Food For Thought Friday

His Death Was For Our Life

goodfridayToday is Good Friday, and in keeping with the theme of yesterday’s post on Maundy/Holy Thursday, it isn’t a time to post about us. It’s all about Him.

He died a criminal’s death on a crucifix, in place of us.

…by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Yesterday’s video…declaring we all are Barnabas – criminals – sinners – deserving of such pain and agony; and HE TOOK OUR PLACE. Do you realize the kind of pure love that is? There is nothing like it in this world. Nothing at all.

This song (video below) is a pre-release edition by Hillsong Live for the movie (we absolutely loved!), “Son Of God”:

And we have a great Good Friday treat for you, you can have this song’s download for free by clicking here. Hillsong will send you an e-mail with the download information.

Here are the lyrics to “Calvary“:

The Savior alone
Carried the cross
For all of my debts
He paid the cost

Salvation complete
Now forever I’m free

Chorus:
CALVARY
Covers it all
CALVARY
covers it all

My sin And shame
Don’t count anymore
All praise to THE ONE
Who has ransomed my soul

CALVARY
Covers it all

No power on earth
Not even the grave
Can separate us
From mercy and grace

He is faithful to save
Oh His blood never fails

CHORUS

No one But Jesus
Can make us pure
Like snow
We stand in your freedom

CHORUS

All praise to THE ONE
Who has ransomed my soul
CALVARY
Covers it all


cross

Mark 15

New English Translation (NET)

Jesus Brought Before Pilate

15 Early in the morning, after forming a plan, the chief priests with the elders and the experts in the law and the whole Sanhedrin tied Jesus up, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He replied, “You say so.” Then the chief priests began to accuse him repeatedly. So Pilate asked him again, “Have you nothing to say? See how many charges they are bringing against you!” But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.

Jesus and Barabbas

During the feast it was customary to release one prisoner to the people, whomever they requested. A man named Barabbas was imprisoned with rebels who had committed murder during an insurrection. Then the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to release a prisoner for them, as was his custom. So Pilate asked them, “Do you want me to release the king of the Jews for you?” 10 (For he knew that the chief priests had handed him over because of envy.) 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas instead. 12 So Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you want me to do with the one you call king of the Jews?” 13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 14 Pilate asked them, “Why? What has he done wrong?” But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!” 15 Because he wanted to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them. Then, after he had Jesus flogged, he handed him over to be crucified.

Jesus is Mocked

16 So the soldiers led him into the palace (that is, the governor’s residence) and called together the whole cohort. 17 They put a purple cloak on him and after braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 They began to salute him: “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Then they knelt down and paid homage to him. 20 When they had finished mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion

21 The soldiers forced a passerby to carry his cross, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country (he was the father of Alexander and Rufus). 22 They brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which is translated, “Place of the Skull”). 23 They offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 Then they crucified him and divided his clothes, throwing dice for them, to decide what each would take. 25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The inscription of the charge against him read, “The king of the Jews.” 27 And they crucified two outlaws with him, one on his right and one on his left.29 Those who passed by defamed him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who can destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself and come down from the cross!” 31 In the same way even the chief priests—together with the experts in the law—were mocking him among themselves: “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! 32 Let the Christ, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with him also spoke abusively to him.

Jesus’ Death

33 Now when it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 Around three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 When some of the bystanders heard it they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah!” 36 Then someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Leave him alone! Let’s see if Elijah will come to take him down!” 37 But Jesus cried out with a loud voice and breathed his last. 38 And the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 Now when the centurion, who stood in front of him, saw how he died, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” 40 There were also women, watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they had followed him and given him support. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were there too.

Jesus’ Burial

42 Now when evening had already come, since it was the day of preparation (that is, the day before the Sabbath), 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a highly regarded member of the council, who was himself looking forward to the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised that he was already dead. He called the centurion and asked him if he had been dead for some time. 45 When Pilate was informed by the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 After Joseph bought a linen cloth and took down the body, he wrapped it in the linen and placed it in a tomb cut out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone across the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was placed.

In His Love,
Signature
My Choice Monday

Ask & You Shall Receive

Monday

Happy Monday!

Whew! What a weekend! I’m about to fall asleep at my desk, and I have a sneaking suspicion Craig is feeling the same way today! His birthday weekend was AWESOME – but also one of those ‘vacations’ you need a vacation after to catch up! 🙂

Today’s “My Choice” is an answer to many a question we have received regarding FullTurn Church and our attendance there.

