Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I gave in...

and joined a gym. Although I keep hearing from people that the wind we've had on the island for basically the whole month of December is NOT typical, I have a hard time believing that. And I also doubt that it will be going away anytime soon. And though I have plenty of warm running clothes, I don't have anything to protect my face from Jack Frost's icy blasts. A few people in my congregation belong to a gym just over on the mainland (that's what we "islanders" call it) and they only have good things to say about it, and they also told me that they were running a special and waiving the join fee until the end of the year. So I went to check the place out, with my mind about 75% made up already that I was going to join. However, I was hoping that I would be able to join on a month-to-month basis so that I could use the place for the winter and then get back to running outside, where I prefer. Well of course the cost for paying only month-to-month was more per month than joining for the year, AND you had to pay the join fee (they were only waiving the join fee for those joining for a year). So, since it was more economical, they sucked me in for a year. Though I imagine once the weather warms up that I won't be using it to run much, I probably will still go a few times a week to do strength training or for some group exercise classes like spinning or yoga. One nice thing about this gym is you don't have to pay extra for those classes. And I know that I should be doing strength training to tone my muscles for running, but I haven't been able to do it consistently, so maybe I finally will.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Post-Marathon Post

I know you've all been waiting in great suspense (haha), so I will confirm that yes, I completed my first marathon! I didn't want to post about it right away because I wanted to allow some time to feel the pain (and hopefully feel the pain diminishing!) and process my feelings about the whole thing. Here's a basic run-down of the event and the days that followed...

Marathon Day

5:15am - wake up, eat some oatmeal, drink some fluids, rub on some "body glide" to avoid chafing (tmi? sorry), layer up

6:15am - leave my friend Sara's apartment, where I stayed because she super conveniently lives right by the art museum, where the race starts and ends... meet up with friends, wait in line for the port-o-potty, take off extra layers, check my bag, jump up and down with nervous excitement

Approx. 7:10am - my wave of the race starts! high-five the mayor of philly as I cross the starting line

Miles 0-9 - feel pretty awesome, loving the tons of cheering people all along the route, smiling and laughing at funny signs with my friend steven/running buddy

Miles 10-13 - still feeling ok, get past the biggest hill of the route without too much trouble, missing the cheering as there are less people along this section of the route

Miles 13 -17 - pass the art museum at the half-way point, where there are lots of people again, starting to have some pain in my knee, but it goes away after a while, starting to slow down, wondering why I signed up for this

Miles 17-19 - have to stop and walk for the first time because of a side cramp, fighting to keep up with Steven who is clearly still feeling good while I am feeling worse and worse

Miles 19-21 - hit the wall (or what I imagine was "hitting the wall" as marathoners talk about), want to die, holy crap how will I make it 6 more miles? mad at myself for feeling so crappy when I had run two 20-mile long runs before and felt like I could have gone more, mad at myself for not trying a 22-mile long run, almost start crying...

Miles 22-24 - fight to keep going, tell myself it is ok to have to do some walking, alternate running and walking, but still doing more running than walking, thankful that Steven has stuck with me, even with all my walking

Miles 24-26 - ok, only about 2 miles left, definitely do-able, more people cheering again toward the end, Steven is encouraging me, I can do this!

Miles 26-26.2 - holy crap, two tenths of a mile have never felt this long, where is the freaking finish line?! I can see it, finishing strong, hands in the air as we cross the finish together after 4 hours 20 minutes and 22 seconds, and immediately hug each other.

I am so grateful to Steven for sticking by me the whole time, I honestly don't know if I could have done it without him. It was definitely one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. But I am glad I did it. And I'm proud.

After we finished we hung around a little while with our friends/family and had some post-race snacks and then I had to get going. Walking back to Sara's apartment took me a ridiculously long time. I showered and packed up and got on my way to drive back to western PA to be with my mom again. It wasn't an easy drive (duh) but it wasn't as bad as I expected, and I got myself some fatty food as a reward and made it to my parents' house and put my feet up and relaxed and ate some more. The next day was awful. Seriously. I felt worse Monday than right after the marathon on Sunday. And I was beyond exhausted. After visiting my mom for a bit, I spent most of the day resting, and so I started to feel a little better Tuesday, and made progress through the week. I treated myself to a massage on Wednesday because I had some nasty pain in my neck and shoulders.

