Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Encouraging Thoughts

During the weekdays I receive an email each morning from Proverbs 31 Ministries. The email contains these wonderful devotionals geared towards women of all ages and life experiences. It's interesting that though their ministry is a broad based one, I find myself relating to the messages more often than not.

This morning's devotional for instance really got me thinking about recent events in my life. I thought I'd take the time to share with each of you my story (and then the devotional just for reference).

What I've been struggling with recently was actually something that started well over a year ago (more like a year and a half). I had come the decision after much prayerful discernment that God was leading me out of Utah and back to Virginia (where I had grown up). At the time of that decision I believe God put several events into motion that lead me to a job opportunity in Virginia. The only problem with that job was I would need qualifications that went beyond what I received in college. It would require me to pass several licensing exams. I didn't have a problem with studying and taking tests, I mean how hard could they be?

It turns out they were VERY difficult. Over a year after taking the first licensing exams and failing, I passed the Series 7 financial exam on my fourth try yesterday. Had I known all the suffering and hundred's of hours of studying that it would take for me to accomplish this feet I might have given up before I even started. Well, I take that back I wouldn't have said an outright "NO" on God's leading, but like an Israelite child of old I would have done some major grumbling.

As part of my story to share I'd say the Series 7 exam became what the following devotional calls a G.F.I. (God Faith Interrupter). I would study and work diligently toward passing, but then each failure threw my faith momentarily. I couldn't understand why God would lead me in a certain direction only to allow me to fail continuously.

The whole experience was discouraging, humbling and now worth every moment. My encouraging word for you all today is never stopping following faithfully and obediently where God leads you despite how difficult it might become.

Like I mentioned the following is from the devotional sent from Proverbs 31 Ministries:

I pulled in the driveway grateful to be home after a five-day conference. I pressed the remote and the garage door rolled open. Bloodied water trickled toward me as I stepped from my car. I knew immediately what had happened - the freezer had gone out. All the meat had thawed and the bloody, watery juices had drained out of the freezer into a maroon stream that slowly ran toward the driveway. Yuck.

Mark, my husband, was out of town. I stood in my garage disgusted and slightly freaked out. Of course, I called my husband for help. I didn’t care if it was late and there was a three-hour time difference between us.

He patiently said, “Check the G.F.I.”

“The what?”

“The ground fault interrupter. It’s in the electrical outlet where the freezer is plugged in.”

Sure enough, the G.F.I. had tripped and in response the freezer shut down. Nothing was technically wrong with the freezer, except now it had hundreds of dollars of rotting food sitting inside it. Because of a tripped G.F.I., my evening turned from one of anticipated relaxation to hours of vexing cleanup.

Isn’t our faith sometimes like that, too? We are believing and trusting the Lord, when all of a sudden something unexpected happens – our own G.F.I (God Faith Interrupter) gets tripped. In response, our faith shuts down and we melt like a gallon of vanilla ice cream in a hot garage.

It’s certainly difficult to understand the twists and turns in our journey of faith. When a God Faith Interrupter occurs, we grope in the darkness for something to reassure us that regardless of our circumstance, the Lord is loving, merciful, and He will guide us. God Faith Interrupters might shake our faith. They can be scary. They certainly will be unexpected and uncomfortable, but the Lord holds the charge of power to uphold our faith even when it shuts down temporarily. We must turn to Him.

Express to the Lord your fear of a “God Faith Interrupter” tripping you up. Then thank Him that He will be with you, showing you mercy and loving-kindness, no matter what happens in the days ahead. Then resolve to stay plugged into Him, no matter what.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bikes and Buggies

As I mentioned in an earlier post I'm much to busy to be taking pictures all the time, so I'm resorting to filching them from my friends :) These latest photos were taken from Teresa Crawford's facebook page. Teresa is the mother of Jessica, who I went to school with, and their family lived just down the road from us.

I love these photos she took (I'm assuming she took them). These photos exemplify much of what I love about the Shenandoah Valley. There is a quieter more peaceful pace to life here. Community and relationships take precidence in daily living. And just look how beautiful the scenery is :)

I'm enjoying being back in a community where the Old Order Mennonites live side by side those who do not practice as they, but where we can all live with respect for one another and our differences.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New cake to be posted soon...

Here in a couple of days I'll be making a birthday cake for one of the ladies here at our office. She's a Virginia Tech graduate so I'm doing something I never thought I would, I'm making a Tech themed cake.

