Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And So It Begins...

Advent this year has felt more like an advent for Urbana than an advent for Christmas. But either way, both are here! We travel down Christmas Day for Urbana and we're now praying for non-icy roads. There's supposidly a pretty nasty storm coming through Christmas if you think of it pray that the storm clears up by Christmas morning.

In general, we're looking forward to seeing months of planning get put into action...we're excited to hear some great teaching...and it'll be fun to see some friends from our staff days in California. In all, I think we're ready! Bring it on!

For those of you who arn't coming...but want a taste of what's going on, they should be posting various talks from the main sessions starting Dec. 28th on or I'm not sure which site they will be on...but I'm guessing you can find the video's on either place. They will probaly post the talks a few hours after the sessions and it should mainly be the talks...but it'll be a small taste of what we've been invovled with.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone! All God's Blessings.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Didn't learn my lesson

Yesterday, I made a quick trip to Home Depot to get some rigid insulation. I guess it's all the rage to use in building theater sets or to use in place of foam core (this is according to my dad and my boss and a few others who work in 2100).

Anyways, I got to Home Depot and found the 8 foot by 4 foot sheet of insulation and then realized it wouldn't fit in the car. So I thought, that's ok...I only need a 50 inch by 32 inch piece so I'll just pick up a cheap utility knife and cut it to size at the car.

With my two purchases in hand, I headed to the car only to find that I couldn't get the knight out of the plastic packaging! Luckily a nice contractor in a huge pick-up truck saw my plight and came over and helped me cut the insulation. And while slightly embarrassed...I was grateful for his help.

So I've decided that I either must just look helpless in parking lots or it's my role in life to give people the opportunity to do a good deed and have a good laugh at my expense.

And my overall lesson from this past week is that while I am an expert in purchasing items from store, I obviously need lessons in successfully getting my purchases into the car. So far I'm 2 for 2 this week in getting items from the store into the car. Good thing Matt needs to work late the rest of this week/weekend. That'll give me some great chances to keep practicing. West Gate Mall here I come!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Learning to Accept Help

I think like most people, it's hard for me to accept help from others. However this weekend I was grateful for the help of a stranger in the parking lot of our local grocery store. While we've lived in Wisconsin now for 3 years, I have yet to go grocery shopping with 3 inches of slush on the ground. I discovered that pushing a shopping cart through such slush is not the easiest thing in the world. A lady who had just returned her cart saw my plight and helped me sludge the cart all 20 feet to my car. It was only 20 feet, but I was grateful. Who knew 3 inches of slush could be so troublesome. It's like mud! And thank you to my mysterious angel.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints

Just tried making these this weekend. They are my favorite new Christmas cookies. And as one who is not a huge fan of Chocolate, this was still really good.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints found at Cooking Light (
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1/3 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt; stir with a whisk. Place butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Stir egg yolks with a whisk, adding espresso, if desired. Add the yolk mixture and vanilla to butter; beat well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.

3. Turn dough out onto a sheet of wax paper; knead 6 times or until smooth and shiny. Shape dough into 28 (1-inch) balls. Roll sides of balls in nuts, pressing gently. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of each cookie, leaving an indentation. Bake, 1 batch at a time, at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Spoon a scant 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut-chocolate spread into center of each cookie.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Pictures from Thanksgiving

If you haven't seen them yet, Matt posted some pics from our trip at

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thoughts on Thanksgiving Travel

1) Flying on Tuesday morning the week of Thanksgiving is a good idea. About 80% of the plane was filled by people over the age of 55. Luckily I had brought some cross stitching to do on the plane which made several old ladies quite happy.
2) Flying back on Saturday morning after Thanksgiving is not as pleasant. About 80% of the plane was made up of parents with little kids. Luckily I had an mp3 player and just drowned them out.
3) Public transportation actually works in California. Instead of renting a car...we took the Metrolink which got us within 20 miles of both parental units. And not only was this a cheaper option, we didn't have to worry about traffic. It also gave us the chance to walk over to Olveria St. from Union Station to get some yummy tacos. We also found our parents to be in much better moods when they picked us up since they only had to drive 30 to 40 minutes instead of 2 hours.
4) In all, I realized how thankful I am that even though we are pretty far from family, it really only takes 8 hours to get back home. It was good to be home for Thanksgiving and good to see both sides of the family. While it was a quick trip, it was worth it.

