Friday, February 27, 2015

Are You Up For a Visit?

I haven't heard that in a while. In my mind, this is something you would hear through the phone (analog of course, if not rotary), from a friend, who is basically asking permission to drop in on short notice. But these days it feels like short notice doesn't really happen, or has maybe gone extinct. No one "stops in" anymore because they were in the neighborhood. Too busy, too hurried and too much technology.

No, all of my visits are planned well in advance, with an appointment on my calendar if I'm being honest. And I could contribute that to several things, like "most of my people live far away, so of course it's planned..." but that would be a dumb excuse. If someone were to call me and say they were in the neighborhood, or just show up at my door on Saturday morning with the "Leave it to Beaver" [insert anything homemade here], my jaw would hit the floor.
And, as my jaw hit the floor, I would notice all the dust bunnies hanging out down there, next to the laundry that hasn't made it's way to the laundromat yet. And, perhaps I'd be in my pajamas with sleep still in my eyes at noon. And, sadly, I might either feel ashamed or irritated that they found me in my natural habitat, robbing me of the chance to create any semblance of order.

Then Wednesday happened.
I went into Downtown Brooklyn for some paperwork, and reached out to a friend the evening prior to schedule a 'coffee break' at her office. When I was on jury duty we had started this habit of meeting up for lunch, and now, it's something to look forward to whenever in the area. And, instead of the expected hour and a half wait, I was out in 5 minutes. So, instead of meeting up at 11:30 as scheduled, I texted her at 10:15, letting her know I was done and going to Starbucks for a coffee, and to let me know if she wanted me to grab her something or if she wanted to reschedule. I felt like dirt! How dare I be sitting downstairs, imposing on her day (which had barely begun at this point) workday?

She took about half an hour to respond (still arriving at the office I'm guessing) but then told me to come on up! And, yes, she received a few phone calls while I was there and had to sign for a package, but it seems that I really wasn't the worst inconvenience in the world. Shocking news to me, because if it had happened to me, my head might've exploded.

I definitely need to loosen up and grow in my hospitality and while this is something I've been working on, it's always been on my terms/my schedule. Even my inlaws (Tom's parents) who live across the hall get a sigh sometimes when I hear their knock. They live in the same building, did I really expect them to call to ask to stop in, to retrieve their ladder I stole a month ago to put away Christmas decorations? Or to retrieve a pan I borrowed and forgot to return? Of course not. Sure, I'm comfy in the couch but then I remember the times when I nearly chopped my finger off or thought that someone was holding my husband ransom, and I ran across the hall for help.

I need to stop being so selfish with my time and freely welcome people, who are just popping in for a visit unexpectedly.

So tell me...
Have you ever popped in for a visit unannounced?
When was the last time you did, or someone did to you?
Does the pile of laundry mock you as you greet and pour coffee for your visitor?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Indian Food and Going to the Movies Alone

1. Did you watch The Oscars? How many of the Best Picture nominees have you seen? (American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash)

Do you think actors should use their acceptance speeches as an opportunity to promote their political and/or social agenda? Does that sort of speech make you more or less inclined to change the channel?
Tom and I did go to see the Grand Budapest Hotel when we were on vacation last year, which might have had an good plot line if you could get past the first 15 minutes. Avoid this movie if you aren't interested in watching people have sex from the minute the film begins. It was scene after scene after scene, and I remember turning to Tom and saying that I wanted my money back. He agreed and was happy I made the move since he didn't think we could even ask. The manager was kind and offered us a refund, and told us that we shouldn't trust the previews as any indication about how clean a movie is. He said that while explicit sexual acts were only a short part of this film, it was all too graphic to even elude to in previews.

I don't think that the Oscars are the correct place to proselytize your beliefs. Sure, if I were ever win an Oscar I would love to just give the gospel as my acceptance speech, but we are told to be wise. And while it is much trendier to support those movements verses, say, God- the messages probably weren't as well received as the speaker would have wished.

