November 24, 2015

Love Anything.

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.
If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.
Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change.
It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.
The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.
I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God’s will than a self-invited and self-protected lovelessness…
-C.S Lewis (The Four Loves)

November 23, 2015

Preparing For My Second American Thanksgiving.

My little tree looks goooood next to my giant Alabama pinecones!
This is about the extent of our Christmas decorating situation...currently.
I'm not too big into seasonal decorating. It is hard for me to spend alot of money on items that I'll only be showing off for a few months and then packing them away into a closet for the rest of the year. (Although, I am going through deer phase where I just want to buy every single deer picture, mug, trinket, salt & pepper shaker, and book end that I see).
I'd rather spend my chedda-cheese on something I can display all year round! Do you get me? Or food! I could easily spend all of my money on food if I wanted. Like popsicles and chips.
Perhaps one day when I am drowning in cash I'll feel differently about the whole thing... (Heh..).

But this little tree was definitely an exception. I found it at the grocery store, on sale, and I couldn't say no. I think it was the plaid that had me at hello...and the gold sparkles...and the tiny pinecones...or just the entire thing itself. Ha!

(American) Thanksgiving is this week and I'm feelin' good! Did that come quickly or what?! It will be my second Thanksgiving spent as an American resident, and I suspect it'll be better than the first!

Here is a picture from Thanksgiving of 2014. This just brings back a flood of memories for me!
I remember the day-to-day facts:
...Baking my favourite carrot cake recipe in the world for the in-law Thanksgiving dinner, and how it turned out perfectly! Can we say, PHEW?
...Finding holes in just about every package of food along with droppings in our pantry closet, and eventually catching the mouse the following day. (Thank. Goodness).
...Sharing a potluck dinner with close friends, and spending an evening at a pub with more close friends!

But I especially remember the emotion I was feeling at that time.
I remember feeling unsettled.
I could stare at a Thesaurus all day but "unsettled" is really the perfect word to describe it. Unsettled with the stress of the visa process, being jobless, lack of finances, homesickness for my friends and family, and experiencing a lack of belonging in my new community.

This year, 2015, is different. I don't feel unsettled. In fact, I feel sure and excited. And it's not just because I have the things I was lacking before, like my Green Card, a job, a more steady income, less homesickness, and more belonging. I think it's from spiritual growth and to be blunt, an attitude change. Well...most days I feel like I am better off than I was last year. :P I still have my special moments of crankiness.

Of course having all of those things in my hands does in fact give me a feeling of stability, I mean I am human! But they don't define my identity. I am more than a Canadian-living-in-the-US and I am more than a cook.

The Bible tells me that because I believe in Jesus Christ and have received Him, that I am a child of God. Says John 1:12 to be exact. :) It feels so mundane typing that out on my keyboard. How do I magnify its significance?! Put it in bold? Underline it?! Increase the font size?!
OK...too much coffee for me this morning.

So all in all, I am really excited for this week's festivities because God has been the orchestrator of my whole life, and He is the reason I am here, and He is good. And also besides those amazing things, I get to do so much cooking and baking this week and see so many out-of-town friends!! YAY! :)

November 16, 2015


My Father-in-law showed this song to me yesterday and it gave me the shivers and chills (not the horrendous Canadian winter kind...the awe-inspired kind)! Lauren Daigle's voice is fantastically powerful.

Everyone, listen to this song! As for my American friends, I know you haven't celebrated your Thanksgiving yet so I knooooow anything Christmas-related before the last Thursday of November is a big no-no. But I plead with you that you will make this one song an exception. ;)

Then again, who said Christ's birth could only be celebrated during our designated Christmas season?
Then again, this song doesn't sound like your typical Christmas tune.
So then again, listen to it!
Enjoy! :)

Love incarnate, love divine

Star and angels gave the sign
Bow to babe on bended knee
The Savior of humanity
Unto us a Child is born
He shall reign forevermore

Noel, Noel
Come and see what God has done
Noel, Noel
The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us

Son of God and Son of man

There before the world began
Born to suffer, born to save
Born to raise us from the grave
Christ the everlasting Lord 
He shall reign forevermore

Noel, Noel
Come and see what God has done
Noel, Noel
The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us

November 12, 2015

Rainy Day Baking.

