The Life Not My Own

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring in the Ozarks

It seems like ever since Christmas passed, I have been eagerly awaiting the coming of spring.  For this Arizona girl, cold, grey days of bare trees and dismal light are just about the most depressing thing ever.  I tried really hard to delight in the season, but now that spring is here I am SO glad!  Spring is especially marvelous here because it is so different from spring in Arizona.  Every new bloom, every greening tree is a new wonder to me.  The humidity here makes the smells of spring very noticeable, and I feel like spring is just all around me, warming me to my very core.  As I let the vitamin D soak through my skin, and breathe in the fresh, new scents I feel refreshed and revived, and it’s wonderful.

Without further ado, here are a few pictures I’ve been taking of spring here in the Ozarks:

Andy says these little beauties are the first signs of Spring, and they are covering the hills around our house!

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Even Sam is enjoying spring…

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I am told these trees have an awful smell…

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Magical dogwoods…








I’m also very excited because I have little seedlings growing…maybe I’ll FINALLY get to have an amazing garden!  I sure hope so, at least.  :) 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wedding Pictures, Part I

With our 10 month anniversary today, I think it’s high time I post some wedding pictures on here! :)
Andy and I were married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony on May 22nd of 2010 in Flagstaff, AZ.  Having an outdoor ceremony, I was very worried that the weather would be nasty, but the day turned out to be perfectly clear…I even got a sunburn!  It was a special time as we celebrated our union in Christ…the starting of a new family and a new life together!
All of these pictures were taken by the wonderfully talented Jacob Chinn.  Check him out here.
Andy and I are committed to be one in Christ “until death do us part”.  We celebrated the wonderful legacy of our families by displaying wedding pictures of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and even great-great grandparents!  CA-Wedding--008  CA-Wedding--037
My mom made this for me…
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Dad’s first glimpse. :) 
Our very first kiss!
Stay tuned for more to come!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Bittersweet Reminder

Recently a dear friend of Andy and I, Greg Wallace, passed away after a long battle with cancer.  He was young and it has been such a heartbreaking thing to deal with, especially thinking about his sweet girlfriend, Melody.  I don't know Melody personally, but she posted a blog entry on HomeschoolAlumni the other day that literally left me in tears.  You might have to be a member to view it, but here is the link:

If you get the chance, I encourage you to read it.  It is such an inspirational story and a touching reminder.  Even though I don't know her, I can tell that Melody is such a mighty woman of God, and Greg was SO blessed to have such a woman love him.

In Christ,


Friday, March 4, 2011

True Class

Audrey Hepburn.  The iconic symbol of elegance and class.  Who can forget the image of her standing in front of Tiffanys in a long black dress, hair done up hopelessly fancy, wearing big dark sunglasses?  Or what about the slim black jeans and ballet flats in Funny Face?  And I think I can never forget her strutting around Rome with Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday

I admit that, on many occasions,  I have tried to copy her.  Once I even tried to tease the top of my hair before putting it into pigtails (a la a scene in Breakfast at Tiffanys).  What can I say?  Her look is, in a word, timeless.  Yet what is it that draws us to her?  Is it her unusual beauty?  Her excellent fashion sense?  Her distinct way of speaking? 

No, I think it is something much deeper…something that encompasses all of these things and yet so much more.  What was so memorable about Audrey Hepburn was that she had class.

Audrey Hepburn was far from perfect, and most of us know very little about her.  And yet, almost everyone would consider her classy.  But what was so peculiar about her that made her stand out?  For one, she always dressed simply, but nicely.  I have a feeling she wouldn’t be caught dead going into Walmart in dirty sweatpants and hair thrown up messily above her head.  I could be wrong, but can you picture her that way?  :) I didn’t think so.  This doesn’t mean that she always dressed fancy, but she did dress nicely, as if she put thought into what she wore and cared about those she would come in contact with.

A second thing I notice is her distinct way of speaking.  She had a very specific accent, but it was something more than that.  She was careful about what she said and pronounced it correctly and without being sloppy.  She rarely used slang, and gave the impression that she wanted people to understand her.

Finally, Hepburn simply had a classy air about her.  She stood erect and held her head high.  She smiled simply and laughed freely.  She exuded a friendly confidence.  She seemed peaceful and carefree.  She embodied what it means to have class, as far as it goes on the outside.

Now, class goes beyond mere outer traits.  For a Christian, true class starts from within, with a pure and upright heart.  A heart willing and eager to serve.  A heart surrendered to God and his plans.  A heart at peace.  This classy heart, in turn, can’t help but spill out onto the outside. 

