Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My heart's desires

I spent a little time this evening (a very little, actually, when I think of the amount of time I could have spent) reading through old blog posts of mine.

Ran across this one, and was very encouraged to see how God has worked in my life over the past few years. I turned 30 this past November, and am happy to report that I was able to finish seminary and have a baby right before 30. 

Looking forward to seeing what God has in store for the current desires of my heart over the next five (or so) years.

Also was reminded that I used to be a much better, thoughtful, and more consistent blogger.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I'm working on a project...a Lent project! It will look verrrry similar to my Advent/Christmas/Epiphany project, and will start, Lord willing, on February 10: Transfiguration Sunday! Ash Wednesday isn't until the 13th of February, but like the other project, sometimes it's nice to get started a couple days in advance.

As always, I hope you enjoy (and even if you don't, I enjoy. So this is what you get, dear blog reader!).

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Obligatory blog post. New Resolution.

Well, I didn't finish the book I thought I would finish yet. Maybe this weekend. 

I am seriously contemplating being done with Facebook by the end of 2013. Or at the very least down to checking it very infrequently, which is more doable. I just have so many pictures on Facebook, and I really do like people's comments and my own commentary on them. It's the closest thing I will probably have to a scrapbook. And for some of my facebook friends, I really have no other contact information for them other than facebook (which I guess could be remedied if I actually started using email for personal interaction). So probably will take a lot of work if I decide to completely deactivate my account. That's why I'm giving myself until the end of the year to figure it out.

By the way, if I do start using email more frequently, you can bet that I will never send you a forward. That's a promise. 

Anyway, that is an add-on to my first resolution. Still plan to give it up completely for Lent, and then go from there.

By the by, my weekly visitors for this blog have reached a special number:
favorite number
Anyway. The verses for today from the Revised Common Lectionary are: Psalm 29Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, and 1 Corinthians 2:11-16.


Friday, January 11, 2013

52 in 52

Back at the end of October, I agreed to read 52 books in 52 weeks, starting November 1st. If you're good at math, you'll see that I'm a little bit behind, but still trucking along.

Here are the books I've read so far:


Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church, Soong-Chan Rah


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (reread)




Life Together: A discussion of Christian fellowship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (reread)

And since I've been posting these in advance, I hope to be done with Crouch's Culture Making by the time this list is posted.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New year's rezzies from 2008

Back on my old blog, I was a little more ambitious about my new year's resolutions. Let's see if I've accomplished any of them since 2008. I will write my current thoughts in a different color.

1. Go to Boston
STILL have not been to Boston. In the Fall, or ever.

2. Get new glasses

Just the other day, I got my second pair of glasses since writing this list.

3. Visit a dentist
In December I visited the dentist for the second time since writing this list.

4. Apply for seminary

Applied, attended, and finished! Wahoo!

5. Go to Washington DC

Still haven't. Lame.

6. Write a children’s book

Need to revisit this.

7. Buy a Digital SLR Camera

Done and done. Need to find time to use it more, now that I have a baby and an iPhone.

8. Give all the clothes you don’t wear anymore to Salvation Army

Done several times. Have some boxes that need to be delivered as I type this.

9. Go to Niagara Falls


10. Illustrate the children’s book you plan to write

See #6

11. Save a little bit of money each week

The bank does this for us.

12. Write a letter or note to someone and send it in the mail once a week

FAIL, but really should change that, since I would like my mom to have a job for at least a couple more years. We sent birth announcements out via the mail, so we have that going for us.

13. Go Colonial Williamsburg

Not yet.

14. Call your Mom once a week

I hate talking on the phone, and my mom doesn't have the internet. So we don't skype as often. But we do text almost daily.

15. Enter a photography contest

Didn't. Don't really feel the need to do this anymore.

16. Go one day without lip balm
Yeah, right.

17. Go to a Boston Red Sox Game
Still on the bucket list.

18. Learn something about each presidential candidate
I did, for two elections since writing this list. I still don't affiliate myself with a political party. Though I find myself leaning a certain way these days. Trying to keep that to myself though. If voting was meant to be a public thing, they wouldn't have us cast our ballots behind a curtain. I heard someone say that.

