Twenty-Two Years

Hello, my friends!  This weekend, I had the privilege of celebrating my roomie’s 22nd birthday!  We enjoyed some delicious food, did some fun shopping, and all-in-all, had ourselves a lovely time.  What a blessing Marisa is to all of us! 🙂

Ready…set…PHOTO RECAP!

Our first stop: The British Pantry for some lunch!

This place is ADORABLE!  Our waitress was sweet and proper, with the most endearing and gentle British accent.

And then it was lunch time.  We each chose a meal, but sampled each other’s…that’s the way to be! 🙂

The Ploughman’s Plate included fruit and salad, as well as a cold pork pie, cheese, and a roll with chutney.  Delish!

Here’s my lunch!  This English cheese and tomato sandwich, with salad, was so simple, yet SO tasty.

eggs + cheese + toast & jam…need I say more?

While the fruit and quiche were very tasty, I think the scone with jam and cream made this meal!

Elizabeth’s gift to Marisa – an owl mug, named “Whobert” by the clerk at the store.

Please excuse our semi-blurry photo (and my silly expression).  There was much confusion over how my camera actually worked.  That sweet waitress! 🙂

Tea hat?  Hat cozy?  We may be in college, but we’re still kids!

We spent the afternoon spending gift cards from Christmas at the Mall.  Then, it was off to Pomegranate for dinner.  Remember this place from my Roommate Date night?  SO TASTY!

And then the food came.


You can see how joyous of an occasion the food was found to be 🙂

And here’s my dinner!

The ravioli were served with a poached pear and Calvados Beurre Blanc sauce with walnuts.  I think the sauce is a reduction of white butter and some type of fruity liquor.  I think.  Whatever it was, the mapley-fruity-creamy flavor combined with the subtle walnut flavor…ah-mazing.

Rounded out by some veget-ables!

We had a lovely time, and were bid farewell by this little feller.

And then…dessert time had come upon us.

And presents.  Don’t forget presents!

At Marisa’s request, instead of cake we had chocolate fondue.  Ohhhh yeah!  For dipping, we enjoyed strawberries, bananas, pretzels, marshmallows, cream puffs and macarons.  Can we say delicious and worth-it sugar coma?!  And no, “macarons” is not a typo – “macarons” are little French cookies while “macaroons” are those tasty coconut cookies.

And now you’re educated 🙂

We didn’t have cake.  But we had cream puffs.  So we made lemonade out of our tasty little cream puff lemons 🙂  And it worked!

Here’s my first plate… 😀

Pictures are a mandatory part of celebrations such as this.  Fact!

Happy birthday, Marisa!!!!

And that sums up our lovely birthday celebration day!  Good food and excellent company…sounds like a lovely day to me 🙂

I’m hoping to try a new recipe tomorrow…not an original one, but it will certainly have a few tweaks of my own…crossing my fingers that it turns out!!




A Lovely Evening

Hello friends!

Fun fact: you might be a college senior with projects and tests looming if…you take an entire week to get around to blogging your own birthday dinner, and even longer to blog your delightful “birthday-month” envelopes.  But such is life!  I’m hoping you’ll all forgive 🙂

I’m extremely blessed to have friends who have become family here at school.  During my sophomore year, I lived with my current roommate and her family in their home, which for me meant gaining a “Seattle Family”.  They’re wonderful!  They take me along on fun outings (Leavenworth!), invite me to share meals, and just LOVE me!  It’s great.  Why am I going on and on about my Seattle family?  Because they treated me to a delightful dinner in celebration of my birthday, full of delicious food and joyful surprises…have a look 🙂

Joce perfectly decorated the table!

Each place setting had been beautifully constructed

The theme certainly felt autumnal with charming leaves and rich tones of red and orange.


And yes, I cut my hair 🙂  Do you like it?  Cause I do!

A little story from the evening: Marisa and I arrived a while before dinner, and it felt nice to just chill.  A friend, Megan, would be a bit late, so there was no hurry to get the meal on the table.  When the doorbell rang, I expected to see Megan…but I was in for surprise #3 of my birthday! (#1 – the “birthday-month” cards and #2 – the hockey game)  See, I had hoped a couple (another set of Seattle parents) would be able to come, but they already had plans to be out of town.  Except the plans fell through.  And everyone decided to keep it on the hush-hush.  So…..SURPRISE!!!!  I could hardly believe my eyes…but I was certainly happy to do so 🙂

A few minutes later, the lovely Megan arrived, and dinner was served!

Pork roast, sauteed apples, baked sweet potatoes, and roasted asparagus, with a salad on the side.  MMMMMMM!!!!!!

Sweet company plus delicious food is an excellent equation…I kinda like this math 🙂

After we could eat no more, Marisa, Megan and Joce cleared the table, then prepared dessert…with stifled giggles and mysterious sounds.  I pretended like a didn’t notice.  And then, this dish appeared before me….

Yes, that is a giant tower of fresh whipped cream.

Fresh raspberries, naturally.

And then, this.

This is a tower of brownies, with exactly 22 candles.  Which I blew out in one…ONE breath!  I kid you not!

All together!  Isn’t it splendid?  I forgot to mention the fudge sauce for drizzling…mmm!

Now that I was sufficiently sugared, the time had come for….


A “Better Homes and Gardens” and “Martha Stuart Living”, Christmas editions from Marisa.  I ADORE magazines like these!

