Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to you and yours

The semester is over, people!!
I should be packing, as we leave for the airport in 7 hours, but who can resist a blogpost? Not this girl.
Granted by the time you read this, it will already be a few days later (thanks, scheduled posting!).
Anyway, I hope you are hanging out with some loved ones and not reading this blog on Christmas day, but if you are reading...Merry Christmas!
Here are some Christmassy pictures from our living room.

The top (better) half of our Christmas tree, nativity scene in the background.

Some brown paper packages tied up with string. Thanks, Steve!

Also, a classic Christmas clip.

Cheers! See you in 2012!

(If you're looking for a recap of 2011, I didn't really do much more than what was talked about here).

Friday, December 16, 2011

Of houses and history.

Well people, it's not Monday, but I'm posting anyway. Don't try to manage my creativity!!

This morning I started and finished a paper for a class. Crossed the entire class of my semester's To Do list, no big deal. And while I should be finishing another assignment so I can start spending the weekend studying for Monday and Tuesday's finals, I am instead going to reward myself for finishing Modern Church by posting a picture of my dream house. I stole it from the letterhead of a Christmas note, so someone probably already lives in this particular house, but who says I can't live in one just like it? Also, if the interior could look like a log cabin, then I could more easily convince Steve to live here too ;)
Ok, the porch could be a little bigger.

I'm still deciding whether I would prefer this house to be in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees...or in the middle of a city, within walking distance of everything.  Decisions, decisions.

Ok, back to work.

PS....currently listening to this.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Studying and Hair. Both really know how to fill up a Monday.

Well, it looks like this is not going to be the greatest of posts. I was somewhat of a social butterfly over the weekend and did not get any of my homework done. So today I have been attempting to complete a weekend's worth of homework.

So far, it is going ok. I came across this quote from a different history book that I thought was quite thought-provoking. I will have to think about it later though! No time!

"Over the past century...the center of gravity of the Christian world has shifted inexorably southward, to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. ...Christianity should enjoy a worldwide boom in the new century, but the vast majority of believers will be neither in Europe nor Euro-American." -Philip Jenkins (page 495 in the above linked book)

Time to move to Europe, people! Or stay in the United States. Or really, go wherever the Lord calls you, don't let this blog sway you.

Also, this is why I wear a ponytail a lot. Because hair that is naturally this voluminous is scary to the rest of the thin-haired world.

eat your heart out

Monday, December 5, 2011

My usual church history post

Oh Blog, you knew I wouldn't stay away for very long!

I am working on homework all day today, so of course I've been twittering and looking up things that don't matter on the internet. Yesterday during my Sunday afternoon nap, I dreamed that we had frozen pizza for dinner (cooked it, of course), so after Bible study, I told Steve that I had a dream about pizza, and he said, "That's funny, because I was thinking about pizza during the Bible study." So at 9pm, we drove to the store and got a frozen pizza. It was glorious. We sat on the couch and enjoyed our late, much-anticipated pizza, and watched/felt awkward/laughed a lot at this show.

Speaking of dreams, the other night I dreamed (dreampt?) that Steve told me I should get a pair of Tom's Shoes. Now as you know, I take my dreams very seriously. But also, you may remember that Tom's have not always been my favorites. So while I was reading my Church History book today (see below), I was also browsing some Tom's, to see if I could find any shoes that struck my fancy. Found these:
I like the color and the braid on the bottom. Also, this picture is TINY! Better to follow the link. I could try to make the picture bigger, but it is funnier this way.

So anyway, I am reading my usual Church History book, and of course came across a quote I liked. What are we all going to do next semester when I'm not reading this book anymore?
"To the Church the war came as an opportunity and a challenge -- an opportunity, because Christianity flourishes more in the soil of adversity than in that of prosperity and ease; a challenge, because war strikes at the very heart of the Christian gospel of love and forgiveness." (page 416, on the first world war)

Mmm. Lots to chew on. Thanks, Church History! Last night in our Bible study, we talked about anxiousness and frustration (actually, it's a book study on this book), and a lot of times anxiousness (and worry, discontent, frustration, etc) is less about our circumstances, and more about how we react/respond to them. Apparently God is using Church History homework and Bible Study to tell me something. How do we respond to our circumstances? Do we see them only as challenges, or also as opportunities? As always, it is best to remember that God cares for us, and that he is in control. Also, someone might see your life and think the grass is totally greener in your yard!

Hope your day is merry!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Brief Hiatus

Not from reading or commenting, but from posting. In all my social medias.

Happy Advents to you and yours!

Made by Steve, a while ago. Both the oats and the picture. I don't think it has anything to do with Advent, or a hiatus. But I like it. The picture. Not the oats.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jesus -- putting the "Advent" into "Adventure" since before the beginning of time.

