Monday, October 29, 2012


Dear Readers,

Allow me to share my heart with you today.

Since we've arrived here in Florida, I have not shared much of what we have been doing. So that is going to change.

Praise the Lord, my husband got a job at a Starbuck literally ONE BLOCK from our new apartment!
{Yes, our beautiful, little, second-story apartment! I love it!}
I took this photo walking home from his the late October!

We are finally settling in, searching thrift stores for more furniture, and starting to develop some good normalcy in life, for which I am so thankful!

And I finally got a chance to recreate a piece of furniture.
{Post coming soon!}
I'm loving this piece in our bedroom right now.

Our apartment is blessing from God. Honestly, it was the only one we looked at. An upstairs apartment 1 block from downtown and about 8 blocks from the beach...seriously? And the number one selling point? The price. God is so good!

The only downside to our dreamy little the teensy, tiny kitchen. And I LOVE to cook. It took me about a week to get over my fear of baking in such a tiny space. But I finally pulled out my Kitchen Aid mixer and have been in cooking heaven.

And yes, it has to sit on a bar stool. Haha!

The results have been scrumptious!

My work...well, no luck yet in terms of finding a "real" job. But God has provided for me to start tutoring. So far I have 2 students! =) I really, really love working with my students and helping them to learn, grow, and succeed. God is good.

Additionally I am working on launching my Etsy Shop on November 1st!
{I'm down to less than a week...yikes!}
So in my long hours at home, I have been crocheting and designing like crazy. Stay tuned to see more!

However, as life forms some version of a "new normal", the loneliness and homesickness has started to set in.

Today, I video chatted with my sister so that I could watch my other sister's districts cross country race! I am constantly amazed at how modern technology allows me to be present for important moments like this from literally the other side of the country!

She ran so hard and so well. I was so proud! My little sophomore sister took 4th! She came back from a bad sprain just 3 months ago, and is looking to be a strong contender at State again this year!

And yet when it was all over, I could only cry. I was so proud of her, and yet all I wanted was to be there to hug her and tell her how much I love her. But right now she is over 3,000 miles away...
However, everytime I get very homesick, I look at this...

Another one of my sisters is visiting me over her Christmas break! I think my heart starts pumping faster every time I think about it. I truly am SO excited!

We are going to soak in as much of this...

And this...
As we possibly can! And we're taking a heavily discounted cruise to the Bahamas! =) I couldn't be more excited!
To be totally honest with you all - places can replace people, but every time I go down to the beach, it makes me a bit less homesick.

Some days this past week, I've almost been able to trick myself into thinking I'm back in Washington. Hurricane Sandy brought us two days of of gray skies, rain, and wind, all very familiar to me in the realm of weather. However, we're back to sun and blue skies, minus the humidity and plus a bunch of wind. The effects of Hurricane Sandy, although very minimal, are still seen everywhere here. The main effects are the wind, lack of humidity, mild flooding, and crazy waves at the beach.
I am definitely praying for everyone who is going to have to evacuate or already has. My heart goes out to them all!

Yet in spite of all the loneliness and homesickness, God is good. I am thoroughly enjoying every moment I have with my husband down here...and there are many of them. He is so supportive and loving. When I first started dating him, I knew that if it continued on to marriage, my life would never be the same. And it's not! =)

My husband has been playing music every Wednesday night at a local coffee shop that has an open mic. He's been doing so well and I love hearing him practice so much.

And the church? Thursday nights are a wonderful and encouraging time to serve and to be refreshed in God's Word. Although it is small, I believe that faithfulness in these moments is so important. So we are praying, praying, praying for our city, and trying our best to build relationships and to be faithful with what God has given us for now.

So it's been a lengthy and up and down update. In the end, all I have to say is...

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
Job 19:25-26

God is good. My purpose here in Delray Beach is to bring glory to Him, but then again, that is my mission in life no matter where I live.
God is good.

Be blessed

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Alphabet Week 15: OOO

OOOOOHHHH...WelcOme tO this Over-the-tOp, October editiOn Of...

