Saturday, April 30, 2011

Farewell Silly Month

I'll be honest.  I've never been a big fan of the month of April.  To those of you who love this month, I apologize, but I just don't like it.  I'm not a huge fan of spring (sorry) because it's such a tease.  I'm ready for summer in February, so to have to wait through another couple months of I-can't-make-up-my-mind-should-it-be-sunny-or-cloudy-warm-or-cold-weather is really annoying to me.  Also, April comes right between Christmas and my birthday, so it's in the middle of boringness.  (I'm aware boringness is not a word...just go with it.)  It's been a good three months since Christmas, and I've got another couple months until my birthday.  Whenever I'm in school I particularly dislike the month of April because it's toward the end of the semester (when I'm so over school) but school is still in session...so it's sort of miserable.

This year has been no different, really.  I was happy with the blessed respite that Easter brought, and April started out well with my lovely visit from MarMar and JA, but in general April was lame.

Honestly, I do try hard to have a good outlook on it, and I'm determined that next year's April will be better.  But as for this year?  So long, April.  I'm glad that tonight is your last night of 2011.  Welcome May.

P.S. Also, sorry for the pessimistic post.  Try to look at it as hopeful, since May is here in two and a half hours. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Meow

If you love kitties, go see African Cats.  If you love animals, go see African Cats.  If you are a mother or have a mother, go see African Cats.  I know the mother part sounds weird, but this movie is really centered on the relationship between the mama cats and their cubs.  These mothers will do anything to protect their babies, even chase away male lions from opposing prides.  And also, they are cute.  Unfortunately, Sam has repeatedly denied my request to get my own large cat (lion, tiger, panther, cougar, I'd love any of them), so until I change his mind I have to be content with normal house cats.  When I told him that we should just move to Africa so that I could have access to the cats...he said they would eat me.

Here's the trailer.



You will not regret it!  But bring some tissues.  And be prepared for lots of cuteness.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

If you ask my cousins, they will tell you that when I was a little girl, my favorite holiday was Easter.  ("Hey Kim, what's your favorite holiday?"  "Easter!"  "Oooh, ooh, Easter!"  That was for you, Roggie cousins.)  I still love Easter.  It's a great time to remember that Jesus still lives, and that he overcame death to bring us life.

I miss Easters spent at Grandma & Grandpa Roggie's house, finding eggs full of change and eating lots of monkey bread.  I also miss the fabulous Easter hats old ladies used to wear.  I missed my family today, but I'm thankful to be in Nevada with my in-laws and my hubby.  It was special to see my father's brothers at church today, the same church where my father-in-law is the pastor, where some of the same people attend that used to attend my grandfather's church here in town years and years ago.

Games have been played, movies have been watched, Wyatt has entertained, and lots of candy has been eaten.  By me.  No homework has been done, either.  In your face, homework - you're not as important as Easter and family!

Today is for celebrating the risen Savior.

Up from the grave he arose!
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes
He arose a victor from the dark domain
And he lives forever with his saints to reign
He arose!  He arose!
Hallelujah, Christ Arose!

(Pretty sure I put this same song on my old blog three Easters ago...still my favorite Easter hymn though.)

Happy Easter.  Thank you, Jesus.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I need to chill...

I need your help, people.  I think...I think I need to learn how to relax.

So I got sick Monday.  Woke up at 5am on Tuesday.  Did about four hours of homework.  Scrubbed my house clean.  Ran errands.  Felt more sick.  On Wednesday I did the same thing.  Woke up early.  Did lots of homework.  Cleaned more.  Ran more errands.  Went to work.  Chased kids.  Drove home from work cursing myself for doing too much and not letting myself get better because by this time I was feeling lousy.

I tried last night - I really did!  Sam made me a hot toddy and I took a bubble bath while I read a magazine.  I didn't do anything productive.  This morning I was wide awake when Sam's alarm went off at 5:15, feeling completely guilty for wasting time the night before.  That bossy husband of mine refused to let me get out of bed, saying some nonsense about how sleep would help me feel better.  (Willow was on my side - she promptly jumped on my pillow and regurgitated her kitty food so I got to get up.  Thanks, kitty.)  But Sam made me go back to sleep after we cleaned it up...the warden.

