October Goals

My housemate, turned roommate, turned friend (a story for another post) + blogging pal Lindsay at Martin Marriage Chronicles introduce me to many blogs that I make sure I visit as I eat my scrambled eggs and coffee before work.  One of them being Oak&Oats.  After faithfully reading this blog for a month, I was encouraged by her monthly goal setting + overview of her month.  I decided to follow suit – making a list of my own monthly goals.

Too often I have these rambling thoughts of things I want to try or projects that need to get done, but they never go beyond the ramblings or daydreams.  Largely due to the fact that I never write them down, thus have no accountability.

So here it goes to making my month a little more memorable, purposeful, and practical.


1. Take more pictures.  I am so bad at taking pictures to capture special moments.  Or pictures that offer a snap shot into everyday life.  You would think it would be easy since my camera is on my smartphone.  Not. The. Case.  I want to document as least one picture a week for the month of October.  My real goal is to be really, really good at taking picture to start LifeProject.

2. Find a creative outlet. I am aching for a creative outlet of some sort.  Scrolling through Pinterest only makes the desire burn brighter.  Any ideas of what I could try?  I’m needing something that is easy on a budget.  Maybe watercoloring, calligraphy, knitting, etc.

3. Blog more.  I haven’t figured out what is realistic goal for blogging.  I either set the expectation to blog more too high or I quickly start second guessing myself on my post topics.  I have yet to finish my 30 Days of Gratitude, maybe I’ll start there..

4. “Have coffee” with a new friend.  My biggest let-down living in Vermillion, which is home to a University is the lack of coffee shops to hang out in with a friend.  The coffee shops here are even less ideal for a good study session.  Going to college in Boulder and working with the Navs at Wyoming, I loved trying to coffee shops and exploring them with friends.  So I’ve had to think outside the box–Where can I hang out with new friends?  What can I do with new friends?  I want to ask either a woman from my church or someone I meet at the gym “out for coffee”.

5. Organize my closet.  Another one of my favorite blogs to keep up on is un-fancy.  It is one of the best fashion blogs I have read and feel as though I can accomplish some of the concepts she does in my own wardrobe and lifestyle.  I would love to go through my closest, throwing things away + making room for new fall clothes.

What are some of your October goals?


Zucchini Lovin’

September is a fabulous month to eat zucchini however you want it…baked, fried, steamed, or stewed.  My favorite of course it to bake with it.  One of David’s classmates has a garden with an abundance of zucchinis, and luckily for us we have been the beneficiaries of a few large ones.  Not only does has she given our stomachs mega satisfaction with zucchini bread and cookies, but she’s also been a great study buddy for David and a Saturday morning yoga buddy for me.  

I’m sure I caught your attention with zucchini bread and and cookies (with cream cheese). nom! nom!  So I thought I’d link the zucchini loving recipes to this post along with a future recipes I’d like to try.  Hopefully, I’ll be getting more from her garden.


1// 2// 3*


* This isn’t the actual recipe that I used to make zucchini bread, but I wanted to give proper photo credit.  The recipe that I used (which has some awesome and healthy ingredient substitutes) to make it a little healthier is below. 

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 Cups zucchini, grated
1/2 Cup oil (or 1/4 Cup oil + 1/4 Cup unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 Cup honey
2 eggs ( 1 egg + 1 Tbsp. of flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp. of water- let flaxseed mixture sit for 2 minutes.)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 Cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

Beat together oil and honey, then add eggs, vanilla, and zucchini.
Sift dry ingredients and add to zucchini mixture.


 What are you favorite ways to make zucchini?


the joy of the Lord.

Anytime we foresee or face change in what we call our “normal”, there is an uncertainty of what it will bring.  The change may be a moving to a new town or state, starting a new chapter as a college student, or simply a change in schedule.  Whatever the change, whether it be anticipated or completely out of the blue, whether you’re prepared for it or grasping for air, change affects us.

