Instagram Recap + Good for the Soul GIVEAWAY!

Happy Monday dear ones! Can I just say this weekend was one for the books...Ben finally finished his big preliminary exam, which marks the halfway point of his PhD studies! Can you hear the hallelujah choir singing out as I announce that? Because I can. To celebrate the completion of his exam, we went on a special date Friday night. Like I got all dressed up and even teased my hair kind of date night. We walked to a little cafe right down from our house and had yummy pizza. After dinner we walked to my favorite coffee bar and got lattes.We came back and talked on our porch swing, and rounded out the evening with a marathon viewing of The Office. We spend all day Saturday outside planting our veggies, and cleaning out our flower beds. For dinner, we ate crispy grilled flat-bread pizza (yes, pizza two nights in a row...don't hate) topped with some of our delicious homegrown herbs. It was the kind of weekend that just makes your heart full. Here is a little Instagram recap. One, because I love IG, and two, because pictures are the best!

In order from left to right.
1. Ben and I were invited to enjoy Easter lunch with a family from our small group, and since we were not with either of our own families, we jumped on the opportunity. I was asked to bring something pretty for the table. So I gathered bunches of pretty hydrangeas and azaleas from my grandmother's yard and added a little chalkboard as well. It was so lovely with all of the fine china and vintage table cloths.

2. We had some good friends over this past week for dinner. It was my first time to cook a few recipes from "Bread & Wine". We went for a Mexican inspired meal, and I made green enchiladas, Esquites (Mexican street corn), and simple black beans. We enjoyed tea and coffee after dinner, and sat at the table until almost filled my heart with gratitude for such dear friends. We want to start doing this once a month, and maybe even cooking through some cookbooks together.

3. Wednesday I was super blessed to come home from staff meeting to some happy mail. Totally a surprise, and if you know me even a little you know how excited I get about mail. I was jumping up and down when I ripped into the packages! A new journal, hand painted tablespoon measures, little ceramic bowls and TWO sets of stationary. Swoon. I am so thankful for the body of Christ.

4. My bestie, Sera Beth, came to eat lunch with me. We had not seen each other since her wedding so it was such a great time of catching up, and eating lots of fried southern food at one of our favorite restaurants in Starkville. Blue plate specials are the best in my book. Check out Sera Beth's adorable clothing company here, and her appearance on Oh, Simple Thoughts here.

5. Our mess of a kitchen table. We have been working hard to build up our "puppy fund" for when we bring little Piper home in June. Ben has been burning cutting board non stop it seems like...(did you know we make personalized wood cutting boards? Great wedding, anniversary, or house-warming gifts) and I am helping a college friend with redesigning her blog for a little extra pay. All this means our kitchen table has become a work space...and sometimes there is joy in messes.

6. Meet Joyful Papery. Emily the face behind this adorable Etsy shop is a radiant light for Jesus that all of you need to get to know. Her work is incredible. Congrats again to one of my blogging bestie's, Madison, for winning this print in my Flash Giveaway Friday!

7. Selfie!! I jumped in on The Naptime Diaries #FridayIntroductions this week, and loved it. Already connected with some lovely new ladies!

8. Date great, and recaped above! :)

9. Saturday Breakfast. French Toast, made with homemade French Bread, French press coffee, and whole was bliss, and apparently we love the French? :)

So this was a blissful week/weekend! In other news, I love to read good books. There is something about sitting down with a new book that just makes my heart race...that is my happy place. Coffee in one hand, a great novel in the other, that is my definition of bliss. So naturally when I was thinking through what to select for this month's giveaway I landed on something related to literature. I am very particular about giveaways that I host. I want them to fall in line with the mission of my blog. I want them to encourage, build up, strengthen you...I do not want to add junk to your life, but rather give away things that enrich our lives as women seeking after Jesus. 

I mentioned last week that I been reading Shauna Niequist's book "Bread & Wine", well I am thrilled to announce that I am teaming up with some of my favorite other bloggers to bring you not just this book but two other best selling books written by Shauna Niequist! I pray that the winner of this giveaway is inspired to seek the Lord more in so many ways. Each book focuses on something different but share the common theme of pursuing the Lord more. 

"Cold Tangerines"- This is a book dedicated to finding the Lord and his purpose in the everyday things of our life. I think we can often walk through life and forget to stop and find joy in the very mundane and everyday things. This book is dedicated to celebrating life and joy found in simplicity and everyday things.

"Bittersweet"- This book focuses on the good and the hard things that we face in life...the premise is that life is full of sweet moments and bitter moments. Life that is simply sweet, or simply bitter is not realistic. There will be trouble, and there will be great joy. Shauna speaks to this balance and how to see the Lord's hand in troubles and joy. 

"Bread & Wine"- This book is my favorite of the three. As someone who loves to cook, this book spoke to me in such a deep way. It resonated with me on so many levels. I am currently cooking my way through the recipes included in the book, and having a blast. This would be a great book to read/cook through with a group of friends. Such a sweet reminder to live intentional lives investing in the ones that we love.

We are also giving away a $25 giftcard to Starbucks because my hope is that whoever wins this giveaway will have the chance to enjoy a great cup of their favorite coffee while tucked away in a corner diving into these lovely books. 

BUT WAIT, there's more! It just keeps getting better. We are also giving away a gorgeous print by ohmydeer Etsy shop of a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. I have always loved this particular quote and when I saw this print about 6 months ago I fell in love.

I am so happy to bring this giveaway to you guys, but without the help of some lovely blog friends of mine this would not be possible! Meet your co-hosts:

The winner of the giveaway will be announced Monday, May 5th. All entries will be verified, so make sure to play fair! :) Good Luck!