Monday, December 29, 2014

A Taste of My Vacation

Because I'm a photographer and I go on vacation. And what fun is vacation without taking photos? And what fun are photos if you don't share them?

For those of you who have never been to Disney World (I pity you), here is what it looks like (from a photographer's point of view).

For those of you who have been to Disney, do you recognize anything? And can you find the 3 hidden Mickeys?

First of all, food. Because, well, look??!? Aren't they cute???

Monday, December 1, 2014

Things Can't Stay the Same

"...every person has to leave, has to change like seasons; they have to or they die...Everybody has to change or they expire." -Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

Change can be fun, but not when you're perfectly happy in your current situation. Sometimes we choose to change, because we are bored or have been so long in one situation we feel we might "expire." But sometimes change is just thrust upon us, and we have no choice.

Monday, November 3, 2014

One Good Deed

"One good deed is not enough to redeem a man of a lifetime of wickedness."
"Though it seems enough to condemn him."

Indeed. But what is enough to redeem a man? Because in human terms, there was no way for Jack Sparrow to ever turn his life around from being a pirate. I'm not sure that he wanted to, but if these were real people, and not characters in a movie, is there any possible way for a man who was a pirate to be forgiven and start over? Would anyone give him a second chance?

Snow White...she was a little bit different than Captain Jack (although I admit, I find the Captain a much more entertaining character). She was pure, kind-hearted, always caring for others. For her entire life, which, because of the curse, was a lot longer than the average lifetime, she was good. Always giving of herself to others.

Except once.

And once was all it took.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Waking Up Early Is Worth It

My absolute favorite band ever was at Houghton College this past weekend, and so was I. To see them of course! While it was quite the adventure getting there, I made it about five minutes prior to Matt Maher opening the event with some heartfelt worship before handing the stage over to...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Adventure Continues

Is this real life?

Yes, yes it is.

And by real life, I mean life after graduation. The "Adult World!" Dun dun dun! Yeah, it's scary sometimes. Mama handed me an envelope from my loan company with a smile on her face and said, "Welcome to the adult world." Thanks Ma, I appreciate it.
But how is real life different from college?

Well...the lack of friends to go out and get doughnuts with at 1 in the morning is a huge downer. The serious lack of a coffee shop that can compete with McConn is a sad representation of the world. Is there seriously no coffee shop in the world that can compete with what these college kids are turning out? In my opinion, no, no there isn't.

What's even more sad is the lack of chapel services every day. Yes, I said it. I MISS CHAPEL. They always said we would. Appreciate it, they said. You'll miss it in real life, they said. I mean, have you lived in this often depressing, ridiculously crazy world? Yeah, you're gonna miss the thrice weekly encouragement from people who are witnessing God work in crazy ways.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Where Are They??

I have a job now, so does that mean I don't have time to do a recipe of the week?

Psh! No. I have a part time job now. I had three jobs at school. And classes. And friends. And I still found time to make up new food combinations.

I mean, you've always got to have time for food, right?
Bacon Bit Chocolate Chip Cookies
But here's the catch...I am not posting my recipes on this blog.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Defining God's Will

Christians talk a lot about finding God's will and following it. We often don't make decisions because we are not sure if it is God's will. So what is God's will and how do we find it? What does it mean to be following his will?

I doubt there is anyone who can give you an exact answer to those questions. It's quite annoying, isn't it?

I had one very old and very wise professor at college who explained God's will in this way:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Cinnamon Honey Bread

I found this recipe under a file labeled: My Recipe Ideas.

It is a list that follows as such:

-Meatballs in blueberry sauce
-Spaghetti stuffed meatballs
-Chocolate chip cookie apple pie
-Snickerdoodle pie
-Peach muffins
-Biscoff and honey pancakes

and then the a very sketchy looking recipe for Cinnamon Honey Bread. I have no idea where this recipe came from. Let me tell you, I was scared.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mawwiage Is What Bwings Us Together Today

Did I mention I got married at camp?

During elementary week, we had a pool full of bubbles and some poles with ropes on them that would make HUGE bubbles! They were so much fun; the staff spent their entire free time one night playing with bubbles. And my campers loved playing with them during the day. I casually mentioned that I wanted to have these bubbles at my wedding, so my campers, God bless their little hearts, decided to plan my wedding.

