Sunday, November 27, 2011

red roses in a green teapot

 This post will be entirely made up of photos of red roses. If you do not care for red roses, this would be a good time to stop reading. If you are like me and you find red roses to be a thing of beauty then you will find this post most satisfying.
Justine picked these roses and arranged them in the little green teapot. When I saw them sitting there above the sink and I observed the light outside, photos had to be taken.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I was sick for twelve days. I had all the symptoms of Bronchitis. I never went to the doctor, so I can't be sure, but this was gnarly, whatever it was. I had a low fever and it caused me to have no energy. I was on the couch the whole time. A lot of movies were watched. And I found a lot of  photography blogs to follow. Also my facebook presence was a bit overwhelming, I am sure, to all my friends. I drank more tea and orange juice than I thought possible. And swallowed a lot of pills. Every. Day. I strongly dislike pills.

One thing I disliked about being sick was that I missed fall at it's peak. By the eleventh day of my sickness I couldn't stand it anymore. The late afternoon sunlight was too beautiful for me to ignore. Here are three images from my fifteen minutes outside.

I have picked up my knitting again for the first time in months. I finished a pair of leg warmers for my friend and Justine made a cowl. It inspired me to make a cowl also. I made one yesterday and started a new one today. It is very nice to be knitting again. I hope to make some for Christmas presents. My favorite things to knit are accessories. They are relatively quick and make perfect gifts.

We listened to a sermon today and it caused me think about obedience in a way I never had before. I knew everything that was said, but I thought about it in a new way and on a deeper level.
I am a daughter in my parent's home. As such I am to obey them. I have more freedom now than I had when I was five. But. I still am under their authority. I am to obey them and honor them.
At times I think one day I won't be under any authority.
Here is where the reality comes in.
I will always be under someone's authority. Right now my dad, anyone I work for, my church elders, the leaders of the state, one day my husband, and most importantly at all times, God's authority. Honoring the people that are in authority over me should be by my actions. But not only my actions, which are very important, but my attitude as well. How I speak of them when they are not there, my body language, and my tone of voice when I am addressing them.
Such a huge and impossible task. Without God. But as a Christian, I have God's Spirit dwelling in me and by His power I can obey God and the people He has given authority.
I will never be out from under authority. And God has designed it that way for my good and His glory.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

a quote and a fallish photo

"...the Bible itself does not call us merely to read it in order to get through it as quickly as possible in a perfunctory manner - on the contrary, the Bible tells us to devour it, to search it, to meditate on it, to delight in it, to let it dwell within our hearts richly, and to hide it in our hearts that we might not sin against the Lord. We rightly affirm the complete, word-for-word inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, yet we fail to study it word for word, thought for thought, phrase for phrase, and thus fail to grasp the very basic meanings of the eternally weighty and glorious words that God Himself has graciously revealed to us." -Burk Parsons (Tabletalk November 2011)
| Canon 50D | Macro 100mm USM f/2.8 | f/2.8 | 1/800 | ISO 160 |

Thursday, November 3, 2011

a day at home: chocolate cheesecake and oreo balls (you can't have too much chocolate can you?) and sewing

I didn't work today so I made myself a list of things to do. My list went like this.
  • Go to the store and pick up the necessary ingredients for a chocolate cheesecake
  • Make said cheesecake
  • Go to The Y
  • Do my finances (record money I have made and money I have spent, pay monthly expenses, and set aside money for the coming month)
What actually happened today
  • I went to the store
  • The cheesecake was made
  • Oreo Balls were made
  • I sewed on my dress that was started last January, more on that later
So while only half of my list was accomplished, I would say it was a profitable day because my day was spent doing things that needed to be done and I wasn't wasting it, which is one of the points of making a list, making sure you don't end up wasting your day being lazy. The other point is so that you can remember what needs to be done. I definitely make lists for this reason also. Because I forget. Often.

