Thursday, May 29, 2008

perfection and contentment

Yesterday I was riding in the car with my husband, on our way to tour a house that is for sale, and realized that I was wishing to upgrade my life. I wanted more than I have, and better. More like "other" people, such as the ones on the billboards. I was discontent with life as it is.
Which is odd, considering that we have recently been so extremely blessed.
In the past year John's job sent him here to Queen City, and the extra income has made life much more comfortable.
We got married.
Are praying about buying a house (John's job is making that possible, too).
And many other things.
Yet I was striving to be better, striving against feeling inferior and striving to be more perfect.

Last night we attended "Last Wednesday" at our church. It's an evening service (on the last Wednesday of the month) that focuses on worship and partaking in communion.
I was reminded that God sees me as perfect. Not scarred, not "could be better", but perfect.
He does not even see my stumbles, just reaches to catch me as I fall and tells me that it's all right. He soothes my tears. I fail, but it's okay. He's already fought my battles, and He understands. There is no possible way that He could love me more; nothing I can do will ever impress Him. Being "better" - upgrading my life - will never ever cause Him to think more of me.
He doesn't want a more chic me, a more perfect me.
He wants my heart.
Wants me to let Him be enough, my Favorite above all else, all I need to be content.

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." - philippians 4:11-13

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'"
- hebrews 13:4-6

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

mmm ..... meatloaf

A rainy day, and I have been craving beef and comfort food. Solution? Meatloaf. With an Italian flavor. Lots of fresh herbs. And ketchup.
The recipe is from Joy of Cooking, and it was wonderful.

quote for today

"Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."

-Margaret Thatcher

Monday, May 26, 2008

from my heart this morning

Does someone hear my cry?

I'm dying for new life

I want to be beautiful

Make you stand in awe

Look inside my heart,

and be amazed

I want to hear you say

Who I am is quite enough

Just want to be worthy of love

And beautiful

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me

Fighting to make the mirror happy

Trying to find whatever is missing

Won't you help me back to glory

You make me beautiful

You make me stand in awe

You step inside my heart, and I am amazed

I love to hear You say

Who I am is quite enough

You make me worthy of love and beautiful

-bethany dillion, "beautiful"

Friday, May 23, 2008

Snapple "real fact" # 57

You blink over 10,000,000 times in a year.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

today I feel lazy. I want to sit in bed, read, and make progress on the wedding thank you notes. But I need to exercise. My jeans are starting to feel snug (maybe a side effect of eating my own cooking?) and I need to run/walk/bike/do something aerobic. There really is no motivation for it, other than looking down at my thigh ........... uh, maybe I should go now, and resist the last two brownies ..........

of greatness and protein molecules

"it was through Him that everything was created in Heaven and on Earth, the seen and the unseen, ... all the were created through Him and for Him. He existed before all things and He sustains and embraces them all." -colossians 1:16-17

How great is our God.
He is incredible ... showing Himself in even the tiny-est parts of Creation.

Loui Giglio gave this message in the fall of 2007 during the "How Great Is Our God" tour with Chris Tomlin. Both of those men have a passion to display the glory of God and bring others along with them as they worship Him. If you ever have a chance to hear them, you absolutely must.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Before me,
even as behind,
God is,
and all is well.
- john greeleaf whittier -

Friday, May 16, 2008

quotes to ponder: the highlights of chapter nine

Christian love is an aggressive movement and an active commitment. In reality we choose where to place our affections.
... the opposite of Biblical love isn't hate, it's apathy. To stop moving toward our spouse is to stop loving him or her. It's holding back from the very purpose of marriage.

When God calls me to continually move toward my [spouse], he is calling me to shape myself into his very image.

Even in the moments of anger, betrayal, exasperation, and hurt, we are called to pursue this person, to embrace them, and to grow toward them, to let our love redefine our feelings of disinterest, frustration, and even hate.

Getting married is agreeing to grow together, into each other, to virtually commingle our souls so that we share a unique and rare bond. When we stop doing that, we have committed fraud against our partner; we made a commitment that we are not willing to live up to.

Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas
chp. IX

Bella came out on DVD a few days ago. John and I bought it as a date night splurge (it's cheapest off of Amazon, by the way - but it's still a little over $20 since it was just released).
We watched it, and and then were quiet for a moment as the credits music began to play. Then he pulled me to my feet (the music is the kind that makes you want to dance slowly) and asked me in a whisper what the movie was about.
I said,"It is about the beauty of life. About the sanctity of life. About loving the hurting. That each life is sacred and precious, and no matter how destroyed and scarred that life is, it can be redeemed and made into something beautiful, something bella, if we let God in."

Thursday, May 15, 2008


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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

my husband's day off

As of 2:00 pm yesterday, I am officially Elizabeth Ruth Smillie. Mhmm. Not only am I married to John (which I have been for just over a month now!), I also legally share his name (!).
All because we downloaded a form from the Social Security website, found their office, took a number, and waited for close to two hours (and were treated to Access Hollywood and Days of Our Lives). The people watching aspect was quite entertaining. So were the commercials in between the agonizing instalments of "Days". Did you know that SunnyD has orange-strawberry juice now? Looks yummy. Also, just so you know, good mothers buy their children Juicy Juice boxes. I think I'll be a good mother, but what if I run out of Juicy Juice? Oh dear.
Then our number was called. "Would number F44 please come to window 4? Number F44 please."
The actual process only took about 7 minutes.
The man was rather friendly (he even told us where to go to get an Ohio driver's license!).
And then we left.

