Monday, December 17, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

This is one of David's number one requests for dinner... Chicken Enchiladas. We're having them tonight, and I feel like they're just too good not to share with others. So, if you can't come over and actually enjoy them with us, maybe you can make them for you and your loved ones to enjoy!

Ingredients:
2 tsp minced garlic
1/3 green bell pepper (diced)
1/3 yellow/white onion (diced)
1 Rotisserie Chicken (pull the meat off the bones and chop up into small pieces)
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1 bag shredded cheese (or shred your own if you have time!)
1 10oz can of Rotel (drained)
1 10oz can of enchilada sauce
8-10 whole wheat tortillas

Toppings:
Shredded lettuce
Tomatoes
Your favorite salsa

Directions:
Okay, so what I do is ...
Saute garlic, onion, and bell pepper for about 5 minutes over medium heat. While that's working, throw chopped chicken and yogurt into a big bowl and mix together. Add a handful of shredded cheese (or more if you like your's cheesier) and the drained Rotel and mix with yogurt/chicken. When the garlic/onion/pepper is done, throw that into the bowl too and mix. Next, spray a 9x13 baking dish with your Pam. Spoon your chicken mixture into one of your tortillas (you can get at least 2 good spoonfuls into each tortilla... I've been known to stuff 2.5-3 spoonfuls on occasion), roll tortilla up real tight, and lay onto baking dish with the fold down on the bottom. Fill up all of your tortillas. Next, cover your tortillas, evenly, with the rest of your shredded cheese. Finally, evenly coat the rolled up tortillas with your enchilada sauce. Bake enchiladas for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Once done, give them a couple minutes before you dish them out. They're really hot! Top with your favorite tex-mex toppings! We usually go for shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and our favorite salsa. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lamb & Fresh Rosemary

Over the weekend, I found this recipe, via Pinterest from DiabeticLiving.com, for Tuscan Lamb Chop Skillet

My mother, Janet, loves to embrace every opportunity to encourage the attributes of the Proverbs 31 woman into me, my sister, and our girlfriends. We would always giggle as mom would pick up some exotic espresso blend from the store, for example, and quip, "Proverbs 31 woman!" My mom was referring to, "She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar." (Proverbs 31:14) While we giggled at first, it has become a beautiful example to all of us to not only try new foods and flavors, but to choose good quality foods and take pride in bringing them into our home to prepare for our families. 

On Monday David needed a break after he finished his first law school final, (Yay!!) so he offered to accompany me to the grocery store. I love it when David comes with me because he knows where everything is. 

I miss the quaintness of Trader Joe's in Atlanta. I never needed a list, I knew where everything was, and you couldn't beat the prices. But, there is no Trader Joe's here, so I deal with it, make a list, and clip coupons. We do have a lovely little farmer's market down the street that I try to get most of my produce from. This week we were thrilled to see they had fresh rosemary (which I needed for the lamb) and were impressed that they came from the cashier's grandpa's garden. 


We love supporting local business, and since Arkansas is such an agricultural state, we love that we have a farmer's market so close where can buy food grown here. 

After we stopped into the farmer's market, we went across the street to Kroger. I was absolutely tickled to find the BIGGEST apples in the produce department. 


HUGE! As mentioned in previous posts, my family has spent several holidays in Orlando, FL. The holiday season and these apples took me right back to Downtown Disney and Universal Studios! Both destinations always have the yummiest chocolate/caramel covered apples, which are also quite large. I was so tempted to buy a couple to bring home and attempt covering with caramel and chocolate... But, I'm trying to stick to what's on my list these days to help stay on budget, and caramel/chocolate covered apples definitely weren't on my list. 

So, on to the meat department! 

While David perused the fish selection I started hunting for lamb. I knew Kroger had some because I'd seen a coupon for it. Finally, I found some little lamb chops just as David came walking up with some fresh tilapia. He looked at them and asked, "Why are we having lamb, again?"

I said, "I'm being a Proverbs 31 woman."

He smiled, took the lamb, and placed it in our cart along with the tilapia. 

We finished shopping, and managed to only make one extra purchase which hadn't been specified on my list (Dr. Scholl's inserts for my shoes for NYC- love them!).

...

