Wednesday, February 15, 2012

5, 6, 7

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

Blessings and Curses

I've been working my way through a great book for about a month now. It's not a particularly long book, I could read a book of similar length in a week or less. But this book is written as a collection of short stories and reflections, and is so rich with wisdom and word pictures that I'm enjoying taking it a little bit at a time. The book is Cold Tangerines (celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life) by Shauna Niequist. I'll probably finish within the next few days and I look forward to more nuggets of wisdom from the book, but I thought I'd share one on here in the meantime. I feel like a combination of time to recover from the challenges of the fall and events like the holidays and baby pastor school have contributed to my improved attitude about my life and work. I have also truly been making an effort to keep things in appropriate perspective. I know more challenges will come my way, but I'm trying to gain what I can from this time and notice the moments of grace where I can. Shauna put it very well in a chapter called "blessings and curses". I wish I could share the whole chapter, but I think this paragraph sums it up pretty well.

"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


The past week was a pretty good one, overall. It was pretty busy, so it was also a little tiring at times, but it was mostly a good kind of tired. If that makes sense. It's because it came with a sense of accomplishment for what I got done during the day. On the work side, nothing major happened, just got a lot of stuff done. On the personal side, I spent some time with friends, and did a little shopping in Smithville (love that place!), finished my second book of the year (Prince Caspian, which means I'm more than halfway through the Narnia series), and took my first swimming lesson! It turns out I may not need to take a series of lessons. He taught me proper technique for the crawl stroke, breast stroke, and back stroke all in one lesson. So basically I'll just spend some time working on these strokes on my own and building my endurance, and then if I need more help I can schedule another lesson. On the one hand, I felt way more confident in my abilities after that lesson. On the other hand, I was surprised by how much there is to think about with your arms and legs and breathing! I hope to be able to stay motivated enough on my own to get to the pool on a regular basis.