Monday, November 09, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Overheard while passing a very excited 4 year old in the Christmas Tree isle of Target....
"Look mom, the Hanukkah trees are out!"

And it's only November 9th.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Pumpkin Pie Spectacular

Had this last night at a friends house. Best version of a pumpkin pie I think I've ever had. Can't wait to try it! Pumpkin Pie Spectacular

Thanks for expanding my horizons Melissa and JR!

Friday, October 23, 2009

He Does Love Me

In my husband's defense, while he may not be the best at clearing clogged pipes...he can make a mean pizza and I was welcomed by the aroma of a freshly baked pizza last night after coming home from worship practice. Not only did it have all my favorite toppings...he whipped up a pizza crust from scratch. So all things considered, I think he's a keeper.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall 09 Ministry Update

Fall seems to be leaving all to quickly, especially now that snow keeps popping into the weather forecast. Luckily our work has not brought as drastic of a change as the weather has. Overall summer and fall have gone well work wise. Much of our focus continues to be on Urbana but we've also been mindful of the start of a new academic year and all that brings. For ways you can be praying for us, click on the image and check out our newest update letter.

If you ever want to receive these by email or mail, just let us know!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Garden Officially Done

Well it's official. I pulled everything up out of the garden last week. I have to admit it was a bit sad to do this this only because it makes the transition to winter a lot more official. But overall, my first garden experience was worth it and I was surprised by how much a 10 by 10 plot actually holds. I think in total we got about 6 quarts of pea pods, 9 quarts of beans, a few bell peppers, 4 quarts of carrots and a decent number of onions. More than enough for two people (one of whom doesn't eat to many veggies).

What will I do differently next year? I think I'll only plant one time. I tried planting a second time late July but I didn't have as much time later in the summer to take care of the plot and it's to much of a gamble with frost and snow. I also think I'll forgo the peppers and spinach which didn't do so well and try squash instead.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Puffed Apple Pancake

So in honor of it being apple season and having gone apple picking this past weekend:
Puffed Apple Pancakes! (originally in the 2002 September Bon Appetit magazine)

1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
12 ounces Golden Delicious apples (about 2), peeled, cored, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon in large bowl until well blended. Add flour and whisk until batter is smooth. Place butter in 13x9-inch glass baking dish. Place dish in oven until butter melts, about 5 minutes. Remove dish from oven. Place apple slices in overlapping rows atop melted butter in baking dish. Return to oven and bake until apples begin to soften slightly and butter is bubbling and beginning to brown around edges of dish, about 10 minutes.

Pour batter over apples in dish and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake pancake until puffed and brown, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Global Conversation - Intro October 2009 from The Global Conversation on Vimeo.

I'm off to four days of meetings...but wanted to post this because it looks like it'll be an interesting series to watch. The videos for this series were done by people who we know/work with who started a production company called Fourth Line Films. Matt even got to help on one of these upcoming videos.

All together it's for a series that Christianity Today is doing on mission's in today's context. Check it out here:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Question I Should Have Asked Before We Got Married

There are so many things I should have asked my husband before we got married such as... "What are your thoughts about unclogging a plugged sink?"

I realized this as I was crammed under our small bathroom sink clearing out massive hair balls and other lovely bathroom sink gunk while my husband was cowering in the other room trying not to gag.

Knowing my husbands aversion to unclogging pipes would not have prevented me from getting married...but at least I would have gotten a few more lessons from my dad in the art of pipe unclogging.

Needless to say, a half an hour later with one small bucket full of hair and slimyness and a shirt that now smells like algee...we have a sink that works like a charm!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Shrimp Chowder

I love chowder! I'm always on the look out for a good chowder recipe. I tried this one out last month from Cooking Light and it was fantastic. It's now on my list of things to make while Matt is out of town. Recipe and picture of soup here:

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped serrano chile (about 1 small)
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes, diced, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15.25-ounce) can whole-kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
1 pound peeled and deveined small shrimp
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper, and serrano chile to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add canned chiles to pan; cook 1 minute. Add flour to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and next 5 ingredients (through corn); bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Stir in shrimp; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Cilantro Pesto

Someone handed me a large bunch of cilantro at the community garden the other week. Not wanting the cilantro to go to waste, I experimented with cilantro pesto. I'm not a huge cilantro fan, but this turned out ok, especially if you add chicken to the pasta.

If I were to make it again, I'd probably cut back on the cayenne pepper a bit (it adds quite a kick). I also didn't have white wine vinegar on hand so I made the pesto without that and added a bit more olive oil. Not sure what difference that makes.

