“Cold Water” (Hamlin Beach)

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Josh and I recently had the wonderful and much-needed opportunity  to spend an afternoon relaxing with friends over a picnic on the beach. We hadn’t planned it this way. but it ended up kind of being a celebration of Josh landing his new job at Paychex and Neme scoring not one, but two part-time jobs as a line cook. Kristen and I are so proud of our men 🙂

I packed some beachy snacks (trail mix with real coconut slices for the win!), and we made the long trek to Hamlin Beach State Park where we relaxed in the breeze and the sparse sunlight. Everbody kept complaining that they were cold, but I was praising God that my pasty limbs could enjoy the day without fearing the sun’s beating rays.

The swimming area was actually closed, so we went to a secluded area to make sure no one could see us get into the water–

I mean, so we totally didn’t get in the water! *cough*

Actually, I was the only one who ended up appreciating the, shall we say, “brisk” waters of Lake Ontario. I had a ball frolicking and swimming on my own, but there’s only so much solitary swimming and frolicking you can do before you get really bored . . . and look really stupid.

And they were having so much fun without me . . .

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I cannot express enough love for this picture

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The trip was all Stryker’s idea!

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“Photo shoot!”

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“Does this look pensive and mysterious?”

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“Gah! Skirt getting blown into the waves! Better go for cute and quirky . . . and wet.”

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“Eh, screw it. I’m just wet.”

Title is from the song of the same name by Damien Rice

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Fuego Coffee Roasters

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At the Marriage Adventures weekend last month, Josh and I had the pleasure of meeting (along with three other couples) Tony and Renee Colon.

Tony and Renee stuck out to us for two reasons, one is that they have made the daring and exciting decision to let their creative passion take over their nine to five lives. After working as baristas for seven years, the couple purchased a coffee roaster and began selling their own brand of coffee. This weekend, they are embarking on something even more inspiring. They have opened their own espresso bar, Fuego Coffee, in downtown Rochester.

All of this creative power currently present in their lives brings me to the other aspect of Tony and Renee’s lives that made them seem exceptional to me. They truly have created beauty from ashes in their marriage. They have refused to let extreme tragedy keep them from–

Well, why don’t you listen to them tell their story themselves?

God bless you in your endeavors, Renee and Tony! You are an inspiration, and Josh and I hope we can have the pleasure of experiencing life with you in the future.

I’m off to see if they need any help at their new coffee shop 🙂

Photo and video credit: Taylor Isselhard

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Peace, Love, and Trust

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So something equally awkward and awesome that happened this week was that Josh and I created and hosted a 70s-themed Jeopardy game for our Pastor’s birthday party. Let’s just say the 70s was his era. I was “Alexa Trebek” and Josh decided that his attire suggested he should be named something uber-hippie, so he went with “Moon.” It was a blast, and the questions were awesome if I do say so myself.

Josh and I are spending a lot of time and energy getting involved with our church lately. It seems kind of silly in light of the fact that we are still struggling to find full-time jobs, but honestly . . . these are the people who give us the strength and support to get through these uncertain times. They are the one’s who remind us to trust in God–that He is in control.

Our faith family is with us through all of the awkwards and the awesomes 🙂

Awkward:

  • Making no money, so yeah, that’s a concern.
  • Our laptop’s keyboard has decided not to work again after the third time getting it “fixed.” Hello again, campus computer lab.
  • It rains a lot in Rochester even in the summer. Who knew?
  • A bunch of my theatre friends and I were so pumped for the Tony Awards, and then we got super busy . . . and forgot to watch them! Fail.
  • Going to a grand opening of a local bar and being told at the door “You can’t get in if you’re under 21.” “Um, I turned 21 in January. It says so on my ID . . .” “You say that, but it could be somebody else’s ID, and we can’t be liable.” “What??” “Well, okay, you can go in, but if you try to get a drink or even sit at the bar, we’ll kick you out.” WHAT?!?!? 1/22/1992 PEOPLE! I had two different guys tell me this same thing. So confused . . .

Awesome:

  • Applying for two positions at my alma mater of Roberts Wesleyan College where I would be working with people I know and love. Praying so hard!
  • Family vacation is less than two weeks away, and hey! Josh and I are pretty free with this whole unemployment thing going on:-)
  • Poutine. Living this close to Canada I had to try it. Wow.
  • Sunny days in the 70s. Just right 🙂
  • Speaking of the 70s, this:

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What I Wore: Piko Party!

