February 27, 2016

Hello Weekend--A Recap Of My Week.

Hello blog and friends! I've missed you so. I just completed my very first week--of full-time, Monday to Friday--at my new job. And wow-wee, by Friday afternoon I was T I R E D.

I have felt all sorts of disoriented since I signed onto this new job. My normal routine of using my midweek mornings and afternoons to do laundry, baking/cooking, cleaning, and BLOGGING have totally disappeared. :'(
The beauty of part-time work is that you have soooo much time to conquer to-do lists and endulge in endless hobbies. But the downside of part-time work is a substantial drop in income (of course), and in my former case, sporadic hours of work throughout the whole week (including weekends).

With this full-time job, by the time I get home at 3 pm I have to get dinner rolling. Then when the hubs gets home an hour later, the rest of the evening is history! (Can anyone tell me how weekday evenings seem to fly by so quickly? Is it because I'm continuously checking the clock, counting down the hours before I have to go to bed obnoxiously early?)
In regards to blogging/writing, I have always found it easier to do so when I am alone and my surroundings are quiet. But you know what? I think with my alone-time cut down to practically non-existent, I need to force myself to write even when I'm not in "introverted mode". Does that makes sense? :)

Today, (Saturday), we woke up to see the apartment in shambles. The natural bright light of the morning really reveals everything, doesn't it? Laundry piles all over the floor...dirty dishes all over the kitchen island...garbage can overflowing...and clutter everywhere. It's the WORST waking up to a messy home. At least to me it is. We then spent the morning getting the laundry done, picking things up, and running the dishwasher. I feel like this is the worst way to spend a Saturday morning. Blech.

I'm just excited to adjust to this new work schedule and get my weekly routine down. I have to remind myself that the apartment isn't always going to be this messy and I'm not always going to be this tired. I just haven't found my groove yet, you know? In time, in time. :)

So I'm sure y'all are dying to hear about my past week--the suspense is killing you, right?! Haha jokes. I have myself a wide open Saturday afternoon so I finally have time to write a recap of my week. Here goes!

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Jarryd and I attended a conference for our church last Saturday. It was a morning filled with time to get to know the pastors/elders from the churches different campuses, spiritual gift assessments, and--my favourite activity--personality profiles! By learning these things about myself, I'm able to see where I'd best be suited to serve in the church. We did the DISC personality profiles and I was HANDS DOWN an "S", also know as "Steadiness", also known as a golden retriever. :P
^ I mean, look at that! This is totally me. The highest you can score per section is 25 and my "S" was 25. Can any of you guys relate to this??
Jarryd of course was a "D" for "Dominance". I could have done his quiz for him, and he for me. ;)

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This Tuesday was the start of my very first women's "Freedom Group" meeting, and it was awesome. Not just the ladies that I met, not just the content that we dug into...but the timing of it all.
I honestly had such a bad day that day. I definitely won't get into it on my blog, but emotionally I was a wreck. I cried the whole car ride home from work, I cried during my shower, and I cried telling Jarryd about it later. I was tempted to skip the Freedom Group all together, seeing as I wasn't in the "mood" for it. But I pushed that low-life temptation aside and arrived, happy to be there!

And, it was great. It was all about Jesus. JESUS. It's like because I had forgotten about Jesus, all of my problems seemed so much bigger than they actually were.
We touched on Romans 5:8, a verse that even now I can't seem to get out of my head.

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us".

Not after we had sinned and asked for forgiveness, but WHILE we were sinning; in the midst of our sinning He loved us and died on the cross for us. While we were mocking Him and spitting on Him, He died for us!
We took that verse to an interpersonal level and asked ourselves, "is this how we react to those who are hurting us? Do we show love to them while they are hurting us? Or do we wait until they beg for our forgiveness?" Wow. Talk about a wake up call. I realized then and there that I need Jesus so badly. I need His strength to help me love those who hurt me and I need His eyes to show me the bigger picture; to see the world through not through my narrow view, but through His vast perspective. 

