All posts by Lauren Cox

DATE NIGHT IN

Date nights look a little differently than they used to. Before kids, we could grab a bite to eat, catch a movie, or run out to meet friends on a whim. Nowadays it involves babysitters, lots of planning ahead, and constant checking of the phone to make sure there’s no emergencies while we’re gone.

Even nights at home look differently. We spend an hour and a half each night feeding Daniel dinner, giving him a bath, reading books, and putting him to sleep. Once 7:00 hits and he’s out, we both take a deep breath and either turn the TV on or finish whatever laundry didn’t get done that day. It’s… repetitive.

I’m sure other parents out there can relate. Instead of you running the routine, the routine runs you. Before you know it, you’re stuck doing the same mindless thing night after night. The conversations get shorter, the days mesh together, and every Netflix show available has been watched.

Well, mom and dad, it’s time to take charge!

I’ve recently teamed up with Pier 33 Gourmet. Not only have they shared their amazing seafood with us, they’ve also reminded us that date nights in can be fun!

Step 1: grab some wine. No, grab some *good* wine.

Step 2: whip up a super fabulous, super easy dinner for the two of you.

We’ve focused on making dinner time fun again by trying new dishes and treating it as an activity instead of a chore. Pier 33 had some reeeeally great food to choose from, and the cook time is next to nothing. Just thaw it out that afternoon, and throw it on the stove with your favorite side dishes.

After dinner, we’ve focused on keeping a couple of nights a week screen-free. It’s good for the soul and easy on the eyes. (literally. I’ve had perfect vision my entire life and had to get glasses a few years ago because of my phone screen. whoops.) Our new obsession is board games. Now I’m not talking Chutes and Ladders or Monopoly, although those are great choices. Here are a couple of our new favorites:

Settlers of Catan

Splendor

Mysterium

Ticket to Ride

Carcassonne

Most of these can be played with just two people, but if you’re smart like us and made friends that don’t have kids yet, invite over a few more couples after you put the little one down for a group game session and a little Bourbon Glazed Salmon or Wild Argentine Red Shrimp. And wine — don’t forget the wine.

Or the rolls. Bon appetite!

#NourishYourWorld #InAHeartbeatRecipe #Pier33Gourmet

#thingsadored

PHILIPPIANS 4:13

On Saul’s quest to murder anyone who spoke in favor of Christ, he happened upon Christ himself (the resurrected Christ that is). Saul then wandered blindly–literally–to Damascus where he regained his sight and became Paul, one of the greatest defenders of the gospel ever known.

For years, Paul traveled preaching the Truth. During that time, he was sought out by multiple friends (yes, friends) to be killed; he was stoned (to death) but revived; he was arrested, tortured, and thrown into jail; he was mocked by incredibly large crowds while preaching (yet here we are getting our feelings hurt when someone ‘unfollows’ us); he had groups of people following him from city to city attempting to annihilate him (people were actually vowing not to eat until he was dead); plus more…

“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea.” 2 Cor. 11:24-25

“But whatever anyone else dares to boast of–I am speaking as a fool–I also dare to boast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one–I am talking like a madman–with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.” 2 Cor. 11:21-23

Countless… He doesn’t even know how many times he was physically beaten in the name of Jesus. He actually lost count.

I feel like that’s something I would remember. Someone kicked me in the stomach in preschool, and I still remember her name. Someone told me in fifth grade that she didn’t want to sit by me at lunch anymore, and I still remember the feelings that were hurt. Someone in college made fun of me for continuing to do theater, and I still think of him every time I book a job. Yet here is Paul, often near death (vs 23) and actually fighting FOR something, but he’s lost count of how many times he was persecuted.

I’ve never heard of a Christian man stronger than Paul. It’s because of him that we have most of the New Testament. His firsthand accounts with Christ have been written down and passed on to us. However, there are many Bible verses that we tend to misuse–no, abuse.

“I press on towards the goal to win the prize…” Phil. 3:14

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…” Jer. 29:11

“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened for you…” Luke 11:9

But perhaps the worst of all, the most dangerous verse to misinterpret, is this:

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength…” Phil. 4:13

We walk around with our printed coffee mugs and our wooden placards on the walls and our sports teams’ T-shirts, and we think we can bend the meanings of these verses to fit our needs.

We’ve missed it entirely.

“Hold in your mind his [Paul] being scourged, having the flesh torn from his back. Hold in your mind his struggling to keep his head above water as the ship he’s on sinks violently into the watery abyss. Hold in your mind his relentless sleep at night while thugs scour the streets to find him and kill him. Hold in your mind the vision of his body crumpled on the ground, his face in the bloody dirt, covering his head and body in a desperate bid not to die from the seemingly unending onslaught of stones.” -Matt Chandler

Do you see now how we’ve done Paul’s precious words an injustice?  It’s not about scoring a goal or following your dreams or accomplishing whatever it is you selfishly want with God’s help.

