Author

Danielle Cosgrove

I don’t know about you guys, but if there’s one thing that we always have in our home, it’s a box of cereal.  That sounds silly, but my husband is basically a cereal monster and would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if he could ( well, actually sometimes he does). Something that he’s asked me for ages to make for him is granola, which until this year I never attempted for some strange reason (poor guy).  He absolutely loves the way his mom makes it and I am a big fan of hers myself!

 I remember the first Christmas I spent with Jay’s family, and how she would make a humongous batch and give it to all the kids, as part of their gifts. This year my hubby and I gave gift baskets to my family at Christmas, and we filled them with some granola, and it was a hit! Homemade gifts in general are the best, in my humble opinion, and I loved giving some of this deliciousness away! When I took a stab at making a batch of my own, I wanted to mostly stick to the way my mother in law makes hers. So with her permission,  I’m sharing her homemade granola recipe, with a few tweaks of my own, with you all today! I usually double the recipe so that we have a lot to

IMG_7912

HOMEMADE GRANOLA

OVEN: 325°

  • 4 Cups Rolled Old Fashioned Oats
  • ½ Tsp  Salt (Do not double the salt if you are making a double batch of the recipe)
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut (I prefer unsweetened, but either will work)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts (I like to use almonds and walnuts in mine).
  • 1/2 Cup Sesame Seeds or 1/4 Cup Flax (I like to use chia seeds)
  • 1/4 Cup Brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Cup Honey or Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Oil ( I use coconut or olive oil)
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins (I prefer Craisins, but hubby likes raisins, so I do a mixture) Do not add to the granola until out of the oven and cooled. 

 

STEP ONE: Preheat oven and combine all dry ingredients well in a separate bowl 

STEP TWO: Mix together wet ingredients until the oil is no longer separating ( I did this with a spoon, but you can also use a whisk or an electric mixer)

IMG_7963

STEP THREE: Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and stir to a fairly even consistency and spread out in a shallow baking pan (The largest pan I have is a turkey roasting pan, so that’s what I used and it worked great!)

IMG_7966

STEP FOUR: Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent the sides and top from burning 

STEP FIVE: Remove the yummy goodness from the oven and allow to cool. Add raisins/fruit of choice and mix well!

IMG_8057-2

My favorite thing about making granola is the delicious aroma that fills our home while it’s baking! And whether it’s for a bowl of cereal, a topping for your yogurt (Chia Seed Pudding is my personal favorite!) or just something yummy to munch on, my hubby and I have no problem devouring a whole batch of this stuff ourselves. I usually store our granola in a large mason jar + bag and refrigerate the rest until we’re ready to use it!

I hope that this recipe was helpful, and has you running out the door to go pick up all the ingredients you need to make some for yourself! Thank so much for reading and please let me know how it turns out for you!

 

 

IMG_7212

In A perfect, sinless world, this task would be a piece of cake.  There would be nothing but peace, joy and unity among us. We would love and respect each other effortlessly. We would place the feelings and needs of others before our own, without even batting an eyelash. We wouldn’t struggle with things like offense, jealousy or bitterness.  But we do not live in a perfect world and we most definitely aren’t perfect people. We fail to treat each other with love and respect all the time. We say goodbye to friendships, stir up gossip, and waste away in our bitterness over petty misunderstandings and silly quarrels. And I know full well that there can be deeper, more painful and very complicated causes for this, too,  but regardless of how little or severe the circumstance, the way we are called to respond does not change.

We are a rotten bunch, and in our own strength, we cannot change the course of this troubling cycle we find ourselves in.  It is only Jesus, His perfection and His righteousness that give us the ability to love, forgive, honor and value others. It’s only by His grace and His power in us that we can rise above our sinful nature, give selfishness, pride and bitterness a knuckle sandwich and serve our brothers and sisters selflessly. Jesus Christ is the only hope we have for loving others deeply and serving them well.

