Sunday, October 16, 2011

recent times

I moved about a month and a half ago.  Since the move, life has continued to be chaotic, with glimpses of rest in my new place.  I've been steadily addressing things in the new place since I moved.  From unpacking boxes and bins (and discovering things I haven't used in a while!), to arranging for a plumber to come fix the leaky sink and putting in a new heater filter, this has been an adventure.  I have a landlord, but they live in a different town, meaning that I still frequently have to take care of things, since there's no property management company.

I've learned to enjoy the solitude.  Coming home to the quiet, listening to the aspen trees rustle outside my windows, are part of my new ambiance.  I've been decorating and unpacking, getting bookshelves from IKEA to store my massive collection of books that have accumulated over the years (thanks to my Kindle, the collection won't grow too much or have to be toted with me in boxes).  I bought a heated mattress pad, purely on the justification that I should be able to get into a warm bed at night.  For those of you not living in this part of the country, it gets pretty chilly at night, especially since my place faces north.

I continue to wrestle with some intense things.  I think that God is trying to "clean out the closets" which happens to be rather painful.  It's really hard to objectively see past relationships (with family, friends, dating, etc) as what they were (such as neglectful, unhealthy and negative).  I've discovered that some friendships that I thought were "safe" were actually not, and I've had to put distance where it is needed.

In the midst of this, my church has started a series on Extravagant Grace. 1 John 3:1 comes to mind every time I sit through one of the messages "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God!  And that is what we are!"  A love & grace that reminds me of my status in God's eyes - a beloved, precious, and cherished daughter.  He doesn't do other things when I talk to Him, His attention is on me!  I don't have to fight to be heard, or wonder if He cares.  I don't have to live under the oppressive burden of shame or guilt - two uninvited guests that tend to show up about the same time that depression and loneliness arrive.  I'm called to live, actually live, in freedom!  Our pastor made a statement that caused me to think & I'll pass it along: "Just because we are free doesn't mean that we'll live like we're free."  I'm tired of living like a convict, like a thieving Jean Valjean from Les Miserables.  I want to run in freedom & feel the wind of that freedom against my skin!

Hopefully next time I write I'll have some pictures of my place or something else fun! 

Sunday, August 07, 2011

packing up

This weekend I really entered packing mode.  It's not my favorite way to operate, and I generally detest this, but I know in the end the process will lead to greater sanity for me.  I haven't lived on my own since I was in Africa, which some people have ventured to say doesn't count.  Just for the record, if you have to arrange your own taxi rides with people who don't speak English, ward off school age children with glue strapped under their noses and at the end of the day come up with something to do from 3pm until the next morning with spotty internet connection, no similar age friends and only small geckos to keep you company, it totally counts.  Probably more so than here.  

Anyway, I am moving at the end of the month.  I am excited to announce that I will be in a place where I get to decorate and determine the level of cleanliness.  And it has a washer & drier, which is probably the most exciting thing (that and the balcony for which I bought a small patio set).  l am greatly looking forward to this next stage, but less looking forward to the actual process of moving.

I have thus determined that if I'm going to make this process as painless as possible, I need to pack at least 4 boxes every weekend from now until my move-in date.  I started with the kitchen, which is where everything has mixed together the most.  It's been really challenging, especially when it's 90 degrees and the basement is flooded so everything from the basement is now in the living spaces of the house.  Good thing we're down a roommate for a while.

In the purging, I've discovered that I have more spices than most people should ever be allowed to have.  I also discovered that I am out of cumin, which is exceedingly important for making Mexican food.  So much for limiting my spices!  Out I ventured to the local spice shop and bought a large spice rack.  Why, you ask, did I not purchase one at Bed, Bath & Beyond, like most people?  Biggest reason: they're not big enough!  I can only find ones there that hold 20 bottles.  I need something that holds in the realm of 30-40 bottles of spices.  Crazy, I know.

All this to say, I met my quota for packing this weekend.  Next adventure: ginger peach jam making after I go to the farmer's market next weekend and buy an extremely large box of peaches.  Look for the post! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

long time gone...

The past month and a half has been so full of changes and challenges, that I don't know where to begin.

