Hopeful Thoughts

One Creation and One Deconstruction

I finished my crochet bag! I’m really excited with the way it finally turned out. I may still go back and line it with material to keep it from stretching so much when I fill it up. Here’s the final product for all to see:


Today I started on a deconstruction project.


Last weekend we held a yard sale to raise money for the trip to Argentina. I found myself watching this girl pick up shirts that obviously didn’t fit her, and so I had to ask if she was going to make something. Turns out she was planning to use the material from the shirts to make wedding decorations.

When we were cleaning up the leftovers, I decided to pull out a few shirts from the pile myself. I cut four shirts apart and now have a little pile of material which will become something fun and hopefully wind up in my Etsy shop!


Things I Need to Remember

For those of you who know us well, you are aware that we are dealing with several unknowns. I have been having a very difficult time keeping my focus on the truth of who God is as Provider. I feel the need to know exactly was is going to happen and I am disappointed when things don’t work out the way that I expect them to.

Today I just want to reflect on some passages in God’s Word that remind me who He is. I am reminded to trust Him and have hope when all seems hopeless.

Jeremiah 29:11

11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Philippians 4:4-9

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Matthew 6:25-27

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]?

Reading in Spanish

While no final announcement has been made, I’m pretty certain that my trip to Argentina will be postponed. I really don’t think it will be completely cancelled, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was pushed as late as the first week in September.

In some ways, I am grateful that we will most likely have more time to prepare. The list of things we are supposed to accomplish has grown to 7, and it was pretty overwhelming at the two or three we started with.

In addition to the planning, there’s the whole issue of the language barrier that we are going to face. I have wanted to travel to a Spanish speaking country for YEARS, as that is what I studied in school and I knew I would never really get it if I wasn’t forced to speak it. I took some really basic Spanish in kindergarten, another year in 8th grade, three years in high school, and two semesters in college. But, now that I am finally traveling to a Spanish country, it’s been 12 years since my last class! I’ve forgotten so much!

So, today I went to our local Recycled book store and purchased a couple of reference guides. I hope to be able to brush up on vocabulary and verb conjugations so that I can be better prepared. Yesterday I pulled up the Spanish NIV Bible on the web and tried to do my daily reading. That was tough!! So, my plan is to add a bit of Spanish reading to my day between now and departure.

Coffee Cup Chronicles: Part IV

Once upon a time there were two sisters. They loved each other dearly, but they fought and and fought. One was a neat freak and the other was a “little miss messy”. One was a peacemaker and the other was an instigator. One was a planner and the other took life as it came. The mix did not work well when you consider these two girls also had to share a bedroom.

Well, over time, each girl came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior of her life and learned what it meant to walk with him. For one, it was an easy road, and for the other it was very difficult and painful. Eventually, these two sisters became sisters in Christ and very best friends.

sisMy sister is one of my most favorite people in the world. She is kind, creative, strong, determined … I can’t find enough words to describe how amazing she is. Nearly four years ago, she became a mommy, and she is doing a GREAT job raising her two girls along with her husband. (They have one more on the way in December!!!) However, the demands of parenthood have kept her from pursuing many of her former joys. Among those is her art.

Today’s coffee cup was a hand-made gift from my dear sister. I don’t actually drink out of this one, mostly because I am afraid I might mess it up! Instead, it sits out for all to see and is a reminder of the beautiful friendship I have with her.

beeI LOVE YOU, BEE!!!!!!!

Argentina: To Go Now or Later?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will remember the recent non-epidemic affectionately referred to as the “Swine Flu”. A couple of people died and then everyone started freaking out and closing businesses and schools. My district opted to shut down for a week, only to come back a couple of days later with a “just kidding” call when the CDC announced that it wasn’t as big a deal as they once thought. The kids were told that the remaining days would be excused absences, so, at the high school level, that meant they didn’t have to show up. I spent two days showing movies to the three students that showed up to each of my Geometry classes.