First Word that Pops into My Head:
Octopus...early today I was watching Food Network's Chopped via YouTube, and they were cooking baby Octopus. So I think that is why this word popped into my head!
{By the way, if you even remotely like cooking, go watch this show! I love it!!! Too bad we don't have tv...haha!}

People I Know:
Oma - This is actually just what I called my Great Grandma Madelyn
Opa - This is what I called her husband, my Great Grandpa Ira
Olga - Mother of a youth group student
Yep...that's about it! Do you know any people with "O" names?

Office Green ??? {Have you ever heard of this color? Me neither...I think it would be better named "Starbucks Green", because really - that's what it is!}

October {The name of this month is just so pretty sounding.}
Openness...with people

Dictionary Word I didn't Know:

Oakus - Wallet or pocket billfold


Orange Juice!!!
Olive Oil {I literally use this ALL the time in cooking}
Oatmeal Cookies

Well, this has been Outrageously exciting. =) Have a beautiful end of October. <3

Be blessed.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Healthy Mixed-Berry Pie

Last week, our dear friends, the Torick's, found out the gender of their baby....
So I made them a pie. =)

And the berry smeared. =( Oh well, it tasted fabulous...I thought. 

Let me preface this recipe by starting, this is NOT a sweet pie. It really emphasizes the naturally tart flavors of the berries and the crust has a saltier flavor that most pie crust. But it is buttery and flaky and I LOVE IT!

You can find the pie crust recipe in my Healthy Apple Pie Post

4-6 cups of frozen mixed berries (mine had blueberries, raspberries, and marion berries)
3/4 cup honey
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Stir well and let sit for 15 minutes so the berries can defrost some.

3. While your berry mixture sits, roll out and prepare just over half your pie crust to be the bottom crust.

4. Stir the berry mixture again and pour into the prepared pie shell.

5. Roll out the remaining pie crust dough and place over the pie.

6. Roll the edges of your dough and use a knife to cut designs into the top crust.
{Note: Be careful not to let any of the filling leak onto the crust, otherwise you will end up with a splotchy design like I did. This is not easy...}

Then place a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream on top or simply enjoy it plain, like I did!

Be blessed.
Alesha <3

Linking Up:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Need Someone to Talk To...

I know that I already posted today, but I've been home alone all day long (I'm a major people person) and so I just needed to spill my guts to someone. =) So here is all the randomness that's been going on in my head today!
Whoever first put caramel and coffee in the same drink was a genius or an angel...or something like that. It is pure heaven!

There are few things that illicit more excitement from me than sitting down with a good book. On that note...I haven't read a book other than my bible in awhile...hmmm.
Once you start cooking regularly, it's hard to stop; but once you stop cooking regularly, it's hard to start again...

There is almost nothing (literally!) that is more relaxing and therapeutic than kneading bread dough. I'm serious! French bread in particular. The dough gets all cream smooth and it is heaven! I can't help but husband laughs at me. =)

Black & White Polka Dots + Red Bow = Minnie Mouse

Well, that's all. =) I hope you enjoyed this bit of randomness. Thanks for letting me get it off my chest. =) You all are awesome! ;-)
So "hi" from me today...

Be blessed.

"Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun..."

We've all heard of this song, right?
(Yes, true story. I had not actually heard this song till I sat down to write this. I decided I'd better listen to it if I was going to title my post after it. Thank you YouTube!)

I feel like this song describes my life sometimes...and I'm not proud of that!

Now, if you know me very much at all you might be saying,
"Alesha! You got a job as soon as you got your license and kept that same job for over five years.
Before that, you cleaned houses with your mom and did childcare at church to earn money.
You graduated with your Associate in Arts Degree at age 18.
You worked 25+ hours a week while pursuing a Bachelors degree.
You got married at 20.
You were a youth leader for 4 years.
You moved across the country with your husband to help start a church.
How in the world does this song describe you?"

And I would reply,
"What you don't see is the hours I spend on social media in a single day without once picking up my bible.
What you don't see are the games I play on my phone when my I have hardly had quality time with my husband...who is sitting right next to me.
What you don't see is all the blog posts I have thought about writing, that never come to fruition...because I don't take the time to simply sit and write.
What you don't see is how it takes me 40 minutes to put away 2 loads of laundry because I'm reading blogs between every piece of laundry I fold.
What you don't see is how I get distracted from praying by thinking my new Etsy shop products."

