Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Weather Forecast...Spring!

Purple Flowers in the Sun
Originally uploaded by David 17

Through all the frozen winter
My nose has grown most lonely
For lovely, lovely, colored smells
That come in springtime only.

The purple smell of lilacs,
The yellow smell that blows
Across the air of meadows
Where bright forsythia grows.

The tall pink smell of peach trees,
The low white smell of clover,
And everywhere the great green smell
Of grass the whole world over."

- Smells by Kathryn Worth

Live Sweeetly :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Music Monday 03-29-10

This week's song is by an artist recommended to me by one of my favorites, Courtney.  It doesn't need much explanation.  The lyrics are beautiful and the song is simply...sweet.  I hope to be singing it to someone someday...

Dave Barnes - God Gave Me You

I’ve been a walking heartache
I’ve made a mess of me
The person that I’ve been lately
Ain’t who I wanna be

But you stay here right beside me
Watch as the storm goes through
And I need you

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you

There’s more here than what were seeing
A divine conspiracy
That you, an angel lovely
Could somehow fall for me
You’ll always be love’s great martyr
Ill be the flattered fool
& I need you

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you

On my own I’m only
Half of what I could be
I can’t do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I could baby, never undo

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you, gave me you.
Gave me you.

Live Sweetly :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dreaming of Paris

Last night, one of my favorites (and travel buddy), Amanda, came over and we starting discussing plans for our European vacation coming up in a month.

Thankfully, both of us want to park at a cafe for our Parisian afternoons and look something like this...

And if it happens to rain one day, we'll look like this...

And once we get to Spain to visit another favorite, Chris, we'll be here...

I can hardly wait!

Live Sweetly :)

Design Inspiration: Office in a Closet

This is what I dream of doing in my apartment if I stay another year.  I can see it now...teal walls, espresso wood desk, shelves to the ceiling, an inspiration board for pinning up ideas and unique finds.  It will be more like my own creativity suite, rather than an office. 

Originally from the website Unplggd

Originally from the magiifcent blog Surreal World

Originally from the inspirational Pepper Design Blog (there are lots of other neat ideas here, too!)

With the help of certain handy individuals (you know who you are), this is one design dream that will definitely become a reality.  Let the summer project season begin!

Live Sweetly :)

P.S. Coming soon...before & afters of my apartment.  Finally!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Music Monday 03-22-10

Welcome to spring everyone!  This week's Music Monday song pick is about finding yourself again and about renewal...a lot like this wonderful season that is coming upon us.  Please have a listen and read along because the message is powerful, positive and hopeful.

Eric Benet - Be Myself Again

I've been away too long awhile

I lost my rhythm, I forgot my style
Too complicated for this simple man
But now I understand
Like a circle peg in a square hole
I tried to push it but it wouldn't go
It didn't kill me so my strength increased
And now i finally see

I found a love that was gone deep inside of me
I found a man who was lost and i set him free
I thought that the pain was never gonna end
But now i can be myself again

I had the best the world could offer for sho'
But peace of mind is much more precious than gold
I was in place where truth was hard to find
But it's all revealed in time

Stick out my chest and hold my head up high
Forgot how it felt to feel so good inside
A fool would gain the world just to lose himself
Now i'm gonna be true to no one else

I gotta light in my eyes for the world to see
Thank God the music's back inside of me
It was a long hard road to be a better man
But now i can be myself again
I feel the roll of thunder in my bones
I hold my head up high everywhere that i go
And the gift of life i truly understand
'Cause i can be myself again

No there ain't no wound that love can't heal for sho'
And if you lose yourself the Lord will guide you home
This i know
Well i found a joy and serenity
Won't let nobody tell me something's wrong with me
Gotta big love inside and I'm 'mo set it free
And be myself again

I found a love that was gone deep inside of me
I found a man who was lost and i set him free
I thought that the pain was never gonna end
But now i can be myself again
I feel the roll of thunder in my bones
I hold my head up high everywhere that i go
And the gift of life i truly understand
And i can be myself again
I said i can be myself again
I know i can be myself again
I can be myself again

Live Sweetly :)

Friday, March 19, 2010


Every so often I have found myself in a place in life where I’m in transition. Things are changing and I feel a bit off. Life feels like it is lacking…balance.

When I start thinking about all of the things I have to keep up with…family, friends, faith, work, play, volunteering, hobbies…I get a little overwhelmed. When I add to the mix the goals I have for my life, the changes I’d like to make, and what I need to do to make those changes, my head feels like it might explode.

But then I pause...

Take a deep breath…

Gaze up into the clear blue sky…

And I remember that I don’t have to worry because God is on my side.

