ODP Day 28 – Skype

Hello reader,

Can I just say, I love Skype. I love FaceTime. I love Whatsapp. I love my friends.  

  Sometimes, it’s more important to spend the evening video chatting with friends you haven’t talked to in forever. There will always be another paper due; relationships are what truly matter.  That’s not to say I won’t write my paper. In fact, I’m waking up early tomorrow morning to finish it. I work better in the mornings anyway, so we’re going to assume that if I had written my paper tonight, it wouldn’t have been all that great anyway. My advice for you, especially as we try to finish up assignments before thanksgiving: call your friends; the papers can wait.
 

The Girl From Texas

I just recently returned from a missions trip to the Dominican Republic, and I miss it terribly. This post is part reminiscence, part testimonial. I could talk about how this country has impacted my life for days, but I will attempt to condense it down into a blog post. This was my fourth year, and each year I learn something new about myself. This year’s theme was identity, and the last night of ministry I had to opportunity to share a little bit of my story with the youth. I thought I would share it with y’all as well. So this is (a small part of) the story of me. (p.s. there’s another one of these coming, because the DR gives me a lot to say)

For the past couple of days we have been talking a lot about identity: how it is formed, what it means, and why it is important to have an identity rooted in Christ. I wanted to share a little bit about how I tried to form my identity in something other than Christ, and the setbacks that came with that. My dad is in the Army, which means I moved around a lot as a kid. By the time I was 19, I had lived in 10 houses and four states. Moving around from place to place meant I constantly had to introduce myself to new people. Trying to make new friends every couple of years meant I had to find something that made me different. I couldn’t risk being lost in the crowd. In attempt to stand out, I tried to root my identity in places. I could be “the girl from Texas.” I could emphasize loving heat, cowboys, and flat plains. I really did like those things, so it was easy to make it my life. Texas was “home” and no where else could live up to home. After all, I was “the girl from Texas.” It would make me cool, different, and someone people would want to be friends with. Or so I thought. Throughout middle and high school, through Georgia, South Carolina, and New York, I was “the girl from Texas,” and that was good enough for me. Maybe it was pride, but I just wanted to be different. But then I graduated high school and went to University. In Texas. I could no longer be “the girl from Texas,” because I was in Texas. Everyone was from Texas. I wasn’t special anymore. I wasn’t different. Everyone liked cowboys. I didn’t want to be “the girl from New York,” where I had just moved from, because I hated New York. For a little while, I tried to be that person anyway, but it wasn’t the same. I couldn’t play that part. My identity had crumbled around me, and I needed to find another one, fast. I poured myself into my studies, and I spent a lot of time praying through the many hardships of freshman year (like being terrified I would not make any friends, forget to take a midterm, and fail all my classes. What can I say, I’m an extremist…). I became very involved in the church I go to. I started volunteering with the youth group, meeting church friends for breakfast, and anxiously awaiting each Sunday morning worship. Don’t get me wrong, I was involved in church before, and I have always loved going to church, but somehow this was different. Church of the Resurrection became my family when I desperately needed one (my parents were still in New York). They were the people who loved me through my doubts and failures. I discovered that in relying on God to get me through a crumbling identity, He had given me a new one. An identity rooted in Christ. Jesus met me in my constant struggle to be different by giving me more compassion for those in need, more passion for youth ministry, more friends who loved me despite my faults, and more joy in seeking His will for my life. An identity rooted in Christ is forming me into the best I can be. I can’t just be “the girl from Texas;” I have to be the girl who loves Jesus.

#ODP14 Day 28

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The best way to feel cheerful is to wear yellow, right? I thought so. Originally I though this looked a little thrown together, but I got quite a few compliments on it, so it must have looked better than I thought it did. I got these tights from a store in the mall (they have leggings two for $10!), and they are legit so. soft. I also wore the skirt that I made out of a men’s dress shirt and my blue flower oxfords. I bought these shoes with my friend Jessica and she asked, “what are you even going to wear those with?” to which I replied, “um, everything?” So far I’ve been right. I love them! I went to my first class without the yellow sweater and it was pretty cold, so when my second class got out a little bit early I ran back to the dorm and grabbed it. I’m also wearing my daisy ring and my blue ring from the Dominican Republic (but I wear that every day, so it only matches by coincidence). ODP14 28 2

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#ODP14 Day 13

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So I’m slowly catching up to posting my outfits on the right day, but until then you get pictures from a few days ago. On day 13 it was chilly and rainy, so layering was the best option. Lots of people had a lot more layers than I did.. I’m pretty sure it was the first day under 55*, and I saw at least five winter hats, eight scarves, and even a pair of gloves. For 50*+ weather… I texted my mom this news and her response was “It’s 40* here and I’m going to walmart in a fleece.” Ahh, the joys of winter in the South: the cold really isn’t all that cold!ODP14 13 2

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Here we have yet another example of the fact that I am incapable of taking a serious picture… It’s OK to laugh at me, I laugh at me too!ODP14 13 4

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Cinnamon Apple Cake

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If you have a Pinterest account and are remotely interested in food, you’ve probably seen this pin. It has gone totally viral the past few weeks. So I thought, it’s apple season, this pin is popular, I might as well try it out, right? Right. It was pretty delicious. Unfortunately, I left mine in the pan a little too long and it broke apart instead of being beautiful like the original photo above (from the original website). But it still tasted delicious! Also: I think it’s pretty safe to say I use a lot of cinnamon.. Today my mom bought Cinnamon at Sam’s Club, which means it’s a ginormous container. When I asked why she bought so much she informed me that I’ve used an entire little container of cinnamon ever month for the past four months. Some things you just have to buy in bulk!
 If you don’t have one of these, you should invest at once. They’re amazing. Especially at Thanksgiving when you’re making apple pie and apple crisp and apple cider etc, etc, etc. It literally takes 10 seconds to peel and core your apples this way.
 You’ll need 5 medium size apples for this recipe, peeled, cored, and diced. Cover them with the cinnamon and sugar and set overnight. I didn’t read the recipe before starting, so I didn’t really want to wait overnight to make the cake. If that’s the case with you as well, you can do it the cheater way like me.. I just spread them in the bottom of a 9×13 pan and baked them at the lowest setting of my oven for about 10-15 minutes. The purpose of them sitting out was to allow the sugar to break down the apples a little to make them extra juicy, and so baking them accomplishes a similar effect in less than half an hour.

Cinnamon Apple Cake (found here)

Combine and set overnight:
5 Medium Apples, peeled, cored, and diced
2 t Cinnamon
6 T Sugar

3 C Flour
3 t Baking Powder
1/4 t Salt
2 C Sugar
1 C Vegetable Oil
1/2 C Orange Juice
2 1/2 t Vanilla
4 Eggs

Topping:
1 Stick Butter
2 t Cinnamon
5 t Sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients, minus the sugar, together. Mix the wet ingredients, plus the sugar, together. (keeping the apples separate). Combine the two until well mixed. Layer the apples and cake batter in a greased tube pan. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours. While it is baking heat the topping over medium heat in a small saucepan until bubbling. Set aside. When the cake has finished baking pour the topping over it and leave it in the warm oven for 5 minutes. This will form a hard sugary coating that is totally delicious. Enjoy!

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Cooking Pumpkin

 I feel like such an accomplished cook! I have officially cooked a whole pumpkin and pureed it into homemade “canned” pumpkin puree! And let me tell you, it’s so much tastier than store bought. And it’s actually way easier than it sounds! And it’s cheaper! We got this pumpkin for $4, and I got over 8 cups of pumpkin puree. One 16 oz can at the store is usually about $1.50. Which would be $0.75 per cup. Cooking your own is $0.50 per cup. And when you love pumpkin as much as I do, you tend to use a lot, and therefore spend a lot…
 Anyway, back to cooking 🙂 It’s pretty simple. Wash your pumpkin and cut it in half. Scoop the seeds out (make sure to save them for roasting! A recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds is coming soon!). My friends from Columbia will be happy to know that I conquered my fear of pumpkin guts and scooped all the seeds out by myself!
 Put your pumpkin halves face down on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour. Test it with a knife and when it is soft you can take it out. Let it cool and scoop the flesh out of the shell.
 It’ll be pretty thick and stringy, so I put mine through the blender to make it more pureed.
 Worked like a charm! It’s so delicious! Stay tuned for pumpkin recipes!
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I’m a Little Flower

 Guess what guys…I went shopping on Wednesday! Which means NEW (to me) CLOTHES! Which is pretty much my favorite thing ever, besides spending time with my family and friends, which can be done while shopping, so that’s pretty awesome. So I got this dress at one of the thrift stores my mom and I went to for like $6. It reminds me of a flower and will from now on be known as my petal dress. It’s getting way cold here (it was in the 30’s last night) and the dress is strapless so I had to wear a little sweater (purchased at a garage sale for $0.50) and tights to keep warm. I wanted to pair it with these super cute new heels that I purchased, but I thought that would be too dressy for Bible Study and school, so I went with my silver sparkly TOMS. I’m also wearing my spoon ring (tutorial found here), charm bracelet, treble clef earrings, and black and gray headband. Thoughts?
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