Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Good News from Genesis

Turns out this semester is going to be a lot of papers and reading and whatnot. Lots and lots of both on a weekly basis. And classroom presentations and such. So not a ton of time for me to make pictures and post them to the blog. But I will post a paper from time to time. So you don't forget about me.

Something to listen to while you read my paper for my Bible and Mission class (sorry for the formatting...or lack thereof).

In reading through the book of Genesis in a short amount of time, I noticed a few patterns that were evident throughout: “be fruitful and multiply,” sibling rivalry, the ways that God spoke to people, and God’s hand and presence in the lives of His people. In the lecture, it is apparent that the book of Genesis is the beginning of a grand story of God’s mission that began even before the fall of man: a “God with us” mission story that has three of its acts in the book of Genesis (creation, fall, and the beginning of the story of Israel). In this essay, I will look at the patterns that were evident to me in the book of Genesis, the lecture’s look at Genesis being the beginning of the story of God’s mission, and answer the question, “If the book of Genesis was the only book of the Bible that we had, what good news would we have about the relationship between God and His World?”

The blessing to “be fruitful and multiply” is given by God many times throughout the book of Genesis: once to His creatures in the sea and in the air, once to Adam and Eve, twice to Noah and his family, once to Abraham and Sarah in reference to Ishmael, and three times to Jacob (once via Isaac, and another time Jacob is recalling the story to Joseph). Two of these blessings were before the fall, and the rest after. God called His creation “good,” and blessed them to be able to multiply. It is evident that God has wanted to be in relationship with His creation, and for them to also be in good relationship with each other. In the lecture it says, “Mission is a part of the nature of God. We might say (as God later says of Adam) that it is not good for God “to be alone.” Mission should not be limited to fixing what is broken, because God’s mission of community and relationship was around long before the fall. In the lecture, Grant talks about how we were created in God’s image, and how it is our job to “to be God’s image in the world; [we are not to] abandon this representative mission to God’s creation.”

So while God’s (and our) mission is not first and foremost a fix-up mission, there are definitely elements of that when we consider the brokenness of relationships that occurred when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. I was struck by how many instances of sibling rivalry are documented throughout Genesis (Cain/Abel, Jacob/Esau, Perez/Zerah, Rachel/Leah, Joseph/his name a few!). The closest relative one has, and one of the first communities a person is a part of, is a sibling. Throughout Genesis, we see how broken these relationships (and others) can be, but we also see a glimpse of God’s mission when they are redeemed (most touching for me were Jacob/Esau in Genesis 33 and Joseph/his brothers in 45).

More ways that we can see God’s desire of relationship with His people in Genesis is in how he interacts with them, and how his hand and presence are evident in their life. If Genesis were the only book of the Bible that we had available to us, we might not know the good news of how God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to save it. Grant put it so nicely in the lecture when he said, “God so loved the world that he did not remain aloof, but God himself came in the person of the Jesus...God is the missionary, the one who crosses cultures, giving up all the privileges of Godhead and becoming a servant (Phil 2:5–11).”

In Genesis, we might not know about Jesus, but we can see how much God loves His people, in the way that he speaks directly to them (either they hear His voice, or He sends a messenger, or He speaks to them in a dream, etc). Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden of Eden and Jacob wrestled with God. God even spoke to people in dreams that did not necessarily know him (Pharaoh). Even though the folks in Genesis did not have the man, Jesus, to be in close relationship with, they had a God who was very present in their lives. God’s hand is evident throughout the course of Joseph’s life, from allowing his mother to be pregnant with him, to keeping him safe in prison, to putting him the position to help his long-lost family during the great famine. In Genesis 45:4b-8 Joseph acknowledges this:
“And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t  be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me  here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will  last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of  you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent  me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his  entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.”

