Thursday, December 8, 2011

Utterly Grateful

That phrase perfectly describes the past year of my life.  

I cannot describe the joy and peace God has brought to my life.
I often wonder what I would do if God took it all away.  Like tomorrow.  What if God took tomorrow from me?  He would still be a just God. 
I try to prepare for unforeseen episodes in life that snatch precious moments from our lingering fingers.  I greatly enjoy the simplicity and complexity of life.  I love to research and research and research unanswerable questions.  I try to never stop searching for peace.  I want to be able to comfort a person during pain and anger and to be joyful during their celebrations.  
Since starting my job, distractions seem to disappear from life.  I am more persistent in developing relationships.  I complete my devotions every morning at the office before the work day begins.  My time outside of work is precious.  I can't believe how worried I used to be about God being...God.  I am praying consistently for ministry within the new church we are committing to.  I am loving marriage more than ever.  I miss my family and friends dearly, but am excited to plan trips to see them.  I wish I could convey these scrambled feelings more adequately. 

This is a wonderful moment in life to be at.

Thank You, Lord, for all the wonderful blessings, gifts and lessons I've learned. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The new job...

I love my job.  I have been there a little over a month and I truly enjoy it.  The past two days I have been at a training with my supervisor at Penn State.  It was so much fun! 

However (don'tcha just hate that word?), the trend of cutting budgets did not skip our county.  During this trip, I learned what I had been fearing for the past few weeks: I wasn't hired to fill the position of community service no, see I was hired to fill a new position entailing the juvenile community service coordinator, the adult community service coordinator and the reentry community service coordinator.  In case you missed my point, one person was hired to fill three positions.  A grand plan that it is...

I am not stressed about all the upcoming stress.  Yes, the program is in need of updated insurance plans (which I understand none of the legal jargon involved).  All the processing forms must be merged to fit all three units.  Being a newbie, I need to make connections with local organizations for our probationers to work at (and to win the ever dwindling grant money they possess).  I need to create a statistical data entry system for all three departments.  The summer litter pickup program must make at least double this coming year as it did last.  Yada, yada, yada...the list goes on

My job is a big load right now.  My to do list will reach far into the next few years.  I go without seeing my husband for days.  Dylan works overtime every week.  
And yet, somehow God shows me the little joys throughout the day.  God sustains me.  Somehow, I still love my job.  Dylan and I spend our little time together wisely.  We pray and read the Bible and dream our future dreams together.  I love falling asleep alone and waking up in the middle of the night next to someone with a huge grin spilled on my face.  I love watching the sun rise and set while driving to and from work everyday.  What beautiful blessings God gives...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Do you ever feel that you are in a joyful season with God?  I feel like we go through seasons in our relationship with God and I remember each season. 

Four summers ago was an amazing season of growing in intimacy with God!

Three springs ago was joyful season of trust. 

Two years ago was a horribly, thrown to the road without a wheel to steer year.  I learned a lot of God's constant wisdom that year.  This is the year I started to fall asleep at night praying Proverbs. 

Last winter was a wonderful season of thankfulness.  I loved learning the art of forgiveness and thankfulness...two valuable lessons I pray I never lose sight of.

I have not fully grasped this season, but I know prayer and building a community has been on my mind a lot lately. 

Oh what adventures lie ahead of us that we are unaware of in life:)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Update on life

Nothing fancy, but certainly blessed!

In the past month 

Dylan and I have paid for a new car (in full!!)-blessing

I have started my new job that I love!-blessing

We have been learning more and more about each other in our marriage.  This is in part because our schedules are the exact opposite now.  We get Sunday, Monday evening and Tuesday evening together and that is it!  But, we are learning a lot about maintaining good communication, like praying for each other more since we don't see each other-blessing

Dylan loves his job still!-blessing

I am planning two trips to Ohio in the next two months (and we can afford them too!)-blessing

My first paid government vacation day starts in two weeks.  Paid vacation days...still a crazy concept to me!-blessing
Finally, health insurance!!-blessing

Found a car insurance provider for both of our cars that is half the price we originally were quoted!-blessing

We get to spend time with Dylan's family, boardgames, tasty food, and amazing company (although I miss Ohio family terribly!)-blessing

Smudge is seriously potty trained!-blessing

I still enjoy paying school loans!-blessing

I could seriously go on and on!  But please still continue to pray:)  There is much work to be done in our lives:)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The day I forgot my anniversary...

Was when I thought today was our 5 month anniversary...

But no...that was two days ago

Dylan and I aren't really into made up "you have to really show that you love each other on this day" holidays...valentines day, sweetest day, any type of month anniversary

We are much more into spontaneous love "Guess what?  You get to buy any book of your liking today" day.  Or, "Surprise! It's a new video game" days

Dylan loved this one today:)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

John Piper...

If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness.  But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love.  You see what has happened?  A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance.  The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point.  I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love.  The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself.  We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire.
If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith.  Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased.
 -C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cheddar Chili Cornbread Pasta Bake...

Why, hello there perfect-Fall-meal:)

serves 4-6
1 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow noodles
3/4 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
2 1/2 – 3 cups of leftover chili

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Boil water and prepare pasta according to directions, shaving 1-2 minutes off the cooking time since the noodles are going into the oven. While the pasta is boiling, mix up a batch of your favorite cornbread and grate cheese. 

Drain pasta.

Spray an 8×8 baking dish with non-stick spray. Add pasta to the bottom of the dish, then layer on the cheese and chili. Top with your cornbread batter, spreading gently with a spoon. Don’t worry if it doesn’t reach the edges.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cornbread is golden on top and cooked underneath. I used a spoon to lift up the cornbread to make sure it was cooked. Serve immediately. Leftovers are delicious for 3-4 days.

Note: depending on what cornbread mixture you use, your cooking time may differ. Just make sure to check it after 30 minutes or so. The cooking time will increase for the bread since it has “wet” layers underneath.

Thank you,

Eat it up!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Too small

Too short
Too young looking

Too defenseless

I have heard these characteristics a lot


"Steph, what are you waving at?"

"My dream left at approximately 1:18p this afternoon."


"Yeah, I guess that just isn't what God has in store for me.  Hey, God didn't by any chance tell you when or what my next job will be, did he?"

"Ah, no sorry.  Can't say that he has mentioned that one."

"Yeah, me neither.  But he has it figured out, right?  Like, he knows?"

"Oh yeah. Yeah, that's one thing you don't need to worry about."

"Ah, good.  Good to hear."

Guess I'll stop waving now...that dream job is long gone and new adventures are just arriving

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Psalm 3:4-6

4 I call out to the LORD,
   and he answers me from his holy mountain.

 5 I lie down and sleep;
   I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
   assail me on every side.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

This week...

Two interviews

Monday...with a nice lady

Thursday...with 7 people at a big table...and then an essay...literally my dream job

The first date with my husband in over a month

Student Loan Payments (still cheerfully paying:)

Game night

Quincy Ox Roast (yes, we live in small town, mountain man land!)

Zebra nail painting with Keslie

New recipes

A new church community

Dylan working overtime

Dylan getting paid for overtime

Smudge successful/unsuccessful at potty training

Wholesome fellowship with Dylan's Grandma

Campfire Mountain Pies

Handwritten letters

Loved By Many

Once again, a blessing of a week

You have no idea what a blessing it is when people pray over us!

We value you all of your prayers:)

And some pictures of our Small Guy:)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

And for my next creation...

Fruit Salsa with Baked Cinnamon Chips
2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 (16 oz) carton of strawberries, diced
2 tablespoons white sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (more or less to taste)
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor (I used strawberry)

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray

Cinnamon sugar:
1 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon

1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3.Coat one side of each flour tortilla with melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle tortillas with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Spray again with cooking spray (not necessary if using melted butter).

4.Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture. This salsa can also be serve with cinnamon graham grackers or cinnamon pita chips. Best when made and eaten the same day otherwise the fruit gives off so too much juice and it gets runny. 

Posted from...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I have been

~making a budget
~trying out various recipes
~long sunset walks (as if PA actually has ever had a sunset with all of these stupid mountains everywhere)
~teaching Smudge tricks
~building a wonderfully strong sisterhood with Dylan's sister, Kelsie
~mastering the art of feminine fertility
~putting together a delicate address book in hopes of spreading joy this Fall with notes of encouragement

 Cactoctin Park (Where we suspect Camp David is...)

There is a little boy inside the man who is my brother ...
Oh, how I hated that little boy. And how I love him too

 ~Anna Quindlan

 He's growing like a friggin weed these days


Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I have found a potato salad my husband likes!

