Saturday, January 29, 2011

Verse 01 Reference

Ok gotta share this really cool thing with you all! Today as I'm reading a book that was recommended from one of my education class I found my first scripture memory verse in the text! The book brings a Christian perspective the teaching and it's so cool that I found a seemingly meaningless verse in the text. So glad I'm doing the scripture memory challenge! Check it out...

"As teachers, we work at this calling with all our heart, as working for the Lord, not just for our school board or even for our students (Colossians 3:23). We are "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation" that declares God's praise (1 Peter 2:9). We exercise godly authority worthy of our calling only to the extent, however, that we possess and continue to deepen our pedagogical insight. Such insight grows as a result of our studying Scripture, reading about and discussing educational issues, and especially teaching in perceptive and reflective ways."

Thursday, January 27, 2011


This is my mother. A woman of beauty and class. Her life reflects that of strength, perseverance and determination in a way that I cannot even begin to describe in words. She exudes God's grace within her and lives a life to the fullest!

I've always had a hard time really understanding what that means, "live life to the fullest" but when I look at my mom, I get it. She knows what it means to let go and let God. She embraces the sweet things in life and has taught me how to cherish those moments without questioning the intent. She has created a house of joy where the rooms are rich with treasures (VERSE 02 "By wisdom a house is built and through understanding it is established. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." from memory :) To experience the thrill of saying "I'll have one of everything" when we went out to celebrate my 21st birthday.

She would call to encourage me to get up from my thesis writing and take myself to Bonefish (my favorite way too expensive restaurant in Fredericksburg) while I finished preparing for my presentation.
Came all the way to Indiana just to celebrate with C for his graduation. Drank a beer with us and told us stories of her life in college, all the while listening intently and passionately as we would ramble on and on about our own college life. Her ability to listen and really hear your heart is something so special to me and saved me from many teary-nights.
She can appreciate a good cup of coffee and a manicure (but really, who wouldn't?!)
But most importantly, she is my mom. A woman who I can only dream of becoming. A wife who loves her husband with unconditional love and supports this home while he is away with grace. She is a mother who taught us all how to love each everyone as family and to love God even more. 

She is brave and taking a big leap today to travel some 14-odd hours away to Dubai to show her love and support for her husband. She is doing something that may feel strange and uncomfortable to show her man she values his work and wants to be a part of it. This is what real love is all about and I love her for that. I am praying deeply and earnestly for safe travels, for her to take a deep breath of adventure, and for both my mom and dad to deepen their love even more through this beautiful experience.
 Psalm 5:1
"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mexi-CAN Soup

This recipe is the best soup to make on a Sunday afternoon and is the absolute easiest thing EVER! I call it Mexi- CAN because (1) it is so easy anyone CAN do it (2) All you need are can's of the best Mexican inspired ingredients.

C and I made this after church today and will enjoy it while we watch the game tonight!

First chop up 4 chicken breasts into small pieces

Begin to cook the chicken in a large pot with a little olive oil and flavor with a pinch of taco seasoning
Once the chicken turns white add the following ingredients: 2 cans rotell

 1 can tomato sauce
1 can corn (optional)
 1 can chopped green chili peppers

 1 cup of your favorite salsa
 Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then right before you are ready to serve add 2 cans of black beans (drained)
Stir it all together and serve with crushed tortilla chips on top!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bugle Horn

Living on base has been such an interesting experience. On the one hand:
  • it's nice to have someone make the bed and bring you fresh towels every day
  • I love being able to walk to the gym and the grocery store
  • It's fun to play the "knocking game" with our neighbors
  • I can leave the lights on and run the water all day long and not worry about any bills!
But on the other hand there is one thing about living on base that it really strange to get used to and it sounds something like this...
This lovely alarm plays every morning at 6:00 am (600)! Then a different sound called "Retreat" plays at 4:30 (1630) to announce the end of the Duty Day. And finally at 10:00 pm (2200) "Taps" are played that means it's time for bed.

