Guacamole! 

  

I have a confession to make. Thanks to a silly Rhett and Link music video, I can actually spell  🎶g-u-a-c-a-m-o-l-e — GUACAMOLE!!!🎶 

But long before I learned how to spell it, I learned how to make it. You could say that avocado runs in my veins. Chileans have a “thang” for avocado, and my Nana is no exception. She puts it mashed on toast, sliced on eggs, and even smeared on a hotdog! She takes half of one to work with her for a midmorning snack, sprinkled with a little salt and maybe some lemon juice. But for all this avocado consumption, guac isn’t something Chileans normally eat. What?! You heard me right. But it is the only way *SOME* people (my non Chilean mother and not-true-to-his-heritage brother) will eat avocado. So here’s our recipe for the best guacamole we’ve ever had. My Nana even likes it! 

You’ll need:

  • 4 ripe avocados, mashed to a rough consistency 
  • 1/2 of a very small red onion, or a quarter or so of a medium or large one, finely chopped 
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lemon, 1 lime, or half a lemon and half a lime, juiced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black and cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 teaspoons taco seasoning, or to taste (optional, but I really like it) 
  • A dash or two of cayenne-based hot sauce (another optional)
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

Additional ingredient: Small diced tomatoes would be amazing in this, but both my brother and dad gag at the very sight of a tomato, so I’ve only had tomatoes in my guac on very rare occasions. 

Directions:

Mash the avocado in a medium bowl. Add other ingredients and mix thoroughly, tasting every once in a while to see if more spice is needed. Serve with corn chips or on a Mexican dish. Try it on a hotdog! You may be surprised. 

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This Year

  
 I have never made a serious commitment/goal list at the beginning of the year. I think January 1st always sort of crept up on me. Well, that’s changing because as cliche as it might be, it’s actually a really good idea. Originally I had planned on reading the Bible in a year, way back in November. And I didn’t forget. I’m reading in Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs, and Matthew every day. I’m also reading large chunks of Mark every day for school. I’ve missed out on so much all those years of not reading the Bible for myself, or only reading the “fun stuff” over and over again. (Ruth, 1 Samuel, Esther — did anyone else do that when they were younger?) In 2015, I ventured out and read all of Isaiah, and almost all of Jeremiah (I have 2 chapters left to read!). I learned so much about God’s character. About His amazing love for His children, the descendants of Abraham, who’s inheritance we are now part of because of our amazing Savior. Even through their rebellion against Him, their preference for false gods to provide for and save them, His mercy was still abundant, and His love starkingly apparent. God’s love is something that deeply moves me, to tears even sometimes. I can’t imagine how people can live without accepting it, and cherishing it for their own, and giving their own love back to Him. 

Well, here is my list. I hope you enjoy looking through it, and that you’re inspired to make your own!

This year I want to:

  1. Read through the entire Bible
  2. Pray consistently, thoughtfully, and Biblically 
  3. Do a Bible/devotional/book study on prayer 
  4. Memorize at least 5 chunks of scripture 
  5. Read at least 10 theological, non fiction books (I started Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis this week.)
  6. Read at least 5 classical fiction books (Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is the first mountain-of-a-book I’m scaling. See what I did there?) 
  7. Write more blog posts, at least one a week
  8. Finish the first draft of my three-part novel (Wishful thinking? Maybe.) 
  9. Draw at least 3 times a week
  10. Learn more watercolor techniques 
  11. Practice piano consistently, learn at least 5 new songs
  12. Learn how to play my violin, practice consistently 
  13. Organize my room, keep it clean
  14. Crochet more
  15. Start a home business
  16. Make all natural (organic?) mascara, eyeshadow, and lipstick 
  17. Drink more water (I have no problem drinking tea and coffee, but boy do I need to drink more water!)
  18. Eat less sugar (I already eliminated one thing from my diet last year, which was gluten. I think I can get rid of the little bit of sugar remaining in my diet.)
  19. Eat more “On Plan” THM meals
  20. Stretch and exercise every week 

I’m pretty excited for this year overall! I’m excited about all these goals, about school, about church. I hope you have a positive outlook on this year as well. If not, pray about it! 

2015 – A Year In Review 

Wow, where did the year go? It feels like not too long ago that I was sniffing the early spring rain in Arizona. Was it really six months ago when I spent an awesome weekend with extended family in the gorgeous Northern Arkansas Ozarks? It seems like as I get older, time goes faster. I understand why adults say “I need more time!” That’s how I feel. The realization that days are spent and then soon forgotten has given me an unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’m getting older. Those things like drivers training, graduation, and even marriage aren’t in the far distant future anymore. I wonder if all girls at my age and stage acquire that “awareness of time,” so to speak.  Well, I’m sort of rambling, so here is the review and some of the highlights of my year. These are in order of when they happened.

1. Spending Time With My Grandparents 

My family spent 6 lovely months living with my grandparents in Arizona. It was so nice to catch up with them and our other family in the area. Sometimes things got a little hectic, but overall I had a great time. I planted spinach, radishes, and flowers with my Pawpaw early in the spring. We had many fun nights playing poker and rummy with hot mugs of tea and coffee at our elbows, and watching classic westerns in the cozy living room. Nana and I had lots of fun cooking and grocery shopping together. I loved being able to talk with her whenever I wanted to. I love them both so much.

2. Joining the Christian Artist Board on Pinterest

This may seem like a silly one, but joining that board helped my art improve so much. I asked for art requests, and I got so many. And I couldn’t just say no. I was obligated to draw what was asked of me, even if it was something I didn’t necessarily want to draw. And it seriously helped me!

3. C. Family Reunion in Arkansas

That was one fun weekend! I experienced real southern hospitality and was treated to biscuits and gravy (chocolate gravy is amazing), sweet ice tea at breakfast time, and cheesy grits with eggs. I met new people, and caught up with some people that hadn’t seen me since the last C. reunion when I was a young baby. I spent a lot of the time with my already-close first cousins, but we sort of “adopted” a few third cousins (or something like that) into our little group. I had such a fun time. We were welcomed with familial warmth, and I’ll never forget it.

4. Meeting an Old Friend 

This was the magical summer that I finally got to meet my pen-pal-of-six-years in person, who happens to be a Yooper. We had only ever seen pictures of eachother, never heard each others voices or anything. And yet we had grown very close over the course of six years. It was a surreal day. We were both shy and reserved, and I’m sure we both appreciated our mothers encouragement in the area of conversation. Her mom was really great, her little sister was adorable and hilarious, and she herself was super sweet, and had the loveliest smile. I regret not talking more, but I think we were just in a state of “I can’t believe this is real!” I was sad to have to say goodbye, and I look forward to seeing her in person again.

5. Exploring Northern Michigan

The Mackinaw Bridge, Fort Michilimackinaw (mish-la-mack-in-aw),  Sleepy Bear Dunes, and the Painted Rocks were all amazing. My favorite part would have to be the Fort. Walking through it felt like walking into the 18th century! There was a cannon and musket demonstration, ladies preparing bread dough with old fashioned tools and baking it in the real wood fire in the middle of the room, and real, lovely little gardens with vegetables, beans, and flowers growing in them. I couldn’t help but point out how much it looked like a little Hobbit village.  It was a warm and sunny day in mid-summer, so I’m sure that helped with the Hobbiton ambiance.

6. Starting a New Book Series 

My aforementioned pen-pal recommend to me a great book series called Rangers Apprentice by John Flanagan. I found them at the library in the tiny town we spent most of our summer in, which was awesome, but I sadly only got to book 9, and there are 12 books. If you haven’t read them yet and are into fantasy/medieval-type books, I suggest checking them out. I guarantee you’ll be putting honey in your coffee before you’re through with them!

7. Beginning a Tolkien Study 

This study I’m doing is any Christian Tolkien enthusiasts dream. Unless your not a fan of hard work and lots of deep thinking. Cause, boy you get plenty of both with this study!

8. Moving to New Mexico

I never thought I’d end up in this state. But it’s been one of the best things to happen to me yet. It’s gorgeous here! Our house is big and beautiful (and it’s ours, which makes a world of a difference), the church we’ve been regulars at is one that I’m excited to go to every week, and there’s just a general peace and happiness in my family. God is definitely blessing us. I couldn’t thank Him enough.

Not all of 2015 was a bunch of highs. There were plenty of lows as well. My great grandma went to be with Jesus in August. There were times when I thought I’d go crazy after spending an exhausting day in the trailer. Some days I wanted to go deep introvert or full out hermit. Anything just to get some quiet time, away from the never ending talking, complaining, and drama of everyday life, which is understandably harder to do when you’re living in 31′ trailer with eight other people and one unfortunate old man dog. But God showed me how to turn my not ideal circumstances into a blessing. He taught me patience and joy and gave me His peace that He knew I needed so badly, even more than I did.

So all in all it was a great year, with lots of growing and learning. I hope to grow and learn even more this year, and I hope the same for you, my lovely readers!