Saturday, March 24, 2012

Are you a Christian who is "Team Edward"?

I have to say that I really enjoyed the Twilight books.  I understand that, as a Christian, they are not the best books I can read, but sometimes in the midst of theology, devotionals and study I like to read a good, fun, fictional book.   Non-fiction books usually take me several weeks to finish, but because I do not have to “think” about what I’m reading when I read fiction, fiction books take me only a few days.  I read the entire Twilight trilogy in about a week.  

First, I want to say that I know it is fiction.  There is no vampire out there named Edward and gigantic werewolf named Jacob.  I don’t believe in vampires just like I don’t believe that you can walk into a magical wardrobe and be taken to a land called Narnia.  But, sometimes fiction has its place and I don’t believe it is a sin to read a fiction book.  There are many fiction books out there that can have great impact on us.  One book that comes to mind is “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers.  In her book she focuses on Hosea in the bible.  It can have a huge impact on a young woman who has been sexually abused or needs to understand she can be forgiven and start anew if she did not stay pure until marriage.  The Twilight books are not Christian books.  I understand that too.  If you know a teenage girl or young woman that has read them we can use Edward as a tool to help them understand that there is One out there that is so much better than Edward and He is not fiction and also longs to be with you forever.
I believe that we should emphasize to our teen girls that Edward has some attractive qualities.  He loves Bella and would do anything for her, he is romantic, and he exhibits self-control (with anger and physical desires).  He cares about Bella’s purity and is adamant that they wait until marriage.  Edward also loves his family and is even kind to his enemies (Jacob), but we need to show our girls that Jesus has qualities that are way beyond the qualities of Edward and He is a real person.  Jesus is the man we should yearn to spend time with, not a fiction 19-year-old who is already fictionally married to a girl named Bella.  I know all the teen girls reading this just rolled their eyes.  Just stick with me for a few more minutes.

I have a younger sister who I know is “Team Edward”, just like me.  :o)  But, unlike me she is single and searching for a boyfriend who may one day become her husband.  So, I’m a little worried that she may be trying to find someone like Edward instead of someone like Jesus.  Not because there is no Edward out there, but because if she does find someone that she thinks is like Edward (without the vampire qualities of course) she is up for a bunch of disappointment if he is not also like Jesus.   No earthly man is perfect.  I’m married to a wonderful Christian man and I will admit he’s not perfect, but he is a blessing from the Lord to me and he does want to be more like Jesus every day.  I prayed on my knees for a husband and asked God to give me someone that loved Jesus and who strived to be like Christ every day and that is the man he is. He might not be as romantic as Edward, but romance is not as important to me as a heart of integrity, self-control, a fear of God and love of Jesus Christ.  If God provides us someone that strives to be more like Jesus then our marriage should continue to prosper.  We will have rough times, but if our mate loves Jesus more than us I believe that God will bring us through it.  Also, another benefit of having a relationship with Jesus first is even though Jesus is a man once we marry we still get to keep Him as our best friend.  So, it is a win win!
Now, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with praying for a man that has qualities like Edward, but his number one quality needs to be that he loves the Lord.  If he doesn’t love the Lord then you don’t want him.  Believe me; I went through much heartache before I realized this.  I’m speaking from experience.   Until I realized that I needed to have a daily relationship with Jesus and I need to look for that in my mate as well everything turned to turmoil and heartache.  I know why a broken heart is called a “broken” heart and I don’t ever want to experience that kind of pain again.  Girls, while you are waiting make Jesus your best friend.  Jesus can do anything Edward can do and He can do it better!  

In the Twilight books Edward is a 19-year-old immortal who can read minds (except for Bella’s), he drinks blood (he is a vampire remember), he is loving, he “sparkles” when in the sunlight, he is self-sacrificing (he would die to save Bella) and he wants to spend as much time with Bella as he can.  He even watches her when she sleeps (he doesn’t need to sleep).  Who wouldn’t want a man like that?

Now, let’s talk about why Jesus is so much better than Edward.  One obvious reason is, Jesus is a real live person and Edward is fiction.  Let’s pretend Edward is real.  Edward is immortal and we can live with him forever.  Yes, that is true, but he can be killed by other vampires or werewolves and he did try to get himself killed to save Bella (self-sacrificing).  So, technically, he’s not immortal.  Jesus Christ is truly immortal.  He cannot die.  He is also self-sacrificing, but not just for you, but for all who believe in Him.  He came to earth as a baby, was crucified as a man for our sins, died and rose again to live forever in his resurrected body.  It is a real fleshly body as there is proof in the New Testament that many saw him in the flesh.  He cannot be killed and is with us forever.  Which means, he will always be with us and if we (and our future spouse) believe that He died for our sins we can be with him forever also.   All as immortal beings with resurrected bodies.  And we don’t have to worry about vampires or werewolves coming after us to kill us.


