Eternal Outlook [with Angela] Living and Learning with a Forever Focus Wed, 23 Mar 2016 18:38:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Teach Me to Number My Days Wed, 23 Mar 2016 18:38:38 +0000 Continue reading]]> Teach Me to Number My Days

Teach me to number my days, oh Lord.
Time flies by, they say.
My heart is full like an ocean tide—
I can’t keep the tears at bay.

I think about the blessings You’ve given me,
The life undeserved, Your gifts.
I cannot fathom Your goodness, Lord;
Your praises spring forth from my lips.

Why are You good to me, oh God of all time?
What have I done to be noticed by You?
Not a thing—and that’s the thing—
There’s not a thing I can do.

Nothing I do can earn Your love
Because You give it freely to me.
You love me because You are Love;
It’s simply Your nature, indeed.

Your goodness surrounds me,
My heart is full.
How could it ever be?
That a God like You cares for a girl like me,
So small in the scheme of things.

But You have a purpose,
You have a plan;
And somehow I am a part.
You created me, destined me, called me by name,
And along Your road I embark.

Tomorrow’s my mystery,
Yesterday, history;
Today is a gift from above.
Teach me, oh God, to number my days,
And to live each one in Your love.

Teach Me to Number My Days | Eternal Outlook [with Angela]

]]> 4
Why I Don’t Want a New Start in 2015 Mon, 05 Jan 2015 07:00:04 +0000 Continue reading]]> The blink of an eye, and another year is gone. In the cliché “time flies” spirit, to think 2014 passed in insignificance would be almost natural. What of importance could really have happened during a year that seemed so short?

I actually found myself entertaining that thought for a split second on New Year’s Eve. Of course, it didn’t take me long to correct myself. And I began surveying the big things of a year that wasn’t so small after all.

1. We sold a house, built a house, and moved twice in the process.

At this time last year I was eating/sleeping/breathing “declutter and clean” as we staged our first home to look spacious and neutral. It sold in a week, and by early March, we were handing over the keys and moving out. We spent the next seven months living in a cozy townhome while our hearts resided at the construction site of our new, custom home. The project was completed in October, and with much emotion and humble gratitude, we officially scored our #SquiresHomeRun.

Why I Don't Want a New Start in 2015

Closing Day: We’re home!

2. We embarked on a fitness journey led by my husband.

With the sale of our house and our first move behind us, Travis and I both were ready for a different focus. We’d spent the last three months getting our house into shape—now it was time to get our bodies into shape. We joined the YMCA, and Travis joined Farrell’s. Ten weeks, 18 1/2 pounds, and 13 1/2 inches later, Travis’s body-transforming work paid off as he became Farrell’s $1000 10-Week Challenge winner. But he didn’t stop there. He continued (and still continues) his fit and healthy lifestyle, losing a total of 30 pounds and 17 inches to date and training for and completing his first half marathon plus two other races, covering a total of 509 miles on the year.

Why I Don't Want a New Start in 2015

3. I started a new business with Younique.

In October I was introduced to a mascara product that really grabbed my attention. With natural-based ingredients and results like none other, this mascara made me want to do more than just wear it—I wanted to sell it. Never before had I considered starting a home-based business, but I knew that Younique’s 3D mascara was something I could stand behind with excitement. And with training and sales all done online, I saw that Younique’s business model would actually work for my family. I could learn at my pace, work according to my schedule, and I wouldn’t have to leave home for any of it.

So here I am, 11 weeks into my business venture and loving it! I’m learning, I’m making money, and I’m having so much fun connecting with people, both online and off. I intended from the beginning that this business would be an investment in my home, with profits going towards décor, furnishings, and whatever else would bless my family. What I didn’t foresee is that it would also be an investment in myself. It’s nice to have a reason to wear makeup and feel feminine, but more than that, it’s good for me to stretch and grow as a person—to recognize that I can do crazy things and set goals and achieve them. I can have a passion and act on it and bring blessing to myself and others in the process.

Why I Don't Want a New Start in 2015

LOVE my Younique 3D Mascara! Looks like I’m wearing falsies, but it’s just mascara!


Indeed, 2014 was not a year of insignificance. It was a year made up of meaningful moments, consequential conversations, deliberate decisions, and beautiful beginnings.

I don’t want a new start for the new year. No, I want to continue in cooperation with the things God has already begun.

My 2014 was a year of starting. May 2015 be a year of staying.

