Sunday, December 20, 2009

Faith and Frapps

(photo by live life loud)

Friday I spent a few hours at our local Starbucks. I was focused on some work that I really wanted to get done before the weekend. 'Bucks was packed.

In Utah, Starbucks is different. I've only been to three stores out there (all of the stores within 12 miles of my house), and am disappointed with every one. They are slow. They make drinks wrong a lot. They don't have the charisma from their staff that Starbucks is known for. But, how could they? They live in Mormon-ville. Mormons dont' drink caffeine, so their clientel is very limited, and so is their employment pool.

Going to these Starbucks has been strange for me. They are cold and empty, and just don't feel the same...

Spending an afternoon in a real Starbucks again was great. I've only been in Utah for 5 months, but still I was surprised by my experience at my neighborhood 'Bucks. After I had been there for about an hour, I started to be more observant of the parties around me. I was completely surrounded by [Evangelical] Christians. In Colorado Springs this is pretty typical, but in Littleton, i was caught by surprise. The woman next to me was writing a final paper (i assume) for some Christian course - probably either at Denver Seminary or Colorado Christian Univ. There were ladies sitting on the couches exchanging stories about their missions experiences in China and Kenya. There was a lady beside the door reading her Bible and writing in her journal who had come up to them to ask questions - she had overheard that they were missionaries. 

"Hi, i'm so sorry to disturb you, but do you love the Lord? I love the Lord!" she shouted with such joy and anticipation.

And i rolled my eyes as I hear these women near tears, talking (rather loudly) about their time with other cultures overseas, finding a kinship in each other through similar experiences and through a mutual love for God.

For the first time, i really understand what it feels like to be in the religious minority, even though in this instance I wasn't.

It's amazing to me how coffee shops attract the Christian crowd in many places. And I guess even I was sitting down working on a student sponsorship program that helps kids living in poverty around the world to receive a Christian education. And Starbucks is my favorite place to go and read and write in my journal. As I've previously mentioned, the coffee shops are where I have met with ladies for prayer and accountability and Bible studies. And there is nothing wrong with that. I was just so surprised by my annoyed response to these womens' interactions. I was surprised by my amazement when i realized that I was surrounded by Christians.

It is pretty strange to be on the outside looking in...

Friday, December 18, 2009

You probably guessed it by now.

And i'm sorry.

I'm so lousy at keeping up with my blog when i'm not in my usual routine.

(photo by subtlet: of the "downtown" street in my hometown!)

We are in Colorado. It's amazing to drive 8 hours and make it home. Versus the 15-18 it took us to get here from Illinois. And the drive is lovely. We left after I worked until noon and we got "home" in time to eat a late dinner and hang with the fam a bit! And I was well-slept with low stress so Landon and I just had so much fun together laughing, talking, and listening to good music (thanks Titol and G - the ipod dock makes ALL the difference in our road trips!)

I'm working today. Landon's planning mountain adventures and catching up on the much missed sleep these last two weeks of finals have bestowed upon him.

I am SO EXCITED for tomorrow, because it's Saturday and there will be no working from anyone. Only "family fun time" as we once mockingly called mandatory family time. But I think we're all looking forward to it.

And then once Monday arrives, we're flying to Georgia to spend Christmas with the McBrayer's! Hooray!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Some days there is so much that i want to share with you. I am saddened to have to wait for another day for my next post. I want to share it all NOW!!! I really should start writing those down, because I know that yesterday was one of those days and today I am at a total loss when it comes to posting ideas.

Welp, this will have to do.

Remember i told you that I have put together the most embarrassing display of Christmas lights? Seriously, the houses around her are all lit up in a very organized and beautiful way - you know, when the lights line the frame of the house right beneath the roof? I love that. Mine isn't quite as grand.

But because Christmas decorating season ALWAYS seems to come at the busiest time of Landon's semester, the last few years I have been decorating by myself. Which is fine, but Landon has asked me not to get on the roof, of which i gladly oblige.  So I dominated our railings this year.

