October 28, 2011

8 months & old people

yesterday was the 27th - a truly special date. it was 8 months ago that the boy swept me up to a mountaintop, asked me to be his girl, and kissed me for the first time. 8 months later, i'm still sure that saying 'yes' was the absolute best thing i ever did.

t & i aren't necessarily huge 'monthiversary' people. but yesterday, was truly memorable.

the last month hasn't been the easiest. i've learned so much, been challenged in so many ways, and have epically failed at being a good girlfriend every once in a while. love is tough stuff sometimes, you know? but it is SO rewarding. every day, i pray that the Lord will show me what it means to be a Godly woman, and eventually, a Godly wife. that might sound a little fast to some of you, but i firmly believe that you won't become that Godly wife the minute you say 'i do.' it's a process, one you can start right now, even if you're not in relationship. those characteristics take a long time to develop, after lots of testing, failing, and trying again. i'm pretty sure that even when i do say my 'i dos,' i still won't be all there, but maybe i'll be a little bit closer. this past month has proven to me that God is faithful, even in our relationships. like i said earlier, my story is undoubtedly a God-scripted one, and without Him, i wouldn't be as blessed as i am. love is a gift, one that needs to be cherished every single day. i'm so thankful for HIS patience with me and so thankful for T's unconditional love as well. our life isn't a fairytale; we're thrown curveballs all the time, but i wouldn't trade it for anything, because our love? it's perfect to me.

conveniently, this month the 27th fell on the same day as the Pursuit's Halloween Party, and it was hilarious. T has the incredible gift of being silly, and his old man act won us in n out gift cards - can you say dinner date? ;] but besides the pumpkin carving and the hilarious costumes, last night, i was also unexpectedly wooed & cherished in a BIG way...

in the middle of the party, old man T threw his walker aside, sprinted down to his car, and came back bearing a box in his hand and asking for the mic. oh dear. he grabbed his walker, toddled up to the front of the room, called me up to his side, and thoroughly embarrassed me by announcing our monthiversary to everyone and handing me a box and a card. i did not see it coming. but his big and sweet romantic gesture left me on cloud 9 for the rest of the night. i love cards, and i love practical gifts, like season 2 of modern family. holla.

all that mushy-gushy business to say, it was a happiest of 8 months, i'm officially the luckiest girl, and i will love this man even when we are wrinkly, decrepit, and old. definitely.

October 25, 2011

typing & creating

almost two years ago, i finally invested in adobe photoshop, and it's taken me two years to even tap at all this program can do! many missed lectures, procrastinated homework assignments, and headaches later, i'm still just tinkering about on my computer, but oh, the magic photoshop can do. 

i'm so obsessed in fact, that after being on campus for 8 hours, i trudged right into the library after 5 lectures, just to play around a little more with my latest hobby - typography.


what do you think?

October 24, 2011

a God-scripted story / part 1: singleness

once upon a time, there was a girl who loved love. she read books about it, loved stories about other couples who had found love, watched every rom-com she could get her hands on, and always always hoped that maybe one day, she'd find love like that too.

when she was in the 8th grade, she vowed never to kiss a boy while she still had braces. her braces came off, and of course, there were no prospects. she graduated high school realizing she'd never had, and never would have, a high school sweetheart. though she had her moments of doubt, whether she doubted God, doubted herself, or doubted love, she poured herself into everything else life gave her. one summer, she realized she was all grown up, and it was time to pack up her room, throw everything in her car, and head into a big and scary unknown, knowing that she was leaving a family behind who loved her, and her God was going with her, every step of the way. and in the back of her mind, she hoped that maybe, just maybe, she'd find her man at college.

socal boys, foul mouths, and the realities of a HUGE secular school quickly erased any of those wild ideas, and save for the few exceptions, the girl had all but given up on boys. she was disappointed, and yes, maybe a little bitter too. and then one cold winter night, it hit her. before she could ever enter into a healthy, lasting, and Godly relationship, she first had to be ok with being alone. instead of accepting the bitter fact, she had to learn to accept the wonderful truth that there was already someone out there, someone God had specifically designed for her, someone God was preparing her for, and someone God was preparing for her. in that moment, she thanked the Lord for sparing her from those silly high-school crushes and keeping those doors closed, time after time. she realized now that it wasn't just her, fighting alone. God was already ahead of her, and yet, He was right there beside her at the same time.

