Happy, Happy, Happy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

This morning I woke up feeling like it was my birthday because, well, it is!  I have always had sort of a love/hate relationship with my birthday.  I love the idea of birthdays; of celebrating someone for a whole day simply because they are alive.  But, I don't know, there's all this pressure to feel special and wise and new.  What if you don't feel special on your birthday?  What if you have to work and take care of the kids and you're exhausted or you're sick or you have a migraine?  What if it just feels like another humdrum day?  Is it a wasted opportunity to feel amazing that only comes around once a year?

My dad loves to tell the story of my 1st birthday party (pictured above.)  He said that I spent the entire day running around with balloons in my mouth yelling "happy, happy, happy!"  I didn't know it was a special day, but I did know that there was family, there were balloons, and there was cake.  What more could a one-year-old want?! So today that is my goal.  Today I have family, balloons, and cake.  I'm not pressuring myself to feel special or older or wiser; I'm simply going to take this day as an opportunity to be happy, happy happy!

Mother's Day X 2

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I am very blessed to have had two women in my life that I called "mom."  I had a beautiful mother for the first thirteen years of life who exuded joy, beauty, and grace.  Then, nine years later, another woman entered my life and filled a long-empty void.  There is a stigma surrounding the term "mother-in-law" but early on in our relationship Tinina and I decided we wanted to drop the "in-law" part.  This woman has been such an incredible example to me, and has truly become one of the closest people in my life.  She is often the first person I call when I'm upset, one of my favorite people to celebrate with, and the person whose qualities I most hope to emulate in my own life.  She is so similar to my own mom that I'm certain they would have been best friends.  Two years ago I not only gained an incredible mother, but I also gained a best friend.  Someone asked me this morning if Mother's Day was a hard day for me, but it's not because it's a day that I get to celebrate two amazing women who have blessed my life immensely.  Happy Mother's Day!!

Guilt Complexes & Leaving Room for Grace

Friday, May 9, 2014

Well hello there! It's been awhile, hasn't it?  I've taken a bit of a break from blogging (and, really, from the internet in general) because it was beginning to make me feel... cluttered.  And overwhelmed.  And that sort of defeats the purpose of what many of us are trying to accomplish in this blogging-world, now doesn't it?

I'm beginning to notice that in many aspects of my life I have a habit of putting these arbitrary expectations on myself and then settling into a comfortable nook of guilt when I fail to meet them.  When Ty and I first got married it was about the dishes; I somehow, somewhere, decided in my mind that it was my duty to do the dishes every night.  When they weren't done (or when Ty would do them) I would feel guilty and angry at myself and, through the power of projection, assume that Ty must certainly feel disappointed and angry at me.  It was a lot of unneeded tension that simply came from insecurities in my mind.  Ty doesn't mind doing the dishes.  Really, he doesn't.  And sometimes the dishes don't get done for a week and you know what?  Life goes on.

I had a similar sentiment when I began taking blogging a bit more seriously.  I put this arbitrary expectation on myself that I should be posting at least three times a week and if I wasn't then I was most certainly failing.  And for what?  I haven't posted in over a week and I am quite certain that you readers are still okay, that you are somehow getting by without me (sarcasm!)  It's pretty dang narcissistic, when I think about it.

Anyway, recently I've been trying to leave room for grace for myself.  To find that delicate balance between responsibility and freedom.  I've been spending my evenings doing things that I love and that make me feel alive.  And I want to keep blogging, I really do!  But I'd like to do so because I enjoy writing and connecting with this community- not because it's an obligation.

And, hey- thanks for reading along.  Really, I mean it.

Basil Lime Margarita

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Summer is almost upon us and that means one thing is certain in the Jaynes household: margaritas.  We love us a good margarita over here.  We used to use pre-made mix but I always found it to be a bit too sweet and syrupy for my taste.  One day last Summer I set out to make my own margarita from scratch and I've never looked back!  So when Samantha and Cristina announced that this month's Cooks in the Kitchen ingredient was limes I knew immediately I wanted to make some sort of variation of a margarita.

It's sort of a running joke among my in-laws that I love to add herbs to my cocktails (like this rosemary lime spritzer.)  Basil is one of my favorites and it adds such a refreshing twist to a classic margarita.  The touch of sugar mixed with the rim salt turns up the sweetness just a notch.  This is definitely my new favorite cocktail and is one I can totally see myself sipping with a nice al fresco dinner on the porch.  Mmmmm... is it Summer yet?

