Dream Destination #1

Friday, February 27, 2009

Before DH and I tied the knot, we made a list of dream locations that we wanted to visit before, Lord willing, we formed a family. We've been rapidly crossing those off the list, with another one getting checked off next month. For that reason, I feel the need to add to the list! I hope this becomes a fun series where you all feel inspired to travel!

The first stop I'm borrowing from Design*Sponge......

The Resort at Paw's Up in Montana

This, friends, is a tent. Yeah right! A glamour tent-- they call them. If you look at their website, you'll see that there's the opportunity to horseback in 12 miles right along the river and stay in tents. There's 4 of them. Who wants to go with me!?

Baby Drama

There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about babies.

Single mommas with lots of babies.
Older women with new babies.
IVR babies.
Adopting babies.

And the newest-- a young, married, vocationally successful woman having a baby.
Why is this making news? Because people are upset about this, too! Why do you ask? I am asking the same question. Candace Parker is 22, happily married and successful in the WNBA. At first I was like-- oh, she's my age! Then I realized I'm not 22 anymore. Though I think in my mind I always will be. Back on topic-- here's what the article said: "Parker's view of motherhood as "a blessing" that will "make me a fuller, happier person" is not as unusual as the media hoopla over her pregnancy suggests."

Do you ever feel like sometimes quotes are used sarcastically... like Parker view having a baby as "a blessing" with a roll of an eye and a purse of the lips. It IS a blessing! And this means of beginning a family shouldn't be unusual, though apparently the media is making it out to be. She's being condemned for letting down her team, not enjoying her 20's, etc. The world is never going to condone blessing. Though I may not be ready for a child, I do recognize each one as a gift from God.

I enjoyed this weekend being surround by so many "blessings." Little Jack, Baby Faith, Baby Charlie (picture below). Take a bit of inspiration from Tom Prestigiacomo on Memphis radio who always said, "Go home and hug your babies." And let's spend more time loving babies than judging the methods by which they come into the world.

ESV Giveaway

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I have heard wonderful things about the new ESV Study Bible. Not the least of which is the amazing scholarship that went into writing the new commentary completed by many Gordon Conwell professors. Tim Challies' friend is giving away one of these! Click here to find out how to win one of your own.

In general, Tim has wonderful insight on Scripture and an amusing hodge podge called "A La Carte" of things written in the blogosphere. You can check out his blog through Blogs I'm Following on my home page.

Happy Studying!

Yummy, Cheap Food!

Monday, February 23, 2009

This is going to sound like a marketing piece. I can't help it.

I love Trader Joe's.

Why do they not have places like this in Chattanooga?? Probably because they would put GreenLife out of business ($5 for a bag of rice??). I think my sister-in-law thought I was nuts, but we made a side trip home from Cincinnati to stop at Trader Joe's. We were traveling and didn't bring a cooler-- like I do when we go to Nashville and raid Costco-- so it was snacks and dried food only.

For $50 I picked up:
Organic, homemade spinach linguine
1 ever-so-delicious jar of organic, 4 cheese tomato sauce
1 bag dried tortellini
1 bag shelled pistachio nuts
1 bag dark chocolate covered pretzels
1 bag sweet potato chips (SO good!)
1 bag white popcorn
1 L water
6 bottles of wine.

What?! How did I do that? Their prices are ridiculous. $1.50 for that pasta, $2 for the sauce, etc. I couldn't believe it. Here's what their website says about their low prices:

"We buy direct from the producer whenever possible. We strip away all the fancy stuff and focus on the important things like natural ingredients and inspiring flavors. We run a pretty lean ship, too - you won’t find any corporate jets or fancy offices around here. Heck, our CEO doesn’t even have a secretary!"

Novel idea. Nashville, watch out! I'm bringing a double cooler for Costco and Trader Joe's next time!! I can't wait to try the green chili chicken burritos!

Discovering Yourself

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm a sucker for personality profiles. This one (again) hit me dead on. Give it a shot if you have some time!


Powerful Words

There is a lot of power in words.

There are a lot of words that have stuck with me-- the strongest of which are words of encouragement and words of reprimand (Mom-- remember when I ran up the phone bill in high school because I didn't realize how much it cost to talk to a boy in Spain everyday? haha).

Scripture tells us this, too.

A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:23-24

For my own sake I should probably type the entirity of James 3, but for your sake I'll just type the summation:

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things out not be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
James 3:10-11

I am guilty in multiple cases over the last 24 hours of having both salt and fresh water coming out of my mouth. I hope to engrave these Scriptures on my spirit for the next time I'm in a Wal-Mart line, spending time with more "difficult" people, in the breakroom with co-workers and loving those around me. It's true and illogical that my mouth would produce both cursing and blessing.

