Archive for ‘Friends and Family’

January 3, 2013

Our Hope.

I have not blogged in a long while.  That seems to always be the case, and then I show up with a random blog post every now and then.  What I’m about to share with you is something I wrote at the beginning of June and wasn’t sure I’d ever share.  Today is a heavy day, and I feel compelled to share.

For those of you who do not know, at the end of this April, Adam and I learned that we were going to be parents.  This is something that I had dreamed of for as long as I can remember.  We were both so thrilled and couldn’t keep it to ourselves.  We started telling our family immediately, and slowly began letting our friends in on it as well.  It was certainly an exciting time.

Just after Memorial Day weekend, we learned that I had miscarried.  In a lot of ways I’d braced myself for the worst news, and then it came.  No matter how much you brace yourself, it’s a blow you never want to have to take.

Through grieving the loss of our child, I have experienced the peace of God in a very real sense.  It wasn’t just an idea or something I talked about, it was my reality.  Friends and family who have also miscarried shared with me and it helped to feel less alone in my grief.  The following are words I wrote just a few days after my miscarriage, and words that I pray will bless and encourage whoever may be reading this post.

For those of you who are friends and family and who are learning about this through my blog post, I feel the need to apologize.  I’m sorry that this is the method through which you are finding out.  Honestly, it was hard for me at the time to even have to tell anyone, let alone have to tell people who hadn’t even known I was pregnant to begin with.  I so appreciate your being gracious to me in this, and I hope that you can understand.  Thank you in advance.

Today would have been my due date.  Instead of welcoming Baby Robles into the world, I will go back to a normal day at the office.  It is, as Shauna Niequist calls it in her memoir, Bittersweet, “the day of what might have been.”  And yet what is, is.  This is my life, and it is a gift, hard things and all.  God never promised that I would be exempt from suffering.  But (and what a “but” this is), He has promised to be with me always.  He has promised to never leave nor forsake me.  He is near to me now, and for that I am incredibly humbled and thankful.  Only Jesus.  He is our hope.

Dear Family and Friends,

I wanted to take a moment and thank you all for the incredible amount of love and support you have offered Adam and I in the past few days.  They have not been easy, and I’m still not sure how best to process the fact that we will no longer be welcoming our little one into the world at the beginning of the new year.  We were both more excited than we can say, and were so anxious to share that joy with each of you.

I don’t know why God allowed it to happen and I refuse to plague myself with the questions we will never know the answers to this side of heaven.  I don’t pretend to know the mind of God.  So during this time, we are instead choosing to meditate on what we know to be true of God.  We know that God is good, that He is a loving, gracious and unfailing Father.  We know that He promises to work all things together for good for those who love Him.  We know that He is able to do ALL things, including that which we deem impossible.  Yes, we do know that He had every ability needed to allow our baby to grow and be healthy and to come into this world as we expected.  But we also know that God, in his infinite wisdom and love, did not allow for that to happen.  We rejoice in the midst of our suffering because we trust that His plans for us are good, even when they are not easy.

Jesus is not far off.  He is with us.  And beyond that, He is no stranger to our suffering.  God’s word says that Jesus was a man of sorrows, well-acquainted with grief.  We believe and trust that as we grieve, He grieves with us.  I’m reminded of when Lazarus died and Jesus came to his friends who were mourning their dead brother.  The shortest (and one of the most profound) verses in the whole Bible: Jesus wept.  He wept then, and I believe He weeps with us now.  We live in a world that is broken, suffering the effects of sin and death.  But we know that sin and death will not reign forever.  We look forward to the day of Jesus’ return, when the wrongs are put right again, and we reign together with our glorious King.  I, for one, am comforted by the promise that He will wipe every tear from our eyes.  That’s good news for a crier like me!

I believe that God uses all things for our good and His glory.  I believe that, though I may not see it now, this time in our lives is no different.  Our prayer is that God would use this to draw us closer to Himself, to root us more deeply in the truth of His word, and to do the same for each of you.  If any one of us might taste again (or for the first time) the goodness of God in Jesus, then this time and our pain are not in vain.  Our ultimate joy, and the reason for our hope, is Jesus.  We continue to rejoice in Him, and invite you to do the same.

We love you all and pray God’s blessing over each of your lives.  May you know how deeply God has blessed us in you.

Grace and peace,
Brittany and Adam

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August 15, 2011

Overjoyed.

On February 18, 2011, I underlined and dated three verses in my Bible:

Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
Psalm 37:3-5

I sensed the LORD was telling me at that time to quit “planning ahead”.  I was discontent with a lot of aspects in my life and had been trying to re-work everything to be what, in my limited understanding, would honor God the most.  I was reminded that He asks for faithfulness where I am now and that it is Him who prepares me for what’s to come.  I don’t need to know and control the future, because He knows it and He’ll carry and sustain me through everything.  I clung to those verses for weeks (and still do).

Two days before, on Feburary 16, 2011, I met Adam.  (If you can believe it, I wasn’t the one to remember this day.  He was!)

On March 13, 2011, I went on my first date with Adam to the Bronx Zoo.  From what I knew of him, I liked him.  I thought he was cute.  But I could never have known all that God would do.

Yesterday, on August 14, 2011, just five months after that first date, Adam asked me to be his wife.  I said yes!

I look back at the past five months and I see God’s faithfulness written all over our lives.  I see two weak, sinful human beings relying on God’s grace and being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I see mistakes being made and grace being shown.  And God has reminded me that He provides good gifts to His children, to those whose hearts are fully His.  I see how He prepared me, not by making me a good girlfriend or wife, so to speak, but by teaching me to rely fully on Him, to wait on Him, to trust in Him.  He had me stop trying to peek around the corner to figure out what was coming next and taught me to dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.  Not that I do it perfectly, but by His grace, He has enabled me.

The coming months will inevitably be exciting, and the past five certainly have been.  I am praising Jesus for every moment and pray that whatever we do, Jesus might be glorified and made beautiful through it.  This is all about Him, all about reflecting the gospel to the world, all about displaying His love.

This morning I am thankful for Jesus and the gift of being able to serve Him and make Him known.  This morning I am thankful for a man who loves Jesus first and foremost and who loves me well because of it.

To God alone be the glory.

June 23, 2011

Random thoughts for your Thursday

I’m really, really sad that I’ve been such a terrible blogger as of late.  I’ve got a lot of blogs in the draft stage, but I’ve come to a halt on most of them and need some fresh inspiration.  Prayers appreciated! :)

In the meantime, here are some random thoughts for your Thursday:

  • I’m quite certain I could live off a steady diet of hummus and guacamole.
  • I’m late to the show, but Greek yogurt is crazy-good.
  • I got stuck on 95 North approaching the George Washington Bridge for over 4 hours Saturday night/Sunday morning.  A trip that should’ve taken Leah and I 35 mins took over 5 hours.  How is that real life?
  • Before getting stuck in traffic, I enjoyed seeing DISPATCH perform live at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.  I have to be honest, I only knew a song or two prior to the show, but those are some talented guys!
  • I’ve been thinking a lot this morning about how quick we are to apologize for God’s character, and how often we’d rather change Him than to change ourselves… but He’s perfect!  May we seek, by His grace, to be more like HIM instead of trying to make Him more like us.
  • My sweet friend Kathryn will be here in 8 days.  I can’t wait to see her!
  • This weekend I’ll be in Vermont with my boyfriend, Adam.  He’ll be meeting lots of family members, including mom and dad, for the first time.  I’m not worried about it at all… they’re going to love him!
  • I’m seeing Owl City tonight.  I have a feeling I’ll be standing in a sea of 16-year-olds.
  • Adam and I are probably going to Ethiopia at the end of this year.  Please keep us in prayer!

Lastly, remember my friend Kat who is spending the summer in Ethiopia? Well, she’s there!  Keep up-to-date by visiting her blog: www.katssweetlife.com  Visit the “Kitty in the City” section to read about her time in Ethiopia.  I love hearing about her adventures and feel like a part of me is there with her.  Keep her in your prayers, friends!

April 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

To the woman who loved me unconditionally from the day that she first held me, the woman who fed me, clothed me, encouraged me, disciplined me, laughed with me, cried with me, talked with me, supported me…

Happy Birthday!

I thank God for choosing you to adopt me into your family and into your heart.  There has never been a day I did not know that I was loved.  There was never a moment that I questioned whether or not you saw me as your “real” daughter.  Someday, should the Lord bless me with children of my own, I know that so much of what I know of being a parent will have come from your shining example.  I hope that today you know how loved, cherished and appreciated you are.  May the coming year be full of exciting memories (like becoming a grandma to my very first niece!)

Happy Birthday, Mom.  I love you and I am incredibly blessed to call you my mother.

April 3, 2011

My friend Kat.

