Wednesday, November 16, 2011

October In Our Home

Wow, I can't believe how fast this year has flown by! I look forward to this season every year with the anticipation of the seasons changing and upcoming holidays. This year, I realized that Tim and I have never put up a Christmas tree in the same place twice since we've been married. Phew, am I tired of moving!

October was a fun month for us, full of firsts. It was absolutely beautiful, weather wise, here in central Indiana. It seems like the leaves just took their sweet time changing colors and held on for dear life, giving us a good month to enjoy them.

I'm a sucker for seasonal traditions and the person who is caught saying, "We HAVE to go pick pumpkins-we do every year!". We didn't exactly pick pumpkins this year...the traditional way, at least. We didn't make it to the pumpkin patch before it closed for the day so we took Isaac to the "patch" at Home Depot. He loved it just the same, and whatdya know-cheaper pumpkins. We did, however, make it to the apple orchard. I can't believe I've never picked apples before! (Mom? At least I don't remember?) The day we went, it was actually too warm to really enjoy it, but the cider slushies were a huge hit. Isaac picked a ton of apples, but he had a blast pulling the wagon and having Aunt Sarah lift him way into the middle of the trees.

Look at how much he's grown in a year! In the first picture, he's really just propped up against the big wooden apple and I jumped away quick enough for the picture.

Next up was the big wedding day for Tim's brother. I was excited about a fall wedding (I've secretly always wished we'd gotten married then) and our whole family was very involved. Sarah and I *successfully* baked, iced, transported, and displayed all 200 cupcakes for the wedding - go us! For real, though. It was no small task. Tim and I were both in the wedding party and Isaac was the ring bearer. Well, at least he was acting the part. He made it down the aisle carried by Tim (not the original plan) and then screamed as my mom took him off the stage for the duration of the wedding (also not the original plan). Oops. He cheesed it up big time for pictures and danced like a fool at the reception, so I guess nobody has any proof that he was a mess during the actual ceremony. Well, except the videographer. My parents flew out for a long weekend for the wedding, which was so nice. They were a huge help with Isaac and it was fun for Tim and I to have both our families to celebrate a great wedding.

After things calmed down a bit (and we finally finished the leftover cupcakes), I grabbed a borrowed chicken costume from a friend and took Isaac trick-or-treating while Tim was in bed with the flu that I'd had a few days before. Isaac caught on really quickly and he even had to be reminded that we don't need to say "trick or treat" whenever we want something. He was hilarious dressed as a chicken (as I would think most people are) and it was actually the first time I'd been trick-or-treating since I was probably his age.

That same day, we closed on our first home.

Let me repeat that.


After almost 4 years of renting 5 different houses, we finally bought a house. The one we'd always wanted.

And we are SO. EXCITED.

Prepare for more "in progress" pictures and posts to come *hopefully*. We're already moved in and starting to slowly chip away at our loooooong list of things we'd like to do to the house. It has great bones and no major things that have to be overhauled, so we're just basically making it to our liking.

Ya know, the fun stuff.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

September in our home

This month was busy and productive! The weather in Indiana couldn't make up its mind between summer and fall, so we danced in a little of each. It's the start of my favorite season of all and the end of a hectic summer.

Isaac kept us on our toes (pun intended)and ended up with his first(of many, I predict)cast. He literally woke up with a fractured ankle from getting his foot caught in his crib slats the night before. Who knew!? Of course, I graciously received the Mother of the Year award when I was convinced he was just making a big deal about his foot falling asleep. I mean, HOW can a child literally wake up with a broken bone when he was fine when you put him down? Well, if that doesn't give you a taste of my son's unpredictability, then I don't know what does.

He actually did surprisingly well on it, and was running around hours after getting the cast on. I put the leggings I made for his crawling stage last year to good use as a cover for his cast. It kept it clean(-er than it would've been without one) and was pretty cool, too! People in the stores and such kept telling me, "Did you know he's missing a shoe?" because they couldn't tell by the way he was walking that it was in a cast! Kids are adaptable, I tell ya.

The very same day Isaac got his cast on, he caught his first flu bug. I'm talking the diarrhea, vomiting, fever, no appetite, "my baby's dying and I don't know what to do" kind. I'm very thankful it was a weekend and Tim was home to help cuddle and clean up. Blech. Most pitiful sight I've ever laid eyes on, that little guy.

While we were at home snuggling a sick and limping little boy, Sarah ran away on a boat. We all hate her. I usually don't let her stand next to me from the months of March-September to avoid any racial assumptions people may have of the two of us. ;)

Once Isaac recovered from his "go big or go home!" weekend of glory and testing our parenting skills, we got back into our normal weekly routine of storytime at the public library. I decided to try moving him up to the 2-3's class and see how it went. Oh, my! He loved it! Structure, listening skills, motor development, was heaven for both of us. It's so great to have a quality library program for little ones. He learns the songs so quickly and sings them over and over at home or in the car. It's so fun to see him learn. Our refrigerator is filling up quickly with "art projects" that only a mother & daddy could really appreciate.