Here is a video clip of the Sunday ‘sermon’ a few weeks ago:

Listening to Pastor Alan, I can feel the Holy Spirit leading his message. We truly followed God to this place, and couldn’t be more ecstatic to have our weeks and weekends JAM-PACKED with Christ!

When the Holy Spirit is tugging at your heart, and urging you to do MORE for Him, to seek Him more, to follow Him more closely… you need to listen. It doesn’t matter if you are comfortable in the pew at church you have been sitting in for the past 12 years. He requires of us as Christians to seek Him first and foremost, and where He leads us, there shall we go.

Matthew 6:33

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

 2 Chronicles 7:14

14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Y’all, if you ask for His guidance, He will lead you and He will guide you. There never has to be a decision you have to make alone. No problem or issue is too big or too small for Him.

And on a lighter note…

Lulu’s On Main

This AH-MAY-ZING restaurant in little ol’ Sylva, North Carolina is the definition of a hidden gem. The next time you come to visit us for more than one day, we will drive the 2 hours to have dinner here! There is a great menu for anyone and everyone – including those of us who are gluten-free, or going through a Lenten season of vegetarianism. 🙂 Click the image to be redirected to their website.

Enjoy the rest of your Monday – It’s time for a nap!

xoxo

My Choice Monday

The Nativity Stones!

MondayWe have such a wonderful treat for you this bright and shiny Monday! A few weeks ago, we were contacted by a company called Nativity Stones, about doing a product review and a feature article on their behalf. After reading their story, we couldn’t say no!

Here it is, straight from The Nativity Stones’ website itself:

On a winter’s night over 2000 years ago, Mary and Joseph traveled the road to Bethlehem. Caesar Augustus ordered a world census to be taken and all subjects were required to return to the place of their birth. Despite Mary’s advanced pregnancy they journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Joseph’s birthplace. Joseph searched urgently for lodging as it was Mary’s time to give birth, but all of the inns were filled. In his desperation Joseph finally found a cave at the edge of town to shelter his wife. It was here, in the Cave of the Nativity, where the Christ Child was born.

Early Christians flocked to worship at The Cave of the Nativity soon after His death. In 325 A.D. Byzantine Emperor Constantine, along with his mother Empress Helena, officially recognized the site of Christ’s birth, constructing churches to commemorate the three principle events of Jesus’ life. One of the churches was the Church of the Nativity, which was erected over the cave where Jesus was born. The cave was then enclosed in an eight-sided structure and the church was built above.

Despite the following years of neglect, wars and destruction, the Church of the Nativity has always drawn faithful pilgrims from around the world. It is the oldest Christian Church in the world and continues to be a sacred symbol to the devout.  It was designated an endangered World Heritage site by UNESCO.

In 1963, there was a one-time excavation to allow another exit for the thousands of visitors who come to the Cave of the Nativity each year. During that excavation a portion of a wall just a few feet from the fourteen pointed star commemorating the actual place of Christ’s birth was removed.

The stones from that wall – the Nativity Stones – witnessed the birth of Jesus.  These are the very stones cradled in the Nativity Stone heirlooms.

Wow. What a story!

This company has taken these stones, from the birthplace of Jesus, and incorporated them into beautiful Christian jewelry & timeless pieces. We received a wonderful piece from The Nativity Stones, and I am so excited to have this cross and authentic piece of our Lord’s history – just in time for Easter! The cross I am wearing here is the Classic Nativity Cross – perfect to use in prayer, or just to wear as a reminder of the amazing God we serve and worship!

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And we have a treat for you! You, too, can have a beautiful Christian heirloom – and with a special discounted rate! Just enter the code “newlywed15” at checkout to receive a 15% discount!!

What a wonderful gift for Easter, Confirmation, no occasion at all! I urge you to purchase one of these special pieces! You won’t be sorry!

We also want to give a shout-out to a dear blogging friend we have featured before here: The Veil of Chastity showcased us on Friday:

Click Here!

We are SO BEYOND BLESSED with great friends and family and their prayers and encouragement. Thank you for your commitment to us!! It means more than you could ever imagine!

I was thinking just Sunday morning…SO MANY OF OUR PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED! Yet, so often, we overlook those answered blessings and focus on the {seemingly} negative things in our lives. God is so good. He is so faithful.

