Friday, December 12, 2008

Part of our final exam for my Methods for Teaching Reading and Writing class involved writing a narrative essay to help us learn to teach the writing process. Our topic for the essay was "A Life-Changing Event." This was definitely one of the funnest exams I've had throughout college. I enjoy writing and I especially enjoyed writing on this topic.


With This Ring

“Only a few more seconds," Tracy assured me as I stood behind the wooden barrier. On the other side everyone was waiting for my big moment. As I waited, the knots in my stomach were becoming tight enough to secure a barge to a dock. My knees were shaking as if a train had just passed in front of me. My hands were as cold and wet as snow on Christmas morning, yet every drop of moisture had escaped from my mouth. The thought of everyone turning to look at me was nearly unbearable. “Is this day really finally here?” I thought. It was July 5, 2008, the day I married my best friend and the day my life changed in the best way.

My eyes popped open and I jumped out of bed long before the sun was up that morning. An 11 o’clock wedding meant getting up before the birds to start the beautification process. We spent hours working on that picture perfect hairdo and flawless makeup. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, my big moment had arrived. I was standing behind the huge wooden doors clinging to my father’s arm. My friends, Tracy and Michelle, made sure my dress looked perfect, every strand of hair was in the right place, and the Bible I was holding was positioned just right in my arms. Michelle comforted and encouraged me as we waited behind the doors.

Tracy assured me the wait would only be a few more seconds, but those few seconds seemed to pass slower than molasses on a cold day. I listened as the pianist finished the last few notes of “Canon in D.” I could already hear the sound of sniffles and noses being blown as I listened through the doors. “What if I trip as I’m walking down the aisle? What if I forget my vows? What if I cry too much?” The list of possible unfortunate events scrolled through my mind. Finally, there was an anxious pause in the music. The church was filled with deafening silence. The only sound in my ears was that of my heart beating loud and fast. Then I heard what I had been waiting for, the beginning notes of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” the song I had chosen to walk down the aisle to. I listened and attempted to calm my nerves. At last I could feel the heavy wooden doors whoosh open in front of me and it was my big moment. My eyes instantly darted to the front of the church and locked with the eyes of my best friend, the man who would become my husband in just a few minutes. I could see his eyes well up with tears and his face fill with his captivating smile. That moment is captured in my mind as a sacred photograph to be cherished for a life time.

The time came for me to take that first step down the seemingly never-ending aisle. My eyes stayed locked on my destination, with exception of the few quick glances toward the gathering of loved ones. Each glance was met with smiles, tears, and winks. What a joy and blessing to be surrounded by such love and support! The thought nearly overwhelmed me as I uttered thanksgivings to the One who had orchestrated such an event.

With each step down the aisle I could feel my face getting brighter than a tomato ripening on the vine. The reality of an entire congregation focused solely on me sank in. At that moment I was thankful for my father’s strong arm holding me up. I had always admired his strength and support, and my admiration was abundant at that moment. Together, we finally reached the end of the aisle. After a sweet prayer by my grandfather and a warm embrace with my father, I took my groom’s hand. The transfer from one set of strong and supportive hands to another was smooth and tearful. I finally felt safe and comfortable next to my Beloved. The next step was to promise our lives and commitment to each other. He promised me safety, support and protection for our life together. With complete confidence, I looked into the eyes of my best friend and said those sacred vows. It was at that moment that my life changed. I vowed to love, honor, support, obey, and follow my husband every day for the remainder of our lives. I promised to be loyal and faithful to God first and to this man as my husband. I chose to have my life change on that day and it was a wonderful and rewarding choice.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I've been tagged by Strem, so here it goes.

