Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gobble Gobble and All That Jazz


Its been a while since I've given you all an update on where I am and what I'm doing so here it is!

Life has been carrying on at a steady rate since I last wrote. Things have been going quite well and just as busy as ever... but we like it that way. Jr. High has been so much fun this year. We have a very young group of students and they are all full of energy and life every Wednesday to keep me on my toes! (That comment makes me sound like I'm 80 or something....) :D In October Chaille, Kayli and I went to the Set Apart Girls conference in Kalamazoo to hear Leslie and Eric Ludy speak and it was incredible. Very great reminder of why we do what we do and what our calling in Christ is! Chaille and I are hoping to do an event at our own church soon to share what we heard with the rest of the Rhiza Student Ministries Jr. and Sr. high girls. Recently, Chaille has been working on the possibility of getting Leslie and Eric to come to our church themselves and do a similar conference to the one we attended. We haven't heard much on that yet though but if you want to pray for that it would be such a blessing to have them bring their vision to our students personally!

November is practically gone already and I feel like it's been a crazy but good month. At the beginning of the month we had our Jr. high Fall Retreat at Derek Max's parent's house in Three Rivers. We had a ton of kids come out for that and we had a blast. The weather was absolutely perfect all weekend and we had an overall good time. This past week I spent most of my time studying for my final exam to cap off my correspondence course from LSU that will complete my degree. I am so grateful to tell you that God definitely opened up time for me to study and gave me the strength to do it when it was the last thing I felt like doing. I took my exam on Monday and I feel so relieved. Thank you to all of you who were praying for that! :D

After thanksgiving week I am going to start in on a new project. Teaching! ESL is what my degree is in and since my internship I haven't had any real teaching opportunities until now. I met a wonderful lady at work a few weeks back who is helping some refugees from Africa get settled in the area and she has asked me to teach three girls English. I met them two weeks ago and I had so much fun meeting them I can't wait to get started. They are from Burundi Africa but spent some time in refugee camps in Rwanda before coming to the states. They are eager to learn and so excited to be able to have a teacher; you can pray that I will live up to their expectations and that they will learn a lot! :D

I hope everyone will have a very happy Thanksgiving and a safe and fun Black Friday! :D I have to work for the first time ever on Black Friday so I won't get to shop until after work.... Bummer!

God Bless, Sleep well!


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Gettin' Domestic

Flavors of Fall
One joy of being "done" with school is that I am home a lot more and I have the time to do some fun domestic things that I didn't have time to do before. For starters, I decorated my house with everything Fall that I had in the basement this week. I had so much fun playing with different colors and textures to make my house feel so warm and cozy... all the great feelings of fall. I even had an afternoon to stroll downtown rockford to get a new candle to add to the fall scents; I went with Yankee Candle's "Autumn Leaves" Scent. This week has been great in the area of having time for things that I didn't have time for before so I'm feeling extra thankful that I can do some of these fun domestic things. Another joy of being at home for me is cooking. My great friend Stacie had Jared and I over for Chicken dinner on Tuesday and it inspired me to be better at cooking fantastic meals like that for Jared at home; not just the usual hot dogs and sandwiches. So here are some of the recipes that we've enjoyed this week.
Venison Meat Loaf Recipe

"My mother, who claims she can detect venison in any recipe, didn't have a clue it was in this tender meat loaf until we told her after dinner. She raved about this flavorful main dish the entire time she was eating it!"-Liz Gilchrist, Bolton, Ontario
This recipe is: Healthy

6-8 Servings
Prep: 10 min. Bake: 70 min.
2 eggs
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 pounds ground venison
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons white vinegar
In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs; add tomato sauce, onion, crumbs, salt and pepper. Add venison and mix well. Press into an ungreased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Combine brown sugar, mustard and vinegar; pour over meat loaf. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 70 minutes. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 slice) equals 204 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 125 mg cholesterol, 799 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 23 g protein.