We have white lights leading up to our front door, and on my back porch we have colored lights (whenever i type colored my fingers automatically jump into colorad....o? analyze....). I even went to the womens' meeting at my local ward (The Mormons call this group of women The Relief Society. We had an inspiring talk, prayer, dinner, and crafting. It was nice) and women there stopped me to tell me that they can see the lights on my porch from their kitchen! Wow. I wondered what ELSE they could see from their kitchen. Reminded me to shut the blinds in case i need a drink of water at night and i'm wearing nothing but my birthday suit.

But these lights are growing on me. Makes it feel a little bit like Christmas around here!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bonnye's Breakfast in a glass

Landon's parents made us Bonnye Woodlief's famous breakfast smoothies while we were at their beach house with them this summer. They made them for us again while they were visiting us here in Salt Lake City this fall.

We've been enjoying them every once in awhile ever since. I thought I should pass it on, because we all love it.

Disclaimer: this was never written down, so this may not be exactly right, but it's still yummy.

1 cup green tea, brewed concentrated
1 banana
1 cup of yogurt
A handful of almonds
1-2 tsp of ground flax
1/4 - 1/2 cup of frozen blue berries

(I've been known to add orange juice, or vanilla ice cream on occasion. and keep in mind that the measurements are guestimants.).


It's obviously full of antioxidants and is really yummy. Landon and I both like it!

Happy blending

and slurping...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Remember when i said that the way to my heart is with cheese?

A few days ago I received my first Christmas present delivered to my doorstep by Mr. UPS!

The past couple of years, my uncle and aunt have been getting me this delightful assortment of delicious goodness. I don't want to be hasty and say that it is becoming a tradition (wouldn't that be great!?), but each year I have enjoyed this gift for weeks.

Because it is edible, I didn't see any sense in waiting until Christmas to enjoy it (of course!). So for the last few days Landon and I have been savoring delicious summer sausage with Edam cheese, flat bread crackers,  and Spicy mustard. 

It's amazing. And wonderful in another way. I absolutely refuse to go grocery shopping the week before we leave for a long period of time. And we are headed to Georgia (by way of M&D's) at the end of this week. So we are still getting our protein (and saturated fats!) even though our refrigerator is practically empty of all but pickles, green beans and orange juice.

Thanks Uncle Chuck and Aunt Cathy!!! You always know how to love this girl in such a special way!

Friday, December 11, 2009

paper waster

I've mentioned a few times before that Landon and I are trying to be a paper-less family. I did succumb to purchasing paper towels a few weeks ago when landon offered to trade in his toilet paper usage for just a roll of paper towels. But that was tough on me. And hopefully this roll will last us the next 3 months.

I alluded to the fact that one of my great pet-peeves is when there aren't electrical hand dryers in the bathrooms. Drives me nuts, even, when i'm sitting in the stall and I hear the automatic paper-dispenser chugging along for a wasteful person that wants three towels for their two hands. at least they're washing their hands...i guess.

when we were traveling through thailand, there was a woman at the door to the womens' restroom that you paid for 3 squares of toilet paper... most opted to drip-dry i think. (i snuck in my own toilet paper!)

The Sierra Club is doing a initiative for Christmas, trying to get people to be creative about their gift wrapping - foregoing the traditional paper wrapping. Can you think of some creative wrapping alternatives?

Landon refuses to get the local news paper when we can just read the news online. I have a hard time imagining that the traditional and powerful newspaper will some day move into oblivion because of the internet. But maybe it's a good thing, really...

Maybe a tiny  (and totally attainable) new years resolution for this year would be to waste less.
Here's some easy things to do:
1. buy a few cloth table napkins. do not buy any paper napkins in 2010. see how you like it.
2. buy cloth grocery bags (they're $1 a piece and I usually just need 3 or 4 per trip) and forgo the paper and plastic bags at the stores. seriously, if this is too difficult, then you're just plain lazy.
3. reuse, reuse, reuse: wash and dry your ziplocks, wrap sandwiches in cloth napkins instead, reuse the paper and plastic bags that you get with your chick fil a, bread loaves, cheese, chinese, etc....
4. abandon bottled water. if you really can't handle the tap, buy a filter and a nalgene. seriously.
5. invest in a pile of rags and use those instead of paper towels to clean your house. you can do ALL the glass surfaces with one towel, ALL the wood surfaces with another, you end up using 3 or 4 towels in the whole house and save TONS of paper towels.

