Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mmmmm, Chicken!

Once upon a time, I promised this blog would have occasional recipes. And I posted...one. As of today, we are going to have 100% MORE recipes! Meaning, I'm posting another and now there will be TWO.

With holiday travel coming up, I realized I had a ton of food in my tiny fridge that needed to be eaten ASAP. So what's a girl do? Invite The Boyfriend to dinner and hit up Google for something tasty to make with what I have on hand. And it turned out amazing!

I made a few tweeks. I used baby bellas and not shiitakes, since that was what I had. I was also missing shallots, so I added a little onion and garlic power for zing. And lastly, the chicken that I had was tenders, so I pounded them out thin, layered them in the pan, covered them with the stuffing, and then added a second layer of chicken. And I cooked it all at 400 degrees.  Who cooks at 500???

I'll be making this again for sure!

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Shiitakes and Provolone

When cutting the pockets for the stuffing, make them as large as possible on the inside without enlarging the 3-inch-long incision on the outside.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Active Time: 20 min
Total Time: 45 min

Ingredients
1 (6-oz) piece provolone
6 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded
1/4 cup chopped shallot (1 large)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 chicken breast halves with skin and bones (2 1/2 to 3 lb total)
Preparation
  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 500°F. Line a shallow baking pan with foil.
  • Coarsely grate cheese and set aside in a medium bowl. Pulse mushrooms and shallot in a food processor with thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until finely chopped.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sautĂ© mushroom mixture, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir into cheese (some cheese will melt).
  • Pat chicken dry, then cut a deep 3-inch-long pocket horizontally in long curved side of each chicken breast half and fill each pocket with one fourth of cheese mixture (some filling will be visible).
  • Put chicken in baking pan, then melt remaining tablespoon butter and brush over chicken. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast until cooked through and cheese is melted (filling will ooze), 20 to 25 minutes.

Original recipe may be found at: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicken-Breasts-Stuffed-with-Shiitakes-and-Provolone-232608

Friday, December 9, 2011

HAPPY New Years!

I wrote about Christmas during the first half of November and Thanksgiving the Monday after, so I figured the first half of December was a great time to write about New Years!  Sound about right?

One of my biggest complaints about all of the above holidays is that they all happen so close together. I never fly home for Thanksgiving since I'll be home again a scant 4 weeks later. And I never have enough time to plan for NYE because I'm busy with Christmas. And mostly, I miss the opportunity to ponder the coming year properly. In my perfect world, I'd spend 2-3 weeks contemplating and praying about the new year while reviewing the old year. Thus, I'm taking a moment to pause here and do just that.

If I had to choose one word to describe 2011 in my life, the word I'd choose is RENEWAL. There were so many parts of my spiritual and emotional life that were tired and dry and I didn't even know it. So many places begging for renewal, for fresh life. God spent the year answering prayers I didn't know how to pray. He is so good to me when I have done nothing to deserve it.

I'm not a superstitious person, but I love how my birthday sounds this coming year. It's making me feel like it will be an amazing year overall. Like the whole year will be a birthday gift (my 2011 birthday was pretty sweet, so I'm down for that!)  10/12/2012  Ten twelve twenty twelve. See what I mean? It just sounds cool.

With the renewal that has been happening in me, I feel a sense of HOPE for the coming year that I haven't felt in some time. HOPE combating all the sadness and darkness and everydayness.

Take some time to still your heart this Christmas season and ponder the coming and going years.

My prayer for you:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
 ~Traditional Irish Blessing

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful

This past weekend was one of the best Thanksgivings I've ever had. So full of friends and family and all things new and exciting. It genuinely felt like a full week, not just four and a half little days. Maybe that's because I squeezed in three turkey dinners, a dozen new friends, a handful of deepening friends, some new family, midnight shopping, a christmas play, a best friend, a lunch date, some movies, church, more lunch and some leftovers. All while getting to know the new boyfriend. (what, you didn't know that? Hmmm. Did you miss this tweet?)

It might not really be the style to post your thankful blog AFTER the holiday, but that doesn't change how very thankful I am for everything in my life right now. For all the people I listed above. For how welcome they all made me feel. For the pure gift they are to me.

As you get back into your routine after this weekend, don't forget to reflect back on all the thankful thanksgiving thoughts the holiday stirred up. Christmas can be hectic. Don't let the coming season of pandemonium joy drown out your acknowledgement and gratitude for the many blessings in your life.

