Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WFW - Micah

I took this photo yesterday.  I was struck by the bright red of the bushes set against the backdrop of a gray sky, a weathered barn, and an empty tree. 

Then this morning I read this verse in my quiet time, from Micah 7.  It reminded me of my life.  Against a backdrop of what sometimes seems weathered, gray, and empty...God provides moments of bright red glorious color.  When we watch in HOPE for Him, He will hear us.

Find more images and Scripture at Word Filled Wednesdays.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Easy Herb Saver

This summer I planted a bunch of herbs in my backyard garden.  (and by garden, I mean a bunch of herbs and one ridiculously huge squash plant)

I hated to just see all my fabulous herbs die when the frost hits.  Every year, my mom would plant tons of basil and then use it to make loads and loads of pesto.  She'd freeze the pesto in ice cube trays, and then pull out the pesto cubes when she needed them.

I decided to do the same this year.  I didn't make pesto, though.  I did one tray of chimichurri, one tray of mixed herbs, and one tray of basil.  I simply mixed the herbs, olive oil, and fresh garlic in my food processor until it made a paste that I could spread into ice cube trays.  After they froze solid, I popped them out and put the cubes into labeled baggies!  Last night I pulled out a cube of chimichurri and tossed it with spaghetti squash, spinach, and chicken for dinner! 

Here's the chimichurri recipe:

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 bunch parsley

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds, toasted

  • salt and pepper

  • Using a food processor, finely chop the garlic. Add the parsley, 1/4 cup olive oil, the onion, thyme, vinegar, mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and pulse to combine.

    I skipped the vinegar when making my cubes, because the original recipe is intended as a marinade for flank steak.  The combo of parsley, garlic, and mustard seeds is delicious!


    Find more recipes at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam!


    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Do you have 12 minutes?

    Watch this video. 

    Jimmy is a high school student in my area who is battling osteosarcoma, the same rare bone cancer that took my husband.  Jim's words are amazing and God glorifying!  I think if Isaac were here, he would've said an AMEN at the end of this one!  Way to go, Jim!!  Keep fighting!


    Today marks an interesting date.  Yesterday was October 24th, meaning it was 8 months ago that Isaac died.

    Today is October 25th.  As of today, Isaac has been gone for 244 days.  We were married for 243 days.  So that makes today the first time Isaac will have been gone for longer than we had been married.

    I'm not really sad about it, nor do I have any profound thoughts on the matter.  Those 243 days of marriage were awesome.  But, in these 244 days of being a widow, I have grown more, learned more, felt more deeply, and walked closer to God than I have in all 29 years of my life. 

    So today I choose to feel this:


    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Be Thankful

    I love Fall!  I have the house decorated for Fall, the Fall scented candles burning, and have happily pulled out my sweaters.

    Fall is also home to my favorite holiday - Thanksgiving!  I love Thanksgiving because it's simple.  There aren't any presents to buy and there isn't a lot of fuss.  My family always does a simple Thanksgiving, usually just Mom, Dad, my brother, and I.  We have our traditional family foods (Yams and Apples is my favorite - that'll be a Tasty Tuesday recipe!), Mom spends the day cooking up more food than 4 people could ever eat in a day, and we just enjoy each other's company.  I do dream of someday being part of a big family, and having a house with enough room to host them all for Thanksgiving.  Very Martha Stewart of me, right Dad?

    I also love Thanksgiving because we have so much to be thankful for and Thanksgiving gives us all the time to really give gratitude for the things, the people, and even the circumstances God has placed in our lives.

    This year is I'll be taking part in a "blog challenge" Rachel at Cherry Tree Lane is having.  Here's the details of this easy challenge:

    *The 4 Wednesdays (beginning on Nov 3rd), leading up to Thanksgiving, I'm going to write one person and tell them I am thankful for them and why. I will send it to them them that day (or drop it off at their house) and hopefully express to them how much I care for them and how grateful I am that they are in my life. I would love you to do the same.

    *The 4 Thursdays (beginning on Nov 4th), leading up to Thanksgiving, I will write a simple blog post about who I wrote to and why. On those Thursdays, I would love for you to join me and write a post. I will link to each of your blogs on that Thursday so that others can visit your site and be inspired. (I am potentially going to do a LINKY, but might just do it myself as well, not sure). If the person is someone you would like to keep private, that is also fine. You can opt out that week or write a general post keeping it private, but sharing some sentiment of Thankfulness.

    *It's as easy as that!

    And because I can't resist a good craft, I think I'll make this amazing Thanksgiving garland I spotted over at Tatertots and Jello! How adorable is that?!?


    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    WFW - Good News!

    You may remember a blog I wrote back at the beginning of August about my friend Michelle.  She and her husband, Herb, had just heard the wonderful news that they had been chosen as adoptive parents for a baby boy.  Just a few short weeks later, circumstances changed and the baby we had all been so excited for was no longer available for adoption.  Cue tears, heartbreak, and many many questions.

    Then, last week Michelle and Herb received the news that the previously mentioned baby was once again a possibility.  Monday their social worker called them with confirmation and Tuesday they became parents.  How's that for spontaneous parenthood? 

    So this baby, who is named Levi, who everyone instantly loved, who our hearts were broken for, has been placed where I think he has always belonged - in the loving arms of his mom and dad.

    To read more of Herb and Michelle's journey to parenthood - visit Michelle's blog: Our Adoption Adventure!


    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Tasty Tuesday - Pasta Bake

    My all-time favorite pasta recipe is the Baked Ziti recipe found on the back of the San Giorgio pasta box at my grocery store.  It's really, really delicious and turns out perfect everytime!  But then, on one of our trips to Houston, Isaac and I had this "Baked Rigatoni" that we both loved - which was basically baked ziti with spicy Italian sausage.  So I modified the pasta box recipe and came up with this dish.  It's easy, quick, and is perfect for making if you are taking a meal to someone. (which was the case for me - come back tomorrow to read about why I needed to take a meal to some folks in my life!)

    My Ingredients:
    1 lb of pasta (I like shells because they're cute!)
    1 lb of spicy Italian sausage
    1 jar of sauce (I use Vodka Sauce to make it creamier)
    15 oz ricotta cheese
    2 cups shredded Italian cheese
    1 egg
    2 cloves of garlic
    1 tsp oregano
    1 tsp basil
    mozzarella cheese

    Brown the sausage in about a cup of water (it helps prevent burning).

    Boil the pasta to al dente.

    Cut the sausage into bite-sized pieces.

    Drain the pasta and add the hot pasta to all the other ingredients except the mozzarella cheese.

    Stir all the ingredients together in a LARGE bowl.

    Spread the pasta mixture in a 13x9 pan and cover with mozzarella cheese.

    You can then put it in a 375 oven for about 30 minutes.  If you're taking the meal to someone else, cover it in foil and take it unbaked so they can cook it whenever it is needed!  It also freezes well!


    Find more great recipes at Tasty Tuesday!

    Monday, October 18, 2010


    Yes, this is my 3rd post about wreaths.  What can I say - I love them!

    My friend Michelle sent me a link to this super cute Ruffle Wreath tutorial and I knew I just had to make one!  So...I made two!  One for me, and one as a housewarming gift for my pal Kristy.

    Here's the play-by-play

    - fabric (I used burlap, brown, and Fall patterned)
    - felt and/or polyester silk for flowers
    - wreath form
    - glue gun
    - pins
    - needle and thread

    Cut the fabric into 4"x70" strips

    Wrap the wreath form with one strip of fabric and pin to secure.

    Loosely sew a running stitch along the one edge of the fabric.  Pull to make a ruffle.

    I ended up stitching 2 layers of fabric together to make a double ruffle.

    Pin the ruffle into place on the back of the wreath.

    Here's the pinned on ruffle for my burlap and brown wreath.

    Pin on some flowers!  I used felt and fabric to make these following this tutorial.
    I used polyester silk to make these and followed this tutorial

    The finished products! 
    You can paint the letters, or do what I did and Modge Podge some scrapbook paper onto the wooden letter.


