Sunday, March 30, 2008

Friday with the Evangelical Philosophical Society

Friday, Landon had the honor of sharing one of his papers at the Evangelical Philosophical Society annual conference in Chicago. His paper ("Dualism, Constitution, and the Resurrection of the Dead") was chosen from many papers that were submitted to the conference. Quite honestly, he was one of only 2 grad. students who were chosen to present papers. The majority of the other teachers/speakers/paper-givers were established philosophers/theologians with their Ph.D's actively teaching at universities. So, it was a great honor for landon to be chosen.

He did an amazing job! Since some of you have voiced to me that Landon seems to be a bit of an introvert and you can't picture him in this setting, i wish i could explain this better. Landon is a wonderful teacher. Be it rock climbing, politics, or philosophy, he is articulate and patient. Every other presenter we saw pretty-much read their paper word-for-word. Landon didn't read his paper at all, but rather, put together a talk where he taught and discussed the points in his paper to his hearers. The people around me were nodding, grunting in admonition, and frantically writing notes as Landon presented his arguments and points.

When he was done with his 25 minute talk, those who came to listen to him had a chance to ask questions. Landon had his hearers so engaged, many people wanted to question and comment at the end of the talk. People were so interested in his topic! I was so proud of him! You would have been too.

In the next few weeks, Landon is presenting 2 more times at conferences. So please keep him in your prayers as he plans for these while still working at Erehwon and keeping on top of all of his classes. He is also a bit under the weather. Your prayers are most welcome! In April, he will even be flying to New York to present the same paper he gave Friday. And next week in his paper, he is attacking an argument by the person that just so happens to be the key speaker for the conference - that should be interesting. (I think that's right - i can't keep all of these straight!) I'll let you know how those go.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Greener grocery shopping

I was so excited today! Today was the first time EVER that i have been able to go to the grocery store and use ONLY my own bags (made from post-recycled materials). It has taken me awhile to accumulate enough "grocery bags" for me to be able to put the entirety of my groceries in them instead of using some plastic bags.

There is so much we can do to help the environment and be better stewards of the earth (beyond changing our light-bulbs to the more energy efficient type)- it is so simple!

I have been so inspired by many of my family members: both McBrayer and Sheely. here are some ideas that have been implemented within our family:

1. use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. each person is designated their napkin for the week - you have assigned seats at your house anyway! if not, just color-code!

2. do away with using paper towels when cleaning. use sponges and wash clothes as much as possible - these can be washed and used again.

3. reuse water bottles and paper bags. also, i reuse ziplocks - just wash them with the rest of my dishes and hang them to dry.

4. because i drink coffee EVERY DAY, i bring my own mug to starbucks (they will charge for a grande size usually) - i save SO much paper and plastic without using their cups. also, if i do use their cup, i never use a sleeve - those things are useless.

5. recycle, recycle, recycle. there are a lot of things that are recyclable that you usually wouldn't think about. like those worthless bags that you put your produce in at the store.

6. we only buy organic milk that is made from local cows - cuts down on the pollution to get it from the farm to my supermarket to my fridge.
7. absolutely refuse to use Styrofoam

okay, those are just some of the ideas that i could remember are being implemented in my family. do you have any ideas or anything you are doing? PLEASE SHARE!!!

McBrayers in K-tucky

Landon and I spent our Easter and the end of last week with all the McBrayer siblings and spouses in kentucky. It was SO GREAT to get to be together! There were no babies, and Landon's parents weren't there either - just us "kids"! Haley brought her boyfriend and Preston brought his fiance, so for the first time, every one of us had a significant other = 14 people! We had a blast.

We met at The Land Between The Lakes national recreation center near paducah. where we got to spend time smoking cigars, talking, playing games, viewing wild elk, turkey, bison, deer, and a bald eagle! we also spent a lot of time around the camp fire, and eating our excuisite cuisine prepared by justin, and landon (and others).

i'm sorry there are no pictures - i left my camera battery charging in our kitchen the entire time we were gone. pretty sure it's got a full charge now!

on our way (which was not on the way) to kentucky, we stopped by justin and anna's house in columbia, Missouri where we got to see our precious, precious, precious nephews! we love them dearly and wish we could bless them with little cousins to beat up.

another hilight of our trip was receiving our canoe! Our camp spot was right on the edge of a lake, so we got to take our canoe into the water several times. that was fun.

all in all, we were SOOO blessed to get to be with family finally! It was amazing to all get to be together - the first time that has happened since Christmas of 06 - and some members have been added since then. Next time we will all be together is Preston and LeeAnn's wedding in North Carolina in May - not too far off!

