Thursday, November 26, 2009

Might as well add another post today again...and again



I want this! $18 for two of these ADORABLE shabby chic tea towels. Just the right amount of girly to get me through the dishes. :) LOVE IT!

Buy it for me here: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34424413&ref=em

Okay, NOW I'm going to bed.

It is catch up day!

A few weeks ago I started a sourdough bread starter. It went well, or so I thought. Here are some photos of my adventure into the art of bread making.

One day, I came home from work to a starter that was literally oozing out of the container. Cute, huh?





So I knew it was time to make some bread. I followed the directions and got this. And only this. It never rose. Sad. Needless to say, I still tried baking it. It made a nice doorstop...



I'm going to try making a starter again, but this time I'm trying another method. I'll let you know how it goes this time around. I am cautiously optimistic.

This probably isn't what you normally see when you ask your husband to crack open that bottle of wine, is it?



We weren't into wine when we got married, so we never have had a good bottle opener. We used our neighbor's bottle opener, but their opener was plastic and broke, leaving the spiral corkscrew stuck in the cork.

After several tries, we finally headed over to our friend's apartment for some help. It was great wine. It was a sparkling Moscato. Yum!

In other news, I crossed another thing off my Thirty by 30 list! I ate a Vitek's Gut Pak. It was amazing. Mom and Dad, we need to take you there when you come in December. It is great! Almost like Bob's Cafe, but more BBQish than fried chicken. I can't wait!



Thanks for putting up with my catch-up. We need to get to bed. Tomorrow morning is going to be an early one. We are going to do the Early Bird sale at Target to try and get a good deal on a TomTom. Wish us luck!

Oh! I also finished the quilt. I need to take a good picture during the daylight and I'll post it here. Another Thirty by 30!

At the risk of coming across as a Cat Lady I still posted this...

Our cat Oscar has learned a trick. Yep, you read that right. Our cat learned a trick. When we ask him to beg, he does this cute thing where he reached his paw up and gently taps or scratches your knee. It is pretty cute. But it is addictive. Once he gets started and gets the reward he won't stop.

Then again, it is sometimes hard to get him to do it. He is, after all, a cat. Sorry about the loud background music. We were "jamming" while I cooked this morning.

video

Pretty cute, huh?

Transformation Thursday - From Shelf to Sign

A few years back, Marc and I bought these great unfinished floating shelves at Michael's. We used them in our dining room in Waco for about a year. They never quite would hang right. They always sagged no matter what we did.

We took them down last summer (in 2008), and Marc suggested that I should save them to make one of those painted signs I am always admiring. (What he really meant was that he was getting tired of my pointing them out and saying, "I could do that!" and then never doing it.) So they were saved from a trip to Goodwill.

When I painted our headboard a few months ago, I also painted one of the boards so I could make a sign for our bedroom. Today, after all my spatchcocking and Christmas decorating, I was in the mood to do a project. So I made the sign! Here it is!

Before



After



What do you think?

Our First Thanksgiving at "Home"


Well, this isn't our first Thanksgiving in Waco, and it isn't our first Thanksgiving away from family, but it is our first Thanksgiving hosting people at our house. It is our first Thanksgiving being the "adults" who "have people over." It was odd, but strangely fulfilling.

We had Dianna and Dave over for dinner today (meaning lunch for those of you who didn't grow up in a highly-agricultural area of the country). I was pretty happy about my Thanksgiving fare. Check out the menu below.

Spatchcocked turkey
Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
Grandma Petersen's Dressing
Chocolate Heath Pie


And Dianna brought yummy Green Bean Casserole. It was a great meal!
As a side note, there were a few moments when I was cleaning and spatchcocking the turkey that I seriously considered becoming a vegetarian. I am pretty sure that Marc just laughed off most of my comments, "YOU'RE THE ONE WHO WANTED TURKEY!" being one of them.
However, in the end the taste of the meat was too good to deny.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Know that you are loved.

Monday, November 23, 2009

We did it!



We did it! On November 4th we put our TV in storage.

We were tired of spending our evenings together in front of a glowing box. We were tired of keeping up with various "shows." We were tired to sitting around. We wanted to talk again.

It has been awesome!

