Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Review: Primal

This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

I'll confess: I've only read about half of this book so far (I started Andrew Peterson's North! Or Be Eaten! and could.not.put.it.down.  It's that good--seriously).  The first chapter was a bit slow (maybe due to the fact that I was raised in the church), but Primal gets better as you go along.

Batterson has some good things to say--I especially liked his concept of an income ceiling.  Basically, you set an amount you need to live on and then any money you make over that is given away.  Obviously, it will need to be adjusted at times for having kids, etc., but Chris and I love the idea and are hoping to implement it in our budget.  I also appreciated his desire to get rid of the clutter found in much of Western Christianity.

My biggest issues with the book are two fold, and one is really more of a pet peeve than big issue.  I don't like it when authors quote Scripture without citing it in the text. I really don't like it.  It may stem from my Bible quizzing days, but I want to see the reference!  Batterson isn't using Scripture out of context (that I saw), but still...this girl wants references in the text and not the footnotes.  Also, the fact that every chapter starts with an anecdote or illustration is a bit tiring, but again, that's probably just me.

Secondly (and this comes up mostly in the money chapter), I'm a bit uneasy with linking generosity and the blessing of God as Batterson does.  Specifically, on page 48 he talks about how he believes "God will bless National Community Church [the church he pastors] in proportion to two things: how much money we give to missions and how we care for the poor in our city."  I could be wrong (certainly wouldn't be the first time), but I think God will bless on His own terms, and not ours.

So, read with a grain of salt--that's my advice thus far.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

24 While 24

Each year on (or around) my birthday, I (list girl) make a list of new things I did during my previous year of life.  Why? Because I can. And because I'm an odd little duck.  So, without further adieu, here are 24 things I did (for the first time) while 24...

1. Got married!
2. Got engaged :)
3. Kissed
4. Tried on wedding dresses
5. Found THE dress
6. Went on a honeymoon
7. Went through pre-marital counseling
8. Changed my last name
9. Moved away from a city I said I'd never leave
10. Agreed to move to a house without seeing pictures of the inside
11. Went engagement ring shopping
12. Made something that turned out just like the magazine cover (this has been a long-time life goal)
13. Was the schedule girl and 'go to girl' for children's ministry
14. Quit a full time job
15. Became a stay at home wife
16. Watched my niece be born
17. Made an Advent wreath
18. Went into the woods with Chris to chop down our Christmas tree
19. Celebrated my dad's parent's 60th anniversary
20. Lived alone
21. Played Risk
22. Won Monopoly (pretty sure this year was the first time)
23. Learned how to share a bed with someone else
24. Started to "officially" spend the rest of my life with the most amazing man in the world! :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Planning vs. Celebrating (Christmas edition)

During our engagement, I wrote a post about planning a wedding vs. preparing for marriage.  Now, I'm here to talk about the same topic, only this time with a seasonal twist.


In case you haven't looked at a calendar lately, it's November 22nd.  Thanksgiving is 4 days away, and Christmas is over a month away.  In case you couldn't tell, Thanksgiving comes first. (When is Christmas before Thanksgiving? In the dictionary!*)  Maybe it's just me, but I'm seeing more Christmas decorations in November than I ever have before.  I hear bits of many Christmas songs on the radio these days, and most stores are fully decked out for December 25th.  I am a firm believer in giving Thanksgiving its proper recognition--it's my second favorite holiday and one that is too often overlooked as just the start of Christmas season.


Friday night found me painting a Christmas ornament and then sewing a Christmas stocking while watching a movie with my husband.  Is that in conflict with what I just wrote about celebrating Thanksgiving? I don't think so, and here's why: preparing and celebrating are different.  So while I may be preparing for Christmas (sewing, thinking about what I want to bake and budgeting for gifts), you won't find me listening to Christmas music** or decorating my house in evergreens and tinsel just yet.  (God help me if I ever decorate with tinsel.  No offense.)  And you know what? I've found that "confining" my Christmas celebration to a shorter time of year makes it that much more special.  Christmas marks the end of Advent, a period of a waiting. Thus, December 25th is a day that starts our celebration, not ends it.


