a quiet morning...

Although I don't enjoy sleeping in when I've got things to do, I DO enjoy the quiet that has yet to be pervaded by the raucous noise of the day.  The clacking of the keyboard and the gentle hum of the refrigerator are all I'm listening to right now.  

The quiet that exists in my physical world has yet to begin in my mental world, since the voice inside my head is making me feel guilty for not setting my second alarm.  That voice in my head is the bane of my existence, telling me I should have done this or I should have done that.  Sending me on long road trips of guilt and shame.  

Well I'll send that voice on a road trip of its own...when I've spent some much needed time in prayer and God's Word.  

Get back into the quiet, and be still in Him




We made a cabbage stir-fry for dinner last night.  It was very good with rosemary (apparently I've got Jake hooked now).  I ate mine with lentils, and Jake had chicken and potatoes smothered in Diana sauce.  It looked amazing.  I love cabbage, and how versatile it is.  One of these days I might try cabbage rolls...



New Favourite Fruit...

I've recently started eating healthier, and I mean extremely healthy.  I haven't had anything sweet in 13 days and  counting.  It's been an amazing diet transformation, one that my body is still getting used to.  Jake always tells me that I need to stick with something for three months before it actually becomes a habit.  I hope I don't have to go without sweets for three months, but when I do let them back in, they've got to be extremely moderated.

Anyways, that wasn't the point of this post.

The point of this post was to sing the praises of: the grapefruit, my new favourite fruit.

Bananas are my all-time favourite fruit, but I'm not eating them right now due to their high sugar content (yes, I know it's natural, but if you saw what I like to eat bananas with, you'd understand.  I mean, who else eats bananas and chocolate chips for breakfast?!)

Since this is grapefruit season, I've basically been having one every day for the past week.  I have never been so content with slicing up each little section, and digging out the perfect segment of juicy sourness.  They are just the right size to keep me going until lunch.

Back in the fall, I actually ate a grapefruit like you eat an orange. The skin is more tough than an orange, so I couldn't eat that, but I peeled it and sucked out the juices!  It was delightfully satisfying.

Get your grapefruit on!


p.s. why do they call it 'grape' fruit, when it looks nothing like a grape?!


Attitude Check...

Even though I'm approaching my 26th birthday this year, I'm still learning something about myself every day.  It's a part of life.  Yesterday I was reminded that I feel much better when I start my day right.  A short visit with a friend makes a world of difference in my mood and attitude throughout the day.  I often find myself coming in to work in the morning grumpy or moody, but I think that's simply because I haven't had anyone to share the morning with.

I'm more of a people person than I would like to admit.  On the other hand, I find myself avoiding people when the occasion arises.  My dichotomous nature keeps me on my toes, but I'm learning that fatigue and stress have a huge part to play.

The part that has me concerned, though, is how I am much too sensitive to what others might think of me.  Get that word: might.  I have no idea what people think about me, but I hear myself telling Jake something akin to, "I can't do that, they'll judge me" OR "everyone thinks I'm bla bla bla" time and time again.  He's so wise, that husband of mine.  He keeps reminding me that we don't need to fear man (besides that, we don't even know what they're thinking, so it's no use speculating).  My fear of what others might say or do can be debilitating, and I get unnecessarily stressed out trying to live up to their expectations- at least, the expectations I think exist (when, it reality, they most likely don't).  This tension is hard to live with.

I took some time this morning to look up verses that talk about this struggle.  I definitely need the encouragement from God's Word!

"Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath.  For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, the earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner;
but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will not be abolished.
Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, you people in whose heart is My law: 
Do not fear the reproach of men,
nor be afraid of their insults.  For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool;
but My righteousness will be forever, and my salvation from generation generation."
 ~Isaiah 51:6-8

fear of man
brings a snare, but whoever
trusts in the Lord
shall be safe."
~Prov. 29:25

"Jesus said: 'Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.  And
do not fear
those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather 
fear Him
who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  
Do not fear
you are of more value than many sparrows."
~Matthew 10:27-31

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
~Prov. 9:10

Ultimately, it is the Lord that I should be fearing.  He is God! He is the creator of the universe, and he demands reverence and holy fear.  And yet, He is my Father, and He keeps me safe when my humanity fears what I cannot see.  He is the one who brings salvation.  May His Name be praised forever!


