Monday, August 29, 2011


This past weekend, Chris and I met up with a large group of people associated with the Navigators in the bay area. We spent a long time sitting in a circle sharing stories about what God is up to in our lives. Many of them were a lot older than we are and have experienced God work in ways we can only imagine. We heard incredible stories of people coming to faith in Christ, marriages being restored, and prayers being answered.

One story in particular got my attention. Well, maybe it wasn't so much a story as a statement thrown out there in the midst of our discussion. Someone said, "You know, I started praying for ______ to happen within this ministry back in the 80s and it just happened last year! Isn't God amazing!"

Well, I had a few thoughts about this. 1) This guy's faith is incredible that he would petition God for the same thing for twenty years. And after twenty years of prayer he would still consider God to be faithful. 2) My faith is not like this. My prayers are not like this.

I know I'm not suppose to compare my spiritual walk to anyone else's. But sometimes it's helpful to take stock of how you're really walking. It's easy to fall off track and start leaning on your own understanding. This meeting was a little bit of a wake up call.

I try to pray. I know I pray at least once a day. But how much of myself do I put into my prayers? Is it all of me or just the part of my brain that's awake at 6:30 in the morning? Is my heart even paying attention? Is my spirit really connecting with God when I pray? Do I just give him lip service? (I'm feeling pretty ugly right now . . .)

And what about having perseverance in bringing things before the Lord? Scripture says He knows what we need even before we ask Him, and yet He tells us to pray without ceasing! In all honesty, if I were asking God for something after twenty years, I'd probably just go do it myself. But that is NOT the way He wants me to act! He wants full obedience . . . complete dependence on Him.

And how would I depend completely on God if I am not in prayer? Isn't prayer the very way we communicate with Him? If I can't hear from God how do I know what to do? If I don't bring my concerns before Him, then how do I receive His peace?

If I'm not in prayer . . . I'm not depending on Him. Yikes! Isn't that the most terrifying thought!

I'd like to grow in the area of prayer. I've been reminded of it's power and I'm inspired to depend on God once again for everything.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog -- I'm asking you!

So, this may sound silly, but I think of my blog readers a lot. And I'd like to know what you think about my blog. Do you like seeing my crafts and sewing projects? Do you care that Chris and I went to the beach two weekends ago (cause didn't blog about that one). What things do you enjoy reading about? What would you like to see posted here?

If you have time, would you do one of two things for me -- either fill out the poll to the left of this post (How often should Emily blog?) or give me some feedback in the comments section below this post.

Blogs can have different purposes -- and I'm struggling with what the purpose of my blog should be. Is it a journal open for the public or is it more? I feel like I could tell you so much more than what I have been . . . but should I? I also don't want it to turn into an advice column but I am learning things that I'd like to share.

I'd appreciate hearing anything you have to say.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Excitement in the Kitchen . . . again

I have been working towards being more organized lately. I like being prepared for my week . . .  at work and at home. Since I have been married I have been pretty good at planning meals and doing my shopping in one big trip on a weekly basis. My problem more recently is that every week, I feel scatter brained and it takes much longer than I had hoped. This leaves me feeling tired and sometimes frustrated.

So, I've started making a few adjustments:
1) I found myself a calendar with enough space in each square to write down my daily menu. I like using a monthly calendar much better than a weekly one; that way I can plan ahead if I need to and keep track of vacations or special events like potluck. I can also see what I've made the week before so I don't repeat it.

2) I made a little note pad for my weekly grocery list. I used to use a regular notebook but found myself backtracking and double tracking through the aisles of the grocery store. This notepad is divided by the different departments of the store which keeps me more organized while shopping.

3) I found a folder that will hold both of the above along with my weekly grocery circular  and any coupons I find . . . I even take this with me to the store--that way I have everything with me.

It's a start. I've been reading about websites that will make your weekly meal plans for you. I've found apps for my iPod that will keep track of my grocery list for me too. But I have found that I don't operate very well with either one of those (and I don't want to pay for services I can do on my own). Plus I like investing myself in my menus and my cooking . . . it is one of the many ways I can actually serve my husband.

There are a few other things that I did today that will help me stay motivated in the kitchen . . . for a little while anyway:
1) I got another America's Test Kitchen cookbook from the library
2) I bought a blender
3) I found a wall-mountable easel that can hold my cookbooks so they don't have to take up counter space anymore!

