valentine’s day violin

For Valentine’s Day, Davey surprised me with tickets to a concert at this really cool venue called the Cannery. We found about the Cannery because we visited a church that held their service there on Sunday morning. It’s a pretty cool place.

So, Davey knows I like the violin, or the fiddle as it’s called here in Nashville, as well as techno music (that’s what I listen to when I workout) and so he took me to see this violinist named Lindsey Stirling.

It was AMAZING! One of the best concerts I’ve ever seen! I was absolutely mesmerized watching her play AND dance at the same time. It was so cool! Here are a few of her videos… she’s so fun to watch! Enjoy!

And here’s her version of the Lord of the Rings… just for you, Mom!

This video is so beautiful…


buon appetito!

For an early birthday present, Davey took me to a cooking class! Someday, I want to go to Italy and cook here:

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 11.12.28 PM

But for now, the gorgeous, huge state of the art kitchen that our class was at was pretty awesome too. {Except the knives. They were dull. Don’t they know a dull knife is dangerous?!}

In our class, we learned how to make homemade pasta– which is definitely a labor of love because it takes so long– but it tastes SO good! Here was our menu: {is your mouth watering yet because mine is!}


We started the night off with these little bites of heaven:


Then we started chopping, mixing and kneading away. You have to knead the dough for 10 minutes straight… it’s my new favorite workout!




If it looks like Davey did most of the kneading… he did. It is my {early} birthday after all!Untitled-6

We did so good making one ball of dough, that we got to make another one. And we may have not followed the directions and so we tried to inconspicusouly keep adding more ingredients to make fix it. Well, see that long pasta sheet Davey’s holding… that was from our “mistake” dough. Guess we did something right!


We got to roll out gnocchi and made spaghetti and long sheets of pasta that we cut into pappardelle.


Then it was on to the sauce…


We used lots of heavy cream, parmesan cheese and butter in the sauces… and that’s probably why they were so good.




Everything was so delicious, but the bolognese was my favorite sauce and Davey liked the fettuccini with prosciutto and cream. It was a perfect evening and we had a blast!
And then we rolled our stuffed selves home and I almost didn’t want to brush my teeth because I had such a good taste in my mouth. {but I did in case you’re wondering}.

Hello 2013!

In 2009 we ran a 4 mile race through Central Park in NYC at the stroke of midnight. Despite feeling like it was negative 10° and a freezing cold wind, we had SO MUCH FUN! And 2009 turned out to be a pretty amazing year… it was the year we got engaged and married, after all!

Since we had so much fun ringing running in the new year, we decided to ring in 2013 the same way. We bundled up, activated our hand warmers and headed into the city.

I always thought it would be fun to be in Times Square on NYE… until I found out that people wear adult diapers because they are roped into their small areas ALL DAY. No thank you. I’d rather run 4 miles at midnight. (At least there are fireworks!)


First stop: bagels (for carbo loading)


We actually asked for only a LIGHT spread of cream cheese. I can’t imagine how much they usually put on! Would you like a bagel with that cream cheese?

Next stop, dinner! We take our carbo loading very seriously.


Fueled and ready to run, we looked at our watch and it was only 9:00pm… we had to find something to do to kill some time. So we walked around and imagined where we’d like to live if we ever moved to NYC. We probably walked 4 miles before our race even started!

Then we picked up our race numbers.



And then we headed to the park to the dance party and costume contest. There were people dressed up as lobsters, fruit, the empire state building and snoopy. The dance party was fun because it helped us stay warm! We also got cool foam hats and blinking arm bands.


After a quick bathroom break, we headed to the starting line!


At this point, it was 40°, so we checked our coats into the baggage area. I cannot tell you how happy we were that it wasn’t as cold as it was in 2009! We were also glad to not be weighed down by our coats… especially since Davey’s coat was so warm and heavy that it probably weighed about 15 pounds.

Before we knew it, we were counting down till midnight. Happy New Year!!!!




