Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Word of the Year: Genuine

Ok, I'm two months late on the "word of the year" trend. I'll be honest, at first I thought the idea was kind of silly. But as I've been asked to ponder questions lately like, "where is your life going?" "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" "what are your long term goals?"...I started thinking about setting myself some personal goals. I tend to sell myself short, I have always lacked confidence, so having faith in myself and faith in my goals is new to me. 

But I do not lack hope. The past couple months I have been committing to tuning in to what God is saying. I have been consistent in reading scripture daily for the first time in years. I know that God is doing a lot in my life right now, not that this is new or anything, but I'm finally listening and it feels good. It makes me sad I've taken this long to wake the heck up.

In light of all of that, I want to commit to a simpler idea. And I want that idea to spread like wildfire in my life.

 I've decided to commit to the word:
----------------------
1.free from pretense, affectation, or hypocrisy; sincere: 
2.Truly what something is said to be; authentic
3. Or I also like urban dictionaries definition: 

Meaning "genuinely a good kid", someone who doesn't drink or do drugs, etc.
Yo dawg, you wanna go smoke?
Nah man, I'm genuine.

--------------

I want to be genuine to everyone I am in contact with. I want everyone to know the same side of me, no different personalities, no switching sides depending on who my audience is. I want my attitude and actions to present someone who is genuine, who means what they say and who does what they say they're going to do. To actually pray when I say I will, to be the first one to resolve a conflict, to own up to my mistakes and sins, to be authentic in my love for the people in my life, and to do things with a full heart. 

I want my actions to be marked with an uprightness of character, not for my own glory but to the glory of Christ. It's time my life started looking more like Jesus and less like I'm over here running my own show. 

I want to finish what I start, go to the ends of the earth for people, I want to be genuine in my love. 

I'm joining in on this word of the year business because I need that reminder, I need something practically stapled to my forehead to remember it. My hope is that the practice of genuine-ity becomes over time not a practice, but just a normal way of life. That it becomes a part of me. 

I want to keep this in the forefront of my mind every day so that when I look at my life next year it will be marked by a more genuine spirit, not just marked but covered. 

Join me, friends, as I start on this journey.



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hi

Welp, turns out I'm not so good at keeping up on blogging these days. 

Surprise, I'm BUSY.

Exciting news though...I've just started my own business in partnership with Rodan + Fields and am now an independent consultant. It is a really exciting opportunity that I feel lucky to share with my friends and family. I have been busy planning, networking, and getting people interested in the products. As hard and discouraging as it is sometimes to even get people to RSVP I am pressing on in hopes of gaining financial freedom in the future. 

It's easy to sell a product that you believe in. In fact, I bought in before I had tried the products, that's how confident I am in Rodan + Fields. I got my products two weeks ago and am already enjoying smoother, less red, less dry, less flaky skin! I have also stopped wearing face makeup, which is very freeing! 



I'll keep you updated with progress photos eventually, you know when I actually turn on my camera, or open  my desk for that matter. 

In the meantime you can visit my website... jvannuys.myrandf.com

Other exciting things have been happening around these parts..

I FINALLY got my license to substitute teach in CA. I have been waiting since last May to have the finished...but now there are a million other pieces of paper that they need to consider me in a district. Of course, right? It's ok, though. I feel comforted by God that He is leading and lighting the way. 

Penelope is getting better, so we think. She now has oral medication that she actually enjoys taking. I accidentally spilled some on the counter a couple days ago and she licked it up all by herself..turns out I wont  be needing to force it down her throat. Yippee! She has also been very sassy lately too, hence the head cocked to one side. Such hams these two are together. 


Life continues moving super fast, I'm waiting for the day I can jump off the crazy train and back into a life I can enjoy.
My coworker told me that I needed a hobby, something to do when I'm not at work to keep my mind busy. I laughed thinking, I have SO many hobbies...but when was the last time I indulged them? When was the last time I did anything on my day off besides laundry, scrubbing toilets, and grocery shopping?

I took her advice, and yesterday on my day off I decided to go thrifting. I found some fantastic things...a box for a friend that I transformed with buttons, a cute little shelf, a new game for Seth and I to play with our neighborhood group, and a new puzzle.
I'm hoping that doing things I actually like will bring back my sparkle. Hopefully my smile, too.

Keep me in your prayers for new opportunities and places to grow. I feel God doing something, but it's never easy to be sure exactly what it is until it hits you smack dab in the face. 

I'll write about something real here soon, I promise.
xo.



Friday, February 15, 2013

Kitty Chronicles: It's Tough...

Being the cutest kitty in the world. 










P has ringworm. And we have to bathe her every 3 days. It is one of the saddest events that takes place during our week. And bloodiest. 
Seth is taking the scratching like a champ...I just stand back and squeal. 


Thanks for letting me dump pictures of our kitty.
We are happy parents.
We love our little snuggler so much!

Happy Friday!



Monday, February 11, 2013

Wedding Recap: Getting Dressed

BM and I just passed the 5 month mark. Time has flown since we got married and moved here to Garlic Land. It's funny, the time looking back on when I was unemployed seemed to go on forever, but it was only one and a half months. God was good in allowing us to not be so busy those first couple months, I appreciate that time so much more now looking back. Working full time is no fun, I desperately miss being home, and I'd be lying if I said I was grateful for my job all the time. 

So on my day off, after all the laundry has been done, and groceries have been put away, I have some time to myself and get to blog.  Oh how I miss this little space, I miss getting to read my favorite blogs, I miss the connections. 

Today I am happy to relive moments leading up to the ceremony, I swear one day I'll get to actually blog the main event!

We arrived at the venue around 2:00. Thomas Fogarty is way up in the hills of Woodside, and it takes a while to get there. Looking back, I wish I would have reserved the winery so we could be there earlier. Having 2.5 hours to get ALL of the ladies makeup done is not enough time at all! 

Boys have it so easy. All they had to do was show up, get dressed, and put a little gel in their hair...



They even had time to play!


Meanwhile...
I was FREAKING OUT. 
Clearly not showing it in this photo.
Amidst people asking me every 30 seconds if I was "OK", my dress being wrinkly, me worrying that all the decorations were getting put together correctly, I was having a mini meltdown on the inside. 





So that's when you go outside and ask Jesus to calm your nerves.
And He did just that. I returned to the room ready to get dressed and walk down that aisle. 



Ok seriously, I have a dashingly handsome husband. 
Little did we know that the thumbs up would be our token symbol for the whole day!


We all started getting dressed and put together the finishing touches...
like handkerchiefs


and hairspray. 


And then it was time to put my dress on.
Cue sweat.
A LOT of sweat.
They should install fans inside wedding dresses.
Just saying. 


Cue funny moments. 




Cue precious moments. 




Cue last minute fixings. 


ta da!

Hi handsome :)
I'm so glad we decided not to do a first look.
It made walking down the aisle all the more special. 


As 5:00PM approached my thoughts were pretty overwhelming.
No second thoughts, of course. No worries, those were pointless to think about now. 
In my attempt to soak it all in, I think my mind just froze.




And then my mama teared up.
And we had a moment.
That special mother-daughter moment. 



After the bridesmaids left and my mama got seated, I knew it was getting close.
My dad showed up in the dressing room to see me for the first time.
He was scared to even look at me.
His little baby girl getting married.
He should write a blog post on the emotions of the event for him!


Champagne is a good way to calm nerves....
right?


We scuttled up the back way so I wouldn't be seen.
Walking up a steep hill in a wedding dress on a warm day isn't the most comfortable.
I'm thankful my dad helped me carry my dress. 




And then...
just like that it was time to walk down the aisle. 
7 months of preparation.
7 months of excitement.
7 months of crazy were about to come together.


Next time I'll recap the ceremony, the best part of the entire day.
BEST.
Thanks for joining me on this journey, friends.







Friday, February 8, 2013

Meeting Jesus at the Hookah Lounge

Today has been a really hard day. I spent most of the afternoon scrubbing my entire house down with bleach while Seth bathed Penelope in medicated shampoo. P has ringworm, poor little one has it everywhere. I could choose to be discouraged right now. I could choose to let this sad situation get to me, but God has been far to good to us lately to let this bother me.

Hold up. God is always good, I however am not, but am definitely more aware of Him and His goodness lately. Praise Him for that. 

"Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:5

Seth and I have been smoking hookah together since we first got together. Literally the first time we hung out as friends we were smoking hookah. For some reason there is a stigma surrounding hookah in the regular "Christian" circles we are in. I'm not exactly sure why...maybe because its tobacco people assume its addictive? I don't know. Nor do I care, because friends, God tends to work his way into our conversations with people when we are smoking hookah. I kid you not.  

Seth and I have joked before how God is using this unique activity that we partake in pretty regularly to use it for his glory. I have never been more convinced of this idea until these last couple days. 

Wednesday night I called Seth on my lunch break, and he asked if there was anything I wanted to do that night. I mentioned hookah, we like to meet there when I'm off of work..its the perfect way to relax and end the day, so we agreed to see each other there around 9:45. It wasn't too busy that night so we sat by ourselves on one end of the lounge. After a comedic run in with a random lounger in the bathroom, I laughed on my way back to my seat and didn't think anything of it. Little did I know, "Paul" (name changed just in case), came right up to us and invited us to sit with him and his friend because he thought we looked like cool people.

Never passing up an opportunity to meet new people in our little town, Seth and I moved our hookah on over to their couch. Within 5 minutes of sitting down Paul had told us how his friend had recently died in his arms from an overdose of some kind, probably opiates, and how he was now going through such an emotionally distressing time from it and that our small little town had some pretty horrible rumors going around about him. 

We talked all night about how God had used our funny little interaction outside the bathroom to make us all into friends. At one point he said "I don't know if you guys believe in God or anything, but he totally wanted us to meet." 

 "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude  for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer." 1 Timothy 4:4

Seth and I just smiled at each other. Full well knowing that we were meant to meet him, to befriend him, to PRAY for him, possibly to invite us to neighborhood group maybe even to church, perhaps to be the hands and feet of Jesus as He draws Paul to Himself. 

As we were leaving Seth asked Paul what we could be praying for for him. Seth didn't tell me about this conversation until we got home. Since we had taken separate cars, I prayed out loud for Paul on my way home. When I asked Seth what Paul had asked for..I got the chills. Word for word, his prayers were what I had prayed aloud for on my way home. You guys, when we don't have words...HE gives us them. When we don't even know what to pray for, more than likely He has already put the words into our hearts and mouths. 

I know this relationship with Paul is growing, I know God will use it for His glory. I know God is working when we seem to do nothing.

How much more could He do IN and THROUGH us if we put forth a little more effort? The effort that he deserves for the LOVE He gives that we most certainly do not deserve. 

God is crazy good you guys.
CRAZY good.



Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Big Cornbread Debate: PinterTest Kitchen

This month I haven't been doing a lot of pinning. I'm not sure why, I guess the desire comes and goes or that I've been doing a bunch of other junk on the computer.  

So, this months PinterTest kitchen doesn't necessarily come from Pinterest, but AllRecipes.com which might be the birthplace of all the best recipes on Pinterest anyways. I know the old fashioned way to go is to try things from cookbooks and cooks magazines (my mama's favorite), but I just am too afraid to waste a whole meal on a recipe that I don't trust and that I haven't read reviews about! I guess thats a product of this technological generation, I Google EVERYTHING, I check reviews for EVERYTHING!

So for our Neighborhood Group at church, each week we are supposed to bring something that goes along with the food theme. This weekend the food theme was Southern, so I chose cornbread. Having never made cornbread I consulted Seth for if he had a preference on what kind. Let me preface this by saying that Seth is picky about nothing, except dijon mustard. Seth likes everything, every freaking thing....BUT when I told him about the cornbread he says..."Well, Cornbread might be something I'm kind of picky about"

My mind almost blew up. And then in the midst of my shock that there was something he was actually picky about...I came up with a challenge.  Let's see if I can find a recipe that he actually likes thats homemade, I figured the box recipes rendered a more dry consistency so I decided to try a boxed cornbread and a recipe that I found online.  Of course I searched high and low on AllRecipes.com knowing that whatever I chose had to have rave reviews, and had to be m.o.i.s.t. 

Side note: I HATE that word with every fiber of my being. I don't like spelling it, I don't like hearing it, I surely cannot say it out loud. But how else do you describe a good piece of cornbread?
I digress. 

I really wanted to try three different recipes to see which was best. But, Monday being my only day off to do anything productive I was only able to try one...and honestly, how fancy can cornbread get? Apparently very fancy judging by the amount of recipes you can find online.

I started with the Trader Joes boxed brand:


The instructions were simple enough. You just need a little oil, 1 egg and some milk.
The ingredients had little bits of corn in it which added a nice touch when you bit in.
The bread came out very flat, almost like a cake. 




This recipe was quick and easy. 45 minutes in the oven and bam!

The recipe I chose from All Recipes had to have great reviews, I wanted to do more searching...but I'll be honest I was already at the grocery store and had a long list of things to do that day. But this recipe had almost 5 stars and a ton of reviews!

The recipe I got from All Recipes.com is this:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
  2. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix egg, sour cream, milk, and butter in a small bowl. Fold egg mixture into flour mixture until just moistened; pour into prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Another very easy recipe, nothing out of the ordinary. I really thought the sour cream would take it over the top. I think the trick is not in the fancy stuff, its just making sure that it is m.o.i.s.t enough!
I wish I had taken a picture of the second one...it pretty much looked the same as the first but it had a little more character, it rose more in the center and looked more home baked.


Off to group we went. 
I prefaced our friends with the situation and that they had to try both to get the full effect.
I specifically watched Seth's face when he was eating both ones...
and then he slyly smiled at me half way through and told me he liked the boxed one better.
I was stunned!
I definitely liked the home baked one so much better, it had more flavor and texture and the boxed one tasted like a corny cupcake. The rest of our group agreed thats the homemade one was better..
But Seth actually liked the boxed one! He said it was because it was more m.o.i.s.t...
but I tell you it lacked in the flavor department, even with the extra bits of corn. 

Morale of that story?
Keep cornmeal on hand at home, and I bet you can make a better cornbread with these ingredients and at a faster cooking time than bothering with the store recipe. Maybe next time I would add more sour cream to make a little m.o.i.s.t-er?
Or maybe I'll keep testing out all of these recipes to find something that can make BM happy! Maybe something with cheese in it perhaps.
Happy Pintertesting friends,
perhaps I could find a good recipe there :)