Monday, June 28, 2010

First day at school...again

Today was my first official day as a student at North Seattle Community College. I am taking an English class this summer, just one class at first to get me back into the whole studying life but a class none-the-less. I am taking the class online to fit into my schedule so I think some of the fear factor is eliminated because I don't have to see anyone face to face - I will face that whole deal in the fall when I take more classes on campus!

So first thing this morning I went online and figured out what I was supposed to do. Then I logged on and completed my first assignment. It was very simple but good to feel like I have taken the first step. I also have to write a 2 paragraph introduction to the rest of my online class. This has been proving to be more tricky than I had envisioned. What do I include? what do I leave out? should I make that joke? yikes. It got me thinking some more about what is really important in my life, where are my priorities at the moment? How would I want to describe myself, and how does that match up with my life today?

Earlier, I was listening to a woman (Laura Vanderkam) talking about a book she has written called 168 hours. She looks at how we say, "I don't have time" and then the hours in our week. How even if we work 40 or 50 hours a week and get 8 hours sleep a night, there is still so much time to do the things we want to - so how come we still end up frustrated and not doing those things. She commented that we should reply, "it's not a priority for me" when we are asked to do something to really help us consider what we are doing with our time. If kids ask us to read them a book it is a slap in the face to tell them it is not a priority and gives us an opportunity to examine where all our time is going. I know I can be a slave to the Internet and to the television and yet, I would never consider either one to be a priority.

How many times have I let a call go to voicemail when I am watching to end of a TV show, and then feel frustrated that I 'don't have time' to call friends and catch up? Yuck, that reveals something unpleasant.

I found a sewing machine for a great deal at a yard sale and still 'haven't had time' to learn how to use it.

The sewing machine sits in a room in our house along with a stack of photos and paper waiting to be turned into a scrapbook, that I 'never have time' to work on.

Suddenly these fun projects can be a burden and I hate to get to that place. As I start school today, I know that other things will have to give to make time for me to study. I hope I have the self discipline to make carve this time out of the wasted time I now spend in front of the box or checking Facebook.

I think that it can be easy for me not to really see where all my time is spent, so I might take the advice on Laura Vanderkam's website and keep a time log for a week. I am sure it would be an eye opener, and possibly a big motivator to making better choices.

So the Introduction assignment sits in my 'to do' pile. When I figure it out, I'll post it!

I am off to do some more painting, because it is a priority to complete some house projects, and because one of Jeremy's love languages, it is a way to love him today! I will also be working on some scrap booking, and doing some work in the garden before the sun gets scared away! Then I will make dinner, because cooking and eating healthy is another priority. I guess, its the small choices that will change us, moment by moment, until the good choices fulfill you enough to make it second nature to choose well.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I took a different bus to work this morning and got to ride with a lovely elderly Asian man. He sat down and smiled across at me, the biggest smile and sweetest smile. I smiled back and as I did he reached down into his bag and pulled out a sheet of folded newspaper which he skillfully crafted into a bird. He showed me how by pulling the tail, the wings flapped up and down, and then he reached over and handed it to me. In his broken English he told me it was a bird of peace. I thanked him and put it in my bag.

We only rode together for a few blocks but by the time I got off, my bird of peace had been joined by a swan and another object which I think has something to do with the sun?! AS I said, he had limited English to explain so there was lots of hand motions and I think that is what he was trying to say! He had also gifted some creations to others on the bus.

I am not sure why this made me so happy, but it felt like a special way to start the day.

As per usual at this time of the year, when bikini season feels imminent (although in Seattle, we seem to have a little more wait time this year!) I am making more of an effort to keep fit and to eat well. I love to cook and so I am going to be sharing and rating some of the things I am making. So tonight, this is what is on the menu Corn and Summer Vegetable Saute I will be adding a little grilled chicken because are having it for dinner. With all this menu making I am inspired to create a chalk board in my kitchen to post the weekly menu on!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Foundation of fellowship...and camping

'But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another; and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin' 1 John 1:7

This was the verse in our devotional last night and it really seemed to fit with some of the thoughts I have been processing recently. It reminded me that in the efforts we are making to connect and deepen intimacy, it's important to include a strong spiritual core. Activities such as praying with and for one another will help us create intimacy as much or even more so than things like camping!