So start here! What came to the forefront of your heart and mind this weekend as you focused on thankfulness?
(Fill the comment section! I love to know who's reading. No accounts needed, just use "anonymous" and sign your name at the end of your comment.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

The house is packed

When love is in the house, the house is packed, so much so we left the back door cracked...  Lyrics by TobyMac where running through my head as friends gathered at my place last week to help me put up my Christmas tree. (Though it was more about cracking windows open than the door.) After writing the post a few weeks ago about HOME I realized I needed to just go for it and have a party. No more stressing over exactly how many people would be comfortable in my space. Just invite and let things happen as they would. And it was great!

Sure, we were stepping on each other now and again, but no one minded. I packed 14 people into a studio basement apartment and it was such a good time, it was midnight before I was alone again.

Everything is more fun with friends. Setting up the three-piece tree, figuring out how to connect all the cords and fixing the star upon the top, when it is REALLY hard to get it to connect to my tree, doesn't feel like a chore when there are lots of hands involved. I enjoyed watching a group of budding civil engineers make sure the covered bridge lined up with the invisible river powering the big water wheel on the mill as we set up my ceramic snow village. Hopefully I've sparked a trend of tree trimming parties!
My actual tree, not clip art. -------->

Which reminds me, how are YOU doing on The Challenge? You still have a little time to pull it off! And if you ask REALLY nice, I'll even give you an extension until the end of the year.

The Challenge: Have people over to your house between now and Thanksgiving. As long as they come in and stay long enough to sit down, it counts. I'll be asking how it went!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Roller Coasters

Back in 2005/2006 I wrote a couple blog posts about faith, anticipation and waiting. Below you will find those posts, only slightly edited. They were written in the time following some major family heartbreak and not long before God would open up a brand new chapter of my life by moving me to DC. The truth God taught me then still resonates within me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Blog 1

I love roller coasters. I don't have any fear because I trust the engineers and inspectors completely. I love the rush, the unexpected, the speed, the adrenalin. Some time ago, God talked to me about roller coasters and spiritual faith

I have complained that the last couple years of my life have been a roller coaster. God told me that if life is a roller coaster, then that makes Him the engineer. If I can trust a human engineer, literally with my life, and ENJOY it, then why couldn't I do the same with Him? Long story short, I should ride this roller coaster of life WITH JOY because I have total faith in my God, the designer, inspector and operator of the ride.

When the bottom seems to be falling out, I should throw up my hands and scream, not in panic, but in excitement. When things are passing me by too fast to control, I can know know that my course is set. Enjoy the ride. I need to follow the directions (hands inside the car, stay seated, ie. the Bible) and the rest is pure joy.

This thought has been an ongoing process over several months and I've struggled with the specifics of walking in this faith. I finally stepped into the coaster and sat down, figuratively speaking, but nothing happened. The ride didn't start. No rush, nothing unexpected, no speed, no adrenalin.  Did I miss something? God did want me to have faith and ride His roller coaster, right? So I waited. As I sat there, anticipation began to build. And kept building.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Deck the Halls!

I am typically very adamant that Christmas not start before Thanksgiving. This year though, I've been feeling like throwing caution to the wind and embracing Christmas early.  I'm actually putting my tree up tomorrow!

This is partially to blame on all the amazing new Christmas music that had been released this year! Of particular interest has been David Crowder*Band, Mathew West and TobyMac.

My favorite right now is Oh For Joy by David Crowder*Band. Very classic Crowder.  Meaning it's amazing. Have you ever heard a banjo on Angels We Have Heard on High?  No? Then you are missing out. (Plus, I love the cover. I want to know what I'd look like as a nutcracker.)


And though it came out back in 2008, Let It Snow Baby, Let It Reindeer by Relient K is one of my favorite Christmas albums of all time and now on rotation on my iPod. Best rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas ever.

If your Christmas music collection is feeling a little stale, a little same ol' same ol', then maybe it's time to spice it up a bit with a few new albums!

Fill me in on your old favorite or new discovery.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Home!!

I'd like to issue a challenge to you. Yes you. The one sitting there thinking this probably won't apply to you since, be honest, that's what most of us think when we hear an opening line like that.

We need to reclaim the home as the social hub of our lives. Inviting people into your home is not just for people who live in 2000 sq ft or more. It's not just for married people. It's not just for good cooks. Almost* all of us can open our door and let people chill with us.

The home lends itself to personal warmth and depth. There is safety. There is family. There is relationship in the home. How much of that can you say about the movie theater or Chili's?

