Sunday, September 30, 2012

Results of an Emotional Weekend

I had a hard time this weekend, emotionally.  While taking a homework break this evening, I was looking through my list of quotes.  I have kept a list of quotes since I was in high school, and most of them come from books I have read or sermons I have heard.  The quote that stuck out to me today is from C.S. Lewis' autobiography, Surprised by Joy.


**If you want to use this image, please be so kind as to link it back to my blog. Thanks!**

Monday, September 24, 2012

Catching Up with Mrs. Ketchup

These are the events that describe my life over the last couple of weeks.

  1. My field placement started a month late (which means I am one month late on getting 330 hours for the semester...joy).  I woke up the morning of my first day, and, of course, was running late.  I had made some gluten-free breakfast cookies (recipe here) earlier in the week and frozen them.  Those cookies are absolutely perfect for rushed mornings.  I threw three of them in the microwave, set it for 30 seconds, and left to dry my hair.  When I came back, my living room and kitchen were filled with smoke.  **Reminder...I need to see if our smoke detectors are broken.**  The culprit?  My cookies were on fire!  I had 5 minutes left before I needed to walk out the door, but there were flames in my microwave!  Hitting the flaming cookies with a Tupperware lid failed to extinguish them.  Before you start making fun of me, you shouldn't question my lack of thinking skills; this was an intense moment, ya'll!  Thankfully, common sense kicked in and I poured a little bit of water on the now black cookies.  I threw open the front door and living room windows, doused myself in perfume, packed my bags, closed the windows, and headed out.  Yes...I still arrived to my placement 10 minutes early, and yes...I smelled like smoke.
  2. Almost got lost trying to find a home where I was observing my supervisor.  (Sorry that I didn't tell you, Mr. Ketchup.  I didn't want you to worry).  I think it's time to go buy a state map, because Google maps doesn't work very well when you are out in the boonies.
  3. I was sick ALL of last week.  Mr. Ketchup woke up feeling sick this morning.  Of course, he is now yelling at the video game on his TV screen, so he probably isn't too bad.  Sorry, I just had to out you.
  4. While at a home today, the father asked me, "Are you old enough to be doing this?"  I guess I need to start doing my hair and makeup differently.  Any advice in making myself look older?  Would drawing on wrinkles be too much?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Openness - Or My Personal Musings

I have been working on this post for what seems like forever now.  I brainstormed.  I wrote a few rough drafts.  Mr. Ketchup even gave me some advice.

Today, I was going to tell you about the Blurb facebook photobook that I made.  However, Mr. Ketchup wanted me to write a more personal post, similar to the first few that I wrote.

This led to more brainstorming, more blank stares at the computer screen, and more re-writing.

It is much easier for me to write about a new recipe that I tried, how to make a photobook, or a new challenge that I joined online.  It is hard to be open, but I will attempt it.
 
  1. I cheated on my gluten-free diet last week and ate a piece of toast.  My body was not happy, and now I am fearful that this may have to be a full-time/forever type lifestyle. 
  2. I really want to move to a place with a yard so Mr. Ketchup and I can get a dog! 
  3. I LOVE love notes.
Ok, the last two are very easy to be open about.

I was extremely upset last week, as I had never dreamed that one piece of toast would affect me the way it did.  I thought I was doing this diet to help with my emotions.  I started it, and noticed that I felt better physically.  Surely a cheat after a month would be ok?  Turns out it wasn’t ok.  This means I have to find a primary care physician and get this checked out.  Sigh...

Number 2 is both good and bad news.  Bad news: We found out that our rent will be going up at the end of our contract.  Good news: I spoke to a friend who told me that her and her husband rent a duplex with a fenced-in yard for just a few dollars more than what our new rent will be.  As much as I love our apartment and being so close to our friends, I have been dropping hints to Mr. Ketchup about how we should consider moving to a place with a yard when our contract is up.  I really hope that we can have a little Ketchup puppy running around this time next year!  (To Mr. Ketchup...you know you want a puppy...we can call her Cricket!)

