new loves.

1. Children. Not that I didn't like them before, but I'm slowly beginning to realize that I like them more than I thought.

2. Chick-flicks. Crazy, huh? I love them. Maybe because I'm no longer jealously pining over the hollywood fairy tale, but I just really enjoy watching people be in love. That goes for real life too. So next time I'm with you, be sure to hold hands and sneak a kiss (with your significant other, not me).

3. Grocery shopping. I'll go for you.

4. Driving slow.

5. Whole milk. Not really a "new" love, but a new indulgence of an old love. At 150 calories per cup, it's more of a side dish than a beverage. I don't eat processed food, so I'm going to enjoy my whole milk.


godly contentment.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:12-13)

I have learned the secret. I think a key to contentment is learned. There are no two ways about it. Joy is found in the Lord; contentment is learned through Him who gives me strength. I don't really know what it is to be in need, at least not physically or materially. And I do know what it is to have plenty. I almost wish sometimes that I knew what it was to be in need, rather than knowing plenty. That is more glamorous, after all, to rely on the Lord for every penny, praying hard for food and water, and trusting in Him to provide for us like He takes care of the birds. But is it so different?

Am I, in Dallas, TX (THE land of plenty), more capable of providing for myself than I would be in poverty? Absolutely not. Every gift, every blessing, every "time of plenty" is from the Lord. So should I not be thankful, and in response to His great blessing, be content?

This also transcends the physical, reaching into the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of our lives. Are my relationships in plenty or in want? Is my time filled or empty? All of these situations are circumstances - situations that Paul is saying he has learned to be content in. But how? Thank God he tells us. Verse 13 says, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." In context, this is not saying we can do whatever we put our minds to. It's not saying create your own circumstance to succeed. No! God gives us the strength within the circumstance he has allotted. His strength is so that we might be content!

Psalm 16:6 says, "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." Surely we have a delightful inheritance in the circumstances that He provides - whether that be plenty or need. It's amazing to think about God providing us with plenty, and also providing us with a situation where we have nothing. It takes away the guilt that we so often inflict upon ourselves for having, and turns the focus on the Father (where it should be anyways) who bestows good gifts. 

He gives and takes away. Blessed be His name. A lot of times I think we focus on the taking away. Yes, there is comfort in times of need, but there is also great joy and comfort in His blessing.

Right now, I truly am so busy. My plate is full when it comes to the time that I have. I feel like I have too much! But He has given me everything that I am doing. And He is asking me to trust in His provision that when I am weak and tired, He is so strong. Not to us, but to His name be the glory.  He's teaching me that when I am content, the focus is no longer on me and my plenty or my need, but on Him and His perfect provision, whether it be bountiful or sparse.


(not so) radical adventure.

I'm beginning to see that adventure is relative. Not because it's undefinable by any means, but just because at different times and in different places it means different things. Adventure is a spectrum.

For example, these days I'm taking 18 credit hours (which translates into 30 class and clinical hours). Not much wiggle room. I'm thankful, however, to be doing something that God has ordained for me, and loving it! It's amazing to feel content just because He has placed me here, no matter how mundane it seems. Nevertheless, my wild heart longs for adventure.

These days, adventure looks like a late-night, spur-of-the-moment trip to Starbucks for a sea salt caramel hot chocolate. Or maybe a spontaneous go for fro-yo with the roommates. An early morning bike ride around the lake, walking barefoot through a parking lot during a monsoon, saving up money to go out for a nice dinner, or scrounging around on Craig's list for a kayak.

Someday, of course, I'd like to climb Kilimanjaro, visit the Nile River, sail the Mediterranean, eat fresh sushi in Japan, watch the Iditarod in Alaska, and live in Scotland. But for now, to make sure this soul stays satisfied, I will relish the small adventures of the life He's given me today.

As believers, I think this is a good attitude to have as well: living as a disciple with the means and the circumstances that we currently have until we are uprooted and moved to share His kingdom elsewhere. Oh for the mundane to become adventure! How wonderful our days will be.

(not so) profound realizations.

I spend most of my days by myself. Not literally by myself, but a lot of time with children who have language development issues and a lot of time in class. So half the time I'm with people who can't really converse with me even if they wanted to, and the other half I'm with a bunch of people who can't because of the social expectations placed on them in a classroom. When I'm not with these people I'm usually in my car. By myself. All this adds up to a lot of thinking time, because even if you're physically surrounded by hundreds of people, you're always alone with your thoughts unless you're actually talking to them.

Here are some of my profound realizations, as well as some not so profound ones:

I actually do enjoy children quite a bit.

That being said, I am no where near ready to be a mother. I don't have enough patience or love.

My attention span is an hour and five minutes - exactly 10 minutes before my classes are finished (or in one case, an hour and 45 minutes before it's finished).

I don't like "competitive" academia.

I do like "good learning environment" academia.

I drive slower than most Dallas-ites, and I'm really okay with that. Among my extraordinarily busy scheduled events, driving is my opportunity to take it easy.

