Monday, September 30, 2013

my wedding ring holder

Wow today is the last day of Blogtember. Day 20 to be exact. Participating has been a lot of fun. What do you all think about it? Was it fun to read? I'd love some feedback. It definitely taught me that having somewhat of a structured plan for blogging can be super beneficial. A big shout out and thanks to Jenni over at 'story of my life' for hosting Blogtember all month long.

Today's blog prompt is to 'share a photo of something old. Something that has personal history for you, that was passed down to you, and that has special meaning for you. Tell us about it and why it is so special.'

This is my wedding ring holder that my sister-in-law made for me. It is by far one of, if not the most, thoughtful gift I have received. All of the items are from her Mom and Grandma. It has jewelry, shells and some material from a bridesmaid's dress that was used in her Mom's wedding.

I also received this gift when I came home last year for Christmas which is another reason it meant a lot. Giving a gift that sentimental to someone who hasn't been around, in my opinion, is kind of a step of faith. I'll cherish these gifts because as most of you know my mother-in-law passed away this past February. This ring holder is something that I will cherish and remember her by.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Happy National Coffee Day

In honor of national coffee day here are some pictures of the most prettiest coffees I have purchased. 99% of these I bought in Korea. They make the prettiest designs on coffee I have ever seen. 

This is called a 'cafe vienna'. It is made with heavy whipping cream and is topped with whipped cream. 

Here is the 1% of the pretty coffee from the US. I got this delicousness in Idaho. 
Now, for those that have never heard of an affogoto, you have me to thank. What is it? It's simple. A scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, a shot of vanilla espresso poured over it, some chocolate drizzle and almonds.  Do not! I repeat DO NOT eat these if you need to sleep. Alisha and I made the mistake of getting one of these on school nights when we had to teach the next day and boy did we our kids suffer. 
 
 Happy National Coffee Day! Hope you had a good cup of jo.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Culture shock of a small town life

Welcome day 16 of Blogtember  - review a book, place or product. Oh Blogtember, this post is so perfect. I've seen and heard some jaw dropping and country things here in Woodward and I've been looking forward to telling all about it. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy life here and the people make it great but these are just some things I had to share. 

First off, Woodward is located in western Oklahoma. I'm 2 1/2 hours away from a OKC and 3 hours from my home town of Wichita. We are the big city in the area. Sometimes on the weekend people come to Woodward to hang out. I'm not sure what they do, perhaps they chill at Walmart. 
via
For some reason, this little town has given me a dose of culture shock that I didn't know could happen in my own country. I expected culture shock when I moved to Korea but not when I moved to western Oklahoma. Here are some of the odd things I have seen and heard of around here. 

First off - cowboy boots. Everyone has them here. I've seen kids where them, ladies in Sunday dress, they are all over. A few weeks ago I took a floor length bridesmaid dress to get altered and the seamstress was beyond thrilled when I told her we would be wearing champagne heels. She told me everyone now in days wears cowboy boots with wedding dresses and formals. I had no idea but wasn't too surprised either. 
Every cowboy needs a pick up truck, right? I think 85% of the cars here in this town are pick up trucks. I don't mean the small trucks either, I mean the big diesel ones that take up 1 1/2 spaces when they park (great fun when you live in an apartment). Sometimes I have to look a while to find where I parked because big trucks came and parked next to me on both sides. Apparently people love their trucks a wee bit too much here because even the local jewelry store has a sign that says "if she wanted an engagement truck you wouldn't hesitate". um, really? My jaw, for real, dropped on that one. I still read it when I go by because I think it is funny. 

Anybody like frogs? Well, the nice lady who was shellacing my nails told me all about gigging. Once again, jaw dropping. Here is a definition of gigging: "for the uninitiated, frog-gigging goes like this: You wade into a pond or patrol the banks by foot or boat, searching for the reflection of bullfrog eyes. Once you spot a big croaker, you shine the light in his eyes to blind him. Then you sneak up on behind the frog, and using a 7-foot pole with a trident attached to the end, stab the sucker." (source via here) I also got a run down on how the frog legs will continue to jump after they are dead. You have to cut some tendon or else they jump all around in your sink. Then they fry them up and eat them. So foreign to me.  