As a young adults in the DC area, my friends and I face two main hurdles in opening our homes. One is the idea that as younger people, we just aren't ready to be the hosts. Our home is too small. Our furniture doesn't match. We can't layout a food spread as good as mom used to do. That's just plain baloney. No one cares if your stuff doesn't match or if you pour salsa from a jar into a cereal bowl as your only snack (but we would like some chips too). And small spaces? We all have them. In reality, it kinda makes things more cozy. So pile people into your little home!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Bad Apple

In many ways, I am a child at heart. G.T. and the Halo Express (the full 7 CD set) live in my car and make a regular rotation through my CD player. Happy Meals are a drive-thru favorite. Labor Day weekend on my round trip drive to the lake, I made multiple stops for the happiest of meals, the Chick-fil-a nugget kids meal. In a beautiful collision of the practical and the destined, my meals contained Veggie Tales CDs. The best of yummy fast food and roadtrip entertainment all in one??  Yes please!

While I flew down 81 and 66, I was listening and learning about temptation from LarryBoy. Who knew a superhero cucumber had so much to teach me? I was so impacted by this CD that I went online and spent a few dollars to buy a used copy of the original DVD. I'd encourage you to do the same (or you can rent it from Netflix if that's your thing.)  I loved that the very basic illustrations of temptation they used for kids are things that are TRULY impacting our lives today. We think of temptation as sex, drugs and rock n roll. But hey! There is so much more that we deal with DAILY!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Super Fast

This isn't a proper blog, but just a super fast update. Forgive me!

The swing dance lessons?  They rock! So much fun the first night. I can't wait to go again. If you're local, friends and I are going out swing dancing this coming Saturday. Come!

Autumn? Came with a vengeance! Temps dropped like crazy the last few days and I'm sitting here with socks on and hugging a cup of hot tea since I'm sort of freezing to death. Dramatic, yes, but I'm from Florida and I'm not sure I'll ever cease freaking out the first time the temp dips below 70 each year. Thankfully we get some more warm in a few days before I have to hunker down for real.

Pumpkins? Really, that last post didn't actually talk about pumpkins at all. It was a deceptive title. But I did buy pumpkin butter this past week, so that should count for something.

I have more stuff bumping around in my brain to share with you, so be on the lookout for some real posts coming soon!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And because bulleted lists are my favorite, here are the ways to know when a new blog is published:

  • Subscribe with an RSS reader.  Look for the button over there  ---^
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  • Follow my twitter account.  Over...well, you get the idea.
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pumpkins and leaves and dancing, oh my!

Autumn is here! Kinda. Not really. But I'm feelin' it. The calendar tells me there are two full weeks of summer left, but, being a Florida girl, I've always defined my seasons however I pleased. Growing up, Autumn was that amazing week where you didn't sweat, you might require a jacket, but could still wear flip-flips. Once you couldn't wear the flip-flops, THAT was winter. Crazy cold stuff if was when it dropped below 65. brrrr  But I digress.

The local schools have started, the mall is full of sweaters and my summer-loving-self is excited for a new wardrobe. THIS is how I define Autumn currently. Summer is free and fun and light, but there isn't a lot of consistency to it. Everyone is on vacation and running about and things are canceled. Once September starts, routines start again. I love routines as much as I love sundresses. And what I'm currently VERY excited about is SWING DANCING lessons!

If you read my old blog, you know I tried a beginner ballet class a couple years ago. That was a big fat failure. There is a reason adults don't do that. Ouch. This though, this will work.. I took swing dance classes 12 years ago and I had a BLAST! Partners were required, so I made my brother go with me. I'm not sure how in the world I talked him into it. Locally there is a great place that holds weekly dances that I've attended once or twice a year over the time I've lived here. They always include a short lesson before the dance, so I've tried out the instructors and now I can't WAIT to dance my socks off every week!

What are you most looking forward to this Autumn? Do you prefer Autumn or Fall? Why do we have two words for this? I like saying Fall and writing Autumn. I'm not sure why.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Remind Me

(Yes, it's been too long since the last post. I think the earthquake scrambled my brain. And the hurricane was distracting. And there are always excuses. And natural "disasters" are my favorite ones to use. So hard to argue with for the most part!)

In the last few years, I've forgotten so much. My zeal, faith and hope have slipped away. This year, God has been restoring me. Remind Me Who I Am by Jason Gray has been my prayer since I first heard it.

