Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lights and Overpasses {Part I}

Growing up in a small town as a kid, there were always two things that thrilled me about The City.

The lights and the overpasses.

I can remember being fast asleep and having my parents wake me up as we drove into big cities, so I could admire the approaching brightness.

The interesting thing? is that I wasn't afraid of the vastness of the big cities. I wasn't afraid of the buildings. Or the people. Or ever the cars flying by....

Because of the light.

That's the thing about light. 

It dispels darkness. It turns scary uncertain unknowns into exciting worlds full of anticipation.

As Christians, I think we sometimes  we get so caught up in the situations that we forget about the beauty of The Light.

John 8:12 says; When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

He is The Light. 

He is the twinkling that changes uncertainty and fear into anticipation and excitement.

He is the brightness that dispels the darkness and the fears that you can't see what's ahead.

He is the illumination that gives us hope. That gives us a future.

And many times, it is almost too easy to look at the world around us and be intimidated by the unknowns. Be afraid of the uncertainties. Be unsure of what steps to take.

But, the next time you are traveling into that vast unknown? Don't focus on what you can't see. 


Just look at The Light.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We need your help!

This is one of my dearest friends. They have been in the process of adopting a child (off and on) for several years and due to some more "traditional" family changes, it had gotten moved back a couple time times...

But NOW? They have been matched! What an amazing, jubilant, time in their lives! Their sweet little baby is going to be born sometime around Christmas. The BM's story is a difficult one, one that has brought her to the place of realizing that she can't raise this child, but not one that's beyond the grace or abundant love of our Heavenly Father! And we are praying and believing for a huge transformation in this young girl's life as well.

So, here is the scoop!

My friends are on a mad-dash selling shirts. They need a HUGE sum of money in the next week (HUGE, people!) but I have seen those whose hearts are for the orphans come together time and time again to work to set these children in families!

This is one of those times! This is SO important, people! So important, in fact, that I am going to add another level to this.

If you buy a shirt from the Wards and leave a comment on this post, I will enter you to win a Journey of Love item (anything we currently make/sell).
(P.S. I have a habit of awarding extra stuff as well so don't let the "one winner" thing stop you!)

If you share this post on your blog, you get an additional entry.

Facebook? Twitter? Another entry for those as well!

That's three entries for one shirt purchase and an additional entry for each additional shirt bought!


We can do this, friends! The body of Christ can come together in perfect unity and display the love of our Father (the one who adopted us out of darkness) to this amazing family!!!!

Please do what you can to help!

Don't forget to order your t-shirt HERE--then leave a comment to have your name added to the drawing!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Few Of My Favorite Things: Recipes

Sometimes A LOT of the time The Husband posts pictures of food. Usually food he's about to eat.

Occasionally, they are pictures of food I make.
(This was the case recently on The Face Book)

Now, I am no Pioneer Woman or Hungry Girl but I can whip up a mean salsa. And, desserts? Well, I am a Master at yummy desserts.

And?  I am a fan of sharing. So, here are a few of my favorite recipes! Feel free to share them if you decide you love them, too!  Happy Friday  Saturday night Almost Sunday to all!!

Salsa de Smith

1 28oz can of Hunt's whole tomatoes
(Look, I am not usually brand-loyal when it comes to food, but for some reason, Hunt's just works better here. But you can try anything, who am I to tell you how to live your life?)
2/3 large onion (I use yellow-sweet onions but, once again, you're your own boss)
1/4 to 1/2 jalapeno, chopped. (We like em spicy around here)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp ground red pepper
1 Tbsp cilantro
1 Tbsp salt

Open the can of tomatoes and pour juice into blender. Add garlic, lime juice, red pepper, cilantro, salt, and chopped jalapenos. Blend thoroughly. Until it looks like purified red, spicy goodness. You'll know. Trust me.

Pour red spicy goodness into a bowl and alternating onions and whole tomatoes, fill the blender again with the rest of the ingredients. Now, this part is important and a little tricky. If you pulse too long, this will become mulch. We want chunky here, so I pulse a couple of times, take off the lid and stir down my bigger pieces, then pulse a few more times. It's not rocket science but don't be surprised if you end up with 1. really large chunks or 2. more pureed (less spicy) red glob.

Once you are happy with the chunky (desired) consistency, pour that mixture in the bowl with the spicy red goodnees and fold together (or stir if you're like me and folding makes you impatient and ancy).

Now, if you're like already know if you like your salsa super-spicy. I usually do heaping Tbsps of the red pepper and cilantro and then let the flavors 'marry' for a while in the fridge. "Marry"...that makes me giggle.

