Tuesday, July 9, 2013

in the kitchen

I absolutely love food. I always have, and I always will. So one of my things that I said I wanted to do in my 25th year was to try one new recipe a month. Seeing as how I don't like to eat the same things over and over again, this goal was one I knew that I could meet. There are several blogs I follow that have inspired me to try new things in the kitchen. Here are a few pictures of some of the yummy things I've tried, along with links to the recipes.

Glow Green Juice 
from Relish by Daphne Oz

I know, the ingredients look scary and bit too...earthy. But this juice is amazing and makes you feel so good.

Oh. my. goodness. Quite possibly the best salad I have ever had. So delicious. Just the right amount of spice and so satisfying. I made my chicken in the oven on 350 for 30 minutes while I was doing everything else, and it was tender and juicy. I also made my own salad dressing using the basic creamy vinaigrette dressing recipe and added a bit of lime juice to it. Perfection. 

If you make this, be sure to bake the cookie for a little while longer. Mine ended up being half-baked, which was well-received but not my intention! It was a great little treat for our Fourth of July gathering, though.

Monday, June 3, 2013

looking back

The other day I saw this picture on Christine Caine's Instagram account, and immediately, I thought of my time in Mexico. Before I left for Mexico, the big question for everyone I encountered was "Why?" And it wasn't just "Why are you going to Mexico?" It was a slew of other more specific and prying questions, such as "Why do you have to go now? Why Chihuahua? Why New Tribes Mission?" So. many. questions. Some of which I was prepared for, and others for which I most certainly was not. The bottom line is, now people's thoughts and questions have shifted to "How did you do that?!" 

To be completely honest, I often ask myself the same question. How in the world did I do that? How did I leave my friends and family, my comfortable culture, my familiarity, my community, for two years to live in one of the most dangerous cities in the world where I knew not one soul? The only way I did it was through faith in Jesus Christ. Trusting that He was not only going to provide and go before me to Chihuahua was the hardest thing I had ever done. I had so many questions, doubts, and fears. And as always, none of my worst fears was ever realized.

Guachochi, Chihuahua November 2010

Instead, I was blessed to experience a plethora of amazing opportunities and developed relationships with some of the sweetest and dearest people I know and now am privileged to call close friends. The Lord showed Himself faithful to me over and over and over again. He gave me grace upon grace. He stretched me beyond the point at which I thought I could be stretched. He provided for me and met every one of my needs, even the deepest ones that I didn't tell people about in the usually sunny newsletters. Because that's who He is. He is faithful. And He's good. All the time.

Fall Break 2011

Over spring break, I was able to visit Chihuahua and see so many of the wonderful people who I love and miss. The time there was brief, but I was so grateful for every moment spent with all of my friends and the people who adopted me and took me under their wing for those two precious years. In about a week, it will have been exactly one year since I left Chihuahua. In some ways it seems like it hasn't been that long, but then I also feel as though I have been gone forever. Many people asked while I was there (and continue to ask me now here in the States) when or if I will be coming back to live there. While I love Chihuahua and will forever hold it in my heart, I know that that season in my life is now over. Mexico is a country forever on my heart, and Chihuahua feels like home to me. But now the Lord has me here in Athens, so I'll be grateful and ask Him to help me honor His name through the new task He's given me.

Chihuahua Spring Break 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

25 in my 25th

So I am a fan of lists. I try not to think of myself as a "type A" person, and I don't really think that I am. If you saw my desk at work you would understand why. I do, however, enjoy a good list, be it a to-do list, grocery list, bucket list...you get the picture. Last year, my friend Kristen did a little challenge in which she completed 25 special things in the month before she turned 25. I loved her idea, but I decided to tweak it a bit. As we all know thanks to the popular meme, you only live once. So I figured that this year ought to be a memorable one considering that I will be a quarter of a century on Monday. Hard to believe. I'm blessed, and God is good. Always. So, without further ado, here's my list (in no particular order).

  1. Run a marathon.
  2. Host a dinner party.
  3. Learn about gardening and begin planting some of my own plants. 
  4. Bake a loaf of bread.
  5. Read one book a month.
  6. Write my Compassion child, Maria Luna, every month.
  7. Buy a new car.
  8. Road trip somewhere with Kristen, Cortney, and Teresa.
  9. Spend a whole day with each person of my immediate family. 
  10. Take up (or at least really try) yoga
  11. Try one new recipe a month.
  12. Save more money- $50 per paycheck.
  13. Try 5 new restaurants in Athens.
  14. Apply, get into, and start grad school.
  15. Go to a "real" concert.
  16. Take a pottery class.
  17. Go on a mission trip.
  18. Find a great LBD (little black dress) and a pair of go-to wedges.
  19. Find a good sangria recipe, tweak it, and dub it "mine." 
  20. Volunteer more.
  21. Find perfect shade of lipstick and buy it from the "fancy" counter.
  22. Write more.
  23. Walk to Cali 'N' Tito's with Katie on a summer night.
  24. Visit Kai in D.C.
  25. Truly study the Bible and know my favorite books well.