So that's about it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Signs of SPRING

My heart has been so encouraged lately, as we have had sun here every day for 5 days in a row - wow, that's 3 weeks worth of sun in only 5 days! In those 5 days, every day was above 32 degrees. Though our lawn has become a mud-pit for our puppy and the town of Gurnee has administered a flood warning for their residents for days; i am loving this. Yesterday i got my fingers dirty in the cold dirt that runs around my house, pulling back the damp, dead leaves that fall left behind to seek (AND FIND!) the beginning of spring coming through what looks like desolation. I planted daffodils last fall and their little arms are poking through the dirt. I can't wait to see them reach for heaven and scream "SPRING" in these coming days.

Day light savings make my mornings at work longer. but never the less, i look forwad to and love to watch the sun rise each morning! i'm pretty lucky - most people don't get to see both the sunrise and the sunset each day!

I've been reading a book called, Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, one of my most beloved writers. This book is not a novel, like everything else i've read by her. It is a story of a year in her family's life where they committed to the lifestyle of "locavores". Reading about how her family became stewards of the earth - how they only bought and ate meat and vegetables (and most everything else) from a 60-minute radius from their home. As i have been so challenged to become a better steward of everything in my life (including and especially the things i consume and this earth that i have been called to subdue), i have been really moved by this book! I went to the library yesterday and rented books on how to start my own vegetable garden with heirloom plants. I am so looking forward to the growing season! I can't wait to go to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings and pull my own strength and food out of the ground! What a priviledge, to grow food for my family and to be a part of God's great power in creating and nurturing life. Obviously, i have probably become a little over-zealous about growing things. but i have just been so inspired and really really excited now that i have (for the first time) my own piece of land to do with what i please!

i don't know if you remember my mum fiasco when we first moved here. we'll see if i can learn to encourage my plants survive beyond 2 weeks. I sure hope so!

Please let me know if you have any tips on gardening or just life in general.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Starbucks - "where everybody knows your name"

So far, this has been a week of new FRIENDS!!!

One of my regulars at Starbucks told me that she feels like we are her "Cheers". I LOVE that we can be that place for those who frequent often. When i was in college, i had a starbucks down the street that was "my starbucks". i loved the employees and they knew my name and what i wanted to drink (and often gave it to me for free). They also began to spend time with me outside of starbucks - seeing movies or coming to campus crusade. They were my starbucks family - i loved going to see them and i felt so cared for when i was there (spent many hours studying and meeting with ladies at this starbucks!). I think because i had such a wonderful experience at starbucks as a customer, i feel a great priviledge in treating our customers with special care. When many of my customers hear my voice through the drive-thru speaker, they say, "Hannah! It's me!". of course, because i have many regulars that say this, i'm always thinking - "who's YOU?" But i LOVE that these customers feel like they are my ONE special customer - that when they exclaim that "it's me" that i would know who they are. Some of them, i know why they are and what they drink right away (i'm trying to memorize voices with cars...on top of names and drinks). So... I'm honored to work at Starbucks and interact with our wonderful customers DAILY.

On top of that, our store just hired a new lady. She is my age and just got back from 2 years of missionary work in South Africa. Oh, i am so thankful for her, and am so grateful for the prayers of those who have been praying for a friend in my life. Someone to help carry the burden (and joy!) of showing the love of Christ to our customers and especially our co-workers. She came over for dinner Monday night and was our first non-relative visitor! She brought pictures from Africa and we talked about the joys of Africa and the difficulty in coming "home". I hope to support her as i remember the challenge of returning home to find a place that is so different and to find that you, yourself have been seriously changed by Africa, yet those around you think you are who you used to be. I'm excited to get to know her better.

Last night we had someone else over for dinner! (we're on a roll!) One of Landon's classmates who is ALSO from Georgia and who is ALSO a rock climber. It was wonderful to have him over. It was fun to hear he and Landon talk about philosophy and about their classes and reading material. Of course, much was discussed about georgia and rock climbing as well. Really fun time.

We are so grateful to God for bringing friends into our lives - we have been so lonely at times! God is so faithful.

Landon is "enjoying" his spring break this week. packed full of taxes, fixing his car, reading for class, writing a paper, working, and tons more taxes, he is kept really busy. but i have loved having him near while i'm working at home. He was still awake this morning when i woke to go to work and was so sweet - he made me breakfast! what a wonderful husband - even to make me breakfast while i'm groggy at 3:30am. Right now, he's catching up on some rest :)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

just a taste of our life...

One day I came home from Bible study and found this sitting on my couch:

HOT STUFF - 'nough said.

And this winter has been SO cold. I thought that when i saw pictures of iced-over windows in winter scenes, that they were only idealic but not realistic. I woke one morning and winter screamed, "is this realistic enough for you?!"

..."yes, thanks"