Easy Spaghetti Bake

Ready in: 30-60 minutes


1 package (7 oz. size) spaghetti

1/2 cup onion, chopped1 can (4 oz. size)

mushrooms stems & pieces, drained

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound ground beef

1 jar (32 oz. size) spaghetti sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain. In large skillet, brown beef and pour off excess fat. Add onion, spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, sugar, basil and salt. Simmer covered 10 minutes. Stir in cooked spaghetti to combined ingredients. Turn mixture into a shallow 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Cover and bake 20 minutes at 350F. Uncover, top with cheese and return to oven. Bake 5 minutes more.

This recipe from CDKitchen for Easy Spaghetti Bake serves/makes 6

A fun project: I found some pretty Autumn napkin rings that were given to me when we got married that I had never used so I decided to try to make a pretty centerpiece with these napkin rings, my fancy napkins and a fall platter that matches the rings. Here's the website I found helpful to teach me how to do this!


Happy Fall!
Sleep well and God Bless,

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Outhouses, Cookies, and Jane Austen

VACATION: < class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_0">vacātiō freedom from something; r. ME vacacioun <>

If vacation is freedom from something... I was in vacation overload this week by being freed from many things this week. Free from the use of modern conveniences; (ie. Toilets, sinks, bathtubs, dishwashers, electricity, running water, ipods, TV, Internet, phones... and the list goes on and on.)
As I now sit in my living room singing along to my Cd player with the washing machine cleaning my clothes for me, my husband in the shower enjoying running hot water, lights on my left and my right to light my work, and my computer at my fingertips I sit amazed at how blessed we are... and spoiled.
I spent this past week in Michigan's vastly beautiful Upper Peninsula with Jared's family at a place appropriately titled "Pretty Lake." It was a challenge for me to be completely striped of all things "comfortable" and yet freeing because I found so much comfort in having nothing to distract me from God's creation. I bathed in the lake with the sunset all around me, the birds singing their melodies, the trees swaying in unison and the water as still as glass. I slept soundly under the stars with the sound of the lunes to wake me every morning. I walked along the shores of lake Michigan, lake Superior, and numerous small lakes in between all in the same week. It's often bitter sweet to leave a place of beauty and rest like that knowing that you're heading back to a busy life full of distractions and noise but something I've learned this week is to take notice of the gifts that God has given us at home and on vacation and to take more time to notice God in the business of life and not just in the "stillness." It is certainly more difficult for me to recognize God in the business but it can be done and He's teaching me daily where to look for him and where he can be heard. It's simple really, He is everything and in everything.... When God called Himself "I AM" He was revealing a very profound part of who He is and how He works.... He just is and I can join Him there. What a gift.

It's amazing to me that sometimes God uses things like outhouses (a thing I, as a devout germaphobe, fear greatly) to get us out of our comfort zone so He can reveal Himself in a new way. This above all things was my greatest struggle during our vacation. I kept telling Jer that I could live like that forever if I could just have a regular flush toilet... that would be my one thing I would take with me if I were forced to live outside for the rest of my life.

I ate way too many chocolate chip cookies this week as well... I've had so much chocolate in the past week that I really should just be one big chocolate bar! I'm not sure why we had so many cookies. I made them before we left and they were just so darn good that we ate at least one a day. So that was my guilty pleasure this week... Ahhh but we were on vacation so I was free from feeling guilty about that!

Sweet Jane Austen was my friend this week as well. I finally finished Sense and Sensibility! I've been working on this book since I finished Pride and Prejudice in May. I was quite satisfied with it as a whole but I can say that I still think that P&P is my favorite of the two. I'm going to read all of her books so I guess I'll let you know later if any of the others top P&P but we'll see as we go because I am a very slow reader it might take me a while. I think I'm going to read Persuasion next.

I did pick up a quick read in between my Austen titles though... "Around the World in 80 Dates" by: Christa Ann Banister
If you remember from last year I got hooked on Erynn Mangum's Lauren Holbrook Series. Well Erynn and Christa both write for Navpress and both are 20 something chick lit writers who know how to write a fun novel and include great lessons in them. So far this is a fun read. It's quick so I'll have a full post on that book soon.

I hope you all are well and that you also are finding joy in God's creation and in who He is.