I really don't have enough experience under my belt to just adapt a recipe or play with it as I'm cooking. It's best for me to just follow the recipe exactly as it is and modify it next time. David, as usual, took charge of cooking the meat, while I handled salad and the tomato/bean/rosemary stewed side. 



We were so pleased with how it turned out!


I will make the tomato/bean/rosemary part again, but the lamb could easily be replaced with something less expensive. 

Regardless, we had fun together making something new with ingredients we don't usually cook with (lamb and fresh rosemary). 

...

There are so many studies on becoming a Proverbs 31 woman. After all, "bringing her food from afar" is definitely NOT the only thing she does or is. 

But, I love that this passage refers to food as part of what she does because food is a part of any person's day every day. And, I've learned that when you're a wife it's important to have food available that your family likes and is good for them. 

When I was single, I could get away with just having tomato soup, hummus, and cereal on hand. But, it's different when you have a family. I love that while we giggled as young girls as my mom picked out strange looking fruit or cooked up a new kind of sausage, all the while quoting Proverbs 31, our mother was instilling that foundation in us as future wives and mothers. 

So, no matter what kind of budget you're on, I encourage you young wives, moms, and yes you too single gals, embrace this part of the Proverbs 31 woman. Pick out something new to make in your home instead of the usual every day. Your husband and family (and roommates) will appreciate the gesture as you communicate effort and caring, even if they giggle.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Organizing

I love being naturally organized. Everything has "a place." Whether it's a spatula or a dirty sock or a pillow... Or my laptop when it's charged versus when it's charging... I think being organized can be an incredible quality in a person. It can help you get multiple things accomplished within a short amount of time. You spend less time looking for things.  Often, you spend less time having to make up for mistakes, because the organization helped you avoid making one. 

Being organized to the extent to which I am means I'm a natural planner. As per my last post, we're going out of town soon. And, before we go to NYC we will be in Atlanta for Christmas. I already have all our presents bought, most are wrapped, the only ones to be mailed have been mailed. I have all my pressing Atlanta appointments scheduled and confirmed. I've RSVP'd to all the events we'll be attending. I know when Sperry is getting groomed before we leave...

There's just so much to get done, thank goodness I'm naturally so organized, right?

However, last night I realized a major downside to being as organized as I am. Since it comes so natural to me, it was apparently easy for The Enemy to camouflage lies and fear into my organizational process with out my realizing it. 

And last night, at about midnight, I broke into uncontrollable sobs. I could hardly breathe. I couldn't even open my eyes...

As I was falling asleep, a question had popped into my head... I think, it was actually a little bomb that Satan had placed inside my thoughts hoping it would explode.. And it almost did. 

The question was, what's my plan if something happens to David? What's my plan if the worst should happen? If I lost my job, if David was hurt or (Heaven forbid) died? If we had young children when this horrible thing happened? What would I do? And, I started to organize it.. But I couldn't. 

And then, every single one of my weaknesses came into the forefront of my mind convincing me that I wouldn't be able to figure it out now, or if this terrible circumstance occurred, then. And, what was even more paralyzing was the reality of it. It happens. Young women with children do loose their jobs and their husbands. I've seen it. 

So, there I am. Sobbing, gripped with fear and anxiety. 

I think it's absolutely amazing how the Lord can speak to you through your spouse. 

And, in the midst of David speaking truth to me last night as I cried, God reminded me that I have never had control over anything that has happened to me. I've never even had control over the good things! They were not a result of my gifts or efforts. They were fully encompassed by God's hands. 

I immediately went back, just for a second, to Kenya. That moment in the van when I thought it was all over. That moment when I realized I was about to leave this Earth and go to Heaven. I had no control there. Absolutely no control. But, God delivered me and my team. He already figured it out... How and why we were going to be released by our carjackers. It wasn't up to me to go through that process, then in that moment, all that was up to me was to trust in the sovereignty of my Lord, even when the outcome was bleak. 

I've had a couple girlfriends recently miscarry pregnancies, and the verse that's come to my head over and over again when I think about them is Job 1:21. "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." 

And, David, unknowing that I had been clinging to the hope in this verse as my friends have gone through these hardships, last night reminded me of Job. God took everything away from him, and even then Job still trusted in God. And, furthermore, he was blessed for it. So, David's reminder was, "Lindsay, you will always trust that God will take care of you. You always have. And He always will. And you know that He will exceed your expectations. All you will be able to say is, 'Wow, God did this.'"