Now that I'm a couple weeks out I'm able to look at it more objectively. The week after the marathon I thought that I never wanted to subject myself to that again. At this point, I'm not ready to sign up for another one right away or anything, but I also know that I probably will do at least one more marathon. AND half marathons seem a lot more manageable now than before I did a full! While the crazy winter wind here on the island has kept me from running as much as I would like, I have been doing some, and I'm happy to say that I still enjoy it. ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tough Week

This week started off bad and got a lot worse before it got better. I caught a cold toward the end of last week, so I was feeling pretty crappy on Sunday and hoping and praying that I would start to feel better soon since my marathon was only a week away. Then Sunday afternoon I got a call that my mom had broken her hip. Thanks be to God that the orthopedic surgeon was in the hospital where they took her (he works in a few) and was able to take her in pretty much right away to surgery. He inserted a rod into her bone, and she spent a few days on a recovery floor. I came home Monday to help take care of my dad (my mom is basically his caretaker) and be with my mom. Mid-week I took my dad to stay with my aunt for a while, and my mom was moved to the rehab floor. She is progressing very well and they say she will likely be able to come home next week. I plan to stay home until the end of next week to help her with the transition home. I am so thankful that she is doing well, but I know she has a long recovery ahead. And I'm thankful to my aunt who will probably have to care for my dad for the next couple weeks at least. I am hoping my mom will be doing well enough for him to be able to come home sometime in mid-December maybe. We will have to celebrate Thanksgiving separately - my mom and I here, my dad in Ohio - but hopefully we will be able to be back together at home for Christmas.
I am still planning to head to Philly just for this weekend to run my marathon. I have put so much time and effort into training that my mom and I would both be disappointed if I didn't run it. Now that it's so close, I'm nervous! Prayers are appreciated for my mom, and dad, and for my running and traveling this weekend.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


So the parsonage I live in is pretty great. One of the things I love is that there are hardwood floors in the living and dining rooms and carpet in all the bedrooms. And they refinished the hardwood and put in the carpet only about 2 years ago. They were waiting to do the floors in the kitchen and bathrooms though until someone moved in full time. So those floors were pretty ugly vinyl. When I got a new refrigerator I saw that the kitchen floor was in bad shape (as was the master bath), so the church council and I decided to get the floors done ASAP. So I picked out some tile, and also picked out a new toilet, vanity top and faucet for the master bath (which also needed to be replaced). And last week the floors guys came and everything was done in less than 3 days! We also have a guy on council who is a carpenter, who ripped out the ugly laminate wall coverings in the bathrooms and put up wainscoting. The wainscoting still needs to be painted, and I think I might paint the vanity and put new handles on it to update it a bit, but the changes have already made a huge improvement.

These are the "before" pictures of the floors in the bathrooms and kitchen.
And these are the "after" pictures! The first is the tile in both bathrooms and the second is the kitchen.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Escape to Smithville

I began my day off today watching one of my favorite movies (She's the Man) and working on a crochet scarf, and then going for an easy 4-mile run. Then in the afternoon I headed to an adorable little town about 40 minutes away. I realized that unless I'm being really productive at home (sewing/cleaning/etc.) or unless it's a really crappy day and I don't want to go outside, I need to make an effort to actually GO places on my day off. It's very easy to "take work home" especially when my house is literally attached to the church, and I've found that it helps me not think about pastor stuff when I get off the island and go somewhere. So today I decided to go to a place I've been meaning to go for a while. "Historic Smithville" is a little town with a collection of about 50 little shops (and a few restaurants) selling items ranging from candy to clothing to jewelry to crafts. I enjoyed browsing and taking in the scenery (see the above pictures), and also made some purchases I was pretty happy with. I got the earrings at a shop called Herban Legend which calls itself a "socially conscious" store (totally my kind of place). The wall hanging (appropriate for summer here at the shore) and Christmas decoration came from a craft store that I could see my mother or aunt spending lots of time in. I also couldn't resist getting a square of fudge, chocolate peanut butter, of course. :) The weather was much cooler than it has been lately, but the sun was peeking out every now and then and it was the perfect day for light layers and a little exploring.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Companions on the journey

Living the life of a pastor can be lonely. This is pretty ironic considering that being a pastor means you are around people a lot of the time. And there are certainly many joys you share with people, but there are also challenging times and it takes a lot out of a person. I'm finding that I appreciate any opportunity to be around other pastors who understand what I'm experiencing. I am especially grateful for a group of women pastors I'm meeting with once a month to talk and eat and pray. It is good to know, when I'm feeling like this lone boat, that I have companions on this ministry journey. I thank God for my friends and colleagues.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Blustery Beginning