The best thing about the past few weeks happened today.  When we came home after our wedding, Mr. Ketchup gave me a pearl necklace and a notebook.  I always tell him that I want him to write me more love notes, so the notebook was filled with letters and stories he wrote everyday for about a month.  The last note was written at midnight, the night before we got married.  I keep the notebook next to my side of the bed and check it regularly for new notes.  Well, Mr. Ketchup went on a business trip Monday and Tuesday.  I did not find out until today that he wrote me a note Monday morning before he left!  I get so happy every time I think about it!

In a previous post I talked about asking your husband what things you do that make him feel loved.  Well, Mr. Ketchup definitely does not have to ask what makes me feel loves, because he knows that writing me love notes is definitely at the top of my list!  Now I have to think of something nice to do for him this week!  What nice things can you do for your spouse or loved ones this week?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gluten-Free Goodness

Tonight, Mr. Ketchup and I will be attending our first international event for this school year!  I am so excited to be meeting some amazing people from all different types of cultures.  The relationships we have made with these students have been life changing, and I can hardly wait to see what is in store for us this year.

Well, with these events come food...lots of amazing food...except for when the university is hosting the event.  University events usually equal pizza.  I was already tempted by pizza once this week and am not looking forward to being tempted again.

My cravings for delicious carbs like bread and pasta led to me making a no-carb, gluten-free version of spaghetti this week.  It is probably my favorite recipe so far!

Except for avocado chocolate pudding.  That amazingness is in a league of its own.

Back to the spaghetti.  I adapted several different recipes based on what I actually had around the house (and what I actually remembered to buy while grocery shopping).

Mrs. Ketchup's Spaghetti
(this ingredient list is completely adaptable)
  • 1 pound meat (I used a lot more, because I was lazy and did not want to thaw and separate the venison we had in the freezer.  Use whatever kind of meat you have around: venison, beef, pork, chicken)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (Mrs. Ketchup loves garlic, feel free to double...or triple...this)
  • 1 medium onion, diced (I may have forgot onions while grocery shopping and substituted dried, minced onion, but don't tell anyone)
  • 1 14ounce can tomatoes (The recipes called for Italian tomatoes and what-not, but I just used a can of off-brand stewed tomatoes)
  • 1 8ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth (optional; I added this because I had a lot more meat than tomato products)
  • ~1 tbsp oregano
  • ~1tbsp basil
  • ~1 tbsp Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
  • ~1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 spaghetti squash
Note: Yes, I did put approximately next to all the seasonings.  I never measure when I season, so just add to taste.  Mr. Ketchup and I like our food spicy, so I probably used a lot more than 1 tbsp of Tony's and 1 tsp of cayenne

  1. Brown the meat.  Time depends on what time of meat you are using (and whether or not you are lazy and don't let the meat thaw all the way)
Look at that yummy venison goodness

2. Add in the onion and garlic.  Cook until they are soft.
Did I say how much I love garlic?  I may or may not have added an extra clove in addition to these.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the squash).  Bring to a simmer.  Turn the temperature to low, cover, and let cook for approximately 30 min.

Sorry for the blurry picture.  Our dark kitchen is less than ideal for pictures.

 4. Take your spaghetti squash and cut it in half.  Scoop out the seeds and other stuff that you probably don't want to eat.


5. Now place the squash face down in a microwave safe container and cover, leaving a small hole for steam to escape.  Heat for 10 minutes on high, then let the squash rest for about 10 minutes.

6.  Time for spaghetti!  Take a fork and scrape out the "meat" of the squash.  It'll look like this...

  
7.  Place your cooked spaghetti sauce on top of your noodles and enjoy!  Mr. Ketchup gave a great review by devouring his portion.  I don't have pictures of the finished product due to the fact that we were both starving and impatient.

