Friday, February 28, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy Friday friends!  Whew, this has been a long week! I'm pretty excited about the weekend, this working all week stuff is hard :)

Here is my Five random thoughts on this Friday! 

{O N E} 

This week I am hosting a Giveaway on the blog! I'm so excited to be giving away one of my favorite books and an AUTOGRPAHED CD from one of my favorite artists!! Go check it out...giveaway ends tonight at midnight! Would love to see a new bog reader win!

{T W O}

This week I decided to start a new activity for my workouts...Zumba!  It's a lot of fun and a super workout. I'm thankful to have two new friends who have graciously joined me. Too bad every time I Zumba I crave chips and salsa and margaritas! 

{T H R E E}

I'm sure I'm just late to this trend but I'm really loving Spotify these days. Love that you can each custom playlists!  Right now my favorite one to work to is the top 50 Unplugged songs. Do you guys remember when MTV actually had music and they had MTV unplugged I miss those days! 

{F O U R}

I can't wait for spring!  Really I can't wait to wear dresses! I just ordered this beauty from old navy.  Can't wait to wear it! 

{F I V E}

This one will be a confession....I'm addicted to Buzzfeed quizzes. I can't help it. It's really important to know what Scandal character I am, where I should love I'm New York and all those other really important things!  Am I the only one that has that problem?  Please tell me no!!

Have a great weekend friends!  Don't forget about the giveaway! :) 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Every Wednesday needs...


That's right friends, let's celebrate the work week being officially halfway over with a little giveaway on the blog.  I am going to keep things simple this time but I think you will really enjoy these giveaway treats!  My giveaway theme this time is Words!  

About a year ago I guess, I saw a book on Amazon.  It was called Freefall to Fly.  I read the summary of the book and a few of the reviews and honestly, I was not drawn to the book.  But the cover, the cover was calling my name.  Do you ever buy books just because the cover is cute?  Yeah, I don't either!  :)  

So the book came and I was simply not prepared for what these words were going to do in my heart.  I devoured this book in just a few short days.  I highlighted and underlined words, phrases, whole pages.  This book is that good friends.

The author Rebekah Lyons tells a beautiful story of her journey to really understand the questions "Why am I here?" and "Does my life matter?".  I don't about you friends, but these are questions I wrestle with all the time.  Here is one of my favorite passages from the book...

"I was reminded by a dear friend, "If you are in hell, keep walking."  Because somewhere along the way, if you stay int he place where your heart breaks and you put one foot in front of the other, the darkness will eventually lift.  The crack of light will burst forth on the horizon, far, far away.  It will be the slightest breath of hope.  You won't know what that light will yield , but the mere fact that it is light will be enough"

Seriously friends, that is some good stuff!

About a week ago I received some extra exciting mail...the new Ellie Holcomb CD, As Sure as the Sun.  I was first introduced to Ellie by listening to her husbands band Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.  Some of my great friends shared one of their CDs with me and I was hooked!  I love their sound, their heart for the Lord and that they are deeply involved in the ministry of Young Life.  Ellie just released her first solo full length album and I am in love!  The lyrics hold such truth and beautiful reminders.  Here is an interview with Ellie where she talks about her new project and the heart behind it!  

So, here is what you will get with this giveaway friends...

 Here is the important stuff... how you enter:

- Leave a comment on this blog post sharing your favorite book or CD at the moment.

-  Follow Everyday Blessings on Bloglovin (link on the side bar of the blog)

- Share my this post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

I will choose the winner on FRIDAY, this one is quick, so don't wait!  

I am excited to share with you some of my favorite "words". 

Have a great week friends!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Blues {a guest post by Alisha Lambert}

It was certainly a Manic Monday in my neck of the woods so I am super thankful to have this Guest Post to share with you guys today from my sweet friend Alisha!  I think it will make your Monday just a little bit brighter!

Monday Blues

One Sunday, not long ago, I felt God's presences so strongly it was almost as if he was sitting right beside me the entire day. 

He showered me with love that morning at church and the words from the song How He Loves Us rang loud in my heart. Especially the part that says "I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that he loves us."