Speaking of, we just returned from a fabulous weekend in La Conner, WA. We packed up the car and headed out Friday afternoon. We seemed to find the only spot in the state that had sunshine! The forecast had prepared us for showers throughout out stay but we had sunshine and warm weather! The skies didn't get overcast until mid morning on Sunday and as we drove home towards Seattle we hit the rain. Thank you Jesus for keeping us dry, we had such a great time. Relaxing and peaceful, just what we needed. Did I mention that there was a hot tub? 'nuff said.

We got the best camp site in the whole place and had access to the little beach area and the most glorious views. We made a fire on Saturday night and just enjoyed being out in nature. We also hit up the mini golf course and took some trips into town and into Anacortes where we found some fun antique shops and delicious food!

View from our camp site!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

It's Father's day, and even though I am miles apart from my Dad I wanted to dedicate this post to him. Thanks for being my Dad. I think you did a pretty good job, I mean I didn't turn out too bad, did I?

Love you x

Friday, June 18, 2010

If you are what you eat, I am a chocolate chip cookie - oops!

Watching 'The Doctors' on TV this morning this feature on how much sodium is in the foods we eat caught my ear. A small bowl of cottage cheese and a bag of regular potato chips were compared. The chips had 146 grams of sodium and the cottage cheese had 800+ grams!!!! WOW.

I want to make sure that the food I am eating, and also the food I prepare for Jeremy and other friends and family is not only tasty, but good for our bodies.

I try to make good food choices but when I consider something like cottage cheese I wouldn't even think to look at the nutritional content, it's good for you, right? Not with a sodium content like that. I guess I just have to start reading labels more carefully!
That was a side note as I sat to write a blog about food, but since it was on my mind I thought I would throw that nugget in here! OK, here we go for reals.

Jeremy knows that I prefer to buy organic produce when possible, and recently he forwarded me an article which was a report about the level of toxins found in particular fruits and vegetables. The list shows which produce is worth the expense (if possible) of buying organic for the sake of our health, and which fruits and veggies we can buy locally grown instead.

It listed the "Dirty Dozen", These items have been found to have very high levels of pesticides and chemicals. Where possible, I am going to buy organic.





Domestic blueberries


Sweet bell peppers

Spinach, kale and collard greens



Imported grapes


And these fruits and vegetables have been labeled the clean 15, and are fine to buy locally grown.



Sweet corn



Sweet peas


Kiwi fruit






Sweet potatoes

Sweet onions

I believe God created all this amazing bounty for us to enjoy and to grow and sustain our bodies but I believe it is my responsibility to make conscious choices about the food I put in my body. I am very blessed to be in a position to chose an organic option when possible, I know that is not the case for everyone. Food is a gift. My passion to cook exploded after I was married (and had another person to cook for!) and at the same time, so did my desire to make healthy meals. Howeverm I want to cook without breaking the bank.

(Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:11,12)

I was vegetarian for over a decade until I began to be in full-time missions. Not eating meat became a hindrance to fully embracing people in other cultures and I felt led to start meat-eating again. However, life has come around and now I am looking to remove much of the meat from my diet one again, and by extension from Jeremy's! Not that we are wanting to pick up the vegetarian label but simply wanting meat to be an exception not a rule when we eat. There are so many other things, grains, beans, pulses lentils etc which can be used as staples, and are so tasty.

I hate waste, and I really hate throwing away food because I only used a cups worth for a recipe. My hope is that I can create some weekly menus which would mean I use all of the groceries I buy. It's a project in process!

I am exploring how to store foods well, especially produce. For example, I plan to go blueberry and strawberry picking this summer and want to use some of my booty fresh but then freeze the rest for later. I also have a rhubarb plant going crazy in my garden and I need to harvest before it spoils and freeze most of it. I read an article about freezing produce flat on a baking sheet so it freezes the fruit individually before you put it in a bag or tub? We'll see how that works!

We are considering having produce delivered, as well as making more of bulk shopping opportunities, so any leads or tips on any of this stuff would be greatly appreciated.

Happy shopping, cooking, and eating to you all!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Perfect Peony

Isn't this just perfect?

