Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's that time

It's that time of year again... I am stressed.. Finals are looming, Christmas is here and pocketbooks get tighter around the end of the year it seems.

I know I shouldn't stress over such things, and that God will take care of me, even in the smallest of ways! But right now, these are the things that are troubling my mind.

  1. Finals - a test and a project... the rush to get them finished, the pressure to do well
  2. Money - (Hunter) will Hunter start getting instate tuition, will be be able to find an on campus job that will work with ROTC?
  3. Money - (Me) I will be going home for the holidays, and because of the way my rent is due, I will be paying rent twice, within two weeks of each other. I know this will be fine and I can do it... but draining my paycheck two weeks in a row, scares me.
  4. Work - things are stressful here, for a number of unmentionable reasons.. Part of me loves this place so deeply... but the other part, is so terribly ready to move on.
  5. Jobs - Will I be able to get a job out of here? (Of course, see?? Meaningless worries)
  6. PhD - Hurry up and wait. I applied in June, and will hopefully find out whether or not I am accepted in February. What a process... yet, I am rejoicing in the waiting.
  7. Friends - I visited a dear friend of mine while home for Thanksgiving... she is so sick, so broken, so battered. Won't you pray for her? It was the worst I have seen her these past five years... and it is so hard to talk about. However, I am thankful that I was able to see her, even if it was just to hold her while she shook from the pain. Lord, bless her.. comfort her... keep her.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. It is a charmed life we lead. We are so blessed... but sometimes we can't even think to shift the focus off of ourselves and to the Father. What selfish lives we lead.

Help us to turn to you in times of trouble. Help me to most of all trust you in ALL things. Help me to turn to you, rather than myself or anyone else. Teach me to be selfless, and deny the selfish nature of humanity. Lead me Lord.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jalapeno Poppers

On my last visit home, my mom gave me a jar of homemade pickled jalapenos from our neighbor down the street. In my quest to eat all thing spicy and use these wonderful pickled jalapenos I stumbled upon this:

Using this recipe for inspiration and guidance, I made tasty jalapeno poppers of my own!

Jalapenos (fresh or pickled)
Crescent Rolls
Cream Cheese

First, spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Then, roll out crescents and cut in half, making 4 triangles from each pair:

Then prep the rest of your ingredients. She suggests you chop the bacon before cooking, for me... this was a nightmare. Have you ever tried to cut bacon, pre-cooking? It was horrible. Next time, I will cook, then cut.

I also spooned out the cream cheese onto the center of the rolls, and took the seeds out of the jalapenos.

 Then, layer all of your ingredients

And take the three tips of the triangle, pull them up and twist them. Pinch together the sides so that the stuff doesn't ooze out.

Bake, at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Football and Chris Tomlin

Friday and Saturday were epic football days. This weekend created BCS chaos and I had a great time watching and being a part of it.

Hunter and I attended my last home football game as a Master's student. We will see in January if I continue on for the PhD. Yep, you heard right. I have applied for my PhD.

Here's a picture from before the game got started:

My hair is a little wild because of the wind... but whatever. Haha. If you have been following the blog for a while, hopefully you can tell that I am trying to grow out my bangs. I have a new haircut in mind, and maybe I will be brave enough to book that appointment before Christmas. :)

Right before this picture was taken, I received a text from my cousin Tori, asking me to go to the Chris Tomlin concert with her Saturday night. It was the last night of the 'If Our God is For Us' tour, and featured Louie Giglio and Christy Nockles. What a great night! I was excited that Tori was able to get free meet and greet tickets and we were able to meet Chris Tomlin! It was a fun filled, whirl wind weekend. But I had a great time.

I will leave you with my favorite quote from the concert:

I don't have it all together, you don't have it all together. But we have a God who holds us together! ~Chris Tomlin

Praise the Lord!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Proof that I am a nerd.

When you play random get to know you games people always ask, what is one thing I couldn't know about you just by looking at you? If Donna isn't around, I usually use the general cop out of, I am a twin. But, more interestingly enough, I am a nerd. True story.

