Monday, December 06, 2010

photo dump

here's an update from my phone.

beu on a hike

bethany and i on a balloon mission.

winn and auntie lo.

ginn and mesa on a very strange evening.

my girl.

new place.

one of my nanny babes all grown up.

spirit week at work. annie hall/jersey shore respectively.

black mountain/sufjan times.

autumn in nc.

jmac's birthday donut.

my car got violated.

tran wedding.

so that's the last couple of months in pictures.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


sometimes i wish there was a really natural platform for sharing what God has done (is doing) in our lives. i mean, i don't feel like we need to have testimony night or anything, but there are groups of friends that have no idea what the Lord has done in my life (and vice versa) mostly because it feels too big to talk about quickly in between everything else.

maybe i'll just start talking about it here, because i feel pent up, and like i don't give Him enough glory. because honestly, most days i just want to talk about how unbelievable He is, and how He changed my life. and how i never thought i'd be able to talk like that about the Lord. ever.

i grew up in a wonderful home. my parents loved and sacrificed, not just for us but for our community. we saw (as kids) first hand what it looked like to pour everything out for other people. and we also saw what can happen when serving seems to blow up in your face. we made it through, like a lot of pastors families, hanging on by a thread. and all of it left me wondering who the Lord really is.

i remember trying so hard to love the Lord well, and never feeling like i succeeded. guilt for not measuring up started really early in my heart. like 4 years old, kind of early. so i grew, and began cataloging church experiences that i didn't understand. somewhere along the way, i stopped seeing the Lord and church separately. and to me, it became this bullying mutant in our family. a presence that we were just trying to survive.

growing up is hard for everyone, and it was no different for me. high school came along, and i struggled. my sophomore year brought with it a particularly messy church dispute, ending with our family leaving. i remember having to visit new churches after that, and not being physically able to leave the car. the thought of starting the whole process over paralyzed me.

we had all been hurt, and as a 15 year old girl, i felt like i had a gunshot wound that no one noticed. i had been striving my whole life to love the Lord right and well, and it wasn't working, clearly. so i walked around wounded, and i didn't ask for help.

at that point, i really withdrew and became hard. just mean and hard. school got worse with time, and i started eating for comfort, and by my senior year i couldn't even shop in the same stores as my friends. all of these things pushed me further into a black hole. just more excuses to stay angry.

this is where my story takes a turn into 'after-school-special' world.

my senior year, on a whim, i figured i should remedy my weight situation. decided to start weighing myself and to just generally try to eat better. by graduation, i had shed a lot of weight, and gained a ton of friends. things felt good and different, and i clung to these changes for dear life.

i headed off to college with fears looming over me about gaining the weight back. i think i felt like i had fixed my life, and still viewed the Lord as an extracurricular activity instead of a Savior. mainly because i don't think i really saw my need for one. my view of the Lord had more to do with willpower, than it did about surrender.

long story short, my desperation to keep the weight off led directly to an eating disorder. a five year long struggle that steamrolled my life. a secret that i worked full-time to protect, nurture, and hide. all of the anger that i had never talked through or shared was funneling straight back at me. and i hated myself.

i spent actual years of my life lying to people i loved about everything. by the fifth year, i was not functioning. i'd moved back in with my parents, and was in school (barely), and never left the house except to go to class.

my family knew, and they'd approach me about it once in a while, when things got especially bad. but i would just spew hatred back at them, and they'd back off. through all these years, i remembered the Lord but did not see how He could even fit into the mess. i figured i would find Him once i got it together again.

one night, in my parent's house, i read the book of romans start to finish. i remember starting to understand that things weren't going to be fixed by my willpower. my parents went out of town soon after that, and i had a particularly bad weekend. when they returned, i told them that i was ready to stop trying to remedy the situation on my own.

less than a week later, i was on a plane to a treatment facility in arizona. that is still one of the scariest things i have ever done. but the alternative, continuing on in the state i was in, felt the scariest.

my brother, jared, was in college at the time. he had been really active in confronting me, and was a big reason that i decided to go. he surprised me and drove up to say goodbye before i left, and that visit still breaks my heart to remember.

the memories of arriving in arizona are still vivid. i felt like an impostor. i kept thinking that compared to everyone else there, i really had it together (ha). i could write a book on each day i spent there, truly. but, what happened in a matter of words, is that i fought the Lord. i gave myself permission to disregard Him. it felt like there was a concrete slab between us.

more than once, my roommates (in treatment) would complain that i was waking them up at night because i was talking in my sleep, i asked them what i was saying, and they told me every night i would pray and just say Jesus' name.

and that just annoyed me.

i don't have a specific moment that i remember, but somewhere in all that fighting and disregarding, i met the Lord. like really met Him, and got an idea of His real character. and i just remember feeling completely gutted. and He saved me, and pulled me out of a black hole, so deep and selfish and ugly.