My first thought/reaction to people and situations is always a selfish one.

Selfish thoughts are hard to combat, but my day gets better when I do.

Training is hard to do after a 10-hour day.

When I swim laps, I'm often the only person making that lifeguard get on the stand because of what time I get around to doing it. What can I say, I'm committed to stimulating the economy.

I like clothes way too much. Thank goodness I have convictions and no time to shop.

Cockroaches still scare the bejeebees out of me.



I love cooking.

I think my love for cooking birthed from my love for eating. Food is just so good, and cooking is just as good. My dad would always come home from working and want to whip up some gourmet concoctions, creating heavenly smells that would waft from our cozy kitchen. He said it was his way of relaxing after a long day of work.

He's right, there is something very satisfying about combining ingredients to perfect a succulent dish. And then, of course, eating said succulent dish. Yum.

This past year I started really thinking about and studying what I was eating. I read a book called "The Paleo Diet" and it revolutionized how I look at food. Think about what cavemen used to eat.......and that's what I eat, now. Anything I could hypothetically grow, gather, or kill. And yes it would be much more fun to actually do these things, of course, but I live in Dallas,  people. So as I've accepted the challenge to "go caveman," I've also accepted the challenge to try to make those meals tasty, thrifty, and fun.

I must admit, I haven't blogged much about food because I don't have a snazzy camera that takes snazzy pictures, and most foodie blogs feed off the fact (no pun intended) that they have delicious looking representations of the dishes being described. Well, I am no photographer, I am a writer. So pictures aren't worth a thousand words to me. Words create images, so here goes. By the end of this post, I expect you to be drooling over the meal I'm going to conjure up in your imagination.

Moroccan Chicken. That just sounds deliciously exotic, doesn't it? Just get ready. Heat up some olive oil in a deep saucepan as you cut up some thick, juicy chicken breasts. They don't look delectable now, but as soon as you drop them into the pan, a steady sizzle ensures that they will be. You want the heat hot enough to hiss at you, but not hot enough to make the oil jump out of the pan and bite. While the chicken is browning for about 10 minutes (be sure to flip those suckers over), go ahead and smash up your garlic, chop the parsley, dice the onions, and sliver the almonds. How you're supposed to "sliver" almonds, I'm not sure. I recommend buying them already "slivered." Now, smell your fingers. If you've got weak eyes, make sure you smell your fingers before you dice the onion (and after you've washed your hands from handling the raw chicken). Chicken is browned now, and your going to add the garlic to the brew, along with your secret weapons - cracked pepper and cinnamon. Mmmm. Saffron was on the recipe, but I didn't have any. I don't like how measuring utensils limit me, so I just sprinkled the cinnamon all over that chicken. Let me tell you, as soon as it hit the steamy pan, warm cinnamon filled the room and it smelled like fall, while the garlic added spice. Let that simmer for a minute before you add the onion, parsley, almonds, along with about 2-3 cups of water. You'll let it soak until the chicken is fully cooked and tenderized. It smells divine, like you're walking in a Moroccan desert town, strolling past a beautiful purple tent where a feast is being prepared. Your camel is salivating. It is that good.

So there you go! I'll include the "official" recipe at the end of this post in case I lost you in my descriptions. It was delicious, all-natural, healthy, and a low-cost meal. I paired it with some spinach and a sweet potato. The subtle hints of cinnamon in the chicken went perfectly with the potato, which I could then eat unseasoned as a result. Try it! See if you don't get lost in Morocco by the time you're done.

Moroccan Chicken
3 tbsp olive oil
1 chicken, 3 pounds, cut up
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp ground saffron
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 pound small white onions, peeled
1/4 pound blanched almonds
2 tbsp chopped parsley


a few of my favorite things (but only because it's raining).

Here is a small list of some of my favorites at the moment. Just because I think it's important to cherish life, and be thankful for the little things.

.early mornings.
.getting to watch the sunset b/c i'm stuck in traffic.
.a good cabernet.
.hugs from little children.
.biking around the lake.
.fuzzy's tacos.
.a hard run.
.Harry Potter.
.laughs with the roommates.
.being reunited with the best of friends.
.turning on the radio to the song i wanted to hear.
.waking up before my alarm goes off.

"All things come of thee, O Lord; and of thine own have we given thee."
1 Chronicles 29:14

joy comes with the morning.

Last night when I went to bed, I prayed that the Lord would wake me up in the morning. Sure enough, 3 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off, I woke up. Not startled, not interrupted, but at peace. I lay in bed for a while just thinking about how wonderful it is to be woken up by God himself. It is a sweet feeling.

I do this often - pray to wake up "happy" before my alarm goes off. I do this because when I start my day well, the rest of it usually follows suit. It's only recently that I've attributed this "waking up" to Jesus and not my body's own clock. And so now, I just ask that He wake me up, knowing He will, and yet still sometimes surprised when He does. Little faith, what will it take for you to grow?

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23