2. Speaking of the movies... are you comfortable going to a movie alone? How about dinner in a restaurant (not fast food, but an actual restaurant)? The second half of this question was posed by Carrie who blogs over at It's Not Easy Being Queen. Thanks Carrie!

I would love to go to a movie alone- but never have. I think it's a bit unnatural, since I rarely find time to see movies in theaters at all. Maybe some a guilty pleasure movie that Tom wouldn't want to see. However, I would not want to eat a meal alone. I like being able to talk with someone over a good meal, and feel the food is secondary to the atmosphere (and that usually requires good company).

3. What's the last home repair or home improvement project you had to pay someone to complete? In hindsight was this a project you could have done yourself?

Nothing. We don't own our apartment and have only done minimal work. Although, I would love to hire someone to take care of the kitchen renovation that is happening this summer. Can I have hindsight in advance?

4. Have you ever had Indian food? Like it or no? If you're a fan, what's your favorite dish? Have you ever prepared this yourself at home? Is there an Indian restaurant in your current hometown?

Oh, I love Indian food. My favorite order is saag (spinach or greens) paneer (cheese) with extra naan (bread).
The entire idea of making my own cheese not only intimidates me but grosses me out. Where I grew up In rural Pennsylvania, there were zero options when it came to international cuisine. Oddly enough, this was the first Indian dish I ever ate, on a daytrip to NYC with college friends.

5. A song that reminds you of your parents?

No specific songs remind me of my parents, but I have a strong love of 90s country music because of them. I have several memories of riding between them in the pickup truck, singing along to the radio.

6. The 26th of February is National Tell A Fairy Tale Day. What's your favorite, or one of your favorite, fairy tales? Do you have any childhood memories associated with a particular fairy tale?

Uh.... I read a lot of books as a child. Just not fairy tales I guess. I remember that for my kindergarten class every student was required to donate a book to the library. I donated "The Country Mouse and the City Mouse", where the city mouse seemed like a total jerk and the country mouse was the protagonist. Funny how this country mouse ended up marrying a (non-jerk) city mouse.

7. What's a problem you solved yesterday?

Solved? Hm. I figured out how to assemble a table display, but solved? Well now I feel completely unproductive in my day-to-day.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I've decided on my April "Blogging A-Z" theme this year! Last year I just improvised, and this year I'm following all the advice of veteran bloggers by sticking to a theme and writing ahead of time. It was a 6am rush every day last April, I hope that it's a smoother experience than last year.

So tell me...
Have you ever had saag paneer?
Have you ever walked out of a movie, or asked for a refund?
Are you participating in the April A-Z challenge? If so, do you have a theme, and do you write beforehand?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

G3 Conference 2015

Yesterday I introduced the act of attending the conference, which sorely was lacking in sleep but thankfully plentiful in coffee. Three days later, I left to fly home- having a greater appreciation for God and the preservation of His Word, but also for all the cogs and gears that function within the church. The speakers spoke on all kind of topics, from preaching to Creation to defending the Bible. 
Like I said yesterday, many attendees came for the topics that most interested them. We attended every one and soaked it all in (hence the sleep deprivation). And, in this day of technology, it's incredibly easy to go back and revisit the sessions with the videos (embedded from the G3 website) and some notes below. 

All of the lectures were different from the others (James White is a debator and not a preacher, so he leans toward teaching about defending the Bible, while Richard Owen Roberts is a commanding revivalist, who will move an entire sanctuary to sit on the edge of their seats).
I would really encourage you to watch the sessions, and if you want to look at my notes, they are below each video. See below the videos for an abridged biography on each speaker, taken from the G3 Conference website.

Keep in mind that while I'm normally a happy little note taker, towards the end of the conference (really, after the first day of not sleeping) I was trying to just focus, and give the coffee in my veins a fighting chance.

Monday, February 23, 2015

My First Conference!

