Tuesday, January 25, 2011


When I was reading through one of the lessons in the Beth Moore Esther Bible study this morning, I came across a paragraph that really struck me.  You know, one of those times that something hits you between the eyes and sucks the breath right out of you for just a second?
"If we distance ourselves long enough from real needs, we repace them with those that aren't.  Pretense becomes the new real and suddenly a delay in the delivery of our new couch becomes a terrible upset.  We are wise to force ourselves to keep differentiating between simple inconveniences and authentic tribulations.  The more detached and self-absorbed we become, the more we mistake annoyances for agonies."
What do you think of that?  Any thoughts?

Monday, January 24, 2011


This blog is officially manned by a couple of blog slackers. To make up for the current slack, I would like to post this picture of Isaac, because he's cute. He's almost got a tooth, he's figuring out how to crawl, he's still waking me several times at night, he's eating one meal of solids a day and he's the happiest, cutest little baby boy EVER. So there.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review: Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski

Have you ever wondered if you would be the same person, with the same strength of character, if you lived under different circumstances? I certainly have. Mike Yankoski not only wondered, he tested himself by becoming homeless for five months! Would he be able to endure the daily hardships of life on the streets with the integrity and faith he lived his life as an upper-middle class college student?

This book chronicles the daily thoughts and experiences of Mike and his friend as they spent time on the streets in five different US cities. He allows his readers to see what people on the streets go through, think, and feel as he relates to them as I never could - one of them. He details unexpected acts of kindness, along with unspeakable acts of violence, disheartening acts of thoughtlessness, and troubling acts of desperation by people just trying to make it to the next day alive. The frank and genuine writing allows the reader to feel like he is along for this journey, too.  The reader will hurt along with the people he reads about, smile with joy when Mike finds half-eaten food for his dinner, and tense up with frustration as one Christian after another treats Mike and the other homeless people he meets as if they don't even exist - or worse, as if they don't even matter.

It would be difficult to read this book and come away unchanged. This is the second book I have read about homelessness, and just as the first one did, this book challenged the way I view the homeless people I encounter.  It has given me a greater compassion for them and a greater understanding of their lives.  It drives home the point that these are real people, the majority of whom did not necessarily choose to live this way, but are doing the best they can to survive the circumstances they now face. This book has made me want to have a plan in mind for how to help people when I have the opportunity! Thankfully, the book has some ideas, and the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah, has also made available an action plan for those who are challenged by reading this book.  The Action Plan can be found here. You can also read the first chapter of this book online here.  I hope you decide to read this book, and allow yourself to be challenged and changed by what you find in the pages! I don't think you will be dissapointed if you do.

*As compensation for providing this review, I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah.

I would love for you to rank my review on the Blogging for Books website! Please take a minute to click over there and give your opinion of my review. Thanks!

Mini Post Monday

The boys made chocolate and crushed candycane covered marshmallows, which were a big hit! 

Andrew - I love how he has finally learned to smile for the camera!

Well, a few Monday's have come and gone without one of these posts, but I do have to say that I have valid reasons for my absence.  We left the day after Christmas to go to Colorado for a week.  Of course I took my camera, but took absolutely no pictures of our time there... Just picutre a sprawling 4 split-level resort with gorgeous sitting rooms, cozy sleeping rooms, and views from every window; nestled in a wooded, hilly plot of land with a perfect view of Pike's Peak through the trees.  Fill that sprawling house with all of my wonderful extended family who are there to visit, play, and pray together for a week.  It was lovely beyond words.

Our 2010 Christmas family picture.  I wish Andrew wasn't blurry, but overall I really like this shot!

When I returned, I scrambled to get laundry done, Christmas decorations down, and a weeks worth of meals cooked and put up in the freezer because I had major surgery January 4.  The days since then have been a blur of drug induced stupor, but I am finally emerging from it, weak but ready to move on with my life.

Aaron asked if he could read a Christmas book to us before we opened gifts.

Do you make New Year's resolutions? I don't, because I am so rebellious, that I will rebel even from my own desires if I set them in writing! However, I have a few things that are very important to me that have been in the forefront of my mind for a while that I want to establish as habits.  I want to come up with a consistent time to spend reading my Bible each day.  I do okay with reading and doing Bible study when I remember, but often the day gets away from me and it is over before I remember. I want to make the time of day I spend with God consistent so that it won't slip from my mind. I also have been focusing on wasting less time.  I get quite easily caught up in time wasters such as mindless games and worthless TV shows. Of course, while recovering from this surgery these have been somewhat useful, but for the most part, these have no real place in my day.  It's time to remove much of this from my day!

Ethan with his Ohio State jersey!

 Andrew REALLY got into opening presents this year.

Aaron was so excited to get a model airplane, just like he wanted!

Aaron lost another tooth.  He is scared to death to have his loose teeth pulled, though! His tooth was so ready to come out that he could push it completely perpendicular to his gums with his tongue, but he would not let me pull it.  So I did what any good mom would do - I bribed him! One night we had a Texas sheet cake for dessert, and Aaron asked me if he could have more.  I'm not sure why he asked, because my answer is always no to more of dessert! But this time I said, "Sure! If you let me pull your tooth." Bwahahaha, I'm evil! However, even with this incentive, it took him almost an hour to be willing to let me pull it.  But when I did, he got seconds on dessert!

My mom and dad came over on Christmas Eve to have our traditional pizza dinner, candlelight church service, and opening of extended family gifts.

Finally, Joanna and I always have at least a few games of Lexulous going on Facebook (this is not one of those time wasting games...) and I had such an awesome, this-will-never-happen-again-as-long-as-I-live plays that I had to take a picture of it with my cell phone!! So pardon the quality of the shot, but take note of the word "detoxify" that was played in the lower right hand corner!  Woo-Hoo! That's right - it covers two triple word score squares and the "X" is on a double letter score square to boot! I am not sure I will ever have another 337 point word, but at least now this one is captured in the blogosphere for all time!  You know, Joanna is such a good friend that she was happy for me when I played this word.   She didn't bemoan her impending horrible loss at all... :)

This is one for the history books...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

AB's Ginger Almonds

You should make these, they're good.

Ginger Almonds

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2009


  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 dried arbol chile, stemmed and broken into small pieces (or 1 teaspoon or less of chili pepper flakes)
  • 1 pound whole natural almonds
  • 1 tablespoon less-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


Heat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Combine the ginger and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and sesame oil in a 12-inch saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the arbol chile and cook, stirring frequently, until the chile begins to give off an aroma, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the almonds and cook, stirring frequently until lightly toasted, approximately 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and cook until reduced slightly and the pan looks dry, approximately 1 minute. Immediately remove the nuts to the large bowl and toss with the ginger mixture.

Spread the coated nuts into a single layer on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the pan to a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes or until completely cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.