Pictures to come later!

God Bless, Sleep Well,

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mmm Mmmm Peach Cobbler

Here's a new recipe for you all!! Enjoy!
Peach Cobbler
4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
2 cups sugar
, divided
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (Absolutely must be self-rising; I found out the hard way.)
1 1/2 cups milk

Ground cinnamon, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Put the butter in an 8x8 baking dish and place in oven to melt.
Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking.
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Curling up with a good book

'T'is the season for curling up on your big fluffy couch with a tall steaming cup of Joe to your left or to your right, a good book in your hands and a cuddly quilt wrapping you in warmth.

You've just entered my living room and it's a very nice place to be on this grumpy day. The sky is dark and the trees are still, but inside I'm quite happy to be snuggling up with Sense and Sensibility. This week has been one for reflection in a lot of ways and although sometimes reflection can cause you to be 'out of spirits' in a sense it has almost given me more spirit than ever. My little brain is running fast with new ideas and things that I hope to accomplish in the next few weeks and months. For example, my class. I have been trudging along this whole summer to finish one class that will complete my degree. Why it's taken me so long is another story in and of itself but here I am in the last week of August and I have 2 more lessons to complete. I had hoped to be done with this class months ago but since it's not done yet it's useless to look back. SO I'm looking forward to what can happen this week. I'm making myself no promises and I'm trying to take it one day at a time and just get it done as soon as I can because.... gosh I've got other things to get to! Right? I am one of those stereotypical people who can't wait for one thing to be done because they're always looking to what's coming next. The problem with that is that I focus so much on what's to come and I forget to do the work that it takes to get there. Or I'll do the work but I do it mindlessly. God has been teaching me these things this week and although it's always hard to take a good look in the mirror like that, it's very true in my own life and I will gladly accept God's prodding in my life to change things.

So here are some of the things that I have been thinking about this week for what I would like to do when I'm done with my degree. I'm writing them down for you here as part of my goal to let go of these things for the time being and allow God to work with me right now on my class and then perhaps I can come back to these things later.

-I would love to try my hand at writing a book; a novel.
-I want to pursue something with my degree, whether it be volunteer or paid I want to at least try.
-I want to take the time to be a more diligent exerciser in the form of biking, running, or Zumba (Dance exercise). This year I have been blessed with time almost every week to go swimming with Chaille but in addition to that I want to be better at doing something daily or every other day.
- I want to read A.W. Tozer's books.

So that's all for today. Another day in the confusing mind of me. But the day is still young and I have plenty to do to keep me busy right!

No new books to tell you about or recipes to share today; more of that to come in a later post.

Sleep well, God bless!


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Summer Update Pictures!!!

Hey Y'all!

I'm back from the Jr. High mission trip to Benton Harbor and I have to say WOW what an amazing week we had! Our kids had awesome attitudes all week and there wasn't any complaining or groaning whatsoever! Parents... You should be absolutely proud of your kids because they received numerous compliments from the TEAMeffort leaders as well as the people that we served this week because of their maturity and great attitudes! These kids have and will do many great things in the years to come! Thank you for trusting us to take this step with your kids! I can't count the number of times I was blessed by them this week!

Here are some pictures from our journeys together~ Starting from our last day and going backwards... Enjoy!

The boys on the beach on our final "fun" day! JJ and I

Jared, Luke, and Derek cooling off after a competitive game of beach volleyball with some people on the beach.

Chaille, Kaylee, and Megan about to take on their volleyball challengers.

"Andrew Squared" kept us all entertained through the week. Here they let the girls play with their hair!

Solo time on the beach. JJ on right and Brittney, Christy from TEAMeffort, Erica, Christiana, and Kaylee on the left.

We all got VERY colorful this week! In a good way!

Brittney after a long day of working to paint the fence behind. Great job!

Jared... Tired, Colored, and having a blast!

Dean and Derek on their way to the job site.

Me with Abby and Aleah from the Emergency Shelter. Their mom works at the front desk and these girls were super sweet!

Kaylee, Kaitlin, and JJ working hard to paint the children's room in the Emergency Shelter.