Image courtsey of nikki.jane

In the coming weeks, I’ll be making some important decisions that could change the course of my life. This has come as a bit of a surprise since I may be moving on to something that was never a part of the life plan I imagined as a child. But as I’ve said before, God surprises you with opportunities, relationships, and gifts when you least expect it. And oftentimes these surprises are something you may have never expected in the first place.

In the past, I’ve often found that big choices turn into a battle between what my stubborn self wants and what I think He has planned. It becomes a game of weighing each side and finding a balance between me and Him.

I have to come to terms with the fact that ultimately my life is not in my control. I have to trust that everything will be taken care of. I need to listen to where I am being called.

After gazing up into the sky and remembering that He is holding me in his hands, life doesn’t seem so overwhelming.  And I realize that I don't need to find that balance anymore…because He will always tip the scale.

Live Sweetly :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Question of the Day

Is your glass half full or half empty today?

I feel like mine is bubbling over with LOVE.

Live Sweetly :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Unique Finds: Clothing Hangar Chandeliers

Look at these "hangeliers"!

Plastic hangars...

Wood hangars...

You can purchase your very own at the Organelle Design Shop on

Aren't these amazing??  I love repurposing, refurbishing, reusing...

Live Sweetly :)

She left the Door open

She left the Door open
Originally uploaded by h.koppdelaney
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."

- Helen Keller, was anAmerican author, activist and lecturer.
Live Sweetly :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Unique Finds: Hanging Chairs

I would like to have one of these in my dream home...

                                                                                     Originally from Homes & Gardens

                Originally from Designers Guild

                                                    Originally from Jonathan Adler

And you can purchase one for a great price here.   Hopefully they will have more colors and materials available by the time I have my dream house!

Live Sweetly :)

Music Monday 03-15-10

This week's song is by a new artist who I've recently discovered.  Thanks to a recommendation from my good friend, Courtney, I've added Amos Lee to my list of favorites. 

One of my favorite songs from his latest album Supply and Demand carries the same title.  The chorus is so simple, yet so true.  I love it.

Amos Lee - Supply Demand

Somethin' gotta give with the way I'm livin'
Seems I'm gettin' down everyday
The more I strive, the less I'm alive
And seems i'm gettin' further away

Oh well all my superstitions
And my crazy suspicions
Of the people that I care about
I've been doin' more screamin'
Than I've been doin' dreamin'
And I think it's time I figure it out

Baby i need a plan
Oh, to understand
That life ain't only supply and demand

I've been goin' joggin' in the park after dark
Draggin' 'round with me my ball and chain
Took southern skies to make me realize
That I'm causin' myself this pain

Well the woman that I'm lovin'
Yeah I'm pushin' and shovin'
Getting further on by the day
And I can't understand
How the heart of this man
Ever let it end up this way

Baby I need a plan
Oh to understand
That life ain't only supply and demand

When the road gets dark and lonesome dear
You can find me here
But honey you don't know where I am
You need a friend, yeah

Life ain't easy
In fact I know it's sleazy
When you're the big man in town
Shakin' religions
And makin' decisions
You never get to slow on down

Well your wife and your baby
You tell them yeah well maybe
“I'll meet y'all at a weekend resort”
But your eyes on the prize
And you can't realize
That your little girl's life's so short

Brother you need a plan
Oh to understand
That life ain't only supply and demand

Yeah sister you need a plan
Oh to understand
That life ain't only supply and demand

Hey, you better figure it out now
You know you ain't comin' back down, yeah
You better figure it out now
You know you ain't comin' back down

Live Sweetly :)

Bare Branches

I read the following story from a blog that I follow titled (In)courage .  Everyone can relate to the story of being broken but then being brought back to life by God's grace.  I know that I certainly can.  So, I'm going to share an entry from (In)courage today, rather than write my own because this is something that is too important not to share.  And please follow this blog if you are as inspired as I was.

Bare Branches from (In)Courage:

Three and a half years ago my life fell apart.

In one emotionally draining [understatement] week, I lost it all.

My best friend.
My ministry.
My church home.
My peace of mind.
My understanding of where life was going and what the next day/month/year would even look like.

Something died that week.

Do you know that feeling? I think we all do at some level, right?

The realization that, in a moment, so many things housed in the TRUTH category can be ripped out and put in the THAT'S WHAT YOU THOUGHT category.

Painful. To date, the most painful experience I have ever known.

And though details would make this a juicy story and a real tear-jerker, I've never written about it and I won't.

But. What I will tell you about is how God used that experience to change my entire life.

As Bible teacher and author Beth Moore says, "God allows wounding in your life so that He can bring healing."

