Monday, January 26, 2015

Elijah & Emily

It may come as a shock to you, but I am an introvert. To me, meeting new people is equivalent to a little kid being forced to eat brussels sprouts: it’s awful while it lasts, but most of the time it turns out well. 

That’s how it was when I met Emily. At the time it was rather uncomfortable (randomly being introduced at church because we were both photographers and both attended the same school), but she ended up turning into a very good friend, and we have shared plenty of fun photo adventures since then. 

I was beyond excited when I heard that she was engaged, and even more so when she asked me to take their engagement photos. They were such a fun couple to photograph, and I can’t wait to watch them say “I do” in just a few short months. 

I hope you enjoy this snippet from our session! (And if you have a favorite, let me know in the comment section at the bottom of the page.) 

Eli & Emily, thank you for letting me be a part of your story. I am praying for you as you head off on the crazy awesome adventure called marriage, and I have full confidence that God is doing and will continue to do amazing things in your lives! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Real Talk: College

Dear Professor,

You may not know me. I am the girl who slips into the back corner just as class is starting, and bolts for the door as soon as you said, “see you on Friday”. 

Or, you may know me by name and yell “hello” from across the amphitheater during the cold hours of the morning as I rush to my 8am class.  

Either way, I want you to know that you have made a difference. A huge difference. It is not in vain; those late nights and hair pulling as you try to figure out a way to convey your topic to me and my classmates. You are changing lives and helping to build up the next generation of leaders, parents, and more importantly, Christians. 

I sat in your classroom today, and I realized that I am going to be sad to walk across the stage in May. Not sad to be done with the deadlines and papers and hundreds of pages of reading, but sad to be done learning from you. 

You have taught me that math doesn’t have to be synonyms with tears and anger and pain. You have taught me that history isn’t boring and stale, but rather full of life and humor and intriguing facts. You have taught me how to ask questions about the Bible and dig deeper and deeper to find the answers. You have taught me to not shy away from hard questions and hard answers. You have taught me that poetry isn’t just people throwing various misspelled words together, but rather the most beautiful of songs. You have taught me how to tackle a ten page research paper in a way that doesn’t require no sleep and an ulcer from too much caffeine. 

Whether you couldn’t pick me out of a line-up, or I say hello to you on a regular basis, I want to thank you. Thank you for changing the way I view life. Thank you for having an infectious passion for the subject you are teaching. Thank you for making the leaving of this place a bittersweet (and sometimes downright sad) event. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for doing what you do. 

The girl at the back of your classroom

Saturday, January 10, 2015

monster cookies

Today I made cookies. But not just any cookies...these were gluten-free monster cookies (rawr). And, because I had extra time, I decided to grab my camera and photography my process to share with all you lovely people. 

 First, I mixed up the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and baking soda.

Then, while the butter was melting, I drank coffee (of course). 

 And since the butter still wasn't ready, I snapped a shot of this (nearly empty) bag of cookies my best friend gave to me last night. (I promise it was mostly empty when I got it.) These cookies are seriously so good though...if you ever need a gift for a chocolate-loving-gluten-avoiding person (*cough* me *cough*) these will do the trick.

 A word to the wise...add the chocolate chips after the hot butter. Otherwise you will have chocolate cookies with no chunks of chocolate. (Or you could just add some chips before and some after and have super-duper chocolate-y cookies.)

 Mix that dough up and then throw it on a (greased) cookie sheet.

This was my first batch to put in the oven, and since I couldn't remember how much they spread out, I gave them plenty of room. They really don't spread out any, so go ahead and cram them on the sheet. 

 Don't bake them much longer than 10 minutes. I repeat: Do not bake them much longer than 10 minutes. They may not look done, but they are. Trust me. Give them a bit to cool completely and they will be perfectly gooey and amazing instead of as hard as a rock (like they would be if you left them in over like 11.59384893 minutes).

 If you don't feel like waiting till the cool completely, go ahead and enjoy them while they are warm and gooey and they fall apart in your hand. (Yum)

There you have it! Now go make me proud and bake some of these delicious things.

Monster Cookies

3 eggs
0.5 lb brown sugar
0.75 tsp vanilla
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking soda
0.5 cup butter
0.75 lb peanut butter
4.5 cups oatmeal
0.75 cup chocolate chips

Combine. Make balls of dough, then flatten. Bake at 350F for 10-12 min.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

the desire to belong

In honor of the first day of classes in 2015, here is an article that I wrote a few years ago and then revised for a class last semester. 

I walked into the room that first day and looked around. So many new faces. It was overwhelming. I found a little corner and just sat. Observing. Wondering what on earth I was doing there.

I wanted to belong.

I wanted to be part of the inside joke that the group two rows in front of me were laughing about. I wanted to know who the person was that the girls to my left were discussing. I wanted someone to walk into the room and yell out my name.

But no one knew me.

No one rushed over to sit by me. As I opened my book, and then proceeded to half-fake my way through the day, I kept thinking about belonging. It was something I was desperate for. Something that I had never really given much thought to up until then. At least, not at school.

Because my school consisted of me, my two brothers, and my sister. And when I left the desk in my room that I had done my school on for 12 years and walked into another room filled with desks and strange faces and new-ness, I experienced culture shock. I spent the next few months adjusting to the new culture. The one where your school desk wasn't 3 feet away from your bed. The one where your mom wasn't the Principal.

And the thought of belonging kept coming back to me. Over, and over. And slowly I started to notice something. All of the people in that room were just like me. They wanted to belong.

That girl sitting in the front row? She was picked on in high school for having braces, while all the other girls had straight, white teeth. The guy sitting over by the window? He doesn’t have a coordinated bone in his body, and so never fit in with the athletes at school. The girl who slips in right as class is starting and slips out just as it finishes? She’s a missionary’s kid from Uganda who has no idea how to relate to these people who are complaining because their wifi is slow. 

The thing is, we all belong. We may not belong to a clique, or to a certain athletic team, and we may feel like we really don’t belong to any certain country. But we belong to something bigger and better than all the sororities and baseball teams in the world. We belong to the Body of Christ. 

The One who created the universe has got your back, and you belong to Him. 1 John 4:4 says, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 

Not only does Jesus have our back, but He chose us. 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”

He chose you. He wants you. You belong to Him. And that, my friends, is worth more than belonging to all the groups in all the world. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

a no-gluten-allowed type of pizza crust (and sauce)

Over six months ago, I went gluten-free. My stomach has loved this choice, but my mouth has protested every time I put something in there that would normally contain gluten. So, naturally, I have been on the lookout for good (aka, doesn't taste like bland dirt + doesn't have 5,000 steps) gluten-free recipes. Last night I tried a new recipe for gluten-free pizza crust and, according to the empty dishes and the content looks on my family's faces, it's a keeper.

The recipe for the crust came from the Minimalist Baker, and the sauce came from Ree Drummond (who, by the way, is awesome). 

The only changes I would make to the crust is to make a 1.5 batch. That way instead of making an approx. 14in pizza + having some dough leftover, you could make two approx. 14in pizzas and make even more people happy with the delicious-ness! (Or you could just make a whole bunch of baby pizzas...that could be fun!)

Also, I have this really bad (that sometimes turns out for the good) habit of not really ever following a recipe. I promise I did with the crust, but for the sauce I took a couple detours. I added more herbs and spices (basil, cilantro, thyme, etc., etc.) and I blended the tomatoes before throwing them in the pot since I absolutely cannot stand chunks of tomatoes. Oh, and I threw in some homemade salsa too, just because I felt like it. 

Let me know if you end up making this + any changes you make + your people's response! And if you have any good (see above definition of good when it comes to gluten-free) gluten-free recipes, let me know, okay? 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

of welcome packets and la vie en rose

Today I am listening to my La Vie En Rose Pandora station and working on putting together information packets for new clients. 

And I thought that maybe, just maybe, there is somebody out there who would like to get one of these (free) packets chock full of awesome-ness. 

Here's a list of some of what is in these brown paper folders:
  • a note just for you
  • samples of my work
  • a list of my packages and prices
  • tips for your engagement session
  • a wedding contract
  • other really cool stuff
If you're interested in one of these little bags (aka, folders) of goodies, let me know! I would love to send one your way (no obligation on your end, of course). 

Have a great day, everybody! 

(And if you haven't already, go make a La Vie En Rose Pandora station. You won't regret it.)