Tuesday, August 31, 2010

cherry

Cherry is a hit or miss flavor. It can either be REALLY great (ex: cherry cordials) or it can taste like cough syrup. And while I definitely thought these pop tarts were far from cough syrup status, they also weren't my absolute favs. I think Kellogg's could learn a thing or two from Nature's Path who makes a chocolate cherry toaster pastry. I haven't tried them yet, but I can't imagine a chocolate cherry pop tart being a bad combination. Know what I'm sayin? In fact, I think these poptarts would have been highly enhanced with a smear of the chocolate on top. Yum.

Toasted: The status of our toaster oven is that we still don't have one. (Remember I accidentally caught it on fire?) So I had to "toast" these in the microwave again. I liked it. They get a little mushy but the flavor is still there!

As Is: Like I said they weren't my favs, especially with so many other delicious flavors...but I don't think I would turn them down either.

Frozen: They all kind of tasted the same - just different consistency.

Pop Tart Fact: Want to know what flavor is coming out this Fall? Lucky for you I get exclusive Pop Tarts e-mails sent to my inbox...
PUMPKIN PIE!!!!!!!! I can't wait!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

check check

When I was doing the Daniel Fast I had the privilege of incorporating some new foods into my diet. After all, if I was only allowed fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and water I was going to have to break out of my pantry staples of bananas, sweet potatoes, and almonds if I wanted to make it 10 days without getting sick of my favs. Enter lychees and plantains. Both were on my list of "10 Foods from 10 Countries to eat in 2010" so I thought...perfect!

Getting lychees was kind of an experience all in its own...Brie and I were early for church in VA Beach one night when we spotted this little jem...
And for just under $5, we brought home these goodies...
For those of you who are unfamiliar, a lychee is a fruit.

They taste kind of like these...
But look like this...
Not to be confused with this...

They kind of taste like a sweeter version of a pear, but both of us had a hard time getting over the brain-like consistency and slimy texture. Eat at your own risk.

Plantains, on the other hand, were a completely different story. I thought they were DELICIOUS! But they were pan fried - so maybe that had something to do with it. I think that traditionally they are fried with some sort of sweetener (brown sugar, regular sugar, honey...) but since I wasn't allowed sweets on the Daniel Fast I had to have them plain with oil. Fine by me. I googled how to fry plantains and went to town. I was really surprised to taste them and find out that they weren't super sweet. I guess I was thinking they would taste more like a banana, when really, they were kind of like potatoes. I feel like fried plantains are the Jamaican's version of a french fry or thick potato chip. Either way, I was sold. I'll definitely make these again.
Yummy, right?

Two more countries/foods off the list! Check! Check!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

matt who?

Yesterday my sister's boyfriend Matt left for Botswana. For a year. It was a sad day for all of us (especially my sister, for obvious reasons) He has practically become part of the family. And while we are super proud of his obedience to the Lord, we already have a countdown for his return...

330 days.

We're praying for you Matt!

Monday, August 23, 2010

dining like daniel

So maybe you’ve noticed I’ve been a little MIA lately. Or maybe you haven’t. And that’s ok. But for those of you that did notice, I feel like I should explain…

10 days ago I took a break. Almost like a break from the world in some senses. I just really felt like God was tugging at my heart. In the midst of all of the craziness of my transition home I had forgotten what was important. It was all too easy for me to come home and be selfish, instead of obeying His plans for me. So I took a break.

A few friends of mine had either completed or were in the midst of the “Daniel Fast” when I was in Lynchburg. Ever heard of it? ((click here)) Basically it is a biblically based partial fast for your body, mind, and soul. It stems from the book of Daniel in The Bible – Daniel 1 (a 10 day fast) and Daniel 10 (a 21 day fast). In theory, it sounded great – only plant-based foods, only water to drink, no breads, no caffeine, no chemicals…no sugar. But me? No sugar? Surely I wouldn’t survive. I quickly dismissed the idea and didn’t think twice about it until a week or so after I had moved home.

God obviously had other plans. He had things He wanted to show me and I was way too distracted. That’s when I felt the call to do the fast. And of course I put it off. Excuse after excuse…”Well, I mean, Brie is coming home and we will probably go out to eat.” Or “The new froyo place opened and they have cotton candy flavor and a self-serve toppings bar!” And of course…”But its crabfest at Rod Lobster!!!” After a humbling Wednesday night the Lord helped me come to my senses as I dedicated the next 10 days to the “Daniel Fast” as outlined in Daniel 1:1-15…


In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility-young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service. Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you." Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but pulse [pulse = plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, etc.] to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.


Am I better nourished? Absolutely! Because it wasn’t food I was craving…it was Jesus. Not only did I give up my favorite foods, but I turned off the TV and stayed away from my personal Facebook page. For 10 days. And it wasn’t easy. In fact, it is the only fast I’ve consistently completed. I’m pretty sure David Nassar’s “A Call to Die” (40 days) took me about…3 years.

It is something I willfully share now, because I think it was an amazing experience and I learned a lot through it, but it was also something I didn’t want to advertise before or while I was going through it because it was so personal. I traded TV shows for runs full of prayers for family & friends. Chances are, if you are reading this, you were prayed for. I swapped Facebook for time in God’s Word. And I became quite well adjusted and accustomed to life without white sugar. Can you believe not a single grain of the white stuff passed through my lips? My new food addiction includes Larabars, avocados, and nut butters – all of which I consumed in mass quantities while I was on this fast (I even made my own walnut butter!)

But most importantly, I’ve come to realize that though I’ve learned a lot these past 10 days, I am still a work in progress. I am thankful for the time I had for the Lord to reveal certain areas of my own life that need some work and I ask that you please pray for me as He refines my life and uses me for His glory.