October got off to a wet, chilly start here at the shore. Four of the first five days of the month were the very definition of blustery. It made me think of Winnie the Pooh. :) I know we needed the rain, but there was so much of it, and it was so chilly that it made me want to stay inside. I spent last Friday, my day off, curled up with Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (and I cried at the end). I'm not in a hurry to read the next one, because I know it's the last. Thankfully, there was a break in the rain on Saturday (that was the one day out of the first five) so I was able to get my long run in, and I did 18 miles! Then I came home and put my feet up and ate a big breakfast. :) Today was finally another warm, sunny day and Sadie and I took a lovely walk as the sun was beginning to set. Most of the rest of the day, and this week, was spent doing my typical pastor duties, although there really isn't too much about being a pastor that's typical! Life on the island has been a lot quieter lately, and honestly, is a little lonely at times. And I'm not exactly sure what, if anything, I can do about that. I also got some crappy news about a friend today, another reminder that life is definitely not easy. And all I can do is pray and trust that God is here. The winds blowing things around and mixing them up seem to be a bit of a metaphor for life, but they are also a reminder of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

So long, September

Since it's the end of the month, I thought I should post about my goals for September. I was 2 for 3. I did pretty well with getting on a more regular sleep schedule. I didn't get to bed and wake up at the same time every day, but I made progress and did really well with getting 7-8 hours of sleep just about every night. I also did well with my long runs. There was only one week this whole month that I didn't get good mileage in, and that was intentional, because I was trying to rest what I think is a pulled hamstring. Boo. BUT I ran my longest run EVER this month, of 16 miles! And I also hit my first 100-mile-month! Assuming everything continues to go well, I'm hoping to do 18 miles this weekend, and then I should still be able to get up to at least 20 miles (if not more) before I need to start tapering for the marathon in November. I didn't do so well with the yoga/strength training though, so that's going to stay on my list for October.

(The picture is my second completed quilt, made for my new baby cousin Bettie!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Day

A day that I will remember forever. When I became Ordained for ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
When I have challenging days, when I wonder why I'm doing this, when I feel alone, I will remember this day. And the support, love, and encouragement that surrounded me. God has called me and God has blessed me. Thanks be to God!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


It's September already? Seriously?! I don't know where the last two months of my life have gone, I can't believe I've been here in NJ that long already. It seemed like when I first got here that I would be waiting FOREVER for my ordination day to come, but now it's only a few weeks away! And I think things are about to get even busier for me, so the day will probably be here before I know it. This weekend will be the last big hurrah for all the summer folk here at the shore, so I expect things around town and the island to get a lot quieter. We also go back to one Sunday morning worship service after this Sunday (we have two in summer because we get more people... life is a little different here at the shore, haha). But even though I'll have one less worship service each week, we're starting Confirmation classes and I'm beginning an adult Bible study so I'll have a few more things to add to the regular schedule. We're also having our first monthly Saturday evening worship service today. I have no idea how many people will show up, and it honestly doesn't really matter to me. I'm looking forward to using the Holden Evening Prayer service, and hope that I don't mess up the guitar accompaniment too much.

The effects of Hurricane Earl were felt here a bit, but not too bad. I don't know if we even had any rain at all, but we did have a good bit of wind yesterday. The rest of the weekend promises to be gorgeous though, so I might get on the beach at some point (it doesn't get too crowded near my house). I spent most of yesterday (taking refuge from the wind) crafting up a storm, while watching Gilmore Girls. Two of my close friends (one from high school, one from seminary) and my cousin Erin all had babies in the past month. Sooo that means I'm working on some homemade baby gifts. I've been knitting some things for my friends' babies, and I'm working on a quilt for Erin's baby, Bettie. Since baby things are small, the knitting isn't taking too long. The quilting will take a bit more time, but I'm hoping to finish it by the time I see them at my ordination.

Crafting and making gifts helps my mental and emotional health. I'm also working on a few goals for this month related to my physical health. I've been continuing to train for my first marathon (although I deferred Akron to next year - long story - so I'm now aiming for Philly in November), and have been getting pretty regular 5x a week runs in, so that's good. What I need to work on, is getting the long runs in each week, and increasing the distance. I did well with 12 miles last week, but got up to do 14 this morning, and barely squeezed out 9. A combo of no energy and some sore joints were working against me. But I'm going to try getting out again tonight for another 4 or 5 miles, if I'm not too sore. So one of my goals for the month is getting in the long run miles that I should for my marathon training. Another is to do yoga or another form of strength training 2x a week. I only do it very sporadically right now, and I really think this will help my training. And my third goal for the month is to establish a more regular sleep pattern. I did really well the first few weeks or so after I moved here, getting to bed at a decent time (probably because I was exhausted) and getting up early to run. But lately I haven't been going to bed at a regular time, and I usually hit the snooze button at least once in the morning. I've been really dragging in the mornings, and it's not because I'm not getting enough sleep (I do get 7-8 hours most nights), so I think I just need a better pattern. I'm hoping my posting these goals on here will help me achieve them!