*Thank you cheesy childhood jokes.
** Just another plug for Behold the Lamb of God.  Best Christmas music EVER.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Popovers

I made popovers for breakfast the other day.  Warm, fluffy, delicious popovers.  Though they were too well done (still figuring out just how hot our oven bakes), they were fabulous.  Chris hadn't ever had them before, and I loved being able to introduce him to them.

Popovers remind me of life 15 years ago, when it was a special treat the day mom decided to make them.  I was  then (as am I now) amazed at how they rise and get hollow just like that.  No baking soda, no baking powder...they just rise.  I'm sure there's some scientific explanation as to how and why they work the way they do, but I don't know it. And you know what? I'm okay with that.  Some things are just better left unknown.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mondays With My Best Friend

YLCF Blog Carnival

Young Ladies Christian Fellowship is quite possibly the blog I've been reading the longest--I've been a visitor since before it was a blog and the girls there just posted articles.  They recently ran a 'Day in My Life' series that I, lover of people and their lives, found quite fascinating.  I love reading about people and their normal, everyday lives.  I know, I know...simple minds, simple pleasures.  Anyway, they're running a festival of 'Day in My Life' posts, so naturally, I had to participate, because my life is so incredibly interesting. ;)
Normally, I'm not a fan of Mondays, but I decided to do my 'day in my life' today because it seemed to hold the most interesting activities of my week. ;)

My husband, Chris, and I have been married just over a month; he works as a mechanical designer for an airplane company, and I am currently staying at home, job hunting and being a housewife.

The alarm goes off at 5:50, but Chris quickly hits snooze and we snuggle for a few minutes. :)  He gets up to take a shower but I stay in a bed a few more minutes.  I didn't sleep well last night and am still tired.  Once he's out of the shower, he reminds me that I really do need to get up, so I do that, shower, grab some yogurt as he finishes his breakfast and Bible reading and we hop in the car.

After dropping him off at work, I head to Fred Meyer for some grocery shopping.  I seriously love shopping at 7:15 am with all the retired people!  It doesn't take long and I'm excited because even though I bought a few things that weren't on my list, I was still $2 under budget.  One thing I realized when I got home was that I need eggs for dinner (slow cooker mac and cheese) but I was planning to buy those at Costco later as it's near Chris' work, and by the time I do that it will be too late to make mac and cheese.  Plan B is pizza, so I pull some homemade dough out of the freezer and hope it will thaw in time.  (Later investigation reveals that it has!)

Upon arriving at home and putting away my groceries, I catch up on e-mail, etc. and read my Bible and journal.  We're in the midst of painting around here--all the walls and most of the trim are a not-so-pretty mauve/tan-ish, and I'm thankful we are able to paint even though we rent.  Saturday we painted the bathroom light blue so I do some touchups on that while listening to some music from Mars Hill Church in Seattle (I love me some hymns!).

While letting the paint try, I work on this blog post and do some more job hunting.  A childcare place wants me to fill out an application...woohoo!

I work on the trim next.  It's a bit slow in some spots (it's pretty narrow) but once I get a second coat on some that's already dried, it looks good.  Then I text Chris during his lunch to see how his day is going and have some tuna fish and crackers (Parmesan basil Wheat Thins, to be exact).  One of my friends from college just had a baby, so I check out the photos on facebook and look online at Target for a new shower curtain.

Back to painting!  The trim almost got the better of me, but I was victorious in the end.  I think.  I clean up the painting supplies, do some dishes, empty the trash, etc., before getting my list and heading to Costco.

