Praise God…

The day is busy – it’s Friday. And Friday’s are always busy days. Just as the sun sets, my mind is turned toward my Creator. I close my eyes as I listen, praises to God from whom all blessings flow. As the music speaks to my heart, my mind is flooded with the omnipotence of God. And I can’t help but marvel once again at this God – the One who created everything by the word of His mouth, who keeps the planets spinning and the stars shining, who breathes life into the surrendered heart – this is the same God that cares about every detail of my life. How is it that God pours all of heaven out to make my life so sweet? My gratitude soars while my soul is humbled.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost

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Glad Tidings On Dark Nights

Two disciples walk the dusty, rocky path from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Their hearts are heavy. There are many things they don’t understand, and with each step they feel more and more disheartened. Not far into their journey a stranger joins them. They fall into step, expressing the thoughts of their hearts as they go. As they discuss the perplexities of the weekend, the Stranger speaks words that bring hope…..something they have not had for the past several days. They can’t help but think that these are just the words that Christ would have spoken; yet He remains unrecognized.

Had Jesus made Himself known to them, their hearts would have been satisfied. In the fullness of their joy they would have hungered for nothing more.

Jesus explained the true mission of the Messiah. Their expectation of an earthly throne had been misleading, and Christ knew it would interfere with a right understanding of His descent from the highest to the lowest position.

With weary steps and hungry stomachs they finish their 8-mile journey. As the disciples are about to enter their home, the Stranger acts as though He will continue His journey. They invite Him to stay – for they are drawn to this Man. They hunger not only for physical food but also for the words of life that fall from His lips. He does not seem to accept their invitation, but they press it upon Him.

Had the disciples failed to press their invitation, they would not have known that their traveling companion was the risen Lord.

Do we seek Christ with hungry hearts and purpose that won’t give up? Or are we content to know His name but not know Him? Could it be that we won’t come to truly know the risen Lord until we have insisted that He dwell with us?

One look at His hands is all it takes, and the joy that ensues makes it impossible for them to sit still and talk. They set out again on the same path by which they just came. They do not see, they do not know, that they have the protection of Him who has traveled the road with them.

On a dark night several years before, angels had brought glad tidings to a flock of shepherds of the birth of a Savior. This was good news indeed – God came to live among men. But even gladder tidings are carried by these disciples on another dark night, as they carry the greatest message ever given to the world – the message of a risen Savior.

Could it be that the best tidings often come on the darkest nights?

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men! Rejoice, for the Lord has risen indeed. (Luke 2:14, 24:32)

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Four Breaths

If I was given only four more breaths to live, I would praise God with every one.

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Jugo de Naranja (Esculent Happiness)

What’s better than a glass of homemade goodness?

This has been my sentiment as my latest culinary obsession has been orange juice. I make it in the morning, make it at noon, or at night. Basically, it has been fitting any moment for me with the perfect satisfaction. It especially hits my awesome vein in the evening after a good hard workout. Mmm…


  • 1 Orange (personal favorite is a mandarin – if using the small cuties, use at least two)
  • 1/16 teaspoon orange peel
  • 1/2 small banana (frozen or fresh, with a nod towards frozen)
  • Roughly 1/4 cup frozen fresh pineapple (I usually cut the fresh pineapple into 1/16ths before freezing. The ideal amount is 1/2 of such slices)
  • 2 teaspoons of Better than Milk powder (or any other vegan soymilk powder)
  • 1 cup water (or soymilk and omit the previous ingredient)
  • 4 ice cubes

The quick directions: throw it all in the blender. Yeah, don’t even worry about the orange peel, seeds, etc. just do it. The quicker, the better. The main thing is just blend. BLEND. Then drink and try to enjoy.

The detailed directions (and secrets to making grade A juice):

1. Peal the orange and remove all seeds (without wasting any excess fruit). Even though the Vita-Mix will blend the seeds, I don’t recommend putting them in unless you want grade FF (as in “fail flavored”) juice. Believe me – your taste buds will thank you.

2. Add the first five ingredients into the blender and blend long enough until it is as smooth as possible. Between the orange’s septums and the pineapple, there’s some stuff that will be pretty stringy unless blended well enough! As a side note, you may wonder about the orange peel addition. It strengthens the flavor imperceptibly and adds a delicious zest. Don’t get carried away though, you don’t want to know taste-wise that there is peel in the juice. Also, make sure you wash the peel section that you blend.

3. Next, add in the ice cubes, and blend some more. If there are a few small chunks that don’t get blended, don’t worry about it.

4. Last, dump the water in and blend just enough to mix things up.

5. Strain. Yep, if you’ve got a strainer, just pour that juice from the blender into the strainer, letting it flow through into a bowl. Now, the “stringy stuff” I described earlier may plug your strainer’s pores, depending on how tight the strainer’s weave is. If that happens, take a spoon and lift the sediment off the bottom of the strainer, using whatever techniques work for you to get all of the liquid through the strainer. There will probably be 3 or 4 spoonfuls of pulp; I know the texture is terrific, but I recommend just spooning it down plain. Mhm, just eat it on the spot. It’s good for you, and why waste something that is good? I know, I know, it’s not a pleasurable experience, per se, but it’s just a little texture (hint: don’t chew it, just swallow).

6. Pour the juice from the bowl into a glass, and then drink. Revel in the satisfaction of the homemade silkiness and yum that is enhanced by the process of self-production.

Notes: the ratios/amounts can be adjusted. In fact, since I never measure the ingredients it turns out slightly different every time for me. As a result, it was a bit of a constraining experience to put the recipe into quantifiable format. So I give this recipe with a disclaimer: YMMV. :D

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What’s Next?

There are many things that I am confident of, but what’s coming next… are you kidding? There are too many times to even count when I thought I knew how something was going to unfold, and it happened completely opposite. I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow – that’s why I live today.

Oh, but I’m still forward thinking. I even still like to see if I can guess how tomorrow is going to turn out. But my confidence in the forthcoming has shifted from my ability to predict to the stability and peace of God’s unknown known.

What do I mean by that? We don’t know what God’s plans are for us (think about what you thought you would be doing right now five years ago… has it all happened like you imagined?) – that’s the unknown. However, we do know that His plans are for our good (Romans 8:28, 31) – that’s the known.

There are good things ahead…

Desktop Background

Download the above image for your computer’s wallpaper to be reminded that His plans are for you, not against you (Jeremiah 29:11).

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The Day of Our Vows

Photo by Jent Kyle

Miracle of Miracles… It’s love shared between two becoming one. God is extravagant in His gift of marriage. We were so excited and deeply honored to promise ourselves to each other forever. Our day in its overwhelming joys and deep sacredness was more than we could have dreamed of or hoped for! Enjoy a sneak peak of our wedding photos here, and hop over to the photo gallery to see more.

To watch the video that was played during our ceremony as part of our vows click here.

Photo by Jent Kyle

Photo by Matthew Leffler

Photo by Lachelle Gienger

Photo by Lachelle Gienger

Photo by Jent Kyle

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Festivities + Free Download

It’s festive around here. Yesterday brought in cool (okay let’s just say downright cold) temperatures and a foot of snow! The tree and lights are up. Holiday scents waft the air. All around speaks to the fact that it’s not about us. December begs us to put self aside and listen, just listen to others, to embrace an other-centric focus.

God figured that we would be able to understand a pink-fleshed baby, but are we stooping to enter through the barn doorway, sitting by the feed trough? Or do we walk on by, unconscious that He, our King, is inside?


With all the exchange of gifts this time of year, I was thinking a few days ago about tracking all my purchases. That way I could quickly see how much each item cost me, as well as how much I spent per person on my gift list. Naturally, as someone who’s job is 99% in excel, I turned to excel to accomplish the task for me.

But why keep a resource to myself? Sharing has positive benefits to the frontal lobe, and so here you are: a free December download to hopefully make this month less stressful and more delightful! (No joke, I’ve discovered that joy flourishes in the presence of organization)

Click here for download.

Additional note: once downloaded, you will probably have to allow it to use macros. I can’t vouch that it will properly work in any software other than excel. In other words, if you use Apple Numbers or OpenOffice, it *may* not work. But then again, it just may. Let me know what you find out.

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When the music stops, the laughter fades, the lights turn out, and all is silent – there is still more to be thankful for…

I’m thankful for all the periphery. The stuff that every day consists of that really adds spirals of joy: smells of a meal almost ready, sights of beautiful family and friends, touches of affection and expression, sounds of talking and laughing, pre-tastes of new recipes… I’m thankful for all the man-made things that surround my life.

Yes, I’m thankful for all of it.

However, I’m most thankful for what is left even if all the rest were to obliterate out of my life – Jesus: the God-forever part of my life that always was and always will be.

And the gratitude lingers.

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Nathan + Tyli

Will you pull up a chair and enjoy a few minutes of romance? Click on the image below to watch the wedding trailer.

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Seasons come and seasons go, change is all around. Outside the leaves turn to gold and the night air is crisper, and inside another season passes too.  Family as we’ve known it for so many years now takes on a new dimension. Our family is smaller, yet it’s bigger all at the same time.

We find ourselves letting go of what we’ve treasured for so long and seeking to embrace the beauty of a new season. So many memories… so many hours spent together… so many milestones made… so many simple joys treasured… so many life-changing conversations… — all bringing such richness and fullness to our lives. It’s the joy of being close and the togetherness of being family that makes a part of me not want to let go. Yet I’m reminded that it’s when we let go that our hands are then open to receive all that God has in store.

And familyness will forever be a part of our lives. No matter how many miles might separate us, we’ll always be family. Always.

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