I mentioned the enormous amount of cupcakes that Sarah and I are making for the big wedding later in October for their brother. It's going to be a lovely fall wedding! We decided to showcase, er, practice some of our cupcake flavors for the couple's shower we hosted and let the bride and groom approve for themselves. Our red velvet and snickerdoodle cupcakes with dulce de leche frosting were a hit! *Sigh of relief.
Now, we have to master the piping and figure out how the heck to transport 200 cupcakes a few hours south. I may feel more pressure than the couple themselves for this big day. My two jobs: make, transport & display 200 cupcakes and get the ring bearer down the aisle. Dressed. Prayers appreciated.

We ended the month with some pretty fun "firsts" for all of us. Isaac got his first "real" haircut (i.e. that didn't involve Mom trying to sneak a few snips in the bath tub when he wasn't paying attention) and now looks five years older. Be still, my heart.

We also took the plunge(or leap of faith) and seriously, actually, this time for real, started the home buying process. If you know our area at all, it's the latter. We couldn't be happier about our choice and how the Lord worked out every single detail to make it happen. We haven't closed or anything yet, so I'll post pictures when it's official!

Happy Fall, Ya'll!

Saturday, September 03, 2011


i have a thing for cupcakes.

i even love the word.

cake. lots of frosting. two bites max. yummm.

i have a soft (sweet) spot for most baked goods and can honestly finish a pan of brownies by myself in record time. thank God for Zumba.

this october, my DH's brother is getting married and the dessert of choice is - cupcakes.

cupcakes have become so popular in events like weddings, and the creativity is almost endless. what color papers? what flavor cake? how MANY flavors? fillings? frostings? sprinkles? dustings?

you really could go on and on. they can be as simple or as detailed as you wish.

this wedding is a fall wedding and the bride has given me permission to be creative. with the expectation to please both taste buds and the eyes. *awkward laugh* simple enough.

fortunately, autumn is a cinch when it comes to flavors. pumpkin, spice cake, apple, red velvet, carrot, almond!

i'm only in the inspiration stage for now, but about a month out i'll be baking on a schedule and freezing them until D-day. guess we'd better start eating out of the freezer now.

thanks to Pinterest, i'm feeling some major vibes from these flavors:

salted caramel cupcakes found here

vanilla almond cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting found here

apple pie cupcakes found here

pumpkin cupcakes found here

and the groom's favorite:

red velvet cupcakes found here

i'm still undecided about how to decorate, although i know simple is best. no spreading frosting with a knife (pleaaaase *eye roll*). piping will have to be mastered, and perhaps a tiny bit of cinnamon & crystal sugar dusting. dark brown papers or white papers? and should i include carrot cake and a basic vanilla?? what about a chocolate with chocolate cupcake? oy.

the bride has an adorable idea for a "sweets" table where the guests can choose their cupcake of choice, along with an assortment of festive candies arranged in glass containers. she's even DIYed a banner to hang above the table.

my goodness, where would we BE without Pinterest to fuel our fires??

probably flipping through bridal magazines like I had to do. you know, back in the day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kingdoms in Conflict

This is a pretty heavy subject to post as my first in awhile. Go big or stop pretending you're a blogger, right?

A few things have led me here. First, our senior pastor has been preaching through the book of 1 Peter. Such a lovely little book. So much to take in in only five chapters, that it's taking us a few months to wade through it. Each line is just saturated with deeper meanings that you might miss if you just blow through the text.

Secondly, I have been mulling over and trying to piece together, in my very small and oh-so-not-politically-savvy brain, the presidential address and the debate over how to handle the nation's debt. Man. It has me troubled. What a big decision! Many say that this these speeches were merely to fill the awkward silence between now and D-day, but there are a few things that both inspired and troubled me.

Because neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to this problem, both parties have a responsibility to solve it.

Totally agree.

The entire world is watching. So let’s seize this moment to show why the United States of America is still the greatest nation on Earth –-

Wait, I take that back. Greatest nation on Earth? Hm. I'm sure at one point, Romans felt the same way. #historyrepeatsitself

(Yes, I just used a hash tag.)

Regardless of your political standpoint on our current president, future candidates, the proposed solutions to raising the debt ceiling, or debt in general, we all have to face facts. This will affect us. And once a decision is made, we will have to accept consequences, good or bad.

What does this have to do with 1 Peter?

