Dumbphone Pix from My Trip!

Jason is working later than he thought he would. Dinner is on low and I had a much needed beer for a snack…and now I’m blogging. And because there are 87 pictures from my trip, I thought I’d just bring you the ones I took with my phone for now 🙂 Enjoy!

 

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Letters for our mailbox! Whoo! #nottriprelated

 

 

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And on the second night there was fire…rubbing two sticks together is hard work

Found in a thrift shop..doesn't accurately portray the cows I saw at Farm Sanctuary

 

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Our chipmunk friend, Charles, hung out with us at every meal #domesticatedmammals

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The best dang grilled cheese of my life. Did you know if you put spicy tomato sauce in your grilled cheese it tastes like a pizza sandwich?! It does!

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The girls braving 50 degree swimming water. No thanks. I’ll sit here and read…that’s all for you.

0811031540aB-e-a-u-tiful. #JimCarrey

Xoxo,

Stacey

 

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I’m Back

 

Lila and me

Lila and me

 

Hi.

I’m back from New York. It was breathtakingly beautiful. From the time I left the state of NC there wasn’t anything but miles and miles of rolling hills, fields, and farmhouses. So many pictures to share of my time camping and visiting Farm Sanctuary, but I’m housesitting right now and don’t want to download my pics onto this computer..so that will have to wait. Coming soon, though. Possibly Friday?? 🙂

I can share some of my favorite moments and life lessons (it seems like God chose this time to show me some things about myself. Instead of being in constant conversation with Him throughout the trip, I spent most of my time listening to Him…it was a good place to be).

Favorite Moments:

  • Randomly breaking into “America, the Beautiful” several dozen times on the trip. Seriously- I couldn’t contain myself. I couldn’t get over upstate NY. The scenery was just too amazing. Luckily, one of the girls found my random loud singing amusing- the other, not so much.  **I should also mention that while “America, the Beautiful” is a logical song selection for where I was, I also kept singing “Crossroads” by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. I have no idea. I sing whatever comes to my mind, and those two were the ones that kept coming.**
  • Sliding in my socks Tom Cruise-style across the wooden floor of the People Barn at midnight. Pitch black. For no reason whatsoever. Oh yeah, there was a reason- because I could.. and no one was awake to watch me. (Since there were so many barns at Farm Sanctuary, we dubbed the only barn without animals the “People Barn” to distinguish it from the others.)
  • Seeing pigs frolic in the fields. I had no idea that pigs could frolic, or that they  wanted to. These were the happiest pigs I’ve ever seen. Pictures to come!
  • The cramped night I spent sleeping in the backseat of the Honda because I thought I heard a bear outside of my tent. Oh, and the total two hours of sleep I got that night because after I learned there, in fact, wasn’t a bear outside of my tent, the weather decided to take a nasty turn (since I was safe in the Honda already–how polite of the weather) and there were thunderstorms for the next four hours. No. sleep. at. all.
  • Hiking four miles in Filmore Glenn State Park. So much beauty…. pics to come.
  • Becoming buds with Lila the goat at Farm Sanctuary. I now know what it feels like to have a horn rubbed across my butt for attention. Sweet, sweet Lila.
  • Having breakfast at the People Barn every morning with…I wish I could remember her name! I think it was Joan or Joanie? Anyway, her and her family were from Pennsylvania. She owned two acres too. She gave me a lot of great advice on starting my own compost and organic garden 🙂 So grateful for those words of wisdom!
  • Downing, inhaling, chugging-whatever you want to call it- a Red Stripe as soon as I got to my house. Oh- and dancing with Marley in celebration of our reunion. She’s quite the dancer. I’ll have to record it on video one day for you guys.

Things I learned about myself that I didn’t know…

  • I can very easily step into a leadership position..even if I’m only pretending to know how to do something, I’ll do it with confidence.
  • I have very low patience and tolerance for ungratefulness, back-sassing, and laziness.
  • It’s hard for me to be around people that don’t care about the same things I do.
  • How the words I speak can create or destroy the atmosphere around me. How they can build or tear-down. Inspire or deflate. While some thoughts I have should be spoken aloud, others should not. I need to think before I speak more often.
  • How important words of affirmation are to me. I learned on this trip that I heavily rely on this from my husband, but without him there, I often felt defeated and incompetent.

 

This has been a rough two weeks for me. The trip wasn’t what I thought it would be. It was beautiful, so so beautiful…but I went hoping for a change of heart on some things, and I didn’t get them. If anything, those things were only affirmed more while I was there! I had about a day at home before I had to go to Charlotte to housesit for seven days.

The night I got home from my trip, Jason had to work. But I eventually met up with him for dinner. It was a great evening. We talked late into the night and when we woke up (both cell phones off), I made pancakes with homemade blackberry sauce. We did my favorite thing at our new house- sat at the table on our porch, eating breakfast, drinking tea, watching Marley run around and sniff. No traffic can be heard. No cars. Nothing. Just the birds singing. It’s the perfect start to any day. Those moments are my favorites.

But eventually we had errands to run, phones to turn back on. My mood turned sour because I knew I had to leave again that night. I spent the rest of the day in a grumpy state and I’ve regretted it all week. Instead of relishing precious time with my husband, I chose to be moody and put up a wall against his jokes and playfulness. I do this so often. Not only with Jason, but with everyone. I have to protect myself…so my heart says. I’ve only been married for about three months, but I wonder how many marriages suffer from this? Letting the stress of the day to day routine get under our skin, so much so that it dampens the time you have with your spouse? Are we being intentional enough in our marriages?

 

School started this week. It’s my senior year. By this time next year I’ll be finished! I went back on Monday…I went to my Cell Physiology lecture. As I sat there, waiting for class to begin, I watched students pour in the doors. I watched them choose their seats and laugh with their friends with such an ease and confidence I never possess…. This impending feeling of doom came over me. All of sudden, I wanted to grab my things and run out of the classroom. To hide in a closet and make myself disappear.

Voices began in my head- “They’re smarter than you. It’s so easy for them. They all remember the different types of cells from a year ago. You just took cell bio and can’t remember half of them.” The enemy started in–bringing with him the sense that I don’t belong at the university. That I try so hard and my grades hardly reflect my efforts. That this will be another semester of just getting by because I’m not enough…

I have this irrational fear that my true background will be exposed to my peers one day. That the fact that I don’t come from a well-to-do family is written on my face. That I ate spam and cheese during my childhood years because we didn’t have a lot of money. That I wore hand me downs and donated clothes all of my life because my mom couldn’t afford new clothes for us…Do these people see that? Not that I’m ashamed of who I am or how I grew up, but I often feel like I don’t fit in with the students at the university. Or fit in at a lot of places, for that matter.

 

My confidence lately, in who I am as a wife, a student, and a friend has taken a nosedive. I have spent most of this week feeling guilty about how I reacted to certain situations. The other is spent feeling inadequate and defeated. Not a good way to start the semester.

Times like this I have to remember who God says I am: He says I am beautiful. That I am smart and capable. That he wouldn’t give me anything that I can’t handle. He says that I am loved and that I am human. I will make mistakes in my marriage and my relationships, but that I grow from them is the most important thing. He says he loves the purity of my heart. He says I am strong and determined.

He says to trust Him. Completely.

It’s something I will work on. I don’t believe those words about myself that I wrote above, but I want to.

 

Sorry for rambling. This week has just been crazy. Though I am thankful for the opportunity to housesit (Jason and I are saving for a tractor!), I am seriously missing home. Jason is coming over for dinner tomorrow and we are going to a revival event at church afterward. Looking forward to it.

To come:

Pictures from the trip, Rick Warren book review (still!), update about the homestead, and thrift store finds (I’m never shopping at a regular store again…good, good finds this week!).