“He makes known secrets that are deep and hidden; He knows what is hidden in darkness, and light is all around Him.” – Daniel 2:22

Thursday, August 12, 2010

in your arms


I’m turning the world off
Embracing the silence
Walking away from all the voices
That are Screaming in my ear

I've been too caught up
I've been so stressed out
All of the noise replaced the whisper
That used to be so clear

So I close every door
Put my face back on the floor

And I'm in Your arms
Where I belong
There's no other place for me
Than right where You are
Some things just don't change
When I call Your name
You never hesitate to wrap me in endless grace
When I'm in Your arms

I’m letting my fears go
Giving You control
For You are the one who holds me closer
In my soul's darkest night

Everything I see
Is so temporary
So help me to run the race before me
With eternity in sight

Now I close every door
Put my face back on the floor

To sit at Your feet
At Your table of mercy
To gaze on Your beauty, my Lord
To drink from Your well
And be changed by Your glory
How could I ask for more
Jesus, how could I ask for more


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ice cream sandwich

Growing up, one of my favorite flavors of Pop Tarts was the overlooked "Vanilla Creme" so when I saw this favorite flavor disappear from the shelves, naturally, I was a little disappointed. Lucky for me, it reappeared under the new name "Ice Cream Sandwich" - at least thats the conclusion I came up with after taste testing this "Vanilla Creme" lookalike.

Toasted: I may or may not have caught the toaster on fire as soon as I got home (true story...oops!) so I had to use the microwave instead, and I wasn't disappointed. A quick zap in the microwave and my poptart was oozing with a vanilla creme that tasted just like marshmallows - my fav!

Frozen: I'm kind of biased b/c these are some of my favs, but they truly taste good in every way!

As Is: They rock! The chocolate crust makes them even more enjoyable and the middle truly tastes like marshmallow fluff.

Pop Tart Fact: Pop Tarts World (the first Pop Tarts store) opened in New York City THIS week!!!

& just for fun, a little video circa Halloween '06...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

one in a million

Time is priceless…

yet it costs us nothing.

You can do anything you want with it…

but own it.

You can spend it…

but you can’t keep it.

And once you’ve lost it…

there’s no getting it back.

It’s just…

gone.


I can’t believe its already been a week since I’ve been home. It seems like just yesterday I was hugging my friends tight and holding back tears. Home is good. It’s different, but its good. I love being back in my old room. I specifically love my bed (which I’m pretty sure is made with clouds from heaven), and the glow-in-the-dark stars that I put on my ceiling in the third grade, and I even love my stuffed animal collection that has seemed to have quadrupled over the years because every time I go to giveaway my toys another Toy Story movie comes out.

What I’m not crazy about is change. Some people thrive off of it. Me? Not so much. I could take it or leave it, but mostly, when things are going great, I’d be perfectly happy if they were that way forever. I think this is a good and bad way of thinking. Good because I always think I already have the best so I’m usually pretty content. Bad because its kinda limiting to God, don’t ya think? For example: In high school, the thought of leaving my best friends for college scared me. I mean, they were the best friends I would ever have, right? Then I met my college friends and after 4 years of late night chats, crazy schemes, and lots of dance parties, I gave them all big hugs as we each moved across the country (literally). There is no way in the world God would ever give me better friends than my college friends? Right? Then I met my friends in Lynchburg. Instant best friends, like the kind you grow in water. I’ve known them the shortest but somehow feel this unshakable bond with them. And that’s really how its always been, even when I spent a summer in MO at Kanakuk or last summer in NYC. What in the world makes me think He won’t care for me in this next stage of life?

Not too long ago, I read Priscilla Shirer’s new book “One in a Million. “ I think it is one of the best books I have ever read. It was life changing. In fact, I think it was part of the reason I finally decided to quit my job. Without giving the entire book away (you MUST read it), the book follows the Israelites journey through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. But did you know that only 2 made it? Only 2 in 2 million! And after reading the book I realized that was the kind of life I wanted – one that is sold out to Christ, following His path. I wanted to be “one-in-a-million.” And when I looked back at my own journey - specifically from graduating college last year to the uncertainty that I am currently faced with - I realized God had been sending me on my own trip through the wilderness. Who knew God had been “using the pressure of my problems not to bury me, but to beckon me”? And maybe Lynchburg was just my Mt. Siani? I certainly spent the longest time there, had a few meltdowns, and truly felt the Lord’s calling. I’m not exactly sure what my Promised Land will look like, or where it will be for that matter, but I do take comfort in knowing that I am on my way and that I am exactly where the Lord wants me right now.

“One-in-a-millions know that God has put them here – in this particular place, at this particular time – with certain things for them to experience. They’re not afraid to live through the in-between, development times because the muscles they’re growing out here in the wilderness are going to help them hit the Promised Land running. It’s going to be worth it. They know it.” – Priscilla Shirer, “One in a Million”

Sunday, August 1, 2010

oh the places you'll go

Today was my last day in Lynchburg.

The whole week was filled with mixed emotions and lots of goodbyes, hugs, tears, and s'mores! It felt great to leave my job and terrible to leave my friends. I was sad to see the mountains disappear on my way home, yet I welcomed the beach with open arms. It was bittersweet really. I spent 5 years there essentially and some of my best memories are up on that mountain. Check out this video of my last week...


I woke up early on Saturday and went up to the stairs of DeMoss - those oh-so-friendly steps I walked daily as a student at LU - and I just thanked God for my time there. For the good and the bad. Another piece to my puzzle as my mom would say. Another set of stairs for me. Remember these? I don't know if I will ever live there again. Never say "never," right? But I am thankful for my time there. Every sad, hard, or lonely night spent in Lynchburg was worth it for the friendships that came out of my nine month stay. I will never forget any of you.