19. Get promoted
To motherhood! Love it.

20. Go for a walk three times a week
Though I haven't gone for three walks this week, I can probably say with confidence that I've averaged three walks a week since writing this list.

21. Go to The Poconos
Not yet.

22. Organize your recipes
Sort of.

23. See the Statue of Liberty
Not yet.

24. Go to New Hampshire
Not yet.

25. Grow your hair ridiculously long
I have, at least twice. And cut it really short twice too. I tend to do this. I never maintain a haircut.

26. Call a friend once a week

27. Go to Vermont

28. Shave a little bit of your legs with every shower
I have. This is just so routine now, it is as important as shampooing.

29. Dress up for church
Sometimes. We don't really go to that kind of church.

30. Learn more about investing
Nope, unfortunately.

31. Go to Connecticut

32. Be able to do one pull-up/chin-up
Though I haven't tried, I'm guessing that I can't.

33. Get an I-pod
Got an iPhone, which is better. Steve has an iPod.

34. Get more dress clothes
I did. I could maybe use more. Though in my current profession it isn't required.

35. Go to Maryland
Nope. Got pretty close though.

36. Learn some new words in another language

37. Learn some new English words
Probably did.

38. Put some towels away for later
They are still put away, thankyouverymuch

39. Go to Delaware

40. Clean the oven
I'm sure I've cleaned a few ovens since writing this list

41. Go camping in a tent
I think I did, can't remember.

42. Cook a meal over a campfire

43. Go to New Jersey

44. Eat more fruits
Yes, thank you blender, and now Vitamix!

45. Develop a taste for berries
Yes, thank you blender, and now Vitamix! Actually not quite there on all berries. But getting better.

46. Leave the continent
Yep. Europe.

47. Invent a new recipe

48-97. Read 50 books you’ve never read before
Having gone to seminary, I'm sure I've easily done this.

98-122. Reread 25 books you have read before
Probably have, I do like me a good reread.

123. Reread the Bible (this will be counted separately from the 25 other books).

124. Go to North Dakota
NOPE. How ridic.

125. Drink at least 3 glasses of water a day

126-177. Take 52 interesting photos
I'm sure I have.

178. Encounter some Rough Giraffes
Yep, though rough giraffes probably means something different now than it did when I wrote this list.

179. Go to Canada
Yes, though I would like to visit it some more. Loved Toronto, would like to see Montreal and Vancouver and Winnipeg, to name a few.

180. Try fish again (you don’t have to like it)
Try it every summer at the cabin. Still prefer to eat other things.

181. Plant a tree
Someday, someday.

182. Floss daily

183. Finish a Friday crossword
I think I did?

184. Plant some flowers
I don't think I did.

185. Watch 24

186. Print photos and put them in an album
We did, for my mom.

187. Move out of Western Pennsylvania
We did....and then moved back.

188. Paint a picture
Not as many as I would've liked.

189. Finish off the lotion you have before buying more
Still working on that.

190. Go on a date weekly
Not recently, with the babe and all.

191. Watch The Office
Haven't. Might not.

192. Send Christmas cards
Some years, yes.

193. Write to your Compassion Child once a month
He turned 18 a while back.

194. Pray for him daily
I wish I would've been better at this. I wish I prayed more.

195. Get rid of two pairs of shoes for every new pair you buy
I did do this for awhile. Was a good practice.

196. Find a Bible study outside of Western Pennsylvania
I did, and then when we moved back, I found three more (though I've scaled back to just one again....might add another this semester).

197. Devise a list of verses to read every day for advent
I've decided to let the Revised Common Lectionary do the work for me. It's been fruitful.

198. Visit a lake

199. Go swimming at least once
Yep, thankfully.

200. Go sledding
Crap. I don't know if I've gone sledding since the writing of this list.

201. Watch a James Bond movie without falling asleep
Not that I know of.

202. Go golfing
Yep. But not that much.

203. Wear earrings for a day
Bjorn and Aly's wedding.

204. Get one more belt
I didn't. And now the one that I had doesn't fit anymore.

205. Learn some guitar chords
I didn't learn anymore chords since the writing of this list...and I probably forgot the ones I knew.

