Life & Breath.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


My Mom and Dad have just launched their first blog!

Click here to check out "Life & Breath" and welcome them to the blog world.

The little things.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Some things just make me happy.

{Open roses on my kitchen table}

Provence tea from Franklin Tea shop
Endless amounts of paper and ribbon strewn about the craft room
Gluten-free lemon berry muffins
Kisses from my husband before work
Kisses from my husband after work
Driving the XTerra on hilly country roads
Turning on the heat in our house and putting my cold feet next to the vent
Foggy mornings
NPR radio
My church family
My blood family
My married-into family
Baths before bedtime
Anything painted white and antiqued
Unexpected packages in the mail
"The Color Purple" soundtrack blaring as I paint
Crossing off things on my to-do list
Catching up with friends and feeling like no time has passed
The way God's heart beats for the poor

What makes you happy?

What I learned on the farm.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I took a little field trip to a friend's farm in Culleoka, Tennessee.
I went to learn about farm life and bring home some raw goat's milk for yogurt and fresh eggs.

Let me tell you... I learned a lot more than I expected - probably because I knew so little to begin with.

Here are the top 10 things I learned, in no particular order:

1. Barns should always be red and built by loving friends and neighbors, just like this one.


2. If you enter a barn without food, the animals will stop what they're doing, look up, and give you a bewildered stare. See exhibits 1 and 2.



3. Farm boys have a lot of guts. And a lot of fun.



4. Cows and sheep chew the wool off of other sheep in order to get seeds out of it to eat. For the sheep, it feels like they're ripping their hair out. Poor things!


5. There's not much cuter in the animal world than a baby lamb. Precious.


6. Ditto.



7. Baby calves are pretty darn cute, too.


8. I'm not sure what I really learned about bunnies, except this kind makes a good pet.


9. Most of these sheep are very pregnant, which means the kids have to come check every night in the middle of the night to make sure they're not freezing or have complications while they're delivering. (Hats off to them!)


10. Farmers are the nicest people. Thank you, Wolters family, for showing me around! I'll definitely be back!

Real religion.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Anyone who sets himself up as 'religious' by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world."
- James 1:27

This is the message the Lord has been speaking to me and Shawn over the last few days and weeks. If this is a litmus test for how we're doing, I can't say we've passed. How many homeless or loveless people have we invited into our home? None. Are we guarding against corruption from the world and the temptations of security, materialism, and comfort? Not very well.

The blessings we have received in the last few months here in Franklin have been undeserved and wonderful. But they have come with a price: comfort. Maybe when you read that, you think, "That seems like a reward, not a cost." But to Shawn and I (and hopefully those walking closely with Jesus), comfort scares us. Life is fleeting, and we believe God wants us to spend our moments here on earth doing things that matter, not things that make us feel good.

As children of God, we are called to minister the Gospel to one another. I don't think we are all called to sell everything we have and live among the poor. Maybe some are called to excel in the business world, make tons of money, and live on a small percentage to give the rest away. Some may be asked to use the resources they have to love on foster kids in their home and show them Jesus. People have very different gifts and different callings. In some ways, if we are following Jesus, it doesn't matter what our vocation is because our love for Jesus will pour out of us like water and saturate everyone we come into contact with. But what I don't see in Scripture, however, is where God calls us to comfort. And security. And doing everything in our power to profit ourselves.

All that to say, Shawn and I are feeling a stirring and a restlessness from the Lord that we simply cannot ignore. Honestly, we don't know the whens and whys of it, but we know that He is moving us in some way. And we feel like it's going to be big.

May our eyes be open, our ears be attentive, and our clenched fists willingly let go of everything that hinders us from fully serving Jesus.

Date night for cheap!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ok, so this is an awesome deal.

If you go to and type in your zip code, it will come up with a number of restaurants in your area that offer $25 gift cards for $10 or $50 gift cards for $20.

Great deal, right?
Well, it gets better.

From now until February 28, enter the code "SAVOR" in the promotion code box when you check out and get 80% off!

I just bought 2 $25 gift cards from one of our favorite sushi restaurants AND a $100 gift card (that will come in the mail) for a total of $12. Some restaurants have a minimum of $35 purchase or something similar, but it's still such a great deal.

PS - Chicago friends, you have 312 restaurants to choose from!

Las paletas en Sábado.

61 degrees and sunny


my Love


best popsicle shop in town


creamy coconut popsicle and walk around the neighborhood


one perfect Saturday afternoon.



Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shawn and I had the privilege of spending some time with this adorable little fellow last weekend. His name is Memphis (isn't that cool?) and he's such a handsome little guy! It was pretty chilly outside, too, and he handled it so well! We even got some smiles out of him toward the end. :)

Here's a little "preview" of the pictures we took...












Vicki, Steve, & Memphis - we loved meeting you and look forward to seeing you again in the Spring! The pictures are on their way to you!

Snippet of my hometown.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In response to Kirra's post, I wanted to share a tiny little piece of my hometown that I began to love recently. Ok... actually, I just discovered it today.
{And by the way, Kirra, I love your idea. I'll be writing more soon - and begging you to come visit.}

A little preface...
Today I will have worked a total of 14 hours. I haven't seen Shawn all day (and probably won't - I will get home past midnight), didn't get much sleep last night, and just haven't had a great day. Oh, and every other free moment is consumed with reading for my class. While I would always prefer to have a busy life over a boring one, today has been a bit chaotic for me.

