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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Following A Call

When we moved out here to Nebraska, we weren't just following a job offer, we believed we were following a call. For months, we had been praying that God would show us if we were to remain where we were or if we needed to move in order to follow His leading for our lives. He made that answer pretty clear when Dan lost his job and then got the offer here in Lincoln.

And now we're taking the next (slightly scary!) step towards the life we believe God is leading us towards.

Today was my last day at my job.

Ever since before we were married, Dan and I had discussed how we wanted me to be able to stay home when we had children. But we also talked about how it would nice if I were able to stay home even before children came into the picture. And now we get to make that hope and dream a reality.

We believe this is the life God has called and led us to live. Each step has been covered in prayer, each conversation lifted up to our loving heavenly Father. God has been guiding us in this as we have sought to live by Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
God has straightened this path as we've walked it in the past couple of weeks. We're excited to see what He has in store in the weeks and months to come.

So after 4 years at Booz Allen Hamilton, I guess there is only one things left to say...
Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Carded

Friends! I'm going to ignore the fact that I haven't blogged in a while and just tell you how excited I am for the holiday season! :)

We just got back from a Thanksgiving trip to Maryland to visit my family for the week. It was so nice to see everyone again for the first time since we moved to Nebraska. :) It was fabulous and we enjoyed the time with family. Thanksgiving was so yummy and we enjoyed leftovers for days afterwards. 

Now that we're back home though we are getting ready for the countdown to Christmas! Gifts have been ordered and even started to arrive already! Handmade ones are being finished as fast as I can make them. And last night I got the chance to work on one of my favorite things this time of year: I ordered our Christmas photo cards! I can't wait to share these this Christmas when we send out our letters! Here's a sneak peek!


Guess this means I should finish the Christmas letter so we can start stuffing envelopes soon!

Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!
Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Sunday, October 21, 2012

More USPS Fail

Some of you will remember this post from two years ago about a pretty amusing FAIL on the part of the postal service. More recently, you might recall my post about our mail situation here. Well, needless to say, they've done it again :)

The day after I posted about picking up our mail at the post office, I went in and was told they had started delivering mail to our new mailbox down the street. I was then given a letter telling me how to get my keys...



Anyone know where I can find the "reality" company? ;)

Meghan

P.S. 200th post!! :D Yay!! :D

Friday, October 19, 2012

This is the Stuff

I think it was my mom that first mentioned this song to me...
The day I actually heard it in the car I think I called her (or texted) to tell her how awesome I thought it was. It's a great song, catchy melody, and meaningful lyrics. But sometimes it goes deeper...

Last night, God brought to my mind some of the lyrics that were all too appropriate for what I've been going through lately:
"In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed."
And that is so true. I've realized it especially lately as we settle into life in Nebraska.

Now that we've made our big move, I'm starting to think about the next steps and the next phases in life. And sometimes, I get a little ahead of myself and find myself missing out on what's happening now because of desiring things that are yet to be.

I find it's especially hard to reign this in when the things I'm desiring are called "blessings" by God in Scripture. What I'm beginning to realize and trying to internalize is that, while these things may be blessings, they are most blessed when they come in God's timing.

So while I desire what is good, I will continue to wait for God's perfect timing in choosing to bring such blessings into my life. Because "this is the stuff" He will use to continue to grow me and draw me closer to Him and I trust that He knows exactly what He's doing even if it's not what I would choose. :)

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Going Postal

I have really enjoyed settling into life here in Nebraska. So far, besides being in a new town, not much has been different. We still go to the grocery store on Mondays, church on Sunday, and date nights on Fridays. Saturday still usually involves one football game or another for either Purdue or Maryland. Laundry and dishes are still getting done and we are still renting our place.

But there was one thing I wasn't prepared for...

Rural mail delivery

I'm trying Mr. Mailman! I promise!

I knew we were moving into a new development but mail delivery never crossed my mind until the day we signed the lease and moved in. Turns out the builder hadn't installed the mailbox for the street yet...and the mailman had no idea when they will.

So for now, we trek down to the local post office carrier annex and wait at the service window while they retrieve our mail. It's even gotten to the point where I know the gentleman's name who is usually there and he recognizes me to the point where he no longer has to ask for my ID each time.

It looks like this will change soon since the boxes seem to have been installed at the end of the street a couple days ago. It's been quite the adventure though and has given me a glimpse into some of the differences I will continue to find as we settle into life in Nebraska! :)

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book Review: Share the Bounty

My latest book to review from BookSneeze.com was "Share the Bounty: Finding God's Grace through the Spirit of Hospitality". I love hosting people and hope to do it more frequently once we're settled in our new Nebraska home. There's just something about fellowshipping with friends and family in a warm home setting with some good food. So I wanted to see what this book might have to offer.

