Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What I'm Reading

This hasn't been a great reading week. I'm not making much progress in any of the books I'm reading.

I was really excited to see that the Thoenes have a newly published book available. However, When Jesus Wept isn't catching my interest. Normally I devour their books but this one seems undeveloped. Maybe the second half will be better than the first.

I don't remember who recommended it, but The Light Between Oceans has high reviews. I'm trying to get into it but the first couple chapters just aren't grabbing my attention. I'm plugging on in hopes that it will live up to the rave reviews.

The Myrna Loy biography is dragging as well. I'm past the halfway point but I still don't feel I know much more about Ms. Loy than I could have learned from her IMDB page. I probably should have chosen her autobiography to read.

Hopefully my reading slump will end soon! I returned 11 books to the library this morning and brought home five, three of which were for my husband. Maybe I should just knit!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Back from CO/WY

I am home and oh, so happy to be here! I enjoyed my time in Wyoming and Colorado but Seattle really is home. My face was glued to the plane window as we landed right before sunset. As soon as we came in low enough to see the lakes and the trees, my heart was at peace. I love the green and the weather and the people here. Plus, I was excited to see my hubby again!

Now that I'm home, I'm excited to get back into a routine and accomplish some additional projects around the house. I finished reading The 4-Hour Workweek and have been tossing around some ideas on how to improve my productivity. I'm not sure that I'm called to start a business, but the book did have some useful tips that can be applied to homemakers.

My husband and I both read the older addition but have ordered the newer edition. When it comes, I'll read it and post some of the quotes/ideas that I've gleaned from the books. I'm not sure that the advice is new or revolutionary, but I've not read many organizing or time management books so the tips are new to me!

This week's to-do list:
  • Hang the carbon monoxide detector on the wall
  • Finish unpacking my suitcase
  • Write templates for several of the blog posts that I share regularly (weekly goals/Nightstand/what I'm currently reading)
  • Empty out my recipe book so that I can start organizing it
  • Write letters to the three sponsorship children I've heard from in the past week! I'm so excited to receive their letters!

That should be enough to keep me busy this week!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spring break, aka off to see my grandparents

I am off to Wyoming! I'm flying into Denver, where my dad will be picking me up. We're driving up to Casper and will be spending several days with my grandparents. Then we're driving back to Denver where I'll be spending a day with my dad before heading home. I won't be blogging until after I get back, so have a great week!

If you've been praying about it, please consider sponsoring Angel. He still needs a sponsor to love and support him!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A letter!

On Monday, I received a letter from one of my correspondent children. The Compassion International correspondent program allows financial sponsors to reliquish their letter writing to another sponsor who wants to write to their child. I love the correspondent program as it allows me to send letters to more children than I can afford to sponsor myself!

Salif is seven years old and lives in Burkina Faso. In this letter, he told me that he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. The sponsorship program gives him the opportunity to succeed in school and fulfill his dreams. If not for his financial sponsor and the help of Compassion, he might not otherwise have the opportunity to someday attend college.

This is the drawing he sent me, a little boy who loves his sports!

I'm still trying to find a sponsor for this adorable boy, a seven year old in Guatamala named Angel. Will you consider sponsoring him?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What I'm reading

I haven't made a lot of progress since last week but I am reading a new book.

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani is promising to be a 2013 favorite. I'm 147 pages in and am loving it. The imagery is rich, the characters are interesting, and the plot has me wondering what's next. I hope it finishes as well as it started!

I'm still working on my Myrna Loy biography. It dragged for a bit, outlining each movie that Ms. Loy acted in. But then it started talking about the relationship between William Powell and Myrna Loy in the Thin Man movies and I was hooked again.

Happy reading!

Monday, April 15, 2013

This week's goals

I loved having an organized to-do list last week. When I was wondering what to do next, I worked on something from the list.

Last week's list:
  • De-clutter the top of the fridge - Done!
  • Hang the Welcome sign - Not done. Need hubby to help me.
  • Put up a nail in our pantry to hang my apron on - Done!
  • Reorganize our bedroom clothes closet - Not done.
  • Catch up on my e-mail - Almost done!
  • Take care of The Pile - DONE!

The Pile - Before

The Pile - After

This week's list:
  • Hang the Welcome sign
  • Reorganize our bedroom clothes closet
  • Finish clearing out my inbox
  • Write book reviews for the books I've finished in the past two weeks
  • Pack for my trip - I'm leaving on Sunday to visit my grandparents in WY
  • Write letters to our two girls in Korea

The list might be a bit ambitious on top of my regular chores, but we'll see. I'm finding inspiration in having a cleaner household and it makes me want to become even more organized and clutter-free.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Child Sponsorship - a 2 way blessing

My husband and I are very happy sponsors of several beautiful children. As a child, I remember seeing the commercials about starving children and a plea to sponsor one of them to provide food and shelter. When I started college, I signed up to sponsor a young boy from India. I don't remember how long my sponsorship lasted but I loved receiving letters from him. Sad to say, I only wrote a few but he was very faithful in writing to me.

For the last several years, my husband and I have discussed getting involved in child sponsorship. Finances have been tight for a long time and we've been paying off debt in the hopes of eventually being able to give. In December, we started researching various child sponsorship organizations and praying about which child God would like us to sponsor.

Our first two girls:

Sun Kyung is going to be seven in June, lives in Korea, and is an orphan. When I was led to sponsor her, I didn't know she was living in a children's home. I received her information in the mail and was heartbroken to find that she has no parents. I have no children but I now I have the opportunity to love on a little girl who doesn't have a mother.