We had our dinner in Eden park. It was a gorgeous evening, just the right mixture of warmth and wind. As the sun was setting there was a rainbow in the cloud directly above us. After the sun went down it got a bit chilly, so we enjoyed it for awhile .... then home and early to bed!

2008-05-13 picnic in Eden park

Sunday, May 11, 2008

dinner guests

Evan, Sarah, Leah, Elizabeth and Esther stopped by for the evening yesterday. It was awesome to have people over!
We took them to church with us (we went last night because John had to work today) and stopped to pick up groceries on the way home. John BBQed some burgers and hot dogs (he is really starting to enjoy the charcoal grill!), and I made up some guacamole. John and I decided that we really enjoy having our family over. Mhmm.

The girls gave us a housewarming gift!

Oh, as they were about to leave I remembered that I had a cheesecake in the refrigerator that I had made up the day before (just because I felt like it). So they decided to stay a moment longer to partake. The recipe looked rather mundane, and the cheesecake itself rather resembled a wheel of Brie cheese, but once you bit into it (with some blueberry coulis on top), it was heavenly!
Sour Cream Cheesecake
Joy of Cooking
Crush or grind fine:
1 1/2 cups graham crackers
Stir into the crumbs until well blended:
1/4 to 1/2 cups powdered sugar (if substituting granulated, use 1/4 cup)
6 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
Pat into a 9" springform pan. Chill.
Mix well, then pour into the crust:
2 well beaten eggs
3/4 lb. soft cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice or 1/2 tsp vanilla (I used vanilla)
1/2 tsp salt
Bake about 20 minutes in a preheated 375 oven. Remove from oven and dust the top with cinnamon.
Let cool to room temperature.
Mix well and pour over the cake:
1 1/2 cups thick cultured sour cream
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
Bake about 5 minutes in a 425 oven to glaze the cheesecake. Let it cool, then refrigerate from 6 to 12 hours before serving.
Blueberry Coulis
Cook's Illustrated, May/June 2003
12 oz fresh or frozen thawed blueberries
5 (scant) tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon juice
In a medium saucepan, bring berries, 1/4 cup water, sugar, cinnamon and salt to bare simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally; cook until sugar has dissolved and berries are heated through, about 1 minute longer.
(I skipped this next step) Transfer mixture to blender or food prcessor; puree until smooth, about 20 seconds. Strain through a very fine-mesh strainer , pressing and stirring to extract as mush seedless puree as possible.
Stir in lemon juice.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, as least 1 hour.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

things I've done since I've been married

  • been called "ma'am - and it was by an adult, too!
  • done 12 loads of laundry
  • met the demo ladies and John's regional supervisors at Sam's Club
  • learned to sleep through the night while sharing a bed - it took a week and a half, though.
  • made cookies and bread without a mixer
  • decided I need to get a mixer
  • met the mail lady - her name is Beth
  • watched the director's commentary on most of my movies - I leave it playing in the background while I do other things (such as laundry) just for the white noise
  • decided that I REALLY do not like the sound of ambulance sirens
  • began looking for a house in a quiet neighborhood
  • unpacked my sewing machine
  • bought thread for the sewing machine
  • found out that the Michael's in this neighborhood has a pathetic thread selection - Walmart has a better one, but it's still rather lame
  • used 3 quarts of Coffee Mate creamer
  • bought furniture at Ikea
  • decided we need to find a house near Ikea
  • begun to like Ohio
  • begun to feel at home in Cincinnati
  • watched the River in the rain
  • cut John's hair
  • blogged in my underwear

*pictures intentionally not provided

Friday, May 09, 2008

my "garden"

there are seven plants: tomato, rosemary, basil, oregano, dill, sage and parsely

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rain rain go away

It rained on Wednesday. And all day Thursday. And it will rain again tonight. The sky has been leaden to silver for three days. Three. No wonder Ohio is so green and lush!
I miss the sun.
Very much.

Friday, May 02, 2008


We had enchiladas tonight, and John made them. He's a pretty good cook. No, a very good cook. The best part is that he wants to do the dishes afterwards. jk :)

And, I made guacamole. It was really yummy, so yummy that John declared he could eat a bucketful.

1⁄4 cup peeled, finely chopped white onions

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro


1 medium hass avocado

1 small tomato, coarsely chopped
1. Combine half the onions, half the jalapeño, and half the cilantro in a mortar or food processor, season with about 1⁄2 tsp. salt, then grind or pulse into a smooth paste. Transfer to a serving bowl.
2. Cut avocado in half lengthwise, then remove and discard pit. Make crosshatch incisions in avocado pulp with a paring knife. Scoop pulp out with a spoon, then combine with onion mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
3. Stir in remaining onions, jalapeño, and cilantro, then gently mix in tomatoes. Adjust seasoning with salt and serve immediately.

I added about a teaspoon of lime juice. And, as I have no blender, food processor or mortar (yet), I did it all on the cutting board. I minced, re-minced, and then minced again. All things considered, it was really good!

links to wedding pictures

2008-04-12 Our Wedding
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