More on that tomorrow…

Until then, I am declaring that we may be…

Colossians 1:11-12

11 Strengthened with all might, according to the power of His glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy,

12 Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light…

xoxo

Food For Thought Friday

Spaghetti Squash: It’s What’s For Dinner

Friday2Yay! Friday!!!! The longest (work) week ever has finally begun to draw to a close! If you’re practicing Lent this year, you know Friday means:

And in our household, I have given up meat completely for Lent, so we have been eating a lot of fish. A LOT. 

So, it’s time to change it up! We’ve branched out to Spaghetti Squash! You can use this amazing gourd vegetable in so many ways! It tastes delicious; it’s filling; it’s healthy – and whether or not you are eating meat (during Lent or in general), you can enjoy spaghetti squash for dinner!

Here are a few recipes:

Italian Spaghetti Squash Bake: Click For Recipe
Spaghetti Squash Pasta Pesto: Click For Recipe
Baked Spaghetti Squash (Meatballs Optional): Click For Recipe
Spaghetti Squash Bake: Click Image For Recipe
Spaghetti Squash PIZZA CRUST: Click Image For Recipe

Now you have NO excuses about not eating healthy! All of these dishes are delicious and good for you, too!!

Have a wonderful weekend, folks!!! Don’t forget to go and see GOD’S NOT DEAD! It starts showing tonight!!!

Join us in showing Hollywood just how alive Christ really is!!

xoxo

Thirsty For Christ Thursday

The Lenten Edition: The #3030 Challenge

ThursdayWelcome to the (first) Lenten Edition of Thirsty For Christ Thursday! For all of you Catholic folks out there, you (should) know all there is to know about Lent; however, I know when I converted from Protestantism to Catholicism, I was a little bit lost. So for any of you who are a bit mystified by this season preceded by Mardi Gras and ending with Easter, the videos below should help to clear things up:

Catholic or Protestant, Lent is a great time to get into a new habit…Make it last for 40 days and take it beyond! This year, I am giving up meat, carbs & sugar (along with the low-sugar, & no gluten diet I already follow). Many people ONLY take away (or fast from a practice) during Lent; however, Craig & I feel it is important to also ADD something to your lifestyle. This year, we are adding daily Bible study as a couple, as well as something I only heard about the other day…something that fits this season SO WELL, I’m sure God revealed it to me to share with you!

Click The Image

Let’s give God 30 Days!

Isn’t that the VERY LEAST we can do?!?!

Join this challenge with Craig & I, and pledge to read and study your Bible for at least 30 minutes per day, for 30 days in a row!

30 minutes?!?!?! That’s one episode of 2 Broke Girls or Mike & Molly!

Surely, you can manage that!

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Let the song below BLESS YOU, and kick off your Lenten season with a bang!

xoxo*Enter the giveaway! You have until March 14th! Today, Like us on Facebook & then comment below “Done.”, for one entry. If you don’t have Facebook or already “like” our page, follow our blog, or comment on ANY ONE OF OUR POSTS for a chance to win – EACH COMMENT IS ONE ENTRY!!! Good luck!*

What's Up Wednesday

What’s Up (With The Ashes?) Wednesday

WednesdayToday is Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent – a time for us to do some spiritual spring cleaning and focus on the Lord – we will focus a lot more on Lent and what it really is all about tomorrow. 🙂

Ash Wednesday is one of my favorite days of the Liturgical Calendar. Why? Because it gives us an opportunity to truly wear our hearts on our sleeves. Even wearing a cross around your neck could be taken for granted in today’s society. It could be just a fashion statement, or even a mockery. However, wearing a black smudge of ashes on your forehead is noticed. And thus, a wonderful opportunity to share a small part of your faith.

My personal tradition (since Craig is never in town for Ash Wednesday) is to wake up early (now, I’m typically up and out so early it felt late!) and go to the 6:55AM Mass at a church close to my office, and head to work afterwards. I cannot tell you what an amazing (hidden) opportunity this is! It’s 1:45pm in the afternoon and I have had no less than fifteen conversations about Ash Wednesday and Lent and the meaning of it all since I arrived at the office at 7:55AM – and these were both in the office and when I headed out for a quick bite of tuna salad around lunch time.

If not enlightening others about the meaning behind the ashes, it is discovering others in your place of work or around town who share your Christian faith. Community is a wonderful thing, and you don’t have to be Catholic to participate in Lent or Ash Wednesday. Head to a service right now!

wpid-20140305_134830.jpgLike I said, more tomorrow on Lent! Don’t miss it!

