Thursday, April 29, 2010

While I'm Waiting

lyrics by John Waller

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Just in case you didn't already know it, I'm a homebody. Sure, I like to go out with friends now and then, or have dinner at a nice restaurant, but overall, I like to be at home. A great evening for me is to make dinner for us, spend some time with the doggies, and watch a ballgame, an episode of The Office, or read a book with my hubby close-by. That's all. I cherish togetherness.

On a somewhat related note, I've been thinking a lot about the church and family life. I think it is easy for American churches to get so caught up in the preschool program and the student ministry and the women's Bible study groups and the homeless ministry and the outreach program (and the list goes on), that we forget about ministering to families as a whole. Some churches have so many programs and classes and Bible studies that families don't even go to the worship service together. And if they do all go to the same service, the kids under five are in the nursery, and the teenagers all sit together with the student ministry. So the kids between ages six and twelve sit with their parents (maybe, if their parents are in the same service - because mom might be teaching the fifth graders while dad is volunteering to usher in the service).

None of these ministries are bad. In fact, most of the time they do a whole lot of good! I think it is important to have a place of service in your church. I'm not trying to criticize the church, either. And a large part of the problem rests on families, who make the decisions about what to participate in and often let themselves get pulled into too many good activities, that combine to pull the family in different directions instead of drawing them closer to each other.

I don't know if there are any real solutions or if this is even really a problem? Maybe when I have my own kids I'll have a different opinion. I definitely think the women's Bible studies and the student ministry and the nursery (etc) have a place. But what I would love to see are more opportunities in the church to strengthen families as a whole, not just offer a parenting seminar on Friday night. Invite children back into our worship services, provide opportunities to serve as a family.

What do you think? Has being at home so much with mono affected my mind? :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Gent's Essentials

Given AbbasGirl's thoughtful post on beauty supplies, I thought I owed it to you to do one of my own. My own essentials are listed below--additional suggestions are welcome.

1. Soap. Yep, good old animal fat and lye, pressed into a handy bar. In a pinch, having #1 can be a substitute for #2.

2. Shampoo. But only if it comes in a manly/ugly colored bottle and you can buy it in bulk. Otherwise, just use #1.

3. Toothbrush. Toothpaste is a nice addition, but not necessary.

4. Deodorant. Despite the fact that civilizations did quite well without it for thousands of years, we men have begrudgingly accepted it as a necessity.

Well, that's about it. Man, I love being a guy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Essentials . . . for Beauty

I'm starting a new blog series called Monday Essentials. It will last for a few weeks, or until I get bored. Today's topic - my favorite beauty products. As a disclaimer, I am not a big "product" girl. I like things simple. And natural. And preferably cheap. But the only cheap thing on here is the Aveeno shampoo. In no particular order, I love:

Aveda Smooth Infusion

I apply this when my hair is wet, before I blow it out. Helps with all the fly-aways and frizzes. My only complaint is that it's $25 for 4 measly ounces, ick! Any suggestions for something cheaper?

Aveeno Nourish and Revitalize Shampoo

I've found Aveeno to be a great alternative to the pricier Aveda shampoos. I just wish they made some kind of styling product that would work for me.

Shaklee Enfuselle Skin Care

I love Shaklee's all-natural skin care line. I have sensitive skin that is dry in winter and oily in summer, and their products keep my skin soft and break-out free.

Shaklee Minerelles Make-Up

Of course, I love their make-up line, too! No harsh chemicals, no additives, no break-outs. Makes me a happy woman.

Mac ZoomLash Mascara

Though of course, Mac make-up comes in a close second. Especially this mascara, which gives me extra volume without looking too fake.

Revlon Color Stay Lipstick

The color lasts several hours but it doesn't dry your lips out (like every other lipstick I've tried), hurrah!

Intuition Razor

Because come on, who has time for shaving cream?