Most days I don't really mind the calls, and sometimes I don't even really hear them. But when I do notice it helps you remember what time of the day it is and makes you really feel like you are on a military base which is kind of fun sometimes. It reminds me what is really going on here, that men and women are really retreating or waking up to protect our country. How brave!

But today, when I heard the bugle play I couldn't help but wish that God would talk to me so consistently and loudly as the bugle does. To tell me with shouts to Wake Up "Look at what I have given you today and go forward with courage" (Isaiah 41:10) or Retreat, "stay where you are I am doing a good work in you and I'm not finished yet" (Jeremiah 29:11) or even to say "Now it's time to rest"(Matthew 11:28).

Oh wait...HE DOES! He does tell me loudly that He is still working on me, or that I should not fear, or that he will provide for me. But why then is it so difficult to recognize that as consistently as I hear the bugle play? Perhaps the truth is that he is playing and speaking to me that loudly but I am just not listening. I have loved starting school and am really getting connected with the prospect of becoming a teacher but in my excitement and work ethic I have forgotten to ask God for guidance. I have stopped listening and am missing his encouragement and guidance.

Thankfully I was reminded yesterday by a beautiful woman named Pam who may have found me teary-eyed in the sanctuary of the church. She came in looking fabulous in all her glorious Texas boots and jewelry and simply listened to me ramble on about the things that seem so meaningless now. But thankfully God planted her in my way to remind me that He is still here and has not left me. Praise God for Pam and for that oh so annoying bugle horn! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lord of the Sweet Spot

What a fun weekend we had!! The day started out with the short 2 hour drive to Dallas and I was so surprised to see all the tall city like buildings. I never knew that Dallas was that much like a big city. 
This is a picture of our hotel, the Magnolia
It's the one with this famous horse on top
We were on the top floor with a great view of the city and if you looked up and squinted you could see the red reflection of the horse.

We drove around quite a bit and explored the city, met up with three of C's classmates at the hugest mall I've ever seen! Seriously this thing was massive! It had an ice skating rink on the inside and was 4 stories of pure consumerism galore. Soon enough it was time to head back to our hotel to get all gussied up for the big night out and the Riverdance concert! 
For those of you who have never seen or heard of Riverdance or Lord of the Dance, shame on you (ha ha just kidding). This video really doesn't do it justice. But the premise of the show is demonstrating the art of Irish dancing and the way that it has been such a pivotal part of the culture. Here's a snipit of the opening number, skip to about 0.40sec for the dancing to begin

Now if you don't think this is as amazing as I do, that's ok. I was simply in heaven sitting there in our amazing seats watching these performers do their thing! There are a few numbers where the violinist, the drummer, and the flutist just go at it and it is so cool to watch someone just excel in their own area of expertise. Do you know what I am talking about? When an NBA basketball star really plays well there is nothing like it, or when a gifted piano player sits down to play, or a gifted dancer performs. It's that feeling and experience of doing exactly what you were made to do and doing it to the best of your ability. I really think this is how God wants us to live our lives. To do our best at what we were gifted to do and shine at it. When that violinist begins to play, the spotlight is on him and everything else seems to melt away. You can see the joy on his face and the light of Christ is really shining through that.  If the drummer were to pick up  the violin and start playing he may be able to learn over time and may be ok at it, but it would be nothing compared to the times that gifted violin player takes the stage. 

God has given us unique gifts and talents that are distinctly different than anyone else, and he wants us to excel at them and work within our sweet spots (where God's purpose intersects our passions). 

1 Corinthians 12:1,4-6 "Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed... There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work."

Everyone has different gifts but all are from the same God and for the purpose of praising that same God. Look for ways this week that you are performing in your "sweet spot", or times when you feel that God's purpose is being carried out by your work. Notice those in your life who are living in their sweet spots, and are glorifying God by being great at their craft. 