Anyways, it's a great way to use up cilantro and Matt even liked I think it's a keeper.

Cilantro Pesto (as seen on all
1 bunch fresh cilantro
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and return water to a boil. Cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain well.

2) In an electric food processor or blender, blend cilantro, garlic, vinegar, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, nuts, and salt. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and blend the pesto. Add more olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.

3)Pour pesto in a small saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring constantly, until pesto begins to simmer. Pour over cooked pasta and toss.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Emerging Adults in America: Coming of Age in the 21st Century

And no, this has nothing to do with the emergent church.

The term "emerging adulthood" is a relatively new term coined by Jeffery Arnett, a research professor at Clark University, and “describes a theory of development for those in their late teens through the 20s” (Arnett, xvii). In general, Arnett argues that today's youth in general are embracing traditional adulthood later in life (traditional adulthood being defined as getting married, having children, buying a house, having a secure job, financial stability, etc). Traditional adulthood used to be embraced by the time a person was in their early 20s but is now being delayed by about 10 years. Arnett further argues that "social and institutional structures that once both supported and restricted people in the course of coming of age have weakened, leaving people with greater freedom but less support as they make their way into adulthood" (Arnett, 4). In other words, there are many factors stacked against today's teens that make adulthood automatically delayed, unappealing, or harder.

Factors that seem to delay this trend towards adulthood often include but are not excluded to: the pursuit of a college degree becoming a norm and necessity, the average time to obtain a college degree increasing, huge debts after college, the sex revolution which normalized and decreased the consequences sex outside of marriage, higher costs of living, the absence of parents or other mentors who help guide a youth into adulthood, and a "mainstream society that is less insistent that everyone become an adult member (because their sustained economic participation is not as crucial as it was in industrial or preindustrial societies)" (Cote, 91).

As I read more about this topic, I can't help but wonder if this is an area of great opportunity for today's church. While I haven’t seen any research, I wonder if churches today in general contribute positively or negatively to their youth becoming adults.

Do generationally segmented churches prolong our youth from embracing adulthood? Do churches offer a place for 20 year olds to test out/embrace their leadership skills and or gifts (and I’m talking about in ways other than children's ministry)? Do churches encourage youth and their young adults to take responsibility in life and then help them actually do so? How does the church even combat a culture which in general does little to promote adulthood? What aspects of traditional adulthood should the church even promote (i.e. Should buying a house, financial security or marriage equal adulthood for the Christian?). What is the Christian definition of adulthood? What implications will there be for the church in 20-30 years if it does not help 20 year olds make the transition to adulthood?

I'm not sure if I have any answers to the above, but it's interesting to think about and I'd be curious to see what churches have done to help their youth and 20 year old make the transition to adulthood and what "adulthood" looks like within a Christian context. Any thoughts?

(All above quotes are from "Emerging Adults in America: Coming of Age in the 21st Century, edited by Jeffery Jensen Arnett and Jennifer Lynn Tanner

Articles that relate to this whole emerging adulthood theory:
Journal of Adolescent Research:
Alan Reifman’s Emerging Adulthood Page:
Jeffery Arnett’s Homepage:
Case for Early Marriage (deals indirectly with this topic):
Emerging Adults: The Coming New “Youth Ministry?”:
A Challenge for Churches: Adulthood Takes it's Time (NY Times):
They Odyssey Years, by David Brooks:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Time for School

Three years ago we stumbled on this documentary called "Time for School" done by Wide Angle on PBS. It airs every three years and the basic premise is Wide Angle follows 7 school children from different countries and reports on the child's progress in school.

It was crazy to see how much all 7 of the kids have grown and how much has happened in just three years. All I can say is that I've taken my schooling most my life for granted and am very grateful for parents who supported me throughout all my education (Thanks Mom and Dad).

It's worth watching if you get a might want some Kleenex for the end:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Things to Remember for our Upcoming Camping Trip

As we are preparing for an upcoming camping trip, I've been reminded of a few lessons we learned from our July camping trip. I think if we can remember these things, we'll have a much better trip.

Lesson #1: Pack everything you want to take and then put back the kitchen sink.
We packed our car full to the brim last time with stuff for camping. I think we only used about 1/4 of the stuff we took. Items that we didn't use: propane lantern, the cast iron skillet we just had to bring and most of the kitchen items we thought we might need. This time around...we're only taking what we can put (and carry) in two backpacks. I'm liking this idea much better.

