Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Air Force One!

Wha Whaaaaat!  I got to meet Air Force One yesterday!  Isn't she a beaut?!
Honestly, she didn't look like I thought she would.  I guess I watch way too many movies, but I had it conjured up in my head that she would be stealthy and black or have a MUCH bigger presidential seal or something.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissapointed- it was a once in a lifetime experience to be up close and personal with Air Force One and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Looking past the oh so adorable uniform, isn't this picture incredible!  That's me, while our company is fueling the president's plane.  How's that for a big deal! :)
Here's a little big of trivia for you, did you know that any aircraft the president is on is automatically called Air Force One?  He could be on a Lear Jet or a Helicopter, and as soon as he is onboard that aircraft is now Air Force One.  Cool, huh?!  I guess that's why they couldn't stamp "Air Force One" all over this 747 to make it cooler.

Just as cool as seeing Air Force One was seeing this C-17 come in.  It brought a lot of the secret service men, as well as, the vehicles for the presidential caravan.  Chattanooga is a smaller airport so we don't get many huge aircrafts.  Air Force One and this C-17 looked ginormous on our runway!  

I was oober impressed with the secret service men in charge of Wilson Air Center.  They were all extremely friendly and not at all what most movies portray them as.  (Except for their physic, yes they were in shape and looked the part.)  On top of how friendly they were, they gave us certificates of appreciation.  Pretty Cool if you ask me! :)

Yes, that is a matchbook from onboard the Presidential Aircraft.  Thanks for asking:)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Spicy Chicken Pasta

A Few Months ago I pinned a recipe for Spicy Chicken Rigatoni.  The picture looked delicious, and I had every intention of making the recipe.

Well, months later I got around to browsing through my old pins and took a gander at this recipe.  To my excitement I had all the ingredients to make it!  Well, almost all the ingredients... I improvised a few things here and there, but for the most half part I stuck with the recipe.

It was delicious!

*Insert: Delicious looking picture

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the finished meal.  Next time I make it I will be sure and take a picture (because let's be honest, aren't the pictures what we choose our meals by?) but I didn't want to wait to give you all the recipe!  So here is my version of Spicy Chicken Pasta:

3 Chicken Breasts
1/4 Cup Oil
1/2 Tbs Crushed Red Pepper
1/8 tsp Groung Black Pepper
1 Tbs Minced Garlic
1 Cup Marinara Sauce
3/4 Cup Alfredo Sauce
Half a Box of Pasta
Additional 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (for garnish)

1.  Cook your pasta according to the box.

2.  In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the crushed red pepper, ground black pepper and the minced garlic and saute it long enough for the garlic to carmelize.

3. Add sliced chicken and saute' it until almost fully cooked. 

4. Add both the marinara sauce and alfredo sauce and bring to a simmer.  Cook until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked all the way through.

5.  Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the cooked pasta.  Serve and add the additional red pepper for garnish.

6. Enjoy this spicy goodness!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Notes

What do you think of when you hear the word pharisee.  I'm mainly asking christians this question but I think that even unbelievers can relate to hearing this word in a condescending light.  But let's take a minute to sit down and really think of what/who a pharisee was.  The dictionary definition states that a pharisee was a member of an ancient Jewish sect that emphasized strict interpretation and observance of the Mosaic law in both oral and written form. In short, a pharisee was a keeper and lover of the law.

Now why is this a bad thing.  Why do we instantly jump to distaste and contempt for the pharisees when we read of them in the Bible.  Why does is seem like the Pharisee were just a bunch of stately-dressed haters who walked around trying to ruin everyone's day. and WHY does it seem like every time we read about the pharisee we shriek at how blind they were to the truth, balk at their silly arguments with Jesus and just wish that they would plain go away.  

But I encourage you to scrape a little deeper.

They weren't just keepers of the law for fun you know.  They believe in God and believed that the Law was given by God.  They looked up to Moses and His teachings.  They prayed and helped the poor and went to church and read and studied the Law.  They probably tucked their kids in at night and taught them how to pray.  They did the right things.  They were faithful.  They not only strictly upheld the Law, they made sure others did as well.

They were taught that that was how they pleased the Lord.  Its what they were taught.  Its what they read and knew to be true, that The Law was what saved them.

And then Jesus came along.

