Friday, November 30, 2012

Autumn leaves

I love fall! It's the perfect season. Not too hot; not too cold. It's the perfect weather for a knitting or quilting project, a good book, and a cup of hot cocoa.

We've had rain most of the day and I came home to find this on our front walkway.

It's one of the last leaves in front of our house. The trees are pretty bare now, but for a few weeks we enjoyed a tree full of red leaves. It was gorgeous!

A sneak peek at what I'm working on. Shhh... it's a Christmas present.

I know it's almost December but I want to hang on to fall just a little bit longer.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Big Life - a book review

For the last several months, I've been trying to challenge myself when it comes to my reading choices. Too often I default to fluffy Christian novels and miss out on some really good deeper reads. When the opportunity arose to read and review A Big Life by Peter Hone, I jumped at the chance.

From the back of the book:
A Big Life: Ordinary People Led by an Extraordinary God tells the story of how thousands of believers, from suburban America to the jungles of the subcontinent of India, Pakistan, and beyond, were brought together in a phenomenal work of God.

No Christian was more ordinary than John Heerema, but he was obedient. God took him on an extraordinary, emotional, and often painful journey, shaping him to be a new kind of missionary on a new kind of mission. It was a simple strategy, a strategy not new after all, but ancient, because He had first shown it to us two thousand years ago.

The book shows how God can use ordinary people to reach other ordinary people with the gospel message. How? By sharing one on one, by training other ordinary people to share, and by spreading the message. These believers are using the model in Acts to reach thousands of people in India. This strategy enables the gospel to spread exponentially and is based on 2 Timothy 2:2.

"And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

To be quite honest, I've been trying to review this book for a week. I keep sitting down to write the review but don't have the words to describe it. The power of the book is not in the writing style or the organization. I actually found some of it hard to follow because it was written from the perspective of three believers and changes every few pages.

In spite of its flaws, this book touched me in a deep way. I keep thinking about missionary work, about the book's description of one person dying every second without hearing about Christ. Every second! While I sit watching a 90 minute movie, 5,400 people die without ever hearing about my Lord. It's a staggering thought, extremely sobering.

What does that mean for me? How does that change my life? With the knowledge that so many people are dying without the opportunity to hear about Jesus, what am I doing with my life?

My husband does not feel the call to missionary work. Not everyone is called to be a missionary in another country. But that doesn't mean that we have no responsibility to spread the good news. If we're not called to be missionaries, what is our part to play? What can I do to make a difference, to look outside of myself and help spread hope?

I don't have the answers. I just know that A Big Life opened my eyes to something beyond myself, my local church, my community. Americans seem to know about God, to have the opportunity to choose or reject Him. But what about those who have not yet heard?

A. Larry Ross Communications sent this book for me to read and review. I give it a positive recommendation not because it was free but because it truly made me think, pray, and have some very long discussions with my husband.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday

I've been wanting to link up to WIP Wednesday for awhile! It was only recently that I purchased an iron and an ironing board and was thus able to return to my quilting. I've been alternating between knitting and quilting, enjoying my time with both. Quilting takes place when I have a large chunk of time availiable and knitting is done while watching tv.

My ironing station

What I'm currently working on...

Last night I finished this denim quilt top and now need to add the flannel backing.

I'm also starting a Christmas project. I am so happy to have an entire pile of fabric! Everything is washed, ironed, and ready to go.

And, of course, my kitty decided he had to help. "Fabric? I have to lay on it!"

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's on my nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand

Most of November was spent finishing up the Bible in 90 Days. I finished, in chronological order:
  • John
  • Matthew
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • Galatians
  • 1-2 Thessalonians
  • 1-2 Corinthians
  • Romans
  • Acts
  • Ephesians
  • Colossians
  • Philemon
  • Philippians
  • James
  • 1 Timothy
  • Titus
  • 2 Timothy
  • Hebrews
  • 2 Peter
  • 1-3 John
  • Jude
  • Revelation

All month long, I kept thinking I wasn't reading much outside of the Bible. But now, browsing through my Goodreads reviews, I realize that I finished way more than I thought. Links are to my full reviews.

Christian Fiction
  • The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden - 4 stars. Another great read by Camden. If she continues to publish great books, she'll make my short list of favorite authors.

Christian Nonfiction
  • Midnight in Aisle Seven: Sometimes God introduces Himself outside of church by Jay Lowder - 2 stars. I haven't finished the review yet but will this week.
  • A Big Life: Ordinary People Led by an Extraordinary God by Peter Hone - 4 stars. I am still working on the review for this book as well but I highly recommend it.

  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell - 4 stars. A thorougly satisfying classic with great themes.

General Nonfiction
  • Twisted Whiskers: Solving Your Cat's Behavior Problems by Pam Johnson - 3.5 stars.
  • Psycho Kitty? by Pam Johnson-Bennett - 4 stars. A fantastic cat book that helped us curb several behavioral issues in our four year old male.

Secular Fiction
Currently reading
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I was sure this was going to be a difficult book to read. It's taking me a long time to read but doesn't require nearly as much effort as I had expected.
  • Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat--Not a Sour Puss by Pam Johnson-Bennett

Overall, it was a pretty good month. I can't wait to see what December brings!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Things you might not know about me

Carrie over at Reading to Know suggested that we answer a few questions to get to know each other better. Sounds like fun!