Are these things bad? No, not at all.

But they are throwing my life off balance. There is not the right balance between work and rest, between toil and fun.

Additionally my mind is not getting a chance to rest. I am struggling to take the time let my heart rest. It has become challenging for me to slow down enough to focus on relationships or to listen to God's voice. Day to day this is a constant battle. You know what?


And that is so freeing to say, because I know that Jesus is my strength. However, if I never take time to connect to the Source of my strength, then how will I continue on?

All that to say, I need a break. God recently convicted me of this when I listened to this message by Pastor Mark Driscoll.

I love how he shares, not from legalism, but from his own brokenness. He is speaking through what God taught him. He is preaching from what God had been teaching him.
I love that!

I know that this sermon is over an hour long, but I encourage you to turn it on while folding laundry or cooking dinner or washing dishes. You will be blessed. You will be challenged. You will be encouraged.

I didn't want to let God penetrate my heart through this sermon, but I knew that I needed to let Him.

So for now, Sundays will be my day of rest from Social Media.
No blogging.
No Twitter.
No Facebook.
No Instagram
...I may still post on Twitter or Instagram, but I won't spend hours searching through posts and catching up on all the gossip. Anything posted will be for the goal of preserving personal memories and connecting with the people closest to me (aka. my family). And I certainly won't be posting anything to do with my blog or shop.
Email may just have to wait.
Blogs I follow? Well, the posts just may not get read.
And that is okay!
Yes, as I write this I still struggle to say all this and believe it. But I know that my heart needs a break. I need a day to stop and be fully present. I need to create balance in my life between work and "fun".

By consciously setting a day aside where I disconnect from social media, I hope that through the rest of the week, I will continue to keep all things in balance.

Do I want to be legalistic about this?

Do I want you to do this to?
Only if you feel God telling you so...this is about me being obedient to God; this is not about you. =)

I am sharing all this for a few reasons, but mainly because I want to share with you what God is doing in my life and heart. Honestly? I'm not looking forward to this. It will be hard for me to put my phone down and not check those notifications. But I know it is good and it is necessary.

It is especially necessary right now as I am about to start up my Etsy shop. (November 1st!!!) My "work" is becoming so integrated with my social life (online) that I need to create just a bit of separation. I need to make sure that I am living in the physical world too, not just the online one.
They are both good, but there must be balance.

So thanks for reading my heart. Please, keep me accountable. And I hope this messages blesses you as much as it did me.
So scroll back up right now and listen to it! ;-)

Be blessed.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Alphabet Week 14: NNN

Welcome to this "Over the Hump" edition of...

First Word that Pops into My Head:
No...ummm, I think this is a bad sign!

People I Know:
Natalia - Sweet new friend in Florida
Natalie - I know a few <3
Nathan - Travis' cousin
Naomi - My (fake) older sister
Natessa - A former fellow youth leader (who is just the sweetest)
Nick - Once again...I know many! =)

Navajo White - What???
Navy Blue
And apparently there aren't many colors that start with the letter "N"

Nighttime - as long as I'm not alone, haha!
Umm...I am sooo drawing a blank...

Dictionary Word I didn't Know:
Nacre - Mother of Pearl

(I didn't know it was called anything other than just "mother-of-pearl"...)

Nacho Cheese Doritos!!!!
Navy Beans
Nutmeg (do spices count as a food?)

And I am officially "over the hump"! Wooohoo!
What? You're confused?
Oh...I'm over the half-way point with this series! =)
Got it now?
Hope you have been having as much fun as I have.

Be blessed.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Influence: Could it Have Been an Answer to Prayer?

For many of you out there, I did not attend the Influence Conference.