He healed on the Sabbath.  He mingled with sinners.  He touched the unclean. He not only broke the Law that they held so dearly, but told them that He has come to fulfill it and that HE is the only way for them to be saved.  HE is the only one that IS and EVER will be righteous by works.  Jesus tells them that they are sinners and in need of His Saving Grace.

So, what's the problem?  Wouldn't they be happy to hear all of this?

The problem is that they think they have kept the Law.  They think they have followed it thoroughly and completely and are righteous in and of themselves.  They think they do not need a Savior.

Their sin was not that they followed the Law and enforced it.  Their sin was thinking that they themselves were good enough.

Well that's just it.  That's just ME.

Oh, I'll tell you differently.  I'll tell you that I'm a sinner and that I need Jesus.  But then, in my heart of hearts aren't I still trying to be good enough.  Aren't I still trying to do enough good, read enough of the Word, spend enough time with God, help enough people, give enough money and know enough about the Law and the Lord to be righteous?  Am I not still trying to build up my resume to earn my way to good standing with the Lord?

If I truly sit down and think about it, I am still a slave to the Law just as the pharisees were.  I still hold myself to its standards, am held to its standards by others and view my relationship and position with God according to how I am upholding the Law.


I am just like the Pharisee in Luke 18 verse 9-14.

"To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable.  Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers-- or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
But the tax collector stood at a distance.  He would not even look up to Heaven, but beat his breast and said 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified by God.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

The tax collector had nothing to offer.  He had been evil, taking from the poor and seeking his own personal gain. He hadn't gone to church, or prayed or righted any of his past wrongs yet.  He had absolutely nothing to offer to the Lord.  He wasn't righteous in any way, and yet he walked away as justified.  Why?  Because its not about us.  The Gospel isn't about us.

Jesus was righteous in His place.  Jesus determines our standing with God.  We are declared righteous because of Jesus.  Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.  Not some of our goodness combined with the goodness of Jesus.  Not half and half.  Not just Jesus covering the little sins that we just couldn't master and us getting the rest of the way on our own.  Nope, its all Jesus. He is the ONLY Way, Truth, and Life.  HE is righteous and takes on OUR sin and therefore we are justified.

Jesus is scandalous.  He justifies the dirty, the unclean, the broken, the evil, the distasteful sinners.  Not after they are clean. No, He meets them right where they are.  In the middle of their filth.  He saves them and He washes them clean.

It truly is a love story.  The most beautiful one I know....

"On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cook Out Cupcakes

I've done it again folks... Dessert for dinner!  These are definitely one of my favorite "specialty" cupcakes to make, both for ease and cuteness, so they were worth repeating!  If you're interested refer to my original post on hamburger cupcakes to find out how to make these deceiving delicacies! 

Don't mind me, ill just me eating my "Dinsert" "Supsert" "Dessertner" "Dinnssert" "Dessinner"

Yup, definitely going with "dessertner."

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sunday Notes

I have been showered with teachings on grace these past two week.  Through books, sermons and conversations grace has been a constant topic of conversation.  After Sunday's sermon I just couldn't resist the teachings any longer.  I was forced to sit down and seriously contemplate my view of grace.  And I don't just mean my view on Christ's loving grace of dying on the cross for my sins.  It doesn't end there.  I'm talking about an every day, every second every situation grace between my Heavenly Father and me.  Here's what I have been learning...

"You think that you're bad, but you're far worse than you have ever though. You think that you're loved, but you are far more loved than you have ever dreamed."  -The Gospel in a Nutshell

If you're like me, you are trying to obey.  Trying to keep from sin, reading all kinds of "how to's" on being a better christian, doing the better things, loving your neighbor more, ridding yourself of selfishness, having more faith and ways to love the Lord more.  And all of these things are pure and good things.  BUT, if you are like me most of my pursuit and obedience in these things stems from 2 things.

1.  Fear of the Lord's wrath.  Fear of being on the Lord's bad side.  Fear that He will love me less or I will be His least favorite daughter.  Feat that He will have ill feelings towards me.  Fear that I won't be good enough.
2.  Doing anything and everything I can to contribute to my salvation.  To be just a teensy tinsey bit deserving of His grace and my salvation.  To be good enough.  To earn His love. To pay Him back and not be so reliant. To strive to become good enough on my own where I won't need the grace of Jesus completely anymore and I'll be worthy on my own.  By my keeping of the law.  By my obedience to His word.