**Emphases are mine



Thinking about this song today...

by Flyleaf

"That night I felt like I'd become something treasured, different"

Can I tell you a story as we dance while the sun starts to bleed?
Song of songs, love is calling, daughter wake up from your sleep

Refined, I'll become the most dazzling precious treasure
I'll be treasured over all the earth

Bearing the gift of a new heart
Patience ablaze I'm slowly burning

Refined, I'll become the most dazzling precious treasure
I'll be treasured over all the earth
Refined, I'll become the most dazzling precious treasure
I'll be treasured over all the earth

I am in awe and in shock, I'm in love and given away
I'm reserved with these words

Can I tell you a story as we dance while the sun starts to bleed?
Trees rejoice with the wind here, hallelujah Yeshua

Tonight I've become the most dazzling precious
I am treasured over all the earth

Just look at what He's done, how He's laying down His life
Take this life, oh, most dazzling precious treasure

Tonight I've become the most dazzling precious treasure
I am treasured over all the earth



Date Night...

Jake and I try to save one night a week that we can go on a date, or just spend intentional time together.  Last night I wanted to go with him  to a Cafe that I'd enjoyed this week, only to discover that it closes at 3pm every day.  Nonplussed, we went to William's instead.  I drank a lemon tea while Jake scarfed down the biggest Belgian waffle I'd ever seen, drenched in strawberries and caramel sauce, and topped with two huge scoops of vanilla ice cream.  It was so distracting that I had to hide it behind a menu while I chatted and he ate.  He's been craving waffles for a long time, so I'm glad that he finally ordered one.

Since we've been trying to save money, our date nights haven't included restaurants for a while.  We compromised by going to a coffee shop, where you spend much less.  I find it hard to count something a date unless we are eating out, or going out, or paying money.  My mind has come to a little rut in that area of life.  However, it's the quality time that counts, and I enjoy spending every minute with my Jake.

He's such a hardworking man.  He even chose to work today, and forfeit his two-day weekend so that we could make some extra money.  It's only a five hour shift, but I'm so thankful that he's able to provide.  I've started to work more (I've picked up four babysitting shifts and four extra hours at the college), so hopefully I can contribute something too!



Castles in the sand...

Right now I'm thinking of my parents, who are, at this moment, on their first Caribbean cruise.  After 25 years of marriage, they've finally gone on a proper honeymoon, with some help and encouragement from their parents and their children.  We wanted them to have a wonderful and relaxing time, and I hope it's been just that.  They're coming back on Monday, and I can't wait to hear all about it.

I, myself, have never been on a cruise.  Jake and I went to the Dominican for our honeymoon, and we had a great time there (even though the sun only came out 3/7 days).  I've heard that the food on cruises are fantastic, and that some of the ships are just spectacular.  We've come a long way since the Titanic!

In light of that, my brother and I were talking about the cruise ship that went down off the coast of Italy; incidentally, it gave us a quite scare.  We were both reading the news, when the headline about a downed cruise ship caught our attention...only to read it was in Europe, and not in the Caribbean where our parents are.  My heart goes out to the people who have lost family and friends on that cruise.



The Hours...

You'd think one wouldn't be inspired to write something profound at this hour in the morning.  You'd be right.  As much as I'm enjoying this new habit of writing a blog as soon as I get up, I sometimes feel like you're getting the worst of my brain.  Sometimes I sit for 5 minutes trying to think about what to write, or I get distracted and navigate back to facebook.

Jake and I often talk about our 'optimal' working hours.  I have discovered that I work really well in the early afternoon.  I can function perfectly in the morning, don't get me wrong, but I do best work later in the day.  Why?  I have no idea.  But when you know certain details about yourself, it makes it easier to plan when you'll do certain activities.  It might even help you to decide which job to take.

When are your optimal working hours?



Sarah's Key...

I'm enthralled with this book right now.  It is heartbreaking and beautifully written, a story of fierce love, secrets, and pain.  

There is also the movie, which you can borrow at the library. 

Either way, if you like reading stories that take place during WWII, you will be sure to get caught up in this one.  



You Know You're Reading Too Much When...

I was pleasantly drifting in and out of sleep when all of a sudden a "heard" a noise.  My heart spiked to attack mode, beating furiously within my chest, and I pulled the covers up around me as I tried to decipher what exactly I had heard.  Was it the door? Then it must be Jake.


My timid voice could be heard calling out his name a few times.  No answer.  Why is he home already?  He just left for work. Is he sick? Is it even him? My mind started reeling.  What if it's not him? What if it was a break-in?  I silently sent up a quick, terrified prayer to God.

Now sweating profusely, I lay there immobilized, trying to devise the best plan.  I will have to get out of the side of the bed farthest from the door, just in case the attacker whips it open and finds me standing right there.  Now for a decent pair of attacking clothes to put on over top of my pajamas...ah, there's that sweater.  And where is a baseball bat when you need one? 

Still working my way over to the door, I was, by now, scrambling for some sort of weapon.  Why are Jake's swords affixed to the wall all the way out in the living room? I grumbled to myself, understanding now how such pieces would be useful to me.  Gazing over the room, I was thinking about what Lisbeth Salander* would use in my position.  I didn't have a tazer or a can of Mace, but I did have a bottle of mousse.  That's gotta hurt if hit hard enough, right?  I tested it against my palm a few times, and, finding it to be durable, I began my search mission for the intruder.

Cautiously opening my bedroom door, I peered into the darkened living room, and slowly flicked on some lights.  By this point, my sweaty palms were making me doubt my choice of weapon, and I readjusted the bottle of mousse, careful to leave it in my strong hand,  and tightened my grip. I tackled the most obvious scary part first: the hall closet.  Small that it may be, it's big enough to hide a willing burglar.  Getting into prime swatting position, I flung open the door with gusto, and found the vacuum sitting there like a good little appliance should.

Finally, the bathroom was the only room left.  When illuminated, I could only see some calcium buildup on the bathtub, and my heart finally slowed down to a manageable pace.  Once out in the living room, I quickly checked behind the couch and the curtain, and finding them both to be empty spaces, I put back my mousse and decided to start hiding a knife under my pillow like Lara Croft.


*A crime-fighting self-defence master; otherwise known as the 'girl with the dragon tattoo'.  


The Shakes...

I've recently started drinking protein shakes.  My dad used to make them for us when I was younger, but the protein powder he buys is whey better than the one I bought...get it? Whey powder?

Anyways, this morning I added a cup of raspberries to the shake, and it was pretty decent.  I would buy a better tasting powder, but why are they so darn expensive?

Speaking of expenses, Jake and I really had to work hard at not eating out this week-end.  We thought about going out for breakfast on Saturday, but then I made bacon and eggs that tasted just as good, and didn't cost us anything.  We felt pretty proud of ourselves.

All in all, it was a great week-end with beautiful weather and lots of R&R.  I actually felt super relaxed on Saturday, which hasn't been the case in a long time.

I can see the sun starting to come up, so I should sign off for today!




Pastor Dave preached an amazing sermon today from Galatians, reminding us that the words that Paul preached are God's Words.  I was encouraged by a cross-reference from 2 Peter 3:

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 
17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

The Bible is not false.  It is the true and living Word of God. Sometimes we need those reminders so we can remember how to live: growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.




Saturday Morning Coffee...

If you're like me, you enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning (although maybe not black like I drink it).  I'm sitting here sipping my coffee, while Jake is drinking a hot chocolate and catching up on blogs.  I love the slow, relaxed hours that make up the week-end, especially since we don't have to go anywhere.  In four weeks, this is the first time we've been able to spend a Saturday morning at home, without getting prepared to drive anywhere.  I'm not taking it for granted!

I have enjoyed writing down funny quotes ever since I was a young girl.  Quotes like that only happened when we were sitting around the kitchen table after dinner, and someone said something hilarious (or, more often than not, when my mom was attempting to scold us, and something highly outrageous would come out instead).  At the end of the year, I would bring down my journal where I wrote down the quotes, and read them aloud.  Laughter always ensued, as we would lightly tease whoever said what.

Now it's just Jake and I, yet I have an arsenal of quotes already...here is one from this morning:

Ash: Jake, would you like some tea?
Jake: Yes, please.  Can I have hot chocolate?
Ash: (laughing) That's not tea.
Jake: But it's like tea.  It's more like tea than a grilled cheese sandwich or a rhinoceros.

I couldn't help but laugh at that.

And this one just makes me fall in love all over again:

Jake: I can't wait for you to have wrinkles.
Ash: (outraged) Why?!
Jake: Because that means we're getting old together.



Sore Muscles...

Yesterday I did a fabulous workout that killed my hammys and my quads, but I feel great.  I love the burn after a good workout, and how it often lasts into the next two days.