Even through all this brokenness, God works to keep Joseph’s family alive, to help preserve them, so that they can be fruitful and multiply, and know God’s presence in their lives, and His love for them.
So back to the question at hand, “If the book of Genesis was the only book of the Bible that we had, what good news would we have about the relationship between God and His World?” The good news about the relationship between God and His World is that God created the world so that we could be in relationship with Him. Even after sin entered the scene, and relationships across the board were broken, God still actively participates in the lives of His beloved people, continually bringing them back to Himself and each other. And we can see all of this happening in the book of Genesis.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Tiredness

Well it's my first evening off, and I So sleepy. I am going to try to stay awake for a couple more hours though, so it doesn't mess up my sleeping schedule. Nothing useful about me waking up in the middle of the night, and then being sleepy again by 9am. I am in the middle (or just past the middle) of a week of an intensive class, Sex, Gender, and the Gospel. It is a good class, but my brain is tired, and my body is not used to being in class for so many hours a day (how on earth did I manage this in high school?). And my Bible study schedule for the semester is: Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday night. I am grateful for all of these groups, but my weeks are going to be a bit top heavy from here on out.

Aren't you so glad that this blog isn't censored? You would be missing out on so many mundane details of my life! 

Anyway, I've been having a bit of a 5/16-life-crisis (just one step up from a quarter-life-crisis. Math tells me I'm getting too old for quarter-life-crises). It's not that I don't know what I will be when I grow up (because I'm already there), but just so curious as to what is next.

Have I mentioned that I am graduating in May? Yep. I will be a Master of Religion (Christian History and Theology). What next, then?

Not sure. For me seminary was the goal, not the means to a goal (though I thought these two years would buy me some time to figure it out). I decided that in order to figure it out, I would do a little self-guidance-counseling and make a list of all the schools I've been to and jobs I've had since college began, and answer what I liked and disliked about each one, and see if there were any commonalities. 

I decided not to do every detail as a blog post, but just do the results. Turns out, I am too tired to even finish the list of places with "like" and "dislike" under each one. So it might be awhile before I post/have the results.

Oh man, this post is so boring. Maybe I should go through and censor a few things to make it more interesting. I'm sure if you highlight the words, they will show up. Maybe. So I better not write anything too scandalous. Poopy.

Alright. Well, only have to try and stay awake for a couple more hours. Sorry that this post isn't thoughtful, funny, or inspirational. I haven't had time to make any soap, or take any pictures of soap. But I did get a haircut last week, so there's that.

Here's what I could've posted about if I wasn't so tired:

1. How mad I am at Tyra Banks for still not telling us why Angelea got disqualified. I didn't even like her or want to know anything about her until she mysteriously disappeared off the show, so the joke's on you! Or maybe on me. Anyway, I was going to boycott watching America's Next Top Model until we (as a nation) were told why, but thanks to various SOPA blackouts, I can't figure out when the next cycle starts so that I can properly not watch it.
The lamest announcement of a winner ever:

Ok, this was a month and a half ago. I really haven't thought about it much in that time. But being it is Wednesday night, and I have some spare time here while I'm trying to stay awake, it is what I thought of.

2. The results of my self-guidance-counseloring.

3. How secretly I've been day-dreaming about various ways to live more simply, and how all this sopa/internet censorship is just adding to my evaluation of what sort of differences (for better and for worse) would naturally come about if I used the internet less.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A few things to get you through.

1. Here are a few songs to listen to while you read.  You are welcome.

2. Here's my latest from Twitter, if you aren't already into that kind of thing: Philippians 1:18 is what I think about whenever anyone brings up Tim Tebow, which is all the time. 

