Wednesday, September 30, 2009

His Presence Known

For those who don't know or haven't heard my Grandmother passed away September 10th, 2009. She battled cancer for two years before our Lord called her home. This blog post isn't about her death, it isn't about her life, it isn't even about the impact she had on my life or the love we shared but it is about God's presence. This story is about his love, his grace, and his comfort even in the toughest of times. I think sometimes we forget how real and present God is in our lives. May this story be a testament to His love.

As I mentioned my Grandmother had been fighting cancer for a few years and as August came to a close it seemed things were beginning to go downhill quickly. My wife Marie had purchased the new Chris Tomlin CD in early September and as I work out of my truck a lot I asked if I could borrow it to give me something to listen to. Track number 5 "I Will Rise" really had an impact on me as I was struggling with my Grandmother's life coming to an end. The song brought tears streaming down my face as I pictured the words coming to life and my Grandmother acting those words out. I had my wife listen to it and she agreed it was a perfect song for this situation. Fast forward a week and my Grandmother passes away. We drove up to Amarillo to spend the night with my parents before going over to Miami where I was born and raised, living a mile down the road from her, and stayed a few nights there with our whole family & extended family before the funeral.

While in Amarillo that first night however I played the Chris Tomlin song to my parents and told them what it meant to me while fighting off tears. I said I'd like to have it played at the funeral but figured that all of that was already figured out and it was a little late to add the song. Two days later while sitting in the pew attending my Grandmother's funeral one of the members of the church came up and sang "I Will Rise" in the middle of the service. Wow, what a memorable and touching moment while that song was being sung. After the service my Mom asked me what I thought of the song, she was like, "that's the one you played the other night isn't it?" Well come to find out my parents didn't request the song. I wasn't able to talk to the lady who sang but the pastor told me she had been praying about what to sing earlier that week and he didn't have a clue which one she felt led to sing until she was up there.

What a peace to know such a loving and gracious Savior. God's presence could not have been felt any more than her singing that song September 14, 2009.

"I WILL RISE" by Chris Tomlin

There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say, It is well

Jesus has overcome
and the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise
When He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise, on eagle's wings
Before my God
fall on my knees,
and rise...
I will rise

There's a day that's drawing near
when this darkness breaks to light
and the shadows disappear
and my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome
and the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise
when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise, on eagle's wings
Before my God
fall on my knees,
and rise...
I will rise

And I hear the voice of many angels sing
Worthy is the Lamb!
And I hear the cry of every longing heart
Worthy is the Lamb!

And I hear the voice of many angels sing
Worthy is the Lamb!
And I hear the cry of every longing heart
Worthy is the Lamb!

I will rise
when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise, on eagle's wings
Before my God
fall on my knees,
and rise...
I will rise....
I will rise....

Spinach Black Bean Lasagna

I made this recipe last night and it was fabulous! Alan said it was one of the best lasagna's he's ever had, and I must say I agree with him. I served it with a delicious whole grain bread and it was a hearty but not heavy meal.

Spinach Black Bean Lasagna:

2 Large eggs, lightly beaten
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers, divided
2 (16 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (2 lb., 13 ounce) jar pasta sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
9 precooked lasagna noodles
Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro


Stir together first 5 ingredients and 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese; set aside.

Mash beans with a potato masher or fork in a large bowl; stir in pasta sauce and cumin. Spread one-third of bean mixture on bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

Layer with 3 noodles, half of spinach mixture, and 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese; repeat layers. Spread with one-third bean mixture; top with remaining 3 noodles and remaining bean mixture.

Bake, covered, at 350° for 1 hour; uncover and top with remaining Monterey Jack cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish, if desired.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Longhorns Survive Air Raid

What is it about playing Texas Tech each year that leaves me with this feeling of uncertainty? We can be destined for a national championship ranked #2 playing an unranked Texas Tech team and my stomach would still be in knots. My senior year in high school (2002-2003) Texas lost to Texas Tech in Lubbock,TX. The next four years while attending UT we defeated the Red Raiders on each occasion. The year following we made it five in a row. Then came the catch heard round the world that any Longhorn fan would love to have back in 2008 when Michael Crabtree dashed all hopes of a national championship with a last second touchdown to send Tech past Texas in Lubbock. It is no wonder then that as I attended tonight's match-up against the two teams I felt a bit light headed and sick to my stomach. It could've been partially due to lack of food or lack of sleep but any Longhorn fan knows that when Texas plays Texas Tech nothing is guaranteed.