I'll just come out and say it--I heart Costco.  Even when they disappoint me and don't carry lentils.  That, teriyaki sauce and real bacon bits are all I didn't find, though when I pick Chris up from work, he informs me that the Yoshida's sauce I got is the same thing as teriyaki.  Apparently I don't read bottles closely enough.  We head home, driving past our dream house.  It's for sale, too, we just don't have the money to buy it. :(

Once we're home, we put away the Costco purchases and Chris works on painting while I dust, pay bills and update this blog.  We only have one good paintbrush, which is probably a good thing as he's much better with a brush than I am.  Much better.

It's a sunny, crisp fall day, so we go for a quick walk (my fault that it was so short....I didn't wear a good coat) before coming home and making pizza for dinner.  While it's baking, we start a game of Monopoly and continue it during dinner.  I've never been very good at Monopoly, but I've learned a few tricks from Chris and it pays off as he owes me $600 by landing on New York with three houses...and only has $300 after mortgaging all he owns.  I love my husband...and I definitely love beating him in Monopoly. :)

After the game is over, he does the dishes (yes, I am spoiled!) and we get ready for bed.  It's early but we're both tired.  We had plans to read The Jungle Book outloud (we started it on our honeymoon) but instead we  get into bed and pray before falling asleep.  It's been a pretty ordinary day, but when you're married to the man of your dreams, every day somehow seems extraordinary.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

And We're Back!

I didn't realize it had been over a month since my last post. Husband > blogging.  Our wedding was wonderful (pictures and a more detailed post to come) and our honeymoon was so restful, despite the fact that we kicked it off with a flat tire (it's a funny story, I promise, and NOT our fault. Really). We're now in Yak-town, getting settled and trying to be healthy again (it's not swine flu. At least, it better not be. I made fun too much of the pandemonium surrounding H1N1 to actually contract it).

Hopefully my blogging will be more regular now that I have a working computer (well, a husband with one), a house with Internet and am no longer planning a wedding or moving and currently don't have a job outside the home. (And I wonder why I was so tired the last four months...)

We're enjoying our first change of season in a land with (count 'em) FOUR seasons. Yesterday brought three boxes of apples and a box of pears into our house, some of which have been dried and more of which will be frozen.

I had about three or four days of good meals planned, and then I got hit with the cold/fever bug and haven't been cooking much since then, but hopefully I'm on the mend and will be cooking again like a normal person. Not going to lie--being a wife so far is very fabulous. Of course, the reason it's so fabulous is because of my husband, but I'll spare you all that newlywed stuff. ;)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Things No One Told Me

When we got engaged, I never realized…

--I’d become Queen of Gift Cards (there are 6 in my wallet right now)

--nearly every conversation I’d have with my mother would be about the wedding

--exactly how much goes into planning a wedding (hint: it’s a LOT)

--that I do indeed have an opinion on paper vs. plastic plates

--I’d go to the mall more times in the last 4 months than I have in the last 24 years of my life

--we’d feel so loved by everyone…seriously, between all the bridal showers, cards and people offering to help, I have never felt so loved

--this day would actually come. Unless a) Jesus comes back or b) one of us dies, we’ll be married on Saturday! J

Friday, August 21, 2009

North! Or Be Eaten


If I wasn’t in the throes of wedding planning and moving, I’d be curling up (or laying out, as the weather dictates) with Andrew Peterson’s newest book, North! Or Be Eaten. It looks to be a good, fun book and I look forward to having a chance to read it.

Here's the description:

Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby, mom Nia, ex-pirate grandfather Podo, Peet the Sock Man, and trusty dog Nugget flee north to rebel headquarters.

Their escape brings readers to the very brink of Fingap Falls, over the Stony Mountains, and across the Ice Prairies, while villains galore try to stop the Igibys permanently. Fearsome toothy cows and horned hounds return, along with new dangers: a mad man running a fork factory, a den of rockroaches, and majestic talking sea dragons.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Some girls change everything when they get married—last name, job, house, church, location, etc. While that certainly sounds fun and adventuresome, I was glad that there would be some familiar things in my life after getting married (church, and job, mostly). Ha. God has a sense of humor. With one swish of the pen, we’re moving! Now I’ll be one of “those” girls getting a new last name, address, church, job, bank, marital status (!!!), friends (hopefully there will be some of those), grocery store…everything. I’ll even have to learn to drive in the snow. (Y-town, beware!)