1. Do you attend church and, if so, what denomination are you a part of?
I am a Seventh Day Adventist Christian, both born into and raised in the church. I was first baptised as a pre-teen and rebaptised shortly after my marriage. My husband and I do not attend church on a regular basis but are trying to be more faithful about attendance. We are still searching for a home church in the Seattle area, trying to find a group of believers who are excited about their faith and want to share it with others.

2. What social issue are you the most passionate about?
Religious liberty. I attend church on Sabbath (Saturday). This is one of the major differences between my denomination and most others. I believe people should be allowed to live according to their convictions and that the government has no business telling people how to live their lives. I will add a caveat that this freedom should never be allowed to infringe on the rights of others, thus the need for civil law.

3. How long have you been married? How many kids do you have, or want to have? Have you ever thought of adopting, or have you?
My husband and I have been married for seven years and have no children. Hopefully we will be blessed with children in the future but that is yet to be determined. Adoption is definitely an option.

My nephew and I

4. What is your greatest personality strength? Weakest?
Hmmm... I believe my strongest personality trait is the strength of my convictions. Sometimes it takes me awhile to determine what I believe is Truth and how God wants me to live. But once I figure it out, there's no looking back. On the flip side of this, I struggle most with being judgmental of others, mostly when I feel people are being hypocritical. But I don't know what God is doing in others' hearts and it's my job to love, not condemn.

5. What is your favorite Bible verse or passage? Why?
It changes all the time! Yesterday I was studying this passage:

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
Psalm 19:1-3

I think it's amazing that God tells us about Himself through nature. There's beauty everywhere and it all testifies to what a powerful Creator we have.

6. Are you a bold and trendy dresser, or are clothes "not your thing?"
Somewhere inbetween. I want to be fashionable but modest, something that I find incredibly difficult to balance. Sometimes I end up looking frumpy because either my options are limited or I don't know enough about fashion to come up with my own look.

7. Are you a foodie? What makes you love food so?
I LOVE to eat, I love to cook, and I hate doing dishes. I grew up with a rather traditional American diet. My family ate a lot of pasta, hamburgers, meat loaf, etc. Nothing too out of the ordinary. Then I met my husband. He was shocked at how limited my palate was and decided to change that. He started introducing me to Chinese food, Thai, expensive chocolates, and a host of other things. All of a sudden the food world opened up to me and now I love trying different dishes.

Now that I've browsed through some of my food pictures, I'm getting hungry...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday


Last week had some successful meals and some not so successful meals.

The successful:
Sloppy Joes

The unsuccessful:
Veggie Red Curry

As far as the Veggie Red Curry is concerned, I think it's the red curry paste we don't like. The rest of the recipe was quite good. We're going to visit the Asian market next week and find a new curry paste to try.

This week's menu:

Pitas with hummus, spinach, tomatoes, and fresh basil
Avocado sandwiches
Leftover Thanksgiving

Homemade pizza
Breakfast burritos
Green Curry
Orange-glazed Tempeh (new recipe, didn't get to it last week)

I plan on posting my Sloppy Joe recipe this week. It's simple and really tasty!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A finish!

I finished knitting my kitty blanket! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to catch a photo of the cats actually laying on it.

Close up of the knitting

Here is Fiona checking it out right after I weaved in the ends.

Next up on the knitting queue - a Christmas present for my mom. I will be visiting Joann Fabric this weekend to purchase the needles I need. Thankfully I already ordered and have received the yarn!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday


We are officially back from vacation and I decided to kick off the week with a menu plan. I haven't joined this link up since January!

Morningstar Farms Vegetarian Riblets
Pitas with hummus, spinach, tomatoes, and fresh basil
Sloppy Joes
Avocado sandwiches

Spaghetti & Garlic Bread
Mexican pizza (new recipe)
Veggie Red Curry (new recipe)
Orange-glazed Tempeh (new recipe)

We are most excited about the Mexican pizza. It sounds really yummy! Hopefully I'll have some successful meals to report back about.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012


My husband is FINALLY on vacation after working 70-95 hour weeks for the past several months. Nine days of bliss and it's all comp time!

We have a few plans... exploring Seattle. A bit of shopping. A bit of eating out. And a whole lot of relaxing at home. Vacation!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

North and South

I finished the first title of my Fall Into Reading challenge!

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell - 4 stars

Goodreads description - When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction.

One analysis I read said that North and South is an industrial Pride and Prejudice. Looking back on the story and the character development, I can definitely see that the comparison is valid. Margaret seems perfect but struggles with pride, believing that her way of life (the south) is better than that of Mr. Thornton's (the north). People look at Margaret's outward appearance and assume she is prideful and cold, not bothering to look beneath the surface.

I love that religion was an integrated part of Margaret's life, not something she was converted to or something that she only practiced on Sundays. She has to learn to lean on God instead of her own strength, especially as her life is turned upside down and she begins losing things and people dear to her.

  • To do the right thing no matter how hard.
  • To learn to walk in others' shoes.
  • To lean on God because your own strength is not enough.

Overall, I thought this was a great book and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to tackle a thoroughly satisfying classic.

Next up - The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky