Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A very happy thanksgiving

Hello all,

This thanksgiving was one of the best and coziest I have spent with my family. The last few years we spent thanksgiving with Toby's mom which have been wonderful! But this year we made the pilgrimage to Garland, tx to spend the holiday with my mom and immediate family.

It. Was. Magical.

We had a blast. Seeing my mom was of course wonderful and she rolled out the red carpet, as always, for Toby and I. My cousins (who are basically my sisters) are my best friends in the world and being with them makes my heart so happy. And it's fun to add our hubbies to the equation too! We got to see my sweet aunt who has been through a lot lately and it was lovely to be with her. It would be impossible to list ALL the great moments of the trip, but here are a few to note:

* Having a glass of wine with mom whilst watching movies...that is before she fell asleep during them :)
* Driving in Dallas traffic (don't miss that!)
* Staying with Tiffany and Craig
* Seeing Meredith and getting the tour of Texas Woman's University (where she works) and downtown Denton, TX.
* Dropping the entire bowl of sweet potatoes into dirty dish water (but we made more haha).
* Apple cider and "secret cider" :)
*Late night Taco Bueno run
*Getting my new Minnetonkas!
*Relaxing moments on the swing with Toby.

Here are some photo/instagram highlights!

At the airport.
Thanksgiving + Wal-Mart = American Apocalypse
The most vomitous tree I have ever beheld.
Our lovely Autumn themed, Thanksgiving table. And the dog. haha
I love mom's kitchen. It feels like something out of a storybook!

The (blurry) family! L to R: Toby, me, mom, Meredith, Aunt Linda, Tiffany and Craig

Hahaha. My true nature.

There we go. Thanksgiving sirens! lol

Gluten tag! ahaha (pronounced as if it is in German...like Guten tag) This was the gluten-free section of our meal for those of us who needed that.
Chillin' with my apple cider a-cooking.
My handsome man looking all outdoorsy with his newly thrifted coat!

Leftovers!!! The best part.

American friends, how was your Thanksgiving? International friends, welcome to an American Thanksgiving...aka...eat too much ans watch sports on TV haha.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fort Bebe

Hello dear friends,

I have been meaning to write about our lovely retreat "Fort Bebe" for some time. On our anniversary we discovered we did not have the time or money to travel and do something fun and crazy (and by discovered, I mean we knew it from the get go). However, Toby and I are not big spenders, honestly it just doesn't appeal to us, so we already had a plan cooking...Fort Bebe! Basically what we do is we pull out the couch bed in the living room and camp out in there. I know, it really doesn't sound super exciting, but let me tell you, we were extremely excited at the thought of it because for us it's like a little vacation. It makes us feel like we're kids that get to stay up all night on new years or something.

While we were fixing up Fort Bebe we were giggling and running around putting up twinkle lights and getting our dinner to eat in bed (like big kids!) and having the best time. If you are married/seriously involved with someone, my experience has taught me that as long as you have each other and an open heart ANYTHING (even  a date to McDonald's) can be amazing. That's just what it was for us. In fact, we loved it so much, we have made it a weekend thing and not just an anniversary thing. It's something we really look forward to every weekend and it gives us really sweet time together. Here are some pics of the fort!

The fort!
Twinkle lights!
Starting the day out right!
So cool that "Autumn" from Vivaldi came on Pandora on our perfect Autumn day!
Our Autumny movie-fest.
The birds.
Toby and I both read (and loved) Dracula. One of the meals in that book that
Jonathan Harker eats is called Paprika Hendl (a Hungarian dish) in honor of
October and our love of literature, Toby made it and it was DELISH.
Hot apple cider.

Off to the fort right now!


P.S. a look at last year's first anniversary here!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A word about Olives

The olive grove at our synagogue.

No, this has nothing to do with a recipe or food critique, haha.

This little thing about Olives has to do with how we all might feel at the moment. 
Anyone stressed? (raises hand) Anyone feel overwhelmed? (raises two hands)
Anyone feel like they just can't catch a break? (Stands up and jumps around)

Haha. The long and short of it is that we are ALL stressed whether it's now or later. Life happens. Circumstances arise that crush you mentally, physically and spiritually. Breakups, jobs, ministry, friends, family, bills, whatever. Life is unpredictable and it is just hard from time to time. I know I spend a lot of time asking God "why can't this season be OVER already?" When you're in the tough times (especially if the tough times last a while) it's hard to see the silver lining. But, there is great significance to what we go through. Each time I go through something awful, I learn something very valuable on the other side. Do we have to have hardships to learn those things? No. But if everything was just handed to us and easy, we wouldn't appreciate it. Mothers go through excruciating labor, but when they look at their precious child, it was all worth it and they keep having kids usually.
So, where do olives come into this?
In Exodus, when they were building the tabernacle in the wilderness to worship God, He had very specific things He wanted and it ALL had a deeper meaning.
 “You are to order the people of Isra’el to bring you pure oil of pounded olives for the light, and to keep a lamp burning continually. 21 Aaron and his sons are to put it in the tent of meeting, outside the curtain in front of the testimony, and keep it burning from evening until morning before Adonai. This is to be a permanent regulation through all the generations of the people of Isra’el"
-Exodus 27: 20-21
The way you get olive oil is to press, crush and bruise the olives so the oil seeps out. This oil was used for the Menorah that represented God's ever-burning presence and also for anointing.
Israeli Olive Press. {Source}
That stone above is very heavy and grinds down on the olives to press the oil out. Chances are, if you feel very pressed and crushed, God could be drawing something even more precious out of you than you know. It can be hard to trust sometimes, but He does ALL that He does out of love and our complete and total benefit (in the long term sense) is what is on His mind. Even in the pressing, He sustains us and keeps us from the enemy.
" 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
- 1 Corinthians 4:8-9
Even in our pain, we will not be destroyed. Circumstances don't define us, God does. We are pressed by so much, but out of it God draws the good in us that he can use and anoint in us. Have hope, and don't give up. Being pressed hurts, but being used by God is amazing.
Love you guys,

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