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Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Snowing...

The snow's been falling for 12 hours. And I'm thankful I'll be home all day. Wednesday morning a car nearly hit me sliding at an intersection. Saturday I had to run a newly red-light because my braking wasn't effective. So, let's just say winter weather and I aren't on particularly good terms right now.

I got Jeremy out the door this morning for his 1-mile drive to work. And I made my way back upstairs into the warmth. Poured myself a cup of coffee (which promptly cooled down) and sat down to type a blog post about scones over at The Cooks Next Door. And now I plan to spend the next 6 hours or so baking cookies, reading The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball, sipping a hot drink, and if I feel like it, ironing the stack shirts in the living room.

All of that to say, I actually enjoy the snow when I can contemplate its beauty through the window or while traipsing about in it, not from behind windshield.

I hope you all are safe and warm inside and enjoying this wintry Monday.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Food for Thought

Although I'm sitting here with Christmas music playing and a warm cup of coffee perched on the desk, acting as if I have all the time in the world, I actually have to leave for work in a half an hour. So, I'll keep this brief. In my reading this morning, I came across the following two quotes (different sources, one a quote book, the other a devotional). While they aren't exactly related, both provided some food for thought and I wanted to share them with you. Perhaps they'll be mental fodder for you as well.

We are not citizens of this world trying to make our way to heaven; we are citizens of heaven trying to make our way through this world. That radical Christian insight can be life-changing. We are not to live so as to earn God's love, inherit heaven, and purchase our salvation. All those are given to us as gifts; gifts bought by Jesus on the cross and handed over to us. We are to live as God's redeemed, as heirs of heaven, and as citizens of another land: the Kingdom of God...We live as those who are on a journey home; a home we know will have the lights on and the door open and our Father waiting for us when we arrive. That means in all adversity our worship of God is joyful, our life is hopeful, our future is secure. There is nothing we can lose on earth that can rob us of the treasures God has given us and will give us.


There is indeed a war going on in the heavens, so we should not be naive about
the enemies we face. Still, we can be confident that the hands of God envelop us, and so we should ask Him to deliver us and to give His Word success when we are proclaiming it to people. Let us place the weight of emphasis on the Lord and His abilities and not on Satan's capabilities, for they are nothing in comparison to the power of God.

I do hope to be back with more consistent posts about life. But for now, this is what I have to offer. Have a blessed weekend.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Today...

I give thanks for a loving Heavenly Father who cares for my every need and is the reason I have purpose in life.
I give thanks for a husband who loves me more than any else.
I give thanks for job for both Jeremy and I.
I give thanks for family, without which I wouldn't be here!
I give thanks for friends, both old and new.
I give thanks for an apartment with character, warmth, and most of all a place to call home.
I give thanks for a church to worship in.
I give thanks for abundant food on our table three times a day.
I give thanks for the beauty of nature that is a reminder of God.
I give thanks for the beauty of the written word, music, and deep conversation.



As a believer, everyday should be a day of Thanksgiving, yet, I'm thankful for a particular day to remember the blessings of the year.

Today has been a very different Thanksgiving for me. In fact, it's the first Thanksgiving in my life that I haven't spent with my family. I'm not going to lie, that was a little sad to me. However, I decided that I still wanted to make this day special for Jeremy and me. I love Thanksgiving and holidays are very important to me (whether there is just the two of us or a whole bunch of family.

So, we had a quiet celebration today. Lunch was around 3. I made a turkey breast (6 1/2 lbs of it!), mashed potatoes, corn, steamed broccoli, green beans with lemon vinaigrette, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. This evening we put up our little Christmas tree. We spend quite a lot of time together normally :), so today wasn't terribly different. But, we did spend some time thanking God for this life and the many blessings He's given us.

I know it's late in the day, but Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's only the beginning...

The trees outside my window are trimmed in winter white. Much too early for my liking! For one particular reason (my commute to work which doubled when we moved back in March) I've been dreading this winter with greater intensity. And then Lady Winter decided to display her imminent approach with a half a day of snow flurries on the 5th of November! Oh dear.

Twice I've encountered this poem in books I've been perusing this week, and while it is indeed true and beautiful, I'm still not excited about 5 months of winter...

If we had no winter,
the spring would not
be so pleasant: if we
did not sometimes
taste of adversity,
prosperity would not
be so welcome.
~Anne Bradstreet


If you're not familiar with Anne Bradstreet (though likely many of you are), she was, I believe, the first female poet, maybe even writer, of the New World. In my freshman year of college I wrote an American literature paper comparing and contrasting Anne Bradstreet and Phillis Wheatley (African American poet of the 1800s, I believe). For that reason, I've got a bit of a soft spot in my heart for Anne.

Well, enough about winter! I'm off to spend some time in my cozy kitchen baking some pumpkins, trying out a couple new recipes, and generally keeping myself entertained on this wintry-like Saturday.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Family


This past week's been full of family, which is a rare treat around our place. Last Sunday evening my sister Alaina drove up with her boys (a little absorbed in Mary Poppins at the taking of this photo). They spent two nights with us. I don't get to enjoy the company of my nephews all that often, so it was fun to have time with them. Calvin and Patrick indulged us by reciting their many history statements their learning for school. Hearing words like Renaissance and plague and Charlemagne come out of their mouth is endlessly entertaining. Titus would have happily joined in, I'm sure, if he had all those words to say. Instead, he played with us and gave many, many smiles. Alaina and I enjoyed chatting, as well as talking food and blog related stuff.

Then this past Saturday night my younger sister Elizabeth and her husband Luke drove up. There purpose was two-fold...to deliver a futon and cabinet to us, and to visit. We didn't do much beyond talking, eating, playing some euchre (very evenly divided...guys won one, girls won one), and watching a movie called Frozen which I plan not to watch again. We also checked out an awesome new restaurant a couple miles from us.

This week is back to work as usual, which means I need to hit the shower and run a couple of errands before I head to work.

Happy Monday!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Resting

I have been a Christian for essentially my entire life. And I admit there have been a few moments where I thought maybe I was getting it all figured out, but the longer I pursue the journey, the more I realize I have to learn. And if arrogance ever seeks to overtake me, Jesus reminds me in gentle and not so gentle ways, that I must trust Him for everything.

This weekend I had a meltdown moment, of which the details are inconsequential, and I found myself despairing of myself and my circumstance. Through some Bible verses, my husband gently reminded me of my ever loving Savior, who has called me to be anxious for nothing.

Then on Sunday morning we sang the following song in church and I found tears dripping down my cheeks as I realized how frequently I choose not to rest in Jesus. After 20+ years, why do I still need to be reminded so often to let my fears go and trust in Jesus?

Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting

Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee
And Thy beauty fills my soul
For by Thy transforming power
Thou hast made me whole
O, how great Thy loving kindness
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee Beloved
Know what wealth of grace is Thine
Know Thy certainty of promise
And have made it mine

REFRAIN
Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art
I am finding out the greatness
Of The loving heart

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee
Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus
Earth's dark shadows flee
Brightness of my Father's glory
Sunshine of my Father's face
Keep me ever trusting, resting
Fill me with Thy grace

REFRAIN
I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart



As further food for thought and a reminder of the importance of being in the Word to foster that faith and trust in Jesus, this evening I was reading from 31 Days of Prayer by Ruth Myers and the following quote from George Mueller was included:

"Faith is not a matter of impressions or probabilities or appearances. Faith is the assurance that what God has said in His Word is true, and that God will act accordingly. This confidence is faith."

Monday, October 4, 2010

This Morning

I felt like my mom this morning, in a very good way. :) After Jeremy headed off to work around 8:40, I spent the remainder of the morning in the kitchen cooking and cleaning, all with the radio tuned to NPR. That is so Mom! And I was happy to be imitating her.

I made sauteed shredded zucchini, a pot of Creamy Dilled Carrot Soup, and a pot of Green Soup with Mushrooms.

For supper tonight we enjoyed the carrot soup, along with mustard-glazed salmon.

I haven't been much in the mood to blog lately, so pardon my long absences. I will be back soon.

Hope you all passed a pleasant Monday.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Reader input

Because I'm always on the look-out for a new good read, I'd love to know your favorite book of 2010. I'm reading Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall right now, with a couple more classics waiting in the wings. The new books I'm anticipating aren't released until October and November (The Great House by Nicole Krauss, Distant Hours by Kate Morton, At Home by Bill Bryson).

So, to help me span the gap between decades old books and those fresh from the publisher, tell me...

What's the best book you've read so far this year?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Foodie Friday

Today I am participating in Foodie Friday over at The Cook's Next Door.
Go over and check out their inspirational cooking blog, along with other reader food/cooking entries.

Earlier in the week I decided to surprise Jeremy with an Asian meal. When it comes to food, he's a huge fan of Asian food, but as he has Celiac disease, we cannot eat at most Asian restaurants. And, of course, homemade Asian food just isn't quite the same. However, I still make an effort to periodically try my hand at different recipes. This week: P.F. Chang's-style Lettuce Wraps and Thai Vegetable Soup.

