It’s time to go to the Dominican Republic! My bags are packed and I’m ready to go. Just sleep, a drive, and 2 flights sit between me and the Dominican Republic. AAAHHH!!!!

My cat, Tani, is curled up on my lap, enjoying the fact that I am finally sitting for the first time today. I’ve been on the go, packing bags, etc. all afternoon. I’m sad to leave her, and she’s sad to go to boarding… I’m sure she will fight getting into her carrier in the morning.

Want to know something incredible? I’m bringing SIXTY FIVE pounds of gifts. Like I said a few posts ago, it’s going to be greater than Christmas morning.

Now, since I’ll be in the Dominican Republic, I probably won’t be posting every day like usual. When I do post, however, they’ll be 100 times greater than just a daily post.

While I am in the Dominican Republic, be praying for health, safety, and great opportunities to minister.

I am more than blessed to be able to make this trip, and am sure this will be the best Spring Break ever.

See you in the DR!

~Amber Joy


48 hours

48 hours and I’ll be in the DR. 48 hours! 36 until I’m out the door.


So much to do.

Maybe if I finish what I want to finish before bed, I’ll edit this and add more content, but not likely…

So, have a wonderful Thursday!

~Amber Joy

PS – If you’re in the North, go out and enjoy the Northern Lights, then share your photos with me. I’m jealous.

Old City Cemetery

Old City Cemetery is one of my favorite places in Lynchburg. Not only does it date back to the civil war era, it is full of beautiful flowers, trees, and gardens. This afternoon it was sunny and 65, so I wandered over to snap a few photos. Enjoy! (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.)

Star Magnolia

I just love how fuzzy the pods are.

Saucer Magnolia


I have no idea what kind of flowers are in the following photos – if you know, let me know!

Oh, hey there photo bombing bee!

I am so excited for more wonderful flowers to come. Old City Cemetery makes this easy with their cycle of bloom.

Have a relaxing day!

~Amber Joy

My awesome Grandpa Henry

Have I mentioned how amazing my Grandpa Henry is? Here’s a quote from the letter I got from him today.

“I got my driver’s license renewed, so I will be 100 [years old] the next time. Still doing OK driving now, but I am careful.”

Did you catch that? The next time he’ll have to get his driver’s license renewed will be his 100th birthday. And there is now doubt in his mind that that’ll happen. What an incredible man.

He’s also pretty funny… even if he doesn’t try. Here’s another quote.

“May God be with you and watch over you, on your trip to the DR. It maybe is nicer than some of the Islands we visited, [that were] to me just a big rock pile.”

Yes, Grandpa, the islands you visited on your cruise were just big rock piles… Ha!

Alida, Grandpa’s girlfriend,  is also hilarious. She won’t marry Grandpa because she has already outlived two husbands already, and also is meticulous (compared to messy Grandpa). She also goes to a different church than Grandpa because she likes to sleep in until around 10.

Their young spirits give me great encouragement in my young age. If they’ve made it this far, what’s stopping me (unless, of course, Christ comes back)?!?

And now I’ve got to work on an absolutely ridiculous homework assignment… Super fun.

~Amber Joy

Freezer Meals

Whether you’re a student like me, or just have a schedule that necessitates dinner in a pinch, I hope you have already discovered what I am about to share…. Freezer meals are the way to go.

In my freezer at any given time I have at least 15 home-cooked meals for one, plus a few pounds of chicken and beef cut up into serving sizes.

Usually when  I have an unusual amount of time, like on a break or an occasional weekend, I make a big batch of one of my favorite meals. My staples are a few recipes from my Mom and Grandma, plus 2 different kinds of soups (one creamy, one broth). I also like making a big pizza and putting servings sizes in baggies.

Whenever I don’t have time to cook a meal (like I cooked last Saturday) I just grab one of my delicious meals, warm it up, and enjoy.

Most food freezes well. The foods to avoid are raw veggies, eggs (cooked or raw), and condiments. Even milk and other dairy products can be frozen.

For more information just do a simple Google search for freezable foods.

Happy freezing!

~Amber Joy

PS – Speaking of freezing… we had a two hours late start today due to ONE INCH of snow. It didn’t even stick to the streets…


You know what?

I can’t wait til I don’t have to do homework on Sundays.

That’ll be the day.

AKA – I’m keeping this short and brief because I have to go read, even though it’s 10:15pm. BUMMER.

~Amber Joy

PS – For comedic relief:


ONE WEEK until I’m on my way to the Dominican Republic. ONE WEEK! Unbelievable. I can’t get too excited, though, because I have 5 days of school and work before then, plus one paper to write and a big law skills assignment to complete. Yikes. But once I’m done with all of that, watch out world. I am so looking forward to seeing the Mackeys and smelling/feeling the air. Plus, I will be bringing lots and lots of gifts – it’s going to be more amazing than Christmas morning.

Today, rather than working on all the school work that needs to get done, I got something done that I had been waiting for a year and a half — I got my driver’s door window regulator and motor replaced. For the past year and a half I had to duct tape my window up, and wedge it with a door stop. Not beautiful, but cheap. This month, however, I got a bonus at work so splurged and finally got it fixed. Originally estimated to be a $400 fix, I spent just under $200, so that felt great. I made the guys at the shop crack up as I told them it was Christmas to have a working window! As I drove home I opened and shut the window multiple times, just because I could. So much fun.

Another thing I did was hang out with one of my good friends from school, and also spend time with my roommate.

I also cooked myself a really great meal. So great, in fact, that I’m going to give you all the details to making a balanced, gluten free meal for one in 15 minutes.

As labeled in the photo, this meal contains all five food groups! Starch and grains, fruit and veg, protein, dairy, and dessert. The dessert is actually relatively healthy — see my post from Feb. 24th for the details.This meal was so easy to put together. I rubbed my tilapia with approx. a  teaspoon of melted (homemade) butter then covered it with blackening seasoning. My tilapia took about 13 minutes at 425. Once the tilapia was in the oven, I got my cucumber and orange ready. With 8 minutes left in the time I boiled my water for my minute rice and let it sit. With 2 minutes left I cooked my beans (in the microwave). I pulled out the fish at 13 minutes, and got everything else on the plate as it cooled just a bit. I poured my milk, placed my fish and dinner was ready!

Easy and delicious, in under 15 minutes, not to mention super healthy and a meal any mom would be proud of. (And, yes, I do usually eat like this, minus the dessert. Tonight I treated myself.)

Now my roommate and I are going to watch the movie that she thought we were going to watch last night… I guess school work will just have to wait until tomorrow!

~Amber Joy