This meeting was exactly what I needed because it renewed my mind for the week (and hopefully for the rest of my life)! I no longer felt hopeless and defeated, but I felt refreshed and joyful. I for real woke up the next morning incredibly happy! (Happy at 5 am, impossible! Not anymore!) God is so good. Because of Him, I didn't let anything negative get to me; He kept my spirits high.

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As for work, overall it has been good! My first full week has been a success. I have definitely gotten the hang of things and have even stepped outside of my comfort zone. The job is not perfect, it's not my dream job, but in all honesty I prefer it to my old job. (Which is a HUGE relief!!)
The food shown above is just one of the perks of working in a cafe. I get to try new food and drinks! And when I say drinks, I mean Starbucks Frappucinos. At least once a day...sometimes even twice. Hehe!
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My morning and afternoon commutes have been filled with Bethel Music's album "You Make Me Brave". Oh. my. If you don't have this album, I highly recommend it. I can't stop listening to it. It brings me so much joy. It's my daily reminder of why I'm on this earth and who I'm living for: Jesus.
The song "Forever" by Kari Jobe always moves me and brings me to tears. (It also sounds SO good cranked up in the car!)

The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Saviour of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon him

One final breath he gave
As heaven looked away
The son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken

The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting?
Our resurrected King
Has rendered you defeated

Forever he is glorified
Forever he is lifted high
Forever he is risen
He is alive, He is alive!

We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah

The Lamb has overcome

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By the time Friday afternoon came around, I was too tired to do anything. Well, anything other than watch the first season of "Fuller House". (!!!) You guys, I was so impressed! It's JUST as funny as "Full House" was, and the little jabs at Marykate and Ashley Olsen are priceless. I am 2 episodes away from completing the whole season, and then I am going to watch it all over again. That's how much I love it!

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So that was my week. To sum it all up, it was a rollercoaster of a week, filled with bad emotions, good emotions, JESUS, early bedtimes, great worship music, adjusting to the new normal, Freedom Group, sleeping in this morning, Fuller House, and the TV show Kitchen Nightmares. All I'm gonna say is that watching Gordon Ramsay throw up into a trash can was the cherry on top of an interesting week. ;)

ALSO, at the grocery store we decided to pick up a pineapple. I couldn't help but think that pineapples are one of the most beautiful and interesting fruits! Seriously! It's so unique looking. I have now decided that this is going to be my next drawing project:

Yippeee! I can't wait to get started on it! :)

Thanks for reading, everyone. I really appreciate all of the feedback and advice. :) <3

February 22, 2016

My Bird Drawing.

Hey guys! Do you remember when I wrote a little blog post just RAVING about my new shower curtain? {Click HERE if you missed it} ;)
WELL...when I found the above shower curtain at Target I fell absolutely in love with it! Even to this day I'm still admiring it whilst in the bathroom taking care of...business...and have zero plans to replace it anytime soon. {Ahhhem!}
So anyways, I decided to draw it! I took a photo of the section of the shower curtain I wanted to draw, bought a box of pencil crayons and just started sketching away! By the way, I found that the best time to sketch was while football was on TV. Just saying!
And voila!
 What a fun little project this was. And even better, I actually am very pleased with how it turned out! In fact, I want to go out and get a frame {either a gold or white frame is tempting} for it so I can hang it proudly on the wall. Perhaps it will be the first piece of many artworks to come on my gallery wall. :)
What do you guys think? What should I draw next?


February 21, 2016

Goodbye & Hello.

On Friday I said goodbye to the workplace I have spent that last 10 months of my life at.
And tomorrow I say hello to my new Monday to Friday job! :)

This new season of my life feels so great and I'm excited for the change; as one of my previous co-workers pointed out, this new full-time job with hours that coincide with Jarryd's hours, is exactly what I have been praying for. God has answered my prayers and I never want to forget that or take it lightly. All praise to Him! <3

I'd better get to bed soon. 5 AM is gonna be here before I know it!
Wish me luck! ;)

February 18, 2016

Chocolate Covered Strawberries.