I noticed that almost all of these say "buy" which could turn you off. I just did some calculating in my mind and realized that for all the things i mentioned buying (besides the water filter), this entire purchase would be around $15-$20. Which all of these things are REUSABLE, so you will spend a TOTAL of $20 for the entire year instead of continually stocking up on paper products. So don't let that deter you, friend. (and if you're being even more resourceful, you could make rags and napkins out of old clothes that are too tattered and not spend a penny).

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned each of these on my blog before, but I haven't actually challenged anyone to do this. And granted, when you have kids, you probably are cleaning up many more messes (my goodness, i can only imagine!), but maybe for that reason it will be even more worth it!

People have commented to me that washing these cloth napkins and rags wastes power and water! it's a catch-20-20. but it's actually not. It's not even one whole load to wash those each month. He have a HE washing machine, but still - i'm sure yours won't do much damage.

Please comment if you have anything else to add about how to waste less. Maybe you want to challenge me to do something I've forgotten when it comes to conservation.

And read my friends blog today about water conservation and environmental stewardship. It hits the nail on the head.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Bells

(photo by ali tse)

I don't think i knew all the verses to the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Christmas Bells

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

the war with the alarm

(photo by francis paraan)

listening to Landon's alarm(s) going off. Landon sets his two alarms five minutes apart and hits snooze as long as it takes to get him out of bed. So each morning, i usually hear his alarms A LOT. sometimes he hits snooze for an entire hour.

Poor guy; this week he is working from morning light until well past midnight. He has found himself amidst final papers and exams as well as "Holiday" end-of-the-semester dinners. Come next Monday, he will emerge into a month of FREEDOM!!! yay! But until then, the alarm clock beckons him from the flannels as he tries his hardest to open his eyes, and ultimately, succumbs to sleep still.

I have turned on the area heater in his office (there are no heating vents that go to the bottom level of our bi-level and it is about 15 degrees cooler down there), have the tea kettle roaring, and am about to go wake him up with kisses....again.

Good luck to many of you dear friends who are amidst final exams - you have almost reached a time of respite - just push on a little longer! you can do it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

a lesson from the Deut

(photo by John Wilcox)

I was reading Deuteronomy this morning as the sun rose, muted by our continuing snow storm (yay!). Warm cup of coffee, flannel-lined khaki's, fleece socks and fuzzy slippers have been keeping me warm today while "the weather outside is frightful!"

But I wanted to share with you a little bit from my reading today, if I may. At the beginning of Deut, we find Moses leading the Israelites after the Exodus from Egypt, to the land that God promised to them. Yet, when God told them to take possession of this land (by first destroying the Amorites), the Israelites "rebelled", and "grumbled" and concluded that "the LORD hates us" and desires to "destroy us" (1:27). And then Moses tells the Israelites something that continues to soothe and encourage me,
"Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place." (1:29-31)
I love this passage. And thus begins the theme in Deuteronomy that challenges and excites me: remembrance. Moses tells them to remember what the LORD did in Egypt, remember how he has provided for us until now. Remember, for many years, God provided for the Israelites: food, water, the 10 commandments, victory over all of their enemies, etc... And now they doubt him again (AGAIN!). If I could be a woman of remembrance, i think i could walk more confidently forward in my life. If i could hold on to God's promises and remember the life of Jesus, remember God's hand in my life, his healing, his provision, his glory that I have seen in countless lives of others.... God is the same: he is not changing: he is not a different God to Lindsey than he is to Maggie;  he is God.

After this encouraging testimony and reminder from Moses, the Israelites did not "trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by show you the way you should go." (1:32-33) So God chose not to give them the promised land. He only would allow Caleb who "followed the LORD wholeheartedly" and Joshua and those children who were too young to have moral calpability to enter into this land that he had promised.

So God leads the Israelites into the wilderness for 40 more years. Yikes! And even during this time,
 "The LORD your God has blessed you in all the works of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert...God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything."(2:7)
And I am encouraged, that even if i forget God's promises, and doubt his leading, he will still provide for me all that I need as I wait on his timing. He will give me that time (hopefully not 40 years, eh?) to acquire the faith to follow him to bring about what he had always intended for me.