I have been trying to eat healthier, but one of my vices is the sweet things.  My ND suggested that I just cut them out of my diet, 'cold turkey'.  She said that because I'm so addicted to sweets, it's harder to stop indulging if I give in for even one day.  This is going to be very hard for me.  I will eventually be able to have them again, but yesterday I kept dreaming of chocolate mousse and how wonderful it would taste.

For my workouts, I watch some exercise videos online, and I hear the trainer's mantras in my head all the time: 'Keep your food clean!' 'Keep pushin'' 'Think before you eat something'

I've also been praying.  Yesterday was a perfect example.  I was looking after my young charge in the afternoon, when all of a sudden he says, "Let's bake cookies!" My eyes rolled up to the heavens and I said to God, "Oh, Lord, you are going to have to help me with this one!"  I plopped dough on the pan, put it in the oven, transferred to cooling racks, all while everything in me was aching to just have one.  I prayed again.  "God give me strength..." And He did! I didn't have even one cookie.  It was super hard, but I'm not alone.  God is so good.




Every month there is a community dinner at my church.  Jake and I have been helping out with the cleanup, which means we get there early to enjoy the meal first.  Last night they were serving lasagna with caesar salad.  Everyone was salivating over this lasagna, and, unfortunately, there is no recipe, since the church ladies made it off the top of their combined heads.

I love coming out and helping, and I especially love eating the food.  What bothers me is how little I actually talk to the people from the community.  Some of them don't have much, and come from hard backgrounds.  I sometimes feel like an imposter.  I belong to that church, go there every week, but I have such difficulty engaging them in polite conversation, let alone sharing about Jesus.  Many of them intimidate me, if I'm going to be honest.  Big biker guys with tattoos all over them, hardened single moms- I have absolutely NO idea how to start a conversation.

However, I'm grateful to have these opportunities, and pray that God will use me even when I feel inadequate.



Roles defined...

Have you ever noticed that each member of the family has a different role to play?  This isn't a serious social sciences discussion here, but I have some examples.

When I was growing up, it was just understood that Dad makes the coffee.  Before any of us children really drank any, it was just mom and dad knocking back the java.  I remember days where mom would go without coffee because dad wasn't home to make it.  Jake and I were sitting around the table with my family on Saturday night when someone mentioned coffee.  Mom and Dad aren't the only ones drinking it anymore.  They trained their three girls well (for some reason our brothers just aren't into it!)  Ten minutes later, Vanessa, my sister, impatiently shouted out, "Dad! You have to make the coffee now!" and that's just how it's done.  Dad makes the coffee (with some friendly nudging on the side), and what good coffee it is!

My brother Graham, on the other hand, is quite adept at making a nice bowl of perfectly salted and buttered popcorn.  When movie time came around, who do you think got asked to pop some kernels for us?

If someone wanted any sort of treat bought for them (i.e. candy, Iced caps, donuts, you name it), they would ask Melissa.  She was the 'sugar mama', and I think Karl and Vanessa still take advantage of her generosity.

Vanessa was the dynamo, the activist (and still is...see the coffee example!).  If anyone wants something to get done, quickly, ask her.  She does the job, and in lightning speed.  (No wonder she's got the best marks in school out of all of us!)

Mom is just good at everything, much to her chagrin.  I think most moms are, though.  But I've never met a mom who could provide you with a last-minute gift (from a stash at home), including the gift bag AND card for any occasion.  My mom can do that.  AND how!  It's incredible!

Karl is still too young (and came at the end of the line) for us to know his role yet, and I simply can't remember mine.  Oh, selective memory, you have failed me yet again!

Roles like these are, in some ways, tongue-in-cheek, and borne from familial habit and consistency rather than a societal definition of who does what.

This morning I was reading in the news that a conference taking place in Israel is allowing only men to be keynote speakers.  This wouldn't be so bad, except for the fact that the topic is gynecological advance, which is a matter that concerns women.  The article said that there are many professional women who could speak on the topic, but they are only allowed to sit in the audience.

In North America, we have taken women's rights for granted.  I do not claim to be fully knowledgeable about matters that take place in other countries, but from what I hear and read about in the news, there are still women who don't have a say, even in things that directly pertain to them.

It is unfortunate that some roles are still being defined, but encouraging to hear that people are pushing back and questioning tradition.

What are your thoughts?



Back in the Game...

I'm happy to say that I'm going back to work today.  After a month off, I'm done with cabin fever and not getting anything accomplished.  This is it, I'm doing it, getting back in the game, and feeling accomplished.