At this point in the game, a lot. We as Christians are responsible to help make decisions with our government, but also for our reactions to the the final decisions. More often than not, separation of church and state has proved its failures. Let's remember that the world IS watching after those bills have been passed.

We are active citizens with influence in two kingdoms.

Those kingdoms are often in conflict. How do we handle it?

How are Christians to respond when those in authority over them demand that they do something that would compromise their faith?

The Bible says to submit to authority. However, submitting does not mean compromising. It means we accept any punishments or consequences for obeying Christ in the midst of a worldly government.

1 Peter 2:13-25. Go read it. Or google it. I'll wait:)

So how do we respond to these verses?

First, we need to do just that. We need to RESPOND. In the United States, we are very free people. We have privileges and rights that give us a HUGE advantage for Kingdom purposes.

So many times, I wonder if those suffering for the cause of Christ in other countries are thinking of Americans who believe and just WISH they had the same freedoms they did. Oh, to speak freely about how God is working in your life? And to be able to meet PUBLICLY to worship? And disciple? And serve people ADMITTING it's because Jesus commanded? And to pass out Bibles, let alone CARRY ONE??

Our senior minister, Bob, said it best.

"The worst that can happen is that we make someone really mad."

You're right. I've probably done that pulling into the parking spot before they did, but I wasn't worried about that.

Bob finished his sermon last Sunday mentioning that prayer is the second half of this Kingdom's strategic plan. We need to pray for our brothers and sisters who are living in the parts of the world where persecution is a reality.

He challenged us not to pray for the persecution to be removed, but for the presence of persecution to reveal God's glory.

That's a hard prayer to speak. Of course, we want it easy. We live in America where we think, "They have no right! How dare they persecute!" Well, the fact of the matter is that it exists. And we have a responsibility to react to it. And it may not be to stop it, but to USE it.

So, as our leaders make a great decision next week, I hope you pray. Not that the problems would go away. But that we may be able to respond to the decisions in a way that glorifies God and furthers HIS Kingdom.

You may not agree with much or anything President Obama has ever stated, but he is absolutely right about one thing.

The world is watching.

(several references & notes adapted from Bob Bell's sermon "Kingdoms in Conflict" on July 24, 2011)

Friday, July 22, 2011

checking in

I'm still here. I check my blog, hoping somehow I've forgotten that I wrote another post since May. Nope. Hm.

I have plenty to write about, and probably a few pictures as well. Just never get to it. I think this happens, eh, about 5 or so times a year.

Let's call it the dog days of summer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

right now i am...

:: watching the breeze swish in the trees outside, remembering how powerful the wind can be.

:: loving my friends for who they are.

:: wanting to be a part of something bigger.

:: looking at a house with toys everywhere & instead of complaining, being grateful for those toys & the little sticky hands that scatter them about.

:: heading to virginia, arizona & michigan this summer!

:: patting myself on the back for making exercising a habit!

:: waiting for God's perfect timing.

:: enjoying the beautiful weather.

:: surprising myself with my desire for the Word.

:: looking forward to being at home in Virginia in 3 weeks!

:: feeling grateful for safety from harm's way.

:: hoping that i can be used where i am.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

run for the hills

Tim and I just came back from our trip to Boulder, Colorado. This was our trip as a gift to ourselves, an early anniversary present, second honeymoon, a trip we'd better take now before more siblings get married & we have more babies. We were pumped. Boulder is a town that fits our personalities and interests, and it's always a place we've wanted to visit.

The trip could've been better. In fact, it could've been a lot better. Not because of our planning, the weather (that was actually pretty rainy & chilly), the company, things to do, etc. Because when we left for our trip, we had recently learned we were on our way of becoming a family of four. I was between 6-7 weeks along and this was one of the best surprises I'd ever had in life. Since it was a little more work to get pregnant with Isaac, we were beyond thrilled that this pregnancy had just snuck up on us.

When we came home, we weren't pregnant anymore. The sparkle in our eyes was dimming, the disappointment had set in, and I was just plain confused. We'd had a miscarriage. Something I really never envisioned happening to me. (Who does?) Talk about putting a damper on a great trip. Not much R&R.

Looking back a week ago, I still have some frustrations and questions. Probably will for awhile. My intention is not to drag this out and write a "woe is me" post that everyone will comment on and feel sorry for. I know I have little to complain about with my beautiful baby boy at home & a very strong possibility of success in the near future. That's not what this is about. I was wondering why God would pull my heartstrings like that....surprise, you're pregnant. now you're not. What?? In most situations, I try to find God working the details. I was confused, angry, upset, disappointed and desperate last week. I just wanted to run for the hills. So we did just that.

God works in mysterious ways and I have never had any intention of revealing his mystery. It's just not possible & that remains one of my favorite things about our Lord. He is Sovereign and will not be figured out.

