Thursday, November 15, 2012

What's on my mind right now...

Ok, I know I haven't posted in a really long time, but here's a little something to tide you over until I can finish the few things I'm working on and post about them in a couple weeks.

Today, my mind is completely filled with the following...

Yep, that's right. I'm thinking about cinnamon rolls. Random, I know, but I really, REALLY want to make a big batch of them. I don't know why, but that's what I wish I could do. So, here are some more pictures of yumminess. 

These are actually orange marmalade rolls. Same difference. 

Oh, and these beauties are chocolate chip cookie rolls  :) 

Ok, I'm sure I've made you all very hungry right now. Good. Now go make some cinnamon rolls since I don't have time to do it today and tell me how they are ;) 

Credit: All of these photos and recipes are from The Pioneer Woman and are available at her website.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Growing Up

So, I haven't posted in a while. There's a reason for that, but I'm afraid it isn't an all that great kind of reason. But, here it is: I've been busy with life and just haven't had anything to say.... Like I said, it's not very good, but it is true. To be honest, right now there are about 10,000 other things I could (maybe even should) be doing before I go into the office, but right now, I want some "me time". I am drinking my coffee, (now iced because I didn't get it finished before it cooled off and I hate reheating coffee in the microwave), while sitting in my recliner (oh how I love this chair!) and blogging.

To be honest, there is very little that has been exciting lately. My life is very ordinary. I work 40 hrs a week, have a great husband and 2 kitty-cats to take care of, an apartment to clean, hobbies to try and squeeze in a midst the necessity of seeing family and friends, work at the office, working at home, etc. Life is ordinary but very busy. Sometimes, life is overwhelming. Every fee like you just can't do it all? Yeah, I feel ya. Totally there.

This time last year, I was getting ready to start my first "big girl job" (aka full-time) while I was still a student. I was excited. Now, I can honestly say that I don't remember the first 4 months of my job. Why? The whole full-time job and full-time student combination was crazy, and I really, really don't remember most of it. I wish I did, but I'm guessing that it's a good thing I don't :).

I can also say that I miss being a student. (I know, I'm a total geek. Oh well, I've made peace with it.) Seriously, I miss learning, going to class, the sense of community, books- I miss school. (But I can say with total certainty that I DO NOT miss tests/exams or writing papers all the time. Never.) There is so much promise when you are a student. You can do anything. Be anything. Dream anything. Do anything. Now that I'm a "grown up", or at the very least have a grown up job, that sense of promise and feeling of the sky being my limit is not as prevalent as it used to be. I'm not trying to be melodramatic here. I know that I'm still young and that I have lots of years left ahead of me to do whatever with and make my own, but it's not quite the same.

This past year has really been a year for growing up very quickly. Perhaps too quickly. I'm not saying that I don't love me life- I truly, LOVE MY LIFE! But that doesn't mean it has been easy, or that given the chance I would do things a little differently. Oh well, there's no changing the past.

So now what? Well, now I just keep growing. Growing in Jesus. Growing as a wife, sister, daughter, friend. Growing as an employee. Growing as me. I haven't gotten this whole balance thing down yet and I'm pretty sure that no one does (makes me feel good to realize that). Each day, I have the chance to learn more about Jesus and to learn more about myself. Each day, I can choose to be more like Jesus that I was yesterday and each day I can choose to do things differently than I did the day before.

Maybe that sense of promise is still there, but maybe it's just packaged differently. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I have seriously been working on this post for several weeks. Seriously. We have had a death in the family (more on that at a later time) and, in addition to that, I haven't been able to gather my thoughts so that what has been in my heart will make sense to anyone else. I think I'm finally at a place where I can say what's been in my heart and do so in such a way that (hopefully) it all makes sense. (PS: I am leaving most of this in the tense it was originally written). Thank you for letting me share my heart with you.

Do you ever have those moments where the Lord speaks so clearly that you look around to see if someone is else is in the room with you? I just had one of those moments. My friend Lisa, just started a new blog about her family and how they are journeying through the loss of their older son/brother and holding tightly to the Lord's loving hand. Last week, Lisa posted a video of a song that played on the radio and really spoke to her heart. The song is "While I'm Waiting". I had read Lisa's other posts but hadn't watched/listened to the video yet (just got a new computer and my old one wouldn't play the video). As I watched the video today, I realized why the song had spoken to Lisa, but then I realized that the Lord had a message for me too.

"While I'm Waiting" talks about waiting for the Lord with hope and patience. It talks about worshiping and serving while we wait for Him. The Lord reminded me that we are to wait for Him and for His timing. Sometimes, I feel like my life has been spent waiting. As a child, I waited until I was a grownup to do things I thought were cool but wasn't allowed to do (like staying up past my bedtime, driving, etc). I waited for the husband God had chosen for me. I waited for a 'big girl' job for over a year after completing the interview process. Sometimes, I feel like I have waited for my life to begin.