B.T.W. I ended up wearing the green dress and brown boots, it was perfect for walking around Dallas that night. Unfortunately it is much harder to take great pictures when there are only 2 of you and my clunky camera doesn't fit well in my cute clutch. (fashion over function :) I'll post the few pictures I have soon.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Scriture Memory Team: 02

Cannot believe it has already been 2 weeks, this challenge is really getting more fun week by week, especially to see so many people joining in. I'm especially excited to see how God uses the new verse in my life these next two weeks.  Also I am excited to say that Beth Moore and her team have outdone themselves once again, the Siestsa Scripture Memory Team now has an APP FOR YOUR iPHONE!

Search "Beth Moore" under the itunes app store and click get the FREE app. While I love to touch and feel the note cards spiral, this is a great way to sneak a peek at your verse at the gym, or in line at the grocery store if you don't have your spiral with you. Click here for Beth's video about the app. Now for the new verse....

Verse 02
"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." Proverbs 24: 3-4 ESV

Remember to post your memory verses as comments below so we can share together in the challenge. It's great fun!

These verses are the basis for a bible study I joined here this week. It was exactly what I imagined a large church in the bible belt would be like. I walked in to find a Beth Moore look-a-like named Karen and a beautifully vivacious brunette named Margi standing at the front welcoming us in with the deepest southern accents I've ever heard. The room was packed, I couldn't believe it when all the women (and infants included) kept filling the room with "y'alls" and "hey girls". I sat down quietly and thanked God for this gift, the gift of girlfriends.

The purpose of this study is to learn about our men and how to build a home of wisdom and understanding not instead of false expectations. I love imagining the home that is described in these verses, I imagine the riches to be joy, laughter, wholesome conversations, love, and peace. What a beautiful picture that I want to establish in our home (wherever that may be). As if C and I have not had enough quality time in this little hotel room, we are going away this weekend to Dallas. For christmas he gave me tickets to see Riverdance and a night at a beautiful hotel in the city. I have been looking forward to this for so long and I can't wait to spend time with him away from the Air Force norm. My prayer is that the weekend will revive and energize our relationship and open our eyes to yet another beautiful city God created. I am learning to celebrate the Creator and his creations. I'll be sure to share some pictures next week and I can't wait to tell you about my grad school classes! Here are the two outfits I'm choosing from. 

Think I'm going with the green one. My sister says that it look "So Dallas!"

P.S. If you are not already please pray for Joanne Heim, a young author, mother, wife, and blogger who recently had a stroke and has not woken up yet. I do not know much more than that but her faithful husband has been updating her blog. Let's pray Psalm 91:11 for Joanne and the family.
"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm Not in Kansas Anymore

Today I had the strangest and most uncomfortable feeling since we got married, it was an out of body nightmare happening right in the middle of the "sausage-factory" of a gym here on base. One of C's friends from class started talking to him, I smiled and said a polite "Hello", he smiled and their conversation continued. Before I could even try to join in I felt myself drifting out of the room. "What were they talking about?" "Why can't I understand a word they are saying, sounds like they are talking in code."

For the first time in our marriage I felt like I had no idea who this man was or what he did for a living. Now I actually do know what he does at work, but in that moment everything felt so foreign. Abbreviations were flying and I just couldn't keep up, then another joined in on the conversation and I felt like such an outsider. Here I was trying to muster up the confidence to even be working out in "that side of the gym". You know what I'm talking about, the side of the gym with the weights were there is grunting and macho men bumping fists like some kind of club. The "that side of the gym" at an Air Force Base is 10 times worse than any other gym because there are so many more of those macho men grunting and bumping fists.

I waited for C to finish the conversation and felt like I was in a foreign land. A land of muscle-building-airplane-loving-abbreviation-talking men and I just didn't belong. I knew that there would be a time when we would both have things happen at work and not necessarily be able to share the experience with other, or that I wouldn't be able to relate as well as the other guys going through the experience with him. But I had no idea it would make me feel so insignificant.

While cooking dinner when we got back I kept replaying the "seemingly tragic" situation that happened today and tried to find God in it. I want to be able to encourage C and show him my appreciation for the work that he does, but how can I when I feel so clueless? I was reminded of Erin Gruwell and how clueless she must have felt trying to relate to the toughest of students. Erin never turned away, instead she put them in the spotlight and let their passions teach her how to related to them.

I need to accept that the Air Force is a world that I may not understand fully but should embrace it in every way that I can. Weather it is playing "Betty Homemaker" and making cookies for his classmates, or just listening to C talk about his day asking as many questions as I can.

Thank you God for this lesson tonight, and look how relevant to my first SSMT(siesta scripture memory team verse)! HOW COOL IS THAT?!

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession that you may declare the praises of him who called  you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

(p.s. I did that by memory! How are you doing on your scripture memory challenge? Remember, we'll be changing verses on the 15th)

Teach With Your Heart

I just finished the most amazing book. Teach With Your Heart: Lessons I Learned from the Freedom Writers by Erin Gruwell. The book is a memoir from a teacher who transformed the lives of over 150 students from a low-income, rough-and-tough, multi-cultural high school in Long Beach, California.

When she was thrown into this crazy group of segregation wars, violence, and failures it was her first day as a student teacher. Her supervising teacher "left to go get a cup of coffee" and never came back, leaving her standing in front of this terrifying group of junior flunk-outs to try and teach the basics of reading and writing. The process was not easy gradually she began to really believe in her students and when no one else would give them their time she invested hers. When they couldn't get new books from the school, she bought brand new ones with her own money. She believed in her students and taught them about the Holocaust which helped them work through their own terrifying lives in the "hood". She took a student on house arrest with no future and helped her graduate from high school and go to college, and a student who carried a gun in his pocket became the face of the Freedom Writer Foundation.

But most importantly she taught them how to write their story. Through the gift of writing they were able to express themselves and share with others their failures and victories.  Against all odds they gathered all their stories together and wrote  The Freedom Writers Diaries, a book that would bring light to the silent wars that many students go through every day. Erin and I became very close this week and I wrote her a letter to thank her for her inspiration (i'll let you know if she writes back).

I can really only touch on the highlights of this book but what I want to share really is the impact it had on my life. Her career went so much further than just a junior English teacher but it began by believing in her students as a measly student teacher.  I guess I never realized the impact that an individual can have on another persons life and the significance that a teacher has on shaping a students future. Now more than ever I am beginning to see what God is planning for me to starting grad school next week.

I am filled with more fears and questions than ever, but at the same time can see how all of my passions are coming together. I can remember a teary conversation I had with C one night when I was feeling at my lowest. He was sweetly trying to help me talk through all of the things I am passionate about and give me some direction for a career. He told me to make a list of the things I like to do and what makes me happy and here's what I wrote...

- Helping kids through tough times
- Being someone who sees the best in people and helps them achieve it
- Planning and organizing
- Being creative and designing new things or strageties
- Seeing kids go to college or get jobs or follow their dreams
- Baking (ok, that was a long shot!)
- Planning parties

When you read these you have to go back to where I was. Bursting at the seems for a purpose and place in the world where I could make an impact. I wanted a job so desperately that I forgot to look at what I was passionate about and what God was passionate about (thank you C for bringing me back to that). I wanted the big career, to my name to be in lights and on web sites, but I forgot that this is God's plan not mine. It's all about finding that sweet spot, "Where my passions intersect God's purpose". I love that I feel so clueless about this next step. I love that I am so dependent on God to show me I can do this and to reveal His plan and not mine.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mom's Minestrone

The recipe I am about to share with your should be cherished! This soup is so good and made famous by my Mom and Dad. The two of them have added things here and there to this recipe and it is one of my favorite things to come home to. It's so easy and only has 10 inexpensive ingredients. Last weekend I made it for the Smith Family who we were visiting in Fayetteville, AR. Now it's time to share it with you.

**You'll have to excuse our not-so-glamorous hotel kitchen**

Cut the skin off of 1lb. of sweet italian sausage and brown it about half way in a pan.