1. Where is your cell phone? On the kitchen counter
2. Your significant other? My wonderful husband of almost 5 months, Chris
3. Your hair? brown
4. Your mother? A wonderful and sweet woman and a great mom
5. Your father? He's hard-working, very dedicated to his family, and a great father.
6. Your favorite thing? Kind words and a good hug.
7. Your dream last night? It was a sad one.
8. Your favorite drink? Sweet tea
9. Your dream/goal? To be a great wife and to always be in the center of God's will
10. The room you're in? Living room
11. Your hobby? Reading, sewing, other crafty kind of things
12. Your fear? People touching my neck and being home by myself at night
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Living in our own home and perhaps with a child or two
14. what you are not? doing my projects for school
15. muffins? Love them, especially blueberry with some butter, chocolate chip, banana nut, oh yum!
16. one of your wish list items? A deep freeze, a new couch, books, our own home. Wait, I guess it only said one wish list item. ;)
17. Where you grew up? Highland IL
18. The last thing you did? made some broccoli-rice casserole and snacked on some yummy dip my husband made
19. What are you wearing? jeans and a brown t-shirt
20. Favorite gadget? computer
21. Your pets? just the stray cats that like to sleep on our patio
22. your computer? Toshiba
23.Your mood? Thankful
24. Missing someone? My family
25. your car? My husband lets me drive his Impala
26. something you are not wearing? shoes
27. Favorite store? JcPenney, Borders, Kohls, Hobby Lobby
28. Like someone? Yes, I like a lot of people
29. Your favorite color? It changes, but green is rather consistent
30. When is the last time you laughed? A few minutes ago when my husband was trying to tickle me
31. Last time you cried? I don't remember, maybe last week sometime.

Monday, November 10, 2008

One Year Ago...

November 10, 2007 was a very important day that changed my life.

On that day, a very handsome young man showed up at my parents' doorstep carrying a beautiful bouquet of flowers. This young man escorted me to his car and took me out for a very nice supper. The conversation was enjoyable, although I don't remember much of what we talked about because my nerves got the better of me.

After supper, this young man surprised me with a carriage ride through downtown St. Louis. I was very excited and impressed. If I remember correctly, I believe my response was something along the lines of, "Are you kidding me?!?" as I nearly propelled myself out of the seat. You see, I had long dreamed of a perfect date which involved a carriage ride through downtown. The carriage ride was incredible and better than I could have ever imagined.

As this young man took me home, he shared with me his interest in beginning a relationship. I was then able to share my own feelings and desires for a relationship with this young man. I was able to finally release what I had been holding inside for so long. We enjoyed a long conversation regarding our relationship and our desires for a God-honoring relationship. After the serious discussion was over, we spent a great deal of time laughing about the production involved in making our first date take place. Unbeknownst to me, nearly everyone in my life was aware of this young man's feelings toward me. Everyone, except me.

Now, one year later, I am blessed to be married to this young man. It's hard to believe that one year has passed since that wonderful night. The past year has been exciting, joyful, and amazing with this young man in my life.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Today is my wonderful husband's birthday! I am blessed to be married to a man who is so hard working, loving, and honoring to the Lord. I love you Sweetheart!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy 50th Birthday Dad!

We hope you have a wonderful birthday! We are blessed to have you as our father!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo

I went to visit some family in Tupelo, MS a few days ago. It was a very relaxing and fun-filled trip. I enjoyed spending time at the Montessori school that my aunt owns. My cousin, Hayden, and I had a water fight, which was a lot of fun and made me feel like a little kid again.

On Saturday, my 2 aunts, 2 cousins, and I visited the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo just down the street from my aunt and uncle's house. The zoo part has several exotic animals and a petting zoo, as well as animals you would typically see at a zoo. The cool part is that the animals are all a lot closer to you than they are at most zoos. Also, you can buy bags of food to feed some of the animals. We were able to feed the giraffes, ponies, zedonks, goats, emus, llamas, deer, rabbits, and alpacas.

We also took a trolley ride around the grounds of the park and saw hundreds of buffalo, zebra, donkeys, Texas Longhorns, and even a camel. It was a lot of fun!

L to R: cousin Hayden, me, cousin Adam (is he cool or what?), and Aunt Daphnea

I am feeding Tall Boy, the giraffe.

This is a close-up of Tall Boy eating out of my hand. If I wasn't fast enough, he liked to wrap his tongue around my arm. It was kind of gross, but kind of funny and cute!

Kimberly was trying to get me to kiss Tall Boy. As cute as he was, there was no way in the world I was going to stick my mouth on that thing!

A hilarious picture of a goat waiting for some food! This picture makes me laugh every time I see it!

Finally, a picture of my two very handsome and adorable cousins.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Dad recently purchased a new camera and I LOVE it! I'm clearly not an expert at photography, but I do enjoy playing around. Here are a few photos I've taken this week:

Note: The photo above was inspired by Tasha.

