Tuesday, March 27, 2012


This morning, in my quiet time, the study I'm using asked us to think about where we were spiritually, a year ago. Now, I would usually go get my old journal, read up, and figure out what Father was teaching me about this time a year ago.
But, all of my old journals are still in the States. So I did the next best thing.....and checked the ol blog!

About this time a year ago, I was spending the weekend in Arkansas for my friend's wedding. I remember feeling completely encouraged and filled throughout the weekend. It was a such a sweet time to reconnect with some wonderful friends that don't live close by.

As I was looking through old blog posts from this time a year ago and from two years ago, it just kept me thinking about how important it is to do a spiritual inventory every so often.

Looking back over this past year, I can clearly point out the tough times and remember what I was feeling and fighting against. I'm thankful that right now i'm looking back on the hard times over the past year, and don't feel like i'm currently in one. I mean to say, I'm loving my season right now with our Father.

Each day can bring a new challenge or setback, but it can also bring the most unexpected blessing as well. And lately I feel like I've been experiencing the blessings. does that make sense?? (Sorry, it's late and my mind has been functioning in another language for most of the day.) But what I mean to say is, this past year has had it's tough moments. I can tell you about them in detail. But, right now.....where Father has me, feels like a wonderful season of blessing.

I came across this verse a little over a month ago, and i am constantly going back to it.

It's Psalms 119:54 
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.

I not only feel like a sojourner right now because I'm not living in the States, but also because I know that I will be spending eternity in Heaven. This life on earth is so temporary. I don't want to get caught up in the troubles of life we face while on earth. I want to remember that this house, is a place I sojourn. I know my time here is temporary.

And no matter where I might call home, I want the Father's commands and statutes to be my song! I want my home to be filled with songs that speak of Him.

What season are you in right now? Is there a verse He has given you lately?



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spin Stuff

Sorry, it's been a while.......no good excuse really.

So I've been keeping up with my running once a week, ha....I really do wish it was more. When I lived in the States I loved being a member at 24 Hour and attending their spin classes. I loved spin! I loved that I could sweat so much, get a great workout in, and burn some good calories!

I've been looking around here at some local gym options and what they have available. I tried a spin class at a gym not too far away last Thursday nite. I couldn't understand about half of it, but I really enjoyed it! I haven't spinned in over 4 years, and I forgot how much I really do enjoy it. I'm thinking of joining and going on Monday's and thursday night, when Daniel is teaching. Have I mentioned this...Daniel teaches english twice a week to some local children.

Friday night we had fish, so I tried a zucchini tomato gratin recipe I found on Pinterest. I ended up changing it up a big because it was a pretty vague and an easy to change recipe.

I didn't have a lot of time, so I sauteed the zucchini and onions first in oil in a skillet, then layered onions, zucchini, tomatoes, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese. Then I just threw on some basil and other spices that seemed to make sense. I baked it for about 30 minutes and it was pretty good!

The weather here has been just lovely so Saturday we went for a walk and I found these lovelies for a steal....so I just couldn't resist!!

THEN.....my mom mailed us a package...and it was delivered today. I have to say, I have never seen so much packed into a package before! She spoiled us!!!

 I took the pic after I had put most of the stuff away :(

The candy bowl in the back is filled with Cadbury eggs (YUM!!!!), Andes crunchy something, and Hershey's Reeses eggs. oh my gosh I can't stop eating them! Then sweet Sarah, sent us that huge red tin and the bag next to it of Teavana tea of new flavors to try.
Seriously, we got a cookie mix with Peppermint frosting!, Splenda Brown sugar!!, dinner mixes, candy, clothes, Sharpies, letters, medicine, BodyGlide, soup mixes, spices, and lots of yummy teas and chocolates! I seriously just sat and looked at everything for a while in amazement. Ohhhhh packages!!!

This week is pretty busy but I'm trying to not think about it too much. We had a great weekend, so I might blog about that later on too.