Have a great long Labor Day weekend!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Weekend of Firsts

This past weekend Mandy and her boyfriend Ty came to visit! Of course we did the obvious things here at the shore that I plan to do with probably everyone who comes to visit: went to the beach, visited the lighthouse (and climbed the 217 stairs to the top), and ate really good fresh-caught seafood. But it was far from a typical weekend, as we also enjoyed a few new things. The first was tasting the homebrewed beer (summer ale) the three of us started earlier in the summer. It was light and refreshing with a slight taste of hops and citrus. First beer I ever helped to brew. The next was a visit to the fishing docks over on the bay, where the mayor of the town showed us around the offices and inner workings of the fishing docks, and then showed us on and around one of his commercial fishing boats. First time on a commerical fishing boat. And the final "first" was parasailing! I've been watching from the beach as people were parasailing over the water and, even though I do have a normal amount of fear regarding heights, I decided I wanted to try it. Mandy agreed to try it with me, and Ty rode along on the boat and watched as we soared to heights of over 300 feet (higher than the lighthouse)! It was scary, but awesome. Unfortunately, it wasn't too cheap, so it's not something I'll be able to do all the time, but it was worth it, and I would definitely do it again. First time parasailing. But hopefully not the last. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Celebrating my day of birth

So I had a birthday about a week and a half ago. In the midst of my new "job" it kind of came and went pretty quickly. I usually like to make a big deal out of my birthday, but I guess I shouldn't expect much when I now live away from most of my family and friends. The friends that I do have here helped make it nice for me though, so it's not like it was bad or anything. The day started off like any other Sunday now with leading worship and then some time in the early afternoon to relax. Then I headed off the island to meet up with my friend Mindy, who had arranged for me to take a ride in her brother's (2007) red Mustang Shelby GT 500. If you don't know Mustangs, that doesn't mean anything to you, but trust me, it's a sweet car. It's basically the top of the line when it comes to Mustangs. And since the Mustang is my dream car, this was pretty exciting for me. After that, I headed up to my friends' Annemarie and Tim's house to have dinner and then relax outside and make S'mores over the fire. It was a pretty good 29th birthday. I think I see more 29th birthdays in my future. ;)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


the title of my last post. What does "settling in" really mean, anyway? Everyone has been asking me about it lately, from members of the congregation, to my friends, and family... "are you settling in?" I know they mean well, and I really do appreciate their concern, and I respond positively. But. I've been thinking. What does that even mean? I've made about as much progress on my house as I'm going to make for now. Boxes are unpacked, pictures are hung on the walls, blinds and some curtains hung on the windows. All that's really left to do is make a few more curtains (I bought ones for the bedrooms, but I'm going to make valences for the kitchen, and a big panel for the sliding glass doors in my living room), and eventually finish decorating my office (with Steelers paraphenalia). And I'm not really concerned with getting either of those done very soon. So, does the fact that my house is as set up as its going to be for now mean that I am "settled"? Does the fact that my dog seems to have adjusted well and she and I have basically established a routine for taking her outside mean that I am settled? Does the fact that I have been here for a month already, and have changed my driver's license over to NJ mean that I am settled? I don't know. I don't think so. I don't think I will be "settled" until I feel like this is home. And honestly, I don't really feel like this is home yet. I guess it will just take time.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Settling in

Things have been a whirlwind lately! The move was a big fiasco... not because anything bad happened to my stuff, but because they were probably the slowest, most inefficient moving company ever. Thankfully that's over with and I shouldn't have to worry about moving again for a while. The people at the church have been nice and helpful and giving me time to get settled, although I basically had to start working right away. I had some wonderful friends who came and helped with unpacking and assembling some shelves, so I was able to get a good amount of my stuff unpacked and organized in the first few days here. I've never had this much space, so figuring out where I want everything to go is taking a while. My bedroom, guest room, bathrooms, kitchen and dining room are all basically put together, but I still have quite a few boxes in my living room and office. I also haven't really hung anything on the walls yet, since it's difficult to do without some assistance, so I think I'll probably wait to do that when my parents come to visit in about a week. I know my mom is excited to come and it will be nice to have them experience my new home.