Chapel time! Andrew B. and Tim doing some kind of jig...

Kaylee and Luke in the basement at the Shelter. Hmmm... Where is the puddle of water coming from and what's in it? This is the question...

The Emergency Shelter

The house right next to the shelter. This abandoned home was not the only one in the area. Unfortunately, this was what many of the houses looked like.

Tim, doing his part by filling in a pot hole in the driveway of the Shelter.

Andrew D. 4 Oreos in one big mouth! Way to go!

Luke, Tyler, Garrett, and Andrew D. at lunch time on the job site of the Overflow church in the mall.

Breakfast time! Many thanks to IHOP for providing our breakfast everyday!

Dez... Looking cool and having a great time!

Oh NO! Who gave Derek W. Red Bull??!!! We've only just begun! Thanks Derek for many laughs and a great attitude this week!

Britt, Meg, Angie, and Kaitlin on the ride to Benton Harbor!

Our bus!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Only a few days to go and we're off to Benton Harbor, MI. Benton Harbor is known to be a rough city in MI and is rated very low in comparison to other cities in Michigan and statewide when it comes to having people with well paying jobs, crime, and violence. Needless to say, like many other cities around us, Benton Harbor is a great place for ministry opportunities. Next week we (Kent City Baptist Rhiza Student Ministries Team) will be taking 25 Jr. Highers on their first ever mission trip! This is a very exciting new step for our ministry. We are really excited to take this big step with the kids and to help them get excited about ministry and their own personal growth as well. Doing inner city missions is not an easy thing at times and I know that more than one of our kids are scared to do this trip but I also know that our God will never leave us or forsake us and that we can trust him for all our needs. If you are willing we would greatly appriciate your prayers as we prepare and go on this trip. I'll update you all how everything goes when we get back. Hopefully I'll have pictures to go with it!

Sleep Well, God Bless!


Monday, July 13, 2009

SuMmEr StUfF

Life goes on at an alarming rate some days but this week I got a chance to slow down and smell the flowers...

My family went on our yearly trip to Mesick, MI about 20 min south of Traverse City. My family has been going to this place since before I was born and it has been a tradition that I look forward to every year. This year was no exception to the beauty that keeps us coming back for more every year. The weather was amazing all week long with beautiful sunsets over the Manistee river, bon fires every night with S'mores and popcorn, fireworks on the 4th and good friends and family in between. I am so grateful to have had the whole time up there without any interuptions. 10 days of relaxing with a good book, great friends, and God's beautiful creation. On our last night there Jared and I went fishing and I caught a huge Catfish! It was a lot of fun reeling that thing in. I don't really know if I like Catfish but we'll try it. I can't lie, I was hoping it was a walleye but beggers can't be choosers right!? One particular day up there I spent in the sun reading and enjoying God's creation. It reminded me that life isn't really so crazy it's how we make it that matters the most. If everyday I took the time to enjoy God and what he's doing right in front of me then perhaps I wouldn't have days where I feel like life is running away from me. Hmm... there's a novel idea! :D

I have started swimming again with Chaille. I can't tell you how good I feel when I've spent time in the water. I must be half fish! I'm by no means a talented swimmer but I do enjoy the exercise and the fellowship it gives me with Chaille and I hope to continue making time for both of those things!

Here's what I'm reading right now:

Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility

I am only on chapter 4 so I can't say much about this one yet but if its anything like Austen's other works I am sure I will love it just as much. I am a sucker for classics so most of what I read is a classic.

Here's another classic I'm reading right now: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Farmer Boy:

it's the story of her husband Almonzo Wilder's growing up years. Very fun and interesting. I like how Laura keeps the authenticity of pioneer life alive in her accounts. I know this is a children's book but I don't think you're ever too old to read kids books; besides, these books have so much history to them and I can't say enough good things.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Glory and Gravel Again....