It’s my tendency to wonder if I am ready for the change.  Am I strong enough to face the unknown and even the discomforts of the change?  Is there any possible way to stay in “the normal”?  And with this thoughts afloat in my mind it is easy to give way to the worry and anxiety and fear that accompanies change.  Please don’t tell me I’m alone in this, the I-can’t-sleep-because-I’m-to0-busy-planning-all-the-what-if-scenarios in this so called season of change. Please.  Why is there an unspoken negative connotation to the current changes we face?  There is hope that this change will be over soon, things can go back to normal, and none of this ever happened…whew, I can breath again. But like I said, in the meantime worry and fear lurk behind the corner of “what I know” and “change”.

As David and I are a few weeks into a changed lifestyle (he started classes at the end of July) and the change will continue through the course of his program and as the leaves change in the Fall so does my schedule as a paraprofessional and personal fitness trainer, I have had the constant “what if I’m not strong enough” flash through my mind.

What if I can’t handle the pressures of being married to a medical student?  What if my schedule is too packed with responsibilities?  What if I struggle to make it through the day? 

But then I took a step back, gave myself a reality check and asked isn’t there a better way to approach change.  Yes, change is difficult. Change is uncertain. But change is good.  It’s good because I realize I can’t do it on my own- I need something outside of myself that is constant, unchanging. (“For I the Lord do not change…Malichi 3:6)  It’s good because change brings forth personal growth and refinement.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

Proverbs 31:25

  • My strength is not my own.  The original Hebrew for strength is ‘oz, a masculine noun from the root meaning to prevail, to be made strong. The same word has been used to describe God’s character.

“You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand.” Psalm 89:13

To cloth myself with strength is to cloth myself with God.  I am strong enough to face change because I look to God for  strength and counsel and provision.  I choose to rely on him to meet the challenges of change and uncertainty.

“Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
1 Chronicles 16:11

  • I surrender to God.  Strength and dignity are so much a part of her character, that it is described as her clothing.  Her character is reflected as such because she has allowed God to change her from the inside out.  She has surrendered herself to God and she has submitted herself to be used by Him.
  • I am free to face the day with joy.  Fear and worries about life do not define her.  She laughs at days to come. She does not run from change, but embraces it with joy.  Can you imagine…To laugh at days to come and approach change with a thankful heart verses being overcome by fear and worry.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,  present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

This season of change is filled with uncertainty for David and I.  I could easily sit here and continue to add to the list of fears and uncertainties, the what-ifs,  but instead I will choose to be thankful and laugh at what is to come.

I’m thankful for new friendships.

I’m thankful for jobs that engage my interests and education.

I’m thankful for a home with two bedrooms so David can study at home.

I’m thankful for the resources to bake. (a good study break tactic) 

What are you thankful for in your season of change?

Proverbs 31;25 


joy’s thief.

Just write.

That’s what I had to tell myself to do.

“You haven’t blogged anything recently,” David mentioned in our now passing conversations.  He officially started classes last week and with a quiz almost every Monday, studying has been in full swing.

Truth be told, I haven’t had much of a passion to write.  As I sit on my computer and read blogs others write, I quickly retreat, thinking I don’t have anything worth sharing.  I don’t have a strong opinion or knowledge about the best beauty products or latest fashion trends.  I’m not a gifted photographer.  My cooking is not anything special, or unique.  My hobbies or skills have not be perfected to be anything close to lucrative as these other blogs.  Well, no wonder my passion to write or blog has gone out the window – I have compared myself to everyone else and have it stuck in my mind  that in order to be a sucessful blogger or a blogger who others would follow, I have to do EVERYTHING that EVERYONE else is doing, and I have to do it WELL.

And then I had to ask myself, why I started blogging in the first place.  I started because I wanted to document life happening now. Life as a wife. Sister. Daughter. Friend. And Child of the King.  When I remembered that, everything about the blogging world seems so much smaller.  And everything about God’s story so much bigger.


For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

That very realization, that we are HIS workmanship gave me joy, purpose, and freedom.  It gave me joy in who I am. Gave purpose to my day. And freedom to not be perfect, but to be God’s work of art, which HE prepared in his infinite wisdom.