I guess Satan forgot, my husband is a warrior in the Lord's army. Those kinds of bombs don't really phase him.. He's like a bomb tech. : ) 

So, I share this tender moment with you in hopes that it will be encouraging. In case, you too have a tendency to try to figure things out on your own. 

Even though my hope was already in Christ, a little question was quickly consuming me as I tried to control the answer. I need to remember to go first to God with even the little questions and not let Satan use one of my gifts against me. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Anniversary Planning

Christmas music, hot tea, twinkle lights... 74 degree weather ... For me it's the perfect start to the Christmas season! David, on the other hand, totally disagrees and wishes will all his might it would just turn cold and spit out a couple snowflakes. 

Maybe that's why for our upcoming two year wedding anniversary he was so excited to book a trip to a very, very cold place... 

New York City! 

For those of you who don't know, David and I were married on New Year's Eve almost two years ago. We had a beautiful wedding with many of our dearest friends and family from all over the globe there. I would highly recommend to anyone who hasn't set their hearts on any particular time of year to get married to consider the he holiday season. It's so magical already. When you throw a wedding into the mix, it's just surreal. (I wish you could see me as I'm typing this. I'm beaming!)

Now that I have more flexibility with my work schedule, the possibility of taking a trip over the holidays became a reality for us, and therefore we have the opportunity to go somewhere for our anniversary. We looked at a lot of different places, mostly cruises and Caribbean destinations (because, let's face it, I like to be warm!) When David mentioned New York City, I didn't know how to process it!

I joke that growing up my family always vacationed to warm places because we hate being cold, but I'm actually quite serious. Countless winter holidays were spent south of our home state of Georgia. Some of my favorite holiday memories are touring a banana plantation in Jamaica, Downtown Disney on New Year's Eve, or Busch Gardens just days before Christmas. Again, warm places...

So, New York City?? On New Year's Eve? And to top that, staying in Times Square?? I was befuddled. But, David was confident. And quickly, I began to catch the adventure of it. How many times in your life do you get the opportunity to do something so... well, outrageous? 

Most people never do. 

The practical side of me tried to reason with my adventuresome side. But then, a side of me that is continuing to develop, the side of me that considers every aspect of my marriage and new family unit, quietly said, "Go on an adventure, like none you've ever been on, or might never have the opportunity to go on again... with your husband."

So, we decided the Caribbean will always be there, but New Year's Eve in Times Square for your anniversary, that's maybe once in a lifetime.

So, we're going. And, I'm reading a travel guide and asking several friends their tips for exploring this big city that I've never been to before. A city that I only know through the movies and a couple sitcoms.  If you have any pizza joints, coffee houses, or tips to exploring the city.. Please let me know.  : )

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cooler Temps = Chili Time

We are definitely beginning to experience what I would call "winter weather" here in North Little Rock. Of course, for me "winter weather" is whenever the temperature is below 50 degrees! David is praying for snow at some point this winter. From what I understand, winter here in Central Arkansas is pretty moody. One day you can have snow flurries, the next an ice storm, and a couple days later tornado watches! I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.

We did buy Sperry a little jacket for the much cooler temperatures we've been experiencing, however. 


Sperry is definitely much calmer when he's wearing his jacket, but like most animals when dressed in clothing, he doesn't really understand that he can move around like normal. So, we're breaking him into it. : )

I had a somewhat humorous past couple of days with dinner making. I found a fun recipe on Pinterest for Chicken Gyros, one of my favorite foods!! The chicken turned out great! But, the Tzatziki sauce did not. I'm pretty sure it could have been my fault, but I'm still going to be keeping my eye out for a different Tzatziki recipe. (If you know of one, let me know!) So, since we had no Tzatziki sauce, we turned our Gyros into wraps with spinach, red onion, shredded mild cheddar jack cheese, tomatoes, and lite ranch dressing (with sweet potato chips as our side).


It was so good! We'll definitely be making the chicken again. 



Yesterday morning, I was quickly trying to get dinner in the crock pot before I started work. I had just finished browning my turkey meat, tossed it in the crock pot, and was starting on my onions, garlic, and cumin when I realized I did not have any chicken broth. (Every time I make this White Bean Turkey Chili I forget an ingredient and either have to leave it out or find a substitute.) Well, I wasn't going to think about substituting anything for chicken broth. This time, I wanted to do it right!