I have to say, sleeping in till 7:30 made me feel so much better!  It started to make me think that there might be a reason people enjoy sleeping in???  So...I got up and got back to work.  More random errands, planning, and homework nonsense.  Felt pretty sick still so I called my supervisor to tell him I couldn't come in to work.  An hour later I felt guilty and told him that if they were understaffed I would come in.  He told me I was silly and to stay home.

Really though, how do I relax?  If there is anyone who has mastered this, please help me.  Every time I try to take it easy, I end up feeling guilty and working my tummy into knots with stress.  So really.  I've tried baths.  I've tried cutting back on caffeine.  I've tried watching Friends episodes.  And yes, I read my Bible and pray...and I end up reading verses in Proverbs about being lazy and feel guilty even more!  Ahhhh...

Funny part...the magazine I read was People, and it had the "World's Most Beautiful Women" in it.  All of them had the same beauty secret: sleep.  And not letting stress affect them.

Help people, or I'm on the fast track to ugly.

:)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's the Point...

...of spring break, when I....

  • have 425 pages to read before I go back to school?
  • have two papers to write because they're due the week I get back to school?
  • have a bad cold that suddenly appeared yesterday?
  • am programmed to wake up at 5:15 am so cannot sleep in at all?
Solution?  Staying in my pjs, drinking lots of tea, and watching the sunrise while I curl up with Othello

No, it's not my ideal spring break where I'm laying on the beach reading Us Weekly and falling asleep to the waves.  But I'll take what I can get.

Monday, April 18, 2011

What to do on a rainy day like today...

It rained all day.  All I wanted to do was stay home and watch movies while I knitted a baby blanket for my soon-to-be-born nephew.  But instead I chased kids and wiped snot and changed diapers.  At work.  And you people wonder why I have no interest in having kids? ;)

As I mentioned in my last post, I made Sam watch The Graduate with me the other night.  I developed a love for this movie when I took my favorite-ever college class that combined two of my favorite things - Music and Film.  We studied the relationship between historical moments in film and their musical counterparts - for example, the infamous Psycho shower scene and the very-memorable creepy music that goes along with it.  (That was my least favorite movie to study, and even though we just watched parts of it, I convinced Kristy to let me sleep in her room so that I wouldn't be alone...and I had a very difficult time showering for a month.)

In class I learned that Simon & Garfunkel wrote all original songs for this film, in effect creating one of the most amazing soundtracks ever.  (Sidenote: I love Simon & Garfunkel.  For the father-daughter dance at my wedding, I chose Bridge Over Troubled Water, since my dad is also a fan.  I'm also trying to convince Sam to start a band with me where we just cover Simon & Garfunkel songs.)  When I first watched The Graduate six years ago, I wanted to look like Elaine when I was a bride...
     

    ...I didn't.  All because I stupidly cut my hair a month before I got engaged because I was convinced Sam was never going to propose.  But I digress...

    In my class I was introduced to the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 movies of all time.  I decided to try and watch all of them, and I'm still slowly making my way through.  So far I've seen Casablanca (my favorite), The Godfather (I & II, both are on the list and I love them so much that I own them...and I have a huge crush on Al Pacino in these movies), Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, The Graduate, On the Waterfront (Marlon Brando when he was a cutie!), Schindler's List, Singin' in the Rain, It's a Wonderful Life, Sunset Boulevard, Star Wars, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, E.T., Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, High Noon (great classic western!), The Best Years of Our Lives, Doctor Zhivago (my sister Kristy looks just like Julie Christie in this), West Side Story, A Streetcar Named Desire, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Amadeus, The Sound of Music, Fantasia, Rebel Without a Cause, Vertigo, Forrest Gump, Ben-Hur, Wuthering Heights, and My Fair Lady.  The ones I've decided I'll never watch because they're creepy or scary are Frankenstein, The Silence of the Lambs, Jaws, and, of course, Psycho.

    Watching these has been one of my favorite things to do over the years.  Sometimes I go months without crossing any off the list, but whenever I do I'm always reminded of why I love it.  That's why I thought I'd blog about it.  I realize this may be completely boring for a lot of you, but for those of you who like films as much as I do (or if you just happen to be looking for a good movie to watch), I highly recommend checking out AFI's list here

    And, to be even more nerdy, try to pay attention to the musical score and see how it affects the mood and tone of the movie.  And then try to write a musical score for your own life!  Okay, maybe I'm the only one who's that lame...