Lesson #2: When trying to scare away raccoons from your food, running straight at them and yelling "ahhhhhhh" doesn't work. We found that the raccoon just stands there and looks at you like you are an idiot.

Lesson #3: Camping trips are much cheaper when you remember to close your refrigerator door when you leave for 3 days (and your apartment will smell a lot better when you return).

Lesson #4: Folding a tarp under your tent correctly makes sleeping in the rain much more enjoyable and a whole lot drier...we think this might make a less grumpy wife.

Needless to say, we've been enjoying camping and are looking forward to our next trip as evidenced by Sarah coming home last night to Matt strutting around the kitchen with his backpack on, fully loaded with all his gear so he could "test" everything out. I think the backpack was on for at least an hour.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Moving Up in the World

I am now a proud owner of a pedometer. I have to confess that the idea of one has secretly intrigued me for a while...but I've never wanted to fork out the money to buy one. This past week however, I received one at an Urbana meeting in preparation for the amount of walking that will happen at Urbana. It's kind of fun. Various sources suggest that you should take 10,000 to 12,000 steps a day. It's 2:30pm today and I've only walked 4367 steps. I've got a ways to go.

All I can say is that I'm easily amused.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Sacred of College Ministry"

As most of you know, we work for a ministry that focuses solely on college campuses around the country. Part of the reason we have chosen to work here is because we love college students and I specifically love how open they are to saying "yes" to God. I was therefore encouraged to read this article online at Christianity Today about the importance of College Ministry in general. For those of you who love college students like I do, it's a good read.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lost Cause

After an email from our garden coordinator, I finally gave up all hope on our tomatoes. It looks like the entire garden has been infected by late blight. It's the same fungus responsible for the potato famine in Ireland. It turns out blight has been a huge problem particularly for the east coast this year: . Unfortunately there's not much one can do except pull them and pray that the fungus dies out before next year's season. So up they went this morning and now there is a sad hole in the garden.

The big debate now is whether to try and replant that section with carrots or spinach. Supposedly the last day to plant in Wisconsin is August 15th. So it might be kind of risky to try this late in the game. But maybe I'm close enough to the last plant date, I'll be ok.

But the peas, beans and carrots are doing well! :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Left Behind Computer Game

Wow, I think Christianity has reached a whole new level. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Case for Early Marriage

Interesting article in this month's Christianity Today magazine. It's a bit long but worth the read.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Spotting the Sacred

My newest book recommendation is a book I picked up off the free table at work called "Spotting the Sacred" by Bruce Main. I'm not sure why it ended up on the free table because it is a great book! I was pretty skeptical when I picked it up...but it's honesty and simplicity is pretty powerful stuff. It's mainly a collection of stories from Bruce of the way's he's spotted the sacred in his every day life as a minister within an urban context. Bruce is a great story teller and had me almost in tears by the end of the first chapter chapter. Which either that means I'm pretty stressed out or he's a really good writer. I'm going to go with the good writing.

Anyways, it's been a good reminded to watch for the ways every day things such as a sack of potatoes or random conversations can become "sacred". (It's also made me think that I'm becoming to much like my father who I've watched tear up over simple yet profound stories like these.'d love this book :))

Monday, July 27, 2009

Knowing When to Stop

I wonder if learning "when to stop" is a skill that becomes easier over time? Like learning when to stop pestering someone...or tinkering with recipes...or take time away from work....

My recent frustrations have been over a quilt design. Last year I had (what I thought) was a brilliant design. I have started this thing about 3 times now and it no longer looks anything like what I had down on paper. I'm at the point where I could stop now and just be done with it and it would look great. But a part of me is still frustrated that it's only 1/2 the size of my original plan and so I keep tinkering with it to try and make it work. After 2 days of's now larger and looks even better...but now I'm back to the same question. Do I stop now? Or keep tinkering. The never ending struggle!

