Monday, December 03, 2012

Life Update

It's about 25 days until Urbana (the triannual mission's conference InterVarsity holds), and for the first time, I'm not really all that stressed about it. And that's probably because for the first time in 12 years, I'm not going. So strange.

We finally made the decision about a month ago that I would stay behind with the little one. Between Matt's late nights, hectic day schedules, and confining a 6 month old to a hotel for 7 days, it just seemed like it would be less stressful for everyone involved if I stayed back.

I'm both happy and sad about that decision. Sad because Urbana is always so cool. And watching the live stream online just isn't the same. Sad because I'll miss seeing all the video's Matt's been working so hard on unveiled before a huge audience. Sad because I'll miss seeing a bunch of close friends. And sad because Urbana always provides a needed spiritual kick in the pants.

But in many other ways I'm happy. Happy not to have all the stress of preparing for and executing a major conference. Happy that my introverted self doesn't need to be around 16,000 people for 7 days. Happy that I get to spend New Years and Christmas with friends back in Madison.

So it's a mixed bag.

All that said, we're in crunch time and Matt and his team are working hard to finish up all their projects in the next three weeks. In some ways since so much attention is focused on that right now, Christmas still seems pretty distant. We did however manage to get the Christmas tree up and other various decorations. And we did our first round of Christmas shopping last weekend.

So Christmas and Urbana. That's pretty much the state of our life right now!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Popcorn Stitch Hat

I've taken a small break from quilting to work on a crochet hat for the kiddo. I've found that crocheting is a lot easier to manage with an active 4 month old. I can do a few stitches and then put it down whereas sewing takes a lot more to pull everything out, get everything situation, and then start.

I'm actually not much of a crocheter. I know two stitches...and I used them both on this hat.

I also ended up making the hat a bit to big. But I figure that's better than too small. At the rate our daughter's growing, she'll fit into it in no time at all.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Quilt Binding

A friend recently asked me about how to best bind a quilt to finish it off. I couldn't remember if I had posted a link to these directions or not, but decided it was worth re-posting.

I'm always constantly amazed at how the binding can make or break a quilt. I've noticed this especially at the Quilt Expo. There can be the most beautiful quilt on display with perfect patchwork. But if the binding is somehow off, the whole quilt looks a bit funny. It's amazing how such a small thing can make or break the quilt.

I guess if the quilt is not hanging on the wall, it doesn't matter as much if the binding is straight or not. But I think it's worth it to try and get the binding right. All that being said, I'm still trying to get the hang of continuous binding. Good think I still have some quilt projects lined up.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Back to Work I Go

After being on maternity leave for about 4 months, I am finally returning to work. As this day has drawn closer I've been viewing it as both bitter and sweet.

Bitter in that it means more transition in our life. Transition always seems to bring out some level of angst as I face the unknown and discover expectations I didn't know existed. So I'm  not looking forward to that especially since I feel like I just got a handle on Emma's daily routine.

But the return to work also seems sweet. I'll be starting a new job with InterVarsity and working 10 hours from  home. I'll be working with the communication's team and working website analytics (watching website trends and using that data to help serve our web users better) as well as various special projects. It's exciting because it's a new role within InterVarsity and I'll get to help shape this job and it is flexible enough I can work from home. And I feel very fortunate for that. And what's even more sweet about this job is that it actually is work I enjoy doing. Bonus.

So here starts a new stage of my life...working mom. Luckily millions of moms seem to make it work. So I'm pretty confident I'll be able to make it work.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chile Colorado Burritos

Favorite new dish :) And it's soooo easy! Thanks Food Pusher

Chile Colorado Burritos


  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds stew meat or other beef cubed (top sirloin is great)
  • 1 large can mild enchilada sauce* (at least 19 oz.)
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 can refried beans (optional)
  • 5-7 burrito size flour tortillas
  • 1 cup or so of shredded cheddar cheese

Put beef, bouillon, and enchilada sauce into a crock pot and cook on low for 7-8 hours**, or until meat is very tender. (Can also cook on high for maybe 3-4 hours.)  I've also cooked it in a dutch oven for about 4 hours at 325 degrees.  More meat, more time.  A third option is to cook it in a large heavy saucepan--bring it to a boil on high heat, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender.  If you go with a method other than the crock pot, make sure the pot is covered and pretty well sealed to minimize evaporation of the liquid.

