Thursday, December 31, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!

Not that many of you are blogging right now. :)

But for me it's 9:00am on January 1st. The night went well, minus all the silver confetti I kept finding in my underwear.

I hope that you can keep your resolutions and that you are happy with the direction your life is going!!

God bless you always and every day of your life!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I. Can't. Concentrate.

Do you ever get so excited that you may as well not do anything?

That's how I feel.

Our flight to Hong Kong is tomorrow at 10:30pm and I KNOW that I should be working. I'm watching the Colbert Report instead.

Are you excited about anything coming up?! :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh, New York

There are moments where I supremely love the city that I live in (or near, technically. I work here!). Last night was one of them.

I did it. I got THE SANDWICH. Steve didn't want to do it, but he loves me and lets me do things that I want to do...even if they're bad for my health.



The Something Different sandwich from Juniors. Yes. That is beef brisket between two potato latkes. HAPPY HANUKKAH TO ME!!! I wish I had my camera.

But that's okay. My friend Laurie and I are going to go together (soon, I hope!) and I'll be able to get a picture. Freaking. Awesome.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

15 Vials

That's how much blood they took out of me yesterday. That and I had to pee in a cup and then put it in a vial. Which kind of grosses me out, even if it is my own pee.

I met my possible...receiver? Not like football though. My friend (Sam) thinks God wanted us to meet. I was standing at the counter and they couldn't find my paperwork. They were saying, 'You're a potential donor?' And I said, 'Yes.' And they asked for my first name...and when I said 'Danae' there was a ruckus behind me! Turned out, A. (that's what I'm going to call her) was two people behind me. So I got to talk to her and meet her (same building, different congregation, but I'm sure I've seen her before).

She sent me this e-mail last night:
Don't be overwhelmed! Just take it slowly over the next few weeks while you give careful consideration to your decision.

Of course I would be thrilled to have you agree to be my donor but that is your decision which has to be made according to your various concerns. Please let me know if there is anything I can answer.


Which is RIDICULOUSLY helpful. Because I'm scared. I read an article about the 'downside of live donations' and freaked out. Because that's what I do.

Then I was secretly hoping that we wouldn't be a match (because then I don't actually have to decide). But A. sent me this today:
As a general rule, you must have a blood type compatible with the recipient or you will not be able to donate. Here is who can donate to whom:


Type A can donate to types A and AB.

Type B can donate to types B and AB.

Type AB can donate to type AB.

Type O can donate to types A, B, AB, and O.



Guess which one I am?! Yeah. I'm O. O+, actually.

But maybe it's why we're still in New York. Maybe I'm still here because God isn't finished with me yet. But I gotta say, I'm scared as hell to tell my parents about it if Steve and I decide to do it. I'm thinking about taking my mother's approach and waiting until I'm a 17-hour plane ride away and then bringing it up. I'm certainly not going to bring it up while we're in the Philippines.

Maybe you could say a small prayer? That God will lead me/us in the right direction with what needs to happen? Thank you :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Weekend


My favorite picture, but I guess I'm kind of partial.


Yeah, Lillian loves cream.


Rocky was REALLY thirsty. Even though his water dish was on the floor.


YOU SAID WHAT?!


Uncle Steve helping the child prodigy.


This is where we grew up. Steve wanted to take pictures.




She got the hang of it.


We bought her blocks as part of her Christmas present. The blocks we got her are braille/sign language.


Bourbon pumpkin cheesecake!! I didn't let it sit long enough though.


My blue mashed potatoes.


Lillian liked her doll too. From Baby Be Blessed. So cute!


This is totally what mommies are for.

_______________________________________________________________

All in all, we had a really great weekend. Tomorrow is my blood test and then we only have 4 days until Hong Kong!! Did you have a nice weekend?

Friday, December 11, 2009

To Ohio, We Go! (UPDATE)

We weren't going to go. Since bugs have pretty much eaten half of my blood and all of our resources, we told my in-laws, sorry, but we can't come.

We got a call a few weeks ago and they said that they'd pay for our plane tickets. Still, we couldn't afford Christmas gifts. So Steve had the idea that we'd make dinner for them!! I'm so excited!

Plus, I get to see my adorable niece. I haven't seen her since she was less then a week old. And now...look at her!




