Mid Week Pick Me Up

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

 

Today, Natalie of Hey Natalie Jean instagrammed about the pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe that is over on her blog. I remember reading the recipe when she first posted it and thinking that the cookies sounded SO GOOD. Well, a whole Fall season went by and I didn’t make the cookies, so today was the day. I happened to pick up a can of pumpkin puree the last time we were at Trader Joe’s and I was only missing a few other ingredients, so a quick convincing of Nathan to swing by the grocery store on our way home and the cookies were a go. The recipe is here.

I should warn you that the recipe made FOUR pans of rather large cookies, so keep that in mind when making them in case you don’t want that many cookies. Or in case you have a husband who is pumpkin/cinnamon/Fall averse and you don’t want to eat them all yourself and do irreparable damage to your waistline (not that I would know about that…). I am planning on taking a whole bunch to work, and maybe some to our apartment office, and perhaps sending a batch with Nathan to his office and then we will still have a ton left. It makes a whole lot of cookies, is what I am saying.

The cookies are cakey and sort of doughy, but also firm-they feel substantial. Really delicious.

I used a mix of milk chocolate chips and semi sweet chips and also threw in some mini chocolate chips for good measure. Her instructions say to use as much chocolate as you need spiritually, and my soul NEEDS chocolate. Three different kinds of chocolate chips is definitely not overkill. I used a tablespoon of pumpkin spice seasoning, plus a few extra dashes of cinnamon, and while she recommends a half a cup of canola oil, I went ahead with the whole three quarters cup. I also made them at midnight, which probably doesn’t make them taste any better but I think it adds to the satisfaction of eating the first one out of the oven.

Anyway, now the whole house smells like Fall.

Now a quick note about our little jaunt to the grocery store for the missing cookie ingredients:

We decided to go to what we (and everyone else) refer to as the “Ghetto Smiths”. This grocery store sits on the corner of two streets in the University area and it has a reputation for being pretty sketchy. “Ghetto Smiths” runs are reserved for last minute things that you don’t want to go to the nice Smith’s for, but want badly enough that you are willing to risk being stabbed instead of waiting to go to the nice Smith’s. I’m sort of kidding-I’ve never been legitimately afraid for my life before, but others have warned me that such things could happen if I shop at the “Ghetto Smiths”. In fact, up until recently, I don’t think that the “Ghetto Smith’s” even had a produce section. But, I noticed the other day that they now have a full produce section that actually looks really nice. Movin’ on up, “Ghetto Smith’s”.

Right, so, I decided that cookie ingredients were definitely important enough for a trip to the “Ghetto Smith’s” and Nathan agreed to stop by on the way home. As we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed what looked to be a mob of enthusiastic middle schoolers. Upon closer inspection, we realized that they were middle schoolers who were hanging out with bins for people to drop food pantry donations in.

They were standing right outside the entrance and they were loudly “encouraging” people to donate food. I mentioned to Nathan that we should pick up a canned good because food banks do a lot of good in our city etc.. etc….(ok, and also because the middle schoolers kind of intimidated me). And Nathan emphatically told me NO!

He was not interested in buying a canned good because he didn’t like the way that the kids were trying to garner donations. Although, he didn’t protest too much when I picked up a couple cans of soup. When we dropped the soup in the bin the kids cheered and clapped their hands. Nathan felt very awkward about that part (to his credit, it was pretty weird to have people cheer for you as you exit the grocery store and it always feels weird and wrong to have someone “pat you on the back” for doing any sort of charitable anything).

Nathan did have a good point. These kids were being pretty aggressive in their attempts to get people to donate. Not everyone got cheers, and some of the kids said some questionable things. I definitely wouldn’t recommend their approach, but I think their hearts were in the right place.

The point of this is that it was pretty funny that I wandered through the grocery store jokingly arguing with my husband about why spending a few bucks on chicken noodle soup was a good call. Anyway…

The moral of this story is that Nathan and I both felt good about supporting the food pantry even in a small way. Our city has a lot of poverty and, having worked at the food bank before, I know that they offer a valuable resource for people. If you have time to volunteer or extra funds to help stock your local food pantry (or help out with any of your local charities) then I would really encourage it.