Thanks for sticking with this post,

Xoxo,

Stacey

House Snippets and Favorite Things

Morning! This post is mostly pictures. I’ve really got to get my butt in gear with this NY trip! I haven’t packed, printed directions, collected camping gear or anything. Lazy bones. A lot of folks have asked to see pictures of the house, so I snapped a few throughout my day yesterday. Consider this snippets of things I did and pieces of an almost-put-together home 🙂 Enjoy!

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Mid-moving banana bread…the house was chaotic but baking always soothes my soul.

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Sophie-cat

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Categorize this picture under “Things I Can’t Believe”. As in- I can’t believe this poster has made it through three moves! Out of all of the things we get rid of, we are still hanging onto our Bob Marley poster 🙂 It’s going in one of the unused bedrooms aka the “gym”.

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Another thing I can’t believe- how loyal Marley is. I guess my old dog, Trixie, was loyal in her own way..she was just very old. But Marley is a little over a year old, and this dog is protective. When we were moving, she would follow me room to room non-stop. When I’d sit on the floor to sort clothes, she lay right beside me  and wouldn’t move a muscle until I got up. The other night, she heard neighbors talking and she barked, ran and jumped on the couch and lay across me while doing a low-growl (picture above). She isn’t this way in public though, I think she’s only this way when it matters. Which is a good thing 🙂

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Favorite thing- my tub. Ohmygah…it’s perfect for relaxation at the end of a long day. And for my sore moving muscles. Moving is a workout!

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Early morning tea and coffee with the husband before he goes to work…

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Favorite- bed. sleep. nighttime. zzzz’s. sleeeeeeeeeeeeep.

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We have a lot of books. That’s an understatement. Times this pile by 3.

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My dishwasher! I’ve never had a dishwasher in my life. Never lived in a house that had one..this is my first. I used to say I didn’t want one because I thought it would make me lazy, but how young and stupid I was. Do you know what sweet, precious dishwashers allow you to do?! They give you time to play SkipBo with your husband before going to bed. They give you time to run around the yard with your dog in the evening…it makes your house feel a bit cleaner even though the dishes are still dirty. What a blessing this thing is!! I could kiss it.

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Our half-completed living room…still some things to put up and take down. I haven’t gotten my pictures hung the way I want them yet. Can’t wait to use that fireplace in the winter though!

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Microwave cart in the dining room was the first thing I put together. On the first day of moving, this was the only piece that looked semi-normal. It calmed me down.

So there you have it. I’ll give you a bigger peek into the other rooms once we get them settled. I’m going to try to write a post or two while on the trip! See you soon!!

XoXo

Things to Celebrate

Hi.

Today has been a good day 🙂 Insomnia has been a beast this week. I had my Cell Biology final at 8 this morning…so I thought “Hey, I should wake up at 4 a.m. to make muffins.” <–I didn’t really think that, but that’s what happened anyway.  I was lying there awake already, so why not use that time to bake a wholesome breakfast? (is my reasoning).

I took my exam and it felt pretty easy. It should have felt easy considering that I spent four hours a day studying for it. But do you know what this means? I get to take the upper level Biology classes now! Cell Bio is like the “gateway” class to senior level courses. So now I can take Animal Physiology, Ecology and things like that! Yay!

After my exam, I skipped on over to pick up my books for Fall semester..but not without having an embarrassing bathroom moment first..Of course, because it is Wednesday and I am Stacey.

Side-thought: When Jason and I were reading a particular marriage book during our engagement, one of the chapters was on communication. And the question for each spouse at the end of the chapter said something like “Does your husband/wife feel comfortable talking with you about embarrassing things that happen to them?” And Jason simply wrote: “YES.”

It’s not that I over-share, but I am comfortable in my own skin and like to laugh at myself. So here you go..have a giggle at my expense 🙂

I was speed walking to the bathroom to pee, cos the test took like, 2 hours, and I had a cup of tea and juice before I left the house, so I had to go. I dashed into the first stall, slammed the door shut, dropped my pants and whirled around to sit on the toilet and the door hadn’t latched. There it was, WIDE OPEN. Luckily, the bathroom wasn’t busy. But I know there were at least two people that got a flash of my bare, white bum. Which is awesome…awesome stuff.