For those of you who don’t know her already, please meet my friend Kat:

How do I know her, you ask?  Well, Kat and I met for the first time here in New York City, at the Manhattan Diner on the Upper West Side in the spring of 2009 to be exact.  She was in the city looking at apartments because she would be moving here that July for grad school.  But before that happened, she and I, along with a team of other guys and gals, would be traveling to Ethiopia.

To make a long story short[ish], Kat has become one of my dearest, closest friends.  Besides the fact that she is hilarious and a great home chef, Kat knows and understands and loves something very special to me: Ethiopia.  For as much as I knew I would return there (and did… and will again!), I’m inclined to say I felt even more strongly that Kat would be back there.  She loves and cares for the Ethiopian people and their beautiful country so deeply.  The desire of her heart is to serve them.

Well, God has opened the doors for Kat to return to our favorite place this summer… for the WHOLE summer!  I couldn’t be more thrilled for my friend.  I cannot wait to hear about every detail and all that God does while she is there.  Would you please join me in praying for Kat?

Read Kat’s blog post HERE to learn more about the trip and how best to be praying for her.  She’s also giving you and I the opportunity to partner with her in financially supporting some of the organizations she works with while there.

Kat, I am so, so happy [and, ahem, a little jealous] that you will be back in Ethiopia loving and serving those that are always on our minds and in our hearts.  I am praying for you and praising God for all He has done and will do through you!!!  You inspire me, lady.  And I know I’m not the only one.  Love you!

February 15, 2011

Gewadegna

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” C.S. Lewis

Gewdegna… Amharic for “friend”.  I miss my friends today.  I miss them and yet I am aware of their influence in my life nearly every day.  I am aware of how God is using them to challenge me, to teach me, to change me.  I am also aware that so many of my friendships would not exist if it weren’t for Christ and the boundaries and barriers He breaks down between us.  I am struck by how different some of my friends and I are, and with others, I am struck by how very alike we are.  God uses both constantly in order to teach me about Himself.

I miss my friends in Ethiopia.  I saw a picture of some of the boys in Ambo the other day.  I saw the faces of Berhanu, Danny, Kaiyo and Tura and I thought, “Goodness, I miss those boys.”  I remembered sitting on the bus in Ambo pulling apart a loaf of bread and dipping it in Nutella with Kaiyo and my teammates and laughing at how aggressive we all were in getting to the Nutella first.  I also remember Kaiyo, ever the gentleman, making sure we got our lunch before he did.  Kaiyo, the boy who scrapes up just enough money to rent a small room with two of his best friends, the boy who probably struggles to eat (if he’s able to at all), and he made sure we got our meal.  Yes, my friends have a lot to teach me.

I miss Kathryn, my kindred spirit and my sister.  I find it mind-boggling that God orchestrated the events of our lives in order to bring us to Ethiopia to serve Him alongside each other.  I’m thankful as we continue to encourage each other, share our struggles and our fears, and grow in grace.  When I think of Kathryn, I think of that C.S. Lewis quote, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”  I am reminded through our many lengthy phone calls and Skype sessions of how the Lord uses the people in our lives to teach us and challenge us and encourage us.  I am learning that although transparency and honesty with others can be scary and difficult at times, it is in those moments that God teaches big lessons and brings healing.  He also reminds us we are not alone.

I miss so many of you today, friends.  I want you to know how thankful I am each day for you.  I want you to know that Christ’s love has been on display through you.  I want you to know that you are a gift.  I pray I can be as loving, encouraging, gracious, humble, patient, faithful, honest, gentle and kind a friend to each of you as you have been to me.

Whose friendship are you thankful for today?

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.  For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:3-6

June 5, 2010

Brunch with friends.

I’ve been talking for a while now about making brunch and inviting friends over to enjoy it.  Last Saturday I was able to do just that, and I really can’t wait to do it again.  There’s a minor problem here though: I didn’t take any pictures.  I know, who am I?!

I made the following recipes, which all come pretty highly recommended:

Fluffy Pancakes – I planned on lemon ricotta pancakes but the ricotta in my fridge had gone bad… uh oh. But these were classic and delicious!!
Bacon Cheese Frittata – I omitted the bacon and added broccoli!
Banana Banana Bread – If I’m being honest, this isn’t my favorite banana bread recipe, but was still good.

I also made fruit salad (watermelon, strawberries & blueberries), bacon (the good stuff from the deli) and sausage.  Everything was a hit and I can’t wait to do it again.

