Quick & Easy Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

IMG_7832Happy Friday everyone! I’m happy it’s the weekend, but even more so because I get to share a delicious chicken fajita recipe with you on the blog today. This yummy dish was introduced to me by my lovely friend, Marla. I’ve mentioned her before, you can see her in an obligatory friend selfie we took before consuming said chicken fajitas, or you can get to know her here.

My 1st Encounter with My New Favorite Chicken Fajitas

Obligatory friend selfie of Marla and I before we consumed said chicken fajitas.

Last weekend I went to visit Marla, her hubby and their sweet daughter – and had a blast I might add. We decided to do a little shopping one evening, but it was kind of close to dinner time – enter perceived dilemma, to eat or to shop?! Being the multi-tasker that she is, Marla had already planned a quick and easy dish for dinner; one that would cook while we were out shopping and also had a short prep time. Clearly I was sold on the idea!

The recipe was for oven baked chicken fajitas. That’s right, it all goes into one pan and bakes in the oven for less than 30 minutes. With Marla and I both working on the prep work, IMG_7845we cut the already short prep time in half! It’s literally cooking for dummies here and I love it! Not to mention, I was so impressed with the dish I came home and made a batch of it for myself and a friend this week. I even had enough left over to eat it for one meal a day since Tuesday and I’ve still got some to spare!

What You’ll Need & How to Make It

I know, I know – enough ranting about the recipe and just tell you what you need to be on the fajita train of deliciousness, right? I bet you’re hungry after seeing the pictures above; so without further ado, here’s what you’ll need to make your very own chicken fajitas on this feisty Friday night: *

Easy Baked Chicken Fajitas Recipe

*I modified the recipe a bit and you can do the same, as your heart desires and to your taste buds’ liking.

**You can find the OG recipe here: Color Me Meg’s blog.

Introducing New Blog Topics: Breaking the Existing Blog’s-Eye View Mold

Hello my lovely readers (not sure how many of you there are, but anyone outside of myself is a success in my mind)! I’m excited to announce that I’ll be expanding the topics I discuss on my blog. To date I haven’t really included posts about food, or products or even DIY projects – but that’s all going to change for the better.

I started this blog for many reasons, one of which focus on keeping people updated on my big cross country move from LA to DC. Now that I’m more settled I’m ready to spread my blogging wings. This blogger is ready to venture out and begin including other types of posts of a “lighter” nature than I’m prone to. If you follow my blog, you already know that I’m a deep thinker and tend to post about more involved life lessons or circumstances, but I’m also a creative thinker and love to be crafty!

The ladies I work with actually nicknamed me “Martha” after Martha Stewart because I was always cooking up something new or crafting up something I found on Pinterest or simply made up on the fly. I really am a Pinterest addict at heart and appreciate a great product find that makes my daily routines easier. I also really enjoy making stuff for other people – it’s so fun to give away food and decorative DIY crafts.

I plan to start branching out with the following topics/categories, so if you’re interested in anything related to them you’ll be able to easily find related entries by visiting my categories list:

 Cooking & Baking
Inspirations
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Products I Adore
& Recommend
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Creations for
Places & Spaces
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Bloggers: Friends
& Those I Follow
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Book Reviews
& Article Shares
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Discoveries
& Fun Finds
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With that being said, I’ll be breaking my blogging topic mold by sharing some fun finds from this past weekend, and then I’ll share about a super easy icing recipe from a random search online.

Stay tuned for those follow up entries this week – I hope you enjoy them!

20 Things You Might Not Know About Me Blog Tag

My dear friend (and roomie) Emilie Hendryx from Thinking Thoughts tagged me to participate in a blog question game – how fun! It was started to build community amongst bloggers and I love that idea. I hope to get connected with fellow bloggers I’ve been admiring for some time now, and also to share my love and respect for bloggers I already know and cherish as friends!
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A glimpse into my shortness, as shown off at the Lincoln Memorial last April.

Question 1: How tall are you?
The answer to this WILL NOT be a surprise to anyone who knows me. The question should really be “how short are you?” because I get that a lot. I think 5’2. I recall a doctor telling me that at one point I was almost being 5’3, so sadly I may have shrunk.

Here’s a fun fact: my feet rarely touch the ground when I sit all the way back in chairs.

