Saturday, May 11, 2013

Reading questionnaire

I generally don't do tags anymore, but this was book related. how could I resist?!

Do you snack will you read?
Not really, which is strange, because eating is pretty much the best thing in the world.

What is your favorite drink will reading?
Tea, with milk and maybe a pinch of sugar. I can drink it black, but I love watching the milk intermingle.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I underline, highlight, dog-ear my books. I find it infuriating when I can't find a specific quote and don't understand how people can keep their books in such perfect condition. Besides, I really love when I borrow a book from a friend and I get to see what their favorite parts.

How do you keep your place while reading a book?
Whatever is closest. I have found the most random things in books, from missing toothbrushes to spare change.

Are you the type of person who tends to read to the end of the chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
Some books literally can't be put down and must be read in one sitting. (Nancy Drew in high school, anyone?) The thing about reading to the end of the chapter is that it always ends on a semi-cliffhanger, leaving you wanting more...

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or onto the floor if the author irritates you?
I usually forget that someone actually wrote the story, so I usually yell at the protagonist.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you look it up right away?
Definitely! I love finding new words to add to my vocabulary! (I was so embarrassed when I discovered the meaning of the word detrimental a couple years ago - I thought it meant necessary)

What are you currently reading?
Oh, about seven different books. Making the most progress on Pride and Prejudice by the lovely Miss Austen and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Also have Quiet, On the Road, and Eleanor.

What is the last book you bought?
Oh geez, I could have a different answer every day. Today I bought House of Dolls by Francesca Block; Women of the Bible; Vintage Book of Contemporary Short Stories; Beloved by Toni Morrison; and the Poisonwood Bible. I also got the CS4 Photoshop Essentials and Fast Living: How the Church Can End Extreme Poverty through Amazon. Safe to say that I love buying books.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?
I like to have a big chunk of time. I hate getting sucked into a book and having to leave the characters.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?
I usually go for stand alones.

Is there a specific book you find yourself recommending over and over?
Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. Read it. Now. Seriously, why are you still here? Retells the story of Hosea from the Bible and shows God's love for us even though we are constantly turning away. I ended up sobbing on the bathroom floor reading the final chapter.

How do you organize your books?
I just pray that they all fit and I don't have to buy another bookcase. (I currently have five in my apartment!)

Monday, April 15, 2013


Tragedy. Its one of those things that is impossible to put into words, yet everyone feels the need to do it.

By now you've heard of the tragedy surrounding the Boston Marathon. As of this writing and to my knowledge, there are two dead, 57 injured, and 8 critical. Some of my good friends are passionate about running. It could have been any one of them. When I heard the news I just couldn't be on the computer anymore. I had to leave the room.

This was the first time a tragedy in the states really hit me. I'm not going to say that the recent shootings or 9/11 haven't had an effect on me, but I tried not to let them touch me. This one did for some reason. I don't even have any family or close friends living on the east coast. I think it was the photographs. The image that really broke me was one I saw on Twitter, where several runners were just laying in blood. That's when it became real.

In my mind, bombs don't exist in my world. The Middle East, sure. But in my perfect, untouched,  middle class world, it is full of student loans and groceries. Nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly nothing life shattering. I know this sounds ridiculous since it obviously isn't true, but sometimes brains don't make sense.

Yet, even in the midst of this turmoil, people weren't just losing it, they were rushing to help others.

       "What I'm most struck by: video of the explosion shows police, military, bystanders
         running TOWARDS blast area to help. People. Are. GOOD." @DrGMLaTulippe

Pray for Boston. Pray for helaing. Pray for understanding in this chaos. Pray for peace and hope.

Energy! No energy required!

I would have taken a picture of my own, but my camera is currently in the shop. Sadness. I found this recipe on pinterest through Gimme Some Oven.

These things are delicious, but be careful! All of that oatmeal can really fill you up. I didn't have any coconut flakes or chia seeds, so I just added in a little more oatmeal and flaxseed. I didn't try honey yet, but the syrup made it very, very sweet.