And just to prove that I can take pictures of something other than flowers...(Tasha, please don't get mad that I put this one on here. It really is a good picture of you!)

In other news....the wedding is in 37 days! We're very busy with the final details, but I'm very excited and can't wait! :)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Only 4 months to go...

Our wedding day is only 4 months away! In some ways it seems so far away, yet it also seems like it's going to sneak up on us. The planning is going well so far. There are several big things that have been decided. There are also several big things that are still undecided.

Here's what has been accomplished so far...

-The date: July 5, 2008

-The wedding party

-The officiant: my grandfather

-The colors: sage, cream, and khaki

-Invitations and programs have been purchased

-Bridesmaids' dresses have been picked out

-Fabric for the bridesmaids' dresses has been ordered

Hopefully the ceremony and reception locations will be decided on soon. The cake, flowers, and decorations are the next big items that need to be finalized. Oh yeah, and a dress for me! Oh, and the guys' suits and ties. And, the wedding favors. And....oh boy, we've got a lot to do!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Valentine's Day

On Thursday evening, a very handsome man picked me up at my front door, flowers in hand. We were off to enjoy a date together, of which he kept all the details a surprise! We headed to downtown St. Louis for dinner at Carmine's. It was a very nice restaurant and the food was great!

After dinner we went to Forest Park. This is one of my favorite areas of St. Louis. I have fond memories of going to the zoo as a child. I also love spending Sunday evenings at the Muny during the summer. The park is beautiful and a lot of fun, with so many things to enjoy.

It was a really great night for a walk around the Grand Basin. This is an area at the bottom of Art Hill with a pond and several fountains. It's beautiful to look at during the daytime, but even more so in the evening. We enjoyed a nice, quiet walk around the pond. Then we headed up the hill toward the Art Museum. The view from the top of the hill is breathtaking. It looks out over the Grand Basin area and other areas of Forest Park.

As we were standing there enjoying the view, Chris asked me to be his wife! I said yes, of course. I couldn't have asked God for a more wonderful man to be with and serve the Lord with.

We have set July 5th as the date for the wedding. The weekend was full of making wedding plans. We are so thankful to have two wonderful ladies, Tracy and Michelle, helping us plan the wedding. It has already been such a blessing and a huge help. The planning has already been a lot of fun!

Chris and I ask for your prayers as we continue planning for the wedding. More importantly, we ask that you pray for us as we begin our life together with the Lord.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Recipe 3

Kelly's recipe yesterday got me thinking about orzo. I had never tried orzo until I went to college, but the cafeteria at school makes some of the best orzo. A few months ago I went searching for a recipe that was close and I came up with the one below from I recently served it with cod, which is also a recipe from

Parmesan Basil Orzo

2 tbsp. butter
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 can chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I usually use dried basil)
garlic, salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in orzo and saute until lightly browned.
Stir in chicken broth and bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
Mix in parmesan cheese, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.

Cod with Italian Crumb Topping

1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. cornmeal
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp. garlic powder (I used more!)
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
4 cod fillets
1 egg white, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 450*
2. In a small shallow bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, cheese, cornmeal, oil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and pepper; set aside
3. Coat the rack of a broiling pan with cooking spray. Place the cod on the rack, folding under any thin edges of the fillets. Brush with teh egg white, then spoon the crumb mixture evenly on top.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and is opaque all the way through.

*Note: I didn't prepare the cod exactly this way. I dipped the fish in the egg white, then coated it with the crumb mixture before placing it on the pan. It seemed a little easier to me.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Recipe 2

Yellow Cake with Lemon Frosting

Yellow Cake:

2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup milk

1. Grease and lightly flour two round baking pans

2. Combine flour, baking powder, and 1 tsp. salt

3. Beat butter about 30 seconds

4. Add sugar and vanilla, beat until well combined

5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 1 minute after each

6. Add dry ingredients and milk alternately to beaten mixture, beating after each addition

7. Turn into pans and bake at 375* for 30-35 minutes

8. Cool 10 minutes on wire racks

9. Remove from pans

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. lemon zest

1 tsp. vanilla

5 cups powdered sugar

1. Beat cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla together until smooth and fluffy

2. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth

3. Add the additional 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until creamy

4. Frost cake and garnish with lemons

Monday, February 04, 2008

Recipe 1

Here's my first contribution to the recipe exchange. This is a chicken salad that is great served on a crescent roll on a hot summer day.