    ...But I'm thinkin' songs from Singin' in the Rain would be fitting today.

    ;)

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    'Luma Happenings

    I live in a fun little town with lots of random things to do.  This weekend was particularly eventful, with Butter & Eggs day yesterday and the Petaluma Antique Faire today.  Apparently Petaluma used to be the butter capital of the world, so they have a parade each year in honor of that legacy.  They also have vendors all over downtown, selling yummy food and random cool things.  It was packed, the food was yummy, and Sam and Jared matched. :)



     After the parade we went back to our house for some bocce ball.


    Someone wanted to watch.

     This is Sam with one of Andy & Sarah's 4 week-old twins.  Yes, he looks adorable holding a baby, and no, it doesn't make me want a baby any time soon. :)

    After bocce ball we had Mexican food.  Then Sam and I came home and watched The Graduate...more on that in a later post.

    Today I wandered down to see this:

    Petaluma has an abundance of antique stores, and it's one of the biggest tourist attractions.  Thus, Kentucky Street was packed this morning.  It was amazing to see how much people pay for antiques!  I couldn't believe how much of it looked like all my grandma's old dishes - pyrex sets and whatnot.  And people are paying exorbitant amounts of money for them!   I saw linens similar to those I inherited from my Grandma Wuth - table runners, tablecloths, and doilies - only these were $25 apiece and didn't have any special meaning.  Wow!!!  

    I thought a lot of the items were interesting and cute, but it just seems silly to me to spend that much money on something so old.  I saw a lot of things that were probably found at thrift stores and repainted, reupholstered, and refinished.  The cheapskate in me refuses to spend the money on that sort of thing when I can do it myself. :)  However, I did make a few little purchases that I was rather pleased with:
    I thought this typewriter-key ring was adorable.  And, it has my favorite number on it.

    An adorable yellow cream pitcher from an adorable old man (whose favorite color was yellow as well!)

    And lastly, this precious rose teacup.  (I'm really into tea lately, if you haven't noticed.) 

    All in all, it was a relaxing weekend.  I'm on spring break this week too (woohoo!!!) which meant I could really relax.  No stressful paper-writing tonight.  Just silly blog rambling.

    Hope you all had special weekends as well, and that you wake up with joy and hope tomorrow morning.  Yay Monday!

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Parties and my Mom

    I'm currently in the process of planning a bridal shower.  My friend Monica (read her blog here) asked me to be her matron of honor when she weds James in June, so I get the privilege of hosting a party!  Believe me, I really do consider this an privilege.  I love planning events like this. I haven't had the chance to host a party in quite a while, so I'm really enjoying it.  I love brainstorming for ideas and thinking of all the cute decorations I can make and the food we can serve.  Usually my imagination comes up with more than my wallet or time will allow, but I still love the whole process.

    Where did I get this love of hosting?  Simple.  From my mom.  My mom is the queen when it comes to hosting parties.  She used to have big church birthday parties once a month at our home, fancy dinners for deacons and their wives, and numerous other events for special occasions.  Generally on party days she's up at 4am, baking, cleaning, and decorating.  Everything is always perfect, and guests often comment on all the details and care Mom puts into her hosting duties.

    My two sisters and I inherited this love for hosting.  I must say, Joni and I hosted a particularly cute bridal shower for Kristy (I hand-painted tin pots for guests to take plants home in) and Joni, Kristy, and my mom put together the most adorable yellow bridal shower for me.  (Joni's shower will be in August - just wait to see what the Wuth women come up with!)

    But this is just one of the many things I admire about my mom and wish to emulate.  Remember how I said she was up at 4am above?  Well, that was a little misleading...because she is up at 4am most days (or maybe 5am at the latest).  She instilled in us the value of getting up early, and I really love waking up in the morning, ready to start my day, because my mom modeled such a productive attitude for me.  (I don't know if Sam loves it as much because I also learned several early morning wake-up songs that I've graciously shared with him when he's hesitant to get out of bed.)  But the two things my mom always did in those early morning hours were exercise and read her Bible.  I am so grateful that she taught me the importance of starting my day in prayer, and I can honestly say that it was her example that encouraged me to begin the same habit.