And then, a reminder pops up on my phone that I have a phone meeting with my boss in 30 min! Yikes! So, I throw the onions, garlic, and cumin into the crock pot as soon as they're done, quickly send Sperry to his crate, and run down the road to Walgreens. Thank goodness, they had low sodium Swanson chicken broth (I was surprised at how much they marked it up compared to what I could have paid for it at Kroger) but there was no time! I grabbed my two cans and quickly checked out. 

One perk to living in a smaller town... Very little traffic. Round trip, my chicken broth run took about 10 min. So, 10 min later, I'm back in the kitchen combining the rest of my ingredients in the crock pot, and had everything cleaned up just in time for my conference call. Whew! And, it turned out great!! 

I smiled so big when David went back for seconds yesterday night quipping, "This is really good, Lindz."

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it. It smelled so good, I guess I just wanted to get right to enjoying it instead of documenting it. 

What's on the menu for tonight? I'm thinking chicken fajitas. We have some defrosted chicken breasts and a thing of tofu, and I'm pretty sure David is going to opt for the chicken, no matter how I want to prepare it. : )


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Decorated Cupcakes

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Quick, funny story about the cupcakes... Lindsay did not realize a Pillsbury box of cake mix would produce 24 cupcakes. For some reason, I thought it would only produce 12. 

Since I knew there were going to be soooo many children and almost all of them claim yellow cake with chocolate icing to be their favorite, I couldn't show up with only 12 cupcakes. So, to cover myself, I bought 2 boxes of Pillsbury yellow cake mix.... Which ended up producing 40 adorable, turkey decorated cupcakes. : )

Needless to say, there were plenty of left overs, and the kids (and several of the adults) loved them. : )

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cupcakes & Pink Eye

I am proud to be an American, but it sounds very unpatriotic for me to confess that Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday. It just isn't, but mostly it is because I don't like Thanksgiving food. 

Last year when my mother-in-law asked my mom what my favorite Thanksgiving dish was (in preparation for me spending my first Thanksgiving with my in-laws), my mom sweetly replied, "Salad." So, this year when I told my mom that I was bringing not one, but TWO salads to Thanksgiving with David's side of the family, she wasn't surprised.

My other non-traditional offering to the Thanksgiving feast is cupcakes! 


There are going to be tons of kids at Thanksgiving tomorrow, and Millicent (my grandmother-in-law) thought cupcakes would be a good, less messy idea for the kids to enjoy. Of course I offered to bring them (because who doesn't love to bake cupcakes?), but I had to take it a step further since kids are involved. 

 Tomorrow, or possibly later tonight, the cupcakes will be decorated to look like little turkeys. : ) I'm so excited. Cupcakes and salads... I suppose it will give the extended family members whom I haven't met yet a good reflection of who I am. (And if you know me, you know just what I mean.)

In other news, we've been dealing with pink eye... 


Our sweet little munchkin, Sperry, has double pink eye, and as a result, has now lost all of his toys.

I felt like the mother in the Velveteen Rabbit who threw all of the toys away, which made me feel like a very terrible pet parent even though my intentions were good.

Our gracious Lord reminded me in that moment that there are a lot of times when He does the same thing to us. There might be people, or jobs, or opportunities, or situations that we would like to have in our life, and for reasons we cannot understand, God takes them away. 

Sperry will never understand where his toys went or why they're gone. Likewise, I might never understand why God let's certain things happen, but I know one thing about God that supersedes everything I don't know... His love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8)

So, whether it's a relationship that ended, the job I didn't get/or lost, the illness I come down with, etc, I know that God sees the bigger picture, His hand is in my life, and that He loves me more than I can comprehend. And I am just like Sperry, wearing a cone that only allows me to see a portion of my world, trusting in someone bigger than me.

....

