Friday, October 31, 2014

Third Time's the Charm

Thanks to my good friend Lina, I've got into knitting socks. It took a few tries to get it right, but the third one came out pretty ok. Christmas gifts here I come!!!

Homesteading 101

Chris shot this grouse, which we ate for dinner with potatoes and green beans. I like the feeling of providing for our house like this. Looking forward to many future years of homesteading.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fall Pictures, as Requested

Being back in the states for fall was pretty cool as I seem to have forgotten just how beautiful it gets.

Here are a couple snapshots I got from this fall:

I don't know if it's going to work, but I did try to send some fall colors to Zambia. Hopefully it makes the long trip over!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Adirondack Summer in a Nutshell

Summer ends abruptly and fall comes on fast in the Adirondacks, but it's nice to enjoy the colors!

Been meaning to post some pictures from an incredible summer...lots of hiking and canoeing, fishing and campfire-ing. The pictures don't show all the hard work, long work days, late nights and early mornings, but despite all that we're thankful for all that we have to make life out in the Adirondacks work. 

We are slowly becoming a part of the area, and it makes me happy that I can't go anywhere anymore without seeing at least one person that I know!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

No use crying over spilled milk.

This expression has a new meaning to me since last week Chris used one of my dish towels to clean up some milk that was spilled during a failed attempt at a smoothie. (We really need to figure out how to use our blender!) Warnings of using anything other than a sponge or paper towel to clean up milk had fallen on deaf ears, and it was difficult not to say "I told you so" when we came home one day to a very smelly house....which after some detective work led us to the laundry basket holding the very smelly dish towel.

So, I have always thought that marital problems caused by trivial issues such as whether or not the toilet seat is up or down, or if the toothpaste is squeezed out properly (just as a side note, Chris is a gentleman in both areas, squeezing from the bottom of the toothpaste tube and always leaving both the toilet seat and the toilet cover down) were immature, but somehow I found myself arguing with Chris in my head over the fact that the battle of saving the smelly dish towel would probably be lost since it would probably make the rest of our laundry smell terrible too.

As I was clinging onto the hope of saving my dish towel, Chris sensibly suggested throwing it away and buying a new one. It took a few minutes for me to realize that he was right, and after all, this was just a dish towel. I'm pretty sure you can buy three dish towels for a dollar at the dollar store.

How foolish of me to let something so trivial almost cause an argument with my best friend. I thought I was more mature than that!

Later that night Chris mentioned that the sponge smelled bad.....I immediately threw it away.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Night Shift...and my growing respect for those who work it

I've begun working nights twice a week. I've never fully appreciated people who work the night shift, but now I do! Going an entire night without sleep is quite the challenge! Coming home and trying to sleep during the day can be equally challenging.

There are a couple of perks though. I like the feeling I get when I've made it to dawn, the world is so peaceful and quiet, and most people haven't even started their days yet. Driving home the opposite way of the traffic is kinda cool are done with work for the day (hopefully), while the rest of the world is just beginning. I like the second wind you get (after being so exhausted) when suddenly the night is over. Climbing into bed is the best though, when Chris is still just waking up and we get to be together again after a long night apart.

I foolishly struggle after coming home, when my curtains are closed till after noon. I worry that people will think I'm lazy and high maintenance for sleeping so late. I may be semi groggy for the next 24 hours after my night shifts (and others I am in contact with won't understand why), but my caring husband makes me feel like I have just run a marathon, and deserve a medal for my efforts.

I'm starting to not care what strangers think of me, and I will try not to just assume a person is a lazy when I see them sleeping past noon.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Psalm 10

I've been observing the world and the news a bit more lately and been becoming discouraged. This Psalm has re-put things in perspective for me.

The wicked:

-persecute the poor (vs. 2)
-boast of heart's desire (vs. 3)
-bless the greedy (vs. 3)
-renounce the Lord (vs. 3)
-have a proud countenance (vs. 4)
-do not seek the Lord (vs. 4)
-do not have God in any of their thoughts (vs. 4)
-always prospering (but with a false sense of security, and are not aware of God's control) (vss. 5 + 6)
-sneer at enemies (vs. 5)
-have mouths full of cursing, deceit, and oppression (vs. 7)
-have trouble and iniquity under their tongues (vs. 7)
-sit in lurking places (vs. 8)
-murder the innocent (vs. 8)
-lie in wait like a lion to catch the poor (vs. 9)
-say in their hearts "God will forget, He will not require an account" (vss. 11, 13)