Maybe God sent us away to the mountains by ourselves to rest.
Maybe He knew we'd need each other and only each other to make it through the week.
Maybe He knew the towering red rocks against the deep blue sky would speak to me in that moment, as a symbol of His control and power.
Maybe He wanted us to remember that it's not up to us.
Maybe He needed me to change the way I loved my husband.
Maybe He needed me to change the way I mothered the son I do have at home.

Maybe He wanted me back.
Back from somewhere I hadn't realized I'd wandered off to.

All in all, we have begun to heal and move on. There is plenty of silver lining to shine through. In perspective, I know there are several (or more) of you out there who would take this tiny tragedy in a heartbeat compared to what you've suffered. I know that I am blessed to have a child already. This isn't about that. It's about God working in a way that is unclear to us now, and me trusting that He is good.

Because He is good. He wouldn't be anything else.

Psalm 72:3
Let the mountains bring peace to the people, and the hills, in righteousness.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

too hot

our weekend went like this:

Friday night, we all go to bed like usual. Isaac had been asleep since 8pm, and not a peep out of him since. At 2 am, we hear him through the baby monitor almost panicking. Sometimes, this isn't a big deal because he tends to have night terrors & wake up a little disoriented. It's remedied easily by sticking his paci back in and he slumps back down asleep. This time, when I picked him up, I immediately noticed how fire hot he was. I set him on the changing table to undress him from his long sleeve pajamas and noticed his jerky body movements and lack of responding to me. He was having a seizure. I woke Tim up with a stern, "Tim, get up." Tim noticed the situation and we headed out the door to the ER.

Turns out, he had a febrile seizure. A seizure completely brought on by sudden spikes in temperature. He had an ear infection. His second ever! No complaining, no tugging on the ears, nothing. Sheesh, kid. Give your mother a heads up next time.

We were all back in bed by 3:30ish Saturday morning, and Tim & I were comforted and thankful that everything was fine.

Saturday afternoon, we head down to Tim's parents who live about 25 minutes away to visit for a bit. Tim laid down with Isaac for his afternoon nap. An hour later, he emerges from the back bedroom and hands Isaac to me with an unsure tone in his voice. It was happening again.

Maybe 5 mins later, we were once again at the local ER after denying the 100 mile an hour speed we got up to in the jeep. If we weren't at the ER for one thing, I was certain it would be another.

Isaac's temperature had gotten up to 104.5 and this time I was worried. Two seizure episodes in 12 hours? Were the seizures too close? Would they now have lasting effects? My mom brain kept running...

All in all, it was concluded that the antibiotics for the ear infection and the Tylenol/Ibuprofen regimen we started hadn't had time to take effect yet, so it was simply fever related. Of course, we slept (or didn't sleep) like brand new parents that next night...checking on him whenever he made a peep. Tim's sister came to help do rotations since Tim was preaching the next day.

Isaac is back to normal, like nothing ever happened. We're hoping this weekend will just be a bad memory & rite of passage for us as newbie parents in the ER at 2am. I'm more thankful than ever for God's protection over us (mostly when Tim was driving to the ER both times) and that we are all able to go back to living life as usual. I know not everyone is so lucky. We are blessed with our little boy back.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Right now I am...

:: watching
my son grow up faster than i care to accept.

:: loving
how curly his hair gets when he's sweaty.

:: wanting to
feel content.

:: looking at
my new Food Network Magazine & earmarking several smoothie recipes.

:: heading to bed to rest up for Zumba class tomorrow morning-solo. jeeps.

:: patting myself on the back for making two loaves of homemade bread, kale soup & two pizza crusts all in the same day.

:: waiting for the weather to decide to stay warm!

:: enjoying
taking isaac outside every change we get to play.

:: surprising
myself with new habits.

:: looking forward to our "second honeymoon" vacation to Boulder in 30 days!

:: feeling grateful for the basic provisions.

:: hoping
that i'm doing my best each day.

Monday, March 14, 2011

40 bags in 40 days

i'm a fan of organization. note: i didn't say i WAS organized. but i try. and it's an aspired dream to have systems & bins & plans in place for everything, especially as our family will continue to grow.

i came across this blog about how organizing and purging your home of junk and unneccessary things will slowly help simplify your life and make more room for God. totally on board! i take no credit for this idea; i'm simply jumping on the bandwagon. but it's a neat & organized bandwagon, so there's plenty of room for me.

the gist:
there are 40 days of Lent, the season before Easter. make a list of 40 areas in your home & each day, you will go through and sort, organize & clean that area. done.

the point:
simplify your life. we store most of our stuff, thinking we'll use it someday. in reality, if we can't find it or have access to it, we may as well not own it. it's just causing more frustrations and clutter than anything.

