Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Welcome and a big smile!

My usual state..
As promised, this is a welcome to this here blog!  So, WELCOME!  On this blog you will find many things.  You will find lots about my perspective on faith, recipes, funny (I hope) stories, and some tidbits from my daily life.  As you might guess, I try to keep the spirit of James “consider it pure joy” in all my writings.  On this blog you will not find husband and kid talk, because I don’t have them.  Sorry. 

Here are some “fun facts” about me:

I am a girly girl.  I love pink, painted fingernails, flowers, and all things beautiful. 

I am a hard worker.  Sometimes I work too hard and people tell me to loosen up.  I rarely do loosen up, but I try.  Please don’t hold it against me.  We need a few really uptight people to let the rest of the world have fun, right?

Sometimes I think I am pretty clever.  Usually, I am not actually clever.  But I do pin some pretty darn hilarious funny pins.  Which leads me to… Pinterest.  Love it.  I mainly just pin funny pins so if you desire crafts and ideas, look elsewhere.  But if you are looking for a laugh, you have come to the right place, if I do say so myself.

This week, I started training for my first half-marathon.  I am pretty excited about this. I hope it stays that way.

Sometimes, I think I am cooler than I really am.  I try to be and use words like yolo, straight up amazeballs, and legit.  But then I remember that I am a girl with a ten o’clock bedtime and I am not cool.
The last thing you should know about me is that I am obsessed with Karaoke.  I could Karaoke for hours.  Oh—and I love sushi. 

That’s me in a nutshell! So glad you stopped by.  I’d love to hear more about all my new friends (and my “old” ones too).  I'm off to bed!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Getting Back


Today is a day of going back.  Back to real life.  Back to school.  Back to a decent bedtime.  Back to getting up at 5:30 AM.  Yay.

But really, I am not so terribly upset to be "back."  My break from school has been absolutely wonderfully fabulous and I am sad for it to be over.  Life marches on.  I will get back into a schedule and be stressed and tired, but I hope that I will still love it.  I WILL be content where I am (Danielle, you will do it, you will!!!!!) 

Anyhow, I thought I'd share with you a bit about my schedule.  I haven't talked about my school life in a while, so some of you might not even know what I am doing in school.

First off-- I am a Kinesiology major (huh? what?  Kinesiology= study of the movement of the body).  I am getting my BS in that and then applying to Physical Therapy school.  At that school, I will become a Physical Therapist (ha, ha). 

This semester is going to a be a tough one for me.  As usual, I could not get into the classes I needed. I am actually taking two classes that I simply don't need, just to get some units.  I am taking a writing intensive class on gender (my LAST general education class!!), an abnormal psychology class, and a kinesiology class.  I am also doing an internship at Eskaton, which is a senior care center. 

One of my un-needed classes is a children's literature class, which I think will actually be neat.  We get to read stuff like Charlotte's Web and Holes.  Who wouldn't love that??  I haven't actually been to that class yet so hopefully I won't change my mind on that one. 

Before I sign off-- If you are new here, WELCOME!  I am so glad to have you following along.  Yes, I know many of you started following me to get free stuff but I am hoping to earn your love!! :)  Check back tomorrow for an proper introduction! 


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Come one, come all! FREE STUFF!

Today I am excited to be part of a giveaway put together by the lovely Shane!  Enter as many raffles as you'd like! May the odds be ever in your favor ;)
Coffee Lover's Dream
>> $50 to Starbucks
>> Coffee + Mug
>> Large ad space

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Comfy Cozy

>> Custom beanie
>> Bath & Body set
>> 5 pairs Fluffy ear warmers
>> Custom Owl pillow
>> Cup cozy >> $10 just B you credit >> Reversible tote

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Accessory Queen

>> Jewelry + 250x400 ad space
>> Teardrop hoop earrings
>> 3 bracelets
>> Mum earrings + large ad space
>> Go Jane Prize package >> 3 custom hair bows >> $20 Allena Mistral Designs >> Bronze & Pave Bracelet >> Charmed Bracelet