    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    WFW - A Weekend Recap

    This weekend I visited the great state of Virginia!  I stayed in Charlottesville with one of my college roommates, Kellie and her family.  They are great hosts!  I give the Watson B&B 4.5 out of 5 stars! (They're missing a half star because there's no ramp for my rolling suitcase.  Ahaha!!!)

    Also joining me for the weekend were my parents!  One of the lovely things about having parents who make their home in a 41 foot RV is that I get to see them in fun places! (Hello Christmas in FLORIDA! Can't wait!)  You can read about their travels (all blogs come with free Dad humor!) at their blog: Oh The Places They Go!

    I have to say though, that the higlight of my visit to Virginia was my time spent in Lynchburg at Liberty University.  (Sorry Mom, Dad, and Watsons!  heehee.)  I visited the beautiful LU campus to see a few students from the Youth Group where I was a leader.  On Saturday, my parents accompanied me to an LU football game to see the lovely Lauren play with the LU Spirit of the Mountain Marching Band! 
    Lauren is simply awesome.  She is a woman after God's heart and a kick butt drummer (see those bass drums in the front?  She lugs one of those suckers all over that field!  Go Lauren!).  I remember when we did cardboard testimonies in Youth one night and Lauren's said "Suffered from SEVERE seperation anxiety" on one side, and then "Going to college FIVE HOURS from home" on the other!  I stood at the top of the stands on Saturday with tears in my eyes as I watched Lauren fulfilling a dream of marching in a college marching band (and a Division 1 band too!).  Lauren, God is doing great things through you!! 

    I also got the chance to spend time with Jenna, who is Lauren's roommate, best friend, and also from Youth.  Jenna is one of those young women who is so genuine and sweet that you can't help but love her immediately.  Plus, she's just beautiful!  This year, Jenna earned a spot as an LU Prayer Leader.  She leads a small group of students every Tuesday night in prayer and discipleship.  I love this because Jenna was an active member of our Youth Group's discipleship and now she is discipling others!  That's the church in action!  Jenna, these women are so blessed to have you as their leader! 


    I also got the chance to see Steph (a former member of my discipleship group), Brooke (Lauren and Jenna's former roommate) and Stephanie (Lauren and Jenna's current roommate) at LU's convocation.  I think these girls are so lucky and blessed to go to a school where 10,000 students gather to worship and hear the Word of God 3 days a week!  Their excitement and passion for the Lord was evident as I stood in that arena with them all!
    Stephanie, Lauren, Brooke, and Jenna
    (I stole this from Jenna's Facebook because it makes me laugh out loud!)

    So, the graphic I did this week is a verse the convocation speaker (Carol Kent) used that I think is being fulfilled in the lives of Jenna and Lauren as they spend time at Liberty University! 

    Find more verses at Word Filled Wednesdays!

    Thanks for visiting!

    If you're here from (in)courage, I just wanted to say!
    I'm so glad you've stopped by!  I'm sharing some links from this blog and my old blog (Walking the Valley) that you might like to check out for some background on my story.  So sit back and stay awhile!  (and while you're here - feel free to be a follower, I'd love to have you!)

    While your here - will you please stop over at NASCAR's Sponsafier and vote for the Sarcoma Awareness car? (See this post for more info! I need your help!)


    Today is an exciting day for my blog!  I'm guest posting over at Dayspring's blog (in)courage!  I'm so excited to get to share a little piece of my journey with Isaac with the readers of (in)courage!!!

    There are four simple words that will revolutionize your walk with God: Your will be done.

    Matthew 26 tells us that Jesus prayed those words three times. In his most agonizing, painful, sorrowful time, Jesus cried out to God. He asked God to take the cup away from him, to find another way, to free him from His wrath…but he finished the prayer with this: Your will be done.

    You see, Jesus understood this: prayer doesn’t change God’s mind, it changes our hearts. It changed my heart.

    Click here to read the rest over at (in)courage...