While it’s definitely sad to be leaving B-town (I’m pondering having our families and church as well as the mountains, ocean, parks and my favorite French bakery & cafĂ© move, too), Y-town holds a sense of excitement as we embark on a host of new adventures. It will surely be lonely (the days until I start work will be long, as Chris will be working and I’ll be unpacking), but that’s okay, because we know this is the best thing for us.

As scary as newness can be, two things are certain—God is going before us, and Chris is going beside me. And that, my friends, is all I need.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Book Review: Holy Roller


I picked this book because it’s about a demographic with which I am quite unfamiliar. I’m not black nor Pentecostal, yet the author of the book is white and raised Evangelical-ish (sounds more like what I know).

The book goes into rather great detail about the personal histories of The Body of Christ Assembly’s pastor (Frederick Eddington), his wife (Diane) and the author herself. It also examines stories of several people in the church, whose lives have been changed by Jesus.

It’s been a few weeks since I finished the book (that’ll teach me to wait to review), but I do recall the story of the church’s battle with the city to keep their land for a building. It’s a great example of the body of Christ bonding together and standing as a community.

Though I did question a bit of their theology (particularly in the areas of demon possession and gifts of the Spirit), it was an interesting read. It was also a great reminder that it’s the big things that matter—Jesus, the Gospel, etc. I don’t need to get focused on the nitpicky details like I tend to do. I have a copy to give away, so first person to say they want it gets a free copy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Planning vs. Preparing

As I alluded to in my last post, life has suddenly become a delightful whirlwind of wedding planning, moving and preparing for marriage.  Lately, I’ve been struck by the difference between planning for the wedding (one day) and preparing for marriage (the rest of our lives).  In planning, we look for a location, make invitations, dress shop and scheme about flowers and colors.  Preparing, on the other hand, means lots of prayer, talking with other married people, reading books, pre-marital counseling, working out a budget and finding a place to live.  (In retrospect, deciding between sunflowers and Gerber daises for a one day event is pretty superficial when you’re also trying to learn how to be a wife.)

Our wedding day will be a pretty well pre-planned day.  We’ll eventually know who will be there, where it is and what time it starts.  Marriage, though…who knows about that.  Only God knows all the details of that future, and though we can plan for that all we want (where we live, when to have kids, etc.), it’s ultimately in His hands.  That’s why I’m glad we’re preparing for marriage while being careful to leave our plans in God’s hands, as He’s in control of the plans we make for our wedding day as well as preparing us for our marriage that follows.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Engaged!




I've suddenly been thrown into the whirldwind world of wedding planning and am loving it...location? date? colors? bridesmaids? invitations?  These are all things spinning in my head right now.  But first, the story of our engagement...

Friday, May 1, 2009

I got to work a few minutes before 6 am 

(like normal) and was getting ready to start the day when Bethany (my roommate/coworker) informed me that we needed to run an errand for Swilson (the receptionist) and that I n

eeded my purse. Weird, but I grabbed it and we ran downstairs and outside. Who should come out of the parking garage and walk across the street but Chris! I was so surprised to see him and thought that he had maybe just come to say good morning (since I didn't know if I would see him that day), but after saying good morning (well, my first words were “what are you doing here?”), he asked if I wanted to go take pictures of the tulips. I said yes, but made sure he knew that I was supposed to be at work. He said not to worry about it...I thought he might propose, but I

 also thought that maybe we were just going out to breakfast or something like that.

We got into the car and headed to possibly the most beautiful park in Bellingham. The sun was just finished rising and the water was glassy...it was beautiful. We took some pictures,and then he got down on one knee, opened a box with the most beautiful ring ever (I can't stop staring at it) and asked me to marry him. I didn't cry, but I was pretty much speechless and wasn't sure my “yes” was very audible, so I nodded vigorously

 and said “yes” again.