Marc and I have a great relationship and enjoy talking, but having the TV off has enhanced that even more. I can't say enough about how great this is. You need to try it. But don't just try leaving the TV off for a week. Actually remove it from your living room. Make it inaccessible. Just try it for one week. I'll bet you won't want to go back.
"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV." -Kaiser Family Foundation

I don't know about you, but I could use an extra 7 to 10 years. Do you know how many wonderful craft projects that is?
In an effort to be totally transparent, I will admit that we still watch two shows online. The Office and Glee. However 2 hours a week is something I'm willing to give.
Do you want more information on TV watching? Click here.
Let me know what you think.

Time with Syler

A few weeks ago, we watched Syler (our friends' Ryan and Kristen's little boy) for an entire Saturday. Here is some cute video from Syler's breakfast.

video

How can you not melt when a little bundle like this says your name and blows you a kiss? :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What is your blog anyway?

I've been asked this question a few times. It usually makes me a little introspective. It reminds me of a very intense experience of immersion into another culture, specifically, the time Marc and I spent in Kenya.

In Kenya, we were profoundly affected by the openness of the people. They didn't seperate their lives into categories as much as we Americans. They had life. We had work, church, Lifegroup, Baylor, Truett, family, Waco friends, Sioux Falls friends, etc. Why were we seperating our life out into little bits? Why were we only allowing certain people access to certain parts of our lives?

Through this experience, I felt a calling to live a more undivided life. While it is certainly not always possible to do this completely, I am trying.

So what is my blog? It is me... undivided. All of me: my craftiness, my family, my thoughts, what I'm reading, things I think are neat. It is my hope that reading my blog is sort of like sitting down for a great cup of coffee. My desire is to live undivided, so you are welcome to all of me.

Should I wave goodbye to another electronic appliance?


Microwaves. Are they good? Are they bad? I'm beginning to evaluate this in my own life. Comments and thoughts are welcome.

Click here to read the post that prompted this introspection.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Learn to Study the Bible


I was excited when I was first asked to review the bible study methods book by Deane. I know that my own Bible study has at times been stagnant and less than engaging. I truly desire to find ways to dig deeper into the heart of God through Bible study and devotional time. That being said, I was a little disappointed with the book once I got into it.

I come to the table reading this book as a somewhat liberal Christian. At least by conservative standards. I don't think that Deane knew this when he requested I read his book. Or maybe he did. And if so, Bravo, Deane.

On the positive side, the book contains a good overview of a wide variety of Bible study methods. Forty, to be exact. It also does a good job illustrating the various methods so you can visualize how to do it yourself. With all the methods in the book, I am inclined to believe there is probably something for everyone.

I especially enjoyed his "One at a Time" idea, where you do a special in-depth analysis of a favorite, or "life" verse. I also enjoyed the "Six Searches" method. This method asks six probing questions about the passage and you journal on the questions. Another method that I found useful was the "Book Overview" method. In this method you create a great one-page "at-a-glance" fact sheet for a specific book of the Bible. I could see how doing this over a period of time could give you a great source for quick information about certain books.

My frustrations with the book were in some ways minor, considering that the point of the book was Bible study methods, not theology. But in other ways the frustrations were major, as they cut to the core of what I believe about the Bible. Needless to say I am trying hard not to throw the proverbial “baby” out with the “bathwater.”

In one chapter, Deane stated that the word of God only has one correct interpretation. This concerns me. I believe that there are definitely good interpretations, even “better” interpretations, but the beauty of the Bible is its ability to speak volumes to all people at all times. I don't feel comfortable limiting God to one "point" per verse.

He also said that each word in the original manuscript is God-breathed. I believe that there is a danger in saying that every word is God-breathed. If this is true, then I am forced to believe in dictation theory. This bothers me because of the wide variety of writing styles found within the Bible. If God himself wrote every word, not inspired the thought, but actually told them which words to use, then how do we get all these different styles? I just don't think that dictation theory jives with all the editorial type comment we find sprinkled throughout Scripture. I do, however, believe that all Scripture is God ordained and that God was intimately involved in the creation of these sacred texts.