I found the Lettuce Wraps recipe here, but had to make several modifications because I didn't have all the ingredients. Therefore, they weren't true P.F. Chang's-style. I used diced cauliflower in place of the water chestnuts and in place of the rice wine vinegar (which I really need to buy!) I used a combo of balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, sesame oil, and some spices. The verdict, pretty good, but still needs tweaking! Maybe part of that was because I didn't make any of the special sauce to go on top. I'd definitely make them again.

The Thai Vegetable Soup came from Elana's Pantry. I followed the recipe, with the exception of substituting chicken broth for the vegetable broth, baby bella mushrooms for the shitake, and adding dried cilantro, because I didn't have any fresh. I took a sip and tasted a heavy lime juice flavor. Jeremy said, "Interesting," (which isn't good coming from him) "it tastes kind of like soap." Well, I didn't think it tasted quite like that, but I felt the flavors didn't meld like they needed to. However, I did eat leftovers for lunch the next day and found it tastier.

Unfortunately Jeremy finished up this intended special meal with a plate of Fritos. :( He was still hungry after the lettuce wraps and the soup just wouldn't cut it.

But, I won't count this a failure, just another experiment in the kitchen that still needs a little work!

Do you have any spectacular Asian recipes? Because I'm always looking for new ones.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 13

Monday marked our 2-year anniversary! I intended to schedule a post to go up, but that just didn't happen.

We had some time off, so headed down to visit family for a couple days. Then on Monday, Jeremy surprised me with a night stay at a hotel, as well as an amazing dinner at The Melting Pot (see photo).

It was wonderful to get away for a few days and relax together. I find it pleasant to pass the time with my life companion.

I'm so thankful for this man that God put into my life. And I continue to pray He will draw us closer together and to Him as we walk this journey of life side-by-side. I love you, Jeremy!

Here's to many more years!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Being Reminded to be Thankful

Yesterday Jeremy was tossing a football with a little cousin and he tripped on a brick fire ring that he didn't know was behind him, fell backwards and cracked the back of his head (no blood though!). He told me when it happened he thought he might die. I didn't actually witness the accident, but it sounded awful. Thankfully he's got one tough head and everything seems fine.

But the scare gave me pause:

Today I'm very thankful for a pancake and eggs breakfast with my husband. And I'm thankful for the time we spent doing dishes and listening to NPR together.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm a reading junkie.

One thing I enjoy about my job is perusing all the books that come in and out throughout the day. Often I'll snag a book I've never heard of, but piques my interest (usually after checking amazon for reviews). Last Thursday night I'd just finished up the book I'd been reading and was waiting on others to be returned. The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale stopped in my grasp, the intriguing black cover with splashes of golds and reds and greens catching my eye. Tucked inside my bag, the book traveled home with me and I started to read.

Set in England during the late 1700s, the book tells the story of Agnes Trussel (don't you love the last name?). Finding herself pregnant (not exactly raped, but not exactly consenting either...she seemed more naive than anything), she takes on unexpected escape after stealing some money. In London, she searches for a place to work and lands in a pyrotechnic workshop. She learns to grind and mix chemicals and assemble a variety of fireworks. Her master is a solemn, middle-aged man seeking to make the best fireworks, but also seeking the elusive combinations of chemicals to create color. They strike up a companionable working relationship and Agnes eagerly laps up all the knowledge her master will share with her. The 350-pages cover the 9 months of Agnes's pregnancy and her desperate plans to make herself an acceptable woman in a culture where unwed pregnancy is scorned. I thought I knew how the story would turn out; I didn't. It's an interesting, beautiful story. I admit to not following all the chemical combinations discussed, but I did ponder the amazing amount research that went into writing the book.

Now, here's why I'm such a reading junkie...Last night we turned the light out at 10 and sighed inwardly because I really wanted to keep reading, I saw the conclusion of the story within my grasp. I woke up at 4:30 and couldn't go back to sleep because our room was so stuffy. When I moved out to the couch, I actually thought about turning on the light and reading; instead I went back to sleep. At 8, I cracked open the book and started reading. 9:15 rolled around too quickly and it was on to showering and breakfasting and off to work. I snatched 15 minutes of reading on my break, but wanted more. When I got off work at 3 I called Jeremy (he had today off) and told him I thought I'd stop at Starbucks and get an iced tea and read. I literally couldn't wait until I got home. I knew I would get caught up in supper and such and I had to finish the book first, so I could concentrate on other matters. I bought iced tea and settled into a soft chair outside of Starbucks and read until I closed the cover. Now I could get on with my grocery shopping and the rest of the what the evening would require of me. I was peaceful once again.

I'm hopeless in the face of a good story.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Autumn

The days, while very sunny, have cooled down significantly. I imagine a burst of heat is still to come, but fall is definitely in the air. I've always loved fall (as a little girl, this love may have originated with both my birthday being in October, as well as fall being my dad's favorite season). The crisp mornings and evenings. The smell of nature bedding down for the winter. The sound of leaves crunching under foot. Soups and stews bountiful on the supper table. Apples and pumpkins and leaves coloring the world. And doesn't the word autumn not only look awesome and fallish written out, but also roll off the tongue in a way that sounds perfectly like what it's describing?

I think I'm subconciously switching to thinking about fall cooking. This week I filled my crock-pot with a spicy white chicken chili. When I came home from work I popped some cornbread in the oven. Then realizing it is indeed still August and summer, I threw together a salad topped with tomatoes from my garden and fresh mozzarella. It was pretty much a perfect supper.

As much as I love fall, I'm always a little sad that it leads into winter, because of that I'm not such a fan. Oh well, the winter makes me love spring all the more! I guess that's the beauty of the four seasons God created.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yoga

This morning I attended my last yoga class. I'm quite sorry to see it end. I so much enjoyed my mornings there. The other women in the class have all been attending these yoga classes for some time (one for 5 years!) and they started a tradition of all going out for breakfast after the last class. So, we all headed out to a local breakfast place for some eggs and pancakes. Definitely a strange little bunch (male yoga teacher, 3 50/60-something women, and my friend and me).

I wish I could continue the morning classes, but unfortunately my work schedule keeps me from going twice a week. However, Jeremy and I are going to attend a class together on Monday evenings starting at the end of September. And the best part (besides that it's insanely inexpensive and with this same teacher) is that it's going to be across the street from us. We can walk there!

I think yoga's going to be around in my life for the long-haul. If you ever have the chance to take a class like I did, do it. It's so worth it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Owning Books

When I don't know what else to write about, books are my fallback subject. I'm sure you've probably noticed this already. :)

Jeremy and I own a ridiculous amount of books. We both love to read and most nights you'll find us lying side-by-side in bed with books held in hand, reading. We go to bed early and we read. It's very peaceful.

While I love being surrounded by books, I do feel like we need to have a limit, particuarly because we are apartment dwellers. Frequently I peruse my shelves to see if there are any books I can part with. I don't want to own books just for the sake of ownership, once upon a time I think I felt like that. I'd say about two-thirds of my books, I've read. I have a large collection of children's books and a moderate collection of chapter books I loved when I was a kid. Throughout college I collected many books for classes, some I've parted with, others not. While working at the bookstore, I accrued so many other books; some I've read and passed on, others I haven't gotten to yet. As much as I love my books, I want to be deliberate in what I own.

So, this is my question for you, if you're a lover of books/reading...What is your criteria for shelf-worthy books?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Staff Picks

There is a display island at my library and each month it offers a variety of books and media resources based on a given theme. This month, is staff picks. One of the reference librarians took each of our photos with a favorite book and then she taped them around the island where we then picked books to display by the picture. The librarian told me, "Watch your face." It took me a moment to figure out she was referring to my photo and the fact that I needed to restock "my face" with additional books when my picks were checked out. I've enjoyed this and am happy to report that 3 weeks in, 8 books I've selected have been checked out. This might not seem like such a big deal, but I don't necessarily read main-stream books, so I enjoy seeing some of my choices making the rounds.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbury
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Love Soup by Anna Thomas
How to Read Like a Writer by Francine Prose
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl

Friday, August 20, 2010

Aromatics

Just after 10 last night, Jeremy and I headed to bed to read for a bit before sleep. Jeremy was a few steps ahead of me and as I headed down the hallway I inhaled the overpowering smell of garlic. In the bedroom, even stronger. The vent apparently carrying cooking smells up from downstairs, like it was a strong wind. Jeremy looked at me and said, "I don't think I can sleep in here." He went to the couch. I settled in to read (Romancing Miss Bronte) and noticed a broccoli smell mixing with the garlic bread smell. Thankfully the smell faded significantly before I turned out the light to sleep, but my stomach did growl a little in the process. I saw visions of spaghetti and garlic bread, a meal I haven't eaten in months, I wanted a plate of it right then!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursdays

Thursday is one of my favorite days of the week. I wake up at a reasonable, but slightly later than normal time (7:30ish) and start my morning slowly before yoga from 9-10. Once I'm back from yoga, I pack Jeremy's lunch and then we head off for an hour long coffee date before Jeremy goes to work at noon. As I don't work until 5 on Thursdays, I spend the rest of the day catching up on laundry and cleaning (or sometimes it's finishing up a good book or watching a movie...I just like for you all to think I keep a perfectly clean home and don't in fact spend so much time entertaining myself.:).

