Rich Coffee Cake

I got this coffee cake recipe from my Mom, who provides me with pretty much all of my recipes.  She has made this a few times and most recently at Thanksgiving.  I really like it, so I thought I would make it for work tomorrow. It wasn’t too difficult to make, but does involve layering. This was the first time I used my bundt pan, and I probably should have left it in there a little longer before flipping it because some of it did not come entirely out of the pan. It should still taste good though.  ... read more

Outlander: My New Fascination

I am ridiculously enthralled by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I spent the majority of last year reading all eight books in the series so far and have been lucky enough to get to see the first eight episodes of the series on Starz. The story is about a nurse, Claire Randall , after the end of World War II, who travels through stones and ends up in Scotland the 1740’s, where she meets James Fraser.  Needless to say the story evolves and grows … I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read these books yet. The books are long and verbose, each probably averages 850 pages or so, but are so worth it. I’m anxious to read through them again, but for now I will step back and look forward to the next part of Season 1 on... read more


Today’s homily was interesting in that the priest defined Love in a way I’ve never thought of it. Today’s Gospel reading was Matthew 22: 34-40, which includes these words: Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your should, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22: 37-39 The priest started off by asking if we’ve ever said that we “love” chocolate, our car, our pets … and then said that what we really should say in those instances is that we “like” these things.  Because like is will and love is a commandment.  Like is fleeting, it will come and go as our opinions or situations change, whereas love doesn’t. He used St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition of love, which is “to will the good of another”. When we love someone, we want what is best for that person and we act on it to make what is best for them a... read more

My Strengths

For almost the past two years at work we have been doing a devotional Monday mornings to start our week off right. The past few months we have been going through the book The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. This week we started a new one called StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, which was really interesting.

There really isn’t a whole lot to the book itself, but where it gets you is with the online assessment that you take to find out what your top five strengths are. After taking the assessment and reading through the description in the book and the insights in the PDF, I thought that four out of the five were dead on. I’m not so sure about the fifth …

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House of Heroes Never Fails

I say that a lot, but House of Heroes really never fails. They played at Cross Church in Springdale with Rapture Ruckus and Cory Lamb last night, and I ventured up there with a friend of mine.

The first exciting thing was that I passed them in their van heading up I-540.  They were stuck behind a semi, and I’m sure didn’t want to pass it with their trailer.  I wonder if they were just rolling in or if they had gone down to Fayetteville for dinner.

My friend and I stayed near the back for Cory Lamb’s set, and then when all of the teenagers cleared the room during the set change, we moved on up to the front.  I watched HOH with much interest while they set up and did a quick sound check.  I gave a slight wave and mouthed “hi” to Tim Skipper, the lead singer, while he was messing with the microphone and he said “hi” back.

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My Ears are Still Ringing

Last night I ventured down to Little Rock, where I got to see two of my favorite bands, Relient K and House of Heroes, for the first time in at least two and a half years.  It’s been a dry-spell for me when it comes to concerts the past couple of years and last night was just what I needed to get back into it.

The show started about 9:45 p.m., which is rather late for me, and I wasn’t even in the door yet, which was unfortunate because House of Heroes was the first up, so I missed their first couple of songs.

As soon as I got inside, I parked myself right at the front-left next to two speakers and had my ears blasted out for the first two and a half bands.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

This was today’s baking adventure: Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars. My Mom used to make these for us when I was growing up.  The other day someone at work brought in (store-bought) peanut butter and jelly cookies for our potluck which triggered the desire to make these bars.  So I e-mailed my Mom, the great provider of pretty much every recipe I have, to get it from her.

It really was an adventure making these …

Mixing the dry ingredients was fine. Than it kind of went downhill …

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“Until Tuesday”

Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalván My rating: 5 of 5 stars I love a good book about a dog and “Until Tuesday” by Fmr. Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan is just that. This autobiography is about Montalvan and his service dog, Tuesday. Tuesday came into Montalvan’s life after his PTSD and other injuries, as a result serving in the Iraq War, became too much for him to handle. Tuesday helps him overcome the challenges these things present Montalvan in his everyday life. It’s stories like these that remind me what a dog can do for a person and how much God has blessed us with these animals. Dogs are more than just “dogs”. They bring comfort, joy, laughter, smiles, entertainment, friendship, loyalty, peace, unconditional love and so much more. The best part about dogs is that they provide all of that but don’t ask for much in return. This book also revealed to me how much pain our veterans can go through. They deserve so much and don’t often get the recognition they deserve or help that they need, especially the wounded veterans. Montalvan struggled for years trying to get the right help he needed and it wasn’t readily available like it should have been. I hope that others will read this book and get something out of it like I... read more

Coffee Cake

Here’s another essay I wrote in college.  This one’s called “Coffee Cake” … and it makes me tear up.  It’s about returning home after being away for a while.

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Light as Air

For the last week, I have felt a lot lighter and the eternal knot in my stomach has disappeared. I guess I didn’t realize how much the boy had been stressing me out and putting pressure on me to give up my life in NWA for him. It is an awesome feeling to be done with it.

I thought I was content with my life, and I was until the pressure got stronger and stronger, and than I was no longer content.

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About Me

I am Christine Bartell. Other than Web design, I have a passion for reading, writing, architecture and photography. Currently, I call Fayetteville, Ark., my home but I am always up for a new adventure.

define: Poonchka

from pacz-ki (pawnch-kee) n., pl. - a traditional Polish donut, filled with jam or another sweet filling and covered in powdered sugar or icing.

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