Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Badge of Busy-ness"

Well we are back from Boston now, and glad to be home. We had a great time out there, and the kiddo was fabulous, but there's something special about being home, too. The babe has been catching up on her sleep (she didn't get to nap much, since we were on the go much of the time). We did find out that she has RSV :(, so we're just hanging out at home, praying that it passes quickly.

We had a lovely surprise waiting for us when we returned home - our package from Amazon. We bought it shortly after Christmas with some leftover money we had. More about the books we ordered later, but the DVD "Everything is Spiritual" by Rob Bell is amazing!! L and I both learned so much (and he covered a lot of science related topics, so I thought I might get bored, but it was fascinating).

Something that Bell mentioned toward the end resonated with me, as it's a topic I've been thinking a lot about. He said, "We need to slow down enough so that we don't miss a thing." Perhaps not the most profound statement, but enough to convict me.

Our society is so busy. Whenever we greet someone we say, "How are you doing?" Inevitably the answer is "Busy." We wear busy-ness like a badge. We have difficulty slowing down, and when we do have some free time we either feel like we're being lazy, or we fill it with mindless drivel.

I have to admit, since the baby was born, it made me think about how life changes. I can't just "go" anymore. When we were downstate and both working, in two bible studies, leading the service ministry at church, seeing friends, and tending to our house. We were BUSY. Any free time seemed to be filled. Now we are home more, but still busy. A baby does that to you. You don't get to pick and choose your free time, even though it seems like I should have more time to myself. I guess I do have more than I used to - mostly because we've chosen not to get too involved in community and church just yet.

AW Tozer said that we are "almost frantic people" and that "speed and noise are evidences of weakness, not strength". Wow. How many times do I fill the silence with noise and busy just because?

Seriously. Why can't we just be? Why can't I just be? Why do I turn the music up instead of having a conversation with God?

When moving up here, one of our goals was to lead more of a simpler life. We didn't want to have to deal with mortgage payments anymore or have a million commitments to tend to. Don't get me wrong; a house and commitments are not bad things. We were ready to be FREE of them for a little while. We were pretty frazzled.

But even with our free time, I'm wondering. Am I experiencing life to its fullest? Am I aware of God in everything I do? What am I missing when I don't spend that silent, quiet time with God each day?

Nouwen writes "We are usually surrounded by so much outer noise that it is hard to truly hear out God when He is speaking to us. We have often become deaf, unable to know when God call us and unable to understand in which direction he calls us. Thus our lives have become absurd... when, however, we learn to listen our lives become obedient."

The babe is stirring, so I need to go, but remember this: there is so much beauty and life to experience. How much do we miss because we're running here or there, or because we've filled out time with TV? What would life be like if we could just slow down enough to breathe it all in?

"Earth is crammed with Heaven. And every bush aflame with God. But only those who see take off their shoes..." Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The four of us at the reception... Jess was a beautiful bride!!
My two favorite people.
F getting ready for her fourth "flower girl" moment
The babe sleeping on the plane. She was amazing during this trip, even though she was sick.


Quincy Market
Fanueil Hall
Stained Glass at Park Street Church... an old historic church that Jess attends weekly.
Boston Skyline at night
Boston Skyline at night

The Stained Glass ceiling in the state house
The Massachusetts's State House

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Permeating Everything

"The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

Deut. 6:4-9

I love the imagery and the symbolism in these verses. God is supposed to permeate every area of our lives.... our relationship with Christ should be as natural as breathing. We should wake up thinking about Him and go to sleep whispering His name. And I wonder. Can others see that God is written on the doorframe of our house? Can others smell the aroma of Christ when they interact with me?

I feel so humbled and challenged as I read those verses again and again. Oh, Lord, may our house permeate You and Your Word. May You always be in our thoughts... May we speak together night and day... May You be the focus of our home....

"7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. "

This verse really hits home, as mother to a little girl. It also makes me chuckle. The other day, E and I went for a walk. We (okay, I) was singing "Jesus Loves Me", and talking about how God made all the trees and the snow, and how she was made "special".

