Archive for 2013

Interactive Book List - 2013

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I am trying something new this year—something a little more exciting (or so I would think). Rather than having just a written list of books I have completed over the year, I will include clickable book cover images. Fun, I know! Haha!

I don't know how many books I will complete this year. This is a year of new beginnings. By the time you read this, I will have planned my wedding, gotten married, and moved to the other side of the world. Hopefully I will still be able to read a little bit...but if not, don't get too disappointed.

1. Completed - January 21st


2. Completed - January 31st


3. Completed - February 11th


4. Completed - February 15th


5. Completed - July 23rd


6. Completed - September 26th


7. Completed - December 6th

Dreams

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Dreams are an interesting thing. Not the kind you have when you are sleeping, but the kind you have when you're wide awake, sober minded, and hopeful.

I dreamt of owning a Honda CR-V for yeeeears. It was my dream car. Now, when people refer to cars as their "dream cars," they are usually unattainable—cars that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and an arm and a leg. But after a couple of years of working a "grown up job," I attained my dream. Granted, I didn't pay it all off in one shot, but I was working towards that in the foreseeable future.

The funny thing about dreams is that you often have to let go of one dream to pursue another. The question is, which dream is worth the pursuit?

I had a dream—not as enthralling as Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream, you might say—but it was a good dream nonetheless. I wanted to live in England. Many a blog have been written about said dream. Though thought of as unattainable, God had different plans in mind.

August 8th, 2011—my life was forever changed when I met my (now) husband...who is English. God is so good to me, making the unattainable attainable, fulfilling my dreams. In hindsight, I am so grateful that I was able to enjoy my dream car for a while. But this dream is so much better. I'm living the dream!

I love my life! I am so blessed.

"The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:3

Social Security

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It's funny how here in England, they verify your identity using your date of birth. As if there is no one on the planet with your name and your birthday. I wonder if there is anyone who has ever challenged this system.

Long live social security! Ha!

#trueamerican

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ

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Romans 13:14
"But put on the Lord Jesus Christ
and make no provision for the flesh, 
to gratify its desires."

"Putting on Christ is a strong and vivid metaphor. It means more than put on the character of the Lord Jesus Christ, signifying rather Let Jesus Christ Himself be the armor that you wear." (Morris)


Free Wallpaper!

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I've always been a fan of quotes.

Several years ago, I was part of an online project called Project Quotations where a group of avid readers would post different quotes found while reading. Every once in a while, I go onto that site for some encouragement and inspiration. (I'm thinking about possibly reviving the site....Are there any avid readers out there that might be interested?)

I've also always been a fan of downloadable freebies. And I'm a graphic designer. A + B + C = ???

Encouraging quote on a chalkboard on a laptop or iPhone—who wouldn't want that?

Below, you'll find free downloads of my newly designed wallpaper. MacBook Pro, iPhone 4/4S, and iPhone 5/5C/5S formats available!



iPhone 4/4S Format (640 x 960)
iPhone 5/5C/5S Format (640 x 1136)
MacBook Pro 15" Format (1440 x 900)

Extreme Couponing—UK Style!

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Well, today is the 3rd of December. Looking back, I didn't fail as miserably as I thought I would at the 30 Days of Thanks posts. Fourteen out of thirty. Just an F. Ha! Thankfully God isn't grading me. He still chooses to bless me even though I fail at thankfulness. His grace is too good.


Anyways, off topic, but I've been attempting to join the world of extreme couponers. This guy I know posted a picture on facebook the other day—it was a whole bunch of things his wife had purchased. They had a retail value of around $90 but the store paid her $8. How can I be that woman—in England?! I'm already OCD about using coupons at Tesco and shopping on mysupermarket.co.uk to make sure I am getting the best deal at the best store before I make even the cheapest purchase. I have been pretty proud of myself lately....I found a bunch of printable coupons on supersavvyme.co.uk and have downloaded apps like Quidco, Shopitize, and Shop Scan Save as well as signed up for online saving programs like Top Cashback.

Alas, I am not English. I feel like I might be missing out on the best super saver deals just because of ignorance. Therefore, this is my cry for help. If you are English, and can help me become an extreme couponer, I would greatly appreciate your help. Comments and suggestions are more than welcome!

Happy Shopping!

Happy Thanksgiving! [Day 28]

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Today is the first Thanksgiving I have ever missed. It is a day of thanks, but I don't feel thankful at this very moment. I am a bit sad. I love my family, and while I am totally happy living in the UK, I can't help but wish I was with my family today.

