Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Valentine

We had such a fun Valentine's this year.  I have been hounding asking Aaroin for a date to Central Market's cooking school since I have known him.  Well, this year I think he grew tired of me asking about it so that's what we did this year.  We signed up in January and so I had been looking forward to it for a long time and it was so fun!  But before we left I gave Aaron a couple of fun surprises.

I found this cute sticker labels on Very Jane and knew they would be perfect for Aaron and his love of cookies.  Funny side note: Aaron ordered the chocolate chip cookies and milk at Flying Dutchmen for dessert on our first date.  I picked up a dozen cookies and made a cookie basket for him.


Also, he is always saying he never knows what to do for date night so after seeing this date night jar on pinterest I thought I would make one for us.  I thought up several different things in different price ranges and then color coded popsicle sticks by price range and he can draw one out at the beginning of the week for sometime that weekend.


And then we were off to our couple's cooking class!  This is what we made and had for dinner:

Iceberg Wedge with Green Goddess Dressing
Blue Cheese Potatoe Gratin
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
Grilled Lobster Tail with Herb Butter
Filet Mignon with Morels and Tarragon-Marsala Sauce
Cherries Jubilee over Ice Cream

The best part was that all of our ingredients were prepped and ready for us to cook with.  If only it were like that all the time.  We were at a table with another couple and worked as a group to make everything.  We all helped get everything ready and there was plenty of food for all of us.  The chef instructors walked around and gave out tips but the cooking was really hands-on.  We will definitely be going back.  And Aaron even turned out to be quite the cook!





And the finished product - it all turned out so good!  I think my favorite was the green goddess dressing we made since I don't have any experience making dressings.  But I will definitely be making that one again.


I told Aaron not to get me anything else since we were going to the class but he surprised me with beautiful flowers!


We had such a fun first married Valentine's day and are looking forward to many more in the years to come.  Thank you Aaron for your love everyday and for giving us a fun night out.  I love you!

Friday, February 15, 2013

An Evening with Jen and Thoughts Lately

Two weeks ago I headed down to Lake Jackson to hear Jen Hatmaker speak.  She came to Ladie's Night at my old church and when I found out she would be there I knew I had to go.  Signing up is what jumpsatrted my desire to read "7."  I'm one of those that likes to be prepared when I go somewhere so I figured reading the book beforehand would be a good way to do that.  So I had just finished the book and then heard her speak.  It's funny because after being in the book for a week it seemed like I was watching my new friend talk to us all.  What she said was so good and it's taken about these entire two weeks to process everything lately.  It's nice though because it's as if so much of what I have been thinking and praying over lately is what she writes in her books.  After hearing Jen and finishing 7 I decided to go back and read her earlier book "Interrupted."  It too is SO good and it seems that every other page I'm quoting parts to Aaron because it's as if she wrote so many of the thoughts in my heart and head.  One of my favorite quotes from the book and her talk that sum up my heart right now is this one:

"It's hard to dismiss the idea of a redeeming Christ when His followers are pouring thier lives out for the last and least."

A few weeks ago at church our pastor was talking about personal convictions that others see in us and he said "it's hard for someone to argue with what you say you believe when you live it out each day." 

If I had to sum up in a few words the passion Christ has raised up in me it would be "loving and serving the last and least."  I so desire for my life to look like Christ's not so that I be raised up but so that Christ is glorified as I am literally His feet to the last and the least. 

In her book "Interrupted" Jen talks about how it can be overwhelming when you begin to realize and understand the suffering of our broken world and I think that's where I've been stuck lately. But at the same time I've been convicted that one small commitment, one small change, one yes is how I can be Christ's hands and feet in our world.  And I pray that together enough of us saying yes will result in living in a kingdom upside down where the last shall be first, all for Christ's glory.  We're still working our way through how this looks in our lives and where Christ is calling us, but I am convinced that as one of my favorite songs says, "greater things are still to be done in this city" and we are committed to being Christ's literal gospel to a broken city.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Yummy

I'm linking up with Jennifer for the Dog Days of Winter Challenge.  This week is all about what you made from Pinterest.  I'm not really sure what I did for meal planning before Pinterest because it seems that the majority of our meals come from Pinterest.  Today was no exception.  Our dinner tonight came straight from Pinterest to our dinner table and I had one happy hubby afterwards.  Give them both a try - you won't be disappointed!

We've had this pork tenderloin several times and it is easy and delicious!

Pinned Image
(picture from pinterest post)

I had some leftover yukon gold potatoes from last week that I wanted to use and found this recipe that I thought would make a good side dish for the pork.  It was almost like a warm potatoe salad and was a perfect side dish.  Quick and easy, and will definitely become a regular in our side dish rotation.

Yukon Golds with Shallot Butter
(picture from pinterest post)

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we did and happy cooking!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Response to "7"

This past week I have been reading this.


If you haven't yet read this I strongly urge you to.  I promise it will challenge and change the way you think, or at least it has for me.  Below is the description from Amazon:

"American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.  7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.  Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence."


Even before I started reading "7" I had some convictions rise up.  You see we moved in Novemeber and seeing the sum total of our life packed up in what seemed like endless boxes that filled a mid sized moving van proved to be a bit overwhelming.