But God:

-has seen (vs. 14)
-observes trouble and grief (vs. 14)
-repays it [trouble and grief] by His hand (vs. 14)
-is a helper to the fatherless (vs. 14)
-breaks the arm of the wicked and evil man (vs. 15)
-seeks out wickedness tills He finds none (vs. 15)
-is the King forever and ever (vs. 15)
-has nations perish out of His land (vs. 16)
-hears desire of the humble (vs. 17)
-prepares their [the humbles'] hearts (vs. 17)
-causes His ear to hear (vs. 17)
-does justice to the fatherless and oppressed (vs. 18) that the man of the earth may oppress no more. (vs. 18)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Picking Weeds.

This isn't too out of the box, because I'm pretty sure God allowed weeds to grow so that we could make spiritual analogies with them. But's that's just me. :)

All my life one of my least favorite jobs in the world was picking weeds! I remember hating sitting on my knees in the hot sun, getting my hands all dirty, and not even being particularly sure what I supposed to pick or not! And I remember that it always seemed to take SO LONG!

The other day however I ended up doing some gardening (more like weeding) for someone, and realized how enjoyable it can be. For the first time in a while I was sitting in the sun, doing something that didn't take much effort, and getting to enjoy the outdoors. I'm a bit OCD too, so this was totally up my alley. It was also the first time in a while I'd been able to sit in a quiet environment, and God immediately got my attention and got me thinking.

So again, this is nothing ground breaking and no new revelations; the Bible talks plenty about weeds, but here are just a few things that I noticed.

#1. Weeds sometimes look very much like the real plants. Sometimes a weed can be mistaken for a plant, so one needs to look very carefully when deciding whether to pull, or not to pull. For me, this is something that happens in my life fairly often. I tend to always be a serving "Martha" slaving away in the kitchen with a bad attitude, wondering why in the world Jesus appreciates the "lazy" Mary over me. Sometimes those weeds resemble good things done for His kingdom, but I need to get rid of anything that isn't the real thing (no matter how authentic it looks). For me though, this is a lot easier said than done!

#2. Weeds growing in the middle of a sturdy group of plants are easy to recognize and very easy to pull, since their roots haven't been able to get too deep! The more on track I am, the harder it is to get weeds tangled up in my life. Weeds growing around the outskirts of plants are harder to pull. Again...super easy to say, much harder to live out!

#3. Neglected weeds get out of control! There were a few bunches of weeds that were hidden away under some tall plants. Their roots were crazy big, very deep, and pulled up a lot of surrounding dirt with them. Which leads to...

#4. Sometimes pulling weeds makes a pretty big mess, and can pull a lot of dirt, and sometimes even other plants with it. Even though that hurts a bit, it's totally worth it. Kinda like pruning.....

So yeah, I'm no weed expert, I just noticed some things and needed the reminders. God definitely uses the little things to keep me on track.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Still Here...Still Blogging...69 Days into Marriage

I do enjoy blogging, really I do, I just sometimes can't figure out what in the world is happening in my life that people would really find worth reading...or sometimes I worry that writing about my life is simply a bit conceited. It didn't feel that way when I was in Zambia, keeping folks back home current on my life and work, it just seems different now.

At the same time I personally enjoy keeping a life journal, cementing lessons learned, sharing some laughs, praises, and joys. So here I go again, after taking a few months off; still in "the next step" of my life, still learning many, many things, still falling, still getting back up.

The last few months have held many new roles for me: a bride, a wife, an "Adirondack-ian", a dispatcher at Paul Smith's College, an Elder-care assistant. Life is full and busy, but that still leaves time for us to hike, canoe, run, and enjoy life in one of the most beautiful areas in the world. Two months of being married still leaves me very far away from being the perfect wife and knowing everything there is to know (will I ever??), but the honeymoon and marriage lessons continue as I live my day to day life with my Blue Prince, who daily strives to be a good, godly, understanding (which at times is a challenge!), and patient husband.

God is good, and so is life!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Full cup

Today I got to attend the birthday party of my future niece. While I was away in Zambia these types of events were the most difficult to be away from, so today being able to take part with the group of aunts and uncles and grandparents, and watch the cute birthday girl open presents, I realized that my cup was for sure full.

