Monday, January 31, 2011

What Do You Think of My Blog?

I am excited to be part of a very unique blog hop. Gail @ My Repurposed Life and MeganDVD @ Beauty in the Attempt are hosting “The Bold and the Beautiful-your blog reviewed.”

Please take a look around my blog, check out the layout, pages, buttons,  sidebar and gadgets. I would love for you to critique my blog. I’m hoping you will leave me some positive feedback, too. Do you like my pictures? Does my blog load quickly for you? How about the font?  All tips and tidbits welcome!

You are welcome to join the party, it starts Thursday night and is open for a week.

The February Challenge!

What is the February Challenge?  It is a list of questions my friend Laura put together (one question for every day of the month) and posted on her blog, Minty Fresch. (Her last name is Fresch.  Isn’t that cute?!) So each day of this month I am going to answer the question for the day.
What are the questions?  Here they are:

Who is Laura? Laura is a dear friend of mine I met at Camp Good News in Huntsville, TX. (I think the name of the camp has changed since I've been there.) We were campers together when we were 13.  (Is that right, Laura?) I remember our cabin got the pig a lot…a lot.  That means we had the dirtiest girls cabin. When we were 16, we both became counselors. (I loved being a camp counselor!  I did that for 6 years.) You can make some great friends at camp! We also both graduated and got married at about the same time. All in all, Laura is a fun gal, and she loves the Lord.
Here are some old school camp photos of us:

Here's our cabin when we were campers.
(The boys were not a part of our cabin.)
 Laura is the girl on the top left
and I'm the girl on the top right.

This is our beloved pig we won for dirtiest cabin.

Us as camp counselors 7 years ago.

Us building a campfire with our friend Day!

Well, that’s the February Challenge (and a few other things). Feel free to play along.  The challenge starts tomorrow!

Did you ever work at a Christian summer camp?  If so, which one? Have you kept up with camp friends? Also, do you ever think about getting back into camping?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Have You Met the Shunammite Woman?

I have lots of biblical heroes, but yesterday I met the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4, and I want to be her when I grow up.

This is the book we are
using in our study.
 Right now I’m a part of the women’s Bible study at my church, and we are going through Life Principles from the Prophets of the Old Testament. God’s power and love have become more real to me as I read about what He did through prophets like Elijah and Elisha. God takes care of His own, and He will make His name known.
But the story of the Shunammite woman touched me even more than the stories of these great men of God.  “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours”—I can relate to him. But I relate even more to the Shunammite woman because she is a woman like I am, and I am thankful that God has given me the example of another godly woman in my life.
Can I share with you what I have learned from the Shunammite woman? (And can we give her a name to make this easier? I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to refer to this dear woman as Sue from here on out.)
Sue was very hospitable. Her household had the means to provide Elisha food and shelter, so she opened her home to Elisha. She knew he was a man of God, and she desired to do her part. God gives us material provisions not to hoard for ourselves, but to be a blessing to others.  We are on earth to build God’s kingdom, not our own, and Sue understood this.
Sue was submissive to her husband. She went to her husband about making a room for Elisha before acting on her decision and inviting Elisha to stay. She showed respect to her husband by acknowledging him as the head of the household—as God desires it to be.
Sue was a content woman. Elisha wanted to repay her for her kindness, but when he asked what he could do for her, she asked for nothing.  She was content with what God had already given her. But next we learn that Sue had no son and her husband was old.  There would be no heir to carry her husband’s name.  I would think this would have brought some kind of shame to the woman, not to mention the longing she must have had to hold her own baby in her arms.  But still, she asked for nothing.   
Sue was a woman of great faith. Elisha prophesied that she would bear a son the next year, and indeed God gave her a son the next year. But not too many years later, he died in her arms.  She did not cry, however, and she did not curse God.  She went to visit Elisha, because she had faith in his God.  As she left to meet Elisha, she told her husband, “It will be well.” When she arrived where Elisha was, she told his servant, “It is well.” IT IS WELL. Aren’t those powerful words in the midst of such circumstances as hers? But she knew her faith was in the true God.  God had provided for her before, and now He was stretching her faith, and she could say, “It is well.”
Can you see why I want to be like Sue when I grow up? I want to see my possessions not as mine, but as God’s.  I want to honor God in my marriage. I want to be content in WHATEVER circumstances. I want to have a joyful heart that sings “It is Well” in the hard times. And I want to trust that God can and does do such great miracles as raising the dead to life.
This passage has forced me to stop and evaluate my life. And as I evaluate, I am convicted in certain areas, but I am also filled with great optimism and anticipation, because God has already raised this dead body of mine to life, and He does not leave us as we are.  He has made me a new creature.  I once made myself lord, but God gave me the faith to repent of my sins and trust in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. And this same mighty God will finish what He started in me like He promised He would. I realized this today as I was walking my dog: If God can burn up a soggy altar on Mount Carmel and heal a leper in a muddy river and, well, create the whole universe in a word, then surely He can make my heart and spirit more like His.
What has God been teaching you lately in your quiet time before Him?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beef + Turkey = Burkey