Phillipians 1:9-11 says:

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

This cannot be accomplished by our own will power. We cannot follow through on Paul’s charge to us outside of communion with God and a desire to learn the truth of His Word. When we fail to set our gaze on Christ and all that is of Christ, we fail to possess true wisdom and discernment, leading us down that nasty, selfish and loveless path. We must strive to partake of the bread of life (it’s called that for a reason, folks!) as often as we possibly can. We must daily draw from the well and drink up its living water. Not only to gain more knowledge about Christ, but to apply what we’ve  learned to the way we live every part of our lives and how we treat others.

I couldn’t sleep last night and these were some of the things on my mind. I am daily in need of these reminders and just wanted to share this on the blog in case it hit home for someone else.  Whether you’re battling with hurt, anger, pride, discouragement or even hatred, know that the grace of God is greater than all our sin and it has the power to renew our minds and hearts. He is the true and only one who can save us from our mess, free us from our chains and fill us with a pure, righteous and holy love towards others.

 

Grace, grace, God’s grace

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within

Grace, grace, God’s grace 

Grace that is greater than all our sin

IMG_7251

 

 

 

 

img_7656

Finally! My most favorite time of year has arrived and our home has been full of nothing but Christmas music, movies, baking and decorating ever since. We’ve also been keeping real busy lately working on some fun, holiday DIY projects for our home. One of those projects being the ornaments for our tree. I knew that I wanted to make them myself this year, because I had a specific style and color combo in mind. Months ago my hubby and I were wandering around IKEA (Yes, lots of our date nights consist of walking around IKEA daydreaming) and I spotted some solid black ornaments. I loved their simple, classic look and knew that was the route I wanted to go for our tree this year, with white and gold too, of course. But as much as I love my black, white and gold combos, I just have to have some red in my house around Christmastime. I love the traditional pairing of deep reds and greens together, and how warm and cozy my home feels when I incorporate them here and there. So I decided to use all of these colors for our tree, along with the unique ornaments that my husband and I have collected over the years. I had contemplated a number of ideas for these ornaments initially, such as painting designs or lettering my favorite Christmas lyrics and quotes on them, but I really just wanted to keep it simple, clean and classy this year. Which I’m really glad about, because life has been seriously cray over here and I just could not have made the time to do more than that without blowing a gasket!

img_7547

For all of my supplies, I went to good ole’ Hobby Lobby  and picked up a few boxes of various sized clear ornaments, fillers,  and all of my spray paints. Thanks to their amazing sales, I got the ornaments 50% off and the paints 30% off! I decided that for my red ornaments, I was going to simply fill some of the larger ones with tinsel, and put some fun gold glitter in the rest. That’s where the handy dandy 40% off coupon came in,  so I had a discount on literally everything I purchased (SCORE). It can be really tricky spray painting the exterior of an ornament (Lord help), due to the overall coverage and color inconsistencies, especially when you’re working with white, but it didn’t take me very long to get everything covered evenly. While the black, white and gold ornaments were drying, I worked on filling the larger ornaments and then just spray painted their silver caps gold. Instead of hooks for my ornaments, I used my favorite black and natural jute twine, as well as some extra white ribbons I had lying around.

img_7567

Once all of the ornaments were ready to go, Jay and I went crazy on the tree! I absolutely love how everything turned out and think that these ornaments complement the ones we already had so well. Something else that I was pretty proud of this year was our tree topper! I could not find what I was looking for anywhere and tree toppers can be so pricey in general, so I decided to do that myself, as well. I stopped by HomeGoods one afternoon and came across a large, silver and sparkly star ornament. It was just the right size and style I wanted for our tree (and it was only $3)! So I just used some of the extra gold spray paint I had and voila, the perfect topper!

img_7706

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be much of an artist or if you’re just not that into DIY’s, this really is such an easy way to make decorations of your own, and would also be a really fun family project! I know that this is something that I would love for my husband and I to do as a tradition with our future kids. Thank you all so much for reading! I hope that this project gets your creative juices flowing and your hearts full of Christmas cheer. Only 20 more days until Christmas, people! EEP!