the list:
i mentally walked through the house and listed every area that needed to be purged (our closet, nightstands, clothes storage, hall closet, desk, pantry, etc.) i was very specific about some things, knowing that if it's too big a job, i won't do it in a day. remember things like your wallet, purse, refrigerator, car, etc.

i'm a few days shy of starting on Ash Wednesday for Lent, so maybe I can tackle 2 or 3 small areas to catch up. maybe all the extra stuff that i decided we didn't need can go in a garage sale this spring or donate to Dove Harbor, a women's shelter ministry in the area. it's just not going back in the house!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Rainy Day = Library Day

I finally have access to the public library. Hallelujah! Isaac & I took a trip there today since it's raining and he is one to need out of the house or a change of scenery once a day (so am I!). He enjoyed running around and pulling books off the shelf more than anything and can spot a Baby Einstein book amongst a hundred board books! I was impressed. Needless to say, we came home with quite a haul. I learned from our last trip not to bring home books with flaps, pop ups, etc. They will be found and eaten. Repeatedly.

My picks:
1. Read It Before You Eat It (inspired read by my sister)

2. Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker (for those Zumba nights when we all eat dinner at different times)

3. Project Runway -Season 6 (for when I'd rather not read or thing, but just sit. and relive the days of the Bravo Channel)

Isaac's picks:
1. Baby Einstein's Baby Animals (he picked this one up and wouldn't let go of it so we had to check it out to avoid a tantrum)

2. Mommies Say Sssh by Patricia Polacco

What are you reading?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Bean Muffins

Yes, these sound strange. Even gross in a health freak sort of way. Never fear, I wouldn't do that to you. This recipe was introduced to us at a MOPS event about healthy eating & a girlfriend of mine said her son almost begged her for them daily, so I had to whip some up. They turned out wonderfully & before I could even explain that they were made with beans, Tim had gobbled some up and declared his affection. Well, no need to spoil anyone's fun. Glad you like them, honey. *smile*

I made this in a mini muffin pan and just adjusted the baking time. I also added some sweetener (agave, honey, sugar, etc.) just to sweeten it up a tad.

Bean Muffins

1 can light red kidney beans OR 1 1/4 c. home cooked beans
3/4 c. skim milk (or almond, soy, etc.)
2 egg whites OR 1 egg
1/4 unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/16 t. ground cloves

Drain & rinse beans. Puree beans in food processor, gradually adding milk. Pour bean mixture into a mixing bowl. Stir in eggs, applesauce and brown sugar. Measure and combine dry ingredients seperately; add to bean mixture. Stir until just moistened. Fill muffin pan & bake at 400 for 15 mins.

Optional: adding raisins & nuts. I opted out, since I made these with someone in mind who is short on teeth:)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

about learning to see what's right there

alright, friends. i have a lot going on right now. several things are a-stewin' in this head of mine, which always seems to come in waves. so in advance - hold on, it's random and a bit lengthy.

if you remember several months ago, i said i believe God planted a small seed of a desire to see a successful women's ministry begin to take shape in my local church community. God is faithful and has been continuing his good work. this post is partly mental notes for me to document how this whole thing is taking shape, even if slowly, and partly to share my excitement with you (because how can I keep God's work a secret!?). aside from anything i could ever try to plan & execute myself, i'd love to tell you about the topics stirring around in my head & heart as well.

-started reading(yes, lofty goals!)a book called The Forgotten God by Francis Chan. definitely rethinking (or even paying attention for the first time) to the role of the Holy Spirit in me as living and real, and not just a Sunday School answer.

-Zumba. continues to grow & i love love love hearing the excitement by several participants who are slowly growing in their addiction *evil laugh*. it's working! bridging the gap between healthy physical bodies & healthy communities and souls is narrowing.

-this is a big year for my church community, in my opinion. tim & i have now been here 3 years and feel like it's time to dig into the trenches & get serious about making a change. i'm expecting it to be uncomfortable for many, and we're learning to be okay with that. it always amazes me how God sets things on our hearts individually & then we have those "me too!" moments. we're also starting to make our "church community" as outside the walls of our congregation where tim is employed.

-our current church community is looking towards figuring out what discipleship means for them. it's an uncomfortable conversation at times, and involves some looking in the mirror and admitting that most of the time, we're not doing it. in order to do my part, i've decided that along with the help of the Holy Spirit, i'm going to attempt some matchmaking of my own within the demographic i know best - women. by matchmaking i mean taking what i've learned from previous discipleship groups that have worked well & providing opportunities for women to connect with each other - OUTSIDE of kids, husbands, work, etc.

i have the privilege of being connected to our church body by default - i'm a pastor's wife. people have to be nice to me, know who i am, involve us, etc. however, i need to remember those who may walk into the building looking for that connection. what is there? "hmm, do you have kids? no? um..well, services are at 9 and 10:30. won't that be fun??" (sad, but true.)