No-Bake Energy Bites
  • 1 cup dry oatmeal
  • ⅔ cup toasted coconut flakes 
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed/wheat germ
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup honey/maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
This is an incredibly simple recipe.  Just mix all of the ingredients together, chill for 30 minutes, and roll into balls. Makes about 18 per batch (maybe more...I always sample my treats while I'm making them).


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bates Motel

Can we talk about the Bates' for a little bit?

First of all, I'm a huge Hitchcock fan and therefore, you are required to bear through some Psycho trivia before I continue:

  • First (American) movie to include a toilet. Hitchcock had to make sure it was necessary to the plot, so that he could keep it in.
  • The (90!) splices in the shower scene were so fast that the sensors were sure they had seen some nudity. The slowed it way down, and had to admit that there wasn't any.
  • Did you notice all of the taxidermy in the scene where Norman and Marion are eating sandwiches? The Birds was Hitchcock's next film.
  • Psycho is based off a true story, serial killer: Ed Gein.
  • Hitchcock's last film in black and white. He thought it would be too gory in color. 
  • Hitch was forced to use money from his television show because of the lack of support from studios.

I love that they brought in an older brother, Dylan, for Norman. Brings in a whole other aspect of Norman's family life. I hope they interact more in the next couple episodes. I keep wondering what the writers are going to do with Dylan's character. Will he help Norman develop into his own person, or will Norma interfere and send him packing?

I also really love that the whole set is very classic, but still set in modern day. When I saw the first episode, I was assuming that it was set in the 60s. Before I knew it, Norman had earbuds in, listening to music and girls were wearing leggings.

By the time I saw Psycho for the first time, I already knew about the infamous shower scene. However, the scene where Detective Arbogast is stabbed by 'Norma' is what shocked me. So the stairway got me really excited when they first showed it in Bates Motel.

Now we know that one of the first things we hear from Norman in Psycho is a lie. "My mother moved here and bought this hotel with a guy." That quote is very summarized; I couldn't remember what he said exactly.

When I first heard about Bates Motel, I was worried it would just be really kitschy, but the teasers got my hopes up. Who could replace Anthony Perkins as the adorable, but frightening, psychopath? Overall, I think Hitchcock would be proud of this series if he had been around for it.

Does Norman actually see visions and go into trances? Or is his mother planting ideas? Who killed Norman's father? How long until Norman kills his mother and her lover? Is that what really happened?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Broken and joyful.

Okay, this is ridiculous. It has been more than three months since I last posted. Not much has happened since then... Oh wait, I went to Mexico.

Why Mexico? Because I like to scare my mother - it's a wonderful past-time.

Michelle, one of my good friends, asked me if I would be interested in going down to Mexico for a mission trip. I, always up for wanderlust, jumped at the chance to go to the orphanage. I had no idea how much I would learn from it.

A team of eleven of us left at the end of January for the 1700+ mile journey. Before we even got to Mexico, I knew that I would be coming back next year. We shared our testimonies on the way there (plenty of time in the spanse of three days!) - it was so wonderful to hear the backgrounds from close friends and from new ones too. We are not what we want the world to see, we are so much more broken than that. Really brought us all together. We also went through Forgotten God by Francis Chan (about the Holy Spirit, I highly recommend it!) as our devotions. It can be easy, even if you go to church and Bible study on a regular basis, to just sit back and go through the motions. It was  wonderful to be challenged. One night I remember feeling so unworthy to read the Bible, not because I clutching to my own sin, but just realizing how often I ignore the Bible as it sits on my nightstand waiting patiently to be read.

The kids amazed me. They had so much joy amidst such heartbreak. Once you hear their stories, you question if you are thinking of the right kid. How could THAT have happened to him?! Molestation, exposure to sex at such a young age, false accusations. What do you do with all of this despair? How can it be turned into hope? We are so much more broken than we let on.

It was phenomenal going to church in a different country. We went twice, Sunday and Wednesday night. Even though we couldn't understand 94% of what was being said, we all really loved it. There is comfort in knowing that you are worshipping the same God.

Though we have brokenness, joy can break though.

I learned that images can really bring people together. I've known this for a long time (and especially true with kids), but it was lovely to be surrounded with the kids looking at images of themselves and their friends. I was really debating having such a large memory card though, my fingers got tired of pushing buttons! :) Images transcend where language and cultural barriers begin.