I don’t know what it is but I really just love to feed people.  I was thinking recently about my Gramma Fowler (my mom’s mom) who passed away about 5 years ago.  She loved to be in the kitchen cooking and baking.  She refused to attend any family gathering without bringing something along.  I see more and more of her in myself these days.  I’m starting to understand the joy that she found in that, yet I’m not sure I can articulate it very well.  I really wish sometimes that she was still here and that I could share my love for cooking with her and learn from her in the kitchen.  I’m thankful for the incredible recipes we have of hers and can’t wait to try more of them in the future.  They’re recipes I hope I can pass down to my own children some day!  And hey, if you’re lucky, maybe I’ll have the chance to share of few with all of you. :)

May 14, 2010

What's cookin', good lookin'?

Forgive me for the cheesy title to this blog post.  It’s early, and these things are still funny to me.  Okay, fine, you caught me… I always think cheesy things are funny, 7:30am and any other time of day.

I believe it’s been a while since I made you all hungry by writing about my recent adventures in the kitchen.  I’m not sure how many photos I have to truly taunt you with (you’re welcome!), but I do have some… Including some glamor shots of the LEMON RICOTTA PANCAKES I made last Saturday.

I suppose I’ll start by telling you about those…

There’s this great brunch spot in the city called Sarabeth’s.  It came highly recommended and if you know me at all, you know I love a good pancake.  Breakfast/brunch foods in general bring me much joy.  I think this is the case for two reasons: 1. Breakfast foods are delicious (it’s that simple); and 2. As a kid, my parents used to make a big breakfast on the weekends. Sometimes it was Dad making french toast, other times Mom making monkey bread. Either way, I just remember the huge spread on the dining room table, complete with real Vermont maple syrup (for which there is NO SUBSTITUTE), and eating breakfast together as a family or with friends after a sleepover.  Brunch just brings me back to those happy memories and makes me feel like a kid again.  I often say I wish I could be five again.  A much simpler time, and I was also a little peanut (seriously, I was adorable… and I’ve got pictures to prove it.)

Proof!

Anyway, back to Sarabeth’s… so not only was their restaurant on the Upper West Side quaint and the outdoor seating lovely, but I got these pancakes… these delicious, sweet, creamy (and did I mention DELICIOUS?) pancakes: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.  Now, while I anticipated them to be good, I have to admit, I was still a bit unsure.  I mean, does liquid gold (real maple syrup) go well with lemon ricotta pancakes?  Because, as a Vermonter, I can’t NOT use maple syrup… it’s an egregious sin.  Well, here’s the verdict on these pancakes:

  1. Delicious (because I think I forgot to mention that before… Oh, I said it twice already?)
  2. They taste like lemon poppy seed muffins turned pancakes and sans poppy seeds
  3. The texture is really light and creamy and fantastic
  4. They taste amazing WITH maple syrup or without (but as I mentioned, the maple syrup is a must for me)
  5. If I was a guy and Sarabeth was a real girl and not a restaurant, I would propose

Alright, that last one was awkward… but I dare you to try these pancakes and disagree.

After trying these amazing pancakes, of course my first thought was: How can I recreate these at home? So, I went on a little search for a recipe.  I found one on my favorite community-based recipe site, Tasty Kitchen, and decided I would start there.  I’ve also bookmarked several other recipes that vary, be it using more ricotta, less flour, etc.  I’ll be trying a new one either tonight or tomorrow morning and will continue to search the whole wide world until I find the recipe that creates the most Sarabeth-like lemon ricotta pancake.

Here’s a look at the pancakes I made (click here for the recipe):

Told  you it was a glamor shot…

These pancakes were, taste-wise, on the mark.  Super yummy.  In terms of texture, though, they were a bit fluffier than the Sarabeth’s version.  I’d like to get that creamy texture and think that the recipes that call for less flour and a bit more ricotta will definitely achieve that.  I’ll certainly keep you posted.  However, if you like a fluffier pancake, the recipe linked above is worth trying.  My roommate Anna said they were the best pancakes she’s ever had, so you can’t argue with that!

Next on the list are cookies I’ve made a few times before, but I think are probably the best cookie recipe I’ve found to date. Nothing too crazy: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip.  I love cookies with oatmeal but raisins ruin everything.  It’s funny because I love a good Raisinet, I really do… but start throwing raisins in cakes and cookies and I start throwing a fit.  I’m sorry, I don’t know why, but it can’t be stopped.  Carrot cake? Love it. Carrot cake with raisins? Don’t you dare.

