Friday, October 28, 2011

3 fun things lately...

First off, the State Fair. Cole and I drove up earlier this month on a Sunday afternoon with a fun group of friends. t was, well, the fair. Need I say too much more?! This was my first visit since I was a little girl. Should I mention that Daddy took me to the last one to see Billy Ray Cyrus in concert?! I was crazy about his music... embarrassing, I know! Talking about being vulnerable!
Chocolate-Dipped Banana with Peanuts

Ferris Wheel

I have never seen so much fried food in my life. I did try my share of food, but resorted to the healthiest thing I could find...a chocolate-covered frozen banana rolled in peanuts. That's pretty sad! We did the usual rides...the ferris wheel and the high swings and it was SO fun! Although I am normally a sucker for crazy rides, I realized for the first time how DANGEROUS they are. As a kid I guess danger doesn't really cross your mind. I never thought about the fact that you just fold and pack these rides right up, drive them to the next stop, and normal people that can make mistakes put them right back together. To me this is different than the stationary ones at theme parks. You better believe I wasn't getting on the pirate ship, drop zone, and roller coasters.  The sandcastle below was the highlight of my time at the fair. Isn't it cool?! It reminded me of the huge sandcastle they build at the Holiday Festival of Lights each year and got me excited about it already!!
The second fun event this week was the Wycliff Bible Dinner sponsored by our church. Our Bible Study group attended the dinner and presentation. Wycliff is a Bible-translation ministry, and we really learned a lot about the progress to achieve the goal to have a Bible in each "mother tongue" of the whole world. We have about 2, 000 more to go. It made me really appreciate that I have a Bible that I can read, understand, and use to learn about the Lord and pray to Him. Our Bible Study is studying the book of Acts and learning how the church first spread from Jerusalem to around the world, so it was so neat to see a bigger picture of what that is looking like today!! See Molly's blog for more details about the organization. 
Bible Study Girls (minus a few). 
This mission is a great place to give. See other great places here.

The third fun event was a Charleston harbor cruise through Captain's Source with Marian and Josh (my sister and her bf). This was a groupon from Mom, and I believe the best one we have used yet!
Patriot's Point was our point of departure on the sailboat. I was fascinated to find out that it is the permanent home of our captain and his wife!! There were eight of us total for the cruise, and we fit quite comfortably on the 50 foot boat. We enjoyed a 2 and a 1/2 hour cruise around the harbor and up the Ashley River complete with chicken tenders, crackers, and complimentary wine. 

 We were free to move throughout the boat throughout the cruise with the only stipulation that we lay down flat when we tacked and the jib switched sides. It was pretty fun angle to experience it from!

 It was a beautiful and pleasant place to enjoy the sunset over Charleston.
As it was getting dark we witnessed the coast guard practicing recovery with a boat and helicopter. It was an extra bonus to see this up close!
I needed some R&R!!!

I would definitely recommend this ride to anyone. I am not sure how much it normally costs, but with the groupon, it was a steal! The couple was so friendly and fun to be around, and it was definitely more like a local experience rather than a touristy one. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More Yummy Goodies

I'll be honest and say that Halloween is probably my least favorite holiday. I don't love skeletons, blood, or scary things. However, I look for any reason to "be festive" as Cole calls it and celebrate an occasion. My Halloween decorations are really not Halloween-esque, but rather Fall/pre-thanksgivng, which usually means a cute carved pumpkin. It just so happened that my trip home to Dillon encouraged me to branch out of this routine when I discovered crates full of my moms candy making tools! My mom was/is the queen of making cakes and candies. I always had the best birthday cakes, better than even my childhood imagination could conspire. My favorites were the roller skate (yes, it stood upright), big bird, and the cowboy boot of my brother's. She made it all! 

Let's just say life got busy with 3 young ones and most of her hobbies, including baking, were halted for a few years. So selfless, as always. All of the tools were boxed up. 

I decided that I wanted to shake off the old dust from the molds and learn how to make candy like hers.  No better time than 5 days at home with her over Fall Break. I am so glad she kept everything. It was so fun to go through all of her baking things, especially the molds and hear how and when she used them. Most of them had a special memory attached, like the balloons used at my birthday parties. These pumpkin molds (used below) were given as party favors at my October play party. Yes, I had a play party every month. Let's just say I got my festive spirit from my mom. Next we headed to Hobby Lobby to purchase the necessary supplies and then hit the kitchen. A few lessons learned and a few hours later and... ta da!!
White Chocolate Suckers...Notice I even made a ghost and a witch!
The white chocolate suckers I made couldn't compare to my mom's, but I think they are adorable, especially for my first shot at it!

The fun didn't stop there. We also made some other Halloween treats...
Witch Hats made from a fudge cookie, hershey kiss, and orange icing.
Ghost Cookies made by dipping nutter-butters in white chocolate.
(Marian made these!)
And, of course, fun-fetti Halloween cupcakes for Cole. 
Fun-fetti Halloween

Stay tuned for Thanksgiving and Christmas candies. Maybe I will even experiment with some of mom's cake molds.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Break and Fall Treats

The perk of being a student is vacation days. When I want to give up on school, I remember these days off, and days like today when I get to stay home all day, even if it is to study for 12+ hours. I will miss them one day. My fall break starts tomorrow (after a big test), and I get Thursday and Friday off. I am excited to be going to Dillon until Sunday. Cole is joining us on Friday.

I do love to cook, but I have learned (the hard way) that I cannot make or bake sweets for just Cole and me. We will eat it all! I am always looking for an excuse to make a little something sweet to share. Yesterday I made this Candy Corn and Pretzel Bark and took it to BSF.
Recipe from Real Simple

Monday, October 17, 2011

Traditional Home

I love to relax and read magazines (who doesn't?!), and when we get together with Cole's family, magazines are usually involved. Last time Cole's parents came to visit, his mom brought the October issue of Traditional Home with the warning that it contained nothing of what we think of as a "traditional home". She was right! It has some of the most modern and trendy things!

Although totally being opposed to it myself, I often wonder of the day when newspapers and magazines will go by the wayside. There is something about holding the magazine and flipping though the pages that I don't want to give up. However, with my recent discovery of pinterest (!!!!), I am wondering if I will jump on the digital bandwagon too. I can't get over the convenience of "pinning" something I like, rather than folding a doggie ear in the page, snipping it, and filing it away in one of my many files. The thought of an online file cabinet is right up my alley. Click here for my pinterest page. Before you decide that it is not interesting (I only have like 5 things on there), check back sometime soon after I have had more time to play!!

Anyway, the point of this post is this excerpt out of the magazine's "from the editor" article by Ann Maine.

"Have you ever been secretly relieved when a drop of wine dribbles onto the fabric of a new chair or a pristine appliance acquires its first tiny scratch - because you've finally been liberated from worry? If so, then you appreciate why in some cultures, artists deliberately incorporate a small flaw into their creations. It is through this flaw, they believe, that the spirit enters. Perhaps it is through flaws that spirit enters our homes. As designer Ruthie Sommers recently told us, "There is a movement in a design that says living well is more important that looking perfect. Imperfection means that rooms are lived in, and that is what design is all about."

To be honest, I thought the first sentence was going to say that she was relieved, not because the flaw liberated her from worry, but because she wanted a new couch or appliance already! That's what I was thinking anyway! Who isn't always thinking of ways and reasons to redecorate?! (Hence the my pin board "One Day"). I was immediately convicted of my desire for new things when I am blessed with so much already. Aren't we all?!

What she says has a ton of truth in it! For me, the first sentence reworded could say...I was secretly relieved when...
I made my first B in school....finally liberated from perfectionism.
I dissappointed Cole for the first time...finally liberated from perfectionism.
I discovered that there are a ton of people that give and serve more than me ...finally liberated from perfectionism.
I made tomato soup with fried okra last year and it was a disaster...finally relieved from perfectionism.
I clicked "publish" on a blog post, later to find out I had misspellings and grammatical errors...finally relieved from perfectionism.
I didn't know the designer my friends were talking about...finally liberated from perfectionism.
I plain forgot to read my Bible one day (I am reading it through in a year)....finally liberated from perfectionism. 