What it did offer was some yummy looking recipes and lots of inspiration for hosting others in our home. Looking at all the beautiful pictures and reading the chapter openings, it made me want to be a better hostess and start opening up my home again. This is a beautiful coffee-table book that doubles as a cookbook and a wealth of hosting encouragement. There were some interesting tidbits at the start of each section, though it is mostly meant to be inspiration for offering hospitality and not a how-to guide. The recipes were simply and clearly written and several will definitely be going on my "to try" list including such tasty morsels as coffee mousse, heirloom tomato soup, strawberry fluff, walnut cheese wafer, chocolate coffee pie, cheddar pecan scones, among others. :)

Overall, I was pleased with this gorgeous coffee table-style book. I wouldn't have minded a little more written content about being a hostess but that wasn't the goal of this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Road Trip!

Phew! Well, we made it! We are settling in at our new place in Nebraska and trying to find our new routine.The trip cross-country ended up being a lot of fun and we really enjoyed visiting family and friends along the way.

We started with a two night visit to the Inn at Ragged Edge in Chambersburg, PA. We had purchased a AAA deal voucher for two nights and were planning on going for Valentine's Day 2013, but that wasn't going to work out for fairly obvious reasons ;)
Beautiful exterior
Exploring the wraparound porch
The voucher included tickets to the museum at Gettysburg, so we went to check it out and do the auto tour drive around the battlefield. My history buff hubby was in his element explaining things to me and was only bummed that his torn achilles kept him from climbing the observation tours for a better look :)
Part of the Cyclorama at the Museum
Saw this gal by the Virginia memorial...she decided we weren't much of a threat :)
View from New York Memorial on Little Round Top out over Devil's Den
After two relaxing nights, we started crossing state borders!
And got to see Sarah!! She gave us a tour around Cedarville after we helped her "escape" campus for the night for dinner. ;)
From Ohio, we headed north for the weekend to Michigan where we spent some time with Dan's parents and met our friends' new baby! :)
Late birthday celebration :)
We were in town during the Midland Balloon Festival!
We went to the evening balloon glow which was awesome :)
Meeting Isaac!
All smiles :)
After a weekend with no driving, we headed south so Dan could show me around his alma mater, Purdue University.
Another state line! This rest stop had lovely, huge sunflowers!
In front of the ChemE building
The Engineering fountain
From there it was westward, ho! (I missed a couple state border photos over the course of the trip when I was driving.)


Never did see a welcome to Nebraska sign so Omaha will have to do.
And then we moved in! It was nice to finally be off the road and able to start setting up home at our new place. We are still getting settled in and waiting for the 2nd part of our household goods shipment but it's starting to feel like our home. Just still got to figure out how we want to arrange everything still ;)
My wonderful new kitchen :) It's less cluttered now than this.
Hanging the door wreath :) I changed it as soon as we found the fall one.
Taking a break from unpacking.
Thank you all so much for your prayers as we've traveled and started to settle in. It's been quite the transition and the love and support of family and friends has helped to make it a little easier.

We look forward to sharing our adventures out here in the plains of Nebraska as we explore and settle into our new town! "Adventure is out there!"

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan





Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sneak

It snuck up on me, this move to Nebraska. One day, it's just a job interview, then an offer the next week. A month later it's a start date that's still over a month away. Then it's scheduling the movers/packers to come in two weeks.

But now?

Now, we drive away this evening.

It's been hard to say goodbye to those we know and love here. Many tears have been shed and hugs exchanged. I feel like we are leaving behind so much but I also know that God has opened this door to give us so much more. He's also been helping me to remember that I'm not leaving everything behind, I'm taking a part of it with me in my heart. I carry the love of friends and family with me, something I could never simply forget to pack.

So as we pull out this evening, know that I carry you with me, friends.  I carry the memories we've made, the fun we've shared, and the tears we've cried. I look forward to sharing our future adventures with you, whether that's in person or electronically. Please continue to share yours with me as well. :) I look forward to hearing how God continues to work in your life.