206. Write a song
Nothing official

207. Maintain your eyebrows

208. Spit in a new ocean
Does the Baltic Sea count? Or whichever ocean is by Turkey?

209. Go to a Minnesota Twins game
Been to quite a few. Only one in MN, at Target Field.

210. Organize and update your quote calendar
Sadly, I don't even know where my quote calendar is.

211. Let bygones be bygones

212. Get rid of all the extra bags
Not sure what this was originally about, but even though we have a million cloth grocery bags, we still manage to accumulate a billion plastic ones. Lame. I would like to get rid of these eventually (they do make great small garbage can liners).

213. Wear sunscreen
In the summer, always

214. Acquire a frame for the map of the world
Haven't, but it is hanging in the baby's room.

215. Learn how to make plum jelly
Have made plum jelly twice since this list was written. The second batch turned out better than the first, and lasted for a long time.

216. Burn a candle until it is gone

217-226. Develop 10 new characters

227. Create your own coffee shop
Only in my head. This isn't as strong of a dream as before.

228. Sing in front of an audience
I'm sure I have. But not as much as I used to.

229. Grow your own peas
Haven't tried.

230. Care more about people than their grammar
Really have been working on this. Have complimented a few people on their proper usage.

231. Get a manicure
Not sure if I did. Not a professional one at least.

232. Get a pedicure
See 231

233. Get a massage
I did. It was glorious.

234. Research the possibility and personal practicality of owning a bicycle
Got a bike. Rode it a few times. The seat got stolen. Has been chained to the bike rack ever since (over a year now).

235. Write a short story
Maybe. I don't know.

236. Write a long story
I have a good one in my head. No time to write it (or to research some of the things that I would need to research to make it a good story....it's sort of science-fiction-y)

237. Write an essay

238. Write a letter to an editor
No, and I really don't want to either.

239. Finish this list
Not yet.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Goals for 2013 (or, "We shall see")

Some goals for 2013.
I'm going to try to keep them simple. On Twitter I've said, "Thinking of New Year's  for 2013. Might keep them simple this time. Spend more quality time with people, buy less, be healthy."
"Less stuff. Fewer things. "
So let's at least start there.

1. Spend more quality time with people.
One way that will hopefully start this is to get off of social media for Lent, and then see where it goes from there. While I feel that social media, Facebook especially, can be a good way to keep in touch with people, too often it is used to spout opinions, share things that used to be reserved for email forwards (BALEETED!), and waste a ton of time. I rarely feel encouraged or up-to-date on people's lives when I check Facebook, yet it is an addiction for some reason.
I am also giving up Twitter for Lent, because it falls under social media, and things I spend too much time on. It will maybe be even harder to give up than Facebook. We shall see.

Hopefully with all this extra time on my hands, I will have more time and focus to spend on family, friends, and books. I'll keep you posted. Lent is February 13-March 30th. I won't be giving up blogging or email (nor will I promise to blog or email more).

2. Buy less. Less stuff, fewer things.
If we don't need it, don't buy it. Simple. Get rid of stuff we don't need. Not as simple. Time consuming. We decided that for now, cloth diapers are just not in the cards for us. So we have all these giant diaper boxes. We've started filling them with clothes to give away. Amazing how much more simple/less cluttered our lives will be if, at the end of the year, we'll have boxed up and given away stuff with every single diaper box that we get? We shall see.
I do have some conflicting feelings about this, as some people think we need to spend more in order to boost the economy, but I just can't feel good about spending more. Sorry, economy. Sorry, blog-reader, for being so opinionated. If you want to spend more, go right ahead. We can still be friends.

3. Be healthy.
We got a Vitamix blender for Christmas. Hope to use it on a regular basis to get the daily serving of fruits and vegetables that we often skimp on. Also want to experiment on a weekly basis making things from scratch instead of buying the preservative-filled version of the same thing from the store. We get a ton of our meals provided for us (thankful), so that's why the making things from scratch is on a weekly basis. Someday when we are the ones providing our every meal, we will hopefully make a lot of them from scratch (thanks, Vitamix!).
Also hope to walk more than drive, if possible, especially when the weather is nice.
Will we be healthier at the end of 2013? We shall see.

That's it. Looking forward to 2013! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Reviewing 2012

Well, apparently I made some resolutions last year. Six of them. Let's see how I did, shall we?