When I lose my way,
And I forget my name
Remind me who I am
In the mirror all I see
Is who I don't wanna be
Remind me who I am

If I'm Your beloved can You help me believe it

Tell me, once again
Who I am to you, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to you, that I belong to You
To You 

The truth can be so simple and so easy to forget. We go looking for something more complex. Who are you? You are the beloved of God. It's WHO YOU ARE.

As well as having lyrics that touch my soul, Jason's music sounds great. Give him a listen. If the song pricks your heart, try to find quiet time later today to listen again and make it your prayer as well.

Jason also recorded a three minute video talking about the song and why he wrote it. It's well worth the listen.


RMWIA (what, you don't make acronyms out of song titles?) is the first single off of an album releasing a week from today. This week you can listen to the WHOLE THING streaming as a preview right HERE. (yes, you have to register, but it's worth it) I very much enjoyed his last album and I'm looking forward to downloading this one.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A first I wasn't looking for

If you are one of my NoVa friends, this post will not be all that interesting since we all have one of these stories now. But to each of us individually, WHOA do we have a story to tell


Today was my first (and hopefully last) earthquake.  At 5.8 it wasn't anything to sneeze at. The 11th floor where I work was definitely rocking and rolling. It lasted long enough for me to check out the window to see if the metro construction had gone wrong in some way, then check with my boss, then freak out with my boss, and then wonder WHAT just happened.

Even though my building just did a full evacuation drill three weeks ago (and I had to do floor captain training with a fetching florescent vest) we had NO idea what to do in this particular situation. Thankfully our building seems to be just fine and we only had to wait outside a brief time before they allowed us to reenter.


The rest of the afternoon was spent checking in with our coworkers and sharing our stories with one another of our panicked reactions to such an unexpected phenomenon. When it really comes down to it, nothing actually HAPPENED to most of us. Mostly, the Metro's precautionary 15 mph speed limit had the biggest impact on the day. Thankfully I don't use the metro to get to and from work.

Oh, and where is Hurricane Irene supposed to make landfall this weekend? It seems the world is ending and starting right here in Virginia. Ah, it's fun living where everything happens ;-)

Monday, August 22, 2011

And it was good!

DC Fest was AMAZING!  The meet & greet before hand was very quick with no pictures, but I had a chance to say hello to, and get autographs from, 18 amazing christian men. I didn't say anything life changing to SCC, but it was still great. Every one of them were so kind and gracious as I made meaningless smalltalk while moving along the line of artists.

And then it was on to the concert! My seat was dead center, 2nd row. It's an amazing way to see a concert. From 3pm until 10:30pm we worked our way through seven amazing sets of music. Though I didn't know all the songs, there wasn't any part I wanted to skip. I had fun. I worshiped. I pondered. I laughed. I got tired and wished I wore better shoes for standing on concrete all day. But I loved every minute of it. Right down to the last moment when I got SCCs guitar pick that he tossed into the crowd.

I hope none of the wonderful preachers and teachers I know and love take this the wrong way, but that day of music fed me as much as a month of Sunday sermons. Lyrics pierced my soul. They illuminated dark places. They brought joy and healing. I'll be sorting through all the mini-sermons my soul and spirit heard for the next few weeks.

One thought I wanted to share with you. (press play above if you can)
Oh God let this be
a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob
I don't know about you, but I haven't prayed any prayers about "my generation" in almost ten years. It's a phrase that somehow only applies to youth, teens, the ones up and coming. I'm 30 now. My generation is just...a normal part of the world. But I felt God stirring my heart. We are not forgotten or left behind. We have not missed God's call on our generation.
IS 62:12 And they shall call them The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the Lord;
And you shall be called Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.
HighCalling, revisit the zeal of our youth. Revisit the prayers you prayed. It's not over yet.

Thanks for coming on this blog journey with me!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Concert Extravaganza!

Do you love concerts? Me too! Let me share a few tid-bits with you.

First, this one is local to the DC area. This Saturday is DC Fest! Hours and hours of amazing live music starting at 3pm at the Patriot Center. Last year I got tickets at the door and sat in the nosebleeds for $15 but this time I'm going all out with a 2nd row ticket that lets me meet the artists before the show. This is when I plan to stutter at Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W Smith, Matthew West and more all at once. You should come too!

