life in the basement has come and gone. we loved living underground, but are excited to practice maintaining a home. join me as i journal chapter two of our life, as we save up, look forward, and plan for a home in the city. as we seek after our great God to glorify Him daily, join in as we figure out what it means to radically pursue Him in "everyday life"

31 July 2011

another new feature....

so its been really exciting to see who has been following this blog. i'm not going to lie, it makes me feel pretty special when someone comes up to me and says, "hey, i've been reading your blog and i liked..." fill in the blank with some random recent post. nathan and i were talking about this and it made me realize what an impact i can truly have just by posting to the world my thoughts, affections, and interests. so thanks for reading!!

as i was thinking about this, i started thinking more about what i hoped people were getting out of this blog. its cool that i have influenced what kind of nail polish they should buy or encouraged them to bake a certain recipe, but at the end of the day, am i conveying and promoting the things that matter most to me?

one way i really want to do this is by sharing another interest of mine and encouraging you to get involved. ever since high school, i have been passionate about the world. i love to travel, love to eat new foods and meet new people and go different places. i love to be found in a land where i cannot communicate on my own, and i love the sounds of the multitude of languages. i eat hummus and feta and appreciate different types of chocolate and room temperature cokes with no ice. i love hijabs, saris, maasi patterns, and soccer jerseys. in school, i studied anthropology because i think culture is extremely fascinating. i drink turkish coffee, and from time to time love a good gyro, or shwarma, or burrito. 

i have had the privilege of seeing a lot of parts of the world. i have been to dumps and orphanages, monasteries and seminaries, castles and villages. i have visited four continents, have delivered christmas presents to the fatherless and discussed disney channel with kids in multiple countries. i love the nations. 

our home is full of nick-nacks and odds & ends from around the world- an arabic bible, a figurine from south america, a blanket from kenya....i could go on and on.  

so is it just that i love culture? well, partly, sure. i am intrigued by "different." but its more than that.

in all my travels, in all my studies, in all the times i have consumed ethnically diverse meals and discovered cultural norms other than my own, i have seen the desperation of the world. i have seen the hunger for hope, the longing for love, the panting for purpose, and the cravings for christ. see, because i love the nations, my heart breaks for them on a regular basis.

its pretty trendy to talk about how many children don't have access to clean water or mosquito nets. we've all bought [red] items and given to the red cross and seen, maybe even supported, a world vision or compassion international child.   while thats all well and good, what are we doing about their eternity? what does it matter if they have a nice glass of water on their death bed if once  they pass, they end up in the place where they will eternally be thirsty for the Living Water?

don't get me wrong, i'm all about meeting physical needs.  but we can't stop there. 

that's why i'm bringing in another new feature. you'll find it in two spots- on the left side bar, you will find a daily people group to pray for, and then every tuesday i'm going to focus in on one group. i want to ask you to join me in praying for the nations. maybe this will inspire further action from you- and i'd love to hear about that for sure! but at least once a week, i want you to join me in stopping and taking a break from the exciting world of pictures and nail polish and join me on my knees, praying for the lost.

in order to do this, i am going to utilize an awesome resource. for a learner like me, this website is awesome. called the joshua project,  this side prides itself on being "a research initiative seeking to highlight the ethnic people groups of the world with the least followers of Christ. Accurate, regularly updated ethnic people group information is critical for understanding and completing the Great Commission" (from here). their site is full of info on all people groups, and their standings in regards to their knowledge of the gospel. 

a people group is defined as the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance
there are 16,719 people groups
there are 6,933 "unreached" people groups
there are 6,929 living languages
the largest unreached people group is the shaikh group that contains over 215,000,000 peoples

therefore, tune in tuesday to see the first group. if you cant wait until then, then check out the people group of the day on the left side.

"therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest..." -matthew 9:37-38

30 July 2011

our little nephews

last night, we joined up with nathan's fam for some nephew time. aren't they just too cute? :)

29 July 2011

back to school: viking kitchen edition!

so last night, my mom joined me here in the city for a little event that i was quite excited about. i love my mom, and i am always enjoying her company (in fact, i am quite thankful for her! read about that here). she invited me a few weeks ago to join her and a ladies group that she is a part of for a cooking class. i, loving all things kitchen & cooking, of course agreed and put it down in my planner. so last night, we met up at lenox and headed over to the viking cooking store on peachtree. wow! what a cool place! we walked in and headed back to the teaching kitchen, and i felt like i was on the set of a food network show. joining 10 other ladies and the head chef, we spent the evening preparing meat in many different ways, and finally, after about 2 1/2 hours of prep, enjoyed the fruits of our labor.