As Christians, we do a lot of waiting. But waiting is not an excuse to do nothing. We are to wait with expectancy. We are to wait with hope. We are to wait with patience. Some days, it seems like I want to pull my hair out with all of this waiting! Let's face it, I'm human and not always filled with hope, or patience, or expectancy. Some days, I just want to tell the Lord what He can do with all this waiting- give it to someone else and give me what I want right then! Praise Him for Grace everyday, and especially on those days when I'm extra cranky because He must grant me an extra portion on those days when I'm acting more like a spoiled child than the Christ follower He created me to be.

Isaiah 40:31 tells us, "... those who wait on the LORD will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary". Years ago, I learned from a precious Sunday school teacher and family friend that "wait" implies resting in the Lord. We gain our strength and the ability to soar like eagles when we rest on Who our God is and recognizing what He has done. He is Who He says He is, does what He says He will do and He doesn't change.

The original Hebrew uses a word for "wait" that means "to wait expectantly for". Think of it as a child on Christmas Eve waiting for the night to end and the morning to begin, or knowing that something you ordered online is set to arrive tomorrow- you'd be pretty excited, right? Well, that is the idea is that when we are waiting to hear from the Lord, see Him work in our lives/a circumstance (btw, I know that for me personally, He often uses my circumstances to draw me closer to Him and thus does a work in me, and not necessarily my situation), etc we should wait expecting Him to do something. The kicker though, is that we should be waiting with the realization that what He is doing is far greater than we could ever imagine, meaning, we should not wait expecting Him to act in a specific way that we have deemed necessary through our prideful and preconceived notions. We can always expect Him to act in such a manner that is totally a completely in line with His character as is revealed through Scripture.

Waiting isn't easy, it's difficult. But waiting is good for us. Those times in our lives when it feels like all we do is wait for The Lord are precious moments- a gift- that are completely unique from other times and seasons in our lives. I am learning that our seasons of waiting often have special lessons, and in some cases, I have a more teachable spirit (not always the case, but sometimes it is).

Waiting is not an excuse to do nothing. Waiting isn't easy, it doesn't come naturally for me. I'm not writing this post because I think I've got it all figured out. The truth is, I don't have it figured out at all. This post is coming directly from my heart and what the Lord spoke to me. I think that if I'm learning about waiting, I want to share it because someone else out there is probably learning it too.

So this is where I am, learning about waiting and learning to wait on the LORD's timing. Sometimes I wish I had His watch, but that would defeat the purpose. Our challenge is to wait with hope, expecting God to do something far greater than we could ever have imagined. Our challenge is to take action when we wait- to continue serving, loving, worshiping. I don't know if waiting ever gets easier, but I know that with each season of waiting, we learn something new about our Father and that's a precious gift. Our challenge is is remember that waiting is not an excuse to do nothing. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

A sweet friend of mine recently shared a blog post she found. I read the post and loved it so much that I am linking it here so you can read it too. I can honestly say that I wish I had read this sooner because it really gives a great reminder to those of us who are married and is a great view of a Christian marriage for those of you out there who aren't married. I hope it will bless you, married or single, as much as it has blessed me.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Trey Erwin Day

I have been trying for almost a month to write today's post, but I never really felt like it was the right time, or that I had the words, or that I even wanted to say anything. But today seems like it is the most fitting day to open up.

On July 5, my brother's best friend and my mom's best friend's son went home to be with Jesus after a fight with pancreatic cancer. (There are a couple of previous posts that you can dig around and find with a little more detail about the Trey's journey.) Today would have been Trey's 16th birthday, and in the town where he grew up, the mayor declared today to be Trey Erwin Day.

Yes, today is a difficult day, in some ways. But I can't help but remember our sweet time of worship at Trey's Celebration (and yes, that's what we call it because that's what it was). There were 2,000 ish people in attendance in our home church, all singing and worshipping the Risen Lord Jesus. You want to talk about awesome- that was it! We had glowsticks, bright colors everywhere and while there were tears, the Joy in the room was so palatable that you couldn't help but recognize the presence of the Spirit. If you would like to view the service, here's the link.

The past month, the Lord has been using Trey's life, battle and celebration as a powerful teaching tool in my life. I will openly admit that I asked the Lord how he could allow His 16 year old child to have such an awful disease- how are You just when this seems so unjust? The Lord quietly and lovingly taught me about his character- God is GOOD and JUST not because of the circumstances that I can observe with my senses and my mind but because it is Who He IS.

You may have heard the following chant: "God is good all the time. All the time God is good." I have said this countless time, meaning every word but not fully understanding the implications of what I was saying. This is an affirmation of God's character. When we talk about God being good, we are making a statement about His character, not merely the circumstances that surround us.

If God's goodness is dependent on the circumstances in our life then he ceases to be all-knowing, all-loving all of the time. Which would contradict Scripture. Seeing as how that isn't possible, there must be more to it. God transcends our circumstances. He is GOOD even when our circumstances are not. He is JUST, even when our circumstances are not.

How does this relate to our daily life? I'm still trying to learn this part of the lesson better, but what I understand so far is that God's character doesn't change and that when I walk through something wonderful, He is there. When I walk through something painful, He is there too. In each situation he is there, and He is holding me, and I never have to walk through anything alone. The situation will still be filled with emotions, but He is there, collecting each tear (Ps 58:6). He is working it all together for His Glory and our Good (James 1 and Romans 8:28).