Other awesome tours:
  • Hillsong United is hitting a few cities. I'm bummed because the MD show is the same night as DC Fest.
  • You also NEED to be at a show during the LAST TOUR EVER for the David Crowder Band. They are also taking Gungor, Chris August, and John Mark McMillan on the road with them so it will be a spectacular night. They have a whole list of cities that start the end of next month and I heard a rumor that a couple are already sold out. So don't wait.
  • Chris Tomlin has been on tour for a while now and I was sad I missed him in Baltimore. Thankfully, he has a whole 2nd set of dates coming up INCLUDING the Patriot Center! Most of the cities are already on sale, so go get them now. My show goes on sale Aug 26th and I plan on snatching up some of those first 10 row tickets I see for only $36. I'm really hoping I can get some friends to go with me (hint hint hint). Christy Nockels is the special guest and I'm excited to hear her. Though I haven't keep up with her newer stuff, I loved her when she and her husband were Watermark.
  • WinterJam is hitting the west cost for the first time ever. HUGE traveling indoor music fest. I had a blast at one of the VA stops earlier this year. Super cheap too. Newsboys, RED, Kutless, NewSong, Matthew West, Fireflight, and more. 
And that is today's Music Monday Concert Extravaganza update!  Let me know what shows you plan to attend this summer/fall!
(want to know my secret? I check itickets.com alllllll the time.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Putting my hospitality to work

Have you ever wished you had a hobby that MADE you money instead of cost you money? (you'd think I sat up late at night watching infomercials with that line! But really, I'm not trying to con you.) I used to have one. Back home in Florida I had a great hobby for about 4 years. This summer I said, "Hey! Let's do that again!" I love messing around with food and making things homey and so forth and so on in a hospitable sort of way. My cooking skills and baking repertoire were very much widened by this hobby before and I'm already seeing that happen again.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Songwriters are my favorite

One of my musical heroes is Steven Curtis Chapman. His song writing style is perfect for my brain/heart to absorb. He uses so many original analogies that I just love.

In reference to accepting God's grace:
I'm playing Gameboy standing in the middle of the Grand Canyon
I'm eating candy sittin' at a gourmet feast
I'm wading in a puddle when I could be swimming in the ocean

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Show Hope

If I'm going to be a blogger, I want to use the platform for good when I can. I received an email yesterday from Show Hope asking for assistance in spreading the word about a fundraising effort they are currently engaged in. If you are still part of that lovely jungle called Facebook, then clicking LIKE will make a difference for them.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mature Monday

There is that alliteration again. Can't seem to get away from it!

I chuckle a little though, because today's "Mature Monday" is brought to you via a teen devotional post and the New Kids on the Block.

I read a devotional online this morning that was written several years ago by Rebecca St.James on the topic of boundaries. It wasn't until I got to the end that I realized it had been posted as part of a teen website. It really didn't matter since the subject matter, and her approach to it, are pretty ageless. You should click the link and go read it. It's good. It put words to the desire in my heart to quiet some of the chaos that has been there. Quitting Facebook (which I did this morning!*) has been about creating boundaries. When I decided to kick the FB bucket, I let up on the personal tweeting a bit as well, but I had no intention of making any major changes to my OTHER twitter account. The one all about NKOTB.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Funky Friday

I'm not sure what it is about blog posts, days of the week and alliteration, but it seems to be running rampant in the blogdom. Why fight it?  It's hard to find a good use of the word funky otherwise. But since we did work it in, let's start today's music post with some TobyMac!  Hit play over there -->

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On the back of a snail

I've said my heart lies with Jesus, music and hospitality. I could have said food, but I'm not a foodie and I'm not a chef. I love making a home, sharing a home, lending a home, bringing home to less homey places. And yes, even sending a little home out on the back of a snail.

Cutting back on my social networking made me more aware of other ways to reach out and touch someone. Remember being a kid and getting a piece of mail, any mail? SO EXCITING!! As adults, we get mail and the thrill is gone. Until we see something with handwriting and maybe a fun color. Then we perk up just like when we were kids. I GOT MAIL! REAL MAIL!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lazy Monday

Sometimes I wish I was rich. If I was, I'd pay someone to stop my procrastination. What's the difference between the physical shape I'm in and the shape some of these movies stars are in? A personal trainer. I have a gym membership that includes classes. I have time. What I don't have is a person I PAY to make sure I DO IT. (not at all to downplay the training and expertise of physical trainers!) In my fantasy world, this person would come to my home, so I'd also be motivated to make my house visitor ready on a regular basis.