Thank you God for the little gifts.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Faithful in the Little Things

So, as of a few weeks ago I have begun the job of a bank teller. It's great to have a job, something to keep me busy, and after having worked for nothing for the past two years, getting an income again is a pretty cool thing too.

I spent Thursday and Friday in my branch shadowing, and getting a better idea about the job, before I officially finish the first part of my training this week. It was a great experience, but a little freaky watching the crazy large amount of money coming in and out all day. As I get nearer to being in charge of all that responsibility myself (and was getting a bit nervous about it) God gave me this little passage, and slightly humorous encouragement yesterday from Luke 16: 10-12.

"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: 
and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 
If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, 
who will commit to your trust the true riches?
And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, 
who shall give you that which is your own?"

I sure miss the days of having an "important" job, dealing with kids, and "doing ministry". Compared to that, standing behind a teller window all day does seem a bit unimportant, but in the end it's really all just "unrighteous mammon", and if I can be faithful in the little job of taking good care of that which is another man's then I can be trusted with much, much more. :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

God's Way is Best

I was reading in Jeremiah 42 today, and was struck with something in this chapter. I'm no Bible scholar, but here's my take on it.

So, the Israelites have been taken into captivity and are living in Babylon. God is now promising the Israelites a way home from their captivity, and not only that but He further promises that He'll bless them, provide for them, bring them home to a free land, their land. Sounds great! One would think that they would be jumping at this wonderful opportunity...wouldn't we all? Apparently however, that isn't the case.

After all these wonderful-can't-turn-them-down promises, God goes on to warn the Israelites to not go to Egypt. Egypt??? Wait a second, why would anyone want to go there? What's in Egypt? Why would they want to go back to Egpyt (a land where'd they'd previously been enslaved!) when God is clearly promising them a free ticket and glorious ride back to Israel? Why do they not want to take God at His word, and accept His wonderful promises? Why would they not want to return to the promised land?

I don't know, but I bet we still do those types of things to God today. There's a passage in Galatians 4:1-9 which seems to touch on this, talking about how we are no longer slaves to the world, but children of God! Why would we, with the opportunity of an adoption from the best Father you could ever have, want to return to bondage, to slavery of sin, and of the world? I love how it is all summed up in verse 9:
"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" (KJV)

God only ever wants the best for us. Sure, His best isn't always the easy way (at least, not at first glance), but it is the way filled with His care, His blessings, and His rewards for those who diligently trust and follow Him.  May I go to the promised land, following His lead and direction, instead of stubbornly pining for Egypt.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Skiing Lessons=Great Premarital Counseling

   Last night I went skiing for the very first time. Having never been on skis before in my life I admit that I started out very poorly by falling flat on my face within the first five seconds. Everyone else on the top of the mountain seemed like such a pro (even the little kids!), and for about the first hour and a half I felt like I was back in the city of Poughkeepsie learning how to drive a standard again. Ever been that person? Yeah, I know, it's terrible.

   Anyway, I did skiing lessons totally backwards than the normal person does. Chris started me on the top of the mountain (instead of the bunny hill), and needless to say, it was a very rough trip down. He was an angel, so patient and encouraging, and had the perfect balance of encouragement and toughness, not letting me give up, and making me go all the way (ok fine, 95% of the way) down the mountain. It was a pretty horrible experience actually, but somehow I managed it with only a couple mini-meltdowns, and only announcing a couple of times that I really hated skiing, instead of really hating Chris! Furthermore, once we got to the bottom of the mountain and found out that there was not only a bunny hill, but also a novice hill I managed to not get mad at him for making me "jump in the deep end" first.

   Due to long distance and other complications, Chris and I hadn't started any premarital counseling yet, but I found that last night was probably equal to, or even greater than a few sessions of that. Having to follow my fearless leader down a mountain with some crazy poles on my feet, having no idea what in the world I was doing, and constantly falling flat on my face, was probably one of the biggest ways to practice trusting him and following his lead, and not giving up when I really wanted to. For him it was probably great to have to be patient with me, gentle, and encouraging, seeing my clumsiness, my emotional side, taking control of the situation, and solving the "problem". I guess in a sense it was definitely a relationship tester, and I'm happy to say that we definitely passed.

    So, next time you feel the need to test your relationship with your fiance, you should go skiing too! And as a side note, once I got on the novice hill (where I belonged) I had a great time, and figured out that skiing is really, really fun! Pretty intense and scary, but really, really fun none-the-less!