Valentines Day fell on a Sunday this year, so I OF COURSE had to spend ten hours of that day at work. {I wasn't surprised, to say the least.} Before finding out my work schedule for that day, I had BIG plans to watch chick flicks with Jarryd, sip red wine, make chocolate covered strawberries and also eat my weight in chocolate covered strawberries.

Thankfully, the day of love wasn't a total loss as Jarryd and I got to spend the morning at our new-ish church and it was amazing. They started a new series about my favourite topic in the whole world: LOVE!! Do you ever think to yourself: I sure wish I had heard this sermon when I was a teenager? Me too! Oh well, the beautiful thing about love is that it's never too late to love the right way.

ANYWAY, back to the whole reason for this blog post --> {Chocolate Covered Strawberries}!
The whole thought of making chocolate covered strawberries just wouldn't escape my mind--I HAD to do it!

I think the reason I wanted to make them so badly was because I have a really positive memory associated with them. When I was really young {I wanna say seven years old} I went on my very first cruise with my family. I absolutely loathed the fancy gourmet meals/desserts that the dining room served at dinner. They were too...different, too fancy, and too foreign for my young little tastebuds! {I want to kick my 7 year old self right now.}
There was this one night when it was time for dessert and I didn't want anything on the menu. Now, if you have ever been on a cruise you'll know that the staff is absolutely amazing; they are the friendliest people you'll ever meet! Our wonderful waitress sees me in distress and ends up bringing out a GORGEOUS plate of chocolate covered strawberries with whipped cream! These strawberries were HUGE. {As I write that sentence I'm just wondering if they huge because I was just really small...? Oh well.} It was the best dessert a little girl could have ever dreamed of! That is definitely a memory I hope to take with me to the nursing home one day. ;)

So, Jarryd and I took off the to the nearest grocery store and bought the necessary {and delicious} supplies. Seriously, if you're looking for an inexpensive, quick, and easy dessert to conquer, this is the one!

Wash the strawberries! I love how they look after a good, cold rinse; they're so pretty and shiny.

 Lay them out to dry on the cutest kitchen towel you own. ;)
 Strawberries galore! They're all unique in their different shapes and sizes, perfect in their imperfections.
They're definitely not in the most perfect of shape, a bunch of them are bruised here and there, but they still tasted heavenly!

Create a bain-marie and melt your chocolate! A bain-marie is essentially filling a pot with a little bit of water, boiling it {then turning it down to a simmer}, and then placing a bowl on top of the pot making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. The steam created from the hot water bath releases a perfect uniform heat, ensuring that the chocolate melts gently and slowly, and will not burn. {Burnt chocolate is just awful!}
 In the bowl I have Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate chips {I felt like it was a good idea to splurge on some brand-name chocolate chips for this special occasion} along with a tablespoon of shortening. Personally I'm not a huge fan of shortening, but it gives the chocolate a silky smooth texture which makes it perfect for dipping. {I don't think a tablespoon is gonna kill me...right?}
 It's melted!
I really couldn't resist taking another photo of this chocolate. It just looks extra beautiful when it's this shiny!
 How is THIS for a homemade bain-marie, hey?! I ran out of stainless steel bowls that would fit on top of this pot so I had to put my problem-solving skills to the test. I think I did okay. Plus the bowl/mug is freakin' cute!
 The second bain-marie is for my bowl of melted white chocolate. Mmmm! White chocolate tastes amazing with strawberries.
 Melting in progress!

 Gather your toppings and pour into bowls! I chose mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, and thinly sliced almonds. I also had a little dish of sprinkles but no photo.