Things just kept getting better as the day progressed. I went to my church small group and was introduced to the book Jesus Is ___________________. by Judah Smith. When I got home that night, I immediately started reading. I could NOT put the book down! As if I couldn't feel any more joy at that moment in time, the words I was reading seemed to jump right off the page and straight into my heart. 

That night, I went to bed feeling loved. Probably more loved than I ever had. 

The next morning I woke up and excitedly picked up the book again with the full expectation that God would fill my cup to the brim with blessings like he had the day before. 

But that didn't happen.

Before I could finish the first page, I was completely distracted by a million different thoughts racing through my head. 

"It's Monday morning - I really don't want to go to work today. I have so much to do... Wait, Alisha, focus!"

My to-do list slowly consumed my thoughts and I gave up on reading all together. I started to doubt my ability to get everything done, which led to doubting my appearance, my friendships, and my sanity. 

Negative thoughts filled the rest of my day and I drifted to a dream land. A land where I had the perfect job, the perfect family, the perfect body, and I never worried about anything. 

My constant comparison and could've-should've-would've attitude sent my anxiety through the roof and I started shutting down. I might not have displayed my internal issues publicly, but I was only a few hours into work and had already chalked it up to a bad day and I wasn't moving away from that idea any time soon. 

When I got home that night I attempted reading again. I wanted so badly for God to pull me out of the slump I'd fallen into. 

And there it was. 

"Some of us sing songs every Sunday about how good and powerful God is. We tell him we surrender our lives to him. Then we go to work on Monday and strive and stress as if it all depended on us. We make life about ourselves: about pleasing ourselves, about accomplishing our goals, about making things happen in our strength. It's a subtle, unspoken switch that flips in our minds from Sunday to Monday, but the results are plain: worry, depression, fear, anxiety, pride, anger, impatience, envy, bitterness, slander, confusion, and tension."

Sometimes God stops me dead in my tracks, grabs my face, and says: "hey, I'm here. I've been here the entire time and I won't leave you," and this was one of those moments. 

There are many, many times when I forget the point of life. The imaginary list of all the things I'm supposed to do, be, and accomplish takes precedence over what really matters: Jesus. 

For the first time all day, I could read each word on the page with clarity, peace, and understanding.

"Once Jesus is the focal point - once he is the culmination of life and the pinnacle of our existence - everything else makes sense. Life becomes simple again. Priorities fall into place, and peace, joy, and rest return."

Jesus is the point. 

Alisha Lambert is a recent Western Carolina University graduate who lives in Bryson City, NC.  She loves being outdoors and can be found snapping pictures of the beauty around her, spending time at a local coffee shops or sharing her amazing singing voice.  During her time at WCU she was president of her sorority and has a passion for empowering women.  What is most beautiful about my friend is her heart for people and the way she strives to point others to Christ!  I am still in awe that she likes to hang out with an old gal like me!  My life is blessed by her and I think yours will be too.  She shares her thoughts on life over at her blog Pondering Reality.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

DIY Instagram Wall

Today was a beautiful day.  The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and it was a perfect day to spend some time in my favorite corner of my house!  I love my little craft nook!

So in my house I had this one wall that has been bare for forever.  I just never got around to adding pictures or other accessories to it.  Do you have walls like that in your house?  I knew it needed something and I also knew I had been wanting to do a gallery wall with some of my Instagram photos.  Put those two things together and I had a craft project for today!

I headed out to one of my favorite spots, Michaels, to grab the supplies.  I bought 9 of these $1.00 frames.  Yes friends, $1.00!  Did I mention that this project was going to be cheap?

While at Michaels I picked up some acrylic paint that was on sale to add a little color to these bad boys. I knew they needed color but I wasn't quite sure what I wanted so I picked up some gray and white paint.  At home, I mixed up what I think is the perfect gray to go on my bare yellow wall!

It only took me about 30 minutes to paint the frames.  I only did one coat of paint because I wanted them to look a little distressed.  I even went over some of the edges with some sandpaper.  I didn't want them to look too perfect.  After painting them, it was time to pick the pictures that I would use in the frames.  This was the by far the hardest part, I have so many great Instagram photos of family and friends.  Good thing I can switch the photos out!