In 2008, my 197th resolution was to Devise a list of verses to read every day for Advent. I failed to do that that year. Perhaps because it was 197 on the list, or perhaps because Advent always sneaks up on me. Or perhaps it's because several others before me have already devised lists of verses to read every day for Advent (though that doesn't stop me from still wanting to make one on my own. It's a character flaw of mine).
Advent is the time of year that we prepare ourselves for Christmas. You can read about it on the ever-accurate Wikipedia. Wikipedia gets a bad rap a lot, but truthfully, it can be helpful when you just want to quickly get some information on something. I wouldn't recommend using it for a research paper, but for looking up what Advent is about on someone's blog...well, it's perfectly acceptable to utilize Wikipedia in this way. Anyway, plenty of churches observe Advent. Plenty of Christians observe Advent. Consumerism even does. Our Advent calendar that we've been using for the past few years was purchased at Starbucks, for example. Everyone wants to get in on the countdown (and eat candy every day until Christmas).
Anyway, it is now 2011, and I still haven't compiled a list of verses. Probably won't for this year, either. It is already the first Sunday in Advent, so time is running out, for one. For another, my school distributes an Advent devotional each we've been using (and will use) that for our daily Advent needs (that, and the Starbucks tree filled with candy for each day until Christmas...the healthier me suggested we put mixed nuts in each box, but that suggestion lost out to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups).
Our Starbucks Advent Calendar. Each day in December you find the box corresponding to the day, eat the candy in it, and turn it around to reveal a piece of a picture. The closer you get to Christmas, the more you get to see of a fun wintery scene (snow on rooftops, people sledding, etc). This will be our 6th Advent with this bad boy. Usually we try to do an Advent reading before we eat the candy.

Anyway, what are we talking about? The first Sunday of Advent is today. When our alarms went off this morning we weren't thinking of that. All we could think of was how one of us did not feel well, and could probably benefit from some more sleep. The other, being a supportive spouse, stayed back too. After waking up a little more (mainly because one of us had to go help a locked-out student who didn't read carefully when students were allowed to move back into the's not today, hindsight, I feel bad for that student, who spent their Sabbath driving back to school, when they could've spent one more day with their family. Live and learn, I guess). Anyway, after waking up more fully, I was saddened a little that we missed church on the first Sunday of Advent. So we had our own little service here on the couch. We read all of the Scriptures suggested in the devotional, then read the devotional for the day, and then listened to about 20 versions of O Come, O Come Emmanuel on Grooveshark.
Here is one of the favorites:

We missed out on fellowship that going to church would've provided (but, with being sick, and then having to have left early to help a student....perhaps the only thing we missed out on was driving back and forth to and from church). Anyway, we had the Scripture, we had the songs, we even had some prayer and a little sermonette...and later, we could even catch up on the sermon we missed at church, thanks to technology.

All that being said, Happy Advent. Hopefully you can find your way through all of your Christmas lights and shopping lists (not necessarily bad things) to make time to prepare your heart for the true meaning of Christmas, and as we wait for Jesus to someday return!
Do you have any Advent traditions? What are they? Or, why not?
(I'm trying to be more interactive on this blog, for the sake of my 2 readers).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

All the mundane* things that charm me most

Firstly before you read any farther, please go here for the music that I have personally selected for you to listen to while you read. You will want to open it in a new tab.


Ok, so I realize that it has been a while. As of just moments ago I was a bit behind on my blog reading, and even further behind on blog writing.

Exhibit A

My life is pretty mundane right now, and that is a good thing. I can't always be out making pictures of fabulous things (or fabulous pictures of mundane things). Mainly because this is what it looks like all the time when I look out our window.
Exhibit B

I do have a post up my sleeve (maybe) about (infant/believer/believer infant) baptism, but still gathering my thoughts on that one. I really always thought that I would not have to make a decision about this until we had a baby, but alas, I have to have an answer for a class. So I have until the end of the semester to come up with an answer (which is just around the corner).  As always, I'm leaning toward being ok with infant baptism. Of course I'm ok with believer baptism as well. I grew up in a denomination that does both. And baby dedications too (which I really can't see much difference in this and infant baps outside of the water...which I guess is important....but then why bother to dedicate your baby and not baptize? or vice versa?). I do know that I always feel a little uncomfortable in a church that won't even consider infant baptism. Ok. Another post for another time.

Anyway, since the old blog received a very nice shout-out the other day, I felt like I needed to have something new posted. And since it's gloom city today, I took some pictures in our apartment.

They are very mundane. Are you still listening to the music? Unless you are in a library, or sitting in a very important meeting while reading this, you have no excuse! What other station would play piano renditions of both Come Thou Fount and Smells Like Teen Spirit? You are missing out if you've read this far without the proper soundtrack.

Ok. Onto mundane pictures.