If or when you met me, you would probably never guess I was a member of a 4-H meats judging team. What is that you say? I would most easily define it as: if you and I were to walk into a grocery store together, once upon a time, I could tell you all about the meat at the counter, from what it was, where it came from and how to cook it, all without the labels being on the package. Also, given four of the same pieces of meat, I could rank them from best to work, and give you exact reasons why.

So I was looking around on the internet and found the results from the National Contest in which my friends and I represented the state of Alabama, and placed 5th nationally. In this contest I, as an individual, placed 10th in the nation. Yes, I am a nerd.

In this contest, I messed up on one class (or set), very badly. And therefore dropped to tenth place in the rankings. That one class... kept me from doing better.

Yet, why do we do this to ourselves as humans?

I can also remember the one B, an 89 to be exact, that I made in English freshman year of high school that kept me from being Valedictorian.

Again, I ask... why do we do this to ourselves? Why keep records of wrong doings and dimish what are in fact, great accomplishments? There is nothing wrong with being 10, why, out of a nation of people, that is pretty good. And, what is wrong with bein Salutatorian? Absolutely nothing.

I blame it on me being a perfectionist, and striving for the best all the time.

Accepting who we are and the great things we do. Having value in ourselves, that is something that all girls struggle with. Something I stuggle with, and something I am continually working on.

Our Lord and God made us, and made us just the way we are. It is our imperfections that make us perfect. Our traits and attributes that make us who we are. Yeah, so I am a nerd... What have you got?

Be proud of who you are!

Psalm 139:13-14
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Instrument Lamp

Ever since I was 15, I loved venturing to the Jones' house and looking around at all the wonders. Many trinkets, most instrument themed captured my eyes from the start. There was one thing in particular I was quite fond of. A lamp, but not just any lamp. A lamp made out of a flute and a symbol.

For years I told myself that when I stopped playing my flute, I would get Mr. Charlie to make me a lamp, out of my flute that I grew up playing.

Recently, I began playing weekly for my church. (read about that here) Just randomly, after a little over a year of not being able to visit the Jones' the though crossed my mind... Man, I guess I will have to find another flute to make a lamp out of. It was just a faint memory, a distant wish... a thought soon to be forgotten.

Only, Mr. Charlie had not forgotten. About two weeks ago I received an email to meet the Jones' at the usual tailgate spot after the homecoming game. The only stipulation, Donna and I had to come together. I didn't think much of it, but was excited to see old friends once again. Little did I know what was in store.

As we walked up to the tailgate we were greeted by familiar friends and happy smiles. Mr. Charlie was busy talking, and asked us to go ahead and go into the tent. As we visited and chatted, Mrs. Tamara then called Donna and I back to the front of the tent... and there was Mr. Charlie, beaming holding two lamps... one for me, one for Donna! One a clarinet, one a flute. I was, and still am, overwhelmed with joy. A small word, a gesture indicating something I liked was remembered EIGHT years later and graciously carried out. I love this family, and this lamp means the world to me.

Wow, what a gift.I will never be able to explain how grateful I am for the influence of the Jones' family in my life. What a blessing....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Necklace Winner!!

I follow many blogs of friends and a few fashion blogs, as well as a few food blogs. Ever so often, blogs I follow host giveaways and most of the time I usually enter, I mean... why not?

I have never considered myself a lucky person, but when I got online to read Lilly's blog today I saw her post entitled ...Giveaway winner. Reading along as always, I wondered why the picture looks so similar to my blog profile picture. As I continued to scroll down reading, I noticed it was me!!

I am so excited to have won this beautiful necklace!

If you are looking for cute fashion tips and great outfits, I suggest you become a follower of Lilly's blog! How fun and exciting is it to get a surprise. This was a great start to a manic Monday!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fish Tacos

I must say, I have cooked for many a person throughout my college years, and I was quite impressed when I noticed Hunter eating (and liking) vegetables. And he likes fish too!!

I am excited to know that he will eat most anything, and it is fun being able to cook good for you items like vegetables, without a fuss. So yesterday we decided to experiment and make fish tacos for dinner. With a little help and ideas from my friend Jackie I think they turned out well, and Hunter like them too!

Fish Tacos:
Tilapia fillets
Blackening seasoning (I used Old Bay)
Toppings of choice: Hunter used re fried beans, I used vegetables and cheese.

The one thing Hunter seriously doesn't like, is cheese. Crazy, isn't it?!

One easy to make veggie side I love is sauteed bell peppers and onions. Chop your veggies into slices or cubes, for me, this varies depending on what I am cooking them with. Heat a pan on the stove with a little olive oil. When the pan is hot toss in vegetables and season. I usually just use salt and pepper, or a little soy sauce, again depending on what I am making them with. Stir occasionally, the veggies are done is a matter of minutes. Quick and easy!

Next, the fillets. I rinsed them, patted them dry with a paper towel and then sprinkled Old Bay Blackened seasoning all over them. I chose to pan fry them, so I then placed the fillets in a shallow pan with hot oil. cook for three minutes on each side, or until fish flakes with a fork.

Hunter and I then assembled our tacos. We each chose an array of toppings, and you can too! Here is my finished product: What a fun, quick and easy meal!

Go Guard!

Earlier this week, I prayed to my Lord... but this time my prayer was very different. I cried out to God. I told Him I knew we weren't worthy, and that maybe we didn't trust Him enough to take care of our situation. I didn't question why, I just begged that He take care of it, however He saw fit.

Hunter has been on a roller coaster ever since he left for basic. Riding on military promises of scholarships and the desire to return home, he and his family frantically worked to get him to Alabama this fall.
We have hit many potholes along the way. Somehow, a Tuscaloosa native was classified as out of state, and the promise of a military scholarship disappeared. Money was squeezed out of everywhere possible just to make it through the fall... $12,000, one semester. And best of all, there was 'no place' for him in the Alabama Guard.

If you can imagine, Hunter is now left with empty pockets, and no scholarship... There was no idea of what to do. Option one: go back to Arkansas and get deployed. Option two: Stay here, drop out of school and risk getting arrested if the Alabama Guard didn't give him a spot (he would be considered AWOL in Arkansas). There wasn't another $12,000 just lying around for him to go to UA next semester... but thankfully, many, many backup plans were devised.

So, I will spare you all the crazy details, but after many stressful nights and phone calls. Hunter was sworn in to the Alabama National Guard yesterday. There was just one catch, he had to re class. His MOS (military occupation specialty) would have to be changed. There was still no place for his job, a combat engineer, and he would have to change to get a spot. Unfortunately, there wasn't an MOS of his choosing, but he had to change to get in. There is the option though, in a few years, that he could change back... Here's hoping.

So, he is in, no more AWOL, and no deployment for now. He is going to enroll in the local community college for next semester, just so he can keep taking classes. To go there out of state is 1/3 the cost of going to UA out of state. He has another promise of in state tuition and the hope of a scholarship for next fall... But we shall see in time.

For now, we are just thankful to have a plan and a direction in which to work toward.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunday Dinner

When I went grocery shopping last week, my grocery store had a few select meats on sale.

I was able to grab a beautiful bottom round roast with which to make my mom's roast and potatoes. I just love this meal, and it brings all the comforts of home to life. Usually my mom adds carrots to hers, but considering I don't eat much carrots, I didn't want to buy a pack, just to have them spoil.

This meal is made in the crock pot... making a super easy, fix and forget meal. Even better, my mom brought me a crock pot liner bag this weekend to test out on this meal! It made clean up a breeze, and I will be buying more!

For dinner:
Put roast in crock pot in the morning. I put my roast on just before I left for church. To keep it from drying out I added half of a cup of water, just in case. Here you can add anything you like, such as cream of mushroom soup.

That afternoon before going back to church I chopped up potatoes into about one inch pieces, and added them to the crock pot. Your potatoes take about two hours to cook.