Photoshop Fun

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I finally had the time (and more importantly, the patience) to attempt the "tutorial" this blog featured. Actually, this tutorial was really no help at all, and it is only by the patience of my man that this photo came to fruition.
Here's the step-by-step to achieve it if you'd like to attempt. First use your regular software to make 2 copies of the photo, one in black and white, one in sepia.

Open up the 2 copies in photoshop. (if you're on a mac) While on the sepia picture, use the rectangle tool to select the entire picture. Click apple-c to copy the sepia. Apple-v to paste it onto the black & white copy. This will make it a new layer. Alter to opacity (on the far right menu above the thumbnails of the layers) to 50%. This will minimize the color of the sepia. The finished project is above! I think this is the perfect blend of the black & white and the sepia. Enjoy playing with your own!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In that same vein (as the Bolivia-awareness blog), today I read yet another article about female suicide bombers in Iraq. This is my reaction:

sad, very very sad

No, I did not use a thesaurus. So you got my unfiltered, gut reactions. I began to think about a year ago that these women are forced into becoming suicide bombers, rather than choosing that path themselves. After all, there isn't even a fabled heaven of virgins awaiting a female martyr in Islam. After reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini I began to get a picture of the horrors of life as a female in a radical Islamist nation (Afghanistan in this book). An unethical, immoral, unfathomable responsibility is placed on the woman for the ludeness and violence of a man. Raped? Your fault! You allured the man and forced him to take you. Abused by your husband? Your fault! You're antagonistic and rebellious!

Now I would never consider myself a feminist, but I am absolutely appalled by the news confirming my most awful nightmares about the plight of the female. There is a woman (and thus I assume women) manipulating this sense of responsibility on the Muslim female. A woman! A mother of 6 is the one doing this! According to now 2 articles I have read (the first above), a woman has admitted to recruiting 80 female bombers, 23 who went through with committing suicide. She's not only preying on their helplessness by claiming to offer them liberation from their domestic lives, as I had suspected. Worse. She is actually orchestrating them being raped so that she can offer them restoration of their dignity by blowing themselves up. ........ !!!!!!!!

I usually try to keep it light here, but seriously. Please be aware. I have no idea how else to help the situation. If you are of the Muslim faith and are reading this, I don't know what to say. I suppose I would feel this way if I had read about the atrocities performed by soldiers in the Crusades. I like to think I would have stood up then. I can't believe this is all happening in the name of a faith and would especially upset if it were being done in the name of the faith I held. I'm rambling because I'm upset.

So the last thought I have is the words we were singing last night,

"God above all the world in motion. God above all my hopes and fears. I don't care what the world throws at me now. It's gonna be all right! Cause I know my God saves the day and I know his word never fails and I know my God made a way for me.

Salvation is here."


It has been almost 3 years since I was in Cochabamba, Bolivia but the faces of the people have stuck with me. I don't pretend to understand the deep complexities of the political situation- an openly socialist, proudly indigenous President bringing his agendas into an arena where the indigenous have largely been forgotten throughout the history of his nation and forcing it onto another portion of the population that would prefer things stay as is. Sometimes I think, for me, having the awareness of the plight of the individual on both sides of the spectrum is perhaps more important than having a highly developed political opinion. I hope you have the time to look at these stunning photographs as recorded by The Big Picture and be inspired to awareness of the world at large.

Honest Scrap

Thanks Amy!
Here's how it goes:
#1: Choose a 7 spectacular blogs that you can't live without and pass this on to them.
#2: Post the "chosen ones" on your blog in link form.
#3: List 10 honest things about yourself.
#1 I can only think of 1 place where I order the same thing every time I go: Rembrandt's, Caprese panini. Everywhere else, I never order the same thing.
#2 I secretly miss having a pet. Not that I'm desperate to have our cat back, but I miss having an animal in the house.
#3 I really love Jesus
#4 I can't eat Snickers because of an unfortunate meeting between the stomach flu and Halloween when I was in middle school
#5 I know they're financially such a waste, but I love fresh flowers
#6 Planting a garden and watching it grow tops the list of fulfilling achievements for me
#7 I can't leave anything unfinished, especially puzzles (see my current reading list)
#8 I'm terrified of skiing due to an unfortunate first-attempt but I pretend like I'm not because I really want to like skiing!
#9 30 Rock is dominating my evenings these days
#10 My hair is no longer naturally this color
I raise my glass to: