Sunday, January 27, 2013

Celebrate today


Dad walked into the kitchen and saw me shaking sprinkles onto some delicious cupcakes smothered in buttercream frosting.

Dad:"What are those for??"
Me: "Mom." I smile.
Dad: "You're great."

Mom and Dad came home from the Marriage conference yesterday. Mom told me she had a taste for cupcakes (and frosting!), and asked if I could make some. Umm...yes!!! It doesn't take much to convince me to make cupcakes! Especially if I can make chocolate ones!

While I was frosting them, I was thinking about my mom. She has taught me one very important thing; one little question to ask in whatever I do: Why not? It's a simple question, and usually there are very simple answers too. When I can't decide if I should do something or not, she has always asked me this question. It gives me perspective. I realize often that my reasons for not doing something are silly, and that I should just go ahead and do it. Why not bake cupcakes on a snowy Sunday morning?? See, I can't really think of a good reason why not to. So here comes my mom's next best saying...

Might as well!!

Mom- these cupcakes are for you! And they're to celebrate today! Not for any reason in particular, but just because. Because today is a "why not" kind of day. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Not little anymore

This week my parents were in Krakow, leading a marriage conference for couples in Josiah Venture. What did that mean for me? An experience in "spreading my wings", as some would say!

Our friends, the Drabinovi, were at the conference as well, so they let me stay in their empty apartment in town. How strange it was to get a small taste of living "on my own"! I was a little scared months ago when we talked about this week, but it ended up being better than I could have imagined! God was really kind to me, and provided everything I needed. I even got to have dinners with the Lobels, who live a floor below the Drabinovi (thank you Lisa for the great food!), and walk Cece to preschool (he grandma was staying with her, since her parents are at the conference too).

I never felt lonely, and God even gave me some special memories, that I wouldn't normally have had.

I'm thankful for this week.

(And I'm happy to be home in my bed again!)

Also...side note...I had my last drivers Ed lesson this Thursday!!! Now all that's left is my test next week! I'd appreciate prayers. I love driving, and am excited to get my license soon (hopefully)! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Happy 20th Birthday!

Happy Birthday Caleb!!!!

We celebrated Caleb's birthday a little early, before he flew back to the States. I'm thankful for that, and hope today was very special and memorable too!

 Caleb-- I love you, and am excited that I'll be seeing more of you this Fall! You are courageous, strong, a leader, and can make anyone laugh. You are talented, musical, a very capable cook, and a great photographer! I love your excitement for life, and your joy in adventure.You have shown me what it means to live out faith boldly, and you're constantly challenging me to know the Lord better. I've learned a lot from you, and am so thankful that you are my brother!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Brownies and Snow

It's easy for me to get down in the winter. Everything is cold, white, gray and sunless. I have to decide to be content no matter what the weather. Winter does always pass, and spring does always come in the end. I might as well enjoy the good things about the snow, since it's not going away any time soon! it goes... 10 reasons to love snow:

1. The stillness of everything
2. The sounds when walking
3. Frozen branches
4. Rosy cheeks
5. My dog's excitement
6. The coziness of being inside
7. Contrast of colors
8. Pretty pictures
9. Brightness
10. Wearing big scarves

Here's to snowy days!

Now about the brownies...

I have a sweet friend who is gluten, dairy, and egg-intolerant. She is a JV Kid who lives in Poland. Yesterday, I was at Hayley's birthday party, and Kelsey, Jillian's sister, was there, so I wanted to give her something to pass on to Jillian. I made her some brownies that she could actually eat. I found a great-looking recipe, and they turned out fabulously! I would even say these are some of the best brownies I've ever made.

I gave some to Jillian, and left the rest at home. Let's just say, this piece (in the picture) is all that's left from yesterday! Deliciousness!

Click on this link for the recipe for gluten-free, vegan brownies.

Claire's notes:
- I used Orion baking chocolate ("Na vareni")
- I added pecans instead of walnuts, and didn't put in as many
- I used Silvana's gluten-free flour mix and soy milk instead of almond milk

These were super easy and fast-- a recipe to keep!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

BIG News!

I will be attending Moody Bible Institute this Fall!!!!!

On Friday, I received an e-mail from Moody, which I didn't open until my mom got back from Prague. It felt like it would be so anticlimactic to just open an e-mail, so Mom made it feel more "official". She was super kind and went upstairs, took off her glasses (so she couldn't see what was written), printed out the letter, and put it in a sealed envelope. She even addressed it from "Moody" with the address and everything. The rest of the pure joy and relief!

Kaylee doesn't seem too fazed... but I was sure happy!

So thankful to God for guiding my steps this far, and I'm looking forward to where He's leading next! I plan to major in TESOL, to prepare me for using teaching English in ministry context.

College, and not to mention moving to the States, is going to be a huge transition for me. But if God's been with me this far, He will be with me then too. It's exciting watching His plan unfold, and coming to know His goodness more and more. I know that next Fall I will be stretched, I will learn, I will grow and my life will be very different from where it is now! I am almost ready for that time, but I'm not there yet.

I still have eight wonderful months in Czech before starting this new chapter of life, but what a blessing it is to know that the next chapter will include Moody!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Today was a blessing


Homemade Twix bars. (really delicious)

Soaking in this Truth. (Psalm 29:11- this is what I gave Mom for Christmas)

Enjoying a snowy walk with Mom and Kaylee.

It was a restful day. I am thankful.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

One Golden Ticket

Caleb is on a plane right now back to the States.

*sigh* *sniffle*

The time with him here went by way too fast. Thankfully, we did stop time for just a moment one day.

Caleb gave me the best Christmas present: one Golden Ticket for a sibling photo adventure. And a photo adventure it was...

Some random adorable dog came to greet us while we took pictures nearby!

Caleb- I miss you so much already. Thank you for my Christmas present!! You're always an inspiration to me with photography. And Tyler...we missed you this time!

*Some of these pictures are Caleb's- most of the nature-y ones, and of course any that I'm in! :)

See here for a glimpse of one of our past sibling photo adventures.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A thought to start your week

We just spent the weekend in Bratislava with our sweet friends, the Chases. (I'll post a few pictures from it later this week) It was so much fun visiting them, and it was also special to have a short road-trip as a family.

It's been seven months since it's been the "four of us". I loved laughing, chatting, discussing and hearing stories the whole drive down and back!

The quote in the picture is actually one of my parents' 10 "amendments" to their marriage vows. This short sentence is one I need to remember! It means that if there is something worth doing, it's ok to fail at it, because we learn, and can work at it. How I need that reminder sometimes!

Have a great week!