Monthly Archives: May 2013

Journey Journal: Days 129-148 (Catching Up)

Has it really been 20 days since I wrote a blog post?! My sincerest apologies, but “busy” does not even come close to describing the last three weeks! Don’t worry–there have been some moments of calm.

Day 129: Thursday, May 9, 2013

Today was an exciting day! Bryan officially changed his major to Culinary Arts today! Let the cooking begin…or continue, rather! This is one very excited wife! He’s been at Greenville Tech for the last year taking some basic courses, but starting in August, he’ll be in the Culinary program (great news: everything he’s taken so far actually applies to the new major!). This was a long process, but I am excited to see him pursue one of his greatest passions–food! Below is one of his most recent creations: a Curried Chicken BLT with a special sauce and fried egg!

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Day 130: Friday, May 10, 2013

Today, a 16-year old boy in our church, Todd Lurtey, lost his battle with cancer. It was a very sad week, and we will miss him very much, but we are thankful that he is no longer suffering and in the arms of His Savior! There are no words…just love and grief and prayers. One thing is sure: Todd is in heaven smiling with that big, beautiful smile next to His Savior. Todd was known for his smile–and as big as it was on earth, I can only imagine how huge his heavenly smile is!

The Lurteys have had a beautiful testimony through this incredibly difficult trial–through the pain and tears, through the questions and even sometimes doubt, they have shown the grace and trust in our great Savior; they have counted every day with Todd as a gift and blessed God. I just realized that exactly four years ago today was when Brenda first shared her testimony of the beginning of this trial. I am so thankful to be a part of our church family at Heritage–to see what the hands of Jesus look like–to see how the body of Christ

Day 131: Saturday, May 11, 2013

This morning, I got to babysit three of my nephews. Then my parents stopped by for a lunch of turkey burgers and salmon sandwiches. I was able to give my mom her Mother’s Day gift and chat for a while–the visits are never long enough! Then later today, we finally sold our motorcycle!

Day 132: Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother’s Day! Today’s 2nd grade Journey Group involved extra singing and creating special Mother’s Day cards with the kids. Neither of our moms were in town today, so after church, we headed to Paris Mountain State Park for a 5.5 mile hike! We went on some new-to-us trails and it was a really beautiful day!

Day 133: Monday, May 13, 2013

Today we heard of another friend who died last night. Grieving with those who grieve. Thankful that because of Jesus there is hope in despair, comfort in sorrow, and healing for suffering. May the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 12:15; II Cor. 4:14-18; Phil. 4:7)

Days 134-136: Tuesday through Thursday, May 14-16, 2013

Excited to hear that GOGA studios bought out their franchise and changed the name to iVIVA (i for you and me, V for Vibration, I for infrared sauna, V for vitality, A for alkaline water)! I love the new name! If you haven’t checked it out yet, it is a fantastic and refreshing routine!

One of things I’ve missed the most since switching to a dairy-free diet is mac-n-cheese, so I tried a new recipe and was pleasantly surprised with this Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce. I used gluten-free spiral pasta, soy milk and nutritional yeast, and added garlic and dijon for an extra kick of flavor!

Read of the day: “Why God Gave Us The Church, Not Superman” – There is no such thing as “Super-Christians,” so go ahead and take your cape back to Goodwill, please.

Day 137: Friday, May 15, 2013

Worked till about 1:30, then closed up shop to attend Todd’s funeral. Though sad, it was a celebration of life in Christ. After the funeral, we packed up the car and drove down to SE Georgia for our niece’s high school graduation. Spent the night at Bryan’s aunt’s and uncle’s house–so nice to see them again!

Day 138: Saturday, May 16, 2013

Woke up early and headed to Ciera’s graduation! So excited for her as she closes this chapter and begins a new one. After graduation, we were able to spend a little while with Ciera and her folks before heading home for Sunday. It was a whirlwind trip but totally worth it.

Day 139: Sunday, May 17, 2013

Quote of the day: “The fuel of worship is a true vision of the greatness of God; the fire that makes the fuel burn white hot is the quickening of the Holy Spirit; the furnace made alive and warm by the flame of truth is our renewed spirit; and the resulting heat of our affections is powerful worship, pushing its way out in confessions, longings, acclamations, tears, songs, shouts, bowed heads, lifted hands, and obedient lives.” ~John Piper

Taught 2nd grade Journey group in the a.m. Hosted the Young Professionals class for pizza and salad for the evening. What a fun group! I think there were people in nearly every room of the house and on the front porch–talking, eating, playing Taboo, games on the Wii–it was fantastic!

