Friday, March 30, 2012

A Perfect Pinch

I'm a huge fan of Mrs. Dash and McCormick Perfect Pinch  seasoning blends. They're my secret to quick and easy cooking, that's full of delicious flavor. Measuring individual spices is too tedious and time-consuming for me when, with just a few effortless shakes I can explore a variety of tastes from around the world. Cheers!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday #21! This past weekend I drove to Ohio to visit one of my old roommates, Evangeline. What a fun weekend we had together!
Vange and I, ready for another day of adventures together!

1. I'm thankful for nice driving weather. (Several times I canceled the trip because of the snowy road conditions. Finally, after months of trying to get together, we found a date that worked! Hooray!)

2. I'm thankful to live within an easy driving distance from Evangeline. (That is, when I don't get lost! Which brings me to #3 . . .). It's a quaint drive between my home and hers, that weaves through the villages and farmland.

The peaceful view from Vange's front yard.

Hyacinth blooming in Vange's front yard

3. I'm thankful to have a cell phone and family members to call, to help me figure out my way, when I find myself on the wrong highway. And I'm thankful for family members who point out that I'm on the wrong highway!

3. I'm thankful for girlfriends--both old and new. It was delightful to hang out with Vange and her mom at home on Friday night, shop with her sister-in-law and nephew on Saturday afternoon, scrapbook with her friends on Saturday afternoon, and run into another old friend of mine at church on Sunday!
Mom's Diner, downtown Archbold, OH! Photo courtesy of Evangeline Rupp

Girlfriends! Photo courtesy of Kari Ernst

4. I'm thankful for Saturdays, to shop, eat out, and scrapbook together.

5. I'm thankful for the haircut that Vange gave me. I like my new look. =)

What a special weekend! I am so blessed!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Running Early

This morning I was running a few minutes early in my morning routine. What a spontaneous luxury! On my way to school, I decided to treat myself to a mini photo-shoot of the daffodils growing in the Center for Arts parking lot...

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Wow, the air conditioning is unusually noisy, I thought, as I stepped out of the meeting room into the hallway. Or am I hearing heavy rain? Strolling down the hall toward the front entrance of the church, I couldn’t distinguish the source of the “white noise.” Nearing the door, I saw several girls dart inside, drenched.

A downpour! I got giddy with excitement.

This semester I’ve been attending a weekly women’s Bible study by Beth Moore, about the book of James. It’s been a rich and very meaningful study so far. I appreciate how Beth opens the Scriptures for us women. This evening we listened to her message on DVD, titled “Between the Rains,” based on James 5. “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See [how] the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (vv. 7-8). Beth emphasized the theme of the rains, as well as that time between the rains. She explained that this recurring theme in Scripture is always tied to God’s faithfulness. She shared that the times between rains are part of the laws of harvest. In our own lives, like in the farmer’s field, when it’s dry and we don’t see anything happening, we need to be mindful that God hasn’t moved to other ground—He’s working underground. She quoted Hosea 6:3, which promises that as surely as the sun rises every morning, our rains will come.

Having been living “between the rains” for a long time now, I was deeply encouraged by Beth’s insightful message. And then to have the message validated by such a timely rainstorm at the end of the study. Wow!

Yes, Lord. You are faithful. My rains are coming!

Third Day of Spring

On this lovely third day of Spring, here are some of the sights I enjoyed as I strolled through the Dow Gardens this afternoon. . .

Butterfly exhibit in the Dow Gardens Conservatory

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome Spring!

Welcome Spring! Here in Midland, we have been enjoying a most gorgeous first week of Spring! The unseasonably warm, sunny weather has coaxed the flowers to bloom weeks earlier than normal. I'm lovin' it! Here are a few glimpses of the spring beauty I noticed around the neighborhood this afternoon.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Beginning to Bloom

Although Spring doesn't officially begin until tomorrow, it's Spring to me whenever I first notice forsythia and daffodils beginning to bloom. =)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

All Things Delicious

I just love all the great blogs I've been finding through Pinterest! Recently I came across the food blog All Things Delicious by a young stay-at-home mom. The recipes Hannah features on her blog are kid-friendly, as well as easy to prepare--just my style cooking! She provides helpful, step-by-step, photographed instructions for each recipe.

This weekend I tried two of her recipes:
Pizza Pasta
by Hannah, at All Things Delicious
Swiss Chicken
by Hannah at All Things Delicious
Yumm! I can't wait to try more . . .

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday #20! Here in Midland, the weather has been a delightful preview of summer. I've been savoring every moment outdoors I possibly can. This week I've been enjoying . . .

1. bike riding to the Nature Center almost every day.
2. lounging and reading a novel in a sunny corner of our backyard (and getting an early start on my tan this year!).
3. jogging for the first time this season.
4. wearing flip-flops for the first time this season.
5. taking pictures of the first flowers of spring.

