Birthday Celebrations

Birthday cakes are the picture of happiness. Sugar-overload, celebration-happiness baked in a pan and served with a smile. I just love to bake a cake, putting little touches here and there (such as handmade birthday bunting flags), and to offer it as a gift and celebration of friendship, of life, of good things that have been and good things that are to come.
Gluten-free chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting…with organic strawberry milk.
It makes me happy. 
How could it not?
Sending so many good wishes for the coming year to the birthday girl! 
Happy Birthday and Lots of Love!
xo!

Goodnight

After a weekend with my boyfriend, I feel like I could conquer the world. It’s such a wonderful feeling, my dears. What makes you feel like you could conquer the world? 

I’m posting this to remind myself (and you, if you need it), that come Monday morning, I want to hold onto that feeling.
Goodnight!

{P.S.> I drew the winner of the Thankful cards tonight, and I’ll post the winner tomorrow. And also, I’ve got some really fun outfits to share this week.}

Love!
Natalie

Priority Shift

{beautiful, beautiful flowers from my boyfriend, that we picked out at the farmer’s market}

Life is a fluid thing. A fluid, almost-always-out-of-reach, grass-is-always-green-somewhere-else thing.
Normal changes too often for my liking, sometimes. For a home-body, safety-zone girl like me, that’s a bitter truth to swallow. I find beauty in the routine. What’s funny is…I wasn’t always that way. I used to be the first one to jump in the pool, the first one to try the new thing. I’ve just gotten into a routine of routine
So when my routine changes and my priorities shift, it feels….strange and uncomfortable. You know, it’s like, when you’ve been sitting for too long and you stand up too fast and everything spins and is blurry for a bit, and there’s this strange weight pushing you back down again? And the new normal feels like giving something up. I hate giving things up. 
In high school my routine was simple: homework, ballet, and baking. That was it. In college, homework, chapel, and trips to the dollar store or the waffle house or home to do laundry. Now, it’s work, and being alone most of the time. I’ve grown accustomed to the time alone. I’m never lonely, as I have plenty of ideas and thoughts and projects to keep me busy. (But the not speaking until I get to work thing, now that’s a strange one) Even on a more daily basis, some weeks I’m in a routine of an ice cream on the way home from work, or an iced coffee on the way to work. And these have all been good for a time. But would I want to go back to high school routine? Nah. Ice cream every single day? Nah.
My boss’ boss said the other day to me (well, us, as a collective): Your time and energy demands are about to change. And that stuck with me the past few weeks. A new routine is coming my way. And there will be that strange chair-getting-up phenomenon. And I will still rebel against change (even good change) in my stubbornness, and will bemoan the loss of my current (super-totally-comfy/lazy) routine. 
But when whatever-this-change-is is established at the new routine…well, I think I’ll be quite happy. Quite happy, indeed.

Happiness Project

Reading The Happiness Project, and happened to check out the Happiness Issue of Whole Living magazine at the same time at the library. Didn’t even know it! I went for a post-rain walk, gave myself a foot soak, and read a bit while sipping some chamomile tea. Then Skype-d with the boy, who told me that if he were here he’d be giving me hugs and kisses because I had on that cute little smile. I’d call that a pretty good night!

Delight in the Lord

Be faithful to enjoy the small things, dears. Be faithful to keeping your eyes open, your heart open, your self open. Keep space within yourself, so that you can be free to admire, to dream, to enjoy—to delight and to be delighted. I’ve been reading a book that said that our opportunity is to delight those around us. Can you imagine: families, workplaces, communities, where the sole purpose of fellowship with each other was to delight one another? How is that possible?! Well, when we delight in the Lord, He fills us to overflowing with joy. He is so faithful to overflow my life with joy when I spend quality time with Him. He allows my heart to be able and willing to delight others when I take delight in Him.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
   dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
   and he will give you the desires of your heart….
 23 The LORD makes firm the steps
   of the one who delights in him
;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
   for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” 
Psalm 37
We have a joy that is untouchable, because our joy lies in Heaven. This world cannot take it away. Our struggles cannot overpower our joy.  
Our joy has RISEN!
And that, my dear friends, we must share.