Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Off to Stowe!

Tomorrow, Brent and I will be jetting off to Stowe, Vermont for a few days to enjoy the autumn foliage. While he's busy with some meetings, I'll be taking in the rustic scenery....

On my agenda will be reading some books, knitting a scarf, studying my Bible, and most of all, simply enjoying God's beautiful creation. We hope to bike on the recreation paths and also drive over to Waterbury, VT to visit the Ben&Jerry's factory, Cabot Cheesemakers, and Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Okay, so I'm kinda a foodie, or at least I like to think I am. :) (Unwrapped is one of my favorite shows).

Please pray for safety as we travel, mellow weather, and God's blessings of patience over us!

Psalm 96:12-13, "Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise before the Lord, for he is coming! He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Update on 30-day Challenge with Basic Cable

So far, so good! It's amazing that by limiting our channels to all of 15 (I think?) that I really don't care to watch much tv. On the contrary, when we had 75 channels, then down to 30 channels, even when "nothing" was on, I could still manage to find something. And I was probably worse for the wear afterwards.

Now that basic cable has freed up some time, I've been enjoying doing my Bible study, writing letters, chatting with my husband, and doing delayed household chores. And I feel less frantic too.

Speaking of reading, I finished a wonderful, insightful book last week, that I am eager to re-read already and this time, I will underline!

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald is a book I highly recommend. It is worth your time and a very fast read. What this book is not: a how-to guide on getting pesky stains out of your rug, a SuperWoman 101 crash course, or a manual on how to discipline children. This book instead is about how feminism has deeply distorted and tricked capable and intelligent women into believing that careers outside of the home are the best use of their time.
Both authors use Scripture to validate and encourage women to change the world through their home and its occupants. And I should stress that this also covers the issue of attitude in the home. A home cannot be a haven if it isn't filled with grace and humility. A word of warning, I realize that this book may very well likely offend some of its readers. Only a couple of years ago, I would have scoffed at this nonsense and closed the pages smugly. If it doesn't agree with you, or maybe not all of it suits you either, I encourage you to read it with an open mind and willing spirit.
Romans 12:2-3 reminds us, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."
Okay, so shut off your tv now and go read this book!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Got Music?

I love music. It helps me engage my soul and it's amazing how it affects my emotions. Below are three very cool free music sites that will suit your mood, craving, and explore your tastes.

Musicovery: Addictive site that will actually play music according to your current mood. You click on the spectrums of energetic and calm, positive and dark. Even better still, you can choose your mood within a specific genre, and even limit it to a certain decade. Not all jazz is mellow, ya know? Not all pop is peppy. And if your feet get the best of you every now and then, visit the dance music section.

Accuradio: Not as intense and personalized as Musicovery, but you can listen to a genre and deselect the artists you don't want to hear....i.e. Ace of Base. I got turned onto Accuradio initially because of its comprehensive Christmas music section with genres of it too :) From Country Christmas to Gospel/R&B, there is everything in between. And it fulfills my occasional need of hearing "Silver and Gold" in September (i.e. today). There's also a Christian Contemporary station that is broadcast via KLove.

Pandora Radio: the place where you get to discover new-to-you artists that sound similar to what you already like. How refreshing...Search artist, song, station, or friends' playlists. You get to create your own station of ear-tingly-happy music.

Hope you enjoy them, and let me know if you have any favorite music places you visit.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A house divided against itself will not stand

Nowadays, there is a lot of political talk going around. People voicing their gifted opinions about certain candidates, and wanting to reform or change our government. While the US is going on and on about the same issues, and the news media is burning up with empty campaign promises, let's step back for a second and learn about something that's happening across the pond in the United Kingdom.

It hasn't gotten that much media attention which I find intriguing given that we just honored the lives lost on 9/11/2001 a couple of days ago.

A little background information:
It is reported that there are over 1.5 million Muslims in Britain; with others suggesting more than 2 million. There is great tension among Brits and what has been deemed 'islamophobia.' The largest Muslim communities are in Greater London, the West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Lancashire and central Scotland. Most belong to the Sunni tradition of Islam, which accounts for 90% of Muslims worldwide. Only a small proportion of British Muslims are Shi'as. Perhaps half came originally from Pakistan, with the Middle East and North Africa accounting for around a quarter. Several hundred thousand originated in Bangladesh, with India also contributing significant numbers.

Numerous articles have been written regarding the tension that has been mounting from within. (Please take the time and quickly review these articles). I include all of this information to provide the foundation and context behind what recently came out yesterday.

Revealed: UK's First Official Sharia Courts

Yes, it is true and it is real. Why is it important? There will now be two parallel legal systems operating in one country. Can you even imagine? The British courts will now have the authority to enforce sharia law. It is worth noting that sharia courts have been in existence (in Britain) since August 2007, but their rulings could not be enforced (given that these tribunal courts had no actual legal authority granted to it by the nation). Times are changing, and Britain has willingly subjugated it's own authority!

As Jesus told the pharisees, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand" (Matthew 12:25). I truly sympathize with the British people. Their country is quickly losing its identity and being swallowed up.

