Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
As I searched for verses containing the words "joy," "heart," and "thanks," I came across a familiar passage. Eric and I selected Colossians 3:1-17 to be read at our wedding, and the end of that section says:
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I will be praying these verses this week and hopefully beyond. Anyone want to join me in praying a specific passage of Scripture this week?
Monday, January 28, 2008
I had some casual gatherings with friends, and then on Saturday night, my husband took me out to this yummy place. After dinner, we went to a hockey game! Eric made me our traditional birthday breakfast in bed (Betty Crocker cinnamon streusel muffins--they are awesome! Please e-mail if you know a homemade version that's as good or better . . . ) and he also surprised me by hiding 29 notes around the house of things he appreciates about me, which was so encouraging!
For the winter bloggy giveaway carnival, I'm not giving away free pizzas (remember the Book-it program?!), but I am giving away free books, courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers.
Here's what you can win:
- Idol Eyes by Mandisa--If you're a fan of American Idol, you'll enjoy going behind the scenes of the popular show with this former contestant.
- Summer Snow by Nicole Baart--I reviewed Nicole's first book in the fall, interviewed her, and then met her in person. I'm excited to read this sequel to continue reading about Julia's story!
All you need to do is leave a comment on this post by Friday 2/1 at 11 am CST. If you'd only like to be entered for one of the titles, please indicate that. Otherwise, your name will be put in the drawing for both--I'll select two winners, one for each book. Contest open to US and Canada addresses--and please make sure I can contact you via e-mail.
Want a chance to win more fun stuff? Click here.
Friday, January 25, 2008
"Contrary to some popular opinions, God gives only partial responsibility to humanity when He gives us dominion over the earth. Dominion comes from a Hebrew term meaning 'higher on the root of a plant.' Dominion does not mean ownership or even unrestricted use. Implied in our dominion is our dependency on everything under us. Cut the root out from under a plant and the fruit above it will perish, despite its superior position."
I am not a fan of the slang term "tree hugger" for people who desire to be more green, and appreciate what Sleeth says regarding those who care about the environment. "Being pro-stewardship is not a case of valuing forests more than people; rather, it means valuing human possessions less, and God's world more." Love that statement.
You can read part 1 of this series by clicking here.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
two months early,
instead of staying tucked safe inside
'til St. Patrick's Day.
from my warm jelly sac,
I was placed into a heated glass box.
My skin was yellow and wrinkled and hairless,
and my body was scrawny,
less on the scales
than a standard bag of white sugar.
Daddy held me in the palm of his hand.
My newly formed fingers fought tenaciously to grasp his,
so my parents named me "Carrie," which means "Strength."
January 24, 1979. Best wishes to my birthday twin, A!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Here's the recipe for wheat critters:
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 c. white flour
1 stick (1/2 c.) margarine
1/3 c. honey
1/2 c. milk
Combine ingredients. Mix dough well and chill for several hours. On floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and re-roll as needed. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Use a fork to prick the top of each cracker. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, and cool on wire rack. (Makes about 3 dozen, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.)
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
It has been such a blessing to meet with 9 young ladies from our church for the past few months. Sunday night, as we were wrapping up our time together, one of the girls suddenly asked me, "How does God speak to you?" The timing and intensity of such a question definitely surprised me. Fumbling for words, I said that I often sense God telling me something through the Holy Spirit. Not in an audible way, but somehow I still feel it. She nodded, but pressed on. "Well, how do you know it's God saying something and not just your mind?" Oh, my. I knew mini-vans were already idling in our driveway, and yet isn't spiritual growth and learning the reason we're meeting?! I answered from my heart, the best that I knew how, and prayed that God would take my feeble reply and use it--somehow. It's frightening to be a teacher sometimes, isn't it? (James 3:1)
Although I felt overwhelmed and put on the spot with the above questions (and many others I've been asked over the years), I count it a privilege to be put in such a position. It's both an honor and a lesson in humility.
I'm interested to hear from you--what is a "big question" you've been asked that you caught you off guard, or that you weren't quite sure how to answer?
