<![CDATA[My Site - Blog]]>Mon, 11 Jan 2016 09:37:04 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Portland, OR]]>Thu, 27 Aug 2015 01:29:51 GMThttp://myfaithyourloveourfreedom.weebly.com/blog/portland-or
the pro photo-bombers
Hotel Rose was where we stayed for two nights while in Portland. It is just a few blocks from this amazing down-home restaurant called Mother's, where the biscuits are so good you'd slap your grandma...and I hit number four. It was the first place we went to eat when we got there, where from my experience, you can't take a breath before you feel the need to try the next lip-lapping thing.
I hope you can see the flake and crumbliness of those biscuits. No, it is not an exaggeration that I downed four. And I would be lying to say that I didn't take the last two home and eat them the next day for lunch. Great biscuits are hard to beat for sure, and these are some of the best I have ever had. The waiter laughed when I asked for a box because I wanted to take home the biscuits instead of the last little bit of my meal. Hmph well I sure was happy the next day!
Southern barbecue, biscuits, fried chicken, and mac-and-cheese rank at the top of my favorite food list, which makes me incredibly picky about what I consider good or not. Shout-out to my momma for making the best homemade pulled-pork and barbecue sauce I've ever had!  My meal was exactly what I was hoping it would be. I wanted real, quality pulled-pork and this is where it's at! I definitely don't regret splitting the extra side of cheddar mac-and-cheese, which was probably my favorite out of the entire ridiculously good meal. I never would have thought that I could find such great southern staples in the Pacific Northwest! Let me eat my words, Portland knows how to do it! Oh what I would do to get my hands on the recipe for those biscuits and that mac!! Mother's served me a fantastic meal, complete with everything I miss about home! (except for fried chicken, but that comes up later)

After being insanely full from the best meal I have had on the west coast, we got up the next morning to wait in line for Voodoo Donuts, a place that Erin and Dave have been to several other times. Note the glitter glue painted on the bricks outside of the door.* They had too many donuts to choose from, so for the three of us, we decided on maple-bacon, chocolate cake coconut, chocolate cake Butterfinger, glazed vanilla icing with Froot Loops, and their signature Voodoo doll. The cake donuts were good, but the raised donuts were incredible! My favorite was the Voodoo doll, because of the chocolate icing, and the raspberry filling that would squirt out when you poked it with the pretzel stick in its belly. The maple-bacon was equally delicious, obviously there aren't too many ways you can go wrong if you slap bacon on it, but the Voodoo doll donut was way more entertaining! If you haven't pieced it together yet, THIS nutritious breakfast of assorted donuts is what preceded my lunch of leftover biscuits straight from heaven.
Nope, no time to mess around when donuts are nearby.
After we got our fill of sugary carbs, we walked to Powell's City of Books, the largest independent new and used book store in the world! Yes, I was genuinely afraid that I would get lost. I was caught in sensory-overload for the first half-hour, not able to focus on one thing to search for amongst the floors of categorized material. I wandered around the main floor where they had neat displays of Portland-related trinkets and oddities, along with their top-pick reads. I had been on a mission to find a good book to read while on vacation, but never got the chance to look for one until Powell's, so I finally made an effort to walk up to the next floor and attempt to navigate the maze. Luckily the Christian book section was right there, or I might have given up. I actually spent much longer than expected roaming through the several isles they had set aside for different types of Christian reading. Powell's is not just a cool place for having a huge selection, but also because they have used copies of most books that are much cheaper than the new one right next to it. 

The book I found last, Getting Past What You'll Never Get Over, by J. Westfall, has been one of the best purchases I have ever made. I got to the third chapter this morning, and through tears, reached a break-through that I have been praying into for a full year now. I would highly recommend it! It sounds like a very specific book, but it isn't. God has already wrecked my heart with revelations of what he has done in baby steps this past year, and now in full, as I read about the healing He has for me. I am amazed at the seasons He takes us through, and how even though they can seem unending and insurmountable, God is right there all along, doing a new thing in us, refining us, and equipping us for what's to come. Life isn't perfect, it never will be. There is going to be hurt- physically and emotionally, and Jesus gives us the strength, tools, and knowledge to get through it. The reality that life is hard and that not always being ok, is actully ok, is what the Lord has been teaching me so much about. Just because we walk with Jesus and are saved from our sins doesn't mean we are free from life's hurts. This world is broken, and so are we, every single one of us. I just praise Jesus for His overwhelming grace, omnipotence, and love that gives me breath, life, and hope to keep going, even when the going gets tough.

