Sunday, August 21, 2011

Aunt Sheri's Spinach Dip.

Whenever my dad's side of the family gets together, we do pot luck style. Nina provides the main dish and a few side dishes, but every one else brings in other side dishes, desserts, and appetizers so that we can feed our small army of a family.

One day, Aunt Sheri brought along a plate of spinach dip.

She had to have put crack in it. Or heroine. Or something. It was just. so. good.

I went straight up to her and begged for the recipe. She giggled because it was so simple. Only 4 ingredients.

Now that's what I call easy.

1. 16 oz of dried spinach
2. 16 oz of sour cream
3. One packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip
4. 12 oz of water chestnuts

Here's how you make Aunt's Sheri's WONDERFUL Spinach Dip.

Gather those ingredients.

Chop the dried spinach.

Throw the chopped spinach,

the sour cream,

and the Ranch Dip all in one bowl.

Then take your water chestnuts (be sure to drain them!!!),

and chop those up even more than they already are.

Throw those in the same bowl and stir, stir, stir!

Note: Gradually add in the spinach. Depending on the juiciness of your sour cream and the amount of water in your chestnuts, your amount of spinach needed will vary.

Once you're stirred up and perfect, put onto a serving dish to serve immediate, or refrigerate to save for later.

I served it with Pretzel Chips and carrots, two of my other favorite things.


What would you use to serve your spinach dip? I am hosting a party soon and plan on whipping up some spinach dip, but not everyone likes veggies or something salty! Help?


I came home the other night wearing a very sad face.

It had been a bad day at work, and I wanted the world to know it, so I wore it on my face.

However, when I came home, I came home to this face

And also to this face

Which made me put on my happy face.

Then Ava Michelle and I put on our men faces and changed the face of the mantle.

These two picture faces were hung without a tape measure, but with a ball of yarn, a hammer, and some screwdrivers.

Then we hung some more picture faces

Go Wolfpack!

This clock face is now hanging in our hallway face.
Don't worry, Ava Michelle got it on clearance, 75% off.

Then we changed the face of our dining room.

Thanks Kara for this wonderful print! I love your face!

While Ava Michelle and I were changing our apartment's face, we came across this face.

I am now wearing my "grossed-out" face.

After we wore our men faces, a bunch of other faces showed up at our apartment face.

Gordo came over and didn't like me capturing his face.

Then this face came home. She's a crazy face.

So Alecia and Gordo combined their faces to give me one picture face.

Pretty soon after, this face came walking in our back door.
I have missed this face. Nick went home to Yankee Land, and now he's back in the South Land, and I'm wearing my happy girl face.
He was greeted by a lot of screaming girl faces.

Alecia then said to Ava Michelle, "I'm gonna kiss your face."

I then told the apartment that I was going to go to sleep.
And Nick gave me this face.
And I went to bed with a smile on my face.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Prayer.

Dear Lord,

Thank You, thank You, thank You from the bottom of my heart for each and every one of my girls, my grandgirls, great-grandgirls, great-great-grandgirls and for all of the generations that I may not have the blessing to know.

Lord, thank You for their smiles. For the way that they light up a room.
Lord, thank You for their laughter. I love that it is one simple way that You show me just how different they are.
Lord, thank You for the way that they pray like You're right there beside them.
Lord, thank You for being right there beside them.
Lord, thank You for making them stronger than you made me, and thank You for strengthening me through their love and kindness and through each one of those smiles that I get to witness.

Lord, out of all of the beautiful girls that You formed perfectly and placed on this earth, how did You know that these one-hundred-and-thirty-some were the exact ones that I wanted and needed in my life? I'll never understand it.

Sweet Father, I ask that You break them, like You broke me. Father, break their sweet hearts for the things that are not pleasing to You. But Lord, do not stop there!!! Rebuild these hearts, Lord! Rebuild them perfectly to plead for the things that You love. Rebuild them for Your Kingdom. Strengthen them Lord so that You can use them in mighty ways.

Lord I ask that You are a lamp to their feet, just bright enough to know that You are right there Lord, and You're not going anywhere.

Daddy, I pray that You refine them through the fire. We both know how hard that is and how much work it takes. We know how much it hurts. Lord, I know that You put obstacles along the way: temptations, pain, sharks, mountains, jagged rocks, broken glass, lions and tigers and bears, OH MY! But God, I also know that YOU are at the finish line!!! I know this Lord! I know that when we come out of each trial and temptation, that You are there to pick us up. I know that when we finish, screaming in pain, crawling towards you, saying:

"Daddy! Daddy! It hurts so bad! Everything hurts, Daddy!"