Monday, January 21, 2008
We're staying local, so have the luxury of taking our time. In a small town, our housing options are limited, which can be a positive and a negative. But after two rounds of touring houses, I'm struggling to "see" ourselves in any house but this one. Yes, sentimentality is involved, and big changes are often hard for me! We have made a list of things that are important to us regarding location, layout and various amenities. Since many of the homes around us are older, we have seen some pretty quirky things, such as a tin-can miniature golf course built into a basement floor, and (also in a basement) a working toilet in the middle of the concrete floor with a shower curtain around it. Yikes!
For those of you who have been through this before, what were some of the questions you asked as you toured homes and made this decision? I appreciate your input to help broaden my perspective!
Friday, January 18, 2008
Wow--this book contained a lot of information and inspiration! I am very excited to share with you some of what I learned.
In the first chapter, Sleeth says the book will address the following questions:
- How can I live a more godly, equitable, and meaningful life?
- How can I help people today and in the future?
- How can I be less materialistic?
- How can I live a more charitable life?
- How can I become a better steward of nature?
I hope at least one of those resonates with you. I so desire each of those things!
You may remember from my earlier post that Sleeth was a wealthy physician who decided to trade in his material riches for a simpler lifestyle and a career of speaking about environmental stewardship. His family drastically downsized their home, their possessions, their electricity usage, and the amount of trash they produce.
One of the turning points for Sleeth was conducting a self-assessment of the environmental impact of his family. He says, "We were going about life as it we were the center of the universe, and there was no tomorrow to protect. This honest inventory is what the Christian faith required of me. How could I say that I was being a good steward when I was causing so much damage to God's creation?"
Reading this book motivates me to do better, which Sleeth says is the point. As I often say, we can all improve in this area! Here's another quote:
"God's beautiful earth will not be saved by words or good intentions. It will be saved by humble, anonymous acts like turning off the lights, hanging clothes on the line, bicycling to work, and planting trees. People who are grateful for God's abundant gifts, people of faith who are not afraid to be held accountable for care of His creation, will save it."
And that's just from the first chapter. I'll be sharing more from the book in future posts.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
1. I do not like football. I have never understood it--the rules just don't make sense to me. Thankfully, my husband's also not a big fan--we much prefer basketball.
2. I became a vegetarian when I was a senior in high school. I gave a persuasive speech on not eating meat, and convinced myself through that research. A few years later, I did start eating poultry again but I haven't had beef for ten years and have never missed it! Ironically, we live in one of the highest pork-producing counties in the U.S.!
3. I have never dyed my hair, and I don't use a blowdryer or curling iron.
4. My least favorite household chore is dusting. (Anybody with me?)
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Fill this jar with something yummy,
and then just pass it on.
Please repeat the first step
as soon as the treats are gone.
On the back of the tag, I wrote my name first, then listed each of the women, putting my name last so the jar would end with me (filled with sweets, of course!) I really enjoyed it and hope the other ladies did, too. After two complete rounds, we've taken a long hiatus, but I'm planning to start it up again next week. That works for me! Click here for more ideas.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Here is Elizabeth's START method, using the junk drawer as an example:
First, take everything out of the drawer. Then,
Sort-Do I need this? Do I even know what it is?
Toss, donate, recycle, garage sale pile
Appoint a home for everything
Restrict items to a container to hold them together
Take back control
One of Elizabeth's ideas that I really liked was to walk through your entire home, room by room. Armed with a clipboard, you look around each room in a clockwise direction, writing down any area that irritates you. I tend to organize in a piece-meal fashion, so I like this intentional approach. Once you've gone through you entire house, you sit down and prioritize your projects. Love that!
At the end of the workshop, Elizabeth asked each of us to write down an action plan. My projects are 1) make a master list of favorite meals to aid my menu planning, 2) use the START method to better organize my son's clothes (too many piles in the closet right now!) and 3) do a walk-through assessment of our home. I'm excited to get STARTed!
