Friday, January 30, 2015

Stop Waiting for Life's Handouts

Cue the elevator music, because when you're stuck between floors in life, you might often feel like you have to wait things out. Life isn't like that, and in most circumstances, we have work on ourselves to see the change we want.

Illness, debt, character flaws, our physical shape. 
Where we live, how we live, and who we live with.
Our relationships with others and our relationship with God. 

When has passively waiting for your credit score to rise, waistline to shrink or personal relationships to improve actually worked? Have you ever woken up with a burning desire to deny yourself an extra hour of sleep, just to get your Bible reading in for the day? No, you had to dedicate yourself to these things.They all take immense amounts of discipline, and waiting around for our life to improve without any effort on our part is foolish and neglectful.
Yesterday I found myself in a conversation with a college friend whom I've fallen away from. We rarely talk, but when we do have the yearly check-in, we inevitably make our way over to her desire to improve upon the hard things in life. And I always bring up being responsible for your own life. And then, the gospel.

I am not saying that we have chosen to have a chronic illness or a toxic relationship with someone. Sometimes those things happen. They might be put in place to test our resolve, and in the grand scheme, bring us to God on our knees. Sometimes those things improve our view of the world and make us who we need to be. After all, as Voddie Baucham said last week at the conference "the only way you get your "Best Life Now" is if you go to Hell when you die."

Life is not meant to be easy, (and Osteen is incredibly wrong in suggesting that it should be). You will have to go through hardship, and when you do, don't assume it's because you didn't pray hard enough or give enough money to a certain ministry.
And, since I have you here...  Jeremiah 29:11 is NOT telling you that God desires you to have an easy life. You have to take every verse in context. and this verse was written to Israelites in Babylonian captivity. Not you.
Financial woe often follows irresponsible spending and saving. Relationship problems often follow a stubborn, controlling or (insert any personality flaw) attitude. The fact that you fall away from people might be because you neglected the relationship and some things can't be easily mended. The reason you have diabetes might be because of poor eating habits. And, most importantly (and hard to swallow), if you follow the way of this world, you can easily be led to pain and suffering.

Without God, we are put on Earth to consume what we have and have fun doing so. Irresponsible sex, drugs, self-serving actions easily fit in with that worldview. With our eyes focused on God, we are here to glorify him, which is all we ever want and truly take joy in. Unless your life is centered on God, life will be a series of stressful events that we can only aspire and fail to fix on our own.

The conversation ended fairly quickly once I started being honest. And, while I left upset for my friend, she knows that if she asks for my opinion or is seeking a way to 'fix' everything- I'm sticking to my beliefs. And, right behind my faith in God is my belief that we can't just wait for things to improve. You need to do the work.

So tell me...
How do you tell someone what their life reflects the choices and the intentional care that they've put in it?
How do you tell them to quit waiting for life to turn lemons into lemonade, to be intentional about life?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dora and Life as a Symphony

1. When did someone last suggest you 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell someone (or want to tell someone) to 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell yourself to 'chill out'?
Hm. I'm the person to say 'chill out', along with an assortment of other things that he never says. I often find we have a different vocabulary, him growing up in NYC and me on a farm. I should actually start writing these things down, things like how I might buy a 'hoagie' from the deli, but Tom would buy a 'hero'.

2. What most recently caused your heart to melt?
Dora. When we returned from Atlanta, she did nothing for two days except sit on us/next to us/sleep between our feet. And purr. And climb on whatever took our attention away from her.
3.  "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered." G.K. Chesterton-- Your thoughts? When did you last experience either an adventure or an inconvenience? How did you see it at first, as an adventure or an inconvenience?  Does it feel the same in hindsight?
It's too early in the morning for this question. Here's a photo of yesterday's sunset.
4.  A Wendy's Frosty, root beer in a frosty mug, or a frosted chocolate cupcake...of these three, which one is your favorite 'frosty' treat?
I would love a root beer float, 'frosted' mug not necessary. I used to work for Wendys, and don't find their Frosty's all that special, and I've never been crazy about cake.

5. Would you say your life so far this year has been more like a circus or a symphony? Explain why.
Symphony. Circus suggests that it is all random events, going haywire- which I don't really believe in. A symphony suggests that it has a design and was ordered to go where it went, and come full circle in the end. Everything I went through last year has improved my patience, outlook on life and reliance on God.

6. Since it's a 'snow day' here, what's your favorite song containing the word 'white'?
I can only think of 'White Christmas'.

7. If you had to leave the city you currently live in, what would you find the hardest to leave behind?
I would miss the convenience of everything. I have everything I need, within 5 minutes walking. Delis, pharmacies, even the Dunkin' Donuts are 24 hours, and 5 minutes walking from me. And,I  I would also miss public transportation. I enjoy being carted wherever I need to go, whether by bus or train or rail.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Migraines, again. Like clockwork, they come and stick around for 4 days, then fade. Yet another gift from the miscarriages, screwing with my hormone levels. Never having had these before last year, I'm still shocked when they arrive, but I'm learning to anticipate them.

So tell me...
How do you ease your migraines, if you get them?
Where do you live, and what would you miss if you moved?
Do you know any songs with the word 'white' in them that aren't from Christmas?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sharing is Caring

I'm away at the G3 Conference, and while I almost missed this prompt, I wanted to invite you to follow me on all the pertinent social media places...... 

Where I've been SHARING (see, that's the prompt right there) some of the amazing sermons, photos and quotes that have happened so far.

So tell me...
What social media outlets do you have that I should check out or subscribe to?

I'll be recapping all the amazing speakers when I get back home, but until then,check out the conference's archives from the past few days at

Every Friday hundreds join the Five Minute Fridays writing flash mob, 
where bloggers get together to write on a common topic. No extreme editing; 
no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. 
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

American Idol, Alligator Meat, and the G3 Conference

1. American Idol is back for a 14th season. Are you watching? Have you ever watched? If you were to audition for the show (or were made to audition), what song would you sing?
I remember having last followed the show when I was in high school, when it was the 'new thing' and everyone was arguing about backing either Ruben Studdard or Clay Aiken. I remember that the students made signs, along the lines of "You'll be cruisin' for a bruisin' if you don't choose Ruben." And, when Clay won, no "bruisin's" were issued. Can't say I follow it anymore, but does anyone else remember that creepy song Clay Aiken put out afterwards? Every stalker must have nodded their head in agreement. If only they were invisible...
2.  Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first."
I've never eaten frog, I'm just not adventurous with my protein. I did eat alligator tenders in Florida a few years ago, does that count? Thankfully, I'm pretty sure Mark Twain is talking about tackling your most dreaded task first, to get it over with.

3. If you were going on safari, what is the number one animal you'd want to see?
Giraffe? I've never thought about it, I'd might actually be more interested in the scenery. Weird, I know.

4. January 21st is National Granola Bar Day. I know. Do you like granola bars? Chewy or crunchy? Your favorite flavor? How about regular granola? Let's exhaust this topic in honor of the holiday okay?
I'm not really into granola but I do know I hate the crunchy kinds that crumble everywhere and make a mess. And chewy just seem more satisfying. Who comes up with these "National" Days? How do I submit a day?

5. If only__________________________________________.
"If only" is a phrase I tend to avoid. If you are upset about the past, there's no sense in worrying over it. If you want to change something about yourself, get to it. Or is there another "if only" group that I'm missing?

6. You can add one item to your bedroom. What will it be?
Space! We live in small NYC apartment, and although this is the norm I still feel our bedroom should have more room. In contrast to some of the other city apartments, we're blessed to have a proper bedroom. We can even walk around the bed. Carefully.
7. What is one thing you've enjoyed about winter thus far? If it's not winter in your corner of the globe, what season is it, and what is something you've enjoyed about whatever season it happens to be?
Good question- despite still not loving the cold, I've enjoyed snow tubing the most. We went with the family this weekend on our 2nd Annual Snow Tubing trip (I'm all about creating 'annual trips!) and had a blast.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I'm flying to Atlanta tonight! The G3 Conference is Thursday through Saturday and Tom, his parents, sister and I are flying out tomorrow. We're excited to attend our first large-scale conference, all about the Gospel, Grace and Glory. We're excited to see all the speakers, some being Paul Washer, Steven J. Lawson, Voddie Baucham, James White, Tim Challies, and Josh Buice. I know Tom's been gearing up for James White, watching his debates on Youtube.
So tell me...
Have you embraced winter yet?
Have you ever tried alligator meat?
Do you follow any of the speakers mentioned above?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sending Mail to Strangers

I am horrible at mailing things out. Chances are, if you receive any kind of letter from me, it's traveled all over NYC for a week in the search for a convenient corner mailbox (that's why your Christmas card might've been a bit bent...and late). And bills? Forget about it. I've all the best intentions, but since I pay everything online, those are the ones that I forget about and find months later sealed and forgotten in the back of the drawer.

But do you remember pen pals?  Do you remember when you were given 50 minutes in elementary school to wrote a letter to a penpal? I know that people write to inmates, or send care packages to family or soldiers serving overseas. But I feel as though the trend is pretty much dead (although swap boxes still remain), and if you were to ask future generations what they thought of letter-writing, chances are they would have to stretch their brain a bit. It would be like asking us to imagine the penning of the Declaration of Independence. A dark evening, a single half-burned candle dripping wax onto an old wooden table. A quill and an inkpot. For future generations, maybe Harry Potter will have future kids of the world will closing their eyes, imagining owls delivering mail.

I grew up writing letters. That probably started because of a book series called Penpals.

The "Penpals" book series centered on 4 girls wanting to talk to boys, but being that they attended an all- girls boarding school, they were boyless. They put an ad in the paper requesting boy penpals, and started writing to students at the neighboring all-boys boarding school.

Today, this would be a horrible idea. But, in the 90s, this was basically long-distance flirting, by paper. I mean, A preteen romance novel. I ate it up and even signed up for my own penpal, mailing in the penpal request form on the last page of the book. My penpal and I were great. I mean, they sent me a girl and I was hoping for my preteen true love, but I was happy just getting mail addressed to me.

Also, I wanted to be a babysitter because of "The Babysitters Club" , own a horse because of "The Saddle Club" and live in California because of "Sweet Valley High". But then changed my mind when I realized they were all crazy.

I currently have a penpal, one that was I got from an infertility card swap I joined last year. We kind of kept going, sending cards back and forth, filled with congratulations and condolences. Bible verses and sometimes asking for advice. And of course, I know I loved getting some mail wasn't a credit card offer or bank statement.

So tell me...
Do you have a penpal?
Will the practice of being a 'penpal' exist in 20 years?
Anyone else fall in love with the idea of writing, horses and boarding schools from these books?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A post about tea and kids these days.

1. What's your best piece of advice for a newly married couple?
I already wrote a few posts about this, I'll direct you to them:

12 Things Learned Our First Year of Marriage- Written on our 1 year anniversary, and one of my favorite posts to revisit. Also: You will suck at communicating, Sometimes, you have to bake a pie, and Why we don't share chores

2. Teresa asks, "What were you doing on December 31st, 1999?" and "Did you or your family make preparations for Y2K?"
I was 13 and barely understood how to Internet worked. We stayed up to watch the NYE ball drop (which was the only way we celebrated, besides my late bedtime). This year, we went all out with balloons, games and a big dinner. Any excuse for big shiny hats, right?
3. According to Global Language Monitor, the most used word of 2014 isn't a word. It's the heart emoji.What do you think was your most used word in 2014?
I feel so 'old' this morning, sipping my tea, in my non-slip socks, scoffing at 'kids these days'. My most used word? I've no clue, but judging from my surprise at the heart emoji, my most used phrase should be "GET OFF MY LAWN" or "Where is the ovaltine?"

4. Speaking of words, it's that time again. Time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, and general uselessness) in 2015. You can read more about the decision making process here, but this year's top vote getters are- 
bae(before anyone else), polar vortex, hack, skill set, swag, foodiecurate/curated, friend-raising, enhanced interrogation, cra-cra (as in crazy), takeaway, and -nation (a suffering sports suffix).
Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?

All of them. You can't hack life- you figure out a trick. It's not a polar vortex, just because it's really cold outside, and you aren't a foodie just because you eat food and put photos on Instagram.

5.  January is National Hot Tea month? Are you a fan? Do you like flavored teas? How do you take your tea? Have a favorite cup or teapot? How many cups of tea do you consume in a given day? 
My favorite is Celestial Tea's Vanilla Sleepytime, and I usually have a cup before bedtime. No favorite kettle or cup, but in a blanket, curled up on the couch. Tom likes black tea with milk, but I can't stand it. Herbal tea please, and give it to me straight.
6. Whatever happened to______Carmen Sandiego__________?
 First thing that came to mind. How exactly did they end that series? Did they just give up on looking for her?

7. What is one book on your must-read list this winter?
Bible. Ongoing, since I didn't make it though it in it's entirety last year. Not too upset though, since I was getting distracted on other Bible studies. Lets be real here, the chapters of genealogies can wear you down!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Making some Oatmeal-Banana (ONLY) Cookies this morning. And, probably eating them all when I get home tonight, entirely guiltfree.
So tell me...
Did today's Hodgepodge make you feel a bit older than you are?
Have you read through the Bible, or any long book this last year? Did you get sidetracked?
Do you have a "guilt-free" recipe you gorge on? Share it in the comments below!

Friday, January 9, 2015

5 Ways to Welcome Winter in NYC

Winter is here. I could hide indoors and reminisce about the 50 degree days in December (and the ability to leave the house without two layers of thermals)..... but it's a losing battle. We lasted longer than most, but as I look outside and see the first bit of accumulation, I'm admitting defeat. It's time to embrace this season, and make a list of all the great winter activities and events held in NYC. Because there are a ton. Here are my top 5 picks.

1. Attend a NYC 'Snow Day' event
Photo credit:
According to the NYC Parks Department website, it's "a day of free organized recreation in several parks throughout the city. Activities may include supervised safe sledding (there will be sleds available at each snow day site), snowman building contests, best snow angel contests, friendly snowball fights, music, and complimentary hot chocolate." Free hot chocolate? I'm there.

2. Ice Skating
Photo credit:
I do not ice skate, but I do love going and watching ice skaters. Even if you aren't a skater, there are so many talented (and ambitious) people to entertain the uncoordinated among us. The most iconic place to go would be Rockefeller Center or Central Park, but my favorite would be the Winter Village at Bryant Park, where it's free to skate if you have your own ice skates. If you are interested in finding an outdoor ice skating rink, visit the NYC Parks Department website. Also, wrote an excellent post detailing many of NYC's ice rinks.

3. Winter Jam: NYC's Ultimate Snow Day
Photo credit:
Yes, the NYC Parks Department is dominating this list, but only because they do a lot for those who brave the cold in search of a good time. Learn to ski, snowboard or snowshoe. Even if NYC is 'dry' at this time, Gore Mountain is creating a snowy wonderland for the day, and be sure to visit the NY Winter Market (always a great place to browse or grab some lunch).

The 2015 Winter Jam is being held on Saturday January 24, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m at Central Park. For more details, visit the NYC Parks Department website.

4. Winter Jazz Fest
Photo credit: Bart Babinski
Going on right now in Greenwich Village (January 8-10th) the Winter Jazz Fest is a 3 day event with over 100 acts and 500 musicians. wrote a great piece on this year's event, so if you're looking for something to do this weekend, click over and see what this year holds.

5. Search the Internet. 
Every year brings something new, you just have to look for it. And being NYC, sometimes the city installs a massive toboggan slide on Broadway.
Photo credit:
NYC hosted the Superbowl last year, and just had to throw a party and set up a 'Toboggan Run'. AKA, a big awesome slide in Times Square. Which, I still think is the coolest thing I've seen last winter. Our Superbowl Boulevard definitely beat out the zip lines at Indianapolis from 2012, when they hosted the Superbowl. Zip lines are cool, but you aren't surrounded by neon.

So tell me...
Are you planning on doing any of these events? Have any to add?
How are you planning on spending the next few months?

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