faith, freedom, food

Tag: #blogger

Blackberry Crumble

Blackberry Crumble

In case you didn’t know, I tasted the most amazing food in the world a couple weeks ago. An avid foodie– and, more importantly, an avid peanut butter lover– I was so intrigued when I first noticed Salted Caramel Peanut Butter (sugar free, whole foods, […]

How I Increased My Blog Traffic By Thousands in a Matter of Months

How I Increased My Blog Traffic By Thousands in a Matter of Months

This post contains some affiliate links. All opinions are my own and are completely honest and candid. Ah, the world of blog hosting. When I started the whole blogging thing back in 2015, I really just wanted to share my writing with anyone that might […]

3 Engaged Girls, One House

3 Engaged Girls, One House

It is only just hitting me that in a matter of weeks, the girls I have lived with for the past three years and I will never live together again.

In fact, each of us will be transitioning to living with– a man— for the rest of our lives.

Yes– my university living experience was probably not like most, particularly at my secular school in southwestern Ontario, Wilfrid Laurier. I met Maddie and Mary in my first year of university, as they were colleagues in my smaaaalll program, Christian Studies. We hit it off instantly as friends, and soon became as close as sisters.

From left to right: Maddie, me, Autumn, Beth, and Mary.

We found a student apartment to live in together in second year with two other girls. Pictured above is our third-year crew, all of us having met in Christian Studies classes. ALL of the girls in this photo are engaged now, with the exception of Beth, who was married to her hubby in August 2018, a wedding we were so honoured to attend.

Now, these girls make up my bridal party… and I make up theirs. Mary marries her man in October, Johnny & I in January, and Maddie in June 2020. Our men proposed months apart, but many of the preparations for the weddings have taken place in our little student living situation. With either a bridesmaid dress or a wedding gift or a decor piece arriving to the front porch seemingly every week, it’s no wonder people have asked me what it’s like to “share the spotlight” with my best friends in the same house.

And here’s the answer: I wouldn’t have it any other way, because the only spotlight in these relationships is on Jesus Christ.

I feel blessed beyond words, in fact, that I have had the opportunity to live with these two women who know that their weddings are about the lifelong marriage and not the day itself. Who have hearts that want their relationships to reflect and glorify God rather than lift up themselves. And it is because of these very mindsets, the very presence of God, that we have approached each other, and being in each other’s wedding parties while also being brides, with nothing but love, grace, equality, compassion, and joy.

Also pictured here is Bethany, another one of my bridesmaids and beautiful friend from Christian Studies.

HE is why it’s been nothing but fun. HE is why I have been able to give being a bridesmaid, maid of honour, and bride– all at once, and while LIVING with the girls– the attention each role deserves. HE is the reason for it all, and to Him I give all the glory.

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

ECCLESIASTES 4:4

Childhood Chicken Fried Rice

Childhood Chicken Fried Rice

Raise your hand if you were a picky eater as a kid. (I’m raising my hand). I was the PICKIEST of the picky. I could count the number of foods I was happy eating on both hands (well, both hands if you’ll allow me to […]

Curated KW: Interviewing the Girls Behind the Gram

Curated KW: Interviewing the Girls Behind the Gram

When I first stumbled upon Curated KW, I was so intrigued. Quite honestly, I wanted to WORK for the business, be a part of it in some way. I assumed, given the obvious effort and passion displayed in this initiative to help Waterloo Regioners understand […]

NutriBullet Apple Cauliflower Soup

NutriBullet Apple Cauliflower Soup

Are you a soup person? I’ve never been much of one myself.

Growing up, I did love Nestle Chicken Noodle, and my mom’s homemade chilli was to die for. But creamy, one-colour purees? Is that baby food or potato chowder, ya know what I’m saying?

As much as you wouldn’t catch me ordering a creamy soup at a restaurant, you will catch me eating one on my wedding day.

Photo courtesy of Jono & Laynie

Ok, I’m already drooling just thinking about it.

A few months ago, Johnny and I took my best friend and her boyfriend to join us for our menu tasting at our wedding venue, The Cambridge Mill. The tasting featured all of the options we had to pick from for the appetizer, entree, and dessert on our wedding day… and this tasting stands as one of my favourite days ever. We had so much fun sampling all of the wines, salads, soups, meat selections… the boys, still having enough room, even snuck to the lobby to try the taco bar!

All we could say: we could choose any of the options and be absolutely thrilled with the food. I’m so excited to eat it again!

If you haven’t guessed it, we chose a soup for our appetizer. Celery Root and Apple Puree with Honey Creme Fraiche and Roasted Chestnut, the 10/10 taste of this soup blew each of us away. While the colour is underwhelming, and there was only so much that could be done to amplify its presentation, the creamy, sweet taste was out of this world, and we all joked that it would be a great surprise for our guests.

Thrilled with how much Johnny had enjoyed something made of celery, and loving it myself, I set out to try to recreate the soup with one of my favourite kitchen applications, my NutriBullet RX’s 7-minute heating cycle, or “SouperBlast.”

