Friday, December 18, 2009

my favorite thing is

going to sleep when it's snowing outside and experiencing the mystery of waking up not knowing what on earth it will look like after hours of snow! i love this so much, i'm actually excited to be snowed in (if it happens). here's to fun and happy snow days!

Saturday, December 5, 2009 account of my addiction

If it isn't enough that I am now posting about tetris, including picture, let me tell you that I dreamed in Tetris last night. And, as I was watching a movie last night, I began imagining pieces falling down on the screen and me fitting them into different crevices. This is getting sick already, and I've only been playing 2 days. I think it needs to stop or else my thoughts may become permanently altered.

Friday, December 4, 2009

turkey pops!

As I mentioned on Thanksgiving, I found the cutest thing ever on Bakerella's site: cake pops. I have made these several times over the year, but I've never gotten quite as creative as she has by making characters out of the chocolate covered cake. But for Thanksgiving, I thought it was time. And I had the time finally, since it took me probably about 6-8 hours when it was all said and done. Oh well, it was a nice activity. So, here they are! Aren't they cute?!?

This is where you can find the basic instructions on how to make these.
Also - here is the glorious rum cake. I would post the recipe to this, but it turned out quite alcoholic and the glaze didn't really was more of a thin buttery sauce (with 4 shots of rum in it) I am going to try to tweak this recipe a little bit and get the glaze figured out sometime in the next couple weeks. I'll let you know how it goes and then I'll post the recipe!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

part of the Christmas spirit

I've been reading blogs and facebook posts all about people being behind on Christmas shopping or bragging that they got theirs done a month ago. I guess everyone can have their own take on this, but I think part of the fun of the Christmas season - at least the month of December - is shopping for Christmas presents! I wouldn't want to do it any earlier than I do. Jordan and I have just been starting to really brainstorm what we want to get our family and friends, and I just breathe it in. I love the generosity and excitement of this time of year, and I love the feeling that comes with buying the perfect gift for someone. I think if I bought my presents before the middle of December, I wouldn't hardly be able to wait 'til Christmas to give them away. I know there's a sense of accomplishment with having all your wrapped presents under the tree as soon as it's up, but I must say I prefer the gradual build up over the month as you buy gifts one by one. It just seems like more hype. Anyway, just my preference on that. Hope you're having a nice Thursday!

PS: promise I'll post the pictures from Thanksgiving and the recipes!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


i just finished making the most cute desserts ever for thanksgiving! i will post about them after the weekend, but they turned out just precious and i can't wait to share. they are cake pops! i copied them from bakerella's website (which by the way if you haven't visited before you have to). and then i made a rum cake - which we thought all the alcohol would be cooked out of, but it turns out - this cake has 4 shots of rum in the glaze alone! hopefully i don't make the family tipsy with this one!

i hope everyone has a great day and enjoys time with family!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the BLIND side

Last night, my family went to this movie (The Blind Side), and I had to post about it was just THAT good. If you're in the mood for a feel good, will make you cry a little, inspiring movie for the holidays - this is a good bet.

On another note: Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it!
On our prayer letter this month we just talked about what we were thankful for (okay, actually I wrote them all - it was my month to write the letter). So, without further ado - here they are!

We are thankful for the Wonderful Savior, Awesome Friend, and Mighty King we have in Jesus.
For the power of the gospel, and the ways God has used us to see it truly transform lives forever.
For each of you all, who faithfully pray for us, encourage us, and support us! You are an answer to many prayers!!
That we got to go to Colorado to take seminary classes this summer (and do lots of hiking)!
That God has helped us to process through some hard things this year, and has given us vision for our future.
For holidays and the joy they bring with them!
For our New Testament Survey class - we have enjoyed doing it together this fall and have learned so many things that help us understand the gospel better.
For our Bible studies, fellow staff members, and other students who want us back at Virginia Tech.
We are thankful that God has provided 90% of our initial support through individuals and churches in the last three months!
For the students we disciple who have really become close friends.
That God has been faithful to help Jordan continue to grieve the loss of his mom and begin to heal.
That we have friends who care deeply about us, visit us, and are a consistent part of our lives.
For the weddings we’ve gotten to attend this fall. They are a great reminder of the vows we made last year and also lots of fun!
That we have a job serving the King, especially in the midst of the present economy.
For our families, and their generosity while we’ve been in Mechanicsville this fall.

