Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Life can be tricky sometimes.

I dont always understand God's ways. Like when good people have lives filled with pain and difficulty. One of my dearest friends is in the midst of yet another hard trial. She is easily one of the most wonderful and good-natured Christians I know and yet it seems like in her 27 years, she has endured more hardships than any one person should bear in a lifetime. I do not know how or why troubles continue to befall her, it just seems like she cant ever get a break.

For many years, she and her husband have been trying to have a child with no success. She has seen several different doctors, had procedures done and have been praying vigilantly and expectantly for God to bless them with a child. Finally, she learned a few weeks ago that she was indeed pregnant. They were overjoyed and filled with gratitude over the pregnancy. I couldnt have been happier for them myself, knowing that she wanted so badly to be a mother.

I got a message from her this weekend that she was beginning to have some complications. She ended up spending some time in the emergency room due to the problems she was having, but was reassured by a sonogram confirming the baby had a heartbeat. Unfortunately, her symptoms worsened on Monday and Tuesday and then today at her doctor's office, the baby no longer had a heartbeat. I cant even imagine the heartbreak and pain she is experiencing right now.

Everyday I see babies born to teenagers, drug-users, unmarried, uneducated women. I'll always struggle with the idea that these women (and sometimes girls) have perfectly healthy pregnancies that result in beautiful healthy babies; and yet here is a married, stable couple who desperately want to conceive a child and so far have been unsuccessful. It just doesnt seem fair.

Please keep this couple in your prayers as they are going through the grieving process. Pray for peace in a troubling time, understanding and deeper faith when the questions come, support to help them through dark days, endurance and joy.

God is our refuge and strength
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear. (Ps. 46)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pure & Holy

Give me one pure and holy passion
Give me one magnificent obsession
Give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after you

To know and follow hard after you
To grow as your disciple in your truth
This world is empty & pale & poor
Compared to knowing you my Lord
Lead me on and I will run after you.

Lead me on and I will run after you.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Quest

It's no surprise to any of you that I enjoy baking. I especially enjoy baking for other people, because not only is it rewarding to see the enjoyment they get from my food, but most importantly, I dont have whole portions of baked goods laying around my house. Because I will eat them.

Thank you Gayle for reminding me this morning: I run because I bake.

Several months ago, on a trip to someone's house with baked goods in tow, Jordan turns to me and asks, "Why dont you ever make this kind of thing for us?" I matter-of-factly replied, "Because I would eat the entire pie, minus half a piece which you would nibble on." My husband is not a sweets fan, unlike myself. I dont just have a sweet tooth; I have 32 sweet teeth. I'm currently battling with my desire for some Oreos and milk - my favorite cookie combo.

Earlier this week, I remembered this conversation and I came to my husband with an offer:

I'll make you whatever you want for your birthday!

It was his chance to get any sort of baked good under the sun and my opportunity to show him some love through baking. Here's how the conversation on friday afternoon played out.

Me: So have you decided what delicious goodie you'd like for your birthday?
Jordan: I can pick anything???
Me: Yep.
Jordan: Red Velvet Cake!
Me: (look of disdain... and in my mind thinking: But that's a holiday thing. You dont make red velvet cake in June. He's nuts.)
Jordan: (sensing my indignation) Ok, I guess no red velvet cake.


(Light goes off)

Me: Done.

And thus, my cheesecake quest began. Given that it was my husband's birthday, I wanted to make him something really special. I began narrowing down my selections in my mind, knowing he wasnt a fan of fruit-flavored cheesecakes. No lemon blueberry, or caramel apple, or pumpkin (also a holiday-only type dessert!). I wanted something more distinctive than plain cheesecake. I searched through my cabinet of cookbooks with little luck. Pioneer woman is sorely lacking in the cheesecake department. Tasty Kitchen had some options, but none that really stood out. I almost went with a Paula Deen Praline cheesecake, but knew in my mind there was something out there better suited to my husband's tastes. I spent the better part of 2 hours searching for the perfect recipe.

And I think I did.

For Turtle Cheesecake. The ultimate combination of cheesecake, chocolate, caramel and pecans. My husband declared in sunday school today that it was awesome. Those of you who know my husband and his quirky food rating habits, are fully aware that this is a big deal.
Dont be fooled by inferior Turtle cheesecake recipes that make plain cheesecake and top it with caramel sauce, chocolate chips and nuts. You aint gonna find that here. Feast your eyes on this:

Let me tell you (and I am kind of tooting my own horn here... sorry!), that this cheesecake is as divine as it looks. Oreo crust. Caramel Pecan layer. Chocolate cheesecake. Drool. It's hard to believe I've only had 2 pieces so far. This recipe is going in my brain file of awesome recipes to make for anything and everything. (See also: Cherry Yum Yum and Beef Stroganoff!). You must make this recipe!!!! Just Do it!!!