So how can we reclaim what it means to be classy in the midst of a very class-less generation?  Here are a few ideas:

1.) Start within.  Like I said, class starts from the heart.  First and foremost, you can’t live a truly classy life if you aren’t submitting daily to God.  As our pastor pointed out recently, submission is more than just obedience; it’s surrendering our control.  For instance, wives submitting to their husbands are, in essence, releasing their control of everything.  Furthermore, submission means being at peace with letting go.  Loosing your grip on things can make life so much easier and less stressful, and you find that you don’t have to worry about everything.  God is in control, and you trust Him. More than that, He is overflowing out of you.  You are in the Word daily, in prayer constantly, seeking hard after the Lover of your soul.  When this is the case, His love, peace, and joy can do nothing but exude out of you.

2.) Start caring about others.  In today’s society, there seem to be two extremes.  Those that dress like slobs, and those that dress for the sole purpose of getting attention.  Often, the slobs claim humility; they don’t want to dress to please others, they just want to dress to please God.  Little do they know that their sloppy dress is dishonoring to God in so many ways!  If we are ambassadors for Christ’s kingdom, should we not dress that way.  Daughters of the King, you are princesses…why not dress like it?  Take pride in who you are in Christ!

Beyond that, the way we dress impacts those around us.  Ladies, if you really thought about the men you would be coming into contact with today, would you wear that low-cut top?   If you thought about pleasing your husband would you dress nicer to show him that he is important to you?  You see, that’s just it.  When we take pride in our appearance and spend the time to look polished (not overdone, but polished), we are honoring everyone we come in contact with.  We are saying to them that they are important to us…that we want to look nice for them.  Classy women don’t draw attention to themselves with their hair and their dress, but they do dress nice.  They put on makeup, if needed, and they fix their messy hair.  They don’t wear clothes that are worn out, ill-fitting, or unattractive.  And they aren’t afraid to dress up just to go to Tiffany’s. :)

3.)Train your tongue wisely.  Speech is a powerful thing.  It has the power to uplift, to sadden, to annoy, to anger, and to create every other emotion within someone.  Our goal in our speech should be to uplift.  Again, thinking about others comes into play here.  Uplifting speech goes beyond simply speaking encouraging words and into honoring others by how we speak.  We want people to feel that we care about their understanding us.  Also, we want to show care in the exact words we use.  We don’t want to talk like a genteel snob.  However, we don’t want to appear to be careless and sloppy in our speech.  Don’t speak too fast or use too many contractions or slang.  Keep your accent, but avoid using it as an excuse to be lazy.  Don’t talk too loud or too much.  Save your words and choose them wisely, and yet, don’t mumble either.  Speak clearly and to the point.  Use your words to encourage people and build them up in the Lord.  Remember, your tongue can make or break your class.  You can appear classy until you open your mouth, and then the allusion fades away.  Always think about whether or not you are honoring God in the way you speak.  

4.) Feel it. Like I mentioned about, Christian women are daughters of the King.  Yet, how many times do we think about this?  I know so many Christian women who are depressed about themselves.  They walk around with hunched over shoulders, feel self-conscious and afraid.  Ladies, this should not be!  God has made each of us beautiful and special in His eyes, in order to fulfill a unique purpose in our lives.  If you are going to be classy, you must start feeling like the princess you are.  Be proud of who you are.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to others.  Stand up erect and tall.  Most importantly, smile and let the love of God shine through you! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spanish Rice

Okay, it probably should be called Mexican Rice, but that’s the name I was given for it, so that’s what I call it!
Awhile back a friend of my mom’s, Suzie Mendez, taught us how to make lots of yummy Hispanic food.  Being that she’s Hispanic it’s very authentic. :) 
One of the easiest things was this recipe for Spanish Rice, which goes great with just about any main entree, whether it be tacos, enchiladas, etc.  It’s super simple and oh-so-delicious!
All you’ll need is:
  • Part of a yellow onion
  • Long grained white rice
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken bouillon
  • Some kind of canned tomatoes.  It could be tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, with chiles, anything.  I prefer stewed tomatoes.
First, heat up a little olive oil in a pan.  You can use a skillet or a saute pan.  For small amounts I use my nonstick saute pan because the rice is less likely to burn.  Just make sure whatever pan you use has a lid.
Chop up some onion and add it to the hot oil.  Saute until tender. 
Next add your rice.  You need about 1/4 cup per person, so for my little family I just use 1/2 cup.  Let the rice brown for a minute or two with the onion.  See, nice and brown!
Then add your tomatoes, being sure to reserve all the juice.  You will need about a 15 oz can for 4 people, so I use half of one and save the rest for next time.
Measure how much juice you had and add enough water to make a 2 to 1 ratio with the rice.
Add some chicken bouillon, adding a teaspoon for every cup of water you used. 
Stir it all up and then taste the liquid.  If it is flavorful, then it’s good.  If not, add some salt and pepper, or whatever spices you want.
Cover and turn the heat to low.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Resist the urge to peek!
When most of the water is absorbed, uncover and stir up.  Let the rice continue to cook until all the water is gone. 
Serve hot and enjoy!