This weekend my pastor started a sermon series on Keywords. It's a fun concept since you never know what he's gonna throw at you. He started with PROCRASTINATION. As he taught and shared scripture, something became clear to me. I'm lazy. That wasn't the main or only focus of his teaching, but it was the one that applied to me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Encouragment Weekly


As I've focused on making this blog my Little House on the Internet, I've also been visiting around and discovering a few other great blogs. Below are three links to blogs that really made an impact on me, as well as a bonus article. Check them out now, and come back here soon for my next post.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A little taste

I've introduced you to Anthem Lights and shared a little about what Jesus is doing with my internet habits, so now it's time for a dash of hospitality. Since this might not appeal to as large a readership, we'll keep these posts short and sweet.

I'm not an expert cook or baker, though I can hold my own. But I love presentation. For a birthday party recently I threw a trifle together that, I must say, came out looking pretty spiffy due to my trifle bowl. When I moved into my studio apartment earlier this year, I culled my kitchen down to my idea of the bare essentials, which included keeping this bowl!  I was able to fill it with yummy layers, seal it up with the lid, throw the removable stand in my purse, and voilĂ ! Have trifle, will travel!

Let's call this THE Trifle ;)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Backwards = Forwards

I adore technology. My Droid is my BFF. My laptop is my bread and butter. My fiber optic wireless internet is a beautiful gift. I live in anticipation of the day I can go 4G. These things allow me to be on constant communication worldwide. And yet, there is an emptiness that they multiply.
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:12
FaceBook has had power over me for some time now.  A year ago this month I took a month away from it and that was was wonderful, but it pulled me back. If I didn't log in, how would I know when someone I was friends with 15 years ago got married? WHAT IF I MISS SOMETHING??  Only weird people don't have a facebook!

I've also found that status updates and tweets leave me without anecdotes when I see my friends face to face.  "I saw the most beautiful rainbows yesterday" "I know, I saw your pic on facebook" "Oh"  *awkward silence*  How much better is it to have a few moments genuine conversation about something than to exchange a sentence or two over the internet? On the flip side, do you ever expect your friend to know what's happened in your life, only to find they didn't read facebook that day?? Oh the horror! They must not really love you! Wait, is that an overreaction?

July 31st I will be deleting my account. I love all 316 of you that are my "friends" over there, but it's time to kick the habit. I've started a new account that for now will be family only.  I've also started a page just for this blog. Anyone and everyone is welcome to "like" the blog page and keep in touch that way. I'll be blogging more often in an attempt for my internet communication to be RICH & FOCUSED and not 140 character snippets. You are also welcome to follow me on twitter where I'll still be tweeting, but that account will be much more of a news-ticker than anything else. Please do not be offended if I don't follow you back.

My internet communications with people will be here on this blog and through email.  I know, I know, how 90's of me! Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.  I want my communications to be intentional

And because bulleted lists are my favorite, here are the ways to know when a new blog is published:
(useful since 98% of you come here from my facebook statuses)
  • Subscribe with an RSS reader.  Look for the button over there  ---^
  • Subscribe by email.  Also over there ---^
  • Follow my twitter account.  Over there ---^
  • "Like" the blogs Facebook page  Over...well, you get the idea.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
January 2012 edit:
Be sure to read the FOLLOW-UP POST almost six month later!

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Introducing... Themes and Anthem Lights!

    How can I made my internet presence more RICH & FOCUSED? I'm going to try out some theme posting!  Right now my topics might be: Entertaining (hospitality, food, etc), Music (albums to buy and concerts to attend) and God Stuff (more like the stuff that has already been on this blog). This list is open to change right now, but once it's a little more settled down, you might even see more scheduled posts for your regular reading pleasure.

    Today you get... MUSIC!  

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    Rich + Focused = Bursting

    I desire to live a rich and focused life.  Not scattered.  Not diverse. Not wide. Not perfect. Focused. Rich. And in case you wondered, I'm not taking about cash, though I wouldn't mind some of that.  I want my life to be bursting with...well, life!

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    This much I know is true

    LOUD.  That is what my head has been lately. But this I know. God loves me. No matter what I discover isn't true, I know He is always there. Always.

    One of the silliest of ways that's been show lately is in a photograph that came out pretty much perfect in a situation where the chances were pretty slim. I saw the Newsboys in concert recently and I bought a meet & greet ticket. I only spoke to 2 of the 4 guys, and babbled like a fool for the most part. But the pic came out amazing. I'm happy with my own smile. My "good side" is toward the camera. All of the guys have eye contact with the camera. I didn't get stuck with my arms around two of them causing me to look armless, yet Tait moved right in to keep the group dynamic. I chose something to wear that mimicked the monochromatic look, as well as Jody's v-neck. And before you say he's not smiling, that's just Jody. That tiny smirk IS a smile. The lighting is good. The background is nice. Oh, and though it was WAY overheated in that room, I'm just pink, not as bright red as I felt. Anyway, as silly as it is, I love this pic. And it reminds me that I am loved, in the middle of all the LOUD in my head.