instead of focusing on the short term, the instant gratification of simply having a boyfriend, she began thinking long-term, praying for her man-to-be, and praying daily that God would constantly grow contentment and trust in her heart, because that's the secret to happiness - being content in your circumstances. and for once, she was absolutely ok with being single. good-bye with the whiny conversations with other girlfriends, good-bye to the hopeless swooning over movies and everything else fiction. hello reality. it wasn't an easy journey, but after nineteen years of disappointment and pointless wondering, God finally made the message clear - He was enough, and that boy? the perfect, loving, all i could have ever dreamed of boy? he was out there, somewhere - it just wasn't time yet. she wasn't ready, and neither was he.

for all your single girls, that is my story. i feel like i've been hearing so many stories about singleness, waiting, hoping, praying, and learning, and believe me, it's a journey, but such a rewarding one. sometimes i feel like my story is absolutely void considering where life has me now, but it's not. every moment of the hoping, every moment of the wishing, taught me valuable lessons, and i wouldn't change those nineteen years of alone-ness for anything.

i was that girl, the girl in her whole group of new college friends who'd never been kissed. the girl who adamantly believed in love, and yet hadn't never known boy love for herself. the girl who had never been on a date, had always gone to high-school dances with her group of girlfriends. a girl who unwaveringly believed that God already had her love story scripted, and if she would just follow Him, she'd know a life and a love better than she could have ever hoped for.

and i was right...but that story can wait for later ;]

October 22, 2011

humbled and growing

for those of you who think i have it all together all the time, i'd like to tell you today that i don't.

this past week, maybe this past month, maybe the past six months, have been such a season of GROWTH, and i love it, but it. is. humbling.

yes, i juggle a lot of things, i'm involved in a lot of things, and i love everything i do, but there are days where i feel like i just can't do it all anymore, and in those moments, i cry out to God for His strength, because it is only by His strength that i can do anything.

maybe that's the overall lesson i've been learning - not by my own strength Lord, but by Yours. at the beginning of last semester, i went into superwoman mode, literally filled up every time slot in my planner, and tired to do everything. i had 2 jobs, started an internship, was on leadership in college group, took 5 upper-division courses, served with habitat over my spring break, and in all that, i entered my first relationship ever.   talk about a full plate. besides T, i simply didn't have time for people anymore, and many of my friends will tell you that i simply disappeared into an abyss of busy-ness. two months into the madness, i realized the error of my ways. we can't do everything, at least not very well. i ended last semester feeling like i had given only half of my self to everything. i gave all my energy to my new relationship, my spiritual life, and was then left with only a little piece of myself and my time for everything else. trust me, that's not the way to do it.

balance is key, and this summer, as my life slammed on the brakes and i had only one job and that was it, i had to seriously adjust to having time. i had to re-learn that it was ok to get 8 hours of sleep a night, watch TV every once in a while, and revel in quietness. i had to dig up the friendships i had neglected for the last 4 months and re-learn the value of community. i went into a coffee chat frenzy, and i love it. i craved a mentor, i felt purpose-less down here, and i was stuck in an unknown limbo. july was so hard. but by august, new responsibilities fell on my plate. i signed the lease on my first apartment, went into serious decorating/moving mode, spent 2 life-changing weeks in argentina, and went into the next school year with a completely different mindset - do less, but do it all well. the Lord provided an incredible community of girlfriends and mentors who i could glean wisdom from, and He taught me the importance of putting myself out there and risking myself in order to start new friendships. and every time, i've seen the fruit of that.

