Friday, April 29, 2011

Not what you want to hear when you're out walking in the dark

Yesterday Ransom and I took a walk at about 5:30. It was still dark out, but you could see the sun beginning to rise. We got no more than a block when we were stopped by a man delivering newspapers.

"Hey, I just wanted to let you know that a buddy of mine told me there is a guy walking the streets with a black ski mask. He has a stun gun and he is raping people."

Thoughts immediately going through my head: this man has a stocking hat on, and being a fan of shows like Criminal Minds, I am very aware that he could pull the mask down and be the very man he is describing. And now, since I've seen his face, he'll have to kill me when its all over. This man's raping people, or just women? Why does he keep looking down at Ransom? Seriously. I bet its him. Oh good, there is another man walking down the street walking his dog. He can't do anything to me now.

"I don't mean to scare you or anything..."

I jump back to the conversation, "Oh no worries. Thanks for the heads-up!"

And I quickly continue on my walk. Walking slightly faster than normal and well aware of any noises.

When I return home to the front door open, I start freaking a little. But, the coast was clear. And I had my nightmare about the situation last night so hopefully it is out of my system. I think I might take my walks in the daylight for a few weeks though.

I've always wondered what Ransom would do if my safety was threatened. And the day before this strange conversation, we came home after the house was being shown and Ransom went on high alert. He smelled/knew something wasn't right. Someone had been in our house that he was not familiar with. He growled and barked and literally searched every room for the stranger.

Makes me think I'm a little safer with Ransom beside me.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why Jerusalem? Why Me?

It was only a month ago that we were in the midst of Israel. Feels like 2 years ago right now. As usual, I fell in love with our vacation spot, but in a different way.

Hawai'i felt like the most beautiful place on earth. The mountains are the calmest place. Other places have had similar attractions to me, however Israel's is different. It attracts me because the Savior of my soul, the Lord of my life, the God of the world lived there. And as there were beautiful aspects to the land and fun sights, I miss Israel and yearn to be there because I learned so much about God while I was there. One of my favorite things was living inside Old Jerusalem's city walls for 3 days and becoming so familiar with the streets and area.

One of the main questions that filled my mind was, "Why Jerusalem?" We have songs like "The Holy City" that make it seem so great and important. And for centuries millennia people have sought control of this one place - but why? As one man put it - this is where the Divine came to live among the mundane.

Jehovah chose to live among his people in Jerusalem and that is the reason Jerusalem is so special. He could have chosen anywhere - really, He didn't have to chose to live among us at all. Mundane man rejected Him. He came to live among them anyway, and provided a way to atone for sins through animal sacrifice. These sacrifices could never pay the price for offended a Holy God, though. So, He sent His Son to live among the mundane men, becoming one himself.

He lived a blameless life. Innocent. He died a unworthy death. A death that His Father allowed because he loved me - a mundane human. A death that separated Jesus from his Father from the first time ever. A relationship that had been pure from eternity past was completely broken as Jesus died carrying all of our sins, because there was no other way for man to be reconciled to God.

How do I know that Jesus' death was enough to pay the price? Because of the empty tomb. He conquered death. He defeated sin. And He lives.

Before I knew Christ, I was nothing special. I was ordinary person headed to Hell, trusting in myself to find the right way. Mundane. Because Christ saved me, I can have joy and hope and peace.

Because God has come to live in the mundane.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sleeping is over-rated

For the last few days I have been unable to sleep. I get a few hours here and there, but it is constantly interrupted by tossing and turning, by ridiculous dreams, and by just plain being awake!

At first I thought it was the Indian recipe I made. It was a new one and guessed it was the cause of a restless night. But, the saga has continued and last night I went to bed not-tired. And I woke up multiple times during the night, not-tired. And I woke up this morning, not-tired.

What in the world? I have always been one of those sleep-anywhere type people. I have been know to fall asleep in the middle of a conversation at our friend's house. I usually can't stay awake and now it is the opposite.

There is a lot going on in our life, but I really can't narrow it down to why I am not tired when it is time to go to bed.

Therefore tomorrow begins: Operation Wear-Yourself-Out.

It will begin at 5:30 with an hour-long yoga class. Followed by a shower and a full day of working. Then heading straight to the gym for a good cardio workout. Make dinner in the evening and put clean sheets on the bed. Watch The Biggest Loser. Then, a hot shower to end the day and [hopefully] sink into a clean bed and into a deep sleep.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

All things coffee

Over a month ago our church had a Coffee Tasting event featuring my favorite coffee roasters. Right up my alley type of thing, but it happened to be the weekend we had to look for houses. Since it turned out to be a worthwhile trip, I was able to get over my disappointment pretty quickly.

Yesterday, a lady from Blacksmith Coffee stopped by the church. She told me she felt bad that I had to miss the event and presented me with a pound of my favorite roast - Guatemala Antigua. How she remembered me, for one thing, and my favorite roast, for another thing... let's just say I was pleasantly surprised and extremely grateful. Okay, really? I was shocked. And since I have been unable to find this roast in the store lately, I was thrilled.

Because people, this coffee is BETTER than Starbucks. There. I said it and the world didn't collapse. Sometimes Starbucks just isn't that good - there can be a weird aftertaste leaving your mouth kind of dry. Not with this. Just a bold, rich, wonderful cup of coffee.

Listen to the description:

This Genuine Antigua Pastoral is smooth, yet bold, with a delicious rich body highlighted by a subtle chocolatey aftertaste.

Makes you want to come over for a cup right now, right? Well, I wish you could but my grinder is packed away for St. Louis. AHHHHH. How I wish I knew where it was. I haven't made a decent cup of coffee for months.

I am ashamed to say that I haven't taken the trip to Lindsborg to visit their shop, but I have it on my to-do list before we move. Because after checking out their website there are a lot of other roasts I am dying to try.