1. The Birthday Project 
I did not do this, nor did I make an effort to. I can't say that I will do better next year on my birthday. The only thing I can hope for is to hopefully do 30 acts of kindness before I turn 31. But I'm not making that a resolution for 2013.

2. Less Snark, More Positivity
There were plenty of opportunities for this in 2012, that's for sure. There isn't really measurable way to know if I was less snarky, but I like to think I was. I am continually working on being more positive, even if it just means that I refrain from saying the snarky thoughts that so quickly come to my mind.

3. Show Interest
Trying to. Hard when all I really want to do is talk about my baby. But like #2, it is something I consciously am thinking about when interacting with people. Whether I take action on these thoughts is still iffy.

4. Soap
I did not open an Etsy shop (well, actually I did, but I never posted anything on it or told anyone about it). Being pregnant and soap-making did not go hand-in-hand for me. But I do want to continue to make soap. I do love it. But as it is now, I think only for a hobby and to give away, not to sell (I really can't compete with all of the million other soap shops on Etsy at this point). My sister on the other hand, *did* open an Etsy shop. And I am happy to promote it here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/emvintagethrift

5. Finish Well
I did. Yay for completing seminary and having a Master's degree!

6. Blog more
The numbers don't lie. I blogged very little in 2012. Still trying to figure out what this blog will be in 2013. Probably expect more things like the Advent project, if anything. In trying to be less snarky, I've also had less to blog about in 2012. Which is telling. 
It probably won't turn into one of those "mom blogs" if you know what I mean. You're welcome. Like soap shops, I can't really compete with the billion other mom blogs out there. Nor do I want to.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Resources Used for Advent-Epiphany Project

Online resources:
Where the non-hymn-lyric prayers came from: 
Where the daily Scripture passages came from:
Many translations of the Bible can be read here:

Main Books Used for this project:
The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year, Kimberlee Conway Ireton, IVP Books, Downers Grove, IL; 2008
The Covenant Hymnal: A Worship Book, Covenant Publications, Chicago, IL; 1996
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
The Holy Bible, New Living Translation
Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God, Bobby Gross, IVP Books, Downers Grove, IL; 2009
A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission Around the Table, Tim Chester, Crossway, Wheaton, IL; 2011

More Helpful Books:
Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year, Robert E. Webber, Baker Books, Ada, MI; 2004
Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C, Volume 1: Advent Through Transfiguration, David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, Editors, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY; 2009 
The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Year, Joan Chittister, Thomas Nelson (publisher), Nashville, TN; 2009
The Origins of Feasts, Fasts, and Seasons in Early Christianity, Paul F. Bradshaw and Maxwell E. Johnson, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN; 2011
The Origins of the Liturgical Year, Thomas J. Talley, Pueblo Publishing Company, New York, NY; 1986
Revised Common Lectionary Prayers: Proposed by the Consultation on Common Texts, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN; 2002
Times and Seasons: Creating Transformative Worship Throughout the Year, Richard Giles, Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY; 2008

Hymns Quoted (all from The Covenant Hymnal, but I’m sure you could also Google them):
How Great Thou Art, Boberg, 8 
God, My God, in Heaven Above, Johnson, 73
God of Our Life, Kerr, 77
O How Shall I Receive You, Gerhardt,123
O Promised One of Israel, Huber, 124
Lift Up Your Heads, O Mighty Gates, Winkworth,126
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, Wesley,135
Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers!, Findlater, 136
Song of Zechariah, Quinn, 142
O Little Town of Bethlehem, Brooks, 154
Away in a Manger, McFarland, 164
As with Gladness Men of Old, Dix, 192
For Your Gift of God the Spirit, Clarkson, 279
Teach Me Your Way, O Lord, Ramsey, 420
Renew Your Church, Cober, 605
Another Year is Dawning, Havergal, 644
O God Your Hand Has Brought Us, Goadby, 650
Thanks to God for My Redeemer, Backstrom, 657

