Monday, December 31, 2012
May your 2013 be filled with peace and joy... Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
I'm not going to say much about "#11: Go on a date", except that I can cross it off the list. There's nothing to get excited about. I went on a few dates this year, and they were fine, but they didn't go any further than that. So I guess I still hope I can actually accomplish this at least a few more times!
And the last item, #12: Find a spiritual practice that works for me. I feel like I can cross this off as well, because I've been journaling about what I'm thankful for. While I try to make this a daily practice, I don't always remember every day. I plan to continue working on this though, as it definitely helps improve my daily attitude and my ability to see God working in my life and in the world.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
#6: Try (at least)12 new recipes. Apparently I haven't done much creative cooking in a while. That or I forgot to record anything. I tried some new things with grilling over the summer, but nothing that really qualifies as a "recipe". I tend to spend more time on indoor activities when it's cooler outside, so I might yet be able to check this item off. It's certainly not for a lack of recipes I want to try, it's just a matter of actually trying them.
#7: Finish my "mystery quilt". Again, with the cooler weather arriving I anticipate spending more time with my sewing machine (and probably knitting needles as well). I have actually completed sewing the blocks together to form the top of the quilt. It's the not-as-much-fun steps of quilting and binding that I have left.
#8: Finish painting and updating my bathrooms. Zero progress made here. I need to get on this. I did paint my patio furniture this summer (with lots of help from my mom), which was not very enjoyable and therefore has probably translated to my not wanting to do any more painting.
#9: Play the piano regularly enough to re-learn Fur Elise. Another big fat zero on this one too. I'm kind of embarrassed by that fact actually. But I'm trying not to get too down on myself about it since I've done pretty well with my list overall.
Hopefully I will be able to share more progress on these four goals, and maybe even accomplishments, by the end of the year.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
This year I also discovered the GoodReads website. It's pretty awesome. It's a place to keep track of the books you have read, are reading, and want to read. You can also see what your friends have read, and you can see how people have rated books you're interested in. And maybe the best part of the site is that it makes book recommendations based on what you've read. It recommended the last book I read, which was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I enjoyed her writing style, and appreciated her insights on happiness and how she attempted changes in her life to improve her happiness over one year. For me, there was a lack of a faith aspect of her project, but otherwise it was pretty thorough and practical. I look forward to reading more GoodReads suggestions.
Monday, October 8, 2012
St. Peter's Basilica (Rome-Vatican City)
The dome of the basilica is amazing, inside and out. You probably can't tell in this picture, but all of the artwork on the inside of the dome is tiny mosaic tiles. And the view outside from the top is breathtaking. You can see practically all of Rome.
The Colosseum (Rome-Ancient City)
Even though it has a violent history, the structure of the Colosseum is awesome and beautiful and the fact that much of it is still standing is unbelievable.
The Basilica of St. Francis (Assisi)
I really liked the town of Assisi, it was beautifully set on top of a hill and was very quaint. And while I'm not Roman Catholic, I appreciate and honor the legacy of St. Francis of Assisi and how he valued creation and a life of simplicity.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
In the meantime, to catch up on updating my progress on my "12 for 12" goals, I'm going to try to post several times for the next week or two. For this post I'm going to share about goals 1 & 2.
#1: Take swimming lessons.
I posted way back toward the beginning of the year that I took one swimming lesson, and would take more only "as needed." Though I haven't taken any more lessons, I did spent a good amount of time swimming on my own both in the pool at the gym and in the bay. I think I do alright with the back stroke and freestyle, but I definitely still need some work on the breast stroke, especially since it's theoretically the most efficient of the three. Hopefully I will be motivated enough to work on that this fall/winter in the pool. I even learned how to swim in a wetsuit. They're certainly helpful, but man are those suckers hard to put on! I still don't love swimming, but I can tolerate it as an alternate form of exercise. I think I probably feel about swimming what a lot of people feel about running. ;)
#2: Try a tri(athlon).