Now, back to my homemade cinnamon rolls!

380 Miles -- and over 30 appointments trying to figure out what is going on with my feet!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lasting Friendship

Last week, my very good friend from college, Katie, came to visit. This was no ordinary visit. And she is no ordinary friend.

First of all, you must know that Katie was living in Australia for the past year and this visit was an on-purpose layover on her way back to the midwest. Secondly, we had not seen each other since my wedding day two years ago!

The reason I say that Katie is no ordinary friend is that she is one of the few people in my life who has never let time zones or distance get in the way of keeping in touch with someone on a regular basis. The longest Katie and I have gone without a conversation in the past six years is probably two months and that was because I was in Africa (we still emailed). I've moved to 4 different states/countries in the past 5 years and Katie has moved to 3 and keeping in touch is not easy. But we still find a way and a time to make it happen. (Skype has been wonderful to us!)

We've been friends since my junior year of college; we met during an orientation to a Campus Crusade for Christ spring break trip. I think the leader who introduced us knew we would hit it off really well. I think we met each other at the point in our lives where we were both really hungry to know God more. Knowing God and keeping each other accountable in walking the Christ-like path has been a priority in our friendship ever since. Asking, "How's it going with God lately?" is not an uncommon question for us to ask each other. I definately need a friend to ask those tough questions!

Katie is a very thoughtful person -- people are her priority. One of my favorite things about her (that I noticed within months of meeting her) is that she loves taking time to write to people. Whether that's an email, a real letter (which I received in abundance while I was overseas) or a little note card--you can be sure it is filled with encouraging words and heart felt prayers just for you. And if you're lucky, there are markers involved and doodling.

She's also a wonderful listener (that goes with making people a priority I suppose). But in all seriousness, Katie has listened to me complain, cry and laugh about everything from stupid hair cuts to crushes. She is very wise and quick to give me a Christ-like perspective. Katie was great at encouraging and praying for me when I met my husband and was going through a plethora of emotions, dreams, and doubts. I'm sure she was the first person to point out to me that I was "in love" too. She said she could tell even over the phone that I had been grinning ear to ear whenever I talked about him.

There is one more thing I want to share with you about my friend Katie. She loves adventure. She loves to travel, to see new places and meet new people. Did I mention she lived in Australia for a year? She's also spent some time in Africa and India. When I think of Katie's love for adventure, I'm reminded of her  unwavering trust in the Lord. She's trusted him through so much in life already and I know He's asking her to trust Him even more with the future.

So, back to her visit to San Francisco -- she was only here for two full days, but they were terrific. The first item on our list of things to do was to get my hair cut (I couldn't go by myself) and who better to bring with me than Katie? Then we went to the Golden Gate Bridge and Land's End. It was a bit on the foggy side, but it was still beautiful.

The next day we hung out downtown and then ended up at Fisherman's Wharf for lunch at Boudin Bakery --Yum! Then we headed home for a nap and then we went out for dinner at Cafe Cozzolino. 

Katie, thanks for spending two days with me in San Francisco! Thank you for your years of friendship. I love you dearly!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The New Me

Many of you know that I had been growing out my hair to donate it to Locks of Love. I did this before in 2005 and told myself then that if I ever grew out my hair long enough that I would do it again.

The day finally came . . . I was so nervous and scared. It's amazing and a little sad how attached I had gotten to my hair. I enjoyed having long hair. It was part of me . . . part of my identity. But I needed to do this. I asked one of my very best friends to come with me and give me courage if I tried to back out. (More on her visit in the next post.)

The stylist put my hair in a ponytail and grabbed his scissor and I took a deep breath . . . and he started cutting. Snip, snip, snip. I could feel my head getting lighter! And then as the hair was released from its ponytail, it started falling by my face -- it was short. Breathe.

And then, he held up the ponytail -- 15 inches of it!

The hair that was left on my head was short, but I liked it already. Even before he started shaping it.

It's a change. But I need a change every once in a while.

And now for the photos you have all been waiting for . . .

The before . . .

and after . . .

Johnny at Firefly Salon did his usual fantastic work. And the hair was sent off to Locks of Love.

If you've ever thought about donating your hair I would strongly recommend it! Just think of those beautiful children who would be blessed by something you have in abundance!