Speaking of pictures, I recently became a Blurb affiliate.  If you aren't aware, Blurb helps you create amazing photo books, something that I, as a newlywed, really enjoy.  I will be posting soon about using their Facebook photo book feature, and will follow that up with a $25 Blurb gift certificate giveaway!  Check back soon so that you don't miss out!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Accountability

This week is filled with goals and activities.
  1. Finish summer classes (2 more semesters left!)
  2. Volunteer with the international student orientation
  3. Deep clean the apartment before fall classes
  4. Whip up some freezer meals to reduce stress next semester
  5. Start memorizing Bible passages and apply them to my life (1 Corinthians 14:4-8a - Mrs. Ketchup's thoughts, actions, and words will show love)
  6. Continue setting my clock back and performing my morning routine.
So often I find myself setting goals with good intentions, but never complete them.  Thankfully, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I have found some great accountability groups.

The Hello Mornings Challenge will be studying 1 Peter, and to go along with that, I found out about Do Not Depart's 1 Peter 1 Memory Challenge (sign up started today!  Click here to register).  Now I will be studying the Word and hiding it in my heart.

This time around I won't be setting goals and hoping I reach them.  I know they are attainable, especially as I surround myself with Christian women who are striving for the same things.  I am not alone.




I know that I have been providing a lot of links to challenges and what not lately, so expect an original post from me later this week regarding an amazing new recipe I tried and adapted.  In addition, Mr. Ketchup and I start volunteering for international orientation events beginning this Friday, so I will be posting in the very near future about ways to reach international students.

Happy Wednesday!

Click here to register!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bad Mood Weekend

Bleh.  I woke up to do my morning routine, got sick, and ended up going back to bed for a bit.  A fitting end to the weekend.

I have a wonderful life and am truly blessed.  That being said, I was still in a bad mood all weekend!  Have you ever gone through a couple of days where you were irritable?

This morning I had to remind myself of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a -
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, 
but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
endures all things.  Love never ends.

These verses do not described a foul, irritable mood.  Instead, these describe an uplifting and encouraging demeanor.  Although I am extremely familiar with this commonly quoted passage, I think I need to memorize these verses, write them out, and place them where I can see them throughout the week.  We all need reminders from time to time.

I think I will be adding Bible memorization to my list of goals.  Of course, the Hello Mornings Challenge is going to be a great way to keep me accountable.  This week...1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, so Mrs. Ketchup can have a reminder to work on her attitude.

Also, a big shout-out to Mr. Ketchup for dealing with me kindly this weekend, despite my bad mood!  He even took me to another restaurant that has several gluten-free options.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I love you because...

I write this while snacking on a piece of celery and some natural peanut butter.  Don't worry, I can't believe it either.  This whole gluten-free thing has completely changed my taste buds.  My husband and I even chowed down on another bowl of chocolate avocado pudding the other day.

Well...that just tastes like chocolate, so I guess it doesn't count.

Mr. Ketchup and I are attending a wedding this weekend, and, as newlyweds trying to save some money, I decided it would be nice to come up with a DIY gift.  I've seen this "I love you because..." frame all over Pinterest, and have had it on my to-do list of crafts.  You just print the words "I love you because" on a piece of pretty paper, frame it, and include a few dry erase markers.  They can then fill in the rest of the sentence by writing on the glass with the marker.  Now that is a DIY gift that I can handle.

I think it is so easy to neglect telling the ones we love how much they mean to us.  Before I got married, I wrote down that I was going to try and say at least one encouraging thing to my husband each day.  I know that there have been many, many days where I said nothing but harsh words, but I still strive to accomplish this goal.  I definitely see myself making one of these frames for our house as a reminder to build my husband up and not tear him down with hurtful words.

Speaking of...