So we're off to Ohio today after work. Pray that the wind dies down, that LaGuardia Airport doesn't suck as much as it normally does, and that we can actually get there. If the wind doesn't die down...we may not be able to go. We're only going for the weekend and if we don't make it out tonight, I don't know if we can make it.

But here's a recipe that I'm REALLY hoping to use for dinner (except for my SIL and her boyfriend who are both vegetarian/freegan)

CHICKEN IN RIESLING

SERVES4

* ACTIVE TIME:30 MIN
* START TO FINISH:1 HR

MARCH 2008
Though coq au vin made with red wine is perhaps the best-known incarnation of the French dish in this country, most regions of France have unique versions that take advantage of local wines. Alsace’s dry Riesling lends a gentle richness to this creamy, comforting meal.

* 1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 lb), backbone discarded and chicken cut French style into 8 pieces (see cooks’ note, below)
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
* 4 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped (2 cups)
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
* 4 medium carrots, halved diagonally
* 1 cup dry white wine (preferably Alsatian Riesling)
* 1 1/2 lb small (2-inch) red potatoes
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
* 1/2 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
* Fresh lemon juice to taste

*
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
*
Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and a rounded 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a wide 3 1/2- to 5-quart heavy ovenproof pot over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then brown chicken in 2 batches, turning once, about 10 minutes total per batch. Transfer to a plate.
*
Meanwhile, wash leeks and pat dry.
*
Pour off fat from pot, then cook leeks, shallot, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until leeks are pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add chicken, skin sides up, with any juices from plate, carrots, and wine and boil until liquid is reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Cover pot and braise chicken in oven until cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.
*
While chicken braises, peel potatoes, then generously cover with cold water in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan and add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain in a colander, then return to saucepan. Add parsley and shake to coat.
*
Stir crème fraîche into chicken mixture and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, then add potatoes.

COOKS' NOTE: A chicken cut French style yields 2 breast halves with wings attached, halved crosswise for a total of 4 breast pieces, 2 drumsticks, and 2 thighs. If you don’t want to cut up a whole chicken, you can use 3 pounds chicken parts.

I'm going in for a blood test on Monday. Could you please pray for whatever God wills? I'm excited and nervous and scared. If you don't mind? Thank you :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Your Best Gift Ever

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet


I feel like I am a good gift giver. Most times (not always, mind you), I've been able to really pull it together and give a good gift. Not that I'm bragging. But there's something in my brain that makes me remember the weirdest things. Of all the things my co-worker has told me, I remembered that his favorite story is about the Monkey King (it's a Chinese tale about Buddha) and, while in Hong Kong, I bought him a Monkey King. Random, I know. But those are the types of things I remember.

One year, for my husband's birthday, I bought him tickets to see an Indians game at Yankees Stadium, 6 rows behind first base. I surprised my little brother (who is somewhat of a geek, like me) with tickets to Hamlet (sure, it was a gift for me too). It always excites me to give a good gift.

Now, obviously Jesus gave the best gift of all. You open up all the Christmas-wrapped boxes and you got...Socks, under shirts, an embarrassing book from Aunt Jennie and then you see that Jesus gave you eternal salvation. Hmmm. Which one are you going to return? I'm keeping that last one!

Right now, there is the possibility that I could...MAYBE...be giving a gift that I never really thought of. I don't want to go into too much detail because I haven't even cleared the donor questionnaire, but...it's a super big deal. And it's scary. And I'm kind of scared. And I e-mailed the woman (who I don't know) because I saw her sign at church. We share our building with another congregation and she goes to BUCC and I go to Advent. But I saw it and I just...felt like I should e-mail her. I still feel like I could lose my lunch when I think about it all. And I shouldn't even be contemplating it. Because almost everything is too far away.

But if I can do this and give this gift to her, could you imagine? They would say it's the gift of life, but...this life. A gift for this life, for sure. I think that's more then I really could ever have imagined giving and that is amazing.

I want to know: what is the best gift you've ever been given? Or what is the best gift you feel like you ever gave?

What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God. -Eleanor Powell

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Some Pictures

Sometimes, an all picture post is necessary...





Monday, December 7, 2009

The Prayer of Knots

Dear God:
Please untie the knots
that are in my mind,
my heart and my life.

Remove the have-nots,
the can-nots and the do-nots
that I have in my mind.

Erase the will-nots,
may-nots, might-nots that may find a home in my heart.