Another random thing I think is quiet fun here are all the cows. You just drive down the road to go to Walmart and the cows are right there. They are fun. One time when Dave and I drove home a cow had escaped and was just standing on the side of the road eating. (might be scary to hit one! eeek!) We have also seen law enforcement herding cow escapees, it's pure entertainment. They're funny little big creatures. I keep telling Dave if I have a cow I'm going to name him Mignon. I know, mean of me, but it would be funny and delicious
That's all I got now for the 'weird Woodward update'. As shocking as some of it has been I honestly do enjoy living here. I've come to like small town life and believe it or not, sometimes when I go to Wichita I almost feel a bit claustrophobic. The best part of living here are the genuine nice people. All those people that where the boots, have the hat and trucks are some of the kindest people I know and kindness goes a long way now a days. 

Have you been 'culture shocked' in your own country? I'd love to hear about it. 

Life Updates

Blogtember 9/23 - A "life lately" post. What you're up to, how you're feeling, how you're doing on your goals, etc. Thank you Blogtember for suggesting this post. I know I do the 'lately' posts every other Thursday but I wanted to give a more updated life post. 

First off, tomorrow will be month 6 of marriage! hooray! I'll have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised at how great marriage is. So many people warned me of the 'first year', where you fight and realize Mr. prince charming isn't so charming and blah blah blah... Well, so far marriage has surpassed my expectations. Dave is my best friend and life with him has been great. No we aren't perfect but I can honestly say that we are growing and learning. I've learned that communication, prayer, reading the Bible together, and being patient while we both learn how to love each other are necessary for success. 
Life in Woodward - well, as many people know, moving here sent my emotions into wack-o mode but six months here have been good to me, I'm not so wack anymore and I'm enjoying small town life =). What do I do now in Woodward? First off, I still don't have a full time job and I'm ok with that. Yes, you read that right; no full time job. I know our culture is very big into work, building a resume, etc and that is fine but sometimes when I tell people I don't work full time, have asked me if I am 'soul searching' or they are just kind of surprised. Honestly, it felt weird to not work full time but one night at dinner Dave and I were talking about what we had read in the Bible and I told him that God showed me that being a wife, and focusing on loving Dave and living simply is exactly what I'm to do now...back to the point of what I do ... Tuesday mornings I go to the Senior Center. I visit with the people there, sing with them during their choir hour and play the piano when needed. Those people are a blessing to my soul and some of them are Christians who have a love for Jesus that amazes me. Also, every other Tuesday I am cleaning a house for a family in the area. 

On Wednesday's and Thursday's I am watching a cute little boy. His parents go to our church and both work. It's a long story but God worked it out where I can watch him two days a week and another lady from church watches him three days a week. He is one of the most laid back and happy babies I know. Also, when his Mom comes home from work we usually visit for a bit. It's been a big encouragement to visit with another Christian who loves God and is a lot of fun too - so, Kinzie, thanks a bunch!!!
Dave and I recently started working with the kids from church. We volunteer every Wednesday. There are about 150 kids and they feed them dinner, play games, share the Bible with them and have a class time. We are only into the third week so we are still getting to know the kids but so far we have enjoyed it. It's good to be serving. I'm also going to crossfit 2-4 times a week. Crossfit has been great because not only am I getting a killer good work out in but I am getting to know and meet some wonderful people who build a great fitness community.  
So, there you have my life, all written out. It's sounds so much busier written out! I'm thankful for my life in Woodward. It's simple. I have time to spend in the Word, time to spend with Dave and enough work to do to feel productive but not overly busy. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday's Letters . 6

Friday’s Letters

Dear Blog and Blogtember, sorry you got so neglected this week. A major cold and respiratory infection overtook my life and didn’t allow energy for blogging. Dear Work Spouse, your wedding turned out beautiful and you were a gorgeous bride. Welcome to marriage, a life blessing from God. 
Dear Dave, you were the most handsome wedding date ever. Thanks for wearing a suit (your least favorite clothing to wear) for me two times this past weekend. I love hearing you share God’s Word and am thankful for His work in your life. 
Dear American Children, I enjoy working with you at church and I already love you but holy cow you are so different than Asian kids! If you were in Asia you would have some major time out with Justin like this….
Dear Thunderstorm, seeing you roll in was be-a-u-tiful! I’m amazed at the things God creates and allows us to see. 
Dear Isaac, I’ll write more about you on my life update next week but you already wiggled your way into my heart and are like another nephew to me. You cracked me up this week when you got a kick from staring at yourself in the mirror. Dear Weekend, yippee! Hooray! Holler! I’m so looking forward to you. Dave and I will be in Wichita seeing family, my sister and nephew.

Comfortable - the most dangerous place you can be

Blogtember day what? Yeah, I missed a bunch of days due to being sick but today I’m posting two blog posts.. Today’s blog prompt is to react to the word ‘comfort’. My brain immediately had zillions (okay not that many) but a lot of thoughts about this.