img_7691

 

 

img_7408-2

Early last month, I received a random email from a shoe company in Manhattan, New York,  called Talaria Flats. I was asked  if I would be interested in collaborating with their brand, which was really exciting for me! However, being that I knew nothing about the business, nor their quality of shoe, I wasn’t sure if it would be something I’d be interested in promoting. But after inquiring further and finding out that the shoes were ballet flats (which I’ve never owned or worn), I became very curious to try them on and see how comfortable they were. So I decided that I would give them a shot. If I loved them, swell! But if I wasn’t a fan, I would just kindly send them back and decline.

img_7357-2-blogimg_7316-blog

I remember the day that I got them in the mail, so very anxious to try them on and to see how they looked in person. Before even seeing the shoes, I was already a pretty big fan, because of the cute little gold pouch that they came in. Ya’ll,  I am not even kidding when I tell you that these flats are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn in my life. I was completely blown away by how wonderful they felt to walk in and how adorable they were! The color that I went with was the Premium Champagne, because I love me a champagne/gold combo and I don’t have any shoes in that color. At first I was a bit nervous about going with this shade, because I wasn’t sure whether they’d be too sparkly and/or obnoxious for my taste, but they really exceeded my expectations! Besides the comfort factor, which is HUGE (can I get an amen, ladies?!)  I just love how much of a statement the flats make with my outfits, but without being too over the top. I wish that I would have known about these shoes before my wedding, because they would have matched our color scheme perfectly and my bridesmaids would have been SO comfortable in them all day! Unfortunately, I had to put them in the most uncomfortable heels and they were miserable. Those heels were the only ones I could find that matched our colors, but if I would have known about Talaria, we definitely would have gone this route instead!

img_7282-blogimg_7311-blog

I honestly cannot say enough great things about these shoes and want all of my girlfriends to own a pair! I actually went online and bought another pair in Premium Black, because I was so happy with the Champagne flats. It was really exciting finding a black flat that is both stylish and comfy, because I’ve needed a pair for so long and have struggled  to find some that meet both needs. And since the black pair is so versatile, I will probably wear them with just about everything! Talaria has several different colors to choose from: Silver, Champagne, Black and White. It’s a fact that you need these shoes in your life and that you will love them!

As far as the rest of my outfit goes, this black on white combo is from none other than the amazing Target! If you know me, you’re pretty aware that I am a huge fan of black and white. I love that it’s simple, but classy and that you can basically pair anything you want with the two colors. My black on white Woven Top is from the WhoWhatWear Collection and my Black Mid-Rise Skinny jeans are from the Mossimo collection. By the by, Target jeans are what’s up and I cannot believe that I didn’t own any before now. I currently have two pairs, both being my most favorite pairs of jeans!  They fit my body type so well and the quality is very impressive. Thanks to the Cartwheel app (which I am completely obsessed with and save LOADS of money using), I received a 25% off discount when I bought my jeans and they were already buy one get one 50% off in the store! Talk about a bargain! So be sure that you keep your eyes peeled for those major discounts instead of paying regular price, which I strive never to do.

img_7329-2-blogimg_7381-blog

This combination of black, white and gold is my usual go to, but I also enjoy adding fun pops of color to my wardrobe. With it being the beautiful month of October, I added a festive, Classic V-Neck Cardigan from F21 in Chestnut, to spice things up! Also pictured is my go to accessory, a simple Gold Charm Necklace, also from F21, that I basically wear with everything! It always adds the perfect touch to my outfits, whether they be dress casual or fancy fancy. My purse is a gorgeous brown leather equestrian handbag from Dooney & Bourke! I can’t get over the quality of these bags and how stylish they are. I’m a sucker for brown leather, because it looks great with pretty much anything! I am realizing, though,  that most of my bags are this color, so I might need to branch out and try something new. You can never have too many cute handbags, right?!