This is where I've been the past month or so. The Lord is so gracious to me, patiently teaching me how to walk closer with Him. Even though Trey was not my personal friend, he was by brother best friend, the son of my mom's best friend (and my friend too). We grieve for our loss, but we are jealous because Trey is with Jesus, and it doesn't get any better than that.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tomorrow is my Favorite

Tomorrow is Saturday. I LOVE Saturday!!!!! Do you know why? Saturday is date day. Recently, my hubby and I have started to go on a brunch date every Saturday morning (well, morningish) because it's some of the only time during the week that we have together when one or both of us isn't working (long story but the short part is that we have 2 very different work schedules so we take time together when we can get it). 

We have "discovered" a little bistro at our new favorite bookstore. (Ok, I knew it was there but hadn't been inside in a while because we had lived across town and he had never been in. Oh my, don't I enrich his life?!) Let me tell ya why this is our favorite bookstore: they sell BOOKS!!!! I know, amazing, life changing, even EARTH SHATTERING; a bookstore that sells books (if you've been to Barns and Noble lately, then you understand the significance of this). Well, that's not the only reason. We also love it because it is a local store. We love supporting local businesses, artists, restaurants, pretty much anything! We believe it is importnat to support your local establishments because it is those shops, restaurants, artists, authors, etc that give back to the community and that's pretty awesome. 

Anyway, the bookstore has a bistro and that's where we've been having our brunch dates the past few weeks. Tomorrow, I think we will branch out and try something new. Dunno just yet. 

In other news, it's late and I'm waiting for the hubby to get back from a movie with his brother and I've heard there may be a late night Sonic run or something too... Fingers crossed on this one! Also, I will post soon about all that has gone on the past month or so- it's been CRAZY!!!! We've walked through a lot but I have learned sooooo much through it all- above all the Lord is GOOD and He is FAITHFUL! I'm finally at the point where I think I can share with you what has been going on. 

And you will also be glad to know, drum roll, please. . . . . . . I BAKED PIES! Yes, that is correct, p-i-e-S, as in PLURAL, meaning more than one! I decided that I had been wanting to make my husband's grandmother's chocolate chess pie and that now was as good a time as any. Since pie crusts come 2 to a package and my freezer is insanely small, and I had extra evaporated milk (read: I bought the big can and not the small one), I decided that I'd make another one. Pictures soon, they are on my phone (sad i know, but it was handy) and once I pull them off the phone I will share. 

I think that's all for now- I need to go make sure I can find shoes for that Sonic run! More to come soon! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Partial Summer Recap and a 30 Day Challenge

It's summer!!!!! I'd say that means a break from everything but, being a grown up means that summer isn't quite like it used to be. Oh well. To get you caught up on a few things:

1. Last week, we went on a mini vacation with my family to see my brother graduate from Army AIT (Advanced Individual Training) and bring him home. After graduation, we all went to stay with sweet friends at their lake house. (Bob and Joyce, you are the BEST! I can't tell you how wonderful it was to spend time with you and just relax- THANK YOU!!!!! We love you!!!!) Our friends actually happen to be some of my parents closest friends from when they were all newly weds/young marrieds. What's really great is that Bob and Joyce have a daughter and three sons and my parents apparently thought it was a good idea since they have a daughter (me!!!) and three sons!

2. I will post pictures soon from the above mentioned trip. I got a new camera lens for my baby Nikon and it was awesome! But I'm still wading through all the photos (and trust me, that's  TON, well, actually somewhere between 800-1000) and once I can get rid of the bad ones (aka, closed eyes, fuzzy faces, back of heads, etc) I will post pictures.

3. I have another blog post coming out soon (like today, or tomorrow) but have to finish reading the article that sparked the idea to post about this topic.

4. Our "little" (aka young) cat is running spastic circles around the house right now.

5. This post is more than just a list of randomness.

Ok, so here's the REAL point this post: a challenge. I have been reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young as part of my personal Bible study. This book is wonderful! It has been used by the Lord to draw me closer to Him in the midst of friends being ill with cancer, crazy schedules, etc. I Highly recommend this book. (And I think you know that I don't recommend Bible studies/ devotional books very often, so this is kind of a big deal.)

I have recently discovered that right before I go to bed is a good time for me to have my quiet time. I work late most nights (not by my choice but because that is just the way my job is) and usually the house is quiet and hubby is asleep or almost asleep when I get home. This allows me the time to spend with the Lord, when everything is quiet and there are fewer distractions (even the kitties are tired at that point). Last night's entry in Jesus Calling made me wish I had read it month ago!

I have been struggling with being thankful for all things in my life, specifically the difficult stuff that's painful, not the way I like it and just down tight yuck. But we are supposed to count trials as joy (James 1) and be thankful in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) and rejoice in the Lord regardless of circumstance (Philippians 4:4-6). To say I haven't been very good at that would be accurate, ok, it would be an understatement. I have been anything but joyful, thankful and rejoicing.