Of course this should make my sister happy, the Tech almnu that she is, but for me I'm not to into orange and maroon as a color scheme.

That's why this cake is going to be a white cake with white icing and then I'll highlight it with some orange and maroon. You ask how I'm going to do that. Well it's simple, I've made my own Virginia Tech (orange and maroon) candies to place on the cake.

The were surprisingly easy to make. I went online several weeks back and printed off one of the VT logos I found. I taped some wax paper on top of my template then started tracing in royal icing. Royal Icing becomes very hard (almost crunchy candi-like) when it drys out. After doing the outlining in white and orange I did a technique called "flooding" where I watered some of the royal icing down to a point where it would spread more easily and dyed it maroon. With my new color and texture I flooded what I had outlined. This dried overnight and I was left with a VT logo candy. Make several of those and I'm now ready to decorate a Virginia Tech themed cake.

I look forward to the pictures I'll have to post sometime over the weekend. Until then...I'll enjoy my baking.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pictures of the Valley

So, my good friend Emily posted these photos on her Facebook site, and then I completely ripped them off because I liked them so much. I've reached the point where I don't have time to take pictures any more for myself, so from now I'll just borrow them from my friends. How's that sound?

Hope you enjoy the country scenery. Who wouldn't want to live in the Shenandoah Valley? I know you'll appreciate it after these great photos that Emily took.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Blogging

Welcome Mom to the wonderful world of blogging!!

The other day I stopped by my parent's home to drop some things off and pick up my mail. The first thing my Mom says to me, "I have a blog."

I knew she was thinking of creating a blog, but I wasn't so sure how serious she was about it. I'm glad to know she was serious and has now begun in earnest to create regular updates.

The theme of my Mom's blog is continual updates on the work that is being done to complete her and Dad's new home. She's documenting the progress through photography.

So, if you're interested in seeing their new house and how it's progressing check it out at:



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yeah for Utah Reminders...

The beginning of this week I spent in Richmond, VA. I was there for a work related trip, having to do with some license exams I needed to take. It was a long two and a half days, but it had it high moments.

The first moment that I enjoyed, was getting to my hotel and realizing that right next door was a Famous Dave's restaurant. I had not been to Famous Dave's since leaving Utah. I actually thought we didn't have any Famous Dave's in Virginia. I was wrong :)

So, you know that I went over there one evening for dinner. They've got great BBQ and I enjoyed mine immensely. It was a good flashback to my Utah days, when I'd go with friends from church after services let out on Sunday.

Also, during my time in Richmond I sat in on a course for my licensing exam. One of the ladies in my course was from Harrisonburg as well, and ironically she had a daughter that had attended BYU, so she knew Utah. We had a lot of great conversations about life in Virginia and Utah. The people we know in common back in Harrisonburg, and several other great conversations.

I already can't believe that it has been almost a year since I left Utah. I've sure enjoyed being back in Virginia, but there are times (like the ones I just mentioned) that I can't help feeling lonesome for my "Utah Life".

Just thought I'd share.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chocolate Cookie Cake

Okay, I get a lot of grief for not taking pictures of the cakes I make. Recently I've made a good number of circular two-tiered cakes (most of them chocolate). The following photos (yes I finally took photos) are of my latest creation.

The birthday girl who I made the cake for wanted a chocolate cake. She also mentioned to me that she loved cookies. This was not the most fanciest cake I've ever made, but it certainly was a hit. The chocolate chip cookie crumbs were all homemade, and they were all picked away and eaten before the cake was even finished.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Oh Happy Day!!

Today is the day my dear friend Emily Kate returns home. For the last year she's been serving the Lord in Italy.

I'm excited to have her near by again, but I understand how difficult this kind of transition might be for her. For the last year she's had a pretty focused purpose and schedule, and now she's moving back to Virginia where there are a lot of unknowns. I have no worries that God will make her paths clear, but I understand how difficult the waiting can be.

Also, it's always hard saying good-bye to dear friends. As much as Emily is "coming home" where family and friends are anxiously awaiting her arrival, she also made a home in Italy with dear friends she'll miss.

She'll always carry with her the special memories of her time with her Italian friends. Just as I will always carry with me the memories of my Utah friends. And given the Lord's blessing we'll all see one another again on this earth as well as heaven :)

Looking forward to seeing you Emily Kate!!