Stab your strawberries with toothpicks. Is there a more dainty and delicate way to phrase this?
 They've been "toothpicked".
 Have I taken my obsession for food photography a little too far do you think?
 These strawberries are just dyyyiiiing to be dipped in a warm chocolate bath. {Aren't we all, though?} :D
Side note: of course I did this in my slippers. I can't wear my slippers in the kitchen at work, but in MY kitchen the wearing-of-slippers-rule is strongly enforced. ;)

Take hold of the strawberry by it's toothpick, and dip it down into the melted chocolate and twirl it as you bring it up. Place it on your laid out parchment paper {or zip lock bags in my case...I was being creative again...}. If you want to leave it as a literal chocolate covered strawberry {just slightly boring}, then you're done! OR if you want it to be an elegant and fancy chocolate covered strawberry, this is where you need to move quickly!
Take a small ziplock bag, fill it with a chocolate opposite of the one the strawberry was just dipped in {in my case, I filled it with white chocolate}, with the help of your trusty scissors, snip the tiniest of openings into one of the bottom corners. {It's a makeshift pastry bag!} Draw horizontal lines on the strawberry, then with a toothpick QUICKLY make vertical lines in the chocolate going either up or down on the strawberry. I should have taken photos of each step, but alas, I got too caught up in the moment. I was having too much fun!
 This above, was my very first strawberry! Not the worst, right?!
And this, was my second. How does someone go from "OK" to "Horrendous" in one consecutive shot? Isn't practice supposed to make perfect? Anyway, the photo above is an example of why I emphasize a fast pace when designing with a toothpick. The chocolate hardens faster than you think, and it becomes too hard to meld into each other. {Sad, I know.}
But when I FINALLY got the hang of it and perfectly executed the design I was totally screaming and jumping up and down for joy. It was a great moment in my life.
The chocolate covered strawberry aftermath! After indulging in an activity involving melted chocolate it was awesome to see that the kitchen wasn't even that dirty! {Win!!}

If there are three tips I can leave with you, they would be:
1) Always make sure the chocolate stays warm after it's melted. ESPECIALLY when you put chocolate into the ziplock bags, once it's cooled your attempt at the smooth lookin' design is toast.
2) As said before, with the toothpick design, move quick.
3) Make sure every little thing is prepped and in its proper place and condition before you start melting the chocolate. In culinary terms this is called "Mise En Place"--everything put in its proper place. I do this everyday with any cooking/baking activity in both my kitchen at home and the kitchen at work. It makes the execution go incredibly smooth!

Take photos of your beautiful creations because they'll be gone in no time! <3
 As you can see, you can make a pretty vast combination of designs with such limited toppings. Let's remember, all I had were two different toppings and two different types of chocolate and all these strawberries are different from one another!
 I am being so bad and keep picking out all of the imperfections and mistakes I made in the designs. They definitely aren't the most perfect looking chocolate covered strawberries, but I had SO much fun making them, and they look SO delicious.
Obviously I only put the best looking ones on this plate. ;)
 I must eat you...now. :D
 I am drooling over here.
I am in love with this strawberry. And I don't think I can eat it either; it's just too dang cute! I think it's my favourite.
These three I like to call my chocolate covered "duds".
The bunchy-looking one on the left: As stated before, I didn't move the toothpick quick enough so the chocolate hardened.
The sprinkled one: The second I dipped it in the sprinkles I regretted it. Maybe it's just me, but sprinkles just look all wrong.
The marbled one on the right: With this one I remember my brain totally blanking. I was going to do the toothpick design, but changed my mind halfway through...but didn't even know what I was changing my mind to! So I was like "oh what the hey, I'll just swirl you real good and you'll look just that, real good"! Heh...or not.

Jokes. :)
Eat at your very own pace.
Also, I totally forgot to buy ingredients for whipped cream, which would have tasted AH-MAZING with these!
If by some rare chance you have leftovers, place on a tray and stick it in your refrigerator {preferably close to the front for easy-access midnight snacking}. Also, they taste the best after they've been chilled.
Making chocolate covered strawberries is definitely something I'd love to do again! It's easy, very inexpensive, and delicious {it's also not a very heavy dessert, which is great!}. I honestly had so much fun making these little creations. It's very rare that I get lost in a task/activity that I do, but I totally did with this. I completely lost track of time; for a split second I forgot both my name and the current year. :P
If only this was my 9-5 job...
I love you little guys. Let's do this again sometime <3 :)

Sooo what do you think?! Please comment below, because I'd love to hear your input and ideas! Thanks so much for reading!! :)

February 17, 2016

My Future Children.