In other news...Japanese beetles are attacking my giant marigolds. I guess there is not much that stops these little I think I might have to resort to plucking them off by hand and putting them into soap water which supposedly kills them. Someone suggested hand picking 10 to 15 of them, depositing them in a blender and blending them up...the blended mixture then gets mixed with water and sprayed on plants and supposedly the smell of their dead relatives keeps them away. I think I'll pass on that one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thailand Missionaries

They just uploaded the newest Urbana Promotional Video that Matt helped get footage for. Enjoy! (And come to Urbana :)).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


After 3 weeks of staffing conferences, we headed out on a much anticipated camping trip to Gov. Dodge State Park. It was even more fun than we anticipated. The best part of the trip for me at least was walking about 1/3 mile out from camp around 11:00 at night and seeing lightning in the distance to the right, a full moon to the left and fireflies everywhere else. (who cares that we were carrying trash and could have been mauled by ravenous bears or raccoons). Very dynamic.

Other than that, we had a great time with friends from church who came with us and got to do some great hiking, canoeing and water coloring (for Sarah)/photo taking (for Matt).

The only bummer about the whole trip was coming home to find that we left our refrigerator slightly ajar. Luckily we didn't have a whole lot of food in the fridge. Oh well.

Some of the pics from the trip are here:

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

My Zucchini Plant the Eunuch

As I've continued on in my gardening adventures, I've been very hopeful about a zucchini plant that's been growing on my balcony. I had lost the battle for zucchini in my community garden plot to some cucumber beetles, so I've had all my hopes riding on this one plant. To my dismay, half of the flowers that bloom have had no fruit on them so I've been cutting them off thinking this would allow the plant to put all it's energy into the flowers with fruit on them. However after about a week, the small zucchini fruit starts to wither and die.

Completely frustrated that I can't seem to grow what is the easiest plant to grow, I started asking around to see if I could figure out what I've been doing wrong. And I discovered I've been castrating my plant! Who knew that a zucchini plant actually puts out two flowers. One flower has all the female parts and ultimately produces the fruit and the other flower has the male parts and really is only good for pollinating the female flower (unless of course you like to fry the flower and eat it). So in other words, I've totally been castrating my plants...and my husband upon learning this has become quite concerned.

All is well now though and I have learned my lesson. Never cut off flowers from a zucchini plant. Luckily zucchini's are quite forgiving.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Barbie Rapunzel

So I've been watching about 11 InterVarsity Staff children this past week during InterVarsity's National Staff Orientation. The highlights from the week you may ask?
1) Watching Barbie Rapunzel 5 times (I think I can quote it and I definately have had the sound track in my head the whole week)
2) Going down to the lake and watching people fish (these city kids were mezmorized and they could have spent the whole day watching these poor fish in buckets die and pestering the poor fishermen with questions like "Can you catch a fish for me to take home?")

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A Franciscan Blessing

I ran across this blessing over at the Mustard Seed Associate's website and have been pondering it this week. Enjoy...

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection,starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

And the blessing of God who creates, redeems, and sanctifies be upon you and all you love and pray for this day and forever more. Amen.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Guatemala project

A taste of what Matt was up to in Guatemala can be found here:

This will eventually become a longer video, but it's a taste of what God is doing in the Guatemala prisons.

Monday, June 01, 2009


Well, all I can say is bring the tissues. Great movie and a lot deeper than I thought it would be. I'm excited that we have decided to use this movie for our next church outreach event. It'll be interesting to see how people respond to it.

Another interesting article on NPR this week was "Undercover At An Evangelical University". I might need to get the book.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Week update

Matt made it down to Guatemala safely and his biggest comment so far is that it is "musty" (whatever that means). He was off to some volcano today to interview some people in a Mayan village that is supposedly "by the most beautiful lake in the world". I have to admit I was a bit jealous when I read that email this morning as I sat down in my dark cave of a cube. Oh well...I guess I'll have to settle for my picture of the ocean sitting on my desk.

On the home front...I got my tomatoes in the garden this past weekend. It's not quite as exciting as climbing a volcano...but I met 3 fellow gardeners I hadn't met yet and fought with about 150 foot watering hose. One of the other gardeners was saying that it's really not safe to plant much before May 28th because of the frost. But it's been so warm lately and the forecast doesn't seem to be headed back down into the 30's anytime I'm crossing my fingers and hoping I'm not pushing my luck by planting so much this soon. If any thing I've got some great looking peas coming up and they should manage through the frost ok.

I also started reading "Justification" by NT Wright this past weekend. I enjoyed Wright's book "Surprised by Hope" quite a lot so I'm anxious to see if "Justification" is just as good. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Prayer Requests

Matt will be leaving Friday for another out of the country trip. This time down to Guatemala. He'll be getting footage for some Urbana videos. If you think of it...pray for safety, for the equipment to work and that they'd had wisdom to see the stories in front of them.

