Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Friend

In the journey of life, we all need community. We all need a friend.
Some of those friends come and go. But some find a special place in your heart.
A place that could not be filled by any other person.

Camille is that kind of friend.
My heart has a special place for her that no one will ever be able to occupy.

She knows how to encourage me.
She speaks the truth even when I don't want to hear it.
She points me back to God.

"As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another."
Proverbs 27:17

May we always sharpen each other with the love of Christ.

Happy Birthday Camille!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One More Year of Life

Today is John's birthday and I am so glad I get to celebrate it with him!
He is a gift and a blessing.  

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
Isaiah 43:1-3

My dear, I pray that the Lord will continue to guide your path
and that your heart will remain ever so obedient to follow the Lord your God!

P.S. I hope you are ready for some surprises!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Work Out Update #1

John and I completed week 1 of our work out ... only 11 more weeks to go!

To tell you the truth, I still cannot see much difference as far as looking or feeling more fit. However, I don't remember the last time I felt so much muscle soreness. My least favorite routine in the dumbbell lunges. I have to pray in order to get trough it all and my legs feels like jello after I am done.

We are starting to do some of the exercises in the morning - before work - which happens to be very early in the morning, but it feels great to not have to be in the gym for an hour at the end of the day when we are already tired.

Tomorrow is going to be one of those early mornings.

Stay tuned for another update next week. I hope to inform you that the soreness is gone and that I a muscle machine ;)

Pesto Making

Last year I did my best to grow as many herbs as possible in a few pots right outside my kitchen door. This year, I planted mint everywhere and decided I am going to let it grow wild. John really enjoys mint ice tea - and we will probably never need to buy mint ever again. However, I missed having basil - better yet, I missed making pesto. Remember this post from my first pesto making experience?

This year I made a trip to Cash & Carry and bought a giant bag of basil! The smell of basil filled my car and I headed home excited to make pesto. That is just what I did all afternoon on Friday.

The result was fantastic and I am already excited for dinner. I don't even know what we are having yet - but pesto will definitely be a part of it!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Princess

This morning, I got to spend some time with a little girl who calls herself a princess.
She could hardly be more beautiful and I agree with her - she is a princess!


Picture by Robert J Martin

I am a lover of teamwork. Once you learn to be efficient while working with others, there is little you cannot accomplish. However, learning to work together is no easy task. It takes patience, perseverance, grace, optimism, more patience, determination, sense of humor, trust, hard work...

I got to witness all these things as I watched my husband play a game of baseball with his coworkers. John works with people from all over the world and many of his coworkers did not have the opportunity to grow up playing baseball - or even watching it on TV. This lack of familiarity did not stop 20 men from getting together to learn, teach, encourage each other and have fun while attempting to play baseball.

I watched from a distance with a smile on my face as I heard team members shout out:

"Good Swing!"
"Try again!"
"Way to go!"
"Good job guys!"

I was encouraged just by watching them being encouraging to one another!

P.S. My husband is awesome at being athletic. He is pretty much everything I am not.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Could Eat a Cow

This is day two of the 12 week Body for Life exercise program John and I are doing.

Let me start by saying that this is REALLY hard for us. We had not been exercising regularly and we are definitely suffering the consequences of having to get back in shape. But I know this will be worth it!

So far we have very sore upper bodies - from lifting weights.

Today I got on the treadmill to do 20 minutes of intense running and I pretty much could not do it at the intensity I was supposed to. It started pretty good and 2 minutes later I started having trouble breathing (I am not very good at breathing). I tried to focus on breathing in and out to get used to a comfortable pattern...but my legs were cramping. I slowed down for a while before speeding up again and then I slowed down get the pattern.

I am extremely hungry at the moment and definitely need to eat more than I am used to in order to keep up with the exercises. Seriously, I am so hungry I feel like I could eat a cow by myself!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Stream of Consciousness


I cut my finger while slicing bread for dinner last night. For some reason, I feel extremely sleepy and all I want to do is go to bed. Lightroom is not working right and I am extremely annoyed. It is definitely Autumn in the Pacific Northwest. My toe nails need a makeover. I don't feel inspired to cook dinner. John and I start the Body for Life work out tonight - and I am nervous. I REALLY want to get a couple of lenses for my camera. I cleaned my bathtub with baking soda for the first time and it looks super clean and shiny. I like clean tubs! I like clean things.

I bit the side of my mouth while eating and it hurts really bad. I just signed up to get a flu shot - which I never get because I end up getting the flu right after I get the shot. We'll see how that goes. John's birthday is coming up. I am excited to to through the study of Jonah at church.

There was lots of apple eating at our home this weekend. I went to IKEA today and bought absolutely nothing. I should get a prize! I still have not made the bed (and it is 3:13pm). I am afraid that if I get close to it I might just have to take a nap. The dishwasher is full of clean dishes and the sink is full of dirty ones. I need to go to the grocery store. Talk to you later!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ready for a Fit Body

Long before John and I got married, we talked about how we wanted to live active lives and stay in shape.

When I was still in school and had a very regimented schedule we were really good about exercising multiple times a week, even though we didn't have much time available.

This past year was the complete opposite.

I pretty much had all the time in the world and never really made exercising a priority...mainly because I really dislike exercising. In my opinion, it takes too much times, it is sweaty, I am horrible at breathing (seriously, I am horrible at breathing) and there is always something else more appealing that I could be doing instead of working out.

However, when I don't exercise I feel old, tired, bored, unmotivated...

So, John and I recently talked about how we need to start being more serious and perhaps have accountability partners to encourage us to exercise regularly. To be specific, we talked about this on Saturday. On Wednesday, a friend told me that she is going to start doing the Body for Life exercise with her husband and asked if John and I wanted to join them.

God pretty much answered that prayer before we could think about it twice!

We will be starting the 12 week program on Monday and I am so excited. Not only do we get to have more fit bodies, but we get to do it with friends!

Also, I should mention that the book Brain Rules by John Medina has really encouraged the both of us to get our butts moving - literally. If you need inspiration to get your butt moving, you should definitely read that book.

In the Exercise chapter, Medina talks about the ways exercise impacts the brain:

"Aerobic exercise lowers your odds of getting Alzheimer's by more than 60 percent."

No pill can do that for you. So, it is time to get moving!

P.S. I am sure you will be reading about the ups and downs of our experience throughout the next 12 weeks. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Think Before Criticizing

As I have mentioned before, I am going through the book Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders.

I just finished reading a chapter on 'The Cost of Leadership' where the author mentioned that no leader lives a day without criticism.

While I would like to describe myself as someone who is able to take criticism without being hurt - the reality is a different story. It is REALLY hard for me to receive criticism when I do not trust the person who is criticizing me. I can quickly become defensive and discouraged.

Oswald writes:

"Link indifference to human opinion with a weak spiritual life, and the formula is disaster. The same independence from human opinion can be a valuable asset to the person whose life goal is the glory of God. Paul's ear was tuned to the voice of God, and human voices were faint by comparison. He was fearless of human judgement, because he was conscious of standing before a higher tribunal."

How I long to be tuned to the voice of God! How I long to live my life knowing that I need not to worry about what everyone is thinking - because I KNOW that I am pleasing the Lord.

However, I feel convicted that as a friend, coworker, wife, sister, daughter...I too need to make sure that my criticisms of others are not stabbing knives with motivations to kill the spirit. There is such a thing as constructive criticism, but not all criticism is constructive.

"There is noting else that so kills the efficiency, capability and initiative of a leader as destructive criticism...It tends to hamper and undercut the efficiency of man's thinking process. It chips away at his self-respect and undermines his confidence in his ability to cope with his responsibilities." J. Oswald Sanders

In other words, we have the power to either encourage or discourage others. Let's use our mouths as instruments of encouragement so that those around us may be blessed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our Vacation... farming land

is made up of fields of apples

apple trucks

apple picking

and more apple picking.

But we pick grapes too!

We run into sunflowers

and more sun flowers.

We smell the roses

and take pictures of dandelions.

We fly homemade kites

and store bought kites.

We play bocci ball

and bananagrams.

That is pretty much what we do!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back to the Basics

I haven't written in a while...and once again I am excited about getting back into the routine of life.

I went on vacation with family for a couple of days and had a wonderful time! There is nothing quite like being with people you love.

However, as I try to reorganize life, unpack, do the laundry and figure out what I am making for dinner - I realize that what I want to do is spend time with God. I will confess that I have not been reading my Bible and I miss it. I miss being intimate with my creator.

I want to go back to the basics. Back to a simple routine where the day starts with prayer. I want to do my part to be in a relationship with God.

As I opened my email (and momentarily got discouraged because the inbox was full) I decided to read the one from Walk in the Word. I receive weekly emails from James MacDonald that always remind me to reset my priorities.

Are you ready to reset your priority?

Here is a message that will encourage you!

"As followers of Jesus Christ, we all fall short; none of us is everything God calls us to be (James 3:2). Repentance is the way to deal with the next thing that God would change in you. The follower of Christ presses hard after God, going after the joy found in an honest relationship with God.

I asked the Lord to give me some insight so that I might probe your thinking on the following.

Some of you have left a church where you used to worship. Is everything right between you and the believers there? Forget their failure - did you do and say what was right? Or did you sow discord or cause division? Today, deal with your part. Ask God to forgive you and make it right.

Is your marriage cold? Have things been left undone or unsaid? Has your attention been elsewhere? You've focused on your spouse's failure; now look at your own. This is first an issue between you and God.

Maybe you've cut a corner in your business dealings; you've injured someone's reputation and his or her career has been hurt. Have you asked God to forgive you? Have you asked that person to forgive you?

Maybe you struggle with a private sin. God will forgive you if you sincerely repent. You can go forward without this besetting sin. It could start today.

How willing we are to repent reveals our sincerity in following Christ. Who will join me in saying: "I want to be right with God - whatever it takes; whatever it costs." By James MacDonald

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Photo Contest

I decided to enter a photograph into a photo contest. However, I have never done anything like this and I am not sure what image I should enter. The theme of the contest is: "Give Us Your Best Shot."

Here are some images I have considered entering. What do you think? Have you seen other photos that I have taken that would be a better option?

Project Complete!

After a long process...the coffee table is done!!! I am not sure I ever want to finish a furniture again, but I must admit that I never thought this table was going to look this good.

Thank you sister for the beautiful table! Thank you also for doing all the sanding!

For those of you who have never finished a furniture before, here are the steps we had to follow in order to attain the right look. (I should mention that when we started the staining process, the wood was unfinished - we did not have to strip it).

  1. Sand

  2. Apply wood conditioner

  3. Wait 8 hours for conditioner to dry

  4. Sand

  5. Apply coat of stain

  6. Wait 8 hours for stain to dry

  7. Apply coat of finish

  8. Wait 8 hours for the finish to dry

  9. Sand

  10. Apply a second coat of finish

  11. Wait 2 hours for the finish to dry

  12. Sand

  13. Apply a third coat of finish

  14. Wait 2 hours for finish to dry

  15. Put table back together!
Unfinished poplar wood least favorite part

Half way stained
Applying finish coat

In my living room :)

It is perfect!

Oh, my sister made me this candle holder as well!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Here Come Changes

I have been busy with life - which means I have not blogged much lately. I have missed it dearly. To tell you the truth, I have even missed the computer itself! Isn't that strange?

Well, maybe that is not strange for some of you, but I was never a computer person and I never liked spending hours in front of one. Whenever I had to spend ridiculous hours writing papers I ALWAYS wanted to kill the computer and I ALWAYS walked away with a headache.

Now I miss it when I don't use it for a couple of days.

What caused this change?


Actually, photography has caused a lot of changes in my life. I started dedicating more time to photography about a year ago because I had a lot of time in my hands. I did not like where my life was heading and I was eager to learn and to be challenged. I had always wanted to learn more about photography, but was always too busy to make it happen. So, in this case the lack of a job was quite a blessing!

I borrowed photography books, I read photographers' blogs, I looked for online tutorials, I started taking pictures of trees and still objects, I started editing pictures with free programs like Picasa, I got enough guts to ask friends if I could take their photographs, I started editing with Adobe Photoshop Lighroom, I went on shoots with Hailey Rahm...

...I created a list of goals and slowly started crossing them off.

In the last couple of weeks I got to cross multiple goals from the list! Are you ready for this?

Ladies and gentleman, I am now the owner of a DSLR camera and I am SO excited I smile every time I see the camera. Now I need some lenses...

There is more. I am also the owner of Oh, and I ordered business cards!

I have long ways to go before I become an experienced professional photographer. I often feel like I am not good enough and that can be pretty discouraging. I am for sure my own worse critic. However, many people have told me that they really like my photographs and instead of being a chicken - I want to push myself and become better, believing that I have a talent. I want to learn more and I want to take on the challenges knowing that failures will lead to success if I choose to persist.

I got the chance to listen to Jasmine Star speak at WPPI last week and she said something I will never least I hope to never forget it:

It is better to fail doing something you are passionate about than to succeed doing something you hate.

Well, I am passionate about photography and I don't want fears to get in the way of my opportunities to grow. So, I am choosing to move forward!

P.S. If you or someone you know are in need of having photographs taken - contact me!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

All the Days...

Congratulations to Jonathan and Kristen.
May your love for each other continue to grow all the days of your lives!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

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