4 miles and __ : __ minutes later (I’m not going to post how slow we I ran), we crossed the finish line and got to eat more BAGELS!!! They also gave us apple, and I have to say, it was the best apple I’ve ever eaten. It was so good that I went through the line a second time for another one. Guess NYC really lives up to it’s name “The Big Apple”!

Happy New Year!!!!


This is such a fun way to celebrate a new year and a great way to kickstart getting back into shape after indulging in Christmas dinner, desserts, and maybe one too many bagels!

We are looking forward to all the adventures that God has in store for us in this year! Hello 2013!

look who got a new bike!

Our friend Phally wrote us an email before Christmas:

“Jess many time Srey ya ask me that she wants small bike cycle and I
told her that I don’t have money, but you can pray to God because He
has everything you need!!! Her grand mother said Srey Ya prayed
everyday about her bike cycle. and she like pink color.”

Here she is with her new pink bike 🙂





what’s really important

So, the day before Thanksgiving (since I had to work on Thanksgiving Day), Davey and I had a quiet little celebration and cooked up a delicious feast! Including green bean casserole from scratch!f6fe4fa4342611e2a7d622000a9e298f_7

The moment we were done eating, we set out to Lowe’s to get a Christmas tree. Our apt has 12 ft ceilings which is horrible for our heating bill, but awesome for a gigantic Christmas tree!


We may have high ceilings, but our door is not big enough for this monster wreath…

Anyway, here is the finished product…while it lasted.

Yesterday, disaster struck. I watched it happen. All of a sudden our tree just fell over. The sound of glass breaking was horrible. And we stood there in shock. I cried. And then Davey took me out to dinner to try and cheer me up. It worked. Nothing a little food can’t fix.  28f056423d0011e2a94522000a1fbc56_7

Anyway, we only lost 3 sentimental ornaments. The others were super glued back together. Then deck the halls round 2 started and we decorated the tree all over again.

Loosing ornaments and getting a Christmas tree and going shopping for the perfect gift is exciting and festive. It’s easy for me to get wrapped up, no pun intended, in making my own Christmas list and making sure the house is perfectly decorated, but after our tree fell over, all that stuff kinda lost it’s thrill.

I’m actually glad it happened. It was like God sent an angel to push it over to jolt me out of my holiday craze and remind me the true meaning of Christmas… CHRIST.

The next morning we got an email from our friend in Cambodia and this is what it said:

Srey Ya did so good job because she studied hard and happy in her family.

Jess many time Srey ya ask me that she wants small bike cycle and I
told her that I don’t have money, but you can pray to God because He
has everything you need!!! Her grand mother said Srey Ya prayed
everyday about her bike cycle. and she like pink color.

For Srey Ya bicycle I will choose the right side for her, must need
the lock and helmet too. The cost is for the bicycle is $48, the Lock
is $18 and helmet is $ 14. Total: $80

First, Please pray for our Church and School ministry in Buffalo
ville, We have 2 prayer need:
Every Suday we worship our Lord in the good and comfortable large
room, praise the Lord for this great blessing but we sat directed on
the floor. So start from this month we pray to God that we need 100
plastic chairs for the worship room. Until today we have 80-100 plus
the children who are joined our worship every Sunday. The cost is $5
each for 100 will be $500.

Well, if our tree falling over didn’t help put things in perspective for me, this did. I think I’d rather focus on helping a little orphan girl get a bike and to help Phally buy something so simple as a chair so that the church members don’t have to sit on the floor anymore.

…truly He taught us to love one another; His love is life and his gospel is peace.

 {If you would like to contribute towards Phally and Srey Ya’s gifts, please let me know, or simply click on the Donate button on the right sidebar.}

our adventure without power (or gas for a few days)

Our trip to NJ was one we definitely will never forget! We may have not had any power, but we had such a great time sitting by the fireplace talking and hanging out, eating the melting food from the freezer, going to the library to charge our electronics, standing in line for gas and playing games by candlelight. It was simple and we loved it!

Sheryl’s shower was pretty awesome too!

Can’t wait to meet the little guy in ONE MONTH!!!

nj, here we come

Rather than have a pity party for myself that our flight was cancelled due to Sandy, I am trying to make the best of the situation. I am focusing on the fact that my family is safe and dry, albeit without power, and I {hopefully} get to see them on Friday. {flight, pleassseeeee don’t be cancelled again or else I WILL have a pity party this time}.

Natural disasters stink and I hate them, but I kinda like what happens during and after them. People ban together and help one another. They’re nicer and more patient and happy to be alive. They prove how resilient they are.

My friend Jess posted this picture on Facebook the other day that her friend who lives in Hoboken took: A crowd of people sharing one of the few electrical sources left. 🙂

We’re looking forward to reuniting with our family and friends tomorrow and are praying for everyone who was affected by this devastating storm. NJ, here we come.

{Check out HopeForce and what they’re doing to help here}




lately, it’s been grace

Fall is always a contemplative season for me. It’s as if the changing of the leaves inspires change inside of me. The leaves are dying, but yet they have never been more beautiful. I want to be like that. I want to have Christ shine through me in the most dry and difficult times in life.

Busy has been the how our lives have been since moving to Nashville. Busy. Busy. Busy. Sometimes I feel like I can’t even breathe and I get stressed WAY too easily. I yell and impatiently honk at slow drivers, I get angry while standing in line, I want to cry when I realize that our (insane) dental bills have to be paid from our travel fund, I am annoyed at how busy it has been at work lately from the Meningitis outbreak, my day is ruined by having to attend a class at the hospital on my day off, I feel frustrated that I don’t have it all together like the people on Pinterest seem to. And on, and on, and on.

But God has been speaking to me about grace lately. Having grace for the slow driver because maybe it’s a sweet elderly person who is trying to safely navigate the crazy highways. I need to have grace for the fact that life {and teeth} can be unexpectedly expensive but God is the God who provides. I need to have grace for my patients because  they are scared and anxious about a possible diagnosis that could change their lives forever. I need to have grace for myself and realize that if I don’t cross off everything on my to-do list or make a Pinterest worthy dinner, the day is not a failure.

I was so encouraged by this prayer from Ted Loder, Guerillas of Grace {via} that I had to share it with you.

Oh God, gather me now to be with you as you are with me.

Soothe my tiredness;
quiet my fretfulness;
curb my aimlessness;
relieve my complusiveness;
let me be easy for a moment.

O Lord, release me
from the fears and guilts which grip me so tightly;
from the expectations and opinions which I so tightly grip,
that I may be open
to receiving what you give,
to risking something genuinely new,
to learning something refreshingly different.

Forgive me
for claiming so much for myself
that I leave no room for gratitude;
for confusing exercises in self-importance
with acceptance of self-worth;
for complaining so much of my burdens
that I become a burden;
for competing against others so insidiously
that I stifle celebrating them
and receiving your blessing through their gifts.

O God, gather me to be with you as you are with me.


I have also been listening to the audiobook “The Scent of Water- Grace For Every Kind of Broken” by Naomi Zacharias for the 4th time and it’s better than ever. It’s exactly what I need to hear right now.

Job 14:7-9

At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
 Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
 yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant.

Also, this post and this blog have been really encouraging and show me that I’m not alone in this struggle to live a life of grace.

Posted in be

lucky number 13.1

Guess what? I ran a half marathon yesterday. And I have the sore legs to prove it! This is the 3rd half marathon I’ve signed up for but the FIRST one I’ve actually run. (The 1st one, I couldn’t run because I got skegged in the leg with a surf board and the second one I had to work…)

I can’t believe I actually ran 13.1 miles. Before this I had never run more than 6 miles. Just the thought of  running double that plus one more mile made me want to collapse with exhaustion. And running is not my favorite thing to do either. It hurts. But I pushed through and I did it! ME… the girl who chose to be the goalie on the soccer team so that she didn’t have to run as much as everyone else (did you know that Mom and Dad?! hehe :-)) ME… the girl who swore she’d never in a million years run another mile in her life after her last basketball practice in high school. ME… the girl who dreaded the running part in both triathlons. ME… the girl who thinks a 10 minute mile is fast. ME: I’M THE GIRL WHO DID IT!

