Thursday, September 19, 2013

Nope. No. Way.

Dear Apple,
Having just spent a significant amount of time trolling your website and learning about the shiny new iOS 7, I have a number of things to say.
1. No.
2. Don't.
3. Ugly.
4. Unnecessary
5. Why?

E. R. E.

I'm sorry. I hate it. I have looked at it from afar, and then seen small examples of it up close, and I am not impressed. While I understand that there are a couple very nice technical things, I am not impressed with the overall interface.
And here's why.
The average age of iphone users is not currently 3 years old. Do I think the new simplistic primary color-ish design would be adorably appropriate in certain settings? Yes, in a fake cell phone for my 3 year old niece.
I look at my iphone 5 sometimes, at the beautiful interface, the smooth design, the sleek glass, and it makes me oddly happy. It's beautiful to look at. It's light and shadow, art and simplicity, all combined.
Until. Now.
I may be convinced to download the new iOS sometime. I may like it against all odds.
But for now, no thank you. Its new simple looking buttons and shadowless text pages and unpleasant "we are trying to be like Windows without admitting it" is absolutely not appealing to me... (If I have just insulted Windows OS I apologize...)
This has really thrown me into a technological crisis. I adore Apple. I hoped to buy an iPad someday. My macbook has served me faithfully for a year now, and things designed by Apple are normally intuitive, simple, and beautiful. Seeing that fade in The Ugly New iOS has depressed me. What am I going to do? I have always assumed when the next iPhone hardware redesign came out (presumably next year, if Apple follows their pattern), I would get it and happily renew my contract with practically reception-less Sprint. (A call failed with my sister today. Three times. She is in the same state and had perfectly good reception... this is a sprint-in-enumclaw problem.)
But now, I wonder. Am I a diehard Apple fan? I guess this proves I am not. I would have said I was, up until this new iOS. I think it is a mistake. The bottom line-- the graphics don't appeal to me. There may be loads of helpful new features. I'm sure there are a few benefits, but I am not sure it's worth staring at an ugly screen long enough to find them. The colors... ugh. Though I dislike putting the word "Ugh" in a blog, I really can't come up with anything else that fits.
I may someday rescind this blog, but for now, I will stay in my happy iOS 6.something world and still try to love Apple despite the way I am disappointed right now...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Can we be done now?

Currently, I must admit to being in, well, the foulest of moods. I woke up on the wrong side of bed. In fact, I've woken up on the wrong side of the bed for about six weeks now. Why? Because when you don't sleep well, that's just what happens. Lately, the primary factor in this gigantic problem, is the heat.
Yes, I live in Washington.
No, it doesn't usually get above 80 degrees.
But it has this summer. A lot. It was 90 degrees yesterday. NINETY DEGREES.
And I. Am. Done.

Alright, end pathetic admissions. 
I think a primary rule of blogging is, or should be, "Don't post when you are in a bad mood."
Good rule. I am ignoring it. The reason is because, by the end of this post, I intend to be in a much better mood.
What could possibly fix all my sleepless nights? What could atone for me waking up early, grouchy because I am hot and sweaty and miserable?
One word...... Autumn.
Beautiful. In fact, I gave my second smile of the day just now, upon seeing that word. All I've been able to think this morning is of how hot it's going to be at work, how my face is going to get sweaty and then itch (Pleasant picture, I know), how I'm going to have a sweat rash by the end of the day. Yes, that's what happens to me. I'm a Washington girl through and through, what can I say? It's not just that I "don't like hot weather." The problem with me is, I absolutely adore the fall and winter weather. Now, do I like having my hair get rained on and messy? no. Do I like that when my fingers are cold at work, if you just barely injure them, it hurts like the dickens  because of the cold temperature? Nope, that's not a highlight. I don't like having to defrost the vehicle before going to work. We get months of gray weather and drizzle, and I can't say that those are a highlight either. The backyard won't be as pretty, but I can live with that. Especially if it gets covered in snow... :-)
At the stand, when people ask "Are you enjoying the sunshine?", I've given up trying to say "Isn't it beautiful!" or any other phrases to just divert without straight up lying. Now my diplomatic answer is more along the lines of "Well, to be honest, I am really looking forward to the cooler weather!" It may not sound diplomatic in print, but it's better than what I want to say... "NO! AND I HATE THIS!"
But here's the thing. It's coming... So, to "dwell on the positive", here we go.
What's coming is this...
Cool mornings with hot tea and coffee. Spiced chai mochas. Pumpkin spice lattes, hot instead of the iced ones I've been drinking.
Crisp and clear fall dawns, with a bite in the air and the smell of apple cider and zucchini bread. 
Scarves. Knitted scarves, flowy scarves, comfy scarves.
Blazing fires in the evening to ward off the chill, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
Photography lighting... well now, just fantastic. 
Beautiful long walks with my camera, wearing fur lined boots stolen from my mother's closet. Thick cozy sweaters, and flannels and plaids and sweatshirts whenever I want.
Maybe, just maybe, there will even be snow. We didn't get any last year, but I can always hope.
Fuzzy socks. Can't forget them. I could write an entire blog post featuring them alone...
That lovely feeling of walking out of the living room and feeling it get cooler, because you've been heating the house by fireplace, and know that your room will be pleasantly chilly to enjoy a down comforter and quilt.
Having people over for game nights, and enjoying a cozy evening inside, with endless rounds of indian spice chai... (The real stuff, not the spiced chai mix mentioned earlier. Although that is wonderful too!)
Lovely candlelit rooms, fur throw blankets, 
Hot apple juice on the stove blending with orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and red hots. The smell of cinnamon in the air because of the pot over the fire.
And baking. Oh, the options.... Cinnamon rolls, fresh bread, zucchini bread with chocolate chips in it. Fresh apple pies, oh my.
Happy Autumn. Happy Winter.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Psalm 139.