On January 22, 23 and 24th, Tom and I traveled to Atlanta Georgia with my in-laws for the 2015 G3 Conference. Being my first ever conference, I didn't know what to expect. I soon realized that it reminded me of a summer camp, orientation at college, and (since this was a Christian conference) church. Since I love heavily structured events (really, I do. No implied sarcasm), I am thoroughly sold on the idea of attending a conference every year.

The G3 Conference is held every year at Prays Mill Baptist Church, 20 minutes outside of Atlanta. Every year they have a different topic, and I loved that this year's topic was The Bible.
Many of the attendees lived in the general area and drove to attend, and have attended every year that it has been held. Many of those people pick and chose the sessions that they felt pertain to them orthat they are most interested in. We soon realized that we were likely the only attendees who came and stayed for every single session. Which meant that we were arriving each day at 7:30am for breakfast and staying thru until the last session ended at 9:30pm. We became the official sponsor of Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts that week.

Tomorrow I will be posting the conference session videos, along with some notes and information from each session. 

For a quick taste of what was discussed during the conference, I took this blurb from the G3 Conference website:

2015 G3 Conference – “The Bible is the Word of God”

The church of Jesus Christ in every generation is given the weighty charge to proclaim and preserve the Word of Truth.  What we believe about the Bible will shape how we live, how we worship, and how we seek to educate our children and grandchildren.  Have you considered the lack of Bible reading in a typical worship service in our present day?  Have you talked with your friends outside of your church about their family worship patterns?  If you use the word “catechism” outside of a church or conference setting today, you may receive strange looks of complete confusion.  The fact is, we are living in a day where the Bible has become the most popular book of history and yet the most irrelevant book among the culture. God has breathed out His Word.  Preachers have proclaimed God’s Word.  Martyrs have died to preserve God’s Word.  Today, we don’t have an option to relax when it comes to the inerrancy, authority, sufficiency, veracity, infallibility, and holiness of God’s Word.

So tell me...
Have you ever attended a conference?
Would you recommend any, or did you generally not enjoy the format?
One month after the event, is this post ridiculously late or what?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Opening Up about Blogging

To my friends and family...

You might be here now because I said something about writing online, or perhaps a you found me on Twitter and see the [New Post] tweets I put up throughout the week. I'm sure that if you write online in any capacity you can relate to what I'm about to say. But chances are that if you know me in real life, the simple phrase "I am a blogger" can cause some confusion. So let me clear some things up.
I've been thinking a lot lately about telling people about this space, and I know that at some point everyone I know will find out that I write. And that I write online. So I'm striking before this happens, because I'm sure I would like some clarification if I stumbled onto a blog and found out some surprising new things.

You might be shocked and find out something that I haven't told you yet (or shared with my friends and family)- mainly about struggling with infertility but other things as well. If you knew about a pregnancy, you heard about the resulting miscarriage(s). I imagine the lack of babies a year plus later might clue anyone in if I missed that small detail. And to be honest, when I get my next positive test I don't plan on telling anyone (other than the most important people in my life and the visitors here) until the 'coast is clear'.

If you are a family member or friend who found me online, don't be surprised by this. Especially if we don't talk other than through Facebook comments or if we haven't seen each other in a year. The people who visit my blog will hear about it before you.

I find that that it's best to not tell my friends and family in real life all the details. Because if you haven't struggled with this, my telling you will only make you sad and make situations awkward. Most people don't want to know the truth, they want the happy ending.

The nitty-gritty about doctors and diagnoses and costs and struggles and fears are best suited to like-minded readers, ones who came here knowing what I write about and are going through similar situations.

I do write about other things as well, such as "learning how to be married", topics about Christianity and my adjusting to city life- when it still (and likely always will) feel foreign to this small-town girl. Things that might not resonate with my real-life friends and family but topics that are open for discussion and helpful within the online community I've found through blogging.

So tell me...
Do I know you in real life (did you find my blog)?
If you are a blogger, have you opened up to your family and friends?
How did that go?