3. I need to go and get my ears checked. Not because I suspect that I have hearing loss, but because I know it. I've been putting it off for a while because: a) I am pretty good at lip reading, b) Hearing aids cost the same as a nice computer and are not covered by insurance, and c) I am pretty horrible about going to the doctor in general. Lately though, I feel I've been missing out on a lot of conversation details, and the constant ringing in my ears never fails to remind me that I probably should have an audiologist figure it out. This past summer a doctor prescribed some allergy medication to see if that would help me to hear better. I am not sure that it worked. The doctor never tested my ears in the first place to see what level my hearing was at, and then I never went back to get them checked again after a month of the medication (and really, what would they compare it to?). We were probably both at fault. Really though, I think I need to just go to a place that knows what they're talking about when it comes to hearing.  In the meanwhile, here are some misconceptions that I would like to clear up.
          a) People who are hard of hearing didn't hear you because they weren't paying attention. On the contrary, we probably pay twice as much attention just to be involved in a conversation. Especially a conversation with a group of people. Sometimes when someone laughs at me because they've been apparently talking to me/trying to get my attention for a little while, and I haven't heard them...sometimes I will say, "sorry, I wasn't paying attention," since they are clearly already feeling uncomfortable at this point. But really, I just didn't hear them because they didn't already have my attention (or were talking softly, or not speaking clearly, etc). Being bad at hearing is way different than being bad at listening.
          b) People who didn't hear you must be dumb and not understand the content of what you were trying to say. Not true either. Dumb and smart have nothing to do with whether or not people can hear. Some people that can hear perfectly well are not so bright. Anyway, it is kind of insulting when you furrow your brow and say, "what?" and people start speaking in a slow, loud voice, dumbing down what they originally said....and some get confused when you simply ask for enunciation.
          c) I am judging your snaggle-tooth and want you to cover your mouth when you speak. You wouldn't think this is a problem, but it is! Stop covering your mouth when you speak, people. If I can't read your lips, and you are already a soft talker, covering your mouth is not going to help me hear what you are trying to communicate. I don't care if your teeth are crooked. I'm looking at your mouth because I can't hear you, not because I am judging you.
          d) People who can't hear must just need to clean their ears out. Well, that might be partially true. That certainly could be the cause of some people's hearing loss. But not everyone's. More than one doctor has remarked about how clean my ears are. Well, thank you for noticing. I clean them quite regularly because I don't want wax to block my already dull hearing. My hearing loss is likely hereditary, as a large percentage of people I am related to has a hearing aid. I almost never listen to music with headphones, or do anything else to cause my poor hearing. On the contrary, I try to preserve what little hearing I have, thank you very much.
Sorry. Just realized that this has become quite the rant. Just trying to raise awareness, people. And please don't look at me like I killed your grandmother's dog when I confess to you that sometimes I don't think it is worth saying "what?" and instead pretending like I know what's going on in the conversation. Sometimes it isn't worth it for someone else to get all frustrated because you can't hear them. And I've heard people talk about other people who can't hear, and how annoying it can be to communicate with them. Why would I want to bring that on myself?
Anyway, communication is a two-way street. I will go get my ears checked if you promise to speak clearly and look at me when you're talking (and to be more sensitive in general to those who can't hear).

4. It's that time of year, people. The time of year where I automatically start to think about where we will be living next fall and who our friends will be (if any) and which friends we will try to keep in touch with for a little while, and which friends will unfortunately slip through the cracks.  Since we've been married, Steve and I have moved every two (school) years. We are now at the beginning of the second semester of our second (second) school year here at Geneva, and I've naturally started thinking about friendships. This is the time of year in Higher Education when people have to start making decisions about their future (the next school year). Will I stay here, or will I move on? And while we have no real plans to move on just yet, I still have to think these thoughts, because A) this has been our pattern, and I have had to think about this sort of things every two years, and B) as is the nature of working (or shacking up with someone who works) in Higher Education, even if we stay put, there is a really great chance that some of our good friends will be moving on and out. It happens every year. Which gets me to thinking about a profound speech I heard toward the end of my freshman year of college. It has really stuck with me all these years, probably because it is always always practical. The speech was on friendships, and how there are those who are "friends for the road," and those who are "friends for the journey." Friends for the road are those who are friends (close friends even, but not always) for a time. They are not necessarily lifelong friends, and that is ok. It does not diminish your friendship now, and its importance. You should not stop being friends with someone because you suspect that they might be friends for the road (though it is sometimes hard during this time of the year). Friends for the road are still important for now. You need them. They need you. Don't miss out on something good, even if it is probably temporary. It is ok to have seasonal friends. Friends for the journey are those lifelong types. The ones where, even if they live halfway across the world, you will both make a point to communicate with each other, and carve time out of your schedule to see them, even if it is only once or twice a year, or via skype.  Sometimes, unfortunately, you can even lose touch with those who you thought were friends for the journey. Life just happens that way. Sometimes there are friends for the road that stay on the road with you for a little longer than others, and they can seem like friends for the journey. This analogy was much more beautiful when I heard it 10 (10!) years ago. But you get the gist. Anyway, this time of year, I start to wonder who my friends for the road are, and who my friends for the journey are. I hope that I don't give some friends for the road (or even those who are in it for the long haul) the shaft as we transition out of each other's lives. I will have to work extra hard to show my appreciation for their friendship, and wish them well in future endeavors. I don't know who this season's friends for the road and friends for the journey are yet. And that's ok. It's probably something that's better figured out in hindsight.  Plus I don't want to diminish friendships with people who will also be sticking around for another year...and with those who we don't yet know. You never know when you will meet another wonderful friend.