What are your secrets to looking glamorous?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Healthy and Scrumptious Side Dishes

Last week I think I promised some healthy recipes. I got sidetracked with the whole mono thing, but I didn't forget entirely. :) These sides are all simple, scrumptious, cheap, and healthy. And I'm not over-promising, try them out and see if you agree!

Onion Roasted Sweet Potatoes
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
1 pound sweet potatoes, diced
olive oil
Heat oven to450. Toss potatoes in a little bit of oil and then coat with the soup mix. Put on greased baking sheet and bake till tender, about 30 minutes.

Confetti Bean Salad (from my Aunt Regina)
can of kidney beans
can of garbanzo beans
can of black beans
can of yellow corn
chopped bell pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sugar
Mix all together and chill for six hours before serving.

Brown Butter Cauliflower Mash
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1/2 cup light sour cream
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan
1 Tblsp chives
2 Tblsp butter (optional)
Cook cauliflower in water over medium-high heat till soft, about 10 minutes. Drain. Process in food processor or blender with sour cream, salt, and pepper. Microwave on high 1-2 minutes. Cook butter in saucepan till golden brown, drizzle over cauliflower. Garnish with chives.

Marinated Tomatoes
3 tomatoes, sliced and put in shallow casserole dish.
Mix together and pour over tomatoes:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
half of a garlic clove
2 Tblsp chopped onion
1 Tblsp fresh parsley
1 tsp dried basil
Refrigerate at least three hours before serving.

Garlic Smashed New Potatoes
8 medium new potatoes, quartered
3 cloves garlic
2 Tblsp butter (optional)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup Parmesan
Boil potatoes till soft. Then mash all together and serve.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Light of the World


So dark you can't see your hand in front of your face.

Dark like you are in a basement with no windows and the power just went out.

Dark like you are in an unfamiliar house trying to find your way around in the night.

Or darkness in your soul, darkness in your heart. Which way is up, which way is out?

Where does the darkness end, where can you get away from it?

And suddenly . . . light.

Not just a little glimmer. Not a flashlight, not a candle, not a crack through the door, not an opening in the curtains.

Real, true . . . light.

Light that fills every corner of the darkness. Light that fills your soul. Light that fills your heart.

Where the light exists, the darkness disappears. They cannot coexist. The light replaces the darkness. Darkness flees before the light.

I love the places in Scripture where Jesus describes Himself - I am the Way, the Truth, the Life; I am the Gate; I am the Good Shepherd. But my favorite is this: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). In case we missed it the first time, He says it again: "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness" (John 12:46).

Did you hear that?! There is no reason to walk in darkness. There is no reason to stay in darkness. In the presence of Jesus, the darkness is banished. In Him we have the light of life! Not only that, we are light. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden" (Matthew 5:14).

When we accept Him, Jesus gives His light to us. And in return, we are to reflect it to others. Reflect His light, His joy, His peace. Dispel the darkness.

What are you doing today to be light to the world?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April Date Night

Mono didn't stop me from enjoying our April date night. Although we did go before I had an official diagnosis. Anyways, April date night was to the opera! Neither of us had been to the opera before and we loved it. Hurray for opera, I see more of these in our future! I enjoyed getting dressed up and having a night out on the town. I did not see any furs, but I did see one pair of opera glasses. :)

And a mono update . . . thanks for all your suggestions. I especially like the tropical vacation idea! I am trying to be a good girl and rest, but I have to do at least a few productive things every day. Today I addressed the Gent's graduation invitations, and I plan to make some chicken corn chowder and brush the dogs. And get my hubby to help me with a little house cleaning. I hate having a dirty house. Especially since I am here all day looking at it! I'll let him do the hard part of floors and bathrooms. I'll just wipe up the kitchen and do a little dusting. Having a clean house will make me feel better, I just know it!

Monday, April 19, 2010


You've got to be kidding me. I thought mono was something teenagers get.

Since last weekend I have just felt "off." Some fever, some nausea, just generally feeling tired. But not really like I'm terribly sick and can't function.

