Monday, January 25, 2010


Nate the GREAT updated the look of my blog- SUPER cute! The bad thing is, I lost all my "followers" in the process. If you were a follower, will you follow again? And if you never were, please help yourself!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

This Moment

(This is not intended to be depressing. Just stay with me.)

Last night after an hour of tossing, I counted backwards from 300 by 3's and still couldn't sleep, so I was thinking about life.

It started with a comment I made to my mother a few months ago- one she probably doesn't even remember. I said, "When are you moving here?", insinuating that I missed them so much that they should pick up their lives and move 2 hours to a new city to be closer to me. (Completely selfish). Mom knew I was joking and we shared a laugh. And last night, for whatever reason, that came back to me and I realized that I don't want them to move here -simply because I don't want to ever "lose" my home. My parents moved into their current house when I was 3 and that's all I've ever known of "going home". Then the thought occurred to me that one day my parents won't live there anymore. One day another family will move into that house, paint over my mother's boarders and wall colors. And their furniture and nick-knacks and family paintings and photos of us growing up, old toys from my childhood, and blankets we've worn the fuzz down on....they'll all be somewhere else.

When we grow up, parents die. We clean out their homes. We go through things that once had so much meaning, and I don't ever want to get to that point in my life.

Right now, Nate and I have all of our parents. We have all of our siblings. I have every grandparent I've ever known still on this Earth. I have never had to witness the death of someone close to me. Our families are healthy, happy, and extremely blessed and I don't want anything to change. I wish that we could, for as long as we wanted, push a pause button on life. Say, "Lord, you've blessed me immeasurably. Everyone I love is here with me. Let's just not change any of it, OK?"

Wouldn't that be nice?

But here comes the part where I learn to trust God's plan for my life. Here's where I see that He has provided more than I ever deserved and I enjoy this moment. I live today knowing that my job here is to further the kingdom, and that He's given me an incredible support system to do so.

"I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!" John 15:11

"Whatever is good...comes to us from God above". James 1:17

"Those who trust in the Lord will never lack any good thing" Psalm 34:10

"God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God" Romans 8:28

Today I am not sad. I am not depressed about the way things will eventually be. Today I love my family. I celebrate that we can laugh, cook together, hang out for holidays, call each other whenever we want, send cards to grandparents, visit relatives who live far away, and know that everyone is OK. I look forward to the times we have ahead and know that eventually we will get to spend eternity together. Now that is something to look forward to!

Friday, January 8, 2010


I've mentioned that I recieved a bread maker for Christmas. Well, with all the snow days from school I've I dare say it?.....baking TOO much. !!! We can't keep up. The joy of cooking and baking for me is the actual, you said it, cooking and baking part. Don't get me wrong, I love food- but I'm not one to love eating the same thing for days on end. I like it once, maybe twice and then I'm bored and ready to make something different. So, being able to make food FOR that's what I love!

Anyway, we had some whole wheat bread that had been around for a good week and a half- no mold, so I decided to dice it up and make croutons. Last night I cut the leftover 1/2 loaf into 1-inch cubes (roughly). I spread them out on a baking sheet overnight- mostly because I didn't feel like baking them last night. And this afternoon, I tossed them in 1/8 cup canola oil and 2 teaspoons "Mama Mullen's Seasoning Mix"- you could use any spices you want- combo of 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, etc. Whatever you want, really. Then I baked them for 15 min at 350. I pulled them out halfway through and mixed them up a little. And when they came out, they were DE-LISH! Charlie loved the two that fell on the floor in the transfer to the container.

Anyway, super easy. Yummy. Healthy. Do it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I struggle a lot with fear. On any given day, if I try a couple of times and can't reach someone on their phone- like Nate or my parents or my brother, I go simply. ballistic. -to the point of tears. I automatically think the worst- start figuring out how I'll work through the details of "the accident" or whatever I assume happened to them. I curl a box of kleenex under my arm and wait. wait. wait. to hear from them (or the police or another family member notifying me of the details). I know this is completely ridiculous and a waste of my time. My blood pressure undoubtedly goes through the roof and the amount of stress I put myself through could probably be measured in metric tons.

I'm working on this. I know we have a God who loves us and has MY best interest in mind. He knows the plans. I don't. I'm not proud to admit that I do this, but it's something I'm trying to overcome through prayer and staying in the word. Today I found these verses very comforting.

"I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear HIM,
And rescues them." Psalm 34:4-7

It goes on to explain how beautifully he listens to and hears our cries. He delivers us from troubles, hears us, sees us.....

"The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
And HIS ears are open to their cry.
The face of the LORD is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:15-17

What a beautiful reminder of his promise.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I have no title for this post

I ran across this on the K-love website today. Get your Kleenex ready.

