Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I have the best brother-in-law in the world. He makes my sister oh-so happy, and for that, he makes the rest of us happy too.

Ten days after he married Claire, Carr stood before the judge and told him how much he admired my dad. He spoke with authority, never wavering in his conviction, about a man he barely knew but would defend with all his might. And as a navy chaplain whose heart and mind were created to both lead and serve, he has stepped into our family, often leading with words of compassion, wisdom and truth and serving with humility and patience.

Or in other words, he stepped into our freak show and has not looked back.

That is a rare man, indeed.

So, to honor this man who volunteered to join our family, we decided to celebrate his birthday in the only way we knew how: hurtling ourselves down a mountain.

My dad was home over the weekend so we took advantage of family togetherness and warm weather and headed up to Heritage Square to do a friendly race down the alpine slide.

Dad and I on the chair lift. Don't be fooled, I am really not that tan.

The course. It's intense.

We may look all nice and smiley but there was some serious smack-talk happening.



Mandy, Sam and Carr lined up and ready. They wouldn't let them go in tandem, something about mangled limbs and lawsuits, but they did try to catch up with each other.

(Between that picture and the next, 3 minutes of my life went by. It was exhilarating and only twice did I think I was going to fly off the side of the mountain and die.

I would call that a successful trip.)

At the end, I made in time to see Noah coming to a stop. He only rode on the fast track. Whatever. I was totally that brave when I was eight.

And here comes my dad, or as I like to call him, The Runaway Felon.

And here is the group shot. My dad is slightly hidden but that's okay, it was Carr's birthday and he can stand where he wants. A successful day in every way: no injuries and 3 minutes of awesome.

Happy, happy birthday, bro-in-law. I think we'll keep you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Cab Ride

A few years ago, I spent some time in Beirut. I was visiting our projects and hanging out with our people and trying to figure out which side of the street I should stay on. Oh that's a real thing, people. It matters in that city.

One evening, my colleague and I needed to take a taxi from one part of the city to the other, about a 25 minute drive. But it quickly became apparent that our taxi driver did not know how to get there. Instead of asking my colleague which way to go, he dismissed her and just kept driving. Even when she told him to turn, he ignored her.

After an hour, he became increasingly more frustrated. And she and I became increasingly more concerned. It was night, we were foreigners, and we kept driving further and further away from our destination and closer to the surrounding mountains. The same mountains where scary people with guns tend to hang out. There were times when I actually thought he was up to something devious, that maybe this was my last cab ride I would ever take.

{Dramatic pause}

My colleague kept trying to provide insight and suggestions, but he wouldn't listen, either throwing up his hand in disgust or ignoring her completely. He finally began pulling over, every ten minutes, asking for directions to our destination. First at a gas station, then at a flower shop, then at a restaurant, to some people walking down the road, and so on.

As as his frustration mounted, our fears began to as well. Why wouldn't he listen? Why was he so angry? Why didn't he trust us enough to know where to go? Why wasn't I at home with my mom?

Finally, after two hours, we finally made it. Somehow he found the main highway again and found his way. He didn't talk to us when we exited the vehicle, we just paid him and he sped away. My colleague and I were so thankful to be around people we knew that we nearly danced in the street. There is nothing better than the familiar when everything else is completely foreign.

Recently, I was teaching a group of high schoolers on the importance of relying on Jesus when we do not know which way to go. And I used this story as an example. I realize that so often I refuse help when offered. I ignore Him when He is gently trying to point me in the right direction. And I often ask anyone else I can find for help, for direction, for comfort before I ever turn and acknowledge the One who knew the way all along.

I am just like that cab driver sometimes. I look for answers from those who don't know and get angry or ignore the One who does.

I bet that cab driver never thought God would use Him for such a lesson. Scary men with guns aside, I am thankful for that experience.

And I am thankful I didn't disappear into the mountains forever.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Gourmet Girl, Women's Group and Hand Pies

The title of this post pretty much says it all.

When you combine my favorite Thursday night girls +  a Gourmet Girl who brings caramel and chocolate + buttery, flaky crust topped with cinnamon and sugar and a hot oven, a night of perfection is born.

These girls are so amazing. They have supported me for the past (almost) 11 years and now they are letting me bake with them. Geez. It's like I have hit the friendship jack pot.

Sweet Heather offered her home for us and we quickly covered it with flour and sugar, all the while sampling the pie fillings just to make sure they were edible. And yes, they were totally edible.

SIDE NOTE: Somehow I managed to bake through the entire evening without taking a picture of our amazing hostess. That's ridiculous. So let's all pretend I do have a picture of her in an apron and with a plate full of pies. Because that totally happened.

As you can see, a very delicious time was had by all.

Pie crust ready to be filled!

Jenn, Rachel and Natalie mixing it up.

Jenn and Rachel smiling for the camera. These two were the brains behind our Women's Group. They have known each other since they were young. And here they are, baking pies together. I love it.

Caramel, cinnamon and sugar. Yes, yes and yes. 

Hand pies ready for the oven.

Abby, working her pie dough magic.
Your favorite Gourmet Girl trying to look like I know what I am doing.

Hand pie perfection, all boxed up and ready to take home to share (or not share, whichever).

Thanks again, girls, for such a fun evening! You're the best. You know you have had a successful baking class when you find a caramel stuck to your shoe.

(And for those who want to "like" me on Facebook or schedule your own cooking class,  just visit my website or my Facebook page. I will totally show up and bake with you.)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Recipe Round-Up: Avocado and Egg Toast with Stone Ground Mustard

True story: this is my new favorite recipe!
It is super easy, super delicious and super healthy. The trifecta of cooking, if you will.
There is something about the combination of stone ground mustard, avocado, salt, and a fried egg that is completely comforting and satisfying.
It is an explosion of flavor and deliciousness. No joke.

The list: Toast, avocado, egg, salt, pepper and stone ground mustard.

Done and done.

Let's bust this out in four steps. Are you ready?
1. Toast your bread and spread with mustard.
2. Mash up an avocado and top with salt and pepper.
3. Fry an egg, any way you like it!
4. Assemble and eat.
That is it!
You are done!
Do a dance!
Hi-five your dad!
Do the splits!
Now try to get up!

I eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner and sometimes as a snack.
Not every food has that type of meal power, people.

 Try it. I bet you'll love it.

You may even want two.
Totally worth it.
Avocado and Egg Toast with Stone Ground Mustard
1 slice of bread, toasted
1 egg, fried
1/4 avocado
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
salt and pepper

Directions: Toast bread in toaster and spread with mustard. Top with mashed avocado, fried egg and salt and pepper. Eat!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Three More Songs!

I am knee-deep in orientation training at work so a profound, lengthy blog post from me is not in my immediate future (unless you want to come and teach a course or two on fundraising and then I would have ample time to talk about brownies and nail polish and what have you).


I just had to share this with you!  Treehouse Sanctum (the band belonging to my older brother and his amazing singing partner Danya, plus a few other crazy cool musicians) is only 3 songs away from completing their album. 3 WHOLE SONGS.

But, like any garage treehouse band, they need a little help from their friends.

So, they have put together a kick starter campaign to help them raise the last little bit to finish their debut album, an album that I am sure will go gold or platinum or some sort of precious metal.

Being the amazing, adoring, accommodating sister that I am, I wanted to let you see it! It's a pretty funny video, I totally giggled a few times.

And, of course, if you want to contribute, you totally can.

Otherwise, I may have to give up my inheritance for this to happen.

For the sake of my own future, feel free to join in.


You guys rock my socks completely off.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Secretly an "It" Girl

I secretly desire to be an "it" girl. I really don't know what that means exactly, but I basically just want the "it" girl wardrobe.

"It" girls come and go and most of the time I have no idea who they are or how their great-grand parents made all of their billions of dollars. But my favorite one at the moment is Olivia Palermo. I don't even know what she does. I mean, does she have a job? Is her dad famous? Did she cure cancer?

I really have no clue.

But all I do know is that she walks around New York City on the regular wearing the most amazing clothes of all time, ever.

Maybe that is her job, walking around looking fabulous.

I could totally do that.

Please, let me do that.

Here are some of her recent wardrobe choices:

I am always in favor of animal print. The shoes have the potential to be a health hazard but I am willing to give them a go for the sake of fashion.

Casual? Check.
Awesome? Check.
Affordable? Knock-offs at TJMaxx are calling my name.

I have no idea where I would actually wear this but it just looks deliciously comfortable, like an elegant version of the yoga pant.

I am crazy about laser-cut clothing. I am currently wearing a t-shirt from Target that cost exactly 1/100,000 of what this outfit cost.
Oh, and I would need some self-tanner. Pronto.


I am in love with the red-heeled boots and the jacket. Now all I need are cobble stone streets, the tights, blouse, skirt and everything else and I could totally rock this outfit.
Granted, not all of them are practical, for let's say, a trip to King Soopers, but I sure would look great buying butter.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Slot # 2

I have entered into a wonderful season of contentment. It's not that my life is perfect, (Um, hello Alamosa), but my heart has moved into that sweet spot between peace and comfort.

I have my own schedule, I can sleep in late, I can eat cereal for dinner, I can lay horizontally in bed, the bathroom is all mine, I can travel anytime my budget permits and I get to bake with people for fun. It's a pretty good gig.

However, I still have my moments of wondering what the heck I am supposed to do with my life. Should I move to a new state? What is God asking me to do today/this week/this month/forever? Should I go back to school? How can I be more loving in my relationships? Why did I buy this shirt? And the ever popular: Will I ever get married?

Now, that last one is a combo deal: sometimes I question this all on my own and wonder if God has destined me to be fabulously single forever. Other times, the world puts this crazy amount of pressure on me to be hitched, or at least dating, or AT LEAST trying to find someone online.

I did that. It was not my favorite.

This is the one question that I seem to get from every angle.

Yesterday, as I was driving, I had a brief moment of "GOD! Where are you? I am still here! And I would really love to do this life with someone who is somewhat normal and extremely handsome."

Perhaps you have had similar conversations? No? Awesome.

Anyway, that moment passed, contentment settled back into its place and I went on my way.

And then last night happened. I have bible study on Monday nights and as I walked into the church, one of the administrators asked me from across the room:

"Hey Sarah. Do you want a husband?"

Um, what?

"What did you say?"

"I mean, would you like to get married? Do you want a husband?"

Trying to play it cool just in case she wanted to set me up with her crazy cousin or something, I said, "Well, I had always considered that part of my life plan."

"Okay good. You are now on my list. In fact, you have moved into slot #2. I am praying for your husband."

And just like that, God reminded me that He indeed had not forgotten. I am now slot #2.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Second Favorite Sweater

It is snowing this morning. My brain can't even handle it. I just keep having visions of this:

I was there five weeks ago. (Sigh)

And now, all I see is this:

Just kidding. It doesn't look like that. That was from a blizzard two years ago.

 It is more like this:

I know, I know, it is a weak attempt at a snow storm, but STILL.

Snow. Whatever.

In my efforts to stay warm this morning, I pulled my favorite sweater out of the bottom drawer. Obviously, it was a bit wrinkled. So, I threw it into the dryer with a damp towel, the magic trick for de-wrinkling things.

And what did I hear five minutes later? The washing machine.

I threw my sweater into the washing machine.

Needless to say, I am now wearing my second favorite sweater.

Happy Friday to us all.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Airport

It is October! Somehow we have made it through 3/4 of this year and here we sit, with the holidays before us and the summer behind us. It amazes me that we are here already.

October also signifies the second anniversary of my dad being in Alamosa. He is still there, by the way.

Somehow we hit a routine this summer. For a girl who thrives on routine, this is a very welcome change. He comes home once a month for 72 hours and we go down there once a month for a day filled with chips, salsa and Walmart. It is in no way normal; it is bizarre down to its roots. But it has become familiar and there is a strange comfort in the familiar.

I realize that I rarely write about this journey, partly because of this new routine and partly because I do not always have the words. But, for the next month, I want to share the big and small ways God has kept us afloat, kept our noses barely above water, for the past 23 long months. These are His stories and His stories must be shared.


It is 460 miles round trip to Alamosa. That is seven hours on the road, any way you slice it. Thankfully, you have the Great Plains and one very long mountain pass to keep you entertained. Oh, and there is a Taco Bell.

However, there is an airport in Alamosa. AN AIRPORT. The chances of this town having an airport are slim to none, especially since they only have one Starbucks and zero Targets, all the things that point towards civilization and modernity. But yet, there it is, in the middle of a valley, exactly 100 yards from Camp Alamosa.

There just so happens to be direct flights in and out of Denver everyday, and one combination in particular allows for a 72-hour window. Exactly 72 hours.

When does that ever happen in your schedule? I'll tell you when: never. It never happens.

The drives down there and back (x2) would definitely cost more than a plane ticket. And it would inevitably mean that a person is taking a day off of work each month to drive down and pick him up. When you combine that with traffic, bad weather and the possibility of car trouble, his 72 hour furlough would become more like 50. And trust me when I say this: that his a huge difference!

Somehow, in some way, God placed my dad in a location that would allow for 72 hours of normalcy every month in the most cost-effective, time-maximizing way. And he allowed for this airport to be walking distance from his residence. He can literally walk to the airport and hop on a plane.

God took something mundane, like planes and cars and roads and airways, and made them miraculous to us. And this does not go unnoticed each and every month.