I hope this blog gives you your fashion fix for the day and has introduced you to and/or provided you with more information on some amazing pieces of clothing! Keep up with my styling/product tips on Instagram @thelowlylife, and stay tuned for more content on the blog. Thanks so much for reading!

img_7375

 

 

 

img_6986-2

img_7020-2

Saturday was my seester’s baby shower and I am so thankful that I was able to make it work to be here for it. I’ve missed out on pretty much her entire pregnancy with Lorien, due to living 26 stupid hours away from each other, so getting to come home for a couple of weeks to celebrate and be together has been really special for me. My niece will be here NEXT MONTH, people! I cannot even believe it’s almost time for her arrival. I wanted to make some homemade gifts for Lorien in time for the shower, so for the past couple of months I have been one busy bee!

My seester and brother in law are obsessed with LOTR! They are naming their daughter Lorien, after Lothlorien, which was the kingdom of the elves in Middle Earth. They have incorporated LOTR into many parts of their lives, their home and now in Lorien’s nursery. I wanted to create accents that would compliment how they’ve decorated thus far, so I first made a canvas with one of their favorite quotes from The Hobbit, using deep reds and vibrant golds. I also made a handlettered, hand painted banner for the shower, that they could also use to decorate Lorien’s room, as well. Most of all, though, I really had my heart set on building something special with my husband for our future niece. He is so talented and makes gorgeous stuff for me all of the time, so I thought it would be fun to build something fun and practical for Lorien, I just wasn’t exactly sure what it was going to be at first. 

Earlier this year, I came across a darling idea from The Merry Thought’s blog for a DIY Wooden Baby Gym and I immediately knew that I wanted to do something very similar to it for Lorien. Thankfully, I have the most amazing husband who helps me with any and all woodworking projects (or any projects for that matter), so we gathered the materials needed and began the process of building! We made a few adjustments to the design of this baby gym for Lorien, but nothing too crazy. We first decided to use oak instead of pine wood, based off of  personal preference and durability. We also decided to stain the wood, using a color tone that blended well with my seester and brother in law’s home, plus, who doesn’t love a rich, dark stain? Can I get an amen?!

img_6667

img_6741

img_6782

img_6828

img_6887

img_6921

img_6914

After cutting, sanding and staining the wood, all that was left was to assemble and decorate the baby gym! I absolutely loved the simplicity of this design and the fact that it folds up, can be easily compartmentalized and transported. I hope that this little labor of love will be a source of entertainment and sheer joy for our niece. It’s been very difficult, to say the least, not being here for my seester and helping her during the pregnancy, but it’s been even more difficult just thinking about the distance and disconnect that they’ll be between me and Lorien. I don’t really know how I’ll be able to handle it really, but doing little things like this for her have been a big help for me during this time and I hope and pray that Lorien feels dearly loved by her aunt and uncle, no matter how far away we are from her. Thanks again to The Merry Thought for this brilliant idea and thank you all for reading! 

 

 

ANNIVERSARY1

Today I am celebrating 3 wonderful years of being married to my very best friend! These past 3 years with Japheth have been the happiest and absolute best of my life.  I remember daydreaming about my future husband as a young girl, wondering what he would be like and how our lives would look together. Any dream or expectation I could have ever had was exceeded beyond measure when God brought this man to me. I feel treasured by him every single day and he fills our home with grace and deep, deep love. He doesn’t go a day without telling me that I am beautiful and that he loves me. He is the funniest person I have ever met, constantly bringing joy and hysterical laughter to my heart. He treats me with the utmost kindness, patience and gentleness. He is so motivated, so incredibly gifted and so hardworking.  He encourages, pushes and supports all that I do. Whenever I come to him with an idea or dream of mine, he immediately searches for ways to make it a reality. Whenever I see a piece of furniture or home decor that I love but can’t afford,  he goes right out  and just builds it for me. When I am stressed out (story of my life), discouraged or scared, he is always there to comfort me, pray with me and make me laugh. More importantly, though, he reminds me of the goodness of God and the greatness of His love for me everyday. 