The feeling of a somewhat satisfied wife

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I do not ask for easy paths
Along life’s winding roads,
But for the promised grace and strength
To carry all its loads. —Meadows

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I need prayer this week

Yesterday marked my first unemployed day since 2004

Tomorrow marks Dylan's first work day while I live in PA

I need prayers

I naturally equate my self worth to my natural love for a good day of hard work

I love working...whether I am being paid or volunteering...I really do LOVE to keep busy

I have already created a list of to-dos which I will slowly accomplish until I am employed

Dylan works 2nd shift

I will have no car while he is at work

I am in a new town and miss my old friends dearly

Will you pray for me?

God is certainly stretching me

Monday, August 22, 2011

In Pennsylvania...

and unsure

There are many aspects of Pennsylvania that I love

or that I will learn to love

I don't love Pennsylvania yet and I don't hate it yet

I do know that I woke up this morning and a mountain was covering the sunrise...anyone know how to move a mountain? 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

When Dylan and I tied the knot we were very practical

We did not go all out and purchase the top financial tier we could afford

We came in under budget

We focused on what was important: glorifying God through our vow and union before Him

We felt so loved by our family and friends

But, this wasn't the happiest day of my life

Many say their wedding day is the bride's day

The wedding day is when you can put on that fairytale white dress and be treated like a princess

Was this a good day...even a great day?  Of course!

However, we are loved by our family and friends every day

I am daily treated like a princess by my Father (and Dylan)

Dylan and I are consistently attempting to glorify God through our marriage

I can think of family gatherings, foggy morning sunrises with God and days where my husband and I serve together...our wedding is placed somewhere in the middle of all of these fond, cherished memories

Hmmm...peaceful memories

Here's a fun mini series our marriage operates:)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Strangely, I can't wait...

For my next loan payment! 

Call me crazy, but we have paid on our student loans all through this summer and i love doing it!  I have literally been checking the mail for days

Every time I write the check, lick the seal and stamp the, I feel like 1,000 bucks! least that is how much I have lost, haha

We are so determined to live simple, frugal lives

Yes, to become debt free...
But also so we can give to others!
So we can sponsor mission trips!
So we can possibly adopt unloved youth!

I love paying student loans!

I really hope this joy doesn't so many others have told me it will:)

Here's a little inspiration for a somewhat frustrating Monday

Friday, August 12, 2011

I recently started journaling after a four month fall out with my notebook.  

It feels so incredibly freeing to write down all the precious moments that would usually slip my mind after a week.  

I love walking Smudge in the mornings before work

The sun is rising, birds chirping, fog lifting from the flat Ohio fields...

Last night I pondered with Dylan if heaven would someday resemble this image

I have often wondered why people need televisions when they can sit and watch the clouds float by, the breeze stretch from tree to tree, the shadows slowly accumulate on the earth's surface

These are some of the few images I sketch in my journal, hoping that someone will open it someday and realize how vast God's love for us is

So thankful God has given me the resources to remember these moments

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

An evening in Ohio...I will dearly miss you

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Can I please surprise someone over here?

I have probably sent in more than 30 applications that I am fully qualified for

And no job...

3 months since obtaining my diploma

And no job...
Let me be frank...

I trust the LORD

I serve the LORD

I pray to the LORD

I will not be swayed

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thankful for...


This is our new addition to the family

We called the dog warden while he was driving to have this little guy put down...
The Lord has perfect timing

This little guy is not only going to show me love and affection, but teach me patience too:)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace

that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ

to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:7-14

Do you ever feel like we are selfish?  With our dreams, our goals, our choices, our life...perhaps to feel more valuable in leave a legacy?

We are slaves for Christ

Friday, July 22, 2011

Let me be honest, I have always known that I can travel many different paths in life but I must choose one at a time
I went to college
I got married(3 months today)
.........God, where am I going now?
Careers...photographer?  probation officer?  social worker?  counselor?  stay at home wife?  foster mother?  
Yes, I know God is taking care of my career path
The unknown has never been an area I trust

I am a wild flower, swaying wildly in the wind...and it brings me joy:)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thankful for my husband

Upon arriving home after work, Dylan surprised me by turning my childhood bedroom into a small apartment-like setup to make it feel more like "our place"

A quiet night with my husband...I didn't realize just how much I would treasure these nights:)

Monday, July 11, 2011

The eyes of faith when fixed on Christ
Give hope for what’s ahead,
But focus on life’s obstacles
And faith gives way to dread. —D. De Haan

The things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel-
Philippians 1:12

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thankful for the blessing of some Gooooood Food!