The weather the past five days or so has been killing me. When I wake up in the morning and pull the mini-blinds back up and draw the curtains aside, this is what I see:

It was actually a beautiful sight the first day, mostly because rainy skies always give me an excuse to stay inside and wrap myself in furry blankets. Ahhh the comfort of it all. :)

But four days later I wake up to find that my spirits have slowly withered away. So no, Seattle, I cannot live in you ever. And England? Forget about you! And Ketchikan, Alaska, the city that rains 360 days out of the year? You don't even deserve to be mentioned in this post, so I'm not sure why I haven't hit the backspace key yet... ... ...ANYWAY.

If there is one thing I know, it is that baking can raise my spirits in no time! Baking is like baking powder/yeast/baking soda/and any other leavening agent for my mood. But in my humble opinion, the following conditions need to be met in order for baking to reach its optimum level of "Awesome":
  • A clean kitchen. Nothing beats working on ample amounts of sparkling clean counter-space.
  • Great music. On this last baking adventure I had some Rend Collective playing. I was in the mood for something uplifting and inspirational, (obviously).
  • Hair up. I reeeeeally cannot stand my hair being in my face while I'm baking.
  • Apron. I have a tiny collection of somewhat "pricey" aprons, but my favourite in the whole world is my little red and white checkered tie-around-the-waist apron. I bought it at a thrift store for $0.75, and I love it so much! And believe it or not, I actually use my apron, I'm constantly wiping my hands all over it.
A few months ago I wrote out a "Baking To-Do" list, cakes, cookies, tarts, pies, pastries, ect., that I have always wanted to try at home on my own. And FINALLY I can scratch something off the list:

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies!

If there is any cookie recipe that I could recommend for its true simplicity and delicious outcome, it would be these! And I of course doubled it, because that is just what I do. ;)

I baked these yesterday afternoon and to my pleasant surprise, when I took one from the cookie jar (a.k.a. the dollar store tupperware container) they were still super soft. I love that!

If there is one thing I would change about this recipe though, it would be to substitute the almond extract with more vanilla extract. There is something about almond extract that I just...don't fancy. The smell, maybe? This is all personal and subjective opinion of course!

Oh, and Jarryd LOVED these--lucky for him because they're going in his lunches for like the next three weeks. :P

I found the recipe for these cookies Here at by a wonderful person named "Mary".

My golden rule for finding the perfect recipe online whether it's for cooking or baking, is type into Google search: 
"____(Name of Dish You Want to Make)____ allrecipes".

You will find results from the AllRecipes website that have ratings of 4/5 stars with hundreds if not thousands of reviews. THOSE are the recipes you want to make, because they are the tried and true ones. They are the recipes that have been tested out in thousands of home kitchens by thousands of people. If the dishes turned out amazing for that many people, then it will turn out amazing for you too! This is why I rarely use recipes from Pinterest because they haven't been tested out by the masses; and personally, I just don't have the energy nor finances to cook/bake a meal that has a high chance of failing.
(Also, AllRecipes includes professional helpful step-by-step videos with all of their popular recipes)!

So in conclusion, if you're in the mood for a little baking, you should take this recipe out on the town! These cookies are so so so good! :)

November 11, 2015

The Calamities & Joys of an INFJ.

The realm of psychology (the scientific study of the human mind and its functions) has always been fascinating to me. I remember the first time I ever heard the terms "extraversion" (which is being concerned with obtaining gratification from outside the self) and "introversion" (which is being concerned with gratification from inside the self via introspection). And I couldn't help but notice right away that I was an introverted soul.

It totally explained why I never looked forward to basketball practice or choir practice after school, because I had already spent 7 hours at school surrounded by people. I just wanted to go home, be alone, and regain my energy after so many hours of social interaction. It also explained why I loved being home alone as a kid because I could just be totally by myself for once and have free reign! I could focus on myself, work on my skills, and write my little heart away! It was rare but it was wonderful!

And then a few years later, I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test. If you've never heard of this before, I'll explain it the best I can. Basically in this world there are 16 personality types based on 4 divisions:

1) Do you prefer the outer world or the inner world? (Extraversion or Introversion?) 
2) How do you process information? (Sensing or Intuition?)
3) How are you with decision making? (Thinking or Feeling?) 
4) How do you deal with structure? (Judging or Perceiving?)