In other newlywed news, I’ve been ramping up my workout by adding in two days of cardio every week, in addition to 3 days of Pure Barre. I’m getting very very addicted to exercise – a concept I never thought I would understand!!!! If I can get excited about working out, any one can. Trust me. There is hope for us all!

wpid-20140303_063354.jpgMost of our other time this past week was spent with the furs – as usual – when we weren’t at work or working out:

wpid-IMG950029.jpgOur little Lucy is a mama’s girl and she does NOT realize she is enormous and no longer a puppy! She is such a big girl nowadays she literally steps up onto the couch and lays down on top of me – and that’s the end of it. ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz! and not a thing we can do about it! (And we wouldn’t have it any other way!)

Lucy Lefebvre
Lucy Lefebvre

Just look how much she’s grown!!!! This was taken just a year ago!

And finally, on Saturday, we went to LaGrange and had our hair done (Yes, Craig too!) 🙂 . Then we had a sweet visit with my grandmother, Mama Dee, and ended up going to dinner with my parents.

wpid-IMG_0432.jpgPardon my red eyes! 🙂

We ate at The Farmhouse At Serenbe, and it was such a wonderful experience! I wish we had taken a picture with my lovely parents, but I think we were too mesmerized by the dessert to think about such things! Yum!

*Don’t forget about our giveaway! iParent.tv graciously donated this free one-year subscription to us, and we can’t keep it for ourselves! Maybe you know parents who could benefit? Enter to gift the subscription to them! Today – All you have to do is comment below. ANY (NICE) COMMENT AT ALL – wins you one entry!*

Join us tomorrow for our first Lenten Edition of Thirsty For Christ Thursday, and right now – head to an Ash Wednesday Service near you!

Oh, and one more thing! CLICK THE IMAGE for a beautiful and FREE Lenten devotional by the amazing Ann Voskamp, brought to you free of charge by Ann herself at A Holy Experience.

Your Devotional Is At The Bottom Of Her Blog Post – But Make Sure You Read That Too! How Beautiful!

Until tomorrow y’all,

xoxo

 

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My Choice Monday

A New Giveaway!

MondayWelcome back work week! Grrrr! 🙂

Weekends just aren’t ever long enough, are they? My 4AM alarm to get up and head to my nemesis, the elliptical machine, came WAY too early this morning. I could have sworn I had JUST closed my eyes…In any event, Monday is upon us! And that means…it’s MY CHOICE!

We are so grateful to begin this week with ANOTHER giveaway! That’s right, folks!

iParent.TV Subscription Giveaway!

iParent.tv has graciously donated a one-year subscription (valued at $49) to giveaway to one lucky reader! While Craig & I aren’t parents (yet), we recognize that some of you are, and we couldn’t wait to share this awesome deal and opportunity with you!

All you have to do to enter to win is watch the video below & comment in our “Comments Section”, posting about what you think the best part of the iParent.tv platform is!

Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Subscription to iparent.tv. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Good luck, parents!! 🙂

Don’t forget! Lent begins this week! What will you be giving up? What will you be adding to your daily faith walk? Take this opportunity to do some spiritual spring cleaning, and grow closer to the Lord. You won’t regret it one single bit!

Join us again tomorrow for a hope-filled TTC Tuesday!

xoxo

Uncategorized

Let Our Desires Be His

In honor of Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season, I wanted to share a really awesome tool I found today: A Lent Calendar – much like an Advent Calendar. For each day of Lent, there is a mini “thought” or “challenge” and then a call to Fast, Pray and Give.

I like today’s prayer challenge: For the desires of our hearts to be put behind God’s will for our lives. I know I certainly struggle with praying for what I want for Craig and I, rather than His will for our lives. So that’s one of the things I am going to do in a faith-building regard for Lent. I am going to be diligent about praying for God’s will to be done, rather than for the things I want for us.

Also, in the box below, please let us know of any ideas you might have for a Bible Study for Craig and I to do together. It’s one of our focuses as a couple for Lent, and we would love your help!

xoxo

Pier & Craig

Uncategorized

When In Rome…

Why, Hello There!

We are safely back stateside dears! I know you could hear the birds begin to sing a little bit sweeter when our plane touched down on Saturday evening. 😉

What an AMAZING trip!! Craig and I are so blessed to be able to have enjoyed such an experience! You can see ALL of our pictures (well, the ones from our digital camera) here. But I’ll give you some highlights from our trip below:

Peering Into St. Peter's Square
Peering Into St. Peter’s Square

Our first day in Rome, we arrived early – as our driver from the airport moonlighted for the Italian version of NASCAR. We took back roads, crawling with traffic and mopeds at well over 90 miles per hour. We enjoyed a breakfast at a small cafe near the Vatican while we waited for our bed and breakfast to open at 10am, at which time we dropped off our luggage and took to the neighborhood for exploring while our room was made ready. The photo above was taken while peering through the huge columns surrounding St. Peter’s Square, looking in at the Basilica.

