Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Batch one of Happy Iowa Things...this will be added to as I fall more in love with this season at home.  

1. Hickory Park
2. My crazy family (this picture is from Christmas 2008, but it depicts us perfectly)

3. Hammock
4. Weather that allows for outdoor running at the end of June
5. Strangers that compliment you (this has now happened three times since Saturday)
6. Green grass that's great for barefoot walking
7. INSURANCE! yay praise--I was able to get put on my Dad's ISU insurance policy. No lapse in coverage either! 
8. DOLLAR MOVIE THEATER! How to train your dragon just made it to that theater--the fam is going to have to have a night out on the town. 
9. Cornerstone Church - a house of worship with great teaching and chuck full of friends I still need to meet. And hey, it still has the word 'stone' in the name!
10. Diet Mountain Dew in soda fountains / fountain drink machines at gas stations. I could NEVER find it in Texas! 
11. FIREFLIES! I never saw them in Texas...they twinkle every night in Iowa!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hips, say thank you to David Lebovitz

Want wow factor for your next girls night or family gathering?? Dying to put on a few extra pounds to "fill out" that perfect dress? Want your friends to drool and clap like newborns?? MAKE THIS CAKE! It's called Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting. Yes.

Holy Cow. You had me at banana chocolate--then add the mocha ganache frosting and candied salted peanuts?? Life changing. I initially saw the recipe in David Lebovitz's new cookbook "Ready for Dessert"- I took a picture of the title of the cookbook and the name of the recipe for this specific cake because the picture and description were mouth watering.

Many dreams of banana chocolate gooey deliciousness later, my work lovelies suggested a last hurrah baking, wine and cheese extravaganza at my friend Jen's house the weekend before I moved. 

The four of us (no picture was taken the night of) kept getting more and more excited as the cake came together. The smells from the kitchen did not disappoint. Meet the ladies:
L to R: Jen, me, Emma, and Dawn

The recipe is long and the picture looks complicated--it's NOT a difficult recipe! The banana cake is similar to banana bread and the frosting is just melted chocolate and butter! Looks professional. Tastes AMAZING. Lots of layers of flavor. Dude. Click on this link to the LEGAL copy of the recipe and get baking!! Your mouth will thank you. You can work out later to make up for it.

Photos of the cake taken by the lovely Dawn Mitchell!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Normal

Iowa. Amish. Strangers. Corn. No Paycheck. Loneliness. Nausea. 

Iowa. Family. Friends yet to be met. CORN! Funemployment, Communion with my Savior. Searing pain of missing friends. 

I'm trying to change my view of the new normal that is my life. I didn't realize how numb I had become about leaving Austin until I was 5 minutes from my parent's house pulling off I-35 to Ames, Iowa. It was one of those trigger moments. I saw a silver impala and thought of my dear friends (one of them drives an impala). I ABSOLUTELY LOST IT. Well. I had my huge sunglasses on that kind of covered it, but the tears started rolling. My mom didn't notice until we were pulling into the neighborhood... she realized that my one word answers to her questions were not me in awe of my new home, but that I couldn't talk through the tears. What I've known for so long has been swapped: I knew Austin was far from Home.  Now I realize just how far away my FRIENDS are. My Texas family. I'm living brady bunch style with my brother and his wife as well as my parents all in one big house. It's awesome, but I'm torn. I'm all over the place emotionally and keep crying. I try to retreat to my room to 'have a moment' only to find that the WHOLE (yes, ENTIRE) family migrated to my room to spend time with me. They have missed me like I've missed them. I have exactly what I've been wanting--my family to be closer, but I'm hurting. I want to be bouncing off the walls--but I'm not. I'm wishing I were in Texas to celebrate my friends' birthdays that are today and tomorrow. I'm watching the clock thinking that in an hour I would have been leaving for church at the Stone. 