But that’s not what I am celebrating. I’m celebrating the fact that today I purchased my last $450 parking pass for school. It was a glorious feeling, both in my mind and my wallet. And this is the last year I will have to pay over $900 in mandatory student health insurance (that I never use). Yes, yes…my wallet wants to sing (and so does my husband!). And me too.

I’m also celebrating because I went to the library to get camping reading material and they actually had two books in from my list! This never happens. I’ve been disappointed in my local library lately because they never have enough copies of new books, or they don’t carry half the authors I want to read. But today I went in with my list and walked out with 2 books on my list! Another yay! (If you want to know, I’ll be reading these three books:)

 

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

(source) (Book review coming soon)

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Oh, precious books. I miss reading so much. Surely these next seven days will make up for the lost reading time 🙂

I will have the home-related post tomorrow..though the pictures will be taken on my dumbphone because I can’t seem to find my camera batteries anywhere. Actually, I can’t most of my things at the moment…and I’m not sure what day it is or where I am….or where I’m going.

Need. sleep.

I’ll leave you with a beautiful picture of an evening at our house. So. in. love.

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xoxo

 

 

 

Oh, Hey

Okay.

Here’s the deal. I’m squatting at my old house right now, hoping for one little bar of internet miracle so I can check e-mail, write a blog post, and catch up on other blogs. Oh-I’m supposed to be ordering textbooks for the fall too. I’ll get to that.

Our internet is not connected at the new house yet and the cable guy tells us it will be 2. WEEKS. before he can get out there! Bahhh! I might loose my mind. Actually, to be completely honest, it’s been really wonderful. The first night we stayed in the house, it was so quiet that I was actually scared a little bit! It gets dark out there in the country! Marley absolutely loves it. I can’t remember the last time I had her on a leash.She roams around all day and plays ball, chases crickets in the leaves…she is the happiest dog I’ve ever seen. Sophie? Sophie is a different story.

Let me tell you about our amazing cat, Sophie.

We decided to leave her in the empty old house for two days while we stay at the new house. We’d come feed her and pet her, but we wanted her to see all of our stuff gone and know that things are changing and not just throw her into it. Cats are more bonded to their territory than they are their owners. Dogs are the opposite. Marley wants to be wherever we are.

So we left Sophie here, she began noticing and acting a bit freaked out once all the stuff was gone. She’d hide or not come to us. It was obvious that she did not like what was happening.

So, yesterday I come back to the old house with the intention of getting her. I’m prepared for a battle. I’m not going to sugarcoat- my cat is an a**hole. She doesn’t want be petted, she hisses and growls at us all the time. I hand-raised this cat, feeding her milk from a bottle and she has the worst attitude ever…she’s her own cat. She makes up her own mind, she allows us to be in her life.

So, anyway…I come in the door and she comes up to me. I bend down to pet her. She follows me around the house, as soon as I get the cat carrier she hisses and runs.

“OK, fine. You want to be difficult?”. She runs under the kitchen counter to where I can’t reach her…now it’s war. I grab a spray bottle and squirt her until she comes out to where I can grab her. I pick her up and she scratches the beeJesus out of my arm. I think she found a vein…good,good for her. I’m glad she’s accomplishing her goals in life.

Sophie is completely freaking out and scratching the hell out of arms so I lean the crate at a vertical angle and drop her in. The deed is done. This whole time I’m yelling “Why are you resisting?! Sophie, this is happening! We are moving! Get over it!” 😀 I know I looked like a crazy person, but you have to meet this cat to understand.