Exhibit C. Today I made some beer bread. We have had some beer bread mix just waiting for a moment like this since last Christmas. It is yum.

Exhibit D. Also made a stew of sorts in the crock pot (see Exhibit B, for what type of day it is). It is cream based,  and has various vegetables and chicken. If it doesn't thicken up (and even if it does), we plan on adding some pieces of beer bread (see Exhibit C) to it, instead of crackers.

Exhibit E. Since we were out buying beer for bread, I also got some for making soap.  Just to experiment. I've read that beer has to be COMPLETELY flat before you can even begin to think of adding lye to it. So it has been sitting on the counter since last night. Perhaps by Friday it will be flat? I guess I don't know how long it takes to De-carbonate a carbonated beverage**. I bet google knows. Anyway, aside from having a nice color, beer soap is also supposed to be good for your skin. We shall see!

Finally, Exhibit F. We got this candle as a wedding gift, and I absolutely love how it smells. I have been trying to ration out how often it gets used so that it will last longer. I don't know what it smells like. Purple? There isn't a label on the bottom. If you are an expert in smells, please come over and smell this candle and tell me what it is so I can buy more and burn them all the time. Also, so I can make soap that smells the same. Thanks in advance.

*To be said quickly, since it is replacing a one-syllable word.
**Because I rarely if ever drink carbonated beverages, pop, beer, or otherwise, and because we're not allowed to have beer in our apartment when it's not Thanksgiving break. Disclaimer, in case you were wondering about the integrity of this post. Rest easy, we're not breaking any rules.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Am reading a little about various philosophers and what they thought and just getting tired trying to even grasp it. Philosophy sometimes tires me. Reading about philosophers is tiring. I am tired.

Anyway, I ran across this paragraph, and it did not make me feel tired.

"For Kierkegaard, the greatest enemy of Christianity was Christendom, the purpose of which is to simplify the matter of becoming a Christian. In Christendom, one is a Christian by simply being neither Jew nor Muslim. But in truth, those who understand Christianity in that fashion are mere pagans. Such cheap Christianity, with neither cost nor pain, is like war games, in which armies move and there is a great deal of noise, but no real risk nor pain -- and therefore no real victory. What we call Christianity is simply playing at being Christians. And many preachers contribute to the mockery of that game when they seek to make Christianity an easy thing. This is the "crime of Christendom," which plays at Christianity and "takes God for a fool." And the tragedy is that few realize how ridiculous it is to speak of God in such terms."

Thought. Provoking.
Page 394. 


Thankful for friends with whom we can be both mundane and meaningful.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Review of The Tree of Life, Stolen from Alice In Wonderland.

A few nights ago, we watched the movie The Tree of Life. It is a very visually stunning movie, but sort to what it is about. Plus, a lot of the spoken words (I hesitate to say "dialogue") in the movie are actually whispered, and I cannot understand whispering 98% of the time. If you've ever whispered to me and I nodded, it was either:

A) I read your lips and understood
B) I was pretending I understood (saying "huh?" and looking confused just makes people whisper more)

I'm hard of hearing, people.

So, anyway, if I watch that movie again, I will demand that there are subtitles.

Last night we went and saw Geneva's play, Alice In Wonderland. We quite enjoyed it. 
At the beginning, Alice reads the famous Jabberwocky poem, and then gives her review of it...and I thought it was also the perfect review of The Tree of Life.
Since I can't remember exactly what was said, I have to thank the internets for filling in the words of this quote:
'It seems very pretty,' she said when she had finished it, 'but it's rather hard to understand!' (You see she didn't like to confess, even to herself, that she couldn't make it out at all.) 'Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas---only I don't exactly know what they are!" 
Thanks, Lewis Carroll


  • Inspired by Julie, I think it's time to evaluate just how badly I'm failing at my new year's resolutions. There's still plenty of 2011 left, so I won't be too hard on myself yet.