I know that You pick us up and carry us! I know that You kiss away every tear, You clean every scrape and cut. You wash away every drop of our own blood. I know this, Father! I know it!

You look at us and say, "Beloved. My sweet girl. My darling. Daddy's here. Daddy never left."

"But Lord, I didn't see You!"

"I was right here, baby. And I have never stopped loving you. I'm going to fix this."

Lord, refine them. Make them Yours and Yours alone. Don't allow the distractions of tin foil take their eyes off of the mountains of silver and gold you offer us freely. Wrap Your great, vast, loving arms around them. Father, please, please, please don't let go!!!

Father, use their smiles and their laughter. Use their sass and their stubbornness. Use their gentleness and their determination. Use their desires and mold them new ones! Teach them how to hang on to each other and to You. Show them how to walk blindly, because it is only then that they can truly learn how wonderful, how beautiful, how amazing, how awesome, how incredible, how unspeakably good You are. Use their many talents, and ask them to use some of their weaknesses too! Show them that You are mighty, and that You are powerful, and that, more than anything, that YOU LOVE THEM!!! Lord, take them out of their comfort zone and then hold onto them so tightly that they know they are not alone, but that You are there, and that they are only standing there because You have them wrapped in Your strong arms.

Sweet Savior. Beautiful Father. Precious Redeemer. Almighty God.

I did nothing. I did nothing for three years. We both know this. I did nothing, and You still blessed me with these smiles, with these cheeks to kiss, with these girls to hug, these hearts to love. I will never, ever understand it.

But Lord, if You give me nothing else for the rest of my years, I will completely be content.

You gave me You, Lord. And because You're more generous than I can fathom...You gave me them.

Thank You.


To my girls:

I write this with tears streaming down my face thinking of your beautiful faces and all of the blessings that I have received through each and every one of you. These tears come from knowing our Savior and from knowing you. I pray this prayer and many others for you daily. I have each of your names written in various places where I can see them and pray for you, by name, daily.

Know you are loved more greatly than you will ever comprehend.

I am blessed to know you, humbled to serve you, and overjoyed to love you.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Zack Put a Ring on It!

I worked at my home church's Vacation Bible School a few weeks ago. While I was at supper just beforehand, I received a number of text messages and a voicemail from my friend Zack.

"What are your plans Sunday 4-7? I'm planning a surprise for Nat."

"I am so wide open! How can I help?? This is exciting I love surprises!!!"

I knew immediately what was happening.

Zack and Nataleigh have been dating for years. Pretty much since we all became friends. We met through college and Campus Crusade for Christ and because of similar personalities, opinions, mutual friends, it wasn't long before I was calling them two of my best friends.

I knew that Zack and Nataleigh were planning on getting married. I knew that it was going to happen sooner or later. But to know, or at this moment think, that it was finally going to happen, I was giddy with excitment.

I called my sister. I called my mother. I started doing a little happy dance at church and told two of my next door neighbors and the woman that I was working with during VBS.

I called Zack to get some more details about what was going on. Turns out, when I finally got him on the phone, he was actually with Nataleigh and we had to play a series of 20 questions for me to get all of the information out of him.

They were heading to the beach for the weekend with some other friends and Zack was planning on getting down on one knee on Saturday night. Zack was trying to plan a surprise party for Nataleigh for when they got back from the beach on Sunday so that she could show off her ring to her best friends.

This was Thursday. Now all I had to do was wait for a confirmation text from a very excited Nataleigh that it had happened.

It took everything in me to not text Nataleigh that weekend just to "see what she was up to".

Then finally, finally, I got a text from her reading, "I SAID YES!" with a cute picture of her and Zack displaying a beautiful diamond ring on a very important finger.

The squealing and the jumping and a few tears showed up while I was at my house. Now all I had to do was wait 24 hours until I could see her and the ring and Zack and jump up and down with her.

The next day I drove through a monsoon to get to Nataleigh's hometown to her best friend Shannon's house for the party. But seeing Zack and Nataleigh was completely worth it!

Like I said, this was a surprise party. Nataleigh thought that she was coming to Shannon's house so that she could see Shannon and her other best friend Jamie. She had no idea what was just beyond the door.

Hugging and celebrating with friends!!!

All of the girls there to celebrate with Nataleigh and Zack.

The boys.

The very happy couple!!!

The ring!
Nataleigh told us that although she and Zack had been talking marriage for a bit, he never asked about a ring.
For having no advice or guidance, he got her exactly what she wanted!
I guess they really are meant for each other :)

I was cheesing the whole time I was at the party. I couldn't stop giggling! I was just so excited!