We’re having burkey tonight!  (Well, we did last night. Tonight we’re actually having chicken.)
I’m trying something new: cooking with ground turkey. Turkey is so much healthier than beef—there is a ton less fat in turkey.  (I’m never good at specifics.  Sorry.) We are trying to eat meals that are low in cholesterol, so for us ground turkey is a good alternative to ground beef.  Also, you can buy ground turkey for half the price of ground beef.  Cha-ching! However, quite honestly, beef just tastes better than turkey. (Fat just tastes so darn good!) So, I’ve started cooking meals that call for ground beef with half ground turkey and half ground beef.
So what does Michael, my carnivore husband, think?  He likes it! Last night I made tacos with a half pound of ground turkey and a half pound of ground beef, and he said he could barely tell the difference in flavor to that of all beef tacos.  He also liked that the turkey/beef tacos were much lighter than the all beef tacos.  (Let’s face it—beef can often time leave you feeling bloated.  It’s nice eating a meal that doesn’t drag you to the couch for a nap once you’ve shoveled the last fork-full in.)
This is how I prep for burkey meals:
I freeze my meat when I get home from the grocery story, because I don’t want it to go bad in the fridge from me forgetting about it.  I store the meat in freezer bags that I label with the date so I know how old the meat is.  (You can freeze uncooked ground meat for 3-4 months.)

I then divide the meat in half to store in the bags.  Many recipes call for a pound of ground beef.  If you divide the meat in half before you put it in the freezer, you can easily grab a half pound of ground turkey and a half pound of ground beef to make burkey.

After cooking up the turkey/beef mixture last night, I was amazed how little grease was left to drain.

Gross, I know.  But not as gross as it could have been.

I always use extra lean beef, and this was about half the grease I usually drain after cooking a full pound of extra lean beef.
So there you have it.  My new discovery: burkey!

What else have I been up to?  Trying to keep up with my Bible reading.  Please continue to ask me about this, because I’m not doing as well as Jon Acuff, who wrote a funny post about Bible reading today on his blog Stuff Christians Like.
Do you follow a Bible reading plan?  What plan do you follow?  How is it going?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Difference of Opinion: Italian Soup

I made a yummy Italian soup last night.

I got the recipe from, a fun food blog. (I did make a few changes to the recipe.  I used corn and black beans instead of celery and Cannellini beans, respectively, because that’s what I had.) The broth is made with vegetable broth, white wine, and tomato sauce, so it has a really good flavor to it.  And I always like having another way to consume pasta. This is one of my favorite dishes I have made so far as a newlywed/newlycook. (Others include lasagna, chicken cordon blue, homemade pizza, and enchiladas.)
However, Michael does not have the same affection for the dish that I do.

I was afraid this might be so.  The dish includes no meat, or as he likes to say nothing that “previously had a face.”  (I have once before been chided for making breakfast burritos without the sausage.)
I’m trying to make us more cholesterol friendly meals, and this meal certainly is, but next time I will compromise and add a meat: shrimp. I actually think shrimp would go really well with the other flavors of this soup.
Another change I will make next time is nix the spinach. Don’t get me wrong—I really do like spinach.  It’s one of my favorite vegetables.  However, I am also a texture person, and the spinach was just too slimy—it was choking me.  So if you are a texture person, too, I suggest leaving the spinach out altogether or just serving the soup with spinach as a garnish that people can choose to put on their soup or not.  I’m going to do this because we are also big leftover people, and I am afraid to nuke the spinach, of what kind of results this may bring.  Michael agrees with me whole heartedly here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I’m Officially a Coupon Clipper!

That’s right folks.  Look how much money I saved:

You read it right. I saved $30.53 today! The HEB lady always circles your savings before she hands you the receipt.  Usually she tells me, “You saved $4 today,” or some low number like that.  But today she said, “You saved $30.53.” I was elated! I had to go to the computer and share the good news!
How did I achieve this, you ask? Well, earlier this month the grocery bill was kinda high, and I thought it would be a good idea to look into this coupon clipping thing.  But some women spend SO much time on clipping coupons and looking up deals.  So I went to Google for answers and found All you have to do is buy the Sunday paper each week, which has all the coupons (Well, most.  Some you can get from the website), and they keep track of the sales and which coupons to clip for the biggest savings for you on their website.  You just click on the store you usually go to see a list of all the deals and what coupons to clip. They do all the time consuming. (Thank goodness, because I would never sit down and do all that.)  Plus HEB just has good deals, which can save you a lot of money if you actually pay attention to them.  I try to look at their ad when making my menu for the week and plan my menu around what’s on sale.
I just got started with this.  I should be able to save even more money in the future.  Yay!

If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of worldly wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? Luke 16:11
Michael and I want to honor God with our money by being good stewards of what He has given us, so I’m going to keep on with this coupon thing. 

Oh, I also got Otis Spunkmeyer cookies again today!

And yes, I did have a coupon for them. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Good Movie: Faith like Potatoes

After figuring out the trick to getting my DVD player to work, I watched a very sweet, powerful, and inspiring movie: Faith like Potatoes.

It’s about a Scottish man, Angus Buchan, and his family who live in South Africa.  Angus is a farmer and an angry man who sees no purpose for his life until he comes to know Jesus as his Lord and savior.  The movie then shows the transformation of Angus into a new creature and follows the story of how God stretches his faith and uses him to share Jesus with the Zulu people who work for him on his farm and many other people in Africa. I didn’t know the movie was based on a true story (but hoped so) until the end.  What a story!
You can learn more about Angus Buchan in the documentary included in the DVD’s special features and at
What good movies have you watched lately?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I enjoy writing poems, so I thought I would share some with you.  I haven’t written any in a while though, which I want to change.

This is us right before he proposed. 
 I’ll have to share that story some time.
Anyway, the first three I wrote for my hubby, the first one while we were dating and the last two while we were engaged.  (I need to write a new one now that we are married.)

The fourth poem I wrote after…actually, I don’t really want to share. Sorry.  I feel it would take away from the poem.
And the last one I wrote just for fun.
Do you write poetry?  If you do, what kind of poems do you write?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Successes and Concerns

Well, I figured out the About Me page, so that’s up if you’d like some extra reading.
And my crock pot meatloaf turned out to be a success, if you were wondering.  Here’s the recipe: It really is moist like the recipe says, and the prep was pretty simple. I really like the sauce recipe for the top of the meatloaf! I think I’m going to use it to make some bar-b-q chicken. Mmmmm.
So question—is anyone else apprehensive about turning on the crock pot and leaving it on for hours unattended while you go off to work?  My parents always drilled into me to unplug things like that before I left so I didn’t burn the house down. I’m not comfortable with the idea of my apartment burning down. I already have a guy that lives below me that grills burgers on his balcony at 8:30 in the morning.
One other question while we are on the subject of things that concern me. Can I become bald, if I continue to let my husband pull out my gray hairs?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Confession: Some Things I’ve Been Putting Off

Michael and I finally went ice skating last night! I have never ice skated before and now I know that I love it! But I just knew the ice skating rink was going to blow up or something before we got there because so many things had gotten in the way of us going.
(Aren’t we cute?  J …Please do not comment “No, you are not cute.” That would really hurt my feelings.)
Now ice skating is a big accomplishment because this was my Christmas present from Michael last year.  It just didn’t work out to go last year because I was crazy busy trying to plan our wedding and find another job since I just graduated. Plus we lived 45 minutes apart from each other at the time and it was just difficult to schedule.  This year we live together, so that wasn’t so much an issue. And I’m not NEAR as busy.  But we kept getting sick each time we planned to go! (I was still sick with chest congestion yesterday, but I tried to keep it on the DL so my hubby would let me go, and now my cough is worse (like he said it would be if I went while I was sick), but it was so worth it.)
But anyway, yeah, I got my 2010 Christmas present (Miss Scruffy) from him 5 months early and my 2009 Christmas present from him 13 months late. (We also celebrate Valentine’s Day the weekend after Valentine’s Day because the restaurants are not as packed.)
Now, what else have I been putting off? Well, organizing my recipes and learning to speed read.  But the worst thing I have been putting off is reading through the whole Bible. God has been poking and prodding at me to do this for at least three years now through sermons and people and Bible studies and my Bible reading (I do read the Bible, just not enough and not certain books like Deuteronomy and Isaiah and Revelation. I’ve actually read Leviticus…can you believe it?) But God keeps working on my heart more and more and He hasn’t given up. God is so good to me. I’m a selfish sinner, but when He looks at me he sees Jesus’ perfect life in place of my very imperfect one.  He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5: 21). That is one of my favorite verses.  And God keeps reminding me how bad I am and that what I deserve is hell and how His grace covers all of that.  And I want to know that God, the creator of the universe that I can now call my Father, more.
Today in church, Pastor Lance said I could read the Bible in less than a year if I read just 4 chapters a day.  That’s nothing. That will take like 20-30 minutes (Maybe 40 in my case. I am so slow.).  What am I putting more importance in than that, getting to know my God more?  Lance also said if you are too busy to spend time with God, then God never meant for you to be that busy. 
And so, I am going to re-evaluate my priorities, and I am finally going to read the Bible in a year.  And I am telling you this because then I will be held accountable, and I won’t do this without accountability.  So feel free to ask me how I’m doing, and let me know if you’d like me to do the same for you.
Well, that’s what I’ve been putting off.  What about you?

Friday, January 14, 2011

The First Post

Okay.  So blogging is much more complicated than I imagined it to be…but this is probably because I’m just a little bit of a perfectionist and not very tech savvy. Also, I’m sometimes more of a dreamer than a doer…okay, a lot of times. (But look, I’m posting my first post and not just day dreaming about posting my first post.) And because I always make projects bigger than they need to be…

My husband called me a “Neeeerrrd.”  (I know I am, and part of why I married him is because he is too.)

Anyway. Hello!  It’s good to be here. With you. Writing.  When thinking about a writing career, my husband once asked me, “What would you like to write about?” And my answer was, “Anything I want to write about.” But that’s not necessarily a job.  So now I’m going to become a blogger.

This has been a good day.  I get to check off “Start Blog” from my to-do list. I’m an English tutor for two local community colleges, so I get like a month off for Christmas, and I made myself a huge to-do list which includes: bake new pastries (baked some Martha Stewart cookies and an Anne Burrell danish), decorate room (it’s coming along), teach Miss Scruffy (my 1 year old Schnauzer/terrier that will forever be my puppy) to come and stay (she’s lackadaisical and paranoid but we are getting there), organize my recipes (aaah! I don’t know where to start!), learn to speed read (I’m probably the slowest reading English tutor.  My husband reads three times faster than I do.), and organize certain areas of the apartment that need organized.  Like the jewelry.

I’ve decided I’m not a fan of jewelry boxes. My necklaces get all tangled, and I’m too lazy to open the drawers.  I started to tackle this mess today.  Found some inspiration from Martha Stewart and  Tried to make a jewelry tee with a vase.  Long story short, the top of my chest of drawers is still a tangled mess of beads and baubles. Scruffy did try to help by laying under my feet the whole time.

Anyway, when I figure the jewelry mess out, I will let you know.
Oh, it was also a good grocery shopping day…

I found Otis Spunkmeyer cookies at HEB!  I can hardly contain myself!

So, now I need to write my bio page. Not even sure how to do that.  Any tips would be great…
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