When i got onto Facebook this morning and saw some of your status updates and read some blogs, i thought to myself that this is a truth that some of you might be encouraged by. I'm not a theologian, and I am especially inarticulate in these matters, but I hope that maybe you can read these passages for yourself (Deut 1 and 2) and remember his faithfulness and see God's provision and purpose during the waiting and transitional periods of your life.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow Me

(photo by thomatically)

More snow this morning! I love waking up to fresh snow! Especially when it covers the beautiful Christmas lights that are still twinkling before sunrise on my back porch.

Although i can still hear the train and the traffic roaring across the street, the snow really does bring a stillness to life. It is amazing how we live our days with schedules and goals and things that NEED to get done and be accomplished and when the weather comes in like this and slows us down and cools us off, it is as if it's saying, "Who are you? Don't you see you live in this big beautiful world!? Be still." There is a beautiful presence in this reminder. I'm not sure why, but I really see God in the snow. Of course, he is everywhere. Of course, he is certainly in the sunshine that frees us from this freezing puff. But, my goodness, the snow does cause us to slow down a bit, to reflect on the beauty; and when I find myself doing this, I can't help but see God here. I love the quiet of the snow. I love the beauty.

I am so happy that we've had snow on and off these last 3 days!

It's a wonderland!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ski Utah

Finally, a beautiful snowstorm here with enough snow to give us an incredible wintry weekend. I spent Saturday with a little bit of Christmas crafting and candy making, accompanied by many Christmas carols  and the rest of my Thanksgiving hot cider. We then went to Snowbasin to ski the last 2 hours of daylight. Before we went to bed, we completed the day with "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."

on the gondola getting stoked 
(hey, my last two fingers on my hand are double-jointed, can you tell? my ring finger won't go all the way down when my pinkie finger is up - weird, huh?)

I'm still learning to ski, so there are no pictures of Landon skiing because i didn't trust myself to carry the camera. I only fell once all day, actually...

Landon, sitting with me, making our way to the top of the bunny slope. Beautiful out there, wasn't it?

and then back down the bunny slope.

Don't worry, only two runs on the bunny slope, and Landon had me up to the top of the mountain. We did not spot any moose this trip. I got totally schooled by the Jr. Ski Team - those kids were amazing, i thought. I had fun watching Landon experience twin-tips for the first time, skiing backwards and still making beautiful tele-mark turns. He's awesome on skis. I was feeling more comfortable and was able to fall less and ski more than last weekend. I'm mostly afraid that someone behind me will run me over since i'm not too slow and am sometimes on the ground.

I'm loving skiing, and am surprisingly picking it back up again pretty easily.

Landon pulled one all-nighter last week and has some more on the horizon, as he has final papers and exams coming up this week.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Emilie Lee

I love this artist.

A former "dirtbag" (a nomadic rock climber) and incredible artist, she is really such an inspiration to me.

In the last five years, her work has been published in magazines like "Rock and Ice Magazine", "Alpinist Magazine", "The Denver Voice", and the Patagonia Catalog (among others).  I love to look over her work from time to time. see her bio and her .blog She's great.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Little Miss Quirky

Lately, I can't help but notice these little quirky things about me. A few years ago, Lindsay tagged me to blog about my quirkiness, of which i never did, because i couldn't think of anything about me that was quirky enough to be endearing. And of the quirky things that aren't endearing, well, i wanted to keep those between me and whoever is unfortunate enough to notice them.

but now i guess i'll share:

(yes, that is an artichoke heart behind my ear)