5. Sorry for the snark, lately. I deleted a couple of posts that I thought were too snarky. Sorry if you liked them. And sorry for my snarkiness in #6 of my resolutions. If you don't want to follow me in a reader, that is your perogative. I should just be thankful that you take the time to think of me. So thank you for that. I still probably won't heavily promote my blog, if it's all the same to you. You can promote it, if you want though.

6. On a lighter note, I am getting a haircut tomorrow night!  Woohoo!! For someone who loves getting haircuts as much as I do, I am a bit of an enigma (in the past few years I've only gone to get a haircut...twice a year tops). But it makes it a treat. Here are some of my ideas.

7. No new pictures, so you will have to settle for some old ones, made in Toronto's distillery district. I love red brick buildings with green doors.

Another resolution for 2012

Just discovered/remembered this when I was looking for something else.

I'm for getting rid of tacky things I don't want. Bring it, 2012.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Soap Fail...I mean, Soap Lesson.

I had my first soap failure the other day. Still not sure exactly what went wrong (everything, perhaps?). Anyway, I am choosing to learn from it. And show you some pictures so that you know that soap is not all fun and games (but mostly, it is).

I was super excited to make some red wine soap...mainly for the deep red color I imagined the soap would be, and so that I could say I made red wine soap. 
I boiled the wine the night before (because the internets told me to), and then let it sit in the fridge overnight. Because lye would heat it up quickly, the internet said.

So the next afternoon, I've got all my ingredients measured out, oils mixed and lye in the wine. Lye in wine stinks. Bad. But that isn't what concerned me. What concerned me was the seemingly low temperature of the lye/wine mixture. It was like, 100F the first time I tested it (should have been well over that), and the oils were about that, too. Now, when you're making soap, you want everything to be about that temperature, but it usually isn't that quickly. Even as I type this, I wonder if it was a thermometer error.

Hold on.

I must go check.


Nope, they're fine. 

So anyway, I double checked the temps, after sticking the oil in the microwave to warm it a bit, and taking the lye/wine out of the ice bath. They were a little better, but still seemingly lowish. Perhaps I was not patient enough, and did not wait for the thermometer to catch up?

Anyway, I decided to mix the two, and almost instantly there were lumps (Steve provided the word later: it looked curdled.), so I stirred a little bit more and decided that it was setting up wayyy too quickly, and stuck the stick blender in there to even things out (or so I thought). After a second of that, it was seeming so thick, so I went back to stirring with my spoon. It was looking very burnt orange, so I decided to add a little bit more wine to it, as an additive. For color. A second later I was pouring what looked like sloppy joes into my new soap mold (which happens to be a silicone baking dish for miniature loaves of bread. Works perfectly (this is my second batch of soap with this new mold, so I know it isn't the mold's fault. Plus, it's pretty obvious that it was a failure long before I poured the soap). Sloppy joes is not what soap should look like. It should be smoother, and more fluid. Thick still, but not chunky.

Ok. Here are the pictures. They are hideous. To make you (me) feel better, I've included a picture of the successful batch...which was more green tea, basil, and rosemary soap. Yum.