i have attended other cooking classes before, but this one was done quite excellently. it was the perfect balance of instruction, fun, hands-on-ness, and yet not too intense or stressful. we relaxed over cheese and crackers, and could visit while we chopped onions, stuffed pork chops, prepared popover pans, and reduced cabernet for cabernet butter. i picked up some grilling tips and made some new friends, and went home with a full belly!

i would definitely recommend these classes if you have a viking store near you. definitely fun for a date night, birthday present, just because, christmas present, anniversary present, team building exercise- really, i cant think of an occasion it wouldn't be great for!

in addition to learning (& eating!) we got to do a little bit of shopping. mom picked me up a few "sweet treats" as well as some for herself. my personal fav? i'll let you guess:

did you guess the hot pink colander? duh silly! of course that was my fav!

all in all, a great night. check out their schedule here.
bon appetite!

28 July 2011

11 days

since my last diet far, so good. i have found when i'm craving that ice cold bubbly goodness, i grab a sparkling water with lime. not quite a diet coke, but seems to quench my thirst. i have noticed that i feel like better & i sweat more when i run, hopefully meaning my pores are opening up. tmi? sorry... but i'm hanging in there. i've actually had no diet drinks or soft drinks of any kind in 11 days. woo hoo!

27 July 2011

do i REALLY live in a basement?

so, since starting this blog, i have been asked many times if i really do live in a basement. yeppers. i do. but we love it. so for todays post, i thought i would give you a little background.
when nathan and i were engaged to be married, we started talking (of course) about where we would live once the blessed event came and passed. at the time, i was finishing up at berry (i graduated the weekend before we got married) and he was almost done with kennesaw (graduating not long after we got married). neither of us had jobs- we had hopes for jobs but come on peoples, it was the summer of 2009. not only was our love in its prime was so was the economic recession. but we figured, all ya need is love, right? so, having no jobs, we were free to live anywhere our little hearts desired and little pocketbooks could afford.  we had both always thought it would be cool to live in the city (nathans family lives in the kennesaw area, and mine on the south side of the city) and it seemed convenient enough, so we thought...hmm...sounds like a plan. we started hunting for apartments in our price range (not much) all around atlanta. not knowing a ton about the city (other than a few restaurants and coffee shops we had frequented while growing up), we poked around and did a ton of looking on craigslist and other apartment hunting sites. our quest was not going so hot (it seemed like every apartment looked the same and the cool ones were triple what we wanted to spend). this was around christmas time (so, 6 months before our wedding, ish). we happened to get invited to dinner at one of nathan's friend's place- a guy he had played baseball with in college. he and his wife lived in the city, so we thought it would be a great chance to ask them for some advice and see if maybe they knew of any good places to look. after getting lost on the way, but admiring all the christmas lights in such a cute part of town that we never knew existed, we stumbled upon this great house. intrigued, we followed the directions given to us and wandered around a little path to the right of the house- they had told us their door was around back (can you tell where this is going??).  so we checked it out, and went down the little sidewalk until it opened up in a large backyard and a small door that went into the basement. we enjoyed a great night visiting and eventually we brought up the topic of housing in the city.
are you ready for this?
so the couple that we were visiting shared in our struggles- they too had looked and looked in the city. they somewhat jokingly mentioned that they were moving out and we could take over renting the place- and we were like say what?! joking turned into seriousness, and they relayed the fact that they were planning on moving out in april and that they didnt think there was anyone lined up to move in. we were looking for a place starting in may!
so after talking to the guy that owns the house and basement, we got a lease agreement, signed it, and sent him our deposit. we were sold! it was a great deal, a great set up, and perfect for a "first home."
so here we are, in a basement, two years later.  we have talked about moving somewhere else- even looked a few times- but it truly has been great. we are quite content with our smallish space, the homey touches, and always having a well kept yard. so here we will live, as we are saving up to buy our own home.  we have and continue to make sweet memories here. and it is our space- our little part of the world, and we think its perfect :)

26 July 2011


i really REALLY like sharpies.....just check out my desk at work :)

25 July 2011

banana bread

so tonight, inspired by my husband's request for breakfast for dinner, i made some super yummy banana bread. we have had some aging bananas on the counter since friday and i had mentioned my intentions to make some bread, so his encouragement ensured that my bananas didn't end up past the point of no return. 

i grabbed my recipe book to use my mimi's recipe, but found that it required shortening and i was plum out, so i hit the internet in search of the "best banana bread recipe" (no really, thats what i google)

first one up had 5 stars and 806 reviews. after reading through it, i decided that it would be the one for me. additionally, i read the reviews and tweaked the recipe based on the recommendation of some of the folks. so here goes:

first, i preheated the oven to 350 and got my pan ready (a wilton bread pan).

next, i mashed up my three extra ripe bananas. i used a meat masher for this...a little more effective than a fork.