I made this cheesecake. I made it last year for Justine's birthday so I decided to make it again this year.
  • 1 1/2 cups of crushed oreos with chocolate filling
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups oreo, 2 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press onto the bottom of  a 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. The bottom should be bubbly and looked cooked. Allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  2. Take a 9 inch springform pan and set it on top of a piece of tin foil about 4 inches longer than the pan. Fold and press the tin foi; up the sides of the pan. Use another piece of tin foil to do same on the opposite sides of the pan. Make sure the tin foil is far enough up on all the side so that when you submerge the pan into a pan of water no water will leak in. Using a large roasting pan, set the springform pan into the roasting pan and add about 1/2 inch of water to the roasting pan.
  3. To Make Filling: In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup whipping cream and 1/4 cup chocolate chips, stirring constantly, until chips are melted. Remove from heat.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Add cocoa and beat well. Add eggs and beat on low until just blended. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and reserved chocolate mixture until blended. Pour over crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 -60 minutes or until center is close to set. Then turn off the oven. Leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for about 4 hours. Once the oven is basically room temperature open the oven door for a few minutes before removing the cheesecake. Leave the cheesecake on the counter until it is no longer warm, then add the topping.
  5. To Make Topping: In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup whipping cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla until just before boiling. Stir constantly and be careful not to boil over. Have 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips ready in a small bowl. Pour in the hot cream and stir with a spoon until smooth. Spread over baked cheesecake and refrigerate overnight.
Hopefully a photo will follow soon. I still have to make the topping and some raspberry sauce to drizzle on top. Here is a photo of it last year.
We had coffee with it and watched Sherlock.

I also made Oreo Balls because there were a lot of Oreos sitting in the package begging me to do something with them. You can view the recipe here.

I started a dress last winter. It is from a green wool I bought two years ago. I wanted a simple sheath dress that I could wear in the winter with sweaters. Everything went fine with the sewing until I had the bodice completely together and I realized that the front piece was too short. So instead of ripping that piece out and replacing it with a longer one. I am embarrassed to say I cut the rest of the bodice to match. Surprise, surprise, it didn't work. So I put it away frustrated. I didn't pull it out until about a month ago and thought about how I needed to fix it. I pulled out the bodice and that was as far as I got. I hated the thought of redoing the bodice. I don't mind sewing and I will even tell you that it wasn't hard. But the thought of doing the same pattern again causes me to run the other way. I don't know why, but I hate the thought of doing something again. That is why you will never see two of the same dress or skirt hanging in my closet.
I recut out the bodice and sewed it up today. It wasn't as horrible as I imagined it to be. Now to sew the skirt and the bodice together, put the zipper in, and hem the dress. That will be for tomorrow.
If you would like to see the pattern it is here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

vintage blog

So I found a new blog to follow. Oh So Lovely Vintage. It has great ideas.

Yesterdays post was on halloween costume ideas. I thought this one was clever.

Oh, and The Joys of Jello we so own that book. It is pretty great. I think the below recipe looks pretty good. And beautiful.

I want my house to look like this. This is my favorite style. That sofa is awesome. I love the design. Go here for the full post.
You should definitely check out this post. Especially if you love mint.

Monday, October 31, 2011

i blinked

I blinked and October was gone. It was spent working, house sitting, and visiting friends in another state.

I contemplated starting a journal. It sounded like a nice thing to do. And then I remembered how often I update this blog. And how I have to make an effort to read my Bible each day. And the book I have been reading I started in August.

This is not to say that I am so busy that I can't do these things, but that when I have down time I usually chose to do something else. The heart of the problem is laziness.

I learned that I can easily live without facebook. I did so for about two weeks and I didn't even miss it. In fact I didn't even miss my computer or the internet. The reason I cannot live without it at my house is boredom. I don't bother to find something else to do. It is just easier to spend my time on the computer. I guess it goes back to laziness.

My friend posted around 100 songs on my wall while I was gone. *Update: The final count was 292* I am now in the process of listening to them all. It has been a pleasant experience. Only not when my wall freezes up because it can't handle all the songs on the page. That is totally not happening right this very second. John Mayer is the artist right now. Or he would be. If facebook would let me scroll down to him.

One of my favorite things about blogging is it causes me to realize that I actually do think about things, I just don't take the time to consider any of my thoughts long enough for me to be able to express them to someone else. Blogging helps me slow down and consider and then share. I like that.

I have been considering what the next photoshoot I have should look like. So far I haven't come up with anything definite.

Sweaters have become a part of my reality the past few weeks. Naturally I am happy. I no longer have to try to justify wearing a sweater on a ninety degree day.

I suppose October was a good month. I wouldn't know. As I stated before I wasn't here. I blinked and it was gone.

Monday, September 26, 2011

evening light on a campus

On Friday, my sister, three very good friends, and I went to a local college campus and had a photoshoot. The sun was setting and the light was perfect.

My friend Caitlin just recently got the same camera body and lens that I own. It was so much fun having two primary shooters, but also being able to pass the cameras around and let everyone take pictures.

I spent my Saturday watching football and editing photographs.

Here are a few photos from the day.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

carrot cake

On Thursday I had the day off so I spent it making a big pot of ham and lima bean soup. I also made a carrot cake. The carrot cake turned out to be delicious.

In fact, I am going to make it again this afternoon to bring with us to church tonight.