There they are!
Two other things - tomorrow means going to New York City! AND I just got a new book in the mail to start reading! It's called In the Walled Gardens and it's a cultural, historical fiction book about a couple in Iran. I got it for 60 cents off Amazon!! Love that.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I was watching Regis and Kelly this morning, and they made an announcement that they are doing their halloween special tomorrow where they make 30 costume changes!! Just wanted to share because it sounds like it will be really fun to watch! So if you're home in the mornings at 10 like me, enjoy it and let me know what your favorite costume was!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

tut tut...

looks like rain for the weekend... :(

hope this doesn't change the apple-picking-plans.

PS: i substitute teach for the first time in an hour!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

happy happy

I'm so excited for this weekend. And I'm just feeling great about life today.

I loooove when this happens.

To start, I had a great time with the Lord this morning reading 1st Corinthians. It's been a while since I've just read it straight through and I've been enjoying it so much! Paul is so serious about so many things, it pushes me and refreshes me in my diligence to pursue the Lord with conviction and purpose.

I'm also excited because we are now at 83% of our initial support!!! YAY. This means that we may in fact finish quite soon!!! We'll see what God has in mind for that, but regardless, it's way exciting and encouraging. And it just makes me want to really enjoy the rest of our time here doing that [in Richmond] because we have so much time to spend with each other. PRAISES!

Another thing: Chad and Maggie's wedding is this weekend!! I love weddings and I'm so excited to see them united in such a beautiful relationship. And I'm really excited to see like ALL our staff team, and the Dalys!!! Jess has an awesome blog [] that I enjoy reading and she's just so sweet and a special woman. So I am excited to spend some time with her.

AND!!!! We are going apple picking on the way to Harrisonburg for the wedding! double YAY. I have been wanting to do this throughout college and we never have so I am looking forward to it for sure. I want to make a few apple pies, some homemade applesauce and I think I'm going to try my hand at making apple butter and can it for gifts!! We'll so how that goes.

Anyway, just wanted to share the love and joy of my day.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

what i'm learning

about purpose:
though sometimes i don't feel like i have a purpose in points of my life [sometimes like the time of support raising] i have actually had a number of - i'm sure divine - revelations on the matter. i was in the shower the other day just feeling so utterly lost in myself, you know those times when you just feel like you're whole world is collapsing - you're on the verge of a mini-anxiety attack - times. well it just came to me all of a sudden that there is SO MUCH PURPOSE in life itself. no matter what i'm doing, what life stage i'm in, what my career or ministry looks like - it's always more than it seems. for instance, i have been seeing that right now, while support raising, on the exterior i am meeting with people, hopefully having some sort of impact on their lives, and raising money for our livelihood, inwardly the Lord is doing huge things in my life. and it's just come to me that there is purpose in my cooking for my father-in-law, purpose in spending more time with my husband and the Lord than i am used to, purpose in rekindling old friendships, purpose in learning from my parents. i've been realizing that i don't have to be doing something earth-shattering to have purpose (so basic i know but apparently i am a slow learner). i can be just living in sweet harmony with the Lord and i can be slowly refined by him and there is purpose. just in that. even if there was nothing else. brilliant.

on grief:
i have been becoming aware that with any sort of loss, whether monumental like the tragic loss of a family member or the loss of a friendship or the loss of an old sin, we have to undergo a process. though i've always thought the end result of this process of grieving is hopefully full healing and life as you once knew it, i now believe it's actually not. once we experience loss we must find a new normal. a new reality. life will never ever be the same. and that doesn't mean that it won't be good and happy and wonderful again. but it will never be the same. we are changed people, hopefully for the better, because of the losses that we go through. loss is all about how you handle it, how God uses it to shape you, and finding a new normalcy with Christ at the center.

about marriage:
it's hard. and wonderful. and a perfect combination of so many things that make it the true gift from God that it is. i have been learning one of the most important things i can do for my husband is to build him up. my confidence in him is so important. the other thing i've been struck with lately again is how regardless of how wonderful and amazing a man i have, he will never fill the void i have in my heart for Jesus. he cannot meet all of my emotional, spiritual, social, or psychological needs. that is and always will be only something that God can do with his infinite love and provision and grace. these are good things to learn early in marriage i think.

Friday, September 4, 2009

O death, where is your sting?

I have really been dreading writing a post for the past week. I just don't know what to say after all that's happened this week. And I don't want this to just be an informational post about the death of dear friends and people so closely involved with Campus Crusade. But I don't really know what to say. I just feel like death has been such a part of my life the past few years. And I know that it is something I have to deal with. Death, that is.

Losing David and Heidi was such a complete shock and horror. They were servants of the Lord and vibrant spirits. But despite the horrible way that they were sent to meet their Savior, I have comfort. I guess that's what I've been thinking about this week. Comfort, and hope, that we have in the Lord. After going to the funerals and seeing my close friend Sherri, the sister of David, embracing the goodness of God through the destruction of death, I knew that God was good. And faithful.

