Something to look forward to.

Tomorrow is going to be a wonderful day. I’ve been excited about it all day long. You’ll get the details in tomorrow’s post!

Sunday, according to the forecast, has potential for being wonderful as well! Check this out:


Now this Minnesota girl sees snow in the forecast and thinks this:

That was a 20 inch snow storm back home in 2010. (Photo taken by my dad).

Unfortunately, this Minnesota girl has been displaced to Lynchburg so it’ll probably end up like this:

Just a couple of flakes that don’t stick.

Either way, I’m looking forward to it. Honestly, I really hope it’s the normal non-sticking flurry, because this city goes crazy with more than a dusting! I go grocery shopping on Mondays, and would like some eggs to be left on the shelf!

One final thing I am looking forward to is BED. This week has worn me out and I need a lot of energy for my big day tomorrow!

Good night!

~Amber Joy


Choosing to be happy on a rainy day

Today was a gray, rainy day. I hate rainy days, especially in Lynchburg. For some reason they just feel heavier than they do back home.

Knowing that it was forecasted to stay rainy all day, I decided I was not going to be crabby. Instead, I chose to be happy. All day. Even though it rained.

I started my happy day with a cute outfit that wouldn’t get wet as I walked through the puddles small lakes by the construction at school. That meant my favorite dress, purchased in London, and heels.

School wasn’t anything exceptional, but it wasn’t bad, either. My happy spirit survived.

Work was wonderful. As my boss pointed out on Tuesday, I love being there. I had great students, with one in particular who made my day end well. I was surprised that this student was so great. I had never had him before, but had observed him and heard some stories. Everyone struggled with getting him to even make eye contact, let alone work. While he was at my table, however, he was making up songs and beats about odd numbers, joking around, and nothing like I was mentally prepared for. I love it when students break out of their shell.

After work I spent an hour in the singing birthday cards aisle at the store. I opened almost every single card. Not ashamed.

Now I am in my pajamas, relaxing because I already did my readings for tomorrow yesterday! Wonderful! To add to this pleasant evening, Tani (my cat) just crawled onto my lap and is kneading my legs, purring. Aaaah.

I think I will choose to be happy on every rainy day from now on!

~Amber Joy


Some days I really miss home. Actually, every day I miss home. I can’t wait till my trip at the end of June!

I miss the sky. I miss the lakes. I miss the weather — all four seasons. And, of course, I miss my family!

(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.)

Lake Valentine at Bethel University

Blooming crab apple trees at Bethel Seminary

Lake Valentine at Bethel University

Right after a big storm.

Walking on the lake at midnight with the snow glow in the sky - BEST THING EVER.

There is no place like Minnesota!

~Amber Joy

Trusting that God will provide

About a month ago I got the final clearance from the missions board at my home church for my March trip to the Dominican Republic. Being a student living off of loans, I knew support was key to this trip happening. I mailed/delivered 70 letters, stating my goal was $1000. This goal, I thought, was lofty. Who is going to support me in a trip I came up with myself? So, I lowered my expectations to simply getting my airfare covered -$600.

$600 came in quickly. Then it jumped to $900 in one day. I was BLOWN away. God showed me! Doubt is not a part of our faith. We are not to doubt but to BELIEVE. And yet, I still questioned whether I would hit my $1000 goal.

The day after the jump to $900, my total rocketed to $1500. Once again, I was in awe. Why did I ever doubt God’s provision?

At this moment I have heard from just 19 of my sponsors, and also received money from my home church. My total is sitting at $1700 with more to come. God is definitely working in me through this amazing provision. I can’t even imagine what great things are going to come from this money in the Dominican Republic. I am THRILLED to be a part of his great plan.

My favorite book in the Bible is Habakkuk, I think because I am so much like Habakkuk. Here are my favorite verses:

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.” -Habakkuk 1:2-5

Be encouraged, and know that God will provide!
~Amber Joy

Oven Fried Fish and (Parsnip) Chips

I had an English inspired dinner tonight – my version of fish and chips.

Rather than pulling out the oil and frying everything, I went with the lighter option and used the oven. I also used parsnip instead of potatoes, and made the fish gluten free.

As you begin prep, preheat your oven to 400°F and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Chips – parsnip oven fries: Simply cut some parsnip like you would potatoes (small wedges), and toss in olive oil and seasoning – I use salt, garlic, and Mrs. Dash. Spread the fries on 2/3 of the baking sheet.

Fish: I use tilapia, because I’m a seafood wimp. To make it gluten free, simply use gluten-free flour (I used Masa Horina) and bread crumbs (I made my own out of an end piece from an Udi loaf).

In case you haven’t breaded anything before  here’s how you do it. Set out three bowls. Dump some flour in the first bowl, whisk an egg in the second bowl, and put your bread crumbs in the third bowl. Cover your fish lightly in flour, then dip it in the eggs.  Go back to the flour, then back to the eggs. Then cover well with bread crumbs, and you’re ready to go! Before placing the fish on the baking sheet, pour a thin layer of olive oil where your fish will go.

Ready to go in the oven!

Put the baking sheet in the preheated oven, and get excited, because you’re just 20 minutes away from a delicious dinner. Set your timer for 10 minutes, though, because the fries will need to be turned. After turning them, set the time for 10 more minutes. When the time is done your fries should be soft and golden, and the fish should flake and the crust should be crunchy.


That’s it! An easy, healthy alternative to the classic fish and chips.


~Amber Joy

PS – While my meal was in the oven, I tried out my first Cara Cara orange. It was so good! The color is beautiful, it was super juicy, and tasted almost exactly the same as a normal Navel. Try them out.

Sewing project revealed!

Want to know what I sewed yesterday?

Have you been sitting, hitting refresh ever since you read yesterday’s post?

Here’s what I made:

A purse!

Isn’t it AMAZING?

I’m very proud.

Here’s a close up:

Check out that pleat!

Did you know purses are made up of a bazillion pieces? They are COMPLICATED. But I powered through, and made one all on my own!

This project came from the book One Yard Wonders (

So, if you want the details, go buy the book! It has 101 projects that only need 1 yard of fabric!

I can’t wait to make more!

~Amber Joy

PS – Just for fun:

Tani helping me with the pattern pieces.

The joy of a productive Saturday

I had an extremely productive Saturday, and, boy, does it feel good.

My day went like this:

7:45 – Wake up

7:45-9:25 – Get ready for the day, eat breakfast, read for Monday

9:25-1:00 – Work

1:00-2:00 – Run errands

2:00-5:30 – Eat, Read for Monday and Tuesday, Research for journal article, etc.

5:30-6:00 – Exercise

6:00-6:30 – Dinner

6:30-11:45 – Sew

What did I sew, you ask? You’ll have to come back tomorrow to find out. I haven’t taken pictures yet, and want to go to bed.

~Amber Joy