I had my 3rd annual 4th of July brunch which I hosted with my roommates.  It was amazing and we had so many people come through!  I loved the age range and some of the adorable little ones that came through our door.

I attempted to hike Long's Peak as well.  I discovered that it's a Class III (on a scale of I-V, where V is the most technical), and decided at the Keyhole to turn around for the sake of my mental stamina.  I only got about 45 minutes of sleep the night before in a very noisy campground and was feeling pretty worn down.  After picking my way through the Boulderfield to the Keyhole with a pack on my back with an ice axe, microspikes and a helmet, which kept shifting forward on my body every time I leaned forward throwing off my balance, it was time to turn around.  I think it was totally a blessing, because the rest of my group ended up on the summit seeing lightning as a storm was coming in.  I made it to tree line right around the time said storm got started.  When I got back to the trailhead, I saw a quadruple rainbow!  Unfortunately, no pictures of that rainbow.
My ridiculously large pack.  Ice axe, microspikes & helmet included.
At the beginning of the alpine meadow.
On the way up to the Keyhole, which is behind me and just to the right.

What I've really enjoyed lately though has been my art class.  I signed up to take a watercolor class at the local fine arts center, and have not regretted it at all.  I've explored different techniques and styles, and have simply savored the creative outlet.  There's something about doing art that gives me solitude and a sense of peace.  Maybe it's the search to create something beautiful and experience God in that capacity.  Maybe it's the relief from the stress of my job and other areas of life.  All that said, I think I'll be signing up for additional classes in the future. 
Starfish on a rock - using plastic wrap, rubbing alcohol, and salt for creating texture.
A piece I created for a friend, based on Psalm 27:14 (Amplified version).
A study on light using glass and fruit to capture the shape & shading of the objects.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

something borrowed

I recently went to see the movie "Something Borrowed" after reading the book while on vacation in Hawaii.  I wasn't thoroughly impressed with the book, finding it slightly entertaining, but not really identifying with it too much.  But for some reason I resonated with the movie.  I think listening to the explanation of what tension was trying to be conveyed by the producers was helpful.  The movie centers around a woman who has just turned 30, and looking back wondering if she missed a chance for love.  This main character is very career driven and goal oriented in her 20s, but is now wondering if that was part of the trade off.  I could relate to this tension and doubt so thoroughly.  What if I hadn't told someone that I "just want to be friends."  Would he have responded differently?  Would he have acted?

For the most part, the men I've "dated" (a very loose term, as none of them actually wanted to call it that, which is another problem in and of itself), I've looked back on now and realized that I'm glad it didn't work.  God knew exactly what He was doing and rescued me from some very unhealthy situations on both sides.  I've come to recognize my own unhealthy tendencies as well and the issues in my family (especially with my Dad) that contributed to how I interact in relationships.  I feel like I could approach a relationship now with much more confidence in who I am and a greater ability to communicate.  There's still that one friendship that I look back to and wonder "what if."

Now, I will keep on living the life that I've been directed to and pray that God will continue to receive honor and glory and praise.  It's not what I expected, but I know that the Lord will continue to be my portion and enough now and always.  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

In light of today being Memorial Day, I thought I'd post a couple of pictures from my time in Hawaii.  Specifically of the USS Arizona Memorial, which is the site of my great-uncle's grave.  His name was William Curry, and he is listed on the memorial wall, as you can see in the picture below.
My grandfather was supposed to arrive at the naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 8, 1941.  His ship was detained leaving San Diego and due to the attack on December 7, they arrived on Christmas Eve 1941.  He was issued a torch cutter and locker upon arrival at Pearl Harbor and sent to begin salvaging right away.

My family has proudly served our country for many generations, and I hope that I will never forget the legacy that they have left.  During World War II, one grandpa served in the Navy all over the Pacific during many different campaigns.  My other grandpa served in the Army in Europe.  My Dad also served, which allowed me to grow up experiencing different cultures and meeting people from different walks of life.
One of my favorite quotes in regards to freedom and remembrance is one from John F. Kennedy, "The cost of freedom is always high - and Americans have always paid it."  Remember that as you read this post & think of our service men & women who have paid that price.

Sunday, May 01, 2011


I have been a delinquent blogger lately.  I keep thinking about it and then realize that I really have nothing new to say.  So here are some pictures of life lately.

I went to Kansas City in April to see family & dear friends.  Here's one picture from our dinner at Lidia's.  I love that restaurant so much and the women I was there with even more!
Next came Easter lunch.  I woke up to snow on Easter morning.  At the end of April.  Thank you, Colorado, for the reminder that I no longer live in the midwest, but in a place where winter lasts 6 months of the year.  Fortunately the buds on the trees and the flowers don't seem to have been terribly affected, although the grass is still dreadfully brown.
 We had amazing Curry Chicken Salad with hummus, veggies, fruit salad, mimosas and a lemon meringue pie for dessert!
 The roommates that were around for Easter!

In preparation for the Royal Wedding, my roommate, Lauren, and I decided to pretend we were on the balcony at Buckingham Palace waving to the crowds while they cheered for the much anticipated kiss.  Mr. Higgins (the llama) humored us by being our prince.  Sadly, he did not turn into a handsome prince! 

Lauren also decorated the mantle with Union Jacks and all other kinds of British decor.  My Paddington Bear is the only thing missing (any idea where it is, Mom?).
 Finally, the Royal Wedding party day!  I made chocolate hazelnut biscotti, maple scones, tea & coffee and bought McVities chocolate digestives (cookies) to serve too!  I got up at 2am to start watching the festivities, and other people joined me about 3am.  I thought Catherine's dress was breathtaking!  I'm really not a big fan of the strapless dress, and her dress was so elegant & timeless with the French Chantilly lace sleeves.  My dear friend, Dustin, was actually in London at Buckingham Palace watching all the people go by in the cars & carriages.  He took some awesome pictures.  Here are a few of the party that I had at the house.  Seven people got up super early to attend! 
 I think this was when the Bishop of London was giving his amazing message.  He preached the Word for so many billions of people to hear!  I also loved that Romans 12:1-2 was read.
Eva stayed the night and humored me by wearing her tiara too.  Don't we look amazing for 3am?

All of this to say that life has not been dull in the past month.  I've been reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book Life Together for the second time, but doing it with my Navigators City Life team.  I was really struck this week by a quote that says "The church does not need brilliant personalities, but faithful servants of Jesus Christ."  When I'm feeling inadequate or like I fall short, I hope to return to this principal.  God uses sinners!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

there'll be days like this...

"There'll be days like this, there'll be days like this, my momma said...."  That's kind of how I feel today.  It really wasn't a bad day.  I woke up to a light dusting of snow outside, but I get to park in the garage (which is way more reliable than I man, I've been told).  I saw wonderful children today, with no issues.  But after work is when the simmering surface boiled over.

I started to recognize one of the core issues that I struggle with on a regular basis.  I have this awful tendency (thank you, humanity) for measuring myself against other people & finding myself one up or one down.  I started thinking about how I'm going to Kansas City in a little over a week, where I will be surrounded by dear friends from college who are all married & have children.  Minus 1 for me.  I started thinking about friends moving away and the grief that I'm trying to learn how to feel in the midst of that.  Another minus 1 for me.  I drifted toward the issue of relationships and my lack thereof, and how even my Mother once told me I should just settle.  That one was like a minus 1,000.  I continued to do this as I thought about so many things, until before I realized it, the floor had fallen out from under me and I was like negative 1.5 million.

How did that happen?  How did the enemy come in and start planting awful things in my mind?  How do I combat such unconscious attacks on my confidence and self-worth?  My head knows that I'm a daughter of the King of kings and I am fully known by Him and fully loved.  But I feel like so little around me affirms my value.  So this is what I'm wrestling with tonight and I'm sure I'll wrestle with it for a while longer, too.   

Sunday, February 27, 2011


I'm laying down on the couch today with my computer in my lap.  I'm drifting in & out of sleep as I type this, so excuse how direct or silly it may be.  I have developed the most severe case of right sided nasal congestion that I can remember having in a long time.  I almost fell asleep during church this morning due to the exhaustion from fighting another sickness.  Thankfully, my co-worker & her husband that I sat with were exceedingly understanding of my fog horn nose blowing throughout the service!

I've been reading a book by Kevin DeYoung called "Just Do Something," with the subtitle of "How to make a decision without dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random Bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky, etc."  I've found it especially enlightening in how he presents finding God's will.  He describes our generation (the 20s-30s) as a cohort of tinkering millennials.  We "tinker" with faith, with jobs & careers, with the idea of family or missions, but we lack the drive & desire to commit to something and stick with it.  I don't always agree with everything he presents, but for the most part, it is very true.  I also want to throw it in the face of about a dozen Christian men that I know who are expecting the perfect godly woman to fall into their laps without their having to take any initiative.  I would like to get up & preach that to these men, but for some reason I think my opinion would be discounted.  I have this thing that the older generation of men really need to take the younger generation under their wing and say something along the lines of, "Do you think that the Lord is leading you in the direction or given you the desire to be married and have a family?  You do?  That's great!  Now, instead of sitting on your bum, get up & start looking around you for a godly Christian woman & pursue her!"  Just saying.

That in mind, my roommate and I had a very candid conversation after I got back from a Saturday morning run (which was fabulous in the 60 degree weather we had last Saturday) about our hopes & expectations for a spouse.  (Yes, I'm still holding strong that the one who knows my innermost being & who loves me, still has a plan regarding this area of my life.)  I explained that at one point in time I had a whole list of non-negotiables.  It used to include things like "wants to run with me" and "likes going to cultural events like plays & symphonies."  However, recently the list has been narrowed down to about 3 things:
1. Loves the Lord (with all his heart, soul & mind)
2. Wants to carry out the Great Commission
3. Loves me
That's about it folks.  Amazing how that list got chopped down to 3 things as I got older.
My roommate then proceeded to share the 3 things her Mom told her to look for in a spouse:
1. Is he tall?
2. Does he love Jesus?
3. Is he in the Navy, because if he is, you better run away because he'll never be around.
Funny, my Mom never said anything about the Navy, but then again my Dad was gone all the time and he was in the Army. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

a few of my favorite things...right now

Favorite things come and go...this I know.  However, a girl's got to have a few faves at different points in her life, right?

1. Neutrogena oil-free eye makeup remover.  You can find it anywhere & it works great!

2. CeraVe moisturizing lotion.  My winter eczema thanks me every time I use this wonderful lotion.  It's definitely helped me rid myself of dry skin during this time of year.

3. Cocoa-Haze.  Like nutella but BETTER.  Yes, Keri, I know that's hard to believe.  But it's true!  It's a fair trade item that is deliciously scrumptious and I would eat the whole thing with a spoon if my hips wouldn't end up the size of Montana.

4. Feather pin from Ann Taylor LOFT.  This delightful feather & jewel pin makes any cardigan sweater look fun and up-to-date!

5. J.Crew Peacoat.  My first peacoat that I got in high school lasted me 10 years.  I felt it had done it's duty and that the boxy silhouette was not exactly flattering.  So I splurged and bought a new peacoat with amazing seams that make me feel feminine.  I'm sure it will last me at least another 10 years.

6. Amazon Kindle.  Need I really say more?  I've been enjoying a lot of the free or almost free reads (right now I'm reading Anne of the Island) and love that I can throw this into any bag and have several wonderful books at my fingertips!

What are some items that all of you are enjoying right now?

