Thursday, December 23, 2010


so i've been making stuff lately. lots of good dinners and baked goods, and then this weekend, i made chapstick. yup, real chapstick. and it doesn't taste like plastic.

my sister-in-law has a sweet blog all about natural living and homemaking. It's pretty interesting and gives me lots of good ideas, like the chapstick, which was inexpensive and easy.

the other night i had a beef stew from martha stewart in the oven and baked my favorite almond cookies. almond paste is kind of expensive, but so worth it - and requires a visit to the dutch store. hup holland!

a couple of recent favorites:

pasta with pancetta and leeks from the pioneer woman: oh my this woman knows how to dress up the noodles. you will never be the same.

sausage and mushroom ragu from cooking light: added a little red wine to the sauce and pan-fried rounds of polenta. amazing and more importantly, easy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

page cxvi

My husband loves to worship. He plays the guitar and used to lead worship at his church and loves good bands. He gets into his music. He also loves songs about the Lord and for the Lord that actually say something rich and meaningful. It's one of my favorite things about him.

When we were dating, he sent me this one song in particular - a version of Doxology by this band called Page CXVI. Strange name - we used to just call them "pages" or "page cxcvvcxicmi" - which I later found out was a quote from a CS Lewis book (see below).

Anyway, the arrangement is beautiful. Rich. Layered and delicate, but so powerful. We wanted to incorporate into our wedding, but in the end decided not to. Then last week, we saw them live at a house concert. They ended with Doxology, saying that they had sung it in their wedding. So rad!

Page CXVI basically took songs I have sung for years and made them new again. Check them out...

And, from their website about the name of the band:
The name comes from a reference to page 116 in our copy of The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. It is a poignant passage where Aslan begins to sing Narnia into creation out of a black void.

It starts, “In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction is was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it.”
~ C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

i want to read this

Calvin College, my alma mater, hosts the January Series every year and I'm always interested in who they find to come speak at a small college in Michigan in one of the coldest months of the year. Maybe they just want to enjoy a little (or A LOT) of snow.

So the list this year is okay - they have one of the cofounders of Kiva which will probably be interesting. But if I were there, I would be sure to see Father Boyle, a Jesuit priest who wrote a book about the work he's done with gang members in Los Angeles. The book is called Tattoos on the Heart - The Power of Boundless Compassion. It's been on the bestseller list for the LA Times for a while. And I love books about sociology. Getting from the library now.

A couple others I've read that I recommend:

Gang Leader for a Day - about a sociology major in South Chicago who gets the inside scoop on drug dealing and gangs

Whatever It Takes - about Geoffrey Canada and his quest for good education in Harlem

Relentless Pursuit - follows a group of new graduates who dive headfirst into teaching through the intense Teach for America program

Friday, March 19, 2010

how would you respond?

I get an email from DailyWorth a few times a week - it's a website about financial knowledge and strategies directed towards women. Sometimes the emails are strictly informative - how does a 401k work? - and sometimes they address specific situations women (especially working women) deal with. Most of it is pretty interesting and informative, and valuable for any adult.

This week, the topic was Ending the Superwoman Syndrome. And I know this is complicated - my roommates and I have discussed this at length, wondering where the idea came from, how much we've actually believed it and what choices we're going to make to not succumb to the myth that we can have it all.

So I was interested in what this woman had to say. Clearly, she did not find it fulfilling to be Superwoman, but how did she fix it? What were her thoughts on making choices? What ones did she make and why?

I read her article, and here's what I gleaned, based on the details of her life that she provided: she made her choices, and now she is a single parent with a successful business. She also has less stress and makes great money.

In the comments, I asked her what she was looking for, ultimately. Was it money? Less stress? I said it sounded like her business was more successful than her marriage, and wondered if maybe the focus has swung from one extreme - focusing solely on everyone else - to the other, focusing on only ourselves.

I got a couple of rebuttals in the comments - and I'll admit, I don't know the author's situation. But if she did choose her business, great money, less stress over working on her marriage or sacrificing for her son, I'm worried. And I want to know if we truly understand what we're choosing to have, and what we're choosing to give up.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy day

I had my first cup of coffee in nearly three weeks this morning. And it was so good. Truthfully, the detox we have been doing was not that bad. (Maybe I say that now because it's over? Who knows...) It was annoying not to be able to eat dinner when I wanted, and to have to make all of my own food. But I was rarely hungry, and I have not felt so good in many, many months. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to take themselves out of the maybe not-so-healthy routine of eating that we find ourselves in (ahem, Taco Bell - you know who you are), to listen to their bodies and think about where food comes from and why we eat it.

I thought a lot about my friend David, who is voluntarily going on a raw diet to combat the cancer wrapping itself around his brain, and writes about how he had to confront his emotional attachment to food, and find where his true source of comfort comes from. And I thought a lot about people who just don't have much food, and eat whatever they can get, whenever they can get it. It's pretty crazy when you think about the amount and types of food that we have at our fingertips - and how much we often throw away.

All that to say, I had french fries last night, and I baked a chocolate cake this morning for a birthday party tonight. And I will appreciate every bite.

Three more things:

1) The Livesay Blog - an amazing blog about service and faith from a Minnesota family doing work for Christ in Haiti. I started at the beginning, but their perspective about what's going on right now is powerful.

2) Valley of Vision: a gift from my friend Logan, also happens to be one of my boyfriend's favorites. It's an old book of Puritan prayers, and while it's a little King James sometimes, the prayers are beautiful, and convicting. Check it out.

3) My nephew who just learned to walk. Also lovingly referred to as "Frankenstein".

Saturday, January 16, 2010

deep breath

This has been a wild week. Erica (my roommate) and I started a detox/cleanse called "Clean" which requires a major change to our diet, schedule and time commitments. Today is Day 6 (out of 21), and I'm happy to say I'm feeling good, but it's not been easy. We are making everything we eat which, unfortunately, is so foreign to us. Smoothies for breakfast and dinner are good (but not as satisfying as solid food), and then lunch is usually chicken or fish with veggies and brown rice/quinoa.

The last day of the cleanse is Erica's birthday party (can't wait!) but it might be more of a cannonball than an ease back into real food. We'll see how it goes. But I do feel good - more alert and less tired during the day. And I might be losing a couple pounds, which I can't complain about. I'll give my full review and/or recommendation at the end of the month.

In other news:

This is my friend Sarah with her little friend Augustine in Haiti at Christmas. (I went with Sarah to Haiti a few years ago and wrote about it briefly here.)

Augustine lives at the orphanage where I volunteered, and was once very close to death. She's now a happy little girl, as you can see. :)

Obviously, you all know what happened there this week, and although I am shaken by it and scared, I trust that God is there and he will redeem it, even as he suffers with us. My friend John gave me a book this winter and shared one of his favorite lines: "Jesus gives God a face, and that face is streaked with tears."

Sarah has been frantically working to get information about the orphanage and the babies, and found out yesterday that only one baby died because his oxygen was cut off. All the Sisters and the rest of the babies were spared. Even the orphanage is still standing. Something to be thankful for in the midst of this sadness.

But this is especially difficult because I've seen the poverty and corruption of Haiti. It's frustrating to see a place where devastation is so long-standing and ingrained. How does one even begin to rebuild? They are starting from ground zero on nearly everything - political, social, economic, basic human rights infrastructures. It's daunting.

So, I ask for prayers. For the people of Haiti, those who are responding right now and those who will continue to help. And today, especially, for the children.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

this is actually going to be on mtv

I didn't think I would ever want to watch a show on MTV ever again. Then my friend David posted this on Twitter, and who knows, I might tune in:

The Buried Life

Happy 2010!