Even though I've been pretty busy with settling in to the new house and new job, I've tried to fit in things just for myself to keep from losing my mind. I've been getting back into a good running routine, continuing the training for my first marathon. I've been trying out different restaurants in the area, and let me tell you, the seafood at these places is GOOD, and most of it is caught locally. I've only gone to the beach twice so far, but I plan to do a lot more of that. I'm trying to do a better job of planning out my meals for the week, instead of waiting to decide what I feel like each day. And along with that I'm trying some new recipes. Today I made a Southwestern Corn Chowder, which was pretty good. AND I finally finished my first quilt! It's definitely got its imperfections, but I'm still really happy about the way it turned out.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Moving Day

So it's official: I have been called as pastor of a Lutheran church in New Jersey... at the shore! I'm pretty excited and a little scared to start this new time in my life. It's what I've been working toward for the last four years, so it's great that it's finally here. I just hope I do a good job! I will only be one block from the ocean, so that's pretty sweet, and it's also not too far from where I did internship so there are people in the area that I know. Mostly I am just thankful to God that this has all worked out. My call process moved very quickly, but I think it's working out for the better that way. And because it all moved so fast and I need to start right away, I'm moving today! I have a moving company, which is great, so I don't have to do any of the heavy work myself. But since my stuff is all over the place we will be making multiple stops and I'll have to give some direction. So I'm just praying that it goes smoothly and we don't make it to NJ too late tonight!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I am in a very weird place in my life right now. I moved out of my house in Philly almost two weeks ago, and I do not yet have a permanent place of residence. My original plan was to move back in with my parents for at least the summer and until I got called to a congregation. Well, now that I am in a call process with a congregation in NJ, I decided not to actually move my stuff just yet, so I am "staying" with my parents, and my stuff is all over the place. I have some things in my parents' house, I have my piano and a dining set that will likely become mine in a storage unit here in western PA, I have the rest of my furniture in a house on campus in Philly, and I have the rest of my "stuff" in boxes in the basement of the house I just moved out of. And even though I haven't officially been called to the congregation yet, I'm far enough along in the process that I will be starting very soon if they vote to call me, and so I have to make moving plans, even though I don't know for sure that I am moving to NJ! I was sitting in my parents' house today watching HGTV and working on some stuff and I couldn't figure out why my stomach felt so crazy, like I was nervous. And then I realized that the buterflies were probably due to all of the above. I'm a planner and the fact that things in my life are all up in the air right now is hard for me. I know that God is with me and things will all work out, but this waiting and not being able to do much about it is difficult.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Well, I had been doing a decent job of posting more regularly, and then the end of the semester arrived, along with finishing assignments, filling out paperwork, graduating, visits from family and friends, making moving plans, celebrating, saying goodbyes, and enjoying my new-found "freedom". That's pretty much what my life's been about for the last few weeks. I graduated from seminary on May 21st, with my fellow classmates and friends, with my mom, dad, aunt, and best friend there to support me. I enjoyed a nice, but brief, visit with my aunt and parents, and then Mandy stuck around for most of the next week, since her last visit occurred during "Snowmaggedon" and we couldn't actually go anywhere. We spent some time at some shops in Chestnut Hill, up the street from the seminary, and we visited some of the typical touristy sites in center city Philly. We also attended the wedding of one my close friends from seminary, watched season 4 of Gilmore Girls, and each worked on a quilt. Mandy has several quilts under her belt, but I had yet to try one, so I was excited when she agreed to help me with my first. I found a design online that I really liked and she had the fun job of figuring out the pattern. We picked out some cute fabrics, and were able to complete the top of each of our quilts. I really like it, and I'll be sure to post a picture of it later. I'm waiting until I can get together with her again to finish it. Since she went back to western PA, I've been trying to find a balance between doing things I have to do: like starting to pack, and working on sermons for some guest preaching I'm doing, and things I want to do: like finally reading the Harry Potter series and working on some other sewing projects. I'm not sure I've found the right balance yet, but I'm working on it!

(*If you don't want to wait until I post a picture, you can see the quilt I'm working on at Mandy's blog, here.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Stick a fork in me...

cause I'm done! As of this past Thursday, I have completed all of my papers/assignments for my final semester of seminary!! I still technically have two make-up classes to attend (one Monday and one Tuesday), due to snowmageddon. But I have nothing left to prepare for, write, or study! I was ready to celebrate after I turned in my last paper on Thursday, but then it was actually a very weird feeling once Friday rolled around and I had nothing to do. By Friday night, I was actually pretty bored! I know, rough life. I actually have about a million things I can do with my time now that I have some, I just don't know where to begin. For the past four years I've been in school (or internship) mode and I've pretty much always had something I needed to work on. So now that I don't have studying or writing or reading that I HAVE to do, I can actually do things and read things that I WANT to do and read. It'll just take some time for my brain to adjust again. Oh, transitions. I keep thinking it'll be nice when I'm settled someplace for a while and don't have to worry about major life changes... or will it? I guess that's what keeps us on our toes and keeps life so interesting, is all the changes and transitions.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Call me crazy!