I bet you read the title "Psalm 139" and thought I was going to post an excerpt or a sermon based on Psalm 139.
But no.
It really is just straight up Psalm 139. That's right. Copy and paste, baby!
I tried to write a beautiful prelude to this post, and I have got absolutely nothing.
This Psalm really caught my eye recently, and I have gone back to read it over and over again lately. I can't say I have a particular reason, can't say "Oh I read it for the first time and WOW!"
I've read it before. I've even memorized parts of it before. But right now, it is really jumping out at me. I think the Lord draws different things to our attention at different times, and it's a fact for which I am thankful.
I love this Psalm. The reminder that the Lord is present is just, well, beautiful. He is present for our joys, our sorrows, our triumphs, our failings, our sins, our tears, our crying out to Him, our praising Him. He not only is present, He also is directing everything! He searches us and knows us, and hems us in behind and before. Amazing. There is so much in this Psalm. Hopefully you find it encouraging as well.

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

The version is ESV, of course. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Burroughs on contentment. (briefly)

This blog used to be better. There has been no change in authorship, there has been very little new content, and the aesthetics haven’t changed in quite a while, but it used to be significantly more appealing. Why? Because of the music. Currently there is...none. Mixpod cut out on me, and pulled the FABULOUS playlist I had on the side of the blog for quite a while. I’m heartbroken. (Insert a depressed face here.)
Because of that, I was unable to add in a few songs... namely, from the soundtrack to the newer version of Sense and Sensibility. (Insert a blissful happy face here, because of the thought of that movie)
That being the case, your job during this post is to imagine that there is beautiful orchestral music playing gently in the background, preferably something Austen-esque.
Some people write so well that they don’t need background music. Unfortunately, my writing ONLY sounds good if there is music to, erm, drown it out. Therefore. Imagine music.
The second thing  -- I am currently highly caffeinated. I mean, all I have in my system right now is essentially caffeine and white chocolate. It’s dangerous to blog like this. The crash later is going to be brutal. But oh-so-worth-it.
I think I promised something edifying, so let’s just see here.
Before I go excerpting-to-the-skies, I am throwing this out--
I’ve started a new journal. Initially I wasn’t sure what I was going to use it for, but I know now. It’s going to be a record of what the Lord has done. I can’t remember exactly when I was thinking about it, but I was reflecting on the fact that the problems for Israel always began when they forgot God. Israel forgot God, and strayed. Israel ceased to tell their children of the mighty works of the Lord, and they became idolaters. The Psalms talk about reflecting on God’s works, and in Job it speaks about going and telling what the Lord has done for you. It just seems to me there is a huge connection between following the Lord and remembering and being grateful for what He has done. I think my goal with my journal is to help me maintain an attitude of thankfulness before my Lord, no matter where my life goes. There is also a tie between focusing on being grateful, and contentment. I am also doing this in an effort to combat my natural pessimistic tendencies. Due to aforesaid pessimism, I tend to think-- “Everything is going just too well.” Obviously yes, everyone has problems, as do I. Everyone has heartaches that don’t go away, everyone has daily trials. But overall, I look at the immense beauty of the things the Lord has blessed me with, and think “It can’t possibly last...” I see the years of blessing in our church, in my family, and in my job, and worry that it will all fall apart. Even though I can add no time to my life by worrying, I still have to fight against it. I know that’s not right-- The Lord is always gracious and compassionate, and always does what is right, and gives more than we could think or ask, but my “natural tendency” (which needs to be combated) is to wait for something horrid to happen. I want to know that if the Lord takes away, as He has given, that I will still be happy and content in Him. This is kind of going to be an open-ended blog post, because it’s a flaw of my own that I am trying to work on. (huh, didn’t see me throwing that out there when I started this one. Blame the caffeine.) I know He holds tomorrow safely in His hand-- I just want to glorify Him by being content no matter what tomorrow brings. I think writing down instances of His past goodness will be helpful in that regard. It is healthy to reflect on His works, and leads to even more of a trusting in His sovereignty. It leads also, I think, to a steadier, solid contentment.
I’m going to quote extensively from Jeremiah Burroughs, because I am slowly slowly working through The Rare Jewel Of Christian Contentment. It’s, well, extraordinary. He talks about the frame of a Christian’s mind and soul being where true contentment is found, and how you get to that point, and how it will reflect in your disposition. All I really have to say is: It ‘ain’t easy’. But, his thoughts were very helpful for me. So, here is what Jeremiah Burroughs has to say regarding all of this.
These are just some of the things I have highlighted as I was reading. I can’t say there is a particularly good flow to them, but hopefully his thoughts will be helpful to you. If they’re not, well, you should really buy the book and read them all in the exact context. :-)

“ Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition... ‘This is the hand of God, and what is suitable to my condition or best for me. Although I do not see the reason for the thing, yet I am satisfied in my judgment about it’...  The contentment of a man or woman who is rightly content does not come so much from outward arguments or from any outward help, as from the disposition of their own hearts. The disposition of their own hearts causes and brings forth this gracious contentment rather than any external thing. Let me explain myself. Someone is disturbed, suppose it be a man, woman, or child. If you come and bring some great thing to please them, perhaps it will quiet them and they will be contented. It is the thing you bring that quiets them, not the disposition of their own spirits, not any good temper in their own hearts, but the external thing you bring them. But when a Christian is content in the right way, the quiet comes more from the temper and position of his own heart than from any external argument or from the possession of anything in the world. ... Keep under the authority of God, the majesty of God, the sovereignty of God, the power that God has over you-- to keep under, that is to submit. The soul can submit to God at the time when it can send itself under the power and authority and sovereignty and dominion that God has over it... A contented heart looks to God’s disposal, and submits to God’s disposal, that is, he sees the wisdom of God in everything. In his submission, he sees His sovereignty, but what makes him take pleasure is God’s wisdom. The Lord knows how to order things better than I. The Lord sees further than I do; I only see things at present but the Lord sees a great while from now. And how do I know but that had it not been for this affliction, I should have been undone. I know that the love of God may as well stand with an afflicted condition as with a prosperous condition. .. Contentment is the inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, freely submitting to and taking pleasure in God’s disposal in every condition.”
-- jeremiah burroughs.