What a journey it has been and what an amazing feeling it is to not only cross the finish line, but to finish the race with my best friend. Davey is so amazing. Seriously. He has put up with my moaning and groaning and bad moods (yes. I am usually in a very bad mood while I’m running) and tears and fears; and has cheered me on and made a big deal of even small successes, like running 1 minute faster than yesterday or 2 miles further than ever before. I didn’t always love it when he said things like, “stop dragging your feet”, “run faster”, “only one more huge hill to go”… but I did love it when he told me I could do it. And he said that a lot. 🙂 I couldn’t have done it without him. (He even got second to last place in his age group because he ran with me at my turtle pace. He’s the BEST!)

So without further ado, here’s a recap of our 13.1 miles:

(p.s. a cold front moved in the night before and it was 49 degrees… brrr!)

Here we go!!!

Feeling good at mile 1!

Mile 2

Mile 3! Only 10.1 more to go! (And yes, I’m holding a tissue. It was so cold that my nose was running faster than me!)

So, wanna meet another lovely runner? This girl was running behind us from mile 1-5 and then again at mile 9-13. And she snorted and breathed heavy and clomped her feat and I even dodged one of her snot rockets. Gross. At least she made me run faster because I was trying to get away from her bodily fluids.

See us in the background?

mile 4…

Mile 5 and the most unflattering picture ever.

Mile 6! Almost 1/2 way there!!!

What a heavenly sight! We’re HALFWAY!!!! Someone calculated it perfectly… 6.5547 miles. Sheesh. Ok. Now help me get up…

Mile 7! Davey ran ahead to pee in the woods. Meanwhile I ran slow (uh, my normal pace) and kept a lookout for other runners. Isn’t this picture so fallish?! I love it! Mile 3-9 were through this lovely park where we did most of our training runs!

Mile 8 was GREAT! But taking a picture while running AND kissing Davey while he was wearing a hat was quite a challenge. This was our 4th attempt. Another runner asked us if we wanted her to take our picture, but I was too embarrassed to let her…

But guess who got a great picture of our smooch?! The race photographer!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Between mile 8-9. I was really thirsty.

Mile Niner! That gatorade I just drank made me run so fast I am a blur in this picture!

DOUBLE DIGITS! Mile 10! Yes, I still have my tissue! This is when the race started to get really hard. I tried to convince myself that I just had to run a 5k, but my legs called my mind’s bluff. YEA RIGHT.

Mile 11. Isn’t that tree in the background so pretty?!

Mile 12! One more to go!!!

Mile 13! That Finish line never seemed so far away!

Who decided that a half marathon would be 13.1 anyway? That 0.1 miles took forever!

Hand in hand sprint to the finish! 


Flashing our fancy medals!

Srey Ya’s shiny new roof

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much to everyone who donated towards Srey Ya’s new roof. It’s done and it’s beautiful! Here’s what our friend Phally had to say:

“Today my family went to visit Srey Ya family on the way back home from the village. The roof look so good and strong. We moved all the old roof away and also replace all the old wooden for the roof away too. So now Srey Ya roof look so new and strong. For some old roof we used it to cover on the middle of above top the new roof and used it some out side wall of the house according to Srey Ya grand mother and the workers suggested and we also used some those old roof to cover the wall because some wall are so useless. For the roof I used my own salary and i’m very happy to helped them too. 
So now they can sleep peacefully and they have very big smile too. I’m very much happy after their  new roof done plus big smile of Srey Ya family. For now Srey Ya is taller, bigger, stronger and more cleaver as you see in pictures, she strong like boy now. Thank for the new roof, monthly blessing and others blessing too.”