I take her to the house, sit her in the living room and leave her in the carrier until she calms down. We let her out- and you guys- she has been the most loving cat for the last day or so. She wants to be petted, she slept beside me! Sophie slept beside me! It’s amazing. I know it won’t last, but still. I’m taking it all in. I’ve never had a cat that didn’t crave human attention all the time…I respect that she has her own ways…I just miss something purring at me sometimes, haha 🙂

In other news….we are still so in love with our house. I have a post coming up called “Things I Can’t Believe” that will introduce you to our new home and some things in it! Can’t wait to write it! We have most of our house put together…it’s starting to feel like home.

Also-this Friday I’m embarking on a journey to NY with two giggly, technology-crazed girls. I’ve made them solemnly vow that there will be no singing  Justin Bieber  in the car and no iPads, cell phones, etc while camping or at any dinner we go to. I also told them that I get to pick the car music (folk! Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s, what what!) and if they don’t want to listen, they should bring headphones 🙂

It will be fun, but dear Lord I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into. Pray for my sanity!

I’ll be back this week with the “Things I can’t Believe” post! See ya!

xoxo

 

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie

I just got through with an eight page report on molecular cloning of the “glow” gene (GFP) that is found in jellyfish.

My brain hurts, but instead of backing away from the computer to regain some of my sanity, I thought I’d write a blog post.

A blog post about pie. Pie makes everything better.

I have a confession: I don’t like blackberries. And we keep getting them in our CSA box every week and I’m all “What the crap am I supposed to do with all of these blackberries?!”

I can’t believe I’ve found a fruit I don’t like. But seriously- if I had to pick a kickball team (made up of fruits), poor ol’ blackberry would be the last picked. (In case you’re wondering, eggplant would be last picked for a veggie team.) Maybe I just have a weird thing with purple foods. I don’t like grape-flavored things either. I’m just a weirdo.

Mainly I’ve been using the blackberries as a fruit spread on pancakes. I just put them in a big skillet with a little water and some sugar and reduce them down to a mushy, sweet, savory mess. It’s the only way I can stand them- or so I thought.

Then one day I’m sitting on the couch, pouting because there’s no dessert in the house and I can’t live without dessert, wah wah wah…woe is me. Then I think: “I’ll make pie! Blackberry pie!” Eureka.

Thus, this pie was born:

 

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**Just a note– the crust recipe is from my mind and an ex-boss. I’ve been given mixed reviews about the crust for this pie- I’m going to say that if you like crunchy, chewy crust, you may want to substitute your own crust recipe into this recipe. I like my crust soft and with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, so I’m a fan of this one…and if you like it that way, you may be too. But the filling is awesome no matter what crust you use. Amen.**

**Also- feel free to substitute any fruit into the filling. I’ve subbed with strawberries and blueberries and it was still amazing! (I do not recommend using frozen fruit)**

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie

Filling:

  • 3-4 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Pie Crust: (cut in half if you only want a bottom crust and not a top crust)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup canola oil (I use canola oil as a vegan substitute for butter or vegetable shortening)

Preheat the oven to 425.

Prepare the filling by adding all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix until the blackberries (or other fruit) is coated with sugar throughout. Set aside while you prepare the crust.

Prepare the crust by adding all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until the oil is mixed into all of the flour.

Spread half of the crust into a greased pie pan, using your fingers to guide the crust to the edges and up the sides of the pan. Using your hands, try to make the bottom as smooth as you can.

Pour in the filling. Using a wooden spoon, even out the top of the filling as best you can. Now it’s time to add the other half of the crust.

There really is no gracious, perfect way to do this. I use a rolling pin coated with flour to spread out the crust as best I can. Then I gently pick it up and lay it over the pie filling. Other times, I take pieces of the pie crust and flatten them in my hands and then lay them on top…whatever works best for you.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425.

Then, turn the oven down to 375 and bake for 45 more minutes or until bubbling over.

 

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Enjoy the deliciousness.  This lasted an entire two days in our house.

Mmmmm, pie. Pie is the answer to everything. You can put any gross ol’ thing into a pie and it would taste amazing.

Hmm…… eggplant pie?             No. I probably shouldn’t go there.