Monday, January 31, 2011

hunger struggle

On the drive home from school today, I saw two billboards.  Here they are:
Hunger Just Read This, Too. FULL
And, for whatever reason, I couldn't get my mind off of the the choice of the word "struggle" in these ads.  Some people struggle with a certain addiction, or with math.  I struggle with pride and learning history.  When a fly gets caught in a web, it struggles to get out.  Someone who is not a strong swimmer might struggle to keep afloat in the deep end of a pool.  There are many ways that the word struggle could be used.  I don't think this is one of them.  Or maybe there is perhaps a better word.  People suffer from hunger....they don't struggle with it.  

There were about 20 minutes between each of these signs.  And these were the types of thoughts that ran through my head in between.

By the time I got to the second sign, I remembered a haiku that I had written nearly two years ago.  I had just sent in my application to seminary (not the seminary I am at now), and was feeling all the things that someone feels when they send in an application to something they've been thinking about for a long time.  On top of that, I was also feeling nervous that I would become one of those nitpicky theologians that gets hung up on one stupid word and dissects every little sentence to death to extract every possible meaning from it, all the while usually alienating people and completely missing the point.  All for the sake of letting the world know that you know the proper definition of a word.  I did NOT want to become that person.

So I wrote this haiku for myself, knowing full well that I might have the tendency to go down that road.
Here it is, in case you missed the link above:

Look in the mirror
Say to the theologian
Get over yourself

Flashback to the billboards.  Here I am, worried about the word struggle...struggling with whether or not it really is the best word for the billboard, when...the whole POINT of the billboard is that there are people in our own country who are hungry.  It sometimes gets overshadowed by the fact that all the rest of us are fat, but it does not excuse the fact that there are people who, for whatever reason (probably finances, mostly), who do not have enough to eat.  The links in this paragraph will take you to various places on the website where you can educate yourself or donate, etc.  There's even a page that talks more about struggling with hunger.

Who knows.  Maybe struggling really is the best word.  If the point of the billboard was to get people to visit the website and really consider that others are hungry, then they got me there.  If the billboard said something like "suffer" I would've probably said something like, "Hm. That's too bad." and then went and ate dinner with Steve and forgot about it.

Anyway. I'm trying my hardest not to become the snobby, persnickety theologian who misses the point because she's too busy trying to say the right thing in the right way.  

Friday, January 28, 2011

Even though he was probably very endearing, I'm not as inspired by Saint Cuthbert

“The accounts of his night-long vigils, of his standing knee-deep in the sea while he prayed, of the sea-otters following him up the beach to lick his feet, of his battles against demons in his island home, and of his last days in his cell nibbling his dried onions to support life in his frail body, all are in keeping with the highest flights of Celtic sanctity. (22

also a quote from the same book as below.

More inspiration from Aidan the monk

“Abstemious, ascetic, industrious, fervent; Aidan was constantly on the move, accompanied by a handful of monks as his companions. Even as they walked they said the Psalms or meditated on the Scriptures in order that no time may be lost.” (18)

Same book as the last post.

Being inspired by Gregory the Great

“But in spite of his constant procrastination the idea of mission never left him, and when he became pope in 590 he devoted part of the revenue of the papacy to buying up Anglian slave-boys in order that they might be educated in the Christian faith and eventually sent back to their own land as ambassadors of Christ.” 

Found on page 12 of JRH Moorman's 3rd edition of A History of the Church in England

Monday, January 24, 2011

Best. Insult. Ever.

This is taken from my lecture notes for my church history course.  This semester we are covering both the medieval and reformation church.  I think it is the best insult* I've ever read.  Or, one of them.

“As you [Pope Leo] well know, there has been flowing from Rome these many years—like a flood covering the world—nothing but a devastation of men’s bodies and souls and possessions, the worst examples of the worst of all things.  All this is clearer than day to all, and the Roman church, once the holiest of all, has become the most licentious den of thieves [Matt. 21:13], the most shameless of all brothels, the kingdom of sin, death, and hell.  It is so bad that even Antichrist himself, if he should come, could think of nothing to add to its wickedness.”
-- Martin Luther, in his open letter to Pope Leo X (accompanying The Freedom of the Christian, 1520)

*Please do not assume that I am anti-Roman church.  This is more about me liking the description.  This insult could've been directed to anyone and I still would have to laugh.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Picture of the week

Here is my picture of the week post.  There is more than one picture....and it is probably more like the 3rd week of the year, even though this is only the second post of this nature.

Oh well.

I've been wanting to make some pictures of this tire swing for a while.

An exercise in editing.

Geneva. Clock, RP Church, Library, Tire Swing.

Snowman suicide?  Or was he pushed?  We will need to investigate this before the weather gets too warm.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

knotty hair.