I bet you weren't expecting the way that got all deep were you?! HA Well expect more depth about what the Lord has been doing in this area specifically in a post to follow!

After Powell's, Erin and I headed to the Nordstrom Rack, because I had my eye on a little something for Dj that I had seen through the window. Before we got there, I noticed the little chocolate store Moonstruck, a brand that had caught my attention in various other candy stores before. I had seen on the packaging that they were based in Portland, so I was eager to check out the actual store! It was a super tiny hole-in-the-wall, with very carefully and artistically crafted "artisan chocolates." They had some that were clown fish, mushrooms, dogs, mice, and so on. Let's get real, I was only looking for the salted caramels. I got two salted caramels, and another Bailey's truffle. The Bailey's one was good, it definitely tasted like Bailey's, but the salted caramel truffles were the best I have ever had!!! Each truffle was $2.50, which I would usually say is dumb, but I DON'T CARE. I would pay it again without hesitation. The caramel was so rich and creamy, yet chewy at the same time. There was a freshness to it that came together with the milk chocolate, and sent through the roof with the sea salt. Sea salt caramel is my favorite of any dessert or chocolate! There goes Portland again, nailing all of my favorites!!
After another dose of the most perfect sugar, I found exactly what I was looking for at the Rack! Very happy and jittery from the exorbitant amount of coffee and sugar we had consumed, we went back to rest and had a light meal at Rock Bottom Brewery to finish off the day.

Sunday morning we woke up with the plan to get Pine State Biscuits before we hit the road. On a day with a posted high of 90, I was shivering standing in line for over an hour. It hadn't hit 60 by 11am. I was getting to my predictably hangry state, questioning whether it was worth stretching my patience in the cold this much, when finally the food came, and the perfect plates were laid before us. Scroll down to commence drooling.
Don't be fooled as I was, but this sugar water is NOT sweet tea. It wasn't bad, just not anything close to sweet tea.
Pictured from left is my plate, then Dave's, then Erin's, with hash-ups and blueberry fruit and whip biscuit to share.
Oh, it's just pretty to look at, right?! This little beauty is called the Chatfield. Fried chicken (I told you I'd get some), bacon, and cheese, topped with apple butter, piled high on a buttermilk biscuit. Let heaven invade. Seriously, if you think I'm kidding about biscuits being the 8th wonder of the world, you are terribly misinformed! It took me so long to decide which biscuit I wanted, because I wanted to try them all! The deciding factor on this one was the apple butter, and secondly, cheese. I like apple butter, and until recently had forgotten how under-rated and delicious it is. It reminds me of home and leaves me with that taste of fall I have been so excited about! I was incredibly happy with my choice, and couldn't be interrupted as the apple butter, cheesy goodness, chicken, and yes, seventh biscuit danced in my mouth. I can't explain what apple butter does to the chicken, but I do know I want to smear it on every piece of chicken and bread I have from here on out!! The cheddar acted as some sort of bridge between the two, because for some reason, it would not have been as good without it. Yes, this even exceeded my dinner at Mother's because of how well it all went together and reminded me of home, with that sweet, fried, comfort that washes all over you when you find that perfect meal.