-tim and i have been faced with the reality that Anderson might be a long term home for us. we've complained for far too long about how this city has nothing to offer the twenty somethings for entertainment, culture & recreation. we've done a half ass job, to probably be pretty honest, about investing in this city as the Lord's holy ground. too long we've lived in a "one day" state of mind and dreaming about the next trendy town we live in with lots to keep us entertained and endless ministry opportunities. well, i feel as if a veil has been lifted and that place we always said we'd live intentionally and make our mission field is right. freaking. here. Anderson is a special town with financial strife, poverty, hopeless people, and an education system that is below par. who are we to decide we're too good for this place? and what cool city park or trendy cafe can replace good friends that would do anything for you & live life with you?? God needs us here. we try to remind ourselves when we have frustrations about our present location that if we don't stay and give hope, who will?

well, i don't ever promise great literature or clever crafty tutorials, but i hope that you find encouragement & comfort in reading about how God works through a crazy world, even if it's just the small realm of my own reality here in a seemingly hopeless city in central Indiana.

God bless. enjoy your time with loved ones this weekend & make sure they know you love them.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


new pillows for the couch in the EXACT colors i need. now if i only had an extra $160 for all four...

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

God prepared us, even then.

This is an old blog post from 2006. Tim and I weren't even married yet. I found it wandering around my own blog and thought it was interesting to see how something I wrote almost five years ago applies to my life in the present. This is often how Tim and I have been viewing our years here in Anderson, the big town with little hope. There certainly wasn't much "pulling" us to Anderson, but we were every bit shoved out here by God telling us to stop complaining about the church and BE the church. We don't necessarily consider ourselves 'missionaries' in the vocational sense, but maybe we should.

what is a missionary?
october 26, 2006

this morning's devotion has been sticking in my mind so clearly today. many times i've had to reread things in order to really process what it's saying, especially in the morning and today was no different. along with having to explain it to myself to make sure i understood instead of just read, i connected it surprised.....a teaching strategy.

i've often taught a lesson about the pioneers and the California Gold Rush. there were many things that "pulled" settlers out west, things that enticed and were attractive to men and women alike that gravitated them West. Things such as harsh conditions and failure in their original homelands are categorized as things that "pushed" them.

again, we have conditions that attracted them "towards" something and conditions that repelled people or "pushed" them from behind.

in church words, we could say some were "sent" and some were "called". make sense?

missionaries are often persuaded to present their missions using graphic stories, outstanding statistics, and desperate faces on their slides and displays. don't get me wrong, needs have to be met and sometimes we have to have that certain heartstring pulled inside ourselves in order to feel motivated at all. situations have to appear desperate enough in order to "call" people to them.

however, Oswald Chambers challenged me this morning to look at it a different way.
missionaries are sent. they might feel called, but i believe that in fact, they are commanded by a force BEHIND them. they are not sent by the people who need them. they are pulled towards them, but sent by Jesus.

the most important part of the whole missionary equation is the command. don't go because they need you. go because you were told to go.

fix the "pulls" as a result of the "push".

In missionary enterprise the great danger is that God's call is effaced by the needs of the people until human sympathy absolutely overwhelms the meaning of being sent by Jesus. The needs are so enormous, the conditions so perplexing, that every power of mind falters an dfails. We forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary enterprise is not first the elevation of the people, nor the education of the people, nor their needs; but first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ- "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations."

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Sunday, February 06, 2011

For today

Outside my window: it's dark, yet surprisingly bright with all the snow on the ground.

I am thinking: about paint colors for the main bathroom. And how i'd love to own a house and do what i wanted, but that takes money and commitment. Neither of which i have.

I am thankful for: my husband, who lets me sit in the recliner and hog the computer. during the superbowl.

From the kitchen: I have potato soup planned to feed our small group tomorrow, and i must stop making desserts.

I am wearing: my pajama pants from Goodwill. that's right. well, and a tshirt. geez.

I am reading: nothing printed, except for the occasional cookbook.

I am hoping: that spring comes quickly and isaac's nose will stop running. :(

I am creating: an opportunity for change in my eating habits (a continuous effort, since i am a lover of all desserts)

I am hearing: the Super Bowl wrapping up, and the click of my husband's camera as he attempts some night shots.

Around the house: we are slowly purging out the unnecessary and organizing!

One of my favorite things: is my little boy's laugh.

A few plans for the rest of the week: First night of our new small group, zumba class, MOPS on Thursday, and hopefully getting back into the routine of going to the Y after so much snow has canceled everything i look forward to!