Except it's not (knot? naught?), I just don't know what word to use (I wanted to use the word "nappy" but upon closer inspection, I found that it not only doesn't mean what I thought it did, but it is also potentially offensive).  So, anyway, this post is about my hair.

Last year I became inspired to try an alternative method of shampooing/conditioning my hair (had to get all the various links out of the way right off the bat).  Unfortunately, right about the time I was inspired to try this, I had recently stocked up on shampoo and conditioner, and wanted to wait until I had used it all up (so as not to be wasteful), but then it seemed to last us right up to the end of our time in LT, and when we got back to the States, we were far too busy to be experimenting with new hair product ideas (plus, who wants to have potentially dirty-looking hair when it is 100 degrees out?  Not this girl.  Also, if I remember right, shampoo/conditioner was on sale or something.  Anyway, just recently, I finally ran out of that shampoo/conditioner, and (even though I did restock that) I finally decided it was time to try this other way.

So a little over a week ago, I began washing my hair with a mixture of baking soda and water, and conditioning it with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and some spices steeped in water (parsley, sage, and rosemary.  Don't worry, Simon and Garfunkel. I eat plenty of thyme on mashed potatoes and quiche).  My reasons are mostly experimental.  Sure I will save money with this, because baking soda costs next to nothing, and a little bit of apple cider vinegar goes a long way, but honestly in 2010, I easily spent less than 20 dollars on shampoo and conditioner (not really breaking the bank, but I guess every little bit counts). The timing helps too.  It can take your hair/scalp a little while to get used to the new method, and there is potential for it to look like you're not really washing it.  Me, having a bit of a break before school starts back up, and it being the winter season (great excuse to wear a hat whenever you need to), and also, working at a coffee shop (pony-tail all the time), it just seemed like the right time to risk having hair that looked a bit unkempt.  Unkempt.  Maybe that would be a better word for the title of this post.  Ah well. That's all the way up there, and we're already all the way down here.

Now, anyway.  Here I am, just an inch over a week into this experiment (I can't really remember for sure which day I started this...probably about a week or so ago?).  Here is what I have to report so far:

  • I'm not really 100% sure that I'm applying the mixtures correctly.  I went to the dollar section of a store that I regret going into every time I go there, and got some spray bottles, so it would make it easier for me to not spill or waste my new shampoo/conditioner.  I have been mostly spraying my scalp and hairline and then trying to massage it in.
Pink for Poo, Blue for....Binegar.
  • So far my head doesn't really itch at all, but everything (look, smell, texture, etc) about my hair reminds me of how my hair is after about 36 hours without washing it (which isn't necessarily bad...nearly 100% of the compliments I've ever gotten on my hair have been when either:
    • a, someone else has done it
      • or
    • b, my hair hasn't been washed in a while)
  • It seems to take even longer to dry, if at all.
  • Ironically though, it has been more static-y than usual.
  • I haven't been doing the conditioner every time, at the recommendation of one of the sites...and that has been ok I guess.
  • My curls are more pronounced.
  • Here's the thing I can't really describe:  The texture of my hair.  I think, for the most part it doesn't look that dirty (I've seen it look worse)....but it seems like I could easily turn my hair into some gross, curly dreadlocks.  And, I didn't know it was possible....but my hair seems BIGGER.  Matted, maybe?  Why did I think nappy was the best word?

A view from the back after having been washed in the morning and in a pony or under a hat for most of the day.  Pony being an abbreviation for pony tail, not the actual animal. That's why I abbreviate, so I don't have to type as much.

No product in this hair.

Side view.  My head's in there somewhere.  I've never wanted to have dreadlocks, and I still don't.  But this hair almost lends itself to it.
Totally self-indulgent.
Anyway, I'm going to keep it up for a while.  See what happens after maybe a couple of months.  If you come visit us and forget your shampoo, don't worry we still have some.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Today's doings

So (sew?) yesterday I went to Joann and got some more supplies.  They were (are?) having some great deals there, especially on the things I needed!  So, I got this for 40% of the original price:

3-Piece Quilting Set

And then I also got some fabric, and a couple of spools of thread.  I had no idea the procedure for buying fabric, but it turns out it was pretty easy, and the lady at Joann was super helpful (I also had no concept of how much to get, so she suggested that I get a half yard of each kind).  Turns out the fabric was on sale, too!

Then I went home and watched a ton of instructional videos on youtube and here, to get inspired.

Then today I worked on cutting out some squares.  This is probably not how I will sew them together (well, not exactly, I don't think...I have an idea up my sleeve), but was messing around with various ways of laying them down next to each other.

Now all I have to do is work up the courage to take the current thread out of the machine and put my new thread in.  I think I will save that for tomorrow or Thursday.  Also, I have to figure out/practice sewing a "quarter inch seam" before I do any sewing on these squares. 