  • 1. Learn to sew well.
    • I have learned to sew decently. I haven't been practicing as much as I would like, but perhaps some new holiday pillow covers will be in order once Thanksgiving is over (or maybe not). I have been crafty in other ways this year, as this is the year I also taught myself to crochet and make soap.
  • 2. Take frugality to new, creative levels.
    • Tried coupons for a while, and then discovered that shopping at Aldi is even better than using coupons. Though I will probably start using coupons again in the future when everyone and their mother doesn't want to feed us on a regular basis, and grocery shopping becomes more of a necessity.
    •  Learned to make soap, so will probably spend very little on bars of soap from here on out.
    • That's about it. Or at least as much as I can think of right now.
  • 3. Make one new photo a week.
    • Fail. But not a total fail. I have not given up on making photos completely.
  • 4. Travel to a country I've never visited.
    • Canada. Twice. Going to go to Toronto in December for this:
      • Toronto Christmas Market: 
  • 5. Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy (or should this be number 4?).
    • Have been trying to in general be better with how and what I spend my time on. There is always room for improvement, but I feel like I am on the right road with this one. Usually Saturday or Sunday is when I try to remember the Sabbath.
  • 6. Regularly attend a Bible study.
    • I am regularly attending two Bible studies. I love it. Both of them for different reasons. One for the community it provides, and the other for the opportunity to meet other people in the greater community that I wouldn't otherwise. Both provide good study of the Bible, too. Of course.
  • 7. Expand our family.
    • We've been working on this. Currently working with someone to figure out why we haven't been fruitful. There is very little time left in 2011 to succeed in this, but there is always hope for 2012...and trusting the Lord's timing.
  • 8. Sell something I make.
    • I think I could sell some soap. It's good soap. Though not sure if I will sell any in 2011. It's still progress though, to figure out a craft that I like love.
  • 9. Accomplish at least 2 of the unbolded goals for 2008, particularly the ones that refer to the fact that I once again live in Pennsylvania.
    • Here they are, to remind you:
      • 1. Go to Boston -- haven't done. Still want to. Maybe next year.
        5. Go to Washington DC -- see number one.
        9. Go to Niagara Falls -- twice!
        13. Go Colonial Williamsburg -- No, but we went to Gettysburg, which should count for something.
        17. Go to a Boston Red Sox Game -- see #1.
        21. Go to The Poconos -- Nope. This is further away from us than DC.
        23. See the Statue of Liberty -- Nope, but maybe in 2012.
        24. Go to New Hampshire -- No
        27. Go to Vermont -- No
        31. Go to Connecticut -- No
        35. Go to Maryland -- No, but Gettysburg is super close to Maryland, so there's that.
        39. Go to Delaware -- No
        43. Go to New Jersey -- No
        179. Go to Canada -- Yes, but counting it for visiting another country.
  • 10. Visit the capital of the country on my passport.
    • No. There are too many cross-over things on this year's list, which makes my failure seem to be that much more. I will have to keep this in mind for next year. I mean, there is still time to go to DC...and it is a mere five-ish hours away....but....well, we'll see.
  • 11. Exercise more.
    • I was better at this throughout the summer. Have stopped intentionally exercising. BUT, have started drinking tea on a regular basis, and making sure I am getting enough water, and cutting down on the amount of sugar I really, I'm healthier than I was at the beginning of the year. Which is progress.

Oh yeah, and I am thankful that I even have the opportunities to try the things on this list. I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


November. My favorite month.
My birthday, Thanksgiving, the unofficial changing of seasons.
The beginning of Advent.

What's not to love?

In order to decorate my blog for Thanksgiving, I am going to try to include at least one thing I am thankful for in each post this month. How many posts this month? We shall see.

What am I thankful for? 
1. Being so well taken care of. I have a place to live, food to eat, community, good books to read, and a wonderful husband. 
2. I get to be a full-time seminary student, one of my long-time dreams.
3. My first batch of soap that I made all those weeks! And works well!
Lathers well, smooth, and doesn't smell like anything.

I am testing the one that I accidentally cut to look like cheese. It still works!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Love your neighbor.

It seems that I have been going through some sort of blogging slump lately. Not too many pictures or meaningful posts. The same goes with certain other social media venues that I employ (except Twitter, which I have no problem using on a minutely basis). Facebook is becoming more and more like email to me. Checking it only to see if there are any notifications, or if I need to get ahold of anyone (and skimming through pictures of people's kids...and quickly skimming through all the political unrest, etc). Little blurbs about what is going on in my life, but nothing too thoughtful. I have really yet to see the use for google+, as I forget to check it, and don't really know what service it provides that I can't get elsewhere. Ho hum. Doo dedoo.

Anyway, since I have no problems coming up with things to say on Twitter, I went there to see if I could find something to blog about. Last Sunday, I posted this tweet:
Thinking about what it really means to "love our neighbor." Considering Galatians 5:13-15, 6:1-10 (esp 2), Romans 13:8-9, &; Luke 10:25-37.
Sounds like the perfect thing to blog about, thought I don't have too many solutions to offer. Just thoughts and some Scriptures.
I have been failing at taking pictures lately, though have enjoyed the occasional impromptu stovetop photo shoot to try to illustrate something. These two are neighbors. And saltshakers. If you think the girl is salt, you would be mistaken.

There's probably little disagreement among Christians that we need to love our neighbor as ourselves, it is in the "how" we love our neighbor, and the "who" is our neighbor question that we can't seem to figure out/agree on. 