Paul figured it out. He’s the one with the right perspective. “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10)

There is something profoundly beautiful about Paul’s life. He was fine with living because that meant he could continue his mission. He was fine with dying because that meant he got to be with Jesus. His life was filled with Christ. His suffering was all for Christ. His torture and imprisonment was in the name of Christ.

Philippians 4:13 is so much more. It’s telling us whether we’re in the big leagues or striking out every swing, praise His name. Whether we’re CEO of the company or scrubbing the office toilets after hours, praise His name. Healthy or sick, rich or poor, big or small–praise His name.

Paul detached himself from the material so he could focus on the eternal. Can we really do everything? The answer is no. Can we do everything for Christ, win or lose? Absolutely.

#thingsadored

YOUR ROLE

This Christmas season is my first being a mom, and it’s really got me thinking about what Mary must have gone through. She was scorned for becoming pregnant before marriage, her birth experience was full of discomfort and inconvenience, and she raised this perfect baby boy to later watch him die right before her eyes on the cross. I’d like to think that knowing he was the Son of God gave her a bit more peace and understanding, but he was still her child.

Mary was the only person to watch Jesus come into this world and leave this world. She held him as a fresh warm newborn and also as a cold lifeless man. We can imagine that even if she’d known all this suffering would take place, she still would have said yes to being Jesus’ mother.

Would you have said yes? Would you have endured all the pain that was required of Mary? And if so, why weren’t you the one God deemed fit to fill this role?

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28

The thing is, we all have a part to play. Maybe we weren’t Jesus’ mother or father. Maybe we aren’t called to leave our homes and go overseas. Maybe all we’re meant to do is get up and go to our 9-5s and live life with the people in our office. But whatever it is, it’s been assigned to you specifically by God. The same God that chose Mary has chosen you. You have a special role to play in fulfilling God’s will, and it is just as important to accept your task as it was for Mary to accept hers.

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. -Exodus 9:16

We’re all in this for the same reason. Our decision making should begin and end with God. Ask Him what your job is, and work fervently towards it. There will be ups and downs, but you were created with that purpose in mind. This is your part. And He’s trusting you with it because He knows you are exactly who He needs.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. -2 Timothy 1:9

#thingsadored

JORD WATCH

THEY’RE BAAAAAAACK!!!!!!

Actually, JORD Wood Watches never went anywhere. But the holidays are upon us and so is another gift opportunity! This Christmas, I invite you back to JORD for another round of holiday fun. These beautifully crafted watches are fresh, affordable, and add a fun new twist to any outfit.

JORD’s wood watches are my absolute favorite accessory. They come in many different shades and styles making them a perfect fit for any shopper wanting to personalize their present. These timeless pieces are stunningly unique and very versatile. As you can see, I went for a little more masculine look this year and am LOVING it. I’m able to dress mine up for a night out or dress it down while I’m working from home.

There are countless ways to brag on these watches, but instead of carrying on, I’m inviting YOU to join me and my friends at JORD for a special holiday deal. By simply entering your email address, you’ll receive a coupon worth 25% off your purchase! Trust me, you won’t want to miss out.

ENTER HERE for your discount.

This will remain open until 11:59 pm on Dec. 19, 2016. 

Don’t let this awesome gift opportunity pass you by. Your family and friends can thank me later.

JORD Watches // MY Watch

*This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches.

#thingsadored #jordwatch #jordwatches #woodwatch #jordfrankie

HALLOWEEN LEAF CRAFT

Daniel and I did a fun little Halloween craft the other day that I wanted to share incase anyone out there was in search of something festive to do with the kiddos. It didn’t take much time at all and turned out really cute.

WHAT YOU NEED:

Leaves

Acrylic paint

Sponge brush

Q-tip

Lay out the leaves on a surface that can get messy (we used a brown bag from Trader Joe’s). Squirt a little bit of paint right on the leaf, and use the sponge brush to cover the leaves with the paint. Wait a bit for it to dry, and add the faces!

The craft was so simple. We ended up taping them to the wall in the kitchen, and now Daniel tries to grab them every time we pass by. I don’t typically buy Halloween decorations because I’ve got enough Christmas ones in storage already — oops. However, these have been fun to hang around the house, and I’m ok tossing them once the holiday passes.

Tips: Try to find dry leaves. The leaves I brought home that were a little damp curled up on the edges once they had dried out. I found that the leaves also curled a little after I had painted them, but once the paint dried, I was able to flatten them out enough to hang them.

Have fun!

 #thingsadored