it's coming... (wordless wednesday)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sending out Christmas cards for the first time-- free!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I wasn't sure if I wanted to do the Christmas card thing this year or not, but then I looked over at my fridge, still covered by last year's cards. Then I thought about how much prayer I'd offered up on behalf of those individuals because of the daily reminders of their presence in my life. So then I thought-- it's okay to want to be on the fridge of my friends, right?

Timely enough, my friend Caroline posted about how she had won an opportunity to get 50 free cards through Shutterfly, and I thought-- I have loved what I've ordered from them in the past! This is a great idea!

They have so many adorable holiday cards to choose from. Will this be the one I send out?
No, we don't have kids. ha!
That, you know, got me on a roll. I thought-- I already have a lot of photos on Shutterfly. Should I make Larry's mom a calendar? We were just there last week and she had this pitiful black and white print out of our picture from one of our old newsletters. She probably could use something better. I would love to use this photo:
Not really. She'd think that we'd joined a cult or something.
And then I also have some wedding shower invitations on my to do list (yay Heidi and Barb! So much to celebrate this January!), and I came across these:
That's appropriate for a gal's cocktail wedding shower, right? Well, at least the one I'm going to throw.
Anyway-- give it a thought! I would love to have your photo on my fridge. If you'd like to receive one of our cards, shoot me an email with your address. And if you're a blogger who'd like to win 50 of your own cards, check this out.

Wordless Wednesday

(I love when my friends do this. I thought I'd join the brigade!)

My Favorite Things

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oprah has her post, and here's mine!

I have some new favorite spots for Christmas shopping. I do have thoughts on Christmas being over-commercialized, and no, Christmas is not all about the gifts. But I do think that giving gifts is a wonderful thing. I really enjoy it! It's a legitimate "love language," if you will. And until our culture becomes a year round-- I thought of you, and I picked this up for you!-- giving "happies"-- gift giving culture, I am content to be able to share this with people at this season. We can talk about this more if you'd like.

I've been trying to be more aware, though, of what I'm supporting this year when I buy gifts. If you're like that, I thought some of these ideas might be helpful.

1. Visit your local gift shop. I used to work in one, and you are supporting local business by getting off the computer, seeing a person face-to-face, and selecting gifts.
For the Boston area-- Casa de la Moda in Beverly has some of the most adorable, reasonably priced international items, kitchen things, jewelry, stationary, creative children's toys, etc.
For the Chattanooga area-- my friends Amy and Anna from college run an adorable shop in Cleveland that has all kinds of unique gift ideas. And you know we Southern women love all things monogrammed! They'll do it right there in the shop, called Paisley.
For the Memphis area-- Go antiquing in the Collierville square.

2. Consider your fair trade options. This is en vogue, and for a reason. There are many companies who are now selling fair trade options, which means the craftsman or farmers of the items are being paid a livable wage and have safe working environments. A lot of them are for a good cause, too!
For coffee-- The homes for orphans that a lot of you helped support me to build in college are now maintained by coffee sales. They buy the coffee from local farmers in Bolivia and roast it themselves. My mom tells me that the vanilla and hazelnut are very flavored. Drink your coffee and feel good about it by buying Bolivia's Best Coffee.

For India-- Sari Bari was at a local fair trade bazaar I went to here in the Boston area. They are making items like blankets, scarves, and purses from recycled saris. The items are made by women who have been brought out of the sex trade in India and are being provided legitimate work by making these items. Their online shop is low on stock now, but bookmark it for later!

For all over the world-- Ten Thousand Villages is an online and local retailer that sell items for fair trade co-operatives all over the world! Their selection is virtually endless.

3. The "don't fit into a category I just really like them" favorite things
Sephora-- I'm blessed to have a sister who works at Sephora, it's true. Because of that, I've gotten to try a lot of things! These are my favorites.

Etsy-- I wouldn't be surprised if it's already your go-to! These are my favorite sellers:

Kinie's for purses

Uccello Curioso for cards

The Ardent Sparrow for jewelry

I hope most of all that you've thought of someone to surprise with a happy today! I also hope you've found some new favorites. What would you recommend for me to check out?

using it up

Monday, November 8, 2010

One of my very most favorite things is when you get to the end of something and finally use it all up! For instance-- the very last drop of toothpaste, the last teaspoon of olive oil, the last bar of gasoline, the last bean of coffee, the last bit of shampoo (after adding water and shaking it up for a few more uses), the last chapter of a book (even if I didn't like it very much, I still have to finish it!), the last day before an anniversary becomes official (4 years last month!).

My friend Jill is one of the only ones before today who knew this about me. Which is why she gave me a tube of toothpaste that appeared empty unless you started rolling it up from the end. My mom likely intrinsically knows this about me, as she sent me a bottle of perfume last month that was on its very last dregs.