Yesterday, I began learning about praying in faith and thanking God for the difficult things in my life. I get the idea that prayer and faith go together, like praying in faith that God will heal someone, but it never really occurred to me that I should be praying in faith to give thanks to the Lord for the stuff in life that is difficult. So... I have decided to start a challenge: for the next 30 days, I am going to daily thank the Lord for the things in my life that are trials, painful, difficult, and just plain "not fair" in my view.

Recap from day 1: It hurts. It is incredibly difficult to give thanks for those situations, etc that cause me pain. It is peaceful. I know that I am turning it all over to the Lord and He can handle it. It is like being forced to apologize as a child. Remember, when you were a kid and you hit your brother/sister and you mom made you say, "I'm sorry" and hug? Well, giving thanks for trials and difficulties is just like that right now: I don't feel thankful and I'm not really thankful, but I am going through the act of giving thanks, in the hope and faith that I will learn to be thankful, or something like that. I am trusting that God will use this to work in my heart.

So, that's the challenge. 30 days of giving thanks for the difficulties and trials in your life, in faith that God will show you more of Himself, make you more like Jesus, etc. Are you up for the challenge?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey: the reasons I won't read it

I love to read. I have mentioned this fact before. I do not claim to always read excellent works written by the most brilliant of authors on the planet, filled with all four syllable words that can't easily be pronounced. BUT, I don't like to read things that are not well written. There are many topics that catch my interest and so I will read a variety of books, on a variety of topics, written in a variety of styles, but if it isn't well written then I won't finish the book. 

Recently, there has been a book that has come to the top of the NY Times Best Seller List. This book has been the "talk of the town" and made the circuit of almost all the major television shows. This book has created some controversy, too (and not, controversy isn't a requirement for great literature, more on this in a minute). Some libraries are talking about banning the book. Yet, thousands of people, many of whom women, are flocking to read this book and getting on waiting lists for copies. What is this book? "Fifty Shades of Grey". 

I won't be reading this book. And at this point, I'd like to stop and say that if you have read this book, are reading this book or have decided to read this book, then that is your decision and I am totally alright with that. I am not judging anyone. I am in no place to determine what kind of a person you are based on what you read, etc. I might disagree with you, but I'm not passing judgment on whether or not you are a good person, etc. 

I won't be reading this books for several reasons. The first reason is because I didn't think it sounded like a book I would enjoy. Yeah, I know. Not a very "scholarly" or "godly" reason. Oh well. It's true. If I don't think I will enjoy a book and it's not required for something, then I'm not going to force myself to read it. Originally, I didn't give it much more thought than that. 

But wouldn't you know, that shortly thereafter, everything changed? I read this article by Dana Gresh and I started thinking. I realized that there were more reasons I didn't need to read "Fifty Shades of Grey". Read Dana's article and decide for yourself if you should or shouldn't read this book. I'm not here to make any decisions for you, but the article is interesting and I would rather share it with you so that you can make an informed decision than not. 

I don't think that this books is good reading. I don't think that it is well written. Personal opinion. And I'm not going to get into all my reasons for not reading this book. Dana's article covers them very eloquently so I'm not going to try and do it again. But please, read the article. Think about what you are going to be putting into your mind and heart by "ingesting" the material in "Fifty Shades of Grey". 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Today I am thankful for...

Today, I am thankful for a God who knows what we need before we do.
Today, I am thankful for the stability that Jesus offers (Is33:6).
Today, I am thankful for a husband who loves and supports me.
Today, I am thankful for precious friends who pray for me when I need it most.
Today, I am thankful for my God still being on His throne.
Today, I am thankful for Jesus, my Prince of Peace.

So, what are you thankful for today?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Books and Reading

I have loved books for the majority of my life. Since I was very young, I have had what would probably be an obsession with books. This doesn't mean that I always enjoyed reading. I actually struggled when I was learning to read and it wasn't exactly my favorite thing to do, but I still loved books. Weird, I know.

Eventually, I got the whole reading thing down and have been on a roll ever since. I read everything, even cereal boxes... and I read those more than once, not on purpose though, only because they are in my face when I eat cereal. But I digress.

Anyway. One of the reasons I love to read is that my parents, particularly my dad. My Dad and I had a very special way of spending time together: he would read to me almost every night. This tradition stated when I was very young. So young that I could barely write my name on the check out card at our church library but that didn't matter. I can remember that although I could barely write my name, I would still check out a Nancy Drew Book (I felt very much like a big girl for choosing such a big book) and my Dad would ask, "Now, are you sure you want me to read this to you? It might be kind of scary.". But I told him that I didn't care and to read it anyway. (To this day, I still love Nancy Drew books.) This tradition with my Dad slacked off for a few of my teen years but right up until I got married, my Dad would still read to me and as I listened, I would work on a knitting project (yes, I know, I'm a very boring person) or something similar. 

I have always felt that the characters in books we my friends and that by reading books, I could be part of their story. It's time traveling and flying around the globe without buying the plane ticket or having a time machine. Bliss. 

For my college graduation, my husband bought me a Kindle eReader by Amazon. I had originally thought that I would never like an eReader because "I like to turn the pages. Books must have real pages and a real cover. Anything else is fake..."... Yeah. I was a book snob. And discovered that I was wrong about the Kindle after playing around with one. I LOVE my Kindle! {Please note, this is not an endorsement of any product. Amazon doesn't know me and doesn't care what I think.} I love that I can read a trial section to determine if I like the book and want to buy it. I love that it is so light and holds 3,500ish books. I love it. 