So, once this all blew over, I was relieved and went on with my life … at least until last week when I got this notice regarding the mission trip I am scheduled to go on August 1:

“Both cities where our team works (La Plata and City Bell) are in the Province of Buenos Aires mentioned [in the OSAC report]. Local schools (it is winter there and the middle of the school year) have been dismissed until August 1 and Banks and businesses are closed today and tomorrow. Currently there are 2500 cases of flu there and 60 deaths and they are expecting the numbers to grow (it was 1500 last week). We really need to make a decision pretty soon on tickets and I am asking that we all pray for guidance as this could all blow over there as it did here or could get worse. “

In light of this information, people here where I live are now worried again about something that we all thought was over and done, to the point of possibly canceling the trip altogether. It never occurred to me to think the Swine flu would be an issue ever again!

After days of discussion, a final decision has not yet been made. From what I’ve heard, it sounds as though most people are pretty convinced that the Swine flu scare will blow over in Argentina just as it did here. However, the elders at the sending church are wanting to err on the side of caution. As a result, our trip will most likely be postponed for anywhere from one week to an entire month.

So, now I’m waiting.

A First Quilting Project

Several years ago, my dear friend Allysonmade an adorable quilted bag that I still carry off and on to this day. Every time I use it, I get loads of complements. As I remember, it was her first quilt project.


Well, time has passed and it’s getting a bit worn out. I’ve pondered making one myself for quite some time. Finally, I have purchased material with the intention of making one or two of these little bags. Here’s the color scheme. Perhaps one day soon I will actually begin this project and have something useful.


I have successfully completed a whopping ONE of the projects I posted last week. Check out the new stuff on my Etsy page to see the completed Green baby blanket. I did finish the crocheted bag, but was unhappy with the result, so it’s been pulled out and started again with a smaller crochet hook.

Reading and Learning

I missed my Friday post of what I am currently reading, but the current pick also lends itself to my Monday topic of what I’m learning about God.

I read the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia as a teen, but never really got into the series like many people. Since I learned about what it really means to walk with God back in my college days, I have heard again and again about C.S. Lewis. Several times I have attempted to read “Mere Christianity” or the “Screwtape Letters”, but I’ve had a difficult time getting through them. His writing is so deep that I felt bogged down as I had to read and then re-read passages to keep my train of thought. Never have I made it through one of his theological works.

Two weeks ago, I started meeting with a group of friends to read through “Screwtape Letters.”

screwtapeIt has been much easier going this time around. I don’t know if it’s the slower pace that we are taking or the intensive training I went through with BTCL.

The book is teaching me a great deal about how Satan attacks. It’s a great reminder about how he can sneak into the small places in life and distract us from our focus on God. I’m also really enjoying the insights of the others in the reading group. We’re having a great time studying the book together.

Coffee Cup Chronicles: Part III

On June 14 of this year, my husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. This summer marks 10 years since we met back in 1999 on a Campus Crusade for Christ summer project to Branson, MO.

In order encourage more students to attend summer projects, this particular project included working at a local business for 4 days a week. My job was at the Blimpie Sub shop, while Ryan worked next door at the Photo developer under the same ownership. Since we were working next door to each other, we were able to carpool to work and eat lunch together every day. The rest is history!

Today’s mug was a souvenir from my summer job at Blimpie.


Something so Simple

Now that I am no longer working full time, I need to be spending more time in the kitchen and less time out to eat. Planning ahead is a must to make this happen. I have not been doing a very good job of this, and we ended up eating out a lot over the weekend.

One of my tools to encourage me to cook more often is the membership in a local organic co-op. I figured that I would cook what I get rather than let it go to waste. This, too, has proven not to be so effective due to my lack of planning. I ended up throwing out some sweet peppers, an orange, an avocado and a few of the raspberries because we didn’t eat them fast enough. I still have two zucchini that MAY still be edible, but my second pick up was yesterday, so now I have even more goodies to fit into my menu!