    James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Just 3 weeks?

    Somehow, that last blog feels like a million years ago. Two things happened in that time. The first is kind of hard to explain because it's be turning out to be a non-event, plus it's also very personal. Let's just say that there was a moment of extreme hope and holding of breath that led to...nothing. I'm still praying about what I was to learn from this. Is it about trusting that when God closes a door He has another plan? Or is it about being persistent, tenacious and fervent to keep knocking on that door? The second is heartbreaking, but easier to explain to you.

    A week ago a very dear man died in a traffic accident. Pastor Jim Maher has been in my life since I was 5 years old.  Though he didn't become the Sr Pastor for a few years after that, he was really the first person that I ever related to as MY pastor. All my little girl dreams of my wedding day had him front and center. He loved me and my family. I hesitate to write any more, because to truly pay him tribute would take more time than I have right now.  I traveled to Kansas City for his funeral this week. It's hard to decide when to travel for these types of things since last minute travel can be so expensive. But I knew that this was a life I wanted to honor. I also needed to face my grief and work through it. When I lost my Dad three years ago this month, I smashed down so many emotions because I just couldn't cope. Losing another father figure brought back so much of that pain. Things are still a work in process, but I am grateful to say that my heart is continuing to soften. I can still feel the love I blogged about in my last post. It's not the skipping and dancing sort of love right now and doesn't feel so much like spring time, but it feels like a comforting autumn sort of love. Cozy and crying on God's shoulder.

    This weekend I'm off on a little vacation I had planned before all this happened. By tomorrow afternoon I'll be sitting on Virginia Beach breathing in the salt air and letting the sound of the waves refresh me. I've renewed my relationship with books and plan to spend some serious time with them. I'll be praying and reading and probably crying a bit. Sunday I'll enjoy WinterJam in Norfolk (Newsboys, Crowder, Chris August and more).  Hopefully by the time I'm back in the office Tuesday I'll be back up on my feet. My boss was pretty concerned about me today, so I know I must look/sound pretty worn down by this week.
    (It's a weird coincidence that my vacation spot is also Pastor Jim's hometown. I'm not sure what to think of that yet.)

    In the natural, Spring is almost here. I think that I'll be back there soon in the spirit as well. But sometimes God's season jump out of order for a moment.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    In love

    If you can, play this song while you read this blog.



    Have you ever had a friend comment on a gift you received, asked what the occasion was, and replied with "He loves me" probably accompanied by a big cheesy grin? Maybe it wasn't a gift, but an act of service you received. Either way, the idea is you're brimmed over with warm fuzzies because someone did something nice for you JUST BECAUSE THEY LOVE YOU.

    Lately, I've been feeling rather mushy because I've been getting little love gifts. I've felt like singing and dancing and have walked around with a cheesy grin from time to time. Know why? Because He loves me!

    I know God's love is constant and unchanging, but lately it's been a fun time of walking on sunshine,oh oh!
    James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    A mini-blog

    I am type A. I want to be in control. I like to be in control.  I am comfortable being in control. I can sometimes be controlling. And yet, I find my greatest peace and comfort in knowing that someone else is ultimately, fully and completely, in control. Nothing feels better than complete abandonment in Him.

    • “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Brainwashed

    It's happening. On the fifth attempt in a row, I think Winter is starting to brainwash me. I'm no longer horrified when I can see my breath. I smile and think it feels nice out when the temperature breaks 40. I wear pumps to work instead of boots because my hatred being cold is slipping below my hatred of socks. (It's a FL girl thing.) A couple weekends ago, I took a walk, for FUN, in January.



    I was looking forward to this happening. Looking forward to getting through winter without wanting to cry every time I go outside. And yet, this feels so unnatural! I think my body is actually reacting to cold differently, or maybe building up a resistance so I can be colder for a longer period of time before I become miserable. I should be happy, but I feel like a mutant. I might need therapy! On a beach, with a palm tree near by.

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Creativity

    Being creative isn’t always easy. There are certainly the fireworks moments where you are overwhelmed by an idea and hold on to the handle of a bottle rocket that shoots you into whatever it is your “thing” is. But most times, being creative is a willingness to sit down, push through your doubt and fears, and apply sweat and hard work to creating something.  -- Jon Acuff (http://www.jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike/2011/01/4284/)

    I have LONG said I am not a creative person. I'm about concrete instructions, not flying by the seat of my pants. Yet, people have argued with me over this and told me that I AM creative. Maybe, just maybe, I have been all wrong about what this word really means.