Monday, January 31, 2011

simple cleaning recipes

my last post was intended to give you a few simple cleaning recipes that i've bookmarked and used, but i ended up ranting and raving about our messy closet. messes bother me. obviously.

so here are those recipes i wanted to archive for myself and share, if you haven't already discovered how simple cleaning can be without chemicals and yucky stuff.

Floor cleaner:
In a bucket of hot water (or plug up the kitchen sink like I do), add one cup of white vinegar and a drop of (hand) dish detergent. Add a pinch of borax if you have ant problems. The borax creates a slight natural residue on the floor that acts as a repellent for ants.

Drain cleaner:
Pour half a cup baking soda down the problematic drain, chased by one cup of white vinegar. The soda & vinegar will react. When fizzing stops, pour a kettleful of boiling water down the drain.

Coffee maker:
Pour one pint vinegar in the water reserve and top off with water. Run the coffee maker through a brewing cycle enough to make one cup. Then turn the machine off and let sit for an hour. Turn it back on and finish brewing remaining liquid. Rinse thoroughly and brew a pot of water only to get rid of any vinegar-y taste.

get out the shovel

i've been reading a few books on simple homemade cleaning recipes & organization methods in an effort to finally get our house under control and not have to stash things behind closed doors when we're having company (a bad habit that i am very guilty of). maybe it's my post-nesting nesting stage, who knows. maybe i've just had enough. we took a trunk full of clothes & other items to Goodwill the other day and it's barely made a dent. we have way too much stuff in "storage" for a family of two & a half.

poor tim has fallen victim to this purging streak of mine when i was throwing out an entire garbage can of junk that had collected in the student room at church. i've cleaned out my car, i've purged even isaac's clothes of things we don't need, even with the chance that another kiddo could wear it one day. after our Starbucks date, the caffeine kept me up til 1am scrubbing floors, sorting clothes, packing away maternity clothes (woohoo!) and baby items, and wiping down furniture. i may have kept him up, then, too.

if you want to know the real truth about someone, look in their closet. tim and i share a (smalllll) closet in our bedroom and we each have our own dresser. tim even has a storage unit for just his tshirts (color coded if you must know-i had to practice putting them away in the correct drawers). we have a lot of clothes. it's a weakness. it's a lot of fun to be married to someone who likes a good sale at the Gap Outlet as much as you do, but it's brutal on the lack of closet space. we both keep sorting & folding, resorting & refolding in order to make it a little easier to live with but it's a vicious cycle. we even try to switch out winter/summer clothes to help with space. even with purging my clothes of the "let's be honest, court, you're probably not going to fit into that ever again" voice in my head filling bags to send to Katrina's, i still come out stuffed to the brim. we really just need a bigger closet. but for now, we'll have to go with what we have and make it work. i read in a book recently, "if you can't even find it, then you may as well not own it." good point.

tim's side

my side

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

if i had places to wear skirts & boots, like super trendy NYC coffee shops and such, I'd probably have a pair of legwarmers for every day of the week.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

unfinished [ok, fine. never started] projects for 2011

image source

i have great ideas. i'm really lousy at following through with them. if i had more space for sewing & organizing all of my supplies, i'd do it more. if i wasn't so impatient, i could actually do a project the right way. if i wasn't someone who needed instant results, i'd be a better crafter. if this, then that. blah dee blah.

i have a whole year in front of me to, if anything, make christmas gifts for next year. i'm not kidding, it may take me that long. sometimes i do get sudden urges to craft and make a mess of things (which actually is a hard thing for me to do after spending so much time tidying up).

i'd say you can hold me accountable, but that's a joke. even still, here's what my brain is saying i will accomplish with my creative hands this year:

-reapholster the guest room headboard
-sand & paint the guest room nightstand
-finish fabric covered bulletin board
-paint wooden benches for the backyard
-attempt to sew something for myself to wear
-make a few christmas/birthday/mother's day gifts
-learn to crochet and NOT give up before three rows
-paint the bathroom (only if we sign another lease...i'm tired of fixing OTHER people's houses)
-purge & organize the house, room by room

i'll keep my list small at this point. don't hold your breath, but send creative vibes my direction!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Believe it.

Things I never thought I'd do. New Year's resolutions. Craziest idea yet.

I wasn't quite sure what to give as the title to this post. Any of them qualify. But it's true. I am actually a real live Zumba instructor. They're letting me teach other people how to exercise! Yes, they're crazy and they have a LOT of faith in me.
If you've known me for any length of time longer than six months, you probably quickly learned that I am NOT (but seriously) the athletic type. I dabbled in dance in MS, then volleyball in HS. That's it. No intramurals, pick up games, anything. I was that girl who told the teacher she was on her period so she didn't have to run the mile. (Does that even matter?) I was the girl who took a C in P.E. class because she didn't want to dress out. I was the girl who stressed out about youth group games because I wasn't sure what to expect and if it required any sort of athletic ability, I was sure I was doomed.