Day 140: Monday, May 20, 2013

7 years ago today I married my best friend Bryan! So thankful for his love, his leadership, and his ability to make me laugh even on the hardest days. My cousin and his girlfriend gave us an amazing “thank you” gift card to The Lazy Goat–and we spent it all (and then some)! We had steak and parmesan truffle fries, fried goat cheese with honey and crushed pistachios (definitely ordering those again), Moroccan fried chicken with falafel waffles, and–our favorite–Duck, Duck, Goat pizza with duck meat, a duck egg, goat cheese, arugula, and balsamic soaked dried cherries! It was so nice to look out over the Reedy River and not have to cook (or clean up)–just enjoy one another!

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Days 141-144: Tuesday through Friday, May 21-24, 2013

Several busy days of work–lots of upcoming events, Dispatches sales, upgrading some technology stuff, etc. Friday night we were able to get together with two other couples for a fantastic Cashew Chicken stir-fry, a game of Settlers, and a dessert of fresh fruit topped with toasted nuts and Rice Krispies and drizzled with a raspberry puree. So much fun!

Day 145: Saturday, May 25, 2013

Brunch with our friends Jordan and Sarah! I made up a new recipe for Sour Cream Pancakes with Cream and Berry Compote toppings! I would share the recipe…but I’m pretty sure I want to save it for “The Cookbook” (thinking more and more seriously about writing one, so I’m starting to save up some recipes for the “testing” phase).

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My sister and her boys came over for a couple hours this afternoon–had fun playing Jenga and Wii with them! Went for a walk with Bryan, then randomly got together for a game of Dominion and coffee with our friends Nate and Leigh!

Day 146: Sunday, May 26, 2013

Really enjoying this group of 2nd graders in our Journey Group! Had fun talking about our Exalted God and applying it to their lives! Had a headache and it’s been a pretty exhausting couple of weeks, so Bryan took me to Panera for lunch–it was a nice treat! After evening service, we had several of the young adults over for a cookout. Bryan made his famous curry burgers, Laurie brought some fantastic homemade guacamole, and I made some potato wedges. We are really enjoying getting to know these friends!

Day 147: Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day! Had an absolutely fantastic day with Bryan’s side of the family. Started with blueberry pancakes at his folks’ house at 8AM and finished with a delicious BBQ dinner at his sister’s. After the long day, we came home, lit some candles and listened to some classical violin on the back porch, and shared our dreams for the future. So thankful for a man who is romantic and teaches me to relax all at the same time.

Day 148: Tuesday, May 28, 2013

After work, we came home and fired up the grill one more time for a dinner of ribs, baked beans, salad and chips with some dear friends from church. We are so thankful for Aaron and Marjeana and their love for Christ, their love for the people around them, the way they raise their children, and their passion for growing in grace and coming alongside others to grow in that same grace! For dessert, we had fruit and ice cream (well, they had ice cream–I’m still avoiding the dairy)–and we introduced them to balsamic vinegar as an ice cream topping! (I know it sounds weird, but the tiniest bit can be truly fantastic!) The kids played Wii while we reminisced and laughed and got to know each other a little bit better.

So, 20 very full days are behind us–days of sadness mixed with days of joy, mundane days mixed with days that symbolize major life changes, days of busyness and friends and family, but most of all days filled with seeing God work and learning to wait on Him and accept His gifts when He gives them for as long as He gives them. God is good–all the time!

Journey Journal: Days 123-128

Day 123: Friday, May 3, 2013

Today was fun–surprise lunch with my aunt and uncle who are here for various friends’ and family’s graduations. Met up with Bryan at “China” for some beef and broccoli and egg rolls. It was nice to catch up. After work, we headed to a graduation party for our friend Josh who just finished a Masters in English. It was good to catch up with Josh, his girlfriend, other friends and former English professors.

Day 124: Saturday, May 4, 2013

Rainy day…and I mean RAINY! Omelets for breakfast, then a Starbucks and Lowe’s run. We kept lunch light. For dinner, we went over to our friend Carissa’s and made her some curry. It was quite possibly Bryan’s best curry yet! And he broiled some fresh broccoli and steamed some rice on the side. SO yummy! We will definitely have to do that again.

Day 125: Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy 1st Anniversary to my brother and his wife! We had a good day of services at church and a special Cinco de Mayo dinner with our young adult group (or part of it)–homemade tacos with fresh cilantro and avocados, chips and salsa. I especially enjoyed the testimonies of some of our church family who are headed out on missions trips this summer. The one that particularly caught my attention was from Brooke. In the morning service, there was a baby dedication; during Brooke’s testimony, she talked about how she had been dedicated to the Lord on that very platform over 20 years before, and she talked about how the church had loved her and trained her and equipped her to go out. It was a beautiful testimony of God’s grace in His Body. After the evening service, Bryan and I had leftover tacos, and he taught me how to play a new card game.

