Saturday, March 24, 2012

I'm Still Here!

Hi Blog Readers!

Just wanted to assure you that I'm still here!  It's been a crazy couple of months (new job position for the hubby, new pregnancy in session, moving in a week...ya know, pretty typical things right???)!  In all honesty, I've been majorly distracted!

I have been collecting blog post thoughts along the way though, and I plan on starting back up again when we get settled in the new house.  So STAY TUNED! :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Piece Of My Heart

The summer of 2004 gripped my heart like no other.  I had just finished my junior year of college and I had made the decision to go on Summer Project with Campus Crusade for Christ.  When I first decided to go and was making the decision of where to apply to I had a few choices.  Few is a MAJOR understatement as CCC has HUNDREDS of stateside and international Summer Project locations!  And now comes my shameless plug to check them out at (ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE CURRENTLY A COLLEGE STUDENT!).

In about a months’ time I had completed my application (listing my location preferences: Thailand, North Africa, Japan, Australia) and had been accepted to be a part of the 2004 Thailand Summer Project!  I SO did not foresee how this Summer Project would change my life and my heart for the rest of the days of my life.

I’m going to backtrack a bit and tell you why I had listed Thailand as my first preference.  I have always been intrigued with the countries of Southeast Asia.  Half of my heritage comes from Southeast Asia.  My dad is 100% Filipino, and I love that I can consider myself half Asian.  I truly believe that having an Asian dad has given me a sensitivity and love towards the Asian culture.  At the time I was applying for a Summer Project, a summer in the Philippines wasn’t an option.  So, basically my next step was to see how close I could get to the Philippines.  Enter: Thailand.

Now, I’m going to fast forward to post-Summer Project.  You may say: “But wait, aren’t you going to tell us about your trip to Thailand?”  Another time my friends, another time.  My trip to Thailand deserves a whole post to itself because it was THAT amazing.

When I returned to the states from being overseas for 6 weeks, my heart was aching to go back.  To be quite honest, my heart STILL aches to go back.  While I was in Thailand I experienced first-hand what it looked like to see a life changed for eternity.  I saw a person pass from death to life right before my eyes.  Not that I didn’t already have a bent towards Southeast Asia, but after that Summer Project my heart for Southeast Asia (and for lost people in general) expanded larger than I thought my body could contain.
One of the first few days I was in Thailand my SummerProject team took a trip up to Doi Suthep, the main Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai.  This temple in Chiang Mai sits high above the city on top of a mountain.  As I walked around the temple, I observed many Thai natives bowing down in worship to golden statutes that sat motionless in front of them.  They were offering up incense, flowers, money, and earnest prayers to these statues.  My heart ached because I knew that their prayers weren’t being heard.  The idols in front of them were hopeless, dead statues, and the living God of the universe was right there if only they realized that God sent Someone to rescue their very soul!

During that visit to the Buddhist temple, God brought to my mind Matthew 9:35-38 which says, “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  This passage from Matthew has continued to be etched on my heart since that day. 

So, I’m a MAJOR people watcher!  I love observing people’s interactions, mannerisms, facial expressions, and quirks.  Yeah yeah…call me a creeper…I’m ok with that.  Just as long as you don’t think I’m one of those creepy kinda creepers J I tell you this because as I go throughout the days and weeks of my life, I often find myself looking at people through the lens of these verses in Matthew.  I can’t help it!

The harvest is plentiful.

There are people all around me who need to be rescued.

How will I respond?  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Here's To You

Today is a pretty special day. 