Hope your Thursday started off as pleasantly as mine.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pet Peeve

The misuse of loose for lose.
As in: I hope we don't loose this game.

I see this mistake with frequency. I'm not as obsessed with it as Lynn Truss is with the misuse of the apostrophe (see Eats, Shoots & Leaves) ; however, I do cringe every time I read a sentence containing the misuse of loose. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My morning

This morning I headed off to yoga. The sessions this week stretched me a lot! Working on twisting shows me how much flexibility I don't have. :) But, I'm enjoying the class and feel like I'm learning.

Upon my return, Jeremy and I headed off to a coffee shop downtown for cups of coffee (obviously!) and conversation before he worked at noon. We spent a pleasant hour or so there. Just kitty-corner from us was a man, the most bird-like human being I've ever seen. Sitting straight backed with long neck extended. His nose prominent and beak-shaped. As he focused intently on his computer screen, his mouth stretched into a sort of close-mouth smile and his eyes narrowed to tiny slits. Occasionally he'd surface from the screen and turn his neck to observe a passing person outside, or someone walking by the cafe, his beady eyes widening a bit and blinking as he followed their movement until his neck turned and honed back in on his computer. Never did his posture falter. It was excellent.

So, we're enjoying ourselves, me in an over-stuffed leather chair, Jeremy in a leather love seat next to me. And a woman, (eating an ice cream cone at 11:30 in the morning I might add) walks deliberately over to us and sits directly next to Jeremy. Is this as odd and invasive as Jeremy and I felt it was? It sort of ruined our moment, so we extricated ourselves promptly and went for refills of coffee.

On to the next phase of the day: ironing, washing dishes, doing laundry.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Shakespeare

I never really learned to enjoy Shakespeare until I took a class in college. Once immersed in his language and times, I found my interest and enjoyment grow. And I found I understood so much more of what the plays had to offer when actively involved in studying them. It's been five years since that class and that steady diet of Shakespeare.

Last night Jeremy and I took in a free performance of The Taming of the Shrew at a nearby park, put on by actors from several nearby universities. It was fun to get out and do something different. I packed along a picnic supper (frittata, roasted potatoes, blueberry scones, fresh blueberries and peaches) and we set up our chairs and settled in for the play. Unfortunately the acoustics made it nearly impossible to hear the actors unless they were facing forward. Since it was Shakespeare, this it made it doubly hard to follow what was going on. Still, it was fun to see a play as it's been a long time for me.

Here's to new experiences in this city we're still learning to appreciate!

Friday, July 30, 2010

When the stars align.

*Alternative title for this post: Thank you, Jesus.

Sometime this summer, Jeremy's car decided to stop starting. This was frustrating, though not entirely impossible for our life, as we live close enough to Jeremy's work for him to bike there if necessary. So, we put off doing anything about the car trying to make a good decision about whether to repair it or not. It's served us well for the couple years Jeremy's owned it, and as he purchased it for less than a thousand dollars, you'll understand when I say, the car was a bit rough (our awesome brother-in-law, Luke sold him the car and it was huge blessing!). Since then Jeremy's dashboard was torn up when a kid broke into his car and stole the CD player. So, the car was not long for this world.

This week we finally got the car towed in to the mechanics to get an estimate for repairs. We'd set a price limit and the estimate came back over a $100 higher than our limit. And so we had the back and forth conversation of what to do; should we donate it, sign it over to the mechanics, or talk to my mechanic brother. We decided to talk with my brother to see if it was a possibility for him to purchase parts and drive up here to fix it some weekend. And then we could buy ourselves some time to look for a replacement vehicle, but still have functioning vehicles. That's where we landed sometime on Wednesday.

This morning Jeremy and I set out to the mechanic's planning to call AAA when we got there and have the car towed back to our apartment and await Elliot's repairs some time in August. Although I asked Jeremy on the way there if we were crazy to be doing this, and he said "probably", we thought this was best for us.

Instead, we bought a car.

Our mechanic came to us recommended by several people and we've been pleased with his work; he's always been honest with us. Not only do they repair cars, they also sell cars there, but every time I've glanced through their cars, nothing we'd want to purchase has been in our price range. As we've known our future would be including the purchase of another car, sooner than later, we've spent some time saving money as well as talking about price range and kinds of cars we wanted (with Hondas and Toyotas at the top of the list).

Sitting on the lot today was a '98 Toyota Avalon with just over 135k miles on it, in pristine condition. Just out of our discussed price range, we decided to negotiate. Jeremy got it into our price range and threw in his old Honda to keep the price lower (plus it got it off our hands). They agreed, let us test drive it, then gave us $20 to put gas in the car and drive it home to come back later with a check and the Honda title. And so, as of 4:30 today, we own a new-to-us car; a very unexpected, but huge answer to prayers and many potential frustrations.

I was supposed to be at work today. But, one of my co-workers had surgery and isn't recovering as fast as anticipated and so I switched my schedule to work for her tomorrow. Ordinarily, we wouldn't have had this day and this time together to be making such decisions.

God worked so many details together perfectly today to provide for us in an area of uncertainty, one in which we'd been praying for guidance for some time. And as I drove home in my Honda (the one that the tailpipe fell off of this week!) with Jeremy somewhere behind me in our new car, I couldn't help but breathe this prayer, "Thank you, Jesus."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Learning Something New

So, last Thursday I started something I never imagined I'd ever do...a yoga class! Somehow I never thought the yoga-train would stop my way, but when a friend asked me if I'd like to join her in trying it, I found myself saying "yes". And you know what, I'm glad I did. So far I'm really enjoying my relaxing hour Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday to this guy!

Yesterday was his official birthday, but somehow sneaky guy that he is, Jeremy managed to make a birthday weekend of it. :)

Friday night we had some friends over for supper: chicken piccata, salad, and homemade chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

Saturday we slept in until almost noon! (Neither of us could believe it.) Then spent some time out and about just enjoying the day and enjoying each other. We ended the day watching movies on the couch.

Today on the spur of the moment we decided to head to Lake Michigan for a few hours of sun and relaxation. Then when we left around 4:30, Jeremy surprised me with a special dinner at a nearby restaurant/winery.

Jeremy doesn't have to work tomorrow, but I do. So, I think the birthday celebrating might be over. But, we've still got lots of time to enjoy life together. And I'm truly thankful for another year with him!

I love you, Jeremy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

When Books Collide

About this time last year I was busily making a quilt for Jeremy's birthday. To keep me sane during the crush to complete the project I watched all the Harry Potter movies and listened to an audio book called The Wild Trees. The Wild Trees is the story of the giant Redwood forests in California and the many scientists and tree-huggers striving to save the forests. Quite interesting. I have to admit that there were times I couldn't follow all the science, particularly the many different plant lives living in the boughs of the Redwoods. But, I was glad I listened and I learned a lot!

This weekend I read The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman. I was pleased and surprised that part of one of the story lines involved the giant Redwoods in Humboldt county. It brought back memories of feverishly sewing last year. I also loved the descriptions of rare books woven into the story.

I love when my various reading endeavors intertwine and my mind is expanded. I can't imagine life without books!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Night Thoughts

It's 1:30 a.m. and my alarm will be going off in five and a half hours. My body tells me I'm tired. My mind tells me I can't sleep. Where is the off-for-sleep-switch for a busy brain?

Remember my post last week where I mentioned watching the documentary No Impact Man? In true Stephanie-style, I promptly placed the book on hold at my local library (the book that was the reason behind the whole year-long experiment of living with no environmental impact that the DVD documented). I just finished it tonight before attempting to settle down to sleep and I think that's just a small part of why I'm still awake. For a week and a half now I've been pondering how I live.

I wouldn't ever go to the extremes that Colin Beavan and his family went to as they explored their relationship with the environment. I'll keep electricity and I want to enjoy foods that can't be found locally, but still I've been thinking. A lot. And I suppose that's really why the book was written in the first place.

Jeremy's car died about a month ago. At first it would start sometimes. Now, it's stubbornly sitting in our driveway, unwilling to turn over. We'd hoped to drive it when we went down to visit family as my brother is a mechanic and he thinks he knows what the trouble is and is willing to work on the car. Now that she won't start, we're questioning our next step. A big part of me would like to try to be a one-car family. To bike and walk more. The trouble is, Jeremy is the one who gets stuck at home on days that I work he doesn't, or the one that bikes or walks to work in whatever the weather because he works so close by. Because I work so much further away, I'm the one with a car 90% of the time. So, he's not as keen to go down to one car. But, I've been pondering the environment (not to mention finances) and wonder, could we do it for a year? Give it a try?

When we moved to our new apartment, we left behind TV. We own a television (a nice big one!), but use it only for watching movies as we don't own an antenna to bring in local stations. Although I'm not terribly hip, as I can't stay up on current TV shows, I can't say I miss having the TV. It's so often a big time waster, as well as a relationship stifler. I don't know if that's related to the environment, but it's definitely related to how we live.

Just about a mile from home is the year-round farmer's market. I'm striving to buy more fresh produce there. Ideally, I'd like to get a basket for my bike and ride there.