Day 126: Monday, May 6, 2013

Hoops and Yoyo apparently know how I feel today–too much Monday, not enough coffee! After work, Bryan and I went for a walk and then went over to Carissa’s house again to hang out with her and her puppy Gideon. I love how the conversation always turns to the Gospel when she’s around! We chatted for an hour or so before heading home.

Day 127: Tuesday, May 7, 2013

After work and Goga, we made grilled salmon with pickled carrots and daikon, fresh cilantro, and homemade tartar sauce on an onion bun for dinner. For dessert, I mixed together some peaches, blackberries, and blueberries with fresh mint, a splash of balsamic vinegar, some agave nectar, and a dollop of coconut milk with cinnamon and nutmeg. Quite refreshing! 100% plant-based! And deliciously nutritious!

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Day 128: Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Work has been especially busy, but good things are happening–it’s exciting to watch God work on the frontlines of Gospel advance…and behind the scenes too! After work and Goga (which is officially changing its name to iVIVA), I cooked up some linguini noodles and melted in some leftover curry sauce, adding some extra spices and a tablespoon of peanut butter to give it a little more of a Thai taste. Then I topped it with some fresh cilantro. The side dish is sautéed green onions, orange pepper, carrots, and daikon root with some turmeric, Thai basil, and lime zest. It turned out pretty good! For dessert, I repeated last night’s fruit and coconut milk treat.

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“Oceans Will Part”

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2a, ESV).

Along with this passage of Scripture, here’s another song I’ve meditating on recently, as I learn to “be still” and thirst after God:

“If my heart has grown cold,
There Your love will unfold, …
When I’m blind to my way,
There Your Spirit will pray,
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand…

“Oceans will part, nations come,
At the whisper of Your call;
Hope will rise, glory shown;
In my life, Your will be done.

“Present suffering may pass;
Lord, Your mercy will last, …
And my heart will find praise;
I’ll delight in Your way,
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand…”

(Orig. by: Ben Fielding, Hillsong United; Pianist: Lucas Piano.)

Journey Journal: Days 120-122

Day 120: Tuesday, April 30, 2013

After work, I headed home and Bryan and I made a dinner of omelets and veggies. Then my friend Emily (my cousin’s girlfriend) came over to say her “see-you-later”s before she graduates from college on Friday and moves away. It was a really good chat. I will miss our regular Sunday afternoon chats with my English-major, coffee buddy.

Day 121: Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Started the morning with coffee and Gospel conversation with my good friend Diana. Then headed to work for the day. After work, I stopped by Goga and caught up with my friend Leigh! Then I swung through Chik-fil-a for a quick bite before Shepherding Group.

We discussed Pastor Brooks’ Sunday morning sermon “Thirsty for Something More” from John 4. It reminded me of the wonderful, old hymn “Satisfied” (WORDS: Clara T. Williams, MUSIC: Ralph E. Hudson, c. 1875):

“All my life long I had panted
for a drink from some cool spring
that I hoped would quench the burning
of the thirst I felt within.

“Hallelujah! I have found him
whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings;
through his blood I now am saved.

“Well of water ever springing,
…my Redeemer is to me.”

I’ve been meditating on this a lot this week. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life: home, family, work, church, ministry, etc. When it comes to the Christian life, it often seems easier to get in a rut of “second hand” knowledge–listening to sermons, discussing Christian books, debating theology, listening to good music, etc. And even though all of these things are good, there will not be true satisfaction until our relationship with Christ is direct and personal–there is a definite need for slowing down, meditating, and building a one-on-one relationship with God. It’s not always easy (especially with the inundation of social media, active social lives, and information overload), but maybe it’s not meant to be easy. This is my prayer–that I will learn to “be still and know” God.

Day 122: Thursday, May 2, 2013

Got a late start this morning, so I stopped by Chik-fil-a for a breakfast burrito on my way to work. Lunch was multi-grain tortilla chips, roasted red pepper hummus, cucumber slices and pepper strips. Busy, long, and productive day at the office–I don’t mind long days when they’re productive like this! Around 5 p.m., I left work briefly for a walk and stopped by Publix to pick up some dinner (since Bryan was going out with the guys tonight). Headed back to work and heated up some Birds Eye Steamfresh Lightly Sauced Rigatoni & Vegetables with Tomato Parmesan Sauce. For $1.18 (50% off at Publix on Wade Hampton this week), it was a perfect dinner! Finished up some work, vacuumed, and headed home around 8:30 p.m.