Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spring has Sprung!

I've been watching eagerly the last week or so, as the dull winterization of plants and trees has slowly started to transform into specs of spring. The first were soft violets in the grass, one day at the park. Then the green stumps of tulips and daffodils pushing upwards.

I love spring! We had wonderfully warm weather all of last week - in the high 60s and low 70s, one day it actually hit 77! - though this week is a little cooler. Still, it smells like spring, and I am loving it!

Here are some little evidences of springtime:

blossoms on the tree just outside our apartment.

happy, happy daffodils!

lonely little crocus

pansies open and fresh again - I was surprised that everyone began planting these in late October. They lasted for several weeks before closing up. But now that spring is coming again, they look as fresh and cheerful as they did three months ago.

And of course :)
 And I realize as I post this most of my hometown friends are snowed in their houses, unable to get to school, still wearing heavy coats, boots and tights to church on Sunday (at least the girls :)). I thought I would miss all that coldness. Well, I decidedly have not.

After a good snow and ice storm for a week in January, and a couple weeks of freezing weather before and after, I got my fill of winter.  I could happily spend the rest of my life in the south, given I can also enjoy the changing seasons.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Newest Dumpster Find

Well my eyes popped this morning when I saw this big, beautiful, black mirror. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to go above a vanity, but that did not stop me! I love the clean lines. It is really big --  46''x32'' -- so finding a place for it is going to be a slight challenge, but I'm excited about it. :)

On the humorous side of things: When I walked over to the dumpster to get this, there was an old Korean woman and her teenage grandson there, doing something to one of the mattresses that someone had left (yes, sometimes this particular dump pile can be rather nasty). She immediately started talking to me in Korean, as if I would understand her. After I looked blankly at her, and then shrugged my shoulders and smiled, she started dramatically talking with her hands. I was still not getting it. Then her grandson pipes up in clear, but hesitant English. "This is my grandmother. She wants -- tools. Can she borrow yours?" I asked what he needed, a hammer, a screw driver? He said he didn't know how to say the word, but made a claw with his fist, and pulled at the air... still wasn't sure what he meant, but I figured since we only really have a screw driver, a hammer and some duct tape that I wouldn't be able to help him anyway. I apologized, picked up my mirror, and turned to leave.

Then, one of those blond moments hit me, and with total sincerity I turned around and cheerfully called, "Adios!"

I've been laughing at myself all day, so feel free to laugh away.

So much for being multi-lingual.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Valentine's Day

This is not an exciting post. But I highly doubt the pictures we got for Valentine's Day will make it into The Scrapbook (which so far doesn't even exist, anyway), so I figured I should blog about it, so we remember it happened. It was, after all, our first Valentine's Day as a married couple.

It was such a special evening. Daniel worked until eight, which gave me the whole day, and two hours after work,  to eagerly anticipate our time together. He took me to a Japanese Steakhouse!

Then we went home to white roses (for me) and a giant jar of skittles (for Daniel) and a bottle of white wine (for us).

My First Valentine's with a Husband <3

The End. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Sweethearts

 I love seasonal candies. Candy Corn, peppermint sticks, and conversation sweethearts are all on my favorites list. But what could be cuter than the conversation hearts? I'm a word person with a serious sweet tooth-- it's like two of the best things in life all in one little heart. :) 

I remember happy days of dumping boxes of sweethearts out onto my bedroom floor and trading heart to heart to my sister and friend, Ashley. Then there were the Celtic Balls in February, where we would buy bags of conversation hearts on clearance so we could use them at Starbucks later to flirt and joke with friends. :-P I think the first time my sister told her husband she wanted to marry him was with conversation hearts, actually. 

But they've evolved over the years too. I remember laughing as a ten year old over the "fax me" heart. Now there are even more to laugh at. I couldn't even find a fax me in my bag this year. :(

I think this is how I know I'm living in 2011
 Some other ones made me raise my eyebrows and turn off the processing part of my mind. Lol. Don't think too hard about them.

 I realize my last post wasn't very timely, considering I posted about suffering the day before Valentine's Day. But today I'm blessed to be celebrating my first Valentine's Day as a married woman, and I'm looking forward to an evening out with my husband tonight, then a bottle of Chardonnay and dark chocolate. I actually do not know what we're doing. He has the whole evening planned, but won't tell me anything. More on that tomorrow!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." 1 John 4:7-12

Sunday, February 13, 2011

On Happily Ever After and Life

Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl, with big twinkling blue eyes. She had lots of people to love an adore her.  Happy, bubbly, full of excitement. She loved to dream, and pretend all sorts of wonderful things --  all that was back when fairy tales weren't make believe.

Then she grew up and found out they weren't real. That real life, almost always, doesn't fall into place like fairy tales do. And even if life is full of many little blessings, like sunshine, flowers, falling in love, and having babies, it still hurts.

I recently burst into tears after finishing a Taylor Swift music video- a Taylor Swift music video! - because deep down I still am that bubbly little girl who wants everything to end up beautiful, and wishes every story could end without brokenness and heartache. Yet, sometimes there are fights at 2:30 AM that do end in good-bye. Sometimes a first kiss isn't fearless. Sometimes Romeo doesn't come.  And with those examples, we're only addressing the mind of a 21-year-old pop-star. There are far greater problems in the world.