The blueberry and whip biscuit exceeded expectations as well. The blueberries were almost reduced to a syrup, yet still had tons of whole berries, with what tasted like home-made whipped cream. It was very sweet and more like pancakes or dessert (is there a difference?), and it made me want to try this one at home! It seems simple enough, but there is so much flavor and buttery goodness to their biscuits that I'd be nervous to even attempt such artistry.
I sure hope we meet again, Portland! 
If not, someone please send me Pine State Biscuits through the mail.
<![CDATA[Newport- Oregon Coast]]>Tue, 25 Aug 2015 01:22:34 GMThttp://myfaithyourloveourfreedom.weebly.com/blog/newport-oregon-coast
Port of Newport
The sea lions were incredibly entertaining to watch! We happened upon them after hearing their dog-like barks from down the street. We had walked to the Bay Front for morning for lunch and a little mid-afternoon pick-me-up of iced lattes and caramel. I literally bought a fist full of soft caramel that was wrapped in plastic because everything else was cross-contaminated with tree nuts. Chewing on the caramel along with my latte made for a good combination!
This salmon salad with barbecue-blackberry reduction from the hotel restaurant, yes it was room service :), was out of this world!! I have really been trying to choose wisely while eating out, and having all sorts of seafood on the menu makes it extra difficult for me! This was so flavorful, and I LOVED the way the blackberries paired with the barbecue. I could taste both flavors equally, and the blackberries gave the sauce a nice viscous consistency. I liked the honey-dijon dressing as well, and thought that it tasted good with the rest of the salad that was mixed with berries and tropical fruits. The pineapple tasted the best with the reduction and salmon. I raved over this for the rest of the night!!
Oregon Coast Aquarium
Lunch at the Chowder Bowl--and they actually live up to the standards of their name! The chowder was so rich and creamy, and even had potatoes in it! A side of chowder came with my gigantic Shrimp Louie salad (trying to choose healthily in prep for food in Portland), hehe but I had to try it! The Chowder Bowl has been nationally recognized on the Today Show and featured in Coastal Living Magazine. I really liked the atmosphere of this local coastal cafe. It felt so cozy and what I would picture fall in New England like.
The Pacific
Boo Boo is the biggest ham for the camera and the beach is his happy place too.
First time seeing the Pacific Ocean
<![CDATA[August 12th, 2015]]>Thu, 13 Aug 2015 02:33:16 GMThttp://myfaithyourloveourfreedom.weebly.com/blog/august-12th-2015Can you tell that I am more than ready for Hawaii?? It is already cooling off in Seattle, and this morning it is pouring buckets, as it storms. I just wish it could stay 85 degrees year-round. I guess I am in the wrong state for that! Even though I still have 5 weeks until I land in Honolulu, I can pretend!
Crop top: Forever 21
Skirt: Nordstrom
<![CDATA[morning in Edmonds- Puget Sound]]>Wed, 12 Aug 2015 02:44:08 GMThttp://myfaithyourloveourfreedom.weebly.com/blog/morning-in-edmonds-puget-soundThis morning we headed north to Edmonds for a client meeting, and were able to spare a few work hours to see the Puget Sound. Across the way you can see Bainbridge Island and the Olympic Mountains.
<![CDATA[written on the lining of my heart]]>Tue, 11 Aug 2015 04:19:28 GMThttp://myfaithyourloveourfreedom.weebly.com/blog/written-on-the-lining-of-my-heartAs you probably know, my faith, your love, our freedom are lyrics from  I Hold On, by Dierks Bentley, however corny it may be. I have had the excerpt, to the things I believe in, my faith, your love, our freedom, posted in the bio of my Instagram for quite a while now, being that it easily explains who I am. I continued with that theme on the blog, because it accurately describes what I want the blog to reflect, and in that order. First off- my faith in Christ, second- my relationship with Dj, and third- the trials and lessons learned loving an army guy.

It is probably pretty self explanatory, but Jesus is confirming the reason, not just the name, even more this morning through my quiet time. 

I am reading through chapter 8 of Hebrews, ESV and MSG versions. The passage describes Jesus as the high priest of a better covenant- the new covenant. It explains why the Old Testament law was imperfect, and incapable of saving us, which is why Jesus came and died and rose to establish a new covenant with us- which only he could do, because he is without fault. The new covenant, unlike the old, isn't chiseled out in stone as it was when God gave the law to Moses, but written in us, carved on the lining of our hearts. Jesus' death and resurrection broke the veil between us and the Father, so that we might enter the holy place, and get to know him firsthand. By this, the old law is obsolete, and grace by salvation reigns, through the blood of Jesus.  

