Sunday, October 31, 2010

recipe: ham, egg and cheese...tacos

I was in a creative mood last night and came up with a yummy recipe. I wanted something hot because the weather was leaning on the cool side - cold weather makes me crave hot soup or a grilled cheese. So I decided on scrambled eggs which led me to adding cheese because I love to add cheese to almost anything. I then noticed we had some soft taco shells lying around and put the eggs and cheese inside. Wanting some meat, I added a few slices of ham. I must say the coldness of the ham and the warmness of the eggs was amazing. I took a picture but it didn't do the end result justice. So try it for yourself and add whatever else you might like...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

defining faith

I'm working on growing closer to God. This is something that I always say I want but it seems as if lately, there's just this desire within me to know Him on a deeper level. I'm struggling to wrap my mind around God and who He really is. I've grown up in church and have been saved since I was seven but it's as though I'm finally starting to own my faith. I'm no longer relying on my parents faith but needing to establish my own - what I believe and why. So all of this comes back to what faith is. Hebrews 11:1 gives a great definition but I've been thinking about relevant meanings in my life. Here's what I have so far:

- faith is trusting God when life doesn't make sense
- faith is trusting God when your heart is breaking
- faith is trusting God when all you want to do is give up
- faith is trusting God when you're too weary to take another step
- faith is trusting God when you don't have a clue what to do next
- faith is trusting God when you feel like He's not listening
- faith is trusting God when you're tired of waiting
- faith is trusting God when nothing goes as planned
- faith is trusting God when you wonder if He'll ever answer your prayer
- faith is trusting God

Saturday, October 23, 2010

book review: "bittersweet" by shauna niequist

In the prologue, Shauna explains her thoughts on the title for this book. “Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak and that rejoicing is no less rich when it contains a splinter of sadness.” Reading through the book, you learn about moments where she experienced heartache and also pockets of “life is perfect” at just that moment. She talks about grace and how she has a hard time bestowing it upon others though she readily admits to needing it herself. “If arithmetic is numbers, and if algebra is numbers and letters, then grace is numbers, letters, sounds, and tears, feelings and dreams. Grace is smashing the calculator and using all the broken buttons and pieces to make a mosaic. Grace isn’t about having a second chance; grace is having so many chances that you could use them through all eternity and never come up empty. It’s when you finally realize that the other shoe isn’t going to drop, ever. It’s the moment when you feel as precious and handmade as every star, when you feel, finally, at home for the very first time.” She talks about how she faced not one but two miscarriages, the second being doubly hard to deal with because she had been pregnant with twins. She talks about the rough spot she and her husband went through in their marriage and how thankful she is they were able to recover from it. At one point she says, “when things fall apart, the broken places allow all sorts of things to enter and one of them is the presence of God.” She explains the importance of women having other women in their lives – how much those relationships have meant to her. “Bittersweet” is a mosaic of her life experiences all pointing to her belief that we need both in our lives. “…a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through…”

I liked Shauna’s style of writing. While at times it was hard for me to follow what time in her life she was referring to (she jumped around with each chapter), I liked the “realness” in her writing. She wrote as though she was talking instead of trying to use big words and make everything come across as neat and tidy. What struck a cord with me was her chapter titled “twenty-five.” Having just turned twenty-five, I was able to instantly identify with her. The chapter was her giving advice regarding things she learned from that period in her life. One thing that stuck out to me regarded decisions made during this time. “Some of the most life-shaping decisions you make in this season will be about walking away from good-enough, in search of can’t-live-without.” My absolute favorite line from the book was about her love of Christmas. She talked about buying the exact same scarf for several of her girl friends and how she liked the idea of them all living in different places but wearing the same scarf. She talked about thoroughly enjoying Christmas despite what we may be going through. “And I hope that someone who loves you gives you a really cute scarf.” When someone is honest in their writing, allowing you a glimpse into their life, you’re able to connect with them and that’s what Shauna has done.

I received a free copy of this book from Zondervan and was not required to write a positive review. For more on this book, go to

Monday, October 18, 2010

book review: "the nativity collection" by robert morgan

All six short stories in this book take place on Christmas though it’s in different places and times. “Ollie” is about a boy and his family going Christmas shopping. It’s 1963 and they spend the day buying presents and picking up the necessary items for their traditional Christmas dinner. Through a series of events, they end up at a neighbor’s house who mistakes them for her family who passed away when she lived in Germany. They celebrate Christmas with her, giving Ollie a chance to change his perspective on what the season is really about.

“Poet Boy” is about Robert Louis Brendleton and the Christmas play he reluctantly stars in as Joseph when fourteen. Brendleton suffers from stage fright and instead of saying his lines the night of the play, he recites various lines from poems he’s read during the many hours spent in the library in his home. For example, when Mary gives her line about being called blessed, Brendleton responds, “Oh Mary,” he said, “how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight…I love thee to the level of every day’s most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.”

“Over My Dead Body” tells the story of Max Schroeder, a gifted woodcarver. Though he mainly whittled sheep, he was inspired to make a nativity. He began receiving offers for the masterpiece but would always give the same response, “You shall have it…over my dead body.” When Schroder finally passed away, no one knew who he left the nativity to. At the reading of his will, it was revealed “he left it to all of them – by leaving it to none of them.” He was buried beneath his church and left the nativity to the church so it would be displayed…over his dead body.”