On the home front, you could pray for our church as we get ready for a big out reach in a few weeks. Once a year we do a movie outreach and this year we're showing Pixar's new movie UP. There's still a lot of planning to do...but our hope is that it'll open the doors to friends and family who don't typically go to church. So pray that church members would take risks and not fear inviting people to this event!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


While I love really does disrupt normal schedules. We had been out in California a few weeks ago, and I'm still feeling like I am trying to get back into a normal schedule again. But on the fun side, garden is partially market has now started's been in the 60's and 70's for two weeks now. On the not so fun side I've been sitting in 12 hour meetings all week and this weekend will be sitting in another meeting for church (which should be interesting...we have a person coming in to do a healing seminar...we'll see how that goes)...oh well, I guess no garden for me this weekend. :( But on the positive side, there's a huge garage sale that starts tomorrow at a church in a near by town. Funky clothes and old Tupperware here I come!

Friday, April 17, 2009

first short film to make matt tear up in a long time

Keith H, a friend from work, showed me this short video today…and yah, it is the first in a long time to make me tear up…and it is not just because there is a photographer (or two, or three) in it.

for pple like me with slow internet connections, sorry, it is 16 min long.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Simple Joys

This past Friday our church hosted an art night were a few of us got together to respond to the death and resurrection of Jesus artistically. While I can't say that I created any sure was fun to play with watercolors and acrylic paints! There is something so satisfying about seeing a white page become colorful.

The second fun thing actually happened this morning. I went with a neighbor to sign up for a community garden. As bizarre as it sounds...I was first introduced to the joys of community gardening by Cassie, a fellow student at UCSB who actually had a garden at UCSB in the UCSB community garden. I always thought it was kind of a quirky thing that she did...but secretly envied her ripe tomatoes that she would bring back to the dorms. Anyhow, there's a garden not to far from our apartment. We're on the waiting list currently and met some really cool people at the sign up event...but I'm hopeful we'll have 10 by 20 plot of dirt.

And I'm so excited to see a brown earthy canvas become colorful....and excited to begin battling squirrels for ripe tomatoes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


If you haven't seen them yet, you can read about (and see) some of Matt's latest travels here:
Uncle Sawat
Universal Language
Bangkok Portraits

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What to run after

Best quote heard during our latest travels to California to attend a missionary conference at Matt's home church:

"It is better to run after a rabbit and never catch it, than catch a skunk and live with it for the rest of your life." -said by Indonesian missionary in regards to life as a missionary where you feel like you never have enough time, money or energy to share the gospel with everyone you want to.

Amen to that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

USA Today Article, Religion in America

Interesting USA Today article about recent religious trends and survey results from the American Religious Identification Survey. (And great photo's Garrett!)

It was interesting to read the USA article about a week after being forwarded this article: "The Coming Evangelical Collapse". A bit on the dramatic side...but a worthwhile read.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


It's been a while since I've traveled so frequently. When I was on campus staff there was a stretch of about 2 years when I was on a plane every 2 months. Traveling so much then I think cured me of all ambitions I might of had about being a grand world traveler. Anyhow...the past few years have been relatively travel free for me (not Matt). These next few months however are full of plane rides, long car rides and fast food. I think I'm actually on the road more than I'm going to be at home.

On the positive side, traveling makes me appreciate home more and more and in particular home cooked food and my own bed. On the negative side it usually stretches my patience and makes me feel like I am forever 2 weeks behind in the work that needs to be done.

My latest journey took me to St. Louis for some Urbana planning meetings. The highlight of that trip was getting a tour of St. Louis by a local InterVaristy alumni. I had completely forgotten that Missouri was a former slave state and it was interesting to hear so many stories were related to that fact and how race still plays a major role in shaping St. Louis (both in good ways and bad). The other highlight of the tour was seeing this place. If you're ever in St.'s pretty amazing to see and I'd recommend it. It's almost entirely covered by mosaics inside. Crazy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lent ideas

I know not everyone is into the whole Lent thing...but if you are, here's an interesting take on one way to approach Lent this year. I'm still trying to decide what to do with Lent. One, friend I know gave up facebook last year which I thought was pretty cool. Given how much we are traveling during Lent, I'll have to think of something that I can do practically on the road.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Even More Video's

Urbana just posted some new promotional materials that are pretty good. Matt even got to help put the one about LA together (he went to LA to get the footage).

