I adore guacamole, and it’s shockingly simple to make. A lot of the ingredients are up to personal preference… I usually include: avocados, tomatoes, purple onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, jalapeño, and salt.

Don’t be shy with the salt; avocados can be pretty bland without it.

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Accidentally missing from these photos: the jalapeño and the lime. Let’s pretend they’re there.

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I used: 5 avocadoes, 1/4 of a purple onion (chopped in a food processor), half of a jalapeño (chopped), a handful of cilantro, 1 clove of garlic, two small tomatoes (chopped), and a 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt.  I scooped the avocados into a large bowl, added the salt, and mashed it together using a potato masher. Then, I stirred in the remaining ingredients and added a squeeze of lime juice.

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So easy, and so delicious.

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A couple of weeks ago Jon and I took a 4 day cruise to Cozumel. We got a great deal, so we splurged a little on a balcony room, which was so worth it.

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waiting to leave the port in Galveston

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coffee & reading on the balcony erryday

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dive in movie nights–the best.

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pineapple drinks by the pool for daysss

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Pardon the low-quality iPhone photos; I was scared to take my fancy camera to the land of sunscreen and sand.

Also, we might be cruise people (the horror).



Nearly 3 years ago, Jon lost his job the day before we were scheduled to leave on a two week trip to England to see my family and attend my cousin’s wedding.  We’d planned a 3 day trip to Florence in the middle of our trip, and we decided to go ahead with all of our plans despite the job loss.  We figured we’d have a nice vacation and deal with it all when we returned.

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On the flight to London. I look a little more stressed out than Jon.

On our last day in Florence, we wanted to take a bus to Fiesole, a small town in the hills above Florence.  In England, you pay your bus fare on the bus.  This is what I was used to, so Jon and I found the bus to Fiesole and hopped on.  The driver was nowhere to be found (on break?), so we sat down near the front and waited for him to return so we could pay.

Suddenly, the driver sprinted onto the bus, sat down, and started driving.  Crap.  Well, we’ll pay at the first stop.  BUT, the second the bus pulled up to its first stop, two transit policemen jumped onto the bus and demanded to see everyone’s ticket.  “Oh, ok. Maybe we can buy tickets from them.”

Um, no. (In case you’re curious and/or planning a trip to Florence, apparently bus tickets are supposed to be purchased in tobacco shops. What?!).

When the policemen reached us and discovered that we were ticketless, they freaked.  Like, yelled in Italian, demanded to see our passports, and ordered us to leave the bus and go with them.  We began to defend ourselves and try to reason with them, when a man onboard who spoke English told us we really needed to shut up and go with them.

The policemen–still holding onto our passports–took us off the bus and ordered us to walk down the street with them.  We walked a couple of blocks (I thought we were being taken to a police station), and then we came to an ATM.  In broken English, they demanded that we withdraw a certain amount of money; they then took the money, handed us our passports, and walked away.  Just like that, it was over.

It felt like we had been robbed.

Determined not to let this situation ruin the rest of the day, we caught another bus to Fiesole (after buying tickets at our friendly local tobacco shop).  I sobbed the whole way there.  It was so unjust, and I felt helpless and angry. The fact that Jon was unemployed and every dollar was precious made the whole situation so much bigger.

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finally in Fiesole. It was beautiful.

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Those glasses were hiding red, puffy eyes and streaky mascara.

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This old Italian man, who rides the bus to Fiesole everyday to sell jewelry, saw what happened to us and told us it was completely wrong and unfair. I bought 2 rings from him.

That evening, Jon quietly said, “I believe God will redeem this situation.  What the devil took from us, God will restore.”

We returned to Dallas the next week.  Our first Sunday back at church, a girl passed me in the hall, pressed a folded up check into my hand, and whispered “God told me to give you this.”

It was a check for the exact amount of money that had been taken from us by the policemen.

God is faithful, you guys.  He sees your every struggle, your every need, and He is faithful to restore all things.

 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.  Exodus 14:14





I have battled fear and anxiety for most of my life.  My fear can be seriously crippling at times–I still have major issues with driving on the interstate 5 years after having a scary wreck early one Sunday morning.

I’ve learned that what I fill my heart and my head with and what I confess with my mouth has a huge effect on my emotional and mental well being.