Please release me from the could-nots,
would-nots and should-nots that obstruct my life.

And most of all,
Dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life all of the "am nots"
that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought
that I am not good enough.

Amen.

A Miracle


I just watched a video on adoption that calls it a 'miracle.' And I've always heard sports casters talking about 'miracles' on the court. And 'it was a miracle that the baby survived.' Those last ones...we know those are definitely miracles. The sports casters...eh. Not so much, in my opinion.

My husband and I were talking and I've been thinking about miracles. What defines a miracle?

This is what my husband said:
I think it's something that people can't control
I'd say when there's little/no hope but I think miracles can happen regardless of the situation
I think people take a lot of those little miracles for granted

I like the definition in the movie 'Pulp Fiction' (I also love to talk about it, if you couldn't tell): You're looking at this s*** the wrong way Vincent. Maybe God stopped the bullets, he changed Coke to Pepsi, he found my f**** car keys. Whether or not what we experienced was an According to Hoyle miracle is insignificant. What is significant is that I felt the touch of God. God got involved.

So I won the first and second prizes for the November Giveaway for Baby Be Blessed. I told Tina that I didn't want the first place prize because (yeah, this will sound weird) I don't really have any white children that I wanted to give the prizes too. I've been collecting them for Ethiopia and South Africa and I wanted Mary Margaret dolls. She wrote back and told me that she would give the dolls away to some children on her church's Angel Tree. But what was more important was she said that God must have wanted me to win both prizes because He knew I would give the prize away.

It kind of hit me. I never thought of it that way. I kind of thought of that as a miracle.

What do you consider a miracle? Have you ever had a miracle in your life?

Friday, December 4, 2009

If I Only Had My Camera

Steve took me ice skating yesterday at Bryant Park. It's free (minus, of course, that you have to rent skates and a locker for your stuff), but at least they don't charge you to actually skate there (Rockefeller does). And it was great! Not as crowded when we first got there.



Then I got Chinese dumpling soup and we got hot chocolate and hot apple cider and walked home. It's hard for me to get in the 'Christmas Spirit' anymore. At least the kind that involves decorating and such. I still love the Advent season (though I don't get to attend church much in December because of traveling).

AND I won the November Give-A-Blessing giveaway. I actually won the first AND second place prizes, but I told them to keep the first place prize. I know this is going to sound silly...but I don't know any white children to give the dolls to. I KNOW! So weird.

I want to get a Mary Margaret doll for my friend's brother's family. (whew! a mouth-ful!) because they're going to be adopting from Ethiopia! I'm so excited for them!!! They're hoping to adopt a little girl and I know that they're just applying to home study now...I should wait a little bit. I know, I know. :-D But they're so cute! And I think every little girl would want a doll, you know?

ALSO. Go ahead. Call me ridiculous. BUT I bought a gift for my brother (and one for myself) in Lumberjack and Pirate (which are no longer available, it appears)



YES. THAT IS A COMBINED BEARD AND MUSTACHE HAT!!!!!!!!!!! And I hope it's in the mail. I joked about it with my brother, but I'm totally going to pull it out on the train between the airport and Hong Kong when I see him.

So what I want to know...what gets you in the holiday spirit? And how are you doing? I know, it's been awhile and I've been somewhat whiny (I do apologize), but God has been doing good things, whether or not I was recognizing it. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Few Jokes

So I'm just having a day where I'm a little bit down (even when it's happy, I get down when it gets colder) and I'm feeling some anxiety about things (this whole adult thing sucks sometimes) and where Steve and I are headed and kids and blah blah blah. You know. The whole nine-yards. All these things that I really don't need to be worrying about, but still am. I need a prayer jar or something.

So I'm just going to put some jokes up today. I hope that you're doing all right today. :)

__________________________________________________________________

Two robins were lying on their backs, basking in the sun. A
mama cat and her kitten were walking by.

The kitten complained, "Mama, I'm sooo hungry, what can we
eat?"

To which the mama cat, spying the two robins, replied, "How
about some Baskin Robbins?"

____________________________________________________________________

A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each other the silent treatment. The next week the man realized that he would need his wife to wake him at 5.00 am for an early morning business flight to Chicago. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence, he finally wrote on a piece of paper, "Please wake me at 5.00 am."
The next morning the man woke up, only to discover it was 9.00am, and that he had missed his flight. Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn't woken him when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed ... it said... "It is 5.00am; wake up."