So this afternoon, I had a couple hours of precious free time in Cool Springs, and I was craving a smoothie. I had seen this place before, but had never set foot inside.

9Fruits in Cool Springs (Franklin, TN) - on the corner of Jordan Road and Mallory Lane.

I expected to walk in and order some nourishment for my body.
What the Lord knew is that I needed much more than that - nourishment for my soul.

The song that played as I walked in just so happened to be one of my favorite Hillsong songs, "None but Jesus."

In the chaos, in confusion
I know You're sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do Your will

You think He knew exactly what I needed to hear?
I'd say a resounding "yes."
And a resounding, "thank you, sweet Jesus."

While the man behind the counter cheerfully prepared my pineapple-mango-banana-coconut smoothie, a woman waiting for her smoothie closed her eyes and mouthed the words to the song.
Apparently I wasn't the only one who needed that.
I realized, all of a sudden, that I had entered a worship service. In a smoothie shop!

Needless to say, I highly recommend this place. I want to support its business, not only for the delicious smoothies (and mine was fabulous!), but because they're unashamed of Christ. Not shoving a Bible in your face, but displaying a spirit of joy and confidently playing worship music.

I'm a fan.
Go visit 9Fruits!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

My heart is heavy tonight for this young woman.

Her name is Eva and we've never met.

Sometimes I feel like we have, though, because I've been reading her blog off and on for over a year now.

Eva has Cystic Fibrosis. She has already received a double lung transplant (can you even imagine?) - and had a documentary made about it - but found out several months ago that her body was rejecting her new lungs. So she began waiting for a second double lung transplant, but now it seems that it will be too late. She is 23.

You might think that a girl in Eva's situation might be depressed, or at least ask, "Why me?". She may just curl up and ask God to take her. I'm sure I'd be tempted to do that if I were in her situation.

But Eva has chosen just the opposite. She has lived her short life to the fullest, basking in the love of her family and friends who adore her. Her life is one of passion and strength, and yet she is peacefully letting go of it very shortly.

I'm sorry I'm just now introducing her to you, if you haven't heard of her. Her blog tonight made me hug Shawn a little tighter, pray for peace for her dear family, and thank God that I can breathe. I've always taken that for granted.

CPK's Chicken Tequila Fettuccine

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's been a long while since I've posted a recipe.
I have a feeling this one will make up for all that lost time.
It is sooo yummy. It's a little spicy, a little tangy, and very filling.
And it can be gluten-free and dairy-free!

CPK's Chicken Tequila Fettuccine

1 pound fettuccine (or gluten-free fettuccine, in my case)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 jalapeños, chopped fine
4 T. unsalted butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 T. tequila (or 2 more T. lime juice)
4 T. freshly-squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari or amino acids)
1.5 lbs. chicken breast, diced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 T. heavy cream (or coconut creamer if dairy-intolerant)
Lime wedges and cilantro for garnish
(Official instructions at the end of post)

Start out with about a bunch of this...
a.k.a. best herb God created (cilantro).
Chop about 1/2 cup of it, or more if you like it as much as I do.

Then take two of these guys

and chop them, seeds and all,

until they look just about like this.

Now's a good time to start boiling a pot of water for the fettuccine.

Here are the other ingredients you need at this point: butter, chicken stock, garlic.

Throw in 2 T. butter into a large saucepan and sauté cilantro, chopped jalapeños, and garlic.

Let it simmer for several minutes.

In the meantime, dice some raw chicken breast. This was about 1.2 lbs. and was plenty, though the recipe calls for 1.5 lbs. Pour soy sauce over chicken and let it soak for about 5 minutes.

Thinly slice 1/2 red onion.

And 1 yellow bell pepper and 1 red bell pepper.

In another saucepan, throw in the other 2 T. butter and the peppers and onions and let them cook down.

They'll sweat a little.

Then they'll be nice and caramelized. Yummy.

To the large saucepan with cilantro, add chicken stock, tequila, and lime juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until reduced to a paste-like consistency; set aside.

Now add the marinated chicken and cream and bring to a boil.

You'll let the chicken cook and the sauce thicken, then add your sautéed veggies and toss with fettuccine.

Garnish with a lime slice and cilantro and you've got a gorgeous, delicious meal!

Wanna see the finished product?

It's every bit as good as it looks.

Best with yummy ginger ale and a lime wedge (in our opinion). :)


1. In a large saucepan (and they mean large!), cook cilantro, garlic and jalapeño in 2 T. butter over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until wilted. In a second pot, boil water for fettuccine.
2. In a sauté pan, begin sauteing the peppers and onion in 2 T. of butter over medium heat until soft.

3. To the large saucepan with cilantro, add chicken stock, tequila, and lime juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until reduced to a paste-like consistency; set aside.

4. Pour soy sauce (or tamari or amino acids) over diced chicken; set aside for 5 minutes. Add to saucepan, along with cream and bring to boil. Cook until chicken is no longer pink and sauce is thick, about 5 minutes. Add sauteed veggies to sauce mixture and toss with cooked fettuccine. Garnish with lime and cilantro.

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