Oh, but I wanted to!
I was so jealous and discouraged. But as I followed the Twitter hashtag, kept myself posted through the Instagram awesomeness, and have been reading dozens of recap blog posts, I started thinking...
Me not going to the Influence Conference could have been an answered prayer.
Over the past few days I have read posts from women still riding a spiritual and emotional high from a conference that, for them, was beautiful time of encouragement and joy overflowing. I have read posts from women who were challenged, convicted, and ultimately crushed under the weight of the lessons God was teaching them, only to be rebuilt by the sisterhood around them. I have read posts from women who felt alone, lost, and outside, but ultimately still saw God at work, breaking down the idols and barriers that caused them to feel that way. And then there is me...
I know exactly who I would have wanted to meet if I had been there. These girls are amazing! But there were also another 180 women at the conference. What about them? What if God would have wanted me to meet and connect with someone I had never met? What if the people I desperately wanted to meet didn't want to get to know me?
What if God wanted me to watch from afar and learn that as much as I love and want to build relationship with these amazing women, I can't until I surrender my idols to Him?
What idols?
My idol of being accepted
My idol of being admired
My idol of being part of the "in crowd"
My idol of having my agenda
My idol of being in charge...of who I met, who I connected with, and who I loved on.

Stolen from Shannon's Instagram
So maybe, God was answering all the prayers that were poured out by the leadership of the Influence Conference by having me stay home.
Maybe God was answering their prayers by having some women who attended feel left out.
Maybe God knows best where each of us needs to be in order for us to grow closer to Him.

Stolen from Amy's Instagram
I'm not saying that it is easy. For some of you, it could have been excruciatingly hard. And my heart breaks for you. But the more I reflect on that weekend, the conference weekend, the more i realize what it was about. It was intended to be about Jesus.
It was intended to be about bring each and every woman who attended into a closer and deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
So maybe, just maybe, every regret felt by someone who ignored a call from God, every twinge of loneliness felt by someone ignored, and every sigh of jealously felt by someone who stayed at home was orchestrated by God to teach each of us the very important lessons we needed to learn.

Stolen from Amy's Instagram
So today, I'm thanking God for allowing me to stay home from Influence. And for allowing me to learn from everyone who did attend.
If I get to go next year, I pray that I will be ready to see people with God's eyes and to love them with God's heart...not with my selfish tainted ones.
Be blessed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Womanhood with Purpose

Guess what?

It's Blog Angel announcement time!

And yes, Angie from Womanhood with Purpose was who I got to shower with love! <3

To be totally honest...I forgot about it for about a week or so in the middle. So Angie's blog got some concentrated love and comments from me at the beginning of the month and then right before the link up went live.

And of coarse, I was late with my post. (Sorry Angie!)

I started out focusing just on comments, and then moved to giving a bit of imput. Honestly, reading Angie's blog has been cool. She has a lot of good insight in to marriage and planning.

Check out these posts:

4 Easy Tips on How to Make Healthy Recipes

Are You a Frugal Shopper?

And she posts a daily verse. Today's was,

In Him our hearts rejoise, for we trust in His Holy name.- 

{Psalm 33: 21 NLT}

I will end with Angie's classic closing:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Best Days {with Nicoladee}

Last week one of my favorite bloggers posted this beautiful post of thankfulness.

In her own words, Nichole shared...
"It's really easy for me to live in the future.
To live in a dream world of how our life will be just right when. . ."

And she went on to list all the "when's" in her life. That hit me. What are my "when's"?
What are the things that I am holding my breath for?
That until they happen I won't let myself enjoy life?
Why am I doing that?
Then it hit me...these are our best days.
Amen and amen, sister!
I read this post right when I needed it, just when I needed a perspective shift.
So to join her in celebrating God's infinite goodness I am...
Celebrating God working in mysterious ways to get my hubby a job.
Excitedly pursuing (not one) TWO different ways for me to be self employed!

Planning all the fun things we will do with our new little apartment.

Enjoying the sunshine

Digging my toes into soft, warm sand and marveling that I get to LIVE HERE!

Reveling in the simple pleasure of a Starbucks latte.
Thanking God for the most wonderful and caring husband any girl could ask for.

Be blessed...I sure am.

Let's Talk...Yes, I Mean YOU!

Hello All!