Polynesian Chicken Salad
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 1/2 cups pineapple tidbits or seedless grapes
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup toasted almond slices
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2. tsp. salt

*Makes about 6 servings

For best results, refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Lessons in Ephesians

Last night I was spending some time reading my Bible and I turned to the book of Ephesians, not really for any particular reason. I've read this particular book several times and I really enjoy it. I especially enjoyed reading it last night and I was greatly encouraged.

I have the bad habit of speed reading, which can be both good and bad. It's great when I have to read a bazillion pages for school or when I'm just reading for pleasure. However, it's not so good when I'm spending time in the Word and I really need to be soaking up what I'm reading. Lately, I've been working on reading slowly and really focusing on what I'm reading. Well, last night I was so focused and read so slowly that I only got through the first chapter of Ephesians. But, that's OK, because I really enjoyed reading it and meditating on the words contained in the chapter.

I very much enjoy writing letters, even though I don't do it as often as I should. I like to keep in touch with friends and family who I don't get to see often. I also enjoy the opportunity to encourage those who need it. As I was reading this first chapter of Ephesians, I learned a great lesson in letter writing.

First, we have the introduction of who is writing and to whom he is writing. Note especially to whom Paul is writing, "to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Jesus Christ." The faithful in Jesus Christ...what a title! I desire, as we each ought, to be acknowledged as "the faithful in Jesus Christ." However, I know there are many, many days when I don't meet that qualification.

Paul then opens his letter with his greeting to the saints at Ephesus, "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." What I really like about this is that he doesn't spend a lot of time opening his letter. He doesn't inquire about how their great uncle's brother's niece's dog's sister is doing. He doesn't ask about the weather. He doesn't start writing about how nice it is to write to them. He doesn't start writing about everything that is going on in his life. No, he starts by giving a short greeting, then he immediately starts praising God and proclaiming His wonderful works.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"
Paul doesn't waste any time telling the faithful at Ephesus of the wonderful news of God the Father. He tells them of God choosing us before the foundation of the world, of His adopting us "according to the good pleasure of his will," he tells them that He made us "accepted in the beloved," that we have redemption through His blood, He has forgiven our sins, He has "made known unto us the mystery of his will," he tells us the promise that He will gather His children together one day, and that we have an inheritance in Him. What a way to open a letter to your fellow saints and children of the Heavenly King. There's nothing else that I would rather read about in a letter than the greatness of God, His marvelous works, and His promises to me!

After Paul proclaims the greatness of God and gives praises due Him, he then directly addresses those at Ephesus. He has heard of their faith in Christ and the love they have shown to the saints, and he wants to encourage them. He tells them that he is thanking God for them and praying for them. What exactly is he praying on their behalf? "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints..." He wants the faithful in Jesus Christ to know more about Him. He wants them to more fully know and understand the greatness of God. He is concerned about their spiritual understanding. What an encouragement!

These couple of verses really struck me last night and resonated in my heart. So often I get frustrated when I am attempting to read the Word. I get frustrated that I can't understand what I'm reading. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense to me, and I get frustrated. Honestly, in those moments of frustration, I want to give up. I want to throw in the towel and take on the mindset that if God wants me to know what He has written, He will somehow put it on my heart and miraculously have me to know it without putting any effort into it. I realize that I am completely wrong in my thinking. I realize that it's in those moments that I don't deserve to be called the faithful in Jesus Christ. I am thankful to God for showing me the error of my ways, as He is so faithful to do. It is in those moments that I think of what Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." In order for me to know, understand, and rightly divide the Word of God, I have to study. I have to put some effort into it.

Reading this passage in Ephesians gave me great understanding and encouragement. God the Father gives understanding. He gives us "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." Oh how I pray for God to bless me in my efforts to study. I pray that He might give me understanding. I pray the same for you. I pray for "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened."

May He bless the faithful in Jesus Christ to know His power and His promises. May He bless the faithful in Jesus Christ with the hope of the inheritance. May the faithful in Jesus Christ give the praise and glory due Him. May we proclaim the greatness of God in our daily walk and our interactions with strangers, but mostly in our communication with fellow saints!