Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Learning to trust

Learning to trust that God is in control and has my best interests at heart is difficult. As in, it is powerfully and overwhelmingly difficult at times. But, I suppose that’s part of my journey in learning to get closer to the heart of Christ and grow in my faith.

I found out today that one of my biggest dreams (and I feel, calling on my life) to go to Cambodia and work with victims of sex trafficking* is not going to happen… or at least not right now. You see, that was why I decided to pursue my Masters in Social Work to begin with. It’s true that I started this graduate program because I felt called to this profession, but I specifically feel a calling to Cambodia and have for years. It was my hope (and still is) that through my experience at Baylor and my social work education, that I would have the opportunity to not only help sex trafficking victims in my own country but in international locations as well.

It was my impression when I started this journey in the Spring of 2009 that I would not only become well-versed in the social work ideals and profession, but that doors would be opened for me to use those skills and training to help others in Cambodia. Fast forward to this past Friday, when I found out (by accident it seemed) that there is a team from the school going to Cambodia a few days after graduation in May 2011 to work with this unique population group. I was elated! However, due to some difficult situations, I found out today that I can’t go.

In some ways I feel like it is okay. I know that God is in control and that what needs to happen will happen, but on HIS schedule, not mine. Even though I know that is true deep within my heart, I also still have the feeling that my dream has been crushed. Sounds silly, I know. “I have my whole life ahead of me” and “there will be plenty of other opportunities” are the words that have already been said to me. Perhaps that is true. I don’t know.

I’m currently in the hardest part of the graduate program, which has generated an incredible amount of stress for me. On top of the stress of school, I’ve been having doubts about whether or not I even belong in this profession. I’m not sure if that comes from my stress about the pile of work before me that still must be done before graduation, or other frustrations I’m having with the profession. Or, perhaps it is my confusion about how I’m ever going to get into the specific field within this profession that I want to work in, if the doors that need to be opened to give me the required experience (such as working in Cambodia or an internship related to this specialty) don’t actually happen. There are a million different specialties within the social work profession, and yet I feel like so few of them are things I’d actually want to spend my life doing.

But, like I mentioned, I suppose this is where trusting God really comes into play. I know that He has a plan for me which is even better than what I have for myself that He has shown time and time again (most notably and recently with my marriage to Luke). Yet it is so hard to see “the reason” that I came to graduate school (Cambodia) right before my eyes and then see it pulled away again. I can’t help but wonder why this would happen. I have to just keep trusting Christ though; that there are reasons for this to happen and that even better circumstances will be presented to me eventually.

In the end, I don’t know why this has happen. I don’t know why I even was alerted to the trip to Cambodia if it was something that God was not ready for me to experience at this time. But I give praise to Him. I give praise that He has through my experiences in this program given me the most wonderful and special people to bless my life (specifically my husband Luke, my dear friend Erin, and our wonderful church lifegroup). I praise Christ that He has a reason for me being here and going through this process, and I’m trying to trust in Him that in time, all things will be revealed as to the plan He has for me. It’s certainly an ongoing process though. Of that I am certain.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” – Hebrews 11:1

*If you're interested in learning more about the devastating culture of sex-trafficking, check out the following links:

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Don't just breathe in and out. Live a life worth living! - Saleta

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hummingbird Cupcake Muffins

What is a hummingbird cupcake might you ask? It's a delicious Southern classic cake of nuts (pecans or walnuts), bananas, and pineapple. Crazy sounding I know, but just try it. You'll be hooked!

Hummingbird Cupcakes/Muffins
(Recipe borrowed from Southern Living Magazine)

• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3 large eggs, beaten
• 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
• 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 2 cups chopped bananas

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour cupcake pans. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.

Stir in vanilla, pineapple, pecans, and bananas.

Pour batter into cupcake pans. Bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then, remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

After cooling, frost cupcakes. Garnish, if desired.

Makes about 20 large or 30 regular-sized cupcakes.
Cream cheese frosting
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1 and 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

Don't just breathe in and out. Live a life worth living!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tuscan Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

This pasta is delicious! Super simple to make while also very filling. Perfect for a lighter meal. Combine with a nice leafy green salad and water or lemonade and it makes for a wonderful dinner.

Tuscan Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
(Taken and tweaked a bit from


1/2 pound pasta, cooked to al dente*
2 chicken breasts
1/2 Cup - 1 Cup salad dressing or marinade*
3 strips bacon, fried until crisp and crumbled*
12 roasted Roma tomatoes (24 halves), sliced into wide strips or 8-10 thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes*
1/2 cup fresh pesto (store bought or homemade)
1/4 Parmesan cheese
fresh basil leaves for garnish


Marinate chicken in salad dressing/marinade for about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook chicken for 25 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is sliced. Slice into thin strips. While chicken is baking, cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente.

After the pasta is done cooking, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the pesto into the pasta and toss until evenly mixed in. Add the tomatoes, crumbled bacon and chicken, and toss again until evenly distributed. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top, add basil leaves for garnish and serve immediately.

*I used radiatori pasta, Sun Dried Tomato salad dressing by Kraft. Also, I did not have Roma tomatoes or  any bacon on hand, so I simply used some Hormel bacon bits we had and sliced up some dry packed sun-dried tomatoes.


Don't just breathe in and out. Live a life worth living!