When beef is done (very tender and flakes off when stirred), taste and add more salt, if desired. Heat up refried beans in the microwave (covered and in a microwave-proof dish, of course)and put your oven on broil. On an oven-proof plate, or cookie sheet even, lay out a tortilla.  Place on tortilla about 1/2 cup of the meat, drained by using a slotted spoon, and a spoonful or two of beans. Roll into a burrito (hopefully you know how to roll these). Pour some of the remaining enchilada sauce from the crock pot over the burrito to cover it. Sprinkle with some cheddar cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly, about 2-4 minutes.

Makes 5-7 burritos, depending on how full you make them.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Unknown Love

A friend of mine was over a few weeks ago to see Emma. As she held Emma, she commented how amazing it is to think about everyone who is holding and loving Emma now.  And if you think about it, Emma will probably never know a majority of the people who have held/loved her these past few months.

It got me thinking about all the people my parents talked about who held me when I was a baby. A lot of those people I have only ever known by reputation and old photos. But it's kind of cool to think about how much I was loved...and I didn't even really know it.

And the same for my daughter. How she is so loved by people who she will probably never know. And that's pretty cool.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Side With

So I've always been a fan of quizzes you can take that tell you all about yourself. It's fun to see how right or wrong they are. Anyways...a friend passed this along on facebook and I found it quite fascinating (I Side With). It's a quiz that attempts to show you which of the various Presidential candidates you are most aligned to based on their political positions. I most appreciated the "choose another stance" option because "yes" and "no" didn't always fit my thinking.

Anyways...I was surprised to find out that I'm most aligned to the Green Party. And my response to that was sadly..."Wait, what?...there's a Green Party?" I didn't even know one existed.

Now I'm not about to run out and join the Green Party, but it made me realize I may not be as aligned to the political party of choice as I think I am. And that's probably good for me to know.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Beloit College Mindset

Is it just me...or does this list keep getting scarier? Or maybe I'm just getting older. These are my favorites from this year's list:

  1.  The Biblical sources of terms such as “Forbidden Fruit,” “The writing on the wall,” “Good Samaritan,” and “The Promised Land” are unknown to most of them.
  2.  They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”
  3.  A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.
  4.  Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a snail mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smart phone screens.
If anything this list is a great insight into the college student we serve,

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Summer Babies

Had a crazy explosion of squash this year.
Luckily I found a squash recipe my husband will eat:

Spicy Zucchini Casserole

1-2 medium zucchini or summer squash cut into cubes
1 lb of spicy Italian sausage (I used sweet)
1 package of Spanish rice
2 small sweet or hot peppers
1 bell pepper
2-3 tomatoes cubed/sliced
1 large onion
1 can of Hunts Meatloaf tomato sauce
1/4 lb of Pepper Jack cheese (I used mozzarella)

Cut zucchini/squash in cubes. Cook Spanish rice according to package. At the same time brown Italian sausage. Add to sausage: chopped peppers, rice, onion and tomatoes. Add to squash cubes. Mix well. Preheat oven to 350.  Spread tomato sauce on top. Top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 min.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


A few weeks ago at church, the sermon started out looking at the life of Naaman. It's been a really long time since I've heard Naaman's story and I forgot how great it is. Where else in the Bible do you have someone "arriving in style" at a prophet's house (according to the NIV)?

The basic gist of the story is that Naaman is from a different country than Israel and gets sick. He is told he should go see Elisha to get healed and so he goes to Israel and takes with him a bunch of money to both impress Elisha and to compensate Elisha for the healing. When he gets there Elisha doesn't even come out to see Naaman and instead sends his servant out with the instructions on how to be healed. Naaman get's furious and storms off. And I'll let you look up the story to see how it ends.