Some of our accomplishments:

  • Fixed broken tiles in the girls' dorm
  • Fixed braces on the girls' beds
  • Changed out lights
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Painted kitchen ceiling
  • Started walls for laundry room
  • Got rid of black mold in the house parents' bathrooms
  • Gaga Pit
  • Benches for additional seating
  • Locks
  • Fixed knobs on drawers
  • Changed faucets
  • Started new relationships with the kids! 

Make sure to check out the video I put together. (If you are using a blog reader, the embedded video isn't showing up for some reason.) A lot of the images are the same, but you can get a better feel of what we did if you watch it. I also put up a shorter version.

I also started an account with YouCaring - it's a great website for fundraising. If you feel the urge, I'd appreciate it. You can click the link or get to it by the widget on the top right. If you click on updates, the needs list for this coming year is right there.

I still don't understand how these kids can turn such despair into fierce joy, but I'm anxious to go back and find out.

joy | alegría

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

One Word

One word. 365 days. A changed life. 

That's the challenge over at One Word 365. I had never heard of them until reading Sundi Jo this morning. I think it is a much better idea than resolutions which are quickly forgotten in a month. Choose one word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.

I'm choosing genuine.
          [jen-yoo-in] means not fake or counterfeit; 
          sincerely felt or expressed.

Over the years, I've had some friendships, though fun, that were quite shallow. Now I am blessed with some truly beautiful friends and would very much like to keep it that way. Some I've meet only once, though I consider a kindred spirit (I'm looking at you, Nan). And for some others, I was not expecting to become such close friends, whether that was my own judgment on their personal appearance or I deemed them too cool. High school, much? I want to be authentic and real with my friends. This doesn't mean I am going to be open about my whole life with everyone, (Come on, that's what social media is for) but I am aiming for a genuine life.'

Happy New Years everyone! I'd love to know if you take up the challenge. What is your word?

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful. And don't forget to make some art. Or write, draw, build, sing, or live as only you can. And I hope in the new year you surprise yourself." 

::Neil Gaiman::

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What to expect when you're not expecting to expect

I'm an awkward, single twenty-something. This is the time in my life where nearly all of my friends are engaged, married, or having kids.

This is not a post by yet another crazy girl that "just wants to be married." I'll be the first to say that I'm not ready to be married, much less have kids. I'm not even sure I want to have kids. I came across this quote while reading Steinbeck's Out of Eden today:
When a child first catches adults out ― when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just ― his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child's world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.
That's a huge responsibility, when I have enough trouble keeping an aloe vera plant alive.

So what should you expect when you are not expecting to expect?

You'll experience self-doubt. That's okay. If you aren't doubting yourself a little, that means you're not testing the waters. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."

Solitude. I love spending time alone, so this is actually a plus for me. I am really good at being single and liking it. (Why yes, I am about as introverted as they come.) In my opinion, people need to learn how to enjoy being by themselves. Take a trip by yourself! Explore new places, read a book in one sitting, learn a new skill.

Find out who you are, continually. Trust me, you'll change over the years. Read things that challenge your beliefs. Step out of your comfort zone.

Monday, December 05, 2011


I wonder what it's like to be God. One minute I'm running around like a beheaded chicken, the next I'm amazed at what He provides.

I was going through my budget because now I'm a big girl with a real job and real debt. As a desperate act, I decided to cut out Netflix before my next billing cycle. I love Netflix. Even though they decided to raise prices by 60% and I am a terribly cheap person, I still remained a faithful subscriber. Alas, the Bank of North Dakota does not understand my needs. 

There I was, staring angrily at my budget. Why did I go to such a ridiculously expensive university? Why am I not a billionaire? Or at least someone who can afford groceries without donating plasma?

I opened up my email and voila! I had a housekeeping job. 

I am glad that I went to such a ridiculously expensive university. I cherish so many of those friendships even though they now live about 13 hours away from me. I am not a billionaire because then I wouldn't be the weird cheapskate that I am. And I love donating plasma.

Something I've been trying to learn (for seemingly my whole life) is to be still and know that He is God.

Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know.
Be still.