We just started KungFu Panda (daniel's fave movie) and I'm going to get some tea and chocolate!


Monday, March 19, 2012

do you understand me?

I can't stop thinking about what happened less than 2 hours ago.

I had a 30 minute+ conversation in a langauge other than English. I walked into a new shop near our house and talked to the manager. We went past the normal how long have you lived here-do you like the food questions. And I was able to do it in my second (or third or fourth depending on how you look at it) langugae. I'm still in disbelief.

The manager works in a dish store. He has all sorts of plates, bowls, serving pieces, and other random home decorations. I talked about flower pots, cake stands, pets, cooking mexican food, jewlery boxes, and much more. And he understood me......that is mind blowing!

Where we live, we study the main language, but there is a common dialect that is used by locals that is very hard to understand, and different from what we learn in the classroom. I was so thankful that the manager spoke the host language!! Not only did I understand him, but he understood me!! ME?!?!? I'm still in shock.

Daniel and I spend hours everyday studying language-both in and out of class. Everyday we struggle through language...not struggle in a bad way, but struggle in a this-is-not-my-first-language kind of way. Learning language can be hard. It can be discouraging. Especially when you feel improvement in the classroom but step outside and someone doesn't understand a single word you say.

I share this not to pat myself on the back. I share this because I'm so thankful. So incredibly thankful for Father's grace in allowing this opportunity and His mercy he showed me tonight.

When I walked home from the man's store tonight, I had the biggest smile plastered on my face. I couldn't have frowned if I wanted to. The joy that filled me was too much to keep inside. It had to come out.



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Weekend Ramble

I rarely do bullet points....so in honor of St. Patricks Day here ya go!

- I ran yesterday for the first time in 5 weeks. It was my FIRST time to not wear a watch while running.

- Daniel travelled out of town for the last few days, so I took advantage of the opportunity to not cook and watch Annie. I love that movie!

- I've started showering (when I shower, ha!) at night. I used to think people were crazy for showering at night, but honestly it just fits my schedule so much better. AND I hardly ever straighten my hair anymore, so it doesn't matter if I sleep on it. I've really embraced the natural wave lately.

- When I put the knives away in the silverware drawer, I always count them. I have this strange fear of losing our knives or that somehow they will go missing.

- I've seen sunshine the last 3 days. Which equates to a weather miracle here. It's amazing how much sunshine can lift your spirits!

- Our TV has been broken for a while now. And it's a monster of a TV...it's the old kind that sticks out about 2 feet in the back. Anyways....the landlord brought us a "new" (to us) smaller TV. However it's still huge and he asked us to store the broken (never going to work) TV in our storage room.  When we asked if we could just throw the old TV away, he gave us a look that was priceless. So guess where the TV is?

-  I forgot it was St. Patricks Day today, but luckily when I remembered I was still in my sweats and green T, so I was good to go.

- I made a green smoothie today and it was a complete failure. Our blender didn't really blend the spinach and it kept leaking so I had a mess to clean up and a really chunky smoothie. So I made mac n cheese instead.

- In our city, we can get a lot of things delivered right to our door. Today I ordered butter and whipping cream, and then a salad for dinner. And most places don't charge for shipping....it's pretty sweet!

-So I might've embraced the pumpkin a little too much. I have BAGS of pumpkin puree in the freezer. Is it okay to make pumpkin bread in the middle of the summer?

- I made Smore cookies for Daniel tonight. They taste good but....they turned out pretty flat. And honestly, the Smore is so good by itself I don't know why I'm trying to improve it.

That's my ramble! What is everyone doing for st. patricks day??



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Go Fish

Daniel and I (mostly me) wanted to do one excursion or little activity while we were in Malaysia.

We found a really good deal on a half day private fishing trip. We had a guy take us out on the water, give us lines and bait to fish, and then brought us to a small private beach where he cooked lunch for us. It was a pretty sweet deal.

These pictures aren't great, I was just pretty excited to be out on the water and see green anything.