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Marshalls top, American Eagle jeans, Payless leopard flats, silver hoop earrings from who knows where, watch from Loomis Barn

Josh and I went to our friend Piko’s birthday party recently. Piko is from Ethiopia and is one of the most colorblind people I’ve ever met. It enables him to see people for who they really are and what they have to offer–and he is one of the most brilliant, well-rounded, warm, engaging people I have ever met as a result.

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This backyard party boasted Russians, Jamaicans, Hungarians, Swiss, French, Africans from all over who spoke French, and then Josh and I . . . yeah, we felt pretty darn uninteresting lol. Oh, and then there was Piko’s girlfriend my classmate Rachel who is a black Jew. Can’t get much more interesting than that.

This group of people were the open and loving type that making conversation and laughter completely effortless. We were truly blessed to spend an evening with them.

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Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Party Empanadas

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Awkward:

  • Kristen, Neme, Josh, and I spent St. Patrick’s Day last weekend with just the four of us, some snacks, and one Guinness each. After experiencing (and in Neme’s case, growing up in) the party culture of Spain and spending last St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, nothing we could do this year seemed incredibly exciting. What we lacked in booze we made up for in food!
  • Those savory pastries in the picture at the top of the post are bacon-date empanadas. Bacon. And date. In an empanada. Sweet and salty paradise.
  • This picture of Neme where he is obviously wiping away tears of joy because my empanadas are so beautifully delicious. Not really . . . but he was close.

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Awesome

  • Okay, so seriously, I completely winged the empanada recipe based on something that Kristen’s host mom Ale (who owned a bakery) had made us in Spain. I was really nervous for Neme to try them because 1) he knew how good the originals were and 2) he is a cook. He had one bite and said the only thing in his limited English that I really wanted to hear . . . “Oh yeah.” Major win!
  • Spanish cheese on baguettes with cranberries and candied nuts. To die for.
  • And they sell them at Aldis. Whaaaaat?
  • A friend offered me a puff on a cigarette one chilly night, and for a split second I was like “Thanks! Wait, what? No!”

Acts of Renewal

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When I was a fifteen-year-old junior in high school, my mom, my aunt, and I made a trip to Roberts Wesleyan College for a preview day. They were both RWC alums, and I was casually looking for a Christian school to attend for my undergrad.

As a part of the preview weekend, I attended a chapel service. I was blown away as chapel consisted not of praise songs and a stodgy speaker, but of an American Sign Language performance to music followed by an amazing drama performance by husband and wife duo Acts of Renewal. The team merged teaching, humor, biblical stories, secular themes, and eternal truths into an eclectic, beautiful, and powerful theatrical performance. I was hooked.

Coming to the end of my Roberts career having been active in drama ministry myself, I couldn’t believe my luck when Acts of Renewal appeared on the chapel schedule in the final semester of my senior year. I wasn’t about to let this opportunity slip away. Following the equally inspiring chapel performance, I introduced Josh and myself as the founders of Muse Creative Arts Ministry and told them about the impact they had had on me as a young Christian and artist over five years ago.

That was the moment when Jim Shores and Carol Anderson-Shores became my friends.

It was so surreal that the artists who I had idolized as the embodiment of what Josh’s and my theatrical love could grow into as a couple were sitting down to lunch with me and wanting to hear about my life and accomplishments. Jim and Carol were a total encouragement and inspiration. They offered specific advice for projects Josh and I have volunteered to participate in for ministry purposes, and they expressed general excitement that people with similar passions and talents were coming behind them.

I am so blessed to have met them, and hope that Josh and I will have the joy of knowing them for years to come.

“Lost in the Light” (Bahamas)

I doubt that I’ve mentioned this in my long absence from the blog (except for in Awkward & Awesome Thursday, everything seems to come out there), but Josh and I were blessed with the amazing opportunity to accompany our senior class on a trip to the Bahamas on a Carnival cruise!

It was so wonderful to be able to spend time together as a couple but also fellowship with some great friends we’ve made throughout our three years at Roberts.

Now that we’re back in the States, I’m reflecting back on happy memories from the cruise and looking ahead to my 21st birthday!
Just another excuse to spend time with good friends.
More pics of our Bahamas vacation with friends after the jump!