three years later, i'm still surprised by it. i am so surprised that after all the ideas i had about who He was, i was so wrong. He is so much better. infinitely better.

and He is healing me, every day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

out of touch

well, now that october is almost over, i thought i'd check in. i am right in the middle of moving right now, which makes me crazy. actually an insane person. i get heartburn just thinking about it.

but--it is the perfect october day today. lots of rain and leaves blowing everywhere. i received a text early this morning from my old nanny family asking me to fill in today. which is great because i need all those dollabillz during moving times. my nanny babies aren't babies anymore, but they are so fun. they're supposed to be napping, but jenna is bossing her animals around in her crib.

times are a little hard right now. it's been one of those months where it seems like i'm not capable of making one right decision. it has been a little sobering. everything that is going on right outside my door seems to be things i should have learned to overcome long ago. obviously, that's why they're still knocking on my door at all hours. isn't that the worst?

things have been pretty silent with the Lord these last few weeks as well. i think when i am in the thick of it, i turn everything off. i scurry around and try to fix things (unsuccessfully), and go to bed a little scared of what tomorrow might bring my way.

today is bringing new perspective, and i see the light at the end of this funk.

there is a lot more to say, but i am out of practice. and i already feel winded from this tiny blogging effort.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


anytime i spend too much time inside, i get restless.

all i can dream about is walking around my farm one day.
for now though, taking beulah down to the park after work is motivation enough to finish this week well.

one day.
one day i'll bake my pies on my farm.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


i am writing because i would like to be distracted from my duties for this evening. which include kitchen and bathroom cleaning.

the worst.

i remember not being able to go out as a teenager until i cleaned my room up, so i would really try to get motivated to clean, but would always get distracted by things i found along the way. old notes passed during classes, or movie ticket stubs or whatever it happened to be. oh gosh, old diaries were the best. usually mortifying, always entertaining.


this week has been strange. no way around it. last friday, beulah got into some baking chocolate while i was out, and it was very hard to tell how much she'd eaten, but a couple of ounces can be lethal for her weight range. she ended up throwing some up, and is totally fine now, but sheesh, i thought i was gonna lose my buddy for about 12 hours. and it was awful.

hmmm, work is lovely. mainly because of the ladies i work with. we make coffee together every morning, and really just enjoy each other. my job makes me thankful.

i feel a little like 2010 is slipping through my fingers. things are going to speed up now, and before you know it, it'll be new years. and 2011, etc.

i should change the music and get motivated to finish cleaning.

maybe in a few years i'll stumble on this blog and get distracted, trying to remember 2010.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

autumnal pleasantries

as you all know, i love fall.
as evidenced, here, here, here, and here.

i live like it's fall all year long, so when it actually does come to this part of the year, i can breathe a sigh of relief, and wear my tights and boots in peace. i can finally get back outside with beulah and romp around without wanting to die from the heat.

so, i'm baking and thumbing through pages and pages of new fall catalogs. content to think about cooler weather and holiday parties.

and sweet little owl mugs filled with chai tea.
happy almost fall, friends.
see you at the corn maze:)

Monday, September 13, 2010


do you ever lose your voice? that's how i have felt these last few weeks. not sure what to say, or if there's anything to say at all. i sit, and plan to write to you, but i don't know how to let you in, because i have felt on the outside myself.

right now, i feel tired of filling up my calendar, and trying to find somewhere new to live, and tired of wondering when big things will start happening for me. i get so mad at myself when i hope, it feels like someone teetering on the edge of a rooftop. useless, unless you are trying to get hurt.

hope has felt dangerous.

i am not unhappy, and i wouldn't even say that i am lacking in joy. i would say that i fear.

there are limitless roads i could walk down from here.

in my life.

what is not scary about that?

my entire life, i have prayed.

prayed prayed


that Jesus would wait to come back until i could become

a wife

and a mom.

and here i am, trying to find something i can do.

not to just to fill the time,

but to start building my own life.

by myself.

i just did not expect this.



being alone almost feels like the least frightening option.

tonight i came home mad. and i walked around my house, and talked to this God that loves me, and i asked Him what in the world He is thinking. i do so want to hope, and to believe that He is good (through and through). but my understanding of goodness is so human.

so i doubt.

i wish i could erase it, but that doubt lingers until i'm too scared to hope for anything better than ordinary.

but tomorrow is new.

and i have hope that it will be extraordinary.

