Wednesday, January 29, 2014

the spell begins to break


Can you hear it?

The unmistakable sound of a million branches snapping back into position after the weight of their ice-glaze has shattered. The loud rain falling from the wet burden of the trees. The silent gray world is suddenly roaring with sound—even the birds whistle louder when the rays of sunshine fall on their wings for the first time in weeks. Gray bursts into sparkling diamond-silver and I can see green in the pine trees. And look—I even have a shadow again.


The sky. It’s blue. The sun. It’s there. My soul feels alive for the first time in many long, dismal days.

They say Aslan is on the move.

Friday, January 24, 2014

grace for the gray days


It’s here. That long stretch of winter that is January and February, gray and thick and cold like murky pond water. Not a breath of wind stirs the fog from the valley; the mountains are shrouded beneath it like huge sleeping bodies. The trees are silent sentries, bony as skeletons, lifeless and still. It’s cold like death, in a way that makes every pain and fear in my heart throb harder.

So I stop, and in the dismal gray of winter I choose to find grace.


Grace: that God has given us His Word, and that daily I’ve been able to make time for its chapters. That I have a community of friends who are also believers and are reading alongside me, day by day, with a goal of having read the whole Bible by June. That words millennia old can still be relevant to me, here, now. That God is sovereign and good even when it doesn’t feel like it.


Grace: that I have a healthy brain and the will to use it. That I got to finish high school, to devour college-level algebra with A++ scores even though math is my weak subject, to spend a year studying the Bible. That even now I can choose to learn nearly anything because the Internet is available to me. That my brother and sister showed me a site called Duolingo, where I have learned 95 German words in only a few days and can speak in the sentences of a foreign tongue better than I could after a whole year of high school Spanish. That when God scattered the people and confused the tongues at Babel, He paved the way for words like “Entschuldigung,” which I can’t even say without smiling.

Grace: that my sister and I are such friends, and that even when swamped by her homework, she makes the time to watch an episode or two of Once Upon a Time with me in the evenings. That she understands my movie references and that we feud over whether Rumplestiltskin or Captain Hook is the more awesome villain, but are both in wholehearted agreement about the epicness of Loki and Darth Vader.


Grace: that I can run, jump, lift, and work out without getting exhausted. It wasn’t always that way; there have been whole chunks of my adult life when I was too sick and too weak to do much of anything without severe repercussions. But in the past few weeks I’ve found, finally, an energy that I haven’t had for a long time, and with it has come a joy in hard work and an optimism and confidence for every other area of my life.

Grace: that I have been blessed in so many ways, that God has orchestrated my life perfectly so that my path would cross with the paths of untold others who would have huge impacts on my life. That He made a young man perfectly imperfect enough to fit perfectly into my own imperfections. That He chose my parents and my siblings so that I would be molded into who I have become, that He sent me to Florida to meet the roommate I needed most so that I could later be changed by a community of other believers in PA who still give me prayer, counsel, happy memories, and many smiles from 2,500 miles away.

Grace. Grace that He knows all. That He cares about all. That He is the Source of joy, and that His love will never let me go.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

a pizza experiment


Have you seen those cauliflower crust pizza recipes floating around on Pinterest? I’ve been curious about them for awhile now (and, admittedly, rather skeptical) and since the weather has been nothing but a cold gray fog for the past few weeks, I decided to channel my creative energies into something warm and cozy and (hopefully) yummy, where the ugliness of the outdoors doesn’t matter: solving the mystery of cauliflower crust pizza.

I thought for sure the crust would fall apart, or taste like boiled cabbage, or something of the sort. But strangely enough… it was really rather delicious. It tasted like pizza, not cauliflower… but without any of those nasty white carbohydrates. And just in case anyone else was curious about this phenomenon, I thought I’d share my recipe (which I adapted from one I found here) and results with you. :)

Pizza6 copy


  • one head of fresh cauliflower
  • one egg
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded pizza cheese of your choice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup pizza sauce of your choice


  1. Wash the cauliflower thoroughly; remove leaves and thick core and cut the remainder into florets. Dry the florets in a towel (the less moisture, the better!). Using the pulse action on your food processor, chop the cauliflower until it is about the size and texture of cooked rice.
  2. Spread the cauliflower evenly over a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Warm in the oven at 170 degrees for 30-40 minutes, leaving the oven door propped open so that moisture can escape.
  3. Remove cauliflower from the oven and pour onto a clean towel. Squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible.
  4. Place cauliflower in a medium mixing bowl. Add egg, 1/2 cup cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and mix well.
  5. Press the mixture evenly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in a circle or square shape, as desired. You’ll want it pretty thin (I kept mine under 1/4 inch).
  6. Bake the crust at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until firmly set and golden brown.
  7. Spread sauce and remaining cheese over the top of the cooked crust, as desired.
  8. Broil the pizza until the cheese is melted and bubbly, as desired.

*Remember, if you wish to add meats to this pizza, they will need to be pre-cooked because the topping is only broiled.


Yep. Yummy. Getting the cauliflower in “riced” state is a bit of a pain, but I feel a heck of a lot better knowing that if I ever have to go gluten free—there will still be pizza!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

the misty mountains



Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day,
To seek the pale, enchanted gold.

~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, January 13, 2014




“I wish they could talk, like they do in cartoons.”

Ah, but they do, I thought—contemplating how to explain the concept of silent communication to my very talkative eight-year-old sister. Drem is watching me at a distance, ears forward, then flicking back ever so briefly. I thought you came out here to get us for dinner, I hear her say. Then precocious Splash saunters toward me with a saucy tilt to her ears, shying away at the last second and exploding into a quick lope. You can’t catch me! she taunts, nearly aloud, and I play along with her game of tag until her sides heave and her breath comes in rapid snorts.

Equine communication is the reading of body language at its finest. Small shifts in movement, posture, and weight are all it takes to alert the horse beneath me to my mood and level of confidence; likewise, I can enter the corral in tears, and Drem will soon have her head buried comfortingly in my chest. They are experts at deciphering the words never spoken and the feelings never expressed.

I have learned, over my brief seven years of horse ownership, how to interpret some of their language in return. They do speak, though silently; and I only wish I were half as good at understanding them as they are at understanding me.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

baby Q: maternity

I’m always so grateful for the opportunities that people give me to expand my photography horizons. While I’ve done couple shoots before, this is the first time I’ve gotten to do a couple’s maternity shoot! David and Sarah are, first of all, adorable themselves—and are going to be incredible parents to an adorable baby. :)
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Thursday, January 9, 2014



Wedding82I found this when I was looking for old pictures for my wedding slideshow, and since today is my birthday I’m taking some sentimental liberties on my blog. Twenty is a nice enough age, I suppose, but six years old with a fluffy orange cat, playing in the snow… that’s just hard to beat.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014




Haven’t I got myself a fine cousin? :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

chasing mountains



January has the clearest days. Skies like satin draped over the world, whose ripples and wrinkles highlight in subtle coral and pink when the sun goes down. Winding roads through fields of thin green velvet lead to everywhere and yet nowhere, pointed deceptively toward shadowy blue peaks that are dimmed by a haze as sheer as a bridal veil. I followed them over the rolling hills for many silent miles, and I tried to imagine a God big enough to hold them in His hand.


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