Friday, February 13, 2015

When it's Not My Turn

When is it my turn?
How selfish of me, to immediately think the above when I saw that today's topic is "when".
As if I am lacking in the important things (food, warmth, family, shelter, employment, and of course my salvation). I have everything I need, and plenty that I do not. But still, I want more. I want to have children. I want to feel healthy and not often have migraines, colds, aches. I want to have a successful blog, with minimal work. I want to to be a great entrepreneur, or even to have any idea where I fit in this category. I want to get a foot into many doors that I haven't even knocked on.

Or, maybe I have knocked. Even so, when the door isn't immediately opened I get upset, frustrated and begin doubting myself. But.. God. He commands us to not worry and be content with our position in life. They say that you are the company you keep, and I'd have to say that since living in New York that I do feel the pressure and the constant 'go' of society pulling me forward. It's almost like a string tied around my waist, pulling me too fast towards the things that the world thinks I should desire. I would love to cut the string.

I would love to be the woman who is content with what she has, and I remember once being that woman, back when I didn't have so much. It's sad how sin-filled we are that the more we have the more we want. God, bring me back to the place of contentment. To enjoy the cup of tea and crisp mornings. To still gather joy from the simple ability to travel, to visit family and to see my mother this weekend. To spend time with her and not have 10 other things in my head threatening to distract me.
I do see the 'peace that passes understanding' when times get hard. I lean on Him, and know that even if this world were pass away, I'm going to a far better place. If I get sick or lose my job, there is a greater good that this is serving, in glorifying God in some way. Yet when times aren't all that hard I lean less on him and more on my own ambitions. I pray that I can leave it all at Jesus' feet and remember the joy in being content with the here and now.

So tell me...
Do you ever feel like you're losing contentment?
Do you live in a large city or in the country, how do you feel it influences you?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Love Letters and a NYC Subway Performance

1. Have you ever written a love letter? Have you written one recently? Had one written to you? Did you keep it?
I've never written a love letter, but did receive a few from a high school boyfriend who considered himself quite the poet. I would love to find them now, I'm sure they are filled with cheesy lines about flowers and birds and the wind. But times change, and so does communication. When Tom and I were dating long distance we were well into the digital age of email and online chat. I remembering locking a few texts on my phone, so I could look at them when missing him. Since I don't have anything to entertain y'all, here's our first photo together, taken a few months before I moved to NYC.
2. What's a movie that ends in a way you especially love?
Big Hero 6. Love that movie. Have you seen it? A brainy kid in San Fran-Tokyo (basically) avenges his brothers death by using his brother's invention- a white balloon guy who diagnoses sickness. Go see it, we cried it was so good (and the best ending I've seen in a movie).
3. Something that makes your heart sing? And for those of you who are parents, I mean something besides your children that makes your heart sing?
Right now, my heart would sing to spend the day in the country with the temperature Just. Right. Laying outside in grass without shoes. Possibly napping. Picnicking with family and eating those Fla-vor-ice sticks.

4. What's the last event you had to attend, phone call you had to make, routine task you needed to complete, or meal you had to prepare, that you did do, but only half-heartedly?
Maybe leaving home today without making the bed? I don't have many tasks that I could half-do, but I guess putting off housework.

5. Tuna fish salad-yay or blech? If you said yay, how do you like your tuna salad prepared? Hey, this is the Hodgepodge, right?
Yay. And, prepared in any way, really. Back when my mom and I were tight on cash we made 'tuna melts' by mixing tuna and mayo, putting it with a slice of cheese on a hamburger roll and wrapping the roll in tin foil to bake for 15 minutes. Unhealthy, but a meal that always brings back good memories of 'getting by' with my mom on our own.

6. What's something you 'know by heart'?
The New testament 'Books of the Bible' song. I used to know the Old Testament "Books of the Bible" song, but my brain last lost valuable storage space over the years due to my holding in my sneezes. But, I'd like to memorize it again.
7. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, what two or three word phrase would you write on a conversation heart for someone you love? That someone could be a spouse, child, parent, cousin, bestie...anyone at all whom you love.
Skype Me. This actually probably exists, and as I general rule I miss the traditional sayings (and especially hate the 'sexy' or technology ones). But, my friend recently encouraged me to get on Skype this past Sunday and I was able to see her! (Which I know is the entire point of Skype, but it was so nice). And, I made faces with her daughter, who showed me her drawings and hand puppets.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
This Guy. Lower your speakers.

So tell me...
Have you seen Big Hero 6?
Do you have any saved love letters? Or do you write them now?
Do you get awesome entertainment on your commute?

Monday, February 9, 2015

This Past Week's Lowlights

Many people today are writing about their weekend highlights. Well, in an effort to keep things real I'm going to admit that this was not a great week for me. So instead of 'highlights', I'm doing a lowlights post on all the things that I wish hadn't happened.
1. Tom was 'kidnapped'. ***not really*** There was a phone call at 9am Thursday where someone told me that they were holding Tom ransom for $600. Of course, it seemed scammy. But, it took us an hour to find out that Tom was found in class, perfectly fine by the campus police. That was a stressful morning.

2. My 'aunt' decided to show up on Sunday, very late and very inconsiderate. But, this display made me smile.
3. I bought some valentines to hand out and gave some to my in-laws yesterday. As I handed them out, they were a bit excited, and we quickly found out that they thought we handed them pregnancy announcements. We had to explain that they weren't, which was awkward. They were especially confused when they saw the penguin tattoos.
4. And... My mother is in the emergency room with pneumonia, 4 hours away where I can't see her. Since we always have a car reserved for three-day weekends, we're going to see her this weekend but please pray for her as she recovers.

So tell me...
Have you ever gotten a call, demanding ransom for someone?
Or, been scammed over the phone?
I hope you all had a good week/weekend, leave me something good to read below!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Keep On...

Keep On Keeping On
I'm about 80% of the way through the Bible. I decided in 2014 that my resolution would be to follow the "Read the Bible in a Year" plan, and although I'm a past the deadline, I'm plowing through it and hope to finish it by April but I often find myself overwhelmed when I am behind schedule, and have often thought of ditching this plan.

I'm not the best when it comes to completing something once I've begun to fall behind schedule (such as the Rosetta Stone experiment of 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015). But, I'm so close. And being a Christian married to a man who aspires to be in the ministry, it's almost a shame I haven't yet read the entire Bible cover to cover.
But, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the finish line is in sight! I'm excited that I continued to work at it even though I missed the year mark. Sometimes it's worth doing something right, and pushing through to get to the results. And, it'll be just one more item knocked off my 30x30 list!

Keep Calm and Carry On
My period should have arrived today, but hasn't. And, unlike months prior (over-analyzing and peeing on a ton of tests), I'm waiting until Sunday (2 more days) to test. For the average woman with the average 28 day cycle, I could test today and get a positive test. But since I am irregular, and my body has played tricks on me before, I'm giving it more time. I still have no clue when I ovulated, since my cycles now run anywhere from 31 days to 37 days.
And to be blatantly honest, we were sharing a hotel in Georgia with Tom's parents every. single. day. that I should've been ovulating. The odds aren't exactly in our favor, and I really don't want to get my hopes up and that starts the minute I remove the first test from it's box.

Keep calm.... don't pee on the test.... and carry on.

Keep On Fighting the Good Fight
Have you ever wondered where the phrase "Keep on Fighting the Good Fight" came from? I'm currently in 2 Timothy, and just recently read these words. So, upon seeing the prompt of "Keep" I knew it would definitely require a mention. I love this phrase, but we oftentimes use it today as "Just keep trying" or "don't give up". But, it was written from Paul to Timothy, instructing him to keep steadfastly teaching the truth and opposing heretical teachers. It's amazing how a Biblical command can be taken, twisted, and said to mean whatever we feel at the time. Of course, this new but it is very sad.
We must fight the good fight, and spread the Word of God in some shape or form. It's not a secret we keep for ourselves, we are told to share it. I write online, and feel that this is where I should tell the truth.