No, that's not apple crisp. An no, the corners are not supposed to be a different color/texture from the rest. But look at my beautiful silicone mini-loaf baking dish!

Popped the bars out and looked at the other side. Diseased soap.

At least it lathers. And you can't tell from the picture, but the suds were pink!

So I went to plan B, and decided I would try my hand at rebatching it, which is essentially shredding the soap, adding water and some heat, and then some oil, and then some more heat..stirring it up, and sticking it back into the mold. I am still contemplating two ideas for plan C.*

Looks like ground beef. Rest assured, it is soap.

Nyom nyom nyom.

A stack of hideous bars awaits its doom.

Anyone in the mood to grill?

Why is it still so ugly?

Ugh! And the texture is like....wax?

Some winning bars of soap, made from the new baking dish and an oatmeal container. The little ugly duckling in the bottom left corner is a pre-shredded chunk of wine soap that I spared.

In better news, I joined pinterest today! I am going to have to limit myself to only looking at it once a day. We shall see!

*Ideas for plan C: throw the whole mess out and try again. Or. Shred up the soap again and mix the shards into another batch of soap. I might have to wait awhile. The texture is still....weird. Or go with the first plan C.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Favorites from 2011

Thanks to stats, I can see how many people are reading the old blog from day to day, which posts they're reading, and what country they are in. The best part is seeing how they got to the blog (some funny google searches out there, people. Keep em coming). Anyway last March I did a post of my top ten most visited posts. I'm pretty sure Pause, for whatever reason is still number one by a landslide. It gets read weekly, and has, at this typing, been read 99 more times than the second place post.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun (for me) to go through and make a list of some of my favorites from 2011. Here they are, in chronological order:

1. A brief history of some of my people.

2. Some comparisons from my resume. My temporary residency with the Anglican church is almost up. I still feel out-of-place sometimes in chapel, but it is getting better (though still not ready to become a card-carrying member).

3. Thoughts on Lent. Over the summer, we went through this same passage every Sunday in church. Apparently it is a passage I need to keep going back to.

4. Some wintery pictures. It would be a shame to have a list of favorites that didn't contain many pictures.

5. I still like this illustration. I used it in at least one paper last semester.

6. A great idea for the name of a blog.

7. When we were home for Christmas, I acquired a hymnal with this song in it. My heart is warm.

8. On sleep cycles. Well it's after 10:30pm as I type this sentence, and while I did cut some fabric for a sleep mask, that is as far as I got with making one. I do however try to sleep facing the sunlight when I'm hitting the snooze button in the morning, so that has to count for something.

9. I had forgotten about this one until recently. Still clever.

10. I still think of this Haiku quite a bit.

11. We're currently still at the church we were at when I wrote this list. Feeling pretty good about it, but not members yet.

12.  City recommendation. Want to go back soon.

13. A picture story of a sewing project.

14. Some book recommendations.

15. On authenticity.

16. This post makes me want to watch Away We Go again.

17. Just made some chicken stock yesterday, as a matter of fact.

18. We are still eating this sauce. Frugal city.

19. August was a pretty good month for blogging, if I do say so myself.  Here are some links that I was digging then.

20. So happy I discovered Dag and his Markings.

21. Self-analysis.

22. A glimpse into why I can't go to bed at a decent time and some pictures.

23. A post about soap.

24. On Gettysburg.

25. Thoughtfulness.

26. This list wouldn't be complete if it didn't contain a post that quoted Lewis Carroll.

27. So many ramblings.

Wow, 27 blogposts to read. Good luck with that. Some of these are more my favorite than others. But I like them all, and now when I want to refer back to one of them, I only need to consult this handy list.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Adventures in Travel and the Kindness of Strangers

So I've been meaning to post this story for a while. Since it has been nearly a week, the story is going to be abbreviated, and mostly pictures. Luckily.