I love to run. I think it's in my blood. My dad enjoyed running when he was younger, and I remember him competing in quite a few 5 and 10Ks when I was a kid. I entered my first race in sixth grade and caught the running bug. I was on the cross country team for a few years in high school, and was never in the front of the pack, but I did ok, and I enjoyed it. I didn't run on the team in college (even though the coach tried to talk me into it), but I still kept up with running on my own and occasionally with friends. And I've continued that in the years since college. Running helps me stay healthy, challenges me, gives me an outlet for my frustrations. And this introvert appreciates that it can be a group or an individual activity. I love running with friends, especially those who push me a little harder than I would. But sometimes I just like to go out by myself, so its just me and the road/trail and my music or thoughts or sometimes even prayers. Lately I've been feeling motivated to challenge myself a bit more. Since starting seminary, I've run the half-marathon (13.1 miles) in Philly twice. This weekend I'll run the Broad Street 10-mile run with 30,000 people. And... I have officially registered for my first full marathon. That's 26.2 miles. I've been thinking about it for a while, and I decided I have the time to train, I've run more this month than I ever have, and I want to do this before I turn 30. And I might be crazy, because not only did I register for one, but I registered for TWO marathons. I've got friends running both, and they're spaced a good amount of time apart so that I'll have time to recover from the first but still maintain my training. So I'll be running my first marathon in Akron, Ohio in September, and my second in Philly in November. I'm excited. I'm scared. I may be crazy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Eating More Simply

Several of my bloggy friends have been writing lately about eating more "real" food, as in food that is either bought and eaten as is (fruit, vegetables) and food that isn't processed and pre-packaged. I think it would be very difficult to get rid of all processed foods from my life, and that's not what they're doing either, but it isn't hard to make a few changes here and there. Some of it is just realizing I actually can make some of things I buy in the store, like granola. So that's what I made! I recently purchased the More-with-Less and Simply in Season cookbooks from the Mennonite community.

More-with-Less basically does what the title says, and gives a lot of "real" food recipes. That's where I got my granola recipe. There are a few different granola recipes in the book so I looked at them and adapted them to my tastes. It was VERY easy to make, and as someone who doesn't really
love baking/cooking, I like easy! I'll likely experiment with different ingredients in the future, but for this batch, I did the following:

Preheat oven to 325

Mix together in large bowl:

4 c. rolled oats

1 c. wheat germ

1 c. sliced almonds
1 c. sunflower seeds

Bring to a boil:

1 c. honey

1/2 c. oil

1 T cinnamon

Pour honey mixture over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread on 2 greased cookie sheets. Bake about 30 minutes, stirring often. (*I stirred every 10 minutes, and ended up only baking for about 25 minutes.) Watch closely toward the end, not allowing the granola to become too dark. Allow to cool, then break into chunks.

This made a batch probably about the equivalent in size of two of the boxes I would buy in the store, and I still have leftovers of all the ingredients for future batches. I have raisins, and bought some dried cranberries, but didn't include them in the mix because I figure those are things I can add in as I eat it. It's tasty, easy, better for me, and (I'm pretty sure) more economical.

I look forward to trying out making my own
yogurt next! I'm also hoping to try some of the spring recipes in the Simply in Season book. The idea for this book is also probably obvious by the title, it's focusing recipes around produce that's in season. Some of the produce in season in spring that I especially enjoy are strawberries, lettuce/spinach/greens, peas, and mushrooms. Do you have any favorite recipes that highlight spring produce?

Monday, April 12, 2010

P is for Productive

For the first time in a while, I had a whole weekend free! Add to that, the weather was gorgeous here in Philly so that helped put me in a good mood. And my roommate was away for part of the weekend so I even had the house to myself for a bit (I love my roommie, but every now and then it's nice to be alone.) All this added up to my being very productive, especially around the house. The things I accomplished included: dusting, organizing/filing some papers, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, laundry, cleaning off the porch and the furniture out there, planting some lettuce in a "window box" for on the porch, making some birthday cards, running 10 miles (3 on Friday, 7 on Saturday), walking to church, playing some basketball, reading for classes, and making granola. The weekend was capped off Sunday evening with chicken and potatoes cooked on the grill on our back deck. I'm thankful for times that I can get things done and feel like I accomplished something, and still do things for myself that I enjoy, and spend some time outside.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Family Fun

First, before I get to anything else, (and I'm sorry I made you wait so long) the winner of my giveaway was Nen over at Living the Small Town Life. She has been doing a lot of cute sewing projects lately as well, you should check it out. Congrats, Nen! And thank you to everyone who commented, and welcome to any new readers!

I had a week off from classes for Easter, so I went home to western PA. I spent most of the time with my parents, but also went to Cleveland for a few days to visit my aunts and cousins. I got to see my cousin's band play Thursday night and then got to see Tim Barry on Friday night. I also got to spend a lot of time with my adorable 2 1/2 year old cousin.

She's holding one of her stuffed fish in the picture. Her dad is big into fishing and she carries her two fish around all over the place and will tell you that they are a "salmon" and "brook trout". She talks constantly and is probably the smartest kid ever.

Family time isn't without its moments of frustration, but I am always grateful for the time I have with them. And I am so thankful to have them in my life and to know that I am loved and supported.

I am back at seminary now for the home stretch! 5 more weeks of classes and 43 days until graduation... but who's counting? ;)

Monday, March 29, 2010


In celebration of my 50th post, and in a somewhat shameless effort to get more people to read my blog (hee hee), I'm having a giveaway! The winner will receive (at least) a slightly smaller version of the zippered "humbug bag" you can see a picture of in my previous post. I think these bags are good for keeping small things inside of other bags. For instance, I'm using one inside my sewing tote to keep all my little spools of thread. And I'll use another one inside my large purse to keep some of the things that are floating around the bottom. It could be good to keep a few makeup items in, or your cell phone and ipod, or whatever! I personally love the tree fabric I chose for the bags. And the inside has a contrasting fabric. So, as I said, the giveaway will include at least this bag, and probably a few other little surprises! To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is comment on this post. If you would like an extra chance to win, put a link to this post on your blog, and then make an additional comment to tell me about it. (Separate comments are best, because I will probably use a random number generator to choose the winner.) You will have until *noon on Thursday* to enter. Thanks for reading and good luck!! :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Here's what has been happening in my life in these last few busy weeks:
  • Philly has had a taste of spring! All the snow is gone, and we've had a mixture of some rain and some sunny days. This has helped me get back to a running routine, to start training for the Broad Street Run in May, which is 10 miles.
  • I was invited back to my internship congregation to preach, and enjoyed visiting with the wonderful people there.
  • I learned that TWO of my seminary friends are pregnant! This is in addition to my cousin, and my high school friend. All four are due around the end of summer/beginning of fall. Congrats, ladies! You're all in my prayers!
  • I'm on break this week, aka "Reading Week". My intention was to be super productive, but I'm also sick, so that will come after I recover a bit more.
  • I have been assigned to the New Jersey Synod of the ELCA! This synod was one of my top choices, so I'm excited. I think it helps that I'm somewhat familiar with the synod and the people since I did internship there. New Jersey is all I know at this point. I will be in conversation with the Synod staff more about a potential congregation in the coming days.
  • I've continued to knit and sew. I've completed two more projects in my sewing class (a bag and a pillow that you can see below), and just have to put the finishing touches on another. Tomorrow is my last class, so I'm excited to see what we'll make. (Also hoping I'm feeling at least a little better by then!) Also, keep an eye out for my next post. I have extra material to make smaller versions of the zippered bag and I'm thinking that since my next post will be my 50th I should do a giveaway.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Of Mice and Muslims

I spent this past weekend at Mar-Lu-Ridge, a Lutheran camp and retreat center in Maryland. Along with my friend Steven, I helped lead a retreat for confirmation aged youth on world religions. I am incredibly grateful for opportunities like this that I somehow get to be a part of. I love any chance to work with youth, and the fact that it was at a camp made it extra awesome. Teaching a group of middle-schoolers about the world's religions in one weekend was a rather daunting task, but I think we were pretty successful at giving them an overview of at least some of the major religions, especially focusing on Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. One of the things we emphasized the most over the weekend was the importance of respecting others and their beliefs. I'll be honest, it was difficult to plan this curriculum so that it would be interesting and engaging, but we did our best, and even though the youth weren't as responsive in large group sessions as we would have liked, the feedback we got was good. And it was great to hear them including people of other faiths in the prayers they wrote to share at our closing worship. I think everyone that participated, from the middle school youth attending, to the high school youth who helped lead small groups, to the adult chaperones, and those of us leading, all learned something. And it gave me a chance to apply some of what I've learned from my Muslim-Christian relations class that I'm taking this semester. I could have done without the mice who wanted to hang out in my cabin, but overall, it was a great weekend!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Needling around: Part 2

In addition to my new sewing projects, I am still continuing to knit and crochet. Since I haven't posted about these projects lately I thought I'd share some. I recently finished a hat for myself. I love the bulky yarn I picked for it, and it will make the hat nice and warm. However, it was a little difficult to work with, especially since it was my first project on circular and double-pointed needles. I have some yarn with colors in it that will complement the hat's color, that I plan to make a scarf and mittens from. I'm also still working on a prayer shawl I started a long time ago. It's been a long process because I keep getting bored with it and set it aside for a while, since it needs to be so large. I'm hoping to finish it within the next month though, so I'll update you with a picture once it's finished. The other picture below is of some cotton yarn I found when I was at Michael's buying some sewing supplies. I have lots of this same kind of yarn for making dishcloths, but I thought this color pattern was so pretty I had to buy it. I'm using it currently to try a crocheted dishcloth (I've always knitted them until now).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Needling around