We're so grateful that Sperry's eyes are starting to clear up, and we were more than relieved to learn that humans can't catch pink eye from dogs. Sperry hated his cone at first, but even more so hated getting his eye drops. Now, he's come to accept the cone (which hopefully will come off on Friday), and he let's me put his drops in without giving me too much trouble. (Thank goodness for dried duck jerky.. Sperry loves it, and will do almost anything for it, even sit still for an eye drop or two.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lindsay's Knee



Aren't we cute all wet? I've NEVER heard or seen rain like the rain we experienced that Sunday (June 2012) in Guatemala as we visited Casa on the Rock - an orphanage just outside Guatemala City. 

This sweet boy would not leave David's side. And even after he got tired from playing, he still wanted David to stay with him while he caught his breath on the stairs. : )



This precious young lady is Azucena.


She's getting so big!! So hard to believe. When I first met her in 2007 she couldn't have been three years old yet.

(First time we got to play together in 2007.)

Even though I only get to see her every couple years, she remembers who I am every time and her sweet voice calling "Lola" absolutely melts my heart. 

...

Needless to say, Guatemala is a huge part of each of our testimonies. This time of year a part of our Guatemala family comes to visit supporters for several weeks here in the States. We were beyond blessed to have Hermann, Linda, and Ilse Alb able to extend their trip back in 2010 so that Hermann could marry me and David. 

I could write and write and write about all of the things the Lord has done through our interactions with Medical Missions Ministry (MMM) in Guatemala and the way it's impacted our entire life and the lives of our families. 

Actually, just yesterday, because of Guatemala, I did something I have never done before. 

Ever. 

In my entire life.

...

I ran by myself. 

Outside. 

Well, I wasn't completely by myself. Sperry was with me. But, I didn't have another person who I was "running with" encouraging me saying, "Keep going. You can do it. Don't stop. Keep up!" No one knew what I was doing. There was no pressure to run. I could have completely gotten away with just walking. Plus, it was SUPER cold. I did not have to do it... 

When we are in Guatemala working with MMM we pray with every person who comes to our clinics. And, if they have some physical ailment, we pray that they would be healed of it. I have prayed for all kinds of things to be healed with people. And, I expect that God will heal the person I'm praying for. Just this past summer we prayed for a man who had just lost his vision. The next day we found out the doctors told him he would see again. 

During our last day of clinic this summer I met the woman who had actually organized our clinic for us. When she sat down to visit with me while waiting for her prescriptions to be filled, she told me the doctor told her she had arthritis in her shoulder, but she would not accept that. She knew that God would restore her shoulder and remove her pain. She also shared with me how her husband had gone into kidney failure secondary to alcohol abuse 14 years ago, at which time he lost both of his kidneys, and has since then been on dialysis. When this happened, she had only recently become a follower of Christ, but she had been praying for her husband to know God. A few years after loosing his kidneys, he too became a Christian. During this time, he also lost his vision. Six months after loosing his vision he asked God to restore his eyes, and He promised the Lord that he would tell everyone he met about how He gave him back his sight. Instantly, he received his sight. She told me they both share with everyone the miracles the Lord has performed in their life, and that when many people hear their story they come to know God as well... It's like you're reading straight out of the New Testament, right? 

(Here is me trying not to cry once we finally got her medicine.)

I was so incredibly humbled by her faithfulness. I was sitting there, still a pretty fresh newlywed, asking myself, "Would I trust God that much if my husband lost his kidneys and sight after abusing his body like that?" I really didn't know.

Also, that thing she said about her shoulder... She wouldn't accept it? 

I know a thing or two about what I can say no to (I can say no to fear, I can say no to anxiety, I can say no to lies, I can say no to Satan, etc). But, arthritis?

I broke my left leg when I was 16 years old. Three surgeries and several years later, there was still a lot of stuff I couldn't do because of my knee. My answer to my doctor every year when he asks, "How's your knee?" is "If I'm good to it, it's good to me." Which translates to, "If I try to run or climb up something or do lunges or don't stretch it bothers me. If I avoid those things and stretch, I'm ok."

My good friend Sarah was talking to me about races one day and sweetly encouraged me, "Lindsay, you could do a 5k." I automatically replied, "No, my knee won't let me."

...

The night of our last clinic, I shared with a couple of the girls in our room at the Guest House that I hadn't believed God would completely restore my knee. Not because He didn't want to or because I didn't think He could, but because I never thought of asking. I'd just accepted it - scar and all. 

Well, I realized I didn't have to accept a bum knee. Just like she wouldn't accept her arthritis. I didn't have to accept that my knee couldn't be fully restored. So, that night we started praying over my knee. And we've been praying over it ever since. 