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." ~Numbers 6:24-26

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Second Anniversary

Many of you will remember our wonderful photos here taken by the lovely Sarah Adams of Photos by Sarah Beth for our 1st anniversary.
See? Gorgeous! :)
Well, when it came time to consider getting photos done for our 2nd anniversary, there was no contest. Photos by Sarah Beth it was! :) We were a little more ambitious this time and dragged Sarah all over DC with us. With the move coming up in just over a week, we wanted to get some photos at some places that were meaningful to us. Of course, we planned all of this before Dan ruptured his Achilles, but we were thankfully able to borrow a wheelchair from our church so he wouldn't have to run around DC on crutches the whole time.

We visited the memorial where Dan proposed, the WWII Memorial to get a picture for address change cards, and some of the places we went on our very first outing with my family and our first date. It was fun to reminisce while we were taking photos as we said good-bye to locations where we have so many memories. We also took some photos after church one day to remember the place where we met and were married. It was so special to have such a good friend with us while we relived the past several years together. Thank you Sarah! :)

And now...some of the photos! :)

Love this one!
I have one like this from our wedding that I absolutely love :)
Pretty much exactly where he proposed
So much time spent on Metro...had to get a photo :)
We took pictures here on our wedding day
Love the brick background!
Thank you, Sarah, for such wonderful anniversary photos! We will sorely miss you in Nebraska! And Happy 2nd Anniversary to the love of my life, Dan! Here's to a lifetime of love together! :)

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan


Monday, September 3, 2012

Book Review: You Be Sweet

I was thrilled to see this cookbook come across the slate for BookSneeze choices this month. They've only recently started doing cookbooks and I always love having a chance to try new recipes. Unfortunately, I missed out on getting this in print, so I had to settle for the e-book version. Once I realized it was 422 pages though (on the Nook, 272 in print), I was glad for the version that weighed less. ;)

"You Be Sweet" is a collection of Southern style dessert and sweet recipes that will make your mouth water. It may also make you think you're gaining weight just by reading it based on the matching Southern style ingredients!

The book is broken into chapters based on anecdotal stories that center around certain events or occasions. Of course, this doesn't mean you can't use recipes from elsewhere in the book for those occasions but it's a cute idea for breaking up the recipes. The only problem is that you don't end up with much logic in how they're organized. It's a good thing then that there is a fabulous index in the back (in the e-book version, the index page numbers are hyperlinked to take you directly to the recipe).

So many of the desserts sound so enticing that I think I bookmarked more than 60 that I want to try! Everything from jams to teas to cakes and pies, even candies and soups! The pictures in the book looked fabulous even on my black-and-white little e-reader so I'm going to have to read the book on the computer to see them in all their colored glory. I only wish there had been more pictures! :)

Overall lovely cookbook with cute stories and beautiful pictures (though too few overall). Can't wait to start whipping up my own Southern style sweets!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

You Be Sweet!
Meghan



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, August 31, 2012

Factual Friday: Autumn

Fact: Meteorological Fall starts tomorrow (September 1st)!

For the purpose of meteorological records, the seasons are divided into equal portions: Summer is June, July, August, Fall consists of September, October, November, Winter is December, January, February, and Spring is made up of March, April, and May. This makes it easy to classify records and divide the year evenly.

It's hard to believe that September is already knocking at the door! I feel like June was just a week ago and July was yesterday! Now here we are at the end of August! And so much is happening! I turned 27, we are less than two weeks away from our move (11 days!), and we're getting ready to celebrate our 2nd anniversary! My, how time flies!

I love autumn. It's one of my two favorite seasons, spring being the other. I love the milder temperatures that come with both seasons along with the explosion of colors. Of course, there are things I love about summer and winter as well but fall IS just around the corner ;)

This will be my first fall in Nebraska. I'm looking forward to seeing what that means and what the season has to offer in a new state. I'm looking forward to warm shirts, pumpkin lattes and caramel apple spices, and hopefully some beautiful fall colors. I know there will be some changes and it won't be the same as I'm used to but I know it will be special in its own way.

So here's to the adventure! :) Happy Fall!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Redeem the Time

When I was on my Emmaus Walk at the beginning of May, one phrase that God brought to mind over and over again was "Redeem the time". I knew I had heard the phrase (or something similar) in Scripture before so I tried to find what my brain was recalling but the small concordance in my Bible didn't help and I couldn't seem to remember exact references.

When I got back home from the weekend I tried looking up the exact phrase but to no avail. Thankfully, BlueLetterBible.org and BibleGateway.com had plenty of translation options and searching abilities to help me find the verses I was trying to find. Because, believe it or not, just putting in "redeem the time" got me nowhere.

