Friday, January 30, 2015


Last weekend, our youth group went to Tahoe for a "snow weekend." Turns out, there is very little snow, so we ended up having a beach day. My little brother, Justin, took some pretty awesome shots that I thought I would share.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

High Expectations

By high expectations, I don't mean having expectations of people that can't be lived up to. Or expecting more of others than of yourself. I simply mean that, maybe, if we believed the best in others, the best would come out more often.

We have heard for many years the subconscious influence that parents and teachers can have on children. That is to say, children of differing levels of intelligence, differing genders or differing races may pick up on cues that adults don't even know they are giving off. It is unfortunate, because it leads to the further continuation of stereotypes and categorization.

Another, less known, example is brought up by a man named David Kish. I recently heard a podcast about him and read this article for more information. Kish is a man who has been blind since the age of one. His mother, despite her fears, allowed him to become independent by using echolocation. Now a grown adult, Kish has made accomplishments that many would never expect of a blind man, namely being able to do essentially everything that a non-blind person can do. He has an organization that attempts to get the blind communities believing that they CAN lead normal lives. 

The point being that maybe we are just like the children and the blind. Maybe we are less than we could be because of what we (and others) believe about ourselves. Maybe because we assume the worst about others, they behave in like. 

In my short time being married, I have learned this lesson (although I certainly haven't perfected it). When one of us does something that upsets the other, if we automatically assume motive as to why, it makes for much more frustration and hurt. However, if instead we assume that there was some misunderstanding or miscommunication, it leaves far less sting and allows us to move forward without hurt. In the same way, we have found that it is simply best to believe that both of us are trying our hardest to please each other. Just believing that allows us to love each other better.

photo by Melissa Dondero

So next time someone does something you don't like or don't understand, don't automatically assume the worst. Don't assign motives to their actions. Try putting yourself in their shoes; try showing compassion. So often we are limited by ourselves, by stereotypes and assumptions. Our Heavenly Father has no such limitations on what we can do. In fact, when we read what He expects of us in the Bible, He believes the very best of us. If anyone should believe the worst, shouldn't it be the One who knows our hearts?  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Our Weekend

It was a great weekend, kicked off by my favorite little sister's twelfth birthday. She had a pretty special day, complete with a random card Dalton found in a library book, a Hunger Games scavenger hunt by Daniel, and a Hunger Games cake I made. #tryingtobecool

After a delicious sushi lunch, Daniel and I headed off for our "adventure" in San Jose. That has quotations because, in the words of Daniel, adventure is not in my vocabulary and basically consists of me lying around and eating the best food I can. My Christmas gift to him was tickets to a Sharks versus Flames hockey game, plus a weekend stay in San Jose. I picked it because Daniel loves hockey, and the Calgary Flames are his favorite team. 

We made it to San Jose in time for me to have a nap before dinner. That's good, because two hour drives are just exhausting, if you know what I mean. We went on a safari for Starbucks and luckily we were successful because Starbucks just happens to be on every block. We dressed up and went out to an overpriced but wonderful dinner. We were pretending to be fancy people, but I don't think anyone was fooled. 

After dinner, we walked outside to discover the largest convening of people with bicycles I've ever seen. I'm serious, there were hundreds of bikers riding around in the Safeway parking lot, complete with loud music, food trucks, and the smell of weed. We tried to figure out what that was all about, but figured San Jose was just a weird place. 

Saturday we headed down to Santana Row, an outdoor shopping mall. It's another fancy place that Daniel and I don't fit in, but it's fun to walk around. One of my favorite restaurants is there, so we went in and baffled the waiter by splitting a meal and not ordering wine. Needless to say, we barely saw him. But the sweet potato fries and brie cheese made it all worthwhile.

Saturday night was the hockey game. Daniel was thrilled that after a (very brief) overtime, the Flames won! I don't know much about hockey, but it was a pretty fun evening regardless. 

On Sunday, we had the opportunity to have fellowship with our brothers and sisters at church in San Francisco. We heard a great talk on how, as disciples, our relationship with God starts with a bit of fear, because we realize how great and awesome He is. However, as we grow to know Him more, we advance past that fear stage into love of our Father and what He has done for us. It was a great talk!

Before heading home, we enjoyed a pizza lunch with our friends James, Ben and Josh. Oh, and we stopped for a Starbucks halfway home so that turned it into a perfect weekend! (-:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


My grandparents have been visiting from New Mexico for the last three weeks. We were surely sad to see them go, but we celebrated our last night together with a delicious buffet. I tried this recipe that I'd been dying to make, and it was so worth it! It made a great side that wasn't too rich.

16 oz package gnocchi
3 TBSP butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBSP flour
1 cup half and half
8 oz shredded Provolone cheese, divided
4 oz shredded Swiss cheese, divided
2 (6 oz) cans crabmeat
1/4 cup Panko crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Cook the gnocchi according to package; drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add garlic and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add half & half and 3/4 of the cheeses; stir until melted.

Stir together gnocchi, cheese sauce, and crab in a medium-sized shallow baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and Panko crumbs. Bake 30 minutes.


Monday, January 12, 2015


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7

Peace--the peace of God. It is not the cessation of war. It is not life in the country. It is not quiet solitude. It is not ignoring all controversy.

Peace will be in good times and in bad times. It doesn't change depending on circumstances. And it does not, I repeat does NOT, occur without God. It is an unwavering state of mind. Like Jesus says, it comes not from our own strength, but from the assurance that Jesus has overcome the world. We need not be strong on our own, we need only to know that God and His Son are in control.

Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest from your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. -John 14:27

As those who are close with me might know (especially my poor husband!), I struggle a lot with a lack of peace. I worry, worry, worry about things I cannot control. When those times come, and they often do, I search myself to find a way I can figure things out. But the truth is, it shouldn't matter what is going on around me, because even when I can't handle it, Jesus CAN. 

Jesus can, and he will. He promises he will be there, if we let him. We will have true peace.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Photo by Melissa Dondero
To me a new year is full of promise. A gift from God. A chance to grow and a chance to learn. A time to be thankful for the wonderful husband and family and friends I have. To become more like the person God wants me to be, the person Peter writes about:

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)"

I'm not nearly there yet, but God has created each one of us with the potential to grow in such a manner. I don't want to fill my new year with silly resolutions soon to be forgotten, but to simply use the new year as a measure of where I was last year. I evaluate my life and the growth (or lack of) that I have had since last year and identify ways that I need to improve. Being a new wife, there are many ways that I need to improve on being a wife. And of course, we are never finished growing when it comes to a relationship with God. I think that God has given us a wonderful opportunity to improve ourselves in the new year, and I don't want to waste that. If Jesus still hasn't returned by 2016, I pray that I will be able to look back and know that I have grown closer to the person that God wants me to be!