It was beautiful; we got married in the gazebo (after they kidnapped us and dragged us over there). One of my girls performed the ceremony, "Princess Bride" style of course. And in the end, they pronounced us "friends" and had us shake hands. Quite the tearjerker.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures to commemorate the event. But one of my best friends from high school did get married on Friday (for real! At least I'm pretty sure, since my dad officiated it, and he's a bit more official than my 9-year-old camper). And I DO have pictures of that wedding!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Well, I'm Back"

Those three words ended the greatest story ever written by man. I think they'll suffice to begin my first blog post since camp.

Be still, and know that I am God.

I feel like, after 5 weeks at a Christian camp, nestled away from the world, serving God, I should have something more profound to share than that.

I don't.

There was a great emphasis this year on not just having a "spiritual high." On not being so in love with God at camp and willing to serve him and laying your life down at his feet and then going home and falling into the same sins and depressions that hold us captive throughout each year. We wanted people to meet God at camp, to get real with God at camp, but also to take that relationship home with them. To meet God at home.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Wait is Over

The wait is over. Sort of.

Now I know you are all dying to know whether or not I got a job in Disney World, if I will be moving soon, or what I have decided to do with the rest of my life.

Silly you, no one knows what they are going to do with the rest of their lives.

But here's what I'm doing for the next month:

I'm going to work at camp! Yay! I'm leaving tomorrow for a wedding, and then it's straight off to camp. I shall spend the next four weeks living off the wilderness, facing wild animals and scaling great heights.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mowing the Lawn Part 2: When it Grows Back

The trouble with mowing the lawn is that the grass grows back. It's as if you never mowed it in the first place! And so you must get up the courage to do it all over again.

So of course, when I wrote a blog saying how sometimes God asks us to mow the lawn, I shouldn't have expected that to be a one time thing.

But see, I just wasn't expecting to have to mow the church lawn again. I had mowed it once, at the very beginning of the lawn mowing season, and after knocking a piece of completely useless equipment off the side of the mower, I was perfectly willing to let all the men who signed up keep the grass short from then on.

The problem is, last week, one of them didn't show up.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Recipe of the Week

It's time for more pancakes!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Pancakes

You could eat them for breakfast, or have them for dessert. Or maybe second breakfast. Or just an afternoon snack.

Basically, it's a big, fluffy chocolate chip cookie.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Recipe of the Week

Say this five times fast: Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies!

Here's the thing. I can't stand bananas. I've tried. I think they're really fun to eat, but they just make me gag.

Aaand...I'm allergic to peanut butter.

But seriously, peanut butter and banana is a classic combination! And peanut butter and chocolate is delicious, bananas and chocolate have always been a thing, and pudding cookies are deliciously moist cute little round cookies, so what could go wrong?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mowing the Lawn

Is not something that I generally wake up in the morning, jump out of bed, and  shout "I get to mow the lawn today!" over. It's just not that exciting. But it's not that bad, either. Mowing the lawn can be quite fun, if I'm in the right mood.

I suppose that is the problem, isn't it. My mood.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Recipe of the Week

You know how I had two recipes all ready to go? Yeah, this isn't one of them. I've still got those two to add, and whatever else I make up before then. But with the theme of quesadillas and using up leftovers, here's something you can do with your leftover tortillas!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

While I'm Waiting

Yes, I did get lost in the woods.

The woods in the park behind my house that I have lived in for 22 years. I didn't realize they were that big.

I suppose exploring streams and getting lost in the woods is a childhood activity, but I was never a very brave child, so I must make up for it now. You're never too old to learn a new lesson. Or two.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Recipe of the Week

I think I spend a lot of time cooking. Well, baking really, but occasionally I'll make something using "real" food too. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, as can be gleaned from the fact that my last three blog posts are all recipes of the week, and I've got two more ready to go! I've made some delicious desserts this week, but I decided to post a recipe you can actually eat for lunch first.

So here it is:
 Pizza Quesadillas!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Recipe of the Week

I'm so excited for all the new recipes I'm trying! I've made a bunch of things this week while my parents were out of the house and couldn't judge me; some of them were even healthy! But the more important ones that must be shared are not exactly healthy...but they ARE delicious! And which is more important? Don't answer that. Just look at this picture and drool.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Recipe of the Week

When you live at home with your parents and don't have to go to work, you have lots of time to make new recipes! So although they will not be "college dining hall" recipes, I can still make lots of food, take pictures of it, and feel like I'm doing it for a purpose.

And there is always a purpose for pancakes at midnight. Especially these.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Still Waiting

How long does it take to break a habit? 2 Weeks? Well it's been two weeks since graduation, and finally, FINALLY the sun is shining! The weather is absolutely beautiful! In fact, I am sweating. I had forgotten such warm temperatures existed. But they do.

It is so easy to forget that summer exists when the air is so cold that it hurts to walk outside; they are like two completely different worlds. But take heart in this, that summer does exist, that it will return, and that you will once again be sweating and wishing for snow. Or at least for a little bit cooler temperatures.
And now that the world is warm and I can occupy myself by walking around outside in the bright morning sunshine, I am no longer depressed about having nothing to do. In fact I relish it. I laugh at all the poor souls who must go to work and school while I wander around barefoot in the grass, trying to avoid bees. Ha! Hahahaha!

Please try not to hate me. I will soon be working at a regular job and have a reason to wake up and get dressed every morning. Or I will run out of money. One of the two.

And I am not spending all my time wandering around aimlessly in the sun. I mean, first of all, this is NY. The sun doesn't stay out that long. But the reason I have grown content in my waiting is that I started doing things. I've said this before, but it's always helpful to have a reminder, as clearly I need. When you are depressed or you don't know what to do, just do something. Nothing can happen until you start. Then you can change what you're doing, or you can figure out something else to do, but you've got to do something.

 I always have a lot of things I say I want to do, but never take action toward accomplishing them. Well, why not? So I'm writing a book. I really am. I've written out plans and character sketches and started a rough draft. And I'm learning guitar. I can actually play some songs now, and I played for so long yesterday I was forced to quit because the strings were cutting into my fingers. And I'm going to speak Spanish, if it's the last thing I do. I can, at the very least, read "Green Eggs and Ham" in Spanish, since I picked up a copy at the library yesterday.

So take heart that summer will return. And do something.

Friday, May 2, 2014


What thoughts must have passed through their heads, as they stood with their feet in this grassy field, their eyes taking in the serene hillside, their guns lagging off their shoulders...

This is Antietam, sight of the bloodiest battle this country has ever seen. And yet the scene is beautiful, calming, a perfect place to sit out and have quiet time with God while watching the sun rise above the distant hills. One can't help but wonder what those soldiers were thinking about as they stood waiting for the inevitable bloodshed to come.

I don't like waiting. I'm sure there is some poetic beauty to be found in the act, but I don't see it. A week ago I was finishing up one final day of crazy college life and spending every possible minute with my friends. Now I am sitting at home, a college degree on my desk, and a whole lot of nothing to do. I'm waiting.

Of course I've applied for jobs. And I'm getting my wisdom teeth out this week (that is something to look forward to!), so I can't do much right now. But I'm on a waiting list for a job at Disney World. I'm waiting to hear back from other people. I'm waiting to see what the future will hold, and how I am to plan the next few months. I've got things I can do, but I just don't like this period of not knowing what I will do or when. I know that it will pass, that I soon will miss these days of freedom, but it's really hard to just sit and wait.

"I don't want to be in a battle. But sitting on the edge of one I cannot escape is even worse." Pippin said it well as he pondered his current situation. The impending storm is not the worst of our problems, it is the uncertainty and worry of waiting for it. How many things do we stress and worry over, that turn out to be not worth any of the time we spent on them?

 I suppose that this is the time that you learn to become who you will be when the storm comes. How you act and what you think while you are waiting determines how you will react during the battle. So I guess I'll have to use this time wisely and build up my character, so when the next step comes, I will be ready. I guess waiting isn't such a bad thing...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This is the Part Where We All Live Happily Ever After...

I'm not freaking out.


I'm only graduating from college in four days. But not today. For today I can still pretend to be an irresponsible college student who can live off of Pop Tarts and midnight doughnut runs. Sunday I may have to eat broccoli.

But since I finished all of my finals and portfolio presentations today, I am done with college work!!! Let me just say that one more time. I AM DONE! Yay! Obviously I'm a bit excited. I hope you can share in my joy. :)

But that being the case, I decided it was time to read the letter I wrote to God at the beginning of this semester. Since I wrote one last semester without really thinking about it, and it turned out that a lot of what I prayed for happened, I decided to try it again. Occasionally throughout the semester I would want to look at what I had written to see if any of it had happened yet. But I restrained, until tonight. Perhaps I should have looked. Because what I realized is that some of the life I had asked for I could have experienced if I had let myself.