First thing that came to my mind is the quote by Neale Walsch that says ‘life begins at the end of your comfort zone’. Honestly, when speaking about life I don’t think comfortable is a term we should ever get used to. If you are comfortable in life, that should be a big red waving ‘danger flag’ and you should become uncomfortable.
Let’s give some real life examples. Climbing a 13,000 foot mountain isn’t exactly what I call comfortable but the view at the top is worth it.  Packing my bags for Korea and saying bye to Dave, my family and knowing I wouldn’t get to meet my newborn nephews is not what I describe comfortable but my year in Korea was beyond worth it. Dating long distance and getting married after several major life changes wasn’t comfortable but you better believe being married to Dave is worth it. I guess what I am saying is that we need to get uncomfortable to grow. God has bigger plans for us than our comfort zones.

More than that though I started thinking about Jesus. What if he would have stayed comfortable? He would of stayed up in heaven where He had every right to remain. Where would I be if Jesus would have stayed comfortable? I’d be a lost mess. You know what though? He got uncomfortable. I don’t think leaving heaven and being born in a manger was comfortable but he did it. Living with brothers who didn’t believe He was the Son of God was probably super uncomfortable but Jesus did it anyways. Telling the Pharisees, the religious people of the day, that their religion was sending them straight to hell had to be uncomfortable. The Bible tells us that Jesus had no permanent place to call home on this earth,  again - uncomfortable! Last but not least Jesus was beaten beyond recognition and hung on a cross. Uncomfortable is such an undeserving term to describe what He went through but he did it because he saw beyond discomfort. He saw you, He saw me and He became uncomfortable for us. He saw our lost souls and saw redemption. Was it worth it? I think resurrection morning screams a thousand times over YES! My heart is thankful! Thankful! Thankful! Thankful, that Jesus became uncomfortable for me! I hope we are willing to do the same for Him, no matter what the cost.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Orange Blueberry Muffins


Orange Blueberry Muffins! These are one of my top favorite things to bake. In all honesty, I'm not a huge baker but I do bake these. They are so good!

I think these muffins are good but they also hold dear memories with my friends Kirsten and Shenel. They always ask me to bake some for them and somehow and we usually end up eating muffins, drinking coffee, sharing about life and always laughing.

This recipe is really easy to make. I hope you enjoy it.


Ingredients

2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. orange juice + 2 tbsp.
1 orange
1 c. blueberries 


Directions

1. Mix all of your dry ingredients together.  Zest the orange and mix it in with the dry ingredients.

2. Squeeze the juice from the orange and then add more orange juice to equal ¾ cup. I used fresh pressed orange juice but you don't have too.

3. Add the oil and egg to the orange juice and whisk together for about 30 seconds.

4. Mix dry and wet ingredients together until well blended. If the mixture seems a bit dry add a splash of orange juice to it.

5. Gently fold in the blueberries.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400° or until golden brown.

Makes 6 large muffins or 12 medium sized muffins.


                                    Wooden spoons and yellow baking cups can be purchased at Paper Eskimo.


                                                                 What's your favorite type of muffin?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

on-line stores

blogtember day 7 - share some of your favorite on-line stores.

Well, living in the middle of no where Oklahoma, I must say Amazon has become my new best friend when it comes to purchasing lots of items. However, I'm sure everyone already knows about amazon so I'll share some other fun sites I use.

Have you ever heard of Emergen-C? They are little packets filled with tons of vitamins. You add it to a glass of water and drink away. Blueberry-Acai is my favorite flavor. They are perfect for fall and winter when all those nasty germs float around. Dave is sick now and I feel it coming my way too so today I ordered a box of my favorite Emergen-C. It is immune+. You can log onto their website here for a free sample.

Cute Tape - I already mentioned this store in a previous blog pospt but they have some great products that are affordable. It's a great on-line store to order washi tape, party favors, stationary, stamps as well as other various great gifts. You can check them out here
Remember my amazing chemex coffee maker??? Those make amazing gifts too plus their website is just fun to read. Check out Chemex here

Where is your favorite on-line store? Do you shop on-line very much? Anybody know of an on-line store where I can order some cute floral leggings??

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

2 years and 1 month ago


Welcome to day 6 of Blogtember - 'describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn'. Honestly, I'm glad this blog post is in here. I thought about writing this last month and 'blogtember' brought this topic it back up so I'd figure I'd share.

