Friday, May 28, 2010



27. 27. 27.

Say it with me. Twenty-Seven.

My birthday is not today, it was actually nearly 3 weeks ago. But I think that the reverberations of that shock are still coursing through my veins and I'm trying to process why I was, in fact, shocked to turn 27.

Now, to add a disclaimer, I know that some of you reading my blog are older than Twenty-Seven. Maybe much older? I humbly apologize.

But still.


I haven't had a birthday where this has happened to me yet. I would have thought that some sort of quarter-life crisis would have hit me at 25, and that would have made sense to me. But no, I had been telling people for a good 5 months that I was 25 when I was still 24. I was excited to hit Twenty-Five. It seemed mature.

It seemed like at 25 I would have everything sorted out, knew my life trajectory and how I would get there.

Um, no.

But still. It sounded wise, classy, prime to me. I loved being 25!

26 came and went without much to-do.

Then. It inevitably came, much like birthdays tend to do.

And I turned 27. Around The Birthday, I was reading a book where the main character was a cute little 25-year-old Miss Thang. She had an attitude, good clothes, good shoes, and boys chasing after her. And it struck me- I'm no longer a cute little thing! I'm nearing middle age! No longer am I a cute little college girl. I might as well already have crows feet around my eyes, a tire around my waist and saggy boobs.

Maybe I'm being a little overdramatic.

It makes me think of that country song "Strawberry Wine" where she goes: I still remember when 30 was old.

And I know that I will look back on being 27 as a beautiful age where I still had everything in front of me, was blessed beyond belief, and actually probably was a Cute Little Thing.

And I guess looking back now I have, thankfully, improved with my age. L tells me that he thinks I am more beautiful (and hot- his word, not mine) than when he met me 10 years ago. We'll see if that holds true in the next ten years, but it's a good reminder that the best is still in front of me and not behind me.

But still. 27? Ayiyi.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Best Invention Ever

This Wins.

Everyone, meet the Septacycle. Or, it is also known as the Conference Bike for the fact that everyone faces each other in a circle while biking through the streets. You sit in a circle, each person pedaling, but only one person drives the thing.

It was hilarity at its finest. We literally were stopped as we went along so people could take pictures of us and ask questions. It was the Most Fun Ever. It was quite the sight to behold because there were 14 of us so we rented 2 septacycles tearing up the streets of Fort Collins.

This is what I spent my day doing yesterday. Meeting up with a fun group of friends, simply because it was the last Tuesday in May. And we septacycled our little hearts out. All the way to New Belgium Brewing Company.

Then we took a beer tour. And drank free beer. Yum. And Fun.

This is our friend Landon. He's great. We all met each other freshman year of college before L and I were even dating, then he was a groomsman and sang in our wedding. Three Cheers to life long friends!

We have now officially declared the last Tuesday in May SEPTACYCLE DAY!

The best septacycle group a girl could ask for.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Snapshots of my weekend

L is off playing Army right now. It's a lot easier saying goodbye to him when we've had some quality time than when we're disconnected. Yes, I miss him, but I just got tons of time with him, and anyway, him being gone opens up my free time to do fun things like go to garage sales, afternoon tea with my neighbor, and make crafts!

My tulips are so pretty! Such a fun burst of color in the front yard, too bad they have such a short life.

These ones are just weird. Can you see the weird razor things on them? I've never seen things like this before.

I skipped out on going to church this morning. I just don't love going by myself. Although I've had TONS of practice going by myself, I just wasn't up for it this morning. And I timed my schedule poorly anyway since I got done working out 1/2 an hour before the service started. Which I could have made if I really tried, but it just helped my excuse-loving ways.

So, I listened to a speaker online and made this project while I listened. I love it! I'm going to send them to some of my girlfriends to keep in their purse, by their bed, etc.

Hope you guys are having a great weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


::: I've been wanting to put up some of the things I was thinking throughout our trip because writing things down helps me to process them. For now, I figured the easiest thing would be to just post some of my journal entries that I wrote while down in CR. So, here's a little glimpse into me. That's basically what blogs are anyway, right? :) :::

Beauty. Paradise. Natural. Blues. Greens. Rejuvenating. Restoring. Breathe. Create space. My soul sings. Rhythm. Laughter. Open. Birds. Monkeys. Conversations. Unplugged. Replenishing. Returning. Nature. Uncomfortable. Pleasant. Boundary. Free. Spirit. Truth. Destiny. Needed. Returning. Discovery. Wandering. Being present. Available. Searching. Quenching. Satisfying. Liberating.


Finding comfort in the stillness. Being soothed by the ocean. Letting the rhythm of the waves dictate my day rather than the hum of my laptop. Learning lessons you can only learn through being immersed in a culture that is not your own. Uncomfortable situations become life lessons. Discovering the joy that comes from being open and available. Not checking the clock to see if we're late for the next meeting. Not caring if the bus driver says 15 minutes before we leave but it's really 1 hour. Not rushing through meals in order to accomplish the next task, and missing out on stories, laughter, and connection instead.


Creating space.

This is good.

What if we lived like this all the time?

This trip has been good for my soul. It's hard for me to just be. I feel like I always need to be contributing, creating, producing. Multi-tasking. But none of that is possible here. There are no clocks. No computers. Just Lane, Jesus, my book, and the ocean.

So I've been daydreaming. About how great my marriage is. How good, gentle, wild, and loving God is. About how becoming an author is becoming more and more of a deep-seated desire of mine, not just something I do on the side. Who I want to be when we return from Costa Rica. These past five years of marriage and the next five. It's nice to just sit.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Have you ever wondered what heaven looks like?

I'm pretty sure this is it.

This is on our final night there. The sunset that night was SPECTACULAR. Spectacular.

We went on an 'Adventure Tour', part of which involved hot springs and volcanic mud. LOVED it! They say that it's good for your skin, but I think maybe it was just a good excuse to get disgustingly dirty when you're not 5 years old.

A night out to celebrate an early 5 year anniversary!

Seriously. The waves were massive. Probably 9 feet tall. Ish. You can't see them here, but imagine it in your mind. He boogie boarded on them all day long. And came out laughing after each wave.

What the majority of our week looked like: Wake up, eat, lay by either pool or ocean, get lunch, siesta time, lay by either pool or ocean, shower, dinner, play in the pool. Every day.

To back up my claims of massive quantities eaten. Cast your eyes upon this beauty:

We really did so good lathering up with 50 SPF daily, but despite my shade-loving devotion we still got a little sun kissed as you can see in this picture. What can you do when you're 9 degrees above the equator?

So there's a little glimpse of what my last 9 days looked like. It was the perfect amount of time for us. I think it took the first 5-6 days to truly decompress, heal, and breathe, and then the rest were just an above and beyond gift.

Monday, May 17, 2010



There are many, many things that I could say about our trip.

I feel like my soul was singing the entire time we were there. It was intoxicating. It was purifying. It was renewing, beautiful, and life-changing.

It was fun!

Some lessons I learned:

* This was my first time being fully immersed in a different culture. I got in my groove and embraced it all eventually, but I was initially uncomfortable in places I don't understand and felt vulnerable. I felt out of control, but that feeling harnessed itself into growth by the end of the week. It built character, as my mom would say.

* If given the opportunity, I will eat guacamole for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A diet of burittos, cassadores, and quesadillas is FINE by me.

* Once I get over the initial shock, I can handle showering with crabs, birds, lizards, and monkeys. Handle it, embrace it, and love it, even!

* I like being back in the U.S. where you are allowed to let your toilet paper go down the toilet and not into a trash can next to you.

* My husband and I can laugh and play in a swimming pool for hours. Unbridled laughter. Goofiness with reckless abandon.

* Sometimes silence sitting next to an ocean is more healing than any amount of words.

* Life unplugged is refreshing. The first place we stayed at had no clocks, no tvs, no internet, nothing. The second place at least had clocks, but that was it. I turned my cell phone off when we left Denver, and didn't turn it back on until we touched back down in Denver 9 days later. Unplugging created space for us to breath, to have long, meandering discussions without interruptions, and be available. Available for my husband, for my thoughts, for my God.

* Everybody's body is beautiful and exactly how they were created to be. I spent the three months before we left stressing out about living in a swimsuit and how I would measure up next to all of the rest of the girls on the beach. They would all be supermodels, right? I would, of course, shrink in comparison. However. We got there, and everyone was not, in fact, a supermodel. They were all just regular, normal girls like me. With curves, with beauty. There's not a certain prototype of how you need to look in order to be beautiful. Everyone is.

* I really, really like Costa Rican beer.

This trip stirred up a lot in me. A lot more than I expected, I think. You'll probably be hearing more about it in the coming days. And also, the pictures are coming. It was breath-taking. Paradise- I found it! Maybe a glimpse of it, at least.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Vay-cay time!

It's here.

Ohmygoodness I can hardly wait.

We leave TODAY for the land known as Costa Rica.

I plan on spending my next week and a half sitting on the beach. Sipping Mai Tais. Reading a few books. Writing. Talking with my hubs. Sipping more Mai Tais. And, of course, eating.

Maybe surfing, though I am pretty scared to try it out. Probably zip-lining through the rainforest. But definitely eating lots and lots of salsa.

I'll be thinking of you guys while my toes dabble in the surf and my feet sink into the sand.

See you when we get back!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

525,600 minutes

What a difference a year makes.

This last year has been a blur. It has been a blink of an eye. It has been life changing.

I find myself staring at the date and getting lost in thoughts. May 6th of last year was a significant date.

It was the day that my husband deployed to Afghanistan for his third and final time. Those days, the days that he left to go overseas, are the worst in my life up to this point. They are days where every sense is heightened yet you are numb at the same time. They are overflowing in emotional significance. They are days where you physically, emotionally, spiritually try to be all-in; be engaged with your husband, and just be in the moment yet are in the thickest of fogs.

May 6th of last year was also spent in the ER.

Not the ideal place to be spending my final hours with L. As things go, when it rains it pours and if something can go wrong, it will. The weekend before he deployed we decided to take a spur-of-the-moment 2 day trip down to Destin, FL to spend some time on the beach.

Well. Something went horribly wrong. We were only out in the sun for 2 hours. We applied sun screen! And yet we both got the worst burns we ever have had, or hope to have, in our whole lives. I got sun poisoning and spent the evening throwing up at the 4 star steak restaurant where we were eating dinner.

And L. Poor, poor L. He got 2nd degree burns over his entire back. Well, fast-forward a few days to Tuesday of that week he was still in the worst pain I had ever seen him in, but he kept trying to tough it out. Wednesday morning, May 6th, we woke up for our final day together (he was deploying that evening) and knew that he had go get medical help. He couldn't sit on a plane for 10 hours heading to the Middle East in the situation he was in. So, we spent our final day in the ER; he got steroid shots, burn cream rubbed on him, and was instructed to find his closest buddy that was going over with him to rub the burn cream on his back for the next 10 days.

That's male bonding if I've ever seen it. Thanks, Dan. You're a true friend.

And all of that led up to the hardest deployment we experienced. It was a doozy.

So I see May 6th and I am catapulted back to those memories. To the ER. To those awful goodbyes where you kiss one final time and watch them walk away not knowing when, or if, you're going to see them again. To news releases detailing offensives and accounts of how our friends died. To phone calls from my husband and hearing how broken he and his guys were but knowing they couldn't deal with it because they had to go back out on a mission to the same area in a few hours. To questioning God, battling doubt and fear. To finding hope even in the dark. To reunion and knowing we made it through.

And now, those are memories. We see each other in the mornings. I normally see L in clothes that don't have the letters A, C, or U in the title.

We pray for all of the soldiers that are over there right now and I am in awe of their sacrifice.

What a difference a year makes.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Oh my.

Have I been doing a lot of food posts lately? Sorry. But I do love me some food.

I try to be aware of having varied posts and subjects each week, so sorry if this is just one too many yummy recipes.

But this one. This. One. Is so good.

I heard about this recipe about 4 years ago when I was going through my FoodNetwork stage. It was nothing but Paula, Giada, and Rachel for me. Seriously. We had just moved to Georgia and I had no friends so I adopted those three as my besties.

I've since grown and matured and moved on to HGTV but don't tell Giada.

The Matriarch of Goodness. The Mother of all that is Unhealthy. Paula Deen herself showed me this recipe 4 years ago and I have never really felt like I had a reason to make so much decadence.

But tonight was the night. We were having our YL college leaders over for dessert, so who better to pawn off a new recipe that might or might not make their stomach explode with sugar overload than starving college students?

It was a smashing success.

Here it is if you'd like to try it out yourself!

Chocolate Bread Pudding

1 lb loaf French bread cut into cubes
3 cups milk
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c coffee flavored liqueur
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 T vanilla extract
2 t almond extract
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
6 eggs, slightly beaten
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

2. Grease a 13x9 baking dish and put the bread cubes in

3. Whisk the milk, cream, and coffee liquor (aka liquid gold) together. You better believe that I poured a little Kahlua in the measuring cup, a little in my mouth, a little in the cup, a little for me...

4. In another bowl, combine the granulated and brown sugars with the cocoa powder and mix well. Add this to the milk mixture and whisk to combine.

5. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and cinnamon to the beaten eggs and combine. Combine the egg mixture with the milk mixture and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

6. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread cubes ; let stand, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes.

7. Bake the pudding for 1 hour or until set.

And if you thought we were done, we most definitely are not. Because of this:

Let's say it all together: The Cream Sauce.

The immense yummyness that gets poured over the chocolate bread pudding. You don't have to use this, but believe me, you want to.

What you need, should you choose to accept:

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur (I used my Kahlua again)
1/4 cup sugar
3 T cornstarch
Water, to dissolve cornstarch
1 t vanilla extract

Heat the heavy cream, liqueur, and sugar. Mix cornstarch with about 3 T water. Stir into the cream mixture and heat until thickened. Add vanilla.

Serve over bread pudding.

I just dare you to let this melt in your mouth. Mmmmmmm.

Have a great Wednesday, y'all!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

For the love

I'm not even pregnant and I get serious chocolate chip cookie cravings.

It's bad.

And, I'm not one to brag, but I make just about THE best chocolate chip cookies in all of creation. I know that's a big statement, but I'm prepared to back it up.

They're chewy. They're gooey. They change your life.

Cast your eyes upon this:

And this, friends, was my dinner tonight.

It's not accidental that there's a travel book to Costa Rica sitting next to my cookies. It was out on our counter anyway, but then I found it so humorous that I had to include it in the picture.

Who in their right mind prepares for a trip to the beach and world of swimsuits by eating cookies?!? It's Tuesday. I leave Saturday.

I can't stop myself.

And now, for no reason at all except it's pretty, here is a picture of my sunset last night.

Beautiful. I try to just drink it in each and every night.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Why I oughta

Apparently, our local newspaper needed some help. Their 'Adventure' section was trying to add some spice, or something like that, to their weekly spots and they had requested for people to send in pics of them out and about being adventurous and everything.

I don't really read the newspaper (I choose to get my news from such elite, credible sources like E News!, Kelly Ripa, and Jon Stewart).

Just kidding.

But seriously.

I digress. With me not reading the newspaper, I had no idea about them needing to send in pictures. But my husband did. He read that plea for help and immediately thought of our recent trip backpacking through Utah and thought that it would be brilliant to send in pics of us being hardcore romping through the Great Beyond of the canyons of Utah.

He also thought it would be brilliant to keep this from me.

So, while I was at work on Friday I got a text message from this sweet hubby o' mine saying that there was a surprise for me in the Adventure section of the paper so go see it as soon as I get the chance.

Curiosity had the best of me, so as soon as my planning period started I raced over to the teachers' lounge where they keep about a gagillion copies of the paper and I flipped open to the Adventure section and saw...


Of course, the shot that got chosen was not only of just me, rather than both of us, but of that beautiful backside of mine.

Awesome. He doesn't know when, he doesn't know where, but I vow that I will have my revenge on him.