Enter Katrina.

She asked me to go to a Zumba class in our area probably 4 or 5 times before I actually went. I had probably run out of excuses. I dragged myself there and actually made it through a class. The next day, I could hardly use the stairs I was so sore. But I had loved it! And it was so much fun! And I had worked out for an HOUR!?

That was in late October.

Not even three months later, Katrina and I are two weeks in to TEACHING our own Zumba class at church. And 43 of you actually took us seriously that first night.

It's been so much fun to see how God's been working in my life the last few months. It's amazing how He places people in your life to be your motivation, courage, and partner. I'm telling you now, this is something I'd NEVER EVER EVER thought in a million years I would be doing. And I absolutely love it.

As each month passes since I gave up my salary-paying job to stay at home and focus on my family & home, He has blessed us.

Katrina has played a huge part in that blessing. I'm pretty sure I'm here for comic relief and suggesting a few old school DC Talk songs. She came up with the idea of starting our own class in order to educate, encourage, & enable women in our church community to live healthy & active lives. So far, it's a big hit. Our prayer is that we can build a community of women to have fun together & make ourselves a priority so we can give back to our families a healthy & happy mom/daughter/wife/sister.

This is one of those times in my life when I think about if I had had the chance to "look into the future" a year ago and see myself on a stage in a Zumba tank doing the Beto shuffle....I would have DIED laughing. And then gotten really scared.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

under her spell

hands down, my favorite cookbook ever. so far.

tim's probably already tired of me saying over (and over and over again) how much i love this cookbook and how i was impressed that i could reproduce her recipes so easily. he'll never say it, though. i might stop cooking.

not only are they great recipes, but she's a great gal. she takes wonderful pictures, lives on an *amazing* and beautiful ranch in Oklahoma (one day) and loves the stuffing out of her kids and cowboy husband. i mean, c'mon. i dare you to find a reason not to love her. she's not afraid to use real butter. see, told ya.

visit her blog (where i first discovered her talents) at

*HUGE thanks to my favorite sister-in-law for this *slightly hinted* christmas gift!

Monday, January 03, 2011

a new 2011

new year's resolutions aside, i think we're all ready for changes when it comes to be this time of year. we've gotten through the holidays and are now settling in for the winter (if you're in the midwest like me). once the busyness of the holidays wear off, we have a little more time to reflect on where we are and what we're doing. this time last year, i was still recovering from having a baby and was starting to crack through the shell of discontentment with my life, my body image, and my priorities. i still have a great way to go, but looking back, i can say that 2010 was filled with great and wonderful things.

in 2010:
-i spent the first 4 months enjoying maternity leave from teaching, figuring out routines for our newborn, and trying to catch up on sleep.
-tim bought a used Land Rover Disco, only to have it totally by a policeman unfit to drive. enter tim's dream car plan b, a Jeep.
-finished teaching the final 7 weeks of the school year with no real plans to return, honestly.
-i bought a sewing machine. and used it a few times.
-we joined a CSA for the spring and had loooooots of lettuce & greens to eat.
-we moved again. thankfully, we are in a great mold-free home on a full acre. marley is very grateful.
-i planted herbs. and watched most of them die.
-isaac traveled on a plane (twice in his first year!)
-my middle sister was married the end of June in the sweltering heat (and i mean that with every ounce of me).
-we spent a week in the Outer Banks of NC with family (isaac's first trip to the beach)
-we visited Grandma & Grandad in Ann Arbor (tim and isaac's first trip to A2)
-isaac learned to sit up, then crawl, get 6 teeth, then walk before his first birthday (just barely).
-i became a Pampered Chef consultant (to feed the bank a bit and my habits a lot)
-isaac moved to the toddler nursery at church (maybe only a momentous milestone for me).
-i attended a zumba class.
-2 months later, i am licensed to teach a zumba class! (yes, i'm for real)
-Blum family comes for Christmas

in 2011:
-tim and i will TRY to plan a trip for just us before more babies, weddings, etc. come along
-i will start teaching a Zumba class at church with Katrina!
-Port Hope trip is already underway for this summer, and plans are to plant apple/pear trees in the orchards for the years to come
-we will consider adding to our family of 3:)
-tim and i will do our very best to eat organically, locally, and all around healthier.
-i will continue to procrastinate on projects that involve a sewing machine.
-i will read actual books, not including magazines or blogs.
-isaac will continue to amaze us and perfect his "gets it from his mother" strong willed personality that will keep us on our toes (and laughing).
-tim and i will go mountain biking TOGETHER.
-we will continue our journey at Bethany, loving our kids more and more every day.

Happy New Year, everyone!