For me it was comparing myself to other bloggers; sometimes its comparing our stage of life, our possessions, our talents, our appearance to others’.  Whatever it is you compare, you are robbing yourself of joy and the fullness of Christ who is at work in you.

Comparision robs joy

So what would happen if we stopped comparing ourselves to others?

I can tell you as soon as I stopped comparing my blog to all of the wonderful blogs out there, God gave me something to write about and my creativity started bloom.  Just think if I stopped comparing my appearance to CoverGirl, I would embrace my curly, sometimes unruly hair.  If I stopped wishing to be in another stage of life, I would enjoy all that is happening now.  And if I stopped comparing my hobbies or talents to what other people have chosen, I might find some creative outlet or something else that I’m skilled in.

And the opportunity to really find joy in who God created us to be will flourish.

three gifts of enthusiasm

Vigor. Passion. Zeal. All are synonyms for enthusiasm.  They each carry the meaning of intensity.  So what are gifts that show an intense emotion for enjoyment, interest, or approval?

  1. A Puppy’s Zeal.  I love the pursuit they have to fetch a toy or play keep away.  They never shy away from any interaction they can receive.  It’s hard not to love a fluffy, fur ball who enthusiastically loves.  This week while in Brookings we played with a Corgi-poo.  David is really softening up to dogs.
  2. Vigor in group fitness.  This summer I started teaching group fitness classes to coincide with my personal training.  It’s been a bit of a learning curve and has really stretched my comfort level instructing and leading others.  But despite that, it has been a joy to witness the intensity a group of individuals can bring to a workout.  They are all enthusiastic for a good workout.
  3. My mom’s passion.   Anyone who knows her, knows that she has a green thumb and creative eye. She’s always had a passion for flowers and has been enthusiastic for every opportunity for be a florist for various weddings.  Creating the most beautiful bouquets and detailed boutonnieres.

Red, White, and Blue + Gifts of Persistence

View More: http://kierstarhodesphotography.pass.us/wTx4G136590 ocean 14erIt’s going to be two in one today.  The 4th of July festivities and lack of internet availability while we are in Brookings, SD prevented me from posting my gifts of joy yesterday.

Red, White, and Blue

  1. My Red USD t-shirts.  Since moving to Vermillion my collection of red shirts quickly went from zero to enough to wear each day without having to do any laundry.  I wear these shirts for personal training at the USD Wellness Center, a job that has given so much joy and excitement with each client and bootcamp.
  2. White Wedding DressA year and a half ago I got to wear the most beautiful white dress.  I said “I do” in this dress and David told me I looked like a rose.  And months before fastening the crystal buttons, I spent the day with my mom, sister, and grandma trying on dress after dress before finding the prefect one.
  3. The Blue Ocean. My favorite scene is the ocean.  The unseen depth and the expanse of the shades of blue leaves me speechless every time my toes sink in the sand as the coolness of the water reaches my ankles.

Gifts of Persistence

  1. As demonstrated by my husband.  David has shown so much persistence during this long medical school process.  Even after a falling one spot short last year, multiple applications and interviews David continued to better his resume and faithfully obey God’s plan for him to practice medicine.  Although the application process is over and he begins classes at the end of this month, his persistence will continue with endless hours of studying.
  2. Hiking a 14er.  This took so much persistence, but it was worth every temperature change in elevation, shortness of breath, and rocky terrain.  A breathtaking view awaited and a sense of accomplishment lingered with each step on the descent.
  3. In our marriage.  Working out disagreements or miscommunication and the persistence it takes to understand each other.  Its a quality in our marriage that will set the tone as our family grows.

Faith, Family, and Freedom

A gift in faith, family, and freedom.

1. Faith. I thank God for the faith of others. It has encouraged me and  challenged me.
2. First Christmas in South Dakota. Making my first ginger bread house with Aimee,  sleeping under the tree the eve of Christmas Eve, and so many memories I will forever cherish.
3. Freedom. Freedom in Chirst.