It is said, "When you feel the lack, give thanks." It's hard to feel sad about what you lack when you focus on how much you actually have. So here goes. Day 28—a list.
  • Jesus dying on the cross for my sins and giving me a hope of eternal life in heaven
  • The best husband in the whole world
  • A home—a comfy one at that! With plenty of nice things!
  • Food to eat—I've never had to go to bed hungry
  • Snacks in excess—when I finish something, I can just open another!
  • Clean water
  • Hot water to shower with
  • Warm clothes
  • My iPhone!
  • Netflix and plenty of DVDs—a constant source of entertainment
  • Religious freedom
  • My ability to read
  • The Bible in my language
  • Friends—both in England and America!
  • Technology—allowing me to talk to my friends and family in America at the click of a button!
  • Chocolate
  • My supply of Cheetos—gonna restock soon!
  • Coffee
  • Books & my kindle
I can go on forever. Buuuuut, I'll stop now! Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

Also, it's an American tradition for the president to pardon a turkey every Thanksgiving Eve...one of my favorite traditions! Enjoy this video from yesterday!

Two Years Ago [Day 27]

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Two years ago, my life forever changed. My crush asked me to be his girlfriend. It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Today, 731 days later, we are no longer in a long distance relationship. We are no longer on two separate continents. We are man and wife, roommates, best friends, slumber party buddies for life and I couldn't be more overjoyed! I love my Craig more than I ever knew I was able to love.


Thank You, Lord, for giving me so much more than what I dreamed for! Thank You for my Craig. 

Snow

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Everyone got my hopes up. November was supposed to be super cold and stormy. There was supposed to be more than the usual amount of snow for this time of year. But has it snowed yet? No. Has it been stormy? No.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. Too bad I'm going to be in California for Christmas. At least I can have a white weekend-before-Christmas. I can only hope and dream.

God, please make it snow!

Everything Blog...

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I can spend hours just in this folder of my phone. Ah smartphones.

30 Days of Thanks - Day 20

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Today, I am thankful for the internet.

I mean, think about it. Can you even imagine your life without the internet?! Crazy to think that I have lived through its invention.

Thank You, Lord, once again for technology! I can't imagine what life would be like without it! Thank You for the ability to communicate with my friends and family back in the States at the click of a button!

Recipe: Homemade Pumpkin Pie

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Homemade Pumpkin Pie
Makes 2 traditional sized pies

Ingredients: 
• 2 cups pumpkin purée
• 3/4 cup brown sugar (increase to 1 cup if you like your pie sweeter)
• 3 large eggs
• 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp ground ginger
• 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/4 tsp ground cloves if you don't have any pumpkin pie spice on hand)
• 1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy, almond or rice milk (I prefer soy!)

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly.
2. Pour mixture into pie crusts.
3. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 15 minutes.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and bake for 45 additional minutes.

30 Days of Thanks - Day 17

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Shallow Day!

Today, I am thankful for pumpkin! Truly!

Thank You, Lord, for making such a wonderful vegetable!

Pumpkin is a vegetable, right?

30 Days of Thanks - Day 15

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Today I am thankful for a country that doesn't understand the concept of traffic. I DO NOT miss SoCal traffic. Traffic here barely even delays you. When an English person complains of traffic, I can't help but laugh—laugh at the irony that they have lost mere seconds of their lives while I calculated a loss of over a month of my 2012. 


Thank You, Jesus for no traffic!!

Recipe: Homemade Pumpkin Butter

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I thought living in a country that lacked Target was bad...and then I realized I lacked more than Target...Trader Joe's is lacking too! What a catastrophe!


No more seasonal yummies right at my fingertips. And then Pinterest happened. 

Enter about 20 different pumpkin butter recipes. After a lot of research and a bit of experimenting, I have come up with my own amaaaazing pumpkin butter recipe! It's so good on top of a crumpet, english muffin, or a piece of toast. In fact, I like it so much I'm tempted to eat it straight from the jar with a spoon. Shhh, don't tell my dentist. 



Pumpkin Butter
Yields: Approximately 1 cup

Ingredients:
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/4 cup water (or apple juice!)
• 1/2 teaspoon allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon clove
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée

Instructions:
1. Combine everything in a medium saucepan over medium-low, stirring occasionally.
2. Once mixture begins to bubble, lower heat and allow to simmer.
3. Check roughly every 10 minutes and stir so the mixture along the edges of the saucepan doesn't burn.
4. When mixture becomes thick (so it doesn't slip off of a spoon—roughly 40-50 minutes), remove from heat.
5. Allow to cool, then enjoy!
6. Store in a glass jar inside the fridge.