This weekend I started to notice jaundice in my skin and eyes (as in, they are yellow. remember how I've said before yellow is not my color?!). I thought jaundice was something babies get.

I finally went to the doctor today. She ordered a bunch of blood work, and then I asked her to test for mono, too. I don't have the standard mono symptoms (sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion), but I read on WebMD that jaundice could be a less common symptom. She said, "okay, we can test for it." And five minutes later she came back and said, "Guess what, you have mono."

I saw my mom this weekend and she guessed I had mono. As if I needed another reason to believe my mom is always right . . . it is going to take a long time to live this one down.

The doctor is doing other blood work, too, to make sure nothing is majorly wrong with my liver. In the meantime I am supposed to rest and drink lots of water and sit in the sun. Which would be great if the pool was open and I could be under doctor's orders to sit by the pool and tan while on sick leave. Unfortunately the pool doesn't open for another two weeks, bah.

So . . . what am I going to do with myself?!? Daytime television sucks. I have already read a ton of books. I also did my wedding scrapbook, start to finish (just in time for our third wedding anniversary). NOW WHAT? Any suggestions?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Crazy Love, by Francis Chan

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. By the time I read the last chapter I felt encouraged and convicted. Here is one of my favorite passages, on page 42:

"Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.

Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


As we look forward to the Gent's graduation, we've been thinking a lot lately about what it is that God wants us to do, where it is He wants us to go. In the short-term, He's made it very clear. But a few years from now . . . ?

One thing we are certain of is that we want to be in His presence. Our desire is to please our Lord, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. This is not a life of drudgery or rules to follow, but an active relationship, a continual drawing nearer towards God's heart.

So, practically, what does that look like? We're not sure, exactly. We're doing some preliminary money planning. I mean, let's face it, if we end up going the law firm route long-term we are going to have way more money than we could ever possibly need. We're starting to decide now what kind of lifestyle we want to have. On my state worker's salary (which allows us to live comfortably, but certainly not extravagantly), we already make more money than something like 95% of people across the world.

We're also thinking about what our family will "look" like - not so much as in number of children (and dogs, ha!), but more in terms of, "what are our family's priorities going to be?" Where do we want to dedicate our time and or resources? We've been interested in adoption, foster parenting, and education for several years.

One thing we do know is that we want to avoid the lethargy that is sadly common in some of our churches today. We don't want to just be nice people who go to services on Sunday. We want to be passionate doers of God's Word.

What else is God leading us towards? I am so excited to find out! But in the meantime, I'm satisfied to rest in His presence.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Craving Real Food

Since November the Gent and I have been on an even healthier kick. Lots of whole grains, fruits and veggies, and lean proteins. The Gent has been trying to get his cholesterol down a little bit, and I have been trying to expand my palate. I always heard that the more "real" food you eat the more you crave it. I didn't really buy it. However, I have changed my mind. After getting used to homemade bread and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, that's what I crave. Not to say I don't ever eat sun chips or m&m's, but I eat a lot less of them. And I don't crave them anymore.

I think I have finally developed a healthy relationship with food. Food is fuel for my body. What I eat directly impacts the way I feel. Eating real food makes me feel good!

And as a side benefit, I put on my bikini for the first time last week, and I looked pretty darn good in it. Though there will not be any photos posted, ha! And I don't exercise all that much - a two mile walk about five days a week, and weight training one day a week.

Here's what a typical day's menu looks like for me:
breakfast: 1/2 cup cereal or oatmeal
morning snack: fruit and cheese
lunch: sandwich, fresh veggie (like a salad or carrot sticks), and fruit
dinner: a whole grain, vegetable, and lean protein

If I snack in the afternoon or evening, it is usually more fruit, honey wheat pretzels, or cashews.

