Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Getting over the bump

You would think I would be blogging up a storm. I have pictures from Israel to share and stories to tell. I have a house we are getting ready to buy. There is a lot going on and I should be sharing it all with you. But I don't have the words.

Instead, I found myself in this daze; frozen while life kept going. I think I may have woke up today though, and am back among the living. Ready for the next thing.

It was fixed [mainly] by coffee dates with my best friends. It was refreshing to hear about their lives and laugh and talk with them. I rarely let myself think that in a few months we will be 7 hours apart. [What will I do?]

No matter how thick the mud that my mind and heart work through, I am continually thankful for 2 things. My God who allows me to rest contentedly in His plan and my husband who I love more and more each day.

Next: a series of posts on our trip. I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Back in the USA

(Trekking up Masada with the Dead Sea behind)

For the past week, Hubs and I have been traveling through Israel. And although we counted it as a vacation, my brain was working overtime, as this lived up to its description of a "study trip." As we come back home and get back to our responsibilities and normal demands of life, I can't help but cherish the 8 days where the majority of our time was devoted to studying and understanding God's word.

People told us that this trip would be life-changing. Although I didn't doubt them, I didn't understand how. Now I can confidently say that this trip will change how I read and understand the Bible in every aspect. Words I skipped over before such as "Kidron Valley" and "wilderness" have new meanings. Sequences of events make more sense. And areas and regions can now have reference points in my mind. As I look through my pictures, they just don't do the trip justice in my mind. The trip was far better than pictures will ever be.

(Posing with an Israeli soldier and a policeman)

You may have heard there was a bomb in Jerusalem. It was the day we entered the Jerusalem. We actually commented on the slow traffic as we drove through a West Bank checkpoint [ends up it was because of the incident]. We were all safe; and really, honestly, truly - I always felt safe. They don't want to kill Americans. They want to kill Jews.

(A big pile of delicious pita bread, which tasted exactly like naan.)

Of course, being in a culture completely different than our own, does make one excited to return home.  I am excited to eat meals that are not under the Kosher guidelines. It is nice to have plug-ins that are familiar and hair dryers that actually have some power to dry my hair. It's nice to understand everyone around and not wonder what exactly I am eating. And, I am very thankful to not hear that loud Moslem call to prayer "mooing" 5 times a day. Most excited, though, am I to pick up my lovable pups and those big floppy ears.

(On Mt. Gilboa with the Jezreel Valley behind)

Every believer needs to take this trip. And I would boldly say THIS trip. With Dr. Bookman as their guide, they need to spend the money to learn about the Bible in a new way. And I'm only saying that because it is worth it in a life-changing way. Understand the whys, the hows, the whens so that you can grasp more of who God is and what He has done.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Birth

Having been a biological sciences major, there really isn't much that grosses me out. Except maybe eyeballs. And fat off of meat. But bodily functions and blood and guts - I am completely okay with.

For weeks I had been looking forward to the puppies coming. This was the mom's first litter and I was going to be able to watch the birth! I wanted to see what it is like, since I may do this in the future. We got the text late one night - she was in labor.

The next morning, we got to watch 3 of the 6 puppies being born. And it was an experience. She was a great first time mom, setting to clean the puppies off and chew the ambilical cord off right away [that thing is made of some thick stuff]. Her teeth would get so close the the puppies that you thought for sure she would accidently gnaw off one of the tiny legs in the process. However, she knew what to do. She would lick up all the blood and fluid and even the placenta [I did gag at one point watching her eat it up. Still makes me gag a little]. It was completley amazing to think that a few hours earlier, she had no idea that little puppies would appear from her behind and now she was carefully taking care of them.

Those little puppies can sure make some noise though. One was loud enough, but as more and more came the crying and whining got to be pretty obnoxious. Finally, the puppies latched on to their mom for sustainance and the noise was gone.

I took some videos of our experience. In this first one, the mom is cleaning up her two puppies. Then I pan down so you can see the blood still oozing from her behind.

video

In this one, the mom moves her little pup back to the warmth of her body. You can't really tell, but she picks them up in her mouth very gently, considering she has very sharp teeth.

video

And here is the actual birth of one of the puppies.
video

And here she is doing her phenomenal clean-up job on the just-born pup. The licking also stimulates the puppy to breath and move.
video


Friday, March 18, 2011

Is it worth it?

Ninja Master Prep Professional

Richard first saw the infomercial for this. After I watched it, I knew I needed this. Our blender was dead and I didn't have a food processor. I put it on my "want" list and waited. Then my birthday came around and I actually used my birthday money [for the very first time] on a kitchen product.

The blades are in the middle of the container, instead of at the bottom. And these blades are sharp. I have slice my fingers open at least 3 times. But when I make a smoothie, there are NO stray chunks of fruit - which I detest, and it isn't a pain to use or clean.

The cool thing is that the Ninja does so much more! I made some "dirt" last week, and used it to finely chop oreos. It was simple and a huge time-saver. I've also chopped chicken and onions up in this thing. And, I can't wait to use it on sauces.

This Ninja set is available at Bed, Bath & Beyond (so you can use a coupon) and is totally worth it.

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The Kindle



I love books. The physical pages; the tangible look of it on my bookshelf. And I know that sometimes scares people away from the Kindle, but I also love my Kindle.

This is the kindle I have. Of course now they are smaller, faster, cheaper and cooler. When going on vacation, I love to take lots of reading material. Now, I load up my reading material on my Kindle and am not lugging around pounds of heavy books. I have used the Kindle for book studies I've done with friends, and it works. I make notes and highlights. It is sometimes hard to know what page the others are on, but I do believe they have fixed that problem in the newer versions.

