Monday, October 31, 2011


"[Worship] is best defined as a reaction. The resulting behavior and response a person engages in naturally when experiencing that which can be only described as God." ~

Every Sunday I play piano at CenterPointe. Recently I had a week off and I was glad because I thought I would have a chance to "really worship." But as I stood in church singing along with the band I found myself thinking of the words Stephanie McDowell said to my husband about me, "I can really hear her worshipping God through the piano." I felt awkward and almost out of place, I even found myself wishing I was back on the keys.

And as I've pondered this idea of worship I've discovered something. It hit me one day while playing the intro to a song that Ashley was singing a few weeks ago. Worship is giving to God what he gave you to begin with. Using my talent of playing piano for His church is worship. Tithing is worship. Greeting visitors is worship. Organizing games for the youth group is worship. Even cleaning up after them is worship. Worship is doing anything that God gave me the ability to do for the benefit of His kingdom.

I love to bring people to a place of worship. I love to hear CenterPointe sing His praise and lift His name. I love playing piano and hearing everyone sing. I'm so grateful for a God that wants our worship.

If you have seen me play but we haven't met I'd ask that you take the time to shake my hand some Sunday. I'll be so glad to meet another brother or sister in the faith.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead you into his throne room. I'm so humbled.

Read these quotes on worship:

A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.
C. S. Lewis

A service of worship is primarily a service to God. When we realize this and act upon it, we make it a service to men.
Ralph W. Sockman

It is only when men begin to worship that they begin to grow.
Calvin Coolidge

Friday, October 28, 2011


We have been searching for a puppy for quite some time now. We knew we wanted a Canaan dog, an ancient Israeli herder. We wanted a male, and a solid white or white and fawn one (without any black on him.) We knew we wanted a big hearty dog - not some spindly little thing. And we had a price limit - under $500. This is asking a lot, since most Canaans are black and white and sell for about $1500.

I was praying feverishly for God to send us the perfect pup and then, yesterday, I got the email. A woman in Illinois has a three month old, solid white male that needs a home. He can't be sold at full price because his tail has an extra kink in it and doesn't curl up like it should. He weighs 15 pounds (at only 3 months!) and will probably top out around 50 pounds (about 3/4 the size of a full-grown male german shepherd.) And the best part is that he is well under our price limit!

And this woman has bred 76 litters of Canaans already! In fact, she is the one who sold JFK Jr.'s dog, Friday, to him.
I got to talk to her on the phone yesterday and I think we are all thrilled that this baby is coming home with us! We can't wait to go get him!
We haven't been able to think of a name for this sweet little boy, but I'm sure one will come in time. (Leave your suggestions in the comments below!)
I'll post more as I know more. Looking forward to meeting him.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Lately I've been contemplating the meaning of peace. As I read about friends expecting a new baby and friends who are waiting to adopt and friends struggling with an autistic child, I'm blown away by how simple my life has become. My bills are being paid; I'm living in a wonderful house on four acres; I'm enjoying my job and my co-workers. I have the opportunity and joy of playing piano at CenterPointe and leading the youth there with two other amazing couples. I'm even perfectly okay with not being in Romania right now knowing that the Lord has things for me to do here and now. The most complicated things I'm dealing with right now are student loan debt and deciding whether or not we will get a dog.

I guessed I've lived in so much turmoil I'm really amazed when I look at my life and see simplicity. I've always understood the "peace that passes understanding" in the hard times, but now that my life is so simple I wonder if what I'm feeling is really peace. After all, what is courage without something to overcome? And what is compassion without suffering? Can true inner peace exist without turmoil?

I thank God over and over for giving me such still waters for a time, but I can't help but wonder why. I've never known such stillness and it's almost unnerving. I feel like Esther when she first came into the palace of the king and was taken as his wife. Everything is different. I am taken care of, my bills are paid. And yet I know the words of Esther 4:14 are so true in my life still, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”; I know the Lord has given me this verse for this season in my life, though I admit I'm not entirely sure why. Surely this peace is part of His plan and will be used to further His will in our lives. I want to remember to be thankful for this peace and to praise God in every season.

Thank you Lord for still waters and let remember to be thankful in all things.

"All of my life, in every season, you are still God; I have a reason to sing. I have a reason to worship."

Recipe: Butternut Squash Bisque

Reeve made this tasty bisque last night. We really enjoyed it, but we added a little too much cayenne.

Butternut Bisque

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper plus more for garnish (optional)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Sour cream, for serving

In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add squash, broth, half-and-half, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth or blend with a stick blender. (If you use a stick blender be sure to keep it submerged or you will end up with bisque all over your kitchen.) Stir in lemon juice; season with salt. Serve bisque with sour cream, garnished with cayenne, if desired

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recipe: "More or Less" Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten Free)

I've been making these peanut butter cookies since I was a teen. I don't know where I got the recipe, but I've always made them this way. They are a big hit at parties or just when we crave something sweet in the evening. They can be made in twenty minutes from ingredients we always have in our house. I used this recipe to snag my husband and it was practically in our wedding vows that we must keep the ingredients for these cookies handy so I can make them when we have surprise company.