But what stood out to me was how Naaman ignored the instructions and almost missed being healed all because he dismissed the messenger. It made me wonder how often I do the same. It's sad to say, but I probably dismiss what might be words from God based on the appearance, social standing, age, or status of a person more often than I should.

I shouldn't be surprised by that. Biblically, it's often the unexpected people who God chooses to use. And while I've been taught that and clearly see that in the Bible, it's sad that I often don't apply that to my own life. I guess it's good reason to pause the next time I feel ruffled by Godly advice and ask the question and I'm ruffled because of the message or the messenger?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Favorite Baby Items So Far

There are so many baby items out there, one of the things I wondered about pre-baby was which of all those items would I really end up appreciating the most. So far, these have been my favorite items (and favorite because they've been a life-saver for our cranky baby and tired parents).

Moby Wrap: I feared this would be to complicated to figure out how to use, but it was actually pretty simple once I got the hang of it. Our kiddo fusses a bit when first going in, but once I start walking she usually calms right down.

Miracle Blanket: So this might just be because our kiddo is long, but this has worked way better than the swaddling blankets. It fits her better and she doesn't break out of it quite so easily.

The Kindle: I love how I can hold it with one hand and turn pages with that same hand while holding or rocking a baby. Amazing!!!  I'm surprised they haven't done an ad campaign based on that yet.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Not Quite a Spitting Image....

But sometimes when I look at my child, I see this....

I'm not sure if this is due to the resurgence of 80's fashion or if I'm reverting to some of my childhood loves. If anything, I sure hope that my kiddo has more of the good luck side of this troll than the troll side.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Female Fight Club: Why We Should Put Down Our Gloves

Great article over at The Well. And has challenged me to think about the groups of people/women I tend not to hang out with. (It's also written by a former roommate of mine).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Garden Exploded

This year I tried to cut back on my garden by spacing plants out a bit more than normal. I planted 4 tomato plants instead of 6, two zucchini plants instead of 3, two cucumber vines, and a bunch of corn. I also tried to plant things that would take less maintenance since I wasn't sure how often I'd be able to get out with a newborn.

I don't know if it was the extra room I gave the plants in the garden, or if it was the crazy heat we had this summer, or if I just lucked out this year, but all my plants ended up looking massive and very healthy. Ironically sometimes I think that the less I do out in the garden, the better my plants look.

My other theory is that I was about 2-3 weeks late in getting the seeds planted. That coupled with an early spring I think made me miss the first round of bugs. However this year I have had more problems with rabbits and squirrels.

Anyhow, I finally took Emma out to the garden with me the other day and it went better than I expected. She slept the whole time.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What I Wish I Would Have Known about C-Sections

I have to admit that I was a bit unprepared to have a c-section. Our pregnancy had been such a normal one that I just assumed the birth would be to. We had decided that we were not opposed to a C-section if it was medically necessary. But again, since we didn't really anticipate having one, I never did much research about them. But even if I had, I'm not sure I would have found out about some of these side effects of c-sections.

Here's what I wish I would have known prior to the c-section:

1. No Driving
I had heard that you couldn't lift anything for 4-6 weeks after having a c-section (and believe me I don't think I could have if I tried), but I don't think anyone ever mentioned that you really can't drive for 4-6 weeks after a c-section. I'm not sure which is worse...not being able to lift anything or not being able to drive. I guess the reasoning is that you use stomach muscles for breaking and it's hard to turn to look over your shoulder. I was a bit unprepared for that one. The only benefits of not driving has been 1) it's forced me to rest and 2) I spend a lot less money when I don't go out of the house.

2. It Hurts to Laugh and Sneeze
I don't think I ever realized how many simple movements such as laughing and sneezing are tied to your stomach/ab muscles. Wow. It's also equally amazing how well holding a pillow held to your stomach helps with that pain.

3. The Shakes
I think this is common with any surgery...but after the c-section was over and I was in recovery I got really bad shakes. It was the weirdest/freakest feeling ever. You can't feel anything in your lower body and then you're completely out of control of the upper half of you body as it is shaking. Was not expecting that one either.

