Browse > Home / Archive: October 2015

| Subscribe via RSS

Mia Fieldes On How She Became a Songwriter for Hillsong, Kari Jobe, Michael W. Smith and Others

October 5th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight
Mia_FieldesMia Fieldes, once a worship leader at Hillsong Church and writer of such worship classics like Hillsong’s “It’s Your Love,” recently testifies about how God gave her the opportunities to write for Him.  On social media, she writes: “When I was 14, I would write letters to God and say ‘One day I wanna write songs about You that go all over the world…”

Further, Fieldes reveals that she did not have what it would take to become a prominent writer or leader. “I wasn’t the most likely, or talented, or the most anything really…” she confides. “In fact I was the unpopular kid from a town of 3000 people who played the Euphonium really badly….”

Nevertheless, our God is faithful.  While Fieldes was attending Hillsong Church she became involved in the creative arts department.  Through the encouragement of Hillsong’s worship pastor then Darlene Zschech, she started to lead worship and write songs for the church. “But God hears and is faithful… And he took me on the journey of my heart… I didn’t know it would mean navigating so much of my own insecurity… Or that there would be a lot of disappointment and letting go along the way… But true to who He is, God took every broken thing I could bring and made it whole and holy… Because that’s who He is… It’s funny how I wanted to write songs about God, and that God used the very thing he put in my heart to pull me closer to Him… I’ve been writing songs for others for 14 years… ”

Later, she’s collaborated with top Christian artists such as Michael W. Smith, Meredith Andrews, Matt Maher and Kari Jobe to name a few. In 2013, Mia won ASCAP and BMI awards for the hit collaboration “Proof Of Your Love,” recorded by For King & Country. Her recent song with Francesca Battistelli, “He Knows My Name,” has seen consecutive weeks as a #1 on radio.

But for all her penning of memorable gems, Fieldes has never stepped out as a recording artist-until now. Her new radio single “Fearless” comes ahead of a five-song EP, “Ashes,” scheduled for a May release. “For me it’s always about serving others, bringing the right song for others to carry,” she says. “I often tell people, I’m a ‘Jonathan’, not a ‘David.’ I just want to be no. 1 at being no. 2, so it’s definitely a step of faith doing a project like this. Having said that, it’s not really a transition from ‘writer’ to ‘artist’-but more ‘writer’ who, for this season, is saying ‘yes’ to carrying a few songs.”

Fieldes adds:  “My friend @iamjonguerra has a line in one of his songs that says “We have stains it’s true, but when your light shines through, we all look like stained glass windows to You”… And I think that sums it up perfectly… It’s amazing what God does with the pieces….


25 Falling-in-Love, Fall Date Ideas

October 5th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

I’m not sure when it hit me.

But I think it was while we were sitting by the Blue River and simply holding hands.

Not talking and not even really thinking.

Just loving each other.

It was our anniversary and he’d surprised me with a few days in a quiet cabin tucked into the woods.

And you want to know something about that time we had together? It felt right and good.

We both felt it.

Not that we had doubted our love for each other, but it had just been so busy lately and we’d had so much going on.

That we could tell this was what we needed.

This slowing down and focusing on him and me.

Falling in love all over again.

And somewhere along that river, I got the idea of sharing some more falling-in-love fall date ideas with you.

You don’t even have to wait for your anniversary! You can slip away for a few hours and simply hold hands.

Because if it’s good for us? Then I’m wondering if it might be good for you too.

To slow down a bit.

To stop for a few moments and remember to fall-in-love with each other over . . . and then over again.

25 Falling-in-Love Fall Dates

25 Falling-in-Love Fall Dates

1. Go out for a pumpkin spice latte.

Might as well start with this one, right? Okay, so I don’t know if I could talk him into a pumpkin spice latte, but I’m fairly certain that I could convince him to grab me one. And that I could count on him to get his usual 16 oz. Americano and that be would be satisfied with watching me enjoy mine. So that works for me (and him)!

