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!

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