There were two verses that were floating around in my mind during that Emmaus weekend:
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:15-17 (ESV)

"Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." Colossians 4:5-6 (ESV)
Now, obviously neither of these have the actual phrase "redeem the time" (mostly translation choices), but I still believe God led me to these Scriptures through that phrase and showed me another way to think of it: "best use of the time".

The Greek word used for "making the most" or "best use" is exagoraz┼Ź. According to Strong's, it is used only 4 times in the Bible: the two instances I listed above, Galatians 3:13, and Galatians 4:5. While Ephesians and Colossians are both speaking of time and our lives, Galatians uses the word in a different context: Jesus redeeming us from under the Law through His sacrifice.

It's an interesting concept to me right now, both because of my Emmaus weekend (with its theme of "Be Still") and the upcoming move to Nebraska (where I have a chance to begin a new schedule). In order to redeem something, a price must be paid, a sacrifice made. So, in order to make wise use of my time, to "redeem" it, I have to sacrifice something.

What does that look like? I don't know that I know yet. I have a few ideas (one of which is reducing "screen" time) but they're still floating around. I'm hoping with the move to Nebraska that I will be able to begin a new schedule that redeems more of my time and makes better use of it. :)

What are some of your ideas to redeem your time?

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Factual Friday: Achilles

IT'S BAAAAAACK! :D

It's been quite a while since I've done one of these posts :) So welcome again to Factual Friday!

Fact: The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body.

Secondary Fact: My husband ruptured his Achilles at the end of July playing indoor soccer and had surgery 15 days later to repair it.

Despite knowing where it was and that my husband had ruptured his, I had no clue that the Achilles is the largest tendon in the body. Go figure!

This time of injury has taught us both a lot about reliance on others, humility, and loving care. Dan has had to rely on me much more than usual to drive him places for appointments and to carry things around the house. It has been humbling for both of us to realize how much help we need and how much help the other person has been to us. I've also had to realize how to step back and allow my husband to still do the things that he can. I steal from him when I treat him as a complete invalid when he wants to help as able.

I'm looking forward to when my husband is able to walk again but I also know that this time of healing has slowed us down and taught us some valuable lessons, despite the difficulties. Lessons I hope I remember for a long time to come.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Three weeks

The countdown has begun. In just under three weeks now, our little apartment where we started our married life will be empty and we will be on our journey to Nebraska.

Three...weeks...

Excuse me a minute while the brevity of that sinks in...

The last time I moved across the country I was 5 years old. The most I was concerned about was making sure my toys, blanket, and stuffed elephant came with me. Now I'm a wife and managing a household (though no children yet) and the enormity of moving an entire home-worth of household goods seems daunting. I'm grateful for movers who will handle most of it but still...

This is about how I feel
Sometimes I feel like being uprooted occasionally is a good thing. It forces us to rely on God for the unknown and live out the belief that He is all-powerful and sovereign. I've had to trust that we would find a place to rent that we liked in a window of 48 hours (we did) and then I had to rely on God as we started figuring out how to do this move with my husband still on crutches (plans are falling into place).

All along the way, God has walked each step with us, providing and guiding, leading us into this new adventure. I can't wait to see what He has in store out in Nebraska!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Spreading our Wings

You see that little phrase up there? In the header? The one that says "Oh how the little things strengthen my tiny wings"? Well, it looks like Dan and I will soon have a chance to spread those wings a little. 

We've been waiting to announce this until things were set but now it's official! Good thing we've started packing!
Almost all of those are books...
 Because Dan and I are officially moving to Lincoln, Nebraska!

Right where that star is!

In less than a month!!

Dan has been out of work since May but that will all be changing soon! Between tearing his Achilles tendon at the end of July and all the pre-employment screenings and paperwork that have been needed, we held off on setting a start date but as of today we are moving forward. Dan is slated to start work on Tuesday, September 25th!

This is HUGE! This East Coast girl has lived in Maryland since I was 5! I'm excited and nervous about the move and a whole bunch of other jumbled emotions rolled into one.

We went last weekend to look at places to rent. That was my first time setting foot in the state of Nebraska. It was fun getting to explore the area a little bit and I've already found a Thai restaurant that I loved and want to visit again :) We are looking forward to exploring our new home even more in the months and years to come!

It's amazing to see how God has provided through all of this. He has sustained us through a time of uncertainty and job searching, provided for our needs, and softened hearts when needed to allow us to make this transition or take care of things (such as my job and Dan's Achilles). And now? Now He has provided this amazing opportunity to trust Him even more as we move.