Why am I like this? I'm not sure. But I am enjoying the sensation of completion again this week. It's reading week at seminary. My first semester, I thought this meant vacation week. Nope! And by nope, I mean, how could I have possibly thought that?! So this week, I will be enjoying the completion of 5ish books, a paper or 2, and scholarship applications. It may seem like too much, until I get a little list going with boxes to check off. Ah......... completion.

There is something deeper going on here. I believe in a God who also longs for the completion-- the fullness-- of all the world, restored to relationship with him and to order according to his justice. "In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.'” - Micah 4:1-2

Biggest Loser Revealed: Me!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thank you to all of you who have supported me along the way! The last year and a half has been an all out battle for my body. It may sound geeky, but I have actually found myself inspired by the Biggest Loser. Those little quick tips Bob gives have even helped me complete a pushup! (start doing pushups on a vertical service, like a wall, and gradually work your way down to a table, coffee table, and then the floor). I'm sharing this on my blog, because it's my closest community of online peeps. And, as I'm so separated by distance from so many of you, I thought I'd give you a glimpse into what we're celebrating this week here up north!!

As is typical of Biggest Loser, I have found my worst picture- ha!- taking at my heaviest point (I think 5 years ago-- before Larry entered my life and the de-stress weight loss began. Thanks Larry!). And while I don't have a "reveal" shot, I'm so stinkin excited that I completed the half marathon yesterday, that picture will suffice!

And the Biggest Loser is........
Thank you to all of you who have supported me, especially this past year! Thank you to my yoga buddies last summer-- Holly, Kathryn, Jena and Kaitlin-- my running buddies this year-- Amanda, Ely, Jill, Becky, Sarah, Beth, Salem Running Club, Jill, Andrea-- my mom & dad and Becky for helping me keep up with my shrinking wardrobe-- and of course Larry! All of you at home have helped inspire me and keep me going.

coast to coast

Sunday, September 5, 2010

August has been one of my favorite months in a long time! Larry and I took a class that we absolutely loved-- Philippians. It has reminded us of why we are in seminary-- to know God more and to more deeply understand the Scripture. It has energized us for the semester to come!

Then after class, my parents invited us to join them and my sister on a trip to Oregon for a family reunion! I fell head over heels in love with the Oregon coastline. It's not hard to do! It's one of the most mystical places-- awesomely beautiful, inviting you to rest, to meditate, and to wonder. Enjoy a few of the pictures!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm currently waiting for my parents to fly into Boston!! YAY! But while I wait, I am thinking about what a truly surprising and awesome family God has gifted me with here in Boston. Sunday many of them came out to celebrate my birthday. I feel like this is going to be a great year! And I'm all the more confident when I look at these pictures and see who I'm surrounded by. I miss our friends and family in Tennessee-- don't get me wrong! But God has definitely provided me with family for this season as well. I hope you enjoy seeing a few of their pictures!

Take aways from my first year in seminary...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Wisely, Larry suggested we spend the first Saturday after the end of our first year reflecting. We move on so quickly-- it is good to stop and remember. What better place to stop and reflect than a fabulous coffee shop on the coast?!

Here is a sampling of the things I am remembering from finishing my first year here (in no particular order):
1. Julian of Norwich. I am certain that I will love her tremendously when given the opportunity to meet. She was recommended to me by both my spiritual director/friend in the Pierce Fellowship as well as my church history professor, Dr. Adams. I spent a significant amount of time last semester hearing from her in her autobiography, Revelations of Divine Love. The primary thing I walked away with from her testimony was the power in reflection on how the Lord has revealed himself to us.

2. The need to retell God's story. This was Dr. Carol Kaminski's commission to the graduates of GCTS this year. She is a powerful story-teller! We took her January term Old Testament Survey. It was a hard class to cover in 2 weeks, but we powerfully experienced the Lord as author of the most incredible story ever written. I especially grew to love books I had barely read before: Ezekiel is scandalous!!; Proverbs has valuable lessons; Jonah encourages us to see God's love for the Gentiles, etc.

3. A new found passion for running! We love that the people here in the Northeast are outside in every season! I have taken up running, exploring every nook and cranny of the Northshore. I have found this to not only be healthy, but relaxing, reflective, and illustrative of what it is to persevere in the Christian life. It probably should have been that my greatest feeling of accomplishment came Monday after turning in my last paper of the year; instead, it was the 4.6 mile run I made the same weekend! I especially love how ironic this is because in September, when I first started jogging, I was teaching a group of college students telling them I would never know a runner's high. I still haven't experienced it, but I feel like I'm a huge step closer!

4. The love of discovery. One of our classes, Educational Ministry in a Cultural Perspective, required an ethnography project. While our official topic was fascinating, we found ourselves discovering even more about ourselves and inter-culturally with our Korean teammate. So not only do I love baklava, I also love Korean citron tea!

5. In partnership with Julian's need to reflect, I have also discovered the gift of Sabbath rest. We were instructed by our Pierce training not just to stop-- that is only the beginning of Sabbath. But also, we need to remember, embrace who God has made us to be, and celebrate Him! Reflecting on Hebrews 6:9-11, Sue Currie encouraged us that "Sabbath gets us in touch with what's waiting for us." So we practice being who he made us to be, and celebrate him!

As mentioned, these five things are but a sampling. Deeper thoughts can be seen through previous blogs (which I posted through Gordon-Conwell's website), and there will certainly be more reflections over the summer. I encourage you to take some time to reflect on your own past twelve months. God's blessings to you in your pursuit of him. I would love to hear some of your favorite moments from the past year!

A better me...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

... this is what she looks like:

wakes up at 6
personal devotion and prayer
work full day
study full evening
doesn't need tv
doesn't need to sleep until at least 11

Can anyone do that?? I certainly can't. I hit the limit of my own strength today. This is how far I can go. Too bad that I still have a giant paper to write, an online course I haven't touched in a month, sink full of dishes, suitcases left to unpack, you get the idea.

Does the person above exist? I kind of feel like moms have some of those super human abilities. But really, I can't even make my own schedule work in my own strength. So rather than trying to catch up to Jesus who feels like a million miles ahead of me, I'm going to try just to walk with him for the day. Maybe I'll get a bit further. Maybe I will feel fulfilled rather than exhausted. Rejoice rather than wallow. And maybe even catch 30 minutes of Biggest Loser.

Be encouraged.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. Matt 11:28- Message

Overwhelmed... unbiblical?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Some of you may know that life's been crazy here. So crazy, in fact, that one of my friends brought us dinner tonight because our fridge is down to nothing. We had our last can of black beans for lunch today and ate Dominoes for 2 days... seriously. And there's no grocery shopping time to be had. (Don't worry, Mom-- I'll go this weekend.)

I did have a moment to read through today's entry in My Utmost for His Highest that I highly (ha) recommend. It convicted me to the degree that I've taken a break from writing a paper to write about this to you and to myself.

Here's the entry- out of context- that caught my attention:
"Begin with the circumstances we are in-- our homes, our business, our country, the present crisis as it touches us and others-- are these things crushing us? Are they badgering us out of the presence of God and leaving us no time for worship?"...

Um... yes? Unfortunately, yes. Monday, I was blessed by a time with college students that I didn't want to have-- I wanted to be in the library-- but God really met me in worship there. And he changed my attitude from being one that lashed out at even my husband and centered me again on the reason for being here at seminary. But I'm back in this rut just a few days later, and I feel justified in my lack of attention to worship! Come on-- my fridge is empty because I don't have time to fill it. I'm justified, right?! Back to Oswald...
..."We run ahead of Him in a thousand and one activities, consequently we get so burdened with persons and with difficulties that we do not worship God, we do not intercede. If once the burden and the pressure come upon us and we are not in the worshipping attitude, it will produce not only hardness toward God but despair in our own souls."

Whew. No wonder I was crying last night over my Interpreting the New Testament paper. Come on, Megs. And I encourage you, too, to come with me back into a posture of worship that we might be able to surrender to God our burdens and pressures. I hope this song helps lead you into God's presence now.

School Blog

I know I haven't been posting, but it's primarily because my blogging energy goes into the posts I've been doing for the school's blog. If you're interested in my school-related musings, you should check it out!

orange cardamom moment

Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's easy to be inspired by my friend Sarah to get up and get some things done! She just posted about how much she got done this month, and she's one of the most consistent bloggers I know. Whew! But I wanted to share this one moment of personal triumph.

One of the things I've found that gets me through the crazy pace of seminary is some time for tea. And recently my mom's introduced me to grey tea, which I actually really enjoy with a wedge of lemon and a scoop of sugar and now, with this....

Orange Cardamom cake-- it's light, citrusy bliss. Try the recipe! Having this on hand may mean you throw an extra mile onto the jog, but it will also mean that you're more likely to invite over a friend during the week to sit and catch up over tea. I hope you find a moment or two like that this week.

friends' stamp giveaway

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My friends have a fabulous store in Cleveland, TN called Paisley! They're giving away an awesome monogrammed stamp this month (so nerdy, but I have always wanted one!). I'm hesitant to let you in on the deal (ha!) but I love them enough to shamelessly market them myself. If you want in on the giveaway, visit here!

