Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weekend in Review - The Full Story

Here's the "full version" of the story I mentioned on Monday!

This past weekend was the Girlfriend Getaway Conference in Atlanta, GA.  I first shared about Girlfriend Getaway back in September after the 1st conference was held.  Since then, I have "officially" joined the team as the GfG Hospitality Leader.

I love this  ministry, and was super excited this weekend to fly to Atlanta with a few other team members.  Cindy, the founder of GfG, was referring to us as the "GfG Princess Division" because we were flying down while the rest of the team was driving the 12 hours from PA to Atlanta.

Allow me to introduce you to the "GfG Princess Division":
From left to right:  Hilary (keyboard/vocals), Me, Kim (platform/hostess), Bethany (worship leader)
So, we arrived in Atlanta on Friday morning after a rather uneventful flight down.  We stopped at Whole Foods and Target to pick up a few essentials, then met the other team members at our hotel.  We had a great conference and I loved getting to meet so many fun and inspiring women!  I'll write more about the specifics of the message later this week.
Kim and I on the shuttle from the airport to pick up our rental car.

Our flight was scheduled to leave Atlanta at 10:50 on Saturday night and arrive at BWI around 12:40am.  We were already dreading the late night, but the late flight allowed us to enjoy some shopping and a leisurely dinner at Red Lobster before heading to the airport.

At about 8:45pm we were boarding the shuttle from the rental car station to the airport.  We wanted to be at the airport early so we'd have some time to change into comfier clothes and just be settled before boarding.  Well,  I checked our flight status on my phone and found out our flight was pushed back from 10:50 to 11:40.  Ugh!  We were bummed, so we settled into the airport for an extra hour of wait time.

As we were sitting in an empty gate next to our flight's gate, Hilary looks up and says "No way!  Bill?".  Turns out she spotted a man she knows, who is the husband to her principal and a family friend from her parents' church.  Bill was scheduled to be on our flight to Baltimore, so he joined us in our waiting area.  We didn't realize it at the time, but we would soon be calling Bill our angel!

Soon, I checked our flight status again to find that was now delayed until 11:56pm.  Around 11:00 we decided to move down to our actual gate so we wouldn't miss any announcements about our flight.  At this point, we'd been in the airport for over 2 hours and were tired, and found just about anything funny.  I'm fairly certain that everyone around us was silently praying that they wouldn't have to sit near us on the flight.
Princesses, huh?
Not long after we moved, they made the announcement no one wants to hear.  It began with "Ladies and gentlemen I have some information about your plane."  UH OH!!! To make a long story short:  they ended up cancelling our flight due to a thunderstorm that was happening in Atlanta.  We found this interesting as we watched 12 planes take off and at least that many land while we waited until after midnight for them to make this call.  Weather, you say?

Since it is spring break time and a Sunday, making for seriously busy travel, the airline informs us that the earliest flights they can get us on are Monday, possibly even Tuesday.  Yikes!!  Bill says he is willing to start driving if we want to go get a rental car.  At 2:52am we pulled out of the Budget Rent A Car lot in a navy blue minivan and headed for PA!  Bill, our angel, drove until 8:00am when we were all actually coherent enough to take the wheel for a little bit.  After a pit stop at BWI to trade the rental car for my car, we arrived safely home around 12 hours after our departure.  And man...were we tired!


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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pray Big


This week I cancelled my eHarmony and Match.com subscriptions.  (yes - I subscribed to BOTH. don't judge!)

A mix of things brought it on, but mostly I just feel weary of it.  This sounds funny to say I am "tired" of online dating, especially since I have only gone on a whopping 2 (unsuccessful) dates since this summer.  The thing that makes me weary is having to look through the profiles of people and just get discouraged that none of them seem to say what I'm really looking for.


I've also been thinking about dating in general the past few weeks as I've been evaluating my prayer life.  A funny thing happened a few weeks ago.  I was thinking to myself that I need to stop praying this type of prayer:  "God, I know that You know the desire of my heart is to be married again and have a family.  And if that's Your will, it will happen...but if it's not, then just give me the strength to get through." That prayer is starting to sound to me more like a prayer of "well, you know what I want God but You're probably not going to make it happen so can You just make me not feel crummy?"

