Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good news...

I have some exciting news and with it, a prayer request: my mom, my mother-in-law and my aunt Brenda (who just happens to be in town visiting from Florida) are all going with me to the Wave Women's Conference my church is hosting this weekend! Please pray that they would have open & fertile hearts where God's Word can be planted and take root. Pray that we would all be transformed and encouraged this weekend! Thanks friends!
Oh, and here are some new pics of the Shelby-girl with her 3 favorite chew toys...

Her pacifier:

Her crate-buddy (it's like her security blanket!):

And her daddy:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oral Fixations...

The latest in Shelby-drama (reader-discretion advised):

A couple days ago, Shelby discovered the trashcan in our master bathroom. She tried to get past us carrying tissues, tampons and more... and so far, we'd managed to stop her. Well, yesterday we weren't so quick. I found her in the bathroom with half of a condom in her mouth. Yes, a condom! The other half was nowhere to be found, and I quickly realized that was because she had already swallowed it!!! Ahhhhh!! SHELBY!!! A significant amount was gone and I was afraid it was going to cause a blockage in her little system and surely we'd have to have it surgically removed... how embarassing! I couldn't bear to call the vet, so I had Mike call. Well, apparently, this is a fairly common thing, and the vet told Mike we'd just need to keep a close eye on her. It may pass through, but if it didn't or if she started heaving, we'd need to bring her in and surgery would be necessary. I called into work, told them my puppy swallowed a plastic baggie (no way am I telling my conservative CBN managers that my puppy just ate a condom!) , and I worked from home all day to watch her. Well Shelby seemed un-phased, but it wasn't until this morning and more this afternoon that we knew she'd finally be okay. I found the remains in her stinky-poop and there was so much, I wouldn't be surprised if she actually ate two!

Hopefully my mom-friends can get a good laugh out of this story!! Now that I'm no longer worried we'll have astronomical surgery bills for our curious puppy, I'm sure this is a story we'll be laughing at for years to come...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Reality is the pathway to Dreams-come-true...

God always has eternal purposes in mind. He doesn't just meet one immediate need, neglecting the greater needs and purpose at hand (making us like Jesus). He does provide for us, and He does answer our prayers, but He knows even more than what we ask. He remembers that He is in the business of saving us COMPLETELY. He is transforming us. He is renewing us. He is preparing us.

Here is my carnal mindset: I know what I really want my life to look like, and where I am now is just a filler until I can get to what I really want.

My dreams: I want to raise godly children who love Jesus and live for Him. I want to be the kind of woman who can call others to follow me as I follow Christ. I want to love my husband in such a way that He is enabled and compelled to pursue all that God has for him. I want to be a blessing in the lives that intersect with mine.

Where am I now: I am working 40 hours a week in Marketing... a field that I don't really feel is my niche, but somehow I have been in for about 10 years. I don't wake up with that feeling of drivenness and motivation, knowing that when I go to work, I am accomplishing what only I can. I tend to think, this is just where I am until Mike's career takes off and we can start a family and I don't have to be the "career-woman" anymore. But what's wrong with that perspective?
  1. God says: "Whatever you do, work at with all of your heart, as unto Him." You mean I need to not only just show up for work and do what is asked of me, but I need to go above and beyond and put my heart into this, even if naturally, my heart's not in it??
  2. God provided this job for me and wants to use it to shape me into who He wants me to be. It's not just about gaining some professional-experience that I don't really care about anyway...but I am challenged and tested daily and it's how I live not just what I do that counts. He is developing my character daily.
  3. My calling is not necessarily the same as my dreams. God may have something for me that I would have never picked myself. I do know that He has put me where I am for the current time. I don't feel that this is my "calling" but I do know that this is where He wants me right now. Why do I comply begrudgingly, like an ungrateful child rather than embrace what is before me?
  4. I do not know the timing for the next season of my life. Part of my dreams include things that aren't in my life yet. I need to be faithful in a little so that He can entrust me with much. If God is waiting on me to be faithful in my job before He'll move me on, I need to hurry up and get with the program!
  5. How can I possibly be the person I want to be, in the life that I so strongly desire, if I'm not being that person right now? If my children were watching me right now, and learning how to live, would I be setting a good example? Would I want them to follow in my footsteps? Wow. That's convicting.

