Archive for September, 2010

If I’m gonna build up treasure on earth, it better be cheap.

Garage saling is near and dear to my heart because I’m frugal and because I can remember doing it almost every summer weekend growing up.

As I’ve aged, however, sleeping in on Saturdays has vastly grown in appeal, and nowadays ‘hitting the sales early to get the good deals’ has morphed into bleary eyed scavenging at approximately 11:59am. 

If we’re up early enough.

(Just kidding about that last part…we are always up by at least 10.)

While this has disadvantages (all the nice oak book cases have been snatched up and the coffee is cold), it isn’t all bad.  In fact, we’ve uncovered a little known fact about church yard sales that almost makes us pee our pants (well, okay, maybe just me, and maybe only if I’ve drunk a huge mug of cold coffee): at about 10 minutes until closing time, the chairman of the church sale looks around at the hords of remaining junk and panics.  And the bleary-eyed yardsaler’s ears perk up as the flood of offers comes pouring forth. 

Offers like whatever you can fit in this ginormous bag for $1 or I’ll throw that (and that and that) in free or even I’ll pay you 50 cents to take that rack of clothes with you when you leave.

(Sometimes I wonder if there won’t be tables and tables of really nice stuff at rock bottom prices in some back room in heaven, reserved just for me.)

For a grand total of 10 dimes last Saturday, Tim and I walked away with 3 brand new Ann Taylor shirts, a pair of barely worn size 12 roller blades, an exercise ball, a juice glass, Oliver Twist, and a glass platter that matches my fruit bowls.

It was exhilarating.

And then I realized the juice glass wasn’t the right shape and the shirts were too small.

But it didn’t really matter, because I pretty much figured we spent $1 on roller blades and everything else was free.

And then this is how much my husband loves me: even though he has never ever rollerbladed and has only one miserable skating experience to his name, he loaded those wheels into the car, drove to an empty parking lot, and learned to use them.  Because he knows that ice skating is just about my favorite thing ever, and he’s willing to try to learn to do it with me.

He is the most amazing person I know.

Plus, he was getting to be quite a good coaster by the end, and visions of a winter spent at the ice rinks have been dancing through my brain ever since.

Unfortunately, neither of us could remember how one is supposed to come to a halt when one is speeding along in one’s blades.



“I don’t know, just do it!”

“I can’t!”

“But you’re heading right towards me!”



Good thing the parking lot was flat.

‘Til next time,

The future Mrs. Pairs-Figure-Skating Olympic Gold Medalist

P.S. Does anyone want some extra small shirts?


Dinnertime At My House

I peel a kiwi and give Tim half.

Tim: kiwi makes you wee-wee.

Me: really?!

Tim: No, but it rhymes, so it must be true.

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Introductions Are In Order

I know a few of you scroll through my blogroll every now and again, looking for some good reading material.  Let me (slowly) begin introducing you to what you might find:

Leah (of Just Plucking Daisies) introduced me to the blogging world.  She is always like 5 miles ahead of me in terms of…well…almost everything.  She (with the help of two fellow roommates and a multitude of mutual friends) spent all of the 3 years we overlapped in college attempting to catch me up to speed, and I’m eternally grateful.  Her tireless efforts on my behalf made me who I am today: she hooked me up with boot cut jeans, facebook, the color yellow, and my husband.  (I hooked her up with country music, so it was an even trade.)  I happily follow in her footsteps, as she is an amazing, inspiring sister in Christ.  Head on over to her place to read a sampling of my favorite of her posts here (wonder why?!), here, or here…and tell her I said howdy!

Tierney (of Free Indeed), on the other hand, is my newest blogging buddy.  I’ve only met her once, at my sister’s wedding.  But I feel almost like we are old friends…her blog is chock full of honesty, life, and Christ.  I sympathize with her struggles and admire her faith.  I think you’ll like her, too, especially if you start here or here.