The saddest aspect of the No Impact Man book is the very real sense that Colin is searching for meaning in life as well as greatly pondering what comes after life. He holds no security in Christ and yet realizes that the material goods we gain here aren't going to do much for us after we die. I'm thankful that I can say that my hope and security rests completely in Christ. And I know material wealth won't gain me riches in Heaven. But I'm still figuring out how to be a wise steward of this life and this earth that God created. And so, I'm glad to have stumbled across both the documentary and the book. I think they'll be sticking with me as mental companions for awhile.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thrift Stores

I used to frequent thrift stores and bought the majority of my wardrobe from them. Then, the prices seemed to almost double and suddenly new clothes on clearance at Kohls, Old Navy, and Target became comparably priced. And while it didn't bother me that my clothes were used, I figured new for the same price was better.

On top of the price hikes, I also moved to a city with pretty pitiful thrift stores. Seriously, one Goodwill I went into had rows of housewares piled on the floor (I don't know if this was an in-process moment or what), rows of clothes so close together that you touched the clothes on both sides while walking down the aisle, and rather strong shoe/foot odor when you walked past the shoes. Needless to say, I don't go there.

But, of late, I've been dropping in at a couple thrift stores I pass on my trip to and from work. Mostly looking at housewares. Today, though, I went to look at clothes. In honor of July 4th, the local Salvation Army's are selling all their clothes for $1. Now, I can handle that. I popped in and looked through the shirts, found several and then stood in front of a mirror trying them all on over my own shirt. Wonderfully this eliminated 9 items and left me with 6. So, I bought $6 worth of clothes, which earlier in the week had I picked those same items out would have cost $21. Thrifty indeed!

Now I do have to say that thrift store shoppers (and sometimes workers) don't seem very aware of personal space. If they see something in front of you they want to look at, they just go for it often without so much as an "excuse me". Today I'm standing in front of a 2 foot section of shirts, systematically looking through them and a woman comes down the aisle and starts looking quite close to me (mind you we're the only people in the row!), then she goes around me and starts looking, still close. Then she stands right next to me and starts pulling the shirts in front of me towards her and her arm is actually touching mine! She says nothing as if this is perfectly normal. I finally looked at her with maybe not the happiest face and she says, "excuse me." But honestly, what is the matter with people?

Despite all of that, I am pleased with a few new shirts. And while I'll continue to drop in on occasion to look through housewares, I'll not be looking at clothes again until there is another sale.

Friday, July 2, 2010

2010 halfway point Reading Log

Here's my up-to-date list of completed books for the year thus far. As I've mentioned before, I like to set myself yearly reading goals. Last year's was 52 books for the year. This years I'm attempting to read 12 classics. We'll see if I make it.

Feel free to ask me further about a book if you're interested (I reviewed a few along the way) and I may write up quick reviews on this for another post.

Enjoy perusing the list!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (YA)
All-0f-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor (children's)
The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (F)
Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler (F)
Castle Waiting by Linda Medley (graphic novel)
Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf (F)
French by Heart by Rebecca Ramsey (NF)
My Life in France by Julia Child (NF)
The Blue Orchard by Jackson Taylor (F)
Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt (NF)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (YA)
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (F)
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (F)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (classic)
The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran (F)
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (F)
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (F)
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks (F)
Jane's Fame by Clare Harman (NF)
The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton (F)
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (classic)
Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman (NF)
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (classic)
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (classic)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (NF)
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby (NF)
Digging to America by Anne Tyler (F)
The Family Nobody Wanted by Helen Doss (NF)

The stats :)

28 books

1 graphic
1 childrens
2 re-reads (Ex-Libris and All-of-a-Kind Family)
2 YA
4 classics
8 non-fiction
12 fiction
22 female authors


**Addition**
My top favorite reads from the list:

Non-fiction
My Life in France
Jane's Fame
Ex Libris
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Polysyllabic Spree

Fiction
Jane Eyre
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
The History of Love
The Kitchen House
The Wednesday Sisters


What have you been reading?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Can it be June 30th already?

One last post before June turns into July. Hard to believe summer is almost half finished already. AND 2010 is half over. Where has the year gone?

Jeremy and I have a Netflix account, which we don't put to as much use as we should to get our money's worth. But, our libraries charge for DVDs (even for employees) and Netflix has a greater selection. The other night I was having trouble sleeping, pretty much par for the course for the week, and I decided to watch a documentary I'd had my eye on. If you have Netflix, you know they stream some movies, and that's how I watched No Impact Man. Although a couple days have passed, I can't stop thinking about it.

No Impact Man is the story of one New York family's quest to cause no environmental impact for an entire year. It's fascinating. I don't agree with all that they did--some was quite extreme--but it got me thinking about my stewardship of the environment. I've been striving to recycle more and also go to my local farmer's market. Next, I need to invest in a bike lock, so I can do some biking nearby. Anyway, I recommend you check it out. Even if it doesn't strike a bell with you, it's really just interesting. The couple are quite unique as well. I told Jeremy I'd like to re-watch it with him. We'll see what he thinks.

My little garden is coming along. Only about two-thirds of the flowers survived, for reasons I can't tell. My tomato plants are happily caged and growing. The Lemon Boy is growing like I've never seen a tomato plant grow; it reaches to my belly button. The Roma plant is much smaller, but still healthy, I think. The cucumber is happily climbing up the small trellis I bought, although he keeps trying to reach out and intertwine with the tomato. I stop in every day or two to make sure they are properly separated. :)

Last night I tried a recipe from a new blog I discovered Nourishing Meals. I am always seeking flavorful, healthful, filling recipes and this site seems to have much to offer. I want our table to be filled with foods that satisfy and please. Lately I've been in a terrible rut with cooking. I think I fed Jeremy fried rice three times last week. He's quite the trooper and doesn't complain. I'm blessed with any easy man to feed. Anyway, back to the new recipe: Fresh Vegetable Curry. Oh my, it was delicious! I didn't have all the vegetables suggested so mine included red potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, napa cabbage, orange bell pepper, and green beans. I'll definitely be making it again.

Since I can't imagine life without books, I've been reading a lot. The summer reading program at my library has a separate program for the staff. For each book I read I get a chance at a the grand prize drawing of a $25 restaurant gift card! So far I've read 6 books to enter (they must be library materials)! And I'll keep going. I'm going to post my halfway through the year reading list in a different post. Stay-tuned for that in the next couple days.

Thanks for stopping by. It's nice to know there are a few of you out there reading this sporadic blog of mine. Happy Summer to You!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Folks on the Street Corner

Have you ever stopped and given some sort of help to a person standing on the side of the road holding a cardboard sign (Hungry Kids at Home Any Help Appreciated God Bless You)?

There are certain spots along my usual route that seem to be regularly populated by sign-holders. I inevitably feel a twinge of sadness and pity for them, but don’t stop and often try to avoid any sort of eye contact.

My rational behind not offering anything runs along the lines of, I won’t give them money because I figure they’ll misuse it and I don’t have any food to offer them, so I guess I’ll sort of pretend they’re not there.

Several years ago, when my sister and her husband lived in Florida, I went for a mid-winter three week visit (it was a blast!). The three of us planned a weekend camping trip, but while driving to the campground a storm started blowing in and we decided to abort the trip. On the return trip we passed a guy asking for help. We hollered across a couple lanes of traffic while at a stopped light, asking if he’d like some apples. We gave him chocolate milk and apples and the look of utter gratitude and the way he immediately bit into an apple, was heartwarming.

For several years I’ve figured it wouldn’t hurt to occasionally buy some non-perishable food items and keep them in my car to hand out. But I never remember that plan until I see another person holding a sign.

At New Years as Jeremy and I drove home from family Christmas celebration, we passed a man asking for help. I had a little food with me and I asked Jeremy if we should ask the guy if he’d like an apple (what’s with apples coming up every time?). Jeremy rolled down the window and asked. The guy said no, that someone else had already given him an apple. This sort of floored me that he was turning down food, but that was his prerogative. It was bitter cold out and it was nearing evening, so Jeremy asked if the guy needed a scarf, and the man once again declined.

That whole experience left me befuddled and wondering if all the cardboard holders are that picky.

What’s your take on it all? Have you ever interacted with any of these folks before?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Music Reviews

A brief review of two groups I like because of their recent CDs...

Back in college at the suggestion of my sister, Elizabeth, I purchased a CD called Hopes and Fears by the British group Keane (I'm sure I've mentioned it here before, but Liz and I started an annual tradition of buying one new CD each on our trip back to college for second semester). I absolutely loved the original piano-driven rock melodies. I became an instant fan. When their second CD, Under the Iron Sea, was released, I bought that one too and while it didn't hold the same pleasure as the first album, I still loved it. Perfect Symmetry came out sometime in the midst of wedding planning and well, it got bumped to the wayside until I checked it out of the library some months later. Still a great group, but the songs didn't catch and hold my attention quite so completely. Recently while perusing new books and music being released, I noticed Keane was releasing an album, Night Train. I immediately put a hold on it at my library and eagerly brought it home a couple weeks later. I was disappointed. I think I listened to it maybe three times before returning the CD. Not only were the songs rather forgettable, but also at least two tracks were collaborations with a Canadian rapper. I don't like rap, period. But when combined with a favorite group, it's just plain unfortunate. And the songs sounded nothing like the Keane I knew and loved. I hope Keane returns to it's roots in Hopes and Fears when I couldn't get enough of the lyrically haunting melodies, supported with some gorgeous piano. (As an aside, I was looking on Amazon to see what sort of reviews the album received, and well, from the looks of it, I'm not in the minority at all!)