After unpacking my books (and if you know me well you know that is more than one box) I said to Aaron "I am not buying another book until after I read every single book I currently have whether it be in print or on my kindle."  And I'm pleased to report it's been six weeks and while tempted I have not bought a new book in that time.

But as I was reading through the book, particularly chapter 2 on clothes, this thought kept running through my head: "I have more than enough clothes to last a year without buying a single new item."  At first it just seemed a thought but as I dove into the book further and further it was as if Christ kept saying, "well what are you going to do about all this?"

So here it is, my response to "7" is this - from now until December 31, 2013 I will not purchase a new item of clothing for myself and shop only out of my own closet for one year.  Aaron thinks I'm partly crazy and he's also probably a little doubtful excited.  So why you ask?  What's the big deal about this?  It's simple really, shopping is my weakness, my area of over-indulgence.  And while typing this now I still feel a bit guilty about what I have, it is freeing knowing that I am saying "no" to more and learning to live with less.  Saying no to the time consuming wonder about what I'll wear to this event, or if that person will like my new outfit or the time spent shopping.  In it's most simple form I want to live with less so that I can experience Christ more fully.  I so desire to redirect my time and energy away from shopping and into something that will be fully be the hands and feet of Christ to our neighbors. 

Writing this in print makes it that much more real and there's no backing out now.  So you my friends, I pray and ask you hold me accountable as I'm excited to see what unfolds this next year as I embark on my living with less journey!

2012: Year in Review

2012 turned out to be quite the year for the Styrons.  It was a full year from January to December with some pretty big life events.  We are loving the simplicity of 2013 as its nice not having much on the horizon.  So here's a look back at our 2012...

Angela finished occupational therapy school at the end of 2011 after a long 2.5 years.


 

Shortly after that the Styrons went on a cruise to Hawaii where Aaron had a small surprise up his sleeve.  On Januar6 6, 2012 Aaron decided he liked it and put a ring on it :)




Once we came home it was full swing wedding planning mode while Angela buckled down and studied for her board certification exam.  Luckily all the studing paid off and she passed her boards and began working at a pediatric clinic in March.

It was a short 5 months after Aaron asked Angela to be his wife that we said "I Do" on June 30, 2012.





After the wedding it was back to Hawaii for a magical honeymoon in Maui and Kona.

 
 
 

The day after coming home, ground breaking was scheduled for the new hosue.  After surviving the wedding planning why not build a house from the ground up?!?!  They say the two most stressful things are wedding planning and buidling a house so its probably best that we just knock both out in one year.  From July to November we spent weekends looking at light fixtures, mirrors, granite, paint, tile, floors and just about everything else imaginable.  But the result is beyond what we could have hoped for and we are loving our first house.  We closed November 21st and for Aaron it couldn't have come any sooner.  Apartment living was definitely not for him!

 


 
In September we cashed in on mom and dad's vactaion club and spent Labor Day weekend in beautiful Colorardo.



Throughout the fall we cheered on the Texans and enjoyed a winning season.



After surviving the move and the first six months of marriage we spent a weekend in San Antonio to see the lights on the Riverwalk and kick off Christmas celebrations.





To finish out the year we enjoyed our first married Christmas in our new house and a relaxing few weeks during the holidays.




Although it was a busy year and felt like we went non-stop from January to December but we can't have imagined it any other way.  We hope and pray 2012 found you well and stay tuned to see what  2013 will bring.  Whatever it may be we plan to share it all, one story at a time.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Year, New Look

So you may notice our blog got a little make-over.  Thanks to Jessica from Diamond Doll Designs for the new look.  I couldn't be more happy with it and I'm hoping its the jumpstart I need to blog a little more regularly.  You may notice it's been oh...a mere 9 months since my last post.  But more on why later.  My 2012 year in review post is up next! 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

How is it that I have only been blogging a few weeks and I am already behind??? My plan is to blog regularly but we will see how it goes. It seems that everyone weekend we have something planned and this one was no exception.

Friday night we went to small group in Galveston. We go every Friday night but this week it was a little more of an adventure as the rains came down and the president flew into our area right as we were leaving. Between typical Friday traffic, the rain and the President the roads were a mess! We thought we might not never make it to Galveston but we did and were even mostly on time. Saturday I went to a baby shower while the soon-to-be Mr. did a bit of work and then we went out for dinner Saturday night. I had a coupon for Carraba's so off we went. (sidenote - I love coupons and even insisted we use one on our third date!) Sundays are busy as we are part of a church plant team in Galveston preparing to publicly launch on Easter Sunday. We have training on Sunday nights and this weekend I had extra children's training so we headed down there early this afternoon. We laughed as we drove back home tonight becuase thanks to daylight savings it was the first time we had driven back home in the daylight - it was a nice change!

We had a steady stream of rain for three days and it seems as though it has finally stopped. I promised this summer during the drought that I wouldn't complain about the rain but I was starting to think we may need a boat to get around. I love spring though so between the rain and extra green and daylight savings time I am one happy girl. Thankfully I don't much on my schedule so I think it will be a good day to catch up on some laundry and cleaning.

Happy Monday everyone!