I'm also looking forward to the social interaction I get from working in a college cafeteria.  It's wonderful to see so many smiling faces every day, and it really does give me a positive boost.  I'm so thankful for my job there.

Speaking of food, it's been fun trying to see how low we can keep our grocery bill while still buying food that is healthy.  Yesterday, it was only $56 for the week, and that included a TON of veggies, an $11 package of frozen chicken, and some dairy stuff- you know how expensive that can get.  It was really nice to see so many vegetables on the conveyor belt, and I had a hard time not comparing our foodstuffs to the woman's beside us, which amounted to over $100 and consisted of a lot of junk (truth be told, I think she was buying it for her daughter who was just starting university).

Both Jake and I have a hard time feeling full after eating vegetables.  In my case, I always feel the need to eat something hearty, like bread, rice, or pasta with a meal.

Case in point:
Last night I made a roast pork loin with squash and peas.  Were we full afterwards? No.
What we chose to eat as a filler, I am ashamed to say, was not healthy in the least.  Some gummi bears and a bowl of peanuts, marshmallows, and chocolate chips were our vices.  I think bread or rice would have been a better option by that point.

As much as I know about health and nutrition, these are the times that I cry out, "What was I thinking?!"  It seems as if I still have a long way to go to break the habits that I've taken 20 years to form (including needing something sweet after a meal).

I just pray that God would continue to keep me on the healthy path of nutrition, and that He will help me to form better habits that will stick with me for life.

Because we all know that eating healthy and exercise should not just be something you add and take out of your life at will.

They must become part of your lifestyle.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2012.



Good reads...

Some of you have been asking me to recommend some good books to read, so here are some that I have enjoyed over the past year or two:

The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill- A hard but realistic fiction book which follows a woman's capture into slavery in the early-mid 1800's.  I loved the character development and the detail.  It was probably the best book that I read in 2011 (hence being at the top of the list!)

Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers-  An all-time classic for some of us Christian fiction lovers, this one is a fiction take on the Hosea-Gomer story from the Bible.  It's set in California in the mid-1800's.

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte- If you want to step your Old-English skills up a notch, this book is perfect.  It can be a bit dry, but I personally liked the intrigue and mystery of it.  Heathcliff and Kathy forever!

Secret Daughter, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda- A secular best-seller in 2009, this book is an adoption story that will break your heart, but it's a very good read none-the-less.

Warrior Princess, by Princess Kasune Zulu- An autobiography written by an HIV-AIDS positive woman from Africa, this book will touch your heart and give you understanding of the reality of AIDS.

Hidden Places, by Lynn Austin- I would recommend literally anything by Lynn Austin, but this one was my absolute favourite.  If you like books that are set on farms, and deal with secrets of the past and understanding God's love, this one is for you.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett- Aside from being a popular best-seller right now, this book is actually very good.  If you haven't yet read about the two black maids who talk about their escapades working for white women, it's not too late to begin!  An easy read.

Immanuel's Veins, by Ted Dekker-  We all know that Ted Dekker is not for the faint of heart, and this book is probably one of the most disturbing but intriguing books that I've read.  Think Twilight meets Christian values and you'll be right on track.  I liked the Christian symbolism, as well as how "out-of-the-box" Dekker wrote for this one.

That's all for now.  I tried to include a few different genres, since not everyone has the same taste.  Let me know if you read any of them, and what you think.

Happy reading!


p.s. Jake and I had a reading contest last year.  Guess what happened? We tied! We both read 38 books this year (although, he concedes that I read more pages than him, since most of his books were short).  However, I am determined to read more than him in 2012.  Bring it on!

For the Love of...

Sometimes I go to Psalm 119 when I need a reminder of why it's good to love God's Word.  Here's a part that stood out to me today:

Psalm 119:81-88

 81 My soul longs for your salvation;
   hope in your word. 
82 My eyes long for your promise;
   I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
   yet I have not forgotten your statutes. 
84 How long must your servant endure?[a]
   When will you judge those who persecute me?
85 The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
   they do not live according to your law.
86 All your commandments are sure;
   they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87 They have almost made an end of me on earth,
   but I have not forsaken your precepts. 
88 In your steadfast love give me life,
   that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

The psalmist gives us three examples of troubles that he encounters: 
a.) needing salvation
b.) needing comfort
c.) being tormented by enemies

With each example, he turns to God's word for help and strength
a.) I hope in your word
b.) I have not forgotten your statutes
c.) I have not forsaken your precepts (God's commands or laws)

