Tuesday, November 27, 2012


One thing I have noticed since moving here is that working from home has made me a bit stir crazy. Having minimal human interaction throughout the week leaves me feeling like I need to get all my pent up conversation out on any unsuspecting victim or dinner guest. It's not pretty. I have begun to ask all the wrong questions, interrupt, and overall command the conversation.

My loving and kind husband gently informed me that maybe I should try to be more intentional with my speech and shy away from complaining so much.  Ouch. I initially turned to beating myself up, thinking to myself: "stop talking everyone's ear off about yourself, you weirdo." The issue had my attention, but had not changed my heart. It's not always easy to just "cut it out" when your heart is still yearning for all the wrong reasons.

Then, this past Sunday, a guest speaker at church spoke on Luke 1. In it, he detailed how Zechariah was mute during Elizabeth's entire pregnancy (Luke 1:18-23). Once his son John was born, the first words from his mouth were praises to God (Luke 1:64). That image hit me hard. I began to wonder, could I go months of being unable to speak? What would my words be when I was able to speak again? It shook me to the core when I realized just how flippant and arrogant I have been with my words.

I pray that during this advent season, I would be able to be more careful with my words. I will be making efforts to listen more and speak more deliberately. Not everything that pops into my head is worth being heard, and I want my words to be a reflection of the real reason that I live out each day: Christ came to earth in human form and lived among us. He lived the perfect life, wholly obedient and in communion with God, willingly died on a cross, then rose from the dead. Now, out of pure love and for His glory, stands in our place and receives our just punishment for the imperfect lives we live while we in turn receive the reward for his life well lived. What is more worth speaking about than this? What words could I ever utter that would be as meaningful?

I pray that I would no longer be a chatterbox, but that I would be wise with my words... not for my own benefit, but for His glory.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

European Dreaming

I'm almost afraid to get too excited, for fear it might not happen. There are so many things that could happen between now and next summer to prevent a trip for us. But for now, I am dreaming of Parisian cafe's and walking streets older than I can imagine. The countries I know little about with languages I cannot articulate seem to draw me the most. Having traveled little in my life, Europe has always seemed like such an unreachable world separated by more money or time than I could afford.

Now that Jon has the summers off and I can work wherever there is internet connection, we seem to have a bit more freedom.

This means I have roughly 8-9 months to learn all these languages and get everything in order. Oui.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sourdough Bread

I've become quite fond of the process of making bread. It's a new foray for me, something I always relegated to the category of too time-consuming and complicated to be worth it. Somehow despite my initial reservations, it's become a joyful task for me.

A friend passed along some sourdough starter she had in her family. It took me a few batches to feel comfortable with the process, but I was absolutely smitten with the discovery and joy in each step of bread-making. There is something so cathartic in kneading your own dough and watching it slowly rise. If that doesn't excite you, I can assure you the rich smell filling your house while it bakes will win you over.

I haven't branched out yet; I want to master the basics first. One day I am sure I will try other bread types and make buiscuts, pizza dough, artisan breads with dried fruits and nuts, or other tasty items. For now, it is simply enough to follow the steps listed out for me. I'm not ready to give up it's simplicity quite yet.

There's a raw and rustic feel to it. This may seem to be an odd comparison, but in the same way that you could easily go to the store and buy a quality knife, you could instead choose your wood and whittle a handle and forge a blade with your own hands, time, and patience. Likewise, I could go buy a bag of wonder bread at the store, or I could mix the starter, knead the bread, let it rise, punch it down to rise again, and then bake it. It's a slow process but the accomplishment and intimate value of the end result is far more when you make something yourself.

Sourdough Bread Recipe:

Feeding the starter:
Every 3-5 days:
     -1 cup warm water
     -3/4 cup sugar
     -3 Tbsp potato flakes

Add this to existing starter (*stir with wooden or plastic spoon) and let sit out for 1-3 hours.

Then, gently stir, measure out 1 cup to use for baking and return remaining to fridge for 3-5 more days. Note that eventually you will have too much starter for your container, so either dump out the extra, make a double batch, or give some away. Always have at least 1 cup of starter as your base.

Baking the bread:
To the cup of starter add:
-1 Tbsp salt
-2 Tbsp sugar
-2-3 Tbsp oil (I usually have to use 3)
-1.5 c warm water

Mix this (with wooden or plastic spoon). Add 6 cups of flour (I do 4c white/2c whole wheat). Mix well. Knead until mixed. You want a good happy medium between dry and sticky. Form into large ball, spray the top with cooking spray or a thin layer of olive oil or butter, and cover with a very thin dish towel in a warm or sunny place until it doubles in size (usually 4-6 hours).

(6-12 hours later) Punch down and knead slightly. Divide dough into 2 or 3 loaves and place into 3 greased pans (don't use metal!). Let rise for another few hours covered with the dish towel.

Bake 350 for 25-30 minutes

Sunday, November 4, 2012


You know a meal is great when your husband is so impressed, he needs to call home to brag about it. I consider that a HUGE wifey success. The other night I made spicy honey brushed chicken, roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and apple, and mashed potatoes.  I will definitely be making these again!

c/o handletheheat

c/o backtoherroots

Thursday, November 1, 2012


November already?! My goodness October really went fast. For some reason I feel like October is always the shortest month, although it is my favorite. I absolutely love Fall. I love the changing leaves and cooler air that comes as such sweet relief from the summer swelter. The leaves don't change nearly as much in Memphis as they did back on the east coast, but I've seen a few bright and bespeckled trees here and there.

Oh and then there was Halloween.  It has always been my mother's favorite holiday, and so we always went all out with costumes as kids. After college, it kind of dwindled a little bit, especially since Jon worked in a bar every halloween and there wasn't a whole lot going on otherwise.

This year, we decided to really go all out. We decided upon being Mary Poppins and Bert the chimney sweep. Aside from a few small purchases, we already had most of what we needed. I found the perfect Mary Poppins shirt at a thrift store nearby, and Jon even made his own chimney sweep broom from a spray painted dowel, some masking tape, and a pack of pipe cleaners. Practically perfect in every way!

To make it even more fun, Jon decided to be in character the entire time. He was Bert through and through, accent, dancing, and all. I can't come even close to a convincing Mary Poppins accent, however she does roll her eyes at him quite often in the movie, so I had that part down ;)

We were able to dress up twice: once for a "Fall Ball" that MTR put on, and once on actual halloween. Don't be fooled, Fall Ball does not mean a formal event, but rather bowling. A bowling ball... har har har...  It was a lot of fun, though. While we didn't win the bowling contest, we did win the costume contest! We scored a great Target gift card. What's even better is that we kiiind of won twice, because the second place winner in the contest was a couple that dressed up as us!  So funny! I've never had anyone dress as me before. I guess it would technically be the future us, since they have a little boy.

On Halloween night, Jon and I went in costume to Chipotle since they were offering $2 "Booritos" to anyone who came in costume. Heck yeah! They also have a costume contest, so please vote for us!!! Click here.

We then ended up galavanting around town for a bit and checking out a new restaurant for dessert that just opened (literally, it had only been open for 4 hours when we got there). I think this will be our new favorite place. It was so nice to walk around all dressed up with Jon and just enjoying each other's company. What a blast. So thankful for the special times when we can be just the two of us. It was the best possible ending to the best month!
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