How would you characterize your year?
#SquiresHomeRun: And the Granite Selection Is… Fri, 15 Aug 2014 16:15:20 +0000 Continue reading]]> Our granite has been ordered, and last I heard, it should be arriving in Des Moines TODAY!

I know several of my friends and readers have been waiting to hear what we chose, and I’m finally ready to announce our decision.

The last time I posted a #SquiresHomeRun update, I asked you to weigh in on our two granite finalists. When I count up the votes from the blog post and the Facebook conversations on my personal and fan pages, I’m pretty sure I come up with

  • 19 votes for Coral Gold and
  • 19 votes for Piracema White.

A tie! But I do think Piracema White received the loudest votes. :-)

Granite, Coral Gold, Piracema White, #SquiresHomeRun

So, what did we choose? Well… neither.

I was ready to settle on the Piracema White even though I’d only seen a small sample of it in person. It was a little less expensive, and a lighter granite is really what I’ve thought I wanted all along. But when an opportunity arose to visit the distributor in Omaha, where our granite will be coming from, I jumped at the chance to see what I could see in person before ordering.

The Piracema White was supposed to be landing there sometime that week; unfortunately, it hadn’t yet arrived as of the day I was stopping through. I walked the rows of granite slabs to see if there was anything I liked better, and only one really caught me eye — one very similar to Piracema White (but prettier, in my opinion).

Granite, Silver Cloud

I inquired about the Silver Cloud slabs and found out they were available and that they should be similar in price to the Piracema White. I was also told that Silver Cloud is very similar in color in Piracema White, “but without the cream.”

Cream? I hadn’t seen any cream in my Piracema White sample (probably because it was so small), but apparently, the background of it is a mingling of white and cream. To help me understand that, they showed me another granite which has a similar background color.

Granite, White, Cream

See how the cream in there makes the granite clash with my white cabinets? Not good.

Silver Cloud, on the other hand, has a true white background — no cream. And it looks fabulous with both my white cabinets and my darker island finish.

Granite, Silver Cloud, Cabinets, White Kitchen, Dark Island

So, I am happy to say that our granite selection is Silver Cloud! I love it. The movement, the color, the price… everything about it is perfect for my taste.

Our house will require three slabs, and of those three, I got to choose which one will be used for the kitchen island. I chose this one for both the interest of its design and the purity of its color.

Granite, Silver Cloud

I’ve also requested to see how the cuts are diagrammed before they are made (in case I have any major objections), but I’ve been warned that my weighing in could create waste and therefore the need for an additional slab — which I want to avoid because of cost. Still, I think it will be good for me to not have any big surprises with the layout.

Thanks to all who contributed to the granite conversation and to all who’ve been sharing in the joy of the journey with us! It’s fun to have you following along!

Now that we have our granite selection finalized, our next big decision is interior paint colors. What’s your dream color palette?
#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates Wed, 30 Jul 2014 07:00:58 +0000 Continue reading]]> No matter how much time we have to make selections for our custom home build, we seem to use every bit of it deliberating between options before coming to a confident decision. The good thing about that is that we feel really good about everything we’ve chosen so far: cabinets, stone, exterior paint, lights. The bad thing is that it’s a little nerve-wracking having deadlines come down on us.

That’s where we’re at again, this time around with granite. We’ve got about a week left before we have to place our order, but we need to decide sooner so we can move forward with flooring choices (which are due by month end).

We have our options narrowed down to two, both of which we really like. The thing is, they are pretty dissimilar, and that makes them hard to compare.

#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

Both granites should look good with our cabinets and flooring options.

But which will look great? Which is the one I want to see every day? Which will be more timeless? And more us?

Ultimately, the decision is ours – it is our custom build, after all. But we thought it would be fun (and helpful) to hear what you think. Which granite would you choose?

One is a little more expensive than the other, but I won’t share which one lest I sway your opinion. :-)

Option #1: Coral Gold

#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

We had the opportunity to see the slabs that would be ours should we choose Coral Gold, and let me tell you, they are stunning. I never would have noticed the beauty of this granite by looking at a small sample. Seeing the slab in its entirety really brought it to life for me.

Here’s a picture of Travis holding our (so-tiny-they’re-almost-not-helpful) cabinet samples up to the slab.

#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

Maybe it’s better to look at it like this:

#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

The kitchen island cabinets will be the darker finish shown on the left, and all other cabinetry will be painted white, similar to what’s shown on the right.

Can you envision it? What do you think?