And yesterday, I ran the farthest I've ever run. (Disclaimer, it wasn't very far for all you half-marathon runners, but for me, it was VERY far.) And, my knee didn't bother me once during or after. 

Getting into bed last night I told David, "I think God is healing my knee."

And my sweet husband responded, "Lindz, I think He already has."

Praise to Our Amazing God!

I think he's right. : )

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Curry

Tonight, David and I had our first official training session with our new personal trainer Leo. I had been looking forward to it since we first signed up for personal training almost a month ago!

My very first job (aside from being a babysitter) was working at Liberty Fitness Women's Club in Alpharetta, GA. I absolutely LOVED working there. I loved the ladies I worked for, with, and made work! Literally! (I taught a couple fitness classes.) It was truly my second home. I was one of the youngest ladies in there usually (not too hard to accomplish since I started working there when I was a junior in high school). 

The Lord brought women into my life through that gym who have greatly impacted my spiritual walk and have made an incredible impression on the woman I've grown into. I got to meet women from all walks of life who were going through all walks of life. But, the one thing we all had in common was that we were women making an effort to get healthy, and that was enough. 

I think my time there is definitely one of the reasons I'm so passionate about women's health. But, more than helping women loose inches/weight, get stronger, and feel better about their physical appearance, I loved the conversations we had sitting in the free weights section, listening and encouraging one another. The hilarious moments that only women can understand (i.e. women holding onto their breasts as they jumped on the trampoline), the milestones these women shared (marriages, babies, first dates, graduations, sending first born's off to college) ... And there were the tender moments... Like the time one of our members learned her son, who was serving in the Middle East, was missing in action... The single mom opening up to a few of us that she didn't know how much longer she was going to be able to afford to stay in her house... Me coming home from Africa...

One day, I'd like to write a book about it. I learned a lot from those women...

I felt a lot of accountability working there to stay fit and in shape, because who wants someone with flabbiness telling you to do 10 more push-ups? Not too motivating. Or at least, that's what I thought. 

Like most teenage girls, unfortunately, I definitely struggled with positive self image. Working at Liberty definitely gave me a great way to stay in shape and keep me accountable. 

Fast forward several years... As much as I would have liked to keep up my strict exercise regimen throughout my nursing career, it just didn't happen. 

Thus, tonight... Tonight, I was so excited to get back in the swing of exercising regularly. Not just walking on the treadmill, pushing through 30 min on the elliptical, or sprinting a little with Sperry outside... No, a real, make me sweat, make me sore, make me work exercise regimen. 

We did what Leo calls, The Curry. I'm pretty sure I threw him a couple daggers with my eyes when he said, "Next, burpees." Ugghh... Burpees are my Everest right now... And alternating lunges... 

But, I finished. It was hard, my face was beat red, at one point I thought I was going to pass out, but I finished. Day One, down. We have a year committed, and paid for, to this regimen. And, I'm excited to see what happens. Not just with my body. I'm confidant that any person who exercises the right way and eats healthy will see changes with their body (even if it's just a boost in energy level). But, what I'm really excited about is what's going to happen being in a gym again so much? 

It's not like the rec center in college or at your apartment complex... I'm going to be in this place a lot over the next year... Who will the Lord bring into our life? How will we impact them? How will they impact us? ... I guess we'll have to show up and see. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Table's done!

It's called ... Beluga.


All done! Special shout out to my sweet friend Nikki Newby who was my cheerleader for this project! 

I'm really happy with how it turned out.  : )


If you're ever near Little Rock and would like to pop in for coffee or dinner, we've got a pretty, refurbished table to host you with. 

So, how'd I do it? 

First I sanded it with sealant remover sandpaper. Then I mixed Behr Premium Plus ULTRA Stain-Blocking Paint & Primer in One with non sanded tile grout. For every one cup of paint use one tablespoon of grout. Then, I applied my first coat (just with a brush). Let it dry for 5 hours, then applied my second coat and touch ups. (Thanks to the grout, it didn't require a sealant.) I let it dry overnight, and in the morning my little project was complete. 