 

Happy Wednesday. The week is almost over- YAY!!!

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So…last week

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

This outfit is basically everything I aspire for in a Fall get-up. I am pretty much over skinny jeans. Bring on the slouchy silhouettes.

Hi. How are you? I’m still alive, barely. Last week was so nuts (hence the lack of posts). I promise I’m gonna get my crap together this week.

Let’s start off with something fun and delicious:

THIS

Dark chocolate, pistachio rice krispy treats. click the link. make the treats. be happy.

So:

-Nathan and I took a quick trip for Fall break, and I have a whole post for you on that. Aren’t you excited?! It has pictures and everything.

-I bought a pot roast when we were at Costco. I have big plans for throwing it in the crock pot. Nathan LOVES his mom’s pot roast which makes me feel a little intimidated. Will mine pass the test of my meat and potato lovin’ man?

-Can we just talk about that Molly on Monday post yesterday??? So so good. That girl. She speaks to my soul.

-I am procrastinating as I type. I should be doing a particularly tedious Psychology assignment. Between this blog that I’ve been neglecting and Gilmore Girls on Netflix, homework is quite the endeavor.

 

 

 

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Molly on Monday: All Things Good

Monday, October 20th, 2014

As I write this, I’m sitting in a beautiful lobby, in a beautiful building, on a beautiful campus. Yet, somehow, I feel less than beautiful at the moment. I don’t really want to be at school right now; in fact, I’d much rather be at home, where I was a mere four hours ago, snuggled on the couch, basking in the sunlight, reading for pleasure, and enjoying the comforts of home. Alas, fall break is over, and tonight I was welcomed back to Grove City with a marvelous sunset. It is always so funny to me, how such beauty exists in such a place of struggle.
From day one, college has been a challenge for me. I was challenged academically, as I learned how to study for tests and prepare for classes. I was challenged socially, living as an introvert in a hall full of extroverted girls. But most of all, I was challenged emotionally. I missed my family and the sweet simplicity of life back home, where things like GPAs and midterms and papers didn’t seem to carry as much weight. I’ve cried more tears in the past eight weeks than I have in a long time. At the same time, I’ve been richly blessed in a multitude of ways. The people here are kind and loving and have come alongside me while I am feeling lost. My parents, although lacking in physical proximity, are a mere phone call away. They love me in the midst of my pain.
It’s funny how beauty exists in the midst of such intense struggle. I feel lonely right now. I would love a hug from my mom. But instead, God has placed me here. I am here to learn. I am here to love. And I find, most often, that when we lean in to him, the gritty fray of life doesn’t necessarily go away, or even get any easier, but the little things, the small moments of joy, are illuminated. They shine bright in a sea of relentless studying and reading and writing. And tears. They even manage to shine through tears.
God is so intentional. He loves us in the midst of our failures and insecurities. He is acutely aware of our pain and wants us to be aware of his love. I find that on nights like these, when I miss home, and the tears just don’t seem to stop, that when I put down my work and focus on him, his peace washes over me in an amazing way. On nights like those, all we can do is rest in his unfailing love and grace and mercy. We must rest in the fact that he is God, and we are not. And in time, he will make all things good.

 

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Taos River Gorge

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

 

So, New Mexico has the Taos River Gorge and it is amazing. We stopped by on our way to Eagle’s Nest, and took in the view. Unfortunately, I forgot to charge the battery on my big girl camera, so I only had the iPhone. We definitely plan on going back-and not forgetting to charge the camera!

 

 

 

 

This bus hung out in the Gorge parking area and sold snacks.

Not the Gorge. But close to the Gorge. Fun story: That little cage looking thing is actually a trolly. It runs along a cable from one side of the river to the other. Nathan surmised that it is probably used mostly by rangers. But very brave rangers ‘cuz it looked straight up terrifying and rickety (so says me).

 



Molly on Monday: Drawing Close

Monday, October 6th, 2014

“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.” -2 Timothy 4:17

*Editor’s note – the following essay is devoid of any specific details in order to protect the privacy of those involved. It is not my news to share and they deserve to not have their intimate affairs splashed all over the internet. That being said, if you feel so moved, say a pray for a family out there that is hurting right now.