Done! In the middle of September, I successfully finished my first sprint-distance triathlon! My goals were to finish, and to not be last. I met both of these goals. I wasn't even in the bottom pack of people. Granted, I was nowhere near the front either, but I was so not expecting to be. I did very well with the run portion, but I need to work on improving my speed in the swim and bike. I also definitely need to cut way down on my transition times. I don't think I'm going to be racing more triathlons than running races, but I think it's likely I will do one again next year. Overall, I felt good during the race and afterward and I'm proud that I can now call myself a triathlete.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Luckily I only have to wait a few more weeks. (More on that in another post.) This month has been full, beginning with Holy Week, and never really stopping. Though I had a bit of a lighter work load the week after Easter, I was kept busy with my parents visit and getting ready for and performing in our spring concert with the South Jersey Area Wind Ensemble. Check us out!
I've also been getting physical therapy this month, for some leg pain I've been having for a while now. Even though it was most likely caused by running, thankfully I haven't had to stop. And the pain has apparently not affected my performance, because I ran a PR (personal record) and got 2nd place in my age group in a 5K race this month!
On a sad note, we also had to have our family dog, Patches, put to sleep this month. She had an inoperable tumor, but she was also 13 years old, so she lived a good long life for a dog. She was a super sweet dog and we miss her.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
It's a little ironic that I'm writing this post on one of the coldest days of this month so far, but I'm excited that it has been warm enough at other times this month to bring out my flip flops and bare toes from their winter hibernation! And of course with their re-appearance comes the desire for some colorful adornment. I had planned to take care of this early last week but just never got around to it. So when I was in Maryland this past weekend visiting friends and family, and my four-year-old cousin wanted to paint my toenails I figured, why not? Though she regularly has colorful finger and toe nails, thanks to her mom, I don't think she actually does much of the painting. I was aware of this going into it, but they are toenails after all. No one is looking at them that closely. (Believe me. No one wants to get close to my stinky gross feet.) Aside from my having to wipe away some drips and globs, she actually did a decent job with only a little help. And I was pretty amused and pleased with her (totally self-sufficient) choice of two alternating colors. Now whenever I look at my feet I'm reminded of my favorite four-year-old and I smile.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Last week was the annual ecumenical World Day of Prayer, a movement of Christian women world-wide. Though it always falls on a Friday, which is my day off, I think it's an important effort to support and it's nice to have a service that I can just attend. The theme this year was "Let Justice Prevail" and was prepared by women in Malaysia. I heard a great sermon, emphasizing the importance of justice ministries in addition to outreach. And we joined in prayer for peace and justice to prevail throughout the world. The following is part of a prayer we read, from activist and author Alan Paton.
Let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong
Not afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
And use me to bring them to those places.
And so open my eyes and my ears that
I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for Thee.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
I've made a little bit of progress on my list in the last few days. I should be adding at least one more finished book very soon. Over this past weekend I tried my first new recipe of the year: Butternut Squash Risotto. I think it sounds really fancy, but it was actually pretty easy to make. And I honestly wasn't sure whether I would like it, but it was really good. (I realize that picture doesn't make it look super appetizing, but trust me.) It doesn't really work for leftovers though, so next time I'll have to make it when it's not just me.
Also over the weekend, I finally spent a few hours with my sewing machine (and old episodes of Bones on Netflix) and completed 8 blocks of my mystery quilt, which also means I can move on to the next "clue" (which is 8 more different-patterned blocks).
And as you can see from this last picture, I finally got over being intimidated by knitting cables! It's not on my list, but it's trying something new. I found a simple pattern to try as a dishcloth, and its not hard at all! Granted, there are other cable-stitch patterns that are more complicated, but now I'm not so afraid to try them.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
"I would never try to tell you that every bad thing is really a good thing, just waiting to be gazed at with pretty new eyes, just waiting to be shined up and -- ta da! -- discovered as fantastic. But what I know is that for me... and for a lot of the people I love, we're discovering that lots of times, not every time, maybe, but more often than not, there is something just past the heartbreak, just past the curse, just past the despair, and that thing is beautiful. You don't want it to be beautfiul, at first. You want to stay in the pain and the blackness because it feels familiar, and because you're not done feeling victimized and smashed up. But one day you'll wake up surprised and humbled, staring at something you thought for sure was a curse and has revealed itself to be a blessing -- a beautiful, delicate blessing."