Inwardly, I was asking God to encourage me in some way... it was a lonely day (long story). Walking toward me was another family, and as common courtesy, I stopped to say hi. Somehow we started talking about how we were both from downstate, where L was working (and where they were working)... and he (T) was carrying a Bible. We started chatting away....

And walking away from conversing with them, I was so encouraged. It just surprised me that God would hear that simple prayer and choose to answer it - so quickly! And so, that's what E and I chatted about on the way home. It was mostly for my benefit, as E probably doesn't know what I was babbling about.

Still, I think that if it becomes habit to chat and talk about God in everyday language, in everyday moments, perhaps it'll "stick", and become written on her heart, and thus, one day give her the ability to chat about Him in the same way.

Oh, dear Lord, please permeate every aspect of our lives. How we act, how we speak, how we interact with others, how I serve my family - L and E, how we parent, what we watch, how we serve the body of Christ, how we minister to those who don't know You, permeate EVERYTHING.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

D's quilt

This quilt is for my new niece, D, who was born on Monday. It's kind of been a tradition for me to make a quilt for the babies born in my family. Unfortunately, I didn't learn how to quilt until my first nephew, J, was toddling around. :(

I'm really starting to love how these fabrics are coming together. I had another pattern in mind initially, but let's just say I didn't start the quilt until the day she was born. Thus, it didn't leave me much time to get it finished (my goal is to get it done the day we meet her - this weekend!). I was nervous to see how much E would let me get done, but she's been great this week! Thank you, my love!!

My sister-in-law, K, requested pink and green fabrics. I loved all of the fabrics separately, but wasn't sure how they would fit together, but it's all coming together, thankfully. I will post the finished product soon. :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Loving the Art of Cooking

Sooo... the photos are from the weekend. This is my attempt to love cooking. :) It's not that I HATE it... I just don't enjoy it. Hopefully as photos are taken of what we're eating, it'll spark. some of the creative juices (they've gotta be there somewhere) inside of me, thus, inspiring me to press on and cook (or "create") some more.

My hope for cooking more at home is twofold: it's healthier this way (you can adjust the ingredients), and two: it's cheaper to eat at home. We're cheap in pretty much every area of our life, but dining out. And it's gotta stop... or at least cut back.

This is just a different way to serve my family. I really want Eden to grow up in the kitchen, cooking with me, and enjoying her own "cooking creations". How do I do this? I have to model it for her, make it a way of life.

Anyway, about the pictures below, the pizza was pretty simple, but I tried to add as much as I could so we'd feel full and satisfied.

Our toppings included:
* little bit of olive oil
* tomato sauce
* skim milk mozzarella cheese
* onion (mmmm, but that was mostly on my side. L isn't a huge fan)
* green and red peppers (second, mmm)
* garlic (of course)
* chicken
* olives (my side only)
* spinach (we both love this)

The cake I made was a blueberry-banana cake. I won't get into the whole recipe, but why I chose this one was because it uses banana, blueberries and maple syrup instead of refined sugar. Also, it uses whole wheat flour instead of white, so it's better for me. This is how I justify eating cake. :)

Hopefully I will post what I'm cooking periodically. Tonight: turkey chili. Our good ol' standy. :)

Food... In Pictures

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Our Hike.. In Pictures

Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm thankful for...

The child posted above. How cute can one kid get?
Garlic. This is one spice I couldn't live without. It's aromatic, healthy, and it tastes SO good!
How L faithfully rubs my neck every night. :)
That we are able to save as much each month now as we were when we were both working full time, but with a mortgage. Why buy again?
Pants being too big on me. Gives a new momma some self esteem. :)

Tea: My New Obsession

Soooo.... I've always enjoyed tea, but I have a hard time drinking something unless I'm eating. And when I'm eating I prefer cold drinks, so it's hard for me to drink just to drink. Well, that was then. For some reason, I have been obsessed with tea this week! I think I've had three cups a day, which is about three more than I typically have. :)

I have a cinnamon apple tea that smells divine, but my love this week has really been green tea. The health benefits are really what propelled me to start drinking it, but it's the taste that will keep me going.

So green tea, I am raising my cup to you! Cheers!

Thursday, January 10, 2008