Well ... 2 years and 1 month ago my life took a big turn. I had dated someone long distance for way too long. The whole situation was a big mess and I knew God had better plans for me. Honestly, I felt trapped and had tried and tried to get out and I just couldn't do it. I distinctly remember a phone conversation that went terrible. I got hung up (rude!) and after that I stood in my room and decided 'no more'. I didn't know if I would follow through because I had said that so many times but I thought I'd try again. The only thing that changed me and pulled me through was God himself. Have you ever read all of those verses in Psalms that talks about God setting a prisoner free? That was me and I'm so thankful God set me free.

However, I'm not here to report to you about my lame past I'm here to report to you what God did these past 2 years and 1 month! Here it is:

I went to Korea where my whole mind was renewed and my heart was healed. That's huge! I got to fellowship among Christians from all over the world, study the Bible with them, laugh, craft, cry travel and spend quality time.
Dave - I don't even know where to begin on this one. Dave loved me through those hard times. My broken and messed up heart had some major healing to do and I've never seen someone choose to practice Christ-like love when it was hard and something he didn't 'feel' like doing.
I got to spend a year with a great friend who loves Jesus. We had a grand time.
a new name to a face - Have you ever heard of a name and just didn't like it because you knew someone bad who had that name? Well ... when I stepped into my class in Korea I had two kids by my ex's name. I cringed for about 2 split seconds and then thanked God that I had new faces for a name. Let me just say that those two little boys were some of the sweetest and most intelligent people I have ever met! 
I got married
I'm an Aunt, two times now
I live in Oklahoma - ha! I know, you might be laughing but this little community here is growing on my heart in a way I never expected. Many people here love Jesus and live it out. I'm thankful for that. 

I don't know who will be reading this post or what is going on in everyone's life but I do know, no matter where you are in life or what situation you are in Jesus can and wants to deliver you. He wants to give you the most abundant life that even you couldn't think of! 

I'll leave you with these two verses 

Psalms 126:3 - The LORD hath done great things for us; where of we are glad. 

John 10:10b - I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday's Letters . 5

Dear Mt. Wheeler, thanks for only being 8 miles instead of 14. I think a 13,000 ft. mountain is a good reintroduction to mountain climbing. Dear Sister, I'm beyond thrilled that you are coming to visit for the weekend. Don't let this small town fool ya, a fun schedule is in order: roller blading, crossfit (bring a friend day, whoop! whoop!) and a local concert by a fantastic artist.  Dear Static, you are super cute and all, but please, quit eating bathroom trash as well as the whole bag of cat food when I'm gone. Dear Crossfit, this week I got my first open blister and as much as I never wanted one, I earned it! I PR'd my dead lift and couldn't of been happier. I have some awesome crossfit friends who cheered me on and pushed me. Thanks!!! Dear Woodward, this week I was driving down the road and it hit me that after living here 6 months it felt like a familiar place and like my 'temporary home'. Don't get me wrong some of your weird OK cultural is still odd to be but I'm getting used to it. Dear Dave, Thanks for helping me hike up a big mountain and for going 'Beka pace' even if it did slow you down by 1 1/2 hours. You're the best. Dear Sandy, Can I just say how glad I am I wore the Korean scarf you bought me up this mountain!!! I neglected to pack a jacket or a long sleeve shirt for the top of the mountain and the coldness was extreme. The scarf was my saving grace, so thanks!
What are your weekend plans? Have you ever hike a 13,000 or 14,000 foot mountain? (you totally should!). Hope you all have a great weekend.
Photobucket

Thursday, September 5, 2013

be kind

Day 3 of Blogtember - 'pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered'. The two words of advice ... be kind. Simple yet hard to continually practice.
picture taken in Geoje Korea with no filter
This advice comes from the Bible and is engrained in me thanks to my Mom. Remember how I told you I grew up in Brazil? Well, our house there had a cute little entry way, a walk in area followed by two steps. Remember also how I told you that there were 4 siblings in five years? Well, if you can imagine we had our fair shares of fights. Nothing terrible just the normal kid stuff. My siblings and I would fight and of course, being the youngest, I made sure to tell on them. =) Often times my Mom would make us go to the entry way, up those two steps and recite the following: 'Ephesians 4:32 - And be ye kind one to another tender hearted forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.' I despised that as a kid and thought it a ridiculous task. 

You know what though? It must have stuck with us. Last year when in Korea, I called my brother and told him how naughty Justin was. You know what my brother told me? "be kind, Beka". My reply?? "I was kind!" He told me it isn't a one time act but repeated kindness that was needed. 
Doesn't he just look like a cute bundle of trouble?

People need kindness. I know during the lowest times in my life a drop of kindness made all the difference. We need it continuously. 

What's your best advice? Did your Mom ever do any things like this to teach you something good? 

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