I get so excited reading about all that Christ did for me, and the hope that we now have in Him because he gave his life, so that we might live!! Not only did he take our place on the cross, and the weight of our sin on His shoulders, His perfect sacrifice gave us intimate access to the Father, so that we might then with confidence, draw  near to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). I love what that means for my life- and my relationship with God! He died for me so that I might have an intimate relationship with the Father! He is always there, he knows everything about each and every one of us. We can call on him anytime, anyplace, anywhere, and get to know His heart in a personal, sacred, intimate way, that nothing else can compare! We fall so so short of deserving anything, because of our sin, but because of His mercy, He says that, I will remember their sins no more (Hebrews 8:12), AND with that comes the freedom to approach the Father!! You can't tell me my God isn't good, because He's crazy, inexplicably good! Who else would do that for you?! Who else could?! Oh - yeah, no one!

Just as this covenant with Christ is written in my heart, so is all that He teaches me and all His plans for me. This blog is my heart- at least a reflection of it, and now it is concretely here for me to reflect and meditate on. Writing has always been my best way to learn. It really helps me digest things, especially when it comes to Jesus. I love the way that the Maker of the Universe speaks to me, and that He knows me better than I know myself.

He truly is the lover of my soul.

<![CDATA[Like Jesus Does]]>Mon, 10 Aug 2015 01:59:30 GMThttp://myfaithyourloveourfreedom.weebly.com/blog/like-jesus-does

This is something that I wrote last month, before I had a blog, but am posting it as I play catch-up with what has happened this summer. 


Although it is Monday, it has been a fantastic one- hunting the good things!! That is a phrase Dj always tells me to encourage me to focus on the little things that make life good- things you wouldn't normally think about in an "ordinary" day. The gym this morning was great- I am learning to really enjoy it and see it as a God thing, which I didn’t expect. It is sweet to see it as a gift to be able to push our bodies and make them stronger, to take care of what God has given us, cause our bodies are His temple! I am getting excited looking for harder workouts like Dj had suggested, and I am glad that I have him to motivate me and encourage me. The gym is just a great way to start off the day because it makes me feel so good and wakes me up! I also had a great breakfast- because we all know how much I love food hahah. We had steak, eggs, and fruit, which is easily my new favorite meal!! Jesus is really teaching me to be a morning person- such good things happen before 10am that I didn’t even know!! Lol truly! I love the routine of working out, eating a killer breakfast, and having the time to spend enjoying my coffee in the presence of Jesus! It has been really good to just have a routine, and be able to prioritize my time so that I make time for God. 

I was convicted this morning because it had been more than a week since I had spent time in the word, but Jesus still finds ways to draw me back to him. Even though I feel like a hard-headed and slow learner, he always has something to teach me! I love Erin and Dave’s lounge chairs on the patio, it makes for the perfect place to have quiet time.  It is amazing how Jesus really made coming here a way for me to get back to Him on a daily basis. I was sitting there this morning reflecting on how thankful I am for that, for such a good time at the gym, and such a good breakfast. I had 20 minutes until work, and I prayed that he would make more time to spend with him. Erin got caught up in something, and I had 40 whole minutes to pray and read the Word!! Jesus is so cool. 

I am reading through Hebrews right now- today I read Chapter 5:11-14. Basically in the passage, Paul is warning against apostasy- which is a big word for renouncing your faith- or turning away from Jesus. He says that basically these people who claim to be believers, have been wasting their time, and they should be teachers of the Word by now because they have been Christians for so long, yet they did not spend their time reading the word and growing with Jesus. He says they are like babies, and still need to hear the basics of the Bible because they haven’t been using their time wisely and seeking Jesus. 

Verse 14 really stuck out to me. It was talking about the mature Christian. It says, “but solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” This led me to look up the definition of constant- since I want to know what it truly means to be mature in Jesus. The definition is so powerful. 

Constant: sustained, uninterrupted in time, steadfast in purpose, devotion, and affection.

Wow- like what? I can’t even comprehend that! Uninterrupted in time?? Steadfast in all those things? Purpose, devotion, and affection?? Sustained. I mean, hot dang, the weight of those words. I encourage you to take some time and meditate on what that means to you. That those words are how our relationship with Jesus should be! 