Edward drinks blood in order to survive - albeit animal blood, as he is a “vegetarian” in the book and does not rely on human blood, but he does need to hunt in order to survive.  I wouldn’t say that this is a “good” quality of course, but I wanted to compare Edward’s need for survival with the blood that Jesus provides.  Jesus doesn’t take blood, but He shed his blood freely for our sins.  He doesn’t need blood to survive, but gave His blood to us as a gift for our forgiveness and survival of our earthly death.  

You are probably thinking, “Well, Edward can read minds!”, but Jesus can read minds too!  I’m pretty sure if Bella was real He could read hers too.  So, this means that you can speak with Jesus without ever having to talk out loud.  I think this is a pretty cool relationship.  He knows all the desires of your heart without you ever having to open your mouth and tell Him!  He also wants to give you those desires (Psalm 37:4).

When Edward walked into the sunlight he sparkled like diamonds.  Yes, that sounds pretty cool, but Jesus is the light (John 8:12).  So, he doesn’t even have to walk into the sunlight to sparkle.  He is the light and He is the light of the world (John 9:5).

Lastly, Edward cared about Bella’s purity.  Jesus also cares that you wait until marriage, but so much more.  He cares so much that He gave his Holy Spirit to us to help us remain pure until He provides us a husband to share our desires with.  He knows how important it is that you do not bring past relationships with you (in your mind and heart – and sometimes baggage) into your marriage.  Believe me; in a dating relationship you will need the Holy Spirit.  My husband and I only dated for 9 months before marriage, but it was a daily struggle and we had to pray that we would have the strength to wait.  I’m so glad that God gave me someone with self-control because without his self-control (and the Holy Spirit’s help) I don’t think that we could’ve waited until our wedding night.  Also, this one thing means so much to me because I saw how much my husband struggled to remain pure with me and I know now that we are married I know I can trust him.  If he came into a situation with another woman and was tempted I believe he would have a lot more self-control than some men and that means a lot to me.  If you are a girl/woman that has not waited until marriage Jesus Christ provides forgiveness.  Just ask him to make you a new woman and to forgive you for your impurity, but also ask Him to be with you and help you to stay strong until marriage.  Unfortunately, because there are consequences of our sin, He does not wipe away your memories of past sins.  You will have to take those with you into your marriage, but God can help those memories to be not so often. That is one of the reasons why God wants us to stay pure for our future spouse because He understands what those memories can do to our soul and our marriage.  Remember, you can always pray for help.

As woman, we long for perfect love, but there is no perfect love aside from our relationship with Jesus Christ.  Instead of being “Team Edward” we should be “Team Jesus”.  That is where we will find the perfect love that our heart desires.  My prayer is that my sister (and all young girls and single women) will develop her relationship with Jesus, pray for the qualities she would like to see in her future husband and that God will provide her a godly man.  It is the desire of my heart.  Jesus loves you more than you will ever know and he needs to be your “Edward”.   Will you let Jesus be your Edward?

I found this T-shirt online and I might just have to get one.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Where Have You Been All My Life? I'm in Love!

If you are the sole cook in your household or even if you cook every once in awhile you will want to read this post!  I have a new kitchen appliance and I want to share its AMAZINGNESS!  

I've been wanting a pressure cooker, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to try using my pressure "canner" as a "cooker" first or if I wanted to spend the money to buy a new pressure cooker.  One of my hesitations with using my pressure canner was that it is huge and also because we have an old stove and it is really a pain to get it up to pressure and keep it at a set pressure.  Well, my wonderful mother introduced me to the "Electric Pressure Cooker".  The best part is that I won't have to use our electric stove. The electric pressure cooker has its own heating element!  Initially, she purchased the Montel Williams model from a TV shopping network, but it did not live up to its promises so she sent it back.  She was able to make a few recipes, but it would not hold pressure after the first few times she used it.
So, we both did some research and found the Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker.  While I was helping her research I was falling in love with all of the great reviews.  Since I had a gift card with Amazon I decided to purchase one for me and I bought her one for her birthday!  


So far, it is everything I had hoped for.  Tonight, I decided that since I had a pork shoulder that I would try to make the pulled pork recipe in the book that came with it and try making potato salad using potatoes and eggs cooked in the cooker.  Since I waited until after work I really needed to hurry or dinner would be too late so it was a great opportunity to see how fast this PC really is.


Normally, I put whole red potatoes onto boil and I have to keep checking them to see if they are done enough, but not too much.  It takes between 25-30 minutes.  They have to be that perfect medium or the potato salad won't be perfect.  So, I threw a bunch of whole potatoes into the PC with 1 cup of water and set it on high for 7 minutes.  YES!  I said 7 minutes!  Now, it does take the cooker a little bit of time to get up to pressure before it starts the countdown, but I can set it and walk away.  Then, when I hear the beep telling me it is done I can go check on it.  So, I was able to go back to my desk and continue to work until they were finished.


As you can see from the picture above they turned out perfect.  There is water in the bottom still, but you can't see it in the picture.  Kevan and I like the peelings on our potatoes so I don't remove them, but if you don't like the peelings they came off VERY easily.  See pic below....I peeled this one a little bit and it was coming right off. 


So, if you were following.  This took 7 minutes to cook them (plus the time to get it up to pressure), but I could work and didn't have to check on them that entire time!  A little longer and we could've had mashed potatoes (although, my hubby doesn't like them).

My mom gave me the tip last week that eggs cooked in the PC come out PERFECT as hard boiled eggs.  No struggling to get the shell off.  It FALLS off.  The steam gets under the little skin between the shell and the egg and it just falls right off.  Here is a picture of the eggs after I cooked them.  I put them in with 1 cup of water for 8 minutes.  The conventional way takes me about 25 minutes.


I used eggs from our friend who raises organic pastured hens.  As you can see from the picture below they came out perfect and the wonderful orange yolks are because they are from pasture raised hens and not store bought.  One note though - if you are taking them somewhere as deviled eggs or some other egg dish you may consider using white eggs.  Because mine were brown they had a little brown tinge to them, but I can live with it!  You can barely tell.


Now, for the pulled pork.  I followed the recipe in the book.  Normally, when I cook pulled pork in the crockpot it takes all day long and uses energy all day.  Or we make it in the smoker and it also takes at least 6 hours or so and we have to constantly check on it to see how it is doing and spraying it with cider vinegar.  I forgot to take a picture of the pulled pork during the process so I will just explain.  

The PC has a few settings - Brown, Saute and Simmer.  The book said to cut it and then brown it in oil using the brown setting (taking turns with each piece) until they were all done.  I only cut my 2.5 pound meat in half.  I think I should've cut it into fourths because I had to cook it a little longer.  Anyway, after browning it (it took about 5 minutes).  Then, I put all the meat in the cooker with some cider vinegar, a little brown sugar, salt and pepper.  I put it on high for 45 minutes.  I finished making the potato salad then went back to work again and did not check on it until the buzzer went off.  Then, I removed the meat, kept 1/2 cup of the liquid that was left....put it all back in the PC with 2 cups of our favorite BBQ sauce and put it back on for 5 more minutes.  Dinner was done!

Also, after each item was done in the PC I used the quick release option to release the pressure.  I'm impatient and don't like to wait.  :o)  It worked great.

Recap:

Potatoes - 7 minutes
Eggs - 8 minutes
Meat - 45 minutes plus 5 minutes

So, in a little over an hour we had this for dinner.  keep in mind that I didn't have to stay in the kitchen while it was cooking. I was probably only in the kitchen "doing something" for 35 minutes.  The rest I was just waiting in my office for it to finish.  I made the whole wheat buns earlier in the week from fresh ground wheat berries.  :o)


I don't know how I lived this long without it!


I do want to say one more thing.  This pulled pork was very good, but we do prefer it being cooked in the smoker since it gets a nice crunchy coating on it.  So, I will probably continue to smoke it, but this is a great alternative.

I shared my post on Tammy's Recipe Site for Kitchen Tip Tuesdays.  Tammy has a wonderful site full of tips and recipes.  I have made several of her recipes and they have all turned out great.  

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Merritt Island Visit

Kevan and I went to Florida in December.  During our visits we try to drive out to Merritt Island and drive through Black Point Wildlife Drive before we head to Dixie Crossroads restaurant in Titusville.  I know I've posted about our adventures here before, but we like to have a memory of our visit so I wanted to type out a post with pictures.  I hope you enjoy anyway.

