and then you died and then you rose again for me
Now You are sitting on Your heavenly throne
Soon we will be coming home
You’re beautiful

When we arrive at eternity’s shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing
You’re beautiful

I see Your face, I see Your face
I see Your face, You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful

Herron Home

Thomas and I greatly enjoy the process of working on our home. It is such an amazing feeling to work with simple materials: paint, fabric, tools, and other items combined with some time– and a simple project conceives a totally different, invigorating result. I have found working on small projects bring me the most enjoyment, relaxation, and tranquility. It’s something I feel I was made to do, create. I am juggling a lot of different things at once these days. I work full time in the days– Monday through Friday and some Saturdays. I don’t qualify for any vacation time until 2015–I am not complaining. But in my spare time, my evenings and the weekends I have been working on a new project, receiving guidance from Thomas along the way.

I title this project, “Herron Home.” If you are friends with me on Facebook (which most of you are) you already know what I am talking about. I am trying to turn a passion into a business. It started simply, trying to create something that I love for our own home–candles. In something that may seem to others as tedious maybe even ridiculous, it became something therapeutic for me. Something in which I feel relaxed, creative, and in my element. I often feel most at ease when I can experience an end result, a success!

Gaining inspiration from the world around us–how we do things in our home I have started to create a model. We have been able to sell our products locally in a small shop in town. Reporting good results for a brand new product that hasn’t been sold anywhere before, I consider it so far a success. Nothing to write home about but I am proud of a simple, refreshing idea. I am also starting to create something my mother taught me how to do a long time ago, sewing. The idea too is simple–making something that is useful for those who need a refreshing of their home–updating pillows! A zipper free, completely handmade, sewn pillow cover. Simple to fit a standard throw pillow into and YOU CAN WASH IT! I am not giving away my pattern or my “secret.” But I am very proud of the end result.

Herron Home on ETSY!

Herron Home on ETSY!

More things are being planned when I get the spare time. This weekend’s schedule is booked up but as I wait for festivities to begin I am composing this piece. Please, take the time to check out our online shop to get an idea of what I have been doing. We are proud of this and stand behind the end results!

Thanks for reading. Xoxo.

Mandy

A Bathroom Makeover: In Process

We love our home. But it’s been a challenge in loving our bathroom space. To define the bathroom I would often mention the lack of style, a design stuck in the early 1980’s, and absolutely no storage space or function.  We had been planning on updating it in a couple years–adding value to our home in the process. However, plans got moved up–as we had a small leak beneath our bathtub. It’s been a blessing that we live in a small town where it’s easy to get to know people–for the most part. A friend of ours introduced us to our contractor–a pastor as well as a carpenter. What a blessing! The bathroom is already looking great! We have a few more things to complete. But all the major projects are done! I will be posting a complete series of pictures once the work is done. I am very proud to say that Thomas and I designed the new look–and it’s FABULOUS! Stay tuned.

Lasting Love

To those reading this blog: I’d like to introduce you to a couple who is an inspiration. A couple who fell in love 70 years ago and were married, December 2nd, 1944 at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Judd and Phyllis Mackrill, my grandparents will be celebrating their 70th year of marriage this December.

We are asking that you’d help them celebrate by writing a short note of congratulations, sharing your love story, or letting them know how unique their love is.

As a newly wedded couple, Thomas and I recognize how blessed we are to have grandparents to look up to. His grandparents stayed together in a loving, godly relationship until they were parted by death. My grandparents are also still together–loving each other and caring for each other, daily. I have been honored to have grandparents that love each other, modeling the commitment they made over 69 years ago.

PLEASE send a note to the address written in the image below… They will be so happy to read all the special notes and thoughts of those around the globe!

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Be Thankful: Monday is Only a Few Hours Away

This weekend has gone by especially fast for us. I have been sick, most of the week with Strep, and finally feel on the mend. Thomas has been busy teaching, coaching, and in the evenings he is usually grading papers or working on graduate studies. Spending some relaxed time together this weekend and working on this house has been such a blessing! I feel like this week has gone by so extremely fast, but maybe that’s because the days I wasn’t busy subbing or attending an interview, I spent sleeping off this infection. Either way, the week seems to have gone by extremely fast.

This week allowed me the opportunity to think about a few things–as I lay in bed, rubbing Vicks® on my chest or taking another antibiotic. How blessed are we when we think things are “normal” or when we are just cruising through life? It’s easy for us to put life on cruise control and just skim by without thinking about how blessed we are. We are blessed when we are healthy. We are blessed when we can have an education. We are blessed to have jobs. We are blessed to speak freely. We are blessed to worship. We are blessed to own property. We are blessed to be married, and to love. We are blessed to have family. We are blessed to have food. We are blessed to have CLEAN water. We are blessed by a MAGNIFICENT Creator Who sees us, has plans for us, loves us, and MAKE US STEWARDS OF HIS BLESSINGS! 