____________________________________________________________________

A couple was getting married, and it was only three days before the wedding. The bride calls her mother with some bad news. "Mom," she says, "I just found out that my fiance's mother has bought the exact same dress as you to wear to the wedding." The bride's mother thinks for a minute. "Don't worry," she tells her daughter. "I'll just go and buy another dress to wear to the ceremony." "But mother," says the bride, "that dress cost a fortune. What will you do with it? It's such a waste not to use it." "Who said I won't use it?" her mother asked. "I'll just wear it to the rehearsal dinner."

ONE MORE!!

The Hormone Hostage knows that there are days in the month when all a man has to do is open his mouth to a woman and he takes his very life into his own hands.

This is a handy guide that should be as common as a driver's license in the wallet of every husband, boyfriend, or significant other.

DANGEROUS: What's for dinner?
SAFER: Can I help you with dinner?
SAFEST: Where would you like to go for dinner?
ULTRASAFE: Here, have some chocolate.

DANGEROUS: Are you wearing that?
SAFER: Gee, you look good in brown.
SAFEST: WOW! Look at you!
ULTRASAFE: Here, have some chocolate.

DANGEROUS: What are you so worked up about?
SAFER: Could we be overreacting?
SAFEST: Here's fifty dollars.
ULTRASAFE: Here, have some chocolate.

DANGEROUS: Should you be eating that?
SAFER: You know, there are a lot of apples left.
SAFEST: Can I get you a glass of wine with that?
ULTRASAFE: Here, have some chocolate.

DANGEROUS: What did you do all day?
SAFER: I hope you didn't overdo it today.
SAFEST: I've always loved you in that robe!
ULTRASAFE: Here, have some more chocolate.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Friend-Makin' Mondays and LAST Baby Paxton




All right! Back into the swing of things. I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving! My husband and I couldn't afford to go visit family, so my grandparents came to visit us. We had a really good dinner (at a restaurant because I have no table and the exterminator was coming again the next day) and got to spend some time with them since we won't see them for...quite some time now.

So Friend-Makin' Monday is another survey! I love surveys for some reason. If you want to join in, please feel free to visit Amber.

1. Favorite website
Hmm...I like to read my friend Vashti's blog or The Uniform Project is really cool. Also, my guilty pleasure is This Is Why You're Fat.

2. Favorite color
Cerulean blue. It's a crayon color

3. Facebook? {Post a link or share your name if you want some new Facebook friends!}
I do facebook, but I'm trying to limit it to close friends and family. I used to have something like 400 facebook friends and they were mainly people I spoke to ONCE in high school and people I wasn't even friends with. And I felt like I was just stalking too many people and it was bad for my soul.

4. Favorite Christmas song?
Hmm...I LOVE the Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers Christmas duets, but some of the songs are just plain creepy. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to sing 'O Holy Night' though. It makes me ridiculously happy.

5. Christmas tree: Real or fake?
I miss having a real one. We had one almost every year, but it's been 3 years since I had one that was over a foot tall. Since we aren't at home (or at my parent's home) on Christmas anymore, no real need for one, you know?

6. Hottest celebrity?
Hmm...Mac from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia? I don't know...is it weird that I don't really think about that?

7. Favorite restaurant?
My favorite expensive restaurant is Peter Luger's. And my favorite non-expensive restaurant is either Nomado 33 (NYC) or Sakura (Akron, Ohio). I guess I'm just a sushi girl.

8. Favorite magazine?
I don't really read magazines. I used to like Gourmet, but that's gone now.

9. Favorite thing to drink around the holidays?
I love Reisling! Mmmmm. But I need to get back on the wine/liqour. I need to fit into a bathing suit for Christmas!!

10. Favorite Christmas movie.
OH MY GOSH!!!!!!! IT'S THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL!!!!! It's a tradition for me to force anyone I know to watch it with me. I need to ask Steve to pull that out. :)

________________________________________________________________________________

Baby Paxton is HOME!!!



How great is that?

I was going to put the Chip In for Baby Paxton, but it looks like it's over! They were able to raise $679 for Paxton and his Ma Ma. I don't know if it's too late to join in though. Maybe not? Cause if you do, you could win these little suckers.