Around the same time I introduced myself to Keane, I was introduced to another guy, Jack Johnson. It was some time before I acquired any of his CDs and listened to them thoroughly, but I was hooked. Brushfire Fairytales and On and On released in the early 2000s are laid back albums filled with Johnson's unique acoustic style and original songs. I find his music difficult to describe, so here's a quick bio quote from Amazon, which sums it up quite well, "Former pro surfer turned singer-songwriter Jack Johnson is a native of Hawaii, and his music reflects the laid back surfer attitude and crystal clarity of the water. Sweet, simple, acoustic surfer-rock is Johnson's specialty." His next albums, In Between Dreams and Sleep Through the Static didn't disappoint. Johnson's style is very consistent and if I have a complaint, it's that many of his songs sound similar, so there isn't great variety. But when I played his recent CD, To the Sea, I was reminded again how much I enjoy the simplicity of his sound. I will admit that two songs on this newest album stick out to me as I listen, and I mean more in a jarring sort of way, like they don't fit in quite as well (Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology and People Taking Pictures). That is not to say, I don't enjoy the songs, but more find the flow of the CD is slightly disrupted. Regardless, Jack Johnson delivers a solid sound every album and that's something I appreciate. Johnson also did the soundtrack to The Curious George movie...though more childlike, still good stuff there too!

Have you listened to any of these albums? What did you think? Also, I'm always up for new music suggestions!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ice Cream Maker Love

For awhile now I've been wanting an ice cream maker. This, of course, isn't a necessity for our life, and our budget laughed at my desire to purchase one (not to mention our waistbands don't need a steady diet of ice cream). So I put it on my to-want list for my birthday or Christmas.

A couple weeks ago my friend Elora and her husband were over for supper. She mentioned she was selling an ice cream maker on Craigslist and then she asked, "Do you want it? I know you said awhile back you wanted to get an ice cream maker sometime. I don't think I'm going to get what I want out of it anyway, so I'd rather give it to someone who I know will use it."

Last Saturday, I became the owner of a counter-top, stainless steel Cuisinart ice cream maker (it matches my rice cooker, toaster, and my coffeemaker!). I haven't used it yet, but I look forward to that first batch of homemade ice cream!

My mom likes to say that this is the way that God loves us. In little ways He reminds us that He's there and He cares. For this week, He showed me love through an ice cream maker.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Storm

Yesterday was a ridiculously hot and lazy sort of day. After I worked until 1 and grocery shopped my way home, I didn't feel like doing much else. So, Jeremy decided to take me out to supper (although wouldn't tell me where). We enjoyed hamburgers and pleasant conversation, but a look out the window revealed nasty weather coming and I was ready to go home. Unfortunately, the power went out of the restaurant right about this time, and because all of the world functions on technology powered by electricity, we couldn't get our bill until the computers came back up.

By the time, we made our escape, the wind was bending small trees sideways and flipping umbrellas inside-out, and huge raindrops pelted the sidewalk. Did I mention we were at the mall and our car was what seemed a mile away?! We made a run for it. I admittedly squealed many times and laughed like a crazy person as the rain changed directions and splattered against my glasses making it hard to see. About halfway to our car, we ducked under an awning to catch our breath and re-group (the laughter, though fun, was making the running more difficult). Another dash for the car--though I did ask Jeremy if he just wanted to walk as we were already soaked--and we finally reached it, shirts sticking to us, glasses impossibly covered with raindrops, and laughing at the craziness of it all.

We'd been gone for maybe an hour and a half, but the streets were strewn with branches and leaves; several homes had large chunks of trees down. Stoplights stood blank, making the already dangerous downpour, a little scarier as not every car stopped as it should. But, we made it safely home and inside to dry off and finish the evening watching episodes of The Office.

This morning after I dropped Jeremy off at work, I ran a couple errands. Every where I drove, families were out in their yards gathering storm debris and bringing order back to their yards so hastily damaged by the wind and rain.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I know it's been awhile...

Because I don't have much of interest to share, I'll give you a quick run-down of the goings-on around here...

*My grandpa turned 90 on Monday and I got to help celebrate at our annual Memorial Day gathering.

*My older sister turned 31 on Tuesday. I didn't get to help celebrate, but I heard she had a great day.

*Patrons at the library have been invading my personal space a little too frequently.

*A house I pass on my way to work planted fake flowers along the edge of the yard...perpetual tulips and gladiolas and such.

*I'm 760 pages into Gone With the Wind. I decided to finish it, which I guess I'm glad about, but now I'm ready to finish it and move on.

*On Sunday Jeremy and I are headed on a short vacation to our favorite spot in MI.

*Today I found gluten-free oats marked down to $1.50/lb (regularly $3.50-$4/lb) and I gave a mental happy dance and thanked God for the provision. 8 lbs should keep up in oats for awhile.

*My landlord gave me permission to plant in a small patch of dirt outside my door. I excitedly planned and planted my "garden". But, it's not thriving and I don't know what to do for it.

*Last Friday a friend came over to watch the new BBC mini-series of Emma. If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for? It's fabulous, so check your local library and get watching.

*My favorite warm weather dessert right now is fruit with fresh whipped cream.



What's going on in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reading and Writing

I mentioned a couple posts ago that I started reading Gone With the Wind. At just shy of 1000 pages, this book is quite a time investment. Sunday I came up on the 300 page mark. And I temporarily (I hope) set the book aside. I'm afraid to stop reading it because I mostly likely won't return, but I needed a break. Why, you ask? Well, I cannot stand Scarlett or Rhett! They're conniving, selfish characters with, so far, no redeeming qualities. I'm hard pressed to understand why people love this book, let alone read it more than once. My brain hurts with trying to jive the protagonists with an enjoyment of the reading process. Have any of you read the book?

To give myself a reprieve from the silly, selfish characters permeating Gone With the Wind, I decided to pick up and re-read Anne Fadiman's book of essays Ex Libris. This collection is a treasure-trove of unusual words and wonderful essays about reading, books, and fascination with words.

Fadiman is a writer I'd love to emulate. Her style is invitingly readable, but not in the least silly. I think I mentioned in a post way back when, that I first read an essay by her--Marrying Libraries--in my creative nonfiction writing class in college. I remember being delighted as I read it, but didn't think much more about it (too many other reading and writing assignments vying for my attention). A couple years later, post-college, as I was working at a used bookstore, I happened to pick up Ex Libris and peruse the table of contents. The first essay jogged my memory with a spark of delighted surprise, Marrying Libraries. Without a thought, I bought the volume for a few dollars and started reading. When I finished the slim book, I wanted to give copies to everyone I knew that loved to read (much how I feel about 84 Charing Cross Road). I wanted to spread the wealth of this small gem. I wanted to read it all over again.

Back in my college days, I dared to dream I might just be able to write such essays that would grab the attention and leave tendrils of memories behind to be jogged several years later into happy reminiscence. These days after working, cooking, cleaning, and all the other realities of life come calling, I find myself flat of ideas, unable to imagine crafting words into anything worth sharing. But, I haven't given up hope. I read books of essays to inspire me and every once in a while I'll pull out an old essay I wrote and think, "Wow, I really did know how to write once upon a time." So, maybe there is still a little of that writer in me.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Friends

For reasons I don't fully understand God placed Jeremy and me in a very transient city, where people come and go because of the University. It's been hard enough making new friendships as a young couple in a new city, but knowing that most of them will move along in a few years is hard.

Last night we had our friends Richard and Elora over for supper. Jeremy met them shortly after he moved up here two years ago and so, they can be called our oldest friends here. At the end of June they are moving to Paris for 5 months. They'll be back, but not for more than a year or two. Before we know it Richard will have completed his PhD and they'll be off to another place.

We joined a small group through our church last fall. The couple that hosted it are moving to Ohio in the next couple months. Eric just graduated with his PhD. And while he's still looking for a job, Brooke, his wife, got a teaching job.

The one other couple that we're friends with we thought we're lifers here, but Rich is currently interviewing for a job in Oregon. Of course there is no guarantee that they'll move, but still...

Some days I truly wonder what God was thinking when he moved us here. But, I do know that our aloneness here has caused Jeremy and me to grow closer. And, we don't take our friends for granted.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

For a week now I've been wanting to blog. But, I've had nothing much to say.

In my kitchen: I've been cooking peanut lime Mexican salad, chocolate chip cookies, pesto pasta, Danish strawberry pudding, lemon salmon with green beans.

From my bookshelf: I finished Sense and Sensibility last weekend and promptly started into Gone With the Wind.

I promise I'll be back here shortly with something more substantial. But for now, I hope you are enjoying a pleasant Thursday!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Words of conviction and encouragement.

Do you ever have those Sundays where you come away particularly convicted, but also encouraged? Sunday was one of those days for me.

Pastor Mark preached from John 14:22-29. In this Jesus tells His disciples, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." Jesus does not tell us to keep his words but his word. In John 1, it says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." I am not a Bible scholar, but here are my thoughts. When Jesus tells His disciples (he is speaking to His disciples there with Him, but also to all the disciples to come) to "keep my word" it seems to me He is referring to Himself. Believe in Jesus and He will make His home in us.

Okay here was what convicted me: self-criticism. I can't remember exactly how this fit into the sermon (I promise, I was paying attention!), but near the end Pastor Mark brought up self-criticism and how dwelling in that is harmful for us. I am, and always have been I think, rather hard on myself. I demand perfection of myself and grow frustrated when I fail, which not surprisingly pretty much happens every time. (You'd think I'd learn.) I've been very much aware of late that this isn't right. God created me. He loves me. And yet I berate myself to no end. I struggle to see the beauty in myself that I know that God sees, that He created, that He loves. Having high standards for myself isn't wrong, but unattainable expectations that leave me frustrated with myself and often with God, is unhealthy and wrong. My goal in life should be to glorify God in how I live and I cannot fully participate in that with the way I have been living and viewing myself. I've been praying for God to cause me to learn to see myself through His eyes, that I might live a glorifying life. My Jeremy has also been encouraging me in this.

The encouragement: I am a child of God; I know that. However, perhaps out of laziness, I often think of my salvation as a passive occurrence. You know, that Jesus died on the cross and eventually because of that I was saved. On Sunday I was reminded that my salvation is an active act of love. Jesus didn't die and rise again for the possibility of my salvation, He went through that specifically to purchase my salvation. If I was the only person in history that was saved, Jesus would still have died. Wow! My salvation was part of that plan from the beginning. He died for me, for Stephanie! I've known this since I was a child, but what a blessing to be reminded of Christ's love for me. My eyes filled with tears as I thought about Jesus suffering on the Cross so that this girl, born in the 20th century would be saved to eternal life. That Jesus desired specifically to make His home in me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A little family time...

Last weekend Jeremy and I headed down for a visit to my family. The highlight for me, besides visiting family of course, was Mom and my trip to a local salvage grocery filled with organic and many gluten-free products. I spent more money than maybe I should have, but was delighted with purchases like 5lbs of chocolate chips for $5 (Enjoy Life brand...so tasty!), 5lbs of fruit juice sweetened craisins for $7, and a couple boxes of gf cookies for $1 a box! I'm pretty sure Mom and I will be making treks there on many of my visits, I don't think she'll mind too much.

I also enjoyed some quality time with my 3 adorable nephews. I always get to see them when I visit, but this time I had more one-on-one time with them. As they see Jeremy and I the least, they aren't quite as comfortable with us, so not having the distraction of all the other aunts and uncles was sort of fun. Titus (20 mon.) even took a liking to me, last time he cried any time he had to be left in a room with me. This may have been in part because I asked him to help me make mashed potatoes; he like that a lot, but might have enjoyed the eating of them even more!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Jane, creator of romance novels?

This week I finished reading a delightful book by Claire Harman called, Jane's Fame, How Jane Austen Conquered the World. If you read and like Jane Austen, I'd highly recommend this book. Harman writes in an accessible style, mixing her critical research into a flowing narrative. I never knew there was so little biographical information about Jane. So much of her life and work is left to the imagination. Which, I suppose is partly why she is beloved. People can find in her writing, ideas they feel directly relate to them. Jane's characters are friends to any who desire their companionship.

Now, I am admittedly not a Jane Austen addict because I've not even read all of her novels. But I want to. She intrigues me. And the ones I have read I've liked. I appreciate her work, but I do not moon over Mr. Darcy.

While reading, I was surprised and a little disturbed that Jane Austen is considered the mother of the romance genre. I rather mock romance novels, but found this passage fascinating:

When the American imprint Silhouette Romances was being planned in the 1970s, everything in them was written to a formula developed by market research: Even the name of the series (perhaps subconsciously evoking Austen) came from a consumer survey result. A group of women readers were asked what the ideal attributes of a romantic novel were, from the age of the heroine to the overall length of the book. The resulting tip sheet for writers could just as easily be applied to Austen's novels: the heroines were always to be "young and virginal," the heroes "strong and assertive," the plots utterly predictable, and the endings happy. There was to be no violence, blood, or pain; no slang language or obscenity, and no premarital sex. The heroine's age should be between nineteen and twenty-seven, and she should not be "beautiful in the high fashion sense." The hero should be eight to twelve years older than the heroine, "not necessarily handsome," but virile and not married, though he could be bereaved or divorced--as long as that wasn't his fault. Austen's novels clearly contributed to this formula as well as shared the basic instincts behind it.

Of course Harman doesn't leave it completely at that, she goes on to show the differences (and Austen definitely wins my favor, while romance novels will continue to get a bad rap from me). Austen's books obviously are devoid of much physical contact between men and women. But according to Harman, "the very absence of explicit eroticism leaves her books charged with sexual feeling...In a permissive age, the restraint and decorousness of her loves scenes seem in themselves erotic, and the idea of the heroines attracting so much male attention by making so few sexual concessions becomes, for the modern woman, an unattainable fantasy of female empowerment."

Interesting, at least. Have you read all of Jane Austen? What's your favorite?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pecuniary

Do you know what pecuniary means?



A couple days ago, while working in the children's department at my library, a man sat at child-height table working on his computer. Barefoot. His military-style boots sat unused beneath the table. For a time he walked a lap around the room every 10 or so minutes. Barefoot. This you might expect of a three-year-old. But not him. I shelved some books near his table. He pulled out his ear-buds and asked, "Do you know what pecuniary means?" I said, "I'm pretty sure it has to do with money." He laughed in that way that alerted me to the fact that he might be flirting with me but it was hard to tell, and said, "I thought you might know, since you're a librarian you have a few extra IQ points. And I thought I'd borrow some of that knowledge. The wonderful thing about knowledge is that you can share it, but still keep it." And he laughed some more. I sort of acquiesced to the awkwardness of this and moved on, thinking that he was sitting in front of a computer and could have used dictionary.com and borrowed their knowledge and IQ points.

I returned to the reference desk and used dictionary.com myself. The first definition: of or pertaining to money. So, I'd steered him the right direction despite the fact that I had no context for his question. The strange thing is, I don't know why I knew the answer so readily. It was like the definition was resting in an area of my brain just waiting to be exercised. And of the handful of people that I told the story to, not one of them knew what the word meant. Strange. I guess I'm going to have to thank my dad for being a user of unusual words and my mom for all those years of teaching.

And so another day at the library passes...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

That Spider

At night, a spider in the bathroom taunting me. Twice I take a tissue to remove it to the toilet. Twice it's jumped to safety. Tonight I expect to find that spider taunting me. Again.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Birthday Cards

I set out this year with good intentions of remembering family birthdays with a card (at the very least)--a timely card.

This is basically what the year looks like:
January: 1
February: 2
March: 2
April: 5
May: 2
June: 1
July: 3
August: 3
September: 3
October: 3
November: 3
December: 2

Can you understand why it's a lot to remember?

January came and I saw my sister just before her birthday so I remembered.
February I remembered my grandma's 90th birthday (is this because I was reminded?!) and I now can't remember if I sent my brother-in-law a card.
March, hmm, I think I missed both my brother and brother-in-laws birthday.
Okay, so April was going to be the month I really did well. I remembered I had five birthdays (which is a start, right?) on the 14th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 29th. How many got cards? 3 How many were on time? 0 What is the matter with me?
Last week I called my nephew Calvin on his birthday and his question to me? Are you giving me a present? He then proceeded to explain to me how I could send him something through the mail and it would arrive at his house. :) I do have a present, but I didn't get it in the mail or even a card. I'm justifying my poor performance as an aunt with the fact that I'll see him this weekend. And I'm packing that present along.

And also, Happy Birthday to my mom yesterday! I remembered to call, at least. The card, well, I'll be bringing it along this weekend so she can get it in person!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Music

I do not consider myself a music buff. In fact, many of the groups I've learned to enjoy over the years have been stolen from siblings. (Okay, maybe not stolen per se, just heavily influenced by, I suppose. Because you know they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I'm hoping they're flattered.)

Anyway, one group I love was suggested to me by my cousin Lana. I've mentioned her before in these pages. We have uncanny similarities in interests. Back before we were both married, we embarked on a series of cultural expansion through the arts. Together we attended an opera, a ballet, an off-Broadway musical, and a classical piano concert--the 5 Browns.

The 5 Browns became instant favorites. You must check them out on YouTube or a CD from your local library! This five-sibling group make classical piano exciting (I for one already love classical piano, but if you don't, I think you will now). Listening to them is wonderful; watching them is awing.