I hope that when I am content with life–when I am on cruise doing my thing that I will remember God’s blessings. I want to encourage everyone, as they start off this week to count your blessings. What are you thankful for? Maybe it’s simple: a good night’s rest, breakfast in the morning, an easy commute to work, a busy Monday in the office… just be thankful for it. Somewhere in the world, a mom stayed up with her sick kid all night, someone doesn’t know when they’ll have their next meal, or maybe someone may not have a job come Monday. Whatever this week holds, be thankful for it–because it’s a blessing and each day is a gift. And because tomorrow is a gift–use it wisely… be stewards of it because it is truly not yours to waste.

Carpe Diem. XOXO.

Mandy

From our honeymoon. Seize The Day.

From our honeymoon. Seize The Day.

Cooking for Real

Perhaps it’s the sound of the drizzling rain or the cool breeze that’s certain to give your bare legs goose bumps–but sometimes the weather calls for a day indoors and something to warm you up. On a day such as today, it calls for some comfort food. Tonight’s “Friday Night Date Night” will include steak and potatoes for the husband, perhaps some wine, and maybe something for dessert–baking is on my list today. 

Something that I’ve been making recently, depending on the sales at Hy-Vee is stuffed mushrooms. Sadly, the ingredients just weren’t on sale this week but I thought I’d share the recipe anyway. It’s an easy way to add some class to your Friday Night Date Night or a grill out with friends. So without further ado: 

Classic Stuffed Mushrooms

20-25 Button Mushrooms

3-4 Strips of Bacon, Cooked then Crumbled

1/4 of Medium Onion 

4 oz. Cream Cheese

1 Egg

1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs (I use Panko)

1/8-1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Olive Oil

Seasonings (to taste):

Fresh Garlic  

Oregano

Salt

Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Clean mushrooms, remove stems, and align in an oiled baking dish (use a good olive oil–as mushrooms absorb flavor). Cook bacon in frying pan, remove from grease and chop. Mince mushroom stems, onions, garlic, and sauté in bacon grease, add salt, pepper, oregano to taste. Once translucent combine ingredients in bowl with cream cheese, parmesan, egg, bread crumbs, and seasonings. Mix to a good consistency. Fill mushroom caps and top with extra bread crumbs and parmesan. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

For extra flavor I also add minced jalapeño into sauté mixture. You can also adapt this to make some pretty amazing stuffed, jalapeño poppers!

ENJOY!photo-3

 

 

In Process: Before and After: Living Room

When closing on our house in April, we were met by a long laundry list of “To Dos.” The first major project we worked on was the living area–it’s the first thing people see when they enter our home. We also have a list of hopes we want the space to be, especially in hopes of opening up our home to ministry this fall.

When the house became ours, the first thing to do was address the paint–a flat based, dirty yellow that had been in the house even before the last owner. With a lot of cleaning up, several coats of paint and a new texturing of the ceiling we are now settling in.

We have other hopes for the space, that is once we get the budget to refinish the wood that’s undoubtedly under that old carpet–a good cleaning and spot removal was one of our first projects to hold us over. So, we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. You’ll notice custom made pillow covers added to the space, a vintage yellow chair that’s traveled with me, a contemporary couch and elements of wood textures. 

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College Debt and Freedom

As I was driving from a job in a nearby town, I was thinking about the things I am truly passionate about and good at. Living in a small town that is heavily populated 75% of the year with college students tends to make me think about money. It’s a common reaction in the US to correlate a college education with massive amounts of debt–in fact when I think about our country I think about a mess of debt. That’s another discussion.

I digress. It is hideous to look up statistics on student loan debt. It’s all too common for kids to get over their heads in debt and not be able to escape! After all, it’s hard to get an actual job when you only have a college degree and little experience… think about the pressure when you have over $25,000 to pay off. According to http://www.projectonstudentdebt.org, 71% graduated with an AVERAGE of $29,400! ARE YOU SERIOUS? That’s more than their take home pay for a year after they land that “good job.”

Project on Student Debt states the following about student debt: 

Seven in 10 college seniors (71%) who graduated last year had student loan debt, with an average of $29,400 per borrower. From 2008 to 2012, debt at graduation (federal and private loans combined) increased an average of six percent each year.