I am Quirky:
1. I like to sit in the same seat every time i fly on an airplane. The window seat behind the exit row. I always opt to choose my own seat when buying tickets, and i choose that one. I don't know, I just like it.
2. I smile every time i crawl into bed at night.
3. I can't put my mascara on without opening my mouth into a big "O" - always been this way
4. I am not very competitive. Except when it comes to playing cards with my husband. I've been known to scream of frustration. Well, and I almost got in a fight with a lady playing soccer a few years ago - and I would have if i was fast enough to catch her!
5. I'd take cold weather over warm weather any day.
6. When i was a little girl i thought that i would be famous some day. I think deep down, i'm still waiting for fame
7. I miss Africa. Every. Single. Day.
8. I am a morning person. I hate laying in bed if i am not asleep. I have more motivation to wake at 7 so that i have an hour to hang out before work than get an extra hour of sleep and dive right into work at 8. I'd much rather have a relaxing morning, it's worth an hour less of sleep, definitely!
9. Cheese is my favorite thing. If you're at a loss of what to buy me for Christmas - think cheese.
10. I'm extremely self-conscious about my song writing. I don't mind singing for you, but if you want to hear one of my songs....
11. I get scared easily and i'm not really fond of fear.
12. I can't sit still. If i was born in a generation that diagnosed ADHD, i'm sure I would have had it.
13. I actually enjoy cooking these days. I really think it is an act of God that he has changed my heart! I used to hate and dread cooking the first 3 -4 years of my marriage. And I've gotten much better at it.
14. I get very frustrated whenever i am in a bathroom that doesn't have those electric hand dryers. i hate to watch the trash cans overflowing with paper towels that are barely wet. I consider us a paper-less family. I want to clean messes with towels, use cloth napkins, cloth grocery bags, and wrap sandwiches in cloth napkins. The other day, Landon asked me to buy paper towels at the grocery store. i told him no. He said, "Don't worry, I can use paper towels - I'll make up for it in toilet paper." Ha! What an awful wife. My sweet husband has to barter his toilet paper in order to receive permission to use paper towels. He must REALLY want those paper towels. I started the free-range diet in support of him, he's been doing a pretty good job in humoring my cloth napkin, cloth grocery bag, no wasted paper/plastic rules. But i guess he has to draw the line somewhere.
15. I'm non-confrontational to the extreme. When Landon and I were dating and he wanted to "talk" over dinner, i wouldn't eat a thing. Confrontation makes me literally sick. Pathetic. So please never prep me for a confrontational conversation, I'll be in a worrying fit until the big moment. Just come out and surprise me with your rage and contempt. I can handle that better.
16. Mountains nurture my soul. Without them, i am quite literally lost (which way is west again?)
17. Pet peeves: buying bottled water (what a waste!), when my neighbors put their trash can on the curb a couple days early and leave it there until the weekend, when people lie to me to be nice, rudeness, vanity(especially when i see these in myself), sitting in traffic, humidity, pop-country, Hannah Montana, corporate greed.
18. I love the smell of dirt, rain (landon says that rain smells like dirt - but i don't think so), snow, fire, decaying leaves, Ponderosa pines, patchoulli (sp?), and cold mountain mornings.
19. Easter is my favorite holiday.
20. Deuteronomy is my favorite book in the Bible.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

dreams - another random post

drinking coffee.

catching up on friends' blogs.

wishing i could write a blog too. blogging isn't coming as easily to me as it used to. maybe it's the hiatus. maybe it's just that kind of season.

Last night I dreamed I was hiking through Africa with Duvick and Steve (one of my best friend's ex boyfriend from highschool - weird- and I'm not even kidding). As I was trying to keep Duvick away from Rhino and Alligators (::ahem::) Crocodiles while trying to give him the opportunity to drink lots of water while we were so lucky to have a source, i was attacked by a alligator crocodile - and I could feel it's teeth in my skin - and Steve did nothing - and I woke up before it drowned me. (apparently i've been away from africa too long to remember that there are no alligators in hunny is so sweet to remind me)

I used to dream in Africa almost exclusively while we lived there and at least 3 or 4 months after we got back. My dreams usually consisted of beating the African elements while taking care of my sweet orphans. Usually we were running from lions or drunken men.

These last 2 years I've dreamed in Starbucks. Calling out drinks, opening the store, etc... Landon  used to tell me the drinks I had called out in my sleep the next evening at dinner. ha! funny. I hated that though - dreaming with my blood pounding in a morning rush and then waking at 3:30am hardly rested, going in to brave the cold  , and another morning rush - it was never ending.

But now.... my dreams are scattered. I do dream about my work day with sponsorship sometimes. I dream about hiking through the wilderness. I dream about friends and family (and friends' ex-boyfriends, evidently). But my life is a bit more chill these days. and so are my dreams.