and that's what the last few months have continued to grow in me. to say no to working 24/7, to look at new opportunities, pray about them, and then decide whether they will hinder me from my already-made commitments, or whether it's something i can give everything too as well. and i've learned to do only what i love, and to look at the big picture. my spiritual life, investing in my relationship, and serving in the church are the. most. important callings i have. when i get to heaven, the A i got on my midterm, the amount on my paycheck, and how cute my clothes were are not going to matter. at all. not to say that we shouldn't be good stewards of what we've been given, but they are not priorities. if our spiritual life is growing, our relationships with people are thriving, and we living by God's direction, everything else will simply fall into place - right?

since january, my life has absolutely changed. it's not always been easy, but it has been so rewarding. i'm grateful to love a man who in the all the madness, never let me lose sight of God. i'm thankful that God loves me enough to humble me in order to show me a better way. i'm thankful for growth, because that's what this is all about. it's a process, a lifelong journey, and there's still so much to come...

October 13, 2011

losing control

yesterday afternoon, a horrible and unexpected tragedy struck seal beach, ca, the next town down if you're driving along PCH. eight people were killed as a gunman opened fire on a small hair salon in a peaceful, quiet, tight knit community. the greatest tragedy of it all is how quickly it happened, and how mercilessly these innocent lives were taken.

this week has been what i would call a 'heavy' week, and yesterday's events only further confirmed that. ever since, i've had that gnawing feeling of uncertainty hanging around me; i guess you could say i feel 'on edge.' those feelings are not from God, but they are real. in light of everything though, there is one truth that's been resounding in my head - God is in control, & that knowledge is so very reassuring.

this past weekend, at women's retreat (pictures are coming, i promise!), a lovely lady from our church spoke about identity, and clinging to our identity in Christ when everything is stripped from us. four years ago, she unexpectedly lost her husband of 51 1/2 years, and her story was absolutely heartbreaking. yet, she reminded us all that though circumstances change, our God never, ever changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. what a wonderful hope that is, to know that even when our lives are spinning out of control, or this world is plummeting and we can't stop it, God still remains, His truths remain, and there is unwavering strength and hope in Him.

sometimes, i'm thankful for the bad, because it reminds me of how big, how awesome our God is. He sees it all, sees a bigger picture than our narrow 'here & now' perspective. He understands our sorrow, and yet He provides endless joy. He understands our weakness, and in it, gives us His strength.

our theme for the weekend was to "keep God first." being in His word and in constant prayer are the simplest (and sometimes the most difficult) ways of doing that. sometimes, it takes bad things in order to draw us closer to Him, but He promises that when trials come, He is there. when things are good, He is still there. He is always there - how awesome is that?! 
i couldn't imagine life not knowing such power and love. without it, there'd only be hopelessness.

October 12, 2011


in the spirit of fall, i figured it was high time to bake away, pumpkin style. i've also officially declared tuesdates my night to try new recipes, and so last night these delicious pumpkin chocolate chip muffins were on the menu! and according to the boy, they're a definite success - moist and scrumptious!

here's the recipe, & it's a cinch!


2 cups canned pumpkin (its slightly more than a 15 oz. can)
2/3 cup oil
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. each- ground cloves, nutmeg, and ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 muffin pans with 24 cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, stir together pumpkin, oil, sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.  Gently whisk by hand until just combined, being careful not to overmix as the texture will become gummy.

Fill liners with 1/4 cup batter (cups should be about 2/3 full).  Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting. 


October 4, 2011


tonight, i'm thankful for grace - unconditional, never failing, God grace.

what a blessing it is to know that we can always run to God, no matter how badly we've messed up. what a blessing it is to know that He will always receive us, extend His arms, and embrace us as His children.

how unfathomable is it to think that He only sees us as He created us to be. He looks past the faults, past the mistakes, past the flaws, and sees beauty and perfection.

every day, i'm reminded that i'm only human. i say something stupid, i say something mean. i trip up the stairs (or down - yes, that too), i break something. i spill my coffee or make a fool of myself in front of my friends. i realize that i stink at small talk and care too much about what others think. i struggle to prioritize, don't give God the time or thought He deserves. i stay up too late and regret it in the morning. i eat that piece of cheesecake i shouldn't have. i hurt the ones i love and then beat myself up for it afterwards. i feel like i'm not good enough. i'm not always content in my circumstances. i envy that girl's hair or her fabulous fall outfit. i forget about commitments i've made or don't always follow through. i'm selfish and i'm proud. i'm critical and i'm harsh.

