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Prayerful Wednesdays:..that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched

25 July 2012


01-06-10 I’ll Still Say That You Shone Brighter Than Anyone ~ Explored Front Page  

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched —this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. – 1 John 1:1 (NIV)
I was always taught that the first verses of John which describe the Word is actually describing Christ. He [Christ] was there in the beginning during the creation. He was with God until sent to heaven for us. This statement is validating the truth of God’s Word. That the text of the Bible aren’t in fact stories but rather truths from those, as John writes, were there to witness Jesus and all that he accomplished on this earth. And that testimony in this single verse provides great evidence at that truth. For me, it makes me feel honored to read these ancient words that were archived by someone who was there, that saw, that touched and witnessed.
What about us? Are we witnesses as well? Do we think of ourselves as continuing the story? Granted, we aren’t working on chapters of the Bible but are we tuning our ears and casting our eyes on the living Word of God around us? Are acting as living witnesses to those around us?
Posted from dailycupofgrace

Guilty Pleasure Friday: Carly Rae

20 July 2012


Think of the greatest Jam band in the world! I'm super into this tune, yo! Enjoy your Friday courtesy of me!

Dates as a married couple.

19 July 2012

Last tango in Paris by zilverbat.
Life is hectic and there is no way around it! Mr. Collier and I find that we move at such high speeds during the week that if we don't take the time to put dates on the calendar, we'd never get that time together. Recently, we came up with a solution for both our time and our budget. We decided out of every meal the one that would be most affordable is breakfast (which also happens to be my favorite). We selected Friday as our date day and for the last three months we pick a restaurant and have a morning date before work. Sure, we have to wake up a little early but it is totally worth it. The hardest part is finding new places that aren't too far off of our radar so that we can still get to work on time. But we get to catch up and have relationship maintenance conversations.

Don't think that special occasions are out the door because of this arrangement! In fact, tonight we are celebrating a milestone in my career at a very lovely restaurant on the "trendy" side of town! I can't wait to write this upcoming yelp review!   

Prayerful Wednesdays: Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

18 July 2012


Rex Auer by Brian Auer "Flickr" cc

 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.– Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)
Who isn’t tired these days? With all of the demands and distractions how could we not be? Well, turns out that this has been happening since the time of Isaiah. I used to feel that I connected more to stories in the New Testament and that they were more applicable to my life but this verse alone lends great wisdom from the Old Testament.
The youths were tired and weary, check! The young men stumble and fall, check! Who doesn’t stumble in their walk or even their work for the Lord. The constant battle with secular principles is exhausting. We are only human! And God made us this way. But in the same breath of acknowledging our weakness, Isaiah tells us that the Lord will renew our strength. So why are we not leaning on Him?
I often think about my relationship with coffee. Besides brushing my teeth, making coffee is the very first think I do in the morning. I depend on coffee, drink it multiple times a day and can’t think about going without it. Why do I not recognize God in that way?
Why isn’t praying to God or studying the Bible the first thing I do in the morning? How could I easily avoid finding the time for devotions or prayer in my life? And when I don’t have that in my life, why is it that it takes time to notice? I don’t get a headache that is unbearable. I get a lifestyle and outlook that unbearable. The part that convicts me the most is that knowing all of this, I don’t improve.
Despite that, God still love me. He is there for me when I stumble. He has made a promise to me. The last portion of the verse in Isaiah is that promise. That through God, I will run and not grow weary. I will soar and not grow faint.  

Yet another reason to go veggie...

16 July 2012

kusabi/Flickr
Yet another reason to go meat-free! I stumbled upon this article reposted from The Atlantic. This article is highlighting some recent work that indicates that "super bugs" such as a drug resistant strain of E. coli cultured from chronic urinary tract infection patients is nearly identical to cultures isolated from poultry to be slaughtered and those even ending up at the grocery store. Very interesting article!   


Guilty Pleasure Friday: We made it 6 months!!!

14 July 2012


meet me halfway -  one step at a time by erikadotnet "Flickr" cc
We've made it!!! Mr. Collier and I have met the half way mark of our first year of marriage! I can't believe how good it feels to know that we were able to keep it together longer than the following celebrities (thanks to Marie Clarie:
Lisa Marie and Nicholas Cage married for 3 months

Britney Spears and Jason Alexander married for only 55 hours

Kim Kardashian & Kris Humphries married for 10 weeks

My First Barre Workout

13 July 2012

Barre
Before Barre Amped Workout
Groupons always seem like a good idea when they pop up in your inbox. I took a risk and purchased a 5 class groupon set to Barre Amped in Nashville. I got my black yoga capris and sexy workout tank top on and headed to my first class. Let me preface this by saying that I am not a cardio-loving person. I was raised on ballet and jazz dance classes from ages 3-16. Besides getting down in the club and yoga from time to time, I'm pretty sedentary. [I'm getting depressed to admitting that out loud!]