"O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

And the charge: "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."
1 Corinthians 15:55-58 (emphasis added)

Death is an awful, painful part of this world that leaves us grasping for purpose and meaning. It is not a natural part of life. Death was never part of the plan. God made us to live in relationship with him. But because of our sin and rebellion against him, we must all suffer this physical death. And it really hurts for those who are left. But I rejoice because spiritual death is not something that those who know Him have to experience. This is so beautiful and so hopeful!
As I think back over the past few years, with 4/16, losing my grandfather and my mother-in-law last year, and now experiencing the murders of David and Heidi, I am so suprised that I'm not turning away from the Lord, cursing him for not preventing death. But all I want to do it grow closer in step with him. And I know that that feeling is a supernatural one, and given by the grace of God. And so I praise him. For the lives of those who we lost this week, for the steadfastness of the families and friends, and for the unwavering hope we have in the Father.

This post was kind of a rambling one. But hope you all have a great Friday and Labor day weekend.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cookout Yummies

Today is the day for the cookout for Jordan's birthday! I am so excited. I love cookouts - the company, the activities, the bustle around the kitchen, the relaxing around the grill, the cool summer night air. And cookouts always mean: really good food!

So, I have made it my project and activity of choice for occupying most of my spare time this week. It's been fun to plan the menu, shop, and the past couple days, get everything ready! I am really sitting down to take a break from cooking nonstop today just to write this! I wanted to record and for you guys to know all the yummy food we get to have for our cookout tonight!

I asked everyone to bring their own meat, so who knows what people will come with, but I bought Jordan a big juicy strip steak. And I'll just eat sides:

Veggie Skewers: on the grill with corn, zucchini, grape tomatoes, and red onions. And a chili rub.
Potato salad: this is really simple, just a martha stewart original with bacon and scallions.
Classic mac-and-cheese: another martha recipe.
Homemade applesauce: just like my grandma makes. absolutely delicious, and a cookout staple.
Salad: asian island crunch - just bought it from the store.
Summer Sangria: with lemons and limes and oranges. and pineapple juice.
Raspberry Iced Tea: sooo yummy. i tried it this morning! i also made raspberry ice cubes that are so cute!

For dessert:
Summer Snowballs: this isn't the link to the exact recipe i used (i couldn't find it online), but they are similar! i dipped mine in toffee bits, coconut, and chopped up reese's pieces.
Vanilla Cake with Key Lime Buttercream Frosting: i am really hoping my cake looks at good as this one! YUM! it just came out of the oven so i need to make the frosting soon. :)

Okay, this is the end of my gush about yummy food at happy birthday cookouts in blacksburg. I'll let you know which recipes turn out especially well (and, of course, which shouldn't be tried). Happy August!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Welcome to the Family!

Friday night we got commissioned into the religious order of Campus Crusade for Christ!!


This is Jordan getting his certificate and getting ready to shake hands with Steve and Judy Douglas - the president of CCC and his wife. When we shook their hands, I swear, with the most tender heart, they told each one of us welcome to the family, and thank you for committing your life to Christ. It was really special. I cried 3 times during the ceremony. It just feels really good to be needed and wanted. And it feels great to be done with New Staff Training! On to the National Staff Conference! Woo!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Road Trip Recap:

Okay, I know this is bad. It's been about a month since we got to Colorado, but I sorta despise long blog picture posts. But then when I'm done I love them. And Anne Parker got on my case for not posting, so out of love for her, I am abandoning the procrastination :)

These are all of our 26 hour road trip from Blacksburg to Ft. Collins....starting with the crazy huge cross in SWVA...I love us.

Sadly, I only got pictures of 3 of the state signs out of the 6...I thought about cheating and getting them off line, but I can be honest. We just weren't quick enough!

Us, drivin' along - with all our stuff for the summer! The car was so heavy.

In Nashville, we stopped at the Opryland Hotel - which I kept calling the Grand Ole Opry. It was so cool and a great hour-long break for us. If you've never been there - and are in Nashville - you should definitely visit. It is filled with indoor gardens, shops, pathways, restaurants. It's really a resort town all in one place. You wouldn't even have to leave if you were there for a week. We got Haagen Daaz while we were there! I love their honey vanilla flavor.

Random bridge in Kentucky, I think. Maybe Illinois. But it's pretty.