Whew! Thank goodness I have a God that delights in my weaknesses. My weaknesses make me turn to Him and look to Him as my Savior. In my weaknesses, He is made strong. Can I just put my strivings for perfection aside and be vulnerable? I must remember that flaws produce character. It is through our flaws that the HOLY Spirit can enter. God wants us to admit our imperfections and lay them down before Him. He wants to redeem our imperfections. He wants to redeem us.

I hope people look at my home and say that to the Sims, "living well is more important than looking perfect."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lights Out

Cole and I have been dying to go camping, so to celebrate Cole's first day off in 19 days we headed around the corner to James Island County Park. It wasn't the mountains for sure, but tucked in the woods you can image you are anywhere. It was just what the (almost) doctor ordered!

Cole received this 2-person tent as a wedding gift.
It is the perfect size and assembles easily!

I made Bacon, Shrimp, and Corn Chowder for dinner at home, packed it up, and we enjoyed it by the fire. It was yummy and saved a lot of clean-up by making it at home. The good thing is that with Cole, I rarely have to worry about what to do with leftovers! (On a side note, I have stopped buying raw bacon altogether. I can't stand the smell or the grease when I cook it. I have decided that no matter the coupons I get on the real deal, I will resort to turkey bacon or pre-cooked bacon only.)

Next, S'more time! Cole built the perfect size fire to make dessert and to keep us warm. 

It seems really late early when you are out in the woods, so needless to say we got a good, full nights rest. We sure did need it! We took a pleasant morning cruise through the park on our bikes and then headed home.

Camping trips with my family are some of my favorite childhood moments. I realized last night that I hadn't spent a night in the woods since Daddy took me to Ecuador before Cole and I got married. I still love camping, but in short increments like this trip. It sure was nice to come home to a real potty and hot shower!

The camping trip was good practice for our trip around the country next year. I told Cole that I was happy to camp SOME of the nights. I am getting really excited about it :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Pressures of Deadlines

Lately I have been feeling the pressure of deadlines! It is wearing me out! By the nature of being a student, I should be used to deadlines, but good grief...they have come like the plagues.

On top of everything else going on, the biggest burden has been thinking about my 4th year rotations. While this is potentially exciting, I am thinking, already?! They start in 7 months and end in 1 year and 7 months. We have already had meetings about these at school and have deadlines quickly approaching. How am I supposed to know what rotations I want, when I want them, and who I want them with! Even if I did know, the match process is a somewhat organized randomization so I probably who know if I would even get what I ask for. Whew! It is a lot to think about. In addition, I want my schedule to line up with Cole's, but unfortunately, he doesn't go through this process until the Spring. How is this possible?!

I want to enjoy this season that we are in instead of constantly being pressed to plan towards the future. In today's culture we are pushed to plan, plan, plan. The world tells us that we must have everything seemingly together. We are required to be efficient. Everything needs to be done immediately or by a deadline. Our desires need to be satisfied here and now. Even though I know these are lies, unfortunately I am guilty of falling prey to this pattern of life all the time. I think I know best and if I plan appropriately, I will have everything under control. The Lord reminds me frequently that I don't, and that it is He who determines my steps.

When I get overwhelmed, I often want to throw it all aside and say "I'm tired of this." Given my knowledge and responsibilities, I know this isn't wise, and often find myself struggling to find the balance between planning it all and relinquishing it all.

I have come to the conclusion that life demands us to plan, but plan prayerfully with a heart more set on His priorities than with our own. I must be willing to be flexible in my schedule and seek to see His purposes even when I don't understand them. The true perfect week/schedule/deadlines are those that most perfectly match God's plan for my life. I also realize that I can't get everything done on my own. N.O. possible way. I must trust Him to orchestrate the details of my life. He delights in that!! We just have to give Him control. I am so thankful that the Lord has greater things in mind for me than I can even imagine for myself (John 14:12). I want to be open to His leading upon my life. What freedom there is in that!

