abundant blessings :: happy father’s day

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   // as a father has compassion on his children, so the lord has compasison on those who fear him || [ psalm 103:13 ]

For this Father’s Day, my sisters and I put together letters for my dad to read throughout the next few months. Each letter expressed various things we love about him as our father. The themes of the letters came from a little book called, “Letters to My Dad” from the series “A Paper Time Capsule.”

In this post, I want to share just a few of the blessings our dad has given us:

from you I learned the importance of: service before self and giving wholeheartedly without reserve

one thing i’m glad we share is: our love for baking delicious chocolate treats

i always think of you when: i hear johnny cash

the best adventure we’ve had together was: travelling with you on your business trips

thank you for: choosing to adopt my sisters & i—we truly wouldn’t be where we are without you, literally

in the future i hope you: walk us each down the aisle; hold your grandbabies; and watch your family continue to grow & serve the lord wherever he calls

I recognize not everyone has a father figure or a dad still on this earth to celebrate with. It breaks my heart that so many have missed the opportunity to learn from and experience what a kind, caring, and hardworking dad is like. At the same time, it makes me all the more thankful for my family. We struggle with a lot, we don’t always find enough time for each other, we don’t always understand each other, but we are a family who has chosen each other in the most unique way and has chosen to love each other despite our weaknesses. And that is all I can ask for.

[ au revoir, hannah ]

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when oceans rise :: facing tragedy

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bridge | florida, 2016
     

// your grace abounds in deepest waters || [ oceans/where feet may fail, hillsong ]

Everyone always says the same thing: “It happened so fast.” Out of nowhere, in a perfectly unsuspecting moment, something that changes your entire life takes place in a matter of seconds or minutes.

 

A drunk girl is senselessly raped.

A singer in her prime is killed for no apparent reason.

A group of partygoers are fiercely attacked and massacred.

 

These are the facts of the recent tragedies that have made our nation recoil in horror, in shame, in grief.

Each day these same types of crimes occur. Maybe they don’t break the headlines or maybe they don’t happen to someone well known, but rape and murder and hate crimes and kidnaps and theft occur every minute of every day without fail.

Many of these perpetrators claim they acted “in the name of God” or for His approval or to gain entrance into heaven.

In turn, the victims often direct their outrage and confusion towards God.

The truth is: none of the general knowledge floating around in the world is enough to reveal who the God of Scripture really is—His nature & identity.

 

In the rape case, a woman was humiliated because…her rapist didn’t recognize her as made in the image of a Divine Creator.

In the murder case, a young singer succumbed to fatal injuries because…her killer didn’t value the sacredness and fragility of life.

In the massacre case, many lost their lives because… their gunman harbored deep-seated and misguided hate.

 

And who is God in all of this?

Did He turn His eyes away from the senseless assault? Did He shrug off the loss of another life? Murders happen so often… Did He tell the gunman to kill as many people as possible in order to please Him and receive a coveted spot in heaven?

Some people think so. Some people believe this. And I don’t blame them.

Culture’s idea of God is fluid and fickle. It comes from individual experience and from the media and from extremist groups’ slogans. There might as well not even be a God if He can do and say half as many things people attribute Him to.

But there is a God. A God who is never changing, who is ever watchful, who has died for life, and who speaks words of love.

Be angry at the deity culture has stitched together. That is not God. That is the thing we, as society, have created and now are left to fear.

 

The true God says:

 

“Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him for he is your lord” to the rape victim. She is not ruined and broken, but powerful and beautiful. She has a voice and an influence.

[ psalm 45:11 ]

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? … Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows” to the fans who mourn the loss of a sweet songbird. Her death has not defamed life, but made it clear that life is precious and to be lived as if each day were your last.

[ matthew 10:29-31 ]

 

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” to those who have lost loved ones or are traumatized or are injured from the mass shooting. There was nothing pleasing in this act of rampant violence. There were no rewards won for the killer. Nothing. Instead, the act of hate has been smothered in love as the world has joined together to mourn and celebrate the value of each life now tragically lost.

[ psalm 147:3 ]

I cannot claim to understand the anguish of the losses experienced. But I can understand their impact. I can see the results and the scars marked across people. And I am heartbroken. But I am even more determined to declare the truth about the God I know—the one of the Scriptures who breathes life, who calms storms, who loves unconditionally, and who has promised to conquer evil.

For: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? It is swallowed up in victory!”

[ 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 ]

 

[ au revoir, hannah ]

 

 

 

 

food critic :: favorite {local} restaurants

   

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shrimp scampi tortellini | coco’s bistro

// lately, i’ve been eating out a lot. not the healthiest thing to do, but it did give me an inspiration for a post i hope you’ll find interesting (if not helpful)!

I’ve lived in the Dayton area for around fifteen years, give or take. Over time, I’ve been able to make a list of some of my favorite local restaurants. These places have sprung up throughout the years and are unique to the Miami Valley. Here are some of the most delicious ones:

~Archer’s Tavern: featuring an all-American menu, Archer’s, located in Centerville, offers dishes like burgers, sandwiches, wings, ribs, etc. Their meats come from a locally owned meat market and the dessert menu includes their specialty cheesecake with flavors that vary each time you dine. Coming from historical roots, the modern day Archer’s Tavern was established by three University of Dayton alumni and is proud to support various local charities and non-profit organizations.

{ archerstavern.com }

~Coco’s Bistro: Jake took me to this beautiful little French bistro in downtown Dayton back when we celebrated our one-year dating anniversary. The menu presents classic French options like “Fried Brie,” “Lemon Risotto,” and “Shrimp Scampi Tortellini.” The dishes look like art and taste even better with deep, savory flavors and elegant ingredients. This restaurant definitely approaches the top of my favorites list!

{ 228coco.com }

~Meadowlark Restaurant: this unique restaurant, off of Far Hills Avenue, has a laidback, artsy feel. It offers bright, (mostly) seasonal dishes made from fresh, organic ingredients. Most of the dishes are simple, yet rich in flavors. A couple of my favorite, permanent meals include the “’Lark Burger” (a mouth-watering red wine cooked all-natural beef patty with white cheddar) and “Spaghetti Carbonara” (a warm, comforting plate of pasta with peas, egg, bacon and cheese).

–Meadowlark also has a sister restaurant that serves mainly pizza in the Oregon District called “The Wheat Penny Oven and Bar.” (I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard wonderful things about it!)

{ meadowlarkrestaurant.com }

~Pasha Grill: along with great service and a luxurious atmosphere, Pasha Grill at the Green Town Center offers a variety of traditional Turkish and Mediterranean foods. Their rice pilaf and lamb kabob, called the “Doner Kebab” is wonderful!

{ pashagrill.com }

~Salar Restaurant & Lounge: visit Salar, in the Oregon District, for a taste of Peru! This gorgeous, upscale restaurant serves everything from light salads to rich meat and seafood dishes to savory pizzas and vegetarian options. The waiters and waitresses are so friendly! Be sure to make a reservation before you go!

{ salarrestaurant.com }

A few other notable places include:

Corner Kitchen (American with local, natural ingredients; Oregon District)

El Meson (authentic Spanish and Latin American dishes; downtown Dayton)

Pies & Pints (not a Dayton-only restaurant, but features absolutely delicious & unique gourmet pizzas; The Greene)

Thai 9 (Thai & sushi; Oregon District)

I hope you’ll go and try out a few of these wonderful places and let me know what you think of them! This list will probably always be growing and changing; so expect an update sometime! (Maybe I’ll do an “Across America” restaurant list!) As they say, “there is no sincerer love than the love for food…” (or something to that effect).

 

[ au revoir, hannah ]