I have news...bloggy news. =) As of today, I am starting to actually use my blog Facebook Page! I know, that's big news, right? Haha! Well, it's true that I set up the page and put up a link to it >>>>>
and then never did a thing. But that is all going to change.

As I watch how other bloggers try to interact with their readers, I have been dissatisfied with the results.  I needed something that would work for me and my readers. Here is my plan:

I will post questions at the end of blog post to try and engage you and get to know you more. Yay!

I will also post weekly discussion questions on Facebook and Twitter for you to interact with. These will probably revolve around the topic of one particular blog post I wrote recently. If you don't want to answer and discuss for everyone to see, you can send me a Facebook message so that we can chat about an issue privately.

But just to be sure that we are on the same page...

These discussion questions aren't just for me and you to get to know each other. They are also for you to get to know other readers and, who knows, maybe make a new friend!

The questions will be on a whole bunch of topics. Crafting, cooking, marriage, family, the bible...who know what else! Hopefully I'll be able to get more than one question out a week so that there will be plenty for everyone to discuss!

The questions posted on Facebook/Twitter will not be posted anywhere else. (Say what???) They will not be on my blog or Instagram (btw...I love Instagram and if you have it you should totally follow me and have me follow you - use @alesha_blessed for Instagram and Twitter).

Finally, this is not a place for you to criticise me. I am totally open to constructive criticism and to helpful feedback. If you even feel I am totally off base in some area, I'd be happy to hear it if you put it out there in a helpful way. But can you do it privately? My email is on my about me page or you could message me on Facebook. Thanks bunches! =)

I hope you are all as excited about this as I am! But let's get going...we have a friendship to get started!

Be blessed.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Alphabet Week 13: MMM

Welcome to the October 13th edition of...

First Word that Pops into My Head:
Mud...why? I have no idea...maybe it's because I haven't seen mud in so long?

People I Know:
Mailey - Daniel and Laura's super adorable little girl
Mark - I know a few
MacKenzie - My awesome cousin
MacGregor - My awesome cousin's ^^^ younger brother (aka. Also my cousin)
Maddy/Madelyn/Madison - I know several people with all sorts of variations of this name! =)
Mandy - Nic Name for my awesome friend Amanda
Maria - I know several sweet Maria's
Mary - Once again...several <3

Midnight Blue
Mint Green
Moss Green

Mirrors - Big ones with fancy frames!
Making food - hahaha!

Dictionary Word I didn't Know:
Maverick -

a lone dissenter, as an intellectual, an artist, or apolitician, who takes an independent stand apart fromhis or her associates: a modern-dance maverick.nonconformist, individualist; free thinker;loner, lone wolf.
a person pursuing rebellious, even potentiallydisruptive, policies or ideas: You can't muzzle a maverick.rebel, cowboy; loose cannon.

...there you have it! =P

Mexican food of any sort!
Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake is pure heaven!
Macadamia Nuts
Mandrine Oranges
Mozzarella Cheese

Guess what?!?!? I'm half way through the alphabet! Wooohoo! Hope you have been having as much fun as I have.

Be blessed.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Spicy Shrimp Linguini

Now that we are safely in Florida, my desire to cook has skyrocketed! And for some weird reason, my desire to eat pasta is hitting an all-time high as well. Thus, this fabulous recipe was born!

And tested over a game of Settlers of Catan (best game E.V.E.R...or pretty close anyways) and a glass of cranberry juice mixed with seltzer water.

I LOVED it, and I think my hubby did as well!

Look at that succulent shrimp!
{I don't really think succulent is the right word, but it is an awesome word, and shrimp is awesomely delicious = perfect fit, right!}
1 medium handfull of Linguin Noodles
1 cup Shrimp (cooked is easier, but I used was cheaper!)
2 cloves Garlic
2 tablespoons Flour
1/2 cup Milk
1/3 cup Water
Olive Oil
Cayenne Pepper
Black Pepper
Parmesan Cheese

Instructions {for the noodles}:
1. Sprinkle a dash of salt into your pot of water to help it boil faster.

2. Once the water is fully boiling, break your noodles in half and place them in the pot.

3. Immediately add a teaspoon or two of olive oil to the pot and stir. This will keep the noodles from sticking together.

