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
Archive for 2013
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!
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
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)
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.
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!
- 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!
- My supply of Cheetos—gonna restock soon!
- Books & my kindle
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.
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!
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!
Homemade Pumpkin Pie
Makes 2 traditional sized pies
• 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!)
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.
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.
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!
• 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
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
Today I am thankful for my husband, my very best friend.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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! :)
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?
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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!
It's as if they followed me all the way from little old El Monte, California.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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