Now, don’t get me wrong. An education is great! I believe if you have the opportunity–GO TO COLLEGE. However, if I were talking to my freshman, 18 year old self I’d say, “Get your foot into a door in order to gain experience–do it! Don’t stress about the perfect 4.0…get your butt into a part-time job! That’s what will get you places, don’t rely solely on your education.” I was so naive and sensitive I would make my old self cry if I told her that to her face.

Looking back, this article is really me talking to myself. I was really fortunate… I graduated debt free and I am so blessed to of had the blessings I did. But it included over $22,000 in scholarships from sacrifice in high school (being in absolutely anything I could to get scholarships–even a pageant or two, never allow your kid to be in any pageant) and some parents who believed it was their job to send us to college if we wanted. At the same token, I am so proud of my husband who too, graduated debt free. He did this by serving our country, making a ton of sacrifices to obtain scholarships, grants, and the blessing of aid from serving in the Iraq War. WE ARE BLESSED to say the least.

So, lately as I have been subbing for kids of all ages I often wonder what the future holds for these kids… I think about those who have a pretty bad home life and those that really might not have any other option if they want to be a traditional student. I get it–it is a means to an end, but know what you’re getting into. Be cautioned and warned. Unless you’re a teacher, doctor, nurse, ect… your degree will only do so much. And definitely, don’t get a degree in International Business if you stay in the Midwest and settle down ;-)… that’s silly. Also, do yourself a favor and study your finances before you make any harsh decisions. Try reading a book or taking a class where financial freedom is the focus. You can even go to: www.daveramsey.com for more info. If you’re a young adult or high school student check out www.rachelcruze.com. If you’re a parent, check out www.amazon.com and find Dave Ramsey’s newest book, “Smart Money Smart Kids.”

 

 

Let’s Get Cozy!

Our favorite season in this household is fall. Perhaps it’s because we both dislike heat, Thomas having been deployed to Iraq and I having suffered heat exhaustion a few years ago. Likely though, we love fall because of the crisp but not too chilly air, the colors of the trees, football, soup, pumpkin spice lattes, apple cider, crunching leaves, cozy scarves,….did I mention, Football?!?

So, in anxious anticipation for our favorite season there is a new venture starting. It’s called The Cozy Up Company. We know that it hasn’t quite cooled off yet. But it is getting closer to the day of crisp, cool air! So, bundle up with a handmade scarf or make yourself a Hot Toddy with a vintage inspired bottle of honey and attached recipe! Our next project is being researched and hopefully on its way soon! DSC_0027

 

A Simple Revamp

Something Thomas and I love to do is to go antiquing. We rarely buy anything because we see it not only as an investment financially but we also see it as an investment in our relationship. We love the stories behind certain pieces and love the discussion a certain item may prompt when we are walking around the antique store (one can see how Thomas, the history teacher, would love to explore). However, we did buy something about six weeks ago, and we have some great plans for it! We bought an old chest! I have wanted a chest for quite a while and now with with a new house we wanted some additional seating in the dining area, especially for that Thanksgiving that I am sure we will host one day! 

The chest needed a little love. We polished it up with some orange oil, cleaned it up on the inside (I will likely add another project to make that special, later), and we added something a little extra! Certainly, I wouldn’t want someone to sit on a wooden bench for a long period of time, so I simply made a seat cushion for the top of the chest. Super simple and quick to make, even if you aren’t an experienced seamstress! 

Here are a few easy steps if you want to do the same thing for whatever you want to add seating to!

1. Measure the area you wish to have a cushion. Length and Width!

2. Try to pick a fabric that is easy to sew and sturdy enough to be laid on a wood seat (and sat on countless times). I chose a thick, duck cloth from Hobby Lobby. 

3. Remember to add a little extra length to the fabric before you cut! (You’ll need room for seams and for stuffing!) I add at least 1/4 -1/2 of an inch to my sides.

4. Cut! I try to make sure one of my seams in actually going to be a long edge of the cushion that way I don’t have to sew it and it will look nice and clean! A rotary cutter and cutting mat are ideal, but you can use a pencil, ruler, and old fashioned scissors otherwise.

5. Fold fabric inside out and sew along all but one of the seams! Keep this open to hand stitch after you stuff the cushion.

6. Stuff! I used batting so all i had to do was fold to fit the cushion and slide it in the fabric case!

7. Make sure stuffing is even and sew up the side seam. I used a matching thread and sewed by hand. It was the longest process but it only took about 5 minutes to complete! 

8. ENJOY

Details of the unique cornering of the chest, complimented by the vintage pattern of the fabric.

Details of the unique cornering of the chest, complimented by the vintage pattern of the fabric…

Before.

Before.

After.

After.