Friday, September 03, 2010

internet isolation

typing this on my phone. i've had no internet for about 2-3 weeks. turns out, life goes on without wifi connection. even so, i will be back soon (i hope) with lots of new stories to tell.

love love.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

another saturday night..

my idea of a perfect night might be different than most.

tonight, me and the other two hogan ladies had some quality target and chipotle time. including picking out sweet baby clothes for winnie. i am powerless against baby girl dresses. and we found her some sweet leggings. (oh i got some awesome purple zipper shoes).

speaking of winnie, here's a recent picture of the coolest babe in town.

and after scarfing down my veggie burrito bowl in record time and dropping the ladies off, i headed to trader joe's for groceries for my all important sunday morning breakfast ritual. mainly i needed half and half for my coffee, but i came home with this:

yikes. and also, really awesome.

i checked my mail and found this:

so after a long week of work, i cracked open one of these, turned on seinfeld, and closed the week out in high style.

happy weekend everyone.
be sure to check out the new food blog venture, over at -- and maybe just go ahead and follow us.

Monday, August 09, 2010

poor girl pasta

at the end of any hard day, i want pasta. and a glass of wine. it seems i've earned it, you know? well, right around the 10th-14th food and money are usually tight. but i try to keep these ingredients at all times.

so, i give you -- poor girl pasta.

[please forgive the rudimentary phone photography]
[also, i don't think i am actually poor, i have what i need. just a play on words]

here's what you need:
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • salt and pepper
  • yellow onion
  • turkey bacon
  • extra firm tofu
  • whole wheat pasta
  • some type of red sauce
  • red wine
  • spinach
  • cheese

okay, start out filling a pot with water for the pasta. throw some kosher salt in there. bring to a boil. (did you notice i'm pretending to be a food blogger?)

pour some olive oil in a separate pan (a couple of tablespoons, i guess), and throw in a chunk of butter, and salt&pepper. turn it on medium-ish heat. watch it carefully, don't let it burn.

then pull out a cutting board, chop up some onion. i used almost a whole onion, but it's your call. i also rough chopped some turkey bacon. i know the turkey bacon seems odd, but when tofu is your main protein, you really need to add in lots of flavor.

sautee the onion and bacon until the onion is translucent.

chop up your tofu into cubes.

add in the tofu, sprinkle in more salt and pepper. don't be afraid of tofu, it's really good, but has very little flavor of its own, so be sure to season appropriately. at this point, i'd turn the heat up to medium-high, i like for the tofu to be a little crunchy and browned on the outside, and that can take a minute.

your pasta should be close to finished now, and hopefully you were smart enough to boil your water in a larger pot than i did..

you can go ahead and drain your pasta if it's ready. and then it's back to your other pan.

add your red sauce to the tofu mixture (i used trader joe's bolognse sauce).

shortly after that, grab your wine, and pour a swig into your sauce.

turn to low, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.

so while that's cooking, go back to your drained pasta (which i had to move to another pot, i am not an efficient dish user). add some olive oil to your pasta, throw in some spinach, salt and pepper, and balsamic vinegar.

add in your nicely simmered sauce.

give it a stir.

and serve

be sure to add plenty of cracked pepper to the top, and a little handful of cheese.

these images are super crappy, but trust me on this--it's really good. and if you happen to be a single gal/guy, this will last you an entire weeks' worth of lunches.

the end.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

a tour of bay street

i am nine months into living here in chantilly, and honestly, i love it more here every day. my apartment has had its issues, that is for sure, but i love my little nook of a place. i only have three months left here, and i am really considering renewing my lease, if i can swing it financially on my own.

my nesting instincts come in ebbs and flows and sometimes i'll go months without really paying attention to finding new little treasures, and then it hits and all i want to do is repurpose everything i see, and move things from room to room.

do you want to take a little tour?

so here is my little place.

this is my entryway. including a few of my favorite things. i found the dresser on the curb and fit it in my civic like a jigsaw puzzle. the newspaper article is from the london newspaper the morning after d-day in 1944. and a picture of beulah as a puppy, obviously.

this is my chalkboard wall. i painted this the first weekend i lived here, and i love it. the little shelf is also from the curb. you can't see the lighting thingamajig, but it's a string of lights strung through an old wire tray.

i love a built-in bookshelf. that's all i need to say about that.

here is my currently mouse-free kitchen.

favorite corner of the kitchen.

the layout is a little awkward, but i think i am going to save up for an oversized ottoman to go in that big blank space in front of the bookshelf (which is to the right of this picture).

this little dresser/vanity thing is also a curb find. it's my favorite piece of furniture.

also love that big window.

and my bedroom is literally always a nightmare, but i do have one picture of my bed actually made that doesn't show the mounds of clothes surrounding it.

the headboard is an old screen door from sleepy poet here in charlotte. i'd looked for a headboard for almost a year, and finally found this for $20. then got the old lighting from a place on central avenue for $8.

so i think that's it. well, i do have a guest bedroom, but it's empty besides a bed and dresser, so maybe that will be my next project so you all can come visit soon:)
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