JUST last night we had a very tall friend over for dinner (I’m talking 6’7) and when he found out my actual height he literally made a sound like “aww how cute and precious is that?” It was a bit over the top ha.

Question 2: Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?
Does creating things in the Paint program count? Because I own Paint creations for sure!

Or being super pale and “vampire-like?” I’ve got that on lock if it counts!

Let’s see, I don’t know if it’s a hidden talent, but I have the ability to be ruin surprises – without even trying to (although hats off to my mother for throwing a rad sweet 16 for me in spite of my ruiner teenage self being so stubbornly picky and demanding). I hope one day someone can actually pull off a surprise for me – I think that would be a good time.

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Meet teenage Jenn (far right w/ long hair) and some of the family; ironically this was Eater of the year I turned 16, so likely right around the time of that party I mentioned.

Question 3: What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?
I have more than one, so I’ll limit it to three (why 3? When I thought of limiting it to just 2 I didn’t like leaving out my 3rd thought and I also like odd numbers, so 3 it is!). Ha

  1. Not being able to find the “about” page. – I want to know about the person who is making me laugh or cry from a well written post and/or who is motivating me to try a new recipe, a new work out, a new book or a new craft.
  2. When I can’t easily find the categories list – I like to find out if they’ve blogged about anything else I care about.
  3. External links – I don’t like when they are broken or don’t open in a new window. It’s not as user friendly to have someone navigate from your site to see a resource you’re quoting.

Question 4: What’s your biggest non-blog related pet peeve?
LOL – again, there isn’t just one. But I will limit this to one in an effort to not break all of the rules of this post.

A lack of eye contact in conversation. I find it very telling when people don’t make eye contact and when they do.

Question 5: What’s your favorite song?
This tends to depend on the season, the year and where I am in life. Right now I’ve been playing the follow songs on repeat often:

  1. Elastic Heart by Sia, The Weekend & Diplo (Hunger Games Soundtrack)
  2. I Ain’t Leavin’ Without Your Life by the Nashville Cast
  3. A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay
  4. Three More Days by Ray LaMontagne (Life as We Know it Soundtrack)
  5. Give Me Faith by Elevation Worship

Question 6: What’s your favorite Etsy shop that isn’t yours?
I actually don’t have one. I haven’t really jumped on the Etsy train completely; but I hope to in the future. I want to exercise my crafting nature and sell fun homemade holiday stuff like wreaths, ornaments, picture quotes, etc. One day…

Question 7: What’s your favorite way to spend your free time when you’re alone?
Does people watching count as being alone? Because it’s one of my favorite things to do when I’m out and about running errands alone.

But when I’m actually alone and not interacting with others I like to work on my yoga moves – ha! – OK, that’s not true.

Let’s see, I actually like to work on “clearing my head.” My mind is constantly on and though I do an array of other stuff when it’s just me, I really like to be alone with my thoughts so that I can journal or pray out loud to clear my head and balance anything that’s going on. This tends to happen simultaneously when I decide to re-arrange or re-organize something in my room or the house.

Other things that get my attention while I’m alone include: reading, writing (I’m alone right now and decided finally posting this blog was a good use of having some down time), Netflix or Hulu marathons, and the occasional random drive or walk to explore new places.

Question 8: What’s your favorite junk food?
Does coffee count as junk food, because it is seriously a treat for me. But for solid snacks, I was on a pretzel kick for a while – I mean my desk drawer was rarely without a bag at the office.

But now that I’m back in the land of Utz potato chips, I would say any junk food splurges I have are usually between that brand of chip and Oreos.

Question 9: Do you have a pet or pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?
Nope. I’m not really a pet person right now in life. BUT if I could have a BIG dog, I would consider becoming a pet person. Or even better, if someone could figure out a way for me to have a horse of my very own and still live in the city, that would be great!

Pictures of my two beloved Darcys.  Fun fact: these images are actually from a movie date my friend Kim and I had last year. We couldn't be at the same house to watch together, so we watched our versions of Pride  Prejudice and talked/text comments and pics while we were watching. It was a good movie date.