4. Loss of Nerves
I'm not sure why I was surprised by this (given this was major surgery and the incision is a deep incision that cuts through a bunch of nerves), but I still don't have complete feeling around the incision line. I hear that for most people the feeling comes back after a while. So we'll see. But for now, there's a good 6 inches where I don't feel much.

So there you have it. Things I wish I would have known about 3 months ago.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


So I'm a bit behind on this update (sorry to everyone who already knows about this via facebook or my husband), but on July 8th our daughter Emma Grace finally made it into this world.:)

She was 8 pounds 3 ounces, 21 inches long and is pretty darn cute (yes, I am biased). 

And now I get to transition into a life of diaper changing, feedings and little sleep. Bring it on.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Still Waiting

June 29th has come and gone and we're still in waiting mode for baby Kirk to show up. Everything is still looking good according to the doctor so there's been no concerns about going past the due date. He did schedule an induction for July 8th however (just to have something scheduled in case she doesn't come in the next few days.)

I'm still hoping that she'll show up before the 8th, but on the flip side, it's nice to have an end date in sight.

So in the words of a childhood song that I absolutely hated while growing up but have now ironically been singing often to myself,
"Be patient, be patient, don't be in such a hurry
When you get impatient, you only start to worry
Remember, remember, that God is patient too
And think of all the times when others had to wait for you"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Recent Thought Provoking Reads

I've come across several articles lately that still have me know it's a good article when several day's later you're still thinking about it and have to go back to read it over again.

- Should Churches Abandon Travel-Intensive Short Term Missions in Favor of Local Projects
- When Are We Going to Grow Up? The Juvenilization of American Christianity
- Why Women Still Can't Have It All
- Lost in Suburbia: Increasing Suburban Poor

Monday, June 25, 2012

New York Video Shoot

Just in case you didn't see it yet, here's one of Matt's newer videos. I think it's one of my favorites so far. It's a video promotional for InterVarsity's Urban Projects and it highlights in part the kinds of people that college students might interact with while participating on the project. This was filmed in New York.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Adventures in Gardening - Heat

Unlike the past three years of gardening, this year has been really hot and dry. Normally I don't have to go out and water very much (maybe once a week or every other week). But this year it has felt like I've been out every 3 or 4 days.

Yesterday in particular as I was giving the garden a good soak I found myself praying for rain and realizing once again how dependent we are on God. With all our technology, weather information, and specialized garden gear, we still can't control the weather. I guess that's probably a good thing.

I was also reminded of a verse in Amos which says "I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up." I don't think I ever understood that verse before moving to the Midwest.

Case in point, about 4 to 6 weeks ago we did get a strong rain storm. I was driving back from a doctor's appointment and was stopped at a stop light. There was no rain falling where I was stopped, but not more than 10 feet in front of me was a line of heavily falling rain. Rain really can just fall on one "field" and not one less than a mile or half a mile away.

Now, we're still probably getting more rain than California...but it sure would be nice not to have to water so often. And it would have been nice for my spinach and bok choi not to have bolted and gone to seed so soon. But I'm probably just being selfish.

The only plus side of this heat so far is that the tomatoes are loving it. They are looking quite happy. And I'm hoping they stay that way.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Back in college, I was introduced to some worship music by Salvador (specifically, Montana). I remember how foreign it felt to sing in a different language initially...even a language like Spanish which was not necessarily uncommon in Southern California.

However, I think I enjoyed it more than even I realized back then. The other day I found some of Salvador's music on my computer and I instantly realized how much I have missed singing in Spanish (that doesn't happen much in the Midwest). It was like their music awakened a part of my soul which I had forgotten about.

I know there are a lot of different opinions out there about whether or not churches should introduce worship songs in different languages. And for those churches/ministries who do, it's not an easy road. But personally, I think worshiping in other languages has given me a fuller vision of what heaven will be like - with millions of people glorifying/praising God in their own tongues.And sometimes, it's just fun! :)

And if anything it makes me miss California and it's Spanish influence.