    She loves my dad and encourages him, supports him, and prays for him daily, which is such a great example for me now that I'm a wife.  She encourages all of us as well, sharing the wisdom and insight she's gained over the years, at the same time remaining humble enough to admit when she doesn't know all the answers.  She had all four of us kids in exactly five years (I'm the youngest and was born on Joni's fifth birthday - exactly five years), and we all knew how much she loved being a mom.  She used to say that's all she ever wanted, was to be a mom.  (Now I'm pretty sure her favorite thing is being a grandma, but we're all okay with that.)  She is an incredible listener, and when I really need someone to listen, I still call my mama.

    She's a ministry leader now, and has a heart for helping the hurting.  She wants to use the things she's been through to encourage others.  And she has been through a lot.  But she's strong, and pushes others to be strong as well, though gently, and with grace.

    I learned how to sing harmony through listening to my mom.  She and my dad are both incredibly musically talented.  Both are gifted singers, and Mom plays the piano and the flute.  (Dad is a master at the piano and a music teacher, so he plays nearly every instrument.)  I grew up watching my mom sing at church and listening to her pure alto voice.  I am so grateful for my music-filled childhood, because it enabled me to learn and perform music, which is now one of my favorite things to do.

    I couldn't possibly list all of her wonderful attributes or all the reasons I'm thankful she is my mother.  She has taught me strength, determination, and perseverance, and continues to teach me all the time.  I am blessed to be her daughter.

    Here are a couple pictures of me and my mom.  I once jokingly said to her, "Man, I was such a cute kid!  How did you ever say 'no' to me?" to which she responded, "I didn't.  Why do you think you're such a brat now?" ;)

    Oh, I almost forgot!  She put me in the water as early as possible, which I also credit with my love of swimming and my general fish-like tendencies.  Thanks, mama.
    And on my wedding day.  :)  I may be a married woman now, but to my mom I'll always be "Fred" "Goober" or "Gerbina", the random nicknames she's used for as long as I can remember.  And I'll always answer to them.

    Some Links

    I'm assuming if you're reading my blog you know something about my husband and his sister, Sara.  There was a sweet article written about her in a newspaper in Salem, where she went to college.  I know a lot of you probably stay updated on her Caring Bridge website which talked about the article, but if not, click on the link above to read it.

    I don't talk much about Sara on my blog...partially because it's hard, partially because I don't feel it's my place, and partially because there's no way I could say enough.  For now I'll say simply that I'm blessed to know her.  And that she's rather impressive in her knowledge of Friends (we share a love for the show), and musicals (which we've also bonded over).  Also, her nails are usually perfectly painted and her presence is essential for the ultimate enjoyment when playing the game Quelf.

    These are just a few things I've come to know and love in the two years I've known Sara. :)

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Sleeptalking Episode - For Erin

    Erin is my cousin.  She really likes sleeptalking stories.  I thought others might enjoy it as well.

    The other night, Sam and I were supposed to go out with friends, but I wasn't feeling well.  So I went to bed around 9pm and he went out for a little while.  When he came home, apparently I opened my eyes.

    Sam: "I'm sorry, did I wake you up?"

    Me: "No, my thoughts did."

    Sam, starting to chuckle: "Your thoughts?  What were you thinking about?"

    Me: "I'm trying to figure out where Jim is going to sleep."

    Sam: "Jim?"

    Me: "Yeah, from The Office.  He's coming to visit."

    Sam, trying not to laugh: "Oh, when is Jim coming?"

    Me, waking up and realizing what I've been saying: "Jim isn't coming, he isn't real.  It's just a TV show!"

    Sam: "But he's coming to visit?"

    Me, trying to recover and appear that I wasn't talking in my sleep: "Stop trying to make me sound dumb, I know he's not real!"

    Sam, laughing: "Okay, honey, go back to sleep."

    Me, still trying to recover: "I wasn't sleeping!  I was awake!"

    (Just to clarify, that's the character Jim from the TV show The Office.  We told this story to friends who had never seen the show and they were a little concerned I was talking about a guy from the office coming over to sleep.  Apparently I've been watching The Office a little too much on Netflix...)

