Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Feed Your Eyes - Food Gawker

I do not know how to explain the amazingness of Food Gawker.  You should stop reading this post, and immediately click on the link.  There are hundreds of recipes from tons of different places and the pictures will cause your mouth to water.  

Another wonderful thing is it will give you a huge list of food blogs to follow (if you are into that kind of thing) and supply an unending stream of places to look for foodie advice and love... 

A Middle Eastern Chickpea SaladChickpea-Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

Let me know what you try!  

From the Inside Out, Lord, My Soul Cries Out

I am delving into a new book titled, The Best of A.W. Tozer, and over the next few weeks you should expect excerpts from it.  He chooses his words so carefully, eloquently, and with so much purpose.  Everyone should read Tozer.  When he explains his perspective on the Christian life in a broken world, I cannot help but begin to decipher how I am doing. 

Would people know I am a Christian by spending time with me?  What else should I be axamining? At the end of the first few chapters, Tozer includes prayers that I intend to attempt to make my heart song.  The cry of my heart goes in lots of directions, but I want it to go to him first and foremost.  I invite you to pray these with me. 

Read them, write them, and make them your own heart’s desire!

O God, I have tasted Thy Goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more.  I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace.  I am ashamed of my lack of desire.  O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made mroe thirsty still.  Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed.  Being in mercy a new work of love within me.  Say to my soul, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, come away with me."  Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Lord, teach me to listen.  The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them.  Give me the spirit of the holy Samuel when he said to Thee, “Speak, for thy servant heareth.”  Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart.  Let me get used to the sound of Thy Voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking Voice.  Amen.

Lord, make me childlike.  Deliver me from the urge to compete with another for place or prestige or position.  I would be simple and artless as a a little child.  Deliver me from pose and pretense.  Forgive me for thinking of myself.  Help me to forget myself and find my true peace in beholding thee.  That Thou mayest answer this prayer, I humble myself before Thee.  Lay upon me Thy easy yoke of self-forgetfulness that through it I may find rest.  Amen.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Want More Patterns in My Life!

Ok, normally I resist trends simply for the sake of them being a trend, and this is no exception.  I do not like patterns and prints because they are popular, I like them because they are fantastic.  I hope you enjoy these pictures and bring more patterns into your life.

I'm not sure if this is popular, but I personally love the idea!  I would much rather wallpaper behind some shelves then an entire wall.  I like that it limits the overwhelmingness some wallpaper can bring, while allowing the bright color and pattern to be present in the room all the same.  While I would choose to do shelves in this bold way, others may choose to only use one pattern.  

Everyone seems to have a cute apron these days, and most stores sell them.  While I rarely catch a friend wearing her patterned kitchen frock, I love the idea of doing so!  I solemnly swear to make an effort to wear mine more!  You should get one of your own and wear it too.

There is a special place in my heart for home decor, and I these lamp shades make me SO happy.  The color and the patterns add a little extra to a room, without being too much.  I love the light yellow lamp paired with the blue and yellow shade.  It makes my heart light to see something so bright yet delicate.

What patterns do you love? 

Is there something in your home that makes your heart light every time you see it?

Have I thanked you recently for reading?!?

Smiles and Smalls...

As I fall deeper in love with Bill Rogers, I realize how many wonderful qualities that he possesses.  He is patient and kind, he is never jealous or rude, he is not proud and never brags.  He is thoughtful and faithful and ultimately wonderful.  His presence relaxes me and gives me peace in this world.  He loves me selflessly and never fails to try to be exactly what I need.  He is one of the most well rounded, caring people I know.  I always thought you only read about those people in books and see them in movies, but I never really believed they existed - until I met Bill.

His sincerity is refreshing.  He gives 110% everyday, and never stops going strong - Even when people do not pay him the same respect.  He loves to cook and be with friends and wants everyone to be having a wonderful time, feel included, and to provide community.   He also wants to be the one to clean up so everyone can continue to relax, and never compains.  Every moment I spend with him brings a smile to my face.  He has a natural demeanor and comfortable attitude.  You feel like you are in the presence of someone who has no stress in his life.

However, I know that he does and I know how important it is to have a person to come to with the difficulties that come at you.  I love that he comes to me.  I love that I can go to him.  I love that no matter what, we keep communication open.  I love that God brought me the right boy at the right time in the right place and that we fall more in love every day. 

You've got someone here
Wants to make it all right
Someone that loves you more
Than life right here
You've got willing arms that'll hold you tight
A hand to lead you on through the night right here
I know your heart can get
All tangled up inside
But don't you keep it to yourself

When your long day is over
And you can barely drag your feet
The weight of the world
Is on your shoulders
I know what you need
Bring it on home to me

-Little Big Town

Sunday, May 22, 2011

No More Point and Click Tuesdays

In my general spirit of honesty, I wanted to let you all know I will not be taking part in this photography project anymore; and that is why you will see it disspear as a tab from the top of the page.  I wanted to make sure these pictures were not gone forever, so here is what used to be under the tab called "Point and Click Tuesdays." 

It has been fun, but I feel like I am the only one posting even some what consistently, so I will use the time I would have spent on this on something else... like posting about  my life, food, design, love and things I am learning. 

Every Tuesday I will be posting a photography project that started with just a few girls trying to stay connected.  We have a schedule of themes and will be posting every week and I am so excited for them all.  It is such a wonderful way to stay in touch with each other while challenging ourselves artistically.  If you want to be involved, leave a comment here or Email Me and I will forward you the schedule!

At a Coffee Shop – Tuesday 5/17
As Bethany Lomas and I strolled around Old Towne Orange, enjoying conversation on life and love, we were looking for coffee (as usual) and something to tide us over until dinner.  We wandered past a lot of restaurants and shops that were closed. The wind picked up and it got chillier outside.  I regretted my choice to wear my mustard yellow shorts, despite their comfort and cute factor.  When suddenly, we spotted a sign that said “Turkish Coffee” and we immediately sought refuge inside the cozy shop’s shelter. 

The woman in charge loved her job and was enthused that we wanted to try something new (we gave up our secret and shared we had no idea what Turkish Coffee was) and she excitedly made some for us.  We sipped our espresso sized cups of rich bold coffee and warmed up as we shared Hummus and Pitas (and a piece of baklava each) and were joined by Mikaela Holford who jumped right into our philosophical/spiritual questions and joined us in continuing our day in lovely little stores shopping and relaxing in each other’s company. 

What a wonderful afternoon... 

Via Wikipedia: Turkish coffee is coffee prepared by boiling finely powdered roast coffee beans in a pot, possibly with sugar, and serving it into a cup, where the dregs settle. The name describes the method of preparation, not the raw material; there is no special Turkish variety of the coffee bean. It is common throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Caucasus, and the Balkans, and in their expatriate communities and restaurants in the rest of the world. 

Coffeehouse culture was highly developed in the former Ottoman world, and this was the dominant style of preparation.

May 10, 2011 - Ambiance
I do not think ambiance requires company, but I do think it relaxes us to sink into friendship and romance. What I love about the concept of ambiance is that calm music, a glass of wine, lit candles, a fireplace, or lights strung overhead can make a conversation better, a dinner more delicious, and a night more memorable.

Night time, a cup of coffee in my hand, and walking/dancing with the man I love are such wonderful things, but they are wonderful because of who I am spending those moments with.  The little extra ambiance just makes you feel like you are in a movie - or in my case a fairy tale.  Like it can't possibly be you that is experiencing it.  Isn't it amazing that a candle or the right song can do that?

Dinner with friends that lasts for hours with smells and wine and laughter can seem even greater because our senses are stimulated and we are relaxed by the scents of the food and the company and the candles that are lit.

Half the battle is finding what relaxes you and constantly treating yourself to it.

When I am alone - candles and wine are my ambiance.

May 3, 2011 - A Day in the Life

There are areas of my apartment that make me smile and are constant in my day to day.  This bookshelf and my outdoor bookshelf/garden are constantly changing and rotating items and locations, but they never fail to put a smile on my face.  The suitcases piled next to teh mustard colored bookshelves filled with colorful books, flowers, and pictures makes me feel at ease.  The flowers, wine bottles, and fresh air.  Sigh... so wonderful.

One of my favorite parts of my day to day is cooking.  While this picture does not reflect my culinary skills, it does reflect the rest that a good meal brings me.  A cup of tea, a home made scone, and some cereal in the morning can help the rest of my day go better, if you throw in some devotion time and/or prayer time I am honestly better off.  Sharing a meal with people I love is something I hold dear to my heart and could do everyday for the rest of my life.  I wish I could afford to cook wonderful meals every day for everyone I know.  Food brings people together…

Perhaps the most important part of my day to day life is this man.  He generally doses off at least once while we are hanging out, but I consider it a compliment when someone sleeps near me.  There is nothing more precious to me than a car full of people sleeping as I drive us to a destination.  It lets me know they trust me and are comfortable with me.  Bill is a sleepy man, but it doesn’t bother me.  I love to watch him sleep and rest and I know he feels at peace in this state.  I often wonder the stress of being a man and what that does to do your body.  He makes me so happy when he rests his weary eyes near me.