Friday, May 18, 2012

For the first time in six years....

our dinner was interrupted by a police helicopter circling the shopping center near us. I had almost forgotten how that was a weekly occurrence back in California. Strange.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

FLUX 2012

Every three years I've gotten the chance to oversee and edit a small publication called FLUX, which deals with topics of transitioning from college to life after college. This issue in particular was a fun collaboration between the graphic's department and our resident photographer (who happens to be my husband). I really enjoyed not using as many stock images..of course it helped that we had some great content/articles to work from.

The final product is pretty cool...but if you want a taste of the articles that were included in this issue, you can find them online (just click the categories and look for the 2012 articles):

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Buttery Roles

I finally found a recipe for dinner roles that can be started in the bread machine that I really like. Totally unhealthy...but soooo good:

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Different Kind of Happy

Random Ponderings: A few weeks back, we attended an arts conference put on by one of the local churches here in town. One of the preforming artists that was there was a singer by the name of Sara Groves. During her performance, she sang a song entitled "Different Kinds of Happy".

I really like the concept of there being different kinds of "happy". In particular, it made me think about the happiness that I feel in regards to my marriage and how it's a different kind of "happy" than it was 6 years ago. Or the happiness I see in various friends who have faced really hard situations like death, sickness, or life altering situation. What strikes me is that many of them have regained a happiness in life, but it's a different kind of "happy" -- a "happy" that is wiser, deeper, less innocent, and noticeably different. It's still happiness...but just really different.

I don't know what God has in store for my life, but I pray that I will never lose sight of happiness and joy...even if that happiness and joy become a different kind of "happy".

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Baby Needs What?

We recently worked up enough courage to walk into Target and create a baby registry. I think it took us so long because 1) we knew once we did so, the whole baby thing would be a lot more real. 2) We knew there would be a ton of options and lots of beautiful packages with smiling baby's whispering "if you buy this I'll be the happiest baby in the world". And then 3) personally, I was a bit scared that creating a baby registry would be similar to creating a wedding registry -- flashback to 6 years ago to a young Matt and Sarah standing in front of comforters at Linens and Things as we held back tears realizing we had very different tastes in what style bed comforter should grace our bed.

But an hour later we walked out smiling having survived creating a baby registry. It definitely helped that there were only 5 isles of baby stuff compared to a whole store full of stuff.

What took me a bit by surprised was how overwhelming everything felt. There are like 20 different bottle options and 50 different pacifier options all claiming something spectacular. And there was this overwhelming emotional desire to read every last word on the packaging to determine what would be the very best option for our little one while at the same time my brain kept trying to remind me that " this kid will only be using that swaddling cloth 3 to maybe 6 months so it probably doesn't matter if it's has the pretty pokadots or the cute owl on it."

All in all, the registry is created and we survived. And I guess that make it a success and brings us that much closer to being ready.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Can you work in a cube and still be creative at home?

About a month ago, a friend asked if it was possible to work a 8-5 job, in a cubical, on more "creative" projects and still have energy and inspiration left to be creative on personal projects at home. Such a great question and I've actually been pondering that question a lot this past month -- and I think I've decided that it is possible...but really hard.

In fact, this blog may be a good example of how it's been hard recently. This past month I had to devote a disproportionate amount of my time working on two writing projects that took a lot of collaboration, blood, sweat, and tears. And to be honest, the last thing I wanted to do when coming home was write a blog entry. It was as if all my creativity had been reallocated into these work projects. Since writing at work wasn't super fun, blogging, journaling, and any other kind of writing did not seem fun.

But I think there are other aspects within my job that do make it hard to remain creative away from my job:

1. Working in a cube: There is something about being confined in an 8x8 square without access to windows that puts a damper on my creativity. And I wonder if that's because at some level it puts up barriers between me and God's creation (both in terms of people and nature). Now I know that not all inspiration comes from nature...but I have found it true that more often than not I'm inspired by God's creation far more than I am by things I see on the internet (with maybe Pintrest being the recent exception to that).