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. (the Living Bible translation says “Banish fear and doubt!”) For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9

Your mind is the first place the enemy will attack you–with fear, doubt, discouragement, depression, etc. Meditating on the word of God and speaking it aloud is the key to overcoming these attacks.  Romans 12:2 says to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” which only happens through reading and speaking aloud the word of God. 

I have 2 Timothy 1:7 (“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”) taped to my dashboard, and whenever I have to get on the interstate I meditate on that scripture and speak it aloud.  It helps a ton.

Being strong and courageous is a choice–something we have to choose and go after; we have the power to “banish fear and doubt” by meditating on the word, confessing it with our mouths, and remembering that the Lord is with us and for us.

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 This post is a link up with She Reads Truth.



1. The Honest Company shampoo/body wash combo is genius and makes my hair shiny and yum.  I bought a two bottle pack at Costco for $11. You should buy some.

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2. I want to redo my entire house. Greige paint doesn’t seem quite as appealing now as it did in 2007.

3. Parenthood is the best show. Whenever Scandal gets too intense (I seriously had a nightmare involving Olivia’s mom and a knife the other night), I can count on the Braverman clan to pull me back down to earth.

4. Candace Cameron Bure and Kirk Cameron are siblings. This might have been obvious to some people.

5. I need to do a serious close clean-out.  I went through my sweaters as I was packing up my winter things, and I realized that I’ve had a few since freshman year of college. That used to not be that long ago, but now it’s been 12 years. 12 years, people. When I began tossing things into a donation bag my husband helpfully pointed out that I “buy trendy things, and then hold onto them forever.” Point taken. It’s time to make some brutal cuts.

This post is a link up with Emily Freeman. What have you learned in March?




As soon as Jonah is “vomited up on dry land” by the whale, the Lord tells him again to go to Nineveh and speak truth to its people.  This time, Jonah begrudgingly obeys (oh, how I know that feeling!).

The people of Nineveh have a seemingly perfect response: they immediately repent, and the king calls for a time of fasting and prayer.  Nineveh is saved from disaster and returns to the Lord. Sounds amazing, right?

But this pisses Jonah off–like, a lot–and he tells God:

“Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Jonah 4:2

Jonah’s sense of justice has been violated, and He finds God’s grace for the people of Nineveh offensive.  He didn’t want to go to Nineveh because he had no desire to help people who he saw as evil and deserving of punishment.  When they repent and are embraced by the goodness of God, Jonah is enraged.

The book of Jonah is a foreshadowing of the Gospel and a picture of God’s heart for humankind that “none should perish” (2 Peter 3:9). His desire from the beginning of time was for truth to be preached to everyone on earth, regardless of how wicked they are, regardless of how deserving of salvation we think they are.

That’s the glorious, beautiful thing about the Gospel of grace: it’s extravagant, and scandalous, and illogical, and generous beyond reason.


Jonah has a temper tantrum, and builds himself a little shelter outside the city walls and “waited to see what would happen to the city.” (Jonah 4:5) I guess he wanted a front row seat for when God came to His senses and destroyed the city. The Lord, in His unending patience (I mean, really) and kindness causes a tree to grow to shade Jonah and “save him from his discomfort.” I adore the patient parent vs. bratty child dynamic between God and Jonah.

When the next morning comes, it’s time for Jonah to move it along and head home, so God sends a worm to attack and kill the tree.  Jonah is super mad at God for killing his shade tree, and they have this little conversation:

Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”

“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”

Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” Jonah 4:9-11

It is the essence of God’s nature to be savior, to be the one who rescues and redeems.  He “is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8), and He desires good things, even for those who seem deserving of punishment.

Now, that’s good news.

Also, I think this question from God is the best ending of any book of the Bible ever.



Canton is a small town a couple of hours east of Dallas that has a massive, amazing flea market 4 days a month (scheduled around the first Monday of the month). Jon and I went a few weeks ago and came home with a car full of treasures.

I also came home with some hardcore bruises and pulled muscles, because I fell out of an old caravan (it was completely renovated and turned into a little shop–so cute). Like, really fell. The stool I stepped down onto flipped over, and I went flying through the air and landed on my back.

The vintage coffee thingy I got inside made it totally worth it, though.

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For more Texas goodness, check out my guest post on What She Saw today!




I’ve never paid much attention to the book of Jonah before, but after reading the whole thing cover to cover a few times, I’m now a little obsessed with it. There is so much truth about God and His heart for humankind (and we kind of suck sometimes, you guys) throughout this little book.

So, chapter 1 starts with God giving Jonah a job to do–go to Nineveh and tell the people to turn back to me, because they’re heading for disaster.  According to my Archaeological Study Bible–love–the people of Nineveh were engaged in “cruelty and plundering in war, prostitution, witchcraft, and commercial exploitation.”

God’s heart is for restoration, and He wanted Jonah to speak truth to the inhabitants of this hot mess town.

Jonah’s immediate response is to haul butt to the dock and jump on a ship headed in the opposite direction from Nineveh.  It’s actually kind of funny, and makes me think of the arrest scene in Grand Budapest Hotel.

Sometimes we think we can out smart God, or that if we hide long enough He will forget about us and move along to someone else.

God, in His infinite patience and grace, pursues us relentlessly.

I’ve often been afraid that I will miss God’s will for my life, that He has some big plans for me that I’ll screw up and/or miss out on.  But Jonah 1&2 is an excellent reminder that God’s plans for our lives will come to pass. He is faithful to complete what He has started; the things that are on His heart and mind for your life will be fulfilled.

When we’ve veered off course, things can get a little dicey, and sometimes God has to allow hardship into our lives to clear out some of our heart junk and get our focus back on Him.

Our comfort and security–even our fear that keeps us from acting–can become idols in our lives.  But the minute we bow ourselves low before Him and approach His throne with grateful hearts, He is swift to move on our behalf.

“Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Jonah 2:8-10

How is God pursuing your heart?  Are there things you feel He’s called you to that you’re afraid to act on? Share in the comments, and let’s encourage each other!

This post is a link up with She Reads Truth for their Lenten series, She Shares Truth.



As we wait for our adoption, I’ve taken comfort in collecting things for the babies.  My very favorite part of our growing collection is this sweet owl, which was made for us by Amy Moss of Owls for Orphans.

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Owls for Orphans‘ mission is to “provide support for adopting families through the sale of handcrafted keepsakes.”

Not only does Owls for Orphans donate a portion of their proceeds to support families who are adopting, they also send cuddly crocheted owls to orphans all over the world who are in need of comfort and hugs.

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 I was amazed by how well made (and squishy and soft) this little guy is!

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If you would like to purchase an owl for a special little human in your life, you can get 10% off by using the code completelycaroline14 in the Owls for Orphans Etsy shop. (Early Christmas shopping, anyone?!)

Support adoption, love on an orphan, get a sweet gift. #WINNING

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Our owl was kindly provided courtesy of Owls for Orphans, but all opinions are entirely my own. 



We’ve been going through a quiet season.  The adoption is dragging on and on, and our social calendar has been empty.

We are in a season of transition, and it has been lonely.  But, I am choosing to lean into my season (check out my friend Katie’s book for more on that topic), to suck all of the life and learning and joy out of it that I possibly can.

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Solitude is not something to be afraid of; it is a gift.  Instead of stuffing the quiet moments and days full with all the things (which Brené Brown calls “numbing”), once we part the curtains of loneliness and get to the heart of it, we can see that solitude is a chance to nestle close to the heart of God, to be still before Him.  Don’t try to numb yourself through your quiet season–lean into it.

When you feel left out, grab the opportunity to listen to the whisper of His spirit rather than the noise of others, the noise of busyness and being in the center of the bustle. New mama? Just moved? Lost your community (for whatever reason)? Lean into the loneliness–into deeper, undistracted intimacy with the Lord.

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Ask what He’s teaching you, what He’s preparing you for; seasons of solitude are seasons of preparation. They are for tending to the things that have been neglected—a time out, if you will.  An injured NBA player can’t keep on playing, or the injury will deepen and cause more severe, permanent damage.  He has to take a time out to rest, to heal.

What have you been neglecting and trying to just play through?  A broken marriage? Your health? Your finances? Damaged family relationships? Wounds from long ago that have been festering under the surface?  Take time to lean into the solitude, to be quiet before the Lord, to use the time out as a chance to heal and get ready for the new things God has for you.

And who would use old wineskins to store new wine? For the old skins would burst with the pressure, and the wine would be spilled and the skins ruined. Only new wineskins are used to store new wine. Matthew 9:17

A time out is not punishment. It’s a blessing; it means God is preparing you. He’s changing out your wineskin. He needs you at full strength for the next season. 

Are you in a quiet, time out season? How are you leaning into it?