Tonight's game was one for the books alright. I hadn't seen Colt McCoy so off in any of his previous collegiate starts. Come to find out after the game he had missed a day of practice and was battling flu-like symptoms throughout the week. You could see it in his step and his throwing ability, or inability finishing 24-34. To his credit his two interceptions were both tipped by Texas receivers before finding the hands of the Tech defenders. Excuses aside Texas was able to do one thing right tonight. Run. It was exciting to see a Texas offense come up with run after run. Tre Newton looked good... he looked real good. With a balanced offense Texas was able to control the game during crucial drives late in the game. Another highlight of the evening was the Texas defense. Texas Tech got their typical 400+ yards through the air people expect out of a Mike Leach offensive system but what was missing was the running game. They finished with -6 yards in the rushing category thanks to a steady Texas pass rush that caused sacks, fumbles, and timely interceptions.

The highlight of the night in my opinion came when Sergio Kindle sacked Potts deep in Texas Tech territory causing a fumble recovered by Texas. It was a huge hit that rocked Tech's Potts as his helmet rolled on the field to the shouts of over 101,000 attendees. The largest ever crowd to witness a game of football in the state of Texas sure made things difficult for the Tech offense. They continually shot themselves in the foot with untimely penalities. To their credit and a tribute to Potts' resiliency they drove the length of the field late in the fourth quarter to climb within 7 points before Texas kicked a field goal to seal the victory.

In my mind it was a classic Texas/Texas Tech game. Never underestimate the Red Raiders. I'm excited about the remainder of the season and happy to come away with the "W" no matter how many knots my stomach had in the end. If we take care of business the next few weeks it should be a classic matchup against OU with national championship hopes on the line come October.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ruidoso Recap (wildlife)

Mountain photography isn't complete without a few pictures of the local wildlife. Now while Marie was hoping to see a moose or a cheetah I was more practical with my expectation level. Actually she always complains about not seeing any wildlife while in the mountains but on this trip she was in luck. Lets start off with the infamous, if not overpopulated, mountain hummingbird(s).

Mr. Photogenic immediately goes into his best swan impersonation for the camera.

Mr. P decides he has had enough camera action and shakes his tail feather at me to ward me off.

Undeterred, I continue to take pictures until he flips me the bird and I figure I'd better let him finish his dinner.

Below the deck we threw corn down for the local mule deer and they came in numbers. I think I counted 10 at one time with 3 or 4 fawns still with their spots on.

I went down for a closer look but I think I may have blown my cover. Check out those radar ears!

I caught this little guy searching for food.

One of the highlights of the trip was Marie and I hiking up in the national forest. On our way back down the trail I spotted these two mule deer on the mountainside. The larger of the two looked like an 8 point that could easily grow into a 10 with the little guy a 4 pointer. I couldn't believe how close I was able to get and my telephoto lens didn't hurt either.

A close up of the beast. The antlers were still in velvet which was pretty cool to see.

Ruidoso Recap (deck)

I've finally uploaded all of our vacation pictures and want to share a few of the better ones with y'all. These are all taken off of the deck where I spent most of my time relaxing and watching the clouds roll in.

Post rain rainbow that Marie caught on camera just before leaving for date night.

Looks like rain is on the way. Cool pic that Marie asked me to take with the clouds down in the valley. Glad I listened to the wife. ;)

Dark clouds rolling in that ended in one heck of a lightening storm. Too bad I have no clue how to capture lightening bolts... believe me I tried. Left with a bunch of black pictures.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Babysitting Duty

In order to give Brad and Amy a dinner date out on the town the only two available to babysit were these Beans! Now it took some persistent persuasion for Marie to warm up to the idea (see picture below) but I finally talked her into it.