I have a case for my Kindle so it feels like holding a book. I love that it isn't back-lit so it doesn't hurt my eyes at all. And I know there is a e-reader out there with color, but do I need color for reading a book? I think not.

If you love to read, especially for enjoyment, you would probably love a Kindle.

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Furminator



It's amazing how much fur a dog has clinging to its body when you look at how much fur accumulates throughout my house. I would much rather it accumulate in the trash can, which is what this tool can help with.

I could furminate Ransom all day long. The fur just keeps coming. Piles of black fur mound up in the trash can as I run this amazing tool through his coat. Although this does not eliminate the shedding, if done everyday, it cuts down tremendously.

Since I hope for more dogs in our future, the furminator is a must to remain sane through the shedding.

Totally worth it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Smarts

There are a lot of really smart people in the world, but not all of them can dumb-it-down in an understandable way.

I used to think my science teacher was the smartest person I knew. He knew all the answers and had great ways of helping us understand. Well, Mr. Best, you have been beat.



Dr. Bookman's resume speaks for itself - found on his website, http://www.bookmanministries.com/. He is one of those people that you can listen to and not realize how much time has passed. He is intriguing, he is interesting, and his life is completely invested in what he teaches - the Word of God.

Dr. Bookman has been to our church a few times and is coming again this summer. Last year he taught on the Passion Week, during the Passion Week. What an amazing time it was! I understood Easter more fully than ever before. Hubs and I also listened to him on a recent road trip. It was completely captivating to sit and listen as he taught on the Life of Christ.

The most crazy part of Dr. Bookman's teaching is the rabbit trails he finds himself on. Appropriately, his blog is entitled, the rabbit train (http://www.therabbittrail.wordpress.com/). There is so much knowledge in his brain that he gets taken to different topics along the way in a desire for you to understand what he does. Amazingly, he always finds himself back to where he started and can keep us tracking with him the entire time. That is one gifted teacher.

I've been blessed enough to work with Dr. Bookman over the past few months and I am excited to listen to him again very soon. He is truly the smartest person I've ever known. But it isn't just smarts, it is truth that he believes with all his heart. And that's what is so cool.

If you ever get the opportunity to hear Dr. Bookman, do it. Seriously.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A new adventure

I could ramble on to you about what's been going on. From computer viruses to broken copiers; from ordered clothes that were defective to Hubs' sore knee. Yep, I could tell you all the crazy frustrations of life right now, but there are so many exciting things that I prefer to dwell on.

As long as all continues to go according to plan, Hubs and I will be homeowners in less than 8 weeks. Here is our [future] humble abode:


Isn't it cute? We are getting more and more excited about having a home to make ours. Living in rented space has been nice and convenient, but it has never been ours. This little 936 square foot home will be perfect for our little family of 3, which we aren't planning to expand [with a human] anytime soon.

So, I have become addicted to home furnishings magazines and home designing blogs and websites. One of my favorites is The Lettered Cottage. This house is actually very well maintained (one of our prerequisites due to Hubs rigorous schedule), but a coat of paint and decor changes will be in order in a few rooms. This is so new to me that I just keep pursuing pictures and ideas of things I like, making mental notes along the way.

My favorite parts of the home include: the basement

the hardwood floors, which will keep us diligent about keeping Ransom's nails clipped

a master bedroom large enough for our bed and our furniture,

and, the landscaped yard with an area for a vegetable garden

For those of you who are wondering how Ransom would ever be contained in this sort of a yard, an invisible fence will be a must.

After almost 5 years, we have a cute little house. I'm so excited!

Friday, March 4, 2011

My Week

I baked brownies. They were hard as rocks. I baked more brownies. They burnt. I went to small group without treats, 30 minutes late, fighting back tears the entire way.

Hubs cleaned the kitchen.

We found a house in St. Louis. It's cute and small and a good distance from the school. It's in a safer area and very close to some great trails. I'm thrilled and praying all the details work out.

I completely forgot to go to worship team practice. Didn't remember until 10:00 am the next day.

I realized that finding a new job is a very close reality. Makes me sad to leave the one I have.

Heard from a good friend. It was so great to read her words and be encouraged.

Watched puppies being born! More on this in a later post, including video for the not-so-faint-of-heart.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A little dose of reality


Life. Is. Crazy.

Just so you know, I don't think it ever stops being crazy. And this is coming from a person who really has it easy. I know plenty of moms out there would be quick to tell me who much crazier it could be.

But back to our crazy life. Reality hit this weekend in a big way. Hubs and I traveled to our future home. Like in a few months - future. And as crazy as these streets seemed, soon we will know them. We will be able to navigate them.


It's really happening. We are going to move! It's exciting one minute and stressful the next. And in the midst of planning for the future and making hugomundous life decisions, we still have current-life. Our friends. Dinner plans. Baby showers. Travels. A marathon Hubs is training for. Bathrooms to clean and jobs to do well.

So, I am searching for balance and taking one moment at a time. And no matter how quickly the next few weeks and months pass, God continually reminds me that He knows and cares. And really, there are more important things that houses and jobs and money. There is His glory and honor and praise to be shown as I live each day.

Sunday, we tried out a church. During the service, Richard leans over to me and says, "Hey, over there is a friend from high school." Sure enough. There was a familiar face in the crowd. Then, in another conversation we found someone who knows my grandpa. Where we expected to be complete strangers, we found familiar faces.

It was a reality-trip. Driving around St. Louis. Seeing the many different areas. Looking for a home. Going to church. What an adventure it will be to see how God will use us there!