If this isn't you and you can't relate, than I praise Jesus that He has revealed His loving mercy to you and you understand it.  But for me, I am still trying to come to grips with it, to wrap my tiny little brain around how BIG God's grace and love for me is.  That NOTHING I can do, good or bad will change the way He feels about me.  That there is absolutely no condemnation for me because I am covered by Christ Jesus.  That God has NO wrath left for me; no wrath left for me on judgement day as well as today.  Today when I fail over and over again.  Those sins have been covered.  Every single one of them.  God is not angry with me about any of them.  Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for them all.  God poured His wrath on His son for my sin and I am at PEACE with Him.  NOTHING can separate me from His love.  I cannot earn a place on His bad side.  He will not love me less or have ill feelings towards me when I fail.  Nothing I do will ever add or take away from my salvation.

I needed to hear this.  I needed to be reminded of His every day grace. His ever-flowing, never ending, bigger than a mountain, deeper than an ocean, uncomprehensible Grace.  I needed to be reminded of how much He loved me.  Oh, how He loves me.....

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bloglovin' Made Easy

Man am I behind!  Behind on writing posts, reading my favorite blogs, cleaning the house, cooking, eating (HA, yea right!),  keeping up with friends and I'm sure many more things that I just haven't gotten to lately.  Once you're sick and out of commission for a couple days it seems all the more difficult to get back in the swing of things when you are having you catch up on the days that you lost.  As if we don't try to cram enough into our day, we try adding 2 more days worth of "to-dos" and ipsofacto (yes, I claim this as a word) we are stuck on the ever inclining escalator.  So how do we make "catching up" easier?  Heck, how do we make our crammed every day lives easier?  I may not have the answer, but I will tell you about a recent discovery that has saved me bundles of time and energy!

 Most of us do not have the time to sit at our computer and remember (let's be honest, remembering is probably the hardest part) to look up all of the blogs that we want to read and catch up on.  I used to go for weeks and sometimes months before I would sit down and go through some of the blogs that I enjoy reading.  And although I can still go a while before I catch up on a blog, the whole ordeal has gotten soooooo much easier since I discovered Bloglovin.  With Bloglovin you create an account and on your account you add the blogs you like and want to read (*cough, like this one, cough cough*) :).  You will then receive daily emails notifying you if any of your chosen blogs did a post for that day (you can opt out of the emails if you don't want them) and it also magically keeps track of the posts that you have read and not read.  This has changed my world in the blogging realm because all of the blogs I want to read are conveniently in one place and even better, I don't have to remember which blogs I want to look up!  Once I add them to my list, I will always have their blog updates!  Yup pretty awesome and did I mention its FREE?!  And if that wasn't enough, they have a free bloglovin app for easy reading on the go! (The iphone app is what I use most and it is very user friendly and convenient.)

I definitely recommend getting an account so that you can get all your favorite blogs in one place.  And hey, while you're at it you can always click on the link below to add me to your list! Happy Blogging!

Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, July 8, 2013

Military Engagement Photos

This post sponsored by: Mrs. Maid Of Honor!  
Be sure to head on over to for some no-nonsense wedding planning inspiration, tips and resources!

I guess you could say I have a huge soft spot for Military men.  Many of the men in my immediate and extended family have served or are serving in the Armed Forces and I could not be more proud of their courage and selflessness.  That being said, as I was researching for my next engagement photo post and because it is the week of July 4th,  it was only perfectly fitting to do a spotlight on military engagement picture ideas.  Here are some of my favorite ideas.....

 {World War II Inspired Engagement Shoot, photo by Dulce & Bellezza Photography}

{What is it with the feet photos?  Can't help but like it, photo by Nikita Gross Photography}

{photo credit unknown}

{Man standing at attention and the woman holding him, photo by Coleman Photography}

 {sorry it is a fuzzy picture, but you get the idea.  I love that she is wearing the hat in the second one; photo credit unknown}

{I love the stairs, Photo by Visionyard Photography}

I also think it would be such a cute idea if you did a military engagement session on a military obstacle course.  With the man dressed in his uniform and the woman dressed in a cute military outfit and they are doing the course together.  Especially one where they are hanging upside down on the "monkey bars."  Those could make for some cute pictures!  I couldn't find any pictures with that being done, so if you decide to try it out or if you find some pictures where someone has done that I would love to see them!  