4. Once the noodles are soft, drain and fill your bowls.

Instructions {for the shrimp}:
1. Pour 2 teaspoons of olive oil in the bottom of a small frying pan and turn on to medium high heat.

2. Press the two cloves of garlic into the pan with the olive oil and add the shrimp.
(Note: Shrimp should be defrosted - if your shrimp is precooked, the shrimp will not stay in the pan very long AT ALL! If your shrimp is uncooked, sauté until the shrimp are lightly pink. Be careful, it is easy to over cook the shrimp.)
3. While sautéing the shrimp, add black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.
(Note: I added approximately 1 tsp of cayenne pepper...and boy, were my sinus's clear!)

4. Once the shrimp are cooked, remove them from the frying pan and place them in the bowls on the noodles. Try to leave as much sauce as possible in the pan.

Instructions {for the sauce}:
1. Start with the sauce from cooking the shrimp, add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the pan and let it melt.
(Note: Turn the temperature of the stove down to medium)

2. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of flour to the sauce/butter mixture and whisk vigorously.

3. When the flour and sauce are well mixed and bubbling, pour approximately 1/2 cup of milk into the pan. Stir until the mixture becomes thick.
(Note: You may need to turn the stove temperature back up.)

4. Once thick, add approximately 1/3 cup of warm water. This will thin out the white sauce a bit and make it not quite so heavy.

5. Pour the sauce generously over the noodles and shrimp. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.


{For a sweeter version of this same pasta, cut the cayenne pepper down to 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon and add 1 teaspoon of paprika.}


Although this dish is spicy, I love, love, loved it! Yummy. Now, after typing this, I want to go make it again!

I hope you enjoy it. If you do go try it, I'd love to hear what you thought! Let me know in the comments below. Your comments make my day! <3

Be blessed.

The Taylor House

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Alphabet Week 12: LLL

Welcome to the next edition of...

First Word that Pops into My Head:
Lemon (I like lemons.)

People I Know:
Laura - Dear friend in Florida
Lisa - My beautiful mother!
Lesli and Lori - My aunts!
Lauren - I know several awesome Lauren's
Lydia - My cousin and my niece <3
Lynne - A dear friend who is currently living in Costa Rica
(These are all girls, haha!)

Lime Green (is there really a difference?)

Light, haha! I'm not a big fan of the dark.
Love <3

Dictionary Word I didn't Know:
Lex - meaning Law

Lima beans

I hope you all have a light and lively weekend!

Be blessed.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Don't Want to Forget... {Part 2}

{Part 2 - Home}

That for the first 21 years of my life, Washington State was my home.

What mountains look like...particularly this one.

The smell of the earth when you know that rain is coming, and the freshness of the air after it rains.

How no one ever slows down for rain or uses umbrellas

How there truly, truly is no more beautiful place on earth than Western Washington State on a sunny day.

How Capitol Lake was filled with runners every morning and how I loved to join them.

{taken by my sister}

That there were so many odd and unrealistic for the "mima mounds" that my parents lived on.

{Taken by my sister}

The beauty of the Camus Lilies every spring.

The joys (and cold and wet and mud) of going to a pumpkin patch in the fall.

The beauty of snow!

How we were amazed when the snow was a 1/2 inch and lasted more than 4 hours! Haha!

What it's like to stroll down the pier (boardwalk) on a sunny afternoon.

The beauty of the Puget Sound.

How the most comforting feeling in the world is curling up on a cold, rainy afternoon with a coffee and a good book

How there  (LITERALLY) is a Starbucks on every corner. <3

The incredible beauty of cherry blossoms in the spring.

How the tress go from bare dead skeletons to trees bursting with life and color in just a few weeks in the spring.

But no matter what, the one thing I will never forget is my family! Aren't they beautiful/handsome? I miss them so much, but am incredibly blessed with modern technology. I talk to my beautiful mother on the phone everyday often get to Skype and FaceTime with them as well.

God is good. Even if Travis and I never move back, our separation is still only as temporary as this life. I am blessed beyond to have such a loving and godly family supporting and loving Travis and I.

Be blessed.