Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Toasted Coconut, Toffee, and Chocolate Chip Cookies

These. Are. Wonderful. Could be my new favorite cookie! I doubled the recipe so Colin could take some to share with the other officers. I hear it didn't take long for them to disappear. The picture and recipe are from Two Peas & Their Pod.

Toasted Coconut, Toffee, and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 2 dozen


1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 large egg
1 cup Heath toffee bits
3/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange coconut in a single layer on the pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until coconut is lightly toasted, stirring once. Set coconut aside to cool.
2. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add brown sugar and butter. Beat at medium speed until creamy and smooth, about two minutes. Beat in vanilla extract, coconut extract, and egg. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in toasted coconut, toffee bits, and chocolate chips.
4. Drop spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until cookies start to brown around the edges. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire racks.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Halfway Around My Little World

If you've been reading my blog for some time, you know I love a good music video! This one is of Josh Kelley singing the song Naleigh Moon. Josh and his wife--Katherine Heigl--adopted daughter Naleigh from South Korea in 2009.

I know the kind of guy I am
A bit too much into myself
Not much left for someone else
And I'm sure I cause my share of pain
But all that changed
When you first touched my face

Halfway around my little world
You had no idea that you were my girl
You found my arms not a moment too soon
I couldn't see past me till I saw you
My sweet Naleigh Moon

I love the man you're makin' me
Yeah, everyday, I wanna prove
There's nothin' I won't do for you
Just to see you in your mama's arms
Is more than enough
To bring me to my knees


I can't imagine life without my
Naleigh Moon

Halfway around my little world
You had no idea that you were my girl
You found my arms not a moment too soon
I couldn't see past me till I saw you
I couldn't see past me till I saw you
Naleigh Moon
My sweet Naleigh Moon

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When You Think You Are Not Ready

I recently purchased the book Kisses From Katie, by Katie Davis. I have not yet read it, but am so excited to begin reading about her journey of faith. Katie moved to Uganda when she was just 18 years old to serve the poor. She is now a single mother to 14 Ugandan children! She is executive director of Amazima Ministries and blogs at Kisses From Katie. I am so inspired by her story and wanted to share with you an excerpt that she wrote for a blog called InCourage.

If you would like Katie's whole post, you can read it here. Here are some of Katie's inspirational words:

His perfect timing, now. Now is where He has called us. And we are just not ready yet. We need to clean up the house a bit and pray a little more and seek more counsel and we don’t know how to do that yet and oh, we have our excuses. And God says, “I’m here now, and I am ok with the mess because I am here for the messy.

God doesn’t need us to be ready for Him; He has been ready for us since the beginning of time and the Messiah is here calling us to commune with the Holy One, to eat at His table.

I want the house to be organized and kids to be clean and nicely dressed and I want dinner to come out of the oven on time, but at the end of the day the laundry still piles and there are still crumbs in the corner and can anyone remember if I brushed my teeth today? And it can’t be the New Year yet because I am just not ready for it to be a new year yet.

But I remember when I wasn’t ready to move to Uganda. I remember when I wasn’t ready to kiss the people I loved the most goodbye. I remember when I didn’t have enough money to start a ministry, and I remember when I wasn’t old enough to be a mother, and I remember when I didn’t know how to parent. I remember when I couldn’t cook for fifteen people and when I didn’t want to share my house and my things and my life with sick people and addicts. I remember when I was afraid of the slum community that now holds hundreds of friends and when I was terrified that my daughter would never walk and when I was scared that we would never heal after tragic loss. And I remember that never, not once, was I really as ready as I wanted to be. And I remember that God kept all His promises, every last one, in His perfect time.

This new season looms and I don’t know what is next. But He doesn’t need me to be ready for this season because He is ready. He just needs me to be clinging to His feet.
Now, God’s perfect time.

Video of Katie:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Date Day

Yesterday, Colin planned a date day for me. He worked an 11-hour shift on our anniversary, so he wanted to make up for it. :)

It was totally a 'me' day. It started by Colin making me coffee (which is every morning) and breakfast. Then, I got a haircut. Might sound silly, but it had been at least 6 months since my previous one! Oh my. LONG hair. And, it is still long after I got it cut. 'Cuz I like long. And Colin likes long.

Then, he took me shopping. Loved it. I told him I needed some flirty tops. And flirty, I found. Colin is such a trooper when it comes to shopping. The trick is to go on a weekday when everyone else is at school or working.

Then, it was a nice dinner, and finally, home, where I gave him a haircut. Glad he is simple. :)

Sometimes, I affectionately call him my boyfriend, 'cuz I think he's just great. He is such a gentleman both on dates and within our home. I love that we still 'date' each other. What a wonderful man I married!

We have created some new items for our Etsy site!

Three beaded, hand-carved and burned cross and Africa keychains:



Two necklaces with African beads:



I pray your weekend is off to a beautiful beginning!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Hi Friends,
Colin and I now have a coffee shop through Just Love Coffee! If you enjoy a good cup of coffee and support fair-trade, by purchasing coffee through our link below, we will receive $5 from each bag sold for our adoption fund! Win-win for all? I think so.

There is also a link on the right hand side of our blog; if you click on the logo, you should be directed to our coffee shop as well.

Check out the site- I found the history of Just Love Coffee to be very interesting. As much as they have a passion for utilizing the best coffee beans, they have an equal passion for helping out adoptive families, the arts, and others in need.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Happenings

Hi! How are you?!?

I am in the middle of making Ethiopian-Inspired Red Lentil Soup right now...yum, huh? I can't wait to see how it turns out. It is my first time experimenting with red lentils, but with how much I am loving the spices of my Ethiopian recipes, I think it is going to be awesome! Want to come over? I will share the recipe soon if it is a keeper. If you enjoy cooking, I invite you to experiment with African cuisine (most dishes are healthy and often vegetarian), like my Chickpea Stew. And if you find or create anything wonderful, I want the recipe. :)

I went to church this morning, alone. :( Colin is working today (he generally has 11 hour rotating shifts of 4 days on and 4 days off). Pathways is studying the book The Divine Mentor.

Today was the first day of a four-week study. The sermon was on building a foundation that allows, not limits, growth. It is something we must work hard at! It was one of those church services that just got to me.

An interesting thought is that even as believers, our choices have eternal consequences. This definitely serves as motivation for me to make more healthy decisions. I need to spend more time 'inspecting and securing' my foundation, and less time working on everything that sits on top of it.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” ~Matthew 7:24-27

Have a blessed week!

With Love,

Friday, January 6, 2012

5 Unforgettable Years

It is Colin's and my 5th wedding anniversary today! We woke up this morning and looked at our wedding photo and an engagement photo--my how the time has flown! But, we both agreed that it is difficult to remember what it was like before we were married.

We got engaged on Christmas of 2004. We were 19--just babies! One of our engagement photos:

Looking back over our officiating pastor's script of our wedding, a paragraph stood out to me:

So the last and best advice I can give you, Colin and Jessica, is to keep God at the absolute center of your lives. Only He knows what the years will hold for you. He is in control of it all. He will give you whatever you need for every aspect of life as time goes on, and He will give you each and every blessing of each and every new day.

Beautiful truths, yes?

If you want to look back on last year's recap of our first date, the proposal, and memories and pictures of our wedding day, check out We Do: A Look Back.

I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine.
~Song of Solomon 6:3

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lysa's Adoption Story

A sweet blog friend that just so happens to be a fellow Wisconsin-ite (hi!) felt called to purchase for me Lysa Terkeurst's Adoption Story cd. I was so excited to receive it in the mail a few weeks ago.

Lysa is the president of Proverbs 31 ministries, an author, and a speaker. I love following her blog and am currently reading one of her books. But my blog friend couldn't have known this. Had to have been a God thing! 

Colin and I listened to the cd on our drive home from church 2 weeks ago. I've since listened to it again, and wanted to share her beautiful story with you.

Lysa and her husband have 3 young girls. She started out by saying she had recently been on a journey of saying yes to God. She explained how wonderful it is that He allows us to participate with Him in His amazing work.

Her and her girls had plans to go see a Liberian boys' choir. Lysa thought she would get out a map and let her girls find Liberia. She guided them by telling them to look at South America….her daughter finally found it, but in Africa! To say she didn't know much about Liberia at the beginning was an understatement.

The children in the choir appeared to be filled with joy. She thought they must be so blessed, but she found out they were orphans. For about 15 years, rebel forces had been killing the adults of Liberia, and leaving behind the little children--"war babies"--25,000 of them at the time. These orphans with no families, every night, they would pray for a mommy and a daddy.
These children sang from the depths of their soul about the joy of the Lord. They had nothing, but they had Jesus. Lysa thought to herself--"If everyone I loved, if everything I had was stripped away, could I still sing about the joy of the Lord?"
Lysa felt God whispering to her that two of those boys were hers. Lysa fought back in her mind, "We think pink in this house. My husband would never go for it. So, I know for sure that you’re not telling us to adopt them, right God?”

On the cd, Lysa goes on to say, "If we say we are women of faith, but we desire to live lives that require no faith, are we really women of faith?"

After the concert, two of the teenage boys in the choir walked up to her, wrapped their arms around her and called her mom. She called her husband. Who thought she was crazy!


Her husband started praying. They were terrified. Worried about their girls.

BUT God.

How were they going to do this financially? It didn’t fit into their schedule. The sound of raising 5 kids overwhelmed her.

BUT God.

She stated, "When God sets you on a path to saying yes to Him, it will take you to some incredible places."

They prayed and prayed. They received confirmation after confirmation. Through people, billboards, and songs. Everywhere.

Her husband even made a spreadsheet of pros and cons of adopting!

They decided. They would adopt these boys.

They told friends. They didn't receive support immediately. Friends brought up valid arguments, such as how the teens were at an education level of kindergarten.

Lysa's husband said to her, "They have no vision for which God has called us to do this."

They invited the boys to sing at their church. And guess what? Those same doubtful friends began to sign up to adopt Liberian boys.

BUT God.

I love when she stated in the cd that God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable. He comforts us to make us comfort-able…able to comfort others. She said her boys may not have been born in her womb, but they were born in her heart. She joked that it was the longest labor and delivery process ever!

She struggled with teaching them, but brought them from a kindergarten level to middle school in 2 years.

When we get to a point in our lives and say, "I can't do this!" God says, “Good, because when you get to that place, it is only in my strength that you can operate.”

She shudders to think about what she would have missed out on had she told God it was too inconvenient. She goes on to say that everyone else's story is going to be different that hers--"I’m not telling you all to run out and adopt Liberian children, but I will say that I invite you to participate in God’s amazing adventure. Maybe instead of always praying, “God, bless me,” maybe we would do well every now and then to pray, “God, inconvenience me for your glory.”"

“God, interrupt my carefully constructed plans for your glory.”

“Invite me to the deeper places with you even if it means that there is a little bit of scary stuff there, for your glory.”

She ended the cd by saying it all boils down to daily dependence on God. So true, isn't it?