After picking the pictures and getting them trimmed for the frames, I did something I never do.  I actually planned that the wall would look like.  Normally I am a throw the frames up on the wall kinda gal.  But I wanted this to actually look good! :) I measured and hung pieces of paper to help me plan the wall design.  I went for a 3 x 3 design.  I just placed the squares on the wall with tape so they would be easy to remove when I put the frames on the wall.  

Finally it was time to add my frames.  Do you use Command strips?  Those things are my best friend. They are the easiest way to hang things on your walls and don't peel the paint when they are removed.  I used one strip on the back of each frame and they were so easy to hang!  Here is a close up of one of the frames and one of my favorite pictures from our holiday family photo shoot!

I mixed in all the different filters I use for my Instagram photos.  I wasn't sure how I would feel about that, but I love the way it turned out!  

Here is the final result! I really love it.  I love that it is simple, colorful and includes so many of the people that I love!  I think it will be easy to switch out the photos from time to time.  The best part of this project was that it was super easy and super affordable.  By the time I bought frames, paint, command strips and had the pictures printed, I was able to do this whole project for less than $20.  

How do you display your Instagram photos?  Have a great week friends!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Five on Friday

Linking up today with the blogs listed above for Five on Friday!  Feeling pretty random today, so enjoy friends!  Don't know about you but I am so very thankful that it is Friday...wasn't sure we would ever get to the weekend!  This working a whole week thing is for the birds! :)

{O N E}
I love music.  I love good music.  I love new music.  This week, Ellie Holcomb knocked it out of the park with her new release, As Sure As The Sun.  This album is fantastic friends. I love the lyrics, the message and the heart behind this album.  I would suggest you do yourselves a favor and pick this one up!  I promise you won't regret it.

Here is a little sneak peak at one of my favorites from the album, Marvelous Light.  Enjoy!

{T W O}
Netflix.  Oh, Netflix.  Last week during the Snowmageddon 2014 I was able to spend quite a bit of quality time with my couch and Netflix.  I finished up watching The Following, which I can only watch during the daytime hours.  I then moved on to House of Cards and was instantly hooked!  What a great show!  And it was a convenient time to watch as Season 2 was just released last week.  What are your favorite Netflix shows?

{T H R E E}

I have always struggled with consistently reading my bible and taking time out of my day to really spend in the scriptures.  I was able to watch some of the IF:gathering online and was immediately drawn to the speakers, worship and heart of the gathering.  After the weekend conference, Jennie Allen, the founder of IF wanted to equip women by digging into the scripture together.  I have loved getting daily reminders in my email with scripture, prompts for journaling and a reflective video.  I would highly recommend you check IF:EQUIP out friends.  I am also so excited about IF:Table that will be starting in March, a chance for women to gather around the table to discuss life, relationships, faith and build community!

{F O U R}

Just really thankful for friends this week.  Especially friends who know what encourages you and how to love you well.  Those kinds of friends are few and far between.  I feel pretty blessed to have some amazing women in my life.

{F I V E}

Next week is going to be an exciting one on the blog and I am so excited!  Friends, I have a guest blogger on Monday who is going to blow you away with her aren't going to want to miss it.  And I am thinking it might be time for another giveaway...what do you think?  

Have a great weekend friends!  I am looking forward to a calm and restful weekend!  What's going on in your world this weekend?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I blame Pinterest for this.  After glancing at my boards yesterday, I knew I had to make this Red Velvet Cake Dip.  Of course I did not have the ingredients at my house and of course they are calling for Snowmageddon around these parts this week.  I knew that the grocery store would be crazy, but I will willing to risk it!  And man, it was so worth it!

I was also very excited to use my Kitchenaid mixer for the first time.  Man, I think that thing has changed my life!  So easy to mix up this yummy dip! 

Cream cheese and butter, what could be better!  First steps to an amazing sweet treat!

Mix in red velvet cake mix, brown sugar and powdered sugar.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Every good chef makes a mess now and then. 

Perfect red color for a Valentine treat!  

Finished product!  Ready to serve up with some vanilla wafers!

Friends...this dip was amazing!  I am a huge fan of red velvet cake and this dip certainly was delicious.  So my suggestion is to hurry to the grocery store before the snow craziness begins and grab up the ingredients to make this treat.  You will not be disappointed!