Those were the big theological pet peeves. My additional concerns were his seeming disregard for theological formal education. He wrote about how the current technological advances and available research mean that you don’t have to learn the biblical languages to study Scripture. While you certainly don’t have to learn the languages, you cannot say that concordances and word study books are as good as knowing the language and nuances yourself. Anyone who has studied a biblical language, myself included, will tell you that it can be an important devotional tool for ministry, even in this modern setting. Nothing can replace the understanding that comes from learning a language yourself.

From a totally different perspective, I was frustrated with the editing of the book. I found multiple misspellings and grammatical errors in the handwritten “example” portions of the book. In my opinion this should have been caught by the editors. And there you have it. My official opinion on the book. While it was an interesting book to browse for methods, I was unimpressed with the editorial comments and covert theological stances. I give it 3 stars out of 5.


Note for Full Disclosure: While I do not receive any monetary compensation for my book reviews, I am provided with free complimentary copies of each book. That being said, this review is completely my own, and free from the influence of the author, Andy Deane.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Karma of Jesus: A Review

The Karma of Jesus is an engaging, conversation-like exposition of the Karma belief system all mingled alongside a personal memoir of Mark Herringshaw's journey to formulate his belief on the subject. For Herringshaw, this journey started after one of his speeches to young college-aged adults. After his speech, Herringshaw engaged in a discussion with one of the students who had some distinct questions about Christ and the validity of the Karma system. The book follows the natural pattern of their conversation, as well as borrowing from other similar conversations in Herringshaw's life. The book meanders pleasantly through many of the popular functional beliefs in the Karma system all while explaining what Christ "has to do with it."

I was profoundly affected by the book's topic as it was engaging, culturally relevant and personally riveting. My reading, and subsequent thinking, lead to several long conversations with my husband about our beliefs on the issue.

One of Herringshaw's talents is not pushing you to his belief. He presents the facts, states his assumptions and biases, and openly admits his personal beliefs on the subject. For me, this approach was perfect as it allowed me to digest his thoughts along with my own with no pressure to actively "resist" his view. He wasn't pressuring me and as such, he was a non-threatening guide on this journey.

In the end, my conclusion was that the system of Karma may be real, but it is extensively, even infinitely complicated (what with past lives and intent vs. outcomes). And besides that point, and more importantly, it is outdated - Christ died to save us from imprisonment under any and all of the world's systems, including Karma. Whether or not it is real, it imprisons many, and the point is that Christ already died to free them from their self-imposed or society-imposed oppression.

Herringshaw's book forms a beautiful picture of the wide-reaching power of grace - both to those imprisoned by Eastern culture and belief as well as those imprisoned by Western religiosity. Bravo, Herringshaw, Bravo. This is one of the most relevant Christian books I have read in a long time. Five stars!

Note for Full Disclosure: While I do not receive any monetary compensation for my book reviews, I am provided with free complimentary copies of each book. That being said, this review is completely my own, and free from the influence of Bethany House Publishers.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Watching the Sy-Bear

This past Saturday we had the privillage of watching our dear friends' little boy, Syler. We got to watch him for the whole day! It was like parenting practice and birth control all wrapped up in one little two-year-old bundle of energy. I'm pretty convinced that he is the cutest little two year old for miles around. :) Here is some video from our day.

Syler really wanted to have Marc read to him. He didn't even care what Marc read! Here is Marc reading some advanced two-year-old stuff.

video

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Why I Blog

One of my blogging friends, Lindsay, is going to be teaching a mini-class on how to start a blog. She asked followers of her blog to list the reasons they have a personal blog, so here is my list!

1. I love being able to share life with friends and family who are far away.

2. I enjoy having a chronicle of my life, something to capture my memories and feelings so I can return periodically and reflect.

3. It is a great place for me to organize some of my hobbies. For me, I LOVE crafts, sewing, junking and re-purposing. Through my blog I am able to post projects I enjoy so I can return to them when I have time. This has the double benefit of keeping my husband happy since I don't have random project ideas scribbled on bits of paper all over our house!

4. The blog provides a wonderful organization tool to keep up with friends and family who blog. You can follow other blogs and then when you log in to Blogger, it will show their updates on your "Dashboard." It is a quick and easy way to check for updates on their lives. Much more efficient than clicking on a bunch of "Favorites" every day.