25 Falling-in-Love Fall Dates

2. Plan a perfect picnic for two.

This one’s easy if you ask me. All you have to do is pack a few yummy sandwiches or maybe pour some hot soup in a thermos and voila! you’ve got a picnic. Grab an old blanket or look for a picnic table and you’re good to go! And if you want to add something really delicious, tuck in a couple of pieces of this Maple Pumpkin Cake. Mmm! He’s gonna love it…Oh, I mean love you! ????

3. Head-out for an old-fashioned hayride together.

So I haven’t done this since I was a kid, but I think it would be very fun and rather romantic, don’t you?

25 Falling-in-Love Fall Dates

4. Go stargazing.

Fall is the perfect time to watch the stars! We live out in the country so we only have to step out into our yard, but you might have to drive out a ways or look for the nearest observatory. There’s something about staring up at the sky to make you in awe of our Creator . . . and starry-eyed for one another!

5. Get a big bonfire going.

Build a hot fire on a chilly autumn night and you’ve instantly got a romantic evening! Pull up a couple of old camp chairs, throw a warm, wooly blanket around you both and grow dreamy in the dancing flames.

25 Falling-in-Love Fall Dates

6. Hop on (or rent) a couple of bikes and go exploring.

We did this on our last anniversary and I couldn’t believe how much fun we had! (Or how sore I was the next day….but hey! it was worth it.)

7. Go see a football game together.

I don’t even like football all that much, but there’s something about fall and football that seem to go together—especially if you or your husband is a sports fan!

Date Crates

8. Try out a DateCrate.

Okay, so I just LOVE this idea! Matthew and I recently discovered DateCrates and we’re completely sold on these fabulous “dates-in-a-box”! We tried out their Latte Love crate (no big surprise, huh?), but I’ve got my eye on the Glamping one to try next month… Seriously, these are totally worth checking out!

9. Roast s’mores together.

Now we happen to have a fire pit just outside our bedroom door (yes, I’m serious! rather convenient), but you can try your fireplace or even the stovetop, if it comes down to it. You can even get creative and try something other than the traditional Hershey bar chocolates. My favorite is probably S’mores with Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, but he likes caramel chocolates in his.

25 Falling-in-Love Fall Dates

10. Fall is a great time to try a new hike.

So lace up your hiking boots and head out on an adventure together! Pack a few snacks, some water, and a layering jacket and you’re set to go.

11. Pop new flavors of popcorn.

I don’t know about you guys, but we are big fans of popcorn over here. All kinds of popcorn! In addition to the traditional, butter-and-salt variety, we’ve tried coconut (substituting coconut oil for butter), cinnamon & sugar, Jello popcorn, Rice-Crispie popcorn (melted marshmallow), and caramel popcorn. Caution: once you get going, you might find this surprisingly addictive!

25 Falling-in-Love Fall Dates

12. Curl up in your very own romantic refuge.

I’ve already shared with you my idea for creating a little romantic place in your very own home and this is still one of my favorite fall-back date places. I’ll send him a text to “meet me in the refuge” and he knows where he can find me (and yes, he does have a home office, but texting makes it more flirty somehow :) ! *My favorite We Still Do pillow is available from EverThineHome.

13. Try a caramel fondue.

My good friend recently suggested this idea and now I’m keen to try it! My husband loves caramel anything, so I think he’d really enjoy this one. Here are some goodies that would be fun to dip: tart apple slices, chocolate squares, popcorn, peanuts, pretzels, etc. Wowza! Decadent.

25 Falling-in-Love Fall Dates

14. Take off on a fall foliage drive.

Because we live in the desert, we have to drive out a while before we see much color but it is one of my all-time favorite things. Fill up the gas tank (ouch!) and then grab that pumpkin spice latte and get ready to see God’s glorious creation on display!

100 Ways to Love Your Spouse by Matthew and Lisa Jacobson

15. A quiet evening by the fire reading and loving one another.

Sometimes we read a book together, but more often he reads his book while I read mine. Or you could both read our books (pictured above) and pick out one of the ways you want to focus on loving the other person. *Available HERE

Pumpkin Muffins by Catz in the Kitchen

16. Cook up a batch of pumpkin treats to try.

Like these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins or some Amish Pumpkin Pancakes. Yum!!