Liturgical Calendar, 2012-2013, Year C

First Sunday of Advent: December 2
Christmas: December 25-January 5
Epiphany: January 6
Number of Sundays in Epiphany/Ordinary Time: 5
Presentation Of Jesus/Candlemas: February 2
Ash Wednesday: February 13
Lent: February 13-March 31
Palm Sunday: March 24
Maundy Thursday: March 28
Good Friday: March 29
Easter Sunday: March 31
Easter: March 31-May 18
Pentecost Sunday: May 19
Ordinary time: May 26-November 30
Trinity Sunday: May 26
Christ the King: November 24

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Epiphany, which means “manifestation” or “showing forth,” celebrates the sacrificial gift of Christ coming for the whole world. Epiphany is often associated with the story of the visit from the Magi, which represents Christ’s first appearance to the Gentiles.
Traditionally, Epiphany is a time of extravagant giving. Not to be confused with giving only material things, extravagant giving is sacrificial giving. Something that costs you something greatly, but is done out of such great love that you don’t even count the cost. Sometimes this giving is material, but other times it is just a matter of giving someone the gift of time or service, or of a listening ear, perhaps in a time that doesn’t seem very convenient to us. Think of Mary in John 12, who showers Jesus with ridiculously expensive perfume. This gift may have cost her her dowry, the means to marry, which in her culture did not give her many options. This gift was out of love for Jesus. It was extravagant because of the great cost, both monetarily and the possible cost of her well-being. God gave us His Son, a very costly gift, but out of great joy, and so that we might know Him, how much He loves us, and to redeem us. 
The Magi were willing to leave everything behind to follow a star that led to Jesus. What costs are associated with our following of Jesus? What does it look like to give extravagantly to our friends, family, and neighbors? How does this giving prepare us to give outside of our comfort zone (whether God is calling you to another country or to care for others in your current community)?
Some traditions that happen on Epiphany include the taking down of Christmas decorations, and a house blessing. The taking down of the Christmas decorations is a tangible way to mark the end of the Christmas season, and the house blessing is to bless you as you come and go, for all that you may encounter in the everyday parts of life, and for those who might be a guest or seek refuge in your home, that they may see Christ in you, and that you may see Christ in them.

Page 43
Sunday January 6 Epiphany
Epiphany of the Lord

Questions/Thoughts: To who or to where do you think that God has called you? What about this is scary? What about this brings you great joy? 

As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold,
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onward, beaming bright,
So, most gracious Lord, may we 
Evermore your splendor see.
Holy Jesus, ev’ry day
Keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past,
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide,
Where no clouds your glory hide.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Twelfth Day of Christmas

Saturday January 5 Twelfth Day of Christmas

Questions/Thoughts: What does it mean to be oppressed? Who are the oppressed? What does it mean that Jesus is the light of the world?

Thanks for prayers that thou hast answered, 
Thanks for what thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Eleventh Day of Christmas

Friday January 4 Eleventh Day of Christmas

Questions/Thoughts: According to the Psalm, what are some characteristics of a good king? Do you think this describes an earthly king, or a heavenly One? What makes you think this?

O God your hand has brought us to this new joyful day,
Accept our glad thanksgiving, and listen as we pray;
And may our preparation for this day’s service be
An off’ring of ourselves to you in deep humility.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tenth Day of Christmas

Thursday January 3 Tenth Day of Christmas

Questions/Thoughts: Reflect on a time or times when God has blessed you or someone you know in an unexpected way. How has God used events and circumstances in your life to prepare you for another event or circumstance in life? What do you think He is preparing you for now?

Another year of service, of witness for thy love;
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning: dear Father let it be
On earth or else in heaven, another year for thee.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ninth Day of Christmas

Wednesday January 2 Ninth Day of Christmas

Questions/Thoughts: What more insights on wisdom can you gain from these passages? How are jealousy and selfish ambition the opposite of wisdom?

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness in the shining of thy face;
Another year of leaning upon thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Eighth Day of Christmas

Tuesday January 1 Eighth Day of Christmas 
New Year’s Day

Questions/Thoughts: What are gifts from God, according to the Ecclesiastes reading? What are some ways that we can care for others in this coming year? What are some ways that we can care for God’s creation?

God of new beginnings,
you wipe away our tears
and call us to care for one another.
Give us eyes to see your gifts,
hearts to embrace all creation,
and hands to serve you every day of our lives.
We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...