Friday, January 31, 2014

Bean Salad

2 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 TBSP cider vinegar
3 TBSP canola oil
1 TBSP chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Man, this side was delicious! I had to leave out a few ingredients because of some *picky* brothers, but it would be even better I'm sure if you can put in everything!  Simply mix the dressing and pour it over the rest of the ingredients.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Writing Lessons

If you have been reading my blog for long, you will know that I recently graduated college and don't have a full time job. So you might be wondering: What the heck do I do all the time? Well among other things, I have been teaching writing lessons to my siblings.  

Justin, Colton, and Melissa are all homeschooled. I figure my mom has a lot on her plate teaching the three of them, especially since they are all different grades. Since I love to write (hence the blog), I thought to make myself a little helpful by teaching them.  Now I am by no means a teacher, so I am making this up as I go. The good thing is, homeschoolers have a lot of resources to help them, since many homeschool moms aren't trained teachers (not that they aren't wonderful teachers, because many of them are!!).  Let me tell you, teaching writing/English is a whole lot harder than I expected! I end up spending lots of time on the internet looking for norms for 5th, 9th, and 11th grade.  I have also been using a book called The Elegant Essay by Lesha Myers to teach Justin and Colton. 

Here is a bit of what we have been doing:

Melissa: Melissa has been doing a book report on The Giver.  We spent the first two weeks reading and having literature discussions, as well as giving her some tips for writing.  Her book report is going to be a book "cover" where she has a piece of paper folded like a book jacket. On it will be an illustration, a review of the book, a character sketch of the main character, and a summary of the book.

Justin and Colton: Once a week I meet with both of them and I use The Elegant Essay to teach components of writing. So far we have gone over theses, body paragraphs and transitions. I don't follow the book very closely but she has great worksheets included that I use!

Colton: Separately, Colton has been doing a research paper on the French Revolution.  My goal is to help him learn to write a good thesis, find information, and learn how to quickly do citations. 

Justin: He is working on a persuasive paper. He hasn't turned in his thesis yet, so I'm not sure which topic he decided on.  In addition to doing a thesis and citations, Justin is going to be learning how to make an outline so that you have a structure when you begin writing your paper.

Like I said, I am no expert. For all I know, I'm doing this teaching thing completely wrong. However, I do hope that I can teach these three a love of writing! 

What about you? Do you have any experience teaching? 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Story of a Nerd

The nerd= me.

When I was a kid, I used to love the library (ok, still do). We didn't have a community library but we could go the high school where there was a small library. I went several times a week. I literally think I read most of the books in the children/young adult section. I also knew the librarians very well. Helen was an older lady and Steve (who seemed soooo old at the time) was finishing college with an economics degree. Yes sir, I loved my library!

Every summer, I would sign up for the summer reading club and win because I read more than any other kid. One year I remember Steve was so excited to give me a surprise... my prize was TWO MOVIE TICKETS! Man alive, that was so wonderful! I saved those tickets for months until I found the perfect movie to use them on.  

I remember being SO excited to turn 11 because being 11 meant that you could volunteer at the library. As soon as I did, I began to volunteer at the library two evenings a week. Most of the time I spent shelving books, which was honestly as boring as all get-out, but I loved when I got to check customers out.

Ok, one last nerd factor about me and the library? Chess club. Dalton and I used to go to Chess Club at the library on Sunday afternoons. Don't get me wrong, this was a very informal Chess Club as I am terrible at chess. But Chess Club nonetheless...

What did you love when you were a kid?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The First Week

Happy Tuesday! Like I mentioned last week, I started the "Fruit Challenge" (read more about it here).  So far, it's great! Some days I have felt like I wasn't doing much and some days were a lot of work.

What have been the daily challenges so far?

Day 1: PRAY about everything. Before doing anything at all, big or small, pray! Some key passages: Luke 18:1, Mark 11:22, Philippians 4:6, 1 Peter 5:7, James 4:15

Day 2: Don't get angry or upset about anything! Focus on peace and longsuffering.  Key passages: Matthew 5:22, Ephesians 4:26, Colossians 3:8

Day 3: Be a peacemaker. Focus not only on not being angry but also to seek peace with others.  Key passages: 1 Corinthians 1:10, 1 Peter 3:8, James 3:18, Hebrews 12:14

Day 4: Help someone else; be a burden bearer. Make yourself available to share someone else's burden.  Key scriptures: Acts 20:35, James 2:16, 1 John 3:17, Philippians 2:4

Day 5: Give THANKS in everything.  Make a list of all the things you are thankful for; you will find more than you could possibly expect! Key passages: Ephesians 5:20, Colossians 3:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Day 6: Forgive others! If we want God to forgive us (which we certainly don't deserve), we must forgive others of the little things they do to us. If there is someone you haven't forgiven, do it! Key passages: Matthew 5:24, Colossians 3:13, Romans 14:13, James 4:11

Day 7: Confess God before someone today. Don't hide your light! Luke 12:8, Mark 8:38, 2 Timothy 1:8, Philippians 2:16

Day 8: Be imitators of the kindness of God! Go out of your way to show kindness, even to those who you don't feel deserve it.  Luke 6:36, Matthew 5:7, Ephesians 5:1

My favorite days so far have been day 1, day 4, and day 5. Praying before I did anything really helped me to focus on God. I have been trying to keep that habit up because being able to talk to my Father in Heaven is such a blessing!

Doing something to help someone else out is immensely encouraging.  But not only that, it makes you realize how little you are really doing to help others.  It has made me examine my own life and try to find ways to do good.

And of course one of my favorite days was giving thanks! I believe it is so important to truly count your blessings, because it makes you realize what you truly have.  Which is SO much more than so many people have. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Operation Smile

Did you know that every 3 minutes a child is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate? I certainly didn't! In fact, in the US, cleft conditions are one of the top four birth defects! TOP 4! Here it's not such a big deal because they are quickly corrected.

However, in many countries of the world, it isn't so easy. Families can't afford the surgery for their children. Cleft lips and palates make speaking and eating quite difficult. These children, beautiful as they are, are often shunned because of how they look! I find this unbelievably sad.  Such little things can make such a huge impact.

And that's why Operation Smile is so awesome! Operation Smile is a medical charity that offers free, that's right-- FREE, cleft operation surgery to thousands of children around the world. Because of Operation Smile, those children have a chance to smile brighter. 

For all those students out there, Campus Book Rentals is a awesome rental site that donates a portion of each transaction to Operation Smile.  Check out their site or read here.  I rented a textbook from them last semester and it was SO easy.  They shipped my book to me quickly and when it was due, all I had to do was print out the label they sent me to get free shipping!

Please go check out Operation Smile... and remember to be thankful for the beautiful smiles you see every day! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lunch today

20 garlic cloves, peeled (that's right... 20!!!)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, halved and sliced
2 Tbsp butter
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 cups cubed sourdough bread
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

1/2 cup shredded Swiss

In a small skilled, cook garlic in oil over low heat for 3-5 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

In a Dutch over, cook onions in butter over medium heat until soft.  Reduce to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add broth, thyme, and reserved garlic. Bring to boil.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes.  Stir in cream and heat through.

For croutons: place bread in small bowl. Combine the oil, rosemary, salt and pepper; drizzle over bread and toss to coat.  Bake on baking pan at 400 for 15 minutes.

Top soup with croutons and cheese.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The MAINE Place I Want To Go!

Maine!! I so badly want to go there. My parents are obsessed with Maine and have passed this obsession along to me. I have been scouring the internet coming up with what to do in Maine... when I go someday! 

First stop-- a lighthouse! Lighthouses are so beautiful and I want to go to real, live one! My family went to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse when they were in Maine and it looks just beautiful.

Camden. When I was just a tot, my family went to Camden and I want to go back (not that I remember it at all). It was named #2 in Forbes' "America's Prettiest Towns". Cool!

Acadia National Park: My brother's recommendation. The view is beautiful and the hiking is great!

Bar Harbor: I want to go whale watching and, of course, get some delicious seafood grub!


Lastly, the James Place Inn Bed & Breakfast, because they have this room, which looks like a giant dream. I love blue and white china and this is basically a room version of that!

Now, who wants to go to Maine?! (;

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fruit Challenge

I have a confession to make: I have not been having a very joyful attitude lately. For a girl with a blog called Pure Joy, it is pretty hypocritical. One reason for this is my uncertainty about the future. I'm a person who likes to have life all planned out.  Surprise, surprise-- it doesn't always work that way! Sometimes I just need to let go and trust in God's plan for me.  

Today I am starting on a journey called the Fruit Challenge.  It's 30 days long and even though it would make sense to start at the beginning of a month, I can't wait! So I'm starting today.  Yay! I hope it will help me to have a joyful makeover.

What is the Fruit Challenge?

It is a daily guide to becoming more like Christ.  Every day for 30 days you are given a commandment of Christ along with a fruit of the spirit that goes along with the commandment.  Then it gives practical advice on how to live that commandment in your daily life.  It also gives specific instructions for each day. I'm really excited to start today! Send me an email if you are interested in doing the 30 day fruit challenge!

Friday, January 17, 2014

To Read

Here is my current to-read list. I'll let you know which ones I enjoy!

The Giver/Gathering Blue
Lois Lowry
I am currently reading these with my little sister. I loved Lois Lowry books as a kid-- I would definitely recommend them!

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen Covey
The ironic thing about this is that I have been trying to read this book for months. I have actually started it twice and then ended up returning it to the library because it was overdue. Guess I haven't learned much about effectiveness.

The Happiness Project
Gretchen Rubin
A self help book about happiness? I'm so there. I don't think it's possible to be too happy. 

The Diary of a Young Girl
Anne Frank
I don't know how I have gotten through middle and high school without reading this book! 

How Then Should We Live? 
Francis A. Schaeffer
About the rise and decline of Western thought and culture, from Ancient Rome until the 20th century.  

What's on your reading list?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Introvert vs Extrovert.