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Epilogue

    I was reflecting more about my professor today and I think I realized why learning of his death affected me the way it did.  Bob reminded me a lot of one of my favorite writers, someone whose writing I am daily greatly influenced by - Mr. Lewis himself.  Like C.S. Lewis, Bob was incredibly brilliant.  His knowledge of literature was equally astounding, as was his love of the written word.  He was blunt and unapologetic regarding his beliefs.  And, like Bob, C.S. Lewis was once a strong, influential atheist.  I realized that deep down, I had hoped their lives would have similar endings, too.  I hoped one day Bob would accept Christ's love and would be just as passionate about that as he was about trying to prove that God didn't exist.

    He certainly had the knowledge.  I'm still hoping that in the end he really did accept Christ's salvation.  And that perhaps he and Clive are having fantastically insightful conversations, swapping stories and appreciating the glory of God. 

    Perhaps.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Bob

    I'm currently enrolled in Early American Literature.  As it happens, a lot of the work from this time was composed by Puritans - ministers and leaders like John Winthrop and William Bradford, and poets like Anne Bradstreet and Phyllis Wheatley.

    Ironically, this class, heavy with Christian writings full of Biblical insight, is taught by a strict atheist.  Bob.  Bob is seventy years old, intimidating, and so incredibly intelligent that it takes five minutes of contemplation and looking up words in the dictionary to understand the question he's posing before I'm able to answer it.

    I just received an email from the president of the university.  Last night Bob passed away.

    I don't know why I'm crying right now.  I had complicated feelings toward Bob.  His class was difficult; he required actual thought and attention from his students.  If I tried to show up to class unprepared, I'd leave embarrassed because he often put students on the spot with his incessant questions.  He stretched us, challenged us, and made us actually think.  For a lazy student like me, this was a nightmare.

    I was also often offended by the way he talked about people who believed in God.  Early in the class it became obvious that I was a Christian.  (I don't know what gave me away...probably saying things like, "Winthrop reminds me of Paul in his letter to the Corinthians," or "Bradstreet is probably referring to the passage about the sparrow...")  But once Bob figured it out, another girl and I were referred to as the "sisters," the theologians of the class.  Bob called on us when he wanted to know what the Bible said about slavery.  He looked to us for clarification on the Biblical stance on various issues.  And I often rolled my eyes when he offered up another common misconception about Christians, frustrated that he had such a warped view of what Christianity really is.

    What's sad is that Bob's atheism seems to have stemmed from a lot of pain.  He openly spoke about a fanatically religious family member who pushed him further and further away from God.  I wondered what he really thought of God.  I knew he disliked religion and those who practiced it in a way that was exclusive and hurtful to others.  But it seemed like it was the hurt caused by others that gave him such anger, and rather than be angry with them he seemed angry with God.  I wonder how many self-described atheists there are who really do believe in God but are just incredibly mad at Him.

    Toward the beginning of the semester, I didn't like Bob's style of teaching.  I decided early on I'd never make the mistake of taking a class taught by him ever again.  But in the past few weeks I found myself compelled to sign up for another one of his classes next semester.  Something in me wondered how many actual experiences he had with Christians, and I guess I thought I could show him something about God's love.  I hope this doesn't come across as egotistical as it sounds - I didn't think I could save Bob, or that he needed me to point him in the right direction.  I guess I just started to like him, and was really sad that his experiences had driven him so far from the God who really does love him.  He knew I was a Christian, and maybe, maybe, he would see a difference in me.

    I think that's why I'm so sad tonight.  It might seem a little silly, since he was my professor and I really didn't know him very well.  But I knew what he showed of his heart, and it makes me sad that he apparently died with so much pain.  It makes me wonder if there was anything I could have done.  It makes me wonder what he really believed.  It makes me wonder if, when faced with his mortality, he did surrender his life to God.  I don't know.  All I know is that I'm sad - sad I won't learn any more from Bob, sad because I was really excited to go to his office hours tomorrow morning and tell him how excited I was by this paper I'm writing, and sad because I know he had a loving wife and young children who are now without their father.

    Sorry for the depressing post tonight.  This is just one of those times when I just need to write, because it's the only thing I know to do.  It just makes me want to love people.  To be open and welcoming instead of judgmental or hateful.  To see them as God sees them.  To really just love others.

    I guess I'm still learning from Bob after all.