Here's a recipe that I will attempt to create soon:

Recipe: Spicy Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Tomatoes, and Basil

 |   |   | 

 12 ounces, weight Mostaccioli


  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 4 Tablespoons White Vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Adobo Sauce From Chipotle Peppers (or One Minced Chipotle Pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper To Taste
  • 10 ounces, weight Grape Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise
  • 1/2 pound Smoked Gouda Cheese, Cut Into Small Cubes
  • 24 whole Basil Leaves (chiffonade)

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta until done. Drain and rinse in cold water until no longer hot. Set aside.
Mix mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, salt, pepper, and adobo in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, stir together pasta, dressing, halved tomatoes, and cubed Gouda. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed, and even an extra teaspoons or two of vinegar if necessary. Stir in basil at the end. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.


My history of cooking is...interesting.  I'm always looking for easy recipes with the main ingredients being chocolate, pasta, cheese or more chocolate.  Let's hope this recipe is a winner!
Night All!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I have been loving some new, small daily devotions lately

This one has ran through my head many times yesterday at work

It's so easy to focus on your own needs

Lord, grant me a heart of compassion
So burdened for others’ needs
That I will show Your kindness
In attitudes, words, and deeds. —Fitzhugh

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Joyful as a peach

Sure it doesn't have that fun ring to it, but this adequately describes my mood these past two days

The past few mornings have been filled with amazing devotions

Dylan and I have not checked anything off of our "not" list

I am very content where we are at in life

I had a major wake up call about a week ago

I wanted a job right away.  I wanted an apartment right away.  I wanted health insurance right away.  

But that's not what God wants in our life

And I'm okay with it

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My hunger for the truth He satisfies;
Upon the Word, the Living Bread, I feed:
No parching thirst I know, because His grace,
A pool of endless depth, supplies my need. —Sanders

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I think I can....
I think I can....
I think I can....

Trust God

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A little encouragement yesterday from my husband...

Still no jobs
Still no health insurance
Still no "home"
Still no whatever else you could ever add to this never-ending list

God is still incredibly GOOD to us 
I am loving however short of time I have with the juveniles this summer 
(Side Note: I had been praying for months for God to bring an opportunity for Dylan and I to serve a community of people even though we don't have a regular church we attend just yet.  ANSWERED: Dylan and I are serving side by side together, working with the juveniles!  It's kinda crazy how everything worked out.  I love it so much!)
Even though I want to be a unique Better Crocker in my own home, I am loving living with my parents, grandma and sister!  I love coming home from work to a full house
I have been blessed with an incredible group of high school friends!  We have hung out a few times each week and I am cherishing every moment with them!
The land I grew up on is soooo beautiful.  I have been taking pictures of almost every sunrise and sunset.  Amazing times with God during those misty bird-chirping mornings!

God is still amazing as ever and Dylan and I are blessed!

Monday, June 27, 2011

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.” Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NIV)

Update:  This has been my prayer for the past few weeks

Do you know what it means to cling to the feet of Jesus?

I am not insinuating that I fully comprehend a lot of things on this earth, but I do seek to understand the reasons behind our circumstances

I have just noticed this was the first day I am thankful for Jesus on this blog...
Oh the prayer that needs to be sought after

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thankful for...

Home...a place to call home temporarily

Our stay in Waynesboro is quickly coming to an end

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thankful for God's all-knowing, all-loving, complete just plan
I cling to the promises laid out in God's Word

The ups and downs of life infiltrate our marriage daily

Up: Dylan has health insurance!

Down: I do not have health insurance and am not eligible for Medicaid

Up: Dylan's Grandma has been a complete blessing to us while we stay at her house!  I only pray we can learn to be as hospitable and giving!

Down: Literally 50 other people applied to my dream job as I did...

I know God will open and shut many doors throughout our lifetime
We are learning to cope with the yes-s and the no-s

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thankful for a day with the Hubbs

I love that the beach is free! 

Hot sun, cool water, sand volcanoes, burying my husband in the sand, little kids following us around for an thankful for today

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Up....and Down....Up....and Down

I really don't like this pattern in life

Thankful for God's everlasting self
God never changes...He is my constant; the one dependable aspect in life
Last night Dylan and I went on a walk to watch the sunset in Waynesboro
God's creation can be so breathtaking...