March 29, 2011

Quote

“Joy is protected from being flippant by steady sorrow.
Sorrow is protected from being fatal by steady joy.”
–John Piper




Praise Him.

March 28, 2011

Monday Music

Medicine for today...



I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You.





This song has been so close to my heart lately and I just thought I'd share it with you...


-Laura

March 25, 2011

My Heart is Full

Tonight, I am surrounded by people I love.

Two dear friends from college who just happened to be driving through town stopped in unannounced.  It blew my mind and blessed my heart. I miss them so much and I can't even explain the joy and refreshment that it brought me to see them.

Also, my younger brother-in-law and his roommate (also a close friend of ours) are in town for the weekend. I just finished making 6 - count that SIX - pizzas for the four guys sitting in our living room right now.  I love to see the Mr. with his buds, and it fills my heart to fill their stomachs.

I have a slice of home sitting in my living room... I am blessed beyond measure.

-Laura

March 23, 2011

In Sickness and In Health...

I did not know what sick was until this week.  Holy Moly.  I'm quite confident that my body has been wracked with every possible cold/flu virus that there is out there... (ok, maybe not that bad... but freals, I've been uber sick) hence the absence from this lovely blog.  That said, this last week has made me very thankful for the health that I have been given. (Even though I've been sent home from work for the last 3 days...) I am still doing better than I deserve.

I am also ridiculously thankful for my sweet man who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to take care of his sick wife. Seriously, this guy is amazing:

To the man who has joyfully and lovingly done all of the dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, and cooking for the last week,

To the man who has patiently rubbed my back through endless coughing fits,

To the man who - at 3 o'clock in the morning - insisted upon running to Walmart to pick up Vick's Vapor Rub in hopes of finding some relief for his sleep-deprived, snot-nosed wife,

To the man who has spent most of his spring break on the couch watching Chick Flicks with his delirious wife,

To the man who unflinchingly rubbed Vicks on my feet because, according to this blog, it's supposed to stop the coughing... (couldn't help but to think of Jesus washing his disciples' feet),

To the man who has a never-ending stream of fresh flowers flooding our home,

To the man who still claims to find me beautiful... even when I'm sick,

Thank you for loving me when I have felt very unlovely. Thank you for taking such sweet care of me. Thank you for sticking by my side in sickness and in health. Thank you for everything.  Being married to you is a dream. Being sick is no fun, but you make it far better than it would have been without you.




To all my single ladies and especially my baby sister,  a man like this is worth the wait.

-Laura

March 14, 2011

Monday Music

Medicine for today...



When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.



-Laura

March 13, 2011

Art?

What do you spend your rainy days doing?  Well, today, I spent mine making a lovely random piece of art to hang in our bathroom.  Interior Decorating is far from my strong suit, though I DO enjoy it.  Nevertheless, thanks to inspiration from IS*LY, we now have the following piece of original art humorously hanging in the washroom:



Just a happy reminder! :)   Also, you can find step-by-step instructions for your handmade frame here.

Happy Selection Sunday!!

-Laura

March 11, 2011

Tonight's Dinner [3-10]

Today, we have been married for 8 months.  Wow.  I  can hardly believe that it's already been that long!  I see mothers of babies who track every bit of their development along the way... and I may be guilty of that in terms of our marriage... either way, it has been 8 blissful months married to the love of my life.

So tonight, we had a mini celebration... a special dinner followed by a night out bowling.  We are planning to really go out and celebrate tomorrow night... A night at the Venetian!  My favorite!

But tonight, we treated ourselves to home-cooked steak.  Not just any steak, but garlic, basil, rosemary, Gorgonzola cheese-topped steak... partnered with twice-baked potatoes, broccoli that's to-die-for, and salad.




Gggggarlic

Gorgonzola-Topped Amazingness
Twice-Baked Potatoes
It was heavenly.  And now we have the pleasure of leftovers. What a treat! Thank you, Lord, for 8 wonderful months with this incredible man!


-Laura

March 9, 2011

A Call for Admissions Reform?!

I have spent a considerable amount of time lately on one of my favorite blogs, The Chronicle – a blog about higher-ed stuff.  The articles are laced with -isms, perils, and sarcastic quips directly related to the industry in which I happen to find myself immersed.  I have found incredible solace in articles like [this] that remind me that admissions personnel all over the country are experiencing the same frustrations, dilemmas, pressures, and victories that I am.

The beautiful school for which I have the honor of working
One article in particular really struck me, however.  It was an entry about the reality of loneliness on college campuses.  As Admissions Reps, we market the our respective universities as utopias of academia, athleticism, and a life-changing social experience.  We tout the following: “Everyone finds their own little niche,”  “It takes no time to find friends and fit in!” and “It will be the best four years of your life!”  We promise. Hmmm. Not so sure we can always live up to those promises.

As I look back on my college years (oh so long ago…), I can easily say that the majority of that time was marked with awkward loneliness and forced friendships.  That said, I DID have happy moments and I DO have some rad friends to show for my 4 years, but my college experience was not the utopian, non-stop social event that I was promised. I’ve come to grips with that now, and I DID meet the love of my life at college.  But still.