With all of my friends and family pregnant or already with children, I can't help but think about the prospect of having kids myself one day. I am sure that every stage of childhood is beautiful, but from the perspective of a total outsider who has zero children right now whatsoever, I NAIVELY predict that my years with children will look something like this:

  • Pregnancy: this stage is going to be awesome. Both of my sisters had great pregnancies, so the future is looking good for me. Also, pregnant women are so beautiful {there's nothing like a pregnant woman waddle}. Not to mention. Jarryd promised he is going to pamper me so I have "living like a queen" to look forward to. Who doesn't enjoy having a palm branch waving in their face? Also, let's not forget about the baby showers! Hopefully my friends and family have good taste in onesies and sippy cups (I'd like the Starbucks one, please).
  • 0-2 first years: let's fast forward through all of this...I know it's a whole lotta eating, puking, sleeping, not sleeping, pooping, and constipation. I'll cross that bridge when I get there. You can stay at Oma and Opas for awhile. ;)
  • Ages 3-4: These are the adorable years. I've met plenty of 4 year olds in my day, and I love to see their little personalities just shine! It's ok that we sing and dance to Taylor Swift music together, right? And yes, I'm signing you up for either hockey or soccer and you're are going to look SO cute running/skating because obviously you'll be blessed with your father's athletic abilities and hopefully not mine!!
  • Kindergarten: YAY! I'm so excited to walk you down the driveway to the big yellow school bus! I know, I know, you're gonna miss me like crazy, but I'll be just fine at home {freeeeedom!}...in the peace and quiet... {Unless I have 4 kids under the age of 5...}.
  • Grade 1-4: You're in a class spelling bee?! That was my favourite activity in school! Please let me live vicariously through you. Let's practice our spelling every evening for the next 4 years of your life.
  • Grade 5-6: Let me see ALL of your homework. I love homework. I'll try not to do it all for you... :D Also, I don't care what the other mom's have to say, I'm putting Gushers in your lunch box.
  • Let's skip past all of junior high. You are extremely awkward, and so am I. Two awkwards do not make a right. I'll let your father deal with you.
  • Grade 10-11: You bet I'm going to be at all your soccer/hockey games. To my sons: You're also gonna be total "momma's boys", right? Okay? ...Please? :'(
  • Grade 12! You are so beautiful/handsome and full of secrets that I think I want to know...but in reality I really don't want to know any of them. P.S- I have your Bible college all picked out for you! Bon Voyage!
  • Age 19+, this will be my absolute favourite. I have a very good/optimistic/unrealistic imagination and I can just see you bringing home the perfect future spouse for you. I'm gonna be the best mother-in-law ever. {To my son: your wife's cooking will never be as good as mine}... ;)
  • Grandchildren! Yes. I'd like to be called Oma and Jarryd, Opa. We shall spoil you like crazy and leave all the dirty work/clean up for your parents to deal with. It's called...payback! Also, I'm going to have beautiful, long, flowy gray hair like elderly Rose on Titanic. And I'm going to start every wise old story with "when I was your age..."
My naive optimism is adorable, isn't it? I am loving my future children already. I wonder what my Mom will say when she reads this...

February 12, 2016

Thankfulness Amid The Exhaustion.

Hey everyone! I started my new job on Tuesday and so for the past three days it has felt like one big blur. Wake up at 5:00 AM, get ready, drive 25 minutes, and start work at 6:00 AM.
Then, once work ends, I go out and run errands.
When Jarryd gets home at 4:00 PM, we eat, talk, and watch a WHOLE lot of Gilmore Girls. {We are reaching the end of season 7, things are extra juicy, so it's literally impossible to watch just one episode you know?!}
OH, and then we try to go to bed at 9:00 PM. Wow. What has my life become? In the first year of our marriage Jarryd and I would stay up till 2, 3, 4:00 AM most nights. And now we go to bed at 9:00pm?! Trust me, I'm not opposed because I value sleep more than most, I'm just shocked and slightly impressed at my ease of adapting to change.

This may sound silly after just three days of work, but I am exhausted. A new job comes with so much listening, observing, learning, and follow-through. I have just been on a constant stream of taking IN, IN, IN, with no giving OUT. Writing is 100% my outlet, and with all of this I haven't had the time nor energy to write. Even responding to all the texts I've received from friends asking how my new job is going, is tough. It's hard to respond to other peoples questions when I haven't even allowed myself to assess, mull, and process how my past three days have gone. {Introvert issues, right?} :P
I finally have a few hours this morning before I need to head into work {my old job}, so I am choosing to use these hours to unwind as much as I can and write my little heart out!

I am working every day starting from last Tuesday until the afternoon of next Monday. Seven days in a row, with two of those days being 10 hour days. And one of those days is Valentines Day. {Speaking of Valentines Day, I was weirdly looking forward to it this year. I pictured myself making chocolate covered strawberries and just having a fabulous day with Jarryd. But reality showed up and I am working that entire day.} I never should have agreed to work at this new job while finishing up the two weeks of my old job. Why do I do these things to myself? Thank you to my sister who reminds me that the paycheck at the end of this will be glorious. {Perhaps once I'm on that shopping spree at Target I'll be extraordinarily pleased with all of the hard work I put into the past two weeks. LOL!}

But, I have been missing something. Throughout all of this I have been forgetting something so important. I've been so overwhelmed and exhausted just thinking about how I still have 4 more days of work ahead of me, that I have forgotten the One who provided all of this work for me.

I found the above picture on Pinterest a few weeks ago; it was relevant then and it is relevant now. Truthfully, it will always be relevant! I remember it was only a year ago, after I had received my EAD card in the mail {Employment Authorization Card--that comes before your Green Card}, all I wanted was a job. I just wanted to WORK! It is so agonizing not working.
Then, when I finally got a job last April, all I wanted was more hours. More hours = more money! The summer was crazy at my old workplace, I think the only thing I even did last summer was work. And then, when Jarryd got a full-time job with perfect hours, and no weekends, I wanted that too. So I prayed to God, please help me find a job with the same hours as Jarryd! Full-time with no weekends so I can go to church again!
And as undeserving as I felt and still do feel, God provided me with this new job: a job with perfect hours, full-time, NO weekends, and even benefits too! I was SO thankful.

And because I am a ridiculous human being who is never satisfied, and is always wanting more, more more. My thankfulness to God has been polluted with exhaustion. Here, God has provided me with SO many hours. He is providing for our financial need {He always has}, and yet I've totally neglected to keep thanking Him.

Yes, I was SO thankful when I got hired for this new job; but I believe that thankfulness is a daily thing. I can't just be grateful to God for one day and that be it. I need to live with a heart of thankfulness; it makes everyday so much better, more fulfilling!

"ALWAYS {give} thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." {Ephesians 5:20}

Our apartment might be disaster zone, laundry is piling up, social life is nonexistent, and this weekend/Valentines Day might be a bust, but I have so much to be thankful for.
On the plus side, after Friday the 19th, my "two weeks notice" weeks will be over and I'll be officially a Monday to Friday workin' woman! YAY!! I'm so close! :)

OH my new job is going great! So far, its pros far outweigh the pros of my previous job. I am certain that I made a good choice in pursuing a new job.
 I even get to wear a white chef's coat! :)
And this is where I get to take my breaks! Isn't all of the natural light just beautiful?!

Thanks for reading and I'll try to keep you updated when I can. Please keep me and my sanity in your prayers! :) <3