Frame project

4:16 PM

Several years ago I was a little obsessed with musicals and theatre. My cousin gave me these picture frames with playbills in them and they've been hanging in my room ever since. Last summer I took them down when I painted my walls and they were forgotten about in the back of a closet. I saw them when I came home for Christmas and I decided to get a little creative. 

I busted out the watercolors and You've Got Mail and this was the result. 

I've quite pleased with how it turned out. I might get back into painting, it such a peaceful thing to do when you're stressed. Right now I'm getting ready to leave for Ireland, and I am definitely stressed!

A Gentle and Quiet Spirit

12:33 PM

I've felt enormously convicted lately about my disposition. I keep hearing 1 Peter 3:4 quoted over and over again.
 "Instead, make yourselves beautiful on the inside, in your hearts, with the enduring quality of a gentle, peaceful spirit. This type of beauty is very precious in God's eyes."
Gentle has never really been a word that I've identified with. Quiet comes easily and it's a common misconception that the two go hand in hand. You'll notice the translation I quoted does not use the traditional "quiet",  it says "peaceful". I think that's the key. Gentleness does not accompany quiet, it accompanies peace. Gentleness can only emerge when dissension and agitation are absent. If there is order within your heart there is no need to be harsh and ill- tempered. That's where gentleness comes in.
 My quiet nature is not peaceful and that is perhaps why I've struggled with this idea. I've mistaken restlessness for strength. When I was younger I bought into the lie that as a woman I needed to stronger than "religion" told me I could be. I wanted break out of the role of tradition and make my own life. This made me restless and sometimes that can feel like freedom, but it's not. When I'm restless I become quiet. When am I at ease I can hardly stop talking. This is where the confusion sets in.
I used think that because I was quiet I needed only to work on being gentle.  Now I realize that I have to work on finding God's peace before I can be gentle. A quiet spirit does not mean a quiet personality. It means a spirit that is at ease and has no fretful battle to fight. For me "quiet" is not a sign of peace, it is the opposite. When I am quiet, I am restless, and therefore I am neither peaceful nor gentle. That is what this verse has come to mean for me. I ought to be cultivating peace and not quietness. While for some people peace and quiet are the same, they do not coincide with me. My quiet demeanor is rooted in an insecurity that I allowed to be established and now I'm working on eradicating that through God's grace. I hope this Sunday afternoon has found you in a state a peace, and if it hasn't, I hope you'll ask God to lead you to it.


2:35 PM

We are nearly two weeks into the new year and so far I think I've done alright on keeping my resolutions. I know I'm a little late in posting about my resolutions, but I think putting them on here will give me an extra boost of accountability. So here we go!
1. I want to be healthier this year. That means less store bought junk food and more home made, wholesome foods. This should be fairly easy while I'm home, but once I get back to dorm life I'll have to be more creative. Being healthy also mean that I need to exercise on a more consistent basis. I have become a master of sporadic workouts. I really would like to get into running because it's something I can do wherever I am. My goal is to run three miles every week at first and then increase as time goes on. Lately my asthma has been acting up, so for me this is a pretty realistic goal.
2. I want to be more joyful. I am so blessed in so many ways and there is absolutely no reason for me to  be pessimistic or negative. This summer I let myself harbor a lot of resentment and bitterness. It's gotten to the point where I get so irrationally irritated at the drop of a hat. I can't live like that. It makes other people feel bad and it makes me hate the way I act. So that has to change.
3. I want to go deeper in my spirituality. My best friend and I are going to keep each other accountable and do a devotional together. Sometimes I let my priorities get out of whack and I put the silliest things before my relationship with God. I need to put him first, because that it what makes all the difference in my life.
4. I absolutely HAVE to pick a major this year. I am currently on my third major and I know that I want to change it again. I feel like I am constantly changing my mind and I'm in my second semester of my sophomore year and there is just not enough time for me to change it again. When I go back to school next fall I have to start working my final major. No more changing. Thankfully I have this semester abroad to think of what I want to do and make a decision, but after April, there will be no more changes, no more turning back. I want to graduate on time and this has to get done. There's not really a choice on this one.
5. I want to love more. Love my family, love my friends, love people, life, everything. I want to cultivate passions and deepen relationships and ll of that requires me to love more.

"Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man." -Ben Franklin

Tofu Fajitas!

6:19 PM

When I was a freshman in high school I attempted to try vegetarianism, and I failed. My unscalable mountain was tofu. I never could figure out how to cook it properly and it just always had the wrong consistency. I have since learned about draining and proper temperatures. So today I'm going to share one of my favorite tofu recipes and hopefully help some of you dive deeper into the mystery that is tofu!
The original source for this recipe can be found here.

16 oz tofu, drained
2 Limes, juiced
2 Teaspoons mild paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 yellow onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
8oz guacamole
8 oz pico de gallo
4oz plain greek yogurt or sour cream

To begin you need to drain the tofu. I like to cut the package open a little and pour  out as much juice as I can. Then I sandwich the tofu between two big plates loaded with paper towels. If you have a clean dish rag or two you can use those as an eco- friendly solution. I also like to put a large book on top of it all to make sure I get the maximum amount of drainage. This needs to left for at least half an hour. You might want to change out the towels after 20 minutes if they become soaked. 
While you wait you can make the marinade
Mix the lime juice, paprika, cumin, garlic, and salt together in a small bowl. This recipe is heavy on the garlic, so you can decrease it if you wish. Also, if you want to be more adventurous, you can add chile powder or even a minced jalapeno to give it more kick. My family can't handle spicy to well, so I've left that out. 
Once the tofu has sufficiently drained it's time to cut it. First cut it in half lengthwise, then make several slices across the top so that you make long strips. 
Arrange the strips in a baking dish and distribute the marinade so that each strip gets an equal coating. You may need to shuffle the strips around until they're all coated.
Leave this in the fridge for at least one hour. I like to make mine earlier in the day so that the tofu has time to really soak in the marinade. Flip the tofu a few times while marinating. 

Once the tofu have marinated a while you can heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Next slice the onion lengthwise and set aside. Once the oil is simmering you can put the tofu in let in cook until it darkens and crisps. Allow it to blacken in places. Once all the tofu is cooked add more oil to the pan and and place the onion slices in. Sauté until soft. This should take about 8 minutes, but it could take longer. The first time I did this I thought something was wrong because it felt too long, but if you're patient, you can have onions straight out of a restaurant!
While the onions are cooking you can wrap the tortillas in foil and warm them up in a 300 degree oven. 
Once the onions are done you can serve the best vegetarian fajitas ever with sour cream, cheese, and guac!

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