Monday, December 26, 2011

Warm Fuzzies

I left my husband in a bit of a quandary this year. I never really shared with him what I wanted to receive from him for Christmas. The truth of the matter is, I couldn't really think of anything that I was in need or want of.

I am so blessed.

And yet, my lovely husband was still searching for something wonderful to wrap and give me on Christmas day. What I received was something that made me absolutely happy and overwhelmingly proud of my husband. I'd like to share it with you in hopes that you and your family may find this a worthy cause to donate to as well.

In my name, for Christmas, my love donated 13 farm animals to World Vision. Check out what World Vision has to say about this gift:

Thirteen small farm animals can save families from hunger! With this truly life-changing gift, you’ll provide ample protein and vital nutrition — including eggs, meat, and more — for years to come. As the animals multiply, families can sell surplus food for extra income. A bountiful and enduring blessing!

I couldn't be happier that my husband chose to spend our Christmas money helping others. Take a minute to visit the World Vision site and check out the different ways you can donate to others. They take donations from $25 to $1,000,000 (for those of you readers who have a LOT of spare change in your pockets), and you can donate everything from animals, to clean water, to medicines, to clothing, shelter, education.... All from an organization that is well known for it's commitment to helping children in need all around the world.

Go check it out!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Friends!!!!

From our home to yours, wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas! Lets not forget that Christ our Savior and Redeemer came to Earth as a perfect sacrifice, and when God looked down on the manger that held His Son, He saw Good Friday.

O come let us adore Him! Christ the Lord!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Low cal offering

If you're anything like me, you might be looking for a reprieve from the rich holiday foods that are so easily available this time of year. Try working for a church where you get delicious goodies from sweet ladies every day. We've already discussed my penchant for white fudge covered oreos, and I'm proud to say that we've only bought and eaten 1 box so far this season. That's kind of a big deal.

Earlier tonight, we had a lovely time at a Christmas party and ate the most fantastic salad EVER. It was freaking awesome. It reminds me of this salad that I always get at McAlister's. So go and make it tonight. Your love handles will thank you for the break.

Chopped Salad

6-8 cups Chopped Romaine Lettuce
2 Chopped Medium-size Pears
1 cup Dried Cranberries
1 cup Chopped Pecans
4-6 oz Crumbled Feta Cheese
Poppyseed Salad Dressing (we had the T. Marzetti kind)
Balsamic Vinaigrette (Newman's Own Light version does the job nicely)

On a large platter or large bowl, combine the lettuce, chopped pears, cranberries, pecans, and feta cheese. Drizzle generously with poppyseed dressing, followed by the vinaigrette (the recipe says that it's a 70/30 mix on the dressing; 70% poppyseed, 30% vinaigrette). Toss the salad around until it's well mixed. Feel free to add more dressing until your salad is dressed to your liking.

Then devour.

Let it be known that I obtained the above picture from the great equalizer.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Counting down the days

3 weeks!!!

3 weeks from tomorrow, Passion 2012 will commence! I may be even more excited for this year's trip than last year's trip. I still vividly remember how wonderful Passion 2011: Fort Worth was, both for myself and for the dozen or so other folks who went along. There really are no words to express the kind of heart change that occurs during the week of Passion- it's just incredible. Try spending 4 days of your life investing in your relationship with Christ -with the help of some really incredible leaders (Louie, John, Francis, Beth... Chris, Matt, Kristian, Christy, David). It just doesn't get much better than that. New revelations and renewed spirits from Passion 2011 have really changed so many aspects in my life and in my Christian walk this year. I just couldn't be more excited for another incredible experience. I have high hopes for this year and I don't expect my Lord to let me down.

Jordan and I are taking a group of 9 high school seniors and college students to Atlanta, Georgia for Passion - which is.... an additional 10 hours longer drive than last year's trip to Fort Worth! I'm actually kinda-sort of-a little bit excited about spending 16 hours in a van with these kids, if only to get to know them in a better way. The Atlanta-bound church van will leave early on January 1, spend the night in Alabama and then finish the trip on the 2nd, ending up in Atlanta in plenty of time to register and get seats for the opening session. One of my dearest friends is offering up his home to us and I'm afraid he has signed up for quite an undertaking! It should be fun! I'm overjoyed to be spending some time with this friend and hopefully get to know his new lovely fiancee! (Even if we only spend breakfast and bedtime at the house!)