2. Not separating work from non-work projects: as I've mentioned above, I have noticed that if I am engaged in writing a lot at work, it's harder to find the energy and passion to write outside of work (especially when the work project is hard, political in nature, or emotionally draining). It's been easy to let the frustration at work creep into personal projects.

3. Time: While working a 8-5 job has brought a sense of stability into my life (as compared to the haphazard life of a campus staff worker), it does seem like there is less time to devote to creative things in my personal life. Or I find personal projects get postponed to the weekend (and even then...those projects fight for time between all the other weekend activities). So finding time to work on projects has felt more challenging.

I'm sure there's more...but those have been the few things I've noticed about my current job that make it hard to be creative outside of my job.

But again, I think it is still possible to be creative when you work in a cube from 8-5 -- it just takes some creativity.

So thanks Abi for a great and though provoking question. It's been good for me to think about.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Baked French Fries

So I was watching Cook's Country on PBS the other day and they were doing a segment on the perfect baked french fry. The secret according to them was to soak the potato in water for 10-30 minutes. I thought that was ridiculous and so counter-intuitive. But they tend be spot on in their recommendations so I thought I'd give it a try. What do you know. It actually worked. The fries were way more crispy than anything I had tried before.

I found a similar recipe online and thought I'd link to it in case anyone else wants to give this strange tip a try:

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Work Happenings

Sara's story - ΑΧΩ at Central Michigan from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

It's been a while since I've given any sort of update on what we've been up to at work.

One thing that has kept Matt busy the past few months has been working on materials for a recent Greek Conference. One of the video's he worked on is above and you can see more of what Greek Conference was all about here:

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Owl Quilt

It seems now a day's I'm consistently being asked two questions: 1) How are you feeling, 2) Are you making a baby quilt?

I'd actually been a bit undecided about making a baby quilt. There are so many cute ones already out there that in some ways it just seemed easier to buy one instead of make one. And I tend to take way to long making quilts so I wasn't sure I could fit in another project.

However, I reconsidered after seeing this quilt:

It looked really simple and for some reason I liked the owls (must be all that Harry Potter influence coming out). So I took this on as a three weekend project. And here's the result:

Since I wanted this to be a quick quilt, I decided to machine stitch it all (which was a first for me). I still like the way hand stitching turns out over machine. But for something like this, the machine worked just fine. The other challenge was I wanted to use fabric that I already had. It turns out I have a lot of blue fabric which isn't necessarily the go to color of choice for a baby girl. But I think by using the flower print and a white fabric that has a little more of a lacy has a bit more of a girl flare than a boy.

Either way, I like how it turned out. So now when people ask if I'm going to make a baby quilt, I can say...been there done that.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pintrest Experiments

About a month ago, I finally gave Pintrest a try...and yes it is as addictive as everyone says it is. I discovered two things on Pintrest however that I did more with than just post to my board: "How to Make Ricotta Cheese" and a "Soft Block with Ribbon Loops".

How to Make Ricotta Cheese: I gave this a try this past weekend and it worked. I can't believe how simple it was. I don't think that I'll make ricotta cheese from scratch all the time, but I might for special occasions. I ended up using it in a lasagna (picture above) and it was super good.

Soft Block with Ribbon Loops: Here's the version from Babyville Boutique...
And here's my version:

What's so great about these is that they use up scrap material or charm squares beautifully.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tote Bag on Steroids

About 2 years ago I found a pattern for a simple tote bag (above) and tried making a few. In general I liked how they turned out and they work well as a simple quilted tote. However after being married 5 years to a man who is never happy with any bag he owns and who is always want to alter it somehow...I've been pondering how to modify this simple pattern into something a bit more exciting.

And tada! My version of a simple tote bag that is no longer so simple.

I started with the original pattern but then added in 3 extra pockets (2 on the outside, one on the inside), a zipper on top, and a water bottle pocket on the side. I also used a heavier canvas fabric (courtesy of the free table at work) instead of cotton.