This blog began as a simple place to write, to get words out and I've enjoyed it in that context. But, if you've followed along lately, Christian and Bible-centered topics have made more of a presence, and I'm in the midst of trying to re-brand this space and migrate to WordPress. I have no idea what I'm doing yet, but do know that I want to put a distinct focus on Christ (as well as on marriage and infertility).

So tell me...
Have you ever had to keep on......?
What are you doing now that required dedication or determination?
And.... any tips for the move to WordPress?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Looking Smart in Meetings and High School flashbacks

1. Do you wear your heart on your sleeve, or keep your emotions tucked in tight?
I was incredibly guarded growing up, and it stuck around for way too long. It wasn't until my last year in college when I made some great friends that I started to open up to others, and not fear rejection. This blog- while I love writing it- isn't publicized on Facebook for that reason. If anyone I really know finds it (via Google+Instagram or Twitter), I would expect them to know that I write on here and that would be fine. I sometimes refer to it, but I am still a recovering wallflower. I've changed a lot in the last 10 years, but it's still something I struggle with.

2. How did you meet your closest friend?
I had just moved to a new high school and was sitting alone at lunch, feeling pretty isolated. She adopted me into her lunch table one day, and then into her family a few weeks later. Years later, we still think of each other as our sister. Her mom is my 'other mother' (and she still comes to visit her adopted mother, my mom). I definitely appreciate all that she (and her family) have done for me in my teenage years, and love when we get to meet up and hang out. And, she has a beautiful daughter who loves to see "Aunt Farin and Uncle Tom" when we come to visit :)
3.  Pink lemonade, grilled salmon, cotton candy, pink grapefruit, a strawberry milkshake, or raspberry sorbet...of the pink foods listed, which one is your favorite? Least favorite? Which one have you most recently consumed?
My choice would be salmon, any form of salmon. I attribute this to vacations, specifically cruises, where they always offer bagel with lox (aka, my perfect breakfast). It's nothing fancy, but anytime I eat it I feel like I'm on vacation. But I do love grilled salmon too. Least favorite is grapefruit. Something about the taste makes my stomach turn. And why is it a 'grape' fruit?

4. When were you last 'tickled pink' over something? Explain.
I don't know what would qualify as tickled pink. So... I just painted my nails, and am reminded how happy I am that I never have to pay to get them done professionally. Proof that sometimes (years of) practice does make perfect.
5. Are you a fan of television talk shows? Daytime, nighttime, or both? What's your favorite?
Um... I watch the Today Show every weekday, but I don't think that counts. We used to watch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, but not so much recently.

6. When was the last time you wanted to ask a question, but felt too foolish to do so?
Any quarterly or corporate staff meeting, really. And there isn't any reason for it since I generally have a good understanding of what is happening. But I always worry I'll say something idiotic. There's something very intimidating about being a guest (to the people who you only know by name when they are CC'd on the really important emails), 40 floors up at their office on Wall Street.
7. My favorite __________________right now is _________________.
My favorite place right right now is my bed. With my warm pj's, eye mask and ear plugs.

People are still trying to get out of their iced parking spot. All the noise from the car revving, spinning out, the owner slamming doors, and chipping away at the ice on the pavement with an ice scrapper. I want to yell out the window "you live in NYC.... just use transit already!" Needless to say, it's not the easiest to fall asleep to. So, earplugs.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Have you seen this: 10 Tricks to Appear Smart During Meetings

There are tons of articles out there with the exact same wording (seriously- word for word.... how do they do that?) but the content is true. I always carry a notepad, and take scribble notes on page one, flip it over the top and plan my week behind it. Grocery list, blog posts, emails to send..... and when there's a five minute break, flip back to the chicken scratch notes, and put a pen on top. No one will know the difference. Know when to talk, know when your department will be discussed and you can easily zone out until then. 80% of our meetings are issues with our website, and I have no reason to say anything anyway.

So tell me...
How do you 'look attententive' at meetings?
Do you know why they named grapefruit after grapes?
How is the weather in your area? Ice and snow, or something else?

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