Basil Lime Margarita
Makes 1

  • Juice from 1 lime (about 1.5 Tbsp)
  • 1/3 Cup water
  • 4 basil leaves, plus 1 more for garnish
  • 1.5 oz good quality tequila (I prefer gold, but silver is fine too)
  • 1 Tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
  • Ice
  1. Combine salt and sugar and spread out on a plate.  Wet the rim of your glass with a slice of lime and dip into the salt & sugar mixture.  Set glass aside.
  2. Muddle basil in lime juice and water.  Strain into salted glass.  Add tequila and agave syrup and stir until syrup is dissolved.  Add ice and garnish with a basil leaf and lime slice.

Question of the Month

Monday, April 28, 2014

Happy Monday, friends!  Earlier this month I decided to incorporate a monthly Q & A to introduce you to some of the wonderful bloggers that have been hanging out on my sidebar.  I've loved getting to know these ladies and am continually encouraged by their writing.  I hope you will stop by their blogs and get to know them, too!

I don't know about you, but for me Spring tends to be a time of inspiration.  In that spirit, April's question of the month is:

Jenny from Wonderfully Complex

“Lately, my grandmother has been a real inspiration. She was just diagnosed with cancer and had colon surgery, but when I saw her this weekend she was beaming talking about all the art projects she has planned and the activities she’s been enjoying. She has such a joyful outlook on life that I hope to have when I’m her age.”


Amanda from Notes From a Newlywed

"I am inspired by the Mowry twins (aka Tia and Tamera). It's true, I'm a little obsessed with those sisters, but to me, they represent the best qualities in a woman today: Grace, professionalism, poise, kindness, sense of humor, and true beauty inside and out. They're great mothers, great wives, and great human beings. I think they both are fantastic role models in a day and age where upstanding people in Hollywood are hard to find."


Robyn from Robyn's Nest

"My parents and parents in general inspire me so much. Now that I'm married & working full time I struggle so much to get everything done that needs to get done every week. How my parents ever did it with me & my sister running around I will never know! There is so much to "adult life" that it really leaves you with little time for yourself & your family. Parents make so many sacrifices that we don't realize until we grow up & have our own kids. My parents somehow managed to raise two kids while still putting their marriage as a priority & I think that's pretty inspiring! "


Be sure to stop by and get to know these wonderful bloggers; each of them truly has been inspirational to me! And if you're interested in being part of the next question of the month check out my swap & sponsorship opportunities here!

Weekend Edition: The In-Laws

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

On Thursday my in-laws came down from Northern California to spend some of their Spring break with us.  We had so much fun taking them around to our favorite spots in the area- I think we pretty effectively ate & drank our way through Los Angele-.  I know there is a stigma surrounding in laws but mine happen to be some of my favorite people in the world.  In addition to being kind, generous, and phenomenal parents (obviously!) they are also just a ton of fun to be around.  We went to a Maundy Thursday service at our church on Thursday and took them to a Dodger game on Friday night.

On Sunday after church we headed to my grandparents' house in Laguna Beach.  We went for a little beach dip and whittled away the afternoon playing cards and sipping Chardonnay.  Few things make me happier than seeing our families laugh together.

They're a total bunch of wierdos (and need lessons on smiling in pictures) but I'd be lost without them.

Jack of All Trades Link Up

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This link up is a place where we as bloggers can find new blogs to read, to be able to give encouragement to others and also be encouraged.

This morning I am so excited to be co-hosting the Jack of All Trades Link up with Chantel from A Harvest of Blessing.  I've been following Chantel's blog for awhile now and I am always so encouraged and uplifted by her posts.  A couple of months ago she and her family came down to California and I was lucky enough to meet up with her for coffee.  I had never met a blogging friend in person before but I can tell you that Chantel truly is as genuine and sweet as she seems online.  Her love for Jesus totally radiates and I am so glad to know her!  Some of my favorite posts of hers are  Caring for an Extroverted Child, Patience is a Courageous Endurance, and Is Commenting Easy on Your Blog?  She also has a great eCourse for learning how to shoot in manual mode on your SLR- what a great resource for bloggers!

  1. Link up to one of your blog posts (not your blog homepage), the post can be on any subject but I do ask that posts are family friendly, any posts linked with inappropriate content will be deleted.
  2. Since the purpose of this link up is to get to know other bloggers you must leave encouraging comments on at least two other blogs, the one that is linked up before yours and one (or more) other ones.
  3. Link back to this post so we can grow this blogging community, you can use the button below if you like.
A Harvest of Blessing