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jack of all trades
>> $10 Target gift card + Medium ad space
>> Large ad space + Pampered chef cookbook >> $10 Paypal cash >> 2 styled outfits >> $10 Ulta >> $25 Sephora
KristineBetsyKristenMeagan, SabzRenee
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photog's Delight
>> $50 to Anna Delores Photography >> Valentines Day Print >> 8x10 print >> $20 to English Breakfast  EmilyAmandaKarlyPhoebe

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I love my blog #1
>> Large ad space
>> Large ad space
>> Top Notch ad space
>> 200x200 ad space
>> A year of ad space ($120!)
I love my blog #2
>> Custom blog header, intro, button
>> 220x220 ad space
>> XL ad space
>> Large ad space
>> 2 months 300x350 ad space + two 200x200 Newsletter features

I love my blog #3
>> Large ad space
>> 2 months medium ad space
>> Full custom modern/sleek Blog design
>> Supercool ad space
>> Really really big ad space

I love my blog #4
>> 2 hours virtual assistance + guest post
>> 200x200 ad space
>> Dating ad space
>> 3 months XL ad space
>> Medium ad space
I love my blog #5 >> Ultimate ad space >> Custom post signature >> Large ad space >> 200x200 ad space >> Custom blog planner Nicholl, Chelsea, Brittany, Kerry, Rachel
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tofu to Be True.

I've learned that bok choy is not so easy to wash.  But this recipe is delicious, if a bit time consuming.  Try it out for an to-go lunch! Btw, I apologize for the state of my blog.  I'm working on changing up the layout.
Veggie and Tofu Stir-Fry
14 oz package water-packed extra firm tofu
1 TBSP canola oil, divided
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 1/2 tsp cornstarch, divided
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 TBSP julienne-cut ginger
4 small baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
2 large carrots, peeled and julienne-cut
1 cup snow peas, trimmed
2 TBSP dry sherry or Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine)
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP hoisin sauce
1 tsp dark sesame oil

Cut tofu lengthwise into 4 equal pieces and cut each crosswise in 1/2 inch squares. Place tofu on several layers of paper towels, cover with additional paper towels.  Let stand 30 minutes, pressing down occasionally. 

My crazy method for pressing the tofu.

Heat large wok or skillet over high heat.  Add 1 1/2 tsp canola oil; swirl to coat.  Toss tofu, pepper and 2 tsp cornstarch in bowl.  Add to pan; stir-fry 8 minutes, browning on all sides.  Remove tofu with slotted spoon and place in bowl.  Stir-fry garlic and ginger 1 minutes and add to tofu.

Add remaining 1 1/2 tsp canola oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add bok choy; stir-fry 3 minutes.   Add carrots for 2 minutes and snow peas for 1 minute.  Add Shaoxing; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Stir in tofu mixture.

Whisk 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch, broth and remaining ingredients in small bowl.  Add to pan; cook until slightly thickened.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Letter to My Sister.

Yesterday was the 10th birthday of my beautiful sister.  I am so thankful for Melissa, or Poppy as we call her.  Even though she is not old enough to read my blog, I wanted to share this letter I have written about her.  

When I was 11, I found out that I was going to have another sibling, a sister.  I was the oldest, with three younger brothers.  I did NOT want a sister.  I was selfish and wanted to be the only girl.  I hoped that the baby would turn out to be a boy. 

That all changed very quickly.  When my sister was born, she was the chubbiest, cutest baby I had ever seen.  I loved her instantly.  And although I dearly love all of my brothers, we all have a special bond with Melissa.  She is our little sister, and we have to protect her.  