Anyway, that's what I've been working on with regards to sewing.  Cutting fabric, even with all the proper tools is still hard work!  It will take practice to get faster/better at it.

I go back to school in less than two weeks, so don't worry, not all 2011 blogs will be about sewing.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Well, last night I finally worked up the courage to sew something.  I have to admit, for as excited as I am, it is also so intimidating to have this machine with all these gadgets and dials, and thread going every which way...not to mention a needle!!

So today I decided that I would read up a bit (also, since the last post about sewing, I have become convinced that maybe quilting IS a good thing to start with, thank you, Emily), since I really just don't even know where to start (last night I sewed on a square of fabric to an already made apron.  I'm not expert, but I feel like I could have done a better job).  Anyway, I quickly became confused while I was reading, because I couldn't imagine/visualize what the instructions were even talking about.  So I went to youtube and watched a couple of videos, and instantly became convinced that I need more supplies.  In addition to the machine and fabric and a Sewing for Dummies book, here is what I have: 

Some more supplies.
Which is great.  They are probably all pretty important.  But, how much easier would my life be if I had one of those green boards and clear ruler thingys and a pizza cutter for fabric (I can't actually remember what any of these items is actually called).

But being it is the Sabbath, I will go to church now instead of going shopping for all these things that I need.

Tomorrow, though.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Reminders and Woes from Matthew.

I've blogged about it here before, but it's still true that I think of this passage in Matthew quite often.  I thought that having a dishwasher in our apartment would change that, but having a job where I hand wash dishes for a great part of my day, I think of it as often as ever (Matthew 23:25-26...“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.").

How much do we as Christians try to fix the parts of our lives that others can see, when inside we are a train wreck?

Today I was reading Matthew 23 again, and came across a couple more verses just ahead of the famous dishes verses:  

  13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
   15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

Woah. (Woe?).  Especially 15.  What great responsibilities we have if we are ministers of the Gospel!  In what ways do we shut the door of the kingdom in people's faces?  In what ways do we win people over and then leave them in the deep end of the pool?

Ah, I have to go.  These are all the thoughts I have time to get out for now.

Monday, January 3, 2011

11. Exercise more.

Last but not least.

This is a pretty typical goal for a new year, and for that reason, it almost didn't make the list. needs to be on there so that I will try a little harder to make it a priority.  I'm not getting any younger, and it turns out that not only do I need to exercise more, I want to exercise more.  The (very) few times I intentionally exercised in 2010, I actually enjoyed myself.

Much like the Bible study goal, this just needs to be made a priority.  I hope I actually follow through.

That's all.  I've now successfully blogged more times in 2011 than I did in some of the months in 2010.

10. Visit the capital of the country on my passport.

I have visited the capitals of these countries:

How sad is it that I have never visited my own country's capital?

And I only live 5 hours and 18 minutes away, according to google maps.

And megabus goes there from Pittsburgh.

Um, really for this one I have no excuses.  Just need to find the time to do it.

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, straight from the 2008 goal list (which was much more massive than 2011's list):

1. Go to Boston
5. Go to Washington DC
9. Go to Niagara Falls
13. Go Colonial Williamsburg
17. Go to a Boston Red Sox Game
21. Go to The Poconos
23. See the Statue of Liberty
24. Go to New Hampshire
27. Go to Vermont
31. Go to Connecticut
35. Go to Maryland
39. Go to Delaware
43. Go to New Jersey
179. Go to Canada

8. Sell something I make.

Not sure how this will play out.  I made an etsy account a couple of months ago, but not sure if that is where this goal will come true.  Not sure what I will sell/make yet either.  But it has always been something that is appealing to me.  To be crafty enough to make something and then sell it.  I've always wanted a skill that allows me to "sell my wares" and hopefully in 2011 I will get a taste of it.  Could be sewing, if I find that I am exceptionally skilled in that....but I've also given thought to other endeavors (for example, making greeting cards appeals to me...but would it be fruitful in this day and age?).

7. Expand our family.

I think this one is also pretty self explanatory.  The only reason I worded it "expand" instead of "start" is because I tend to think of me and Steve as a family unit already, one that started just over 4.5 years ago.  We're now at a point where we would like to expand our family.

Pray about this one if you think of it.

6. Regularly attend a Bible study.

I need this in my life.  I totally sucked at it last semester (the beginning of 2010 was good, as far as Bible studies go), and it was because my priorities were all out of order, not because there weren't plenty of opportunities.

Since making this resolution I committed to attending a Bible study on Thursday evenings.  Hopefully this will be more toward the top of the priorities list in 2011.

5. Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy (or should this be number 4?).