Two Sundays ago, I received a phone call from my mother informing me of some devastating news from back home. As soon as she spoke the words, I wept. Big, fat, heavy tears flowed down my cheeks. The cuff of my sleeve was damp in no time. I’m not sure why the incident affected me so much. I had heard of situations like it in the past, and although they troubled me, I never felt as emotionally torn apart as I did, sitting on my bed on that Sunday morning, mourning with and for a family that I barely knew. Perhaps it was because they are from my hometown. They live a mere five minutes away from my house. Perhaps it was because the gravity of the situation was absolutely incomprehensible. Perhaps it was because I am here, and they are there. In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to hug each member of my family tightly and thank God for what I am blessed so abundantly with.

I realized as I began to come to terms with this terrible tragedy that we, as humans, are so hesitant to be open with one another. We put on a smile and offer a vague, but nevertheless satisfactory answer when someone asks us how we are doing. I pass my peers in the hallway each and every day without giving even a second thought to what they might be going through or the feelings that may be tearing at their heart this very minute. Why, in my school, in our society, in your neighborhood, in our country, are we so afraid to tell the truth? Why do we shrink at the idea of feelings? Why do we try to cover up bad days and rush to close doors when things get hard?

I can’t say for certain that this particular situation would not have occurred had people chosen to pay more attention or not felt ashamed to share their feelings. It is certainly not as simple as spilling your guts to stranger on the sidewalk. But God does call us to community, and I believe wholeheartedly that living and being in community requires that we, as Christians, make a conscious effort to be open with one another. We must strive to embrace the messy, disorganized, terrible, even, perhaps, tragic, moments of our lives and turn first to God, and then to one another for support and love.

Our Savior has so graciously blessed us with people wherever we look. And we are relational people. That means going out and inserting ourselves into people’s unclean, imperfect lives and loving them despite their mistakes. It means welcoming people with open arms. It means the kind of love that doesn’t speak, but instead, offers an ear to hear and a shoulder to cry on. Our world would be a vastly different place if we chose to share our joys and our sorrows and our successes and our frustrations when they happened. Let’s choose to draw close and wrap our arms around one another in the good and the bad.

 

 

 



Getaway to Eagle’s Nest Part 2

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

 

The lodge that we stayed at in Eagle’s Nest was such a wonderful surprise. I won’t lie-I was a little skeptical. Sometimes small town motels can be a little sketchy, but we really lucked out. They have normal hotel rooms, an entire house you can rent, and little cabins. We stayed in one of the little cabins, and it was darling. The grounds also had picnic tables and grills. Down the street was the hotel’s saloon and restaurant.

 

 

The trip was so relaxing and so needed. The weather was beautiful, the cabin had cable TV (something that we don’t have-it was AWESOME), and we found a bar with a dog hanging out under our table to have dinner at. Being able to spend some time alone with Nathan without the distractions of being home was pretty much the best way to spend a weekend. I am so thankful to him for getting online and finding Eagle’s Nest and then finding the cabin and then convincing me that hopping in the car the next morning was a good decision.



Getaway to Eagle’s Nest Part 1

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

 

 

Nathan and I took a fun little trip over the long weekend a few weeks ago. Nathan did all of the leg work and found a great little cabin at the last minute, and we headed to the New Mexico high country.

 

The landscape was gorgeous. Living in the desert, you get kinda used to everything just being brown and tan and dry. But as we were driving everything was green and blooming and lush.

 

Once you get out of the city, everything just clears out and opens up. All of a sudden we were on winding roads surrounded by cliffs and little rivers. We were headed to Eagle’s Nest which is past Taos and pretty close to Angel Fire. We would really like to go back in the winter when everything is covered in snow-although I am sure we wouldn’t get such a good deal on a room.

 



Molly on Monday: An Introduction

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

 

So, here it is! The surprise! Molly is my best friend, and when she expressed interest in writing for A Lovely Intention I was so excited!! She will be here twice a month sharing various musings as well as thoughts about her first year of college. I know you all will love her as much as I do. Now, I’ll let her take it away…

 

 

Hi there. I’m Molly. Sydney and I are so glad you are here.

 

I met Sydney through my high school bible study and we instantly bonded over our mutual love of fine food, expensive clothes, and adventures in the city. For two years, we were inseparable, attached at the hip, riding life out together. When Sydney moved to New Mexico, we each bought a roll of stamps and vowed to not let the miles keep us apart. ‘Best friends’ doesn’t seem to adequately the relationship that Sydney and I share. Soul sister, maybe.

 

I grew up in a small, sleepy town in Southwestern, Pennsylvania, on a quant, tree-lined street in a fixer-upper of a house that my parents poured their heart and soul into. The walls bleed love. I am the oldest of four children, a size 9.5, and a Gilmore Girls fanatic. I love C.S. Lewis, pineapple, and reading the Sunday edition of the New York Times. I could eat breakfast food all day long. I am passionate about non-profits, building personal relationships, and Jesus. I am studying English at Grove City College, a small, Christian liberal arts college in the middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania.

 

You can find me on Instagram @wickerm1

 

 

You guys, go follow her on Instagram and get excited for her posts!!!! She has such a sweet spirit and such a way with words. She is so smart and so insightful, and I know her contributions here will be great! She is spot on in her description of our relationship. Good food, clothes we want but can’t afford, and getting lost among the city skyscrapers defined and solidified our friendship before college swept us across the country, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this woman and her presence in my life!

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Taking Stock in September

Friday, September 19th, 2014

 

I love this little writing, brainstorming exercise. It makes you think and reflect.

P.S. Be sure to read on for a hint at a fun surprise that is coming to this little blog.

Making : A concerted effort to get up earlier and use that time to just be quiet.
Cooking : Pasta for dinner. We eat so much pasta.
Drinking : Le Croix. We bought a case of it at Costco, and the more I drink it the more I like it.
Reading: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and loving it. Also a smattering of books on mediation and communication.
Wanting: To just be a wife. I am really ready for school to be done!
Looking: For a small dresser for some of Nathan’s clothes.
Playing: King of the Hill with bed covers and leg space with a certain husband of mine.
Deciding: On whether or not to buy a new computer or continue to share one. It is a battle of necessity and bank accounts over here.
Wishing: For certain aspects of this season of life to pass. It’s been a bit of a tough one in some ways, and we Pawliks are ready for a break.
Enjoying: The way our orange cat is determined to cuddle. She is so persistent in her pursuit to love us.
Waiting: For answers to prayer.
Liking: The few days that we’ve had cooler weather. It makes the husband more cuddly, and I am so so ready to wear jeans again.
Wondering: When we will see family again. I long for endless days off for road trips and hugs from loved ones.
Loving: Nathan. Being freshly married seems to punch you right in the face. It is hard and exhilarating and exhausting and beautiful, and it demands a lot of God-given grace, and I end each day loving the man I married even more than I did when I woke up that morning.
Pondering: This article. The end gets me-how often do we intentionally proclaim that God condemns all abuse and then how often do we act on that proclamation.
Considering: The merits of buying a duplicate pair of these jeans, and then jettisoning all the other pairs I have (except the high-waisted ones, cuz high-waisted=life changing)
Watching: House of Cards. I know, I am late to the party. 
Hoping: Our camping plans work out.
Marvelling: At the way that the “capsule wardrobe” and minimalist dressing trend is sweeping the blog world. The more I read about it, the more clothes I seem to get rid of.
Needing: More sleep, more time at the gym, more time spent on relationships. Less school, less stress, less busy.
Smelling: Like lavender essential oil and coconut oil. The combo has become my go to perfume. Also, this deodorant which makes my pits smell like oranges, holla!
Wearing: Jean shorts and keds. But I am wishing I was wearing jeans, boots, scarves, and slouchy sweaters.
Following: More and more people on Twitter. I am pretty bad at using Twitter, but had to start following some people for a class. You can find me here.
Noticing: The briskness of the air when I take Nathan to class in the mornings. Fall is coming, however slowly.
Knowing: that everything works out- even if I have to fight off my own anxiety to believe that.
Thinking: That cereal is the most perfect solution for every meal.
Admiring: Those who commit to leaving “fast fashion” behind and investing in quality, ethically conscious clothing options.
Sorting: Through all of our stuff. And it is just stuff. I feel like every weekend, when I clean the house, I get rid of more and more of our stuff.
Buying: eggs and milk and cereal. Every week on repeat.
Getting: More and more comfortable with my new haircut.
Disliking: People who are jerks. ’nuff said.
Opening: my Bible and books that aren’t for school. Having to share a computer with Nathan has led me to find different (and arguably better) ways to fill spare time.
Giggling: At the way our boy cat squeaks at us. It is as though he doesn’t understand the concept of meowing just yet.
Feeling: Nostalgic. I never thought I’d like to revisit my old high school town, but lately I miss the people and the vibe and the quaintness.
Snacking: on Caramel Almond and Sea Salt Kind bars. They are so so good, but so so spendy. I’m gonna start buying them in bulk on Amazon to save a few bucks (kidding, sorta)
Wishing: to have more girlfriends that lived closer.
Hearing: Some of my favorite songs on the radio. The popular songs have been surprisingly good lately; a lot of really happy music is hitting the airwaves.

Time for some news!!! We will have an awesome new series on the blog starting on Monday. I am so excited for it because it is a collaboration with someone who is so dear to me. Twice a month you can expect someone other than me to be talking to you here, and I think it is going to be wonderful!

Check in Monday morning!!

 

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State Fair Fare

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

 

I love pretty much everything about the State Fair. In fact, it may be my most favorite event of the year here. The animals, the food, the people watching-all amazing. The State Fair feels like the emotional start of Fall. It can’t be the literal start of Fall because it is still in the eighties and nineties here, so it definitely doesn’t feel like fall weather; and none of the colors are changing yet. Although, I do count the fact that it was cool enough to wear jeans and boots for our fair outing a victory. One of our friends happened to be in town and was able to go with us, which was such a great coincidence.

We sort of went to the fair on a whim. It was pretty rainy on Wednesday, but Nathan stopped by my office and mentioned that it was free admission day. I am not one to pass up free anything, so we decided that we would spend the money that we would have spent on admission to buy fair food. The food is really the best part of the fair-all fried everything. Normally, we spend money on admission and then don’t get anything to eat because everything is seven dollars and we are college students (read: poor).

 

I was a bit concerned about going at night because I have a deep  love for seeing all of the animals that the fair has to offer, and I worried that if we went at night then they may all be in for bed. My worries were unfounded, though. There were plenty of animals to be seen, especially baby animals. There were ducklings and chicks hanging out next to each other in one of the pens. I would have a chicken coop in a heartbeat. I think that chickens are so great. They are so methodical with their pecking and nesting and roosting. Also, fresh eggs. Nothing bad can happen when fresh eggs are involved.

 

 

 

 

There are two pigs there-they kind of blend together. They are cuddling, so, obviously, pigs after my own heart.

 

 

 

I LOVE cows. No joke, they are one of my favorite animals. I think they are so cute. I just want to cuddle one of them. Like, just run up and give one a big hug. Is that weird? Nathan is reading over my shoulders saying that, yes, it is so weird. Whatever. I don’t care. Every year, the cows at the fair are my favorite thing to visit. This year, I got to pet one. It was pretty much the highlight of my whole week. The big girl was just layin’ there eating hay, and the farmer was all “sure you can pet her!” Her cow friend that was standing next to her started giving me the side eye, though (rude).

 

As already mentioned, the food at the fair is the best part. We really indulged since we felt like we were rolling in cash after not paying the admission fee (ha ha ha). Corn dogs, fried oreos, fried cheese curds (amazing delicious-your life isn’t complete ’til you’ve eaten a deep fried cheese curd), and a fried snickers bar all found their way into my mouth. I’m pretty sure I consumed my entire weekly allotment of calories in one night, and I regret none of it. I didn’t even feel that sick after eating all of it, which makes me a little concerned. I mean, what is wrong with my body that it didn’t just revolt on me??

Nathan and I go to the fair every year, but this was definitely the best year yet. I’ll be cheesy for a moment and say that everything seems more fun when I’m doing it with my HUSBAND! But, this trip really seemed perfect. I just love that sweet man-especially his willingness to buy me as much deep fried cheese as I can possibly eat. A keeper for sure.

 



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