Jesus, when He was asked the question, "And who is my neighbor?," launches into the familiar story of the good Samaritan. Now, there is a lot that could be said about this particular story, of the history of why the Samaritans weren't liked by the Jewish people, or why the priest and temple assistant didn't even want their shadow to touch the man who was beaten and robbed, but let's look at the answer of who the neighbor is.  The neighbor is the one who showed mercy on the person who needed it. Jesus says that this is what we are to do in order to be a good neighbor. So, who needs mercy? Probs everyone at some point, right?  Even ourselves!

Ok. I have lots of thoughts that I've typed and then deleted. They are merely speculative, and not sure if they are helpful.  I guess a lot of what I have been thinking about lately has to do with two things (that could have to do with each other, but not necessarily).
1. How do we care for the poor, both among us, and in the world. If we just give them the resources we think they need, are we really helping? What can we do on a relational level with people before we just give them yesterday's t-shirts? If we go downtown and start up 10 businesses, will it really help, or will it just force the poor to live somewhere else? If we know the people, and what businesses they would shop/work at, it would be better. But that takes a lot of time, and we are not creatures that are known for their patience. If we are doing relational ministry, there are a lot less statistics that we can give to people who want to give us money to help.  What do we base our "success" on?
2. How do we care for and show love to people who are difficult to love/care for? It is easier to love our neighbor who is just like we are, for better or for worse. How can we show love for those who drive us crazy, or who have a different worldview, or whose sins are seemingly different from our own? Is it ok if one person's style of loving his/her neighbor is different from our own?

Lots to consider. There is a lot, a la-hot, of Scripture that is all about loving our neighbor. The last 6 of the Ten Commandments are all about loving our neighbor. Both old and new testament talk about loving our neighbor. There must be something we can glean from this and apply to today. Here is the tip of the iceberg:

In Deuteronomy, the people are told to leave some of their hard work behind during the harvest time, so that the poor can come and take what they need afterward.

In Leviticus, the idea of leaving part of your harvest behind and following the neighborly part of the Ten Commandments is discussed (This is not meant to discredit the first four commandments. Loving God and loving your neighbor tend to go hand in hand).

Galatians 5:13-26 points to the entire law being summed up in, "love your neighbor as yourself" and gives examples of how to live in the Spirit.

Galatians 6:1-10 also talks about harvesting, but harvesting good. I especially like verses 2-3, "Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." How can we practically share each other's burdens? This could start in the home/family, and reach out to the community, and to the world. Sharing burdens implies that both parties take on each other's burdens. It isn't just one important person with seemingly no burdens helping out the poor person they don't know. No one has the upper hand when burdens are being shared. There are probably implications that joys are being shared as well in this scenario.

Romans 13:8-9. Sorry Mr. Ramsey, but I don't think these verses are so much about being a good steward with your money as they are about loving your neighbor.

Hebrews 13:15-16 says that sharing with those in need and doing good are ways that we can give a pleasing and continual sacrifice of praise to God.

Ok. Lots to think about. What do you think it means to love your neighbor? How does that look? What verses help you to think of this?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Going through paperwork and old mail. Going to throw this away, but wanted to remember what it said.

Today I am going through our stacks of paper...receipts, mail (junk or otherwise), etc and trying to declutter.
Found this newsletter from New Wineskins Missionary Network, and thought I would like to remember what it said (though, I don't want to keep it in a stack of papers in the guest bedroom. Posting it here so I can throw it away).
Anyway. I know. I need to take some pictures and post them here - not just copy other people's words that I want to think about more.
But for now, in a letter written by Sharon Steinmiller, the Director of New Wineskins:

September 26, 2011
Dear Friend, 
Last month I was asked to speak on China at St. David's Vacation Bible School. I showed the children pictures of the Great Wall, panda bears, and two Buddhas. I told the kids, "This one is carved out of a cliff, and that one is covered in gold, but do you know what the Bible says?"
               They have mouths, but they cannot..."Eat!" said the kids. "That's true. What else can't they do?"
               They have eyes, but they cannot..."Blink!" said the kids. "That's true. What else can't they do?"
               They have ears, but they cannot..."Hear!" "That's right. They can't hear our prayers, but Jesus does!"
               They have noses, but they cannot..."Sniff!" said the kids. "That's true. What else can't they do?" 
Muslims, by contrast, do not believe in idols, but they believe Allah is so far removed that he is unknowable. They can't know if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, so they never know if they will go to heaven. 9/11 is a sad reminder that in Islam the only sure way to heaven is to die in holy war. 
You and I are surrounded by messages saying, "All religions are the same," and "There is no absolute truth." Sometimes we forget how blessed we are to have a God who hears and answers prayer, who sees our need and cares, and who has spoken to us in his Word and come to us in person in Jesus Christ. 
If it's easy for us to forget, what is it like for the millions of people -- according to Operation World 41% of this world -- who have not heard the message of God's love and salvation in Jesus Christ? Buddhists need to know that God loves them and Jesus came to rescue them from an endless cycle of suffering. Muslims need to know they don't have to die for God because Jesus died for them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Profundity, part 2

One last quote from The Hunger Games

It's funny, because even though they're rattling on about the Games, it's all about where they were or what they were doing or how they felt when a specific event occurred. "I was still in bed!" "I had just had my eyebrows dyed!" "I swear I nearly fainted!" Everything is about them, not the dying boys and girls in the arena.
Page 353-4

Sunday, October 16, 2011


So we're a little late on jumping on this bandwagon, but Steve and I have started reading The Hunger Games trilogy. We're both in various points in the first book.