After that, we went out to breakfast and then really did go to the tulip fields. Chris had arranged for me to have the whole day off work, so we also got to take the ferry to an island and walk around a town there.

It was an fabulous day, my friends, and I still can't believe that we are getting married!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Book review: Gardening Eden


Book review: Gardening Eden by Michael Abbate

Okay, I realize I slightly sold out in even agreeing to review this book because being green is an insanely hot topic right now. However, (as Abbate points out) we as Christians are called to care for and steward the planet God has given us. As he writes on page 37, “How can a red-legged frog or a gorilla or a spotted owl fulfill its calling if our carelessness or indifference has caused its species to go extinct? Are we responsible for God being less honored, less glorified less praised?”

On the whole, I agreed with many of Abbate's points. Part of it is my hippie side, but walking or taking public transit instead of driving solo and growing your own food are things I want to do. I like knowing where my food comes from, and can the exhaust released by vehicles really be that good for the environment?

The latter portion of this book contains practical tips on caring for the Earth. I would tend to agree with Abbate that buying your food locally is more important than buying organically because of the harm caused to the environment by the transportation of food. Also, he brings up the point that thick skinned foods (bananas, watermelon, etc.) are able to withstand pesticides better than those with thinner skins (grapes, etc.). Personally, I'd love to live on a self-sustaining farm and grow all my won food...but let's face it, that's not in my foreseeable future. So what will I do? Buy local when possible (plus, it's fresher and just tastes better; Washington strawberries are better than Californian any day), turn off machines and lights when not using them, continue to walk instead of drive and continue to recycle. These things aren't always easy (driving is certainly faster), but they tend to actually save money (appliances that are turn off but still plugged in continue to suck energy, thus raising your bills). Growing your own food does take time and energy, but as Eric Brende in “Better Off!” points out, “it often makes no sense to save labor and time when 'labor' provides needed exercise and 'time' is spent with family or neighbors.”

I'm of the belief that when it comes to environment vs. people or nature vs. people, people are first. (Jesus died for people, not dogs.) I don't think Abbate would disagree with me on that, he just didn't come out in incredibly strong favor of that belief.

There were a few points I didn't agree with wholeheartedly, or at least would like to research more (such as global warming and carbon footprints), but overall, this book approaches the whole environmental/”green” issue from a Scripture focused point of view.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Elijah

On Good Friday, I have the joy of photographing two month old Elijah.  It was my first “photo shoot” and I had a blast while learning a lot. Here are (in my opinion) some of the best keepers…



Monday, April 06, 2009

A Most Delightful Sunday

Yesterday was the most delightful of Sundays, dear friends.   It started with a wonderful time teaching Sunday School, an amazing church service (as always…convicting sermon), lunch on the porch with my favorite person (including parmeasan basil crackers and fresh grapes), running a few errands with him (flip-flops from REI are fabulous!), back to my house to make garlic mashed potatoes and strawberry lemonade with fresh-squeezed lemons and then off we went to Matt and Sarah’s for a yummy barbeque and time of throwing the Frisbee around and playing Uno.

I love life. J

Monday, March 16, 2009

recipe for a good evening...

six months of dating

+

rose petals on the table

+

delicious homemade dinner

+

cheesecake for dessert

+

(the most important part)

the most amazing man in the world

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Advent + Lent


This Wednesday, Feb. 25th, marks Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. I find it interesting that both Christmas and Easter—two of the biggest Holy days in Christianity--start with periods of preparation (Advent and Lent, respectively). During Advent, we wait for the first coming of our Savior; there's a sense of hope that He is coming. Since the first Advent, we eagerly await His second Advent.

Lent is more sorrowful of a preparation—we prepare our hearts for the saddest day, soon follow by the most joyful day.  We celebrate that He came back and are again looking forward to His second coming.

I've found that Easter and Christmas are both much more meaningful when I focus on Lent and Advent, because you can't have one without the other.  My dad talks about how Christmas, Good Friday and Easter are a three-legged stool--they all depend on each other.  That's true, and in order to celebrate those days deeper, we can't just show up one Sunday and say "He is risen!"but not know why He rose or what the purpose of His death was.  Without knowing the reason, how meaningful will our worship be?

Yes, it's ugly to think that Jesus had to "become sin for us" (2 Cor. 5:21) to satisfy the wrath of God, but the fact that He did satisfy the wrath of God fills me with grattitude and joy.  Knowing what I've been freed from makes my praise of God so much greater.

Lent didn't become something I was really aware of until college, and since then, it's caused my celebrations of Easter to be much more joyful.  This Wednesday when I leave church with the ashes on my forehead, knowing that the period of fasting and preperation has begun, I will be sorrowful, yes, but I will look forward with even greater anticipation to April 12, when I will exhange "He is risen!" "He is risen indeed!" with my friends and family.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An Evening Tradition

Whenever Chris and I hang out in the evenings, we make it a point to read Morning and Evening together before going our separate ways.  I’ve come to love this time and always look forward to it.  Last night’s reading was especially fabulous, so I thought I’d share…

We must not cease to wonder at the great marvels of our God. It would be very difficult to draw a line between holy wonder and real worship; for when the soul is overwhelmed with the majesty of God’s glory, though it may not express itself in song, or even utter its voice with bowed head in humble prayer, yet it silently adores. Our incarnate God is to be worshipped as “the Wonderful.”

That God should consider his fallen creature, man, and instead of sweeping him away with the besom of destruction, should himself undertake to be man’s Redeemer, and to pay his ransom price, is, indeed marvellous! But to each believer redemption is most marvellous as he views it in relation to himself. It is a miracle of grace indeed, that Jesus should forsake the thrones and royalties above, to suffer ignominiously below for you.

Let your soul lose itself in wonder, for wonder is in this way a very practical emotion. Holy wonder will lead you to grateful worship and heartfelt thanksgiving. It will cause within you godly watchfulness; you will be afraid to sin against such a love as this. Feeling the presence of the mighty God in the gift of his dear Son, you will put off your shoes from off your feet, because the place whereon you stand is holy ground. You will be moved at the same time to glorious hope. If Jesus has done such marvellous things on your behalf, you will feel that heaven itself is not too great for your expectation. Who can be astonished at anything, when he has once been astonished at the manger and the cross? What is there wonderful left after one has seen the Saviour?

Dear reader, it may be that from the quietness and solitariness of your life, you are scarcely able to imitate the shepherds of Bethlehem, who told what they had seen and heard, but you can, at least, fill up the circle of the worshippers before the throne, by wondering at what God has done.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

On Journaling

Confession time: I’m a journaling nerd.  I’ve journaled (nearly) every day for the last 10+ years, only missing a handful of days (yes, I am a creature of habit).  What started as a fun record of what happened during the day turned into a daily habit that has become a part of who I am.  As someone who processes life by words (especially writing), it’s become invaluable as I have matured and life has thrown some curve balls, both good and bad.  Writing down my thoughts and feelings each day helps me organize them in a (relatively) sane manner, and gets my emotions under control.

When I’m feeling stressed/overwhelmed about life, my preferred cure is to grab my pen, Bible, journal and head to a coffee shop.  There, sipping my non-coffee beverage and sitting in an overstuff chair, life seems to have some order and the chaos reigned in as my thoughts spill onto the pages in front of me.

My old journals currently reside in a box under my bed, and reading through them is always amusing, embarrassing and encouraging.  Amusing in the sense of “did I really like that boy?” or “I don’t remember that happening!”  Embarrassing because I was really, really immature (really), and encouraging because I can tell I have matured, and hope that I will continue to do so (and that my journaling will reflect that). 

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Behind the times

I've realized recently (with great embarrassment) that my blog colors and blog quote are both summer themed.  Good intentions will only get you so far in trying to keep your blog seasonally appropriate.

Maybe I should switch to something a bit more timeless...