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    Goodie Bars

    Read this post only if you:
    1. Love sugar
    2. Love peanut butter
    3. Love honey
    4. Are looking for a new recipe for something yummy
    5. Are lazy and want something with only four ingredients
    Do not read this post if you...
    1. Are trying to be healthy
    2. Are looking for fancy recipes
    I really just want to warn you again, you people who are fancy.  I am not.  Do not expect from me that which I cannot give you.  The only reason I'm sharing this recipe is because I've been asked for it multiple times.

    I'm going to a bridal shower tomorrow (Sam and I have been invited to 11 wedding celebrations so far this year...eleven) and I was asked to bring something to share along with the recipe.  This just happens to be my "go-to" recipe.  It's super easy, and I've made it so many times I have it memorized.  And I usually have all the ingredients already in my cupboard.  Following you will find the steps necessary in order for you to enjoy your own delightful Goodie Bars.

    Step 1: Pour 2 2/3 cups of sugar and 1 cup of honey into a large pot.  (I told you there was a lot of sugar.)  Stir together and bring to a slight boil.  This is what it should look like:
     Step 2: Remove from heat.  Add 2 2/3 cups of peanut butter.  (If you're weird and like crunchy, you can use crunchy, but I prefer smooth & creamy.)  I love this little guy from Pampered Chef.  He makes adding things like peanut butter and honey easy.

    Step 3: Stir in 9 cups of corn flakes.  I recommend doing this a few cups at a time because it gets pretty hard to stir.  (This is where you work in your exercise for the day - stirring the cereal into your sugar.)
    Step 4: Pour into 9x13 dish.  Flatten with waxed paper.
    Step 5: Lick the spoon and pan (most important step).
    Step 6: Allow goodie bars to cool.  Then cut into small bars.  They're pretty rich, so they don't need to be very big at all.  And you're done.
    Warning: Do not allow kitty near goodie bars unsupervised:
    If desperate, kitty will call in reinforcements who are taller:

    :)

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Contentment Revisited

    As promised, I wanted to share a little bit about what I've been thinking about contentment.  There is so much to say on the subject, so unless I decided to write a book about it (wait...maybe I'll do that someday...) I couldn't possibly cover everything I'm thinking about it.  But I believe it's an important issue to discuss, mostly because I find myself really wanting to be content and having a hard time with it.  Whenever there's something that just won't get out of my head, I'm assuming it's because God wants me to think about it more, and probably share in case someone else needs to hear it, too.  So, I just wanted to share the little things I've learned that help.

    For me, it seems easy to be content until I'm faced with something I don't have.  For example, I generally think I have plenty of clothes and accessories until I go shopping and see all the clothes and accessories I don't have.  This is why I don't like shopping.  I have called Sam several times to tell him, "Stop letting me buy clothes, I have too many!"  But when I'm faced with those things that I don't have, I forget about all that I do have.  Consequently, I have too many clothes and don't even wear half of them and I'm constantly giving them away.  I've recently set up a deal with myself to not buy anything new until the summer, and only then when it's something I need - like if no shorts fit or something.  I know for a lot of you, shopping isn't a problem.  If that's the case, then enjoy it!  I think it's boring, but hey, everyone is different.  For me, shopping presents me with an opportunity for sin (coveting, being unwise with money, spending on myself when it should probably go to others), so for me to stay content, it's best to stay away.  But like I said - I'm not speaking for everyone, this is just true for me.

    My biggest struggle is being dissatisfied with my life.  I look around, and some people have lives that seem so easy.  People who have great jobs or lots of money or their college degree or who seem to be so organized that they never waste time...I'm jealous.  I think it's important to look at things like that as inspiration, but to avoid letting them make me discontent with where I am.  I think it's great that I admire people with their degree because it pushes me to finish mine, with the hope that someday it will present me with an opportunity to get a job that I love.  But at the same time, I truly believe God has me right where he wants me - in school, in a part-time job where I have to change diapers and don't make much money, and relying on God to help me better manage my time.  I definitely took the long way around in life, the "road less traveled" if you will.  It's so easy to wish things had gone differently, that I felt more advanced at twenty-five instead of feeling way behind.  But if I focus on that for too long, I miss all the amazing things in my life and the wonderful things I have that I wouldn't have if my life had gone differently.

