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 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).
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."

(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'."


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'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.]


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!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our Weekend and Thank You

I wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions with Vindaloo, our cat. It's been two days and she has not peed on the bed. We had changed her litter and we're beginning to think that was the issue. She's back to her old litter and she's good to go.

How's your weekend been? We've had a really nice, but super busy weekend. WE DROVE A SMART CAR!!!! I freaking LOVE Smart Cars and we borrowed one through Zip Car (we don't own a car). We needed to rent a car to get to Central Jersey to have our fake Thanksgiving. We had a really nice time, but it was a LONG day. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.

Today, we gave a talk about tithing to church. Steve HATES speaking in public, but he was good. He was great, actually. And I'm just getting geared up to bake cakes and cook food for our Consecration Sunday (which is why we were talking about tithing).

Counting down to seeing my family! So close and yet...

Here are some pictures for you. :) I always like to see pictures in posts.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Peeing The Bed

Who?! Me?!

First off, it's not me. Or Steve (maybe). Vindaloo, in a day and a half, has peed on the bed THREE times. Twice, she has done it directly in front of Steve.

She's now afraid of him, but still loves me even though it was ME who 'punished' her this last time for it. Even though I don't really know how to punish a cat. But she made me cry, so maybe that's why she feels bad and is nice to me (you should see the scratch marks down my back at the moment). She even sleeps on my pillow (which my grandmother was like, 'That has to stop!' but I kind of like it...) and RIGHT NEXT TO MY FACE all night long...and she will not pee near me. Good girl.

So now we're taking her to get a check up and to get a behavioral consultation on Wednesday while the exterminator is finishing up his second round. I'm still a little confused as to how the behavioral thing will go. But Steve has already said that he hopes that, if it's a behavioral issue and not a medical issue, she can be brainwashed to stop being on the bed.

Have you ever had these issues with your cats? And, if so, how did you get it to stop? Steve seriously wants to give her away. I'm looking at other options at the moment like she has a urinary tract infection or anything else. But my husband is allergic to her and has, it seems, been the subject of her pee attacks. I told him that if he gave her to a shelter, he'd just have to deal with me being mad for a bit, but that I'm leaving it in his hands.

I feel like I can't argue on this one because I fear he's worrying so much about everything that he's going to have a heart attack and put himself in an early grave. I've never seen him worry so much since we moved into this new apartment and it really makes me nervous/upsets me how much it's effecting him.

To me, it's just some sheets. But we all see the world/things differently, you know?

Either way, how are you doing? How are things?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday!

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Oh, how I love Thursday! It used to be pay-day. Today I have a voice-over and it means that I only have one more day of work before the weekend. :) So let me give thanks!! If you'd like to join in, visit Sonya at Truth 4 the Journey!

1) Voice-Overs. They really do make my day. I get paid to talk. Umm...hell yes! :)

2) My husband has been talking through me about my faith and where I think our lives are headed together. And about farting. And I appreciate all of those conversations and that he's willing to talk to me and is still opening up to me more and more each day.

3) That, even though I've been an idiot and all these things have been happening to us, I have some great friends who have been seeing us through and who think God is preparing us for something bigger. I certainly hope so.

4) That the stripper for the linoleum floor (which right now has giant neon yellow stains all over it) is coming soon and hopefully we can close that chapter of the last few weeks.

5) That there are 36 days until I get to see my family again!!! And it'll be on a beach. So that's even better :) To the Philippines!!!

6) I am thankful that Jesus is patient with me. Because I see these things that remind me of Pulp Fiction miracles and I still am like, 'Could I have, you know, just one more sign, to know that this is right?' It's like I want Jesus to come and beat me over the head with a stick to just GET IT sometimes. But fortunately, he's being patient and I wholly appreciate that.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Leap Of Faith

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'" -Erma Bombeck

I'm 24 years old and maybe I'm a little bit crazy. I know that I've done a lot of things in my life, but I feel like...sitting at this desk (yes, I am at work right now) and trying to make sure that the 500 people who absolutely LOVE John Mayer hear his CD are just...not important.

Have you ever heard of the World Race?

A friend told me about it awhile ago...Like a year ago. Maybe more. And, for some reason, it just popped into my head.

It's a pilgrimage, a mission trip. 11 months and 11 countries.

I think it would be amazing. And terrifying.

I think part of that is because I have a job, I'm married. Steve is certified in his field. And then you up and just leave for a year? What do you come back to?

I don't know. Steve is saying that I could probably go and he would stay. But it's 11 months without my husband and I don't know how much I would/should/could do that.

Like Erma Bombeck says, I just want to use up all He's given me. I think that He's given me love and I'd really like to use it.

Maybe something will happen after we visit Vashti and her orphans this coming May. I guess we'll see where God leads us, right?

The World Race from Adventures In Missions on Vimeo.