Produce from July 7

Produce from July 7

It’s hard to see from the picture, but there is a HUGE amount of spinach in this week’s stock. Some of it went into a wonderful salad with the red leaf lettuce, cucumber,carrot, and fresh tomato (from the local farmer’s market). The strawberries are super delicious and remind me of the berry patch we used to go to when I was a kid. I ate one of the plums as a snack, but I think it could have used another day to sweeten up. A peach provided a lovely complement to my bowl of Lucky Charms this morning!

The green beans were cooked in garlic and butter to pair with the Baked Ziti I cooked for dinner last night. I was pretty excited about this dish. I loosely followed a recipe I found on the Food Network website, but I was forced to modify it a bit because I didn’t have enough mozzarella cheese and I used ground beef instead of the turkey it called for. I mixed in a slice of provolone, some grated cheddar, and quite a bit of parmesan. Here’s the result, and it was quite tasty!


Tonight I am using some of the spinach in a quiche with bacon and ham. YUM!

So many crafts and so little time!

I currently have several crafts on the table. Each is in a varying state of completion, ranging all the way from finished to not even begun.

quiltedbabyI completed this set just a few days ago and am just waiting for the right time to take pictures before posting it on my Etsy site just in time for my Showcase on July 23. The burpie and washcloth were finished a long time ago, but the blanket was holding me back. I’ve been able to get a lot more done since I got home from visiting the family.

etsyincThis blanket is to replace the one I just sold from my Etsy site. I have one side of the square left to stitch, and then it will also be ready to post!

plarn2Here’s the status on my plastic bag project. I’m hoping to turn it in to a shopping bag. Here you can see the front and back panels, stacked on top of each other, a ball of “plarn” (plastic yarn), and a couple of bags waiting to be turned into plarn. This project is one that will have to be completed over time, as I keep running out of bags.

bag2beHappy Birthday to me from my mother-in-law. She sent me some money and I bought myself this yarn which I am hoping will turn in to a cute slouch tote bag. This will be the first time I’ve crocheted anything other than blankets or scarves, and I am pretty excited!!

evans3While in the craft store, I also picked up this sweet trio of soft colors. I won’t be able to post the final product until some time in late December or early January, as it’s a baby gift. 🙂

Now, my biggest problem is deciding which project to work on! They are all so much fun!

The Right Resources...

One of my favorite things about BTCL was the course on Bible Study Methods.

I remember when I was first learning about what it meant to walk with God each day and started to incorporate a daily quiet time into my routine. As a poor college student, I felt frustrated, because it seemed that in order to truly study God’s word, I needed to have a Bible study book. I thought I needed something with blanks that I had to fill out as I read.

During the Bible study methods course, I learned strategies to get the most out of God’s word. We learned about the three main steps: 1. Observation, 2. Interpretation, and 3. Application. By the end of the semester, I felt that, instead of buying one of those study books, maybe I could write one! (That may be a goal for the FAR off future!)

We also discussed the idea of “context” in great deal. In some cases, this meant what was happening in the surrounding passages on the text, but in other cases, this meant what was happening in history. The culture and location in which something occurred have a huge impact on how one interprets literature.

For example, let me refer to the 10 camels in the story of Rebekah that I posted last week. By looking at the historical context, we learn how deep Jacob’s well really was, how much water she could carry in her jar, and how much it takes to water one camel. With this information, we can begin to see how tough and TRULY kind her job really was instead of just glossing over it as a small good deed.

Of course, the historical and cultural contexts are not typically given right in the Bible. So, I was once again left feeling the need to buy some kind of supplement to my study. However, I have been pointed towards an amazing web site that is brimming with notes and details about every book of the Bible. If you find yourself in the same situation, check out soniclight.com. This web page boasts plenty of background information for any passage you might be willing to study. Just be prepared to do quite a bit of scrolling if your question is about chapter 12 and not chapter 1!