After Barre Amped Workout
It is currently the morning after my first Barre Amped class and all I can say is, "Ouch and uh." Yesterday was by far the hardest workout that I have ever endured! I can't even believe that I made it through! I had no idea how much of a mental and physical workout it would be. But let me tell you something. After I "jello walked" out of the gym I was high as a kite. It was an endorphin overload. I felt elated and drunk all at the same time.  And it is that overload and the dream of skinny jeans that is calling me back again for my class on Monday! If I successfully make it through these five classes that I purchased, I may spring for a package (student rate of $60 per 5 classes) or a $99 unlimited for a month.



Wedding Planners. Are they worth the money?

12 July 2012

The Wedding Planner
In short, absolutely! From the wedding planning side as a former bride, I can't help but notice when a professional wedding planner is not involved in the "day of" execution when I attend a wedding as a guest. People aren't sure of where to go, the design of the room isn't functional, important aspects are forgotten. I swear it isn't because I'm biased. It is an actual fact that wedding receptions in particular occur much smoother when a wedding planner is involved and most wedding vendors will attest to this.

The most common reason to not have a planner is because of budgetary constraints. But, if you know from the front end how important they are, you can include it. When Mr. Collier and I planned our wedding, we had no intention if hiring a wedding coordinator but once we sat down and tried to find a venue in Nashville, it was over. There are just way too many option for everything when it comes to the wedding. So, we decided to save for our wedding more aggressively and I found some odd jobs such as babysitting at night and on the weekends. The sacrifice was worth it. Our wedding was one of the best days of our lives and we had nothing but a good time worry and anxiety free. Planners are essential even for the most organized bride. 

Prayerful Wednesdays: And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

11 July 2012


Any Guesses? by Raymond Larose “Flickr” cc
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. – Genesis 1:3 (NIV)
Have you ever had one of those a-ha! moments in your life where you knew that it just had to be God working? I remember the application process to graduate school being one of those moments in my life. I applied early, before the January deadline, which meant that I had a significantly longer time to wait than if I had applied later. I was a nervous wreck for those few months! After years of working hard in school, finding internships and preparing applications I was stuck. Finally I received one offer from a school that I had applied to on a whim. I didn’t know why they were the only ones that were interested in me but I took my chances. Good thing that I followed through because it was on that interview that I met my husband. It took awhile to realize it was God leading me to the man that he had created to be my life partner. “A-ha,” I said. I see what you are doing, Lord! Pray that you can keep your eyes open so that God can turn on the light in your life.

Keep it Stylin' Tuesdays: Simply Twist Jewelery

10 July 2012

Get your twist on! I'm all about local artisans and Kim from Simply Twisted Jewelry is literally as cool as they come. Her style is modern, classy, 100% unique and reasonably priced. Really, who wouldn't want to rock one of these pieces? They are awesome as gifts and little treats for yourself. She even sells gift certificates in case you are unsure of which piece to give. I've posted the Etsy links underneath the pieces in case you want to indulge!

Brass Twist


Dangle


Twist and Clasp Bracelet


Big Twist



Juice Fast!

08 July 2012

La Boqueria by vgm8383 "Flickr" cc
Look at this beautiful photograph. The flavors, the colors and the textures are just gorgeous! I adore food. From writing reviews on yelp.com to watching Chopped on the Food Network, food is the science that I cannot make happen at work. It is adventure and chemistry blended elegantly. So why a juice fast?

Well, I decided that I needed to reboot my health with a day-long juice fast after some reading and a few documentaries that I highly recommend ("Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" and "Forks over Knives"). I don't own a juicer so I had to make a few juice bar runs. Really, it wasn't that bad at all. I decided to purchase two juices (one for breakfast and one for lunch). The first, The Doug Funny. I am a child of the 90's and fondly remember Doug's love of beets. Well picture that with a hunk of other vegetables and there you go. I was truly surprised at how savory this juice came out. Juice fast or not, I'm a believer. In channeling my childhood, I selected the Mr. Rogers as my #2 juice of the day. Overall, the Doug Funny rocked my world so much that my third juice contained beets again! I don't think I've ever had a beet before this day. But I have to be honest with myself and with you all. I made it until 5 p.m. I couldn't take it anymore, I had to eat food. I know I'm a chicken. I sincerely applaud people like Joe and Marcia that can undergo this type of body conditioning. What I did learn is that micronutrients and hydration are important. Further, I think we will invest in a juicer to bump up our nutrition!    

Anyway, Mr. Collier and I have reduced our meat content and increased our produce intake. I'm trying new recipes so stay tuned next Sunday for a new recipe!  

On the road again!