These cookies are gluten free and dairy free (as long as you don't add chocolate chips.) I shared this recipe with a co-worker who couldn't eat gluten and she was a big fan - she made them more often than I did! The recipe is simple, one cup sugar, on cup peanut butter, and one egg. The reason they are called "More or Less" Peanut Butter Cookies is because they often require more or less of ingredients and more or less cooking time. Generally the recipe needs more sugar, but it isn't always a measurable amount and differs each time. Without furthur ado:

"More or Less" Peanut Butter Cookies

1 egg
1 C Peanut Butter
1 C Sugar
1/2 C Milk Chocolate Chips (optional)


Mix together egg and sugar. Add peanut butter, stir until well blended. Add sugar by the tablespoon until dough can be rolled into balls in your palm without leaving your hands sticky. (Leaving your hands slightly oily is okay - sticky is not.) (Optional: add chocolate chips)

(Dough with my Aldi peanut butter and chocolate chips - I love Aldi)

Roll dough into 1.5-inch diameter balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Press with a fork.

Bake approximately 12 minutes at 350 F, turning the pan around after six.
Bake until the tops of the cookies are no longer shiny.

Remove from the pan IMMEDIATELY and place on a flat plate in a single layer.
This is VERY important.
Don't leave them on that pan unless you want them to stick to it.

Top with Hershey Kisses if you'd like and allow them to cool for
five minutes before serving. Tell everyone how hard
it was to make them and that it was your
great-great-great grandmother's recipe. Enjoy!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Anyone who suffers from migraines know how awful they are.

I've been suffering low-grade migraines for about two weeks now. I've never had them before now, so the sudden onset is a cause for slight concern. (The only times I've ever had headaches like these are when I had meningitis 12 years ago and when I had the flu in February.) They have been so bad I've left company in the living room and gone to lie down. I have to get out of all light and sounds and usually I fall asleep and wake up with what feels like a hangover.They usually hit at night but I can't take excedrin at night or else it keeps me up all night.

 Driving at night triggers a migraine and so does reading and blogging, so my blogging this month has been pretty sparce. I'm currently nauseous and running a slight fever so I'm leaving work early. I don't think it's flu since I'm not weak and I don't have body aches. I'm almost completely convinced it's my vision so I'm heading to the optomitrist today. I'm hoping it's just because of my vision and not anything more serious. We will look into a few other things, but I'm pretty sure it's just from my bad vision.

Please pray that we discover the cause of these headaches. I can't live like this anymore.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Coupon Clippin'

Lately I've been trying to be more cost-conscious. I want to be aware of what we are spending and how we can cut back. This means venturing into the scary world of couponing. So now I'm a new clipping, snipping, web-searching fiend. I'm searching the web for deals, I'm shopping at Aldi, I'm planning my meals ahead of time, I'm downloading apps on my phone to get free appetizers at the Chinese food place tonight when we go out with friends. I still haven't quite got the hang of this coupon thing, but I think I'm getting there. I'll be chronicling my coupon clipping growth and teaching you my favorite tips as I learn more.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite gold mines with you, oh faithful blog readers and cost-conscious citizens, that don't require scouring the paper.

20 Free Prints from CVS"Like" CVS on Facebook this week and earn 20 free prints. Just click on the special offers tab on the left hand side and sign up. Your coupon will be emailed to you. Click here to open their facebook page in a new window.

BOGO free movie ticket at Amstar
Bluegrass coupons is advertising a buy one get one free ticket at Amstar in Nicholasville as well as a free popcorn. This coupon expires November 30th so use it soon. Click here to get these coupons.

Free Sandwich at Zaxby's
Bluegrass coupons is giving away free nibbler sandwich coupons for Zaxby's. Click here to get this coupon.

If you've never used Groupon you are missing out. Every day Groupon offers a deal to get you food, services or entertainment for half the cost. We bought two tickets to see Harry Potter this summer for a grand total of $8 on Groupon and recently we got $20 worth of food at our favorite Chinese place for $10. Go to or download the mobile app on your phone.

Living Social
If you haven't discovered Living Social it's not too late. Living social works like Groupon. We just bought $60 worth of glasses from Coastal Contacts for $9. Can't beat a deal like that! Go to or download their mobile app. lets you buy gift cards for local restaurants for less than their face value. For example, you may get a $25 gift card for Many times there is a minimum purchase amount at the restaurant so read the terms before you purchase the card.