It's ironic that hundreds of years ago, America's forefathers left England to have religious freedoms. The Puritans and Pilgrims desired freedom of expression as well. Using their experiences of intolerance and prejudice from England, the founding fathers included the legal and political principle of separation of church and state found in the first ammendment of the U.S. Constitution created way back when in 1787 (later ratified in 1789).

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

What will all of this come to mean to the British people? How will they be affected? Only time will tell...this will definitely be one for the history books.

Monday, September 15, 2008

30-Day Challenge with Basic Cable

A couple of weeks ago, my husband asked what I thought of us downgrading from our Family choice plan to Basic cable. For me, it is not about the quantity of tv I watch, it is the channel itself. Most of the time I watch 1 of 2 channels: Food Network and HGTV. Sadly, these are excluded from Basic cable.

Last night, we reached a compromise. We will try Basic for 1 month and see how well or badly we're off. I might note that the tv battle is nothing new for us.

The happy husband called me at work saying that we officially have Basic cable now. He mentioned something that somewhat makes up for losing Food Network and HGTV, we now have TvLand which we lost from going to the Family plan. Yay for I love Lucy!
I have only one thing to say about that.

"Lucy, I'm hooome!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dumpster Diving at the Office

Today I had a mid-morning surprise at work; I got to dumpster dive with a co-worker. Both of us had wondered why ten large cardboard boxes had not yet been taken by the recycling company for the past few weeks. Wouldn't you know that we peeped inside and they were filled with all types of things?

An hour and a half later after recycling, reducing, and reusing, we had only one box full of actual trash items. I'd say that's a pretty good return for our work. Not to mention the hoarde of office supplies that will be reused and free for the taking. It sounds pathetic, but every time I found a black binder clip I got excited :)

Among traditional office supplies such as folders, hanging files, paper clips, and rubber bands, we found a multitude of random items in fine condition:

A bag of Hallmark cards for various occasions, unused (Score! My card box is need of replenishment)
Dozens of roadmaps that I will reuse for wrapping paper
A copy of Psalms/Proverbs to be given to a patient in need
An unopened box of high quality cotton paper with watermark
An unused blood pressure cuff with case (donated to Pediatrics)
Travel sizes of QTips (unopened of course!)
Cookie tin
Solid brass fireman's hose nozzle (now being used as a doorstop for one of the doctors)

My co-worker and I were pretty impressed with the haul we took in. Yes, it took time to sort through everything, but it was worth it. We live in a very wasteful society and it always amazes me that truly "one man's trash is another man's treasure!"

(Thus ends my frugal/environmental PSA!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy 2nd Anniversary to my Husband

I can't believe it's already been two whole years since we were married! I can say with confidence that I love you more than the day I said "I do;" and at the time, I thought my heart was already full to overflowing! But Love has the unique ability to grow and become fuller and there is no capacity to speak of. Since God is Love, we know there are no boundaries, no finite end.

While our first year of marriage seemed free of change, our second year more than made up for it. It was a year of transition and by God's grace, we came out not only alive, but victorious.

Last Fall, I remember when you initially suggested that we move from our new house to a 'vintage' condo. I know I wasn't supportive of that idea, and I regret that. Thank you for being patient with me and giving me time to adjust. When you eagerly and enthusiastically took me to see the condo, I had already made up my mind to dislike it no matter what. But you had vision, not only for the remodeling that we would end up doing, but for our future family as well. You knew how badly I desired to be a stay-at-home wife, as well as a mother. And you honored my desires by finding a way for that to happen.

It wasn't easy packing up the house by myself while you were away on business, and it wasn't easy when I sat on the bottom steps with tears streaming down my face, crying out "Goodbye House, I'll miss you!" But with every goodbye, there's always a hello.

Like a father who knows what's best for their child, you had more foresight and purpose than I did and wanted to bless me. I'm sorry for the times that I didn't cheerfully submit to you or be content with our circumstances. I know now that I need to trust you more, and remember to do so, not after the fact, but during!

After months of renovations and stress, just when it seemed a ray of light was dawning through due to a promotion in your company, a higher price was about to be paid. You were gone Monday through Friday and would fly home for the weekend. I've always hated it when you were gone, no matter a day or several weeks. It was quite lonely, and I know it was for you too. Thank you for remaining faithful to me even while away.

After having enough of it, you took a major step of faith and resigned. You risked it all for the love and sake of our marriage. We didn't expect or anticipate you being out of work for several months, but I was glad you were home nonetheless. I learned the meaning of "Better to be poor and happy, than rich and miserable." We were wealthy in affection for each other. God was testing us, and while Satan tried to throw disagreements in our path, we chose His way instead. After months of prayer, God answered our needs by providing you with a great job.

Through it all, we never lost our humor and I wouldn't choose to go through any of that without you. Thank you for being a godly husband who cherishes me. You are a wonderful servant-leader who challenges me to be more Christ-like. Who knows what the next year may bring? I am grateful to God for the years He has given us to share already.

All my love,
Your Wife

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." ~Ecclesiastes 4:12