April 26, 2011 - Serene
This week's theme was "Serene", and I have to admit I looked up the definition.  I knew what I thought it meant, but I wanted to learn the real roots of the word. 

Here is what I found:

adjective /səˈrēn/ 
serener, comparative; 
serenest, superlative
Calm, peaceful, and untroubled; tranquil- her eyes were closed and she looked very serene
- serene certainty

noun /səˈrēn/ 
An expanse of clear sky or calm sea- not a cloud obscured the deep serene

In light of that definition, and what resonated in my heart these are the pictures I chose to represent this week.

Please check out more participants! 
Ashley Wells is the ringleader and has links to everyone (so far) on her page. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Make sure to check out my Food I Ate Friday Post and stop by Bruxie to try a waffle sandwich for yourself!

How Can You Not Smile When Locking Your Bike To These?

Every time I visit Long Beach I am pleasantly surprised by the unique touches that have been spread throughout the metropolis to brighten up street corners and alley ways.  Murals, mosaic planters, and many other items spread a smile on my face; but it is the bike racks that I cannot get over!  They are everywhere and it is a feast for the eyes. 

What I love most, is that these bike racks appear near something that matches their theme. 

The four pictures above are perfect examples: The slice of pizza was in front of a pizza place, the cupcake was in front of a cupcake shop, the coffee cup sits near a coffee shop, and the book appears in front of a book store (These are all found in Belmont Shores).

It seems self explanatory, but it is little details that set something apart. It is true of any experience; it sticks out more in your mind if someone or something goes above and beyond.  The city of Long Beach went above and beyond with these bike racks.  They could have been like every other city and just put in poles to chain your bike to, but instead they took it up a notch and it adds character to the city.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Amazon Always Amazes...

I am not sure if it is lame in our society, but I have an Amazon Wish List.  It is full of books and movies and music and art and things that would inspire me if I had the funds to get to them.  Can something inspire you just in concept?  People tell me about wonderful books all the time and I feel like I do not have the time to read them or the funds to get them.  This cycle of hearing and lack of action on my part actually gets frustrating pretty quickly.  I feel guilty for not making time, but then when I make time to read books I can hang out with people less and I feel frustration from them that I would say I'm busy because I want to read my book - that sounds like a brush off if I've ever heard one... So that leaves me at a lose lose, and I hate that.

Pictured above are 4 books on my Amazon Wish List.  I listened to Gary Shteyngart on NPR speak on his book and became enraptured in his perspectives and ideals.  I have read quite a few reviews on Let the Great World Spin and have never heard anything even remotely close to negative - "brilliant" is usually mentioned at least once.  The Company They Kept is one I found in Anthropologie, and the concept is wonderful and awe inspiring - I stood in the middle of the store flipping page after page.  Lastly, Don't Let the Dogs Go Tonight caught me up in its description and was the first book I added to the list of books I wanted.  

Amazon has an unending supply of inspiration and is almost overwhelming in what it has to offer.  I hope I get to report on how much I loved each of these books as I finish reading them, but in the meantime I will just pine over the hope of reading them one day.

If you have head any of these books and want to send them my way, I would be mroe than happy to trade a book for a book with you! Let me know!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Check out the Point and Click Tuesdays Section of It's A Beautiful Day Blog Every Tuesday!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spotlight on Cost Plus - World Market

I do not want to describe everywhere I shop as a spiritual experience or a Zen like atmosphere… but it is my natural inclination to do so.  Shopping, to some, is a stressful experience.  I aim to choose stores that I feel no worry or pressure.  Cost Plus – World market does just that.  It relaxes me, without boring me.  The constantly changing collections stay seasonally relevant while having a specific stylistic edge, that would make anyone want to be there for hours.  The art, furniture, jewelry, curtains, food, wine, and décor all fits a home that wants to use bright colors, but stay warm and classy.

I think what I love about Cost Plus - World Market is that if you have spent time abroad previous to shopping there, it reaches out and hugs you.  It has knick knacks and treats that are either from where you lived or reminders of where you lived.  It makes me smile and remember times I spent wandering the streets of Venice or sitting in a coffee shop in Florence.  I know others who have had overseas experiences relate to this situation and think fondly of their time overseas when confronted with items that directly appear in their memories.  It has different pieces reminiscent of different cultures and even the patterns and textures remind me of Italy, Ireland, Uganda, Rwanda and other places with unique cultural definitions.