Giving to the Lord

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Giving to the Lord has always been a strong conviction of mine. God has blessed me so abundantly, so giving should be a natural response of worship. But how can you give when what you are giving already rightfully belongs to the Lord?

Growing up, I experienced this phenomenon many times with my parents. As Mother's Day would draw closer, as a young girl, I would go ask my mom for some money in order to buy her a gift. Now, as a housewife, I'm experiencing it once again. My husband's hard-earned money will be used to purchase him a Christmas gift. This is something I am having a hard time rectifying in my mind. I guess it is something I will always struggle with.

There is one thing I know for sure. While I do feel silly giving gifts with money I haven't personally earned, it isn't as silly as trying to give to the Lord. Nothing I give to the Lord belongs to me. The firstfruits of my harvest —of my income— are already the Lord's. Leviticus 27:26 says, "But a firstborn of animals, which as a firstborn belongs to the Lord,* no man may dedicate; whether ox or sheep, it is the Lord's."

Pastor Chuck puts it this way in The Word for Today Study Bible: "There were certain things that you could not offer to God, because they belong to Him in the first place. If you said, 'Lord, I give You this firstborn lamb of mine,' or 'I give You my firstborn son' —no, those already belong to the Lord. The same with tithes. Those are His. If you use them, you're taking that which belongs to God."

Chew on that.

*Emphasis on Scripture is mine.

Blog - A Haiku

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Editing my blog
It gets very exhausting
I hope I am done

30 Days of Thanks - Day 13

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I've been so busy cooking and baking these past several days. (That's why I keep missing random days of thanks—yes, I'm aware that's a poor excuse.) To be more efficient, I decided I'd start using a meal planner. It definitely helps, but since I am saving time, I find myself being more elaborate with meals and spending all the time I saved! Ha! Oh well. Here's to true domestication!

In light of all the things I have been cooking and baking lately, I am thankful for the opportunity.

I am thankful that God provides and that my husband and I can live off of one income. I enjoy being home. I enjoy cooking and baking. I enjoy doing "boring" housework. I absolutely love being a housewife!

Thank You, Lord, for Your constant provision. Thank You for making it possible for me to stay home. Please be with Craig as he works and give him strength and energy to get through each day. And please bless him for his labor. In Jesus's name, amen!


Recipe: Homemade Baguettes

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Homemade Baguettes
Yields: Two roughly 9-inch baguettes


Ingredients
  • One (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 2 tsp sugar 
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for the bowl 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • Cornmeal, for the baking sheet
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl combine the yeast, water, sugar and oil. Stir well and then allow to sit until frothy, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Slowly add in the flour and salt and mix until the dough starts to come together. Begin mixing more quickly and continue to mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. 
  3. Coat a large bowl with a little oil; place the dough in the greased bowl and turn to coat the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 2 hours. 
  4. Gently deflate the dough with your fist and divide into two equal portions. Place both portions on a floured surface. Pat each portion into a large rectangle, about ¾-inch thick. Roll up the dough tightly to form a loaf. Pinch the edges of the dough and tuck into the roll to seal the ends. Gently roll the dough back and forth to slightly taper the ends. 
  5. Place both loaves on a large baking sheet lightly sprinkled with some cornmeal. Using a sharp knife, cut ¼-inch-deep slashes across the loaves at 2-inch intervals. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the loaves with some cold water and bake until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool.

Recipe: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

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I have a reputation for altering recipes. I find the recipes online, change them up to my liking, and then when I go to make the item again, I've forgotten what changes I made the time before. It's quite a frustrating cycle. I decided that I don't want to deal with this problem any longer. My solution? Repost my altered recipes on my own blog! 
Here's my first one! I love all things pumpkin so I decided to add pumpkin to an all-time favorite! Lo and behold, someone had already done it! Below, you'll find my altered recipe for pumpkin oatmeal cookies!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Yields: Approximately 20 cookies
















Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • ½ tsp baking soda 
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • ½ tsp cinnamon 
  • 2 Tbsp butter (room temp.) 
  • ½ cup pumpkin purée 
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar 
  • ⅓ cup white sugar 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1½ cup rolled oats 
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries or nuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until very well combined.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter (room temperature), pumpkin, brown sugar, and white sugar on low speed. Once they’re well combined, add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined again.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed just until a thick, creamy batter forms. Add the dry oats and the optional dried cranberries or nuts and stir them into the batter with a spoon.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon the batter onto the baking sheet in 2 Tbsp portions, leaving about 1.5 inches between each cookie. The cookies will not spread much during baking, so gently pat them down into flattened circles.
  5. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, or until slightly browned on the surface. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack before eating.
  6. Store in an airtight container. 