My coworker introduced me to Mobideals. It's a mobile app that helps you save. It's like a combination of Groupon and Download the app, sign in with your phone number and start searching. You can search using a city, zip code or just places nearby. You'll find deals for eating out, entertainment, retail stores and more. We plan on using it tonight when we go out to eat with friends.

There are some ways to keep doing the things you love and save at the same time. Hope you find something you like!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Uprising Photo Stream

I've talked about our youth group, The Uprising, but I haven't posted any pictures of the teens I love. So here's a photo stream of my favorite teenages. These are the things we do on a given week:

We Play Games 

(Bailey, the fearless, Quidditch team captain)

(Gettin' into the game)

(they're such good sports)

We Eat Snacks

(they demolished these and more)

We make funny faces

(don't mess with Keegan!)

(love that Kelsey is making a face too)

We "love on each other"

We Celebrate Birthdays

(Happy Birthday Katelyn!)

We listen to a lesson and discuss

We design t-shirts and vote on them

(great t-shirts Kelsey! Can't wait to get them made!)

So that's what Uprising is like on any given weekend. We are so blessed. We couldn't ask for a better group of teens and we love each and every one of them so much. Thank you for being so wondeful, Uprising. You bless us more than you know.

I heart Romania

I love Romania, I always have. I love the Roma people; I love the gypsies. I love the people no one else loves. Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to go to Eastern Europe and work with the teenage girls that no one wants. 

When Reeve and I were engaged we both felt the Lord's calling on us to go to Romania and work with teens. We felt the call to go to the ones who didn’t belong to anyone, to the unwanted and the disowned. We know that we have felt that way ourselves and know that 2 Corinthians promises us that God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (1: 3-4) We know that we have been through trouble and have been disowned so that we can love on those that have seen trouble and abandonment. We didn't know when and we didn't know how, but we knew He was behind it. We've dreamed of different ways the Lord was going to send us but we know, somehow, He has a plan that we could never dream up.  He knows the way and we are following His method and His timing. I've dreamed about people we will work with and places we will see. I've always been one to see things in dreams in visions.

Last year we were introduced to an organization called For God's Children International (hereafter FGCI) at the National Missionary Convention in Lexington. Of the hundreds of organizations represented, they were the only ones that ministered in Romania. Their booth was right in the front of the convention center so we were able to run over to the booth in between sessions without having to run to the end of the convention hall. When I started meeting people from the organization I had to resist the urge to say “I’ve seen you before! In a dream!” Sounds crazy, but I swear it’s true. We fell in love with these people and immediately felt like we’d known them for years, like they were family.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The New Arrivals!

(Aren't they beautiful?)

One of our best friends gave Reeve and I a washer and dryer! For two years we've been carting our wash to mo mother-in-laws or another friend's house to do laundry - but now we have a washer and dryer at home! We are so thrilled and thankful!

The installation process took a little time and elbow grease. Reeve had to replace one of the valves for the washer and the plug for the dryer. It wasn't an easy process and that darned old valve did NOT want to come out!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Terrific Tuesday: cut.color.crochet

As the weather gets colder I gradually take my jackets, sweaters, hats and mittens out from hiding. Just the other day I unloaded a bag of scarves and found a purple pashmina I thought was lost forever, and a super-cute, crocheted, white hat and scarf set that I had forgotten I had. So in the spirit of the cooler weather, today's Terrific Tuesday feature is about a crochet genius.

Cut.color.crochet is a 27-year-old hairstylist from Trenton, New Jersey. She is also a self-taught crocheter (is that a word? I hope so.)  Here's what she says about her projects, "I find it very relaxing, and the end result always makes me happy." (Much like how I feel about making bread.) She also says, " I love picking out yarn, and choosing the colors - I am completely connected to everything I create." (Like the local farmers I talked about in this post a few days ago.)  She opened her shop on 10.10.10 (the same day CenterPointe had it's grand opening!) and she's been growing ever since. I fell in love with cut.color.crochet because I was looking on etsy for a pair of affordable mittens. I LOVE homemade mittens. I have a pair that my mother made while I was in the womb and I love them. I also love fingerless gloves, and crocheted hats and scarves.

Let's take a look at the fabulous art of cut.color.crochet:

The item I found most clever on her shop was the Bearded Hat:

This is a hand-made hat with a detachable beard. I LOVE this idea. I am totally buying one for my husband...IF I can convince him to wear it. I think it's so incredibly clever to attach a crocheted beard to a man's hat - especially if your man, like mine, doesn't like to grow a beard. (I don't like them either, too scratchy!) The hat has buttons on the inside to adjust or remove the beard. So clever! Her bearded hats sell for $35 and can be special ordered in the colors of your choice. The beard comes in brown, gray, black, red and white.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Most Embaressing Moments

My old youth leader and fellow blogger, Olivia, recently posted her most mortifying moments on her blog. I Loved this post so I decided to post it my own blog. I think I have three mortifying moments that top the chart and here they are:
Era: Elementary School
Mortifying Moment: My mother had cut my hair super short and a boy on the bus asked if I was a boy or a girl. I responded "What do you THINK?!" His response "ok"

Fall Festival

This weekend Centerpointe is hosting a Fall Festival! Come on out for games, hay rides, face painting, food and more! And the best part is it's Free! My small group will be hosting the Duck Pond. And our youth group will be working booths as well! Come on out to 865 Greendale Road, Lexington this Saturday for a great time!
Hope to see you there!