As the self-labeled opposite of a political junkie, I need my brother-in-law Nathaniel (of Common Cents) to keep me straight.  He is a statistical genius, not to mention very insightful into the current political situation.  I’ll admit that some of his posts lose me, but most of the time I really appreciate what he shares!  (Oh, and don’t be afraid to disagree with him in the comments, either.  He doesn’t bite, and he likes a little friendly discussion.)

Sally (of Honey Run) and Andrew are family friends of my husband’s…and they have some of the cutest kids I’ve ever heard tell of (besides my parents’ children, of course).  She blogs about them each Tuesday–look for her T(iny)T(alk)T(uesday) posts–and I laugh every time.  She also has some great insights into faith, life, and parenting.  I find myself often learning from her wisdom!

I don’t know Amy (of Whole Mama) personally (thanks, Grace, for pointing me her direction!), but I love what she writes, like this or this piece.  She blogs about the messy mix that is faith and life.  I only wish she wrote more often!

Well, that’s only a few of many.  If you feel left out of the list, please don’t, because I promise to continue with the introductions another day…hopefully soon!


Good (or not) Reads

How Green Was My Valley
Richard Llewellyn
For the most part, I loved this book.  It’s the story of a Welsh coal mine told by a boy grown to old manhood.  Llewelyn’s command of language is masterful: he preserves as much as possible the Welsh way of speaking (and uses all original names with a pronunciation guide in the back of the book), and his work flows like a beautiful song.  So is his grasp of the human experience.  The lessons Huw Morgan learns from (and about) his parents, his pastor, and his friends are incredibly deep and powerful.  In fact, for the first three-fourths of the book, I was convinced it would be something Tim and I would read aloud to our children.  While not explicitly Christian, it is very much set in a Judeo-Christian framework, portrays strong family values, and handles some difficult questions very well.  However as Huw Morgan matures, so do the issues he experiences, and the last quarter of the book becomes much more morally complex (a few specifics: Hew makes love with a young woman in the context of a very irresponsible relationship that he doesn’t seem to live to regret; the pastor that is extremely influential and respectable to Huw in his youth is implied to be having an affair that is portrayed very sympathetically).  In many ways the beauty of what Huw has learned as a boy is undermined by the way he acts as a man.  And he’s not alone; to some extent, the same could probably be said for all of us.  Still, I was disappointed by the change in tone.  Some of the problem (and I’m still not sure how much) is admittedly my own: I like seeing the world through rose colored glasses, and Llewelyn makes that impossible.  However, he does not (or so it seems to me) take into account God’s perspective of Huw Morgan’s manhood in the same way he does his boyhood, and I think the book would have been more consistent to the end if he had.  Still, I think it’s well worth the time as a deep, thought-provoking reflection on life.

The Buffalo Soldier
Chris Bohjalian
This book let me be ‘in the world, but not of it’–I got an insider’s look at sinful behavior without having to participate.  I really appreciated that about Bohjalian’s writing, and it’s the main reason I would ‘recommend’ this book even though it does not even pretend to come from a Christian worldview.  It was a well written tale of bad choices leading to impossible moral dilemmas (affairs, anger, deceit, excuses, self-justification), but without the (needless) sordid, graphic details of so many depictions of sin.  Not a classic like How Green Was My Valley, but still a national bestseller.  The book had some pretty good things to say about family and life, in the end, too; although for being so “morally complex” (from the back cover), it tied up (a little too) neatly.  At least it was raising questions about morality!  Although pro-life ad pro-family, the book wasn’t very pro-father.  There were a few strong male figures in the book (including some heroic historical figures), but they still couldn’t quite compensate.  There was a hand full of crude terms, but I can’t remember any profanities.