God speaks!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Perhaps this should not be profound to me, but it is!

The first action God takes in Scripture is to speak. And by speaking, things are created.

Exodus 33 says that God spoke to Moses face-to-face, as to a friend.

In contrast, Scripture says that idols have eyes but do not see, mouths but do not speak (Isaiah 44).

We were challenged in class to consider how often we are like the Israelites, desiring God to act more like a golden calf. Be regal, in a place of honor, receiving our worship and be a point of reference for all the prayers we lift up. But God is not like the idols. He is LIVING, and he speaks. Are we listening? Do you expect him to talk to you?

Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice -Jesus John 18:37

resolution recipes

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hi! This is a shout out to all of us who ate WAY too much over the Christmas holidays. Peppermint bark, anyone?!

We made this for dinner tonight-- it's lo-cal, low fat, HIGH on flavor. And it's an easy thing to make double of for an easy, no microwave lunch tomorrow. I hope you enjoy!

Resolution Wraps
(makes 4- 2 dinner, 2 lunch the next day)

4 whole wheat wraps or pitas
1 chicken breast (baked for 20-25 min at 350 sprinkled with Greek seasoning. I make 2-3 extra and freeze them for quick grilled chicken salads, pitas or pizzas)
1/2 c hummus (I made homemade using this recipe- less oil, less $$)
1 c lettuce
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 c Greek yogurt made with 2% milk
2 T feta

Roll it up! We ate it with a side of blueberries and oranges. Costco has really big, sweet blueberries right now!

Bon Appetit.

learning noah anew

I've discovered that it is very difficult to put onto paper the massive amount of growth I've been experiencing. Over the holidays when trying to explain to family and friends (and aunties) about how the semester has gone, I feel like I imagine a teenage boy would in trying to explain how his voice dropped overnight or what it feels like to grow 8 inches in a year. So instead of trying to grasp the entirety of this newness I'm feeling, I will be diligent in sharing tidbits with you.

Today was another reminder that I am a sinner saved by grace.

Do you have a children's Bible handy? If you do, please take a second and get it.


Do you have it?

It's okay, I'll wait.

Okay-- turn to the story of Noah. It'll be before Abraham but after Creation. How does yours describe Noah from the outset? Does it begin by saying that he is good?

Does it start like this one?

Or like this?

One more. Is yours like this?

This book gets it right. This is more of the intro we want to aim for. Do you see the difference? Let's discuss.

The first mention of Noah comes in Genesis 5 when we get the genealogy from Adam to Noah. All we find out by the end of chapter 5 is that Noah had 3 sons after he was 500 years old that we should know about. The beginning of chapter 6 backs us up to explain what the state of the world was at the beginning of the genealogy in chapter 5. In 6:5 we know that the state of the world was "that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." It proceeds to tell us that the state of the world was such that it went from all being good in Genesis 1 to the point that God was "sorry that he had made man on the earth." Whoa!

BUT... and don't we all love a good but to interrupt a terrible statement. 6:8 says, "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD." Before we know if Noah was good or righteous, which is the beginning of most of children's Bibles, Scripture tells us that the most important thing about Noah is that he is favored by God. You'll most often hear grace described as unmerited favor. Noah was a recipient of God's favor, of his grace. Does this save Noah?

We learned in class today that the differentiator between God and the other gods from ancient times is that God speaks. The idols do not (Jeremiah 10:5). So Noah finds favor (receives grace) from God, and God says to Noah that he is going to destroy the earth, in 6:13. Noah could still have been washed away in the flood even when he knew that God was coming to destroy it. But in faith, though he has never seen a single rain drop, he builds the ark that God describes. And he is saved from the flood. Carol Kaminski, our professor, said today "Noah walks in faith when God warns him of the flood. The vehicle of salvation requires faith in what God says." Noah is included in Hebrew's "hall of faith" in 11:7: "By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith."

So the children's books do have it right. Noah is in fact a righteous man, and he walked with God (Genesis 6:9). But by mentioning it first, they imply that it is Noah's right-ness, his goodness, that makes God choose him to be saved. It is God's grace, his favor, that allows Noah to hear God's plans. But it is the acting out of his faith that makes him righteous.

Is this not true of us? Romans 3 explains to us that no one is righteous. It is by grace, God's unmerited favor, that I am studying these things. It is by faith that I believe them to be true and act in love to share this knowledge with others. We are made righteous by our faith in Jesus Christ, as it says in Romans 3:22, though we have not seen him. I pray that you will also believe in the grace extended to you and walk in faith.

I hope you read this entire passage, Ephesians 2:1-10. But here's the punch line: 2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God..."