I decided I need to step out in faith and pray those "big, bold" prayers I keep hearing other people talk about.  You know the kind where you pray for something major and specific...like oh, maybe you pray for a friend to get a baby through adoption before she goes back to work in the Fall?  Oh wait - we did do that.  Heehee.  Anyway, just a few days after I started thinking this way, my friend Cindy told me how she had been praying boldly for me in my "man hunt" (ahahaha!) recently.  Then, my pastor's wife Elaine said she had been praying the same things.  Ok...now we're on to something!

So this past week it has occurred to me that the reason I signed up for these online dating things is because I felt like I'd never meet anyone in my "real life".  I teach elementary school and attend a church of about 80-100 people...almost all of whom are married.  I signed up for online dating because honestly - I felt like maybe I needed to "help God" find me a man.  Really?  Help God?  I know, I know...what a ridiculous notion!

All of those things combined led me to the decision to just close all the online dating things and start boldly going before the Throne.  And, in case you're wondering what's included in my list of 'ideal man qualities':
-loves Jesus.  Not just says he does, or says he believes in God - but is out pursuing this awesome God!
-is taller than me.  (Shallow...perhaps...but I just can't get over this one)
-loves to laugh
-kindhearted
-wants a family
-has a stable job
-lives in the area (Cindy and Elaine would also add:  willing to come to Renew Community Church heehee)
-appreciative
-ruggedly good looking (hey, if I'm asking - I'm going to go for it!)

I humbly ask if you'd pray for me too.  It is hard to get a glimpse of what life is like with a "someone" and then be single again.  It's frustrating to have such a strong desire to be a wife and a mom.  But, it's also exciting to know that when God is involved - big things happen in awesome and unexpected ways...and I can't wait to see what He does!


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Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend in Review

This weekend was the Girlfriend Getaway conference in Atlanta, GA.  Later this week, I'm going to tell you the "full" story of our weekend, but for now I'll just say that it was eventful!

It started out like this:
(I'm not in this picture for 2 reasons. 1: I was taking it.  and 2: These women showed up at my house at 6:00am for our 8:45 flight in full make-up, cute clothes and adorable hair.  I, meanwhile, had on no makeup, wet hair, and comfy clothes.  I love these women!)

And ended with this:
(sleeping on the airport floor)

And this...
(driving a mini-van)

And this...
(getting comfy in the back seats)


Yes that's right...it started in an airplane and ended with a 12 hour drive home in a rented van with a man named Bill.  Surely you want to come back later and hear more of this story?

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still here!


It seems this past week has flown by and I haven't posted a single blog!  I'm still here though - and have blogs in my head about things like finding joy in grief, Satan's attacks, dating, crafting, an office/craft room makeover, and some new recipes to try out.

But for now...I'm off for a weekend with some of my favorite gal pals at Girlfriend Getaway in Atlanta!  If you're in NYC/Jersey or Pittsburgh - check us out because we are heading your way!
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Mediterranean Veggie, White Bean, and Feta Penne

Mediterranean Vegetable, White Bean and Feta Penne
Source: Clean Eating Magazine, February 2011

Ingredients:
6 oz whole-grain penne pasta 
1 cup cooked canned white beans, drained and rinsed well 
2 medium tomatoes, chopped 
4 cloves of garlic, minced, divided
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium zucchini, cut into eighths lengthwise, then cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into thin strips, then cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta


INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Cook penne according to package directions, adding beans during the last minute of cooking.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, vinegar, basil, pepper flakes and salt; set aside.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in same skillet over medium high heat, tilting skillet to coat bottom lightly. Add zucchini and bell pepper and cook for 4 minutes or until edges begin to brown, stirring frequently. Add remaining 2 cloves garlic and cook for 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in tomato mixture and drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp oil. Cover to keep warm.

4.  Drain penne-bean mixture, place in a serving bowl, sprinkle evenly with rosemary and all but 1/4 cup feta. Spoon vegetable/chicken mixture over top and finish with remaining feta. (or do what I did: throw it all into a bowl and stir well)

I don't have a pretty "after" picture because I ran out of time before I had to leave for a meeting - oops!  But it was DELICIOUS!  You could add chicken, or serve it on the side of Lazy Baked Greek Chicken.  Yum!