This is not to say that I don't still buy "real" books, you know, the ones with the cover and binding and pages made from paper. I definitely still love real books. I will always love real books and will continue to purchase them when I feel so inclined. 

My husband and I have quite a collection of books. See: 

What's kinda sad is that most of them are mine and that's only about 1/2 of the ones I own (most of my children's books are in storage). {The reason they are on the floor under a table is because we were painting the living room and had to more the book cases.}

Yes, we like to read. Yes, we like books. And yes, we are okay with that. I hope that someday we will instill in our future children a love for books and reading too. Silly, I know, but it's true. Then again, they might not stand a chance with book addicted parents like us! 

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Blog Love: Photography

One of my newest favorite blogs is I love taking pictures but I am in no way a photographer. I have my totally great Nikon camera and haven't used it as much as I'd like. This blog is fantastic because the instructions are simple and the topics range from basic to more advanced- great for someone like me who wants to learn how to take better pictures without spending $100's-1000's of dollars in classes and stuff that I don't need right now.

If you like photography, check it out- you will be glad you did!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I'm a Grump

Ever have one of those days where it just starts off wrong? Yeah, me too. Today as a matter of fact is one of those days. I won't bore you with the details of it all, but starting the day with any type of adrenaline rush before your feet it the floor isn't a way that I suggest starting your day. 

Today, I am struggling with my attitude. This is more like me at the moment. 

I know that I will spend the rest of the day fighting to keep my inner Grumpy under control. Somedays are just like that. The good news is that my Jesus loves me even when I have a bad attitude (or as a friend used to say, a "bad-a-tude"), and he is working daily on changing my "bad-a-tude" into a "glad-a-tude" (an attitude of gladness). 

I hope today you have a "glad-a-tude", and I'm going to do my best to have one too! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Please, Read This Article

I'm linking up this post to an article I read a week or two ago. It deals with kids, and as you know, we don't have any. This little fact doesn't mean that the article doesn't apply to me. At the heart of this article is the idea that we as women need to stop comparing ourselves to each other.

Confession time: I do this. I do this A LOT! I don't look like ______. My house isn't clean or decorated like __________. You get the idea.

But here's the deal: the people in our lives don't care if we aren't just like Ms. So-and-So. The people in our lives who really care about us, love us for who WE  are, just as we are.

My husband married me because he loves ME, not because I'm someone else. My husband loves me, flaws, quirks and imperfections included (even if I do make him a little crazy every now and then- it's good for him, right? ;) This means that I need to stope trying to be someone I'm not. This means I need to stop comparing myself to someone else and just embrace being me. No guilt trips. No wishing I could do something as good as ___________.

The other thing this article pointed out was that we are often comparing ourselves to the random assortment of odds and ends that we find on blogs, magazines, TV and Pinterest. Before you think I'm going to bask Pinterest, I'm not. I LOVE Pinterest. It's a huge help for me when I'm planning meals, looking for ideas for decorating my home, or just feel like wasting time. Pinterest is a great resource for researching all kinds of stuff. Pinterest and I are tight. BUT, if I let Pinterest control my life and the way I view myself, or allow it to determine my self-worth, then it's time to step back and call time out.

My value doesn't come from how clean, organized and perfectly decorated my house is, complete with the perfectly cooked meal in the oven. My value doesn't come from the clothes I wear or how I look. My value comes from the One who made me. My value comes because of who Christ has done in my life and what He is continuing to do in my life (Have I mentioned that I'm glad He's not through molding and shaping me yet? Cuz I'm really, as in REALLY-CRAZY-GLAD He's not done with me yet!)

God created me for a purpose. He created me with a specific set of skills, abilities, dreams and talents that all fit together for that purpose. (I'm still working on understanding that purpose, but one step at a time, right?) He has made me unique. Unique means I'm different from you, but it's good. Our purposes and journeys to those purposes are different, but that's all in the design. It's good, really good.

As you read the article, be encouraged. Be yourself. Embrace what God has given you and the road He's got you traveling.

Here's the Article. I hope it is as encouraging for you as it is for me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Sometime, life isn't easy. I'm pretty sure you can agree with this observation. Right now, life isn't particularly easy. I cry, a LOT, and about everything. Every emotion you can think of, I express through tears. It's kinda pathetic, I tell ya... and annoying. Let's not forget how I manage to annoy myself by crying. It's a hassel. Having said this, I should also mention that my life is still wonderful.

My circumstances do not change the fact that my life is wonderful. I serve a loving, LIVING Lord who counts every tear, knows every need and never leaves me to walk through anything on my own. I am blessed to have a wonderful, loving husband who puts up with me and walks with me through it all- the easy and the difficult, the good and the not so good. I have the best family and friends in the world who support me and encourage me. I. Am. Blessed.

This is not to say my life is perfect. It's not. It won't ever be. Some days, I just feel like running away and joining the circus. But I don't. I won't. I will walk through all of this life I am blessed to call mine. I will feel each moment of joy and each moment of sorrow. I will give thanks and praise to the One who gives every good and perfect gift.