God is good. He is so much more committed to my good than I am. It's humbling to recognize what great lengths He is willing to go to in order to make me what He created me to be. If only I weren't so often blinded by wanting the results without the process. If only I would live daily with all of my heart, unto Him, rather than unto myself. Father, I surrender in your mercy and grace and I give you this moment on. Thanks for being patient with me.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm a lucky girl!

What a great husband I have! :) We had a great time together for our first "real" Valentine's Day together last night at our favorite Indian restaurant...and he has planned an awesome long weekend for us, starting with a dog-sitter for Shelby through Sunday, he's turned our dining room into a romantic setting with china and candles and flowers and will be cooking me a gourmet dinner tonight, we're going shopping at IKEA & Potomac Mills tomorrow, lunch at P.F. Changs after church Sunday, and we're taking the day off Monday and are going to get massages (Christmas gift from mom & dad) and go see Fool's Gold (new chick flick I've wanted to see)!! I can't wait!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Faith Restored...

Kohl's DOES give grace! Actually, to be technically-correct, I know it was God who showed me grace, and Kohl's just complied. ;)

(see super long blog below) Result: They took off my returned check fee and gave me another chance to pay it. ;) Yay!

A Tough Break...

Have you ever made an honest mistake that had pretty rough consequences? Well... I just did. I have been working really hard in this one area of my life to be organized and stay on top of things and have given it to God as a matter of faith and am trusting Him to bless my efforts. Hardships and unexpected trials have come and we just persevere. We continue to trust God's provision, and He never fails. And then I go and miss one thing which becomes like this huge thorn in my side and when I try to correct it, I mess up again, not out of neglect, but just an honest oversight. It's so hard to keep everything in this limited brain of mine, and even though I thought I was doing everything I needed do, something just slipped past me. And now I'm having to pay the consequences...And I just want to throw up my hands and quit. That's certainly not an option... but it's just overwhelming sometimes. And in the grown-up world, just saying you're sorry and made a mistake but you'll fix it, no matter how much you mean it, doesn't always give you a second (or third) chance. Sometimes you just have learn lessons the hard way. Or can I beg for grace? Grace = unmerited favor. I know it was my mistake. It's not like anyone owes me another shot at it... but this really was an honest mistake. Not neglect, not avoidance, just a mistake. Does Kohl's administer grace? I sure hope so.


I've become a very frugal shopper. We've really stuck to our new budget, and rarely do just "fun shopping." Well in November, we went to Kohl's to buy Mike some desperately needed new jeans. We found a great deal and even had a coupon for 20% off if I used my Kohl's card (which I've had forever but never use). So we decided, let's do it and we'll just pay it off as soon as the bill comes. $36 was our grand total. That's pretty good for 2 pairs of jeans! Well for the next couple weeks, I kept an eye out for the bill but we never got it. Time passed on, it was Thanksgiving and then Christmas and as you can imagine, I just forgot about it. I never saw the bill. Well last week I got a phone call telling me that we had a bill that was overdue by 2 months and had $50 in late fees. $36 jeans now cost: $87.16. I explained to the girl on the phone that I'd never seen the bill and it was just an honest oversight. It turns out that since I hadn't used the card in about 2 years... the e-mail address on my file was like 3 addresses ago and apparently way back when, I had opted out of receiving paper statements. So email was it. She agreed to drop half of the late fee so long as I made the payment that day. Now the jeans will cost $62. So much for a great deal... So I hurried online, logged in to my account and sent the payment. Then today, I noticed that my bank account hasn't shown that transaction so I went back to Kohl's page to check it out. The $25 late fee was removed, but now there is a new $25 returned check fee and no payment has been made! What?!! That stupid account. I didn't check which checking account it was going to debit... and sure enough it was the one I had BEFORE I got married, which we closed a few months ago. ARGGHHHHH!!!! Can I possibly mess this up anymore?! Now we're back to $87.16. And I am just frustrated beyond belief. Do I call back and explain again and just beg for grace? Or do I just say that some lessons have to be learned the hard way? This time at the tone of $50. Big sigh.... This calls for another handful of the mini chocolate chips I have stashed in my desk drawer!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Shelby Update...

