Hola de Guatemala!

Hey everyone, sorry I never posted about my trip before we left, but we're still down here in Guatemala having a great time. Only two days left. I wish I could post a picture but I don't really have a way to upload any. It's been beautiful and I can't wait to tell stories and share images when we get back. The next couple days will be filled with interviews and taking pictures for the stories we are doing through Bedouins International. We'll be making one multimedia presentation for the ministry, Hearts for the Children, to use to share about their ministry as well as hopefully helping them update the website, and we're also putting together a presentation of the amazing testimony of a woman who came from a really harsh life on the streets--drug addiction, prostitution, violence--to meeting Jesus and receiving a completely new life free from all those things, working in ministry, with a stable marriage and family. Just reading it and hearing it from her has been a huge encouragement to me and to my faith in the power of the gospel to change lives. It's been good to use my Spanish, I wish I had more time for that, and don't worry . . . we haven't been lost in an earthquake or tsunami! Although the earthquake did wake me up on Wednesday night (everyone thought I was crazy until we saw the headlines!) Keep praying for us! Hasta Luego!



This week my beautiful friend Mandy came down to Bham with her sweet son Bennett and let me take some pictures of her for an EP she's working on. It was such a fun day, both for the chance to play photographer and to hang out with my friend. Here are a few of my favorites that we took in Stephen's studio. (Click the image to view it larger.)


.The Miracle of Life.

No, we're not having a baby . . . 

We're having cucumbers! 

We planted our plot in the Crestwood community garden last week. We started with nothing, dug up the dirt, pulled up weeds and roots, transplanted some grass, added some compost, planted our seedlings, and voila! We have a garden. It was so much fun, and it's amazing how much hard work makes you invested in what you're doing. We have been like anxious little parents, talking about our plants, visiting the everyday, and hoping and praying that they grow big and strong! We planted cucumber seeds, which I've never done, and frankly I was a little skeptical that anything would come of them. It's hard to believe that a big plant will come of a little dry seed. But sure enough, yesterday morning we went to look at the garden and a tiny, baby sprout was poking up through the top soil. By the afternoon there were about six strong and healthy sprouts. I don't mean to sound cheesy, but it really is a miracle to observe! If you live in Birmingham, go down to Crestwood park and check out our garden!


AFTER: (We're planting Zinnias, bell peppers, cucumbers, squash, and heirloom tomatoes.)


Homemade Falafel and Tzatziki Dinner

You may have noticed, but the blogging juices just aren't flowing too freely these days. That's okay. Maybe we'll get to the important stuff sometime soon. In the meantime, I'll keep posting about food and stuff. I hope you'll stick with me :) One thing on the radar is that we're leaving for Guatemala in a few days. More about that before we go. 

Last night I had the pleasure of cooking "family dinner" for our friends and it was a hit. A few folks asked for the recipe, so I thought I'd post it on here. I didn't take any pictures, but you get the idea. It really is an easy recipe, and I tend to like the falafel I make at home a lot better than in restaurants. 
Homemade Falafel and Tzatziki

1 15 oz. can chickpeas
1 handful fresh, flat leaf parsley
1/2 white or yellow onion
1 small shallot
1 clove minced garlic
*1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
red pepper
2 tablespoons all purpose flour (optional)

1 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup shredded or pureed cucumber
**2 tablespoons lemon juice
red pepper

* I forgot the baking powder last night and it was fine. They will hold together better though if you add it. 
** I totally guessed on these quantities. Work based on the flavors and consistencies you are going for.

In a food processor combine first 10 ingredients (chickpeas to pepper). Pulse until coarsely chopped and combined. You don't want to make hummus. Heat a couple tablespoons olive or vegetable oil in a sautee pan over medium-high heat. Form chickpea mixture into small patties and if you so desire dredge in a little bit of flour before placing in the heated oil. Brown the patties for about 2 minutes on each side until medium-dark brown. Place on a paper towel to cool.

To make the Tzatziki sauce mix yogurt, pureed cucumber, lemon juice, and season to taste. Add yogurt or lemon juice to make it thicker or thinner for your preference. You could also add a little hot sauce if you want.

To serve, slice warm pita bread and stuff the pocket with two falafel patties, your choice of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, etc. and top with tzatziki. I served it last night with a simple balsamic pasta salad. Enjoy!!!


The Kind of Day I've Had . . .

It's been one of those days . . . 

One of those good days. Little treats all over the place.

I'm sipping on a summer special grande cinnamon dulce iced coffee.

Today is my last full day of working in a cubicle. Hopefully, EVER. 

My coworkers have been super sweet with cards, trips to lunch, etc. I feel very loved. And the icing on the cake was a little ipod nano waiting for me at my desk this morning from an outrageously too-good-for-me wonderful coworker friend. I hate goodbye's, but this is a great one!

I'm wearing a dress that I've had for years but hardly ever wear and I've got like 8 compliments on it today. Including from the barrista at Starbucks (a male) who exclaimed, "I just love your outfit. It's got so much personality! It's like . . . how do I put this? . . . like a cross between Dorothy and Raggedy Ann, but not raggedy! Just like a doll! Anyways . . . so cute!"

I had this little exchange with hubs on gmail: 
me: You are awesome. Thanks for marrying me :) 
Keith: You're welcome . . . in my heart . . . forever. 
And it was just such a cute thing to say that I think I want to make a painting out of it.

We have stumbled upon the opportunity to have a plot in the Crestwood community garden. Yay! AND it just so happens that a coworker sent out an email today offering heirloom tomato seedlings. Perfect.

Thursdays have long been my favorite day of the week. Ever since elementary school when Art was on Thursdays.

I hope your Thursday is just as great! . . . or better!