I am pretty sure Seattle has forgotten that it it supposed to be sunny in the summer. We have had a few beautiful days but now it's back to the rain. I guess the one thing that doesn't mind the rain is the garden, our plants have never looked so lush and green!

Yesterday I saw that the first of my peony blooms had opened. I decided it was too beautiful to stay outside (in the rain) so I cut it an brought it in. Add one old maple syrup bottle and voila, beautiful window sill!

We had our small group over for dinner and we grilled out - the rain even waited to shower until our burgers were done. Dinner prep was made even sweeter by the aroma of the sweet peony that wafted by as I chopped and diced for the potato salad!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A whole lot of precious time

I've been feeling like a bad blogger lately. It's not that I haven't had anything to say, more that I haven't made time to put my thoughts down.

Jeremy and I have been seeing a counselor to help navigate our newly married days and during our time with him last week he connected some (important) dots for us. We desire to deepen and increase our intimacy as our marriage goes on, and yet we have been struggling to feel like this is happening.

Something about talking about our week aloud during our counseling time made us see just how over-scheduled we truly are. It feels as if we took our two single lives with their busyness and relationships and just combined them when we started living in the same house. We took stock of our lives back in August and made a few little tweaks but I don't think either of us quite realised the emotional energy which would be required as we adjusted to marriage.

We both feel like we have stripped our lives back to bare bones and now what's left feels like a really painful surgery to remove. For so long these outlets were a part of our identity. These activities reflected who we are and what's important to us. Now our marriage is our priority, and that seems like a less comfortable fit in someways. When we 'put on' our marriage, we committed it would be the place we gave our best effort and energy. I think we are both finding more grace for friends who went before us in matrimony and seemed to disappear for a while! We had both made statements that we didn't want to cut all the things we loved out of lives just because we got married. Big words for two people who had no idea of the demands of marriage!!

Now I am not saying that when you get married you stop everything in your single life and just hang out with your spouse, but I do think there is some weight to the old testament wisdom to step back form church leadership responsibilities for the year after you get married to focus on building a firm foundation. This was the passage that my Pastor Mike spoke on during our wedding blessing ceremony and I think we need to take heed of it - even at 10 months in!!

We must continue to make play time in our schedule. We must fight the thought that it is not frivolous to clear time to just have fun together. Both Jeremy and I have a work-a-holic/ perfectionist tendency and combined, we can find it hard to relax without feeling guilty or like we are wasting time. As life has moved forward and we are now 10 months into marriage, we are seeing this need and desire for time together play out in our lives.

"Something's gotta give", as they say, and we refuse to let that be our marriage, so whatever else we have is up for discussion on the chopping board. No justification needed other than that.

We love our community and this is not to say we will become hermits sitting home every night, and developing our own language but it may mean saying, "no" more frequently than we do now. And possibly bowing out gracefully from some of the things that take significant chunks of time from our weeks.

I am sure we have some bumps along the road to deal with as we fight our own insecurities, fear, guilt and desire to please. Two people in that same situation may make for some fireworks but I believe even in this we will be gaining that intimacy we so desire.

In Seattle, the sun has been slow to show it's face this summer but we made the most of the little we had this past weekend ad put into practise some play time! A trip to the beach to play Bocce ball, a fun meal sitting outside a local bar and grill, some yard work - always better in the sun - games of cards, as well as a trip to golden gardens.

We are trying to make these changes now, in the small ways we can. This coming weekend, we cleared our schedules and are heading north to camp, just the two of us. We are so excited to get away together for some R & R, did i mention there will be a hot tub?!!

Here are some shots from our time at Golden gardens last weekend.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thoughts from Sunday

I have mentioned before how much I love being a part of our Church, and I truly, truly do. When I think back to a few short years ago, the first time I set foot in the doors knowing only the friends I had gone with, it seems crazy how influential this space and those who call it home would come to be in my life. Tonight I had some crazy love for the gift Bethany Community is to me.

Pastor Richard spoke on Romans 15 tonight and it has left many thoughts in my head about the role we as Christians are called to play in displaying that God's love and Kingdom transcends race, class, politics and on and on. Am I playing my part well? Am I making God's reign visible by loving people outside of my sphere?