Last Friday we were on our way to the airport (was supposed to be a four-hour drive...we gave ourselves an extra hour because the night before it had been raining). Just after we crossed from Iowa into Minnesota, we hit a patch of ice and landed (gently careened is how my long-story version put it) in the ditch. We and the car were ok, but we couldn't get out on our own. Several cars stopped to see if we needed anything, and one guy insisted on staying with us until Triple A got there to tow us out. How could we feel anything but blessed as we waited to get pulled out of the ditch?

A picture before we went into the ditch. A sign moments before this pointed this way and said "Highest Elevation in Iowa." (Hawkeye Point. Wikipedia it. It exists.). A couple minutes later and we were in MN...and in the ditch (photo taken with my phone).

Taken from the ditch. We were waiting for the tow truck and I just thought the sun rising and the dew on the grass were so pretty (taken with a real camera...the only pictures I took the whole time we were in the Midwest. For shame).

I couldn't resist.

Sort of blurry, but our tire tracks. We spun around one complete time and were facing the same direction we were originally headed when all was said and done.

Nestled in some reeds. Too slippery to drive out on our own. Both doors were open because the camera was in our bag in the back seat, and I was just quickly taking some pictures.
So fortunate not to have hit any signs....and to have landed upright...and for all the kind folks that stopped and asked how they could help. 

About an hour after we landed in the ditch, we were on our way again. Because we had left a little early, we felt confident that we would make it to the airport on time.  Until an hour and a half or so later...

When our tire blew. Note the precipitation in the air and the shards of tire missing.

SO grateful that Steve knows how to change a tire. Also grateful that we were able to pull halfway up an exit ramp before stopping. And grateful for the people who again stopped to see if we needed anything. A state patrol stopped and lent us his tire iron (going to have to wikipedia that too, if you don't know what it is. I had to ask Steve for the proper name).

Long story short (and this is the short version!), driving 45 mph on the spare did not allow us to get to the airport on time to make our flight. While I slowly drove in the direction of the airport, Steve made a bunch of phone calls (lots. Thankful I was driving. Talking on the phone stresses me out) and not only got us a flight to Cleveland later that day (Cleveland is only an hour and a half away from where we live...not the closest airport to us, but close enough!), but worked out rides to and from both airports (thankful for dear friends willing to carve extra time out of their day for us).

Still not sure of all that the Lord wanted to teach us in this adventure, and why we couldn't make it to the airport for our original flight...but so grateful for safety, for the kindness of both good friends and strangers, and that we did make it back to PA in one piece. Perhaps because I have resolved to be a kinder person in 2012, God wanted to show me some ways to do so? Maybe so, though there is probably more to it than that. We shall see!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Some recent soap pictures

Recently acquired a cute little green plate that I intend to use as a soap dish. Luckily I have a ton of soap laying around just waiting to be photographed.

The ever-scrubby coffee and walnut soap that I posted about a couple of months ago.

Just this afternoon I went ahead and ordered a silicone mini-loaf baking pan to use as a soap mold. Did you know those things are nearly impossible to find in stores? Me neither until just recently.

To show size.

Some cinnamon and coffee soap, specially ordered!

Small bars. Good for washing hands. Kind of looks like MN.

Some oddly shaped cinnamon and coffee soaps. I still like them. The silicon mold will help me with consistently shaped bars of soap. Hopefully.

My favorite picture. An accident of sorts.

Too big for the soap plate. This is a recipe I of my favorites so far!

First Snow

Today was the first day of the season that had a legit snow fall (still only a inch or two tops) here in Western PA. We didn't get much of a white Christmas (even in MN), so this little bit of white is welcome! And beautiful. Have to get these pictures posted before it melts.

From our stoop. Lots of snow in the air in the background.

The tree in our yard. Again with the snow in the air.

Our sad little bikes. Mine still doesn't have a seat.

Snowing across the street.

Love that this tree has something to look at all year round.

This picture is essentially the same as the next one.

Taken from the window.