Happy reading!

Read it At Last

One of my all time favorite reads has been the Mitford books by Jan Karon. I got into them after most of them were already out, but early enough that I had to wait in anticipation for the final book to be released before I could read it. When I found out that Karon was going to continue the story of Father Tim in a new series, I was ecstatic, but the waiting began again. Once the book finally came out, I still couldn’t read it because I was working full time and had too much going on to read anything for fun.

Now that summer is here, reading time has returned. While I was at my parents’ house in early June, I was finally able to borrow the book from my mother. I had to let me sister read it first, but I was able to bring it home and finally dig into it myself.

It was SO worth the wait!! Characters briefly mentioned from Father Tim’s past in the original series now come to life as Father Tim travels back to his home town. And BOY does he have a past! We learn about the trials that he experienced as a child that lead him to become the lovable, balding, Episcopal priest of the Mitford books.


Of course, now I am left with the problem of waiting again until the next book is released. It’s not slated to come out until 2010!!!!!

Coffee Cup Chronicles: Part II

Today’s cup of choice happens to be the one I am sipping out of as I compose today’s post. It is a favorite both because I love the design, and because of it’s large size. Bigger is quite often better when it comes to a good cup of coffee. However, it is most precious to me because of the memories. This lovely mug shines in pastel print with some of the names of our Wonderful God and was given to me at a very special time.


I moved to Denton just over six years ago. I’m kind of shy in new situations, and don’t easily come out of my shell unless circumstance force me to. So, when I moved here to get married, I decided that if I was to make new friends, I was going to have to jump in head first and join the first Bible study my new church offered, no matter what. It ended up being a study of Titus 2. (GREAT stuff, by the way). As a result, I became good friends with many of the women in the church.

Not long after, I was invited to serve on a team to plan our annual women’s retreat. As a newly married woman, not long out of college, I was quite surprised and very honored to be asked to help some of the women I admired most in my church (including the wives of several elders) to plan such an event. We planned the weekend retreat around the theme of “The Names of God”. Each name of God reveals something about his character, and the mugs were given to each woman to remind us daily of who God is.

So now, years later, as I hold this lovely mug filled with coffee, I am reminded of the love of God and the precious women in my church.

It's Food Day Already???

Perhaps unknown to you, dear readers, I have plans for my blogs. I sat down just the other day and decided exactly what I want to blog about on each day of the week. This is mostly meant as a motivation to actually blog more often. If I know what I’m doing before I sit down, then I am more likely to do it.

Thursdays are my theme day. For now, it’s the Coffee Cups.

Fridays are for books. What I’m reading, what I want to read … you know!

Saturday and Sunday are unassigned. Those are days to talk about whatever.

Mondaysare for the things I’m learning about God.

Tuesdays are about crafty things I am doing or planning to do.

And, according to my plan, today, Wednesday, is supposed to be the day I talk about food.

Last week I picked up my first Organic Produce Co-Op goodies, and I really hoped that I would have some pictures to make mouths water and a savory story to go along with them. However, no such pictures were taken of the dishes those fruits and veggies turned into.

In fact, the only interesting thing that I made was egg plant parmesan. I am excited to say that it was a success. I was dreadfully afraid that it would turn out mushy, yet it was tender with a perfect crunchy coating. The egg plant was sliced, lightly salted, and left to drain on paper towels for about 30 minutes. I dredged each piece in flour, egg, and bread crumbs before frying until golden in a bit of olive oil. I didn’t have enough bread crumbs to dredge all the pieces, so I pulled out my mini food processor and ground up some generic wheat crackers. I still can’t believe it tasted good, since I didn’t really follow any recipe!! My most favorite days in the kitchen are those when I throw something together.

Should life ever hand me another egg plant, I will not be afraid. However, I will not be buying another on my own. I stilll prefer chicken in my parmesan!!!