I got my cap and gown today for graduation! I know its still a few weeks away but I can tell you that right now I feel so relieved to have those two things in my possession. Now, being an Eagle alumni (KCHS) I feel a little funny wearing a blue gown but I guess it's OK since CU's mascot is an eagle as well! :D I like to keep things simple. So anyway, as I was walking to my car after picking up my gown I was thinking about that sermon PC gave a few months ago about the glory and the gravel of life, and I was thinking that right now I am feeling that "glory" feeling and through this God is preparing me to go back down to the "gravel" of life. I can't tell you how many times I've felt this same process of going from glory to gravel and then back to glory but I'm sure you have all had those same feelings throughout your lifetime. All I can say is, I'm grateful. I'm grateful that God desires to be in the details of our lives and that, if we let Him, He will lead us through those ups and downs until we finally reach the real Glory of what we were created for; perfect unity with Him in Heaven. I'm also grateful that as His child I can take no credit for getting to where I am today. I can ONLY thank God for getting me through four long, crazy years of college and in that realization I know that He is trustworthy with the rest of my years as well! What an intimate God we serve! It all goes back to Christ's sacrifice because he said "I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full" and He is showing me everyday that His sacrifice was to give us this life that we could experience walking with God in the Glory and in the Gravel.
Outside of God, life is all just gravel and we have no hope of Glory.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Long Time Gone

It's been far too long since I've updated this and for that I am sorry. I don't know if anyone even reads this anymore but for those faithful few... here's an update on where I've been and where I'm going.

Since November I have...

  • Started my last semester of school at Cornerstone
  • Become a Deacon's wife at Kent City Baptist Church
  • Spent alot of time loving on my favorite (and only) nephew Trevor Mark
  • Learned alot about God's guiding hand and allowing the Holy Spirit to really lead me
  • Procrastinated in doing my school work and, therefore; I am now working my brains out to get done. :(
  • Learned that Graduating is not the final chapter but that it is part of the journey
  • Been in the process of reading the classic edition of Pride and Prejudice (Middle English language and all... It's very fun.)
  • Reading and being challenged by the book "Satisfy My Thirsty Soul" by: Linda Dillow
  • Learning how to incorporate silence into my time with God and being challenged to seek to worship God by "thinking outside the box."
  • Been challenged by what it means to really be a generous person in many ways and trying to live life that way.

So.... I have been a busy person and God has been even busier teaching me many things through all of these experiences. Jared and I are doing well. We are growing and being challenged in many ways and we are so grateful for the wise guidance that many of you have given us as we have been given the opportunity to serve in a new way at chruch.

Here are some fun things I have found in the past few months:

  • Make Your own Cappuchinos at home:

Just follow these three easy steps to make cappuccinos at home.

1. Fill a mug halfway with skim milk (for a sweeter treat add a little flavored creamer and some sugar to the milk mixture) and heat on high in the microwave until hot, about 60 seconds.

2. Place a whisk inside the mug and, with the handle between your palms, spin the whisk back and forth to froth the milk.

3. Add home-brewed strong coffee to the frothed milk.

To make it a latte, fill the mug 3/4 of the way with milk and only froth it a little. Then proceed with step 3 above.Enjoy!!

  • Yummy new twist on regular Spaghetti:

Martha's Chicken Spaghetti

A great dinner dish! Very easy. Use different colored bell peppers for a colorful dish!

Serving: 8

Prep Time: 10 minutesCook

Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

4 boneless skinless whole chicken breasts, cut in strips

2 green bell peppers, cut in strips

10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 8-oz bottle low-fat Italian salad dressing

cooked spaghetti

1. Stir fry chicken and peppers until chicken is done and peppers are still slightly crunchy.

2. Add salad dressing and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes during the last 5 minutes, just to heat them. Serve over hot spaghetti.

TIP: This is great using any type of bell pepper.

Based on individual serving.-->
Calories: 450Total Fat: 21 gCarbohydrates: 50 gProtein: 19 g-->

Source: Martha
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  • Books I'm reading now:

Satisfy My Thirsty Soul by: Linda Dillow

Pride And Prejudice Classic Edition by: Jane Austen

  • Sorry the link isn't working otherwise I would post pictures of the books.

To Be Continued... God Bless and Sleep Well