Pictures of my two beloved Darcys.
Fun fact: these images are actually from a movie date my friend Kim and I had last year. We couldn’t be at the same house to watch together, so we watched our versions of Pride Prejudice and talked/text comments and pics while we were watching. It was a good movie date.

Question 10: What are your number one favorite nonfiction and fiction books?
Number 1? I don’t know if I would say these are my forever number one choices, but they definitely hold a special place in my heart and I could re-read these books ever year :).

Fiction – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
Nonfiction – Galatians for You by Tim Keller

Question 11: What’s your favorite beauty product?
They’re Real! Mascara by Benefit – the tester size works better than the full tube, in my opinion.

Benefit and Two-Faced are actually my favorite overall for make-up products and Glo Therapeutics are my go to for face care. The Glo line is the best thing I’ve ever used for my face and I’ve used MANY products (thanks to my good friend Emily for introducing me to this line)!

Question 12: When were you last embarrassed? What happened?
This won’t be a surprise to those who know me, but I don’t get embarrassed that often and if I am feeling embarrassed it might not be that evident. So I can’t remember a time recently when I was embarrassed; maybe when I got turned around coming home from the grocery store and it took way longer than it should have because I overestimated my knowledge of the DC grid system.

On the other hand, I could tell you of several times recently when I was embarrassed for someone else… Let’s just say that people are VERY affectionate in public places sometimes and it’s a bit ridiculous.

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Notice that fierce coffee glare in those eyes (oh and the vampire-like look). The struggle is real people. It is real.

Question 13: If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Coffee, without a doubt.

Question 14: What’s your favorite movie?
I like variety in life, so this “just one” thing is difficult for me in this post. My favorite movie has been Dirty Dancing since I can remember, but The Italian Job is a very close second (the one with Mark Wahlberg in it).

Question 15: What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?
Does none of the above count? I wouldn’t classify myself as any of the above titles. I was a dancer and I loved it. I was super involved in my church’s youth group and I loved that too.

I definitely did not run with the popular crowd or dress the part of the girls who did, but I also wasn’t completely disconnected or disliked that people bullied me or didn’t know who I was. I think I was probably somewhere in between; I’ve been a rather social person since I can remember, and that wasn’t any different in my school days (maybe someone from high school will read this post and verify if my perception was correct, or correct me by saying that I was a total nerd and unpopular person in their eyes 🙂 ).

Question 16: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
USA: Boston
Outside of USA: Germany or Ireland

Question 17: PC or Mac?
For Work: PC; mostly.
Personal and Work Testing: Mac

Question 18: Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?
If someone has a crush on me they better come out with it and make this grand romantic gesture already – in other words nothing eventful has happened in this area that’s worth mentioning ;).

Question 19: Favorite celebrity?
Female: Sandra Bullock – she seems super fun to hangout with and she looks great for her age!
Male: Robert Downey Jr. – this guy is hilarious and extremely talented!

Question 20: What blogger do you secretly want be best friends with?
Katie Farrell from Dashing Dish –  she just seems so sweet and fun to be around. I love how her faith is clearly the driving force behind her health habits. Her blog inspired me years ago and I haven’t forgotten that. 

In addition to my dream blogger BFF above, I’m tagging the following people to do this ’20 Things You Might Not Know About Me’ Blog Tag by answering these same questions in a blog post – I’ve never communicate with some of these bloggers, so we’ll see how this goes:

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Us in Germany back in 2005 (this is also further proof of my shortness power).

1. Marla from MIPRIP: Finding Joy – She is one of my closest friends from college – We’ve known one another for about 10 years and have remained good friends even with living in different time zones, states and countries during that time – I love her so much. Her blog is full of valuable resources, encouragement for women and insight about real life experiences.

2. Michelle from The Lucky Penny Blog – Let me start out by saying, this woman can cook! I had the privilege of being on the same team with her at work for a little over a year and I love this lady. I am still honored to work for the same company and collaborate with her from time to time. Her blog is full of fun, healthy and easy to make recipes – several of which I tried first hand from her kitchen last year!

3. Ann Voskamp from A Holy Experience Blog – She may never see this, but that’s ok. Ann is an author of a great book called “One Thousand Gifts” and she has this great blog. I really enjoy her unique writing style and truly appreciate the wisdom she shares in her posts. I also had the opportunity to hear her speak at the Women of Faith conference last year in Anaheim, CA. It was awesome.