    Sorry if this is all a jumbled mess.  Is this even making sense at all?  I just want to write out my thoughts as a reminder for myself.  Today it's easy for me to be content, but tomorrow it may not be.  I want to have this record to refer to when I find myself wanting.  God really has provided all that I need, and I know He will always provide all that I need.  Sure, I can choose to look around at other people's lives and think they look so easy and wish my life were different.  But then how is that being thankful for all that God has provided for me?  Isn't that sort of a slap in the face?  God, you didn't give me this, so I'm not happy.  I just picture a spoiled little kid saying that, and I really don't want to emulate a spoiled child.

    This is where my quotation from yesterday comes in.  I'll quote it again here:

    "If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea.  We are far too easily pleased."
    -C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

    I am wasting my time fooling around with meaningless things.  Why am I desiring things that are so meaningless?  Why am I not more desirous of infinite joy, of all the rewards God offers?  I do feel like I'm an ignorant child when I waste time in wanting of material items, things that will all be trash one day.  If I focus more on God and His promises and rewards, then I can be more content with those meaningless things, knowing all the while that God has so much more in store for me.

    Okay.  If I keep going I'll never stop, and Abbey is on her way over to go to coffee.  So...I'll file this away under "book ideas" and ramble on some other time.  Focus on today and focus on your blessings.  That's my plan.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Contentment: A Preview

    I meant to head to school early so I could work out at the gym before class.  Then I picked up my copy of A Year with C. S. Lewis, (Christmas present from my father-in-law) and was so moved by today's entry that I had to stop and write about it.

    You see, lately I've struggled a bit with contentment.  I know it's rare for people to not be content with their lives these days (I hardly ever hear about people wanting more...everyone is generally quite satisfied, right?), but just in case there is one other person out there who feels this way, I thought I should blog.  (Did I use too much sarcasm there?  My apologies.)

    As I was saying...I want to be honest about the things I need work on because I want people to know I'm not perfect.  I'd hate for my blog to just be about all the cool things I do, or what a great cook I am (ha!), or how my life is totally together.  That just seems phony, and how does it help anyone?  My blog is for all of you out there who aren't perfect, in hopes that you won't feel so bad about yourself after reading about how messed up I am. :)  So there you go.  If you've ever struggled with discontentment, you're not alone!  There, doesn't that feel better?

    Having said that, I know it isn't right to feel this way.  God specifically tells us not to be discontent.  So I have to go to class soon, but I wanted to give a little taste of what's been floating around in my brain lately, and share with you this wonderful bit of goodness from my friend Clive:

    "Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased."

    Ahhhhh...thanks, Clive.  That was originally published in The Weight of Glory, but my little excerpt was printed in A Year with C.S. Lewis under today's date, April 7th.  (Speaking of today's date, I've been married now for 8 months.  Yay love.)

    Okay, off to class.  More on contentment later!

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Friends, Food, & Tea

    As I previously mentioned, JulieAnn and Marci came to visit me last weekend.  Their flight arrived at 6:30 Friday night and they didn't leave until 7:30 Sunday night so we had a lot of time together.  It was such a blessing!

    We started our food-filled weekend with some delicious wraps and coleslaw from Cafe Zazzle on Friday night.  I'm not typically a coleslaw fan, but this stuff is amazing.  If you live in Sonoma County, or if you ever happen to visit, lunch or dinner at Zazzle is a must.  (It also happens to be a favorite since that's where Sam and I celebrated our first Valentine's Day together.)

    The expected weather on Saturday was gloomy with a chance of showers, but around 9am the clouds cleared out and it ended up being a gorgeous sunny day of about 72 degrees with a light breeze - perfect for walking around downtown.  First we headed to the Tea Room Cafe for a breakfast of huge white mochas (they serve them in bowls - not mugs - bowls, and load them with whipped cream...delish), and flaky, melt-in-your-mouth scones (orange-cranberry for Marc, lemon poppyseed for JulieAnn, and currant for me).  The Tea Room is my favorite breakfast place in Petaluma, with lots of fresh and organic choices, so I also highly recommend this local treasure.  We spent the rest of Saturday meandering through the numerous antique shops, sorting through thrift and consignment stores, laughing, talking, and people-watching.  It was lovely.  That night we had chicken fajitas for dinner.  Here's a picture of the three of us cooking away:
     I'm totally kidding.  Sam made the fajitas.  All we did was heat up the tortillas and the black beans.  We look good though, right? (If you click on the pictures they'll show up bigger...that way you can see how good we look.)  Ah, sorry...I'm still kidding...but you really can make the pictures bigger.