Have a nice day. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Here’s a picture of my day: (the “thousand words” version)
I had piano today, and somehow ended up running late. Normally I bring my teacher coffee (ESPECIALLY if I am running late-- it’s not a bribe, it’s a patience prize), but I forgot to, and ended up with just a drink for me. But I forgot food, so by the time I’d consumed that lovely triple shot americano, I was shaky because of the caffeine... try playing the piano when your fingers are shaky. But I had to have the caffeine, because I was up til late last night, doing constructive things like... going to the store to get peanut butter M+M’s, because I’ve been craving them for a week. Nevermind that I had some two days ago-- that just fed the craving.
Anyway, by the time I made it to work, I at least had food. Course, it didn’t help much and I ended up knocking over an almost-entirely-finished mocha. It went EVERYWHERE. Let’s just say it’s a good thing today was slow, because I spent a large portion of my day cleaning up after gigantic messes I managed to create. After the mocha, it was the prepaid cards... after that it had to do with the blender... You get the picture. In other news, it being slow also meant I got to listen to things on my phone!! And thank you to whoever brought in the auxiliary jack to plug things into the bigger speakers... Talk about feeling like someone is IN THE ROOM podcasting!
At last I am home, happy, (although I was pretty much happy all day, even up to my elbows in clorox rags cleaning stuff) and sitting with well, peanut butter M+M’s, and soon a drink of some sort. Cocoa or tea, oh boy.
-----> Pause for important distinction <------ br="">You notice I say “Peanut Butter M+M’s”. (I may be mis-capitalizing there, sorry.) K, I will admit I have to be in the right mood for certain kinds of chocolate. I’m obsessed with chocolate-- but that means I like very specific brands. Lindt, for example... also that organic stuff “Green and Black” when I’m on a “no white refined sugar” kick. (Those come around pretty regularly. If nothing else, it’s a grand excuse to buy the good expensive chocolate!) I tend to not be as into hershey’s and whatnot. Candy sorts of chocolate are sometimes too sickly sweet. However, I have lately had a major weakness for Peanut Butter M+M’s. Here is the distinction-- they are NOT peanut mms. Let me tell you about peanut M+M’s. They come in a yellow bag. They are chocolate around peanuts. Which is not very good. Because they have peanuts in them. And that is a pollution to perfectly good chocolate. They break up all funny when you eat them.
Peanut Butter M+M’s come in a red bag. You can’t miss it. It says “M+M’s” and “PEANUT BUTTER” on it. They are magical happy chocolate around smooth creamy peanut butter flavored stuff that I assume is actually peanut butter and try to ignore that it’s probably just flavored crisco or something. (K, actually, I just stopped to read the ingredients-- it actually DOES have peanut butter listed!!! YES! this just became a health food in some way. I’ll try to prove that at a later date.)
Anyway! You need to try them. Seriously. Stop reading and go to whatever store it is you have around where you are. QFC, Nob Hill, Hagens, Frys, whatever! Just go buy some. If you hate them, I’m sorry. I am perfectly willing to take them off your hands.
Alright, I know by now you are thinking that I am a little bit ridiculous, and possibly quite demented. These are possibilities I am willing to admit are slightly feasible. But if you had had peanut butter mms, you would understand entirely. But you have now, right? Cause you stopped reading a few minutes ago and went to buy some. By now you are eating peanut butter mms and I am looking more sane by the second.
Now that we’ve established the VITAL differences between these two candy things, I can return to whatever it was I was rambling about a second ago.
---->Important distinction ended<---- br="">
This is the part where I beg for mechanical advice. I would love to buy a Jeep Wrangler. (The cute little two door ones. TJ or YJ or something.) One with a hard top so I don’t have to deal with a bunch of water coming in. A guy who came through the stand says that “Yeah, it leaks, but I just take the doors off and flip ‘em upside down now and again  to get the water out and it works just great!”
Um, no thank you. I will avoid that problem please.
However, I thought it might be more economical to go with a fun happy jeep cherokee classic sport. Or an old cool range rover land rover that looks like it belongs on an african safari. Clearly I have a thing for the boxy squared off look. Then today, a tow truck driver at the stand said that he has dealt with a ton of mechanical problems with the kind I was planning on buying, and to go with the one I originally wanted. (The more expensive one, of course-- but they do typically have a great resale value.) I thought I had done such a good research job... I even learned words like “inline 6 engine.” *sigh*. So now I am back to the drawing board, and thinking it might be best to save a teensy bit longer and get the one that I LOVE. Research here I come. Cause I just love trolling automobile advice sites. If you’ve heard anything good or bad about either of those vehicles, I would love to hear it as well...
So that was my day.
Oh, the original reason I went to post--- I am trying hard to be more consistent memorizing scripture. One of the things that is helping me with this is, you guessed it, THE IPHONE! I love my iphone. I will admit it went through a little bit of a crisis after my trip and had trouble getting back into good consistent data reception stuff. (I was almost always getting an edge network, no 3G or LTE at all... weird.) However, it is over it’s midlife crisis. When I was trying to run more, it was majorly useful because of apps like Map My Run. (Not that I don’t still want to run.. I am just taking a break because, well, I am not a fan of being in pain ALL the time. And I meant that in the most literal sense. My knee hurts all the time if I run more than twice a week. Good thing I don’t do that terribly consistently... ;-) ) Other useful apps include Ticket To Ride. Alright, that’s not useful at all. It’s just fun to play.
Legitimately, there is a website called Scripture Typer, and they have an app. You can get an account for free online, but the app does cost a small amount of money. So far it is absolutely worth it! I love it and have found it to be majorly useful. You type out the verse multiple times, then do it with half the words missing. (Like what they would do on the blackboard in sunday school when you were little...) It does’t let you go on until your speed typing the “half the words” version matches the whole version with 80% accuracy.  After you “master” it, you type the whole thing. Eventually it will remind you to review. If you don’t like typing, you can record it and you have to match the recording. I haven’t tried that yet because I can’t stand the sound of my voice in recordings. Perfectly happy with typing, thank you very much. Anyway, I like it so far, and you should really try it. If you are as bad at memorizing as me, that is.
Okay. My very bad blog post is at an end. Next time I’ll steal from a puritan and post something edifying. Thanks for making it this far.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

But by the way, I am still on vacation.