How often do we forget to tell our First Love (1 John 4:19) how thankful we are for what He has done?  Maybe the statement "I love you because..." should be one we include in our prayers.  What a perfect way to remind ourselves of the Gospel every day, while giving Him the glory He is due.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sappy, Romantic, Movie-Like Love

I read an amazing post yesterday called 20 Things I Want to Tell Engaged and Newlywed Women.  It is a list of all the Biblically true things that I heard while in marriage counseling and while speaking to married Christian women who I look up to.  Many of the statements discuss topics related to expectations as to what "true love" or "romance" really looks like.

True love is not what you see in the latest romance novel or chick-flick.

True love is not about finding the "perfect" person, because Romans 3:23 tells us otherwise.

True love shows the Gospel (Ephesians 5:22-33).

True love involves sacrifice, commitment, grace, and forgiveness.

Number 11 of the post says that "Real romance is finding that one spot in the crook of his arm to snuggle into, that shared look over the dinner table when the kids are acting crazy, and the way he fixes the leaky sink when he is dog-tired after work."

I couldn't help but smile and remember this quote when I saw the "real romance" in my own marriage yesterday.

Mr. Ketchup went to dinner with a friend of ours who is moving next week.  When he came home, he brought in a cardboard box and told me that he had a surprise.  He opened the box with a big smile on his face to reveal 6 cupcakes from a local gourmet cupcake shop.  He then said, "They are gluten free!"

I am thankful that my marriage is not based on sappy, romantic, movie-like love.  My marriage is based on sappy, romantic, Christ-like love that reflects the Gospel through selflessness, grace, and forgiveness.

I am one lucky woman.

**Just ignore the fact that we ate two cupcakes each.**

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Prescription

I have been wearing my glasses a lot over the past week.  Grad school, writing papers, and staring at computers will do that to you.

I took off my glasses to put some lotion on my face this morning.  Panic mode quickly ensued.  You see, I'm not the common-sense, practical person that I may initially appear to be.  Did I take my glasses off in the bathroom where I was putting on the lotion?  Nope...I left them somewhere in the bedroom.

No big deal right?  Tell that to my eyes who probably couldn't even distinguish the frames from a shoe.  I frantically searched for a lifetime few minutes before I found them on the bed.  I blame the lack of common-sense on my grad-school-burnt-out-brain.

I realized that my life has been a lot like this lately.  Even two weeks ago, I was in a blurry fog.  I was emotional, irritable, and found it hard to concentrate or remember things.  I finally decided to take charge of my life and find some glasses.

What's my prescription?
Daily personal time with the Lord.  Routines.  Healthy eating.

Even Mr. Ketchup has noticed a difference in me.

Or maybe he is just saying that so I will keep making yummy chocolate pudding (dairy/gluten free!  recipe here)...

P.S.  I didn't have all the ingredients for the recipe, so I just used 2 avocados, honey, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract.  This is how I will survive my new healthier lifestyle.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Simple Questions

After my quiet time this morning, I found myself reading a few favorite blogs instead of writing a paper for school.  I had seen this challenge several times before, but, as a newlywed, it really hit me.  Instead of always wondering how to please your loved ones, talk to them.  This specific article challenged readers to find out what makes their husbands, children, etc feel loved.

How simple is that?  Yet, how often do we forget to ask what it is that they need?

I know that I have only been married a little over two months, but I thought it would be important to ask Mr. Ketchup this question now, write down his answer, and make an effort to do at least one thing each day.  Hopefully I will make it a practice to ask him frequently, as his answer may change.

Well...what was his response today?  He knows that I love him when...
  • I greet him at the door when he gets home from work
  • I come to him (randomly) and hug him
  • I say "I love you" before he says it
Each and every one of those things is extremely simple and doable.  Yet, each and every one of those things uplifts my husband and shows him love in the ways he needs it.

And speaking of showing him love, we are having steak for dinner (which I found on sale!).  I found a recipe for Steak Dijionaise at the Mom, What's For Dinner? blog.  Score for finding some delicious gluten-free meals!

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Love Food

Day 3 of getting up earlier...Day 2 of actually following through with a morning routine.  I have classes all day Thursday, so I get up earlier than normal.  I had to turn in a few assignments before I left, which meant that I did not have time for my little 15 minute routine.

Sigh...at least this morning has been better.

Speaking of this morning, one of my tasks to do today is research a gluten free/paleo style diet.  You see, I have suffered from anxiety and sometimes depression since I was fairly young.  At one point, I was having panic attacks frequently.  Well I have tried counseling, Bible studies specific to this topic, and even medications.  However, the one thing that I have begun to notice being a huge help is my diet (in addition to prayer/Bible study).  Thanks to our college minister's wife, I have been learning about all the ways that your diet can affect you mentally.  In addition, a child psychiatrist spoke in one of my classes about his recommendations to parents concerning gluten free diets for children with most mental disorders.

And...another sigh.

Mr. Ketchup and I love food.  We love our favorite burger joint where we order a mound of absolutely amazing cheese fries, to go along with our burger and side of fries.  I also love chocolate, Nutella, cheesecake.  Cheese bread...yum.  I could go on and on about how much I love food.

But...food affects me mentally.

Now don't get me wrong.  I know there are TONS of options for people on gluten free diets.  I know that I can make special chocolate cupcakes with honey and almond flour.  Thanks to my friend mentioned above, I have tried some amazing food that has been cooked this way.  However, we will have to be dedicated to spending the extra time and money (maybe) that this will require.  I can't come home from a 9+ hour day at school and stop by a fast food place.  I have to start planning freezer meals and easy meals that I can throw together quickly.

I have to be organized...

Sigh.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Starting the Marathon

This morning I woke up 15 minutes earlier.  I hit snooze when the alarm went off, but thankfully Mr. Ketchup called me and encouraged me to get up and start my new routine.

5 minutes of Bible study/prayer.  5 minutes of exercise.  5 minutes planning my day.

I know that does not sound like much, but it is a start.  Next week I will be waking up an additional 15 minutes earlier and adding time to my routine.

I read Genesis 15 this morning, and initially thought..."This is completely not applicable right now; I just want to go back to bed."

However, the Gospel is ALWAYS applicable.  In Genesis 15 we see God establishing His covenant with Abram (soon to be Abraham).  Here God promises Abram that his descendants will be countless and will be given much land.  Previously (12:2-3), God had told Abram that through his many descendants, all of the families of the earth would be blessed.  This was God's covenant to Abram.

Why do we care?  See Galatians 3:5-9.  The ESV says this:
Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works
of the law, or by hearing with faith - just as Abraham 'believed God, and it was counted
to him as righteousness?'  Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith,
preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'In you shall all the nations be blessed.'
So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
(emphasis added)

We care because Genesis 15 points us toward the cross.  We can see a glimpse of God's plan of redemption for all nations through Genesis 12-15.  Abram's descendants became the nation of Israel, through whom Christ came.  And "in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace." (Ephesians 1:7; ESV)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Beginning...

I have been married for 2 months and 5 days.  :)


During this time I have attempted to start this blog (50 million times), taken three graduate level summer courses, failed at starting new housekeeping habits, and have slacked off on my quiet time.  :(

BUT...today is a new day.  Today I will start incorporating little habits into my time.  Today I will set goals.  Today I will find people to hold me accountable.  Today I signed up for the HelloMornings Challenge from Inspired to Action.


This challenge begins August 20th and lasts until November 16th.  Each day, before/after you complete your morning routine (Don't know what that is?  Check out the Maximize Your Mornings e-book), you check in with your accountability group via Facebook or Twitter.

Prayer/Bible study.  Exercise.  Plan the day.


My goals:
  1. Have a daily time of prayer
  2. Read the Bible in a year
  3. Be able to run around the block (I am completely out of shape)
  4. Have an organized home/life
What about you?  What are you doing today to change your life?