In these nasty economic times, a lot of schools our size are wrestling with the issue of retention. How do we increase the first-to-second year retention ratio?  How do we keep students here? How do we increase the perceived-value-to-cost ratio? Due to financial issues, schools are not going to lower tuition anytime soon… but if they could increase the perceived value side of the equation, perhaps we would see a jump in retention. Unfortunately, Admissions can’t do much for matriculated students… (as much as we’d like to)

OR… what if we just lower expectations?

Think about it.  Rather than touting our respective universities as the places where all of your dreams will come true, where you’ll fit in and be popular (unlike you were in high school), where you’ll be besties with your roommate, where you’ll have the time of your life… perhaps we could be honest about the struggles that the average college freshman, sophomore, and even upperclassman faces.  Perhaps we could tell them that there will be times where you don’t like your classes. There will be times when your roommates drives you bonkers. You might not fit in. Or find friends. You might even *gasp* fail a class! By instilling realistic expectations, perhaps students would not run away after the first semester of disappointment and unmet expectations... The Marketing Major within me reels against that. Why would you attempt to sell your product by honestly exposing the negative aspects?

For retention.

Who knows if it would work?! And, because I value my job, I don’t think I’ll employ this technique in its entirety anytime soon… but it just got me thinking.

Anywho, back to reading about fascinating things like application inflation and revisiting the High School Visit.  Pure mental stimulation right here, folks.

-Laura

PS - I'm entirely impressed if you just read through that whole thing... I'm pretty sure it was longer than the Magna Carta!

March 6, 2011

Tonight's Dinner [3-5]

Technically, this would be “Last Night’s Dinner,” but who cares? Yesterday, Cole was sweet enough to take a quick break from studying to go for a wonderful walk with me in the beautiful Saturday afternoon sun!  Yes, I said SUN!  It almost felt like spring!  Incredible.

Anywho, when we got back, I decided to attempt a dinner that was – to say the least – out of the ordinary dinner fare for us.  We had Tomato Feta Quinoa Pilaf with a side of homemade Naan (a traditional Indian flatbread).  It was pretty spectacular.


Quinoa Pilaf - Extremely high in Protein (12-18%) (!)










These two pictures are for Aunt LuRae. This, dear Aunt, is Naan. You can grill it or lightly fry it.  We did the latter and it turned out phenomenally.  It has the consistency of standard dinner rolls... but almost taste like perfectly fresh pita bread.

A sidenote about Quinoa: though when my mom offered me this recipe over the phone, I heard my dad in the background yelling, "Run, Cole, Run!!", this actually turned out to be a hit with the hubby.  Quinoa is high in natural protein and incredibly inexpensive.  While it may not be an entree to spend a week dining upon, it is a nice alternative to meat... AND it's great leftover. Also, Quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights. Pretty cool, huh? :)


For those whose curiosity is now inevitably piqued, you can find an awesome blog about Quinoa [here].


Now that I have confirmed any suspicions about how nerdy I really am, have a great Sunday!

-Laura


PS - I spent the morning reading this book.  An excellent read thus far - and highly recommended. Paul Tripp is one of my favorite authors.
PPS - TWO WEEKS TIL SEESTER WEEKEND!!!! But who's counting...

March 4, 2011

Tulips and Gatorade

Over the last few weeks, pneumonia has been going around my office.  This week, I seem to have caught the bug. (Hence the absence from this loverly blog.)  It's really odd to have my boss tell me not to come in. I cannot stand sick days. Oddly enough, I would WAY rather be at the office than stuck at home... oh well.  

So today, my knight in shining armor came home for lunch bearing red tulips, Gatorade, and a kiss on the forehead. Best medicine ever?  I think so.


The Mr. has an uncanny way of keeping this house ever stocked with fresh flowers and making me feel incredibly known. So thoughtful of him... considering the hours of sleep he's losing while I cough through the night. :)

Happy Weekending!
-Laura

March 1, 2011

Tonight's Dinner [2-28]

Thanks to my sweet friend, Val, I have fallen head-over-heels with Sweet Chili Sauce. Wow. Sure adds some life to any savory dish!

So tonight (savoring/celebrating our last night before Cole is inundated with mid-term studying), I made homemade rolls and concocted this chicken-broccoli-sweet-chili-sauce-and-rice creation for dinner.



And, we may or may not have spent a good portion of the evening blowing up marshmallow peeps in the microwave.


Then, we wrapped the night up with a little dancing in the kitchen and a LOT of Rummikub. The Mr cleaned my clock quite handily.

Best. Monday. Ever.

-Laura

Just Us

We will also remind you that this is just a BLOG…just the highlights. We don’t sit around happily smiling for pictures all day long. Our life is far from perfect: we are imperfect people serving a perfect God. We do strive to glorify God, but we fail miserably and find comfort in knowing that our debts have been paid and we have been set free.

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