next, i creamed 1/2 cup butter with 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup demerara sugar (or you can just use brown sugar)

to that, once smooth, i added in two farm fresh eggs, a splash of vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon. then i added my bananas

finally, i added 1cup of all purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, along with a teaspoon of baking soda. i mixed gently, just until combined, then into the pan it went.

i baked it for about 45 minutes, but who knows how long it would take in a normal oven. 

and then we enjoyed! i recommend it :)

24 July 2011

turn down the music

while folding clothes today, i had my itunes on shuffle and this song came on. i stopped dead in my tracks and tears came to my eyes as i was gently convicted. wow. i immediately turned around and started looking up the lyrics, and felt i must share them. praying that the holy spirit stirs in you what He is stirring in me even now.....

by shane & shane
lyrics from here

If You were hungry, would we give You food?
If You were thirsty, would we give you drink?
If You were a stranger, would we let You in?
What would be the song we'd sing to You when You're in need?
Would it be an empty alleluia to the King?

Turn down the music
Turn down the noise
Turn up Your voice, oh God,
And let us hear the sound
Of people broken
Willing to love
Give us Your heart, oh God,
A new song rising up

And if You were naked, would we give You clothes
If You were an orphan, would we give our home
And if You were in prison, would we visit You
What would be the song we'd sing to You when You're in need?
Would it be an empty alleluia to the King?

Turn down the music
Turn down the noise
Turn up Your voice, oh God,
And let us hear the sound
Of people broken

Willing to love
Give us Your heart, oh God,
A new song rising up

Let it be our worship
Let it be our true religion
In this world but not unwavering
Holding on to our confession

Let it be our worship
Let it be our true religion
In this world but not unwavering
Holding on to our confession

Turn down the music
Turn down the noise
Turn up Your voice, oh God,
And let us hear the sound
Of people broken
Willing to love
Give us Your heart, oh God,
A new song rising up
A new song rising
A new song rising up

23 July 2011


the other night, i made nathan some quinoa for the week. ever made it? its pretty simple and super healthy! we just got into the quinoa craze, and have found it to be a great addition to our repertoire. i have tried out a few different recipes, and been totally satisfied with all of them! one of my favorite ways to cook it is using my favorite brown rice recipe, but subbing in quinoa instead of rice (see that recipe below).

so what is quinoa??  well, good question. according to wikipedia (which has the answer to everything), quinoa is a type of goosefoot, and "is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beetsspinach, and tumbleweeds." so what does that mean? not really sure, but we think its good. one of the biggest things we like and appreciate about it is that it is very high in protein and pretty good for you. one serving has about 14g of protein! pretty cool, huh? its also very versatile, you can sub it for oatmeal in the morning and mix in a little sugar and maybe cinnamon and fruit for a tasty breakfast, or mix it with savory ingredients for a powerful side and potentially even main dish.  

so, because of all this, nathan asked me to cook him up some for the week to take to work. i made it plain so he could choose each day what he wanted to do with it. one side note here, we ordered our quinoa from, a great website which i'll blog about later. its pretty expensive and hard to find in our grocery stores, and even at the farmers market, so when i saw it on their website for such a great price, we ordered several pounds.

so, i decided to make 2 cups of quinoa to start out with. after doing some research, i found that most folks suggested a 1:1.25 ratio to cook the quinoa (1 part quinoa to 1.25 parts liquid). some suggested as much as 1:2, so i decided to go in the middle. i made 2 cups of quinoa, so i put in 3 cups of water. i mixed this in my awesome le creuset  5 1/2 quart round french oven on my stove top, and brought it to a simmer. 

yay for le creuset!

once simmering, i reduced the heat and allowed it to cook for almost 30 minutes, keeping an eye on it and stirring it to keep it from burning.

side note here, check out my new tea kettle! i'm a little obsessed with le creuset these days, and my mom is so good to me, surprising me with new pieces occasionally.

once the quinoa was finished (and you can tell because all the liquid is dried up and it looks almost like rice does when it is finished, and also kind of like fish eggs), i divided it out into some glad containers. i measured out 1 cup servings and stacked them up in our fridge so nathan could grab and go each morning. he said this worked out great! he just seasons it before he leaves (like friday, he added a splash of EVOO, some dried basil, and salt and pepper), and heats it up and eats it at work. yum!


so there ya go. quinoa. good stuff. here's the two recipes for you:

basic quinoa recipe:
2 cups quinoa
1 1/4 cups water

combine in saucepan and bring to simmer. once boiling, reduce heat and continue to cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
season according to your preference.

brown rice quinoa recipe:
1 cup quinoa
1 can beef consomme 
1 can french onion soup
1 jar mushrooms
1 stick butter

dump all in a baking dish, and bake at 350 for about an hour.

enjoy :)