Never pausing, never ceasing, but constantly seeking him and in communication with him. 

We don’t have to be overwhelmed by that, but encouraged cause He’s always there ready to listen and guide us!! We just need to be aware of His presence. And all that makes sense, because without constantly looking to Jesus, we lose sight of how and why we should be living! And I know I do that too often.  Those words are a perfect example of how Jesus loves us, and how constant and unwavering he is in pursuing us in relationship with him. 

Not only are we called to give him that same devotion, but one another. THAT is how I want to love. I want to love and serve beyond all faults, constantly, and through the hard times, never-ceasing, relentlessly

This caused me to assess my relationship with Dj, my family, friends, and even strangers. As I mentioned in my last post, I was filled with all sorts of emotions and at points, bitterness because of Dj's absence. But oh, has the Lord been working on my heart in ways I couldn't have imagined. I was challenged to support Dj in this way- constant, and serve him daily- to love on him like he deserves! He is precious and pure in the eyes of Jesus- and I am the one who gets the privilege of serving him and showing him love like the Father's. It is something that I can't even wrap my head around, but know because of the overwhelming and indescribable feeling of love that comes from standing in presence of God. 

I want to love like that.

 Like Jesus does.


<![CDATA[Here goes nothing]]>Sat, 08 Aug 2015 01:38:16 GMThttp://myfaithyourloveourfreedom.weebly.com/blog/here-goes-nothingWell, here it goes!! I finally got around to setting up a new blog, something I have been meaning to do for over a year now. I felt like I have been losing time because I want to keep track of everything the Lord has been teaching me since Dj has been away, and since I have been in Seattle for the summer. I love that the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves, and sometimes when we think He is working in one way, He is doing something completely different. That is exactly how the past few months have been for me. Dj left on March 21. I knew that God had set aside this year for us to grow closer to Him individually, but I have been amazed at how much He has done and continues to do on the daily. 

I was pretty bitter and upset about Dj leaving, of course I didn't want to be without him, but Jesus has changed my perspective and my heart about it so so much over the past 5 months. It is crazy to even think that it has already been that long! I was laughing at myself the other day as I thought, I get to see Dj so soon! This is strange! Hah! Who would've thought I would think seeing him in six weeks felt "soon", when it will be six months without him by then! 

At first, I really compared our situation with other couples, who got to see each other regularly. Which of course, are not the same, and for my sanity, should not be paralleled. Comparison is a bad thing altogether. I see now that God has a separate plan for my life, and my relationship with Dj. Everyone's walk is different, and Jesus takes you places you'd never think you'd go, much less get through. Praise Him for His sovereignty, and power to give us the peace, strength, and endurance to handle what comes our way! 

I felt led to write a blog for quite a while, but never got the motivation to do it until now. The Lord put it on my heart to keep one as a constant reminder of His faithfulness, written proof of all that He is teaching me. Symbolism is really important to me because God has used it in so many ways to draw me closer to Him, see His faithfulness, and help me cling to His promises over the years. I can't even remember all of them, but He's spoken to me through a key necklace, a claddaugh ring, a precious miracle named Chase, my Mema's emerald ring, and vivid visions. 

The past few months have been everything I had hoped they'd be and more. It hasn't been the easiest, but being challenged and strengthened to grow in intimacy with Jesus has been more than worth it! I could see the Lord working and moving in Dj and I both, as soon as he got to Korea. We had prayed to be solely focused on the Lord, and that this year would be used to draw us closer to His heart, and His desires for our lives.

At the beginning of the summer, I had no plans for a job, and not a clue as to where I should start, yet, was at complete peace. I honestly hadn't given it much thought or worry. Just a few days after I had asked the Lord for direction, and to show me where He wanted me, my cousin Erin texted me. She offered to let me stay with her and her husband Dave for the summer and intern at her business Coast to Coast Design, LLC. Of course I jumped at the chance, and after the itinerary for my flight was in my inbox the next morning, it was a done deal! With the way everything fell into place, I knew it was the Lord. I prayed that Seattle would be the place to get into a good routine of spending time with Jesus daily, and continue drawing closer to Him.]]>