4. Jillian from Refashionista – She’s another one who probably won’t ever see this, but I would love to meet her one day. She is spunky and creative and FUN! I really support her cause and why she started her blog in the first place – to not be wasteful, but to take old clothing and make it new. I like that message and she is quite witty with her posts as she shows you what she’s reinvented. I’m hoping to make a “refash” of my own soon.

5. Ashley from Southern (California) Belle – Let’s start with this: we have a mutual love for ModCloth.com and she has pink hair. That could be “enough said,” but I’ll share a little more about her. She is married to one of my co-workers, so we’ve met like once or twice at company parties, but I don’t really know her personally. But I think she seems like such a fun person to be friends with – plus she has great style and I secretly wish I could be as fashionable as she is.

* This blog post is a part of the ’20 Things You Might Not Know About Me’ Blog Tag started by April from Blacksburg Belle. She began this blog tag experiment to build community among creatives, help us bloggers to connect more and get to know each other better. This month’s topic is all about sharing just a little too much information about yourself. If you’d like to participate or want more info, check out the beginning post right here. 

Our Front Porch of Missional Opportunities

City life consists of busy streets, row homes and front porches! I knew I would enjoy moving to the city, mainly because I like so many things about the fast pace life of city living and all that comes with it; but I didn’t see myself enjoying having a front porch as much as I have. 

I mean, it’s fantastic. I know, I know: it’s just a porch. But it really isn’t just a porch.

IMG_4659Our front porch is this amazing window of opportunity every time we leave our house. When we see a neighbor sitting outside on their porch or walking by with their dog it can be (and has been) the chance to hear more of their story – more of who they are, who they want to be, where they came from and everything in between!

I was inspired to write this post because in less than 24 hours the Lord has provided opportunities for myself (and my roomies) to interact with at least 4-5 of the neighbors on our street. That’s at least 8 people who we didn’t know 7 weeks ago, but who we’ve been given the opportunity to get to know since moving in.

We are beyond blessed to have such a missional gateway. It’s so clear that we have been called to intentionally live life on this street, getting to know these specific souls. It’s really humbling and phenomenal and fun – and all at the same time.

We haven’t even been here for two months and I’ve learned about their jobs, their schooling, their likes and dislikes, their generosity, their curiosity about us moving here and our churches, their habits and more. BUT there is so much more to learn and much more investment to be made – literally it’s limitless.

When I left California the reality of my relational mission field changing so drastically was something I didn’t want to think too much about. Although I was confident making this move was the right decision, my heart was torn about the significant changes that could occur in the deep friendships I have built with co-workers and the relationships Emilie and I had been building with some of our neighbors. It’s still something that I have to come to terms with and balance properly, because physical distance is the reality. However, the Lord has not only been gracious to allow many of those relationships to continue and remain strong across the miles; but He’s also given me a mission field literally and immediately a step outside my front door.

IMG_3365It’s a porch that’s quickly being surrounded by the telling of stories. It’s a stoop that’s becoming common ground to share life experiences with people who were strangers less than two months ago. It’s a set of stairs that’s the setting for a witnessing opportunity. It’s our missional stepping stone and the door to our relational welcome mat (and our literal one).

I can’t wait for us to get a bench out there! 

 

 

 

Lonely in a Crowded Life

My blog topics thus far haven’t been too heavy, but today that’s not the case. The reality is that there are times in life where the air and circumstances are heavy; so much so that the weight seems unbearable. This week alone I’ve heard of some heart breaking things in the lives of people I love and in the lives of others I don’t personally know  – I just want to wrap my arms around them and say:

“You’re not alone in this. Please let me walk in this mess with you.”

Loneliness. Even typing the word is somewhat depressing.

Hearing about the struggles of others has forced me to step back and take a public look at my own battle with the dreaded state of loneliness. It may come as a shock (or not) to some of you who know me, but it is true that even a “social butterfly” like me has faced depression and loneliness head-on. In fact, I still battle to keep my thoughts and actions in check all too often.

Loneliness comes in many different forms, can be brought on by seemingly insignificant situations and reveals so many different things about our hearts. For example, I’ve felt completely alone in the middle of a crowded room with loved ones and I’ve also felt lonely as a single woman who desires to be in a relationship one day. I’ve experienced this feeling in times of great success with my career and in times of great emotional turmoil and loss that’s being shared with others around me. In a sea of hugs and great times I’ve felt completely alone, and in a desert of meaningful relationships and community I’ve experienced a deep sense of being forgotten, misunderstood and/or lost.

As you can see, my relationship with feeling lonely has been exasperated in different seasons of life – yet not all of which were “bad” seasons.

Speaking of seasons, I enjoy everything about them. The delight of a new season coming in with each new weather cycle makes my heart leap with excitement. There is just something about the “new beginning” aspect of the change in seasons that motivates me to re-energize. Needless to say, I do not appreciate when some seasons “over stay their welcome” and last way too long for my liking.

Summer in SoCal does this a lot. In fact, Summer is my least favorite of all four seasons. There were times when I felt like I lived in an endless summer during my six years in California.

But even Summer has it’s purpose and pleasant associations; though for an Autumn and Winter enthusiast like me, these things are difficult to identify. It’s been the same way in my seasons of loneliness and depression. However, once that moment of realization occurs I’m overwhelmed by the beauty that can shine through even the darkest and lowest depths of despair.

“Loneliness is a wilderness, but through receiving it as a gift, accepting it from the hand of God and offering it back to him with thanksgiving, it may become a pathway to holiness, to glory and to God himself” (Elizabeth Elliot).

The beauty I’m talking about is the working of the Lord through His Spirit and His Word. In the moments of questioning, in the moments of feeling overwhelmed by isolation, and in the moments of pain the Lord hasn’t been absent – my God has been there through it all and will always be there. This is a wonderful truth and I love the feeling of the Lord wrapping His loving arms around me and saying “I’m not going anywhere.” But I’ll admit that there are moments in my walk when this fact is not as clear to me and that this statement is “easier said then realized and embraced.”

IMG_7594It has been in those “dry” and “desperate” times that I’ve heard the Lord the loudest through others. He always has a plan and has brought “company” across my lonely path (even if it seemed like it took forever on my time table) in His perfect timing. Sometimes these individuals don’t even know how radically their words or actions were used by the Lord, but what mattered most in those moments was the truth the Lord revealed to me about my heart before Him, about my current valley, about my current emotional state and about where He was calling me to go forward from there.

My goal in this post is to emphasize with anyone who is going through the pain of loneliness (because I’ve been there; and recently!) and also to offer some hope through the encouraging words of others on the topic. Sometimes going through this valley is a lot like driving through Kansas – it feels like it will never end!  But it can end and there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you’re willing to see it.

If you take anything from my post please remember this: You are NOT alone in your loneliness. The Lord can use it and it can be a purposeful, though horribly difficult and exhausting, season of life. Don’t run from it, but by all means don’t hide from others as you face it.

“And yet all loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies, and itchings that it contains, if rolled into one single experience and put into the scale against the least moment of the joy that is felt by the least in Heaven, would have no weight that could be registered at all. Bad cannot succeed even in being bad as truly as good is good.”(C.S. Lewis)

I mean this from the bottom of my heart, if you need a friend I’ll be there. You can contact me via email (ablogseyeview@gmail.com) and I will answer – even if I don’t know you. That is how important it is to me that you no longer feel alone in this tricky battle.

Below I’ve included links to a sermon series (from The Village Church of course) that I found encouraging. Below that are some verses that serve as necessary reminders in the midst of a very real struggle that all humans face.

Links to “Only the Lonely” Sermon Series: *
The Pain of Loneliness
The Joy of the Hiding Place
The Jewel of the Wilderness
The Hope of the Exile

*you can get the MP3 or for you readers, they have the transcript available.

Encouraging Verses: *

I Corinthians 10:13 -14 | Psalm 119:143
Hebrews 13:5-6  |  Romans 8:31-37  |  Psalm 16:11
Psalm 1:1-3  |  Matthew 11:28  |  Psalm 46:10
Psalm 55:22 | Hebrews 2:1-18 | Philippians 4: 4-9

*These verses/passages are worth the read and I encourage you to take the time to meditate on them this week. They are only a fraction of  what God’s Word has to say about loneliness.