Our guide gave us fishing lines with 2 hooks and shrimp for bait. We were pretty surprised how much fish we caught!! I'm sure our guide thought we were a little crazy, because each time we caught a fish I screamed and took a picture. Clearly, we're first timers.

The first fish I caught was a poisonous blow fish. It actually "blew" it self up when I caught it. Again, this caused some screaming because I thought it was a self-defense mechanism and was going to explode fish guts all over me.

Here's Daniel catching 2 fish at once!

Look at all our fish!!

After an hour or so we docked at a small private beach and our guide cooked us lunch while we hung out.

It was so yummy!

Good thing we aren't vegetarians, because it was nothing but meat!!

After lunch we walked by the beach and these sneaky monkeys stole our bag of snacks. This is why I really don't care for monkeys. (which totally random, in my class this past week we did a book on monkeys)

I can't believe this was just a few weeks ago!

I don't have a single picture from our last day. We pretty much slept, ate, and hung out at the beach. I haven't been feeling oh so great since getting back to our city...mostly sinuses from the weather I think. I'm hoping to get some energy and breathing ability back soon so I can run. Because for the love I need to get back into it.

Hope everyone is having a good Tuesday!



Saturday, March 10, 2012

Coffee & Chili's

Ya'll, I promise I will start back to running on Monday. Since we've been home I have been eating well but my body is very aware of the lack of exercise it's getting. So...my promise to you, blogworld, is to get it together on Monday!

And.....cue vaca day 4.

Ya'll know I love me some coffee. And because marrying me has made Daniel a better man, he is now addicted as well. So we were pretty shocked when we realized that almost everywhere in Malaysia serves instant coffee. This is just unreal to me. Even nicer restaurants, the norm was to serve instant (not so great) coffee and if you wanted freshly brewed (ummm yes) then it cost extra and you had to pay by the cup.
Anyways......there was this company that has several coffee and tea shops all over Malaysia that has a coffee showroom where you can sample.

So Tuesday morning we took the bus to the showroom to get our coffee fix. The first sampled I tried looked very carmelly like something was in it. It tasted GREAT, but I was convinced it wasn't just black flavored coffee. So I asked the girl who worked there if they had put anything in the coffee, and she said no, this was it naturally. Me thinking, oh wow! However......then I looked at the coffee they were selling and it was instant powdered coffee that had milk and creamer added. The whole showroom was for instant flavored coffee!!! And when I asked to try the actual coffee beans that they sold, they said they didn't offer samples!!! What world am I living in?!?!!?!?

However...the coffees were pretty tasty so we bought 2 bags to use when we're travelling or don't have time to make coffee at home. Because they were pretty tasty!

After our coffee fix we walked around a bit and looked at some grocery stores. Whenever I'm out of country I always look at grocery stores for special import things we don't usually get.

Then it was time for lunch, and we found the Chili's!!!!!

Chips n salsa, bacon burger, and nachos!!!

After filling our tummies, we went to the beach for a few hours. Then for dinner we went to this little cafe near our hotel that was ranked #1 on tripadvisor.  And don't look too close...I'm not wearing make up.

After such a long hard day, I wanted to get a pedicure, so Daniel did the Dr Fish Spa again while he waited for me.

That was Tuesday in Malaysia! Next post will include a very fun fishing trip!



Monday, March 5, 2012

Mind the GAP

Okay, so one of the big reasons we chose to go to Penang, other than being able to afford it (ha!), was that it had a GAP and Chili's. Who wouldn't want to go on vacation and eat real american food and buy real american clothes that fit?? Exactly.

So....the mall that had the GAP (and I thought the Chili's but had Friday's instead) was about a 2-3 hour bus ride away from our hotel. Sadly, it was probably only about 30-40 miles, but taxi's there are way expensive and buses are cheap. So we took a bus for the first hour and tried to get on the next one, but it was really confusing and we spent a lot of time looking for it, so we got a taxi the rest of the way.