For instance, I can't pass up a brew from Hawai'i called Maui Melemele:

And this organic Bali Blue Moon roast is interesting with dark chocolate, blueberries and tropical spices.

And, I can't leave out at least one of their ultra-premium flavored roast.

And, I have been thinking that our new house should have a coffee press instead of a coffee maker. You know, its the healthier way to brew. Add that to the reality that I am the only one who drinks coffee in the morning and we have very limited counter space that needs not be cluttered by a coffee maker... They have quite the selection of brewers - and I think that a trip to Lindsborg is a must.

So, who's going with me?

3 of the 4 photos were taken from Please visit their site and their store. I think you'll love these folks as much as I do!


I just noticed the number of followers that I have. I've never noticed this before and I am in shock and awe that you would read my thoughts and claim to the world that you read them. Thank you.


I love Wednesday mornings.

Tuesday night after The Biggest Loser, I take a shower. I'm in bed promptly by 10 pm and wake up the next morning between 5:30 and 6 am. I am out the door by 6:50 and within 10 minutes I am sipping coffee with great gals.

We quickly catch up on how the week is going. Struggles. Funny stories. And then we discuss the book we are going through, currently "Holiness by Grace." This week we discussed God's discipline in our lives and why He disciplines. Because He loves us, He wants us to know Him better, He wants us to be more holy, and He knows what is best when we don't.

I've been thinking about moving. A lot. Sometimes I think about how I don't want to. Other times I pretend we aren't. And then I get ideas for our house. Then I wonder what our life will be like there.

Whatever St. Louis has in store for us is in God's control. That is so comforting. Whether I like it, love it, or hate it there - God continues to have a purpose. My desire is to allow Him to use me and us in whatever capacity that is. .

But I'll miss these girls. And Wednesday mornings.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The man who lives in my basement

There is a man living in our basement. He hears me wake up each morning to walk the dog. While I'm gone, he sneaks out and leaves. Then he comes back sometime the next evening.

Of course, this isn't true. But every morning I think that someone is down there. We don't use the living space and it is this dark hallway that just beckons paranoia. I can't don't even venture down there without Ransom going first.

It doesn't help that every morning I hear random noises. Whether creaks or pops or water running. This morning it was a bang on the thing that carries heat to us through the vent - what is that called? It also doesn't help that I found Ransom down there growling one time. And he never growls.

So, I've just come to accept that there is someone down there who doesn't bother us as long as we don't bother him.

I just hope that I don't feel this way about our basement in St. Louis, because we will be using the living space there. I suppose regularly using and getting cozy the basement will help with the fear, but I'm still thankful that my shadow will be happy to accompany me wherever I go.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

Great historical figures, and one ordinary man, convene to answer one question: "What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?" Each of these characters has met with Gabriel, the archangel, at some point in their life and "travelled" through time. Now they are all gathered together in some unknown heavenly place to determine the answer. And if they don't answer it in time, mankind will be destroyed.

There are many reasons I would never recommend this book to you. Mainly, it contradicts the Bible in many areas and takes liberties that border on sacrilegious. At one point during the discussion the text reads, "Many of us made it in [to Heaven] by the skin of our teeth - a decision at the last moment - and would rather not be reminded of how close we came to the alternate destination." To even suggest that a person can barely make it into heaven by what they have done reveals a lack of concern on the handling of God's Word by watering it down to something people want to hear.

The book was obviously written to appeal to a broad range of readers, which ultimately will confirm in a person's mind that humans control the world, not God. This is a feel-good, go-get-'em book that will motivate people the wrong direction. In fact, God is not even mentioned - not even as the answer to man's problem.

Even the writing style bored me. The dialogue was tiresome and his perception of famous people didn't even interest me.

Don't waste your time on a humanistic-themed book that will lead you in the opposite direction of a book based on the truth of the Bible.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What Israel Looks Like

I obviously still having trouble putting Israel into words. But here we go.

The terrain of Israel varies so much. It's such a small piece of land, but it is so diverse. What we came to understand on this trip was how important the diversity of this land is.

The Mediterranean Sea was similar to other oceans we've visited. The beach was sandy and you had to go down cliffs to get to it. There were palm trees and tropical birds. Buildings and communities are very close together. 

Here I stand on Mt. Gilboa (2 Samuel 31) overlooking the Jezreel Valley. This valley has seen international traffic for thousands of years. It is the only way for travelers to get through this country and sort of connects Asia with Egypt. This valley will continue to see lots of action in the future, too. As you can see it is very green and fertile. We saw many, many crops growing all over Israel.

My favorite terrain was in Dan, formerly Laish. It was beautiful with a large natural spring and felt like Colorado hiking. This was in the northernmost part of Israel, bordering Lebanon and Syria. 

The Sea of Galilee is surrounded by mountains, or the hill country. I don't have any really good pictures of how mountainous it is. It sits below sea level and is green and pretty and fertile. 

Next we saw the wilderness. Think of where David hid from Saul in caves - rocky, steep incline, jagged cliffs, winding caverns, and barren. This is where the Dead Sea is - water that gives life to nothing. Not beautiful, but definitely amazing.

From there we moved to the Negev. Dessert everywhere. No more jagged cliffs like before, but rolling hills of rocky sand and dirt. This is where the Bedouins live, and the camels!

Before our eyes the terrain changed dramatically. The Shephellah is an area of rolling hills. Again, lots of crops seen growing around here.

Finally, we went into the hill country and we felt like we were traveling in Colorado, on a much smaller scale of course. Jerusalem is build on these limestone hills and there isn't a flat spot to be found!

Now you can see we saw a little bit of everything. Next up: placing Bible stories with the locations!