These thoughts have been developing in my mind now for several months. As I began to formulate thoughts for this post I was frustrated again and again in my attempts. I realized I did not have a profound answer. I realized understanding suffering, and God's purpose in it, was still something that I struggled with in my heart of hearts. How could I write about something I don't even understand? 

The Lord continued to speak to me, though. Bible Study after Bible Study, sermon after sermon, conversation after conversation, so many pieces were coming together. I still do not understand... but I do believe God's promises do not fall void. In searching, and waiting for God's wisdom on a subject I feel everyone must struggle with at some point, He showed me over and over beautiful truths that bring me to my knees, and leave me praising my great High Priest.

How many times I have felt perplexed beyond comprehension, afflicted beyond enduring, and yet had hope coming flying in on the wings of the Holy Spirit (lame imagery?) at the final hour, reminding me all is not lost. Below is a compilation of verses and songs that have comforted me through pain. It doesn't take much to notice how many people are hurting all around the world, but over and over again I am amazed at the comfort the Gospel of Christ offers to every one of us.

2 Corinthians 4:7-14 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.... Since we have the same spirit of faith... knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence."

Hebrews 2:7-9 "'...You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.' Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside of his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."

In Christ Alone, Keith and Kristyn Getty

"No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;

Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Psalm 56:8,9b "You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?... This I know, that God is for me."

Revelation 7:17 "For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

And there is a day coming that will be beyond our wildest dreams. As wonderful, or as wretched as this life may be, heaven will be far more glorious. This world is as bad as it's gonna get for those in Christ.

A favorite of mine: Josh Wilson, Before the Morning

"Do you wonder why you have to
  feel the things that hurt you,
if there's a God who loves you,
where is He now?

Maybe, there are things you can't see
and all those things are happening
to bring a better ending
some day, some how, you'll see, you'll see

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

So hold on, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the dark before the morning"

1 Peter 5:10-11 "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."

"To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right...

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They lost all of their faith and love
They've done all they can to make it right again
Still it's not enough

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering...

When your lonely (when you're lonely)
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

To the widow who suffers from being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are

Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus." 

Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

2 Corinthians 4:16-18"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory, beyond all comparison, as we look not the the things that are seen, but the the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen and eternal."

2 Peter 3:13 "But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness."

"On Jordan's stormy banks I stand
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land
Where my possessions lie

All o'er those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day
There God, the Son forever reigns
And scatters night away...

No chilling wind nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore
Where sickness, sorrow, pain and death
Are felt and feared no more

When shall I see that happy place
And be forever blessed
When shall I see my Father's face
And in His bosom rest

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the promised land!"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I love finding bargains. It makes my day. Sometimes my week. Sometimes my month. Like the black and red wool-like coat I found at Goodwill for $5, or Daniel's chocolate brown Corduroy blazer, or the adorable peep toe, floral print heels I found for $3 in brand-new condition. Most of my closet has come from some type of thrift store, actually. But I also love to find stuff for the home in thrift stores, too. But I've blogged about that before. Of course, I don't limit myself to thrift stores, either. Garage sales, clearance racks and dumpsters do the trick too.

Yes, I am rather cheap when it comes to some things, but ask my mother, I do not have a problem spending money! I simply have SO MUCH FUN finding something worth 80% more than what they're asking for it. Like the dark wash, boot cut '07 Gap jeans I found that had hardly been worn. Really, why not, right?? It's just so cool! :-P

So, when a sweet lady at my church mentions at Spaghetti dinner Wednesday night that she was having a moving sale, and wanted to get rid of all her stuff, I was more than happy to accommodate her request.

Well, it was a smashing success!

I have been thinking for quite some time now that my house really needed some floral additions. Not cheap, obviously-silk stuff, but something fresh and light to make the rooms look more cheerful. (With only five windows, our little house needs some help). I was, therefore, overjoyed to find a whole pile of silk flowers in a box in this woman's garage. I sat down and picked out all the colors I would need: red and yellow for the family room, and white and green for our bedroom. I also found some greenery to put on top of some of our extra tall bookshelves, and our curio cabinet.

For Our Room:

For the Family Room:

I also found some cute Christmas tree accents that I'm excited to use next Christmas, and some not-tacky gold leafy floating candles, that will be pretty during that season.

I also have a slight obsession with baskets. I've had to start to tone it down a bit, because I'm running out of uses and places for them. This one was and eye-catcher though, and very sturdy. I used it Sunday to carry our yumminess to the Super Bowl party.

A plain glass vase, some french blue soup bowls with cool wooden handles, a mini bamboo cutting board, a couple of baskets, and a dozen children's books completed my purchase. This sweet lady was so happy I stopped by!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday

Basically, Daniel was right and I was wrong. But, to the Steelers' credit they made a pretty darn good pull through after being down by 11 points twice in the game!

We had fun watching a whole football game together. I discovered if I can actually focus on the game, I enjoy it a lot more. If ever I get distracted I have to spend the next five minutes in game time figuring out what I missed. I liked actually watching today!

Daniel and I tried to come up with some sort of bet-- if the Packers won I would buy him five books, if the Steelers won he would do the dishes for the week... something of that sort. But we could never agree on anything (and I actually think deep down Daniel thought the Steelers would make a full come-back and he didn't want to commit to washing any dishes.) So, I really have nothing exciting to post about.

We watched the game with our seminary buddies, Evan and Leslie, and Will and Caitlyn, and Evan and Leslie's affectionate dachshund, Roxie. But I don't even have any pictures of that.
I figured I needed to post about Super Bowl Sunday since it seems like it's such an important day for such a football fanatic like my husband. The commercial with the little boy dressed as Darth Vader trying to learn to use the force was pretty cute. And the very first Doritos commercial. "You missed the best part *grabs hand and licks finger vigoriously*" LOL! :)

Basically, good day. Now I get to look forward to empty Saturday and Sunday afternoons for about six months!... but March Madness is coming next. O, bother.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Un Bombanados

I wish I had a memory that never forgot anything, because I'm sure I could make posts and posts and posts about the hilarious things that Michael says and does.

Recently we were outside rollerblading and Maura took a spill, scratching both her elbows. I went and got the band-aids. As I was opening them up I asked Michael, "Hey, what's the Spanish word for band-aid?"
Without flinching he replied, "Un Bombanado," with a perfect accent. (bomb-bah-NAH-doe)
I went on and on then about how much fun that was to say, and yelled to Maura, "Bombanado, bombanado, tengo un bombanado!"
She looked at me like I was crazy. That's when I started to get this funny feeling about what I was saying.
Maura asked, "What in the world is a bombanado?" as I looked over at Michael, who was red-faced and ready to bust with laughter. Raising my eyebrows and looking at him with a little smirk I said, "Bombanado isn't even a word, is it??"

Of course he lost it, and laughed so hard tears were running down his cheeks. Maura and I got a good laugh too, and now I have an instant solution to when they get hurt: Just ask if they need un bombanado, and frowns turn to smiles.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Books in a Year

My original list for 2011 was 103. I had little faith that I would be able to finish that list in a year, but still did try my best to read quickly. I got stuck on Vanity Fair, beginning it just before the wedding and not finishing it until nearly November. But I am a slow reader, no matter what I read. I read in chunks. I may get through chapters one day, and only a paragraph the next, and so my progression through books is rather slow. However, I love to read, and in reading, hopefully gain more understanding about this world I live in, and the people that inhabit it. 

I tried to draw titles from a variety of genres, as well, to become more well-read. As I'm sure you'll notice, though, I have a personal bias.

The following are my finished titles from 2010, and some brief thoughts about each.

I decided it was high time I finish off all of Austen's novels, so picked up the least popular of her works, Lady Susan. I'm sure I laughed, but it left me no good impression

Keller's a speaker not a writer -  though I'm glad I read this book, and highlighted quite a bit, I wasn't overly impressed.
I love Shakespeare
I read this book before the wedding. Even if it's not Ravi's forte he does a fine job!
Another pre-wedding read. Excellent. This stays out on an open bookshelf for easy reference. Our Pastor took us through this in pre-marital counseling, and we still are learning from the truths found within it's pages.

Another excellent read. One to take in slowly.

Began this as a Bible study, and especially liked the first half of the book.
After the wedding we began reading through The Chronicles of Narnia together
While we read through The Magicians Nephew in less than two weeks, we found our eagerness to read lessened with such a familiar story in this particular book. Nevertheless, it's a classic.
I could not put this book down! I took it with me where ever I went, including to and from church on Sunday. I remember being enraptured with the obvious love for the Lord within the pages and the lives of the characters. The mountains where this all took place are only hours from Charlotte, too. :)

This was an easy, enjoyable read. I laughed a lot, and even cried. I grew very attached to Birdie.

Vanitus Vanitum!

Another easy, enjoyable read - I had to rest my literary criticism  and take the modern novel for what it was worth. As much as one may try, she simply cannot recreate Jane Austen. Still, the story was almost believable.

Wuthering Heights was in the same breath engrossing and depressing. I loved none of the characters, pitied all of them, and hoped for a beautiful ending that never came. Yet it was a good  book.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Love Is Like A Butterfly...

... if you run after it, it will only fly away. But if you are patient and wait it will come and land on your shoulder.

I remember the waiting days. Days of swearing contentment of bliss until I was thirty, and then days of distress and constant prayers.
Whenever you are waiting for something, is seems much longer in coming than it actually is. 
And you are in danger of thinking it more important than it should be.
Or that it's arrival will be the end of your waiting.

Wait  (verb [intrans.]) 1. stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens 2. remain in readiness for some purpose

So, wait for it. Wait for love. Don't grow impatient. Don't grow hasty. It's much too important to rush.
Remain ready for the purpose, but do not let it consume you.

Love is like a butterfly,  if you run after it, it will only fly away. But if you are patient and wait it will come and land on your shoulder.