Friday, January 29, 2010

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

Ephesians 4:2

Today, I can't really describe to you why (nor should I) this verse touches my heart so deeply, but all I know is that God heals. Every time I have a problem, I turn to him and he is there. It doesn't mean that the problem is fixed. It's far from that.

But I needed a shoulder to lean on.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Father, forgive them.

Because of yesterday, I'm deathly afraid to send my future children to public schools. To say that "she didn't know what she was doing" would be the understatement of the century. Mrs. Nameless, as she will hereafter be referred, is not a teacher, no matter what her name tag says. My small words will never encompass completely the aweful gravity of the situation, and how a woman, masked as a teacher, could ever slip through the educational loophole. Although the purpose of this blurb is not to get the woman fired, I'm not sure I would mind taking full responsibility if she did get the axe. Now, to explain...

I was actually quite excited about substituting yesterday when I walked into the bright white room. It smelled of paper and Windex and was clean, kept, and colorful--walls filled with cheesy posters and quotes that few students would ever stop to read. The class was team-taught Algebra, so I had the rare opportunity to observe a teacher in action, which thrilled me to the core--well, at the beginning anyway.

First problem--Mrs. Nameless, I quickly observed, didn't require respect even in the smallest measure. She was much more concerned about being "the cool teacher" to some immature and rude freshman. First hour was full of foul-mouths (which is typical) who Mrs. Nameless allowed to speak freely without penalty (untypical) about whatever they wished, including sex, "shrooms" and other narcotics (which she chuckled about), and several personal stories that included the f-word (which she also freely allowed). Sure, I should have said something, but friends, at this point I was probably sitting there with my mouth gaping open, forgetting that I owned a voicebox. I began to pray.

The rest of the day was full of conversations about "wiener-suckers", bad words in sign language, paper airplane throwing contests, hopscotch during the supposed lesson (2 math problems), and a small speech about how Mrs. Nameless got a D in HS Geometry class and still passed, so they were going to be good if they didn't do every homework assignment. What?! Why are people like this allowed to teach America's youth? I'm sure they were learning a ton of Algebra when 50% were listening to their ipods and 30% were in deep hibernation.

Mrs. Nameless was on such a mission to be cool that she let students who were skipping class or roaming the halls come and hang out with her (and wrote them passes to class). And, what's wrong about completely trashing the team teacher who was out sick with no voice to defend himself anyway? And worse? Allowed the kids to join in. She started conversations about how Jeremy had red eyes because he was probably stoned from the night before and told a girl who was dating a "gangbanger" to have safe sex if she was going to swap spit.

All I know is that now, I feel that I don't have an option to be a teacher. The world needs people who care--with values--and I'm never giving up on these kids. I'm not Mother Teresa, but what if I'm their only hope? The only Jesus they'll ever see?

All of it, the whole ordeal, made me so sick that driving home, I could've actually pulled over to vomit. In fact, right now, remembering this sick world and a wasted day in the life of 150 kids, I just might lose my lunch. Lord, have mercy on our fallen nation. We need you.

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." -Luke 23:34

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bowling with friends=photography=always better

Had the best time bowling with friends tonight. Here's a little bit of fun that I can share.

We will deliver.

This is possibly the best picture that I've ever seen considering I laughed for 10 minutes after looking at it. Meet my sister and my brother-in-law. They are expecting a baby boy.
(I stole this picture from Roxanne's facebook page. She'll forgive me I'm sure)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Your walk with Christ will always be personal, but it will not always be private.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

If you want something easy and fun to make, you'll love this! It's rich, but not chocolate--fruity, but not super-sweet. I love it! This recipe makes 12 extra-large cupcakes. (I'm in love with my jumbo sized pans!)

These cupcakes are made with old-fashioned hot milk sponge cake batter, with hot milk beaten into whipped eggs. Before they are filled, these can be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to a month. You can take out as many cupcakes as you need and defrost them still in their wrapping for a quick dessert! The quantities I give are for 1/2 cup strawberries and 1/2 cup whipped cream for each cupcake, but you can adjust it as you like it.

2/3 c. milk (whole milk is best)
1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Filling and topping (If you don't want to make this whipped topping, you could also you Dreamwhip)
8 c stemmed and sliced strawberries
1/3 c. granulated sugar
3 c. heavy whipping cream
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (make sure rack is in center of oven) and line 12 extra-large muffin tin cups with large paper liners or spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the Cupcakes: Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat just until it is hot; Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until thickened and lightened to a cream color (about 3 minutes). Stop mixer and scrape the sides to make sure you get it all! :) Mix in the vanilla and almond. On low speed, mix in the flour mixture and then slowly add the hot milk and continue mixing about 30 more seconds. (Don't freak, the batter will be thin)

Fill each paper liner only about 1/2 full. Bake until top feels firm and toothpick comes out clean (about 16 minutes). Let them cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove them and let them cool completely. Remove liners (if you used them). They should look spongey! Like This!
You will slice the cupcakes into thirds like this, and stack the cream and strawberries in between.
In large bowl, stir together the sliced strawberries and sugar. Let sit for 30 minutes. (Juice will be released and it will shrink to about 6 cups)

To make the cream, beat the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form like these.
Until then, happy cooking!!


If you ever feel that not a single person in the world understands you, if you feel like you're doing what's right, and still, no one cares. If you're tired, sad, frustrated, confused, nervous, worried, or angry, than stop for just a second and let me remind you of this one little thing.

God is there.
Beside you.
Right now.
Best part? He's not planning on leaving anytime soon.
Let him hug you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

January Books!

There's not much that can beat (in my world anyway) a really great book, an extra-hot non-fat triple SF vanilla latte and a great place to sit and enjoy it. Here are a few books I've read for the first half of January, and am now going to enjoy critiquing. :)

First, there's Vision in White by Nora Roberts. Ehhhh. I like Robert's writing style, but I love reading clean books, and this one had more language and graphic descriptions than I thought were necessary. However, although it was a sweet romance novel that had pretty good heart and made me laugh a few times, it was predictable from chapter one. On the upside, Robert's did have character development and her diction made the book so enjoyable to read! I give this book a C.

I thoroughly enjoyed Seaside Letters by Denise Hunter. This book is very clean and intriguing. There's a little surprise around every corner. Sabrina Kincaid, the main character, doesn't intend to find love in Nantucket when she meets Tucker McCabe, a regular that she serves coffee to every morning. Tucker is desperate to find a mysterious online friend named "Sweetpea" whom he is falling in love with, and recruits Sabrina to help. But can Sabrina really help? If she doesn't, Tucker might find out that the woman he's look for is...her. I give this book an A!

This book is about a group of 12 women, who decided to split the cost, and the use, of a 15 carot, diamond necklace and see where it lead. This $37,000 necklace, later named Jewelia, holds story after story of women changed by the simple act of sharing this treasure. They bought it on a whim, and could have never have imagined what extraordinary story would unfold. It may not be 100% fair to properly grade this last book without first prefacing that I have not completed it yet. However, I am only halfway through, but already, cannot wait to finish! As it stands tonight, I give it a B+.

As always, HAPPY READING! And, if you read any great books, please share! They always go on my "books to read list" and I have a few of the titles, that you wonderful readers have already suggested, sitting on my living room table for next week! :)

All pictures were taken from

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tomy & Mendy

Not only do I love these, guys, I'm excited that we're going to be related forever! Congrats to Tomy & Mendy and the upcoming wedding on June 19, 2010!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Laundry Laundry

Whaaaaeeeeeiiiiiiiik! That's the sound our washer makes when it's about to drain and doesn't. It comes right back up the pipe and overflows into the garage. Now, we're not sure about what in the world could be causing the clog other than a possible frozen water line (which I figure should have melted by now) or a mouse (icky) or maybe something plastic and weird just fell in there (I hope). But, whatever it is is causing a serious clog and preventing us from being efficient with the laundry (as you can see from Mount Everest below). Sadly, this is about half of the things I'd like to wash right now. (Luckily, I'm really poor and have no clothes to be thankful for.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bella is a beagle/lab mix and so pretty. She's about one now and so well behaved (besides jumping--still working on that).

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Past

The Past. So What. To some people, the past is the thing that defines you. It dictates who people say that you are and what you have to offer. It is a reminder, wonderful or tragic, that follows you through life, and it just won’t bugger off. But who cares, it’s yours. Your past could be such a wonderful story to someone who needs encouragement or a person who just needs a single human being to understand what they’re going through--to relate to. If you want to change the world, be you. If you don’t know where to start, it’s okay, it’s very simple, it’s called today. Take it one choice at a time.

My past has had many ups and downs: sliding on the slick waxed floor in my socks, my dad’s dance with death, my sister’s wedding, life-changing teachers--literally, car wrecks that cause daily anxiety, negative bank accounts, Violin concerts, homemade birthday cakes. Life is...moving. You can’t live with regrets everyday and still love yourself. Don’t tell me that, because I just won’t believe you. No one’s perfect, but you have to fix it, in the here and now. Don’t wait.

I love people. In every way I love them. Big. petite. Selfish. Obnoxious. Breathtaking. Real. Giving. Hateful. Loving. Rude. Happy. Joyful. Lonely. Fake. Lovely. I love all of them, and let me tell you why. They are made in God’s image, and they all need love. All of them do not deserve it. Shocker right? They don’t. But guess what? I didn’t either, and God loved me anyway! See, I don’t really have a choice in the matter. I have to live like my Savior, I want to live like my Savior. He knows best, and if He says go, I’ll go. No rocket science here.

The last couple of days, I have to admit that I watched a couple episodes of The Real Housewives of Orange County, and guess what? It’s garbage. Just like you might imagine. Shame on me. Garbage in, garbage out. But, it made me wonder today what I would do with a million dollars, and I happen to think I would be poor, because after the 13th latte, life would get boring, and I wouldn’t feel right doing anything but giving it to people in need. Someone who doesn’t have heat in their house. Someone who hasn’t eaten in 12 days. Someone who doesn’t own shoes. I can honestly say that I’ll never be sickly wealthy (well I already am wealthy just living in the US), because I won’t allow it. But, I’ll always be rich, and wow, that’s so much better.

Spinach Skinny-Dip

It's about the best thing in the world, and I'm sharing it here because in some small way, I hope to make your life just a little better, and this will. If you try this wondrous recipe this, let me add that you must love garlic. I wouldn't really eat this before a first date or anything, but other than that, enjoy!!

This is a Biggest Loser Recipe and is insanely good for just 21 calories per serving! Yes, that is not a typo friends. I said 21.

Spinach Skinny-Dip
1 pkg (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2/3 c. drained sliced water chestnuts
3 whole green onions
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c. fat-free sour cream
1/2 c. fat-free plain yogurt
1/2 t. prepared hot mustard (I used spicy brown mustard)
salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste

Place the spinach in the center of a clean dishtowel. Fold the towel over the spinach and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. This is important so the dip won't be watery. Set aside.

In a food processor fitted with a chopping blade, combine the water chestnuts, green onions, and garlic. Process until the mixture is finely chopped. Add the spinach. Process for 10 seconds, or until combined. Add the sour cream, yogurt, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Process for 30 seconds, or until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Yum! Best of luck to you cooks out there!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Laura Kimsey Design

Laura's website is now up! I am so excited for this girl! She is one of the sweetest and most talented designers, and if you need some amazing stationary or an exquisite dress, let her know!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Creative Wall Art

It's easy to create simple wall art with things you love around the house! I used a silver frame with a picture that I no longer use and attached these cupcake recipe cards (which I love in every way) to the front of it. I hung it in the kitchen, and now instead of a drab picture I hate, I have fun and functional art!

And when I need a recipe for a yummy treat, voila!
Also, my friend Laura Kimsey has just opened up her own clothing line in New York City. Check out Laura Kimsey designs! She made this drawing of my wedding dress for me for a wedding gift, which I was reminded of this week when I rearranged the living room. Beautiful, isn't it? Such Detail!

Friday, January 1, 2010

He got me.

I was about three hours into the long drive home when I asked Jonathan if he had made any great New Year's resolution. He shot a glance at me. "Did you?"
I said, "Why yes I did, actually."
He smiled and pondered a thought for a moment and then replied, "Let me hear it then."
I said, "Well I have 10--resolutions."
Jonathan made a smirk that I cannot imitate or explain because it was one of those faces that was like are you serious, like really? as if perhaps he could not tell if I was joking or not, so I assured him, "No, really, I have 10 resolutions, and I plan to do them all."
He smiled a little bigger and replied, "Okay, I'm all ears. Tell me."
"Well," I started, "I can't remember them all because I'm under pressure, but I'm sure that I can tell you at least five, and then when your iphone gets service again, I'll tell you the other five?"

Eeeeeeeeeh freeze. Pardon me as I come to a screeching halt. Here is where I desperately need to cut in to narrate to myself. OKAY. First problem, Michelle. You must be confident and memorize your resolutions, or at least write them down and post them somewhere where you see them everyday or you're going to look and sound like a complete moron, and you are NOT a moron. Okay? I respond in my head with an "Okay okay okay. You have a good point." Moving on.

Because of this embarrassing conversation (which I am thankful took place with my husband who already loves me and is used to my unpredictable behavior), I learned a valuable lesson and will be memorizing and writing down my new resolutions. Perhaps I should have just picked one. But, like I said. What's the fun in that?! Jonathan laughed at my list. I am now on a mission to prove him wrong. A little healthy competition is good for the soul--and for a list of things to do!
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