This too. Even though they're dumpsters, they're the most colorful things that I could see to contrast with...everything else.
Hopefully more posts coming soon. I still haven't blogged about our travel adventures last Friday. Lucky for you, the longer I wait, the shorter the description will be. I typed up something the other night about it that was 4 pages single spaced. JRR Tolkien would've been overwhelmed by all the details.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

6 Things For 2012

Happy New Year! I started to write these a month in advance, so that I could think about them a little bit before posting them. Also, this way I could add to the list as I think of things, over the month of December. Anyway, does it matter? It is January 1st, and thanks to scheduled posting, I am free to start this post in December and not have it post for a whole month. It's the little things, people.

Anyway, this list should average out to working on one thing every other month. Though some of them are likely ongoing. I am going to try to be realistic this year, and also not double up like last year. Last year had me going to Canada like every other day.

1. The Birthday Project 
Remember this for my Birthday (November 10th, if you want to start saving for my present...and because I took it off of Facebook to see if anyone would remember anyway). Basically a couple years ago, this lady spent her birthday doing one act of kindness for every year of her life. She involved her family, and ranks it as her favorite birthday. To prepare myself, I would like to just be a person who is kinder in general. Hopefully I will do some acts of kindness before my birthday in 2012.

2. Less Snark, More Positivity
In the same vane (Vein? Vain. Probably vein. Anyone grossed out by veins? Sorry.) as being a more kind person, I am going to try try to not take all my snarkiness out on the internets. So if I'm in a snarky mood, or even if I'm not, I'm going to try to be less snarky, especially when I'm on my various social medias. I have a better control of my snark* in real life, but I will try to keep it under wraps (raps?) there, too. Only positive posts. If I can't say something nice, I won't say anything at all.

3. Show Interest
From my November 25th, 2011 Twitter post: Ask more & better questions, & take to heart Philippians 2:4 (which says, "Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too."). I would like to be a better question asker, to accurately reflect the true interest I have in people. I would like to come across as less aloof.

4. Soap
We already know that I like to make it. And I can only give away so much. So be on the lookout for an Etsy page in 2012. I am excited to: make lots of soap, take pictures of it, and market it shamelessly. I am nervous about: actually selling any, getting good reviews, and knowing how to properly and legally have a small business (um...does anyone know anything about doing taxes? Me neither.). Oh! And I'm also excited to blog about soap, and educate the masses about it.

5. Finish Well
In May I will finish my time at Seminary. Holy shmokes, time flies. What not so long ago was on a list (or two**) of things to do is now almost complete. It's been a good ride, I've learned a lot (and still a full semester's worth of things to learn!). For January term, I will be taking an intensive called Sex, Gender, and The Gospel, and then I have a full load for the rest of the semester: Global Anglicanism, Classical Readings in Christology, Biblical Foundation for Mission, and Capstone. I will graduate with an MA in Religion, focusing on Christian History and Theology. What's next? I'm trusting that God will open some doors, until then (best viewed in your reader):

6. Blog more
I know it must seem like this is something that gets talked about all the time, but I'm really going to try it. Blog more than what, you ask? Blog more than I post on any other various social medias, that's what. But I'm probably not going to advertise it much. It's 2012, people, if you haven't figured out how to add my blog to your reader, then me reminding you every day is not going to help you succeed in life. That was harsh. And a little snarky. You will have to remember that I'm writing these in 2011 (when it's still ok to be snarky). Sorry about that. But seriously. When you follow blogs on a reader, then you only have to remember to check the reader. It's only one thing to check each day instead of however many blogs/twitter accounts you follow. So, if you see that I am posting a million things a day somewhere else, but haven't updated my blog in a month, you have my permission to call me out on it. But don't really call me. I hate talking on the phone. Texting is better. Text me out on it. Or just tell me to my face, which is infinitely better than texting. What was this about again? Oh yes. I will blog more in 2012.

*Snark...according to some sources, "snark" is one of many words invented by Lewis Carroll. I am using it to mean me being negative or un-encouraging or whiny. Or overly and unnecessarily corrective. It's a good thing to decide to avoid, especially in election years. Which reminds me. I once resolved to make some sort of decision about being a good citizen by 2012. Crap.

**This list needs to get re-visited soon. I still really like it.
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