My favourite thought from tonight's message was this, "You don't have to know someone well to bless them, and you don't have to agree with someone to bless them". Sometimes I can feel overwhelmed by relationships in my life. So many people to keep track of. The question of "who needs what from me?" can just be too a lot to get my head around!! I had a revelation that this holds me back from entering into Gods story fully because I am unwilling to reach out to new people. Even in the smallest of ways, like buying the Real Change newspaper from the homeless guy outside the store, or asking the woman crying at the park if everything is ok, or simply saying good morning to the elderly gentleman walking around the lake by my house. I want to step out and be a blessing. Lord, lead me this week to better reflect your love to all those in my world. Best friends and strangers alike.

"So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Intimacy (again)

I know, I know another blog on intimacy but I believe this word is what God has spoken over my heart for this year. All that to say it probably won't be the last post on this topic as I delve into to what this word means to my life.

I am thinking about this word today in terms of prayer. How prayer develops the intimacy in my relationship with the Lord. I can feel the distance when I let my prayer times slide, or fit them in only after everything else is done. I miss out on the deep, intimate times I experience when my prayer time is quiet not rushed and can come from a place of depth and honesty on my side. I read the chapter on Prayer in the book O2, by Richard Dahlstrom that we are reading with our Bible Study group. It got me thinking about my own stories of prayer and I wanted to share some of these thoughts and my experiences.

There are many parts to prayer, some of which I am better at than others. When I hear a fire truck or ambulance shrieking past, a prayer is on my lips, "God be with those involved". It is a genuine prayer, trusting God to be amidst the situation.

I have some friends who have a ministry to orphans in South Africa, each week I get a prayer update with a creative way to pray for their ministry and the children involved; wearing the same pair of shoes for a week, for every occasion to 'walk in the shoes of another' and as a reminder to pray. I am intentional to make time to intercede on the behalf of others I love the feeling I get when I am praying in line with God's heart. Catching a little of His love for the orphans as I pray.

I love the little moments too, like last weekend when I had searched my closet and my dressers for the forth time unable to find the black dress I wanted to wear for a wedding. I took a searching hiatus and feeling defeated I took a shower. While washing my hair I said a simple prayer recognising that I had no idea where else to look and asking please, if He could help me find my dress I would really appreciate it! I stepped out of the shower and suddenly a new place to look came to mind and what-do-you-know, my dress was hanging there!
I chuckled as I said a prayer of thanks. I love that God can laugh with us about our lives and truly longs to be with us in the smallest of details as well as the big decisions; and speaking of those...

Before Jeremy and I began dating, I was praying about a big decision - where am I supposed to live? I knew I had followed His call to be in Seattle but I had an opportunity to go and work with my friends in South Africa and I believed that both places could be the 'right place'. I prayed, and I fasted, I sat quietly waiting to hear God's voice. I had people I trusted interceding on my behalf and at the end I made the choice to stay here in Seattle. I truly believe either choice would have been the 'right' one and that God was just enjoying walking with me as I made it. The lessons God has been teaching me and the transforming work he is doing would have happened in either place. I am delighted in my choice now, as I see that at the point I was confident and had peace in the choice I made to stay, Jeremy entered my life. I am so very thankful that God allowed me to wrestle with him alone as to my calling. He allowed me to come to this decision with him before it was clouded with all those romantic gooey feelings that would have been there if Jeremy was already in the picture!

Throughout my time working in ministry with YWAM, prayer was a key component but I believe my passion and delight in this sacred conversation began many years before. In my teens and again in my early 20's, I struggled with severe anxiety. My only hope was the Lord and I knew it. I had a community of people surrounding me in prayer and I would cry out to God every day pleading for healing and desperate for his help and his peace. I clung to my relationship with him and understood my complete dependence in a very real way. This painful season developed a deep intimacy between me and God. It paved the way for the small prayers, the "where are my keys?" prayers and it has served as a foundation for my prayer life ever since.

Since we have been married, I have enjoyed sharing this passion with Jeremy. I love the time at night, when we are warm under the covers and we simply share our hopes and dreams together, and life them up to God. Prayers for ourselves, for friends and family, and asking God to continue to work in our lives to be more like him. I see God developing an intimacy in our marriage as we involve him in this intimate and honest way. Confessing our failures and celebrating our joys. What a gift to have a father like that who loves us so very much.

Coming to God in prayer feels like coming home.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...