Lately, the Lord has been teaching me to trust Him, even when things are going the way I'd like. He's been teaching me to take a deep breath and give him thanks for all things. He's been teaching me that when it's hard to trust, choose to trust for each moment and breath, and when the next breath comes along, trust Him for that one as well. It isn't easy but it's worth it. He is showing me where peace is found. It's a good place, but a difficult one.

My sink is full of dirty dishes, my dishwasher is full of clean ones. My laundry, both clean and dirty runneth over. The house needs to be vacuumed, dusted, moped and scrubbed. But that's life. And I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Heart, My Dream

I am the oldest of four kids, and I am the only girl. Growing up, pretty much everyone thought that my parents were crazy for having four kids. We got lots of stares from strangers everywhere we went. People often commented on how my parents "have your hands full". Yes, it's true, mom and dad definitely had very full hands. We learned at a fairly early age that there were some things in life that we couldn't afford to do, like those dreamy and super expensive vacations to Disney World (although mom and dad did take me when I was about 3.. that was when there were only 2 of us and my brother stayed with my grandparents because he was too young to come). We learned that the reason for this was because there were four kids and not one or two. (I'm not trying to knock anyone who grew up in a family of one, two or three kids, or who got to go on those magical vacations and such. It just wasn't something that we could do and I'm cool with that) The best thing is though, that my mom and dad made it obvious that even through they didn't have the nicest clothes or cars, or the newest gadget on the planet, they didn't mind, they didn't care. My mom and dad made is so crystal clear that they loved us more than anything the world could offer. Sure, they wanted nice things for us and themselves but it wasn't consuming, it wasn't their lifestyle to be absorbed into materialism.

I saw this article, Motherhood Is Calling, and it really struck me because I know what it is like to be the kid who hears all the comments people make about someone having their hands full with a gaggle of kids. I didn't think much about it then, but looking back I realize how difficult that must have been at times. My parents didn't care what the world thought and would have given their lives for us if had been needed. They still would. My parents stood between us as kids and the world- they protected us and modled Jesus for us and the world to see. I can't thank them enough. 

As a result of this, I discovered a long time ago that my heart's desire is to be a mom. (and before you ask, no, I'm not pregnant.) I know that this will happen in the Lord's timing and that until then, He's got valuable lessons to teach me. I look forward to the day I am a mom. I want to be like my mom, my grandmothers, my mother-in-law and my husband's grandmothers. I want to be the kind of mom who models Jesus to her children and the world. This is my heart, this is my dream. 

{From left to right: Brother 1, Mom, Me, Dad, Brother 2, Brother 3}

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Kitchen Challenge

If ya haven't figured it out by now, I kinda like to cook... a lot. My hubby's birthday is Monday and I'm making the cake. Last year, I made him cheesecake because that's one of his favorites and I had a recipe I wanted to try. (That recipe has since become a favorite- shout out to 2nd Ave Deli in New York- you're cookbook is amazing!)

This year, however is different. This year he want cheesecake. This year he wants red velvet cake.



Yes, THAT is what he wants for his birthday! We ate at Cheesecake Factory in January which is when he tried that way too awesome for words cake and decided he wanted me to try and recreate it for his birthday. It's going to be a challenge. It's going to require two cheesecake pans. It's going to be more sugar than we've eaten in a loooong time. And it's so TOTALLY going to be worth it! Photos and an update to come after the momentous event of my creating this monstrosity of a completely fabulous cake!

PS: I got a card reader for my camera! That means all those photos on my camera can finally be posted here! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Diet Update

Well, here we are! We are nearly two weeks into our new way of thinking about and eating food. We have been eating a TON of salad, but don't really mind. I have tried new recipes, some good and some that need not be repeated...

We have not been perfect. For example, yesterday was a bad day for me. I have 2 fun size snickers, 2 individual starburst candies, and a werther's original. We have allowed ourself 3 werther's a day because that keeps us under our calories for sweets (technically, sugar isn't allowed but I'm allergic to the artificial sweeteners so we decided that if we stay within the calories allowed it would be ok), but yesterday was excessive. Tonight, we splurged and had 2 cookies each tonight to celebrate my brother-in-law being home from school for spring break. Oh. My. Goodness. Those cookies were magical!

After nearly two weeks with no flour, etc or more than 75 calories of sugar, those cookies were also really, REALLY rich. And heavy. And... well, now I feel kinda yuck. Not bad or sick or anything, just not as great as I did before. Amazingly enough, I felt the same way last night when I ate the candy (sarcasm here)! The lessons here: ya eat junk, ya feel like junk.

Without these past (nearly) two weeks, I would not have realized how my body reacts to sugar and junk food. Don't worry, I'm not going to be giving up sugar or junk food, but I am going to be more conscious about when and how much of it I eat.

Recap: First two weeks are going good- can't wait till the next phase!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New look

Ok, so I'm sure that you have noticed the changes around here at the good 'ole blog. I felt like the name needed to reflect more of what this blog has become. I like sugar and peppers, not always the together, but they represent the variety of flavors that life offers- the sweet, and the times when life gets stressful and it feels like someone is perpetually turning up the heat in every room.