If you've been following my blog for a while, you might remember that last year I purchased a (used) sewing machine. I was very excited and had ambitions to create many things. One of these ideas I had was to make myself a khaki skirt. Someone gave me a pattern, and I bought all the materials and items needed to make the skirt. Then I looked at the pattern and didn't have a clue how to use it. Not only that, but I didn't know how to use my sewing machine either. It didn't come with a manual, but the website for the machine has instructional videos. I suppose I could've watched these videos, but I was very nervous about messing it up. So my sewing machine has been sitting very lonely and unused for several months... until now! I signed up for a beginning sewing class at a fabric store not too far from me. It wasn't cheap, but I figured it was a good investment. I had my first class last week, and now I can use my sewing machine! AND I already made my first project! We made a reversible table runner. We could choose whatever fabric pattern we wanted, so I chose some that I thought would be good for "everyday use" rather than only for holidays. I know it's not perfect, and needs to be ironed a bit more, but I'm pretty happy with it. :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter blues

I am definitely someone who is affected by the weather and sunshine, or lack thereof. I don't think it's quite to the point of a disorder (what's it called, seasonal affective disorder?), but how can my mood not be impacted by the mounds of snow and cold air and very little sun? Yes, I enjoyed the snow a bit, but now I'm annoyed, because I literally am limited to places I can walk to. My car isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Not only has my street not been plowed, but even the more traveled streets in the area are sheets of ice. So I'm antsy. Cause I'm stuck.

Honestly, it should be to my benefit that I'm stuck, because I have some assignments left from my January class that are due later this month. But, I'm lacking motivation. Instead I'm reading for other classes, doing my taxes, knitting (working on a hat for myself, and trying to finish a prayer shawl), and, of course, blogging.

I'm also antsy because Assignment Day looms and draws ever closer. Assignment Day is the day when all those ELCA seminarians who have been approved for ordination and are entering the call process will be assigned to a Region of the country (and then a Synod). And Assignment Day is coming up on Tuesday. I really do trust the process, and I know that God will use me wherever I end up. However, this does not completely alleviate all anxiety, for me, or my classmates. It will all work out, it will. But that doesn't mean it will be easy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oh, the snow!

Unless you live in a cave (in which case, I imagine internet access would be rather difficult), you should be aware that the Mid-Atlantic area of the country got slammed with snow in the last few days, not once, but twice. Philadelphia broke a record for the most snowfall in one winter EVER. The previous record was 65 inches. We beat that. Yeah. We have OVER THREE FEET of snow on the ground right now. (Which means that the mounds of snow where people shoveled or plowed are basically taller than me!) It's ridiculous. I don't know if I've ever seen anything like it before. I recall a pretty big snowstorm back when I was in Jr. High maybe, but I think this week wins the crazy ridiculous snow award. The seminary has been closed for the second day in a row (which pretty much never happens), so I've had a lot of time to think about snow. (It's kind of hard to avoid when there's this much of it.) And in light of that, here are my likes and dislikes regarding snow...

- Shoveling
- Having to put boots and snow gear on every few hours just to let the dog out
- Cancelled class = having to make up class later
- Shoveling
- Snow is apparently like crack for my dog
- Did I mention shoveling?

- For me and my friends, snow is a good enough reason to have a party
- Spontaneous snowball fights
- Romping in the snow = calorie burn
- The dog is pretty fun to play with in the snow, even if she is crazy
- Neighbors who love to shovel
- Cancelled class = more time to get stuff done (and play in the snow)

If you can't get rid of it, you might as well enjoy it, right?

Monday, January 25, 2010


Time is a funny thing, isn't it? It's been on my mind a lot lately, in my daily pondering and in the class I'm taking on the lectionary and the church year. Time in the church is a strange thing because we live in this "already, not yet" kind of place, where we know Jesus has already lived, died, and raised from the dead so that we may have life. But we also live in a world of conflict and we hope for the day when God will bring about a new peaceful creation. We also celebrate these events in Jesus' life and the life of the church each year, events that have already happened, and are still happening as we live our lives and be the church. We read God's story in the Bible, but we are also part of the story. God's not done yet! The way time in the church or the church year goes also reminds us not to fall into the trap of constantly waiting for the next thing in life. I am thankful for that. I know I need to be reminded all the time to appreciate the time we're given now and take each day as a blessing, because I'm often looking forward to things coming up in the future. And then, before I know it, I blink and the days, months, years are gone.
What are you thankful for today?