If you want to read up on what Baby Be Blessed does, you can always read here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving In Pictures

Sorry it's been awhile since I've posted. To be honest, after preparing the church luncheon last Sunday and working and everything, I was a little burnt out.

But I am thankful for sleeping in, for pretzels, for my grandparents coming to visit for Thanksgiving, for being able to go on walks with my husband, and mostly, for God's love and kindness in my life, even when I struggle.





Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Prayer Request

My co-worker Daniel has leukemia. He's had it for a year and 95% of leukemia patients (that have this type of leukemia) can be treated with a pill. Wouldn't you know that he is in that 5% that can't be? You want to be in that top percentage until it's something like this. Next week, he's going in for chemotherapy and then has to get a bone marrow transplant. He's been having a very rough few weeks (and he's had bed bugs too!! aaarrrgggghhhh!).



If you could please pray for his health, for his wife, and that he comes to know Christ in this time, I would really appreciate it. :)

Home Is...

I have a friend on Facebook who started a conversation about 'Home.'

She's lived in New York for at least 4 years now and she said that she's tired of people asking if she's coming 'home' to Ohio. She no longer views that as 'home' even though that's where her parents live.

Someone told her that, no, that IS her home because it's where she's from. But I want to know why does that mean you're 'home'?

You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right. ~Maya Angelou

I grew up in a very small town in Ohio and I HATED it. I've been told that we lived in a very strange town, that most towns are not like that. We were not accepted there, we did not fit in there, and I did everything I could to get out of there. And now my parents no longer live there. All the places that I once called 'home' are simply buildings that I see in pictures. I haven't driven past them since my family moved from Canal Fulton. I feel no need to go back to Ohio. It's stopped being home.

I'm getting a bit sentimental, if you couldn't tell.

Home is not where you live but where they understand you. ~Christian Morgenstern

Maybe it's the holidays. Maybe it's that, every year, we change what we do. The traditions that we held onto for so long disappeared a few years back and we just make it up as we go. I don't mind it so much, but I think we all have days where we think of what we had once and miss it. Not because it was a good story, or a relevant one, but because it was our story.

Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to. ~John Ed Pearce

Humans fear change and I've had a lot of it in the past three years of my life. And I think part of it has always been that I didn't leave my parents - my parents left me. They moved before I ever did. I didn't have a permanent mailing address until I got married and moved to New Jersey/New York.

Even now, I don't plan on being in any apartment for longer then a year. The longest we've lasted is a year and a half. In 5 years, I've lived in as many places, hopping back and forth between states.

I feel more at home in Hong Kong then I ever did in Ohio. I learned more street names in my 3 years in New York then I ever did in the 22 years in Canton.

You know, people always say 'home is where the heart is.' I like how Robert Frost thought of it:
Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.


Where thou art - that - is Home. ~Emily Dickinson

Monday, November 23, 2009

Friend-Makin' Mondays



Wooohooo!!! Another Monday, but this is a 2 and a half day work week!!!!! YYEESSS!!! If you want to join in, please feel free to visit Amber!

It's all about Thanksgiving!

1. Turkey or Ham? I prefer turkey, but I've always had both on Thanksgiving. One with each side of my family.

2. Favorite side dish. Mashed potatoes BY FAR!

3. Favorite dessert. We always had pumpkin pie or like chocolate cake. I like both. Though I can always do pumpkin roll too. You know, with the cream cheese.

4. Black Friday: Are you going or not? HELL. NO.

5. If so, what's on the top of your list? I with I could say I was sleeping in on Black Friday, but the exterminator is coming for the THIRD TIME and we have to be out of the apartment. With the cat.

6. Going out of town or staying close to home? We're staying at home and my grandparents are coming to visit!

7. Hosting or helping? None of the above. Since we don't have a table and, if we did, it would be wrapped in plastic, we have restaurant reservations at a place in Hoboken at 5pm.

8. Name one family tradition at Thanksgiving. You know, since my parents moved and then we moved too, all traditions have seriously been thrown out the window. We no longer have any traditions. Last year, for Thanksgiving, Steve and I went to Peru.



I wouldn't mind making it a tradition to take a trip, but we'd definitely need to start saving for that...oh...NOW. We only have a 'tradition' at Christmas and that is to take a paper Santa with us wherever we go and take pictures with him. This year, paper Santa will be ENJOYING THE BEACH!!! I can't wait to be in Hong Kong!!! :)

9. What do you do after dinner? This year, I'd love to sleep! We'll probably take a bottle of wine over to my grandparent's hotel room.