30 Days of Thanks - Day 11

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I missed day 10. We got home at almost midnight last night; that's my excuse. After church, we went over to the house of some friends of ours from church. When we got back home afterwards, we came to the realization that we had seen them three days in a row. I love my church family!

Today, I am thankful for my church. I am so blessed to go to a church that teaches the Bible. I am so blessed to go to a church where I feel at home. I am so blessed to go to a church where I've made great friends that I enjoy fellowshipping with.

Thank You, Lord, for my church. Thank You for the people in it and thank You for allowing me to live in a country where we can study the Bible freely.

30 Days of Thanks - Day 9

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Today I am thankful for my bed and for the roof over my head.

Yesterday, my husband and some of our friends stayed late at church recording music and working on some music videos. I was with them as well. We were there until about 4:00 a.m. so I pulled several chairs together and made myself a bed and slept while they worked. I kept waking up because I was cold and because the edges of the chair were jamming into my sides. It wasn't the most comfortable sleeping arrangement. When we got home afterwards, my bed felt heavenly to me. It was such a sweet relief! It made me realize, once again, how blessed I am. I have a nice, warm home and a comfy bed. There are people all over the world who don't have homes or places to sleep.

Thank You, Lord, for always providing. Thanks for blessing me with a bed and a home. Please help me to be appreciative and not complain and help me to be continually thankful that I am better off than many. Amen.

30 Days of Thanks - Day 8

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I'm allowed to be superficial occasionally, right?

Today, I am thankful for fleece-lined leggings. Need I say more?

Lord, thank You for blessing me with way more clothes than I actually need. I know I don't deserve it and I am truly thankful!

30 Days of Thanks - Day 7

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Today I am thankful for my husband, my very best friend.


God blessed me with more than I asked for. He's so handsome—I just can't stop looking at him!! :) He's loves Jesus and I know he loves me too. He's a hard worker and he does his best to provide for us! And he's the perfect leader; he takes responsibility but does it with humility. Today, I witnessed that humility in action. 

Our church has a few home bible study groups. My husband is a leader of one of them, although it isn't at our house. Before we went to our bible study, we received a phone call that the people whose house it's at wouldn't be home in time. Our options? Have it at our house or go to another bible study. Even though he had already prepared to lead, Craig decided we could just join another group for the evening. He didn't complain that he had prepared for nothing. Not one negative thing came out of his mouth. I was really impressed how he made a decision so calmly and humbly. I am so blessed to have this man as my husband. His humility makes him easy to follow. 

This is just one example. You'd be tired of reading if I made an exhaustive list. 

Lord, thank You SOOO much for blessing me with such a wonderful husband. Please help me to be as wonderful of a wife to him as the husband he's been to me. I ask that You would continue to be the glue in our marriage and draw us closer to You as You draw us closer together. In Your name, Amen.

30 Days of Thanks - Day 6

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Today, I am thankful for clean water.

We take it for granted all the time. It's as if God owes it to us. But He doesn't. In fact, there are many many people around the world who don't have easy access to clean water. People die every day because of the lack of it.

Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to live in privileged countries that have clean water. Please help me to not take it for granted and cause me to be reminded to pray for my fellow believers around the world who have to live with the lack. 



If you feel so inclined, check out http://bloodwatermission.com to find out more information about countries lacking clean water and what you can do to help.

30 Days of Thanks - Day 5

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Today, I am thankful for the English language.

Why?—might you ask. Several months ago, at Missions Day at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, there was a pastor from the Calvary Chapel in Luxembourg. He spoke a lot about their country and how modernized it is and how clean it is, and after a few minutes I found myself wanting to be there. But before he finished and walked off the stage, he mentioned something that left me completely dumbfounded. The people of Luxembourg still do not have a Bible translation in their own language. This isn't a third world country in the middle of nowhere. This is a wealthy, modernized country, yet they still don't have a Bible! This pastor, along with some friends of his, is working on translating the Bible into Luxembourgish.

Lord, please help me not to take the Bible for granted. Help me to cherish it constantly. And please be with the men who are working on the Bible translation. Shower them with strength and diligence each and every day. Amen.

Day 4

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Today, I am thankful for good health.

