Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Precious Jewel

        Last evening, I had the opportunity to see pictures of our neighbor's 27-week old baby. I was amazed at how tiny she is. Born at 26 weeks, she weighed 1 pound and 6 ounces at birth. There was one picture that was really neat: Jewel* was holding her father' wedding ring. Her father told me he could pull the ring up her thigh. Then he went on to tell me about all the alarms that are hooked up to Jewel and all the care that the nurses put into her. They are doing all they can in human power to keep her alive, yet other people are killing babies around the same age. It is so sad that people are so brutal. God is the ultimate One keeping little Jewel alive, but we as human beings made in the image of God should do all we can to keep babies alive.
        Remember Jewel and ALL the jewels out there and please pray for an end to abortion in our country and the world.

*"Jewel" is not actually our neighbor's name, but I used it for privacy purposes and because of the fact that she IS a jewel.

                                                                        God bless!

The Master Summoned the Princess Home

        Today the great King of all the earth summoned my Great-grandma home to be with Him. She was a bright beautiful woman who I will miss a lot, but I can also rejoice that she is no longer weak and frail: she is singing the praises of her king.
        Great-grandma was a very petite woman with leathery brown speckled skin, a silvery laugh, and a shining smile. Sometimes she made the funniest remarks and she could be so sarcastic. This past spring I had the opportunity to take care of her along with my sister, Hannah. She liked the way we cared for her so much that she told my grandma, "They treat me like a queen!" We had to give a drink to help with her potassium level. She really detested that stuff so when I would give it to her she would say such funny things. One time she sarcastically said "Oh, glory!" I could hardly keep from laughing. While still in New Jersey taking care of her, we taught Great-grandma how to play scat (a card game). That became one of her favorite things to do. Other times, she would just sit in her rocker and look out the window to the ocean, read a book,  or take a doze. I am so glad for that month I got with her. I will keep many good memories of that special time. 
        Here are some pictures of the "Queen."

Great-grandma and Hannah playing Scrabble.

Great-grandma and Grandma.

Playing scat.

The Princess for sure. Great-grandma picking a card with her gnarled fingers and painted finger-nails. She liked to be prim and proper. One time, she came out of the bathroom and after seeing her messy hair she said, "I look like a crazy woman!"

Enjoying some sun and fresh air.

She loved ice cream.

I love you, Great-grandma, and I can't wait to see you again, but for now I will thank God for the special person I knew you to be here on the earth.


Saturday, December 26, 2015


Last year for Christmas breakfast, I made a Romanian Easter bread, pasca. It was such a good hit, that we have decided ( or should I say, my sisters have decided) that I make this every year as a Christmas tradition. I don't really mind, though, because I love it too. Here are pictures from last year of it, along with the recipe.

    Bread dough
  • 1 cup (120 grams) bread flour (I used Pillsbury)
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 tsp dry yeast (i used Red Star)
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) bread flour
  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup (100 garms) sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (360 grams) bread flour
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (you could use vegetable oil as well)
  • 1 tbsp of milk, if needed
  • Cheese filling
  • 1 cup ricotta/cream cheese/farmers cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup powder sugar
  • few drops of vanilla extract/lemon extract/rum extract - whatever you prefer
  • lemon zest (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp honey + few drops of milk for brushing
  1. In a mixing bowl add 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of lukewarm milk and 2 tsp of dry yeast. Stir to combine. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of flour on top and leave at room temperature for 10-15 minutes until the mixture increases in volume and the flour on top is cracked.
  2. With the dough hook on, add the melted butter, egg, sugar, vanilla extract, salt and slowly start adding the remaining 3 cups of flour until it's all incorporated.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, keep mixing, slowly pouring the 1/4 cup of oil.
  4. When all the oil is added the dough should be smooth and elastic.
  5. I made it several times to make sure I got it right and one time it felt a little "dry" so I added few more drops of milk until it became soft and elastic.
  6. Place the dough in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until doubled in volume. Should be around 2 hours.
  7. When the dough is risen, divide the dough in 4.
  8. Take one piece and roll it out in a 10 inch circle. Place it on the bottom of a well buttered 10 inch springform.
  9. The remaining three pieces shape them in thing ropes, about 3 feet long each.
  10. Braid them and gently place them in the springform pan, braiding the ends together toform a sealed circle.
  11. Cover and let rise for another 40 minutes.
  12. In the meantime heat the oven to 375F and make the cheese filling.
  13. In a mixing bowl add the cheese, eggs, sugar, raisins, vanilla exact and lemon zest if using. Stir to combine.
  14. Pour the cheese filling in the middle of the braided circle and bake for 15 minutes at 375F.
  15. Without opening the oven door, lower the oven temperature to 325F and bake for 45 more minutes, or until the crust is deep brown (it's not burned, the high amount of sugar gives it the brown color) and the aroma takes over the kitchen.
  16. Let cool completely.
  17. Just before serving brush it with honey mixed with few drops of milk.
  18. Slice and enjoy!

The Day After Christmas

Today I went for a walk in the 70-something degree weather. Here are some pictures I took. I hope you had a great Christmas.

This cute little snail was enjoying the moist moss in Micah's garden.

Looking down a rocky "cliff" (only about 6 feet high).

Some very interesting moss on the side of the "cliff."

Looking up the cliff.

The roots of this neat maple tree grow over the rocks.

Looking up a tall hickory tree.

This little stump was covered in fresh moss.

A little bit of lichen pokes through a "field" of moss.

The pine forest floor.


I love this lichen, especially after rain when it is so pluffy and pale green.

This old stump, sprinkled with moss and lichen, looks like timber wood.

More of the "timber wood" stump.

When we see God's beautiful creation, we see a little glimpse of His awesome majesty. He should receive the praise, but so often, the creature is worshiped rather than the Creator.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Time

        December is a great month. I love it and hate it. I hate it because of all the material, worldly aspects of Christmas: the money-making, Santa Clause, and greediness. However, I love it more than I hate it: the glorious news of Christ coming to the earth, Birthdays, celebrations, giving, and joy. We have three birthdays in December. That's where I'll start. I hope you enjoy these December pictures.
Gabriel's Birthday comes first, but he wasn't here, so here is Lydia on her 11th Birthday.

Lydia's mint hoecake. She always has a mint cake for her Birthday in remembrance of our brother Micah who shared a Birthday with her. He liked mint a lot.

Lydia "eating" fire.

This is actually a sad story here. Dad's old '82 Toyota pickup left us today. Hannah and Priscilla stand by it for the last time.

The general festivities.

CHRISTMAS BREAD!!!! Our neighbors get "Christmas bread" just about every year. It is fun to make it and it's a good excuse to see our neighbors.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ten Years Ago

         December is full of wonderful memories for me. Birthdays, parties, and Christmas just to name a few. However, I am always reminded of my older brother, Micah. He was a handsome 15 year-old last time I saw him, but now he's more beautiful than I can imagine. Ten years ago today, Micah finally went home to rest in the arms of his heavenly Father. No more painful leukemia to endure, no more hospital visits, no more sickness. He is alive and well, singing the praises of our risen Lord (with his guitar, I'm sure).
        Thank You, Lord Jesus for the wonderful gift you gave us through Your coming to the earth, dying for our transgressions, and rising from the dead. Thank You for the many gifts You have given me, so many undeserved gifts. Right now, I especially thank You for Micah, and that You summoned him home.
        I love you, Micah
I think this picture was taken exactly 2 months before the last time I saw Micah alive.
It was taken at Pilot Mountain in North Carolina.

Monday, December 14, 2015

"You've Got a Fly on Your Head!"

If you have ever watched the movie Flywheel, you will probably recognize this scene. My older sister, Hannah is on the right and my younger sister, Lydia is on the left. This video was taken about 5 years ago. Flywheel is by the makers of Fireproof, Courageous, and War Room

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Three Years Ago

Exactly 3 years ago today, Gabriel, Lydia, and Bethany lounge on the couch at our Granny's house.(I edited this post on the 14th so this picture was taken on the 14th of December 2012.)


There comes a time when a post of many random things is called for. I hope you enjoy this group of pictures and descriptions.
A return address like this would only come from my clever uncle.

What could be better than eating Thanksgiving dinner with chopsticks?

Bethany poses for a "band" picture or something cool on this old truck at our friend's house.

The scene of the crime. This is what happens when you are tired of doing your vocabulary.

Who knew cleaning the bathroom could be so much fun?

Little delights in teacups and December roses.

December sunset from our mountain.

Hazy morning sunrise.

Thanks to our local church, I enjoyed twirling up this thin piece of wire.  

Lydia in front of the decorated Christmas tree.

A little house in the woods.

"Guess what? You have a nice day."
                    ~Street Man 


Sunday, December 6, 2015

November Blooms

In November, I saw this forsythia in bloom. I love to see things like this in the wintery months (although sometimes it makes me worried that summer is coming too quickly! Ha ha!).

This cut little rose bloomed in the cold as well.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

La Mulți Ani

La Multi Ani* to my brother, Jesse, brother-in-law, John, and sister, Bethany. I am so thankful for all of them and the blessing they each are to me. Life would not be nearly as adventuresome, encouraging, and, yes, even crazy without these three people in my life. God bless you all!
I love you!

*"La mulți ani" means "Happy Birthday" in Romanian, if you didn't catch that already.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Part 2: A Wonderful Day: A Walk

        Later in the day, Dad, Mom, and us three girls went for a walk along the country roads around us.
A farm pond.

We ventured down this driveway, hoping there would be something more interesting.

A winter crop.

The country road.


Dad climbed this grain silo.

Lydia was not as brave to go all the way up.

A baby doll head.

More lichen.

The swaying tree is holding up a tree that fell on it.

Two oaks. 

Fern-like moss.