10. What are you most thankful for this year? I am thankful for my husband. For all that God has done in my life and for my relationship with Him (that's what I want the most!). For being able to have a cat. For my family. For the children that I love and have never met and those I have met or will meet soon.

Remember God's bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude! ~Henry Ward Beecher

What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving? ~Erma Bombeck, "No One Diets on Thanksgiving," 26 November 1981

Friday, November 20, 2009

Being Thankful

I know that thankful Thursday was yesterday, but I went to church last night and the theme was being thankful and it was a really great service. And today has been kind of a crappy morning, so I feel like I should focus on something other than myself.

I am thankful:

1) I am thankful for Vashti and all the work that she is doing in South Africa. I am really anticipating going to South Africa and Ethiopia because I believe that it will really change my perspective on life and love.

I've been to Cambodia, but it was more insulated. I was with my family and we had a private tour and there were times that we saw what life is really like in Cambodia but it was very far from us.


This is a Buddhist Stuppa that contains 8,000 human skulls that were found at Cheoung-Ek, also known as, The Killing Fields.

Cambodia is still getting over genocide, over 30 years later. There are still not enough teachers to help the children and the prostitution is rampant. Parents will hack off the limbs of their children so that they will get more money from tourists.

2) I am thankful that I have more than enough. Sometimes, it feels like it's not enough and I know that Steve and I panic. But God has given us grace and that is enough. We had a dinner for an upcoming church event and the pastor there used The Message's translation of 1 Timothy and it is really touching. Part of what he says is 'If you have bread on the table and shoes on your feet, that is all that you need.'

Most people in Cambodia make $30 a month. Gasoline costs over $1 per liter. Because their currency is so devalued, they allow the US$ in circulation.



Those bottles all contain gasoline. It is cheaper to buy your gasoline from a bottle in the road then to go to a gas station. The more rural the area, the more likely you will see roadside stands with gasoline. People purchase enough gasoline to get them where they're going. At the same time, we saw almost no cars in Cambodia. Almost everyone drives motorbikes. We saw up to four people on these bikes.

3) I am NOT thankful that I am STILL being bitten by bed bugs even though the exterminator has been out twice. But I am thankful that I have someone to lean on while we go through this. God has been good and so has my husband.



We will get through this, even if the darn blood suckers are multiplying in ways that are inconceivable to me. Update! I AM thankful that we have a three month guarantee and the exterminator is coming out again without us having to pay! Which is great, because we couldn't pay that again. Literally and figuratively.

and I am also hopeful.

I am hopeful that God will answer our prayers. Maybe not in our way, but in His. That God will touch our hearts to do something far beyond ourselves. That, while I feel called to something, Steve clings to what makes him feel safe. And that's okay. There is still time. And maybe God will call Steve too or maybe it will be that we are called at a later time or for something different then what we had previously thought. Or maybe I can go on a TOMS shoe drop :)

And because everyone needs a good joke every now and again...

A religious man is on top of a roof during a great flood. A man comes by in a boat and says "get in, get in!" The religious man replies, " no I have faith in God, he will grant me a miracle."

Later the water is up to his waist and another boat comes by and the guy tells him to get in again. He responds that he has faith in God and God will give him a miracle. With the water at about chest high, another boat comes to rescue him, but he turns down the offer again cause "God will grant him a miracle."

With the water at chin high, a helicopter throws down a ladder and they tell him to get in, mumbling with the water in his mouth, he again turns down the request for help for the faith of God. He arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, I thought God would grand me a miracle and I have been let down." St. Peter chuckles and responds, "I don't know what you're complaining about, we sent you three boats and a helicopter."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Church Jokes and Paxton

Hey everyone!
How's it going? I was excited to find I had a new follower. So I checked out her blog and I was CRACKING UP! Heavenly Humor is great and you should look her up. I love some good jokes. Since it's been an eh kind of day, I thought I'd add some church jokes that I found too to cheer us all up (especially if it's as cloudy where you are as it is here).
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A new pastor moved into town and went out one Saturday to visit his parishioners. All went well until he came to one house. It was obvious that someone was home, but no one came to the door even after he had knocked several times. Finally, he took out his card and wrote on the back: Revelation 3:20 and stuck it in the door.