For more information go to

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Local Spotlight: Kelley Farms

Corn Maze Master Jack Lane carefully plans out his image. He draws it out on paper until it looks just right. He does all the math required without help of a GPS. And then he begins the painstaking process of working row by row and stalk by stalk to carve the likeness of the University of Kentucky's men's basketball head coach into a cornfield.

Every year Kelley Farms features a 10-acre corn maze with a beautiful birds-eye view and has featured greats like Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone and Henry Clay. Last year they featured a horse and rider for the World Equestrian Games hosted in Lexington. This year it's John Calipari. 

We think a lot of Coach Calipari," said farm owner John Kelley in the written release. "We just want to let Coach Cal know how much he means to Kentucky and how much Kentucky appreciates having him lead our basketball team."

Kentucky loves Coach Cal. We love his style, we love his recruiting, we love that he got us to the final four. We LOVE that we can hear him yelling from the nose-bleed section. And now we have another way to appreciate Coach Cal. This corn maze features two mazes, one for beginners and one for advanced explorers. The maze will take you about an hour to finish - unless you take too many wrong turns!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Recipe: Buttermilk Pancake Biscuits

I have to give credit where it's due on this one, Reeve found/created this recipe and he makes them the way a southerner should - with LOTS of butter. This is a variation on traditional biscuits, in that you make them using buttermilk pancake mix. They have a sweet, pancake-like taste and are a little more crumbly than regular biscuits. I would say they are the middle road between biscuits and scones. We made these the other night with the Butternut Squash Risotto and then again last night. They are extremely cost efficient and taste so much better than canned biscuits. I think this weekend we will try them with maple venison sausage and eggs.

Reeve's Buttermilk Pancake Biscuits

2 1/2 cups Buttermilk Pancake Mix
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 425°F.
In medium bowl, stir together pancake mix and remaining ingredients until dough forms.
Transfer dough to lightly floured surface.
Roll out dough and fold in half; turn one quarter turn and roll to 1/2-inch thickness.
Cut into biscuits with a juice glass (works just as well as a biscuit cutter)
Place biscuits side by side onto ungreased baking sheet. Brush with butter.
Bake 11 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Makes nine, 2 1/2-inch biscuits.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Recipe: Butternut Squash Risotto

Last weekend I bought a butternut squash from the farmers market. I knew I had to use it pretty soon or I would lose it. I've always made it mashed, but I decided to be adventurous and started searching for unique butternut squash recipes. I found this recipe on No Meat Athlete, a website for vegetarian and vegan athletes. I like cooking without meat so I was thrilled to find this website and this recipe. We LOVED it. I will definitely be making it again next week. We served it up with homemade Pancake Mix Biscuits that Reeve made (I'll share that recipe tomorrow!) Try this recipe on a crisp fall evening.

(Looks incredibly tasty right?)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Last Tuesday Reeve and I celebrated our second anniversary. This is the "cotton" anniversary for those of you who don't know. Not really sure what that entails, but it doesn't sound terribly fancy to me...

So as finances are a little tight around our house we celebrated our anniversary at home. Kathy came over and helped me get the house super clean and I made a nice dinner: steak, roasted potatoes and broccoli with red wine. Will made us a cheesecake for dessert and we had Ferrero Rocher chocolates (also known as "honeymoon chocolates" in our house.) Reeve and I both picked up a box of Ferrero Rochers to try to surprise the other!

Reeve brought be home a bouquet of 62 miniature Ferdinand Pichard Roses. So. Pretty.

Reeve's aunt Sharon gave us a bottle of champagne and we celebrated again this weekend with champagne, Ferrero Rochers and mini pecan pies with vanilla ice cream. Last year we toasted to one more year. This year we toasted to two more years. Next year we will toast to three more and so on. I love this tradition.

All in all, a very excellent anniversary. A big, huge "Thank You" to everyone who made it so wonderful. We couldn't do it without you!

Happy Anniversary Reeve!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Local Spotlight: Critchfield Meats

I've been on vacation for a week and since we don't have internet at home, I've taken a week off from blogging. But I'm back!

Today we are doing a local spotlight on Critchfield Meats, an old fashioned butcher shop in Lexington, Kentucky.