Chris Fabry
Dogwood is a little more dramatic than realistic (a page-turner that has depth, although I don’t think I can call it deep).  It has some superb things to say about sacrificial love and forgiveness, and it says them cleanly and entertainingly.  It’s published by Tyndale and thus I suppose falls under the category of Contemporary Christian Fiction.  One thing that I’m seeing more and more of in Christian writing is an anti-religious-establishment sentiment.  I’ve sensed it all the way from Flannery O’Conner on down, and I sense a little bit of it here in Dogwood.   Now, I know that the Christian church has failed in many ways and requires some serious re-evaluation–starting within the very hearts of those who profess to follow Christ.  So I understand what these authors are trying to say–it’s perhaps even a variation of the message Jesus brought to the Pharisees–but I don’t think that the correct response to the problems within the church is to make attendance/involvement in worship optional or irrelevant to one’s Christian walk.  Going to church will not get you to heaven–there are many people in the pews every single week who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus–BUT still God commands us to assemble together in certain ways; true followers of Christ will strive to obey!     

East of the Mountains
David Guterson
I checked this book out of the library when I realized that Guterson was the author of a book-turned-movie that I’d seen and enjoyed (Snow Falling On Cedars–a great film ((except for one out-of-place crude racial slur, see one of my favorite movie review sites for more information)) that was slightly reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird).  I know books and movies can be very different from one another, so I was curious to see what kind of author he was.  (Incidentally, according to the dust jacket, he also wrote a book titled Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense, which predisposed me in his favor.)  On the whole, I remain undecided.  This particular book had about an equal number of pros and cons–it has a strong pro-life message told in a unique way, yet it’s not squeaky clean (some drugs, some crude language, some implied premarital sex); it deals with some deep themes (widowhood, suicide) yet isn’t incredibly well written.  All of the other books I’ve reviewed in this post had at least one strongly redeeming quality that made them noteworthy in my mind; this one isn’t a bad or worthless book by any means–it merely failed to strike me one way or the other.  I will say that I’m planning to read at least one more book by Guterson to try to help me make up my mind about him, so that means this book obviously wasn’t enough to scare me off forever! 

So.  That’s all for now.  (Although I have a few more percolating on the brain for another post…reading is one of my most favorite hobbies!)  I’d be really interested to know if any of you have read any of these books, and what you thought.  Also, if anyone has any recommendations, I always appreciate those as well!


Why Is Cleaning Out Your Closet So Much Easier Than Cleaning Out Your Heart?

That’s how my closet will look in heaven.
It will be short and to the point
because it will be Simple,
and Clean.
And it will stay that way.  Forever.

That’s what I’m doing in my room today. 
Sorting, pitching, folding, organizing. 
A taste of heaven
that I’m pretty sure will be gone by next week.

That’s the distance I am from glory
in my closet,
Not to mention my heart.
Thoughts, hurts, grudges, sin:
clear them out, box ’em up, send ’em off–I can’t.

what you’ve started in my heart, God.
Keep cleaning.
Though I test Your patience
Even still You promise rest.

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Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?

This morning’s science quiz:

1. The basic unit of life:

2. Microscopic organisms that cause disease:

3. The study of life:

4. Single celled living organisms:

5-7: List 3 of the 5 attributes of life (extra credit for all 5):

8-11: Match

___Robert Hooke
___Antoni VanLeewenhoek
___Joseph Lister
___Louis Pasteur
a. antiseptic surgery
b. Father of Microbiology, bacteria, blood
c. spontaneous generation
d. Micrographia, bacteria

12. PLUS they had to memorize a Bible verse on life and write it at the end of the quiz.

Ready for the answers?

cell, germs, biology, bacteria; metabolism/ homeostasis/ growth/ reproduction/ response to stimuli; d, b, a, c

How’d you do?  Score is 1 point per correct answer out of 10 (max score 13).



I broke my camera a few weeks ago.

I don’t even know how it happened.

One minute it was in my purse, working.

The next minute it was in my purse, not working.

The screen got cracked.

Which means I can still take pictures, I just can’t see what they’re of.

Which means lately I’m getting a lot of photos like this:

Guess  I won’t be showing that spider to my science class, now will I?