Six years ago today I married the love of my life.  Little did I know that December 17th, 2005 would be the start of an amazing, challenging, eye-opening, challenging, encouraging, and yep you guessed it…challenging piece in the puzzle of my God-given life.  It hasn’t been easy.  It hasn’t been perfect.  It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  A question from a book that I read on marriage has stuck with me since the day I read it: “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”  **Cue “deer in the headlights” facial expression.**

Once in awhile, Nate and I realize the situation we got ourselves into and recognize the craziness of it all.  Six years of marriage, three years of dating, and one stinkin cute kiddo later, we never had any inkling of this happening 15 years ago.  We knew each other long before we started dating.  We were awkward 7th graders when we first met.  Both of us would say if we had dated each other in high school, there’s no way in heck we would've lasted.  So we usually thank God for his grace that allowed us to not let our hormones get the best of us ;-) Although, that would’ve been a sight to see…a punky, I’m-too-cool-for-school guy and an insecure, so-what-if-I-pretend-to-be-someone-I’m-not girl.  Um yeah, if you’d like a visual of this description you should see the pictures from our junior year prom that we apathetically attended together.   

**You might want to get your barf bags ready, because I’m gonna get pretty mushy in a second.**

I am grateful that 10 years ago, Nate started to boldly pursue me.  I’m grateful that he kept pursuing me after I shot him down when he first asked me out.

I’m grateful that Nate is the optimistic one in the relationship.  He’s usually the one to put my Debbie-downer attitude in check.

I’m grateful that through major life changes, Nate has led with a love that screams “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

I’m grateful that in my post-partum manic depressive emotional state, Nate continued to love and care for me, despite my ugliness. 

I love this man that God has given me.  We are perfect for each other.  My weaknesses are usually his strengths, and my strengths are usually his weaknesses.  Through Nate, God has shown me so much of myself…the good parts and the ugly parts.  The parts of myself that I’d rather not see, but God chooses to use it to make me more like Him.  I love that over the years we have learned to communicate better, love each other better, and challenge each other more.  I am thankful for Nate’s hard-working nature that provides for me and Livi.

So, everybody raise your glasses…

Here’s to you my one and only love of my life, Nate Miller.  Until death do us part!

And now for a few choice photos from our wedding day six years ago:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Soups On!

So since my blogging has been a little scant lately, I gave myself the goal this week to post two blog entries by the end of the week.  After being on such a hiatus, two blog entries in one week is quite the challenge for me.  I decided I’m going to start working toward my goal by posting the “easier” of the two entries, because, let’s be honest here…I’d much rather spend some time on Facebook or Pinterest.

Speaking of Pinterest…

Pinterest is good for a lot of things (and not good for a lot of other things…such as, it’s a major time waster and I have to really guard myself from getting into major comparison mode).  I’ve gleaned some choice nuggets from many a pin, and it rouses my creativity juices big time.  Since being active on Pinterest, I have found it to be so helpful with my meal planning!  There is a wealth of foodie ideas that motivate me to get out of my same-old-same-old dinnertime rut.

We’re headed into the deep, dark, cold months of winter, and I have been on a soup kick lately.  I love soups!  They’re WAY easy to make, and generally they have a majority of the food groups in them so that means less dinner prep for me!  WOO HOO! 

I’ve been in the market to find a White Chicken Chili recipe that is both easy and flavorful.  I found this soupalicious gem the other week during my Pinterest perusal.    

Now that I have your mouth watering, here’s the recipe.  Props to the original poster can be found by clicking HERE.  Enjoy!

White Chicken Chili


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (I usually use an oven-baked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to save on time), shredded
  • 2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can (4 ounces) green chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 box (32 ounces) chicken broth
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 lime, juice


  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion and cook until it starts to become translucent.
  2. Once the onion is done, add shreds of chicken, Great Northern Beans, corn, green chilies (with juice from can), cumin and oregano to the large pot. Stir to combine all of the ingredients and then add the chicken broth.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes to allow the broth to reduce. Add salt and pepper (to taste) and juice from one whole lime. (You can add 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro if you desire. I personally don't like cilantro so I serve it as a side.)
  4. Leave simmering on stove until ready to serve.
  5. Serve with sour cream, chopped cilantro, shredded Pepper Jack cheese, avocado, or tortilla chips.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Life These Days

So I recently remembered a funny video clip my sister once shared with me.  When I first saw it I gave a hearty chuckle, but I didn't fully understand the reality of it because I believe I had just had Olivia.  She was still in her fresh, newborn, squirmy, sleepy stage, and she hadn't even found her little voice yet.  Twenty months later, it's a different story.  Livi's an active, chatty, repetitive, question-filled toddler.  Throughout the day she often repeats phrases over and over, testing my patience to its core.  As much as I love my sweet Livi, the constant, broken record-esque words/phrases, sure is God's way of teaching me patience during the short span of each day I spend with her.

The clip is from the show Family Guy.  It's a "dialogue" (once you see it you'll see why I use " " for the word dialogue) between Stewie, the baby, and Lois, the mother.  It's kinda comedic how closely this reflects part of my life these days.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Blogwagon

I am currently enjoying the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as Livi busily entertains herself with her new Elmo potty book on the living room carpet.  Nate and I, still clad in our plaid jammies, relax in the sunlight streaming through our large picture window. 

A couple of my blogging friends have already posted their “what I’m thankful for” blog entry, and I thought I’d jump on that blogwagon before I enter my turkey/sweet potato/stuffing Thanksgiving coma and find it too difficult to lift a lazy finger to type.

So here it is…my Thankful on Thanksgiving list:

*Jesus – “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8 
*my amazing husband
*my sweet Olivia  
*being able to live in the same town as both sides of our family
*lifetime friends
*Northridge Church
*crazy dog Annie
*the ability to be a stay at home momma
*home sweet home
*4 years with Cru
*being smacked in the face a bunch of times this past year with what God chose to teach me
*good books I have recently read

These are just a few of my “thankfuls.”  Making this list is one of those things that I could work on endlessly.  The list would be insane!  So, what are you thankful for???  Share the thanks!...Leave a comment! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Little Sweetness

If you know me well, you know I love my sweets.  There’s an added bonus if the sweets are properly paired with a salty.  If I have a combination of the two in front of me (ex: a bowl of M&Ms and a bowl of pretzels), I could literally gorge myself silly going back and forth between the two.  DANGEROUS!

Overall, I much prefer the sweet over the salty, and in the sweet department, I prefer anything chocolate.  The chocolate obsession, I believe, is hereditary.  I still have memories of my grandma telling me how much she loved chocolate as she mischievously grinned from ear to ear, fully exposing her chocolaty gooed Milky Way teeth.  After she passed away, I even inherited her Hershey’s Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook.

In the beginning of the month I shared a meal recipe and today I’m going to share a dessert recipe with you.  Side note: I’ve just decided now that this is going to be a monthly occurrence (one meal recipe in the beginning of the month and one dessert recipe about midway through the month).

I have a little bit of a confession to make.  This recipe that I’m going to share with you…I haven’t actually made them myself.  I fully enjoyed eating them at a picnic, and my friend so graciously passed the recipe onto me.  Oatmeal Carmelitas are so amazingly delicious!  It’s chocolate…it’s caramel…it’s crunchy goodness all rolled into one!  One thing I know for sure is that I CANNOT WAIT to make them!  I’m actually currently texting away to my grocery store-bound husband the ingredients that I need so I can make them TONIGHT!  So here it is!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Oatmeal Carmelitas
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, melted
1 (12-oz.) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
1 (14-oz.) package caramels
1/3 cup half-and-half

1. Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add butter, stirring until mixture is crumbly. Reserve half of mixture (about 2 3/4 cups). Press remaining half of mixture into bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan. Sprinkle evenly with chocolate morsels, and, if desired, pecans.

2. Microwave caramels and half-and-half in a microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 3 minutes. Stir and microwave at MEDIUM 1 to 3 more minutes or until mixture is smooth. Let stand 1 minute. Pour evenly over chocolate morsels. Sprinkle evenly with reserved crumb mixture.

3. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.