So.. I forgot to take a completed meal picture... Sorry!!

Roast: cook in crock pot on low for about 8-10 hours, add potatoes 2 hours before desired meal time. ENJOY!

The crock pot bag made clean up so easy! After I put away the left overs and let the crock pot cool, I pulled the bag out. My crock pot was spotless, however I did wash it before putting it up... OCD, much?

Monday, November 7, 2011


When most students involved in band graduate high school they stop playing. Few of us continue on as collegiate musicians. As a student who majored in a discipline other than music, I thought once I graduated college I would rarely play my instrument again.

Just a few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity of a life time. My heart longs for music. As and SAI, I love music, value and cherish it. And the music minister at my church asked me to play a special for a conference our church was holding. I was so nervous, as I have a HUGE performance anxiety. But I was also excited. I thought it would be just a one time thing, but about a month ago, our music minister asked me to play again! My heart leaped for joy! I thought, 'maybe I did a good job after all'!

And so it began. That night, after church, my music minister asked if I would be willing to play in the praise team, every Sunday. I joyfully agreed, and two weeks ago was my first full time Sunday. Never did I think I would need a flute stand, but last week I bought one.. It makes me feel like a professional. A musician again. It brings unspeakable joy to my soul by playing praises to my God and King.

It was very comical, even my music minister had no idea flutes could have stands, and they were all amazed when I showed up yesterday to church with my newly purchased stand.

Again, it makes me feel professional. And I have a great time playing in the praise band at my church! To God be the glory for his infinite blessings!!

Friday, November 4, 2011


It has been titled the 'game of the century' and I am so excited to live, work and play in the town where heaven is, Tuscaloosa. ROLL TIDE!

No where else have a lived or anywhere I have heard of that your teams call sign is a greeting, a condolence and 'the right answer to any question.' I will never forget the conversation, 'Don't know what to say? The appropriate answer is ALWAYS 'Roll Tide'.'

#1 LSU vs #2 Alabama. Wow, what a concept. It is so hard to stay focused and not thing of the million things I have to get done before tomorrow, as well as the million things I have to do tomorrow.

Since Hunter was at basic all summer, he wasn't able to purchase student tickets this football season. However, he has been able to go to every game so far through ROTC or the student ticket donation system. We don't have high hopes for such a popular game... but we will see.

My parents and Aunt and Uncle are coming up for the game and I am so excited to see them! It will be my Aunt's first college football game she has ever attended.... I have to say, she picked a good one.

So here's to a crazy, chaotic, fun filled weekend! ROLL TIDE!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Semi-homemade dinner

I love to cook. It gives me some of the greatest joy in life. With my busy schedule I am often tired and worn out by the time I get home. Two nights ago Hunter and I were pondering what we would eat for dinner... I hadn't put anything out to thaw that morning, so unless we wanted to eat late, the meat needed to be something that didn't have to thaw. So, in the spirit of Sandra Lee I took my groceries and went to work.

Hunter loves steamed vegetables. The fact that he loves veggies blesses my soul... and he always wants them steamed, I guess that comes from his Asian roots. :)

So, we had: Beef tips (precooked, heat and serve from the grocery store), rice, steamed broccoli and corn.

The key to this meal was getting everything ready at the same time.. each component took different amounts of time to cook.. During this meal, I used all four burners on my stove.. I wish I had gotten a shot of that.

Now, most everything was pretty basic, heat the corn add seasonings, cook the rice and season.. warm the meat.. so I wanted to spruce up our meal by adding a little something to our steamed broccoli.

I steamed the broccoli by placing it in about an inch of water in a pan on the stove, let it boil for 3-4 minutes and then drained the water. Afterward I added a little soy sauce and some seasonings to the pan and cooked the broccoli a minute or two more, infusing the soy sauce.

And, we're done... a meal in less than 30 minutes. And Hunter seemed to enjoy it. :)

Like I have said many times, cooking at home saves you MONEY! It is good together time as well. Meals don't have to always be fancy and tough to be enjoyable... quick throw together meals are great too!