P.S. I hope I'm not bringing anyone down. You know how you reevaluate everything you do sometimes? It's been one of those months :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Friend-Makin' Mondays

Woohooo!!! I do enjoy friend-makin' Mondays! Though I do not appreciate Mondays in general. ;) If you'd like to join in, go visit Amber!

What are your favorite candles/scents?

Well, I might skip the candle part. I love candles, but I was never allowed to have them in college and I haven't really had any since. But, of my favorite smells they are...

1) Freshly mowed grass. I actually had more than one bottle of perfume that smelled like this. Does anyone else remember that the Gap had this scent?! Too bad I'm allergic to the real thing.

2) Chocolate cake. I baked a chocolate hostess cupcake cake this weekend and it smelled delicious!! (And it tastes great too)

This is not what I was baking this weekend, but similar. Except my cake was more lopsided and messy. There was cake EVERYWHERE.

3) Steve. Yes, I do enjoy the smell of my husband. Quite tasty, if I do say so myself.

And yes, this is my beautiful, wondrous husband here:

Feel free to be jealous.

4) Raspberries. I love the smell of raspberries so very much. And I love to devour them as well.

5) Rain. I love the smell of rain in the fall. Something about it mixing with the leaves. It just makes me happy.

WAIT! Don't go yet. I wanted to share this with everyone. I've shared it before, but I wanted to share it with the Friend-Makin' Monday crowd :)

This is Baby Paxton.

He was born with only half of a heart. At 4 days old, he underwent heart surgery. 4. DAYS. OLD. That is so crazy to me. I pulled some glass out of my foot today and I was a big baby about it. He would have done WAY better then me if he can do surgery at 4 days old.

The ladies over at Baby Be Blessed (who are super awesome) have chosen Baby Paxton as their Give A Blessing recipient for November.

Of course, they are trying to raise money. But it's more than that.

They want your prayers too.

If you can't donate, that's fine! Prayers are probably more important anyway. We can give in so many ways, whether it be money or our words to God.

If you'd like to help out, here's what you can do (From the Baby Be Blessed website):


~PRAY! Visit their website and let them know you are praying!


~SPREAD THE WORD!! Grab a copy of the chipin widget below and place it on your blog/website!!

If you'd like to track the progress with me, you can view it here:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

God Is Good And It Will Be Okay

What a day.

Steve and I think that it's the Devil at our heels right now because God isn't all up for torture. At least that's what Steve said. I don't believe that God likes torture, but I've been reading C.S. Lewis and he, at one point in his book 'A Grief Observed,' compares God to a surgeon or a dentist - a surgeon, knowing that if he continues cutting you he will cause pain, but also bring healing, will continue to cut, no matter how much you scream. Because, he knows, that by the end, you will be better.

Of course, it could also be my stupidity.

To make a long story short, my spices (in a plastic box because of the freaking bed bugs) were on the stove, I turned on the wrong burner, burned through the plastic enough smoke to spark both the fire alarm and the fire department to show up. My curry powder spilled on the floor along with my almond extract. The issue? The curry powder had turmeric in it and our floor is now a bright yellow. We scrubbed for 2 hours and...we still have a good amount of it. We have 11 months to get it off the floor.

Anyone know how to get turmeric off of hard surfaces? Linoleum in particular.

In the end, it's not so bad. I'm just tired. But there are so many worse things, so I need to buck up. :) What's some yellow neon stains on a kitchen floor? God is good and it will be okay. don't have to read on. This next part is kind of an argument with myself and such. But feel free if you want to.

My friend and I were talking on Facebook about gay marriage. We both support it. Then someone wrote the next below.

"i think you guys are on the right path, and we should extend open arms to those that have abortions, have sex with children, and the list goes on. are they not already in our churches, but we are blind to gods word for that we are arrogant to do what he has intended us christians to do. god sancitfied marriage for man and woman, told his followers of the immormal acts that are beind done as wrong. it is wrong, there is no middle ground to it."

It was funny, I wasn't actually upset. I used to get REALLY upset when people would tell me that I was wrong, especially about this because I'm afraid that God will hate me.

But doesn't Jesus ask us to open our arms to those people? To love all people. One thing I always think about is that Jesus loved prostitutes, tax collectors. He said that the healthy don't need a doctor, but the sick. What about those who commit some of the worst crimes and then repent or find their faith and change their lives, like Son of Sam.

Yes, Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, the man who killed 6 people is a born-again Christian. Many people don't believe him and just believe he's doing this to get out of jail. He has been turned down for parole 4 times. He has written letters to the family of his victims to apologize and is trying to stop the sale of murder memorabilia.

Do you believe him? To be a Christian, we need to forgive him and accept him. But how hard is that?

I guess I see Christ's message as love. Love for all people and I guess, as an American, I see that we are all equal, all created the same by one God who, for some reason, loves us. I guess that's why I believe in gay marriage.

But when I see messages like above, I turn to pray. I need direction. God, what do you really want? Let my heart love like Yours.