In Carbondale, we stopped to visit Colleen. I haven't seen her in 2 years and it was awesome to stay with her. Her family was so hospitable and sweet. And Colleen and I stayed up til 1 talking - I love friends I can pick up with right where we left off. Happy Marriage in 16 days!!

Driving into ST. LOUIS! The arc. Which we didn't go up in. We were trying to stick to free stuff.

Got this the second time around - when we had to turn around cause we got on the wrong highway -- oops!

Busch Stadium - the St. Louis Cardinals. You could practically see into the stadium from the interstate.

Then we stoppped at the St. Louis Zoo - which was free :) and so fun! We stayed for a couple of hours and had a great time

These were HUGE turtles!!

Love him.

These were statues - in case you didn't know.

In Kansas City, MO, we happened upon an AWESOME outdoor integrated shopping center/mall thing - kind of like Carytown in Richmond but way cleaner and bigger - and with shops you would see in a mall.

Isn't that crazy that they have the doggie bar! Such a good idea though for an outdoor mall.

All of the architecture was Islamic which was kind of weird - but i loved it!!

Too bad we didn't go to PF Chang's or Fogo, but it was cool to see them!!

Amazing windmills that I was obviously obsessed with.

These were in Kansas, while we drove the 464 miles in one day.

The huge Van Gogh painting in Goodland, KS, where we were planning to stay. We decided to drive through to CO that night. But notice the scary clouds. While we were there eating, there was a tornado warning for the area - and the locals were telling us they'd take us to their shelter and stuff. Kind of unnerving, but after our near death experience, we made it out alive. :) whew.

Now we're in Ft. Collins - this is our lovely dorm room! I brought our sheets and comforter and stuff from home which makes it way more homey. And we have an awesome view!!

See...I told you, this is from our dorm room. :)


I have been meaning to post the recipes and pictures of these awesome yummy cakes I made over the past few months - they are so good and I would definitely recommend all of them! The berry torte one is especially good for summer, especially if the raspberries are on sale. :)

This one I made for the Servant Team thank you dinner. Soo good - if you love maple flavoring you'll love it. The icing is so light and fluffy and not too sweet, which I love.

Maple Mocha Brownie Torte

"This impressive-looking dessert is at the top of my list of speedy standbys. It's simple to make because it starts with a boxed brownie mix. Then the nutty brownie layers are dressed up with a fluffy frosting that has a rich creamy texture and irresistible maple taste." —Amy Flory Cleveland, Georgia


TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling


  • 1 package brownie mix (13-in. x 9-in. pan size)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons maple flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Chocolate curls or additional walnuts, optional


Prepare batter for brownie mix according to package directions for cake-like brownies. Stir in walnuts. Pour into two greased 9-in. round baking pans.
Bake at 350° for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 2 in. from the edge comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat cream and coffee granules until stiff peaks form. Gradually beat in brown sugar, maple flavoring and vanilla.
Spread 1-1/2 cups over one brownie layer; top with second layer. Spread remaining cream mixture over top and sides of torte. Garnish with chocolate curls or walnuts if desired. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 12 servings.

Raspberry Orange Torte!

This was actually made as a gift/birthday cake for sweet Lindsay Thompson. :)

Guests are sure to be dazzled by this super-moist dessert from our Test Kitchen that’s ideal for special occasions. A rich orange cream filling is spread between the cake layers for a luscious look and taste.


TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling


  • 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) white cake mix
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen sweetened raspberries, thawed
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) Mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries


Prepare and bake cake according to package directions, using two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.
Press sweetened raspberries through a sieve; discard seeds. Set raspberry puree aside. In a small bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. In a large bowl, beat the Mascarpone cheese, sugar, orange juice and orange peel. Fold in whipped cream.
Cut each cake into two horizontal layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate. Brush with about 1/4 cup raspberry puree. Spread with about 1 cup cream mixture; top with 1/2 cup fresh raspberries. Repeat layers three times. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 10-12 servings.

Triple Layer Banana + PB Cake
This I made at home - mainly because I knew my dad would love it... He's a sucker for PB and banana sandwiches. It turned out well, but I added a little too much milk to the icing when I made it - so be wary of that! It ended up being runny, but still super good - and we had leftovers in a bowl for drizzling that way. But it would have been better if it were firmer. Oh well.
TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 5-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 8 to 10 tablespoons milk
  • Peanut halves, optional


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.
Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
For frosting, in a large bowl, beat the peanut butter and butter until smooth. Beat in confectioners' sugar and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Frost between layers and over top and sides of cake. Garnish with peanuts if desired. Yield: 14 servings.

All recipes from Taste of Home (my fav site for desserts).