And that statement, my friends, can have permanent residence in the TRUTH part of your heart.

In the few months after the total destruction of the life I knew, God began to speak to me of His love. At first, my reply was, "Uh. Yeah. Are You serious right now? Cause hello! You just allowed my life to FALL-A-PART. I'm supposed to label that as LOVE?!?"

[Cause sometimes a sarcastic tone is all I can muster. Forgive me.]

I went to a new Bible study during this LOVE season. My heart was broken and in all honesty, I felt a bit lost in my own skin. So anytime someone invited me to something involving God, I went.

The leader passed out a drawing, a tree with a girl standing in front of the trunk, to each of us. The goal, she said, was to add leaves to the tree with words representing all the ways God is using you in the world, yadda yadda blah blah blah. I stopped listening.

I stared down at my tree. And it looked just like me. Bare. Empty. Dead.

My eyes began to focus and see something coming out of the limbs. I grabbed my Raspberry Crayola marker and began to color.

There, in the empty, in the death, in the absolute absence of life, was L-O-V-E.

Can you see it?

When everything was pruned away, there I was, standing under the tree of His love.

Today, if life seems to have thrown you more curve balls than you can even fathom, if all that was true yesterday is suddenly false, if you are broken in the deepest of places,

I'm asking God to draw near to you.

Because somewhere in your bare branches, He is writing His love to you.

by Annie Downs, Annie Blogs

Live Sweetly :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


A few days ago I was emailing with a good friend of mine and we were both lamenting about some things that we want but don’t have. During this conversation, I said something that hit me like a ton of bricks after I hit send...

“It’s a weird spot to be in…wanting something because you know in the future
that it will be the right thing, but coming to the realization that it might not be
what you need right now.”

There are a lot of things that I want…a great job that I’ll love going to each day, a home on the water, a man who will be a loving husband and life partner, an end to global hunger, world peace.

Thankfully, God has blessed me with so many things in this life, and ironically, I never even knew I wanted a lot of those things. He surprises you with opportunities, gifts and relationships when you least expect it. And I often surprise myself with the choices that I make as I grow and mature.

One big lesson that I’ve learned is that everything happens for a reason. The timing and placement of those opportunities, gifts and relationships are all a part of my…actually, His plan. And this timing is different for everyone with no one plan being better than the other.

All we have to do is have faith, be patient, and believe because He is looking out for us.

As the old saying goes,

Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
But today is a gift,
That’s why it’s called the present.

From here on out, I’m going to do my best to be present in the present, focus on the now, and stop worrying about the future…

…because the time I have to be here truly is a gift.

Live Sweetly...and God Bless :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Journey

"Patience child, patience. Remember, life is a journey. If you got everything you wanted all at once there'd be no point to living."

-Mastin Kiipp from The Daily Love
Live Sweetly :)

Music Monday 03-08-10

This week's Music Monday is dedicated to the band that I will be seeing on Friday night with my brother...Muse.

I was first introduced to Muse when I lived in France during my junior year of school.  I remember watching the music video in the apartment that my roommates and I stayed in during our 5 day trip to Rome, Italy.  I've always had a thing for hard rock...surpirsing, I know.  This song definitely got me the first time I heard it, and it will forever have a place on my iPod's workout mix. 

So, please have a listen:
Muse - Supermassive Black Hole

I'm looking forward to seeing these guys live.  It should be a great show!

Live Sweetly :)

P.S. I realize that I missed Sweet Things Sunday this week.  My apologies!  I was in Champaign, IL all day watching my Illini play basketball.  I hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Unique Finds: Fruit Bowls

Look at these beautiful fruit bowls from Helena Schepens

This is one example where form follows function created a unique result!  I love them and would purchase more fruit just to display them in their full glory.  And they will be in my dream house.

Live Sweetly :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010


With the first week of March coming to a close, we are getting closer and closer to the first day of spring.  And even closer to the few weeks of the year when I can enjoy my favorite flower....

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, "The Sensitive Plant"

1. Image from mcsummerchick
2. Image from Imagemakercan
3. Image from Luigi FDV

Live Sweetly :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Holy Hugs

About a month ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to begin serving for GRIP Outreach for Youth as a coach for a program called SLAM. SLAM is held weekly on Monday nights for at-risk youth to come and spend an evening in prayer, fellowship, learning about the gospel, and sports. It’s a huge honor to be a coach, and even in this short amount of time, I can already see transformation in the lives of these kids…and in me.

Last weekend, one of my SLAM girls was baptized. To celebrate and show support, another coach and I piled in a car with 4 other girls and drove to the way south side of Chicago.