USC Draws Inspiration From No. 1 Fan - ESPN Video

Monday, January 4, 2010


This is me avoiding grading any of the papers I brought home from school today.

Last night I made this meatloaf and this Curried Squash soup- which don't go together in any sense....but they were both good in and of themselves. Around 9:00 I decided I wanted to make these Carrot Cupcakes. YUM! I'm not kidding- they were the bomb-diggitty. The squash soup tasted like India and I've made the meatloaf before. Because of the turkey, it's got a different flavor than you're used to- and the "sauce" isn't loaded with ketchup and brown sugar like everyone's mom makes (which is super-yummy). But, it's a good alternative.

School was good today. It brings great joy to see my little peanuts waiting for me before school in the hallways every morning. I really do love my job. I could do without standards and benchmarks, or at least the pressure of them.....but I suppose if I were to simply hang out with children all day I would be in the day-care business- which I absolutely WILL NEVER do. Kudos to those of you who take care of our little sweetie pies while mom and dad are at work- but I wouldn't know what to do with them all day.

All this to say, I enjoy my job. :)

And with that, I must correct papers.

And I leave you with another great song: "Let the Waters Rise" by Mikeschair

Sunday, January 3, 2010

So far so good

I've been leafing through my Ellie cookbooks this week and so far have tried some pretty great recipes. Last night we had these:

Sloppy Joes
Ellie Krieger


* 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
* 1 onion, diced
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 jalapeno, minced
* 1 red pepper, diced
* 1 can small red beans or pinto beans, preferably low sodium drained and rinsed
* 1 1/2 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
* 1 tablespoon molasses
* 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 teaspoon mustard powder
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 8 whole-wheat burger buns


Brown the meat and the onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into crumbles as it cooks. Pour the drippings out of the pan and discard. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and red pepper and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Place a half-cup scoop of the mixture onto each bun and serve.

I loved them. Nate wasn't sure about the beans, but they could be mashed next time for a smoother texture. Very good- healthy, worth a try.

Soup has been sounding oh-so-good with these oh-so-chilly temperatures this week. I went for this soup New Year's day- my only problem was that I didn't leave it in the blender long enough to take care of ALL the veggie chunks. Next time: blend longer. :)

Green Pea Soup
2005, Ellie Krieger


* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 1 large onion, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
* 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* 3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 (10-oz) bag frozen peas
* 4 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt, optional


In a large pot, heat the olive oil over moderately-low heat. Add the onion, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, tarragon, salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook just until defrosted.

In a blender, puree the soup in 2 batches until very smooth. If serving hot, return the soup to the pot and bring just to a simmer. If serving cold, transfer to the refrigerator to chill. Ladle into bowls. Stir the yogurt so that it is smooth and top each serving with a swirl of yogu

Nate's parents bought me a bread machine for Christmas. I love baking and I've been making bread for years. But the ease of throwing all the ingredients into the machine, letting it mix and rise without my assistance....this is a new luxury! My first two loaves have been a "winter bread" and an "apple walnut". More often than not, I will probably mix and rise in the bread maker and then take out to bake in the oven. I'm excited. So is my stomach.

Coffee refill- coming right up. Followed closely by reading of some sort. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Welcome 2010! I'm looking forward to the new year- I have a feeling it's going to be a great one. :)

I generally welcome a new year with much anticipation and hope. I look forward to new goals, challenges, and find little pings of joy thinking about what might happen in the upcoming months.

Today I've had a song playing in my head over and over. Two, actually. The first is this:

The other is the song, "Be still my soul". I'm finding the lyrics especially intriguing today. Read at least the first verse- and the rest if you have time.

1. Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to your God to order and provide;
in every change God faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul: your God will undertake
to guide the future, as in ages past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
the Christ who ruled them while he dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord,
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow for forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

And as long as I'm sharing music, here's another one of my favorites right now:

I don't like the cliche "New Years Resolution" deal. And I suppose "setting goals" is no different- but I do like to set some goals for a new year.

This year, I'd like to spend more time in the word; more time in quiet; more time being still- and consequently, more time journaling.

I'd like to get back into running- my heart needs it and I like feeling strong and healthy.

I would like to continue cooking lots of new foods- Nate and I really enjoy cooking and we've got mad skills in the kitchen- if I do say so. I'm crediting this ability to my mother, who is the cook of all cooks, in my opinion. Plus, we find great satisfaction in creating healthy alternatives to run-of-the-mill recipes. So...if you're hungry and in the area- come over to eat!

OK, must go. Hopefully you'll hear more from me this year!