My result was of course:

I: I'm introverted. I gain energy by being alone and indulging in much introspection. :)
N: I take in information using my intuition more than I do with my 5 senses. For example, when I remember a past event, I remember the impression of it more-so than the facts. I sense patterns and trust my gut-feeling.
F: I am a feeler. I am community and relationship oriented, and want nothing more than complete harmony in every situation. If I see someone having a bad time I will notice right away and try to make them feel better.
J: I approach life in a structured way. I love to make lists. I get anxious when there's no plan, and I'm definitely not a huge fan of "surprise visits" or out-of-the-blue phone calls.

After I read my personality description I felt...amazing. It was as if somebody dissected my whole being and wrote it out in bullet points. I finally felt understood, like I wasn't weird after all. (Well, I am pretty weird, but a good weird. :P) I know there is a certain population of people who detest learning about personality types because they don't want their whole being to be dwindled down into a box. I'm the total opposite! I get so excited reading about my results and being described so perfectly. I love being "put in a box", labelled, and shipped off to an exciting land of belonging.

What was even more fascinating was reading that the percentage of INFJ's in the world is a super small number; we're talking less than 3%! How unique am I?! Hee hee. Not gonna lie, I love being considered a rare personality. But at the same time I love thinking about the tiny little community of us. I may be a rare one, but I'm not the only INFJ. In fact, the other day at work, after meeting a girl, having one of the most effortless, flowing, and in-depth conversations, we discovered that we were BOTH INFJs! We got SO excited and wanted to hug but that would have been physically awkward as we were sitting across from one another at a table. It was the first time I had ever met the same personality type as me. I even told her, "I feel like I'm talking with myself right now!" It was as if an instant bond formed between us. :)

I also found this blog called "Introvert Dear", which just feels like home to me. The articles are informative and meaningful, and the comics are just plain humorous in a I-TOTALLY-RELATE-TO-THIS sort of way. I highly recommend you checking it out!

I think I have mentioned this before in previous blog posts, but when I mention to someone that I am indeed introverted, it always seems to surprise and catch them off guard. "Are you serious? But you're not shy, you're lively and you converse with us, and you actually went out of your way and said hello to me first!"

My response is always the same: "I'm an introvert through and through. I love to be alone and I am pretty shy. But just because those things come natural to me doesn't mean I let them control me..."

I am a fallen sinner, and I always need God, but this is ESPECIALLY where I need God's strength and help.

For example:
I: I'm introverted and I'm really good at being shy. Therefore, if I didn't challenge myself to start conversations with others or put myself out there...I'd never leave my apartment or my own head for that matter. I can become comfortable by myself way too easily, which is dangerous. How can we be of any help to others or spread the Gospel of Jesus by never giving other people the time of day? It is a conscious decision that I have to make consistently.

N: I rely on my intuition. This is something I have to be really careful about because many times my intuition has been wrong, especially when meeting someone for the first time. I'm more incorrect about somebody's first impression than I am right about it. In the past I have trusted my intuition more than I have trusted God's voice. I may be a really good listener, but for some reason I don't listen to the things that God is trying to teach me.

F: I rely on my feelings...alot. I'm "highly sensitive" as they say. I can easily turn somebody's loving criticism into an attack on me. This is an area where God has really done some great work, to say the least. I used to let my feelings control me. If somebody said something mean to me in the morning, my entire day would be a mess, and I would negatively effect the people around me. I don't mean to say that I've totally escaped from this weakness, but I've certainly learned how to deal with it in a healthy way. One of my favourite quotes in the entire world is by an amazing woman named Lysa TerKeurst who said,
"Feelings are indicators, not dictators. They can indicate where your heart is in the moment, but that doesn't mean they have the right to dictate your behaviour and boss you around. You are more than the sum total of your feelings and perfectly capable of that little gift...called self-control".
As Galatians 5:22 tells us, one of the fruits of the Spirit is indeed self-control, and this is what I strive to have.

J: I love having structure and routine. I appreciate going to bed at night knowing exactly what is going to happen the next morning all the way until I go to bed again because it gives me a sense of confidence. I fear the unknown and I always have. Structure is a great thing, but how often have I denied people because they don't fit in with my cozy comfortable routine or plans? How often have I had a bad attitude when those surprise visitors show up at the door? 1 Peter 4:9 states: "show hospitality to one another without grumbling". Does it get any clearer than that?

Last night I got Jarryd to do the Myers-Briggs test. Apparently I know him REALLY well, as many of the questions I could have answered for him. Haha! It's also funny how I don't understand how he could answer a question a certain way and he doesn't understand how I could answer a question a certain way. For example, one question asked something like: "how are you with giving others constructive criticism?"
Jarryd: I am very direct and honest, not afraid of offending anyone.
Me: Well...I avoid hurting people's feelings at all costs...
Jarryd: ...Hahahaha!

Anyway, :P ... Jarryd's personality result was: ENTP.
I immediately died of excitement because INFJ's and ENTP's are one of the best relationship matches. (Google it! It's a known fact!) I obviously didn't need Myers-Briggs to tell me that, because I have always felt like Jarryd and I's personalities mix so well, but it was certainly awesome validation! We are opposites (which I love!) on every Myers-Briggs dichotomy except for our intuition skills. And I think this aids our relationship because we can ALWAYS sense when the other person isn't OK. We just plain "get" each other and it's awesome.

INFJ to ENTP: "You are fantastic conversation partners. We both like ideas, concepts, and value each others ideas. If we weren't both major procrastinators we would already rule the world".
ENTP to INFJ: "We enjoy figuring people out. Us INFJ's embrace the fact that we have a minimum 9,032 layers and are going to take our time letting you (ENTP) get through to any of them".
INFJ to ENTP: "You are witty and funny and can keep up with our total smartassness". 

I think one of the best parts about being married to someone who is so different from me is that aside from balancing each other out, we are fascinated with each other's personalities. I tell Jarryd all the time that I love his personality of fearlessness and passion and how I sometimes wish I could be that way too! And Jarryd really admires my personality because I'm so calm, patient, and stable...(but everyone knows that INFJ's are tornados on the inside, haha)!
If there's anything I could say to a fellow INFJ or an introvert for that matter (AND myself!), it would be: Challenge yourself once in awhile. Step out of your comfort zone but also take the time to step back into it to get some rest and recharge. Seek God in all that you do and be thankful for the unplanned and unexpected bumps in the road. It's the moments you don't plan for that have the potential to shape and grow you the most, if only you'll let them. :)

November 9, 2015

Star Wars Sweater!

There I was this morning, casually wandering the aisles of the "Mens" section at Kohls, minding my own business, when BAM! This happens:
I found an awesome Star Wars crewneck sweater (crewneck being my favourite kind of sweater).

On sale! Half off!

The best part is that this sweater fits Jarryd perfectly and is wonderfully baggy on me (I love baggy sweaters). Therefore, this purchase was for two people, therefore, $20.00 divided by 2 = $10.00 from both of us, therefore this sweater was a steal of a deal! My math makes sense, right?

Thanks to growing up with 3 older siblings, Star Wars is definitely an element of my childhood. (Same with Jurassic Park, Alien, Braveheart, Back to the Future, ect.). So I am super excited for the new Stars Wars movie. Jarryd and I are going to watch all 6 movies soon so that we will be fully entrenched in all things Star Wars by the time December 18th rolls around--sounds like some fabulous date nights are in store for us. ;)

Also, my Christmas flight to Canada has been booked, so it looks like I'll be seeing Stars Wars in Canadian theaters with my family! YAYAY! :)

How many times can one write "Star Wars" in a blog post?

November 5, 2015

Maryland and New York City Adventure With Jolene.

Jolene has been one of my best friends for over four years now; we met back in college and instantly bonded over being one of the few transfer students in our dorm building, (not to mention the other tidbits that brought us together like our love for Jesus, coffee, tea, traveling, binging on bbq chips, music, writing, reading, and talking on and on about our feelings all day loooong).

Since then we have hung out sporadically in Toronto, spent the weekend in Ottawa together, and she even agreed to be a bridesmaid for me at my wedding in Manitoba! Since I wasn't legally allowed to leave the country after moving to the USA (Visa policy), we've been maintaining a long distance relationship via skype.

One day at the beginning of summer she said something along the lines of "When can I visit you? It's time to buy flights!!". (EEEEeeee!!) I definitely had a few heart palpitations and flutters following this conversation. We decided on September 17th and felt like it just couldn't come soon enough!
Get ready to see a TON of photos!

D A Y    O N E:
When that glorious day arrived, I picked her up at the airport in the afternoon and was like "OK we are absolutely not going back to my apartment right now, because that is so lame. We are gonna do something touristy!" (And as a Canadian living in the USA, I will take any excuse to be touristy).
So we spent our first evening together at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. It is probably my favourite place in Baltimore and everyone needs to go!

This has got to be the coolest Barnes & Noble to ever exist!

November 4, 2015

How Prophetic!

I somehow stumbled on this blog entry of mine from about 5 1/2 years ago, and I almost had a heart attack just now. Take a look:

It's as if I totally knew that I'd be married at 24 years old and living in the USA. What on earth?!
I was also right about my hair not being so blonde anymore. Sigh, what a shame!

And as for being pregnant with my second child, hahaaaa...nope! Not even close. ;) You can't win 'em all I guess!

November 2, 2015

The Life of an Anxious Cook.

Isn't my workplace beautiful?
Sometimes I find any excuse I can to take the collapsed cardboard boxes to the recycling bin outside, just so I can breathe in the fresh morning air and allow time to stand still for just a moment.

It's always nice to escape the chaos of a busy kitchen.

Last Saturday evening, just before dinner was about to begin, I brought out a pile of cardboard and put it in the bin. Rather than going back inside right away I decided I wanted to look out onto the water. The other cooks will be fine without me, I'll only be gone for a few minutes. ;)

Next thing I know I stumble upon two elderly ladies who claim to be "a little lost" and are wondering where the doors are to get back inside. They are both so friendly and adorable that I cannot help but strike up some conversation with them.

This place is absolutely beautiful, you are so lucky to work here! They said. But I'm sure it's not always perfect all of the time...

In my head:'re absolutely right. The anxiety I dwell in sometimes pushes me over the edge here. There are some days I leave the kitchen at the end of my shift without saying goodbye to anybody, because I've just plain "had absolutely enough" and never want to talk to another human being again. I get tired of asking questions that I deem important only to be responded with "you're smart, you'll figure it out". (Perhaps I will figure it out, but I'd rather figure it out in the most efficient fashion possible)! Not to mention the stress of cooking for over 200 people by myself weighs heavily on me. And 14 hours is just too many hours to work in one day. There are some days when my shift is over I drive home in complete silence with no radio on, because I can't stand anymore noise. Some days I get home, draw the curtains shut, and pull a blanket over my head so that I can somehow unwind. "I need to unwind" is a sentence I say much too often. My brain is like a plane flying that can't escape the turbulence. Sometimes I'll just stand in the freezer room just to escape and cool off. Other times I'll run to the bathroom, text Jarryd with a "I can't do this anymore" while letting a few relieving stress-tears glide down my cheek.

Out loud: Yes, working here definitely has its good and bad moments, but I just never want to forget how good I have it. You're right it's soooo beautiful here and I never want to take it for granted.

And that's the truth. There really are some seriously--bad--moments here (to say the least), but for the most part the good outweigh the bad.
Now that I've been working here for exactly six months now, every day I feel like I'm getting closer to my co-workers. We have some really good laughs, which honestly makes up for soooo much. When I returned back to work from my two-week-long Canada trip, I was actually missed! As a relationship-oriented person, this feeling of belonging somewhere really "takes the cake".
And at least once a day, "Canada" comes up, and once again I get to talk about my homeland with a little twinkle in my eye. I love it. I'm practically the ambassador of Canada down here. I even whipped out my Canadian coins and 5, 10, and 20 dollar bills and gave a "show and tell" to a bunch of people. Your money is so colorful! You have the Queen on your coins?! When will Kate Middleton be on there too?
I'm also learning so much and have learned so much about the culinary world. My confidence is rising and I like it. Even six months in, I am STILL learning something new every day.
It's also great to be working in a Christian environment that is instilled with morals and values that I believe in. How many people can say that their boss shared a Bible verse with them today? I can. I especially appreciate a Christian environment because I know for a fact I wouldn't last a day in a more secular kitchen...I mean, picture Gordon Ramsay as your expeditor. Terrifying!
Yes, I really do have it good, and right now it seems like it is where I am supposed to be. No, it's definitely not my dream job or anything (keep your fingers crossed that maybe I'll stumble into a bakery one day, siiiigh), but God has given me what I need. (Emphasis on the need).

Today is Monday and I do not go back to work until SATURDAY. I am the happiest girl in the world right now, only because I have the next four days to "unwind" (haha!) and focus on some hobbies of mine. I am so excited for days filled with baking pies, sketching in my new sketchbook, watching The View, having friends over, eating bagels with cream cheese, BLOGGING, and binge-watching Parenthood. Yippee!! <3