Ah, our often forgotten 4th commandment, from Exodus 20:

8 "Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work,
10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.
11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

This past semester I read a book on the importance of keeping the Sabbath.  It really challenged me to consider the importance of setting one day a week apart.  I'm not sure exactly how this will play out for me this year, but I really want to try to not to any homework on the Sabbath in 2011.  This may mean working extra hard on all the other days of the week so that it is done by Sunday*, but I think the benefits will be numerous.  I hope so.  I also would like to try not to do too much shopping or eating out on Sundays....because what is the point of keeping the Sabbath if you make others work on Sunday?  Other than that, I still have yet to think through about how Sundays will work.  Church. Spending time with people.  Resting.  Going for a walk.  We'll see!

So often when you ask someone how their weekend was, the answer is, "Over too quickly....busy.....I wish I had a day to recover from the weekend.....etc etc etc"  Hopefully, for me, Sunday will be that day of recovery that I need to start the week out right!

*Sunday just so happens to be the day I'm picking to observe the Sabbath.  Also, in the dorms, Geneva doesn't allow people to do laundry on Sunday.  So I've got that going for me.  

4. Travel to a country I've never visited.

Also, pretty self-explanatory.  Sadly, this one could be completed just by driving three hours north.

Confession:  I've never been to Canada.


I know, I know.  I'm from Minnesota.  I've been told by more than one person in more than one country that my accent is "practically Canadian."  Yet, I've never visited the great white north.  (They still call it that, right?)


Also, though, I would be completely satisfied if the new country of 2011 were on another continent, too. I don't want to limit myself.

3. Make one new photo a week.

Pretty self explanatory, I think.  Though, I would like to be pretty strict with myself about making "one a week" mean "one a week" and not an average of "fifty two a year" if you know what I mean.  Also, some weeks I will probably make more than one picture, but that shouldn't let me off the hook for other weeks.  Actually, I'm going to be done explaining myself on this one.  As long as I understand what I mean, we'll all be ok.

Most of my pictures will be unscripted and mundane, but you'll see.

Here's week one, titled "Neighborhood":

The view from the upstairs laundry room window, as seen on a sunny winter day. Pardon the screen. And the severe lack of snow.  

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2. Take frugality to new, creative levels.

Not all of my explanations for my new year's resolutions will be as detailed and picture/map heavy as the sewing one.  For example, this one.
I feel like I am already pretty frugal, but would like to be even more so...especially given the fact that once school starts up again, I have opted to work zero hours per week at my part time job, in order to devote all of the time not used on schoolwork to hobbies and people (that, and I would like to devote more time to school, too).  Financially, I think we will manage, but I would still like to be proactive in not spending the X amount of dollars that I would be making each month at my job, were I to be working there.
So there is the immediate need to be more frugal, but also, I would like to develop habits that will last longer than this season of our lives, so as to be a good steward (stewardess?) of money and resources all the time, not just when we need to be.
So far, my plan is to eat at school A LOT (take advantage of the fact that we have a meal plan), walk when possible instead of drive, figure out how to make things that I would normally spend money on (shampoo, gifts, etc)...and that's about it so far.  I am not going to "stop buying things" for a year, or never travel anywhere, or never watch any movies, etc.  Mainly, because I feel those things are currently not things that dominate my budget, anyway.

Anyway, I'm sure there will be some challenges, but for both the immediate need, and the bigger picture,  I hope that I can come up with a few more creative ways to be frugal in 2011.

1. Learn to Sew Well

For my first resolution, I would like to learn how to sew well.  It seems like a great skill to have, and I've wanted it for a while.  I've had the Sewing for Dummies book for a couple years now, but what good is a book without the proper supplies?

My supplies.*
Luckily for me, I got a sewing machine for Christmas!!** Not only that, but some cash for fabric or lessons or whatever else I think I will need.  I also acquired some fabric to start out.  I would like to start out with some simple things, like pillows and aprons and pot-holders and table-runners and grocery bags.  And whatever else I can come up with.  I don't think that I really want to make clothes or do alterations or anything like that. Eventually I would like to make a quilt...after I develop some skills with these other small projects.  I have even located a sewing center that is about a 12 minute drive from where I live.  The website is super cheesy, but who am I to judge?

View Larger Map

Anyway.  I'm pretty excited about this.  Hopefully it's not a hobby I flake out on.  I don't think it will be. The machine is portable enough that I can set it on the coffee table and work on it in the living room, or if there happens to be something else happening in the living room, I can easily move it to the other room.  This is important!  I need mobility. At least while I'm starting.


*Pictures that I make to illustrate something in a blog post do not count toward my one photo a week.

**Lately I've decided that two exclamation points are better than one.  Two exclamation points is the new one exclamation point.  Spread the word.
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