You can do what you want. I am not the boss of you.

In fact, I have also been known to take the bowl of Salsa de Smith into the living room and eat it all for dinner. And to put my fingers in my ears, singing "Lalalalalala" when The Husband asks if he gets any.

I'm not proud of these things....

But there you have it. Salsa de [enter your last name here]! Enjoy!!

Mango "Mambo" Salsa

I don't know why I call this Mango Mambo Salsa.

I know nothing about the Mamba. Or dancing in general. It might be offensive to dancers for me to butcher the name of the dance for the sake of slant rhyme. And as far as I know, the Mamba doesn't have anything to do with Mangos.

Of course, since I don't know any Mamba dancers, I feel confidently ignorant of their potential displeasure.

So, moving on.

Here's what you'll need to create a mamba in your mouth (I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist!)

3-4 large RIPE mangos- roughly chopped
This is a tricky measurement because it depends on 1. how good you are cutting/peeling mangos (I am not) and 2. how much salsa you want. Nothing in life in exact, okay folks?
2/3 purple onion- chopped
(Go with purple. It makes it pretty. I am putting my foot down on this one.)
1 bell pepper-chopped (I don't care what color, but I am cheap so we usually do green)
1 cup cilantro-chopped
1/8 cup lime juice (or more to taste)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt

Throw all the ingredients together and refrigerate for an hour while you youtube Mamba videos.

Go on, you know you want to.....

Spicy Baked S'mores

These make everything right in the world.

What you need:
9 plain or honey graham crackers (ground to a fine powder)
1 stick of butter (melted) and a little more to grease foil--or just spray the thing with Pam.
We're busy people.
1/8 cup sugar or splenda
1/8 tsp of fine sea salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips
2 tsp chipotle pepper powder (two 1 tsps)
1 tsp ground red pepper (two 1/2 tsps actually)
mini marshmallows

How to do it:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a square baking pan (mine is 8x 8) with foil. Leave about 4 inches on two of the sides to use as "handles" later in the game.Grease the foil with whatever you have laying around =)

Grind the graham crackers to a fine powder. Pour into a bowl and combine with sugar, salt, 1 tsp of chipotle, 1/2 tsp of red pepper and melted butter. After mixed completely, it should look and feel like wet sand. But it's not. Unless you're making this on the beach, in which very careful.

Take your wet sand graham cracker crust and press it into the foil lined pan. Once it's evenly pressed (come on people, you know what a crust looks like) then slide it into your preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until your house smells of delicious graham crackers and its golden brown. Take it out and let it cool.

Now cooking your chocolate chips is totally up to you. I usually do a double broiler (take a bigger pan, fill it full of water and take water to a boil, then take a smaller pot full of your chips into the larger pot and melt)

Or take your chances melting it in the microwave. Which I suck at (microwaves create a whole 'nother level of impatience with me)

Now add in the remainder of your pepper and mix in thoroughly. Pour melted chocolate into graham cracker crust and cover with all the marshmallow it takes to cover it completely...Or whatever is left after you've been munching on them the whole time..... not that I do that.

Now turn your oven on to broiler on high and place s'mores pan in oven for approx. 2 minutes. In real life, I prefer my marshmallows almost black so I leave mine in a little longer (while keeping a close eye on it, of course) but anything past "slightly golden" will work.

Take pan out and let cool to room temp, then place in refrigerator for a few hours. Remove foil from pan and cut your s'mores. =)

Here are a few things that DON'T work:
1. Substituting cinammon graham crackers, light margarine, or almond bark for any of the corresponding ingredients. Either alone or all at once. These things are not created equal.

2. Trying to "bake" marshmallows instead of broiling. That just results in a melted marshmallow mess. You can't come back from that.

So, Go. Create. Bake. And wear your yoga pants with pride!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Number Nine

Did anyone recognize this as being from a telephone?? Cause we're waiting on a call! (I crack myself up!)

A little over 9 months ago, the estimated wait for a referral was 6-8 months for infant/toddlers. Since then, we've increased our age range and the agency increased it's wait time =)

Our age range's wait time is 6-10 months (for over age 3)..So we are right smack-dab in the window (I know, I am starting to sound like a broken record).

We are excited that any day now we could finally see Little Smith's beautiful face! And in an increased effort to be optimistic, we are even getting back into our Parent Education Requirements. The webinars aren't terribly entertaining so we have to reward ourselves with fro-yo each time we finish one =))

Anyone care to throw out another referral date guess? There--of course--will be a prize if anyone gets it right!=)