One of the bad things about visiting now is that they now require you to pay to drive through Black Point Wildlife Drive, but it isn't too expensive.  You pay $5 per car for a Daily Pass or $15 annually.

Usually, when we arrive at the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge we go to the Visitor's Center.  There is a fun area for kids to explore, some stuffed animals (real and non-real), an outside area to walk around and it gives you an opportunity to ask the park rangers/volunteers if there have been any animal sightings that day and where.  This day that we visited someone that came in told us they just saw a bobcat down the road.  We have only seen one bobcat all the years we have been going and it was pretty far away from us.  Below is a picture of a "stuffed" bobcat that is in the visitor's center.


The visitor's center also has a little walking trail.  Below is a picture of the trail.


We also found out from the visitor's center that there was an owl sitting in the nest down the road.  We hopped in our car to go see him.  Kevan and I love owls and have a few fun owl stories.  Anyway, when we made our way down there we could only see his ears flipping in the wind, but it was till neat to see.  His picture is below.  I took this while sticking my head out of our sunroof.


Also, on this day...we didn't have the $5 to put into the box for our entrance fee and we didn't want to be dishonest.  So, we decided to skip Black Point Wildlife Drive and we just drove through Biolab road instead.  It isn't as nice and it is shorter, but we were late anyway so we decided to do the short route.  I didn't want to miss having dinner at my favorite shrimp place.  lol!

As you drive around you will see MANY different types of birds.  Below is a Great Blue Heron.


I believe this is a Snowy Egret hiding in the brush.


Here is another one standing on a dock.


Below are a bunch of cute white Ibis.  They are pretty cute and make funny noises.  There are also ducks in the background.


Blue Heron flying over us.


Below are a bunch of Roseate Spoonbills (not to be confused with pink flamingos).   There is also another Blue Heron in front of the bush below.


The Roseate Spoonbills are very cute to watch because they use their "Spoon" bill to swish around in the water looking for food.  You might be able to tell in the video below, but on my computer it seems a little choppy for some reason.


On this visit we saw LOTS of ducks.  Much more than we usually do.


If you look at this picture below...the ENTIRE part in black were ducks.  The sound of them talking to each other was ADORABLE.  We sat there for quite awhile and just listened. 


I know a lot of people don't think buzzards are that cute, but I do.  Look at his cute face.


 Lastly, we did see a few alligators.  Here is one of the bigger ones.


We usually see many more things, but we left after church, arrived late and it was getting dark fast.  So, the pictures we took later in the evening did not turn out well.  We also see (on occasion) eagles, wild boars, snakes, jellyfish, many types of other birds and fish jumping out of the water.  The refuge also has an area to view manatees.  We only see them sometimes and it seems like most of the time they are not around.

If you want to see more pictures of our Merritt Island Adventures click here.

NewPics 138

Thursday, January 26, 2012

We are going to Tijuana and we need your help!

Kevan and I will be going to Tijuana, Mexico June 6th-13th (pending manager approval) with our church here in Tennessee.  We will be hosting a Vacation Bible School for several days with the neighborhood children, having church at the drug rehab mission and also taking a group of orphans on a day trip so they can spend the day having fun and eating great food.  I'm sure it will be hard for me to not bring one of these little orphans home with me!  If you hear about a woman that tried to smuggle an orphan on a plane....just kidding.  lol!  During this time in Mexico we will show them and share with them the love of Christ.  We will love on them, laugh with them and teach them.  I have never been on a mission trip so I am very excited and I have heard so many times that it is a life changing experience for the volunteer.

Bible School Picture



Tijuana, Mexico is a city of 3 million people.  We will be going to an area that is mostly poor families who may not even have electricity in their homes and live in shacks.  The last picture below is from the town we will be having our VBS.  This area does not have a church and these children have never been to a VBS.  Most likely, they have never heard about Jesus.  I am praying that we have a huge impact in these children's lives and that it will even reach their parents, teachers and caregivers.

Children from the orphanage enjoying a day out:


During one of the mission trip meetings at church it came to our attention that there are a few couples and one teenager that really would like to go, but they do not have the funds to do so due to illness in the family (having to pay medical bills) or due to the loss of a job recently.  Our church is filled with families in need and I am scared that they will not be able to attend even with the donations from our church members.  Kevan and I are praying that this will not hinder them from going.  So, I thought it might be a good idea to ask our family and friends whether they would like to sponsor a couple, teenager or activity.  The activities still need to be funded.  If we do not have enough funds for the activities we may have to change our plans.  I pray that is not the case so we can make the most impact.  You could even just give $5 or $10 if that is all you are led to do.  We are not just reaching out to help these little children in Tijuana and teaching them about Christ, but we are forever changing the heart of the person that is volunteering.  Plus, the more people that go with us the bigger the impact we can have on these children, their local church and our church through those that are going.  Will you be a part of it?

Tijuana, area that we will be:

Kevan and I have all the funds we need so none of the contributions we receive will go to us.  I wish Kevan and I could sponsor a couple, but since we will be paying for ourselves we just can't do it.  I know that many of you wish you could go on a missions trip and for various reasons you can't at this time.  This would be the perfect opportunity for you to help.  I will try to take lots of pictures and document our trip as much as possible.  If you sponsor a couple, a teenager or activity I will try to share those with you too.  The airline tickets are going to be purchased on 2/16/2012 so if you will be giving we will need it by then.  I know it is very short notice.

Here is a verse that may help your decision, "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.  Do not say to your neighbor, Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow when you now have it with you." Proverbs 3:27-28.  If it is in your power to help a teenager or couple go on this mission trip and possible impact their lives or the lives of the precious children we will be ministering to I ask you to please give something...even if it is only $5.

If you are interested you can send a check to our church (email/ping me and I'll send you the address) or you can send it to Kevan and I via PayPal and we will make sure that your donation is given to the mission fund for this trip.  Just send me a note, email or text if you are interested in giving.  God Bless You all!  I'm excited to see how God is going to work in the lives of everyone involved in this trip.

Areas for giving:

Individual Costs:
Airfare:  $350.00
Meals:   $120.00
Lodging:  $30.00
Total:   $500.00

Sponsor an Activity:
Orphanage Visit - $200
Vacation Bible School - $250/day


Matthew 19:14 - Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Psalm 10:14b - You have been the helper of the orphan.

Deuteronomy 24:21 - When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Couple, Some Elk, A Moose and A Priest

Some of you know that Kevan and I spent a week in Colorado recently.  He had to go there for work and I decided to tag along since I had never been to Colorado.  The first 4 days I was stuck in a hotel room with no rental car.  This was my view.


I got a lot of work done during those 4 days.  I didn't have to make dinner, clean the house, put wood in the woodstove or drive anywhere.  I just concentrated on putting in a little extra work.  I realized that there is NOTHING good on TV and that it is VERY hard to sit in the same little room for 4 days at a time.  I couldn't wait to leave.  I probably gained 5 pounds (at least) from sitting on my bum the whole time.

On Friday night Kevan and I drove up to Estes Park.  It was a very pretty drive.  I was surprised at how different the landscape was as we drove.  Some of the mountains had a forest of trees, but then it totally changed to be more desert-like.

We stayed at The Historic Crags Lodge and I loved it!  I loved that it was built in 1914 and that they have old pictures all over the hotel.  We had old pics in our room too and a book that explained the history of the lodge.  There is a main room where you can congregate with other visitors or sit by the fireplace and enjoy viewing a scrapbook of their history.  Also, if you venture downstairs there is an entire wall of the bottom floor that is an actual mountain.  The wall is rock.  Kevan and I thought it was pretty cool, but I forgot to take a picture.  Here is a picture of Estes Park.


The room we stayed in was VERY small, but I loved it.  We could barely fit our little suitcase through the path at the end of the bed, but we had our own kitchenette, TV room and view.  The bathroom was pretty cute too.

We got up the next day (very early) and went to The Rocky Mountain National Park.  Kevan and I love National Parks.  I was on a mission to see some Elk!  I was told by everyone that knew we were going that we would see Elk.  Well, we went the entire day (almost) driving to all the places they told us they would be and NOTHING.

We did see some Mule Deer (below).  Don't you love his mule ears?  But, we didn't see any Elk.


We decided to stop at the Visitor's Center.  We met a very nice man that worked there and he told us a lot of great facts about the park.  Then, he told us that a couple that just came in saw an Elk herd of bulls down the road.  I IMMEDIATELY walked out to the car and waved him goodbye...yelling to Kevan that we'd better hurry.  I was still on my mission!

We drove down the road and I noticed a woman taking some pictures.  THERE THEY WERE......resting.


I was a little disappointed that they were just laying there, but I have to say it was pretty unbelievable to see them out, in the wild and hanging out.  There were about 20 of them.  It seriously made my day!


Then, we decided it was getting late and we should grab some lunch and head to Winter Park.  It was supposed to snow and it would be about a 4 hour drive and I wanted to get there before dark.

I know....you are waiting for me to tell you about the Moose.  It's coming!

Before we left for Winter Park Kevan spoke to a few friends about which way to go.  We could take this unscenic traffic filled way:


Or go this way through the mountains and we may see a few Moose or Sheep.  


Even though it was supposed to snow we figured we could handle it. We went the long scenic route!  It started out great.  We drove around the mountains.  Saw a few female Elk laying around in someone's yard.  Can you imagine seeing this in your front yard?  I WOULD LOVE IT!


Then, stopped to buy some "Cherry Cider" at a local Cherry Market.


But, once it started snowing....our excitement turned to scary-ness.  At least for me.  Kevan seemed to always be calm and under control.  I was the one that got quiet, nervous, emotional, etc.  The one from MICHIGAN was the one afraid of the snow.  Go figure.

It started like this.


Then, turned to this.

  
We both had to use the restroom and there were only a few places along the way that would help us with this, but the parking lots had too much snow to stop.  We thought we might get stuck.

I told Kevan, "The only thing that would make this drive worth it is if we see a Moose!  I've never seen a moose before!"  Then, we saw this.


God is so great.  It's my moose!  Ok, maybe not "my moose", but the moose I've been waiting for my whole life.  I've always wanted to see one in the wild.

He decided to stop right in front of our car.  Kevan didn't want to stop because he wasn't sure if we would get stuck.  But, the moose wasn't moving!  He sat there and looked at us.  I thought he might charge the car, but then he made his way past us and we start up again.  Sorry for the steering wheel in the picture.


The moose gave us a little excitement and filled us with hope that we would make it through this blizzard.  We just wanted to make it to Walden.  Once we got there we thought we would be fine.  Also, Walden claimes to be the "Moose Viewing Capital of Colorado".  Who wouldn't want to go there?


We made it to Walden and ran into a gas station to use the restroom.  We talked to the lady there.  She told us we would have to go over ANOTHER mountain before we would make it to Winter Park.  I almost died!  SERIOUSLY??  Would our marriage make it through this?  This is where the priest comes into the story.  Just kidding.  lol!


We decided to press on.  We grabbed some water and food in case we got stranded.  The drive was going great until we had to start driving up the mountain.  We had another car behind us that Kevan wanted to let pass us (since I was making him drive so slow...oops), but I begged him (literally) to let them stay behind us just in case we got stranded. I wanted someone there to save us!

So, we kept driving about another 1.5 hours....up and down these curvy roads.  Snow off/on....of course we argued...I asked him why he chose this route....he told me to stop worrying...he threatened to throw me out of the car.  Just kidding.  He was probably thinking that, but he didn't say it.

We were about 45 minutes from Winter Park when Kevan noticed the car behind us was flashing his lights (turning them off/on).  I got a little scared.  We pulled over and then the car came up beside us.  There was a man in the car that told us that he was running out of gas and he didnt think he was going to make it and could we follow him.  My heart dropped.  I didn't know this man.  What if he DID run out of gas.  So, Kevan prayed that the Lord would be with us and if this man did run out of gas that he would be a nice man who wouldn't harm us in any way.  We could not leave someone out there in the middle of no where...so we would have to help him.  Then, about 10 minutes later...he ran out of gas!  I checked to see if we had cell coverage so I could text my MIL and let her know just in case this was an evil person that was going to steal from us.  lol!  Then, the man got out of his car, turned toward us and I saw....he was a PRIEST!  Yup, a priest.
We gave him a ride to the gas station and then Kevan offered to help him fill his car in the middle of the blizzard.  His name was Mijanko and he was from Croatia, but he was currently assigned to a church in the area.  There is a little more to the story, but I won't bore you with the details.  I was very happy that God blessed us with this special moment to help this man.  I can't imagine what would've happened to him if we weren't there to help him.  He would've had to walk through the freezing snow or hitched a ride with someone else and as far as I could see....there was no one else.

Here is a picture of what it looked liked then.  It was a lot better since we were off the mountain, but it was still cold and snowy.