That's quite a list, and while I'm a little scared about some of the things, I'm super excited. Some of these things are challenges, and others are just for fun. Either way, this year is about stretching myself and making memories. Life is too short to do otherwise. I'll be sharing everything with y'all here, so stay tuned. :)

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.-Psalm 90:12

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bread & Wine

It's so hard to find the right words to say about a book that so powerfully impacts you and meets you right where you are. For months, the Lord has been so clearly speaking to me about the importance of community and slowing down to truly enjoy this beautiful life He has given. And Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes came at just the right time to reaffirm these thoughts and convictions while inspiring and challenging me to think about how I apply these convictions.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, it's no secret that Shauna Niequist has long been a favorite author of mine. Her writing is always gut-wrenchingly honest, moving you to tears with one page and laughter on the next. Reading any memoir is like having a conversation with an old friend. She makes you feel normal by being completely transparent about her joys, trials, and struggles, becoming a real person with whom you can identify without trying.

Bread & Wine is a collection of essays followed by recipes dedicated to memories and challenges centered around what happens when we decide to lay down our lives for others by feeding not only their physical but their spiritual appetites. The recipes included are well-written and include a variety of amazing ingredients that made me feel like I could do the whole gourmet/foodie cooking thing. I mean, I love to eat. Always have. That's never going to change.

But this book is about more than food. Jesus said that the world would know us by our love. He made us for community. And yet we so often choose to try to go it alone and be self-sufficient and end up more miserable than ever. We were made for others. And when we slow down and cherish the bread and wine of our Savior, we find genuine joy and community within the simplest of seemingly trite rituals.

Shauna writes,

We don't come to the table to fight or to defend. We don't come to prove or to conquer, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up trouble. We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, a fragility, with an admission of our humanity. The table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking for. The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children. We allow someone else to meet our need. In a world that prides people on not having needs, on going longer and faster, on going without, on powering through, the table is a place of safety and rest and humanity, where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel. If the home is a body, the table is the heart, the beating center, the sustainer of life and health. Come to the table. 

So often we trade convenience for community. We take for granted the people most dear to us, making plans but never following through. And we miss out. We miss out on God's desire for community and settle for less. And He wants so, so much more. He's in the midst of the mundane, and Shauna so gently and gracefully reminds us of that call to more. To expect to see Him in what we take for granted, and to live differently because of our realizations. So I highly recommend her book, and am grateful for the courage she continues to display by baring her soul to her readers and drawing them into her story.

I'll leave you with this:

Holiness abounds, should we choose to look for it. The whisper of God's Spirit are all around us, should we choose to listen for them. The building blocks of the most common meal-- the bread and the wine-- are reminders to us: "He's here! God is here, and he's good." Every time we eat, every time we gather, every time the table is filled: He's here. He's here, and he is good.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

deep, deep, joy

So a month or so ago, my best friend (well, one of them) got married. And it was joyous. Katie and I have been friends since our freshman year of college, when we were wide-eyed and naive to well, everything. Saturday, March 2, was a wonderful day. It was exceedingly cold, which none of us were excited about. But other than the snow flurries and our goose bump-ridden legs, there were no complaints, and nothing bad could be said of the day. Because when two people come together as one, there's just a whole lot of smiling to do. So here's to Katie and Will, the Marshalls, and the journey they've begun together. May it be sweeter with each passing today. I love you both.

Friends reunited at the bridesmaids' luncheon on Friday afternoon.

Kai was really excited about her robe...

The Fab Four together again.

We were all pretty much obsessed with our bouquets...

Silly selfies while getting ready.

At this point she'd only been Mrs. Marshall for a few hours! :)

Cheering them all the way to Belize. 
Official (and amazingly beautiful) photos here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

folksy stuff

So my sister makes fun of me and gets upset because I am very selective about my folk music. Basically I like the mainstream stuff. These couple songs are my faves. The syncopation, the lyrics, the ease with which they make themselves a part of your repertoire that you cannot get out of your head...these are it for me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

slowing down

Dear friends, there are so many things to be said.

These past few days I've been sick. Again. For the past few years, I've entertained a vicious cycle. Sign up for a zillion things that I don't have time for (but just can't pass up or not be involved in!), get overwhelmed, decide that nothing can be cut, figure out how to "do it all" while spreading myself too thin, get sick, get better, keep pushing through, make it to the summer. Rinse, repeat.

And y'all, I'm tired of living that way. It's not healthy. I make excuses, but what it comes down to is that I am afraid of disappointing people. Of not having enough to do. Of not having a life. All silliness but all true. But this is the second time I have been sick in the last eight weeks. And that is not okay. My body is a temple of the Lord. And if God Himself rested after making the heavens and earth and all He had to do was speak them into being, then I most likely need to get myself some rest, too.

I'll be sharing more details about what that looks like for me soon...right now I am so excited to announce a true honor the Lord blessed me with a couple weeks ago. Shauna Niequist is by far one of my favorite authors. Actually, she is probably my favorite. I'll just go ahead and say it, she's my favorite author. I've mentioned her here  and here and in other hidden spots on this little blog. Her writing is so honest; when you read her words you feel like you are talking with an old friend. It's like she climbs into my brain, takes my feelings and thoughts and struggles, and pours them on paper. Beautifully. I laugh, I cry, and I am challenged. It's magical.

Well, friends, Shauna's new book, Bread and Wine: My Love Letter to Life Around the Table, with Recipes is coming out on April 9, and I am an early reader! I will be reviewing the book and telling you about how much I adore it. :) And I was already prepared to pre-order it on Amazon. Ha! So that means that in the next few weeks, I'll be posting about what spoke to me through the book and telling you about why you need to get it as soon. as. possible! All I can tell you right now is that I have only read the introduction but was already crying at those few pages. This blessing couldn't come at a more perfect time; her words are so in sync with what the Lord has speaking over me. He's so good like that.

Monday, February 18, 2013

much needed

Here's another devotional that my dad forwarded to me that I just had to share:


Let faith rule and reign in every circumstance. Refuse to allow fear to have any
place of control. Hold on to what you know, and I will hear your prayer and answer
when you call. I will give divine direction that leads to spiritual perfection.
You will see My glory and be amazed, says the Lord. I am your stronghold, your
fortress, your high tower and safe harbor. I am your Rock!

Psalms 31:3 For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name's sake,
lead me and guide me.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

24 days

I cannot believe that I get to go back to Chihuahua in 24 days. I'm so excited. The Lord is so good.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

whom shall I fear?

Have y'all seen this video? It is seriously adorable. Not only is it adorable, but it also has over eight million views. There's no coincidence in that. This precious little child is giving people a pep talk- telling them to get up and do something. We could all stand to listen. Last night at Bible study, Beth Moore said in the video session that every man wants a chance to be courageous. I believe that if you are a man or woman, you want to be the best person you can be. You want to live a life well lived. You want your life to count. And I am so glad that this little one is challenging and encouraging people to do just that.

Well, friends, it's been about a month since Passion 2013. God moved, and He continues to move. However, there is still so much to be done. Because of the stunning generosity of 60,000 college age students and twenty-somethings, over $3,000,000 was given (not pledged) in three days to put an end to modern day slavery. Part of that money went to fund enditmovement.com. Please head over there and educate yourself. See how you can be a part of ending modern slavery for good.

And last but not least, I leave you with my current anthem. Because it's good to know that the God of angel armies is always by your side.

And oh yeah, I'm going to Chihuahua for spring break. In 32 days. I'm beyond excited. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

fresh start

Is anyone else having a hard time believing that it is already 2013? It seems like 2012 flew by for me. 2012 was a full year for me- I left Mexico, moved back to the States, got a new job, moved back to my college town...so much happened during this last year, and God did so much. He always does.

This time last year, I was in Mexico, acclimating back to life in Chihuahua and preparing to finish well the task that God had given me to do there. My break at home had been wonderful, and I had the opportunity to attend Passion for the first time and loved it. This year, I was home for a couple weeks with my family, and it was so, so good. I enjoyed Downton Abbey marathons, Christmas movies, consecutive days in pajamas, staying up late, and sleeping in. I was able to spend time with friends and just be with them. That's my favorite kind of hang out. :) It was, in a word, glorious.

The Lord also gave me a huge gift through my best friend Kristen, and this year I was in the choir at Passion 2013. To say it was incredible would be quite an understatement. The Lord moved in crazy ways this year. In my heart and in the hearts of so many others; He made Himself known. I love when He does that. There is so much to be said about what happened in those precious 4 days at the Dome, but what the Lord really drove home to me was the importance of trust in my relationship with Him. When I choose to be fearful I am not trusting Him. Yet He has proved to me over and over again that He is trustworthy. He who called me is faithful, and He will do it. I can be glad because I have hope. I can be glad because He has risen. I can be glad because He is on His throne. The Lord spoke some powerful promises and challenges over me, and I want 2013 to be a special year. I'm turning 25 this year, which is quite significant. I've got a little something in mind for that; I'll be sharing it with y'all in time. :)

Lord, let me found faithful to You this year, and help me rest in the promises You have spoken over me.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
-Ephesians 3:20-21


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