My favorite couple!

I cannot explain how excited I am for you two, or explain how much I love you!
I cannot wait to watch the rest of this pre-wedding journey unfold and be there for you both on your big day!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Puzzle Pieces

I stopped by my next door neighbor's house last night before heading back to Raleigh to my apartment. We discussed life and a bit of this and that, nothing too heavy.

Somehow, the fact that I cook for my Bible Study girls every week was dropped into the conversation. My next door neighbor thought that was a sweet thing to do...until she heard I cook for thirty grown-ups every week like it's nothing.

To me, it isn't a big deal. Just double, triple, or quadruple the recipe and then serve.

I love cooking for people. It allows me to know that my girls are eating their vegetables. It also is a fun way for me to serve others and love people, because let's face it, few college kids actually cook...Ramen noodles, spaghetti, and Lean Cuisines are a big part of our diets.

While I was talking with my neighbor, she said something that I've been processing ever since:

"Reba, what is the Lord going to do with that? I mean, most people can't do that. Much less, love doing it."

So true. This sentence is so true. I love how the Lord made so many different people. I love that none of us are the same. I love that He takes the time to craft His children and come up with billions and billions and billions of different fingerprints.

As I have been thinking about this statement, it makes me do a bit of a happy dance about my future. I am already seeing so much of my personality come out as I prep for my first teaching job. Yes, you read that right. Looks like I'll be using my degree after all. This girl got herself a teaching job.

Well, actually, this girl didn't do anything...The Lord gave this girl a teaching job, and she's so excited about it, she can't sleep.

But cooking for 30 people isn't a skill that can be truly utilized as a teacher. I've incorporated singing, tap dancing, creative writing, bad cartwheels, laughter, and many other things into being a teacher. But what about the other little things that I love?

A friend of mine once told me about her parents and how they were/are complete opposites but they've made almost 30 years of marriage work. Her parents talk about how they've seen different pieces of their personalities work together while they've been married. For instance, her dad is an incredibly compassionate and nurturing man which really was needed while her mother was (successfully!) fighting cancer. Her mother was also afraid of marriage before they got together because she didn't want to be tied down and have someone looking over her shoulder all the time. She needed to be independent. Because her husband travels four days out of the week with this business, she got to be independent and still live her life!

It's stories like this that make me excitedly anxious for the future. I can't wait to watch as each piece of the puzzle comes together. As each love and passion in my life gets used for the greater good.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Blogging world, meet my new car, the 2011 Chevy Cruze.

She's beautiful, clean, gets great gas mileage, and I love her.

However, I have get to name her.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Andi & Jacob

This past Friday I headed to the foothills of North Carolina's Appalachian mountains to marry off one of my Bible Study girls, Andi, to the love of her life, Jacob.

Whenever I start snapping pictures at some sort of event, be it a birthday, Christmas, or a Friday, I wait for the moment that I get "the money shot". Here is the money shot of the rehearsal.
I just feel like you can see the love pouring out of this picture.

After the dinner we headed out for drinks and then headed to bed so we could get ready for my sweet girl's Big Day!!!

When my Andi walked out of the dressing room with her gown on, I burst into tears. She was just so beautiful. I had never seen even a picture of her dress, so to see the entire ensemble at once was just overwhelming. Andi has a very unique look about her, and the dress fit her perfectly.

The ceremony took place in the backyard of a sweet cottage in the country. As wonderful as it was, it was also 104 degrees outsides. Yes, in Fahrenheit. No, I'm not kidding.
To combat the heat, Andi and Jacob had small fans handed out to their guests.

My silly girls enjoyed some fun with the fans.

Andi's "Something Old" were the gloves that her mom wore on her wedding day to her dad many years ago. How sweet to have something to lovely and with such meaning!

And just like that, they sealed the deal with a kiss!
Then, it was time to party!

This is my Rachel. She was one of the bridesmaids...isn't she just the sassiest and cutest thing you have ever seen?

A small note about the wedding: It was supposed to be a dry wedding. However, the bridesmaids decided against that. Classy.

All of my girls and me with the bride!

I do love surprises! This is Rojo. His real name is Ben. No, Franklin. No...George. Whatever, we call him Rojo. My Kelsey and I met him in our Spanish 202 class a few semesters ago. As we were being seated we heard something behind us and we turned to find Rojo! This guy is a hoot-and-a-half and he was nearly the life of the party (don't worry, I still carry the title). Such a good moment for old friends to reunite!