Bringing in the New Year! Seriously, someone tell me to stop wearing that silly hood.

Introvert: to turn inward or in upon itself
Extrovert: a friendly person who likes being with and talking to other people; an outgoing person

Typically, I think of myself as pretty extroverted. I thrive on being around others and love to just have a good conversation. While I definitely like to be around people, I much prefer small groups or even just spending time with one person. Take for example the church retreat I went to last week; after the week was over, I felt completely drained and did not feel like hanging out in big groups anymore! While everyone else was hanging out, playing games, and avoiding sleeping, I spent my last few days in Houston lazing around at Starbucks with my friend Lexie. It's not that I didn't love the rest of my friends who were staying in Houston, I just didn't have the energy to be in a large group of people! There must be different kinds of extroverts.  I love being around people, but I only like big groups in moderation. Also, sometimes, you just need to be alone. There is something to be said for getting a breather from people in general. 

Alone time can be very valuable. It is a time to replenish, to get your thoughts straight, and to simply realize that you don't have to be entertained 24/7.  I feel like when I read the description above, introverts are cast in a negative light and extroverts in a positive light. It may not be true of you, but I have often thought that introverts weren't as nice as extroverts.... I no longer think that is true! Being introverted has nothing to do with being nice or not. It simply reflects whether you thrive on solitude or on big crowds.  

So what are you: introvert or extrovert? A little bit of both?

Monday, January 13, 2014



Recently I was re-reading a book and stumbled upon this poem. I forgot how much I love it.  Though the language is obviously outdated (mutton, much?), it's truth hasn't faded. While it is directed toward men, I chose to post this as a reminder to women. Girls, remember to seek such a man.  I see so many women settle for men who treat them with disrespect.  Become the kind of Godly woman that a Godly man will honor. As we all have heard, it is about so much more than outward beauty.  Becoming a woman of beautiful character lasts forever and it's reward is true happiness. One only has to look to Proverbs 31 to see that the woman of noble character is one who works hard, cares for her family, and doesn't worry about the days to come. I pray that we all may become such women.  

   A Woman's Question by Lena Lathrop
Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing Ever made by the hand above--
A woman's heart, and a woman's life
And a woman's wonderful love?

Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing
As a child might ask for a toy,
Demanding what others have died to win,
With the reckless dash of a boy?

You have written my lesson of duty out,
Man-like you have questioned me;
Now stand at the bar of my woman's soul
Until I shall question thee.

You require your mutton shall always be hot,
Your socks and your shirt be whole;
I require your heart to be true as God's stars,
And as pure as heaven your soul.

You require a cook for your mutton and beef;
I require a far better thing.
A seamstress you're wanting for socks and shirts;
I look for a man and a king.

A king for the beautiful realm called home,
And a man that the maker, God,
Shall look upon as he did the first
And say, "It is very good."

I am fair and young, but the rose will fade
From my soft, young cheek one day,
Will you love me then 'mid the falling leaves,
As you did 'mid the bloom of May?

Is your heart an ocean so strong and deep,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell
On the day she is made a bride.

I require all things that are grand and true,
All things that a man should be;
If you give all this, I would stake my life
To be all you demand of me.

If you cannot do this -- a laundress and cook
You can hire, with little to pay,
But a woman's heart and a woman's life
Are not to be won that way.

Friday, January 10, 2014

On Graduating.

After being in school for basically my entire existence, I graduated in December. It has been such a blessing for me be able to go to school, which I truly love, because I know that so many people don't have that opportunity.  Or if they do, it is much harder for them.  I am so thankful for my parents who have provided for me and supported me along the way.  I know I have had it so easy.  

Don't get me wrong, I love to learn.  What's crazy is that after completing my BS, I still don't have the ability to get the job I want.  To be a Physical Therapist, I have to go to school for three more years! Being in school my whole life STILL hasn't taught me what I need to know.  It reminds me of the Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 3:18-19:

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become "fools" so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is
foolishness in God's sight. 

and again in 1 Corinthians 1:18-21:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

I am so thankful for the true message of wisdom. By the standards of this world, I know nothing. We are constantly grasping for more knowledge, never knowing enough. But according to God, I have everything I need.  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Happy 2014, my friends! It has been far too long.  Life has been busy for me which is why there has been a lack of posts... but now we are back in business.  Lots has been up with me.  On December 21st, I graduated from college with my BS in Kinesiology.  I was so excited that Daniel was able to come for it and for Christmas.  I had a wonderful Christmas with my family and then headed off to Texas for a church retreat last week. It was a great week of fellowship as we studied John the Baptist.  Also, I got to catch up with lots of friends and make a few new ones. The gift of friendship is truly such a blessing. 

Karaoke with Bekka, Daniel and Justin!

Apple pie making with the beautiful Jessica and Lexie

Now that I have graduated, what am I doing? So far, being a bum.  I'm not sure what is up for me now as I wait to hear if I get into Physical Therapy school for the fall.  I have some big life changes ahead, so stay tuned.  Until then, I hope to be spending more time on this here blog.  Hope 2014 holds all kinds of blessings for each of you.