Red Velvet Cake Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups red velvet cake mix
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
chocolate chips

Mix together cream cheese and butter until smooth and slightly fluffy.  Next add in cake mix, brown sugar and powdered sugar until completely combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Leave a few chocolate chips to sprinkle on top.  Serve with vanilla wafers or graham crackers.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Five on Friday: Blog Recap Edition

Happy Friday friends!  This week had made it official, I am totally over winter weather.  Can't we just bring on spring and flip flops?  Too bad mother nature is threatening another taste of winter weather next week.

I am linking up with Liz, Christina, Natasha and Darci for Five on Friday!  Enjoy friends!

I decided this week I am going to post my Five favorite posts from my blog up to this point.  This will be a random assortment from the past few years.  Hopefully you will enjoy seeing a little bit more into the life of Brooke!

{O N E}
I wrote this blog a couple of months after my 30th birthday and it commemorated a big event for me...getting a tattoo!

{T W O}
Second Time Was a Blast
Third time I fell in love!  Well friends this was a post about my 30 year old experience at the NKOTB concert!  So much fun and led to 2 more times of seeing them as an adult!  Hope they put you in a trance with a funky song! :)

{T H R E E}
Least Favorite Words
If you have known me for any length of time you know there are certain words I am just not a fan of.  Here is an important post to clue you in on some of those!

{F O U R}
Encouraging Words
I love words and love when other people's words really speak to my heart!  This post is all about that!

{F I V E}
Tag You are It!
This post is a get to know you post from a long time ago,  but for you new readers you will get to know a little bit more about me!  Enjoy!

Hope you enjoyed this really random Five on Friday post!  What is your favorite blog post you have shared?  And don't forget to leave a sweet comment, that is my favorite! :)

Hope everyone has a great weekend, I am off to an impromptu girls weekend in Asheville!  Happy Weekend friends!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thank You Teacher

Today I sat in a music room at my school surrounded by some amazing educators, and as I listened to the information being shared my heart just felt more and more heavy.  I know that the internet has been inundated with posts full of complaints, rants, opinions about the state of education in North Carolina.  It is easy to focus on the low test scores, the amount of kids who can't read or the drop out rate.  But my heart hurts for the teachers, those individuals who  made the decision to devote their lives to teaching children (insert Whitney Houston's I Believe the Children are our Future).  While those who are far removed from the public school house continue to make ignorant statements about what goes on in our buildings, I see a much different view.

In my 12 years of teaching I have witnessed some pretty amazing things from the people I worked with. Everyday I see teachers who are at school longs before the school bell rings (that is not me, we all know how much I love mornings) getting supplies ready for the little ones who will enter their classrooms.  I see teachers who stay at school long after the 3:15 bell rings to coach Battle of the Books teams, robotics teams, to meet with parents, prepare engaging lessons, plan for the multiple groups of students they have in their classrooms.  I see teachers who spark kids to fall in love with reading, to invent and make new discoveries, to dream big dreams.

I see teachers who sacrifice time and money to make sure students have proper clothing for the winter months, to make sure they have food to eat on the weekend, to make sure they have the supplies they need to be successful for the school day.  I see hugs being given, high fives being shared, tears being wiped away, listening ears being provided.  I witness teachers empowering kids to think bigger than themselves by giving back to their community and for causes they believe in.

I hear teacher cheering on their students when they finally figure out how to add and subtract with regrouping.  I hear songs being sung and cheers being chanted.  I hear advice being given when a student shares how their big sister ran away or that their parents are fighting again.  I see teachers in the stands at their students ball games and in the seats at their concerts.  I see teachers who lug home bags of work to do off the clock so that their students.

I could go on and on with story after story about ways I see teachers make a difference in the lives of their students on a daily basis.  So teacher if you are reading this, know you are you are not forgotten.  You are admired and celebrated.  You are cared for and loved.  You are appreciated.  And while you may not ever know it, you have made a difference not only in the lives of your students but in the lives of those you work with as well, especially me.  You have taught me about sacrifice and perseverance.  You have taught me about creativity and respect.  You have taught me about forgiveness and love.  And for that I am so grateful.

{sorry for the kind of heavy post tonight, just a little of what is on my heart about this profession i have chosen.  i hope you hear the heart behind it.}
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