What I mean is this: I wrote that "I would not get so overwhelmed and caught up in life that I forget my relationship with [God]."And while I worked on my senior show and got caught up in my three jobs, classes, volunteer teaching at the high school, and relationships, I let myself get overwhelmed. I let myself freak out. The thing is, I knew all along that God was going to take care of me. I knew I could trust him and that I could have peace in those situations. That was kind of the point of my senior show, finding peace in God. But I wanted to freak out. I wanted to have something to stress over, if only to earn more credit from those who seem to have more difficult paths to walk than I do. My point here is that I can't just write things and have them magically come true; I have to be active in seeking the life I want.

BUT...there was one thing I asked for that really did come true. In the most exciting way possible. At least that my small mind can imagine. And this is where fairy tales really do come true.
It's Disney World!

Yes, I went to Disney World. For a day. In the middle of finals.

Why? You ask. For a job interview! I definitely did not expect to hear back so quickly from them after I filled out the application, but the next day I completed the online interview, and right away was asked to come in for a face to face interview. And I wasn't going to do it. Because who, after all, is crazy enough to fly down to Florida for less than 24 hours for a job interview at Disney World right before taking their final exams in college?

Me apparently.

I wasn't going to do it, but everybody convinced me otherwise. Everyone convinced me that I should go for it, that I would regret it if I didn't try. And I don't want the reason I didn't do something to be because I was too afraid to try. And I am in college after all. For however short of time that may be. So what the heck, I did something crazy and bought a plane ticket to Orlando.

And then I called my aunt to see if she could meet me at the airport. She lives about an hour away and is taking care of my Grandma, so I honestly was not sure if she would be able to. But remember how I said that God is going to take care of me and I can have peace in any situation? Well I thought I was crazy, but God took care of his child. It just so happens that my aunt from NY was flying down to Florida, on the same day as me! My Floridian aunt would already be there to pick her up! BIG SISTER was going to be on spring break that week and would be in Florida too!!! I was ecstatic. No, ecstatic is too calm of a word. I was bouncing off the walls with joy. You could not contain how ridiculously excited I was about the fact that I got to go to Florida for a day and see my family, totally unexpectedly.
Aren't they cute? :)

So aside from missing one of my flights and barely sleeping in the 48 hour period, God totally worked out my trip to Florida. And hey, I wrote in my letter to him that "my fear would not hold me back from anything I want to do." It almost did, but it didn't! So don't let your fear hold you back from trying what you want to do. Don't let the reason you didn't do something be because you didn't try.

If I can do it, silly old nervous me, then you can try anything.
And they all lived happily ever after. Until the next blog post.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Recipe of the Week

So it's been a while...

I imagine the "real" world is just as busy, but college has a tendency to creep into your life and suck out everything you once cared about. But only for a little while, so please don't become morbidly depressed by that analogy! Working on my senior show pretty much took over everything in my life for a while, and then working three jobs and doing everything else that classes, clubs, and social life demand takes away from the things I like to do in my free time. Namely making up new foods in Baldwin.

Oh Baldy...I'm going to miss that place. I have probably spent more hours there than anywhere else on campus. But for the last few times that I get to eat their glorious food, I might as well make the most of it.

This recipe is really a personal preference. Let's see how creative you can get! Basically it's pasta, with anything you can find to put in it. I have a friend who literally grabbed different sauces from the fridge, spices from the cabinet, and anything else she could find, threw them all together in a pan with some frozen perogies, and fried it up. It was good! The only downside is, she has absolutely no idea how to make it again.

But there is a fun sense of adventure to that style of cooking. No measuring cups, no sure-fire tested recipes, no idea how it is going to turn out. This is how mine turned out:
Italian Seasoning
Pizza Seasoning

And then the sauces. Oh, the sauces. This can make or break a dish. There are so many options. You could go the pasta salad route and take something from the salad bar. There are 9 or 10 different dressings you can find over there. Or find buffalo sauce somewhere. If that's not available, there is always barbeque sauce on the grill line. Or go with the classic Alfredo. Or marinara. Or BOTH. Yeah! That sounds good. How about both? Who likes making decisions anyways?
So that's what I made. Pasta and sauce and stuff. Lots of stuff. Whatever stuff you want. And Parmesan Cheese on top. Because everything is better with cheese.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Be Still

I don't have scans of the actual pictures, because they are bigger than our scanners. I do have some scans of smaller test prints I made, so I will post those, although I am terribly sorry that I double printed on the third picture, so there is a weird rectangle interrupting the image.