25 Falling-in-Love Fall Dates

17. Go see War Room.

We recently went to the theater to see War Room, the newest movie from the Kendrick brothers, and found it to be very inspiring! This makes for a terrific date night with plenty to talk about after the movie is over.

25 Falling-in-Love Fall Dates

18. Visit a nearby pumpkin patch.

It’s not just for kids, you know! Pumpkins are for everyone.

19. Plan a game-night for two.

Once the weather starts turning cooler, bring out the boardgames and challenge him to a game of Settlers of Catan or Monopoly or try a new game you’ve not played before.

25 Falling-in-Love Fall Dates

20. Go apple-picking.

They taste better when you’ve picked them yourself. I promise!

21. Bring those apples home and bake up an old-fashioned apple pie.

Nothing says “romance” quite like a piece of hot homemade apple pie. This alone speaks volumes of love. ????

22. Create your own photoshoot.

There’s something about fall that turns even the most amateur of us into gifted photographers. Don’t have a fancy camera? Neither do we. But you might be pleasantly surprised at what a smart phone can do!

23. Curl up and watch an old movie together after the kids are in bed.

Okay, confession time: Occasionally he and I turn in early, snuggle up in our bed, and watch a movie together on his computer. Probably not overly mature or creative, but sometimes it’s nice just to veg out and enjoy an old-fashioned romance or comedy.

25 Falling-in-Love Fall Dates

24. Watch the sunset together.

Brought to you by the Author of Romance.

25. Sit beside each other and simply hold hands.

Not talking and not even really thinking.

Just loving each other.

And now we’re right back to where we began.

In love.

Have a happy fall, falling in love all over again!

In His grace,

Signature small

P.S. For more encouraging articles on marriage and parenting, check out my husband’s site:!


Replacing Negative Inside Chatter with Praise

October 5th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips

Rachel Wojo is a fan favourite at CHRI for her great bible studies and passion to see lives changed through scripture. A few years back Rachel did a series on negative thoughts. You can find the entire series here. One week she looked at the power of praise music and made a list of her favourite praise songs to listen to replace negative inside chatter, something I think we all do from time to time! Check out her list below and let us know what your favourite praise songs are in the comments! – Ashley


Welcome to the last week of our series on stopping negative internal chatter, this week we’re replacing negative inside chatter with praise! We’ve arrived at the last stop in Paul’s to-think list of Phil. 4:8:

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.

As if the other items on the list weren’t enough, Paul adds this “little” idea that we are to think on things that are praiseworthy. In my mind, it’s easy to look at this list and think that Paul had an order. First, whatever is true. Then whatever is honorable… and the list goes on chronologically.

Or it may seem like this is our check-off list of criteria. If we think about anything other than this list, then we MUST be sinning. ahem.

But though I have no proof of my philosophy on Paul’s recommended list, I feel like he was saying: “If your thoughts meet any one topic of this list, you’re in good shape. And this last one of praise- icing on the cake!”

Matthew Henry mentions that this word, praise, means as “worthy of commendation.”

When I think about the One who is worthy, the praise swells in my heart and my spirit is lifted. When I praise Jesus, I feel incapable of concentrating on anything else and that praise then carries me through the battle of negative internal chatter.

Praising Jesus overpowers potential negativity!

To close out our series, I thought I would give you a list of some of my favorite praise songs that stop negativity in its tracks. Satan will NOT hang around where Jesus is being praised, so if your desire is to truly stop the negative internal chatter, then I believe praising God is the highest weapon in your arsenal.

The first song in the list tells the story of Paul and Silas deep in the jail cell, bodies broken and in pain, hearts fully in tune with their glorious Savior.  If you don’t have time to listen to all the list, just watch the first one today. You’ll be so glad you did! In no particular order, 7 Praise Songs to Shut Down Negative Inside Chatter.


33 ways to pumpkin-ify your favorite healthy recipes

October 5th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
Spicy Pumpkin Soup(Photo:A Tasty Love Story)Yes, it’s finally here: pumpkin time!

And the Starbucks latte star ingredient has way more to offer than just its comforting fall flavor. The fiber-rich veggies are loaded with beta-carotene, which gives a healthy boost to your vision, heart health, and immune system, studies show.