It is truly an exciting time, friends! We will miss everyone on the East Coast  but hope to stay in touch, whether that is by phone, through e-mail, the blog here, or Facebook. We look forward to seeing what God has in store for us and sharing the adventure with you as we head west!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Advanced Book Review: Full Disclosure

While I do most of my book reviews through the BookSneeze program, sometimes I get the opportunity to review them through other venues. This one is a case in point. Actually, an ad of Facebook led me to this one.

I've been a Dee Henderson fan for awhile and, like my mom, was always looking to see when she might have a new book coming out. So when I saw an ad on Facebook saying she had one coming out in October I jumped on it, hoping it wasn't a misleading ad. To my great surprise it wasn't! There really would be a new book, "Full Disclosure"! So I sent the page to friends and family that I knew liked her work.

Then I saw it...the link to request an advanced readers' copy of the book in return for a written review. Since I'm used to and comfortable with that arrangement I snatched up my copy pretty quickly. And then, less than 9 days after it arrived, I finished it. :)

"Full Disclosure" is pure Dee Henderson, both alike and different from her previous work. The book has definitely stuck with me even days after finishing it as I continue to digest it. From the fun and quirky moments to the quiet suspense, it definitely reminded me of some of the things I liked about Dee's writing. At the same time, it was vastly different from many of her others. The edge-of-your-seat action is almost nowhere to be seen after the first few chapters. There is almost never a sense that a main character is in mortal danger. The love story develops nicely, even if it feels a bit rushed in some points and slower at others.

I'm not sure how I felt about the fact that several characters were reused from her other books. It was also obvious how much of herself the author was inserting into one of the characters. It became a slight distraction from the world of the book, pulling me back to reality. I will say that my pattern-observing engineer husband must be rubbing off on me because my excitement about the twists and turns in the story wasn't for the twist itself but because I had figured it out earlier and was excited that it was confirmed.

On the whole, it was definitely a good and enjoyable read. If you're a tried and true fan of Dee Henderson or even if you're new to her writing, "Full Disclosure" was definitely a welcome return for the author. Now let's just hope she doesn't wait 5 years again!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tomatoes! Basil! Sandwich!

So these are the first tomatoes that came from my garden...
Aren't they beautiful?!
And again...
nom nom nom
Mix in a little pesto made with fresh basil from the garden (which I forgot to get a pictures of), add a slice of yummy mozzarella cheese...

And voila!
Just look at that yummy pesto goodness seeping out!
And again...
See the yummy tomato?
I always love it when we get to enjoy the fruits of our little patio garden. This time, I decided to try out a recipe I'd seen on Pinterest for a caprese grilled cheese sandwich.

Click for original recipe
It was truly fabulous (at least I thought so, it got an okay from Dan). I froze the leftover pesto in an ice cube tray to have individual servings for the future.

I tried to plant peas this year along with my basil and tomatoes but "Ninja Squirrel" had other ideas about those...Needless to say, we aren't going to be enjoying any peas this year. However, I am looking forward to enjoying some more basil and tomatoes for the rest of the summer. Four more tomatoes are growing and ripening right now and the basil plants are putting out more leaves after being trimmed back when I made pesto.

It's so nice to be able to enjoy a tangible benefit to the work I've put into these plants. Keep growing, little ones! :) Can't wait to enjoy some more when they're ready!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Giving Back

Sometimes, an era in your life is so impactful that you can truthfully say that you wouldn't be who you are or where you are today without that time. FLI is that for me.

FLI is the Focus Leadership Institute. My semester there in the Fall of 2007 was the original reason this blog came into existence. I met some lifelong friends there, friends that have been willing to love me and call me out when necessary. I learned a lot about myself, God, my dreams, the kind of life God wanted for me, and His promises. It was a truly incredible time. And now, I would like to give other students that same opportunity.

This summer, FLI graduated their 50th class. To celebrate and help provide for the next 50 classes, they've been running a giving challenge to provide $50,000 to the scholarship fund for future students by September 1st. Alumni are allowed to create pages to help with the effort and I have done just that, setting my personal goal at $1,000. I've included some pictures on the page from my time at FLI. However, they have only raised 36% of their goal and there's less than 4 weeks left!

If you have a heart for college students and forming the next generation of godly leaders, please consider a donation to the scholarship fund at FLI (click on the image below). For more information on the Institute or to apply, please visit https://www.focusleadership.org/.


Click on the image to go to the Donation website.
Don't delay though! Challenge ends on September 1st, less than a month away! :)

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan