Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekend away!

Friday and Saturday were spent in the Queen City, otherwise known as Charlotte, NC. We headed that way with some pretty sweet middle-schoolers from church for a weekend retreat.

There was some ping-pong, air hockey, tag, pizza, JESUS, and just hanging out that took place Friday. Then Saturday we headed to one awesome place--U.S. National Whitewater Rafting Center. This is the place where Olympians practice for various water events (kyaking and whitewater rafting, namely).

We hit up the high ropes course, and also visited the free fall jump in addition to, of course, white water rafting! This place contains seven large pumps. Just one of these pumps can fill an Olympic-sized pool in 15 seconds! CRAZY!

We got in the boats and rafted our way through class 2, 3, 4, 5 rapids...all while staying in the boat! It was a ton of fun. I am a definite white water rafting fan (and ropes course fan!). And did you know this particular whitewater rafting facility is the largest in the world? London holds second place, and there is also a great big one in Slovakia! SWEET! I can't wait to visit it. Only when it's warm outside because it was super cold with the wind blowing...

Now that you know all you ever wanted about this particular rafting hot spot, check out these pics--

Sadly I got no pictures of us rafting, for obvious reasons, but it was a very good day and a half :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

A reminder to us all...

We returned a few days ago from our quick trip to California.  But this post isn't about our two day trip in Clovis nearly as much as it is about two particular experiences.

You see, we were able to talk and connect with a lot of people, which was really neat, but there was one lady in particular that I got to talk with.  She was asking me lots of questions and she was sharing a lot about herself as well.

She was explaining to me how she wasn't quite the fan of the rock 'n roll worship music that was at her church and she proceeded to tell me she couldn't wait to move back to the Bible belt.  She said she had never been around non-Christians and didn't feel comfortable being around them.  That struck me.  Dumbfounded me.  Seriously?  Did she believe in Jesus!?  He was around non-believers all the time...for crying out loud!

Now before you start thinking "wow, Charity, don't get ahead of're a sinner too!"  YES, I most definitely am.  And that's just it.  It was a reminder to me (and the church, too)!  How easy it is to get caught up in the Christian bubble.  To get comfortable in the place you are.  To not want to step out, reach out, and get "messy".  How easy it is to go day in and day out being a Christian and yet not sharing the good news with the lost around us...

And I was again reminded of this on the plane ride back home from California.  I had the opportunity to sit next to a willing-to-talk lady on the plane.  She and I started chatting and it came to the point where I KNEW I needed to share Christ.  I didn't.  And I was convicted.  Like an anchor sitting in the pit of my stomach conviction laid there.  Heavy.  And I was SCARED.  I had FEAR!  Thankfully, the Lord kept working on my heart, and I eventually did talk with her about Christ and his significance to me.  But I let fear overcome me for a good long while there.

It's sad, ya know?  I'm sad and disappointed in myself.  And how much more does that make our Savior sad?  But thanks to HIS GRACE and MERCY we have a God who loves us unconditionally.

Just like we should love those around us unconditionally.  I was challenged by these experiences to get out of my comfort zone.  Step into the unknown.  And trust the Lord.  Oh how I desire to let go of fear and trust in the righteous right hand of our God...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkins...How Ghoul!

The night before we left for California, we headed over to the Neufangs to carve some pumpkins and get our annual dose of Halloween movies (a la Charlie Brown style).

I had seen lots of pumpkins in magazines this year with their skins shaved/etched.  So Jas and I decided to go non-traditional and etch our pumpkin instead of carve it.  Let's just say it wasn't an easy process, but the end result wasn't bad.  Not exactly as great as I had envisioned, but hey, it worked nonetheless.  Success!

(Not the greatest pics--but I present to you pumpkin pics):

Marianne and Nate decided to carve their punkins.  They went detailed!  M-anne opted for a witch dropping a salamander into boiling water, and Nate, well, he went with Spongebob.  (side note:  M and N are avid Spongebob watchers)

Pretty impressive, huh?  It was fun!  Next year we'll just have to have a skype pumpkin-carving date :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


In and out is what our trip has been.  A whirlwind!  We are still here in CA and aren't due to leave until tomorrow morning.  Tonight we have the convention and it's been a great day so far.  It has been nerve-racking as we have been preparing to share tonight at a commissioning service, but it's been great, full of learning, and meeting new people.

But the REAL reason for this post...IN-N-OUT BURGER!  If you've never darkened the door of this fast food joint, you must.  It had been a while since I had a burger, and I must say choosing this west coast joint for a burger was a great option.  Cheap prices, unique burger sauce, and simple, old-fashioned marketing is what makes this place a burger hot spot.  Granted, it's not what you would call healthy, but if you're in the market for a burger, take my word for it, it's the place to go.  They've even been featured on Food Network, yep!  Ok, I think I am done with my promotion...

And I really made a mistake in forgetting my camera in the hotel room today, so I made up for it by snagging some straws and keeping up with my to-go cup.