I'm amazed at how well it turned out. I really like how sturdier the bag feels due to the canvas. And the pockets really added a lot to the overall feel of the bag. In putting the two bags side by side, I don't think I ever would have guessed they came from the same pattern.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Public vs. Private Goods in Today's Society

Ran into an interesting blog post over at Babs Ray's blog (a blog that often has reflections on emergent adulthood) on the topic of public vs. private good in an iSociety. The post was a response to recent articles about the rise of online school options.

Some of my favorite quotes from the post are:

This steady disappearance of the public systems we take part in daily is for many a sign of progress. But in this headlong race to privatize everything–and its cousin, tailoring everything to our circumstances, we risk losing the very fabric that stitches us together in a society. We risk losing the “public” spaces; the “we” in a rush for the “me.”

The daily interactions in public spaces, whether on a public bus, at the park, on our sidewalks and highways, in a classroom, at the doctor’s office, or at the DMV, are shared experiences, and ultimately meritocratic. Even Bill Gates has to renew his driver’s license. Our interactions remind us what we have in common with others–sometimes others we would not otherwise meet. The rules (wait your turn in line) and customs (say thank you to the bus driver) reflect back on us the order of our ideal society.

In fact, the online communities are the exact opposite of public spaces. We self-select into the online worlds, balkanizing by interests, splintering down to the most specialized slices. You don’t have to ride with someone who is talking too loud, or who is softly weeping with her face to the window, or who is reading a book you never heard of. You might run across those ideas or people online, but you don’t have to sit with them for 30 minutes—time to wonder, to sympathize, and yes to fume. You click and you’re gone. Some will say that’s the exact reason they love the internet, or private taxis. They don’t have to be bothered. It is why we live in gated communities as well. In those havens, we don’t have to brush up against humanity if we don’t want to.

The last quote in particular  made me reflect on my own interactions with the world around me. The further away I get from college (an environment that tends to emphasis the "public" more than "private") and the more I find myself entrenched in the daily routines of life, the easier it's become to isolate myself and avoid what seem like inconveniences on my time, comfort, and personal wants. It's as if isolation breeds more isolation. It makes me wonder if "brushing up against humanity" somehow goes against our very nature as humans.

I'm glad that God intentionally chose to "brush up against humanity" literally through Jesus and that more often than not, he took the time to interact with people in the public spaces of life. It's a good reminder that every interaction with people around us can be significant and it's not necessarily a bad thing to seek to include people in our lives.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Sunflower Quilt

The only upshot of catching a cold from my husband over the weekend was that it gave me plenty of time to sit and mindlessly finish a quilt I started in October.

This quilt was a kit that I picked up at last year's Quilt Expo. I really liked the colors and loved the way it turned out. The only change I made from the pattern was instead of making quilted triangle blocks for the four corners, I embroidered a decorative medallion type thing. I think that worked a lot better with the quilt. I'm super happy with how square I got the inside block...still need to work on getting the boarder and my binding a bit straighter. My only debate now is to figure out what wall to put it on.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Sometimes I wonder at our sanity.

Yesterday found us sitting in a car for 2 hours so we could spend 3.5 hours at IKEA looking at various storage solutions, only to then spend another 2 hours driving home. Whenever we are in Chicago for a weekend, we typically try to find time to wander through IKEA, but this was the first time we went down to Chicago with our only purpose being to go to IKEA.

A few things we learned on this trip:
1. It helps to go into IKEA knowing what you are looking for. Normally we've just ended up at IKEA for no real reason other than just walking around. That always ended up feeling a bit overwhelming. So it was nice knowing what we were looking for and having a game plan.
2. IKEA's Food isn't that bad. Sadly we had never tried any ok IKEA's food before this trip. While I had heard it was pretty good, I must confess I was still skeptical. But I think I'd eat it again.
3. It's helpful to go during the afternoon and not after 6:00 pm. For whatever reason, we always have stopped at IKEA on our way back up to Madison and so have tended to be there after dinner and we've always been really tired. This trip we were there in the afternoon and we were not tired. All I can say was we have far fewer arguments than ever before.

So all that to say is that we had a good trip and are learning to perfect our IKEA hunting excursions.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Braided Rug

The other day I realized that our kitchen rug was looking a little worn and tattered (which is kind of sad since I actually liked it). My dilemma however was I didn't really want to fork out any money to buy a new one.