I’ve gone a long way to tell you that this is why I love Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies… they’ve got everything good going for them.  The oatmeal, chocolate chips, and don’t forget the pinch of cinnamon that gives ’em that little something extra… And this recipe I’ve been using is nearly perfect in my opinion.  When I first made it I thought the amount of oatmeal was a little absurd, but really, I just love everything about these delightful cookies.  And you can verify all of this information one of two ways: 1. Make them yourself; or 2. Ask the friends I’ve made them for.

Hopefully I’ll have some more delicious recipes for you to try out in the near future.  I really need to find some taste-testers to keep on hand.  Is that what getting married and having kids is for?  Sign me up!

March 31, 2010

girls night!

I’ve been a part of Pastor Mike Doyle’s Tuesday night Bible study since July of last year.  I feel like I’ve grown a lot in my time there and have really met some amazing people.  Finally, after a lot of talking about it, us girls got together for dinner and fellowship on Saturday night.  We probably had too much fun.  I made lasagna, Tara brought salad, and Amber…. Amber brought the bread from Balthazar and the cupcakes from Crumbs.  This is just one of the many reasons we love Amber.  We ate, Tori played the guitar and we sang worship songs, and we talked. A lot. (Hey, we’re girls… it’s just what we DO, okay?)  We decided that it’s going to be a monthly thing and frankly, we can’t wait till next month! (Mark your calendars, ladies: APRIL 24!)

Sunday Tori accompanied me to church, Amber went to her church and the three of us met up afterwards for more quality time.  We got lunch at Chipotle in Union Square, headed back out to Queens to grab the guitar, headed to midtown east for Aroma Coffee (you’ve gotta try it) and finally, we ended the evening with Sunday night prayer & worship.  Our prayer meetings are always a really refreshing time and a great way to wrap up the weekend and head into a new week at work.

This week is already coming to a close, which is hard to believe.  Tomorrow is “fake Friday” for me at work, as we have Good Friday off.  I’m thinking I’ll spend some time in Central Park, as it’s supposed to be a beautiful day on Friday.  Then I’ll head to a church service, but I still haven’t decided on where… Hopefully I’ll have another post for you by the end of the weekend.

For now, though, let’s talk lasagna.  The recipe I made can be found HERE.  It’s delicious.  Seriously.  Some photos to prove it to ya:

Needless to say, there are no leftovers. :)  And those cupcakes I told you about? Well, we made sure everyone got to try as many flavors as they wanted:


And a few more photos from the evening:

(I understand that photo of Amber & I is a little awkward… okay, a lot awkward. But I love it.)

I leave you with this:  that lasagna recipe makes a decent amount of extra sauce.  Today, I came home, sliced & halved some zucchini, sauteed it in a bit of olive oil, added some leftover sauce, mixed with whole wheat penna rigate… and VOILA! Dinner:

March 24, 2010

when you wish upon a star…

Since my last post I have traveled to Orlando, Florida and back on a brief vacation.  Eileen moved down there in September so I wanted to go visit her, as well as my friend Kori.  It was so good to spend time with Eileen and see the life that she has down south.

On Friday, Eileen’s parents and her aunt (who were staying in Cocoa Beach) came to pick us up and we all headed to Tampa for a Yankees spring training game.  Those of you who know me know that I love those pinstriped baseball players!  They beat the Tigers 6-2 and I was excited to see A-Rod’s first homer of spring training and to see Mariano Rivera pitch.

My boys!

Best friends

On Saturday we got up bright and early to meet Kori and head to the Disney parks!  We started out at Hollywood Studios at 9am, then to Animal Kingdom, followed by Epcot and finishing it off with Magic Kingdom… where we stayed until midnight!

Needless to say, it was a LONG, LONG day.  But we had SO much fun and I felt like a kid again! :)  The weather on Saturday was absolutely fantastic. Sunny and about 80!  Unfortunately, the rest of my time there was a bit cloudy and cool.  Nonetheless, it was good to be away from the city and to relax for a few days.  Eileen and I got to spend a lot of quality time together and I think that’s something we both really miss!  It’s just not the same over the phone or through emails and IM.

Now I’m happily back in New York.  Today was a beautiful day although I think there’s a lot of those spring showers in our future.  I’m so looking forward to warm and sunny days in Central Park, wandering aimlessly and finding new little spots to sit and read a book.

This coming Saturday I’m having girls night at my place and cooking lasagna for friends.  I’ll be sure to post the recipe and pictures for ya!  I’m so thankful for the kind and encouraging friends the Lord has blessed me with here in the city.  It’s nice to step away from our busy lives for a bit and spend quality time together.

Hope you’re all enjoying the spring-like weather!