When I feel troubled or downcast, I often don't turn to God's Word to comfort me, and I forget to call out to my God who created me.  Here is my checklist, straight out of the Psalms:

Needing salvation?  Hope in God's Word
Needing comfort?   Remember God's Statutes
Being tormented by enemies (seen or unseen)?  Cling to God's precepts




The tri-cities are not nearly as snow-filled as is my home-town.  Jake and I visited my family this week-end, and we had a wonderful time hiking in the woods with the baby and the dog.  Unfortunately mom and Graham couldn't come, but Mel, Nate, Vanessa, Karl, Dad, Jake and I (and even sleepy baby Oliver in his wee little covered sled) were all eager to get out and breathe in the fresh air.  As Jake put it, God had the weather on 'random shuffle'...first it was mild and gray, then dark and hailing, then sunny and blue skies, all in the span of two hours.  I was happy to get some exercise, after being stuffed to the gills with a delicious turkey dinner last night, and waffles and bacon for breakfast.  My younger brother, Karl, was eager to go tobogganing, and sister Vanessa wanted to go for a walk.  It was a happy medium, as the trails in the woods abounded with hills and valleys.  We hiked and tobogganed our way through, and thankfully no one sprained their ankle as we slipped and slid down slush-covered terrains.

Later, as I sipped Coffee Crisp hot chocolate and listened to my mom and sister talking in the kitchen, I felt content to be there with everyone, immersed in the craziness that makes up an expanding family of seven.  I'm so grateful for my family and the love that we have for one another, despite the hardships that we have endured in the past few years.  Every time I hear Jake talking with my Dad, or overhear the ever-enthralling history conversations he has with my brother, or see him laughing with my youngest brother as they come up with schemes to get me riled up, I thank God.  It's hard to get close when we live so far away, but somehow the relationships get better and better by His grace.  Week-ends like this help, and we're looking forward to spending more time with them in February.

I'm going to bed tonight with a warm feeling in my heart.



Prep for the Day...

How do you start your morning? Do you put on the coffee maker, stumble into the bathroom for an obligatory shower, then guzzle your cup of java like it's your lifeline? Or do you get out of bed with the sun, and don some workout clothes to go for a winter run? 

More often than not, my morning routine includes a beeline for my laptop.  I stumble out of bed, grab a glass of water, then head online to see what's new.  If I'm not careful, I can easily spend the first two hours of my morning on the net, even before I eat breakfast.  

I think it's time to set parameters for myself.  I have been feeling almost physically ill by spending so much time in front of this screen.  It's time to take back the morning, to fill it with purpose, and get prepped for the day in clarity.

I'm always grateful when God shows me areas in my life that I can change; even small modifications are better than nothing. 



Finishing a Trilogy...

I had a rather sleepless night, and woke up groggy and disoriented.  The morning has been slow and unproductive; yet I did finish the Millennium trilogy by Steig Larsson.

You might recall the first book in the trilogy, since The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo has been circulating and talked about for quite a while now.  In fact, the English version of the movie just came to theatre at the end of December (there has been a Swedish version since 2009).  While I would not necessarily recommend any of my friends to read them (Larsson deals with heavy subject matter), they were a gripping trilogy that I couldn't seem to put down.  The unfortunate parts were wading through the swearing and some graphic violence, and, since I am unfamiliar with police and political jargon, the books were tough going.  I was impressed, nonetheless, by Larsson's ability to embellish the characters with incredible description and back story.  Characters introduced even in the third book were developed down to the very last detail.

Unfortunately, Larsson died before he could even see his books turn into bestsellers-or movies for that matter. I wonder where his creative mind would have taken him, after creating the character Lisbeth Salander, whose tattoos, slight frame, intelligent mind, photographic memory, hacker skills, hostile sociality, and inexorable hatred of violent and abusive men have taken the literary world by storm.

What are you reading these days?



Happy New Year...

It seems that I have a problem with reading other people's blogs instead of writing my own.  I often find myself getting frustrated when some of my favourite bloggers haven't written for a while.  Then I remember that some people may be really looking forward to my blogs, and I'm making some of you disappointed while you wait for me to write.  So, for that, I apologize for not being more diligent and posting more regularly.

I hope everyone has been having a great week in this new year.  The past two week-ends have been filled with driving and visiting and eating...and more eating.  It was a great holiday season, and Jake had a decent amount of time off as well.

I will write more tomorrow...just wanted to check in :)