Suggestions for more healthy recipes? I'll be sharing some of my favorites later this week.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Yummy Sandwich Bread

I've been experimenting with bread-baking for the past several months. After much tweaking, here is my favorite sandwich bread recipe. It makes two loaves. I freeze one; two loaves last us about 7-10 days.

2 cups water
4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup milk
10 teaspoons sugar (or 1 teaspoon and 3 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup wheat gluten (you can find it above whole wheat flour in the grocery store)
3 cups whole wheat flour

To get started, warm up the water just a little bit, till it feels slightly warm (I use cold tap water, microwaved about 25 seconds). You don't want it too hot or it will kill the yeast and your bread won't rise. Dump the water into your mixing bowl. Add the yeast and stir. It will look like brown water:

Then add the milk, salt, and sugar, mix a little more. Then add the bread flour. Mix till most of the flour is mixed in. Then add the wheat gluten, and finally the wheat flour. Now knead the dough for about 5-8 minutes, till all the flour is mixed in and the dough is somewhat smooth.

Cover the dough with a towel, put it someplace warm (or at least out of a draft), and let it rise for about an hour, till doubled in size. It should look like this:

Punch the dough down. Then take it out of the bowl, and use a serrated knife to cut it in half.

Roll each half into a semi-rectangle shape. Don't overwork the dough; it doesn't have to be perfect. Use a little flour if your dough sticks.

Roll up the dough into a log and put it into a greased 9x5 bread pan, seam side down.

Let the loaves rise for another hour or so, till the dough tops the bread pan by about an inch.

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Immediately remove from pan and let cool on rack. After cool, wrap one loaf in aluminum foil and freeze if desired.

See, bread-making is not that hard, after all! Don't be intimidated by it - give it a try! Experiment and see what works for you. Sometimes I add a little melted butter (3 or 4 tablespoons) when I add the milk, or a few teaspoons of flax seed. You can make it with all white flour if you prefer. If you use wheat flour, you do need the wheat gluten, or your loaf will be very dense. You could also substitute honey for the sugar. You don't have to have a mixer, kneading by hand is not that hard. Just put it on a floured surface and have at it (form the dough into a ball, push down and out in the center, then fold the dough back over, turn 1/4 of a turn, and do it again - just do a google search for how-to videos). One last tip - I am not picky about ingredient brands except yeast. Use Fleischmann's. I tried store brands and they did not work near as well. Have fun with it!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Blog Friend

Just wanted to welcome a new blog friend, Mama Chick! You can check out her blog here. She gets the credit for teaching me a good bit about creative writing. I am a very orderly person, so creative writing was a new adventure for me - let the words flow! Hurray for webbing!

Monday, April 5, 2010

I Am Still Confident Of This

Over the past few months these words have repeatedly come to my mind. Even if I don't fully comprehend them, they are still true. God's Word is a rock that I can cling to, a firm foundation when life is swirling around me.

Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.

But I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

And because I am confident of this, I know that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.

Amen. Let it be so, Lord.

(Paraphrased from Job 2:10, Job 1:20, Psalm 27:13, and Philippians 1:6)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

More Recent Reading

A Sweet and Bitter Providence, John Piper
Amazing book exploring suffering and God's sovereignty in the story of Ruth. Highly recommended - this is one of my favorite books so far this year.

A Mathematician's Lament, Paul Lockhart
I am not the biggest fan of math, so I thought this book might inspire me. The author thinks of math as an art form, something to be explored and not just memorized. I'll pull this book back out when I start homeschooling someday.

Her Mother's Hope, Francine Rivers
Francine is my favorite novelist. Love love love her newest!

Father and Son: Finding Freedom
, Walter and Matthew Wangerin
Autobiography of one family's adoption story, from the perspective of the father and the son. Shows the hope and redemption that can come from broken relationships.

Covenanted Happiness, Cormac Burke
A Catholic look at God's design for marriage. I especially enjoyed the sections on family planning and the focus on children as a blessing that knits marriage together, instead of the other way around.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April's Motto

Romans 5:1-5
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.