Turtle Cheesecake

2 cups crushed oreo cookies
3 tbsp melted butter
1 bag (14oz) kraft caramels
1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans
2 packages (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

350 degrees.
Combine melted butter and oreo crumbs and press into a 9in springform pan. Work some crumbs about halfway up the side. If it doesnt easily press together, add in an additional 1-2 tbsp melted butter. In a saucepan over low heat, melt caramels into evaporated milk. Stir regularly until well-incorporated and smooth. Pour mixture directly onto crust. Top with pecans. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs one at a time. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (watch closely!!!) or double boiler and fold chocolate into cream cheese mixture. Pour chocolate cream cheese goodness over pecans. Bake 40-50 minutes or until filling is set. (I didnt use a water bath because I knew Jordan wouldnt care if it was cracked or not. Surprisingly, it still didnt crack.) Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove from pan and DEVOUR.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

HLC Journey 2011

We are back from camp!!!

It was HOT! (try 105+ some afternoons!)

God showed up in a big way in our students' lives.

We had fun!

I'm glad to be back to my own bed & bathroom!

Check out a few pictures from the last week:
I'd like to take a quick moment to wish a very happy birthday to my funny-honey, smokin-hot SuperHusband!!!!!

Our students won 2 of the 3 tournaments hosted by Highland Lakes! We have some awesome athletes (who also just so happen to love Jesus!). They won the volleyball tournament and basketball tournament and were awarded the golden plunger and golden eyemask. I think the dodgeball tournament was rigged so that we didnt have a three-peat!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Bright and early tomorrow morning, 40 folks (a ton of students and a few brave adults) will be boarding a bus for Highland Lakes! I'm super excited about youth camp this year, and I know many of our students are as well.

If you could remember, please spend a few minutes in prayer each day this week. Pray that our students would be challenged, have fun, be safe, see God, hear His word, encourage each other, and SLEEP! But mostly, that God would receive the highest glory and honor this week.

Thank you in advance to all my wonderful and lovely blog readers for the prayers I know will come our way!! You guys are the!

We arrive back in Rockport on Friday afternoon; full report with pictures to come!

Monday, June 6, 2011


It's time to get real here folks.

So bear with me while I quickly delve into the depths of something I'm having a few minor issues with. It's not gonna be pretty, but every once in a while we have to go deeper than recipes and Harry Potter, right? It's what makes us relatable, right?

Anyway. Here goes.

I applied to graduate school. Some of you know this already. To others, surprise! I chose this crazy cool/expensive/difficult program at this fantastic school and just went for it. I was super stoked about the possibilities of furthering my education, but was also mindful of the burden that school would put on us. We dont have kids, so that's nothing to worry about, but the costs are astronomical (or at least it sure seems like it to me!) and the time commitment of full time graduate school and a full time job would make my free time essentially nonexistent. So I prayed about it. I prayed that God would use this to bring great glory to Himself. I prayed that He would remove feelings of pride, recognition-seeking or just degree/money-seeking. And then I asked that things just be really really simple. Black and White. In or out. Yes or no. God's will? Accepted. Not God's will? Declined.

I even had this idea in my mind of a cute/funny blog post. It'd have been something about Jordan and I facing a huge life change this fall... something that would keep me up late at night and drain all our money but would be worth it in the end. Something that seemed like we were having a baby, but it'd really be graduate school. Something that would frustrate (in a loving way) all those people who are pressuring us to have a baby (in a loving way, I'm sure.).

And then I got wait-listed. Let the heartburn commence.

No easy, simple answers. Not really declined, but not officially accepted either. I'm in limbo. I really wasnt all that great at being patient from the time I clicked "send" in January to April when I found out that I was chosen as an alternate. Since April, I've been mostly a basket case. Now, not only am I still waiting and trying to be patient, but I'm pretty much 100% certain that I'm only waiting to hear no thanks in the end.

I've never been declined from any program or job that I've applied to, so this is a whole new, painful humbling experience. Mostly I feel like I've failed. And telling well-meaning people who ask about school has also been ugly and embarrassing. Not fun.

Thanks for letting me vent all my frustrations. I'm not really in the market for sympathy. Although, extra prayers for understanding and patience and AN ACCEPTANCE LETTER would certainly be appreciated. I am still really excited about the idea of graduate school and would be overjoyed to get the opportunity to start this fall. And pray for Jordan while you're at it. I think maybe I'm making him a little crazy with my daily whinings about not getting a phone call. He may need an extra dose of patience as well. Among other things.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

All caught up

So, 2, maybe 3 weeks ago, Jordan and I were sitting in a theater watching Something Borrowed. It was a cute movie, nothing spectacular, but still a fun movie. Regardless, this post isnt about Something Borrowed. It's about a trailer that played before the movie started. I am actually a little bewildered that the trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was shown before a lighthearted romantic comedy. But again, that's neither here nor there. After the preview was over, I shared something with my husband that i'd been mulling around for a couple of weeks.

I wanted to catch up on the Harry Potter series.

Imagine my delight when he shared with me that he also had a hankering for Harry!

Up until that point, we had only seen the first movie back in like 2002 or something. We obviously didnt jump on the Harry Potter bandwagon when it was in full swing, but with the help of friends and Blockbuster and Redbox, we are all caught up and more than ready for Deathly Hallows 2!

Note: I didnt read the books. (and I dont plan to. and I dont want to know all the reasons why the books are superior.)

And another note: I/we havent jumped on another not-named book/movie franchise. (and I/we dont plan to. and I/we dont want to hear that the books will change my/our life/lives.)

Anyway. Back to Hogwarts.

Ok, so maybe I got on wikipedia today and read all about the Deathly Hallows book and already know the ending. But I'm still excited to see it.
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