Monday, January 14, 2008
When I read in the paper that our local library is sponsoring an adult reading challenge, I signed up to participate. We need to read at least 12 books between today (1/14) and April 5. That will stretch me, as I think I read 8 books for the fall session. But I'm excited to try, and each participant who reads 12+ books wins a prize--wahoo! (And it looks like I might be able to double-up, as I noticed Callapidder Days hosted a spring reading challenge in 2007.)
Here is my (updated) list of what I'd like to read this spring:
- Animal Vegetable Miracle by B. Kingsolver
- Serve God, Save the Planet by M. Sleeth
- Frugal Luxuries by T. McBride
- The Jane Austen Book Club by K.J. Fowler
- Eat, Pray, Love by E. Gilbert
- A Light in the Window by J. Karon
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by K. Hosseini
- Idol Eyes by Mandisa
- Living Simply by J. Heim
- Grace Eventually by A. Lamott
- Summer Snow by N. Baart
Friday, January 11, 2008
I had seen this product at a local pharmacy, and since I suffer from dry skin in the winter, I was eager to try it when I received a free sample. It's unusual name comes from its claim to protect skin from bad stuff (irritants, etc.) while allowing skin to "breathe." According to the website, it doesn't come off when you wash your hands; rather, it adheres to the skin and is removed by exfoliating skin cells.
Users with very sensitive skin will be grateful that Gloves in a Bottle is fragrance free, but I love my scented lotions. Although it has no added fragrance, the scent strikes me as something a hospital would use. (And they do--the product website lists quite a few health institiutions and industrial companies that have ordered the product.)
I found that I had to rub it in longer than other products I've used, but it really does make my hands feel soft. If you have dry skin, this may be worth looking into. If you prefer scented lotions, just add a little on top. (I checked with a rep from the company and he said that wouldn't negate the moisturizing effects of Gloves in a Bottle.)
I received two more samples that I'd like to pass along to two of you (a packet contains 2-4 applications). If you'd like to try it, just leave a comment. I'll select two names on Monday (1/14) at noon CST.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
In my first year as a dorm director, I felt like I was constantly praying for wisdom. Interacting with students and making big decisions demanded that I be conscientious. A friend gave me a little stone with the word "wisdom" etched into it as a visual reminder.
Lately, the word I have been focusing on is HOPE. 2007 was a difficult year for us, and some days I feel discouraged and overwhelmed. These lines from the beloved hymn "Great is Thy Faithfulness" have been very meaningful to me: "strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow." I sing those words, I pray them, I hold them near.
I also take great comfort in this passage from Lamentations 3:21-24:
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.
I made a little "hope" garland and hung it as a reminder in a prominent place in my kitchen. Seeing it each day encourages me to persevere!
What would be your one word?
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Nathan loved sledding, except when he had to share the sled with his cousins!
Eric's dad is an elementary physical education teacher, so he opened up the gym one night for us to "horse around"
We got lots of snow while we were there, and everyone enjoyed playing outside.
For some strange reason, Nathan loved eating the snow. This was fresh, so I was less worried--but still--he cracks me up sometimes because he never seems bothered by cold temps.
Living in 5 different states makes it challenging to see each other, so it makes the time we do spend even more special. We had a wonderful visit!
Monday, January 7, 2008
Dollar Dime Day! My favorite local consignment store clears out their entire inventory twice a year during the course of a week. Monday through Thursday, all items are half-off. On Friday, the discount jumps to 75%. Not too shabby. But the real deals come on Saturday: anything that is priced less than $4 becomes a DIME, and anything over $4 becomes a dollar. Wahoo!
You can imagine the scene. Crowds of people, ransacked racks, packed dressing rooms. I had a blast! For my son, I snatched up 3 cute long-sleeve shirts for 10 cents apiece, and paid a dollar each for a denim jacket and nice sweater. I even bought a couple of gifts at the deeply discounted prices, and a couple of nice sweaters for myself. My favorite find of the day was a barely-worn pair of navy Dockers for my husband. The prices can't be beat! Adding up the totals at the check-out counter was made even more fun when I discovered I had a solid amount of credit from clothes I had sold at the shop. Gotta love cash back!
Anyone else have a local sale event that's hard to pass up? What do you do with clothes you've outgrown or no longer want?