Be warned, the changes aren't over! I like variety, and options. I don't know what changes are left for this little 'old corner of cyberspace but I guess we will both have to find out!

Lots of Changes

First of all, I've got an update on Trey, the kid mentioned in my last post. Since then, Trey has been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. It's crazy that a 15 year old kid is battling the disease is only every battled by adults. Trey is the youngest person on record with pancreatic cancer. The doctors has started chemo this week, it is a new form of treatment that was approved by the FDA 6 months ago. I am praising the Lord for this because it is an advancement in such a devastating disease. It may seem difficult for some to see good in such a devastating situation, God is at work in our community! There are so many people that don't know Trey or his family but who are sending cards, messages, etc. Today, I was so touch to learn that two radio stations are showing their support for Trey by having "13 hours of pray for Trey" and "!3 days of pray for Trey". (Trey is football jersey number is 13). Keep praying for Trey as he and his family as they walk through chemo treatments, good days and nights, and some more difficult days and nights. 

Second, we, the Husband and I, have made a lifestyle change. We have decided to begin the South Beach Diet. My blood pressure is too high and my doctor isn't too happy about it, as I'm sure you can guess. I am trying to avoid medication (although genetics aren't on my side) and this is one part of trying to lead a generally healthier lifestyle. So far, I don't feel like eating through the plastic wrapper around the bread that still in the pantry. One day at a time, one meal at a time. This isn't easy, that's for sure, but it's for the best. We, our little family of 2 (4 if you count the kitties) needs this change, easy or not. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

He is never surprised

Well, it appears I'm still a blogging slacker. Oh well. Sorry. I promise it's not intentional. SOooo, how is life everyone? Things here are still crazy, but good. It feels like every time I get used to a particular schedule, it changes. Guess that's life though.

This weekend, we celebrate out ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!!!! Holy cow!!!! It doesn't feel like we've been married a year yet- where did the time go!!?!?!?!?!???!!! To say that I am slightly introspective would be correct. I've been doing some thinking the past few days as I have run around town trying frantically to a dress for our anniversary dinner (I did find one BTW).

It doesn't seem like a year as has passed, but here we are, one year later. This past year has brought a lot more surprises that I thought it would, a lot more change too. But isn't every year like that?

I am introspective for more than just our anniversary. This past Saturday/Sunday, my youngest brother's best friend was taken to the hospital for several reasons but the cause of all his symptoms appears to be cancer. What is so hard is that this guy, his name is Trey, is only 15! In spite of all the difficulty surrounding this time and situation, there have already been some huge blessings to come out of this.

This past weekend was Disciple NOW weekend at our church, which means that word of Trey's hospital visit spread even faster than it normally would have. This devastating news has brought our church family together is such an awesome way- it is WONDERFUL to see the Church really come together like a Family in unity.

Our church has been so divided for so long (really long story and the details don't matter), we have really started to see the Lord healing and restoring the years the locusts have eaten. Relationships are being rebuilt, hostility is being let go. And now Trey is sick.

Two years ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. We thought for sure we would be making funeral arrangements because on top of the cancer, he contracted MERSA, a staph infection that was resistant to drugs. Well, long story short, my grandfather is still alive and kickin' and doing quite well. We praise God for what He has done and what He is going to do.

I tell you this story not because they have a common theme: God was not surprised. We as humans cannot comprehend the mind of the Father. God was not surprised or taken aback by my grandfather's illness nor by Trey's. God knew from the beginning of time that all of this would occur. This is comforting to me, why? Because it reminds me that God is bigger than all of our circumstances. We do not want to see people we know and love in pain and illness, but in the midst of it all, we see that our God is bigger and greater than it all! Not only that, but our God uses all things to bring Himself glory and to being good to those whom He calls His children.

I am saddened for Trey and his precious family. I have walked down the road of cancer with several family members and friends, and it is never easy. (I nearly start crying every time I get on facebook because of all the love and support everyone is giving, and I'm not even related to the family!) But I have hope, as I know they do too. I have hope because my Jesus is Bigger, and Greater than any illness and I know that He has a plan. I do not understand His plan, but I know Him. I trust Him.

As the Lord brings them to your mind, please pray for Trey and his sweet family. Pray that God would grant them peace, pray that they would find Rest in Him as they walk through this season of difficulty holding onto the hand of the One Who Formed the World.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Recipe idea

I have found a recipe that sounds absolutely delish!!!! And it gets better because it's from a blog that I absolutely love!!! Her name is Cait and her blog is ABicycleBuiltfor2. You need to check out her blog!!! Like, right now- go! But come back so you can read my idea and tell me what you think :)

Alright, the recipe is Oatmeal Pancakes. Here's the picture. 

I'm thinking of making oatmeal muffins????? Don't know exactly how, but does that sound good? We aren't taking squishy or mushy instant oatmeal but fluffy muffins. Maybe with ginger, nutmeg and molasses????? Dunno yet. Thoughts????? 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Radio Silence

Once again, I am realizing that I haven't blogged about anything in a while. To put it simply, life has been busy. How busy? Well... before bed tonight, I've still got to make my lunch for tomorrow and check the washing machine (I think there's laundry in it, but I'm not sure... scary) and while this alone isn't much, I always end up doing waaaay more stuff than I set out to do before bed. Sigh. I need to change that one, it's not me best habit.