These past several weeks, I've been a bit of a complainer. The cold wind has caused my lips to be really chapped and crack....It hurts to open my mouth when I eat. And on top of that, I've had some pretty painful toothaches. After fighting the pain of opening my mouth, the right side of my mouth hurts because of temperature sensitivity and the left side hurts because of a probably cavity. Eating seems like such a chore the days! And naturally, since I love eating, I've been in a complaining mood.

Now that I've vented, I will explain my reason for my thanks. Verbalizing my "health problems," I realize how minor they truly are. I wake up each morning with no major concerns. I know God holds my life in His hands and I am so thankful that He chooses to give me the breath of life each morning. He doesn't have to keep me healthy. He doesn't even have to keep me alive. Oh the riches of His grace!

"...so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God."
Ephesians 2:7-8



Thank You, Lord, for waking me up each morning. Thank You for my life, and thank You also for my health. Please help me to live my life in a constant state of worship to You. Amen.

Day 3

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Clearly I'm blessed. I missed days 1 and 2 because of that. Too busy to get on a computer—having too much fun to even want to get on a computer.

Today, I am thankful for the loving people around me—my husband, his family, my church family and friends. When life is full of love, social networking feels more like a distraction than anything positive. (Oh the irony! Blogging isn't considered social networking, is it?) Many people feel homesick when they move far away....I moved to a completely different continent and I still feel at home. Though I miss my friends and family back in California, I couldn't be more thankful for the family I've been grafted into here and for the friends I've made along the way.

Thank You, Lord, for placing so many loving people into my life. Please help me to spread that love to those I meet from here on out so that they can see You through me! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Always Homemade

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I've never been a fan of mixes—pancake mix, cake mix, etc. I don't do them. I prefer to make things on my own. Yes, they take a little longer, but they always taste better.

One thing I'm infamous for doing the hard way is pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is quite pricey (roughly £2 per can here in the UK) and it doesn't even keep as long as frozen pumpkin keeps! Every year, I buy a couple pumpkins, cut them, bake them, purée them, bag them, and freeze them.





















I bought 4 pumpkins this year [so far!] and have done this process to 3 of them as of yesterday! And you'd be very impressed with how much pumpkin purée I have now! 30 cups! Usually, a can of pumpkin contains 15 ounces which is the equivalent of roughly 1.8 cups. From 3 pumpkins, I have the equivalent of about 16 cans of pumpkin....that would have cost me £32....but it only cost me £4.50! Woohoo!

Moral of the story: Homemade is always better and always cheaper! :)

To Feel Need Is To Receive Grace

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"No obstacle within yourself can restrict My grace.
I love you when you cannot love yourself.
I forgive you while you are still repenting.
I am blessing you while you are still pleading for mercy.
 I am not thwarted by your unperfected expression."


-From Frances Roberts' Make Haste My Beloved

Lukism

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I've always been on the fence of the Calvinism/Arminianism debate. At times, I felt as though I were a staunch Calvinist. Other times, I felt like Arminianists made valid points. I literally told people that I was in the middle. I struggled with a few things on each side of the spectrum but felt flakey being in the middle. Today, I have come to a decision that I am happy with.

I have been studying the book of Acts lately. And I've learned something. In the speeches by Stephen, Peter, and Paul that Luke (the writer of Acts) documented, "without contradiction, [Luke] maintains a dual emphasis on divine election and on human response" (ESV Study Bible, Note on Acts 13:48).

Acts 13:48 says, "And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed."

Appointed - divine election
Believed - human response

There you have it, folks! Both are of equal importance. I am no longer on the fence of Calvinism or Arminianism. I am in Luke's camp! Who's with me?

Bible

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I am trying to read the Bible from start to finish again. Contrary to what might seem typical of an obsessive compulsive person, it's actually quite difficult to go in order. I'm in Leviticus and Acts. It's crazy with all the technology we have this day and age though. Alongside my Bible, I have my kindle (with my ESV Study Bible) and Apple TV with a plethora of podcasts. It's been so cool to have church from the comfort of my own living room. I get to find countless messages on the chapters I'm reading and it's as if I have church on demand! I'm so blessed.

Remembering Pastor Chuck Smith

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Yesterday was a bittersweet day for Christians all around the world. Papa Chuck (Charles Ward Smith) went home to be with the Lord. While he is now in perfect health and in communion with our Lord and Savior, many of us can't help but have a hint of sorrow.

Growing up at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, I literally cannot remember a week when I didn't see his smiling face at least once. This man exemplified what it means to have the joy of the Lord. Beyond just a superficial happiness, you could always tell that he was truly joyful. My favorite memory of Pastor Chuck was at Calvary Camp in Green Valley Lake. He always went to all the youth camps. He was a shepherd to all his flock! After singing to us before we ate our lunch and reciting the story of Sam McGee (Papa Chuck classics—haha!) he went around from table to table making conversations with all the kids. I don't think he even ate lunch himself! He was so loving and caring!