If you can’t tell, it is one of my favorite stores.  If travel is not your thing and you are not inspired by different cultures, I would not include this in your “to do” list, but if those things put a smile on your face, I’m begging you to take a look at the store.  The online version doesn’t do it for me, the ambiance of the store is what makes it all so wonderful.  Let me know what you think!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Have a Wondeful Weekend! And Don't forget to Check Out My Food I Ate Friday Post.

Also, if you are reading my blog make sure to let me know.  Become a follower!

Fairs, Festivals, and Markets

If you say the words "Market" I will pretty much be interested no matter what.  I love being outdoors, sampling food, purusing unique items, getting some sunshine, and walking away with a keepsake that becomes my own.  It is one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend day.

Below I  have done my best to compile lists of Farmer's Markets and Antique markets that happen once a month or once a week in my neck of the woods... Don't miss out on this goodness! 

Farmers Markets in Orange County

There is no excuse to not go to a farmer's market!  There is one every day of the week (except Monday).  Let me know which ones you check out and what to recommend others.

Historic Park at the Irvine Ranch
13042 Old Myford Road, Irvine
9 AM – 1 PM (rain or shine)

Corner of El Camino Real and 3rd Street
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)


Costa Mesa
Orange County Fairgrounds, 88 Fair Drive
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)
Manager – Trish Harrison

The Village at Orange, 1500 E Village Way between Katella & Lincoln on Tustin St.
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)

Laguna Hills
Laguna Hills Mall Parking Lot, the 5 Freeway and El Toro Road
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)

Huntington Beach
Pier Plaza, Main Street & Pacific Coast Highway (next to the pier)
1 p.m. – 5 p.m. (rain or shine)

Laguna Beach
Lumberyard Parking Lot next to the City Hall
8 a.m. – Noon (rain or shine)

Irvine Center on the corner of Bridge and Campus (across from UCI)
8 a.m. – Noon (rain or shine)

Costa Mesa
Just North of Harbor Blvd off the 405 - SOCO Farmers Market


Laguna Niguel
Plaza De La Paz Shopping Center on the Corner of La Paz and Pacific Park
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)

The Great Park in Irvine, Marine Way off Sand Canyon - Orange County Great Park
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (rain or shine)

Initial List Taken from Fast Food Maven.

Antique/Flea Markets in Orange County

Every Saturday and Sunday - Orange County Market Place
Every Saturday and Sunday - Huntington Beach Flea Market
Sundays - Orange Coast College Swap Meet

1st Sunday - San Clemente Friends of the Library Book Sale
1st Sunday - Irvine Valley College Antique Market
2nd Saturday - Orange Flea Market
3rd Sunday - Long Beach Antique Market

Let me know what you check out, what you get, and what I left out! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Summertime and The Livins Easy...

I have been asking people this week what food makes them think of summer, and I love that I am getting completely different answers from everyone... Summertime food is the best!  I will be highlighting the themes of Barbequing, Fruit, and Refreshing Drinks - while finding a fun twist to put on them, and giving you something new to try this sunshiny season.  None of these recipes are my own, so make sure you check out the websites I stole them from :)  I hope we all find ourselves thinking about and preparing our favorite summer foods in the coming months. 

I know I will be enjoying all kinds of yummy goodness (and you will be hearing all about it!)

What food makes you think of summer? Let me know!


I could not resist this Chicken Parmesan Burger recipe for two reasons.
1. I love the idea of customizing burgers to add ingredients you would normally add on top .
2. I have never worked with ground chicken before and love a new item to try and experiment with.
I'm sure it would work with Turkey and Beef to add these same ingredients.

Chicken Parmesan Burger 

1 lb. ground chicken
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pasta Sauce
Mozzarella or Provolone Cheese (sliced or shredded)
Hamburger Rolls

1. Place the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, parsley, garlic, shallot, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and stir to combine. 
2. Add the ground chicken and gently mix until everything is evenly distributed. 
3. Form the mixture into 4 patties and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
4. Preheat your broiler and set a rack about 6 inches from the heating element. Spray a broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray. 
5. Broil the burgers for 5-6 minutes on the first side, then flip and broil for 4-5 minutes on the second side, or until golden and completely cooked through. 
6. Remove the pan from the oven and top each burger with tomato sauce and cheese. 
7. Return to the oven and broil for about 1 minute, or until the cheese has melted. 
(If you want to toast the rolls, you can pop them under the broiler briefly as well before serving.) 