Friday, July 5, 2013

Patriotism at its Finest

I had all intentions of making a July 4th cupcake or patriotic dessert for this blog post but, alas, mother nature had other plans.  I am dog sick.  Which means no cupcake, not even an easy backup dessert.  I've got nothin'.  And if it hadn't been for my sweet husband taking care of me last night I probably wouldn't even have had the strength to write this post. My dear husband worked 14 hours, got off work at 7 in the morning and STILL went to the store to get me medicine, chicken noodle soup, cough drops and the cutest get well soon card.  {swoon}

Just when I thought my husband couldn't love me any better, he goes and proves me wrong.   :)  I am so blessed.

Now that I am done bragging on the hubs, I'll get to my main point and that is patriotism.  Chattanooga sure did step up their patriotism this past week when they teamed up with Steps2Hope and built a wounded warrior's house in 7 days!  It was much like the Extreme Makeover- Home Edition episodes you see on t.v. except this wasn't for glory or to get t.v. viewership.  It was just good ole humble volunteering, a lot of hard work and a bunch of heartfelt donations.  Hundreds of Chattanoogans (and some out of towners) gathered in Apison, Tennessee to make Army Specialist Andrew Smith and his wife Tori Smith's dream home a reality.

{The driveway up to the house was lined with flags.  Each flag had a name of a veteran that it was in honor of}

In March of 2012, Andrew was severely injured in Afganistan resulting in serious abdominal injuries and the loss of both of his legs.  Since then, he has undergone several surgeries and is making his way through recovery and rehabilitation.  At the same time, there were several organizations raising money to honor and support this hometown wounded warrior and after a handful of fundraisers and a partnership with Steps2Hope the Team Andrew Project was well on its way to building a home that Andrew Smith could live in after he is discharged from Walter Reed Hospital.  And that is exactly what happened.

They could not have picked a better week to honor our hometown hero than June 27th through July 4th.  Blood sweat and tears were poured by many volunteers last week, but it was all worth it.  On July 4th at noon, Andrew and Tori were presented with the keys to their very own customized home!  Now what is more patriotic than that.  Thank you Andrew, for serving and protecting our country selflessly, for paying a high price for our freedom, and for being the type of man we can all look up to.

 {A huge thank you to all of the restaurants that donated the meals.  Every meal was covered for the whole week thanks to their generosity! *note: this was just the menu for Friday, there were many other restaurants and organizations that donated that are not on this whiteboard, this was just an example of the daily donations}

You can watch the video of the big reveal and Andrew and Tori's reaction here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cruisin, Part 2

Now that I finally have all of the pictures from the cruise together, I thought I would share the rest of my favorites...

{The Carnival Dream Cruise Ship}

{One of the best things about this ship was the outside theater!  They had movies on it every night and a couple of nights they even showed The Heat basketball games}
{We clean up nice, sometimes ha!)
 {The Boys}
 {Our whole family shares a love for games.... oh do I love games...}

{My hubs won one of the onboard challenges.  The crowd got to dress him up as a girl and then judge how feminine he looked. I guess they thought he looked good as a girl, haha }

First Stop:  Nassau, Bahamas
 {I love that lighthouse for some reason! Doesn't it look so romantic?!}

{You can't go to Nassau without visiting the Straw Market, they just go hand in hand!}

 Next Stop: St. Thomas
 {I think I could look at sail boat scenery all day long!}
 {St. Thomas has a really fun bar close to port called Mojo's where some of the chairs are swings right up at the bar}
 {The overcast sky made for a pretty sunset}

 Last and Favorite Stop: St. Maarten
Yep, St. Maarten was definitely my favorite!

 {The last 3 photos were from my brother and sister-in law taking a hiking excursion}

 {My parents have been to St. Maarten several times (without taking their kids I might add!) and they recommended Dawn Beach}
 {It was a good recommendation.... Dawn Beach was incredible!}

{The beach wasn't crowded so there was plenty of room for a big family of 7}
 {This picture could pretty much sum up the trip.... yes, those are sand chairs....}
{We hope to see you again soon too St. Maarten!  We really do!}