Chop 1 sweet onion and a few zucchinis and garlic( optional) saute in olive oil.

Add the italian sausage and brown with the onion and zucchini the rest of the way.

Add 1 can stewed tomatoes, 2 stalks of celery (chopped), and 1 box of chicken stock, and lots of fresh rosemary.

You may also add a 1/2 a box of cooked ditallini pasta or cubed potatoes.This time I tried something different and went with whole wheat elbow pasta. Turned out pretty great!

About 10 minutes before serving add 1 can of cannellini beans.

C helped by making some cornbread. 

And there you go the finished product! It was so great and lasted us a few days. The leftovers are even better than the first time you make it! Hope you enjoy, let me know if you try it out .

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Happy List

I want to try something...
People like talking about things that make them happy. And when life gets too difficult and complicated to handle we get consumed in negativity. Suddenly our problems get bigger than we are and that's all we can see. So I want to start noticing the things that make me happy, when you are alone and feeling lost remembering what God has done and what brings you joy so quickly turns life around.

So here's the experiment, let's start a list of the happy things. As complex or as simple as you want. Ask your neighbors, the barista at Starbucks, your spouse and let's get the list going of happy things!

Post your happy comments below, I'll get the list started for you and add some that I've gathered!

1. The smell of coffee from the kitchen when C gets ready for work.
2. Singing worship songs
3. Adrenaline rush after a good workout
4. Peppermint
5. Looking at pictures of high school (T.C.)
6. A good back scratch (M.F.)
7. A really good thunderstorm and a really good book (E.A.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


How do you judge the success of your day? Is it by weather you can get the kids dressed and out the door to school on time? By the grades that are reflected on your report card? By how beautiful you think you look in the morning? Weather you make it to the gym or not? Or simply weather you get yourself out of bed to work on time?

Success is such a product of human nature. It helps us align ourselves with others and distinguishes the great from the not so great. But more than that, it opens so many doors for fear of failure and self-defeat. God does not measure success the same way that we do, instead he looks at our life for who we really are, His children of grace.

"You can achieve the victorious life through living in deep dependence on Me. People usually associate victory with success: not falling or stumbling, not making mistakes. But those who are successful in their own strength tend to go their own way, forgetting about me. It is through problems and failure, weakness and neediness that you learn to rely on Me." (Jesus Calling, Sarah Young)

I have been feeling pretty unsuccessful and weak these days. Mostly because I feel like the ground is moving right from under me and I don't know how to grab on or what to stand next to that is sturdy. But that is just it! Today, when I finally had a chance to sit down with my Bible I cannot tell you the instant peace I felt when the pages opened. I did not read a single word but simply the act of opening the Word brought a still across my heart.
I know that God is here in Texas, in the midst of this dry and foreign land and I can feel Him beginning to transform my life here and that is all because I am learning about what really is true and constant, His Word. (So glad to be doing the Scripture Memory Challenge)

I'll leave you with some truth for your life today.
"When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:17-18

"So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the LORD, for we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Scripture Memory Team: 01


Verse 01:

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light." 1 Peter 2: 9 NIV

This verse is simple and may not seem all that meaningful at first but the more I started thinking and praying about where God has brought me in this phase of my life I realize I need to remember one thing, I am His child! The great anticipation and excitement I have for life in Texas comes from the LORD. The darkness and despair that I am merging out of is only from Him. 

I cannot begin to tell you the relief and healing that happened simply driving away. Not away from bad things or a bad place but just driving to a destination unknown. I have a brand new sense of adventure and excitement now that I did not have when we moved to Dover. God really has been moving in my heart. Now I cannot say that I am confident or at all sure of where we are going and what life will be like there. In fact, many times when I think about it I get a huge knot in my stomach. But the difference is I can look back and where I came from and see that Yes, God was guiding me just like He did with the people of Israel. 

NOW IT'S YOUR TURN....choose your verses, write them on your notecards, and post them below, (or send me an e-mail with your verse). I'm so excited to see where this goes and am praying for you all as you begin take on this challenge with me.