Option #2: Piracema White

#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

This granite slab is aboard a ship on its way to the distributor. Though we aren’t lucky enough to be able to see it in person before placing our order, we are fortunate that its arrival date will work with our timeline – should we choose it. I love the neutral color of this granite as well as its movement.

Here is a collage showing our cabinet colors next to a Piracema White sample.

#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

So, which one do you like better? Leave a comment here or join the discussion on Facebook. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

***UPDATE 8/15/2014: Click here to find out which granite we selected!

]]> 4
#SquiresHomeRun: Reflections of My Heart Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:47:48 +0000 Continue reading]]> #SquiresHomeRun: Reflections of My Heart

Today we are just 11 weeks out from the target closing date on our new house. It’s surreal. With each design decision that we see materialize before our eyes, I stand in awe that this could possibly be our home, knowing how very undeserving I am of such comfortable shelter.

I hear many people who’ve built a custom house say they’d never do it again. I can’t say I share that sentiment, though we don’t “plan” to build again. This home we are creating from the ground up has become to me the fondest of projects. Each decision and selection we’ve made has been with much thought and care, and the final product will be the grand culmination of a vision achieved.

Front porch reflections

Front porch reflections

I’m sure we’ll find things we’ll wish we’d done differently. No home is perfect in every way—and so it ought to be, I guess. For this house is not meant to be our final destination. It will pale in comparison to the one that awaits—the one being prepared by the Master Builder.

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2, NASB)

Until then, this house will be to me a place of blessing and a place of peace. A place of rest and a place of life. In some ways, it already is. Though we don’t inhabit it yet, my heart is already there. It’s in the layout and the light placement and the exterior design. It’s in the cabinets we’ve ordered and the granite we’re choosing. Every piece of this house reflects a piece of us, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

House exterior before stone and garage doors

House exterior before stone, garage doors, and front porch columns

I've always wanted a white house.

I’ve always wanted a white house.

Would you ever build a custom home? What pieces of your heart would your design reflect?

Homemade Tuna Tetrazzini Recipe Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:00:48 +0000 Continue reading]]> Homemade Tuna Tetrazzini

I haven’t been spending much time in the kitchen these days. With the general busyness of summer plus all the extra running around that goes with building a custom home, I’m finding that the quicker the meal, the better.

Today the kids and I came home from some house selection meetings right at lunch time with no leftovers on hand and no plan in mind. We weren’t going to eat out. I needed to come up with something fast.

I’m not normally too creative in the kitchen, but this time a bit of inspiration struck and the result was just the taste I was going for: a copy of Tuna Helper’s Tuna Tetrazzini. (I always loved that handy little box mix, but in favor of eating healthier by making things from scratch, I haven’t bought any in several years.)

Here’s what I came up.

Homemade Tuna Tetrazzini

Homemade Tuna Tetrazzini

1 package linguini noodles
1 package Simply Organic Alfredo Sauce Mix
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 – 7-oz cans tuna, drained

Bring water to a boil. Add noodles and diced vegetables and cook according to noodle package directions. Meanwhile, prepare sauce mix according to package directions. Add tuna to sauce and heat through. Pour sauce over cooked noodles and veggies. Stir to mix well. Add a little milk to moisten if desired.

Homemade Tuna Tetrazzini

What quick meals do you make from scratch?

I Needed to Do This Sun, 22 Jun 2014 07:00:40 +0000 Continue reading]]> Last night I drank in more fun than I’ve had in a long time, and this morning my heart is hungover with joy. I can’t explain why last night’s events meant so much to me. I can’t explain the rush of passion I felt when the opportunity presented itself, nor can I explain the tears that burned against the back of my eyes as I lived it. All I know is that I needed this. For whatever reason, I needed to do this for me.

If there’s one characteristic about myself that I’ve always been quick to admit, it’s this: I am NOT artistic. I’ve tried to be, yes. I still have the sketch book from my childhood that tells of my tries to draw horses. I wanted to be good at it, and I practiced; but the natural talent just wasn’t there. And neither was the instruction. The nine-week art class required of all seventh graders is the extent of my “technical training.”

I guess I’ve always been fine with the fact that I don’t do art. Sure, I’d love to be good at it; but I know I’m not and I accept that.

And still, I had to do this. I hadn’t known that – I wasn’t expecting it or seeking it out. But when I was looking into some summer art camps for kids being offered by Pinot’s Palette Des Moines and came across this beautiful painting, even my artistic handicaps couldn’t subdue the urgency I felt. Every ounce of me, without a doubt, wanted – needed – to attend the class.