As you can see Marie is honing in those motherly skills that someday (say 2-10 years from now) she will use on our children! ;) While Marie is no stranger at taking care of babies, since she did help raise her two younger brothers and younger sister, I on the other hand am far from a pro. I'm what one might consider a spectator, at least that was until last night. Let me reflect on the experience if I may. There were quiet a few highs as I apparently am pretty funny, or at least funny looking enough to cause Ainsley to smile frequently. I'm also pretty good at making weird noises that kept the baby happy and wondering what the heck I was doing. You can only do so much though and after awhile my antics grew old and Ainsley grew HUNGRY! Without Mom around we had to improvise with a bottle of the good stuff Amy had left behind. While Marie was busy preparing the bottle I was left to keep an ever growing fussy Ainsley happy. It was a loosing battle and luckily Marie swooped in bottle in hand right in time for me to save what little hearing was left. After feeding the baby we were able to enjoy some more play time with Alan acting the idiot and Ainsley loving every minute. By this point she was getting a little tired and we had to resort to turning on the tv for a brief distraction. Low and behold the tv was tuned into MTV and Snoop Dog was performing on stage. Well Ainsley seemed content enough but to spice things up a bit I decided to do my own little dance that seemed to boost her happiness even more. My wife on the other hand thought I was complete nuts but isn't that what babies do to people?? We changed Ainsley's outfit before her parents arrived back so she was all fresh and clean (after Marie changed the diaper) and that about sums up our 2 hour baby-sitting experience. As Borat so eloquently puts it, "GREAT SUCCESS"!!

Now off to our own date night! Badda-bing baby!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Bean's Mountain View


While most were able to enjoy a three day weekend thanks to Labor Day these Bean's have been blessed to take a whole week off! Yeah we know, you're probably hating us by now but in our defense we've needed a break like this for awhile now. We were invited up to Ruidoso, NM to spend the week with Brad, Amy, & Ainsley Bean at a family friends cabin and just couldn't pass it up. We departed ABIA Sunday morning bright and early and as you can see from the pic we had one happy first time flyer!

Since arriving at the cabin mid-afternoon on Sunday we've played cards (Marie dominated rummy I hate to admit), spent some great time in prayer & scripture, walked the streets downtown, sipped coffee while watching the sunrise, got some altitude training in, watched some college football, cooked some good food, and last but not least RELAXED. To give you a glimpse of the view from the deck check out the pic below:

Two things in particular have stuck out since arriving regarding the weather. One has been the temperature in the 50's at sunrise and high in the low 70's and the other has been an abundance of afternoon rain showers. It honestly doesn't get much better than cool weather, clean crisp air, and an afternoon thunderstorm in the mountains. You can most definitely see the hand of God at work and we have been blessed to witness it during our trip thus far.

We'll try to post another update later in the week as we hope to take at least one hiking trip that should make for some good photo opportunities. I've got to get the grill fired up for some burgers and crack open a cold Coors Light as should be the case in the lower rocky mountains.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

That Bru

I realized the other day that besides mentioning we have a dog I haven't put up any new pictures of him lately. He is no longer the adorable little puppy he was when we got him, but now he's an adorable big puppy and has so much personality. He keeps us entertained constantly. We have lots of nicknames for him, here are a few that come to mind - That Bru, Brudy, Bruha, Bruce Bruce, Brucey, Joosey Bruce, Bru pup, snags, double snags (see pictures below) and others that I'm forgetting at the moment. Here are some of my favorite pictures of him.

Bruce getting a ride from dad

Just like a baby... but you can leave this baby in a kennel :)

I'm pretty sure he thinks the couch belongs to him, and it kinda does

the first night we got him he slept in this basket, now he barely fits

Hanging out with dad on the front porch!


"Double Snags"

This is what he does while I get ready in the morning, talk about a life of leisure!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

it's not just ravioli...

Veggie Ravioli:

I've made this dish twice and it's really good, and easy! There isn't an exact recipe so i'll just explain the steps and it can be varied to your liking. The first time I made it I didn't add the zucchini or squash but I had some I needed to use up so I added it this time. You can really add or take away any of the veggies.

1/4 of an onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves chopped
handful of baby carrots sliced (or 1 large carrot sliced)
1-2 celery stalks sliced
1 medium zucchini sliced then quartered
1 medium yellow squash sliced then quartered
sliced mushrooms
1 can pasta sauce or 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 and 1 can tomato paste
1 package Buitoni Whole Wheat Four Cheese Ravioli
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cut up all veggies. Heat pan to medium, saute onion and garlic in coconut oil* (or olive oil). As onion and garlic starts to cook down a little add carrots and celery, saute a few minutes, add zucchini, squash and mushrooms. Saute until veggies are mostly cooked through. If they start to stick to the pan go ahead and add tomatoe sauce(s). Season with italian seasoning or whatever herbs you have (basil, oregano, parsley, etc) Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a dash of sugar to the sauce, this gives it a nice sweet flavor. While sauce continues to heat, in a separate pan bring water to a boil. Cook ravioli according to directions. Add cooked ravioli to sauce and serve with freshly grated parmesan on top. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Graduation weekend and a new recipe!