P.S. The color is called beluga... Like a whale. : )

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Salvation Army Table

Today, I started to give a make-over to our kitchen table. This table has been through a lot and could use a face lift. The summer before my junior year of college I needed to seek out affordable furniture for the apartment I'd be moving into at the beginning of Fall semester. One day mom and I scoped out our local Salvation Army and found this incredible kitchen table. It had a few scuffs/scratches on the top, but aside from that it looked pretty good and was quite sturdy. We snagged that thing (4 chairs included) for under $25.

That summer, my roommate's parents' were finishing a remodel of their kitchen. When Amy and I got ready to move into our apartment in August, they gave us their older, beautiful kitchen table to use. So the Salvation Army table became my desk.

Oh the nights that poor table had to endure as I went through my worst year of college... the nursing care plans, the early morning clinicals, the paper on teen abstinence that I made a C on, the power points, the presentations, the study guides, oh the study guides... What a year. If walls could talk... If tables could talk... Or I guess that year, if a desk could talk...

Thankfully, there were better things the table got to be a part of, like planning our 2009 trip to Guatemala, starting my first book, and working on ministry projects for my small group.

Eventually, the Salvation Army table was able to become a kitchen table again when David and I married in December 2010. It got to hold many of our wedding gifts that first week back from our honeymoon when we were iced into our apartment for three days.

The table moved with us into our first rental home about a year later where it was absolutely neglected. Since we had an official dinning room in that house, but no dinning table, I put the Salvation Army table in there, but we hardly ever sat in there to eat.

And now, it's ventured all the way to Arkansas with us, and is again being put to good use. It gets to act as not only a kitchen table were we actually do eat, but it gets to be a desk again. David prefers it to the desk in his office because there's more space to spread his giant law school books out.

So, today the four chairs were sanded down (by hand). Tomorrow, I plan on sanding down the table and getting at least the chairs painted. My hand is sore from sanding, but I'm starting to understand why people get into restorative stuff... Like restoring old homes and cars and furniture. It's hard work, but it's neat to see something old looking new again.

I wonder if God feels the same way about us. He must. After all, He created us. We are His workmanship. 

"For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:13-14

He made us.

We are His workmanship.

If walls could talk, if tables could talk, if shoes could talk... If you could sit down and tell me your life story... You've probably had more than a couple moments in your life where you feel like you were scuffed up. I know I have! And maybe, like me, you have some physical scars to show for it. Maybe there's emotional damage or a significant depletion in your bank account... You might feel like you need some restoration too, probably more than a paint job... 
Probably an overhaul.

I get why people get excited about restoring things because it's pleasing to see something old, something damaged be restored to the way it was intended to be originally. That's a desire we actually share with our Creator. His desire is to restore us. 

I'm just sanding and repainting a table. But, God desires complete transformation, restoration, and surrender. He made us. He knows the best way to help us be whatever it is He wants us to be. And to get from one state of being (whether it's emotional, physical, or spiritual) to another, it might be hard, it might hurt ... like sanding down those chairs... But I can't paint the chairs the best way without sanding them first. 

Shane Freeman (Adult Ministries Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, GA) said it so simply, "You were not saved by Jesus to remain the same. You were saved to be transformed; to be radical."

It's just a Salvation Army table and four chairs make-over to some, but to me it'll be a daily reminder of God's desire to restore and transform me into the beautiful woman of God He wants me to become.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

First Week of Thankfulness


This has been quite a week in our home! We received a new addition... Shirley!



Shirley is the sweet basset hound that David grew up with! She will be staying with us for a whole week while Dave Sr. and Brenda are out of town. It has been quite an experience for Sperry. She's not exactly a play mate, but I've got to say I'm pretty impressed with how well of a host he's been for still being a puppy. 

Brenda and I scoped out an antique store up the road in Sherwood, AR called "Hidden Treasures." I found this AMAZING gold mirror for $9.



After a little spray paint, it now looks like this...


I'm considering posting a "how-to-paint-a-mirror-frame-with-the-mirror-still-there" tutorial.

The warm weather this week was a definite bonus to undertaking this little project outside. With it being 80 degrees outside today, it's not exactly feeling like November, or that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. But, with so much going on in our world right now, we can't help but emotionally shift gears into this season of thankfulness. The images on our television of our fellow Americans living days without power and water have been heart wrenching. Specifically, the woman standing outside of the Today Show studio, behind Savannah and Matt with a sign reading, "MOM I'M OKAY" broke my heart, and I prayed that the mother of that daughter saw it.