So I did. I found a friend and my husband’s blessing, and I took a mom’s night out to remember. Today, the experience fills my heart and adorns my wall. It’s the best $35 of blow money I’ve ever spent.

Pinot's Palette - Foret Noir et Jaune

Maybe the reason it means so much is that truth I’ve just told – that I’m not artistic. Maybe I enjoyed it so much because I could never have visualized this scene without the master example nor created it without the step-by-step instruction.

It’s a copycat painting, and an imperfect one at that, but it’s as strongly mine as the passion which drove me to it. I did it, and I’ll be proud to soon display it on the walls of my new home.

Angela Foret Noir et Jaune

Can you think of a time you just needed to do some thing for yourself, even if you couldn’t explain it? Tell me about it!

]]> 3
Homeschool Reflections (and Why I Need Summer) Thu, 08 May 2014 07:00:14 +0000 Continue reading]]> Homeschool Reflections (and Why I Need Summer)

We are winding down our school year this week. As much as I love homeschooling and know it’s right for our family, I’m relieved. The Homeschool Conference is coming up, and in anticipation of that, I find myself looking forward to next year even before this one is over.

That’s a big part of why I’m ready to be done, I suppose – because before I know it, the time will be here to begin again.

I look forward to enjoying a nice break this summer. I always do. Not only will it be a time to recharge for the next year of homeschooling, but it will also be a relaxed time of memory-making and family-building. (Oh, and house-building, too!)

I expect that this summer will see us frequenting the pool (gotta love that season pass!), firing up the grill (there is no steak in Des Moines like my hubby’s!), and, of course, watching our new house rise. (You can watch, too, by following me on Instagram and Twitter @AngelaRSquires and by subscribing to this blog!)

We probably won’t plan on taking much of a vacation this year; all these other things ought to be fun enough. (Besides, we don’t want to be away from the build for too long!)

But first, the NICHE Conference – which is actually a bit of a vacation for us in itself. We send the kids to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a few days, and we enjoy a time of reconnecting over booths full of books and sessions full of sage advice. Maybe not everyone’s idea of an exhilarating couple’s weekend, but it is for us. :-)

I need the encouragement this year, too. Every year around this time I start freaking out a little bit on the inside, wondering how in the world I’m going to manage next year’s homeschool. Each year seems to add a little more work – a little more time commitment – and I always wonder how I can possibly do more.

Then the time comes and somehow I do it, usually better than I’d hoped.

Still, I worry. This time it’s over the idea of having two in Kindergarten – and not just that, but having two learning to read. I guess teachers handle far more than that in the classroom, but for me it’s definitely going to be a learn-as-I-go kind of thing. Will we make it through? I’m sure. I just don’t know how yet. :-)

Homeschool Reflections (and Why I Need Summer)

Four-year-old Isabel REALLY wants to learn to read!

So, what’s been on your mind as the school year winds down and summer break approaches?

]]> 1
#SquiresHomeRun: Footings and Friends Sat, 26 Apr 2014 07:00:55 +0000 Continue reading]]> Thanks to a couple rainy days it’s been a somewhat uneventful past week at the construction site. Any sign of something happening is exciting though, so when we found this, we were elated.


With the footings poured, we can begin to get a glimpse of the house’s form. I like to stand at the edge of the hole and just envision. Here’s where our family room will be. There’s the nook for our home gym. That’s the safe room we almost didn’t add.

It’s all starting to take shape for the kids, too. I imagine that this whole process of walking through houses and sitting through design meetings has been rather obscure for them. But now there is something tangible. Something concrete. (Literally. :-) ) And the reality of it all is beginning to set in for them, too.


Of course, playing on the dirt mounds with the new neighbor kids is probably the highlight for them right now. (I don’t even want to know what their new tennis shoes would look like had we not purchased rain boots for site exploration.) It’s a highlight for us, too. Everyone in the neighborhood has been so friendly and welcoming, and I have a feeling that by the time we move in six months from now, we won’t totally feel like the new kids on the block.

Remember, you can follow our #SquiresHomeRun on Instagram and Twitter in between blog updates.

]]> 1
Stitch Fix Review #1 Fri, 25 Apr 2014 07:00:37 +0000 Continue reading]]> Stitch Fix #1

Last week I received my first Stitch Fix and promised to do a review of it here on my blog.

I enjoy shopping and wearing stylish clothing, but as I’ve confessed, I’m a slow shopper – especially when it comes to clothes – and that doesn’t always mix well with a busy schedule and four kids.

So when my friend Jody posted her Stitch Fix review on Des Moines Moms Blog, I was sold on the idea of trying on five stylish items in front of my own mirror and with several days (instead of several minutes) to make a purchasing decision.

I stayed up late that night completing my style profile (and Googling style descriptions like “casual chic” and “classic” because I didn’t know what they meant), and I was able to schedule my first fix for just over a week later.

To my surprise, my fix shipped early and arrived at my doorstep prior to my scheduled date. I guess that was a good thing since I was heading out of town that weekend and wanted a new outfit to take along.

My First Fix
Denna Dark Wash Skinny Jean with Lillian Printed Flutter Sleeve Blouse

Denna Dark Wash Skinny Jean with Lillian Printed Flutter Sleeve Blouse

The Denna Dark Wash Skinny Jeans were the first thing I tried on. I wasn’t really looking to buy jeans, but I was anxious to see if they got my fit right. (I’m that girl who tries on 10 pairs of jeans before finding one I like.) They did. I’ve got to say, I was impressed. The jeans were plain but practical, and I liked the cut and feel of them. At $78, they weren’t a purchase I could justify in the absence of need, though I would have considered keeping them in a different season.

Still wearing the jeans, I tried on this Lillian Printed Flutter-Sleeve Blouse. I wasn’t thrilled with the color or pattern, and I thought at first that this particular flutter sleeve was weird, but overall the fit was flattering and comfortable. The price? Way too high. I’m not sure I could ever spend $68 on a lightweight shirt.

Geena Tab-Sleeve Belted Tunic

Geena Tab-Sleeve Belted Tunic

Next up was the Geena Tab-Sleeve Belted Tunic. I was pretty sure right out of the box that it wasn’t my style; belted tops just aren’t my thing. My first impression was right. I hated the sleeves, and the material was hot and heavy. It felt more like fall than spring to me. Even if I’d liked it, the size wasn’t right. It was too big through the chest and arms. That was $48 pretty easily NOT spent.

Laney Empire Waist Jersey Maxi Dress

Laney Empire Waist Jersey Maxi Dress

By this time, the kids were dying for me to try on the Laney Empire Waist Jersey Maxi Dress. (Yes, even though I was “shopping” at home, I still felt like I had a dressing room full of kids.) We’d all fallen in love with the color before I’d even unfolded it. After the first three somewhat disappointing selections, this piece put a smile on my face. The dress fit perfectly and looked like something I would have pulled off the rack myself. My only dilemma? The price tag. Excepting jeans, I never spend $74 for a single article of clothing. Was this dress really worth that much? I decided it might be, since it’s an outfit all in one piece. I cut the tag off and wore it – with buyer’s remorse – the next day. All I can say is it better hold up to a lot of wear, because I intend to get the goody out of my $74 this summer.

Bianca Heathered Drape Front Cardigan

Bianca Heathered Drape Front Cardigan

The last item in my box was the Bianca Heathered Drape Front Cardigan. I had no clue what I’d wear it with, so I just threw it on over the top of the maxi dress. And then I threw it right back off. I hated the cut and style so much that I didn’t even take time to have my hubby snap a picture. Realizing that I should probably have a photo of it for this review, I put it back on for the camera a couple days later just before packing it into the postage-paid return sack. I think this $58 cardigan brought extra disappointment because it wasn’t the white full-zip layering piece I had specifically requested.

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, I was a little disappointed in my fix. Two of five items I couldn’t even consider keeping because of fit and/or style; and all of them were too expensive for me to be able to keep more than one. I was impressed by the accuracy of the sizing (in four of five items). The color/style/fit of the dress was right on, though the price was pushing my comfort zone; I’m hoping the quality will prove the cost to be justified.

Although my first fix was less than ideal, I think there is a chance I’ll schedule another one at some point – as long as I’m prepared to spend upwards of $50 per item. In the meantime, I think I’d do well to add some inspiring looks to my fashion board on Pinterest, giving my Stitch Fix stylist a better look at what I like.

So, what do you think? Would you ever try Stitch Fix? Or maybe you already have? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Disclaimer: I did not receive anything in exchange for this review. However, fixes scheduled through my referral link will earn me credit toward my next fix.

]]> 6