Last night I read this quote, and thought I should write it down.

What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?
Page 65

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thinking about this. Too long for a tweet, not enough time to try to respond to people if I were to post it on facebook. Might develop it more later on here. Maybe. Maybe not though.

Sometimes we have only seen the tail of the elephant & assume we're looking at the whole animal. Confusion ensues when someone who has only seen the trunk tries to tell us about elephants.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Some of my faves from Gettysburg

Made some pictures this past weekend. More pictures are on Facebook with people in them....these are just a few of my favorites as far as pictures go.

Silohuettes. Devil's Den.

A kid wearing a cowboy hat.

I don't know these people. But I like this picture.

One of my favorites.

Took a long time to get this. I couldn't sit still enough because I was worried that there might be snakes in the grass.

Canon. Shot by a Canon camera.

Me and my doors.

A statue representing hand-to-hand combat...and using the gun like a club.


Brilliant Autumn Colors on the way home.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reminded again this morning why I love Isaiah 55

Isaiah 55 

Invitation to the Lord’s Salvation 

1 “Is anyone thirsty?
Come and drink—
even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—
it’s all free!

2 Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food.

3 “Come to me with your ears wide open.
Listen, and you will find life.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you.
I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.

4 See how I used him to display my power among the peoples.
I made him a leader among the nations.

5 You also will command nations you do not know,
and peoples unknown to you will come running to obey,
because I, the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious.”

6 Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.

7 Let the wicked change their ways
and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.

8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.

11 It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

12 You will live in joy and peace.
The mountains and hills will burst into song,
and the trees of the field will clap their hands!

13 Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Monday, October 3, 2011

One more from Moorman, on the conversion of John Wesley. Beautiful.

Arrived in London he again made friends with the Moravians, and it was while worshipping with them that he underwent that spiritual experience, on May 24, 1738, which he always regarded as his conversion. A preacher was expounding the doctrine of Justification by Faith when Wesley began to feel things happening to him. ‘I felt my heart strangely warmed,’ he wrote. ‘I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death; and then I testified openly to all there what I now first felt in my heart.’ Wesley had been a priest of the Church for several years, but he always regarded this as the great turning-point of his life and the real beginning of his ministry.

New class, but still reading Moorman on a weekly basis. I still enjoy.

Sometimes I wonder what this would be like, for better/for worse.

The latter half of the 18th century marks one of the great turning-points of history. Up to this time, although minor changes were bound to take place man's life still went on very much as it had done for centuries. The only sources of power were the human body, domestic animals and a little wind and water. Consequently life was slow; and, because it was slow, it was constant and unchanging.
Page 293

Peaky peak at the soap

Now for it to sit and stew for a couple/few weeks. I snuck a little chunk of it and tried to make a little lather. I was delighted when it worked!! We got some soap here people!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Coffee and Walnut Soap

Made another batch of soap today. I have a list of reasons I like making soap, and some pictures, but first I have to give a shout out to this website, where I found this particular recipe, and Aldi, where you can buy groceries at verrrry nice prices.

Top 5 reasons I like to make the soap:

  1. The more soap you make, the more cost effective it is! 
  2. It combines so many fun things: science, art, home economics, etc
  3. It takes all the things I like about baking, and all the things I wish were involved in baking, and combines them (preparing, measuring, and mixing ingredients.....and then leaving the project to sit for 24+ hours, and then cutting it up and then letting it sit for a few more weeks...and then using it. And the product not only doesn't expire, it gets better the longer it sits).
  4. Safety goggles and rubber gloves are very in style in our apartment right now.
  5. The possibilities are endless when it comes to different soap recipes, and learning/inventing them (I am not to the point where I know enough to invent a recipe).

This evening Steve was around and took some pictures of me making soap. The captions are to give you an idea about the process, but are in no way meant to be instructional.

All of the ingredients are edible....except the lye (or, Sodium Hydroxide, or caustic soda...or, as you can see, drain opener....they're all the same. You don't want to eat this. This is the reason for the safety goggles and rubber gloves).

Thank God for immersion blenders. Basically all soap is lye mixed with some sort of fat/oil. This particular recipe also has brewed coffee. Coffee acts as a deodorant, so if you're chopping onions and garlic, apparently it would be a good idea to wash your hands with this soap. We shall see!

