Closing Comrades: August {Joshi Daniel Photography}

Closing Comrades: August {Joshi Daniel Photography}

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It is the 31st day of August, and you know what that means.  Today you will meet my twelfth and final Closing Comrade.  This month, I am featuring Joshi Daniel, a photographer from India who takes amazing shots of the people he sees.  I hope you enjoy looking through his photos and visiting his site.

“Soar”

Black and white silhouette of Abilash Thankan leaping with an umbrella in his hand in Trivandrum, Kerala

“Twinkling Eyes”

Portrait of a little boy during the festival of Holi in Sowcarpet, Chennai

“Somasa Seller on the Street”

A samosa seller crossing the road in T. Nagar in Chennai

“Paniya tribe woman from Wayanad”

Black and white portrait of a Paniya woman with a large ear plug from Wayanad, Kerala

Closing Comraderies: July {Caroline Kristen}

Closing Comraderies: July {Caroline Kristen}

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Before I even knew Caroline had a blog, I asked her to be my Closing Comrade for the month of July.  Caroline is my suite mate at college, and when I saw this poem hanging on her wall, I knew that I wanted to share it on my blog.  A few weeks ago, Caroline sent me a link to her blog, and I was happy to find that she has many more beautiful poems to share.  Be sure to check out her page!

beautiful

You are beautiful,
No matter what anyone else says,
No matter what anyone else thinks about you.
Their opinions do not define you;
God does.
He knows who you are:
You are His.
No one can take that away from you;
Not your so-called friends,
Not your enemies,
Not even a guy in whom you want to find your worth;
Your identity is found in Him.
The One Who gave Himself for you,
The One Who loved you enough to take your imperfection
And turn it into something beautiful.
The One Who saw your worthless and helpless state
And saved your life from an eternity of hell,
Making you worthy in His sight because of Christ.
He loves you.
Isn’t He enough?
Isn’t He worth living for?
Love Him…
Because He loves you
More than you will ever comprehend
And He is enough…

Copyright © 2015 Caroline K. Schools

Poem by Caroline Kristen

Closing Comrades: May {A Southern Heart}

Closing Comrades: May {A Southern Heart}

I recently began expanding my blog’s footprint by joining some social media blog networks.  Just a few days after doing so, Julia at A Southern Heart posted that she was looking to partner with other Christian bloggers to share inspirational posts.  Within a week, we had made plans to collaborate.

A few weeks ago, I shared this post on Julia’s blog.  Now she is returning the favor by posting on mine.  Here is what she wrote:

These past few weeks have been absolutely crazy. After many sleepless nights of stressing over exams, papers, graduating, and everything in between, I realized something. I need to let go of things that are holding me back from the bigger picture. I came across this verse on my Bible App and it definitely  spoke to me, more than any verse ever has.

I’ve realized that things in my life are good, but they aren’t great, and definitely aren’t perfect. I’ve been lagging in my relationship with God and putting relationships with others first. This needs to change, and fast. I need to let go of things in the past (even if that past is this morning or afternoon) that are holding me back and move forward to a bigger and greater goal- my journey with God. 

  • “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 44: 18-19 (NIV)

God is constantly in our lives, whether we see it or not. As we let go of things that are holding us back, we can focus on the more important goal of growing with God. 

  • “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such views of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.” Philippians 3: 13-16 (NIV)

This verse translated from The Message is SO clear…it’s telling us exactly what to do and how we can stay on track. 

  • “So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision- you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.” Philippians 3: 15 & 16 (The Message)

God should be our goal, we should want to do everything with Him and for Him. I need Him in my life and I want Him. When things become unclear we have to trust in Him so that He will lead us in the right direction and keep us on track with our goal. But first, we must let go of what is holding us back.  It’s not going to be easy to let go; however, with God we can do it.

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I am very glad that I found Julia’s blog.  We have a lot in common, including a love for Lilly Pulitzer.

This post from her was very encouraging and truthful.  Most of us allow things of the past to hinder our present relationship with God, but He can “clear the blurred vision.”

Thanks for sharing, Julia!

Be sure to head over to Julia’s blog and share some love!

Closing Comrades: April {Travel Morgan Travel}

Closing Comrades: April {Travel Morgan Travel}

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Goodbye, April;  hello, Closing Comrade post!
This month, my Closing Comrade is Morgan from Travel Morgan Travel.   This adventurer is originally from Georgia (the state, not the country), is an Auburn graduate, and has lived internationally in Scotland and Ireland.  You can find out  more about Morgan here.Below is a post that she wrote last January while on her working vacation in Ireland.

My Auburn blanket is the one object that makes me feel at home.  Lauren Cooper (then Higgins and my roommate) gave me this blanket for my birthday freshmen year of college.  It’s been with me ever since.

I graduated from Auburn University Fall 2012, exactly 59 ½ years after my Papa, “big” Morgan Cantrell. Auburn has been a major part of our family since he first walked the Plains Fall of 1949.  Several of my family members attended Auburn University, but even more of us went to the football games. Our blood doesn’t run red (and it certainly does NOT run crimson); no, it runs orange and blue.  My Auburn blanket reminds me of that bond that our family shares.  And yes, I did stay up until 5:00am on several occasions this past season to watch my team play. 

War Eagle!!

 

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Thanks, Morgan, for sharing on my blog today.  It is amazing how something as simple as a blanket can brink comfort on long trips.  My trusty travel partner is also a blanket: the rubber duck blanket that my grandma gave me one year for Christmas.  It has been to countless states and numerous countries.

Head on over to Morgan’s blog and show her some love!

Closing Comrades: March {The Breakfast Drama Queen}

Closing Comrades: March {The Breakfast Drama Queen}

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Happy end of March!  This month, I have invited Claudia (A.K.A. The Breakfast Drama Queen) to be my closing comrade.  Here’s what she has to say:

Hi there! I’m Claudia from The Breakfast Drama Queen, and I’m delighted to be a guest on
Kat’s 9 Lives.

Kat gave me the exciting opportunity to write about anything – anything!
As I’m currently studying law and have a degree in economics, I could
give you a lengthy discussion on monetary policy or negligence law. But
I wouldn’t be that cruel. So instead I’m going to talk about one of my
favorite foods in the universe, baked oatmeal!

Baked oatmeal is like a breakfast cake. Best of all, it’s so easy to
recreate your favorite desserts as healthy baked oatmeal breakfasts!

Some of my favorites include…

Black Forest Baked Oatmeal
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German Chocolate Cake Baked Oatmeal

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and Banana Upside Down Cake Baked Oatmeal

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Not surprisingly, my blog is becoming overwhelmed by baked oatmeal
recipes.

Depending on the recipe and baking times, it can be chewy like a cookie
or soft like a muffin (or somewhere in between). So, here are a few of
my tips for making dessert-worthy baked oatmeals.

1. Fruit/Vegetable Purees
There’s nothing like some pumpkin puree, mashed banana or applesauce to
add moisture and volume to baked oatmeals. Alternatively, try adding
some grated apple, carrot or zucchini.

2. Toppings
Just like cakes, baked oatmeals can be jazzed up with a range of
toppings. I often top my baked oatmeal with nut butters or coconut
yogurt. Actual frosting works too!

3. Removing Baked Oatmeal from the Ramekin
Ordinarily, I’d recommend just eating baked oatmeal out of the ramekin
(unless you bake them in muffin pans). It’s easier and faster this way.
However, they do look pretty if you make the effect to remove them from
the ramekins and place them on a prettier dish.

If removing the baked oatmeal from the ramekin, the first thing to do is
make sure it’s cooked enough. This seems obvious, but don’t we all
forget things early in the morning when we’re feeling impatient and
hungry? The baked oatmeal should be dry on top and a little bit firm to
touch. Wobbly or doughy baked oatmeal will collapse if you try to remove
it form the dish.

Next, let the oatmeal cool in the ramekin for at least five minutes.
Yes, the wait is hard. But it’s 120% necessary. Loosen it a bit by
running a butter knife around the circumference of the baked oatmeal.
Then invert it onto a plate (or, if you’re game, your hand). Invert the
oatmeal again so it’s the right way up.

But as I said, this is just for aesthetic reasons. Most days I’m so
eager to eat my oatmeal that I won’t wait five seconds longer than
necessary and simply eat it out of the baking dish.

4. Chocolate Chips
Seriously, add them. Life is better with chocolate.

And that’s all I have to say about one of my favorite breakfasts. Are
you a baked oatmeal fan?

Thanks, Claudia, for sharing these great tips–they were much more interesting than an economics lecture!  I also am an oatmeal enthusiast, and I am definitely guilty of impatiently eating baked oatmeal before it has cooled.

For more oatmeal fun, check out Claudia’s site or look through the numerous oatmeal recipes that I have posted (including Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal and Blueberry Muffin Baked Oatmeal).

I hope that you had a wonderful March!

Closing Comraderies: February {Lung Leavin’ Day}

Closing Comraderies: February {Lung Leavin’ Day}

closeAfter reading Heather Von St. James’s blog, I decided to feature her as my Closing Comrade for the month of February.  Here’s a little more about Heather and how you can partner with her:

Nine years ago, Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given just 15 months to live. She was determined to beat this disease both for herself and her new daughter.  Family shot

After a life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung, LungLeavin’ Day was born.

Lung Leavin Day logo

In honor of the fear that she was facing the night before my surgery, her family and friends gather around a fire in their backyard, write their biggest fears on a plate and smash the plates into the fire. LLD_plate

She has created an interactive page that tells the full story of her special day and allows other to be involved in smashing their fears.  More information on mesothelioma can be found here.

Heather also asked me to share one of my own fears.

In high school, I would have never claimed to be a fearful person.  I love to travel and be adventurous, I have been zip-lining in Costa Rica, flown into the second most dangerous airport int he world, rappelled down a 90-foot cliff, climbed numerous rock walls, and jumped from a 60-foot free fall.  I held a snake in Trinidad and went scuba diving in Tobago.  In Honduras, I was the person selected to remove the tarantula from our room.  Me? Afraid? Never!

In college, I realized that there are fears other than arachnophobia, acrophobia, and hydrophobia.  In fact, I am a chronic sufferer of atychiphobia, the fear of failure.

Thankfully, God does not expect me to do anything in my own strength.  He is omnipotent and ready to help me succeed.  In Luke 18:27, Jesus says, “What is impossible for man is possible for God.”  Also, Second Corinthians 12:9 says that Christ’s “grace is sufficient for you, for [His] power is made perfect in weakness.”

We need not fear anything on earth.  God “protects our lives and does not let us be defeated” (Psalm 66:9).  Nothing is impossible for Him.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Closing Comeraderies: January {Creating Beauty in the Kitchen}

Closing Comeraderies: January {Creating Beauty in the Kitchen}

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January has been a crazy month, and I honestly wondered if I was going to manage to post a “Closing Comeraderies.”  However, Lori from Creating Beauty in the Kitchen agreed to share a recipe, and I managed to eek out a post.

Lori used to hate cooking, but as her husband’s pastoral life grew busier, she discovered that cooking wasn’t so bad after all, and it served as a great creative outlet.  In addition to tasty recipes, Lori’s blog has many beautiful crafting projects.  I hope you enjoy her post!

When Kat asked me to be her “Closing Comerade”, I was super excited and honored to be asked! I mean, Kat is Kat. She is fun and spunky…her profile pic says it all! 🙂 And I just love her “9 lives!” So creative! I thought I would bring what has been in my kitchen over here for you all to enjoy. I love going downstairs, not having any plan for what I am going to make, and then creating something that surprises me….in a good way. 🙂 That is exactly how this recipe was created. It is low-glycemic, gluten free, without any refined sugar, of course. 🙂 But don’t let that fool you, it is fresh and full of delicious taste. No, you will not see measurements on my recipe. It’s not that I am trying to make things hard for you, its that I really don’t measure when I cook. I play around with how much of each ingredients by tasting as I go. 🙂

Lemon Rosemary Chicken & Squash with a Creamy Garlic Wine Sauce

servings=2 People

*Created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

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Ingredients:

  • Lemon Coconut milk
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh Garlic
  • White cooking wine
  • Onions
  • Feta
  • Yellow squash
  • Boneless skinless chicken
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place chicken in a baking dish.
  • Cut up the fresh rosemary and put it, along with fresh squeezed lemon juice, all over the chicken on both sides.
  • Cut up the onion, and place the pieces on and around the chicken.
  • Cut up the squash and place it in the baking dish.
  • Combine the thick part of the coconut milk, garlic, white cooking wine, olive oil, feta, and black pepper.
  • Pour into the baking dish over the chicken and squash.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes.

We really enjoyed the fun flavors in this dish! And it was nice to have the vegetables and meat cook all together, instead of making separate things. Kat, thanks again for letting me come hang out here on your blog for a day! 🙂

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Thanks for sharing, Lori!

Be sure to check out more of Lori’s recipes as creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com.