Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February Nightstand

What's On Your Nightstand

Bible Reading
  • Luke
  • John
  • Acts

Biblical Fiction
Christian Fiction
  • Healing Stones by Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn - 3 stars. A very interesting portrayal of the challenge that he who is without sin should be the first to cast stones.
  • The Choice by Robert Whitlow - 3.5 stars. A look at what teens go through as they try to decide if they will abort, adopt out, or raise their baby.
  • Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund - 4 stars. The best fiction book I read in February, a tale involving American Old Midwest brothels and mining towns. Based on a true story!
  • Against the Tideby Elizabeth Camden - 3 stars. Good story. Lacking character development.

  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - 3 stars. It's obvious why this book is a classic, even if I didn't care for the actual story.

Currently Reading
  • First Light by Bodie Thoene, Brock Thoene - I love the Thoene's books. This is a reread.
  • Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini - Her newest novel, the first novel not part of the Elm Creek Quilters series.

I'm also linking up with Judy's reading post.

Happy March reading!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

This week's memory text

I am most familiar with the King James Version of the Bible. Growing up, it was the "official" Bible for our church use. The old English is comforting to me but sometimes I can become so familiar with a text that I miss some of the application. I ran across a newer translation of Isaiah 62:4 quoted in a Biblical fiction novel. The text struck me with its meaning.

The King James as I am familiar with it:

Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken;
neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate:
but thou shalt be called Hephzibah,
and thy land Beulah:
for the Lord delighteth in thee,
and thy land shall be married.

The NIV, which translates similiarly:

No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the Lord will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.

And the newer translation that touched me so much:

It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,”
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”;
But you will be called, “My delight is in her,”
And your land, “Married”;
For the Lord delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married.

The text is speaking of Israel after the nation had wandered away from God. I wonder if it can be personally applied to me.

Could it be understood like this?

"Cassandra, it will no longer be said to you, 'forsaken.'
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, 'desolate';
But you will be called, "Cassandra, My delight is in her,'
And your land, 'Married";
For the Lord delights in you, Cassandra,
And to Him your land will be married."

Is it possible the Lord delights in me? Fallen, often melancholy, sometimes judgmental, me? He delights in me?

I believe He does.

The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
Zephaniah 3:17, NASB

What a wonderous God we serve!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Monkey Progress

Yesterday I cut out a ton of fabric in preparation for my monkey quilt. As you can see, Bruno "helped."

I ended the day with a stack of fabric squares to sew together.

This evening I practiced chain piecing and ended up with...

When I asked Bruno to come sit on my newly sewn squares, he promptly plopped down on my cutting mat.

Sure, cat, you ignore my fabric the one time I want your help to show off how long this chain is! Tomorrow I cut these squares down the diagonal and press them open to form two half square triangles. Then comes tons of ironing and a lot more pinning!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


So far I've ironed the fabric for my monkey quilt... I will make progress!

If you like soup, I have a great recipe! This Minestrone with Tortellini and Pesto was really good.

As a vegetarian, I left out the bacon. I also used a vegan parmesan cheese to make the recipe completely dairy free.

I've never used leeks so I had to look up directions on how to prepare it. These instructions were fantastic. I loved the idea of cutting it into quarters lengthwise. It made it so easy to make the final slices!

If you try this recipe, please let me know! We definitely enjoyed it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

This week's plans

Last week was a flop in my ability to cross things off my list. I made progress on almost everything but was able to complete very little! The only item I completely finished was writing reviews for all of the library books that needed to be returned.

This week's to-do list:
  • Complete a week of my Coursera class
  • Finish the pinwheel blocks for my monkey quilt

I look forward to making progress on the monkey quilt. I scrapped over half of the blocks I've made thus far because I didn't like the way the quilt was turning out. The color scheme was all wrong. I took it back to the drawing board, picked out some alternate fabrics, and look forward to getting back into it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

On my reading list...

Today I finished reading Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival. It was both heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. I couldn't help but cry while reading it.

I'm currently reading two books:


And just for fun, I borrowed this beautiful library book.

動物 - a kids book about animals

美し猫 - Beautiful cats!

Today I'm linking up with Judy's Whatcha Reading post.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Weekly Goals

I cannot believe how fast one week passes into the next. It's unbelievable! Valentine's Day is this week and we just celebrated Christmas!

Last month I posted a list of goals and deadlines. So far it's really helped. I've stopped procrastinating on several projects and have either made good progress or completed several. I've been wondering if having smaller weekly goals might also be useful.

This week:
  • Write Goodreads reviews for the library books that need to be returned
  • Finish reading one of the books sent to be reviewed
  • Complete a week's worth of lectures and quizzes for my Coursera Argument class
  • Sew the pinwheel blocks for the Monkey Quilt 
  • Email my language exchange partner
  • Finish compiling my daily/weekly chores list

That's probably a bit ambitious but I need to make significant progress on my argument class as it needs to be completed by March 11. Also, I have a stack of library books that have to be returned this week and I want to review them before returning them.

I am off to go make lunch and clean the kitchen!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Thank you, friends.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment and email me last week. I really appreciate your friendship and support! I am starting to feel better this week and hope that I will learn to lean on God more. May your week be blessed!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fighting melancholy

I probably shouldn't have used the word "depression" in my last post. I know that depression is a serious medical issue and I don't think my emotional troubles are as serious as depression. Melancholy would have been a better choice of words. Whatever it is, it stinks and I'm still fighting it.

It probably doesn't help that I've been made aware of and have been in deep thought about some serious issues. Right now I'm reading two heavy books.

Clara's War is based on the diary of a Polish teenager who survived World War II by hiding in a bunker dug beneath a house. She shared that bunker with 17 other people. It's one of the most intense Holocaust books I've read.

Unorthodox is the memoir of a woman who grew up in a Hasidic Jewish family. I've read the first third of the book and my heart breaks for the author. Her mother rejected Judaism and left the family. Her father is mentally challenged and cannot take care of her. She is left to be raised by her grandparents and never fits in. She struggles with her sense of self-worth and questions if God loves her.

Recently, I've been seeing a homeless woman on a corner near my house. She looks to be my age or a little younger. She holds a sign that says she's pregnant. Several weeks ago, we were sitting at a stoplight and I saw her turn our direction. She was bawling. My heart broke for her. The light turned green and we had to keep moving. We circled the block but she was gone before we returned. I didn't see her for two weeks and worried something had happened. The next time we saw her, we stopped and I spent a couple minutes talking to her, finding out her name. I've seen her several times since and I know she lives out of her car.

Today I was reading blog posts about children who are involved in the Compassion International program. One of the bloggers visited Ghana and came face to face with child slavery. In today's world. Now. Children sold into slavery. My heart broke again.

I do not question God's love nor have I ever been persecuted for my faith. I am not hungry or unloved or wanting for anything material. I live in a free country.

However, this world is broken. It sucks. People are still slaves. People are living in their cars when the night temperatures drop below freezing. Wars continue. Suicide bombings. Human trafficking.

My own problems seem so trivial. My husband works an insane number of hours. Compared to children being forced into slavery, so what? I ache to be a mother but don't see that happening in the foreseeable future. Compared to the pregnant homeless woman down the street from me, so what? My heart breaks both for my own struggles and for people globally. I don't know how to take it less personally, how to be less affected by suffering and death. I have not yet learned to face social / political / religious issues without feeling like the world is tumbling down and feeling helpless in the face of all of it.

I know Who holds the only answer - God. Unfortunately, my head and my heart have not yet met. I know that God is in control. I know that He can give peace in the midst of this world. How do I tell my heart?