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Glen & A Recipe to Share

I think this place is really my favorite place in the world.  Next to Hawaii, which I think about on a daily basis this time of year.  Mostly when I'm walking to & from my car with the bitter wind whipping past me as I huddle into my red puffer coat.
 The grounds are so peaceful and inviting.  I love hiking and spending time in the glories of God's creation.  I think of Habakkuk 2:14 "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."  Or in this case, as the mountains tower in the sky & all around.  I feel that sense of God's presence when I'm in this beautiful, tucked away valley.  I went with my roommates for an overnight to celebrate the next stage with one. 
I took a dear friend hiking there & on a tour a couple of weeks later.  This past weekend, I went to a Chronicles of Narnia themed engagement party there.  Just in case anyone was wondering, I was Ramandu's daughter (the star), from Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  I walked outside that evening in my long, flowing old high school formal (which I still fit into just fine!!) and stared up at the sky with snow falling all around me.  A gentle falling snow that keeps the night sky bright.  I wistfully thought how wonderful it would be to live in this place & be able to just sit in awe of God's might all day long.
Now for the promised recipe: Hippy Oatmeal!  I was searching for something to do with Steel Cut Oats because we have quite a bit that were left by our former roommate.  We're also trying to be exceedingly economical because we're down a roommate & have to cover rent just the two of us.  This is what I discovered: steel cut oats can be put together & cooked in the crock pot overnight!  Not only is this economical, but exceptionally healthy.  Working the long hours that I do plus the frigid cold lead me to wanting a warm breakfast a lot recently, but little time to prepare one.  Hippy Oatmeal is the answer!  Tonight I'm making some more with a pumpkin twist.  Basically you combine steel cut oats, pumpkin seeds (un-roasted of course), flax seed, craisins, raisins, or whatever dried fruit you want, water & a bit of half & half to create this delicious morning concoction.  I didn't take any pictures, because you would probably be seriously doubtful of how this could possibly taste good.  But, with a bit of brown sugar, agave or whatever you like to put in your oatmeal, it's awesome & sticks with you even on days where the high is -12 (the picture is in the morning in my car & it got colder as the day went on).  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Thumbs are a tremendously important appendage, just in case you didn't know.  I had the unfortunate experience of nearly slicing mine in half this week.  Sunday night I was cutting up a hubbard squash (it's a kind of winter squash with a hard outer rind, similar to a pumpkin).  I decided to try pairing off the rind, because that of course is what you should do, right?  Wrong.  The pairing idea would not have been half so bad if I hadn't chose to try it with a chef knife.  My big, 7 inch santoku Wusthof knife that I had sharpened 2 months ago to be specific.  Oh yeah, I'd honed it before using it too.  As I'm attempting to pair the rind off the first piece of squash, I thought to myself, "This is a really stupid idea.  I should get a smaller knife or just cut off the rind like I usually do."  No sooner had those thoughts crossed my mind then the knife went at full speed into my left thumb.  I stood there for a moment in shock.  Then the blood started flowing.  I grabbed a paper towel & started putting pressure on the wound.  I learned something in my wound care classes in PT school!  As I watched the ever-reddening paper towel, I started debating whether or not to drive myself to urgent care.  After much deliberation, I waited for Nic to get home from her walk, and continued hacking up hubbard squash with my right hand.  This time I cut off the rind instead of pairing it.  The blessing of having a hospice care nurse as a roommate means that I have medical advice at my disposal pretty easily.  As well as wound care supplies.  I couldn't look at the wound (deep cuts on my own hands give me the willies!), so Nic had to take a look.  We decided that urgent care would clean it out, put some steri-strips on it & send me home.  So we decided to do that on our own since Nic had the supplies in the car.  After my thumb stopped bleeding profusely, Nic put some steri-strips across it to keep it closed, & wrapped it with some gauze & coban.  My thumb still looks like something out of a cartoon and just about every patient family I've had this week has asked what's happened.
Now for the lesson about how important your thumb is for daily activities.  I never realized this until now.  Your thumb does something very important - a movement called opposition.  This means that you can bring your thumb across & touch all the other fingers on your hand with it.  You can't do that with your other fingers, just in case you were wondering.  Here are some examples, from experience, that you need this very vital ability to oppose your thumb:
1. Tying shoes.
2. Flossing teeth.
3. Tying drawstrings on scrub pants.
4.  Stabilizing your grapefruit in order to eat it.
5. Opening the dishwasher.
6. Holding your kindle to read.
7. Putting in earrings.
8. Holding your fork or knife for cutting.
9. Picking up small children having tantrums on the floor.
10. Washing your hair.
There are a myriad of other activities that require this movement, but these are a few of the more noticeable ones in my daily routine.
Please cherish & take care of your thumb in my honor!  Don't spite it by attempting to do silly things with sharp knives.  While it's healing, I think I'm going to go find a knife handling class....