Happy Galentine’s Day


I’m all about love, lifting up and celebrating relationships, but honestly, Valentine’s Day has never been my thing. I tend to feel that way about all greeting card holidays. That’s why I love the growing Galentine’s Day trend – let’s celebrate our sisters & friends! 

Lifting each of you precious sisters up this weekend – and know that it doesn’t matter if you’re married, single, dating, divorced, widowed, or engaged – God’s amazing, overwhelming love for you is free and present every single second of your life. He loves us more than we will ever be able to understand – more than any other person on earth can love us. 

In lieu of sending every awesome girl I know flowers (although that would be cool… Maybe one day!), this is my Galentine’s Day card to YOU! 

Read this out loud, filling in the blanks with your name. Say it whenever you’re scared, or tired, or happy, or lonely, or feeling blessed. It’s always true!



Dogs: A Lesson In Unconditional Love

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I just had a moment with my two dogs, Rosie & Ruger, and I was overwhelmed by their capacity to love me, each other, and my husband, who is the center of their entire world (it’s actually scary intense how obsessed they are with him – and cute!). I think all pups love their people beyond words, and I also think rescue dogs (like ours) end up with an even deeper love – we’re their heroes! Opinions vary on the spiritual state of pets, but regardless of where you stand, it’s hard to deny that we can all learn a lot from dogs when it comes to giving unconditional love. 

Two Dog Love
Rosie & Ruger: true BFF love!

It’s always been hard for me to fully accept and understand just how much God loves each of us. Even me – little ol’ tiny grain of sand in a massive world me. I can totally accept that He loves you – I love you, so why wouldn’t He love you one hundred times more? This has become a stumbling block for me when I want to grow my faith and be able to actually live in the perfect peace of Christ Jesus. If I can’t accept the love, how can I accept the peace? 

I like the power of this version from The Message

So, when I have moments of feeling absolutely adored beyond all others by my pups, I get a glimpse, a momentary peak, at how God sees you, and me, and everyone on this earth. And I feel like I’m sitting on a beach, feeling that glorious sunshine on my skin, flooded with Vitamin-D induced happiness. Then I’m back in the house, full of gratitude and awe, and ready to face the rest of the day.  

Full Power Verse [To Remember That God Loves You & Is For You] – Romans 8:28-39

Confession: Part 1 (of 2)

I have a confession. Since last spring (2015), several people have asked me:

  1. “How do you look so great?”
  2. “How did you cook [insert meal posted to Instagram]?”
  3. “How can I do it, too?”

While flattering, it also scares me to be truly honest about what I consider “triggering” subjects for most women – namely weight loss/ diets/ getting healthy/ lifestyle choices. I’m scared to lead people in the wrong direction. I’m scared that if what worked for me does not, in fact, work for someone else, resentment and mistrust might build.

But, I started a blog called The Nestette (blithely sitting on an airplane en route to London, momentarily forgetting that a blog I love, Myquillen Smith’s, is called The Nester… oops) anyway. I did this without resolving these feelings and doubts, wanting a place to store and share my recipes, hobbies, tips/tricks I’ve been taught or learned, and stories. It obviously ended quickly because of the aforementioned fears.

After taking time to wade through these feelings, and learning about a concept called “the fear of man” (basically the root of what we currently refer to as lack of self-esteem, confidence, and trust… for more read this book), I realize that if not now, when? So, I’ve made a commitment to do a Jon Acuff-inspired “Do Over” challenge and put things out there, and to NOT let the potential opinions of others be a road block.

So, welcome to my [new] tiny corner of the internet, Alden’s Apron. All opinions, photos, recipes, trips/tricks, and more are mine, unless otherwise noted and with sources linked, if possible. My husband and two pups support this endeavor, but aren’t responsible for [most] of its content. 

Confession: Part 2 (of 2)

Onward and upward to the [possibly] more exciting and informative part of this experiment: What are these things people ask me about, and how can you do them, too? (Sidenote: more in-depth explanations to follow and will be covered extensively throughout this blog.)

Here’s the rough outline:

Q: “How do you look so great?”

A: Whole30 and Jesus.

Q: “How did you cook [insert meal posted to Instagram]?”

A: At home, usually for far less moolah than you’d think, and, sometimes, even without as much time/effort as you might believe!

Q: “How can I do it, too?”

A: By taking on only one new challenge at a time, being patient with yourself, and by doing things for [mostly] the right reasons.

I’ll go over Whole30, bits of my spiritual journey (mostly wisdom given graciously to me by people much smarter and deeper than myself), to be or not to be Gluten Free (like me!), DIY tutorials for Whole30/Gluten Free recipes, knitting, & crafting; homemaking tips/tricks, and my grocery store/shopping hacks. If you have more detailed questions or want me to do a tutorial of something specific, email me or leave a comment on this post.

You might also wonder what all this blog might cover. While I make no guarantees, as I have a wide spectrum of interests, the general list [probably] is as follows:

  • Whole30: how, what, & why
  • Gluten Free Living, Cooking, & Traveling
  • Book Reviews and recommended reading lists (Follow me on Goodreads here)
  • Marriage & Homemaking: from laundry and cleaning to best practices we’ve been lucky to learn
  • Dave Ramsey tips: budgeting, coupons, making it work, & why it’s worth it
  • Health: healthy life = happier life
  • Spiritual Life: how mine came about, cool things you can do for yours, books to read, & things to think about
  • Knitting: how to do it, what to use, where to buy it, etc.
  • Life with dogs: occasional tails (hmmm) of our two rescue pups Rosie & Ruger
  • DIY everything: I assume I can figure it out, make it myself, or find a less expensive workaround 90% of the time. This’ll be my outlet for sharing my nerd-alert level of research that helps me do it, the how-tos, and the loads of bloopers/blunders
  • Lists: because who doesn’t love a good list?

Feel free to ask questions below or request specific things to be covered! I love nothing more than a good research challenge, so please, put my obsessive research tendencies to good use.