Would have. Past tense. New normal. *sigh*

I would hugely covet your prayers in the coming weeks as I seek the Lord and dig into jobs, insurance coverage, where I want to go, and what exactly I want to do with my life. And for God to use the brokenness that I'm experiencing for HIS glory.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dive In

Aren't insecurities funny? Something as awesome as being asked to write a guest post on my friend Elora's blog made me all nervous. I was like--she's an ENGLISH teacher. Her writing is PHENOMENAL. She's writing a book and it's SO AMAZING. Her blog has people all over the country reading it. Why would she want ME to write?

But you know what? SHE DID! What an honor! And with the encouragement of my English teaching sister, I DID write a post! It's called Dive In. When I asked what I should write about, Elora told me that her blog is about story. However I interpret having an authentic story. 

Read my post on Elora's Blog
Fall in love Elora and her husband through their love story
Add her to your blog roll. Her writing will rock your world. The reason she asked me to write is because she's on short term mission trip to Kenya with Reagan High School Students. PRAY FOR THEM. Pray for hearts changed, Kenyans and Americans. I know that she will continue to have a bold voice and beautiful stories to weave -- don't miss reading them first hand!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Shiny Bike? oooooh

hahahaha...this is so true for me. HAPPY FRIDAY, FRIENDS! via @

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blue Eyed Girl

I earned a comp day from our team production in May--and my last day is June 18th. SO, I had a whopping 10 work days to choose from to use my comp day. I decided on Wednesday the 9th. My day off was amazing. JUST what the doctor ordered. Spent the night at old school style with my friend Shaylee on Tuesday night. Woke up to summer rain pitter pattering on the roof.  No alarm set in the morning, just SLEPT. Had a leisurely morning writing a guest post for my friend Elora's blog (it should be published next week sometime). Went to lunch with another dear friend, Katie (she MIGHT enter the blogging world, get excited! ** EDIT, she started it! Link included), at Kerbey Lane. Spent a good hour or two at Half Price Books. Then stopped at Sonic's Happy Hour for my standard Diet Cherry Limeade. Went back to Shaylee's and made dinner with her. We just rested and loved and ate and drank and talked. It was perfect.

My friend Kristen once pointed out to me that when I'm happy, my eyes are VERY blue. Yesterday was a happy day.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

He leads...ALL the way

God has a funny way of boldly speaking to me through words and music.

Tonight at I heard a rocking sermon by Halim Suh on Faith being birthed by God's call. He was teaching from Genesis comparing the life of Abraham and Sarah to humanity as a whole. Using the example of the barrenness of Sarah and original lack of faith by Abraham--and God's CALL to Abraham to believe. How when God speaks, there is action (Genesis 1: God calls light out of darkness, and there is light). Then with Sarah's barren womb, there is darkness and no hope YET God creates life and fullness through giving them a child. Halim then probed deeper to what God called Abraham to: leave all human security. Leave your country, leave your people, leave your Father's house-God is calling Abraham to TRULY see GOD as his security. Find his self worth in God and God alone. To find true citizenship in heaven, find true adoption as a son of the Most High, faith that HE is the one true security. 

Wow. Again, he continued about the call to Faith that embraces God's promises from afar. How Abraham was called to the land that god WILL SHOW HIM. Notice: the destination that God is leading him to is not a specific geography. God is calling him simply to TRUST. Sounds familiar. Gosh. Being called to trust and obey without seeing the whole picture--because if we demand the whole picture, we deny the requirement of faith to believe in what is not seen.

After the sermon, we got up to worship again. We sang the Chris Tomlin version of All the Way My Savior Leads Me. Man. It messed me up. I'm going into this phase of life--not knowing what's next, not having a job, a big old question mark in front of my very being. I'm going somewhat boldly into change, yet I still doubt. The lyrics "how could I doubt his tender mercy"--seriously?! How do I doubt this great God? How am I ignoring the faithfulness of this God throughout the Bible? Why do I think that He will not be faithful to lead me? Check out the lyrics and song:

Another quote from the sermon that resonated (Halim got it from a John Piper Sermon): 
" Every joy will have its limits. Every fruit its bruise. Every relationship its disappointment. Every service its critic. And every birth and wedding its nearby funeral. Hebrews 13:14 takes up the very thought of Abraham's faith: 'Here we have no lasting city.' Everything breaks. Everything ages, spoils, rusts. Only God remains unchanged and glorious. "
Yes. GOD REMAINS UNCHANGED AND GLORIOUS! He is trustworthy. He is deserving of all of my worship, all of my trust, all of my heart, all of my being. I pray that I can CLING to the Lord and the fullness of his promises in this season, and every season of my life. May this song resonate within my very soul. That I will live like a redeemed child of God whose citizenship is in Heaven and not earth, whose Father is eternal and unchanging, whose joy is based on the finished work of Christ and not myself. That it will be said of my life that Jesus led me ALL THE WAY.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Now THAT'S what I call a Friday Night!

To my Austinites and to those reading from far far away, let me tell you: last night the foodies were OUT and we celebrated rightly. 

Whether or you were aware, yesterday was National Doughnut Day. My co-workers and I formulated a plan to hit the town for dinner and doughnuts to properly acknowledge the day. We went to Gibson Bar and Gourdough's.

Both places serve their food out of trailers (VERY common in Austin. There are entire trailer parks that are just restaurants--GOOD restaurants at that!). Both venues had amazing food that makes you go SERIOUSLY? THAT? That's what I'm going to eat?

Yes, yes I did eat that (we shared, don't judge):
1. The flying pig: a doughnut w/ bacon on it and maple syrup glaze
2. The most amazing grilled cheese ever: also with a fried egg on texas toast
3. The buenos dias: A hot dog wrapped in bacon with cheese and a fried egg
4. The son of a peach: a doughnut w/ peach filling, drizzled w/cream cheese icing
5. The miss shortcake: a cream cheese filled doughnut w/ sliced strawberries on top

Gourdough's is a must for people visiting Austin: eclectic, ridiculous, fun, food served out of an airstream trailer, BYOB, and great tasting treats!

Photo credit to Mike Sutter with the Austin Statesman blog "forklore":

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cupcakes from Jesus and other great things

  1. the movie "How to train your Dragon" -THIS MOVIE IS EPIC! I loved it! My best friend was visiting from Minneapolis...we were planning to see another movie, but it was sold out. We "settled" for dragons. OH MAN-we were (okay, more me than steph) GIDDY with the film. It was so whimsical and fun. The soundtrack by John Powell is also very fabulous. Tons of soaring and flighty melodies. Do yourself a favor--DON'T watch the preview before it. I think the reason why we loved it so much is that we had NO idea what to expect. Kid friendly too!
  2. the band Alpha Rev from Austin... I heard them at the Music for the City Album 1 Release show at La Zona Rosa a few weeks ago. I love their sound--very friendly for windows down summer driving.
  3. the anticipation of things to come...the road trip with my mom back up to the midwest, the job I don't yet have, the new apartment I'm sure to find, a new city, possible summer international travels
  4. cupcakes from Jesus- these are little happy things that happen day to day. For example, random stranger saying they like your dress at a gas station. Or a guy from a wedding emailing you a the week after the big day saying he saw you smiling at him and wished he'd have said hi at the wedding. Or pretty flowers you got a chance to smell in your office (they didn't even have to belong to you!). Recognizing simple pleasures in life that make life a little sweeter: cupake, and the giver is the one that gives everything in this life: Jesus. Thus, cupcake from Jesus.
  5. having a pink nose from time spent outside at the pool, at bbqs, and enjoying the SUNSHINE!
What are things you're loving lately?


I know I missed posting this on Memorial Day: 
To the soldiers still serving, to the fallen, to those yet to serve that will someday: THANK YOU! For protecting our country. For defending our freedom. For risking your lives. I am so grateful for all of you and for the amazing job you do. Dad--thanks for sharing this poem with me and the story of how it impacted you. For the full story of the
In Flanders Fields by Lieutenant John McCrae
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.