That evening, after a LONG NAP to catch up on our beauty rest, Craig and I enjoyed a DELICIOUS dinner at Renovatio La Sofitta Ristorante, which can provide ANYTHING on their extensive Italian menu in a gluten-free version!

Pier Enjoying Gluten-Free Pasta
Pier Enjoying Gluten-Free Pasta
Said Gluten-Free Pasta...Yum!
Said Gluten-Free Pasta…Yum!

We also enjoyed a night out at Saxophone Pub:

Craig Enjoying A Beer at Saxophone Pub
Craig Enjoying A Beer at Saxophone Pub

The view from our room at the B&B was spectacular at night:

Room With A ViewCraig & I visited the AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL Vatican Museum.

The Vatican Museum

I mean...That's a CEILING - and not even the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel!
I mean…That’s a CEILING – and not even the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel!

My highlight of the entire trip was our next stop: St. Peter’s Basilica. If this place didn’t make your jaw drop, well…perhaps, your soul needs a check-up. I could hardly bring myself to take any pictures. I was mesmerized.

Looking At The Altar In Saint Peter's Basilica
Looking At The Altar In Saint Peter’s Basilica

We were so blessed to have the opportunity to celebrate Mass there that evening. It was amazing. I can’t speak for my better half, but there were tears in my eyes the entire time. It was that beautiful.

We enjoyed a sushi dinner at Konnichi Wa:

Sushi In Rome: This is what happens when the Sushi Menu is in Japanese with descriptions in Italian. Actually these were DELICIOUS!
Sushi In Rome: This is what happens when the Sushi Menu is in Japanese with descriptions in Italian. Actually these were DELICIOUS!

We toured the Galleria Borghese, which houses the original “David” by Bernini.

Galleria Borghese: Unfortunately, photos INSIDE are not allowed!
Galleria Borghese: Unfortunately, photos INSIDE are not allowed!

Until my decision to NOT wear a coat came back to bite me, we saw the ALMOST COMPLETELY OUTDOOR SITE of Castel San Angelo.

We toured Trastevere and must have walked 20 miles that day alone…It too was BEAUTIFUL!

We ate at a “fancy” ristorante called Il Viaggio (“The Journey”), and Craig thoroughly enjoyed his brandy!

My scotch wasn’t too shabby either!

We visited the Trevi Fountain and made our wishes!!!

In Trastevere, we saw St. Mary at Trastevere and prayed a very special prayer.

Santa Marie In Trastevere
Santa Marie In Trastevere

We also visited the Basilica of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, and my confirmation saint. It was a very special trip for me, thank you to the careful planning of my sweet husband. 🙂

Saint Cecilia
Saint Cecilia

If you’ve never read this amazing saint’s story, you should. And you can here.

Of course, Craig and I visited the Colosseum and the Ruins of Ancient Rome.

Colosseum
Colosseum

The Arch of Constantine
The Arch of Constantine

Absolutely breathtaking, and such an experience to be surrounded by so much culture and history. We enjoyed our busy time in Rome, and before we knew it, it was time to head back home. As our travels typically are, the trip home was an adventure, as well, and we made the 10 hour flight from Rome to Washington, D.C., and then raced through customs and the D.C. airport to make a flight back to Atlanta.

We made it!

We are now once again enjoying our little family, all home together: Craig, Pier, Daisy and Lucy – who is beginning to understand the importance of both sleeping through (most of) the night, and pottying outside. Yay! We are so blessed and so thankful for all of the many blessings we have. Please pray for continued blessings for our little family.

Tonight is C & I’s Movie & Popcorn Date Night for Mardi Gras, followed by Ash Wednesday tomorrow, and choir practice, and then Valentine’s Day – Our first as a married couple! I cannot WAIT to give C his gifts – which I had to hide (from MYSELF), so I wouldn’t break down and give them to him early. I’m horrible about that!

Happy Fat Tuesday to all of you! I hope you’ll all enjoy a big evening, before Lent begins tomorrow! Have you decided what to give up and/or add to your Christian walk?

Lots of Love,

Pier & Craig