These are a few funny pictures that aptly depict my life these past 2 weeks...
I will take refuge in hope in Psalm 58:19- 
"Praise be the the Lord, to God our Savior, 
who daily bears our burdens."

Sunday, October 9, 2011


As you may have read in my previous post here, Cole and I are praying through the book Operation World this year. Recently I was burdened with the reality of the group of islands know as the Maldives.
If you are like me, what you know about the Maldives comes from dreamy pages in a "Traveler" or "Islands" magazine. If you haven't, here is a taste...(photos from google).

But, what you may not know and what I learned from Operation World is that behind the facade of island paradise lies a darker reality. The Maldives have almost no freedom of expression and belief, one of the highest divorce rates in the world, huge crime and gang activity, rampant child abuse, and 70% drug use in teenage population. That is just sad!

Islam is the only recognized religion in the Maldives, and it remains among the least evangelized places in the world. This is mainly because Christian literature and missions has never been allowed. Those that claim to believe are often arrested or expelled.  And if all this isn't sad enough...get this. The root of the perception of Christianity comes from Western media and immorality and extravagance displayed by the Western tourists (that is us). It is so bad that the people use the word "Christian" as a slander term to each other. 

When it comes to missions, I believe we are called to GO, GIVE, and PRAY. So, if you ever are privileged to take a vacay to this place, take the gospel with you! If you are ever privileged with money to give, donate to a Christian organization that will help translate the Bible into the heart language. Every believer is privileged with the opportunity to pray, so take time to pray specifically for this lost place. They need the knowledge of the reality of Christ! The Maldives would be an easy place to feel called to GO...I am thinking that this sounds like an ideal place for our next medical mission trip!! I hope Cole is reading this! :)

But, in the meantime...

BE reminded that actions DO matter (even when you are traveling on vacation). We must be a witness for Christ in the body all the time. This has nothing to do with perfection, but a life fully dedicated to the Lord. Here are some helpful verses worth reading: Matt 5:16, 1 Timothy 4:12, 2 Timothy 4:2, Phil 2:15, 1 Peter 3:16, Romans 2:21-24 and 12:1.

And PRAY. PRAY that weather emergencies on these islands will show the people how fleeting life is (Notice new song on the blog playlist, "Temporary Home"). PRAY that these circumstances would cause many to seek eternal assurance obtainable only through Christ. PRAY that the people could emerge from the oppressive religion and empty freedoms. PRAY for the true name of Jesus be known. PRAY that the Scriptures could be translated into the native language of Dhivehi (They currently only have the books of Luke and Acts). PRAY that Christian audio and video could find its way through the government. PRAY for courage and protection for the few believers there who live without community and with great persecution.

Information retrieved from Operation World.

I am ever thankful to the Lord that He has called me to be His child and that I live in a place where I can worship Him and proclaim His name freely. It is a blessing. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What We Eat During A Busy Week...

Do you ever have those weeks when you don't know how it is going to all get done? That was last week and this upcoming week for me. Cole has started his surgery rotation, which means terribly long hours at the hospital, and I am swamped with tests and work. Cooking usually goes on the back burner, and anything quick, easy, and nutritious is my goal. 

What makes for an ideal meal for me during these weeks? 
1. Easy and fast
2. Includes ingredients that I usually have already
3. Makes a lot of food so we can eat the leftovers for a few meals
4. Something Cole has made before so he can help out
5. What I call all-in-one...protein, veggies, and carbs in one dish. 

Here are some of our favorite "go to's" when times are busy! 

 This crock-pot soup is one of Cole's favorites. It is really cheesy, and he sure loves cheese.

 We also raid the freezer. During these times, I am always thankful when I have made extra of dishes and stored the rest away. We also have two wonderful moms that love to send food home with us when we visit :)  I made a whirlwind trip home yesterday and Mom gave me two dishes to bring back, a chicken pot pie from Kudzu Bakery and a crab casserole from Get Carried Away (Isn't that the cutest name for a carry-out shop?!). These will definitely be on the menu this week.

What are your favorite week night meals?
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