    After dinner we decided to walk downtown for frozen yogurt.  I love Petaluma downtown at night!  There are lots of people walking around and lovely historic buildings like this:

    I have to apologize for my pictures.  I was a photography major once, but haven't really taken pictures with a fancy camera in a long time.  It will take a little while getting used to all the settings on this camera.  For some reason I can't get the images totally clear, even on the automatic setting.  But as you'll see, I enjoyed playing with the different color settings. :)

    Sunday morning I drove the girls out to Sebastopol to show them my old workplace.  I forget how beautiful it is out in the redwoods and how blessed I was to work there.  From Mt. Gilead we drove over to Occidental to go to Howard's, the best breakfast place I have ever been to.  Howard's is famous for this:

    Eggs Benedict.  Yum.  Unfortunately, the three of us all got exactly the same thing - eggs benedict with avocado.  The problem with that is that everything at Howard's is to die for, so I wish someone would have gotten the banana walnut pancakes or the Coco Loco Belgian waffle so we could have sampled more.  Oh well.  We were all more than pleased with our eggs benedict and potatoes.  I'll just have to go back soon.  Sam will definitely not object to that.


    This picture was taken on the "retro" setting.  Love it.  Even if you're nowhere near Sonoma County, you ought to do yourself a favor and drive to Howard's for breakfast.  You won't regret it.
    The adorable Occidental Community Church where some friends of ours are getting married in a month.  Sam and I wanted to get married here but it was too small. :(
    Um...could this be any cuter?

    From Occidental we drove out to Bodega Bay on arguably the most beautiful road ever, Coleman Valley Road.  I wish I had taken pictures along the way, but you really need to see it for yourself, so you all should just come yourselves.  Here's the view we saw once we got toward the end:

    This really doesn't do it justice.  But they were pretty excited:
    The above picture was taken on the "Dynamic Color" setting.  It makes our faces look a little weird, but makes the picture pretty fun.  Pretty shocking that I'm a fan of fun colors, huh?

    Do yourself a favor and click on the above picture to make it big - the colors are amazing!
    It's too bad my friends are so shy.  I could have gotten better pictures if they were more comfortable...
    Doesn't this look hand-painted?  God is incredible!
    Beauties
    Marci told us to jump and we both went immediately into this pose.  It must have been some sort of dance thing we both did...
    Perfect.
    This begins the photo shoot session in trying to create the perfect album cover for our non-existent band.  I had to teach the girls to try to be more "artistic-looking".
    We all agreed this one was the winner.  What do you think?  Clearly Marci is the lead singer since she's looking at the camera.
    But this one is fun, too. :)  (And much more representative of how we normally are.)
    When you come from the central valley like we all do, you grow up going to beaches like Avila, Pismo, and Morro Bay.  We're not used to seeing signs like the one above.

    After the beach we drove down the 116 to Duncans Mills, a tiny but adorable town.  We found the most amazing tea shop called Mr. Trombly's Tea.  They gave us free cups of tea to sample while we shopped, including samples of scones.  Unbelievable!

    Mr. Trombly familiarized us with his delectable teas, all of which he makes himself.  He told us that he grew up drinking tea and, as a retired nurse, was passionate about creating healthy, natural products.  It was very hard to choose which teas to buy since they all smelled amazing.  Here's another reason we had such a hard time - look at all the choices:
    And that's just one wall!  But Marci and I both decided on the Coconut Creme.  We also got new filters for our loose-leaf tea.  Here we are with our purchases:

    The best part about Mr. Trombly's Tea is that they have free shipping on all orders, and a tea of the month club!  That means Marci can continue to enjoy Mr. Trombly's even after she runs out of her Coconut Creme.  If you're a tea drinker, you should definitely check out Mr. Trombly's Tea

    Here are a couple more pictures of Duncans Mills.  I can't decide if I like the "Monochrome" or the "Dynamic Color" setting better.  What do you think?
    That was my weekend.  I was again reminded of how blessed I am to live in Sonoma County.  And to have friends like this.  And moments like this.

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