As we rounded the corner of 45th and Princeton, we came upon a church called Fellowship Baptist Missionary Church, otherwise known as “The Ship” to its members. I felt like a fish out of water for a few reasons, but mostly the look and feel of this church was nothing like what I’m used to. Well, the look wasn’t that different. It was a brown brick building with some stained glass windows and a big door that lead into the sanctuary. The inside had rows of pews that formed a semi circle around the altar and there were pews behind for the choir. The feeling, though, was different and it struck a chord with me.

This church had ENERGY. The people were EXCITED. The pastor spoke with outbursts of PASSION. The choir sang from deep within their SOULS.

I was amazed and delighted by this difference. The feeling in this church was contagious. I found myself standing up, clapping and dancing along with the opening song with a chorus that was so simple, yet so powerful….


Listen to a version of this same song here.  It's called Awesome by William Murphy.

This first song was followed by a few others, and then the pastor was introduced. Pastor Jenkins made his way up the aisle with roaring applause from the congregation.

My first thought was, “Why don’t I cheer on and encourage our pastor’s as they take their place at the podium? Why don’t we exalt the church leaders for sharing God’s word at my church?”

Shortly after this thought, Pastor Jenkins said, “Thank you all for coming to join us at The Ship today. We’d like to welcome all of our newcomers. Would all of you first timers stand up so we can welcome you.”

Cori, the other SLAM coach, and I look at each other with wide eyes and slowly stand up. As if we didn’t stick out enough already, now we had to stand up?!? We were both a little nervous. Pastor Jenkins says, “We thank the Lord for bringing you here today. We hope to see you come back again. Everybody, before they sit down, make sure that they get a HOLY HUG!”

Immediately after I look around and see countless pairs of arms wide open ready to give me a hug and welcome me to this church. I was touched. I was no longer an outsider. I had no reason to be nervous. I was welcomed into this church family.

Even though I’m lucky to already have a home at Park Community Church, I plan on going back to The Ship every so often. I don’t want to lose the ENERGY, EXCITEMENT, and PASSION, and I want to feel those things in the depths of my SOUL.

I also want to give lots of HOLY HUGS.

Live Sweetly :)


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Paris in the Springtime

Look through this amazing collection of photos of Paris in the Springtime....

....while listening to this song.

Mark Copeland - I Love Paris

I love paris in the spring time
I love paris in the fall
I love paris in the summer when it sizzles
I love paris in the winter when it drizzles

I love paris every moment
Every moment of the year
I love paris, why oh why do I love paris
Because my love is here

Live Sweetly :)

Life is a Rollercoaster

“Life can be like a roller coaster...
And just when you think you've had enough,
and your ready to get off the ride and take the calm, easy merry-go round...

You change your mind, throw you hands in the air and ride the roller coaster all over again.
That's exhilaration...that's living a bit on the edge...that's being ALIVE."

-Stacey Charter

Monday, March 1, 2010

Music Monday 03-01-10

For Lent this year, I decided to do makle a promise to devote my time commuting to work for prayer and listening to Christian music.  So far, it has been great!  I've actually begun to look forward to driving in the car, which is amazing after having spent almost 3 years with an hour long drive to and from work.

Since this Music Monday falls in the middle of Lent, it's the perfect time to share one of the songs that I keep replaying over and over on my morning drive.  This song is by an amazing Christian artist named Jeremy Camp.  His story is truly inspiring, and his lyrics get right to the heart of things.  Please read along as you listen.

Jeremy Camp - Take A Little Time

I picture all the things that I have seen,
All the broken hearts and tainted memories,
All I see are, all these needs.
I'm tired of my selfish tragedies.
It's time that we show,
The hope that we all know.

And, take just a little time,
To give your hand,

See the world,
And take just a little time and try to understand,
That there's more going on,
Than what these eyes can see.

I came across this torn down empty street.
How helpless that I felt,
A burning urgency,
And all I see in front of me,
Are all the faces fading from this vacant scene.
It's time that we show,
The hope that we all know.

And take just a little time,
To give your hand,
See the world,
And take just a little time and try to understand,
That there's more going on,
Than what these eyes can see.

I know it all seems complicated,
There's nothing more that could be stated,
Now, is the time to kneel,
Reaching out to what is real,
So many times I've hesitated,
How much I feel my heart is aching, now.
Ohh, now.

And take just a little time,
To give your hand.
Take just a little time,
To give your hand,
See the world,

And take just a little time and try to understand,
That there's more going on,
Than what these eyes can see.

I wish everyone a blessed day and a glorious week.  Only 3 weeks until the first day of spring!

Live Sweetly :)
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