all that, in my mind is true. perhaps they're truths that you see in your life too. but, THIS is God's truth:

you and i, we're perfectly made, not perfect, but perfectly made. we don't mess up, we only grow and learn. our mistakes aren't the end of the world. God created us with flaws and faults, and yet to Him, they're perfect in His design. life is more than the here and now. that thing we said, that we think everyone will hold over us for the rest of time? God's already forgotten it. He won't ever think of it again. your family? it's exactly the way God planned it. the hurts, the challenges, the hardships, they're part of God's plan too. without them, we wouldn't recognize our need for Him; He wouldn't be able to help us, reveal Himself to us, be a part of us. we would shut Him up. maybe we already have.

i'm thankful for simple reminders of love, in each and every way. thankful for passions and interests. thank you for family, both up north and my new family here. i'm thankful that God orchestrates every moment of our lives. it's all part of a puzzle piece, part of a giant production, a beautifully choreographed dance. our only job? simply to dance for God alone.

taco salad

now that i have to make my own meals every morning, afternoon, and evening, the old go-to pastas just aren't cutting it anymore! here's a very simple taco salad recipe - and it was delish!

1 freshly sliced tomato
romaine lettuce
1/4 cup cooked jasmine rice
tortilla chips or a flour tortilla
1/4 cup refried beans, heated
sprinkle with mozarella

i would, of course, add sour cream, but alas, i'm out - which is probably good for the calorie count! ;]

October 3, 2011

our spontaneous sunday

yesterday was absolutely perfect. sundays are generally my favorite day of the week, and yesterday delivered through and through. scott foster blew our minds in church and after that, the tone for the day was just set.

because of our crazy schedules, t and i often struggle to find a lot of alone time together aside for the hour or so he swings by after work, so when we discovered that we both had the day entirely off, i literally jumped for joy! contrary to my usually planned self, we made absolutely no solid plans and decided just to go off ideas of things we wanted to do and love to do together: drive, explore, take pictures, be outside, and EAT! we grabbed a map, jumped in the car, and just let the day take us where it would.

first stop? lunch. t always gets hot off the grill when he's working and since he raves on and on about it, i told him he has to take me there one day, and yesterday was finally that day! that burger was heaven.

with plenty of food for thought after church (no pun intended), we talked about us, friends, and everything on our hearts. setting goals for us as a couple, restating our priorities and desires and our direction, and opening it all up with prayer is such a great thing. and the greatest thing of all? God completely led that conversation and confirmed things in both our hearts, and it blew my mind. 

stuffed on greasy, delicious, american food we hit the 405, malibu bound. the weather was perfect, we rolled the windows down, and soaked in some ocean lovin. 

on saturday, i picked up this book, Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti, at B&N, and i absolutely love it. i was so excited to share it with T and discuss it. apparently, it's true. boys brains look like waffles - full of little boxes, all singly focused. it's why they struggle to multi-task, or to keep up with our endless conversation that somehow starts with homework and ends with shopping. on that note, women's brains look like a pile of spaghetti - everything is connected, our friends, family, experiences, emotions, etc. it's why it takes us time to process, why we can juggle a million tasks and feelings at once, and why we get so frustrated when men can't keep up. understanding those differences is SO important, and it has already made a world of difference for me. read it. you'll be entertained - and learn something!

we read, we talked, we laughed, we learned, we threw on our hiking shoes and explored the malibu hills. we blazed our own trail, did some rock climbing (well, T handled it like a pro and then ever so kindly helped me down when i needed it), and soaked in the beauty of untouched nature, the quiet and stillness of it all.

i am a sucker for sunsets, and before we missed it, we hopped back in the car and raced back to the beach. luckily, we were JUST in time - and it was perfect. all of it. 

after a long day outside, we capped off the night with some homework, grabbed starbucks, hung out with some of our closest friends, and i simply sat there and soaked it all in. thank you Lord for all your blessings.