I remember how scared I was when Melissa was a few months old and got very sick.  She would cough all the time and quickly lost all her chubbiness.  My parents whispered and took her to a doctor often.  One morning, she was admitted to the hospital and we found out she had RSV, a virus that was very dangerous for newborns.  I wasn’t allowed to visit her and spent the days with my grandparents and brothers, crying and praying and scared.  But she survived and I couldn’t thank God enough.

When Melissa passes out because of the strange reaction her body has to pain, I am scared to death every time.  I wish that the doctors could find out why it happens, but I know that we will just have to be extra careful with our sweet little sister. 

I remember the time I heard Melissa call herself fat when she was just 7 years old.  It was then that I decided that it is my job to have a positive self-image about myself.  Never will I complain about my body that God has given me.  It is my job to show Melissa that her worth has nothing to do with what she looks like, but everything to do with what her character is like. 
I want to be the best example I can for my little sister.  I will encourage her and love her, no matter what.  I want her to know the importance of God’s love.  I want her to know that people will like her because of who she is on the inside.  I want her to have compassion on others.  I want her to know that her worth lies entirely in God.  I want her to be in the Kingdom of God.  And I want her to know how much loving her has changed MY life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Story of a Chicken//Defense of Myself

“I don’t like animals.”


This is a statement that I am sometimes forced to make.  It makes people recoil in horror and think terrible thoughts about poor, soulless me.  However, a fairly recent occurrence has given me a story to tell that makes people much more sympathetic towards me.  They might even think I still have a heart.

Enter story of a chicken.

It began last February, when my siblings, got an incubator and 12 eggs to hatch from the 4H club.  We knew that it was not likely for all the eggs to hatch. 

At the beginning of March, 8 adorable little chicks hatched.  We were soooo excited (yes, even me, the animal-hater!)  That night, the 9th chick peeped (I believe that is the proper term for making a tiny hole in the egg) a hole in her egg.  Yes, I made it a girl.  However, she didn’t come out.  For days.  I would sit by the incubator and watch her rock the egg and make pathetic peeping sounds.  It was so sad.  I wanted to break the shell off her but we read that if we did, she could die because her blood supply was attached to the shell and if we broke it she would bleed to death.  We read that if it takes more than a couple hours for a chicken to get out of their shell, they can become stuck to the egg.  We assumed that that had happened so we began patting her shell with a warm washcloth, hoping to loosen the membrane.  I went to bed on Friday night crying because I thought that poor little chicken was going to die.

Yes, crying.  In fact, sobbing. 

Imagine my joy when I woke up the next morning and found that little chicken out of her shell.  I was so elated and named her Daphne.  However, I soon discovered that Daphne’s fight was not over.  She was so tiny, much smaller than the other chickens.  She also had a scissorbeak, which means that her top beak did not fit over her bottom beak, but was crossed over.  A scissorbeak can make eating difficult or impossible. 

Daphne wouldn’t eat anything and I didn’t know what to do.  Once again, I was crying.  I would hold her and force her to eat and drink water.  Finally, she got where I thought she was going to survive. 

Then I noticed that Daphne was scared of all the other chickens.  She would lie down to sleep but if one of the others made a single noise, she would jump back up.  As you might imagine with 8 chickens, there was a lot of noise, which meant Daphne was not sleeping at all.

I would sit by the chicken crate to do my homework, watching to make sure the chicks weren’t picking on Daphne.  All of a sudden, she started twitching and flailing around the cage.  I was horrified.  My family thought Daphne was also having neurological problems.  I was crying again.  But I thought that maybe the reason Daphne was having these problems was because she wasn’t getting any sleep.  After all, doesn’t not having sleep make people crazy?  So that night, I held her for hours and hours.  I wrapped her in a washcloth and she fell asleep.  She was so cute.  I began doing that every night when I got home from school.  While I was gone, my brothers and sister would hold her occasionally so she could get some sleep.   She stopped having her seizures.  And guess what??  Boatloads of tears later, Daphne is now a healthy and strong chicken… or rather, a rooster! :-)

There. I’m not so soulless after all.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Southern Loving

Even though I spent most of my life in California, I still like to claim that my seven years (and my birth!) in Richmond, VA make me Southern.  I say “y’all”, wear cowboy boots and hats, and eat Southern barbeque.  Basically, I pretend that I am Southern. 