Anyways......we hadn't had breakfast or lunch yet (shocking i know), so we decided to do it up right....to start I got a pretzel from Auntie Anne's-for a $1 people!!! $1!!!! is that normal???? I felt like I just got the deal of a life time.

anyways....Daniel got a hamburger meal from McDonald's.

THEN.....we finished it off with donuts and coffee.

Those donuts you see in that picture are the FREE donuts that came with our coffee-that we didn't know about. This is after we had already eaten the donuts we ordered. Waste not :)

The mall we went to is HUGE!!! It had over 5 floors and each floor was so big that the ends were labeled, N, S, E, and W. We started at the top floor, walked completely all the way around one side then made a second loop to see everything on the other side. I refused to miss anything. And we're pretty sure we walked at least 5 miles.

Anyways...after one of my many bathroom stops (and note to Malaysia...please provide toilet paper in your public restrooms in nice places), I came out and saw Daniel and for some reason just the way he was standing with the coffees and this cute smile....I had to take a picture. His adorableness is just too much.

And the point of all of this, is of course....The GAP.

Sadly, it all went downhill after this picture. I had such high hopes. But sadly, this GAP only carried really nice work clothes and none of their basic items or anything that really resembled the GAP, other than their jeans (which I just got 3 pairs of so...) It was also the size of a shoebox. Here's the low point....I didn't even find a single piece of clothing I wanted to try on. I know, I know......

Luckily, the Body Shop was there to rescue me and take some of my money.

After dinner at Friday's, we took our very tired selves and rode 2 buses to get back to our hotel. It has been a LONG day. Fun, but long! We did find some cute clothes though at some discount stores. One store even carried Target brands and had the exact same pair of shorts that I bought at a real Target, and had actually brought on vaca with me. Small world.

I was going to do two days in this post, but who knew I could talk so much about the GAP? :)



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fish Spa and Sunsets

Day two of vaca was similar to day 1. Eating, walking around and exploring, and eating some more. I forgot to say that we did spend a few hours at the beach both days.

After breakfast on Sunday, we walked around for a few hours and explored.

And yes, we're both still tired. It took a few days....

And yes, we are wearing the same thing we wore the day before. We usually wear things 2-3 times in a row where we live, so it only seemed natural to carry this into vaca.

After breakfast, we walked along the beach and saw a sign for a waterfall near the hills, so we followed that path for a while. While we never actually made it to the waterfall, we had the best time just being out in nature and feeling the sunshine.

This morning, ended up being one of my favorites.

After walking around for a few hours (and getting a little sunburnt), we decided to eat...again.

I ordered this fruit platter, and it is seriously the largest bowl of fruit I had ever seen! It has fresh mangoes, green grapes, strawberries, and pineapple! It was soooo yummy!!! And the strawberries were some of the best I have ever had!!

We spent the afternoon lounging around at the beach and reading.

We watched the sun set over the hills/mountains before heading to dinner.

Where we live, we rarely get to see the sun, let alone a sunset. We were pretty thrilled about it!

Dinner was a mix of Indian, Chinese, and roti's!

After dinner we went to the Dr Fish Spa...anyone??? They have these places all over Malaysia and other places in Asia. Basically you put your feet in a fish tank, and the fish nibble on your feet. We only did it for 30 minutes, but some people do it for hours. It's supposed to be good for your health, but we really just wanted to try it for fun.

Daniels' feet:

It didn't really hurt, but it did feel SO weird!!! It kind of tickled, but you could really feel the fish giving you little bites. I was laughing and screaming so hard, it felt so strange!!

Look at then just gnawin away!

I would put this in the most fun we've ever had category. It was so great try something new!!

Class starts back tomorrow morning, so it's off to bed for me! Good nite!



Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tired Eyes and Hawker Food

We left our city on Friday, February 17th and headed for Penang, Malaysia for a week of vaca. To say we were ready and looking forward to it would be the understatement of the year. We were SO ready. We left temp's of 30's and 40's and landed in temp's of 80's and 90's. It was perfect! Our hotel was right on the beach, we were surrounded by mountains, AND we had a balcony!

We didn't get in to our hotel till after 11 pm, so there isn't really anything worth talking about other than we flew Thai air, and seriously I could talk forever about my love for this airline. They have wonderful coffee and customer service!

Anyways, after sleeping in till who knows what time (seriously it seems so long ago I can barely remember), we headed out to explore and find food. What's weird, is that most breakfast places didn't open till after 10 or 11. And even though we'd "slept in" we were still up and about looking for breakfast before 10 am.

We found a nice little restaurant that was open, quite literally in fact. Almost all of the restaurants had one side completely open to the beach.

Here's Daniel enjoying some type of fruit juice.


Ya'll, look at my poor tired eyes, and this is with make-up! Clearly, homegirl needs a vaca!

We decided to walk around and explore a bit. We were both extremely excited to see sunshine and mountains. We could not get enough.

We also found this!!!! Yum!! Fresh fruit...fresh!!!!!

I visited this stand several times throughout the week to get a smoothie, and we ate their once (they had a small restaurant too).
For dinner, we tried a Lebanese restaurant.

The food was good, but we quickly chose street hawker food over restaurants after that. The hotel we stayed in was on the street of the night market, and there was a huge area of street vendors each night serving Indian, thai, chinese, western, desserts, etc... We ate there a few times, it was SO good!

We walked thru the nite market and found crepes! I was extremely excited because I haven't had a crepe since I lived in Belgium, which was oh about 20 years ago. So I had to get one! (the reason I haven't had one since then is because all the places that have them put fruit in them...gross. They are best when served with chocolate! (and ice cream)

Then I was quickly converted from crepes to Roti's. Oh my goodness a chocolate roti! (Is the last post on detox starting to make sense now, ha!)

This was day 1 in Malaysia. Stay tuned for day 2!



Friday, March 2, 2012


We made it back. We were gone for 2 weeks for vacation, medical stuff, and some time learning how to live life better here.

But ya'll......can we please talk about the food?!?!?!

First, I love a good hamburger, fries, and coke meal as much as the next person. But oh my good grief, we ate, ate, ate, and ate. While we were gone we ate at the following places (and most of them more than once): Chili's, TGIFriday's, Dunkin Donuts, Mister Donuts, McDonald's, Burger King, Auntie Anne's, Starbucks, and many many local food stands that were certainly not winning any healthy cooking awards.

But the body can only handle so much. It's amazing how Daniel and I both felt so gross after eating high calorie, high fat, greasy foods. We're just not used to it. And to tie that in with very little physical activity to boot.

While we loved getting to spoil ourselves a little bit by eating western food, it was a huge reminder that what we eat is important. We got home this afternoon, so we'll probably go to the market tomorrow. But can I tell you how I have been longing to make some homemade oatmeal or peanut butter toast or something that wasn't fried or covered in chocolate?? Seriously, homemade nutritious food has never sounded so good.

I can not wait to hit up the market to get lots of good fruits and veggies. Granted, while we were travelling fruit was actually pretty easy to get, so I did have a lot of fresh fruit smoothies (no sugar or anything added), and I had fruit pretty often, but the lack of good green veggies in my life these past 2 weeks is shameful. Especially when I have a fruit smoothie seconds after eating a chili cheese hot dog and fries. True story.

Don't worry, I'll try to post about our vacation tomorrow. I don't think I have enough to do a day by day (you're welcome), but we did have such a great time in Malaysia, that it needs a few posts of its own.

I don't want this to come across as a negative post, it's not intended to be at all! But in this moment as I'm writing, it's what I'm feeling. And it just makes me really thankful to be able to cook at home and eat (as best we can) healthy meals.

and p.s we've been up since 4:30am so I'm also tired and not all together with it :)