Thursday afternoon, David and I explored a new section of North Little Rock as we ventured to one of the local libraries to vote. Earlier that day, I had watched men and women from the national guard help people out of their homes in Hoboken, NJ. I was a little emotional walking into that library thinking about all of the men and women who have served so that I could go and do what I was about to - cast a ballot, have a say, participate in politics. 



A lot of people will make it to a polling place to do the same thing, and I hope voters will remember that it's a blessing for us to have this right, the right to vote. So, even if you're not in love with your choices, you've been given the opportunity to have a say. 

Thank you to the men, women, and families who've sacrificed so we can have a say and live in freedom. We are forever thankful. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Follow Me

"And Jesus walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, 
Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; 
for they were fishermen. 
Then He said to them, 
'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.' 
They immediately left their nets and followed him."  
- Matthew 4:18-20


These verses have been on my mind a lot over the last couple weeks. I think about Peter and Andrew being fishermen and about how before Jesus entered their lives, fishing is what they did every day.

I've noticed that the things we do every day somehow begin to define who we are. I have been a nurse for almost 2.5 years now. Before that, I was in nursing school for three years. For the last 5 years, nursing has been a part of my identity.


When people began to hear that I am stepping away from my nursing career for an undefined period of time, some had a hard time wrapping their minds around it. "But, you're a nurse. You worked so hard to be where you are right now. It's such an admirable profession. The job security you have. You are so good with people. You're such a good nurse; your patients and co-workers love you."


I wonder if Peter and Andrew received similar responses... "But you're a fisherman. You're just going to walk away from your livelihood?? Something you're good at? Who does that?"


I'm learning that sometimes the Lord calls you to do things that others might think to be impractical or irresponsible. For a long time, my life only functioned through practical decisions. Those of you who know me well, know that for a few years, every decision I made was based on whether it answered one question: does it make sense? If the answer was yes, I did it. If it didn't, I didn't.

Several years ago, the Lord spoke through Hector Morales on the last full day I spent in Guatemala in 2007. He showed me that I have a choice to accept both good things and bad things. At that time, I struggled almost daily with fear. Fear is not from the Lord. (2 Timothy 1:7) Fear is from Satan, and I could choose to not accept what Satan was offering me. That conversation helped break the chains of lies that held me captive to fear, and from then I slowly began to regain my trust in surrendering my safety and security to the Lord.

A few weeks later, I started nursing school. Five years, and a month or so, later, I'm again learning that I have been living my life under a misconception: nursing makes sense, so it's what I should do.


Friday was my last day at Baptist Health in Little Rock, AR. David and I are so grateful for the support our families and friends have given us as we step out and trust the Lord in His calling me into a new chapter of our life: a chapter challenging us to trust His provision, sovereignty, and calling for our lives.


So, I think about Peter and Andrew. They just followed Him. They didn't know where they were going to end up, or how deciding to walk off the beach away from their nets that day would change the rest of their lives and billions of other peoples' .. They just trusted that He was up to something, and they were going to follow Him there... God's up to something, and we're following. : )

Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy 25th Birthday, David!



Like my homemade "Happy Birthday" sign? Growing up my mom ALWAYS hung a "Happy Birthday" sign up for us to see when we came downstairs into the kitchen on our birthday. Last year I didn't have a sign for David, and this year I just had to make the day right by hanging a sign! 

Since we're trying to stay on budget, and I knew we'd be splurging in other ways for his birthday (i.e. birthday dinner), I put my crafty skills to good use. Sperry only managed to eat one of the letters, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out, especially since I had enough construction paper to whip up a little paper chain to match! (It's on the chandelier.) 


Ms. Brenda picked out some MARVELOUS steaks for her boy to grill up for us on his birthday present. 



Meanwhile, I experimented inside with toasted walnuts. (FYI - very easy to burn - must watch carefully if toasting in a toaster oven.) They made a wonderful addition to my simple tossed salad.


All in all, we had a lovely little birthday celebration over the weekend. I couldn't be more grateful to be married to such a wonderful man, and love that we were blessed with the opportunity to celebrate how much we appreciate God's blessing through him in our lives. : )