Archive for March, 2012

A Delicious Afternoon in the Kitchen

This afternoon I decided to spend some good quality time in the kitchen with my good friend, Renee (she’s a sophomore at Liberty, and we’re from the same home town/church).

We both had browning bananas, which made our search for recipes narrow, keeping in mind I’m gluten free. We were considering banana bread until we checked out my pins on Pinterest and saw this:

FLUFFY Banana Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes, Gluten Free, from Gluten Free Canteen.

That picture left us with no questions – this was the recipe we were going to make. One problem, though, all the measurements were weights, not amounts, so I estimated and prayed it would still turn out. The recipe calls for 300 grams of gluten free flour – I rounded this to 2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour. We also put in less sugar than the recipe calls for, and skipped the Godiva Liqueur (because who on earth has that on hand?!?) and frosting. Also, note that the directions leave out the part of mixing in the flour – do this after the butter, before the bananas.

Here are photo’s of the process, thanks to Renee’s phone:

Ready to go in the oven!

Are they done? Not yet, but looking good.

Out of the oven and smelling AMAZING.

2 dozen BCC cupcakes - get in our tummies NOW.

The real question, however, was were the cupcakes actually fluffy? This had to wait until after dinner – the second part of our delicious afternoon.

I had been craving cheese and really wanted a good homecooked meal, so I concluded Mac and Cheese was the best option. We made my mom’s recipe, so you’ll have to ask her if you want the details. All I’m going to say is I never knew cheese and noodles could make two girls so happy.

Just look at that meal! So good.

After we polished off a good amount of the mac and cheese, we finally got to devour the cupcakes. Renee, being a normal eater, loved them just as much as I did. They were indeed fluffy, and so delicious we were both ready for a second one before even finishing our first.

Our tummies are satisfied, although another cupcake would be good right now…. Self control, Amber, self control.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

~Amber Joy

Barristers Banquet 2012

Last night was our Barristers Banquet (AKA Law School Prom without the dance). Everyone looked gorgeous, and it was four hours of lots of laughs (and good food).

The 3L’s put on quite the program, complete with creative videos and hilarious impersonations. The guest speaker was General Suter, the current clerk for the Supreme Court of the United States. He is a great man of God and had lots of good stories from SCOTUS and also from his time in the service. (He retired as Major General when he began clerking at the Supreme Court in 1991.)

It was a beautiful evening!

~Amber Joy

Sorry for the Absence…

I just realized I haven’t posted in a while! My brain has been worn out, so I guess my blog just floated off into space with the rest of me… To make up for it, I’m going to make this a conglomeration post – some recipes, some photos, some thoughts on life.

If you’re on Pinterest (which you should be), you’ve probably seen the pins for Overnight Oats. I saw this, thought it was a good idea, but didn’t repin because I’ve done this on my own before, just with a twist! A much EASIER way to do this in the MORNING is using quick cook oats. When you get up, simply mix in your yogurt of choice with your oats, let it sit in the fridge as you get ready for the day, then add fruit and enjoy! Another plus is it’s not to soggy, since it has only been sitting for a few minutes.

Another recipe idea I saw (and pinned) on Pinterest was 50 Healthy Gluten-free Snack Ideas from With Style and Grace. I snack A LOT, and can always use some new ideas. I usually defer to a couple of tablespoons of peanuts or some toast. So, seeing this link, I got excited for the possibilities!

Lynchburg has been in full bloom for a while, but here are some photos from my front yard (If you have any desire for prints, re-use, etc. please notify me. Being my photography, I own the rights, and do not want anything reproduced without my permission.):

I love spring, but my body hates pollen, so I spend more time inside than outside. With my schedule, this is not difficult… Finals are one month away, which is SCARY. I’m not near ready for that time to come – 100% of my grade riding on one test per class is stressful. So, rather than dwelling on the inevitable, I’m busy with things outside of law school, when I’m not reading, of course.

I’ve been working 12-15 hours per week, most of which is enjoyable. Last Friday, however, I had a really strange hour. I had two high school boys the same age – one at a higher intelligence level than myself, and the other barely able to read a second grade level. It’s perplexing to experience both the high and the low at the same time. It’s also hard to keep the high one from laughing at the simplicity of the low one’s work, and the low one being discouraged by the material of the high one. It was challenging, to say the least.

I’ve also been teaching Sunday School, as usual. Those kids can be CRAZY. They can also be extremely discerning, but that’s once in a blue moon. I love teaching them, no matter their mood, although I prefer not to shout. This coming Sunday we’re going to write to the kids I worked with in the Dominican Republic. It’ll be fun.

I should probably go get ready for the day… I love Wednesdays because it’s the one day I don’t have class until 11:45!

Have a good hump day!

~Amber Joy

FINALLY FRIDAY

You should have seen my peers after class finished today – we were literally giddy. Why? Because it’s FINALLY FRIDAY! This week wasn’t anything different than the other eight weeks we’ve made it through, except for the fact that it’s the week after spring break. That made it seem like the longest week ever, and we were more than ready for the weekend.

This time last week I was wrapping up my time in the DR. Crazy. Seems like it was ages ago. I wish I were still there… especially because today is Elena’s birthday! A fun ecard had to do…

This evening I was able to share a little bit about my trip with one of classmates and her husband. It was fun to look through the pictures again and share the great things God is laying in my path for the future.

Speaking of the DR… it was really hot in Lynchburg today! It was over 80.  Tomorrow is supposed to be just as hot. I just looked and normal highs are in the low 60’s this time of year. I think I need to get my car’s air conditioning fixed…

I hope you had a restful Friday evening! I’m off to do some reading for school before going to bed – I’ve to work 4 hours tomorrow morning.

~Amber Joy

Relief

Today I finished two big projects – a rough draft for a paper worth 80% of my International Human Rights grade and a Discovery project worth about half of my Law Skills IV grade. It feels SO GOOD to have finished both.

To celebrate I went shopping for a dress for the Barristers Banquet. Ready to spend big bucks I found a dress that’s perfect for $15!!! Another big sigh of relief for not spending a lot of money and still getting a classy, formal dress.

On a completely different note, this afternoon my neighbor’s rooster interrupted my work, taking my thoughts straight to the DR. I miss it, but I’m getting back into the routine of every day life.

Also, I realized I forgot to share a link to Rick and Becky’s blog. There you can find stories about their ministry in the Dominican Republic and more specific ways to pray for them.

I hope you had a lovely Wednesday!

~Amber Joy

Dealing with culture shock

I’ve decided that every time I leave the US, the harder it is to come back. I am so in-tune to the culture of Latin America, the culture shock of coming back is never easy.

Honestly, I am not thrilled about being in the States right now. After talking to my dad I realized there are a few reasons why this trip back seems so much more difficult than others. First, my trip was only a week – the shortest time I had been out of the country prior to this trip was 2 weeks. My brain, body, and heart were definitely not ready to leave after a week. Second, the older I get, the more clear it is what I need to be doing in the future. The difficult part is waiting for that future to come and trusting in God’s plan for my life. Third, I just flat-out love life in the DR. It’s way better than law school.

So, yep, I’m bummed. I’m trying hard at getting back into my normal Lynchburg routine, but it’s difficult. One thing that made my life a little brighter was finally being reunited with my cat, Tani. The vet isn’t open on weekends, so I had to wait until this morning to pick her up from boarding. She’s happy to be home, and I am glad to have her back. She’s contently purring on my lap, completely sprawled across my legs. That’s nice.

The bridge in Los Calabazos

I kind of feel like I’m crossing this bridge right now in life. It doesn’t appear to be all that safe. It’s risky. You never know which boards are secure and strong and which ones to avoid. Crossing it, however, brings thrills that can’t be experienced anyway else and joy that comes in being brave and making the journey successfully. Law school is something I would never have anticipated being put in my path (and also something I would not wish on my worst enemy). But God called and I answered. During my trip, every organization/mission I spoke with said that having an Spanish-speaking teacher by trade that also knows the law would be a great asset to their work. Even so, I still haven’t seen all the pieces fit together. It’s difficult to feel called to the missions’ field, and yet be stuck in school, acquiring loads of debt. All I want to do right now is be in the DR, but, God will provide, and all will be in his timing.

I continue look to my favorite verses for encouragement – Habakkuk 1:2-5

How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.
The Lord’s Answer: “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

~Amber Joy

Back from the DR already.

I’m back from the DR already. The week went way too fast and I really wish I was still there.

Here’s a summary and some photos of my week (If you have any desire for prints, re-use, etc. please notify me. Being my photography, I own the rights, and do not want anything reproduced without my permission.):

I stayed and worked with Rick and Becky Mackey, and their kids, Ben and Elena. Rick was my youth pastor, and now their on the field in the Dominican Republic, equipping local leaders and churches. I am basically an adopted member of their family, so it was wonderful to be with them for the week. I helped Rick and Becky with their usual routine, plus was able to visit different organizations and missions I could potentially work for in the future. When we weren’t out and about, I spent all my time with the family, relaxing, playing, and talking about life. I was happy to pick up my close relationship with the kids, especially Ben since he’s smack in the middle of middle school mode. He even told me not to leave the country – that meant A LOT.

Saturday – My first flight was delayed 3 hours, but thankfully I was going to have some time in Miami. By the time I got in I had to run to my gate, because it was 20 minutes before takeoff. And guess what, they hadn’t even begun boarding!! On both flights no one was in the seat by me, so that was super nice. I got 300 pages of voluntary, fun reading done, and just relaxed. When I arrived I was expecting no luggage, and miracles of miracles both bags came!

Sunday – We went to church at Nueva Vida in Jarabacoa. In the afternoon Rick took Elena and me on a long motorcycle ride up the mountain, to our old camp, to a local swimming hole, and around town. The rest of the day we relaxed around the house, and watched Courageous.

View from the mountain

At the swimming hole

On the countryside

Monday – Rick dropped me off at a kid’s club run by the pastor’s wife in Buenos Aires. I helped out by teaching the kids numbers in English and overseeing some of their work on handwriting. After kid’s club we visited the Students International camp where we talked to the director for a bit. We also stopped by Vanesa’s dentist office. She’s a long time Dominican friend of our church, and is now a dentist missionary for Students International. In the evening Rick showed Courageous in Spanish to some Dominicans at the house.

Tuesday – I got up early and walked Ben and Elena to school.  Later in the morning Rick took me to Doulos (the kids’ school) to observe/learn about the school. In the afternoon we met with Vic, the director of Kids Alive in the DR. This meeting was great, and very informative.

Wednesday – We headed out to Boma where Rick and Becky meet with a small group each week for a Bible Study. In the afternoon Becky took me to visit a Kids Alive site in a rough area, which was neat to see. I also spent time working on study skills with both Ben and Elena – something they and other missionary kids really need.

Thursday – Rick and I headed to Los Calabazos to teach English. I was able to visit a few families I’ve gotten to know over the years, which was very special. In the afternoon, Becky and I visited the women in her Bible Study in El Montaña. We weren’t going to be able to do Bible Study in the afternoon, so we visited each home. As it turned out,  they had planned a surprise party for one of the women, so we were really glad we made our way out there!

Four of the ladies have kids the same age. Becky has a picture similar to this when they were all babies.

Friday – I went to kids club again, this time leading a craft and overseeing the entire time. After kids club, Rick and I went shopping for gifts for my sponsors. I spent the afternoon watching Ben play soccer – as the high schoolers yelled on the sideline, he’s the smallest but strongest. In the evening we spent time together, playing games and hanging out for last time. The day ended with all of us on Elena’s bed, and Rick praying over me. Very special.

Saturday – Rick took me to the airport at 6:30am. The flight was delayed by an hour, so Rick hung out with me for a bit. Miraculously, besides the one hour delay everything was as flawless as traveling internationally can get. I got home to Lynchburg at 10pm.

That’s basically it! It was a wonderful, wonderful trip. I am so blessed.

~Amber Joy