1. Pumpkin Spice Granola

2. Pumpkin Gingerbread Smoothie

3. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

Fall-Pumpkin-Smoothie-Bowl(Photo: The Casual Craftlete)

4. Pumpkin Yogurt

5. Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

6. Spiced Pumpkin + Millet Porridge

7. Chocolate Pumpkin Overnight Oats

8. Pumpkin Coconut Muffins


9. Pumpkin Pie Roasted Almonds

10. Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

11. Roasted Pumpkin Seed Hummus

Roasted-Pumpkin-Seed-Hummus-5(Photo: Half Baked Harvest)

12. Pumpkin Spiced Nut and Seed Bars

13. Pumpkin Almond Butter

14. Rosemary + Roasted Pumpkin Focaccia

Main Dishes

15. Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili

16. Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Oat Bread(Photo:Pumpkin Oat Bread, Naturally Ella)

17. Roasted Rosemary Pumpkin with Black Rice and Cashews

18. Roasted Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Frittata

19. Satay Pumpkin Zoodles

20. Pumpkin Hummus Quesadillas

Pumpkin Hummus Quesadillas(Photo: Love and Lemons)

21. Baked Pumpkin Risotto

22. Roasted Pumpkin and Peach Salad

23. Lentil Pumpkin Stew

24. Lunchbox Couscous

25. Pumpkin Spiced Salmon

26. Pumpkin-Almond Butter Red Curry Noodles

Pumpkin Almond Butter Curry Noodles(Photo: Salt & Wind)

27. Pumpkin Black Bean Patties

28. Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Pumpkin Spice


29. Pumpkin Rice Pudding

30. Rustic Vegan Oat Crisp Pumpkin Pie

Vegan Pumpkin Pie(Photo: I Love Vegan)

31. Creamy Pumpkin Fudge Cups

32. Pumpkin Oat Bread

33. Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie


10 Ways to Make Your Home Fall Cozy

October 5th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
fall-decorating-candlesFrom candles to cushions, our Budget Decorator shows you how to add warmth to your home this fall!

Fall is one of my favorite times of year for home decorating. The season itself emphasizes warmth and comfort, and brings us closer to simpler things, and shouldn’t that be what our homes are all about?

Here are The Budget Decorator’s 10 top ways to make your home cozy for fall, using creativity, not cash!

Designers Secret: Save money by focusing your fall decor. Instead of spreading a few items here or there around the room only to have them get visually lost, concentrate your fall decorating on the natural focal point of the room. If you have a fireplace mantel, an entry table, or a built in book case, these would all be great areas to generate some fall “feel”.

Fall mantel

Candles are a natural during the season, but the price of decorative candles can be unreasonable. Create one of a kind candles with items from your grocery store! Coat the lower half of ordinary pillar candles with white glue. A foam brush is great for this. Pour natural materials into a paper plate such as flax seed, whole rosemary leaves, even ground gourmet coffee! Now roll the candle in the paper plate well, and set up and allow to dry. Display in groups of three for a fragrant fall style maker! Make this festive fall tablescape from ‘HGTV’!


Create your own “stained glass art” for just a couple of dollars. Gather fall leaves and blossoms and press them a few days between paper towels, topped with a couple of heavy books. Pick up two picture frames from the dollar store or discount shop. Remove the glass from one of the frames, and place the leaves on the glass in an attractive design. Place the glass from the second frame over the first, sandwiching the leaves between. Use a small amount of clear packing tape to seal the edges of the two panes of glass together. Now place back into one of the frames, secure in back, and hang from a chain in a brightly lit window.

Warm up your throw pillows for fall with a no-sew treatment! Simply lay a piece of fall hued fabric at least several inches larger than the pillow on a flat surface, and then lay your pillow over the fabric on the diagonal. Now fold the fabric around the pillow exactly as you would wrap a present, tucking excess fabric if necessary. Use safety pins to secure the fabric on the back of the pillow. Use ribbon or raffia to wrap the pillow and adorn your 5 minute creation!

Or use iron on fusible web to create this easy no-sew fall pillow from ‘BHG’.


Use branches in every room in your home. Gather interesting branches from your yard or a neighbors. Curling, gnarled, and colorful branches add extra character! Now just hang over mantels, over headboards, and make smaller ones for over bathroom mirrors and closet doors. Designer look, for pennies!