5. Sometimes you just need to write stuff out in order to feel better.

6. I love having one part of my life, the blog, be a place that is undivided. Some people have several blogs: one for recipes, one for life, etc. That is great! But for me, I like the appeal of having it all in one blog. I always hope that for visitors to my site it is almost like having coffee with me - you get it all, the craftiness, the homesickness, the job updates and occasionally a cute picture of our cat.

7. It is a great way to practice your writing skills, or if you are a writer for your job, it is a great place to not worry about your writing skills for once! I write for my job, so in the blog it is refreshing to not edit, edit, edit, but just publish!

8. As a side benefit, I have also started reviewing books for both Thomas Nelson Publishers and Bethany House Publishers (both great Christian publishing companies). You sign up to be a reviewer with them (simple online form) and then pick out a book (or several, in the case of Bethany House). They then send you the book (FOR FREE!!!!) and you read it and then, on your own time, post a review on your blog as well as a book buying website (like Barnes and Noble or Amazon). It is really easy and, in the end, you get to KEEP the book! I can't tell you how amazing this is for a girl with a husband in seminary!

That is my list for now. I'm sure I could think of many more wonderful reasons you should start a blog, so if you would like to know more, comment and let me know!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Belle gets a Tutu!

Mom and Dad were kind enough to drop off the tutu on their way home from Wichita. Here is Theresa with the tutu.













And of course, a little present for Theresa! I gave her a perfect purple purse and some other goodies.



Melt my heart! I so wish I could be there to see you, little Belle, but I love you from afar!

Back in the Saddle

Well, we are back in the great state of Texas, and back in the saddle again at our jobs. While Texas truly is a great state, it is not always a state I want to live in. At least half of the year it is too hot for comfort. But I must say that the other half of the year almost makes up for it, at least at this point in our lives. But I digress...

This weekend, some of you may know, Marc and I headed off to Kansas to meet up with my parents in Wichita. It is the halfway point between Waco and Sioux Falls. We stayed at a great Holiday Inn Express and enjoyed wonderful times of fellowship and, of course, a little crafting! The Yankees made it to the World Series, so while the boys watched the Yanks, Mom and I crafted and dreamed up fun projects. We even have one really great project currently "in the works." It is a collaboration between the two of us and it is a fun and creative gift for someone we love a whole lot. Can you guess what it is or who it is for?

Well, you'll just have to wait for that answer! Christmas is coming soon my friends -a thought I often repeat to myself like a mantra - after all, Christmas is our CRAZY season at work.

Here are some pictures from the weekend!




Getting ready to leave for Wichita (with my handmade scarf)!



On the road we did our usual cheap Panderson food from the cooler in the back. Saves money and you get mini-picnics!



Sustenance. :)



On Saturday, Mom and I crafted it up! While out purchasing crafty stuff for our big project, we also picked up some tulle to make a sweet little tutu for my Belle.



Here is a close up. It is a lilac color.



Dad's CPAP mask broke at around midnight on Saturday night. So Mom and I came to the rescue with a quick trip to Walmart (don't judge me, people, it was for my Dad) and a little electrical tape. As you can see he definitely missed some important beauty sleep, but was really no worse for the wear. :)



On Sunday, we went to the zoo in Wichita. What a great zoo! Here is the orangutan. Seeing him definitely was eye opening. It led to some great conversations about evolution; if you want to know what I think you will have to ask me some other time. Needless to say I was shocked to actually watch him up close and see all his "humanoid" mannerisms.



Here is a chimp chilling on a platform. He was totally taking a sunbath!



Poor chimp with a hair-loss problem. By looking at this picture you can also see why we had lots of evolution discussions while in the zoo.



Wallaby! This cute little guy was just basking in the sun on the side of the path we were walking around. He wasn't even in a cage (just an enclosed huge pen that we could walk through). I could have touched him, but I didn't want him to bite me and all that fun stuff.



This may just be the cutest meerkat EVER. I wanted to kiss his (or her, I didn't get a good look) face.



Yep, we fed giraffes. I even petted him! He was a sweetie. For anyone wondering, it was like petting a horse.



Here I am feeding the baby. :)



Marc, acting weird on Sunday afternoon (insert feigned surprise).



Here we are holding the tutu I made for my little Belle! It is lilac with dark purple ribbons. More photos will follow, I'm sure!

All in all it was a great trip! I'm just sad we have to be back in reality. :)
 
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