The next day, as he was counting the offering he found his card in the collection plate. Below his message was the notation Genesis 3:10.

Revelation 3:20 reads: "Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me."

Genesis 3:10 reads: "And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked."
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(This is one of my favorite jokes.)

A southern minister was completing a temperance sermon. With great expression he said, "If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

With even greater emphasis he said, "And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

And then finally, he said, "And if I had all the whiskey in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river." Sermon complete, he then sat down.

The song leader stood very cautiously and announced with a smile, "For our closing song, let us sing Hymn #365: 'Shall We Gather at the River'."

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Also, Paxton is halfway there!!!



Baby Paxton is as crazy/beautiful as his Ma Ma says! If you want to check out the story behind Baby Be Blessed's November Give A Blessing, you can click here (or there). If you'd like to hear how proud his Ma Ma is, click here!

I'm sure baby Paxton would TRULY appreciate your prayers too, so if you feel inclined to donate, thank you! If you feel inclined to pray, CAN I GET AN AMEN!!! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On Days Such As This...

I'm not having a bad day...it's a pretty good day. But I will tell you one thing that I'm...maybe obsessed with. I enjoy reading true crime stories. I think part of it is that it boggles my mind to an extent. And it's much scarier then any horror film I could ever imagine.

Today is the 31st anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre.



And you know what I keep thinking of? Matthew 24:24:

'For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible.'

Jim Jones started out as a preacher and eventually believed himself to be God. Have you ever seen the documentary? With the survivors and Jim Jones' son? It's absolutely incredible. I think it's the one entitled 'Jim Jones: The Life and Death of the People's Temple'. His son wasn't at Jonestown when 'White Night' was called and they started to kill the children, but he received word from those who survived that his mother had to be restrained as the children were injected or forced to drink the poisoned Kool-Aid and then she was the first one to drink it afterwards. She couldn't live her life watching those children suffer and die.

The one thing that everyone, EVERYONE, says is that Jonestown seemed like such a good thing. It seemed like heaven on earth and they thought they were making a Utopia and then it all went to hell.

Their interracial children were loved by all people and not scorned like they were outside of the People's Temple. They were learning to take care of each other and lean on each other. But then...

I guess it just makes me think how something that looks so good can really be so evil. They always talk about the wolf in sheep's clothing...

So today is in honor of the victims of Jonestown, since it has been revealed that most did not drink the Kool-Aid of their volition, but were forced at gun point or injected with needles. God rest their souls.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Friend-Makin' Mondays



WOOHOOO!!! This week's Friend-Makin' Monday is after my own heart.

Favorite winter recipes.


I actually don't have a recipe that's SPECIFICALLY what I like to make in the winter, but I do have a favorite cupcake recipe. They're called Car Bomb Cupcakes (or Irish-Guinness Cupcakes). I make them a lot. As you can see.





They're a little involved, but totally worth it. I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. LOVE Smitten Kitchen!!

Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes

While the Guinness in the cake gets mostly baked out, the Baileys is fresh and potent, so if you’re making this for people who don’t drink — ahem, nobody I know, but I hear such people exist — you’ll probably want to swap it with milk.

The Baileys frosting recipe makes a smallish amount of frosting — enough to just cover the cupcakes. Because they were so rich and this frosting so sweet, I felt it only needed a little. Double it if you want more of a towering effect.

Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling (Updated to double it, based on many commenters suggestions — thanks!)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Frosting (see Recipe Notes)
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

[This is a fantastic trick I picked up while working on the cupcakes article for Martha Stewart Living; the test kitchen chefs had found that when they added the sugar slowly, quick buttercream frostings got less grainy, and tended to require less sugar to thicken them up.]

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

Ice and decorate the cupcakes. [I used a star tip and made little "poofs" everywhere and sprinkled it with various colors of sanding sugar to keep it looking festive for New Years. I bet shaved dark and white chocolates would look gorgeous as well.]

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I thought I've given an update on Baby Paxton as well.

It appears that Baby Be Blessed now has almost $500 for him!! Almost there!!

If you would like updates on how he's doing, you can always follow his Ma Ma's blog, the Wild, Wild Wests.

If you want to follow the progress on the fundraising, check it right here!