Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful for Thanksgiving

It's that time of year again. Autumn, Thanksgiving, and preparing for Christmas. Although I'm not a huge fan of the transition from hot summer weather to the freezing cold days of a Colorado winter, I do enjoy the perks of these holidays. The first snow is always exciting to me – the pure white snowflakes covering everything in sight, frosting the green pine trees and gracefully dancing in the air– everything outside at peaceWatching snow fall truly captivates me. 

"snowflakes covering everything in sight... everything outside at peace"

It is one of nature's most beautiful abilities and one of God's most beautiful creations. It emulates a perfect atmosphere for sipping hot chocolate by the fire and listening to Christmas music. I can also attest to being snowed in with 4 feet of snow just outside my front door– an invitation to go sledding in the street, build snowmen and snow tunnels, and the excitement of having a day or two off of school. As sad as I am to be missing some of these festivities, I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to get a university degree and spend time with lovely friends in a beautiful country. 

"an invitation to go sledding in the street, build snowmen and snow tunnels, and the excitement of having a day or two off of school"

And for those who are pondering why I am missing Thanksgiving (I have had a couple friends who have asked me what Australians do for Thanksgiving), sadly, Australians do not celebrate this wonderful American tradition (although Halloween is becoming more popular here, so perhaps in the future, Australians will adopt our Thanksgiving traditions? ). If you recall, it was the pilgrims and indians in Plymouth, Massachusetts who shared the Thanksgiving Harvest. Check out a brief history of Thanksgiving here! Did you know that it was President Abraham Lincoln that declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday?? 

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever" –Psalm 107:1

As I read all of the Thanksgiving statuses on Facebook and see the pictures of turkey, cranberry, and mashed potatoes on Pinterest, I can't help but get excited. I am so thankful for all of the years that I have spent time with my family at Thanksgiving and all of the wonderful memories (playing hide-and-seek, sitting at the 'kids' table, playing football, and eating leftovers the next day). Even though I'm spending this Thanksgiving away from my family, I am still so thankful for all of the blessings God has given me. 

What are you most thankful for in your life??

Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Being Tourists

This week my beautiful cousin is visiting me in Sydney! So far, we have hung out with koalas and kangaroos, gone to some of the beautiful beaches, had fish & chips in Manly, and walked around the The Rocks & Circular Quay, as all good tourists do! We have even been blessed with some beautiful weather and consequently got sunburned. Check out some of my favourite shots :)

"Ready for my close-up!"
My boyfriend and his new furry friend

How many koalas can you spot??

My cousin & I in front of the Harbor Bridge!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tips & Tricks to Making Delicious Home-made Pizza

I've been cooking on my own (and with friends) for about a year now, and have attempted to make home-made pizza on multiple occasions. This is the best way that I have found to make fool-proof pizza. I usually use an easy dough mix from the grocery store that provides the base mix and a yeast packet, and all I have to do is add warm water and knead the dough. (Pretty simple). I've found that mixing together this type of dough tastes much better than buying an already partially cooked pizza base, and it cooks much better in the oven. 

Step 1: 

  • Mix pizza dough according to package instructions. *Remember to use warm water if there is a yeast packet because this makes the yeast react, thus allowing your crust to rise* 
  • Preheat the oven according to the directions on the pizza dough package.
  • Cut veggies and prepare toppings. As for the cheese, instead of shredded mozzarella, I cut slices to layer on top of the sauce (but this is just my personal preference). I also bought a pre-made sauce from the grocery store which turned out to be pretty good. You can also use tomato paste, or even make a white sauce if you are feeling skilled or have some extra time. 

Step 2:
  • Flatten/roll out dough and lightly grease the oven pan that you are going to use. 
  • Add sauce and spread over pizza base with a spoon.
  • Assemble your pizza with your fresh toppings (I used red peppers, red onions, and mozzarella). 

Step 3:

  • Bake your pizza for the time according to the pizza dough mix box. (My oven was 240*C (not fahrenheit) and it took about 12 minutes to cook- but it depends on the oven that you use as most ovens are different). I would suggest checking it every 5 minutes. 
  • Enjoy your home-made pizza :) 

*If you want to make thick crust (as seen in the left pizza above), use a pan similar to the one pictured on the left that has some height on the sides. Pizza pans (like the one on the right) work well for normal crust. 

*You can also use pizza dough mixes to make delicious garlic bread- there are usually recipes located on the sides or back of the package. 

Comment below to let me know your tips for home-made pizzas and how yours turns out :)  *Kirsten

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator- Mahatma Gandhi

Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord- Psalm 45:11

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams- Eleanor Roosevelt

Love is the beauty of the soul- Saint Augustine 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Time

Election Reminder

As this time of year approaches, there is often a lot of tension that comes from the presidential debates, television ads, and the campaigning in general that goes on. But, as I was reminded by Annie from What She Saw, we have to remember that ultimately, God is in control no matter what happens. I think we tend to forget this when we get so worked up over who is going to win. As Christians, we have an assurance that no matter what happens, He is in control and He already knows the outcome.

 In God of This City, Chris Tomlin sings: 

You're the Lord of this nation,
the King of these people, 
the Light in this darkness,  
                              and the Hope to the hopeless.

As we go into this election tomorrow, these are words to remember and reflect on. We have so much to be thankful already- that we are a nation with freedom of religion and speech; a privilege that many countries around the world do not have.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


There is a certain peace that comes from being outside before the sun has risen; before everyone has woken up, when the birds, the ducks, and the rabbits have full reign of the earth. It feels like a completely different world: a calm and peaceful world without the busy everyday life commitments of work, busy schedules, and requirements of life.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ –Romans 5:1

I'm not someone who regularly ever gets up before the sun, but today, when I had to wake up at 5 to get to work, I experienced this sense of peace. The weather was mild; a perfect balance of the fresh feeling of morning mixed with the beginnings of summer, and for a person who is usually cold, there was no sign of any cool-weather induced goosebumps or shivers.

I imagine that this is what God experienced when he 'hovered over the waters of the earth" in Genesis 1:2. This is a sense of peace that I want to experience more in my life. As I have been studying the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22), I have been looking for examples of application of these fruits to my life. And today, I felt PEACE. A peace that was necessary. A peace that made me thankful to have experienced when I left my room at 5:45 even though it was early. A peace that got me through the 11 hours of work ahead of me that I was so anxious about before.

Thank you God for Peace. I needed it.