All my growing up years, I remember eagerly looking through my mom’s monthly issue of Southern Living.  I saved every single one of them and look through them (A LOT).   So when she stopped receiving them a few years ago, I was quite disappointed.  Luckily, I had year’s worth of them to continue to peruse. 

But guess what?


Yep, you guessed it.  I am the brand new “owner” of a Southern Living subscription.  I couldn’t believe it when it showed up WITH MY NAME ON IT.  Oh baby!  Here’s to many more years of “hey y’alls” and grits. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I have always sort of disassociated emotion with true worship.  I tend to think of people pouring to the front of a church for altar calls or being swept away and making promises to God in a rush of emotion.  I am inclined to think that rushes of emotion like that don’t last and therefore our commitment to our God needs to be built on more solid foundations.  I certainly still think that it is true that our love of God does not develop in a moment but rather is a growing to know Him and understanding all that He does for us.  Continually basking in His Bible and His promises for a life more than this one.  We do need to have a firm foundation for our faith.
But I also think that our life in Christ cannot be without emotion.  All I have to do is think of Jesus weeping for his friend Lazarus.  Of David dancing and beating his chest, praising God.  I think of Daniel praying to God in the lion’s den and Moses praying for the nation of Israel when they sinned against God.  Those moments certainly were not without deep emotion.  Indeed, they were emotional BECAUSE they had such faith. 

I figure there isn’t anyone I’d rather be like than Daniel, Moses, or David.  And most of all, Christ.  So it is okay, even good, to sometimes be swept away with your sorrow or joy.  It is sometimes needful to come before God with a breaking heart and tears.  It is wonderful to sing and dance with joy because your heart is full of His goodness. 

Psalms 47:1 Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

Psalms 96:11-13 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

John 11:35 Jesus wept.

2 Samuel 6:14 David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Out of Season.

I know it's no longer Fall, but I couldn't resist sharing this wonderfully delicious recipe my mom discovered with you. If you crave Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks like I do, enjoy!!

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Makes 1 to 2 servings
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more to garnish
1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee
Whipped cream, to garnish

In a saucepan whisk together milk, pumpkin and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring, until steaming. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice and whisk the mixture really well with a wire whisk.
Pour into a large mug or two mugs. Add coffee.
Top with whipped cream, if desired, and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, or cinnamon on top

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Aging Gracefully


I think “growing up” is a bittersweet thing.   Every day of life is a blessing, yet is scary to realize how fast life goes by.  To realize that we are getting old (although I wouldn’t quite apply that term to myself, yet!).  In my sometimes pessimistic viewpoint I start thinking about how I don’t want to get older.  I know many don’t.  I know that my parents certainly don’t like to admit their age.  But when I was thinking about it, I tried to come up with a more joyful perspective on aging.  I found this quote which I believe sums in up perfectly.  


We all grow up.  Yes, every day we are one day closer to dying.  But we also have one more day of blessings.  One more day of love.  One more day of gaining wisdom.  As I grow older, I’d like to think about aging from that perspective.  Thank you God for every day that you have given me, because I know that day is a day that someone else hasn’t been given. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What's In A New Year?

Diets.  New workouts.  Personal achievements.  Better job.  Better grades.  New Year’s resolutions are often made to improve us.  To make us healthier and happier people.  Those things are great but they often aren’t accomplished.

Maybe the New Year is about even more than us become thinner and happier though.  Maybe the New Year is about growing and expanding who we are.  Thanking God for another year of life by becoming more like Jesus.   

So this year, I don’t want to make resolutions that will not be followed up on.  I want to show Jesus more in my life.  That is all.  But isn’t that the biggest thing of all?