I was thrilled with the way this turned out! I’m allergic to dairy, so I made mine with almond milk, but you could most definitely use a dairy milk or cream instead. I’m sure butter would also be delicious instead of olive oil. And feel free to play with the seasonings!

I also enjoyed it drizzled over sunny-side-up fried eggs on toast. Soooo good.

If you try this, let me know in the comments below! It’s not necessarily 5-star-restaurant worthy… but it satisfied by craving for the best soup ever, so that’s not too shabby.

The Power of a Friend Like Alicia: Three Things To Absolutely Always Be Doing, Everyday Period.

The Power of a Friend Like Alicia: Three Things To Absolutely Always Be Doing, Everyday Period.

The buzz of my alarm greeted my ears this morning at 5:30AM, and I found myself instantly missing waking up with the sunrise time on the daily for work. As I have transitioned out of a three-and-a-half-year period of working at coffee shops just this […]

My Ear Piercing Disaster, Redeemed.

My Ear Piercing Disaster, Redeemed.

Yup. I’m a 21 year old Canadian female and only just recently got my ears pierced. And then… un-pierced. And the whole debacle is what led to some leaps in my physical recovery from eating disorders, and a greater understanding of my personal identity. Excessive? […]

Gossip & Negativity: What kind of communicator are you?

Gossip & Negativity: What kind of communicator are you?

I remember that, in high school, a “normal” conversation at the lunch table, at a party, or at a friend’s locker was about someone else.

The “subject line” was rarely to do with the state of one’s soul, the deeper thoughts they’d been having, or the joy they’d been experiencing. No, a typical conversation began something like, Hey, have you heard about so-and-so?

I am in no way demeaning the friendships that I had the blessing of partaking in, many of which I still do. I was blessed by lifelong friendships of soul-care, deep things, and joy talks that began in high school, and existed that way in high school (Shoutout to Daniella, Chloe, and Sammy, among many others).

I am, however, making a comment on what I perceived to be the cultural norm about what a conversation should look like. And I absolutely contributed to these norms more than I wish I did.

I think we can all relate to gossip. “People-talk.” Slander. Rumour-spreading, and rumour-listening-to. It can be harmless, right? If it’s just a conversation with my best friend and it’s between the two of us, or an off-hand, “I heard so-and-so became a drug dealer after high school” to a colleague, it’s not a big deal, right?

Well, this morning, I was finishing up my personal study in the book of Luke, and a few verses in Chapter 23 stung me like never before.

In this chapter, the people of Jerusalem who have witnessed Jesus have accused Him of subverting their rules, and take him to Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”
On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.
When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

LUKE 23:3-12 NIV

I could not get the phrasing of this final verse, verse 12, out of my head. Luke, in his gospel writing, emphasized that Herod and Pilate became friends the day that Herod chose to doubt and ridicule Jesus. The same day that Pilate was trying to decide whether he himself believed that Jesus was the Son of God.

Herod and Pilate bonded over the ridicule of the Son of God.

Have you ever bonded with someone over the ridicule, put-down of, or collective dislike toward another person?

I was disgusted by Herod and Pilate… and then the Holy Spirit used the verse to convict me of my familiarity with their friendship to show me three things about the communal slander of others.

  1. Friendship that is held together by gossip and being caught up on the happenings of other people is not friendship. If you can discern friendships like this in your own life, it doesn’t necessarily mean that either of you are, at your core, gossipy people. In fact, I would argue that without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are ALL prone to this kind of sin. Try to reach out to these friends and be candid about the intentions of your friendship. Apologize for not asking more about that friend’s own life, and engaging in gossip and jokes about others instead. Vow together to engage in meaningful and compassionate conversations.
  2. Feelings of “bonding” that arise from talking negativity are lies. This is a false sense of bonding, because, in its very nature, gossip is something that breaks bonds. Imagine becoming friends with someone because of your communal ridicule of the God who created you, who purposed you, and who you will stand face to face with at the end of time, like Herod and Pilate. We are never called to speak deception or ridicule over others, but rather truth and life.
  3. Mocking is different from speaking genuine concern– and the difference is in your heart. We might share a rumour under the false pretence of just “sharing concern for a friend” with someone else, while knowing in our souls that our intention is not one of compassion. There are, of course, circumstances that demand sharing a concern for a friend with someone else, but both the language and tone of that conversation will look and feel very different from those of gossip.

God, thank-you for sending your Son Jesus to die on the cross in my place. Help me to bring praise to Your Name and Life by speaking truth and love to and about other people– people You love and breathed life in to. Give me Your eyes, Jesus, to see others the way You do. Amen.

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookie with Optional Almond Butter Cacao Drizzle

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookie with Optional Almond Butter Cacao Drizzle

I’m a big fan of single-serve desserts. Mostly because dessert is my preferred meal, but certainly not everyone’s. If I could eat dessert for breakfast, lunch, and dinner… I probably would. And, tbh, I have. But if you’re not like me, I bet you still […]