We love it when she's sweet...and asleep!

"Hey, don't you want to come play with me??"

Silly pup! She was in rare form last night!

These are a few recent pictures of Shelby. She had fun playing with Robertson today too (but unfortunately I never pulled the camera out!)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Monday Morning Meditations...

After such a fun weekend, I need a day to rest! :) We had so much fun with the Hortons, Perkins & Esperats this weekend. When I think about the friendships God has given me and the incredible memories and ongoing encouragements we have, I am more grateful than I can even express. Lately when I think of these incredible women of God that I got to share the most precious years of growth and discovery of God's heart with... He has been showing me something awesome for the future. What we have as far as friendship in Him is rare and to be nurtured. I keep getting this vision of 7 women with incredible callings. We are already walking in what He has called us to now... I think of husbands that are being supported, children that are witnessing the ultimate examples of worshipping hearts and are being raised in the fear and love of God, I think of new friends and co-workers that we get to love on and encourage, neighbors we can minister to, and patients who are being cared for... Already, He is using each of us... and yet I sense we are only on the tip of the iceberg. I can't wait to see what He will call each of us to... I pray it will be powerful... that we won't be limited by our own sight, but that we will be strengthened in our spirits by the fellowship we have and that we will rise up to answer His every call... that we will live lives that require His provision and strength and the love and encouragement of one another... and that we will each have a mighty impact on our world for His glory. He has given us so much and has built in us a solid foundation... let us continue to build upon that!

Friday, February 1, 2008

mmm...yummy AND healthy too!

We've enjoyed 3 yummy (& healthy!) meals this week, thanks to Food Network's Ellie Krieger. We don't even have cable, so I just found her online when I searched for healthy recipes... but everything I made this week will definitely go into my "regular recipes" for many future uses!

Mon: Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream
Tues: Individual Chicken Pot-Pies
Wed: Left-over Pot-Pie (even better than the first night!)
Thurs: Maple-Mustard Chicken & Broccoli Cheddar Potato Skins w/Avocado Sauce

Last night might have been my favorite, so here are the recipes!


  • 1 pack of boneless/skinless chicken thighs (around 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 tablespoons grainy French mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Combine mustard, garlic, marjoram and maple syrup in a small bowl. Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard mixture evenly on top of each chicken thigh, being careful to cover as much of the surface as possible to form a "crust." Arrange chicken in a glass baking dish. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until mustard mixture has formed a crust and is slightly hardened, and juices run clear when the chicken is pierced.

How easy is that?! And it's really tasty!


  • 8 small Idaho potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces broccoli florets, coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 3 pieces Canadian bacon, finely diced (about 3 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 3 ounces)

Avocado Creme:

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced, greens reserved
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 4 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork and wrap in paper towels. Microwave on high for 13 to 15 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. Remove from microwave and cool until potatoes are easy to handle. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop all but 1/8 inch of the inside of the potato, leaving skin intact. Reserve scooped potato flesh for another use. Brush both inside and outside of potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place potatoes, skin-side down, on a baking sheet and bake until skins are crisp and edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the filling. Steam the broccoli until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside. Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray and preheat over medium-high heat. Add the Canadian bacon and cook until crisp stirring often, about 3 to 4 minutes. Reserve.

To make avocado cream, combine scallion whites, avocado, sour cream lime juice, cilantro, garlic and salt in the small bowl of a food processor and process on high until smooth. About 30 seconds.

Toss the broccoli with cheese and spoon filling evenly among potatoes. Lower oven to 400 degrees F and return potatoes to oven until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Spoon 1 tbs. of the avocado cream on top of broccoli-filled potatoes, then top with scallion greens and 1 tsp.
crisped bacon bits.

This one takes a little more time, but I started it right after I put the chicken in the oven, and managed to time the whole meal perfectly! :) Enjoy!