Fall decorating

Toss a cozy throw blanket over a comfy chair, and stack a couple of well read books on the table nearby for a fall inspired “time out”. Make sure you leave a spot for your hot cocoa! Add treatments to your windows to double that cozy effect, and make the room more comfortable at the same time. (And lowering your heating bills won’t hurt either!

Wrap your dining room light fixture in autumn splendor! Pick up a grapevine wreath or two from your craft store, and soak in water in a bathtub overnight to make pliable. Now unwrap the wreath, and rewrap it around your hanging lamp, a pot rack or twine it along the tops of kitchen cabinets. Tuck in some fall leaves, fall craft picks, or dried flower bunches to create a natural look in any room.

Baskets seem to symbolize the harvest, so bring a couple in, line them with fabric and fill with the bounty of the season. Pumpkin, squash, apples, pears and pomegranates all look as great as they taste. Love this vignette with the wire basket from ‘A Pumpkin and a Princess‘!

Fall Basket

Pick up a roll of raffia or natural colored twisted paper from your craft shop. Layer the towels in your guest bath, and then tie them with the raffia for a rustic touch. Slip in a cinnamon stick for a heavenly fragrance when company comes to visit. (Or even when they don’t!) Use the same raffia as tiebacks on the shower curtain, front drapes, or even around throw pillows on the porch.

Finally, make yourselves some real scarecrows to perch on the front porch! Stuff some old jeans and a flannel shirt with newspaper or recycled plastic bags, and then add some straw or raffia to the ends of the arms with glue. Make a simple face from an old pillowcase and some scrap felt for the eyes and the smile. Attach the parts together with safety pins. Lastly, add an old hat and a pair of boots, perhaps an old pipe, and for a little fun and whimsy, a faux blackbird from the craft shop! Learn how to make a scarecrow!

Image Credits: Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn, BHG, A Pumpkin and a Princess

Dad Builds Halloween Costumes Around Wheelchairs as a Nonprofit

October 5th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Family

A nonprofit organization is going above and beyond the call of duty to make Halloween a truly magical experience for kids in wheelchairs.Magic Wheelchair aims to “put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair” by creating the most beautifully epic costumes for Halloween. From pirates to dragons, the sky’s the limit. Just take a look below!

The organization was founded by the Weimers, who are parents of five kids. On their website, dad Ryan explains that his kids were the reason the couple started the organization, since three of their children have Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

The idea was originally sparked back in 2008 when Weimer asked his first son Keaton, who has SMA, what he wanted to be for Halloween. At the time, Keaton wanted to be a pirate.

“I realized, ‘Keaton has this wheelchair he cruises around in, and every pirate needs a ship, so let’s just build one around his chair!’” the dad said. “I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew it could be done somehow.”

That year, Keaton’s costume gained a lot of attention from the family’s community in Oregon. Speaking to PSFK, Weimer explained: “The best thing about [the costume] was that the other kids weren’t looking at Keaton like he was a poor kid in a wheelchair, they were looking at him like he was an awesome pirate in a pirate ship. It allowed them to approach him and it had a really great impact on our community.”

Since then, Weimer has created customized wheelchair costumes for his kids every year for Halloween. But this year, Weimer and his wife decided to take things one step further and start a nonprofit to give other kids in wheelchairs an epic Halloween costume as well.

Since their Kickstarter was launched in June, it has raised over $25,000. This is $10,000 more than the Weimers’ original goal, which would allow five costumes to be made this year. As a result, eight lucky children will now have the opportunity to work with designers to build their own “ultimate wheelchair costume.”

According to MTV, this year’s creations include a “SpongeBob SquarePants” speedboat design made for a 12-year-old named Jade and a Quinjet ride from “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” for a 14-year-old named Hunter.

Now for every $3,000 the nonprofit raises over their goal, another child will be chosen to have a costume made for them.

The Weimers aren’t the only ones who have turned their kids’ wheelchairs into part of their Halloween costume. In the past, we’ve seen all sorts of creative DIY ideas that have blown us away, including Superman and “The Wizard of Oz.”