Solution? I had this vague recollection of my mom making a braided rug once when I was growing up. I looked up some instructions online, went to the thrift store, and bought some old sheets ($4 bucks total...and they were even in colors that I liked and matched some of the other colors in our living room).

Then I went to work for about 4 weeks cutting and braiding a new rug. For my first attempt, not too shabby. I think I started out by braiding the fabric a bit to tightly so there's some small bumps in the center and I didn't think about how to start and stop different colors at first so the center looks a bit more jagged than I would have liked.

But overall, I like how it turned out and it was a fairly easy process.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Facebook, part 2

After thinking about my post earlier this week, I wondered if some might think that I'm completely anti-facebook or upset at how much or in the way that some of my friends or family post on facebook. Both of those would be false.

So I thought I'd list some reasons why I do like facebook and do still plan on using facebook and watching everything that friends/family post:

1. Keeping in Touch with Family: this is probably the biggest thing I love about facebook. Since we're several states away from most of our family, it's nice to see glimpses of their lives from time to time. In some ways, I think I'm more connected to family and their daily happenings because of facebook than without facebook. In that sense, facebook has been totally worth it and will be worth using in the future.

2. Discovering Interesting News/Photos/Articles/etc: I do really appreciate how many of my friends/family on facebook post challenging and interesting articles that they've found online. I've been introduced to many excellent blogs, videos, images and websites through their posts. I even appreciate how there's a wide array of views posted on's been a great way to broaden my perspective on different issues.

3. Ease of Staying Connected: I love how easy it is to stay connected with college and highschool friends. For some reason it seems much easier than trying to keep tabs on a person's email or postal address. I also really, really, really appreciate how quickly you can inform a wide group of people of a prayer request, ministry need, or a personal update (especially people overseas).

4. It's Just Fun: there is something fun about posting on facebook and seeing how many likes you get...or how many comments a post gets...or seeing what other people are up to.

5. It's Addictive: ok this may not be a good thing about facebook, but it's true and a reason why I'll keep coming back to it. It feeds my desire to be in the know.

So like anything in our world, I guess there are good and bad sides to everything - even facebook. And like most things in our world, we have the privilege of discovering how best to use a technology like facebook for good and in a way that glorifies our Lord. And I guess I'm still personally trying to figure out what facebook means for me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How much do you post on facebook?

One of the more interesting conversations Matt and I have had regarding being pregnant and having a kid is how much do we post on facebook or online in general about all this.

Specifically: where's the line between sharing what's going on and just being plain annoying? How much information is too much? Do I really want facebook owing the rights to pictures of my kid or do I want to run the risk of pictures being stolen and used without my knowledge by other Internet users? In 18 years, will our kid come back and sue us for posting to much or posting embarrassing information about them that they wish was never posted or that effects their ability to get a job?

It turns out we're not the only ones asking these questions:

It's still a fairly live conversation for us right now especially since one of us is a professional photographer, we have a few family members who use facebook a lot, and we also feel the tension between wanting to keep our family in California connected but still maintain a level of respect for our kid's future self.

So we'll see. My guess is that we'll end up being fairly guarded about what goes up (and probably more so on facebook than anywhere else). But the jury is still out.

Has anyone else out there wrestled with these questions?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Almost Made it a Year

One of my New Year's resolutions for 2011 was to post a blog at least twice a week. I was pretty proud of myself in that I made it to about October before slacking off. I think that's the longest I've ever kept a New Year's resolution.

However, to my defense I think I was blindsided by how tired I'd be during a first trimester of pregnancy. I heard rumors of such things but always thought "it can't really be as bad as everyone makes it out to be". Well considering that between October and December I was pretty much in bed by 9:00 pm and would easily take 2-3 hour naps on the weekend...I guess it really was that bad. So that seriously put a damper on my blogging goals.

So for 2012? I'm not sure what my goals with the blog will be. If I can get something posted at least once a week, I might be ok with that.

Here's to a new year!