The final story is titled “Sugarplum and the Christmas Cradle.” J.B. and Sugarplum are newly married and their families are less than thrilled that she’s already pregnant. J.B. sets to work making a beautiful cradle for his son, spending all of his spare time carving and sanding. When he finally shows it to his wife, she’s speechless at the simplistic beauty of it. Yet their son was never to see it. Shortly before Sugarplum would give birth, they were summoned to Bethlehem to take part in a census. And we know how the rest of the story goes.

I liked the uniqueness of each story. Some were light and funny while others a little more deep. I think maybe the last story was my favorite. It was interesting to read about Mary and Joseph in a modern setting. “The Nativity Collection” definitely helped put me in the mood for Christmas.

I received a free copy of the book from Thomas Nelson and was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


So today I turned twenty-five and wanted to get some thoughts in while savoring the last few hours of my day of birth. I'm currently reading a book called "Bittersweet" by Shauna Niequist. Ironically, one of the chapters I read today was titled "twenty-five" and she shares some things she learned upon reaching that milestone. Here are some of her thoughts:

- You are young enough to believe that anything is possible and you are old enough to make that belief a reality.
- Some of the most life-shaping decisions you make in this season will be about walking away from good-enough in search of can't-live-without.
- This season is about becoming.
- Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can and keep traveling honestly along life's path.

I'm excited about this year. I believing for some great things to happen - puzzle pieces to finally fall into place. We'll see what happens :-)

Friday, October 15, 2010

sweetest day

I'm participating in a little blog exercise because I'm all about being up for a challenge :-) Tomorrow is Sweetest Day and I've expressed my shock that I've NEVER heard of this holiday until this year - more specifically when I looked at my calendar this week and noticed it. So as well as being up for a challenge, I'm also all about googling things. I looked up the day and am pleasantly surprised at the beginnings of it. It began in 1922 when Herbert Kingston wanted to do something nice for those in need in his city of Cleveland. He delivered chocolate to the surrounding orphanages and hospitals. Since then it's evolved into more of a second Valentine's Day but I like what Kingston had in mind. Knowing the background, I don't mind sharing my birthday with Sweetest Day. May we all find some chocolate tomorrow to celebrate :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

book review: "city on our knees" by tobymac

“All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.” – James Russell Lowell

Throughout “City on Our Knees” are quotes and this one I believe sums up the point Toby is trying to make. He talks about his desire to see all of us truly come together and be united. He talks about how anyone, no matter age or color, can make a difference. He makes this point over and over by sharing story after story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The first story is of a little girl named Alex who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma before she was a year old. When she was four she had the idea to have a lemonade stand with the profits going to find a cure for her cancer as well as others. She passed away in 2004 but not before seeing Alex’s Lemonade Stands (the organization started by her parents) raise over $1.4 million. Stories like this both break your heart but also show that we are all capable of making a difference.

I really enjoyed this book. It encouraged my faith while giving me that push to do more for God. To reach out to those who are hurting and not do enough to merely “get by.” One line from the book stood out to me: “Faith is at its best when it’s on the move, leading people to places they never thought they’d go, and changing lives for the better. The next time you’re given a chance to follow your faith, wherever it may take you, will you choose to move?”

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House and was not required to write a positive review.

book review: "lol with God" by pam farrel and dawn wilson

“LOL with God” is a devotional for women broken down into seventy-eight different “texts” from God to us. Each text begins with a scripture and ends with an “LOL” – a short real-life story to make you laugh. Some of the themes tackle singleness, stress and trusting God. One text titled “Connecting Dots” discusses the latter and really spoke to me in this season of my life: “We often get so focused on specific details that we can’t see the big picture. In our attempt to connect the dots of our circumstances, we may miss something more obvious that God is trying to show us…no matter our circumstances, God has a purpose behind each circumstance. We can trust Him because He knows how to connect the scattered dots in our lives.”

I enjoyed this book. It’s written with space for you to jot down thoughts as you read along. I felt as if each text was relevant to me and I could take something from each. I liked the humor incorporated throughout so it wasn’t too heavy of a read.

I received this book free from Tyndale House and was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

recipe: apple fritters

I attempted a new recipe tonight and though it didn't quite turn out like it was supposed to, I was still pleased. I made Ree Drummond's (Pioneer Woman) apple fritters and you can see her step by step directions by here.

A word of warning though. She said it would make eight servings and mine made waaaaaay more than that so I'm thinking I made my fritters smaller than hers. I think I also chopped my apples into tinier pieces as well but again, for a first attempt I was excited.

What you need:
2 cups All-purpose Flour
½ cups Sugar
2-¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
1-¼ teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
2 whole Large Eggs
¾ cups Whole Milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
2 whole Granny Smith Apples, Peeled And Diced
Powdered Sugar (optional, For Dusting)

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a fork, then add milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Gently fold dry and wet ingredients together until just combined (do not overmix.) Fold in apples. Add enough apples to make a very chunky batter. You want the apples to shine though! Heat a couple of inches of canola oil over medium to medium-low heat. When it gets hot, drop a little drop of batter into the oil. If it sizzles immediately and rises to the top, the oil is ready; if it burns quickly, turn down the heat. Drop teaspoons of batter into the hot oil, six or eight at a time. Sometimes they’ll flip over by themselves; sometimes you have to flip them. Just watch them and make sure they don’t get too brown, but cook them long enough to make sure the batter’s cooked through, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes total. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


My pastor made reference to this verse this morning and it's stuck with me. I've heard this verse about a million times before (maybe a slight exaggeration) but never in this translation. Romans 12:1: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." But look at it in the Message: "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering." That just seems more real to me - more applicable in my life than "present your bodies a living sacrifice." It makes the point that EVERY thing in our lives can be given to God as an offering and I don't know about you but that seems pretty cool to me.