Mid-Semester Update!

Fall 2011 has been quite busy for me. Fabulous, but busy.

This semester, I started my practicum training. Denver Seminary has a counseling center on campus, Shepherd’s Gate. It offers discount counseling services to the community, counseling provided by students (i.e. me!). People get counseling, and I get practice. All of the sessions are recorded and I meet with two supervisors each week. I have 5 cases and I can’t believe people see as many as 30 in one week — I am so exhausted after just 5! Although it’s challenging, this practicum experience has been extremely positive and helps me to apply my course-work in realistic ways. I can’t believe they trust me in a counseling room alone with clients! But, this reality helps me to depend on God more and more — I am realizing each day how much I CAN’T do without His influence, wisdom, presence, and power.

The first weekend of the semester was Labor Day. For the past three years, a group of college friends and I (Team Austin!) get together somewhere in the country. Our first year, NYC, last year, Nashville. This year, Denver! We had a fabulous time hiking, dining, and lounging in parks.

In Wash Park's flower garden.

One of my new favorites! Cajun-style brunch. Beignets galore!

Later in the month, my parents came up to visit and meet Dave’s parents. We took a tour of his dad’s sod farm and then had steaks at his parents’ house. It was so fun getting our families together and in the same room. And Remy was so happy to see her “grandparents”. 🙂

Dave and I took a short trip to the mountains to take a look at the amazing aspen trees and their new yellow coats. Another purpose of our trip was to purchase our season ski-passes. Copper Mountain, here I come!

Golden Aspens

Remy!

Denver also got its first snow in October. Before Halloween this year. Apparently, it’s a big deal here if snow comes before the 31st or not! Of course, the day it snows I have an 8 am class. Go figure.

First snow! On DenSem's campus

Dave turned 41 on October 19th. We had a very nice steak dinner at Del Frisco’s. I had my first medium-rare filet — it was so good!

Last weekend was probably one of my favorite parts of the semester. Dave and I took a trip to Austin, TX for a football game. I haven’t been back to Austin since I moved here. When we landed into ABIA, a sense of peace came over me and I just felt at home. My friend Rebecca came to pick us up at midnight and had two other friends in the car to surprise us! Just love my Austin community. We stayed at my old house on 37th and I got to reminisce with my old roommates, Emily and Mackenzie. I felt right at home again! The next day, I decided to show Dave some great Mexican food. We took a lunch trip to Trudy’s and went all out with queso, burritos, and lunch specials.

Later we took a walk around the UT campus on our way to the stadium. I journeyed down memory lane as I showed him my favorite spots. We then met my parents and friends at a tailgate where Dave was gifted his very own UT shirt from my  mom.

Dave sporting his new UT apparel!

Hook em!

A great day for college football! Kansas Jayhawks vs. UT Longhorns

I LOVED showing Dave my favorite parts of UT games and being a part of the crowd at DKR again. Again, I felt right at home and as if no time had passed. In the end, the Horns pulled it out without letting Kansas score at all!

The tower is orange!

On Sunday we attended the Austin Stone — the third major time I felt at home. I enjoyed being back in my old fellowship environment more than I can express. It was such a privilege showing Dave where my faith had grown over the past 6 years.

Overall, it’s been a great semester! Continuing friendships I started in the spring, exploring Denver, experiencing my first fall (it really is a season….something this Texan really hasn’t seen before!), testing the waters of counseling, and working to bring my worlds together.

Just 6 more weeks to Christmas break!!!

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Texas Trip #2

Dave and I made the lovely drive* to Round Top, Texas (18 hours!) recently to meet up with my extended family. Every 4th of July since before I was born, my dad’s side of the family gets together at our family farm. I have missed one 4th in my whole life — I was in Costa Rica one summer, so who can blame me?

We had a fabulous time. About 25 people total showed up, and Dave met them all with flying colors! I drew him a family tree so he could at least have some idea of what he was getting himself into.

So what do we do during a 4th of July weekend at the the farm? My dad bar-b-que’s for 2 days straight: sauce from scratch, chicken, ribs, brisket, and sausage. OH how I have missed Texas BBQ! We eat a lot, play corn-hole, nap every day, sweat, take (early) morning walks with the dogs, and just generally take a load off. However, there are two traditions we have done EVERY year: make ice cream from an old wooden ice cream maker, and go to the Round Top 4th of July Parade.

2 out of 12 tired dogs after a morning walk and swim.

Family members playing corn hole...under the flag of course!

We used to make peach ice cream from peaches on our own farm. But the peach trees passed away after years of drought. So, we found a new recipe this year; this time we used chocolate sauce, peppermint pieces, nuts, and rum. Needless to say, we will be using this recipe again! We use an old wooden and metal ice cream maker — no electricity allowed.  The task of churning the ice cream always results in a challenge of who can turn the handle the longest. It always gets thicker over time, so I try to jump in first. 🙂

Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients

3 cups half-and-half

1 cup heavy cream

8 large egg yolks

9 ounces vanilla sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

Place the half-and-half and the heavy cream into a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the head.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about a third of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F. Pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours until the temperature reaches 40 degrees or below.

Pour into an ice cream machine maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes.

(Courtesy of Alton Brown on http://www.foodnetwork.com)

 

 

Now onto the parade. Apparently, the Round Top parade is the longest running 4th of July parade “west of the Mississippi.” I believe it. It’s about 2 hours long. But very entertaining, as you can see. Dave was like a giddy little boy at this new experience; he soaked up every moment. From the beads to the beauty queens, the flying candy to water guns spraying us on a 100 degree day, the theater kids in their costumes and makeup to riders on longhorns, the old Buicks to the ancient John Deeres, this parade can make anyone smile for the duration of the show.

A real small town beauty queen

Dave snapping pictures of some very peculiar sights...

...Including this guy. The parade has the best people watching. Our own Independence Day Santa!

Dave caught a flag and some beads. I think we both have Tootsie Rolls in our mouths.

Cowboys riding some longhorns!

Abe Lincoln?

A fishing float. Why not?

The fam!

Dave and I. The poor kid in the background has probably been in direct sunlight for at least 2 hours!

On our journey back, Dave and I took a small detour to an ancient volcano in New Mexico. We drove up the cone and then walked down to the crater. From the peak we could see lava formations and rock for miles around the area.

Taken from inside the crater. Lava rocks everywhere!

In sum, it was another very successful 4th of July trip. Now, I am looking forward to taking a road trip to Telluride/Durango and then to Prince Edward Island (north of Maine, next to Canada) in August with Mr. Schlup!

*One of the main reasons we drove was so that we could take Remy. Yes, we took 4 days total to drive so that my dog could have 3 days at the farm.

She got the prime treatment in the car. In Dave's lap for over an hour.

My Summer So Far

I finished my first semester of seminary! I can’t believe it. It was quite the trek. But I did it, and did it with flying colors.

Summers in Colorado, if you haven’t been, are pretty close to perfect. Although I miss family and friends a ton back in The Great State, I don’t feel a whole lot of remorse after hearing about the weather ya’ll are having. So sorry. I prayed for major rain today.

My first summer adventure was a 10 day trip to Texas with Dave. First we went to our family farm where he met my family — we all had so much fun together. We went to Houston and took a tour of NASA. A Houston native, I have never been and can’t believe it. No family outings or school field trips. But, thankfully Dave wanted to do something “Houston” and that was one of the first things on our list!

The Saturn 5 rocket at NASA. This is only about 2/3rds the size! Dave is on the right.

Then we drove up to Ft. Worth for Sarena and Brad’s wedding (hello Mrs. Wright!!!). Dave got to meet all of my friends–it’s so great when your circles can merge! Overall the wedding weekend was a BLAST — my friends are the best and extremely fun.

Austinites at the Sarena's rehearsal dinner!

Me and Dave at the rehearsal dinner.

Getting ready to send the beautiful bride down the aisle!

We were provided with light-up guitar glasses and rings, maracas, and of course silver MJ gloves at the reception.

After Texas Trip #1 (another is coming in a week!), I immediately dove into a one-week class at school: Missions and Counseling. Although I don’t feel called to counsel missionaries or live overseas for an extended period of time, I grew in my understanding of people, counseling, and my own faith. My days since the end of class have been spent working on assignments (while sitting by the pool of course…). I did take a small hiatus and spend a few days at Dave’s cabin about an hour outside of Denver. Quite close to a Colorado paradise.

View from Dave's cabin. I would be jealous too.

My next big summer event is taking a road trip back to Texas (the farm) for a family reunion during the 4th of July. Dave and I are taking a couple of days and are getting to bring REMY!

I have also found a church I think I will stay at (Mission Hills)! I have gotten involved with the children’s ministry — Kidstuff got me addicted and I need my weekly kid-fix!

Anyway, I hope ALL of you are doing well, wherever you are. Send me updates!

Until next time…