Last week Jeremy dropped me an email saying he'd checked out the new 5 Browns in Hollywood CD. I might have mentally squealed with excitement (I was at work, so had to refrain from squealing out loud). It's everything I expected. I love this new CD and the show tunes they tackle (Star Wars, Over the Rainbow, My Favorite Things, Romeo and Juliet to name a few), but I also love the traditional classical pieces from other Cd's.

I want to share the beauty that this family creates, so please listen to them and tell me what you think.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two years ago today...

Jeremy asked me to be his wife and partner in life. I said, "Yes." Now here we are. :)

I love you, Jeremy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thoughts while reading.

Last night I finished reading The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. Set during the 1790s-1810s, the story centers around Lavinia, an orphaned girl from Ireland. Her parents died on the trip to America and to pay for their passage Lavinia became an indentured servant at the captain's home in Virginia.

I'm really not here to give you a book review (although I will encourage you to read the book; it was quite good!), but to point out something that went through my head as I read.
Lavinia remembered little about herself at the time she took up residence in the kitchen house. She was just seven. She was housed with the slaves of the family and grew up as a servant/slave, but also white. As she'd come over from Ireland, she didn't fully grasp the concept of position and suitable relationships and she was often confused. But, she was very accepting and often didn't ask questions that might have propelled her forward out of some poor decisions.

I started pondering how when I'm uncertain of protocol or I hear others talk about something I don't quite get or I read a word I've never heard before, that I will go to the internet and I'll Google my question or I'll turn to a dictionary for a definition. When it comes to seeking information, I am largely self-sufficient as there is a whole world of stuff at my fingertips. That's not to say I don't talk to others about it as well, but I don't often have to to get answers. However, back in the days where the computer didn't exist and many people were illiterate (plus books weren't widely available), people had to depend on each other to learn. So much more was taught and passed on from one person to the next.

Now, I love the computer as much as the next person. Truly, I like being able to find answers myself; however, I wonder how much are we missing relationally by being so self-sufficient? I think an intimacy and vulnerability in relationships (friendship or otherwise) has been lost.
What do you think?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book Review

The Wives of Henry Oades: a novel by Johanna Moran

During slow spells while working at the library, I'll casually thumb through a copy of Book Pages (check it out if you've never heard of it!) looking for new and intriguing reads. Some issues lack anything of interest to me. As you all know, I read new books, but you might not know that so far I've chosen not to read the Nora Roberts and James Pattersons of the book world. If dozens of people are lining up to read the newest novel of a ridiculously prolific author, well, you're more than likely not going to find me among the hordes. That's not to say I don't follow the mass reading crowd ever (for example, I love the Harry Potter series and a thoroughly enjoyed The Help), but typically, I like to pave my own reading path. I'm not always pleased with each book I pick up, but I'm also learning to put a book down if I'm not particularly enjoying it because I can definitely find another better book to spend my time reading.


The last issue of Book Pages included a brief review of The Wives of Henry Oades. And as the review left me wanting to read more and it was a debut novel (I enjoy seeing what new writers are coming out), I placed a hold on it and read it within five days. As I understand it, the book is based on a short historical law brief from nineteenth century California. This is the story of Henry Oades and his two wives.

The Oades moved from England to New Zealand for a job, Henry, Margaret and their two children (twins joined them the following year). After a time, they moved to a home a distance from town. One day while Henry was away, his wife and children were kidnapped by Mauri Indians. Devastated, Henry searches for his family despite many frustrating setbacks. After months without so much as a shred of hope they were still alive, he gave up his search and eventually moved to California. Several years later he married a young widow, Nancy. Less than a year after that, Margaret and the children showed up on Henry and Nancy's doorstep.

Told mostly through the eyes of Margaret (Meg) and Nancy, the story kept me turning the pages, mostly because I wanted to see how it was resolved. During that time period a divorce rendered any offspring illegitimate and therefore tarnished their future reputation, so neither wife was willing to give up her husband.

Because as the reader, I knew so much more of Margaret's life and history with Henry, I felt she deserved to have her husband back. But, by the time she returned to his life, he'd given his heart to Nancy (who held on to it quite fiercely) and seemed unable to even have a friendship with Margaret. My biggest complaint was Henry. I wanted him to be more vocal with Margaret about the situation instead of nearly ignoring her. The wives strove to build a semblance of family and were mostly successful despite the harassment of the town they lived in. Much of the story surrounds the legal battles the family goes through just to remain a family, one husband, two wives (though one definitely in name only), and four children. And that resolution I wanted, well, it never really came in the way I wanted. But, it was an interesting read and one I'd recommend if you want something a little different.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Quotes from recent reading.

from The Journal Keeper by Phyllis Theroux

The practice of writing, of laboring long hours to buckle words around an idea and make a sentence slide across the page like Fred Astaire across a dance floor, lay ahead of me.

The difference between knowledge and illumination is the difference between electric light and sun.


from Life as a Vapor by John Piper

Since every moment is the beginning of the rest of your life, and every moment is the end of the past, every moment should be governed by the glad affections of both gratitude and faith.


from The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Once Uncle Julian told me how the sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti said that sometimes just to paint a head you have to give up the whole figure. To paint a leaf, you have to sacrifice the whole landscape. It might seem like you're limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter-of-an-inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chocolate Love

I love chocolate! Dark chocolate in particular. My dad always preferred dark chocolate and as a little girl I wanted to be like him. So from as early as I can remember, dark chocolate has been my chocolate of choice.

I strive not to keep desserts around, but sometimes I just need a sweets fix, and chocolate is that staple treat. Jeremy loves it too.

Recently I've discovered a new chocolate--Moser Roth, sold by Aldi. I've tried their 70% dark chocolate and their orange-almond dark chocolate. Both are phenomenal. If you love chocolate and have an Aldi near you, do me a favor and try a bar of Moser Roth and then let me know what you think.

What's your favorite flavor and brand of chocolate?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gluten-free Baking

I am still learning much about the art and science of gluten free baking. Since Jeremy's Celiac diagnosis in July, I've been reading and checking out cookbooks and blogs. I've had many failed attempts, but more frequently several successes.

The public library up here added a book to their inventory a few months back and it's been a boon to my kitchen experimenting--Artisanal Gluten Free. The couple that wrote the book first had a blog (isn't that the way of it these days?). They've been gluten free for just over three years and sometimes I feel a camaraderie knowing it's new to them too. Anyway, they created a flour mix, because unlike wheat baking, gluten free baking cannot be done with just one flour. I've made their blueberry muffins, banana muffins, chocolate chip scones, and pizza dough. Except for the pizza dough, when I bite into the baked goods, I can't tell much difference. If you came to visit, I'd happily serve you a plate of muffins or scones.

Chocolate chip cookies and pizza dough have been my most troubled experimentation in the kitchen. I've tried three different cookie recipes and was highly disappointed in all of them (one batch made it into the garbage!). I've yet to try the Artisanal chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I plan to. For the pizza I tried the Bob's Red Mill mix and thought it was disgusting. The crust sort of crumbled (but strangely felt sort of like it was bubbling in my mouth) and then left a raw feeling to my tongue...this I cannot explain. I purchased an Amy's brand frozen gluten free pizza that I dressed up and it was very good, but $7 for a two-person pizza. I purchased pre-made crusts that tasted alright, but completely fell apart when we tried to eat them. And lastly I made the Artisanal pizza crust. It was decent, but something I'd still have to get used to. I didn't have the right equipment to try their thin-crust pizza recipe, but I plan to someday. Although up to this point I've really been more of a deep-dish pizza kind of girl, I think that the dietary changes in our life are turning me into a thin-crust fan.

Saturday evening we had friends for supper. I wanted to make a dessert and couldn't come up with any ideas. I thought about trying the new chocolate chip cookie recipe, but Jeremy rightly said, "isn't that a bit of a risk?" (yes, my cookies were that bad!). :) I scoured the internet for ideas and finally found this recipe for chocolate shortbread. This was an equally risky recipe as I had to make it gluten free, but I decided to give it a try. I substituted the Artisanal flour blend for the all-purpose flour. It worked! I turned out a pretty and tasty shortbread with a light chocolate glaze and chopped pistachios on top. This of course was just a small personal victory, but it pleased me.

Lest you think I make baked treats all the time, well it's not true. However, my bread-indifferent husband actually asks for muffins now. And while we don't always have them on hand, it's nice to know I can produce a product that tastes good and isn't harmful to his body. I've had many moments over the last months where I've despaired a bit about my abilities in the kitchen, slowly I'm gaining confidence and learning how to bake all over again.

Friday, April 9, 2010

How is it...

that I've never read Jane Eyre before? This is a travesty!

Last week after I finished up reading a most delightful debut novel, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson, I decided it was time I set aside all the new books I'd been reading and pick up another classic (if you've been reading here awhile, you might remember I set myself a reading goal of 12 classics this year). I've been behind in that department. So, I picked Jane Eyre off my shelves. A week and a half later I'm just now nearly finished, but I have so enjoyed every moment of it. Already I can tell it will be a book I reread. Why don't people write like that anymore? I've read some enjoyable recently-published books, but in general they lack the depth of these classics.

Now, I'm not saying that just because a book is labeled a classic, that the book is automatically the superior of books published in the last few decades; however, there is indeed a reason that particular books stand the test of time.

