Sunday, November 3, 2013


Hello, blog readers-the few, the proud, the dearly loved!

Today is a big deal for this blog. Why is that the case?

That's because today I move my blog to its new home:

I can't believe that this day has come. It's been years in the making. I dreamt of having my own blog and photography website every since I got my camera (and I wasn't really even a photographer back then). So, six years later, and it's here.

If you come back to this blog, it will be left unchanged.
I'm so thankful that I got to share my life via posts, and I'm excited to continue to do so in a new format!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Plan.

We were out eating lunch under a large maple. It was windy; so we were trying to keep our napkins from blowing away while still trying to hold conversation.

Our lives were a bit crazy last week. I didn't cook anything. All week. Nothing. There was no time, and I was gone every night (thank the Lord Greg doesn't mind omelets for dinner).

This lunch was our catch up time. And, I couldn't have been more thankful for it.

As I was finishing my last bite of chili, Greg asked me about my plan. My photography plan.

We had both agreed some months ago that we didn't have the resources to be using our "spending" money to be purchasing gear. So, every penny would have to come from what I earned doing photography. This seems only fair.

So, when he asked about my plan, he was asking about my business strategy. Website, gear deals, learning opportunities, etc.

I just about fell out of my seat (more realistically, off the picnic table). He was pushing me. He was taking my hand and leading the way to help me accomplish my dreams.

Today, I can say that I am one step closer to those dreams.

There is a website in the works. A real blog. And, much more work to be done.

But, all of this is to say that there is something coming.

A new facet to my dream (to our dream).

Monday, October 14, 2013

Adventure: German Fest.

Do you remember that time we went to German Fest?

It was across the street from our little home downtown.

I remember standing in line for a funnel cake only to get out of line because it looked unappetizing.

I remember getting back in line because all you really wanted was a funnel cake (and we couldn't find anything better to spend our tickets on).

I remember wandering through the brick streets watching beer stout holding contests and holding your hand as you navigated us through the crowds.

I remember listening to the polka bands through our brick walls when we got home.

I remember trying to get powdered sugar off my linen skirt.

I don't ever want to forget times when we adventure together and experience something new with each other.

You may not crave the thrill of the adventure as much as I do, but boy am I happy that you come along (and you bring your rationality with you).

After all, this thing, marriage, is our adventure.

And, the funnel cake was all that we expected...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Greg's Week: Zuppa Toscana

Yes. I do believe that it's totally normal to base an entire week's menu off of what my husband likes to eat.

I mean, I eat anything. So, every week is Erika week around our house apt home.

When I went grocery shopping this week after spending 10 days at my parent's home, I didn't even know where to begin. We had negative food in our refrigerator. I'll leave that up to you to determine what exactly that means. But, if you've been there, you understand.

On my way to the store, I shot him a text asking if he needed/wanted anything specific. He asked for the basics (at least what he considers are basics)-shredded cheese, peanut butter, bread, and yup that's pretty much it. He did request a meal at the end of the text.

This is huge.

Greg never makes menu suggestions or really pushes for a certain meal. He's not choosy. So, it was kind of a big deal for him to ask for something.

That got me thinking. Maybe we should just eat some of his favorites this week.

How did we begin this week?

Olive Garden Italian style. Uhm. Duh.

I decided to try my hand at some "ZUUUUUUUPA!" Yes, you have to say it like an Italian.

Say hello to some lovely beef smoked sausage. These soup needs this. It needs the flavor.

Throw down some thick hickory smoked bacon.

I know what you're thinking. Yes, this soup is fool proof. It has bacon.

Bacon. Only made better by caramelizing some onions in its fat.

I am convinced that this is what makes this soup so flavorful without adding tons of seasoning. Those sautéed onions were like nothing I've ever had before. 

This soup cries for some starch. Potatoes are an easy solution. 

Just hanging out before taking a bath in some delicious bacon sautéed onions. 

Add water. Chicken bouillon. Potatoes. Simple 

I let my potatoes simmer for about 20 minutes. Then, I added an entire head of kale.

Please note. Take off the thick stocks of kale. The vein of kale can be pretty tough and tasteless. Let's avoid that.

I doused in some milk, salt, and pepper then served this puppy up with homemade breadsticks. 

 As for Greg? He went back for seconds. Always a good sign for a guy who doesn't eat much.

Day one of Greg's week: complete.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

How Sweet It Is.

I love climbing out of bed in the morning knowing that where I am supposed to be in 30 minutes is exactly perfect biking distance from me.

It's a huge relief.

It's nice to know that wherever I am, I can read my Bible, pray, and commune with the Lord.

That's kind of a huger relief.

Don't judge my adjective usage.

The beginning of this semester has been great. Greg started seminary which has been teaching me patience and joy. I love seeing my hubs love his job. That is some kind of wonderful. He has also been a huge encouragement in trying to protect me from the typical "pastor's wife" duties.

Having mono over the summer has really put a damper on my level of activities. Just getting out the door for work seemed like it took all the energy I had stored up for that day. Needless to say, I'm still fighting that and telling myself to rest.

Because of that, Greg has been very careful in the things he asks me to be a part of. For that, I am eternally grateful. I tend to be an "all in" kind of person. It's go-go-go, serve-serve-serve, which is totally ok if your body can handle that. But, at the moment, mine can't.

It's been a battle of guilt and people pleasing.

What will people think if I am not involved where I used to be? People don't know I have mono. So, they probably just think I'm slacking and don't love the Lord.

All those thoughts have to combated with truth. The Lord is teaching me to rest and serve him through different ways. Maybe the best way I can serve the Lord is by just focusing on loving my husband right now. What does God want me to learn from this? In what way is he guiding my heart towards Him? And, am I willing to let Him guide me?

I am so thankful for a hubski who is looking out for me even when I just want to do what others expect of me. He challenges me to bring the Lord into every sphere of my life-healthy or not.

And, not feeling "healthy" and "active" has been it's own thing.

That's for another time...

But, today, I am thankful for you, Greg.

Thank you for not being like me.
Thank you for teaching me different aspects of the Lord's character.
Thank you for loving me, even when I'm crazy tired.

From the night before we got married. Little did I know how sweet it would be to be his.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Milled Flax Seed Biscuits with Gravy.

Greg and I frequent Cracker Barrel more than any other restaurant. Granted, we don't really eat out that much. But, when we do, the "Barrel" is our breakfast eatery of choice. There's just something nice about limitless coffee and being surrounded by people who have experienced much more life than you have.

We each have our typical orders. I, however, like to change mine up every once in a while. Maybe a bran muffin. Maybe oatmeal. And, heck, why not some blackberry pancakes?

The hubs likes to play it cool. Every time, it's biscuits and gravy.

So, with this morning kicking off his very first round of grown-up seminary classes, I tried my hand at this classic. But, like everything I bake, I tried to add some actual nutritional value to the meal.

Enter milled flax seed and plain yogurt.

I began by mixing together my biscuit dough. Take heed, this recipe makes a pretty wet dough. I followed the directions. But, if I had to do it again, I would definitely make these drop biscuits. Way easier.

I plopped them into a cast iron skillet (is there any other way?) and off they went to get cozy in the oven.

Meanwhile, I made the gravy.

But, there was no sausage to be found in this little apartment. So, I decided to leave it meatless and sub in some delicious flavaaaas (mornings make me crazy).

All in all, these biscuits and gravy made the hubs happy. The only thing that gave away that they were "healthied-up" was the sweet flavor in the biscuits. Depending on how sweet you like your biscuits, the honey quantity is debatable.

I topped these puppies with some fresh garlic chives (thanks, Mom, for my herb garden...let's see if I can keep it alive). I also just snapped an iPhone picture. Why? Because at this point I hadn't finished a cup of coffee. Walking to the other room to get my actual camera just sounded like too much work...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Of Late.

I'm sitting with my legs pulled up underneath me in an oversized desk chair. There's Josh Garrles playing in a room without anything on the walls, and a bookshelf that is trying to hold too many books and journals.

This is our new office.

One week ago, I moved. We moved. That is, me and my hubs. Is that weird to say, or what? Maybe it's just weird to type. I have never moved in my life. Ok. I take that back. My family moved when I was three years old. That hardly counts. I couldn't even carry a box. And, what is moving but carrying boxes?

We moved to a new city and the hubs began seminary all in a matter of 48 hours. It's been a wonderful kind of chaos. I'm off trying to get my name, address, and school information changed while he is at work and class.

It's safe to say that it has been a lot of learning. Life right now is just figuring stuff out daily. Greg (the hubski), is still trying to dissect the intricacies and responsibilities of his job. I am trying to figure out marriage mixed with college.

It takes time. I cannot learn everything I need to know to get through this semester.

Everyday, something surprises me.

And, just like the surprises, everyday I must remind myself of the one always sure thing in life.

The eternal love of my Father and His gift to me of salvation is enough.

Even though there have been some difficult changes and adjustments, we both decided that we would choose to celebrate the good. In all things. We decided that we were going to choose joy amidst the uncertainty of this semester.

So, here are the physical out-pourings of that decision.

Donuts. Lots and lots of donuts. Ok, not really. But, between the two of us at our previous 8-5 jobs, we consumed our fair share.

 Greg prefers to just go through life with his eyes closed and a smile. Actually, he does, minus the shut eyes thing. He's pretty jolly.

 We kind of like to smooch. There's no one else for me. This boy is it. Forever.

To prove that, according to the government, I am no longer a Blake! Trying to dominate the name change hassle.

 Tea also happens to be a happy and comforting way to end evenings. A creamy chai or herbal tea soothes the weary soul.

If all else fails, bake. My life motto. And, to help me accomplish that, I have acquired this beauty. It's by far the most used kitchen appliance.

 The bread that the hubs still talks about.

 It was fluffy! Probably because I avoided the temptation to put in wheat flour. It makes me happy, but the whole wheat is not a real favorite of Greg's...

We love living downtown. I, for one, am a huge fan of using my bike to get around. Buh-bye gasoline.

First day of seminary pictures. Yes, yes, I did. He was quite compliant. 

I think he was a little aghast that I was going to take more than one. What can I say? It's a big day! 
This should just give a giggle to all who see it. What a poser. Seriously! I think he's done this before.


There you have it. Our life of late.

We are confidently (and on some days not so confidently) trusting that God's joy of salvation is enough.

I know that He will prove himself to be our source of joy.
No matter what. God is all.