If you wanted to skip the red sauce and cheese and treat this as a regular burger, you could serve with an aioli or other savory sauce and pair with this tomato corn salad recipe as your side dish.


Tomato and Corn Salad
Sliced Tomatos
Corn Cut Off the Cob
Onion Sliced
Lima Bean Fresh Blanched
Mozzarella Cheese Sliced
Vinegrette Dressing

Combine Ingredients
Lightly Toss Through With Vinegrette To Taste
Transfer to a 350-degree oven for 5 minutes to finish cooking.

There is no picture for this tomato and corn salad, because it is a family recipe. 
I can promise you it is delicious and a Wecker family favorite!

Peaches and Watermelon

I love peaches and watermelon was a common answer for a food that put people in a summertime mode.  Both of these fruits are juicy and delicious and wonderful on a hot summer day!  I looked around at alot of recipies, but I thought this was a wonderful twist on chips and salsa.  This Peach and Watermelon Salsa recipe is sure to make our mouths water and refresh us from the inside out!

Peach and Watermelon Salsa
1 cup chopped peeled peaches
1 cup chopped seedless watermelon
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely shopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon Thyme Leaves

Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon  GroundCinnamon
6 flour tortillas (6-inch)

1. For the Salsa, mix all ingredients in medium bowl until well blended. Cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes to blend flavors.
2. For the Chips, preheat oven to 375°F. Mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Spray tortillas lightly with no stick cooking spray. Cut each into 8 wedges. Place on baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with cinnamon sugar mixture.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Cool completely on wire rack. Serve with Peach Watermelon Salsa.

Everyone Loves Lemonade

How about Lemon Drop Jello Shots?  This is a fun take on the refreshingness of lemonade and an adult summer treat!  I definitely plan on making these for a weekend in the future. 

1. Empty out the citrus of your choice to create the vessel.
2. Juice the citrus first as it makes for easier pulp removal. Save extracted juice for later recipes.
3. Use either a grapefruit knife to hollow out the citrus, or the easier way,  is to turn them inside out like the picture and dig deeply in to the pith until you catch the thin membrane holding the pulp and then peel back.
4. Make sure to completely clean out your citrus or the pulp will show in the wedges.
5. Make the Jell-O according to the instructions on the box and then reduce the cold water portion by ¼ cup and replace with your chilled drink mix. Place emptied citrus into muffin pan holes. Pour mixture into emptied citrus and chill overnight.
6. Use a straight edge knife to cut into wedges. Do not use a serrated knife or it will leave track marks.
7. Make sure to use a sharp knife or you will end up with mangled wedges.

Lemon Drop Jello-O Shots

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mikaela Holford, Ladies and Gentlemen...

There are many people in my life you have heard nothing about – my family, Bill, and a few friends are the only ones mentioned here.  I promised a few weeks back to highlight some close friends and since then have only highlighted the beautiful Ashley Wells.  Let’s consider this highlight #2!

Mikaela Holford is one of the best friends I have ever had.  She is a literally whirlwind of motivation and energy.  She is so supportive, loving, encouraging,   and wonderful.  For those of you who do not know, Mikaela is my roommate and this is the second time we have lived together.  I had never met her when I first moved to California, but I was placed with her at random through Vanguard, and I know that it was one of God’s many plans for our lives.  While she did not think she wanted a new roommate upon my arrival, what she did not realize was how much we needed each other.  Over the course of the last few years, she has changed my life singlehandedly.  Her family is like family to me, she is like a sister to me, and her heart for me and the rest of the people in her circle astounds me. 

If I have a bad day, there are flowers at home for me.  She is constantly leaving me notes and cards reminding me I am loved.  If she knows my week is stressful she offers to help pick things up or drop things off.  She literally runs errands for me.  She is such a considerate friend and confidant.  I trust her with my life in the most serious way.  She understands me in a way few people do, and she is really intuitive in knowing when I will need her.  She knows things about me very few people know, and while some of that is our proximity to each other, a lot of it has to do with us having personalities that mesh and souls that find rest in the other.  We play cards, cook, watch old musicals, drink tea, get fro-yo, go on walks, read books together, day dream out loud to each other, talk as we get ready every morning, get dressed up, be lazy, and spend more time than you would believe simply talking.  I know her, in some ways, better than I know myself.

She inspires me daily and I would not be the same person without her…
I would less of a person without her.  