Find more recipes at Tasty Tuesday, hosted by Jen @ Beauty and Bedlam!

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Reversible Easter Cross Tutorial

In church tradition, this time of year is Lent.  Many churches display a cross outside with a piece of purple cloth draped over it.  This purple symbolizes the pain and suffering of Christ leading up to the crucifixion.  Purple is also the color of royalty.  The cross is then draped with white on Easter Sunday, the day of Jesus's Resurrection.

I wanted to make something for my door that was for Easter, but I didn't want it to be an Easter egg or a bunny, so I made this reversible Easter cross instead.  It was easy enough for kids to do, and cost me less than $5!


Supplies:
1 sheet of white poster board
tissue paper (purple and white/cream)
Mod Podge
paint brush
paper
Cricut

First, measure out and draw a cross the size you want. (hard to see it in the pic)

Then, use Mod Podge to glue the tissue paper to the poster board BEFORE you cut it out.  It is easier to make neat edges that way.

Repeat the same process with the other color of tissue paper.

Next, cut out one of the crosses.  Attach the back of the cut cross to the back of the uncut cross. (I used spray adhesive, but you could just Mod Podge it as well)

Cut out the cross.

Use a Cricut to cut out sayings for each side and attach with Mod Podge.  I used "Prepare the Way" (good idea Michelle) for my Lent side and "He is Risen" for my Easter side.

Cut a slit in the top of the cross and thread a piece of ribbon through.   Hang it on your door and admire!

On Easter Sunday, flip the cross over and display the white side to celebrate our Risen Savior!

Linking this project to:

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap 
 up           party!




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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Like a leaf upon the water...


The album that I currently play on "repeat" is Audrey Assad's "This House You're Building".  It is beautiful, simple, well-written praise.

One of my favorite songs on the album is called "Restless" - definitely worth a listen!  But - the song that brought me to tears is called "Show Me".

I looked up some of the background of the song, and found an article where Audrey Assad says the song is "about not wanting God to take away the pain just yet because I know it’s worth something, and I have something to learn so just leave me here for right now, but be with me.”


This idea resonates deeply with me: understanding that suffering, while painful to go through, still produces fruit and has the unique ability to draw us closer to God.  When we endure trials, we have the opportunity to allow God to carry us through the pain and make it something beautiful.  As my favorite passage of Scripture says, to allow God to "bestow on [me] a crown of beauty instead of ashes." (Isaiah 61:3)


I love this verse from the song:
So let me go like a leaf upon the water
Let me brave the wild currents flowing to the sea
And I will disappear into a deeper beauty
But for now just stay with me



I remember feeling like that leaf upon the water so often during the month of February last year.  There were so many moments where I had no words to pray.  I simply asked God to be with me, asked Him to hold me while I braved the wild currents of my circumstances.  I love God for holding me when there were no words, and for leading me now to a place where I can disappear into a deeper beauty - the beauty that only comes from trusting God to carry me through the suffering.






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Tasty Tuesday - Stuffed Portobellos

I found this recipe in this month's issue of Good Housekeeping!  It was delicious, easy, and healthy!  I didn't do the Brussels sprouts though - ick!  I roasted asparagus instead - yum!


 
  • 1/2 cup(s) quinoa, rinsed (I used red quinoa to add some color)
  • 1 1/4 pound(s) brussels sprouts
  • 4 teaspoon(s) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 1 teaspoon(s) fresh thyme leaves
  • 2/3 cup(s) frozen corn
  • 3 ounce(s) feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cumin

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In 2-quart saucepan, combine quinoa and 3/4 cup water. Heat to boiling on high; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, trim and halve sprouts. In an 18-inch by 12-inch jelly-roll pan, toss sprouts, 2 teaspoons oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper to evenly coat. Roast 10 minutes.
  3. While sprouts cook, brush mushrooms with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Finely chop thyme and add to medium bowl along with corn, feta, cumin, and cooked quinoa.
  4. When sprouts have roasted 10 minutes, push to one side of pan and arrange mushrooms, gill side up, on other side. Divide quinoa mixture among mushrooms; roast 10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

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