    Without realizing what I was going, I've been cultivating my creative side recently. Starting this blog is one way that's happening. I'm playing around with ways to not just blog, but BE a blogger. Wait and see, my creativity might surprise us all.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Bucking the trend

    This is America. I'm a single adult living alone. I live in a bustling metropolis. Indulgence is the name of the game. And indulgence leads to laziness pretty quickly. 2011 is the year to stop playing the game. Self discipline is the new mantra.

    Dishes? Done at least every 36 hours.Other cleaning? Weekly. Gym? Five days a week. Spending? Not much. Bible? Read it. Goofing off? Earn it.  Junk food?  Nope.

    I think it's time to start a star chart.

    Home, so very Sweet Home

    The big moving day has come and gone.  And the refrain of my heart is that I am BLESSED!  The day went better than I could have imagined.  Moving in mid-January was freaking me out a bit, but we had sun and it was easily 10 degrees warmer than it had been in a week.  I have the most amazing friends who moved everything I owned out and then back in in well under 3 hours with the skill of pros.  Not a nick or a scratch.

    Have you ever felt that feeling that you are EXACTLY where God currently wants you to be?  That feeling of rightness, contentment and excitement?  I know it's just an apartment, but this place feels like it was built just for me.  From the built-ins that make me happier than any sort of architecture should, to the way my kitchen table slips right under the counter overhang, to the way my cedar chest perfectly fits under the window.  The tiny kitchen is a pass-though which everyone who's grandma had a pass-through knows it the COOLEST type of kitchen.  And who has SIX windows in their basement apartment?  Yes, some things are small.  But I feel like they are leading me in a direction of learning about self-discipline.  I've been too indulgent and lazy and it's time to turn that around.

    My landlords are amazing and kind.  The basement renovations are only recently completed and they are wide open to feedback on how we can make it as comfortable and practical as possible.  There is an openness that makes them much more like upstairs neighbors than landlords.  Though I've never felt unsafe living alone, I feel very safe here knowing that there are people who care nearby.  I hope to be able to bless them as much as they have already blessed me.

    Being 2.5 miles from work will reclaim at least 40 min of every day and allow me to go home between work and going out on weeknights.  How nice it will be to go home and whip up some dinner before heading back out!  That right there will save me a little cash and add a little health.  I could even run home on a lunch break if I had forgotten something or need a mental break (since I don't actually TAKE lunch breaks...)



    My new home is beautiful.  It's truly a blessing from God.  I talked with friends over Christmas break about God's tendency to pull a bait-and-switch on us occasionally.  I knew He wanted me to give up my place, but I thought I was headed in the roommate direction.  Instead He had this place in mind for me.  All I had asked for was to save money and stay inside the Beltway.  He answered those desires and more.  I know He has even more in store for me as well.

    Now I'm going to take those first couple months of savings and have some shopping fun!  I need a small rug for my bedroom, a larger one for my living room, a big chair/small loveseat and new bedding and towels.  I can't wait to see how good it all looks in a couple months!

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Cleaning House

    The big count down is on.  Eleven days until the big move!  Or, the little move if I reach my goal.

    I have a family history of pack-rat behavior.  The idea is to save anything you might use again, ever.  Personally, I'm also very sentimental and keep too many mementos.  So while the amount of furniture I have to move is rather small and mostly every light-weight, I always have too many boxes of STUFF.

    I started the cleaning/packing endeavors on Thursday and so far I have a carload of stuff to take to Goodwill and have taken 5 kitchen trash bags out to the compactor.  I've been more ruthless then ever before.  There is no reason to have enough pajamas to last two weeks without doing laundry.  And why did I have a box with 5 flashlights?  I think one flashlight will get me through any power outage.

    The books right now are my sticking point.  I had every intention of giving away MANY of them.  But when I went through the shelves, I pulled out less then a dozen I could live without.  Yet, each time I've moved, my friends say HOW MANY of those boxes are filled with books???  Last time I moved a bunch of them myself the day before the real move because I felt so guilty.  So I will go through the shelves again and do what must be done.  *tear*

    And after the books, comes the Pampered Chef tools!  Can't keep all of that stuff....

    What do YOU tend to hoard?  What tips/hints/motivation can you offer to keep me tossing?