it hasn’t rained in knoxville in a while and today has been weird. the heavy fog especially got to me.. don’t know why. tonight i’m going to be real. rain turned me to jesus today, because i let myself be sad.

as patty griffin says: sometimes all I can do is weep weep weep, with all this rain falling down.

sad about my karen kingsbury book, even though there is redemption all in it. sad about how oppressed and rejected people have no justice. sad about the blog, don’t waste your cancer. (started from the beginning and it’s just gettin’ to me). sad that i didn’t call everyone i wanted to catch up with. i should be used to crying – i’m a crier. it’s been a season of crying, which i’m reminding myself is ok. i’ve just been living in joy and trust and contentment. but in my weakness, christ’s strength is shown more fully. being weak is actually being strong. life is real and it’s not always happy, but it’s real. i’m thankful for the cross tonight. thankful that jesus died so i might be redeemed out of all the darkness of the world. thankful that there is freedom in christ’s sovereignty. thankful for tim keller’s words this weekend. maybe i’ll write about them soon.


chick’n sketti

my first necessity while cooking – – turning on your jams.

second necessity is to have your recipe out and in the open that way you don’t get it dirty.. (in this case, my pioneer women cookbook)

this song goes out to my friend lindsay morris and all the times we rode around in her white wagon listening to avril during the beginning of our friendship, circa 2002.

here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • 4oz jar of pimentos
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 1 big block of cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb whole wheat thin spaghetti
  • seasoned salt
  • chili powder or cayenne
  • salt and pepper

start boiling your water for the chicken breasts and pasta (i add salt because my chemistry teacher told me it makes the water boil quicker and my mom’s cousin told me “flavoring” noodles with salt makes a difference – i don’t know if either of those are true).


begin chopping up all your vegetables – –  you want to julianne and then dice the green bell peppers followed by dicing the onion. i only used half of both and kept the rest in the fridge for another recipe TBD.






once the water begins to boil, add your sketti to one pot and chicken to the other.











(note: my chicken is in ziplock baggies, because i individually freeze it for when i want to cook a mini-meal just for me during the week. i buy the fresh chicken in bulk since typically its cheaper that way.)

get a large bowl to mix what i call the goo of the casserole. in this bowl, combine the bell peppers, onion, drained pimentos, 2 cans cream of mushroom soup, sprinkling of seasoned salt, chili powder (or whatever *kick* you want to add), and cheddar cheese.











things should be comin’ along now.. here comes the fun part. mixing it all together. noodles + the goo (i didn’t end up using all the noodles so i just kept them for some yummy chicken rosemary pasta i’ve been making; i’d say i had about a handful and a half of noodles left out of the pound i made).

yum YUM yum YUM yum!

my mom gave me this really great ceramic casserole dish that has become my peach cobbler pan – rest assured that it is BIG. i remember reading in the info on this recipe that pioneer woman’s whole family and all her ranch hands love this dish – ALL OF THEM. apparently that’s a big deal. what i didn’t realize is that it feeds that many people too. so i filled up my cobbler dish + a tupperware container, which i chose to freeze some chicken spaghetti in for a day when i’m craving it again.







now ideally, i would have been smart and made sure the goo was moist enough before i put in the big dish BUT improvising has become an art since working in the frontier kitchen. it’s probably annoying that i don’t measure things out.. so here’s my best explanation. you don’t want the goo to be sitting in a chicken broth swimming pool. you rather want it to be a mud puddle. thick, but not too thick. creamy, but not watery. i think the key may be to listen to how it sounds when you are mixing it up.. slurping is the sound you want. if it’s a little over-wet, that’s ok because cooking it will let some of that juice soak into the noodles.

then the ever yummy CHEESY CRUST. you’ll just use the left over cheese not used in the goo. then time to bake: 350 degrees for about 30-ish minutes. you really just want the edges bubbling and cheese melted.

i also had some pre-made parker rolls in the freezer that next time i’ll be more creative with, but i decided to melt some butter on the top of them and sprinkle some poppyseeds on top.

SPECIAL THANKS TO JESSIE + TIM for helping me eat dinner this night.

jessie’s thoughts: I think it was even better  reheated the second time.* I’m so happy that the recipe made so much– I’m gonna want more. Perfect comfort food for the exhausted soul. I love onions. I love peppers. I love peppers and onions with chicken, cheese, and spaghetti.

*(i totally agree with her. 100%)

tim’s thoughts: BURP (tasted like chicken spaghetti). I shall be dining with Emma Brooks again soon.


lately i’ve been realizing how behind i am in the music scene. i’m currently loving bethany dillon and justin timberlake. for the first time ever.

here are the lyrics to bethany’s beautiful (circa 2005, whoops). love the truth this song offers to a broken world.

I was so unique
Now I feel skin deep
I count on the make-up to cover it all
Crying myself to sleep cause I cannot keep their attention
I thought I could be strong
But it’s killing me

Does someone hear my cry?
I’m dying for new life

I want to be beautiful
Make you stand in awe
Look inside my heart,
and be amazed
I want to hear you say
Who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me
Fighting to make the mirror happy
Trying to find whatever is missing
Won’t you help me back to glory

You make me beautiful
You make me stand in awe
You step inside my heart, and I am amazed
I love to hear You say
Who I am is quite enough
You make me worthy of love and beautiful

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fort fridays



there is me, all bundled in our kickin’ fort -looking like i’m saying my prayers before bed- about to go to sleep! i’m going to propose a house ritual of sorts for fort fridays. (i mean at least a few more of the many fridays we have living in this house, we will get manly, get domestic, and build us a place o’ shelter.)  if i could tell you what happened in this past friday’s fort.. you wouldn’t believe me. all i’ll say is i know a  w h o l e new dimension to miss morgan stridde. who, by the way, will be living here next year (thankful, excited, and anticipating her occupancy into the room under the stairs)!

jessie, jenn, and i planned on doing homework and laying low last night.. the ideal (and typical for that matter) friday night if you ask me. “girls hanging out-doing nothing time” as tim branch calls it and tries to understand why we like it. i had just taken an outing to the ever-adventurous and always-entertaining wal-mart for some late night grocery shopping. i prefer to avoid the masses, but instead have to hurdle and dodge the employees re-stocking the shelves. i think i’d rather be in the maze of bulk produce than people.

back to the fort…

jenn went to bed early (in true responsible fashion) and i was wandering aimlessly around downstairs, kind of talking with jessie, and suddenly it hits me smack in the face… I MUST BUILD A FORT with our incredibly convenient fort-capable roof system = ceiling tiles in a home are actually worth something after all. (fort idea courtesy of the darling British girls in “The Holiday,” thanks Olivia and Sophie!)

jessie and i gathered sheets, blankets, and down comforters & with our rapid-fort building skills, we waited while the smell of homemade peach cobbler took over the house.

soon enough the party arrived (ckkm, m to the striddes) and the we headed down into the fort with some yummy peach cobbler + ice cream in hand at the healthy eating-time of 11:00pm – – past my grandma internal clock. then, we got silly—belly laughing. snorting. took pictures. talking life, love, and ministry. spewing. seeing double (get it, morgan?). sleepy eyes. stomach pillows. waking taylor up.

feels like jessie and i should have indian (dot) food in hand – – many more fun nights in the fort to come. this will be known as the weekend that we built the first fort at our house. here’s to makin’ memories!

moral of the story:

being silly in a fort is always as fun as it used to be & so is staying in on a friday night