We only have 2 repeat Passion-eers, who are serving to pump up their friends for the trip. I am surprised we have so many students going along, as it is both eating a week of their winter break and costing them a pretty penny (in college money talk). The Lord has brought together a group of great friends and new faces - 3 are high school seniors and the remaining 6 are college-age students. This is especially sweet because we just started a new college Sunday school class at our church. What a special time these kids will have to get to know each other on a deeper level!

So it would be lovely if you will be in prayer with me over our hearts during this time of anticipation. Then also over our travels when that time arrives (both for safety and sanity! 16 hours in a van with 11 people can be trying on everyone's patience). Then also over Passion 2012, that the Lord would be glorified and many would come to know His name. And finally that the Lord would iron out all the kinks and details that we aren't even thinking about at this time. I guarantee that a week spent in the presence of the Lord will have its share of challenges and all 11 of us should be prepared for difficulties.

Let the countdown continue!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Party Time!

The Spread

The Setup

The Surprise!

I don't know how it happened, but 20ish high school and college-aged girls were able to keep a major secret for several weeks!! A surprise wedding shower! Here's the setup: the bride-to-be is one half of a ridiculously fantastic pair of Sunday school teachers. Maybe I'm a little biased. So the cover for her wedding shower was our annual high school girls sunday school Christmas party. She believed we'd have holiday hors doerves and gift exchanging starting at 5pm. The girls in our class arrived a few hours early to transform our house into wedding shower central. It took her a second to realize what was really happening (see the change in facial expression between surprise picture one and two!) and was 100% surprised. She must have made a remark every few minutes about how surprised and shocked she really was. It was fantastic! And there's nobody that's more deserving of a great husband and a fun (secret) shower. The girls and I hope that she knows how much we love her, both as a teacher and a friend. Many many congratulations!!!

And of course no party is complete without a little food, girl talk.... and...

Just dance!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Time keeps on slippin

Gah!! Where does the time go? It seems like I posted yesterday and it's been almost a week. Thanksgiving feels like it was a year ago now. Things don't ever slow down around here.

I failed to mention that on the way home from Thanksgiving in Houston, we hit a renegade herd of Javelinas (wild hogs for you non-Texans). It was dark and we were on a little podunk back road and these little stinkers just come shooting out of some bushes. We think they were part of a suicide pact, I mean, why else would 4 hogs run out into the road simultaneously? And just so we're clear, they weren't really all that little either. So we'll take the Jetta to the body shop on Monday and have $1400 worth of repairs done. Yeesh! Merry Christmas to us! Hopefully we'll get a sweet rental car. Last time we had to get a bodyshoprentacar, it was a Chrysler Sebring convertible. And lets face it, unless you're a postmenopausal woman, the Sebring is a little less than cool.

But instead of stressing, I'm indulging in a little chips & Chuy's Jalapeño ranch dip.

Continuing with the running out of time theme, once again this year, I'm deathly afraid that my Christmas cards will not be done and out in time for Christmas. I mean, it's the third of December, which gives me 21 days until Christmas eve. And these cards are so far from done it's not really funny. At ALL. Every year I wonder why I don't just order photo cards just like everyone else and every year I talk myself out of it and every year I stress until they're in the mail.

Stress level increasing. Quiet stress with chips and dip.

Has anyone done any Christmas shopping yet? I am so far behind. We aren't getting to make a trip to Augusta this year, which means my shopping has to be finished and en route to Georgia well ahead of the 12/25 deadline. And as if I haven't made it clear enough- time isn't slowing down to allow me some shop opportunities! Yesterday I thought I was doing really well: I ordered 2 Christmas presents from one place. 30% off. Free shipping. Purchased. 2 people down. Score! Right? Wrong. I got an email this morning from this lovely retailer letting me know that BOTH items I ordered were UNAVAILABLE. Curse you Banana Republic!!!

More stress. More chips. More jalapeño dip.

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