What's your favorite classic?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Last week my mom came to visit.

And, we visited and worked and generally enjoyed the company of about 24 hours.

Jeremy and I are so much enjoying our new little home. I still have several problem areas for storage reasons, but in general, this move was an excellent one.

Anyone that knows me well, knows that I crave order. And, in general, I'm pretty good at organization. My mom and I together, are perhaps even better. So, mom came up to help me think through a couple areas in the house, and to help me work on curtains for the house, and also just to visit!

Our first stop was to a Goodwill thrift store to look at the curtains. While I was overall unimpressed with the store, we did find beautiful, embroidered, somewhat sheer curtains for the kitchen and what we guessed to be 7 yds of fabric that fit and framed perfectly the French doors in my living room. All of this for around $14! The next day we stopped at another thrift store looking for two particular sizes of baskets for a catchall/junk place in the kitchen, as well as a crock to hold utensils on the counter. We found all of these for just under $10! I'm always amazed at God reminding us He loves us and watches over us by providing such serendipitously perfect items.

While Jeremy and my brother Wes watched movies, played video games, tinkered with our bicycles (Wes enjoys and is quite skilled at working on bikes), and generally hung out, Mom and I puttered around the kitchen trying to make my smaller space work. By the time she left, the kitchen looked so much better (it's a very sunny room and probably my favorite place in the house). The countertops were mostly clear, my pantry area was tidied up, and we'd made my small drawer space work. She also helped me think through storage in the second bedroom closet. We also had time to enjoy a quick-trip to the farmer's market and to the salvage grocery.

It was so much fun having Mom and Wes here. They helped us move in, so it was fun to show them what we'd done with the place. I'm so thankful for my family; I am truly blessed.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter

Yesterday was a beautiful, slightly warm day. A day where the weather matched the mood of rejoicing in Christ's resurrection!

I spent my first ever Easter separate from my family. It felt a little strange, but is both part of being an adult and part of being married. I had to work on Saturday, so Jeremy and I couldn't make the trek back home. However, we enjoyed a pleasant, relaxing day, just the two of us.

Growing up, Mom and Dad were always very good at establishing fun traditions surrounding holidays. Most of them weren't flashy, over-the-top, in fact, more often than not the traditions were designed to remind us of the particular reason for a holiday. Like at Thanksgiving we each wrote and read thanksgivings (written on paper feathers and taped to a paper turkey). For Easter, we shared a sunrise breakfast--which so many years actually lacked the sun--on the living room floor. We ate boiled eggs we'd decorated with plants we'd collected outside and dyed in natural dyes--like onion skins. Mom made fresh cinnamon rolls or some other special bread. And Dad read the resurrection story. Of course as we grew up certain aspects changed a little, but the heart of the tradition remained the same.

Because holidays hold such significance and favorite memories to me, I want to make those times particularly special for Jeremy and I. Feasting is such a big part of holidays! Special occasions from Biblical times to the present typically involve special foods. I have yet to thoroughly establish particular foods for particular holidays, but I do try to make it special.

Yesterday morning I got up a little early to put the roast in the crockpot and I thought to myself, "What special bread can I make?" That was the part of my family's tradition I could partake in from afar. So, I tried my hand at chocolate chip scones (gluten-free, of course). And to that I added vanilla yogurt with fresh strawberries and fried eggs. And while it wasn't quite like what I've been so accustomed to, it was a pleasant breakfast shared with the man I love.

Since it's always just the two of us, I'm quite terrible at remembering to take pictures. I hope to change that, but for now, you're just going to have to read what goes on here, instead of see photos.

I hope you all had a blessed Easter weekend celebrating!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Reading

As always, I've been reading. This week I finished The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. I picked it up because the premise reminded me of a combination of 84 Charing Crossroad (do you ever wonder when I'll stop mentioning this book? Probably never, because it's so fabulous.) and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Set during the beginning stages of WW2, the story follows three main women--Friankie, Iris, and Emma--as their lives run parallel and eventually intersect. They were interesting characters, but I found Emma to be the only character I sympathized with and that was merely because I felt sorry for her. Frankie is an American radio reporter stationed in London; Iris is the postmaster in a small Massachusetts town; Emma is the young doctor's wife in the same town.

While I enjoyed the book, it fell short of my expectations. I found myself rather confused in the beginning--some of the minor characters were not introduced very clearly--and it took me a good 70 pages to get into the book. That being said, reading the book wasn't a waste of time, it just wasn't a book I'd pick up again.

What have you been reading?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Returning

It's been over a month since I posted. Jeremy informed me the other day that this has done little for my readership (which, of course, I'd already thought about).

So, here I am again.

Unfortunately I have no pictures of our new place yet. Honestly, I still have too many boxes around to want to share photos anyway. But, we are settling in slowly and are pleased with our little apartment-house. This place has more of a snug house feel than an apartment, which I find rather comforting. It's an old place and we're learning the intricacies of the creaking, uneven wood floors; doors that are forever ajar; and circuits that overload.

This is brief, I know, but I plan to be back soon, my Friends!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow is coming...again.

Each time the roads and sidewalks finally lay bare their cement and asphalt bodies from beneath the cloak of snow, the weather people start forecasting.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Starting Fresh

At the end of this month we will be changing residence. We've found a two-bedroom apartment for a comparable price about 15 minutes from where we are now. It's the upstairs of an 1899 carriage house. We're pretty excited to leave behind our creaky place and noisy upstairs neighbors. We're optimistic that this change will be positive all around. And lucky Jeremy will now be only a mile from his work!

Moving inevitably causes me to ponder my overflowing library of books. What can I live without? What books haven't I read and figure their one-time reads anyway? We have a constant battle to keep books at bay. I'll be parting with a couple stacks and hope I won't regret their empty spots on my shelf. Those spots won't stay empty for long though, they never do.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Acceptance

So often I wish I could change my personality. Of course I know this is logically impossible. And I also know this discontentment with how God created me isn't healthy or honoring of Him. I don't want to think this way, but I find the thoughts creeping in over and over.

At 28 I can still be crippled by shyness. And, with a year and a half of continual changes and adjustments to marriage, a new city, 2 churches, 3 jobs, apartment living, and trying to make friends, I've grown weary of my inability to overcome this shyness. I let fear of embarrassment and assumption that people don't really care, hold me back from talking and letting people get to know me. I've always been this way, but as an adult, I imagine it looks worse than as a shy kid. Literally, Jeremy and I can go to social events and I say almost nothing after the "hello, how are you" start.

I long to be more outgoing, to not second-guess every word I think about saying (and usually decide not to say). It's so hard for me not to compare myself to the bubbly, easy-going girls I see all over the place. I envy them. They seem to enjoy everything more fully. They can converse and laugh and participate without having to open their mouths around the molasses feelings of shyness and then agonize over what they just said. They have their troubles too, I'm sure. But today, if I could choose, I'd like to be the happy, outgoing, easy-going, optimistic kind of girl.

Will I ever learn to really accept that God made me as the quieter, more observant, shy kind of girl and that's okay too?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Groundhog Has Spoken...

there will be 6 more weeks of winter.

As I drove to work on freshly snowy roads this morning, I'm not the least surprised.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Food Thoughts

I made some gluten-free blueberry muffins yesterday that were tasty. My husband said they were "De-licious." From him, this is exceptionally high praise as he doesn't care for many baked goods anyway.

A couple weeks ago I experimented with a quinoa risotto. Everything I read says that quinoa is very healthy and great on a gf diet. But, the couple times I've made it, we've both thought it was just okay. The "risotto" though, was very good, with mushrooms and Parmesan cheese. Mmm.

Around Christmas time I made some fudge and Jeremy and I both brought it to work to share. My co-workers raved about it (I didn't think it was as tasty as my grandma's awesome fudge! But, it was pretty good). Anyway, I participated in my workplaces Secret Pal exchange throughout this year and tonight was the big "Reveal". I whipped up some fudge last night to give to my secret pal. She squealed tonight when she opened the box and said she wouldn't be sharing any of it. :)

One of these days I'll actually get onto a good schedule with cooking.

The local farmer's market (year round!) has organic free-range eggs $2/dozen, which makes me happy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jesus is here with us now.

The start to this year has been challenging. I alluded to this in my previous post.
In the past week and a half I've been especially reminded of the fragility of life. The earthquakes in Haiti are a major example. But, a little closer to home for me have been the call that a beloved neighbor suddenly passed away; that a patron at my library works at a school where a 3rd-grader collapsed and died in gym last week; that a police officer and his k9 companion from my community were hit and killed last week and from the window of my gym I watched the police car parade driving to his funeral; that the secretary of the English department at my private university was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and for many reasons is letting the cancer take its course; that the manager of the bookstore where Jeremy and I met just found out her cancer has returned.
After hearing about my former boss--someone Jeremy and I both love very much--I cried last night. It's just so much to take in. I can't even fathom what the families of these people are going through. I know that God is in control and that is my comfort. He is my peace. Jeremy said to me last night, "Jesus is with Chris (our boss) right now. Jesus is here with us right now. And He's going to keep being with us."
 
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