Well last weekend we flew to Lubbock for Andy's graduation! It was a great weekend. Friday evening Bart and Becki treated everyone to dinner at Cagle's Steakhouse where Andy works. Dinner was amazing and we had a really great time visiting. We had a private room which made a huge difference in being able to carry on a conversation without yelling. After dinner we went back to the hotel and hung out in the lobby for a little while before heading to bed for an early morning the next day. Saturday we met at 8am to head to the graduation ceremony. For a summer graduation it was surprisingly long but so worth it to see Andy graduate! Congrats Andy, we're so proud of you. We had a nice picnic lunch at Andy's house before getting on the road back to Austin. My mom watched Bruce for the weekend and I think he was a little more out of control for Nana than he is for us. We found out he pee'd on the floor and when he pees in the house, he doesn't just stand there in pee's he walks around thus leaving a trail, for quite a ways Lauren said. He also wanted to play with Duke instead of sleep and he ran off chasing a dog down the street, those were just the stories they told us, I'm sure there were others. Anyways, we really appreciated them watching our little fur baby. He was exhausted once he got home on Sunday.

Andy with the delicious cake Becki made.

Andy, Grandmother and Alan

Andy and Grandmother

Andy at his graduation


Last night I made a pizza recipe that I make often and I thought I'd share it. I got this recipe from my old roommate Jessica, it's a recipe her mom makes and it is delicious!

Artichoke Pizza with Feta and Thyme:

1 tsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
1 sm. red bell pepper chopped
1/2 sm. yellow, orange or green bell pepper chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 tsp. crushed pepper
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 - 9oz. can artichoke hearts (quartered)
1 pkg. whole wheat naan bread (2 pieces in package)
Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup crumbled Feta
dried thyme

Saute peppers and garlic in oil, set aside
Combine next 4 ingredients in food processor or just chop and mix
Top pizza with artichoke mix, then peppers, cover with mozzarella cheese, sprinkle feta and thyme.

Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, or broil until cheese is melted and pizza is heated.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Am I a good steward?

I've been thinking a lot about how great God is! I mean really amazing... I was listening to a sermon by pastor Mark Driscoll this week about stewardship and how everything we have belongs to God we are just stewards of what he has given us. He started talking about "rich" people and pretty much if you're American, you're rich! We have more at our disposal than any other country, yet we're so wasteful with what we have. How often do I find myself wanting this or that and how rediculous it is when I have already been blessed with more than I deserve. I'm learning to count my blessings instead of worrying about what I "need" or don't have, and when I say need it's probably just a want, there is definitely a big difference. When you look at where your money goes it shows you where your heart is. I think a good question to ask is, would Jesus want you to spend his money this way? Just some food for thought...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Anniversary numero uno!

It doesn't seem like just one year ago we were walking down the aisle and saying our vows... yet here we are now celebrating our one year anniversary! It is amazing how fast time can really go by, it makes me wonder how much quicker each year will go by. Before you know it we'll be celebrating 5 years, then ten and so on. Hopefully we'll have kids by that point, haha. We had a great weekend celebrating. Since we were making a weekend of celebrating I planned our day of activities on Saturday and Alan planned Sunday.

Here's a little recap of the weekend. Saturday morning I drug Alan out of bed at 7am to get ready for a long run. We went down to Town lake and had a nice 9 mile run. We saw Darren Brown and his girlfriend Megan running. There were so many people out running when we got there, I almost couldn't believe how many there were. It did make for a much more interesting run than just around our neighborhood. It's fun to see the different types of people out there and the many types of dogs, so fun. After our run we went home to get ready for the rest of our day. I made breakfast for Alan then we took Bruce to doggy day care, aka Susan and Barry's house! He loves to go play with Mack, their 2 year old chocolate lab. We didn't buy each other gifts but decided to go shopping for some various things we had been wanting, well I ended up getting 3 pairs of shoes, not the typical first anniversary gift but I was excited. I know your'e probably thinking I got some girly shoes, but quite contraire I got some sperry's which I had been wanting for a while and 2 pairs of running shoes! they're more practical for my marathon training than some heels would be, ha. Alan got a pair of running shoes as well and some clothes he's been needing. After our shopping extravaganza we checked into our hotel, the Mansion on Judges Hill, and took a much needed nap. The combo of the shopping and the run took it out of us, so it was nice to take an afternoon break. We did have lunch at Whole foods during the shopping part of the day so that was fun. After our nap we went to one more store then decided to get some drinks at Vivo since our dinner reservations weren't until 8:30. Vivo was great, I think they might have the best chips in town. We had dinner at Fonda San Miguel and it was DELISH! We had a great salad and appetizer called Angels on Horseback, it's bacon wrapped shrimp with these marinated veggies that are so yummy! Alan had fish for dinner and I had a chile relleno, the food was excellent and we had a nice red wine with our dinner. We had planned to go play darts at Crown and Anchor after dinner since that was one of the first places we hung out but we were too full and tired after dinner so we just went back to the hotel. Here is a picture from dinner:

"Dinner at Fonda San Miguel"

Sunday was our actual Anniversary day and we started by going to Church! Matt preached a great recap sermon of 1 Corinthians chapters 1-6. After church we went home to grab a quick lunch and change clothes to go to Barton Springs but we had some cards and one of them had a check from my mom so we decided to go spend it! We took a quick trip up to IKEA to get a mirror i've been wanting for our room and we also got a lamp to go next to the chair Bart & Becki got us for our anniverary!!! We are so blessed to have such amazing family! Alan had never been to IKEA and he was a little overwhelmed to say the least. I could have spent a lot of time looking at stuff but he managed to get me out of there before I did too much damage. Good job babe! We finally made it to Barton Springs and was it crowded! The parking lot was a mess, but fortunately it wasn't too bad once we got in. Barton springs is another great place for people watching, so many interesting things to see! We had a great time reminiscing over our first year of marriage and setting goals for this next year :) Alan ended a great day with going to dinner at North, which I have to say might be our new favorite restaurant. We have found this dish that we love to get there and we now get the same thing every time and it's always amazing! I almost made the mistake of considering dessert after dinner when Alan reminded me that we had one year old wedding cake at home! We ate some cake when we got home and much to my surprise it was good, I mean really good, especially for being one year old. I thought we would take a bite and throw it away but I haven't thrown it away yet because I keep thinking I might eat a little more. I probably shouldn't but you never know. We had an amazing weekend and the most amazing part was just spending time with my husband! I'm already looking forward to what this next year will bring our way. Here are a few more pictures from the weekend.


Our Cake!!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's been a while... to say the least

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been busy but minus that excuse just a little unmotivated to blog and not sure why. I'll try to get better at this. Since the last time I blogged, I've gone to Chicago with my mom, sister and Aunt Susan. Alan and I went to Canadian for the 4th of July to see Bart & Becki. We also got to see Charles and Gayle in Miami and Andy came to Canadian too! It was a lot of fun. I'll post a few pictures from those events. This past weekend I went to Dallas with my family to attend Susan and John's annual pool party. We had a really great time except Lauren started feeling sick so we ended up coming home that evening, it was a quick trip but I felt bad for poor Lauren. The highlights were getting to see Britney, Megan and Chloe!!! Chloe is super cute :) Susan asked when we were going to have one of those and I informed her it will be a while, I think she understood. I am in the process of planning our 1 year anniversary! I can't believe we have already been married one year! God has truly blessed us during our first year of marriage and I am looking forward to the many blessings, memories and exciting adventures we'll experience this next year! Highlights of our first year of marriage - spending all holidays together, being table leaders in the Newly Nearly Wed Class at church (a class we took when we were engaged and was truly beneficial to our marriage), getting a puppy, moving into a 2 bedroom apartment and having more room to grow, house hunting and deciding against a house, and I think mostly just learning more about each other has been the best part of this first year! I think between Alan's spontaneity and my predictability we complement each other and make a good pair! I love my husband!!!!

Delicious pizza at Pizzano's!!! Yum.

"The Bean"
Grant Park

"Navy Pier"

My beautiful sister Lauren!

Sisters - Mom and Aunt Susan

Lauren with the delish pizza from Giordano's

at Wrigley Field

The whole Bean family!

handsome Bean men!

Bart & Becki