 Each print has a poem rewritten from a Psalm with it, and basically they tell the journey from the "mountaintop" Christian experience, to the cloudy emptiness where we can't feel God anymore, to the surrender and sitting, quietly in his presence.

Inspired by Psalm 16

I love the LORD,
for he heard my cry.
I will call on him as long as I live.
The clouds of doubt entangled me,
the weight of façade wore on me,
Then I called on the name of the LORD.

The LORD is holy and true,
when I lost sight of him, he found me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.
I will stand on the mountaintop
and proclaim your name to all peoples.

Praise the LORD.

Inspired by Psalm 74

Why have you rejected me, O God?
Why have you watched your sanctuary torn apart?
The clouds cover the light of your presence.
We are given no miraculous signs.
How long will you hold back your hand?
But you, O God, are my king from of old.
Where is he who split open the sea by his power?
Where is the living water you promised?
It was you who opened up springs and streams.
It is you who set the boundaries of the earth
and defy their laws as you please.
Do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
Do not let us continue in sorrow forever;
may the weak and downcast praise your name.

Rise up, O God.

Inspired by Psalm 42
As the thirsty desire water,
so I wish I desired you, O LORD. 
When will I ever meet with my God again?
My tears have been my food,
for I no longer know my Sustainer. 
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul.
I used to stand on the mountaintop,
and proclaim your name to all peoples. 
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
My soul is downcast within me;
therefore, I will remember you. 
Let your oceans sweep over me.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;

For I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Inspired by Psalm 104

Praise the LORD, O my soul. 
O LORD my God, you are very great;
how could I have forgotten you?
You who stretched out the heavens and wear them as a garment. 
You created the earth
and aligned all of creation to your plan.
Creation cries out your praise,
O Sustainer of all. 
The sun knows when to hide,
and the lion, to prey.
In wisdom, did you design this. 
We all look to you,
to open your hand.
When you hide your face, we are terrified. 
But glory be to God;
your Spirit will renew us.
May my meditation delight you.

Praise the LORD, O my soul.
Praise the LORD. 
Inspired by Psalm 19

The world declares the glory of God;
the waters proclaim the work of his hands.
The law of the LORD revives the soul.
The commands of the LORD make us wise.
The doctrines of the LORD give joy to the heart.
They endure forever, more precious than gold.
By them, your servants live well.
Forgive me, LORD and keep me from sin,
that I may become as you are.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
 be pleasing in your sight, 
O LORD, my God.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Recipe of the Week

Back to school...and currently working on my senior show before it's submitted for review next Friday, along with all the rest of college life. And snow. And rain. And sleet, hail and the power going off every five minutes. But hey, that was just one day. Regardless of the weather, I am not spending much time in Baldwin, aside from work.

Fortunately, like a good college student, I am prepared. I have a delicious recipe I tried over spring break that I have been dying to share!!! I brought these back as a surprise for The Sojourn staff, and they seemed to enjoy them, so I think it was a successful experiment.

Oreo Pudding Cookies-pretty easy and pretty yummy.
I used a pudding cookie recipe from another blog:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3.4 oz. package vanilla instant pudding mix
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

But instead of vanilla pudding, I used Oreo pudding!
And crushed up mini Oreros!
And chocolate chips!

Here are the directions from their blog. Pretty easy to follow. And don't worry about them looking gooey when they come out of the oven; they will firm up. You don't want to burn them, after all!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and set aside.
2. Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add in pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until slight golden and set. Remove cookies from oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

An American in Paris (They speak French in Canada, right?)

What'd you do for spring break? Oh, you know, nothing special, just DROVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY! That's all. Yeah. So I live about an hour and a half from Niagara Falls, and thus, CANADA! We were surprised to find the area so touristy. And the falls so icy. But that's what it looks like, as you can see from these fun photos.
The frozen American Falls
The frozen falls and river

Frozen falls lit up at night
Horseshoe Falls
Tim Horton's in Canada! What!
Yes, I ate a Canadian Maple doughnut in CANADA!