Between the cards, hockey game, and these magazines, I think Marisa truly outdid herself!  But I’m thankful 🙂

A bean-bag lamb (scented with lavender)…

…and a gorgeous scarf, both from Megan!

My surprise guests gave me a thoughtful gift card, and Marisa’s parents found the most beautiful lamp for my gift!  I forgot to take a picture of it earlier, and the lighting in my room is less than decent right now, so click this the link to see a photo of it!

This truly was a lovely evening.  I’m CRAZY blessed to have such a thoughtful “family” here.  Thank you Lord, and thank you Joe and Joce!

I’m off to get some work done…theoretically.  There’s always Sunday, right? 😉

Have a blessed weekend!



When the Going Gets Tough…


…God shows the tough who’s Boss!

Story time! 🙂

Monday night, I had a little study sesh in preparation for a composition mid term the following day.  We all thought we had it pretty well under control…that is, until we found out that this test quite possibly would require us to memorize more than we had.  I all but threw the towel in.  Annoyed?  Yep.  Nervous?  Ahuh.  Perhaps a little scared?  Maaaayyybeee.  Unmotivated?  Oh yes.  Frustrated?  Without a doubt!  But God saw it all.

“In my distress I called to the Lord,

I cried to my God for help.

From his temple he heard my voice,

my cry came before him, into his ears.”

(Psalm 18:6)

That night, a wonderful friend called me up just to pray with me about the situation.  My mom gave me some encouragement, and promised she’d be praying for me as well.  And the Lord gave me rest!  I slept well that night, which pre-test-frustration aside is a huge blessing 🙂  But the next day…well, lets just say it brings to life the lyric, “Morning by morning, new mercies I see.”

My alarm went off typically early, and I did my gettin’ ready thing.  Nothing seemed different…until I noticed that our full size mirror wasn’t in it’s normal spot…and in it’s place hung a piece of paper taped to the bookshelf.  Intrigue!  I grabbed my phone to use it for a light to see what the paper said (my roomie was still asleep) and here is what I saw:

Confusion…utter confusion!  I didn’t read the word “month” initially, and all I could think was “uhhhmmm…it’s not my birthday.”  But I reread it and began to comprehend, when out of the the corner of my eye, I saw something all over the wall.  I swung my little light over to find this: !!!!!  It took me a moment to realize what exactly was going on, but when I did realize the deal, I could have cried out of appreciation and…joy.  See, Marisa decided to celebrate my whole birthday month, beginning on November 1st.  In each envelope, there’s a note from someone, a scripture, and a quote.  I’ll share more of that later 🙂  Needless to say, this amazing surprise lifted my mood and put a smile on my face…I still felt nervous for the test, but I felt better.

God showed the tough who’s boss.

After this delightful discovery, we were off to a jazz event at a high school up north a little ways.  It went well and we enjoyed listening to a great high school band.  And on the way back, I received a text from a friend asking if I’d be in the music department that day.  I told her that I would be briefly, and that I’d find her when I came in.

Upon arriving, I quickly spotted my friend, and she excitedly motioned me over.  She reached for a little ziplock back and handed it to me…I didn’t know what the bag held.  She smiled broadly and announced that she’d brought pumpkin bread for me!  Moist, spicy…perfect.  Exactly what I’d been craving!!  And all right before the fateful test.

Again, God showed the tough who’s boss.

I took the test.  It went quite well (although I don’t have my grade yet…but I felt decently about it!).  After the test, I went for a walk in the sun, and enjoyed the crisp, fall air…my favorite!

And then came Wednesday, with a new birthday envelope to open, and an exciting chapel service to attend. World Vision would be coming to our campus so we could pack care-giver boxes, which would be sent to North Africa.  Not just any part of North Africa, though. These packages are being send to the part of North Africa that is dear to my heart, and that I plan to visit.  That’s pretty awesome, yes?  But there’s more!

This North African country is known for being difficult to work with when it comes to volunteer aid.  I don’t know all the details, but I just know it’s been tough…but they’ve finally decided to allow organizations like World Vision to deliver aid!

Let me lay this out for you:

#1. We pack care-giver packages

#2. Said care-giver packages are being sent to the country I plan to visit

#3. We literally packed the FIRST boxes to go to this country


The World Vision representatives did an excellent job of making this a meaningful experience by showing us a video of volunteer care-givers in other African countries.  They’re just normal people with basic training, but they have a huge heart and love for people.  Some of the care givers have serious medical difficulties as well, but they still sacrificially care for their neighbors.  What a beautiful thing.  And to know that I could help in a very small way…humbling.

Here’s a few photos for ya!

The assembly line

We packed basic items like latex gloves, soap, Vaseline, water purifiers, wash cloths, cotton balls and batters…things that we take for granted, and probably have in our bathrooms.

Here is a refill kit for the care-giver boxes

In front of each item to pack, they had placed a little card to describe how each item would be used.  The vaseline in the picture above is used to soothe the skin of ill people and prevent it from cracking.

More assembly line

After packing up our bag, we placed a little note in the top with our first name, hometown and a message of encouragement.  The care-givers are thrilled to read this, and pray for the person who packed the kit.

God showed the tough who’s boss.  Not just in my situation, but in the lives of people in North Africa.

I hope this didn’t sound like a downer “you-should-feel-so-blessed-cause-they-have-it-so-bad” kind of post.  I really and truly want to convey to you the different ways I’ve seen the goodness of God this week!

“Great is Thy faithfulness,

Lord unto me!”

How has God shown you His goodness this week?  I’d love to hear 🙂