Fill just turned 13 and lives in Thailand with her parents. Despite her parents' lack of employment opportunities, Fill sounds like a typical early teen, enjoying hide and seek, reading, playing house, and swimming.

I share these girls with you because I'm so excited to have the opportunity to support them. They don't have much in the way of tangible belongings but they are now involved in a program that provides them with nutritious meals, tutoring, the opportunity to learn life skills, medical care, and they are both being taught about Jesus.

My blessing is not only that of being a financial sponsor. I have the opportunity to pray for these girls, to love them, to send encouraging letters. They are blessed by the programs they attend and I am blessed by the opportunity to love "one of the least of these."

Next Sunday is Compassion International's Compassion Sunday. Sponsors are encouraged to share their story and to advocate for children currently available for sponsorship. Compassion is offering sponsors an incentive - if I can advocate for two children, they will send a $50 family gift to one of my children. It's a great incentive but it's not why I'm sharing my sponsorship story. I want to give others the opportunity to be a blessing to a child in poverty and to receive the blessing that comes with sponsorship.

After much prayer and searching, I was led to advocate for this little boy:

This is Angel, a seven year old little boy in Guatamala. He has the most adorable smile! His birthday is approaching and I can think of no better gift than to be told he has a new sponsor, someone who will pray for him, send letters of encouragement, and love him. Will you sponsor Angel?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What I'm reading

I have two books in progress right now.

The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All is one that I wish I had checked the reviews before borrowing. I won't be recommending it as I'm only finishing it in that "hey, it's a car accident and I can't help but rubberneck" sort of way.

I'm also reading my Myrna Loy biography. I'm only on page 59 so far but I'm enjoying it! Loy's father died while she was a teenager and Loy had to step up to be the breadwinner in her family (herself, her younger brother, and her mother). It's amazing how focused she was on providing for her family.

I'm not sure what's up next because I know it'll take me another week to finish the biography. Maybe a classic?

Happy reading!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

This week's goals

I've been spring cleaning the past week and have made a lot of progress. I still have a lot to clean, though! It's amazing how quickly the house gets messy if I don't stay on top of it. Eventually we'll obtain bookcases and that will eliminate a lot of the clutter. But for now, I'm trying to find ways to organize without letting things pile up all over the house.

Last week I cleaned up the wet bar next to the fireplace. We don't use the sink there but we do use all of the counter space. Previously, the counter was covered with various books and quilting supplies. It wasn't organized in the slightest. I moved all of the books downstairs into our spare bedroom (future study) and put all of my quilting supplies with the other fabric in our closet. I moved all of the DVDs and the Wii games to the newly emptied shelf instead of letting them stack up on the floor underneath the tv. We don't have an entertainment center yet so the Blu-ray player, Wii, and internet box are sitting on the floor. The games and movies used to sit next to them but now they are nicely lined up on the counter. It looks a lot better!

Here are my goals for this week, loosely held, of course...
  • De-clutter the top of the fridge
  • Hang the Welcome sign on the stairs just inside the front door
  • Put up a nail in our pantry to hang my apron on (maybe then I would be able to find it when I want to use it!)
  • Reorganize our bedroom clothes closet as the shelves have gotten very messy
  • Catch up on my e-mail
  • Take care of The Pile

The Pile

These goals are in addition to my normal cleaning schedule and should keep me busy! I look forward to making our house ever more homey.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lasagna Dinner

Last week, my husband worked away from home one day. It was weird being home all day by myself! It was so quiet that I didn't know what to do. The house echoed.

I had fun preparing a homecooked meal for my husband and presenting it to him when he walked in the door. The pictures aren't exactly appealing, though! It appears lasagna is not very photogenic.

My whole wheat rolls turned out tasty but I didn't spray the pan well enough. We were only able to eat the top halves. Oops!

The lasagna was spicy! If you want to try a vegan spicy lasanga, it's a good recipe.

We are having a beautiful spring! I love the blossoms that are exploding around the area.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What I'm reading this week

Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence: Coming Home to Hood River tells the story of second generation Japanese-Americans who volunteered or were drafted into the military during WWII. I'm almost finished with it and it's heartbreaking to see how much racial tension has existed in the United States throughout its history. Entire families were hauled off to internment camps even as their sons served in the military. A group of soldiers were court-martialed and jailed because of a misunderstanding. People kept asking these Nisei why they didn't warn America about Pearl Harbor. It's an eye-opening look at racism in America and how easy it is to get swept up in intolerance.

Memories Before and After the Sound of Music is an autobiography written to inform the public of what the von Trapp family was really like, what really happened before, during, and after The Sound of Music movie. I've read the first half thus far and it's rather dry. It's interesting, but lacks something.

Up next? Myrna Loy: The Only Good Girl in Hollywood. I can't wait!

Monday, April 1, 2013

As patient as Christ...

I love comparing more modern translations with the KJV.

"And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ" (KJV).

I always took this text to mean that we are seeking to understand the love of God and patiently waiting for Christ to return.

The more modern translations have altered my understanding of the text.

"I pray that the Lord will guide you to be as loving as God and as patient as Christ" (CEV).

The NASB translates this verse similarly to the CEV.

"May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ" (NASB).

Dealing with those stubborn, hotheaded, slow-learning disciples day in and day out for three years shows that Jesus has an awful lot of patience! May I become as patient as He is!