Pastor Chuck was a wonderful example of what it means to be a Christian. He dedicated his life to serving the Lord and sharing the gospel. It boggles my mind to think that people like Gospel for Asia's K. P. Yohannan came to the Lord because of Pastor Chuck. And through Gospel for Asia's ministry, look how many more came to know the Lord! What an amazing ripple effect! I long to be as contagious with my faith as Pastor Chuck was. Lord, please increase my faith!

If you are reading this post, please keep the Smith and Brodersen families in prayer. And please pray for the extended Calvary Chapel family throughout the world.


New Business Cards!

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I love being a Walker! It's been so much fun renaming all my online accounts
and changing my look and rebranding myself!

Rambles.

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I keep saying I want to blog more. I don't know why it is so much of a challenge for me...especially since I am a housewife for the time being. Let me just say, it's getting on my nerves how many people back home keep pestering my parents with questions like, "When is she going to get a job?" or "How come she doesn't have a job yet?" I'm a people pleaser. I know that isn't good. I should be striving to please the Lord only and not worry about what other people think, but it just leaves me wondering what I am doing wrong when people don't seem to be impressed. God, please break down my pride and help me not to worry about what others think!

Anyways, I wanted to give my blog a new look, a more modern look. Guess it just isn't working with the lack of photos. K, I am gonna do something about that. I wanna make a collage every month. I made one for the summer but I think I need to start taking more pictures as well. Here's my summer one!


Alright, enough of my rambling. Adios!

American to English Dictionary

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*Updated 03/6/2014

You would think that moving to England, I would not have hit any language barriers. After all, Americans and English people speak the same language, correct? Wrong. Americans speak American; English people speak English. Don't let the similarities fool you. Robert Mitchum's character, Charles Delacro, in "The Grass is Greener" said it best: "The greatest barrier between our two countries is the bond of a common language."

I have compiled a list of American words that don't translate so well. Some might be common, and some might take you by surprise. For your convenience, I have also included their English definitions. You're welcome.


American to English:
Overalls - Dungarees
Fava Beans - Broad Beans
Chex - Malt Wheats
Shredded Coconut - Desiccated Coconut
Pie Crust - Pastry Case
Graham Crackers - Digestives (plain flavor)
Molasses - Treacle
Shortening - Lard
Peanut Oil - Groundnut Oil
Flax Seeds - Linseeds
Baking Soda - Bicarbonate of Soda
Cornstarch - Cornflour
Powdered Sugar - Icing Sugar
Tomato Paste - Tomato Pureé
Tomato Sauce - Passata
Ketchup - Tomato Sauce
Cream Cheese - Soft Cheese
Green Onions - Spings Onions or Scallions
Self-Rising Flour - Self-Raising Flour
Pay Raise - Pay Rise
Ground Meat - Mince Meat
Heavy Cream - Double Cream
Light Cream - Single Cream
Candy - Sweety
Jewelry - Jewellery
Tires - Tyres
Trunk - Boot
Freeway - Motorway
Parking Lot - Car Park
Theater - Cinema
Line - Queue
Mailbox - Postbox
Braids - Plaits (Pronouced: platts)
Sunscreen - Sun Creme
Shopping Cart - Trolley
Elevator - Lift
Faucet - Tap
Wax Paper (Parchment Paper) - Baking Paper
ATM - Cash point
Gas - Petrol
Pants - Trousers
Dressy Pants - Smart Trousers
Sweat Pants - Jogging Bottoms
Rainboots - Wellington Boots (Wellies)
Underwear - Pants
Cilantro - Coriander
Eggplant - Aubergine
Zucchini - Courgette
Candy - Sweets
Jello - Jelly
Jelly - Jam
Biscuit - Scone
Cookie - Biscuit
Dessert - Pudding
Oatmeal - Porridge
Salad Dressing - Salad Cream
Napkin - Serviette
Sofa - Settee
Nightstand - Bedside Cabinet
Flashlight - Torch
Oven - Cooker
Percolator - Kettle
Doing the dishes - Washing up
Laundry - Washing
Cellphone - Mobile Phone
Wallet - Purse (for a female)
Purse - Bag
Stroller - Pram
Pacifier - Dummy
Diaper - Nappy
Pre-school - Nursery
Kindergarten - Reception
Elementary School - Primary School
High School - Secondary School
Comforter - Duvet
Duvet - Quilt
Thank You - Cheers

I know that there are a bunch more that I can't remember at the moment, but don't you worry, I will post them as soon as they come to mind! :P

Relate to Me

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"There is a quiet place of communion in the center of My will. Is is not given to you to see all the actions that bear upon your life. Many influences affect your every thought. You need the quiet time with Me to lift you above the swirling winds of the voices of other people and give you the true direction of My spirit. Man has not the wisdom to direct his own way, nor one man to lead another. My spirit shall direct you, My hand shall guide you and I will bring peace.

Turmoil comes from reacting to people. Peace is born of response to My spirit. There is harmony of soul for those who are in tune with Me. Listening to the false sounds of man will put you in tune with man. He who would be in tune with heaven must hear the tone of My voice. Man clamours for your attention: I wait until your own desire draws you aside. Man demands recognition: I wait for your love. Loving Me will release you from the demands of your own and other men's egos. Loving Me will give you direction when those around you are losing their way. Relate to Me. As you relate first to Me, I will help you to rightly relate to others.

Darkness is related to light. God made the evening and the morning and He called it day. Your experience is a daily combination of evening and morning—darkness and light. Man brings you darkness; I bring you light. Man brings distraction; I bring unity. Man separates; I gather. Man destroys; I give life. I created the darkness as well as the light. You will learn in both. 'The day and the night are both alike to Me' (Psalm 139:12). This is because My light penetrates the darkness. This will become true in your own walk of faith as My understanding enlightens your own heart and ignorance gives way to the illumination of My spirit."

-From Frances Roberts' Make Haste My Beloved

Domesticated Housewife

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It just hit me.

I am a housewife. I cook, I clean, I wash dishes, I watch some netflix, I read a little, etc.—all while my husband is at work. I am a cliché. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it though. It's nice being domesticated.

Yesterday, I received an email saying that my shipment of stuff that I had sent from America had finally cleared customs. Soon, I will have all my things and it will feel even more normal being at home all day. I have mixed feelings though. I can't decide if this is something I want for my future or if I want to eventually get a job. It's weird to me that I haven't had a job since December. It feels a bit like I am mooching off my husband. I could use some prayer; I've never been the best at making big decisions.

Either way, I am open. If God wants me to be a housewife for the rest of my life, I am fine with that! And if God wants me to go out and get a job, I am fine with that as well!


The Finder

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"It is hopeless to look for God
and expect to find Him,
or to seek peace and joy,
for all this is a gift.
Gifts are not found or attained.
Gifts are received.
Some have been so busy seeking
that they have disdained the quietness
and unpretentiousness of a Finder."

Mercy.

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Alright God, You're so quick to respond. And for that I say thanks. 

God is teaching me to become more merciful. Noisy neighbors are definitely helping me learn to do that.


Noisy Neighbors

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It's as if they followed me all the way from little old El Monte, California.

WHY?!

I keep reaching for the tv remote so I could lower the volume. Oh wait, I can't lower the volume on my noisy neighbors. Someone, please make them SHUT UP! I just want to be able to think for a moment.

I am so sick of loud music. Do you ever find yourself re-reading the same sentence over and over because you can't seem to grasp what it says? Welcome to my world. Do you ever get the most annoying songs stuck in your head and wonder how they even got in your head in the first place? Welcome to my world. Do you ever have to raise the volume on your phone because you can't hear what the person on the other line is saying even though you are home alone? Welcome to my world.

God, I don't know if You are trying to teach me patience or are just trying to grow my character. Either way, I don't know how much more I can handle. I feel as though I am losing my sanity! Please grant me some days of silence. 

The Hope of Heaven

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Here I am in England. I can't believe I am living here now. It is both a dream come true and still a dream. I got here a little over two weeks ago and it is still surreal. Now, I'm not one typically to get homesick but today I feel homesick. My grandma went home to be with the Lord yesterday.

I found out today via facebook.

I hate being the last to know family news. I hate being so far from my family during this hard time. I hate feeling helpless and useless. I want to hug my mom. That's all I want.

I know my grandma is in a better place. Heaven gained a saint today and precious in the sign of the Lord is the death of His saints (Psalm 116:15). She is in no more pain and she is fellowshipping with Jesus. Though I am sorrowing for myself and my family, I can do nothing but rejoice for my grandma.

Lord, please comfort my family during this hard time.
Help us to trust that Your way is sovereign. 
Thank You for relieving my grandma of all her pain
 and thank You for giving us the hope of heaven.

The Desires of Your Heart

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On Sunday, December 5th, 2010 I posted a blog sharing a bit of my heart. I had a strong desire to move to England.

God, in His divine wisdom, has granted me that desire a little over two years later. One month from today, I get to hop on a plane with my other half—a non-roundtrip flight for the first time in my life.

Funny how God saw it fit to grant me that desire in the way I saw least likely and even joked about! God is so good!


Those comments said it all! Haha!



"Delight yourself in the LORD,
and He will give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4

Envying Prayers

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I am trying to balance polar opposite emotions. My wedding is in a month. And my grandma is dying.

I'm having trouble finding a happy medium with my emotions so I've kinda been on an emotional roller-coaster for the past few weeks. I go from extreme excitement and joy to frustration, sorrow, and tears. It's been rough. I envy prayers. Not just for my grandma and for my family, but I am selfishly requesting prayers for myself.

I want to enjoy this season of my life. I am so blessed and so thankful that God brought the perfect man into my life. I don't want the wedding planning and even the wedding stress to slip by. I want to feel it, remember it, cherish it. But at the same time, I can't bear to think that in the midst of my excitement, if God chooses to take my grandma home to be with Him, I will forever regret that I didn't spend enough time with her and didn't cherish her.

I find myself asking God "Why?" a lot these days. I'm struggling with knowing that His thoughts are higher than my thoughts and that His ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:8). I am struggling because I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel. To be honest, I don't even see the end of the tunnel. I feel like no one understands. I feel like I'm walking through this tunnel alone. I know that isn't true, I know I have a strong support net, I know I am loved. But sometimes, I just don't feel it.

I envy your prayers. So much.



"Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, 
not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. 
Expect unexpected things 'above all that we ask or think.'" 
Andrew Murray

God's Power

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"Never let your inadequacies be a handicap. 
Give them to Me, and they will become My opportunity 
to demonstrate My power 
operating through you in response to your plea for aid. 
I would never have a chance to help 
if you were always self-sufficient 
and capable of meeting every challenge."

-God

God's Instrument

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"As you are my light, so shine in me; 
as you are my life, so live in me; 
as you are my faith, so adorn me; 
as you are my joy, so be pleased with me; 
as I am your dwelling, so dwell in me. 
Let me be your instrument 
so that my body, soul, and mind are holy. 
Amen."

God's Timing

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It's all in the Lord's hands now.

I submitted my visa application. Completely. Everything is sent off. Tomorrow it should be at the British Consulate. If you think of it, please pray!

Lord, help me not to worry. Help me to completely trust that your timing is the best timing.

Reviving the Soul

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Feeling as though I had neglected the Lord for some time, I felt guilty to dive back into spending time with Him. That is, until my wonderful, godly fiancé convinced me to do so before we even FaceTimed for the day. Lord, thank You for Craig!

I opened up Frances Roberts' Progress of Another Pilgrim and the words screamed out at me.

My children, the hour is late. Call not upon Me for help after you have hopelessly lost your way, but seek Me now for guidance so clear that you will never be led astray.
The mercy of God is great toward the lost and the backslider, but I say unto you, this is no day to live idly nor walk in any careless fashion.
Do not depend upon My patience and presume upon My tolerance. You despise My laws and pray for healing. You starve your soul of nourishment of My Word and pray for grace. You neglect prayer and yet expect to be conscious of My nearness.
I say unto you: Seek out the holy place of communion, and you shall have restored unto you the joy of your salvation. Feed your soul and your mind upon My Word, and you shall be strengthened and enriched.
Keep My commandment, walk circumspectly, and don't even glance in the direction of compromise.

Psalm 19
1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 
2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 
3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, 5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. 
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 
8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. 
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 
12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Interactive Book List - 2012

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I did this last year and thought it would be fun to do it again! Check it out! These are all the books I read this year!

1. The Poetical Works of George Macdonald, Volume 1 - completed January 14
2. Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney - completed February 1
3. Leaving (Bailey Flanigan Series) by Karen Kingsbury - completed February 3
4. Gazelles, Baby Steps and 37 Other Things Dave Ramsey Taught Me about Debt by Jon Acuff - completed February 14
5. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin - completed March 8
6. Learning (Bailey Flanigan Series) by Karen Kingsbury - completed March 25
7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - completed May 6
8. Longing (Bailey Flanigan Series) by Karen Kingsbury - completed May 19th
9. Loving (Bailey Flanigan Series) by Karen Kingsbury - completed June 23rd
10. Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together by Mark Driscoll - completed December 12