Not every curse becomes a blessing, but some of them do. And a lot of it is about what you learn and how you grow from these experiences. Its about becoming and being the person God has created you to be. Its about gaining hope for the future by seeing what you've made it through in the past. Today, I'm focusing on the blessings.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Baby Pastor School, made new friends, had visits from friends, hosted a Super Bowl party, spoke at a convocation at LTSP, and attended a quilting retreat at Lutherlyn
Spring (April/May/June): 1st place in my age group in a local 5k, visited family & friends and attended friends' wedding in MD, celebrated Dana's ordination, parents visited, first Holy Week as a pastor, SJAWE concert, attended LTSP graduation, first Confirmation as a pastor, took youth to Six Flags, bought a brand NEW CAR and FIRST TIME ON THE WEST COAST- vacation to Seattle and Holden with Mandy!
Summer (July/August/Sept): attended friends' wedding in PA, visits from parents and family, VBS, Confirmation Camp, presided over my first wedding, first Blessing of the Fleet as a pastor and "drove" the Coast Guard boat, ran the River to Sea Relay, went to a Phillies game, Hurricane evacuation, 1st ordination anniversary, ran the Akron Marathon, and celebrated my 30th BIRTHDAY with two parties!
Fall (Oct/Nov/Dec): visited family in MD, Ethics of Eating Hunger Leader training retreat, presided over my second wedding, visited friends in Philly, distributed food to the hungry in Camden, attended LBI Christmas parade, SJAWE concert, went home for the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas)!
All in all, not a bad year. :)
Monday, January 2, 2012
Thanks to a little inspiration from some friends (especially http://thirtybefore.wordpress.com/), and my desire to make goals (not resolutions) for the year, I have created the following list (in no particular order)...
12 (mostly) new things for 2012:
1. Take swimming lessons.
2. Try a tri(athlon)
3. Go someplace in NJ I've never been.
4. Go somewhere outside of NJ I've never been.
5. Read (at least) 12 new books.
6. Try (at least) 12 new recipes.
7. Finish my "mystery quilt".
8. Finish painting and updating my bathrooms.
9. Play the piano regularly enough to re-learn Fur Elise.
10. Buy a new laptop computer.
11. Go on a date.
12. Find a spiritual practice that works for me.
1. I am an embarassingly poor swimmer. In order to do #2, I need to do #1 first.
2. Now that I've run a few half and full marathons, I think a triathlon would be a new fun challenge. I'm not starting with anything crazy, probably just a sprint distance.
3. Even though I've lived here a total of 2 1/2 years, and it's not a huge state, there's still a lot of New Jersey I haven't seen, and there are definitely places in my "1,000 places to see in the USA before you die" book that I haven't seen.
4. This could be just about anywhere, but might be my vacation destination. More to come later.
5. I've made it through a decent number of books lately and I'd like to keep it up. I picked 12 for the number theme I have going, and because it's means 1 book a month, which seems reasonable. AND I need to use my new Kindle!
6. See the explanation for #5.
7. I started my third quilt last spring at the Mystery Quilt Retreat at Lutherlyn. I didn't get much farther than where I was at the end of the retreat. Probably because I don't do much quilting or sewing when the weather is nice. But now it's winter again, so I'm busting out the sewing machine!
8. There have already been several improvements made to my bathrooms, including painting them this past summer. I need to do some touch-ups in both, and paint the medicine cabinet and sink cabinet in my master bathroom. This also seems like a good winter project.
9. I never wanted to be one of those people with a piano that just sits in their house as a piece of unused furniture, and I'm in danger of becoming just that. Just "play the piano regularly" didn't seem specific enough, so Mandy suggested I have the goal of playing a certain piece. When I took piano lessons in high school one of the first real pieces I learned, and soon memorized, was Beethoven's Fur Elise. I have slacked off in my piano playing so much that not only do I no longer have it memorized but I don't think I can even play it anymore (at least not well).
10. I've needed a new computer since seminary, but haven't really had the finances for it. I was able to borrow a refurbished laptop, but it isn't going to last much longer.
11. I have a pathetically non-existent love life. It's not like I'm swimming in eligible men, but I could probably make more of an effort. This is the goal I feel the most skeptical about. Any help?
12. Prayer is a regular part of my every day life. And I've practiced devotional reading off and on over the years, but I've never been very consistent with it. I think prayer is important, but I think I need to do something more on a regular basis to work on my spiritual health.