06 July 2012

Running shoes by Josiah Mackenzie "Flickr" cc
That's right. I wore my workout clothes to bed last night so that as my alarm blared at me around 6:10 a.m. I was more willing and ready to get up and go. I gathered my things (water bottle and keys) and off I went. I don't know it if is the athleticism of the Olympic athletes or just my desire for increased energy and overall better health but I am inspired!

So I didn't get very far. I mostly walked a bit, then ran and walked some more. But I did it. I was able to wrap my mind around getting up and working out. I ended up going 1.1 miles running in the longest stretches and walking in between. Hopefully, I will build up to running the whole thing! And I was only gone for 15 minutes. Not too shabby for just starting out again. A couple sun-salutation yoga routines served as my post-run stretch. 

I refueled with two slices of whole wheat toast with a little bit of peanut butter on them. Oh, and my coffee. Can't start my day without that!

Guilty Pleasure Friday! Pretty Little Liars...

Warning! My ranting will contain spoilers!!!


I don't know what it is about this show but I'm hooked. I usually don't go for high drama, teenage girly shows but seriously, this show is like crack. Between the suspense and mystery behind a murder of this crazy psychopath of a girl, Allyson (Ali) and the awesome style these ladies have I cannot stop watching. Despite being wrapped up in the plots, I have to vent.

First, who the heck was this Ali person? She was super busy for a 14-16 year old girl. Wrapping up all of these people in high school drama, illegal activity and creating her very own puppet show. Dating older men (in college) and making friends just to stab them in the back. She in essence is evil. Has the world wrapped around her finger. Perhaps it has something to do with living in a small town. But no one keeps secrets in a small town.  

Second, how does this "A" person or people have so much access to these people's lives. Perhaps it is the small town thing again. Everyone keep their doors unlocked and keys under the mats. How is "A" one step ahead of the girls? Who has the time to stalk these four girls every moment of the day? See note 5 below if "A" is in high school. Why is it that every time some event happens in one of the lead character's stories, "A" know? In reality that takes a lot of time coordinating and planning. Do the "A's" have meetings, a Google calendar or a schedule worked out behind the scenes? How in the world does "A" steal things unnoticed or plant things such as in the therapists office? How could "A" be everywhere? And how could "A" not leave a trail?

Third, where the heck are all of these girls' parents? I know they are semi-involved but as for high school girls, shouldn't their parents keep better tabs on them? I would. Stupid girls trying to solve all of their problems on their own. It never does any good. And what sort of relationship do they have that the girls can't go to their parents with their "A" dilemma? 

Fourth, Jenna the blind girl. Does anyone else find it ironic that the blind girl has so much information on everyone? She's in the with the cops, Ali's family and likely "A". How does she have so much power? Why are people afraid of her? Frankly, I think she's faking. 

Fifth, these girls are in high school, a seemingly good high school. Who in their right mind has the time to run around and solve mysteries? Shouldn't they be studying for prep-tests and applying to college? I know that I didn't have time to run around and solve crimes. Let alone make myself a murder suspect! 

Sixth, why in the world is every character shady? I mean take Lucas. He seems harmless for his crush on Hannah in the beginning. Then he starts to get upset because Hannah isn't interested. Then he forgives her and drives to Arizona from New England to pick up Caleb and bring him back so that Caleb and Hannah can be together. What in the world? But why would he do that after she stomped on his heart? I think he may be friends with "A." 

Music that Resonantes

05 July 2012

Look @ little me during my Senior Year!

I was sitting at my desk on at work on Monday and had my Pandora radio playing the "Today's Hits" station. Then the words flashed "Summer Hits of 2000." CLICK! And it brought me back. All these memories that I haven't thought about in years came rushing back for every song.

Why does music do that? Well, I looked into it. One article from redOrbit on this very subject states that  some experts believe that music conjures up mental pictures of our lives because the combination of instruments, words and melody is complex. Another article from Discover Magazine states that because music is interpreted as "procedural" as aforementioned, we experience it differently from fact-based memory. And for that reason we can hear a song and remember all of the words even after many years. How cool is that?

There is no arguing that memory is complicated and how the mind works might never be solved. But let me tell you that I re-experienced all sorts of times in my life through this station. I even came up with a list of 5 memories based upon the songs that I heard. I encourage you to do this same exercise for fun.
  1. "In Da Club" by 50 Cent: Junior year 16th birthday party in my basement. 
  2. "Oops...I did it again" by Britney Spears: 8th grade/freshman year summer dancing in the basement with Lexi. And 2002 when Jen and I saw her in concert. Oh and yes, I still remember all of the choreography.
  3. "Forever" by Chris Brown: 2008 The Office episode when Pam and Jim get married. I tear up every time!
  4. "How to Save A Life" by the Fray. I think of my college friend Evie and I talking about how horrible organic chemistry is in the Residence Hall Council office late one night. I also think about the first time I saw The Fray with Stacey when they opened for Ben Folds at the Chicago Theatre in 2005/2006. 
  5. "Ignition" by R. Kelly. Driving around in Chuck's champagne and/or faded pink Cadillac.
I'm a very musically driven person and I find myself very attached to the memories that are associated with music. Do you? What memories emerge for you?  