I talked to my pastor and she said to me, 'I don't know what's right. But when I meet my Maker, I want to be able to stand in front of Him and say that I loved as much as I could.'

I just want to love as much as I can. I hope God can forgive me for that if I am wrong.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Men's Deodorant And I Can't Find...

Hi guys!
Sorry, it's been a bit. The exterminator came on Wednesday and everything had to be boxed up, bagged up, sealed, etc. You should see our apartment. I should totally take some pictures. It's ridiculous.

All of our things need to stay sealed until...February.

Well, they said that we can put our kitchen and bathroom back together, but they're coming again in two weeks, so we may as well not put our stuff back.

...minus the fact that I've decided that I'm baking three cakes tomorrow and making an artichoke bean thingy for dinner. I bugged Steve until he agreed to the grocery store with me and we spent too much on groceries, but half of our stuff had to be thrown out when the exterminators came. Or we just can't find the things I need.

It's ridiculous now, how much we CANNOT FIND. Thursday morning, I couldn't find my deodorant, so I wore Steve's. I've worn mens sweaters for the last two days because all of my sweaters need washed. Steve always meets me at the PATH station and last night, he saw me walk up and took off his coat and gave it to me. All of my winter coats are at the cleaner right now. He gave me his coat this morning too. My old boss always noticed when I was wearing man clothes, but he isn't here anymore, so at least I won't have get a hard time about it. ;)

And it really sucks, sitting on our couch. Mainly because it crunches. They wrapped it in plastic and the plastic has to stay until February too. But it makes our cat sleep with us. She is SO cute! I wish I could take pictures. My husband and I were spooning (is that weird to say? I was going to say cuddling, but it's better with the cat when I say spooning...), getting ready to go to bed and Vindaloo lays down right against me and just stretches out with her front paws above her head and her back paws by my feet. She is a HUGE cat when she does that. It was like three spoons in a drawer!! Love it. :)

How are you doing? How's your week been? I am SO thankful that it is Friday today!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Do You Believe In Fate?

I think I have a special dance going on with the idea of fate. I believe that we have free will, but that God puts things in our lives, which I equate to fate, but are probably not.

Last night, as I was coming out of the PATH station, I see that my husband is talking to a man who looks like he could be homeless. I try and give all people the benefit of the doubt and believe that they are telling me the truth. So he's talking to us and is telling us about himself (his name was Eddie) and about generosity in his life and how he wished that he had never come to America (he was Puerto Rican). We listened and he asked us for a ride to a hospital the next day.

Of all the things we do not own, we do not own a car. He asked us for the cab fare to get to a hospital in the morning instead (which was where he asked for the ride to).

We continued talking and the subject came up to God. I'm not sure how long we talked when it's all said and done, but it was maybe 20 minutes and it left my husband and I with a feeling...and I can't describe it really. But I know that, for me, it really made me look at myself and what I have and what loving our neighbor really means.

Have you seen the movie Dogma? In it, God comes down in human form to play skeeball. I know, I know! Weird. But it's one of my favorite movies. My husband said to me, could it be the Dogma idea? And this scripture just kind of popped into my head:

Don't forget to be kind to strangers.
For some who have done this
have entertained angels without realizing it.
Hebrews 13:2

On a somewhat related note...on the idea of loving a stranger, I guess.

This is Baby Paxton.

Baby Paxton had heart surgery at 4 DAYS old. I almost put months. It was DAYS and he's still struggling. Only half of his heart works at this point and he won't have a full functioning heart until he's two years old. BabyBeBlessed has chosen him as their Give A Blessing Recipient.

It's not entirely about money, but more about prayers and what you feel moved to give. If you feel moved to pray more than give money, that's amazing because God really uses prayer. But if you feel moved to donate, the goal is to get Baby Paxton $1,000 by the end of November.

If you'd like to read more of the story, visit Baby Be Blessed and click on 'Give A Blessing.' (There are a few links in that sentence too)

Here's the widget if you want to check the progress through the month:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Friend-Makin' Mondays

I wasn't going to join in, but, HECK! Why not? If you'd like to join in, just go visit Amber at aefilkins.

So this was what we passed out to the five kids who came up the elevator to our apartment. The rest of the candy is sitting on my desk at work.

Yeah. We have a TON left.

But my favorite would be Kit Kats. As you may see in the picture, there is a very large Kit-Kat in there. And yes. It is gone. IN MY BELLY!!! I also happen to love Laffy Taffy, but not banana flavored. Bleh.

I didn't dress up this Halloween, but I did watch the movie Scream. I never realized how BAD it was when I bought the movie. I used to watch that all the time!! That is an AWFUL film. I wish we would have just popped in Psycho. CLASSIC!

What's your favorite Halloween candy?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My First Layered Cake

Yes, this is how big of a dork I am. Here are images of my first layered cake! I'm hoping to make a Ho-Ho cake for the Consecration Sunday dinner. :)