Mikaela, I pray for you everyday and I thank God for you everyday.  You are SO important to me and I honestly cannot imagine God teaching me more through anyone else.  Thank you for your honesty and accountability.  Thanks you for your prayers and persistence in growth.  You challenge me in the best ways.  You are an answer to my prayers and someone I will always love and pray to know until the day we die.  Thank you for everything you do.  I love you lady!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I have recently discovered why I love old movies.   It is the weight of the kiss.  You feel the connection so much and the girl swoons and the guy pursues and they fall hard.  The kiss simply seals the deal.  One kiss changes everything in an old movie.  The man sits and stares out a window day dreaming of the woman he kissed the night before.  He can’t think of anything else.  He even sings about it!  He thinks she is the most beautiful thing in the whole world.  She sings to her friends of the man she met who takes her breath away.  Sigh… I want this for all of my friends! 

While singing and dancing movies may not be everyone’s cup of tea, everyone loves genuine attraction and that first kiss to be magical.  We all want someone to love us so much they cannot help but sing and dance (figuratively of course) and tell everyone about it – We want them to feel like they cannot sit still, like they are bursting and like they are the luckiest person in the world. 

There is something so wonderful and innocent about each of the moments shown above.  Dancing and kissing and genuine attraction and love.  They fall for each other in real life, not in a sleezy bar where all they see is legs and get drunk together and then you see a shot of them waking up next to each other in the morning feeling awkward and unsure what to do next.  When you watch a movie now, sex changes everything.  Back in these innocent movie days, a kiss was the most forward thing a man could do. 

I think this all hit me recently when I was watching a movie and I just kept thinking about how intimacy is ruined for our society as a whole.  It started with a one night stand leaving someone’s apartment and I got sad that people live like that.  I want to tread lightly, as I do not know who will read this; but in one respect I want to be very clear.  Intimacy is undervalued in Hollywood and being intentional with our affection is something not practiced in our society.  I want my life to be like an old movie – not in an naïve way, in the way that I deserve a man’s affection, attention, and genuine love.   My prayer is that the women I have the honor of coming in contact with find their value in themselves and in their God and let intimacy enter their lives when they are ready to give their full attention to one man.  I pray they find their own old movie filled with dancing and kissing and genuine attraction and love.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters...

These are my sisters.  No words can being to encapsulate how much these two mean to me.   I cannot believe how much I love them.  It takes my breath away seeing them succeed and grow and change and be who God has called them to be.  I hate to group them together, because they are extremely unique.  However, what I want to highlight is the bond that only my sisters have with me. 

My sisters know me best.  They know what makes me happy, they know what buttons to push to make me mad, they know my past better than anyone.  They have been there for it all.  They can tell stories of childhood through now.  Turning into adults is never easy, as we all revert back to our dynamics as children.  For example, If I was the bully when I was 5 (which I was not), I would continue to fill that role, because I have literally never known any other role to fill in a family dynamic.  We all fall into roles we hate falling into, yet we find ourselves playing the same part every time the family gets together.

Fighting this urge has proven to stretch me and family in exhaustible measures.  Many tears and long nights have brought us to where we finally are – in a place where we can be proud of the family we are a part of.  To clarify, I have always been proud – as have the rest of my siblings.  Our parents have led an example of self-sacrifice and love for us and each other.  We grew up in the ideal way.  In a home with open doors that taught us to live selflessly and only worry about what matters.

These two girls are a huge part of my heart.  They make me laugh and smile and make me more proud then I knew was imaginable.  I jump at every chance I have to talk about my incredible sisters.  I hope they know how much of a difference they have made in my life.  Seeing them succeed makes me feel like I have succeeded.  All I ever wanted was to be an example they could be proud of.  I wanted to lead them in the right ways, and while I failed early in my adult life, I aim to never fall short again.  I am accountable to many around me to ensure that happens.

Being an older sibling is something people do not take seriously enough.  Often times they leave their younger siblings out to dry, however in my mind, they are watching everything I do and as my mom used to say “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.  My prayer is that I will be someone worthy of imitation.  I pray that the men they end up with, the adventures they go on, and their day to lives always reflect Christ – and if living that way myself encourages it in them, I will do so forever. 

Faith and Joy – I love you.  I am so proud of you.  You are more than enough and you deserve it all.  Remember that “it all” is not wealth and popularity, but rather love and sincerity.  Never stop pursuing your dreams, but make sure your dreams line up with God’s word.  Always give more than you have and leave your doors open, because in generosity lies peace knowing that you did all you could.