… I will celebrate before the LORD.—2 Samuel 6:21

04 July 2012

Yesss! by Scott Ableman "Flickr" cc

Who doesn’t love to celebrate? Whether it is to grab a congratulatory dinner, wedding reception or simple glass of champagne to toast good fortune there are things in life, that I feel, deserve to be celebrated. I’ve been thinking frequently about celebrations. I have been given the honor of being the maid of honor if two of my lifelong friends’ weddings. With the “MOH” status comes responsibilities to plan showers and bachelorette parties, attend bridal fittings and other numerous pre-wedding activities. So in other words, lots of celebrations. But in all that, where do we take the time to celebrate God?
It is scary to think of the expectations that come with bachelorette parties. Thanks, media. On film, women go to Vegas, get wasted and no doubt do things that they will regret or have to explain to their significant other the morning after. But why? Why do these events have to be portrayed that way? Sure, celebrate with girlfriends but don’t sacrifice your dignity because you want to have a good time. In other words, whether God is invited to the celebration or not, He’ll show up anyway.
Consider that. God will show up anyway. Would the same activities occur if God was physically there? Likely not. Sure, this may be a different take on the verse from Samuel but it is, in my opinion, a solid point to consider.


Keep it Stylin' Tuesday's: Tom's Wedges

03 July 2012

Tom's are the new UGGs. But, you can't wear UGGs in the summer, thank goodness. Well, you can but you just look ridiculous. So, Tom's in its infinite wisdom invented a wedge line. Here are a few of my favorite, absolutely guilty pleasure images.

Cheap Tom's Sale

http://www.premierboutique.com/2011/04/toms-wedge/

Pinterest

Nordstrom

Wedding Reception Trend: Popsicles!

02 July 2012


Picture this: you're at a wedding reception in the heat of the summer. You've attended the outdoor ceremony and are four hours into the wedding festivities. The dinner has been served, the cake cut and the dance floor is now open. You throw down to a few popular hits and are sweating profusely. Sure you could enjoy another cold libation but wouldn't a popsicle be 100 times better? 

That's right ladies and gentlemen. Gourmet popsicles are a rising trend in the wedding reception industry. Flavors such as blueberry-lemonade, pomegranate-lime and fruit punch not only are delicious but are low in calories and appeal to wedding guests of all ages. DandySugar, features an entire blog post features awesome recipes so you could even attempt to DIY!

New Recipe Sunday! Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

01 July 2012

I recently decided to switch to a vegetable-heavy diet (for Mr. Collier) and a vegetarian diet for me after watching several documentaries on the health benefits to such a lifestyle [more on that later]. In doing so I am really excited to start trying new recipes such as this one. Thanks to Shape Magazine and their awesome recipe finder tool, I stumbled across Quinoa-stuffed peppers. Two weeks ago I tasted quinoa for the first time from Whole Foods' hot bar. This recipe blends protein rich quinoa with beans and onion. I made a few substitutions after examining my pantry and refrigerator but the essence, I believe is still the same [green peppers for red, added mushrooms and removed carrots and spinach]. Did I mention that this would be a challenge for me? I am horrible at following instructions let alone recipes and if my previous description wasn't enough to convince you (all my subs), you'll just have to wait and see!

To begin, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. Then boiled 1 and 1/3rd cup of water and 1/3 cup of washed quinoa together for about 15 minutes. The things looked like they were sprouting!


In the meantime, I heated about a tablespoon or so of EVOO (thanks Rachel Ray) in a skillet and added my chopped onion. Spices (chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and cumin) were added too. Then I added my mushrooms and kidney beans to cook for about 5 minutes.




After all the water was absorbed from the cooking quinoa, I added the quinoa to the bean mixture. I then prepared the green bell pepper by cutting off the tops and taking out the seeds/core. After looking through my kitchen, I thought a bread pan would do the trick for the cooking phase. This recipe calls for adding some water to the bottom of the pan. 



I stuffed the peppers with the mixture and placed them in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the peppers were tender.  

Then I added some cheese. We had some chipotle cheddar cheese so I shredded that and placed the cheese on top of the peppers. I melted the cheese for 5 minutes in the oven and then they were done!



So far, I've only tasted the remaining stuffing mixture. And it is absolutely delicious! Seriously it could stand alone and can only get better stuffed in a pepper with cheese! WIN!