Anyway, life has been busy. We are finally moved into our new apartment and we LOVE it!!! We are still in the process of making it look and feel "homey" but the truth is that home is where ever we are together so it doesn't really matter if there's stuff on the walls or curtains in the windows. However, we are in the process of painting, hanging art on the walls and putting curtains in the windows just because we like it that way. :) To be honest, we are liking these little projects. It's fun to put our own stamp on our new place and make it "ours".

Over these past few months, we have also been adjusting. Well, actually we've been doing that for nearly a year now. It all started when we got married (a year in less than a month!!!) cuz let's face it, marriage is wonderful but it is a life changing event. We survived my second to last semester of college, made it though a CRAZY hot summer and then the Husband went back to school while working full time and I went to work full time while I was in school. In December, I graduated with my BALS (Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies) with a concentration in Judaic (that would be Jewish) studies, and we moved into our new apartment (the day after graduation to be exact).

As we are walking through these life changes (marriage, school, job), I have found myself realizing that there is a lot of stuff that people don't tell you about growing up. No one tells you that you should pack ear plugs for your honeymoon in case one of you snores. No one tells you that you will randomly start crying for silly little reasons because you're exhausted after putting in an 80+hr week. No one tells you that making the switch from full time student to full time working professional is difficult.

To be honest, that last one has been the hardest for me these past few months. When you are a student, you don't really do the exact same thing 5 days of the week, it's usually Monday and Wednesday of Tuesday and Thursday, etc that have the same schedule. I now go to the same place 5 days a week for the same time. While this sounds like a "no duh" statement, it's a strange shift for someone who is coming out of college. Please understand, I'm not complaining. I am very grateful for my job and I know how blessed I am to have one, but this knowledge does not make the transition easy. I'm not sure that anything can really make the transition easy, I think it's just something each of us must walk through and process on our own.

I will admit, my processing of this hasn't been particularly graceful. I'm so very, very thankful to have a supportive husband, family and friends as I walk through all of this. It has not been easy and I don't think it is finished yet (I was in college for 4.5 years and didn't get used to it in 6 months) but I am finding ways to adjust and deal with officially being a responsible and productive member of society.

Wow... ok, sorry this blog post is so "humbug". In other news, a few of the ways I am learning to adjust to life change is to... reorganize my kitchen. Random, I know but it makes some thing easier and that makes everything easier. The next step of this process involves labeling all of my clear acrylic containers so that I'm not the only one who knows what's in it. Also, I am learning to sew with the sewing machine from my wonderful in-laws!
{photo from Singer}

 And I am working on my photography skills with my new camera!
{Image fromNikon}
Please note: my camera is NOT red. I love the color red but I have an aversion to oddly colored objects like cameras, kitchen and laundry appliances, etc. My camera is black. If you have a red or other colored camera, not offense is intended, this is purely my preference. :) 

Whew, I'm sure you're tried of reading this which is why I am about to go make my lunch for tomorrow. I hope your life is in less of a state of change than mine is currently. But if it's not, how are you dealing with it all? And if your life isn't changing quite as rapidly, what are some hobbies you are doing currently????

Oh! And I have been doing my Project 52- with pictures! Posts coming soon, so far so good and very yummy!!!!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Project 52

Incase you weren't aware, it's 2012. In honor of such a momentous occasion, I am giving myself a little project/challenge. I often feel like I end up cooking the same meals over and over again (and that usually means forgetting favorites because I don't have the recipe memorized), and I have decided this needs to change- enter PROJECT 52. This year, my goal is to make one new recipe a week. It doesn't have to be difficult. It doesn't have to equate to a full meal, but IT HAS TO BE NEW. Sad to admit, but I haven't even started and I'm already behind, but in all fairness to myself, I did just come up with this little idea over the weekend. We start this week, and I'm sooo excited! In addition to my new recipe, I am going to be blogging about each recipe (hopefully with lots of pictures). Anyone care to join me in PROJECT 52?????

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year, A New Post

Well, I'm back. I can honestly say that I'm glad to be blogging again, but I also know that these past few months barely allowed for cooking dinner a few nights each week, let alone time for blogging or much else.

In the past four months, we have accomplished the following:
- I graduated from college
- Started my first "big girl" job
- Got the Husband started back to school full time (and he's working full time, isn't he awesome?!?)
- Moved into a new apartment
- Had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends

Yeah, I'd say it's been a FULL four months! And now I'm back! I have several new toys from Christmas and graduation and they shall each make an appearance at some point soon! I'm very excited, can you tell?!?

I've also created a yummy and easy chicken recipe that I can't wait to share! It's got simple, easy to find and inexpensive ingredients and it cooks in the crock pot (my favorite). Once I get some pictures of the process I will post them for an easy step-by-step recipe :)

In the mean time, I hope all is well and you are excited about all 2012 holds!