ANNIVERSARY2

In the short time that Japheth and I have been married, we’ve been on some wild adventures and endured great hardships. We’ve celebrated many victories and have had to face some of the most crippling circumstances together. But I can honestly say, that it is because of Christ and only because of Christ, that we have hope, strength and rest for our souls when our world is shaken. Because of His mercy and grace over us, we can be fully equipped to love and care for each other in every season of life and in the very best way. God has blessed me far more than I deserve, with a man that desires to honor Him above all else, leading our home righteously and in turn loving me well. We have changed and grown a lot over the years as individuals, but even more so in our relationship with each other. God has used these past few years, all of the triumphs, failures and heartbreaks, to strengthen our faith in Him and to bring us even closer together. Our lives are not perfect, we are definitely not perfect and we don’t have marriage “figured out”,  but there is such peace in knowing that the Creator of all things, the One who IS perfect! He is with us. He is guiding our steps. He is faithful to lead and teach us along the way, as we remain faithful and obedient to Him. Our prayer is to daily live out Ephesians 5 towards one another and to bring glory to God in all that we do. I know that there are many more adventures and struggles to come in our lives, but there is not a soul in the world that I would rather face them with than Japheth. Happy Anniversary, to my favorite person, my leader, my bae, my snuggle buddy, my dance partner, my sweetie, my hero, my love. It is the greatest gift and joy being your wife. I love you!

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

… for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,  for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” 

Ephesians 5: 1-2, 8-33

ANNIVERSARY12

 

 

 

 

TGB-BLOG

A year ago today, I had to be really, really brave. My husband and I had completed our very first EP for our band, The Great Beholding, and it was time to share the music we created with the world. Sharing my songs with people, let alone singing them in front of my husband, is absolutely terrifying to me. My music is such a humongous part of who I am, no, THE biggest part of who I am and it’s a very uncomfortable thing for me to be open and vulnerable with it, period! I’ve always dealt with insecurities and have never been a confident person, but it’s especially with my music and singing that I struggle the most. It’s funny/ironic how passionate you can be about something, knowing it’s what you were called to do, and still struggle so much to pursue it boldly, without restraint. But over the years, God has shown me and is continuing to show me more and more, that I can fully trust Him and the calling He has entrusted to me, allowing me to be more bold, raw and real with people.

Screenshot (7)

About 2 years ago, my husband and I knew that it was time to pursue music together. We didn’t really know exactly what that looked like, who it involved or  how we would make it work, but we just knew we had to do it. Thankfully, God has filled our lives with friends who are the most phenomenal musicians and engineers! They graciously came right alongside of us to help write the music for and to record our first project. I do not play an instrument (Someday, I will play the piano!), read music, or know much at all about theory, unfortunately. When I write, the song in its entirety (music, melodies, tempo, etc.) is in my head and the only way I am able to communicate how it sounds to anyone, is by singing it. So basically, I am one big pain in the rear for anyone that writes with me! But it always completely amazes me how our friends are able to work with the little that I give them and create beautiful music to accompany the songs. So much time, love, talent and energy was poured into this 3 track project and I am so grateful to everyone that helped us make it happen. I would also like to give a huge shout out to my beautiful friend, Kimmy Alsheimer, the owner and founder of Drift Design Co. Kimmy designed our logos and album art and gave us exactly what we wanted. She does the most amazing work and you should most definitely have her design something for you too! 

In honor of our one year anniversary, I wanted to share our 3 track EP on the blog today, for anyone that didn’t get the chance to hear it when it was first released last year. It’s nothing spectacular, the songs aren’t exactly where I would like them to be yet, and we are a continual work in progress, but I am still so proud of this music and am so thankful we had the opportunity to record it. Our EP is available on  iTunes, Spotify and Bandcamp if you’re interested in purchasing it and supporting our band. Our desire is to bring glory to Jesus and to proclaim His goodness through our music. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to write, prepare and pursue this aspect of ministry together. 

Like us on Facebook  and follow us on  Instagram!

TGB-Favicon

IMG_6517

My husband and I absolutely love having people in our home. There is just something so special and intimate about bringing people into your very own space and not only getting to serve them, but also deepen your relationship with them. For me, it doesn’t get much better than to have a group of friends over, relaxing on the couch and enjoying some good coffee and conversation. One of the problems I always seem to  run into whenever we have guests over, is not having enough coasters for people to put their drinks on. When my husband and I were on our honeymoon in the Adirondacks, almost 3 years ago, we brought back a unique set of 4 coasters with us and never bought more after that.  Now I know this may sound silly and not seem like  a big deal, but when majority of your furniture is wooden (and most of it has been handcrafted by your super talented husband), you can be a bit paranoid about damaging it.

IMG_6391-(2)

One day I was making my usual weekly stop at Hobby Lobby to pick up a few things and came across a package of 4×4 canvas panels. The minute I laid my eyes on these bad boys, I decided to make some DIY coasters with them! I ended up buying a couple packages because I wasn’t sure how many I wanted to make.  I also picked up some water-resistant, acrylic gloss coating to finish off the panels, in order to protect their design. When I got them home I decided that I’d start with 5 and just make some more later if necessary. For my coasters, I wanted to go with a simple, abstract design for each one, using black and white (my faves!) as the color scheme. This DIY is inexpensive ( under $10, people!), so easy and so fun! I loved being able make my own set, using colors and designs that best suited our home. 

IMG_6398-(2)

Materials:

  • White 4×4 Canvas Panels
  • Acrylic paints
  • Clear acrylic gloss coating (I purchased the Tree House Studio brand)

IMG_6444

Just slop on some paint, allow it to dry,  finish off your work with the gloss coating and BOOM! You’re all set for your next big gathering and all the beverages your house can hold. The fumes of the gloss coating are very strong, so I highly recommend spraying your panels outdoors. The coating dries within minutes so you won’t have to wait too long to give your new coasters a test run!   If you tried this project and liked it (or hated it), I’d love to hear all about it. If you need me, I’ll just be over here sipping on some fresh squeezed strawberry mint lemonade, celebrating the fact that it’s finally the weekend. Thanks so much for reading!

IMG_6556-(2)

This past year has been one of the darkest, most heartbreaking and scariest seasons of my life. It’s felt suffocating and overwhelmingly exhausting at times. But I give glory to God that I can truly say, in spite of crippling circumstances, my husband and I are learning  beautiful lessons about the grace, mercy and sovereignty of God,  in ways that we never have before. It’s been very easy for me to lose heart, depriving my soul of the joy, hope and peace that Christ gives, but I have seen and tasted of His goodness in the midst of hardship and am so thankful and awed by Him for that.

 At the end of last year, I was in a really dark place, questioning anything and everything about myself, but also putting a lot into question about what I knew (or thought I knew) about God. It felt like a constant tug of war, fighting against my doubts, trying to remain confident in not only the character of God, but His genuine heart and affections towards me as His child. During this season, I was searching the scriptures, desperately digging for some sort of solution or answer that resonated with what I was going through and how I was handling it. Years ago, the Lord laid John 15 on my heart to meditate on and memorize, so I began intently reading it and became deeply connected to its message. Each time I am brought back to these verses, they always take on a new and deeper meaning for me. This time in particular, I began reading through them over and over, doing my best to cling tightly to their truth and the Lord immediately gave me inspiration for a song.

For as long as I can remember, God has used music specifically to speak to me and gave me the passion for worship and songwriting at a very young age. I’ve written a numerous amount of songs, but the songs that I feel deeply connected to and that God has used most in my life,  are the ones that have been written in the dark and devastating seasons that I’ve faced. The song that came from John 15 is one of those timely, life-giving ones for me. God is so good and so gracious, that when I am at my weakest and my heart is the most fragile, he stoops to meet me and plants inspiration. After finishing this song,  I shared it with my husband and we began the process of adding some sort of music to it. My husband and I recently started a band together called The Great Beholding and are slowly but surely preparing for pursuing this aspect of ministry together. Once we finished the writing process, I knew that it was something I needed to share. I know that this song is simple and nothing mind blowing, but  I think that the simplistic, profound words of Jesus in this passage are easily forgotten and we all need to be reminded of them.  

Jesus lays out in a nutshell how we are to live our lives and what gives them purpose. When we are in Christ and abiding in His fullness, we are lacking nothing and are overflowing with joy. Submitting our lives to Christ’s call and remaining faithful to Him, brings a satisfaction like nothing else and it gives us the ability to be fruitful and pleasing in His sight. So many times I have fallen short and missed out experiencing His goodness in this way, by taking my own path and losing sight of this truth. It is so applicable and convicting to me on a regular basis and that is why I wanted to share my song on the blog today and be transparent with you all. Praise God that His grace is sufficient and that even in our weaknesses and brokenness, He is mighty to save us from our mess and bring us back to where we belong in Him. I pray that this little tune is an encouragement and comfort to the body of Christ and that it draws you closer and takes you deeper in your walk with Him.  

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete…” John 15: 1-11

If you’d like to keep up with all of our musical endeavors, like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram @thegreatbeholding!

 

IMG_5996-(3)_edited

Okay, I don’t know about you guys, but I have an insane love for Italian food! For real, ya’ll, when it comes to Italian (aka pizza), the love is deep and the struggle is real. Unfortunately, it’s not always the healthiest option (cheese GALORE), so we don’t usually have it a ton in our home, but when we do, I always try to look for or to create a new recipe, that will spice things up a bit and that won’t clog our arteries! My husband and I have grown to LOVE spaghetti squash and have started making it one of our weekly meals, pretty regularly. It’s such a yummy substitute for the less healthier Italian dishes, and though I love my pastas and pizzas, spaghetti squash never leaves me disappointed.

A few weeks ago, I was looking in our fridge, unsure of what I wanted to make for dinner. I had some spaghetti squash and the remainders of a loaf of french bread to use up, as well as some provolone cheese, and pasta sauce. Then the idea to create some sort of crostini with it all came to mind, and so I just went with it. This idea isn’t mind blowing, I know, but I was rather giddy over coming up with it and it turned out to be so delicious! This has become a HUGE favorite in our home and so I thought I would share the quick, simple and inexpensive recipe with you all, in case anyone else wants to give it a try!

Ingredients

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 loaf of your favorite fresh baked bread
  • Provolone (or mozzarella) cheese
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • Olive (or coconut) oil
  • Dried (or fresh) Basil for garnishing
  • Salt & Pepper

Oven: 375 ͒

IMG_6045-(3)

IMG_6051-(2)_edited

Step 1: Prepare & Bake Squash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut your spaghetti squash in half and scoop out all of the seeds and excess inside. After doing this, lightly coat your squash with olive oil and add salt and pepper to each half. Place the squash face down onto your baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.

IMG_6108_edited

Step 3: Scrape Er’ Out!

Once your squash has cooled, Use a fork to scrape out the squash, creating spaghetti-like strands. Lightly toast your bread in the oven while doing this, so that it won’t become soggy when you apply the toppings.

IMG_6118-(3)

IMG_6132-(2)

IMG_6141-(2)_edited_edited

Step 4: Prepare Crostini

For each slice of bread, top with a generous amount of squash, pasta sauce, and a half slice of cheese. Garnish with basil (I used dried, but I’m sure fresh basil would be glorious), and toast in the oven until the cheese is fully melted.

IMG_6164-(2)

And there you go! So simple, tasty and filling. I plan to fool around with Spaghetti Squash Crostinis lots more in the near future, adding different ingredients and having more fun with the recipe. Thanks so much for reading, and enjoy!