Thank you, Lord, for such beautiful weather this week!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sprouting Tulips

Tulips are some of my favorite flowers. Here these tulip sprouts peeking above the soil remind me of the challenge the Apostle Paul gives in Philippians 3:12-14. The imagery associated with this famous passage is often one of an athlete straining toward the finish line. Today, however, with signs of early spring budding around me, I appreciate the illustration offered by these tulip shoots. Forgetting the cold, lifeless days of winter; and reaching for the warm, life-giving sunshine; the delicate leaves press above the compost to grow taller and stronger each day. The tulips haven’t “attained” yet, but before long, we’ll be admiring their vibrant blooms basking in the sun.

Marvelous Mid-March

This week we're enjoying unusually warm spring weather. According to the Weather Channel, temperatures are 20-35 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year. Technically although it's still winter, today feels much more like early May than mid-March. Marvelous, if you ask me! How can I resist enjoying the outdoors on such a day as this?! On my way home from school, I swung by the Dow Gardens for my first time this season. I made sure to stop by the Conservatory, to see the butterflies on exhibit. When I came home, Dad had our bikes already waiting in the driveway, for a father-daughter bike ride to the Nature Center.  =)

The first crocuses of spring make me so happy!

How fun to watch the butterflies in the conservatory!

What a delightful surprise when this beauty landed on my hand!

Monday, March 12, 2012


I've been happy to find a selection of chic cleavage-covering, one-piece swimsuits this season. Hooray! Check out my favorites online at JCrew, Talbots, LimeRicki, Shabby Apple, JenClothing, and DivinitaSole. I've also noticed several cute, higher-neckline tankini tops at JCPenney online. As always, Land's End is a great place to find swim shorts, skirts and skorts. Whether you're looking forward to enjoying the pool or the beach, here's to being cute, covered, and confident!

Signs of Spring

Here are some of the first signs of spring sprouting around my neighborhood. =)

Raindrops suspending from the tiny buds.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

First Crocuses

Yesterday I spied my first crocuses blooming, here in Midland. Oh, I love crocuses! Splashes of vibrant color against the drab grays and browns of lifeless winter. Soldiers braving the lingering snow, standing valiant in all types of weather. Symbols of spring and new life.

Crocuses are one of those first signs of spring that I eagerly wait to notice each year. To me, they illustrate a glimpse of the beautiful promise God gives in I Peter 5:10. "But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you." During winter when everything appears dead, when days are cold and nights are long, it's encouraging to know that this dreary season is only for a while. Before long, bright green sprouts. Yellow and purple burst forth, beginning the triumphant transformation.

In my own life, I'm eagerly waiting for crocuses, heralding a new season. In the meantime, though, I must trust the God of all grace. He knows what He is doing, even when I can't see it or make sense of it. As surely as the flowers bloom each spring after winter, He promises to bring me through my season of suffering, to perfect, establish, strengthen and settle me. He has called me to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, and He will do it!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday #19! Last week I neglected to post—not because there was nothing to list, but because I just didn't take the time or devote the energy. Hmmm, Kristina. God's goodness is so abundant in your life. Don't let life's daily demands or your own discontent distract you from the life-giving discipline of recounting His goodness. . .

Last weekend my brother Peter and I drove to Indianapolis for an Alumni weekend at Verity. What a special weekend we had with lots of old friends! It was a time of celebrating traditions, rekindling friendships, and making new memories.  There are so many things to be thankful for . . .

1. Safe travels. On Friday as we were driving to Indy, there were multiple tornado systems tearing through the Midwest. We drove through some heavy rain and lots of strong winds. Then, on Sunday as we were driving home, we hit snow showers with treacherous road conditions, including miles of black ice. At one point our vehicle skidded out of control on the highway, as Peter maneuvered to avoid a collision. Every safe trip is a blessing, but when the conditions are dangerous, I become all the more aware of God's protection. =)

2. Singing with friends. One of the alumni, who directed the Verity chorale when he was a student, organized an alumni choir. Most of us had sung together in the chorale, and rehearsing again last weekend was Déjà vu, in such a fun way. =) 

Verity alumni choir, photo courtesy of Micah Williams
photo courtesy of Micah Williams

Peter and I also enjoyed joining two of our friends in a string quartet.
Photo courtesy of Micah Williams.

3. Friends who are living for God. How special it was to reunite with old friends and see how each of us are loving the Lord and seeking to live for Him, all over the world and in in all sorts of vocations.

4. Renewing fond memories. It was fun to recall our mutual Verity experiences in light of God's faithfulness.

5. The chance to affirm and continue special relationships in my life.

My friend Kristina Blum and me.
Not only do we share the same name,
we discovered that we also share the same shoe size!
She let me borrow her darling white heels to complete my outfit
for the alumni concert. How fun is that?!!