I would like to try adding raisins to it. I love carrot cake with raisins.

Note: I am not one of those awesome bloggers who takes pictures of every step and then the finished product. While I like the idea, I just won't take the time to do it.

Here is the recipe if you want it. It came out of the New Better Homes and Gardens cookbook with a few minor changes made by me:

Best Ever Carrot Cake

  • 4 beaten eggs

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3 cups finely shredded carrots, lightly packed

  • 3/4 cup cooking oil

  • 1 1/2 finely chopped walnuts (optional)

  • One recipe of Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and flour two 9x1 1/2 inch round cake pans; set pans aside.

    In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. In a medium bowl combine eggs, carrots, oil, and walnuts. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pans.

    Bake at 350 oven for 30-35 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on racks. Frost tops and side with frosting. If desired, sprinkle chopped pecans over frosting. Store cake in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    *The carrots need to be finely shredded or they may sink to the bottom of pan during baking.

    I chose to make mine a sheetcake. I baked it for approximately 40 minutes.

    Cream Cheese Frosting
    1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup (stick) butter
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    6 cups powdered sugar

    Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar until combined.

    As you can tell from the fact that the frosting has 6 cups of powdered sugar in it, it makes a lot of icing. But I love icing and I wanted my cake to have a thick layer of icing on it. And let me tell you, it did.

    This is a moist cake with a thick layer of rich frosting on top and I highly recommend it.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    i am the problem

    I am the problem in every relationship. My relationship with my parents, with my friends, with my siblings, with God.

    At the college Bible Study a few weeks ago we talked about how each of us is insecure (selfish) in every relationship and how that is destructive to our relationships.

    I am afraid, that if people saw the real me that wouldn't love me, I afraid of doing the wrong thing, I am afraid to be open, I am afraid ...that they will love someone more than me. I am afraid.

     But God.

    But God knows me perfectly and He loves me perfectly. I am secure in Him. He loves every part of me. Deeply.

    He sees my sin and hates that and because He loves me He disciplines me so very gently so very painfully and changes me.

     I don't have to be insecure in my relationships with others, even if they reject me, my Creator never will. And He is the only one that matters.

    j crew love

    I discovered that someone scanned and uploaded all the photos from the magazine. You can look at all the photos here.

    I just love the look of this outfit. Not something I would have put together on my own. None of it matches and yet it works. The outfit is based on pastels and then black hose.
    As a side note, I love the style, makeup, and photography of the J Crew magazines.

     Her outfit is lovely. I love the wool skirt with the big bow and the simple turtleneck and pearls. Plus, the bag is goregous.

    One of the few times I like the fedora. What can I say? I just love this whole outfit, muted, earthy tones and yet so very polished.

     I am in love with the peacoat. And her hair and makeup. Very well done.

     And finally, this outfit. I don't think the gorgeous tote helps any. The only thing I don't care for is the animal print fedora. I have never cared for animal print. I love how they took two very vibrant colors and made them work together.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    j crew edie collection

    What can I say? I just love these bags.  You can view the full collection here.

    why i love fall

    I love every season of the year. But I get most excited about fall because I love fallish things.
    20 things I love about fall in no particular order:

     1) Sweaters
     2) Soup
     3) The world going dormant
     4) Jeans
     5) The smell of the new day (which makes me think of football)
     6) The winter sun
     7) Leg warmers
     8) Fall music
     9) Cool weather
    10) My pink coat
    11) Dying chrysanthemums
    12) Wool socks
    13) Football
    14) My cat sitting on my lap
    15) Fires in the fireplace
    16) Baking
    17) Movies on a cold, dark evening
    18) Coffee with a lot of cool whip
    19) Knitting
    20) My cloud (my feather comforter on my bed)

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    assurance and the gospel

    I struggle with assurance. Often. I don't feel saved. But my salvation is not based on feelings. It is based on the finished work of Christ.

    I want my assurance to come from my works. My faith. My goodness.

    But all my works are like ashes before God. They will be burned up in the end, they count for nothing.

    My faith is nothing without God. He alone grants faith and that faith is everlasting.

    And my goodness does not exist. I am a sinner in need of God's grace. The only goodness in my life is His goodness.

    I try so hard to do the right things. Say the right things. Pray the right things. Look like I am trusting in God's grace alone. But really I am not. I am trusting in myself.

    That is a huge burden to carry. Because, as I know so very well, I cannot do it. I fail. All the time.

    Instead of trusting God to perform good works in me, I wonder why I am not growing in leaps and bounds daily. I forget that God doesn't usually work like that. He can. But He normally doesn't. He works in us slowly conforming us to His Son.

    I think it would be so much easier to just do. But it is not, it impossible. And yet, every time I fall on my face trying to do, I struggle up and then try to do on my own again. I need to turn to Christ and realize that I can't do, not without Christ.

    A few weeks ago I prayed that God would show me my sin clearly. So often I think I am cleaner than I am. God answered my prayer. Suddenly, I found myself sinning all the time. And nothing I could do would stop it. It was towards the end of the week that I realized that God had answered my prayer and I had not done what I should have. I should have turned to Him and begged His forgiveness and asked Him to change me.

    Only God can make my heart clean. And when Christ died with me and I became God's child, I was given a new, clean heart. I don't need to try to do. I must turn to God, acknowledge my inability to do anything but fall at is feet in awe and wonder at His marvelous grace and mercy. He alone changes me and His is changing me. Daily. My weaknesses are what shows God's glory.

    We sang, "The Power of the Cross", in church this morning and the second chorus wrapped up my thoughts and reminded me of what my mind should be dwelling on. The gospel.

    "This the power of the cross
    Son of God slain for us
    What a love, what a cost
    We stand forgiven at the cross"

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    music tastes

    I borrowed a cd from a friend, Over The Grave by Sojourn. It is an excellent cd. The music style isn't necessarily my favorite, but I don't mind it and the hymns are wonderful. My favorite song from the cd was Warrior.

    Listening to a few of the tracks on the cd sparked a music discussion from my mom, sister, and I. We ended up sitting on the couch sharing music we liked and having the others tell us what they think.

    I discovered something very interesting; the only thing that really matters to my mom is the lyrics. She doesn't want them to be too repetitive, she wants them to be poetically beautiful, she wants them to convey deep emotion, and she wants to know that the writer was pondering something deeply as he wrote them.

    I, on the other hand, truly could care less about the lyrics, I want the music to be beautiful and I want to enjoy the singers voice. I can listen to a song twenty times over and really never hear the lyrics. They don't matter to me, as long as they are not offensive, I will listen to the song. Thus, whenever I want to have a friend listen to a song that I like I always look up the lyrics to see if there is anything inappropriate in it before I share it with them.

    It was a fun evening and I discovered that my mom and I have almost nothing in common when it comes to taste in music.

    The next morning I wanted to put the Sojourn cd on my iPod so that I could take it to work with me. My sister had already downloaded the cd onto her iTunes. I was hoping to plug my iPod into my computer and get the music from her computer onto mine through the home sharing feature on iTunes. Only iTunes wouldn't let us share music between our computers. My next thought was to plug in my iPod into her computer and just download the cd onto it from there. That didn't work either, iTunes would have had to erase my existing music on my iPod and just put the cd onto it. I didn't want to do that, I wanted to have my other music on my iPod also. I put my iPod back onto my computer erased everything off of it and then, put it back on Justine's computer, put the cd on it, and then back again it went to my computer. Only to put my music back onto my iPod I had to erase the cd again.

    By that time I had to leave for work, so I ended up erasing the cd off my iPod putting my old music back on and bringing the cd to listen to in the car on the drive over. It wasn't what I wanted, but it is what I got. It turned out fine though, because my iPod lasted for about 2 hours before the battery died. In that time I was able to get a few John Mayer songs in.

    My favorite John Mayer song at this time is Heartbreak Warfare. My favorite part of the song is, /If you want more love /why don't you say so/ if you want more love /why don't you say so /just say so/, because, well, the music is beautiful. And as you know, I only care about the music.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    a walk in the park

    Starting the day by going to a favorite bakery, ordering a cinnamon roll and a cup of hazelnut coffee, and then going to your favorite park and enjoying the cool weather, is a lovely thing.
    We spent the morning watching the dogs enjoy the arboretum, walking through the rose garden, and walking down by the pond.
    I was able to wear a light fallish jacket that I got from Anthropologie this spring, my favorite Gap jeans, and my chacos.

                                         | Canon 50d | 100mm macro | f/2.8 | 1/125 | ISO 800 |
    This photo was taken by the pond. There was a rock overhang about the pond shading it. I focused on the reflection of the rocks on the surface of the water instead of the goldfish, thus the goldfish are blurry and the rock reflection is in focus.

    I have many more photos from the day. I might post more later.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    i wouldn't mind having a coach bag

    I just saw the coach classics collection for the first time today. It is truly beautiful.
    I love the simple elegance of each bag.
    And the colors are lovely.

    But this bag is the winner for me. I love the shape and vermillion color.
    The clean lines and vintage feel makes these purses just the sort of thing I would be delighted to carry.