We arrived at our Winter Park hotel shortly after and enjoyed a nice dinner before falling asleep.  I barely made it through dinner I was so exhausted.  The next day we only had a few hours before we had to drive back to Denver to fly home.  Kevan wanted me to experience Winter Park so he had me go up on one of the tallest lifts.  I had never been skiing or to a ski resort.


Anyone that knows me knows that I DO NOT like heights, but I did it for Kev.  All I can say is....it was an experience....and....now I know...I will never ski.  I'm sorry babe....I know you are disappointed.  Here is the view at the top.


On the way to the airport, I saw these too.  They were ADORABLE.



Lastly, we saw some buffalo and elk.


That was my Colorado adventure.  IF I go back again....I am not going in the winter....I hope.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kitchen Appliance Closet

Kevan and I have a 2 page list of projects that we need to work on.  Projects like "redo the well house", "finish framing the bedroom windows", "fix chainsaw", and many other projects.  Well, we both had the day off yesterday for Martin Luther King Day and when Kevan woke up he asked me what we should work on.  Of course, we should work on the MANY projects we need to finish, but what fun is there in that?  ;o)  So, I told him we should redo our ugly "middle room".  Which isn't on our list at all.  lol!

The reason I wanted to do this was because I NEED COUNTER SPACE and my appliances take up way too much of it.  I wanted an appliance closet.  Here is what my counter looked like beforehand.


Our ugly middle room is a room that contains our water heater and a green/yellow shelf unit.  We believe this room was the back porch before they built on to the original home.  It has an "outside door" in the kitchen leading to it and then another "screen door" leading to the wood stove room (which also used to be a porch before they walled it in).  Here is a before picture.


Due to the ugliness of the water heater side of the room I have refrained from showing you for fear you will have nightmares.  We've only used this room to hold our recyclables and bird seed.  Side note - we do not have garbage pick up where we live (I'm not sure if we can...I've never asked) and we are supposed to take our garbage to a city dump, but Kevan and I HATE the idea of putting things into the landfill.  So, we recycle what we can, throw the food trash into the woods for the animals (one day we will compost it or give it to our pig/chickens) and then burn the rest in our outdoor burn bin.  Sometimes, we do have items that we can't burn or recycle and those do end up in the landfill, but that doesn't happen very often.


As you can see in the picture above, the room has paneled walls.  We have this paneling in a few places in the house (soon to be painted) and one room upstairs that is filled entirely by this paneling (one day maybe I will post pictures). I'm not really sure what the previous owners were thinking.  Maybe they thought it was paint by number.  

Anyway, the first thing we did was remove the shelf unit and I started to paint the paneling.  I had Lowe's tint a small can of Zinsser so it would cover better than regular paint and to ensure it would stick to the paneling.  It worked great and the color ended up matching the surround of the screen door perfectly.  Then, Kevan built the shelving out of a single 4x8 sheet of  plywood.  This was a LOT cheaper than buying individual shelving with the pretty laminate.  I wasn't really worried about prettiness.  I can paint or stain them one day.  Here is a picture after the paint and after Kevan installed the shelves.  Maybe we can do something to the floor one day...but that isn't a priority right now.


Here is a picture of Kevan sanding the sides a little bit for me.  He didn't want me to get a wood splinter.  He's so sweet.  (Also, the lines you see on the wall are the groove lines in the paneling...no paint can fill those in).


I could barely wait for him to finish and pretty much kicked him out while he was still sanding because I was SO EXCITED to move all of my appliances in.  Don't they look great?  I also love that I have recycle bins now for metal, plastic and glass!


A picture of my counter now.


Much better.  My favorite part of this project wasn't actually the counter space.  It was something my husband said before we even started the project.  We were in the car on our way to Lowes and I asked him why he was so excited to do this project (because why would he care about my appliances.  lol).  He said, "Because I know it will make you happy."  Is that not the sweetest thing you've ever heard?  

But, just so you don't think he is "too" sweet...while we were at Lowes he asked me to hold this big piece of wood with my legs so it wouldn't flip when he stood on it (he was seeing if it could hold his weight since we will be building a bridge).....anyway, when he stood on it, it flipped and SMACKED me in the leg.  HARD!  I have a 4x4 inch bruise on my leg now.  He just laughed.  I was almost breaking out crying at Lowes.  So, he isn't all sweetness.  lol!

Below is a Before and After Pic.