Yes, I did take a picture of my cup and straw paper.  I know, strange.  But hey, sometimes you'll do what's necessary to keep up with a memory, right?  At least that's what I am going to claim ;)

Needless to say, Jas and I were fans of In-N-Out.  If you're ever on the west coast, you should probably check it out!

And after a good burger, what else is needed but a nap...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

CA, we're on our way!

Tomorrow morning we fly out to CALIFORNIA.  We are headed that way to share at the California State Baptist Convention.

This is a first for us, so we can mark it down under the "new experiences" category.  First time speaking at a conference.  First time preparing a mini testimony to share.  First time going to California (for me, anyway).  Seems like there are lots of these firsts lately.  And we're realizing we have so much to learn! Seriously.

And just for your visual pleasure, a map for demonstrating where we'll be (I was once a school teacher, ya know...maps make me happy)...

Fresno, Calfornia, that is.  Well, technically a little town close to it.

Be back Wednesday, and hopefully with some California pictures in tow :)  Have a great few days!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

O Pumpkin, I love thee.  Much like the rest of America around this time of year, you make my heart go thump-thump.  I needed a dessert recipe and stumbled upon this little gem--

Pumpkin Spice Cookies (from here)

You will need:
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter
1 box carrot cake mix
1 can pure pumpkin
1 can cream cheese frosting
some candy pumpkins for the top

What ya do:
1)  Grease cookie sheets.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2)  Mix together in a large bowl butter, cake mix, egg, and pumpkin.  Combine thoroughly.
3)  Place tablespoons of mix on cookie sheets.  Bake 13-15 minutes, or until you can do the ole put-a-fork-in-me-I'm-done trick.
4)  Let cookies cool completely.
5)  Once cooled, top with cream cheese frosting and add a cute 'lil pumpkin!

THEN, enjoy these pillowy piles of spicy goodness :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just the Right Moment

At the fair the other night this picture was captured at exactly the right moment--

And it so makes me laugh!

I promise no husbands were hurt in the capturing of this picture ;)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Headband Cuties

Between traveling, studying Slovak, running necessary errands, going through things to get rid of, preparing for upcoming events/travels, and other such things, I have had some time on my hands...time for CRAFTING!

So I decided since I now have short hair, a headband might help add a little spice of cuteness.

I just wrapped, glued, and added a touch of detail...

These were my best friends for this project:

Mighty Mendit replaced my glue gun since it went missing in action somewhere in the transition of moving...

I bought simple, cheap headbands, took $1 Target ribbon and wrapped all the way around gluing as I went, then embellished.

The ones below I made for some sweet little girls at church...

And these below I made for me :)

I'm digging the color (as usual!)

Colorful and on the cheap.  Right up my alley :)

And check out the other great projects going on over at...

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Fair Time

One of the things that symbolizes fall to me here in North Carolina (and I guess the states in general) is the STATE FAIR.  So Saturday afternoon we picked up our Slovak friend, Mia, and headed to the fair grounds.  We met up with Ben and Tera and hit some exhibits.  And you know we did not spare on the grease--we filled up on all the calorie-rich fatty food goodness.  Hey, it's our last time at the fair for a good couple of years, don't judge ;)

And you know we kept a tally of who had what (it's a fair tradition), so here goes:

Jas--steak sandwhich, cheese fries, cheesecake, fried mac and cheese

Char--hot dog, fried cookie dough, popcorn, honey stick

Mia--may not like it if I shared her menu, so we'll just say she did have her FIRST fried candy bar (oh, and below you will see her with a caramel apple)

Now for some pictures,

That's a wrap-up...what a good, greasy time :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Book Review: Her Mother's Hope

It's time for a new book review!  This one ranks up there with the last book review I did on Evidence Not Seen.

First, let me tell you about the author.  Francine Rivers is my most favorite of favorite authors.  She's a quality writer.  She used to be in the secular market, then once she became a follower of Christ, she switched to the Christian market and has been on fire ever since.  To proclaim my love for Francine, I'll just tell you that I have read 20 of her 24 (or so) books.

The latest of her books that I read is Her Mother's Hope.

A summary for you:  This is sort of a walk through family history for Francine Rivers.  While all in the book is not strictly factual, it's inspired by her family.  She tells the story of Marta, the character who would represent her grandmother, and Hildemara, the character who would represent her mother.  Francine displays the complexities that affect Marta and Hildemara's relationship.  Marta treats Hildemara, her eldest daughter, differently than she does the rest of her children as a result of various aspects from Marta's childhood and youth.  Written from both Marta and Hildemara's points of view, the reader is able to get inside the heart of both main characters and experience as they may have experienced.  A great and most-challenging read on family relationships.

Reasons for my love:  Francine writes in a most compelling way, always.  As well, I felt I was understanding each character as if I knew them.  This book switches perspectives often, keeping things interesting, and of course, never boring.  Though largely fictional, the historical connections make this story even more intriguing.