We got home from vacation... I have literally thousands of pictures to go through, lots to fool around with. It may be a bit before I get them up. Hopefully soon!
Originally we were going to wander over to montana, and go down through wyoming (Yellowstone), then hit Utah. We changed plans, and while I was disappointed, it really worked out for the best. Idaho, to Utah, to Arizona where we stayed for seven nights. There and back again.
Boise was pretty, Green River, Utah, was not as much. I am not a big fan of the majority of Utah. An incredibly large portion of it is dry and barren, in my limited experience. Let’s just say we went two days of driving without hitting much in the way of civilization. “What? Check your iphone again. There has to be a costco somewhere around here! What do you mean no starbucks?” "Hey Meme, can your little gizmo find an In-N-Out around here for us?" I feel like if I the car broke down anywhere in between Salt Lake City and the border, we’d be pretty much end up dead in a ditch before sundown. “If the buzzards don’t getcha, the lack of water will!” ;-) Anyway. Where there are moderately populated towns in Utah, they are so strewn with mormon churches... or temples... or stakes... whatever they call them, that you can practically feel the spiritual oppression. Did I say practically? Strike that. You can definitely feel it.
That being said-- The national parks in Utah are absolutely stunning. We started with Arches. The landscape sneaks up on you, and all of a sudden I looked up from my Instagram to discover incredible sandstone formations. So, I took pictures. Then some more. Then drank a capri sun and ate some beef jerky. Then took more pictures. That’s pretty much what a great roadtrip consists of...
After stopping multiple scenic viewpoints, we came to what I was looking forward to most-- the part where we start the hike to the Delicate Arch.
Here’s the thing. You know I am not going to be a fan of hiking in hot weather. And you can just imagine how into that my parents are... But we did it anyway, because it was the best option to have a good view. Also, getting up close to it was one of my bucket list of “photos to take before I die.” (Nope, didn’t have that list til three seconds ago... but it was on my “really really want to shoot!” list for sure!)
The hike was murder. But weirdly enough, I loved it. Even though I was carrying my camera backpack. And the tripod. It ended up being unbelievably heavy. I’m out of shape for hiking anyway, but to do it in hot weather with a backpack... part of it climbing up over sheer sandstone... let’s just say I’m QUITE proud of the folks and myself. Coming around the corner to see it was worth every bit. Absolutely amazing-- and fun to take pictures of. My parents feel that I was reckless and risking my life to get pictures from where I did, but I’m certain that’s a very slight overreaction.. ;-) Quote of that day-- “I just don’t like places where if you slip, you’re dead.” Okay, I get that.
We did cruise through Canyonlands that same day- clearly we are not the sort who spend days and weeks in each park, hiking and camping and discovering every cave. Canyonlands was beautiful as well, and a lovely precursor to the Grand Canyon. Fun to get some nice sunset shots there. Red, pink, and purple highlights paint the canyons, and cause them to glow. Very little or no post processing will be needed for those shots!
Highlight of Saturday-- Picking up Clark from the airport. We got caught in traffic going through Sedona (Also beautiful scenery-- it was like arches national park met the trees and landscape of the northwest.), so he had to hang out for a while...
From there to the house in Tucson. Amazing place! There was a pool.... and it was situated in a neighborhood, but sort of at the top of the hill, so we didn’t have to worry about neighbors at all. Wonderful. I brought a stack of books to read, as well as my kindle, but only made it entirely through two books- One of the Sackett books by Louis L’Amour, and, more importantly, Selina, Countess of Huntingdon.
---->>> Pause for book recommendation <<<---- br="">If you haven’t read it, do go buy a copy. Published by Banner Of Truth, and written by the excellent biographer Faith Cook, it is a beautiful way to become acquainted with the extraordinary woman who was a driving force behind the spiritual revival in England in the 1700’s. She touched thousands of lives with the gospel. She was hugely instrumental financially, in building chapels and churches throughout England, as well as great spiritual support and encouragement for the Wesley brothers and George Whitefield, not to mention Doddridge, Venn, Grimshaw, and countless others.  Obviously there were conflicts involved with the Wesley-Whitefield thing, on a couple occasions, and it is a good sketch of those events (1770 Minutes Controversy, to name one) as well. I need to read more books now, to learn more in detail about all the people mentioned on the fringes. She is an aid to conviction to serve Christ in all things, to bear all things, and to never cease in the work of the Lord.
Alright, done gushing about Selina now. Go buy the book.
---->>>Back to the trip<<<---- br="">Sunday was great. We went to Phoenix Reformed Baptist, heard of it because of James White. I never like missing our church, but this was an excellent church. Reformed baptist churches are pretty much the same the world over-- an encouraging fact! If you don’t know who James White is, this is the part where you leave my blog and follow this LINK After you’ve spent several hours over there, you can come back. Clark listens to a ton of his stuff, and I catch a couple podcasts a month. Here is my “I’m a terrible Aunt” confession. Gabriel knows of James White because Rachel listens to him. When he found out we were going to the same church he is an elder at, the little guy got super excited and asked for me to “Say HI to Dr. White for me!!” However, I was looking at Dr. White’s face after the service, and thinking “This man has just preached a sermon, and that means he is exhausted. This would be a terrible time to go say hello.”  (Also, the idea of speaking to someone who is at that intellectual level is slightly terrifying. My brain doesn’t work.. quite... that... well.) So basically, I didn’t, and broke my nephew’s five year old heart. That makes twice in one week... he was already traumatized because he noticed grandpa’s rabbit had disappeared. :( Yes, I do feel terrible. Hopefully it doesn’t come up when I go see them tomorrow! If it does, I will quickly divert to souvenirs... “Hey buddy, I brought you a pop gun!” ;)
On Sunday afternoon, we reconnected with old family friends who moved away years ago. That was a blast!! It’s fun to see people you know and meet new people on vacation- also rare for us, since we tend to be perhaps a tiny bit anti social while in “vacation mode.”
Grand Canyon was breathtaking. Zion National Park was beautiful-- also, nice, because I hadn’t seen a million pictures of it before. It was all new to me, and there was a certain charm in that. Arches and the Grand Canyon looked... well, just like they had in pictures.  
Middle of the night one night, and papa knocks on my door. “Come here, I need your opinion on something.” So, I wander out and see what is going on. He had been studying outside, in the cool of the evening, and noticed a man just down the hill with a flashlight, doing who knows what. We were trying to figure out what he was working on, whether or not he was homeless, and whether or not he was a crook. So, I flipped all the lights off, and grabbed my camera and zoom lens. Just envision the movie Rear Window. I look through, then whisper to papa, “He is burying something... he has a trowel!” After that we woke up mom, to get her opinion. Do we call the cops? Or assume it’s a neighbor doing yard work in the middle of the night... A little creepy!
That’s what we do on vacation, folks.

p.s. In case you were wondering, no, I didn’t get bit by a rattler snake while getting a picture. I really thought that would happen. Nor did I see a black widow-- but I did see a GIGANTIC spider hanging out outside. Horrifying. Also, a bobcat wandered by the house, right by the front entryway. Cool!
Sidenote-- the area approaching Flagstaff, Arizona, was amazing. I mean, so amazing that it was one of the few places I think I would enjoy living. Obviously it would require further research, but at first glance it reminded me of central oregon + western washington. It was also twenty degrees cooler. :)
Also, we went to Kanab, Utah, where a bunch of westerns were filmed. Hurrah for John Wayne.
I have sleep to get, nieces and nephews to see tomorrow, and plenty of organizing to do before I go back to work. Therefore, have a lovely evening!

Friday, April 19, 2013

March. And April. Everything, really.

This week has been crazy! The last couple weeks have been, actually. Life, they call it.

GWYNETH CLAIRE was born!! Love her. She is absolutely beautiful-- I have pictures to prove it... :-) They are, of course, at the Smugmug-- Gwyneth! via smugmug In the category “Births”. This is the first baby for Wes and Meghann, so it’s pretty majorly exciting! I can’t get over how gorgeous and tiny she is.
Love. Being. Aunty. Em!
Rache and I are thrilled to take Meghann and “the girls” on shopping dates, excited to do tea parties, have girls-nights-out with the cousins...etc. You get the picture. I have permission to spoil her entirely! Which is good, because of course I wouldn’t have without permission.. ;-) It also means that by the time I have kids,  no one is going to be excited about it anymore... :p

In case you didn’t know-- papa had surgery. They call it a distal bicep tendon rupture... In normal people language, it means that the tendon connecting the bicep to the bone down by the elbow tore off. Ouch. The surgery was to repair it... They put him all the way under and drilled a hole through the bone, and basically nailed/sewed/bolted the thing back in place, from what I understand. (Clearly medical terminology is my forte) Anyway, recovery has been going okay... so thanks for the prayers.
I worked a couple days more than I planned this week, and after several rainy busy shifts, was so thankful when noon came around today! Now-- Blissfully ensconced at home, with my computer, some baked potato ( Have I mentioned that carbs and starch are pretty much my favorite things? Especially with tons of butter!) lunch, and comfy clothes that make it look like I worked out. I didn’t. I just like to pretend. I’ll get back on the running schedule next week. This week ended up being pretty much an epic workout fail...
In other news, had a one year anniversary at work last month. Love it! In other other news, my boss is selling the stand, so consider me stressed. Not sure what will happen with the job situation soon, but we’ll see how it goes! Prayers appreciated. If you happen to have a fantastic job opening that might work for me, info would be nice... ;-) Best case scenario, someone awesome buys it and keeps it closed on Sundays. Worst case: Out of a job. There you have it...
I will admit that the stress has increased, on account of further developments since the above, meaning that it is highly likely that I’ll be out of a job when I get home from vacation. The upside? I won’t have to worry about getting the time off for any trips I want to spontaneously take this summer! ;-) I worried at first, and have been occasionally overwhelmed, but this morning I read excellent things that were encouraging... and a fantastic reminder that God is just as sovereign today as He was two weeks ago... I’m leaving it with the Lord. I’ve given myself “the speech,” and am pretty much at peace with it. Don’t know what I’m going to do next, or how it will come about, but it’s okay! Here are the things I read this morning that were majorly helpful--
First, from the Valley of Vision. If you don’t have a copy, GO BUY ONE! (the aesthetic-loving part of me says in an added whisper... “The leather-bound beautiful edition that doesn’t have the ugly cover art!” ;-) ) It is a compilation of puritan prayers, and has been a wonderful aid to my prayer life.
Italicized are the phrases that really hit me for where I am right now!
The Divine Will
O Lord, I hang on Thee. I see, I believe, live, when they will, not mine, is done; I can plead nothing in myself, in regard of any worthiness and grace, in regard of thy providence and promises, but only thy good pleasure. If thy mercy make me poor and vile, blessed be thou! Prayers arising from my needs are preparations for future mercies; Help me to honour thee by believing before I feel, for great is the sin if I make feeling a cause of faith. ... Help me to humble myself for past evils, to be resolved to walk with more care... Help me to pray in faith and so find thy will, by leaning hard on thy rich free mercy, by believing thou wilt give what thou hast promised; Strengthen me to pray with the conviction that whatever I receive is thy gift, so that I may pray until prayer be granted; Teach me to believe that all degrees of mercy arise from several degrees of prayer, that when faith is begun it is imperfect and must grow, as chapped ground opens wider and wider until rain comes. So shall I wait thy will, pray for it to be done, and by thy grace become fully obedient.

And from a slightly older source,
  Ecclesiastes 7. ... Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. Say not, "Why were the former days better than these?" For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. ... Consider the work of God: who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him. ...

Anyway, Thomas Brooks is my companion this rainy afternoon as well. I have been loving the puritans even more than normal this week-- their God-centered view of things is beautiful and refreshing, in a world where too many mega-pastors try to make it “All about YOU and Jesus!” (Said with a wink and a smile, going along with the graphic tee and cool glasses). Love the emphasis with the puritans on living a holy life, glorifying Christ, and looking forward to heaven.
That being said, it’s not Thomas Brooks I’m going to send you to. Rather, I am going a bit closer to home. Literally. We are in the same home. Oh look, it’s papa. Handy that he is my pastor as well. I was going to quote from him, but there was too much to gather! Therefore, I am doing it again... just putting up the link. If you haven’t listened to a sermon of his, you really should. Recently, the “Obedience, a corollary to humility” and the other one on casting your cares were amazing, to give you a starting point before hitting all the other ones... :p. Just click HERE.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Last I blogged was quite some time ago, so I’ll try to cover a couple highlights...

Christmas: Excellent. Came and went before I had time to blink. I vaguely remember enjoying it. Naturally, the thing that comes after Christmas is my birthday. Sorta.
That was a highlight. Even though I didn’t end up making a cake. I had drawn up a design, figured out a plan and color scheme, and then I thought “I don’t have the energy to first make a giant mess, then clean up a giant mess.” So, I put away anything I had out, and enjoyed not making a cake. Unfortunately, that means I had to also enjoy not getting to eat a cake.
Camera Highlights: Speedlight. SB-700 (Sorry, I won’t spend hundreds more on the SB-900!) So amazing for inside my house. Also... Nikon 50mm f/1.4g AF-SW fixed portrait lens. Absolutely incredible. Worth it. Gathers so much light in miserable lighting conditions as to make you astonished at the results. It also has forced me to learn a lot more in order to utilize it to it’s maximum potential, and that has been a definite benefit.

Seabrook. Or rather, SEABROOK!!! I had someone tell me that I automatically started smiling when I said that word. It was weird to find that it was true. And I couldn’t stop... because it was amazing! Pictures from this grand adventure may be seen here:!i=2384481084&k=WTWHdTD

I had never stayed there before, but a few other members of my family had, with various groups of people. Never our family though. Honestly, I had (before now) been one of the biggest objectors to staying at Seabrook, afraid it would replace the all-important, traditional Sandpiper. Our family has gone there for nigh on forty years, and I am too much anti-change to vote to go there. Now, however, I am considering hoping that seabrook will replace it. I got highly sentimental when we walked down to the Sandpiper one day, because I have thousands of memories there. Huge moments, and minute things have all happened there, and when I see a picture (or stand in front) of that building, memories flash through my mind like I am looking through a photo album. It has been the constant family vacation. Going to california or oregon is fun, but our whole family doesn’t do that anymore. But we do all go to the sandpiper. It’s a pretty big thing, and I’ve loved it. They have no tv, no internet, no phones. The place is literally ON the beach. You go out your room and down the stairs, and you are just about on the sand. You can hear the ocean, and see for miles, and smell the salt air. (or the occasional beached whale. Yes, that happened once. I seem to remember that someone in our family had a jacket that stunk for weeks after that encounter...)
We’ve played countless hands of rummy there, hundreds of rounds of boggle, and who knows how many other games. Endless walks on the beach, and quite a few sandcastles. We have thousands of pictures taken there, and it’s fun to look through the years and see what we did there. Fun to see a picture of a grown up Clark standing in the same place we have a picture of my Grandpa in-- and wearing the same jacket. Have a picture of my parents standing in front of one of the doors the very first year they were dating... Caught my first (and last) clam there... dug by hand by clark and I! I could go on for literally a dozen pages, so I’ll cut line now... and skip back to Seabrook.
We stayed in a beautiful house, with an ocean view, close to the beach access. It was stormy the night we got there, but it was an excellent excuse to be inside and play endless games of Dominion and Settlers of Catan with a new expansion pack... Both those games are intensely addicting, and only a few games of cards were played as a result. The house was lovely, and... (drumroll) I got to have my own room! That was truly a novel experience. Typically, when on Pacific Beach, we are staying at the Sandpiper. I happen to be lowest on the totem pole, and the limited number of rooms means that I have slept on the couch/twin bed thingamajig in the front room. The very front room. Which means that I am awake latest and earliest. It also means that if anyone comes out at all, I hear it. The plus side of that? I wake up, sit up, and am immediately looking at (and hearing the roar of) the ocean. Fabulous, that. However, I’m not sure that single benefit outweighs everything else. Such as lack of sleep! My room at Seabrook was beautiful... and I ended up only spending one night in it. Ironically enough, I ended up staying two of the nights up in the carriage house with rachel and the kiddos. Abigail, as it turns out, can have some pretty severe dreams. Woke up one night and she was traumatized, weeping, and still very much asleep. Tried to wake her up and comfort her, and could barely hold her with how much she was kicking around. Very sad. Thankfully, she didn’t remember a thing the next morning! “Me no has dreams!”
The weather was slightly inclement, but we still took walks on the beach. Clark, Jacob, and I redirected the course of a river! The river was in the way of our walk... So we attempted to build a dam. By the time that afternoon was over, I couldn’t feel too much from my knees down, as the result of slogging about in ice cold january pacific ocean water. Ouch. And yet so much fun... It was a good excuse to come in and change, then go up to the pool. Oops, did I not mention that we had access to a pool? So amazing! There was no one there. I think Clark spent a total of ten hours in the pool over three days. I swam a lap or two. This was the first time I’d been to the ocean in a number of years and not done any swimming or wave diving or at least knee-wading in it!
Seabrook was the most relaxing time I’ve had in quite a while.
We celebrated my birthday there, as well as Hannah’s, who is almost exactly twenty years younger than me, and I guess you could say it was the best birthday ever. Three days with the family make for some good memories. There is something beautiful too, about getting up and being able to relax with your bible and a cup of tea with an ocean and a forest both in view.
Food was fun! Taco salad one night, spaghetti another. Lobster bisque the night we celebrated my birthday... Clark did bacon, eggs, and other stuff for breakfast one morning, while mom and I did crepes suzette for another. Rachel made french toast the last morning. Have I mentioned that food is something I get excited about when we all go somewhere overnight?? :-)
The pictures can give you a more full and accurate description, and may succeed where my thousand words have failed.
They will be in the January 2013 gallery previously linked.

Meghann’s baby is due in about two weeks! Extremely exciting. Therefore, you will also see pictures from two different baby showers. One, hosted by a friend of Meghann’s family, had lovely pink cupcakes and a view of the Narrows Bridge. The other was hosted by us and had lovely pink party favors and a view of.... well, just a neighborhood, actually. But it was lovely. :-) They will be in the February 2013 gallery, which has yet to be put up.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The REAL update. (The photo one, that is.)


Pictures are now posted at  " "

The link to the most recent gallery is: December 2012

And that, ladies and gentleman, is the update.

By the way, you can comment on the photos. And I am bound to be highly disappointed if they are never commented on.

Have a lovely evening.