Also added some ground coffee and ground walnuts, as exfoliants.

I just liked the motion and color in this one.

Don't be deceived! This will not taste as good as it looks. There is a reason why washing your mouth out with soap should not be a pleasant experience. After the soap is the proper consistency, and additives are added in, pour it into whatever you have designated as a soap mold and let it sit for a while. 1-2 days, depending on the recipe.

No peaking until tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stalling and autumny pictures

At 11pm I said, "Well, I better go to bed before Conan gets funny."
At 11:06pm I said, "Ok, well I'm definitely going to bed during the next commercial break."
11:10pm Conan says, "Seth Rogen's on the program!"
I thought that since I was awake I would post a picture or two that I made at the apple orchard this past weekend.

This was my favorite in an unexpected way.

Lots of apples on the ground.

Too bad I don't know how to iPhoto a worm into this. It would be perfect

11:16pm, Conan puts on a smock suit and introduces the Audiencey Awards.
11:20pm. Sorry Conan. Sorry Seth Rogen. I need sleep.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Never buying soap again.

Well people. When you plant an idea in my head, and it starts to grow, sometimes I just have to run with it. I know I said just two weeks ago that my soap hobby would have to start at a later date (because I had all of these legit excuses), but I couldn't stop thinking about it.....and....I may have gone out and ordered a couple more soap books that are wayyy better than the original that cultivated the seed of soap making that was planted earlier this year.
I may have made a batch of soap yesterday.
Today I took it out of the make-shift soap mold (the box that the immersion blender came in. I'm frugal)...and cut some bars....
Now I have to wait somewhere between a couple and a few weeks before I can try these bad boys out (they need to dry a little more, and the lye needs to become milder).
They are a recipe that one of my books said was a good starter recipe. Very simple. No fragrances or additives. Just a simple bar of soap. Vegetarian, if you're interested (Olive oil, coconut oil, water, lye).
I can't wait to try them out!
I made a big cube and cut it into bars. Looks like cheese!

Gloves as a safety precaution....and a fashion statement. 
My cutting tool.

Ten bars of soap!

Again. Next time I think I will add things like cinnamon and coffee.

Fresh soap.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On introversion and irony and enigma

It is no secret, I am an introvert. I get overwhelmed by large groups of people (especially if I don't know them, but not limited), and I think an evening alone with my thoughts and a book is energizing.  Don't get me wrong, I love people. I'm still not an extrovert. People are complex. Don't let tell you that being an introvert and being shy are the same thing, they're not! At least, in my mind they aren't. Anyway, this isn't really about being an introvert. Not completely. When I feel I've been "peopled out" I tend to find an excuse to withdraw for a while, just to recharge.

An illustration. Because I haven't made too many pictures in a while, and therefore haven't posted any for a while. For shame....but I made this one all by myself using a handful of coffee beans and the stove top!

Lately I've been wondering, though, if it is really accurate to put the umbrella of introversion over all the times I feel like being withdrawn. Coincidentally, I've been doing a lot of thinking and reading about the enneagram (well more thinking. I read over the summer). I think that I am a type 4, one of the types that withdraws to get what they want (they disengage from others to deal with their needs) (page 63)*. Sometimes, I think....and this is hard to admit, I withdraw from people not to recharge, but out of insecurity. I think, "people must be tired of me by now," (or, if I don't know them that well, I expect that they probably don't remember who I am) and preemptively avoid them. I do this passive-aggressively in the social media world by taking posting-sabbaticals and unfriending** people left and right. I do it in the real world by saying "no" to invites to hanging out/attending events (though, I love to be invited. Please don't give up on me if I say no a lot...I've been better at trying to say yes to things lately. I do crave community, I just don't want to overstay my welcome....and I've also been trying to be protective of my time...though both of these are just sort of lame excuses).
Sometimes I also wonder if this is due to moving every two years for the past few. We are starting our second year here (for the second time***), and I am trying hard not to get into the mindset of saying goodbye to everything and everyone (though it's difficult when you are constantly in an educational environment...people are always moving on). Perhaps, too, in getting used to this way of life, it becomes more foreign territory to be a part of a community for longer than a couple of years. It is a frightening and exciting thing.
Anyway, as a 4, I am aware that I can be enigmatic, so to add to all this, I resonate most with the Social Variant (of the enneagram's instinctual variants....Social variants are not necessarily the life of the is the much more fundamental desire to be known and liked...the ability to adapt well to whatever environment we are in. Social variants tend to be "big picture" people, and like to make connections with others).
Anyway. Just some thoughts I've been thinking. To complete what has turned into an enneagram blogpost, I might as well also say that I'm a 4 with a 5 wing. The bohemian. It really doesn't have to do with the title of the post, but it does have to do with the content.
Please don't have the misconception that I'm depressed. I really am not. Just very aware of the pros and cons of my personality/tendencies.  Some positive things about introverts are that we are usually among the intelligent and gifted. Some positive things about type 4s are that we are creative and unique and honest and appreciative of beauty and intuitive and have a great sense of humor. To name a few :)
Have you ever taken the Enneagram? What type are you?

*Wouldn't it be great if all documentation were this easy? Perhaps in the future.
**Most of the time my criteria for unfriending is based on how long it has been since I've seen them (and if I think I will ever see them again) and whether or not I would wish them Happy Birthday if facebook told me to....or if I saw them in a grocery store would I go up and talk to them, or just wave, or go to another aisle and pray they didn't see me.
***Isn't it funny when you tell God you'll go anywhere, and He sends you to Western PA twice?!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Markings, Part 18, Fin

In case you forgot that I didn't actually get up early every day in September in order to post these. They are the beauty of scheduling posts! (though I still read them every day. I likes them).

86. As I continued along the Way, I learned, step by step, word by word, that behind every saying in the Gospels stands one man and one man's experience. Also behind the prayer that the cup might pass from him and his promise to drink it. Also behind each of the words from the Cross. (205)

87. Sleepless questions
In the small hours:
Have I done right?
Why did I act
Just as I did?
Over and over again
The same steps
The same words:
Never the answer. (209)

88. June 11, 1961
To carry it,
To assay it,
To suffer it,
And free
To deny it,
I saw
For one moment
The sail
In the sun storm,
Far off
On a wave crest,
Bearing from land.

For one moment
I saw.

89. July 19, 1961
Have mercy
Upon us.
Have mercy
Upon our efforts,
That we
Before Thee, 
In love and in faith,
Righteousness and humility,
May follow Thee,
With self-denial, steadfastness, and courage,
And meet Thee
In the silence.

Give us
A pure heart
That we may see Thee,
A humble heart
That we may hear Thee,
A heart of love
That we may serve Thee,
A heart of faith
That we may live Thee,

Whom I do not know
But Whose I am.

Whom I do not comprehend
But Who hast dedicated me
To my fate.
Thou --

90. Almighty...
My doubt,
My anger,
My pride.
By Thy mercy
Abase me,
By Thy strictness
Raise me up.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Markings, Part 17

More of this.

81. Not knowing the question,
It was easy for him
To give the answer. (190)

82. Because it never found a mate,
Men called
The unicorn abnormal. (193)

83. Easter, 1960 Forgiveness breaks the chain of causality because he who "forgives" you -- out of love -- takes upon himself the consequences of what you have done. Forgiveness, therefore, always entails a sacrifice.
The price you must pay for your own liberation through another's sacrifice is that you in turn must be willing to liberate in the same way, irrespective of the consequences to yourself. (197)

84. The tension increased.
In the noonday heat
Their wills began to waver.

Night flared.
The jungle wailed in the fierce grip of the storm.

They paid
The full price of love
That others might enjoy a victory.

Morning mist,
Chirping of early birds.
Who recalled the night's sacrifice?
December 2, 1960 (200)

85. The road,
You shall follow it.

The fun, 
You shall forget it.

The cup,
You shall empty it.

The pain,
You shall conceal it.

The truth,
You shall be told it.

The end, 
You shall endure it.*
December 3, 1960 (201)

*The only rhymed poem Dag wrote. The translator was unable to make it rhyme, so here is the original (it's in Swedish, in case your reader automatically translates it for mine often does):

du skall följa den.

du skall glömma den.

du skall tömma den.

du skall dölja den.

du skall lära det.

du skall bära det.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Markings, Part 16

Dag. The man liked him some haikus. They were originally written in Swedish, but the translator tried to stay true to having 17 syllables.

76. Denied the Sought-After,
He longed to deserve
To be the Sought-After (180)

77. A box on the ear taught the boy
That Father's name
Was odious to them. (180)

78. On Christmas Eve, Good Friday
Was foretold them
In a trumpet fanfare. (186)

79. When he saw them all flee,
The skunk decided
He was the King of Beasts. (189)

80. Beauty, Goodness,
In the wonder's here and now
Became suddenly real. (190)

Friday, September 16, 2011

2 Timothy 4:1-5

I don't really have anything profound to say. Though I have been wondering which ministry, if any, God will give me. Feeling sort of tired, but not in a sleepy sort of way. Should be doing homework, and I want to be, but I felt like I needed some Scripture before I began. Biblegatewayed the words "hear" and "listen" and was eventually taken to this passage from 2 Timothy. Is it proper to say "second" Timothy, or "two" Timothy? I've heard both. I usually say "second," but don't see a reason not to say "two," if that's what floats your boat.  Anyway, here is the word for the day:

I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: 
Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 
They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
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