Such a good book, there is even a sequel, Her Daughter's Dream.  I am eager to read this next one :)

How is that for a good book report?  Man, it seems a while since I was in high school, or college, for that matter...

Go grab your copy of this book, it won't let you down!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Meet These Meaty Empañadas

If I could choose one and only one magazine to read for the rest of my life it would be REAL SIMPLE.  Why?  Well, it's really simple...

It helps make life simple!  There are practical solutions to everyday problems, great ideas, money-saving tips, and wonderful, simple recipes.  And speaking of recipes, I often try their recipes.

Below is one such recipe that I tweaked to add meat for my carnivorous man:

Meaty Empañadas

You will need:
3-inch dough cutter (or a round circle of any sort that has a good edge)
two pie crusts
ground meat of your preference (you could use beef or turkey...)
fiesta corn in the can
Mexican cheese
garlic powder

1)  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2)  Brown your beef in a pan.  Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the meat for flavor.
3)  Once meat is browned all the way, add corn (I eye-balled it, using about half a can) and cheese.
4)  Roll out dough and use circle cutter to create 3-inch circles.
5)  Place about a spoonful of meat mixture onto one half of circle cut outs.  Wet the edge of the dough.  Fold over into half-moon shape.
6)  Using fork, press edges together.
7)  Bake for 20 minutes.

Real simple, huh?  And simply delicioso ;)

I served these up with a side of Spanish rice and some salsa.  Go ahead, enjoy the fiesta in your mouth!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Charm City = Charming

Our ship left and returned to Baltimore's Port of Maryland.  That meant that coming back on Sunday we got to spend a few special hours in Baltimore.  See, I really like seeing new cities and I had been wanting to visit Baltimore for some time (I had heard a lot about it from Marianne and the family since MAnne lived there for a while).

I also really wanted a crab cake.  And I got one!  From one of the top seafood restaurants out there--Obrycki's!  I also learned how to shell a crab...what a messy job.

A smashing good time...(haha, yes, I am really that corny...)

The boys ordered a dozen hard shell crabs to split.  Talk about working for your food...that's what these guys require.

After all that work, we were still hungry ;) so we headed to Little Italy...

Where we encountered this awesome joint,

They have authentic Italian pastries, gelato, you name it Italian-style and they've got it.  Jason had the pistachio gelato and it was definitely a cup of green goodness....yum!

Then sadly we headed home.  But I am glad to say I had a taste of Charm City, and it was indeed, charming.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Freeport the beautiful!

On Friday the ship stopped and dropped.  Dropped us off at Freeport, Bahamas, that is.  We didn't have long there, only about five hours, but it was a beautiful five hours.

We took a van into town and shopped some of the local shops.  Let's just say, if you'd been to one market stand, you'd been to them all.  The beach was within a few minutes walk (this time, unlike in Nassau), and so we spent some time there.  We took pictures, got in the water, Jas looked for sharks teeth (none found there), and I even got to put my Spanish into action for another family photo.  So without further ado, Freeport:

Palm trees might just be the neatest trees out there.  I'm thinking I won't get my palm tree fill in Slovakia.  Sad!

Funny and appropriate.

Can't you just see him with a real handlebar mustache?  For now, seaweed will have to do!

That brings us to the end of Freeport.  And before we fell asleep that night, while preparing to travel the ocean back home, we stumbled upon this movie...

I'm sure you can guess what movie that is...TITANIC, of course.  What in the world!?  What cruise line shows a movie about a sinking cruise liner?  Haha...oh how it made for a peaceful night's rest ;)

I sure am glad to say we made it back safely and there was no Titanic repeat.  We docked and got to spend a little time in Baltimore before heading home.  That's another post for another day...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cruisin' The Vast Sea

Ahoy, maties!  We just returned from a week aboard the Pride!  It was time for the Palmer Family Vacation and we headed off to the Bahamas for a relaxing week.

Other than dealing with some motion sickness (we'll just say that while my hubby is a deer-hunting, manly man, sea legs don't come easily his way), we had some quality family time spent in the Atlantic.  We were on board the ship for 7 days, making pit stops at Port Canaveral, Nassau, and Freeport.  

It's safe to say that the food and the shows were my favorite things aboard, and Freeport, well, it's color and beautiful beach stole my heart. I know you all won't be surprised to know I took many pictures (though probably half as many as my father-in-law ;)  Hold on to your hat, here they come:

Part of the ship.  Loved the bright blue.

 I felt like a risk-taker dangling over the edge of the ship with my camera ;)

This colorful guy was swimming around an aquarium in Port Canaveral.

Nassau, Bahamas.

It's crazy how a couple of ropes hold that big 'ole ship in place.

A Time Share in the Bahamas, anyone?

Finally a family portrait after the five mile hike to get to the beach ;)

I have to say, it's definitely weird going on trips during the school year/work week, but hey, this is a transition period, right?  And we are thankful for this time to spend with our families before we head off to Slovakia!

A whole post dedicated to Freeport is coming your way (because it was my favorite!)  More tomorrow :)

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