You can read more about the LA trip here if you haven't already.

Matt made it off to Thailand today and from what I can tell has made it there safely. And just in time as we are getting another 4 inches of snow. But I guess parts of California are not doing any I shouldn't complain.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Latest Videos

Before I head to Bangkok, Thailand; I wanted to leave you with an update of my recent work at 2100. These videos (and more on Vimeo here) were part of the larger program at the recent Grad and Faculty Conference that InterVarsity put on. You can even hear some of the talks that N.T. Wrtight and others gace at the conference at

These videos were focused on individuals and how they see their professions working in the kingdom.

Human Flourishing 1 from twentyonehundred productions on Vimeo.

Human Flourishing 2 from twentyonehundred productions on Vimeo.

Human Flourishing 3 from twentyonehundred productions on Vimeo.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Wisconsin Firsts

This past week I...
1) went running when it was 28 degree's out and while there was still snow on the ground. And I considered it warm and quite a lovely experience.
2) bought meat out of the back of someone's car. (There's a family near by that owns a farm and sells meat to various people, they come to the office every once in a while. Considering all my co-workers are still alive...I thought I'd give it a try).

I think all I need to do now is go deer hunting and I might be able to call myself a true Wisconsinite.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Matt's latest video

Well, actually this promotional video called "See, Live, Commit" was done a while ago, but hasn't been viewable until recently. You can watch it on the site...And then you should consider coming to Urbana!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Color Hues

I saw this on a quilting site and was kind of humored by it. I scored better than I thought though and got a 3. Color Hue test

Friday, January 30, 2009

Week Update

This past week:
Sarah was overwhelmed with Urbana planning details.
Matt confirmed he's going to Thailand (Feb. 16th).
Sarah finished a "Surprised by Hope", by NT Wright and highly recommends it.
Matt shoots a wedding this weekend.
Sarah tried making English muffins and succeeded.
We'll hang out at the River Pantry tonight.

Friday, January 16, 2009

lord of the spring: the fellowship of the spring

For those that were there: Reflect upon the “good ol’ times”
For those that weren’t: laugh at us!

Lord of the Spring: The Fellowship of the Spring from smellyshue on Vimeo.

Olympics 2016

Yet another reason why we are hoping the 2016 Olympics come to Chicago.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

cold is relative

Sarah and I are heading out to Milwaukee this weekend and looking forward to the weather. It should be 35 degrees warmer than here! (granted thats like 25, but still) Will we need shorts?

Oh, and wind chill today should keep the temp at -20!

Friday, January 09, 2009

FLUX in HOW magazine

One of the more exciting parts of my (Sarah's) job is to work on a yearly publication called FLUX. It's a short publication with about 6-7 articles dealing with topics of transition from college to life after college. For the past two years we have worked with InterVarsity Press on this publication. We just found out that last year's FLUX publication won a "merit" award in a design magazine called HOW magazine in the not-for-profit category.

The funniest part of this whole thing was that we didn't even know FLUX 2008 was even submitted into the contest and only found out about it via a friend in Canada who happens to get the magazine (thanks Christine).

While, I don' t have much to do with the overall design of the publication, it has been a lot of fun to see the project get some national recognition from an outside source. It makes me feel like it is a worthwhile project. Now if only we can get our intended audience (graduating and departing students) to read it.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Praying for Bosnia

Here in Wisconsin tempuratures have been down below frezzing for over the past 3 months it seems like. However, I'm very thankful that our gas lines continue to work. This has not been the case for several countries in Europe right now as Russia has cut off the gas line through the Ukraine and continues to fight with Ukraine about that gas line.

Several countires, including Bosnia, have had their gas supplies cut off. This is not good considering temperatures in that area have been well below 20F. Some friends of ours in that region have ecouraged us to pray for:
- for a quick resolution to this crisis,
- for people who are freezing right now,
- for Christians in that area to find ways to help

I thought I'd pass this along and ask others to pray with us for those 3 requests. For a list of other countries being effected by the Russia/Ukraine conflict, see Gas cut: How Europe is coping.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Recent delights

Favorite Christmas gift this year goes to my brother for giving us Season 1 and 2 of NewsRadio. I had completly forgotten about this series and have spent the past few nights laughing my sock off. It's even funnier now cause 1) I work in an office 2) one of the main characters in the series is from Wisconsin and 3) there's a 2 inch layer of ice outside so we have nothing better to do.

Thanks bro!

To watch online: