Tuesday, August 31

Crocheting and babies

My oldest friend (we were stuck at the hips in kindergarten) just had her third babe last night...a 10 lb 10 oz boy. When I first read the text (which was at 12:30am) I whispered a prayer of thanks for baby Elijah and then crawled back to bed. When I read the text again this morning, I saw the weight and thought "ouch!"

I guess I now need to finish the baby blanket I am crocheting for baby Elijah. I'm mostly done but need to tuck in a few stray strands, crochet a border and consider if I want to attempt little pom-poms or tassels. I'm not sure I'm liking this particular baby blanket...I'll decide at the end if I'm going to send it or go out a buy a gift instead. Regardless I think this will be the last baby blanket for a long while! I'm kind of sick of them.

When it comes to crocheting I only have patience for scarfs and baby blankets...anything larger and I lose interest. So I started crocheting baby blankets when my friends starting having children. Then when child #2 came along, I thought I should make one for them too...to make them feel equally loved and special when they are old enough to appreciate it. Now a few friends have had baby #3 and I am resenting the thought of making yet another blanket. However, if baby #2 gets less than baby #1, then baby #3 gets a lot less typically. So if I end up sending Elijah's blanket, I think he might end up being the only baby #3 to get a blanket because I'm hanging up my needles...well, kind of.

I'm slowly and sporadically working on a large sized quilt. I have dubbed this quilt "The Ugliest Blanket Ever" because I'm using up all the leftover yarns that I have purchased for other scarves or blankets. It is a modge-podge of color and is actually turning out to be a very pretty blanket because of it. I'll try to post pictures of my crocheting creations once I'm done with Elijah's...maybe this weekend.

Monday, August 30

A Hard Day

Yesterday was my pastor's last day at my church. We laughed, we cried, we worshipped, we thanked God and committed them (and us) to Him. As stories were flowing yesterday, there were numerous events where individuals thanked the Pastor and his wife for their involvement (weddings, births, baptism, deaths, etc). When I think about my own life, I am saddened at the thought that my Pastor and wife have not been able to yet share in a wedding or birth...in fact, my life has been fairly uneventful at this church EXCEPT for the fact that they have shared the formation of who I am. I started attending my church when I was 9 years old. 21 years later, while I may be husband-less and child-less, I have lived, served and have been shaped by my involvement with the church throughout my life. And they were very much a part of that shaping. I am so thankful for that.

Then I went to visit a friend yesterday who is in the hospital. When I arrived, I found out that she is in the Psychiatric Unit...which didn't shock me but did sadden me. She is a sweet girl but has really struggled over the last 8 months or so. I pray that the Lord will protect her mind and give her healing, peace, and health in all areas! May I be a balm of encouragement for her.

Last bit of hard news that I learned yesterday is that another friend is spiraling downward due to drugs. I don't even know what to say...except that I am praying.

Life can be hard at times. People we love are hurting and their pain makes us hurt too. Others come and go, our paths cross for a season and then separate again...all of which causes grief. But God is good. And He is faithful. And He hears our prayers...for which I am thankful.

Wednesday, August 25


I love each season.
I love the coldness of winter...the brisk air, the beauty of snow, the stark trees
I love the freshness of spring...the new life, the greenery, the interlaced days of rain and sun
I love the energy of summer...the sun, the heat, and the produce...oh the produce!
I love the contentment of fall...the color-infused trees, the increasingly cooler air, the lurking warm days.

Even though I love each season, I think I could live just about anywhere...even places whose seasons blur. I went to college in Regina, Saskatchewan...very much flat praire land with 5 months of winter and blazing hot summers. Fall and spring flew through, lingering only for about 2 weeks before the introduction of the heat or the snow/ice came around...and I enjoyed that too.

I don't know what this has to do with anything. But today is a sunny, clear-sky day and is 80 degrees and I find myself enchanted by it all. While I wish that summer would linger a few weeks more, I anticipate all that is good about autumn and am excited for that too!

So wherever you are, whatever your weather, I hope you can find beauty in today!

Tuesday, August 24


The crunch. The flavor. The soaked-in-coffee goodness.
I love biscotti!

I enjoy eating biscotti.
I enjoy making biscotti.
I enjoy trying new types of biscotti.
And I enjoy testing out the biscotti on others.

I've made an Almond Lemon Biscotti, Chocolate Cherry Biscotti, Vanilla Bean Biscotti, Double Chocolate Biscotti and last night I made a Mocha Almond Biscotti. My plan tonight is make a Coconut Rum Biscotti...just because it sounds interesting.

I try to do my cooking with a purpose...what I mean is that I know if I cook just for me, I will eat what I make, which isn't always a good thing. So I try to come up with people or reasons that I can give food away and then not only do I get to bless someone (hopefully) but then I can also get to have a little taste without feeling guilty.

What is the reason for the Mocha Almond and Coconut Rum? This is my pastor's last week at my church...I thought it would be nice to drop some off. There are only 7 people there so I'm going to provide enough for two each and then bring the rest to work.

So if you ever want some biscotti...let me know. I'm always looking for good excuses and you'd make a great one!

Thursday, August 19

What I learned from the opera...

Last night I went to the Seattle Opera House and saw Tristan und Isolde. For those of you who don't know Tristan und Isolde's story: Guy meets girl, they fall in love, guy promises girl to another guy, they admit they are in love, the other guy finds out about the two once he is married to the girl, everyone dies.

I have long thought I'd probably enjoy opera, which I did! However in the second half, I found myself creating this list throughout the performance. Lessons we can learn from opera (and maybe particularly from Tristan und Isolde):
  1. Everything sounds better when you sing it. Where am I? You were wounded and I carried you home.
  2. Especially if you sing it in another language. Wo bin ich? Sie wurden verwundet und ich trug Sie Haupt.* (trust me...this sounds better!)
  3. Every good story has at least one death...so expect it.
  4. If you manage to secure an orchestra to play along to your life, your life and actions will be that much more dramatic.
  5. Everyone has a "drama queen" moment.
  6. Falling in love with someone that you are going to set up with someone else, is not a good idea.
  7. When in doubt, if you know someone has the ability to make magic potions, you'd be better off not eating or drinking anything they offer.
  8. Three hours of opera makes me as antsy as I feel at the 7th-inning stretch.
  9. When you are tired, sitting through another hour of opera will most likely lull you to sleep or make you so much more tired.
  10. If you choose to work in a major orchestra, bravo! but fully expect people to come and stare at you like you are an animal at a zoo!
  11. Last but certainly not least, how much better would life be if we yelled out Bravo! to people whenever they did someone good or wonderful!
*Translation is from Babelfish...could be completely wrong. Sprache keine deutsch!

Wednesday, August 18

An Opportunity

This whole doctorate thing that I am considering would be for the sole purpose of teaching. This being said, I was chatting with my mentor friend who asked me what requirements the Black Forest Academy, in Germany, had for their Bible teachers. Out of curiosity, I asked. I tried to make it clear that I was not in any way applying or even ready to apply and that my question was merely hypothetical.

Naturally they want someone with teaching experience which I don't have yet. No problem.
But then, as I read the rest of the response, I was surprised.

I was asked to consider a position of working in the Residence Life office, overseeing the RAs. I was not expecting this and felt a bit flustered all day yesterday. Knowing the individual who had this role before...I naturally think that I am nothing like her and couldn't possibly fill her shoes. Of course, I know that this is not the goal and I would have something to offer that position just as she did. But do I go?

I loved Loved LOVED my ministry in the dorms...I wonder if I would be content to work alongside the dorms. And, I'm a bit burned out on office jobs and I'm not sure how much of this ministry would involve working in the office. It definitely would involve a large element of interact with others, which I'd love and welcome.

I don't know.

I'm leaning towards saying "no thank you...not at this time." While I'd love to return to BFA or any other missionary kid school some day, I'm not sure now is the right time. But at this point, I'm not really sure of how and where God is leading me.

So I wrote back and asked if they had a job description and told them I'd pray over this.
And that's where this story presently ends...

Tuesday, August 17

A Conflict of Interests

My job has been wonderful financially. It has allowed me to have my own apartment, get my Master's degree, and have some dollars left over for casual spending.

However let me back up just a bit. Back in high school, when babysitting was my own means for financial gain, I was very much a saver. I hated shopping unless it was for other people. Spending money just wasn't something I enjoyed. But then during college, I got a job at Old Navy, which I thought was hilarious...I didn't enjoy shopping, wasn't trendy with clothes...but here goes! Through this job, I found an enjoyment in shopping and my ability to save went down.

Since then, there honestly hasn't been much financial restriction in my life in the last decade or so...if I see something that I want, I usually buy it. Granted I tend to avoid extravagant things but even the small things add up, right?

Anyhow, I've been mulling over my finances. You see, God has given me a passion for missions and for giving. I love giving my money away to people in need, good causes, and especially to missions. There have been a couple times in the last decade where my ability to give was limited, to a degree, because of lack of money in my account, due to frivolous spending. Honestly, I hated those times and hate the thought of not being able to give abundantly or freely because I have spent too much on myself. On stuff I truly don't need.

I have been trying to monitor my spending more in last year or two, in order to free up more finances for giving but its hard. The consumer mentality has become embedded in my mind and I essentially need to be rewired and retrained. I don't have all the answers and am not even sure the best way to change and improve my financial spending and stewardship. I guess being aware, making a plan and finding accountability would be a good place to start. Overall, it's about learning to say no to myself so that I can say yes to God.

Monday, August 16

Random Reflections

Classes starts next Monday. This means I'll be busy through December. Of course I've been (leisurely) working on my thesis paper over the last six weeks but I haven't really pushed myself. As of next Monday, things ramp up...I'll be working against a schedule.

This Wednesday, I'm going to the opera for the first time. I've never been but have long thought that I'd probably really enjoy it. So I'm giving it a try and expanding my cultural experiences at the same time. I'm going to Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. From the little synopsis that I read, it's bound to be a downer story...everyone dies, brokenhearted...kind of like Romeo and Juliet.

I've been thinking about change recently...mostly because I can't get away from it. My pastor's final week is in two week...many tears to come. Plus, my parents want to put their house on the market this week. They are planning to move to Arizona. It will be very strange to not have them around and to not regularly visit the house I grew up in...and it will be sad. Then I've been thinking more about pursuing a doctorate degree which will definitely take me away from Washington as well. Change is unavoidable...

I'm planning/hoping to visit Germany and Holland next April/May (before graduation). In the next week or two, I have a large group of kiddos who are going to be starting their last year at the school, which is also strange and sad. So I want to go over and see them again all before the spread out around the world. I started looking at airfare on Friday. Why is it that I can find a ticket for $400 or for $800 and when taxes are calculated in, the total for both come out to $1000??? Seriously?!? A cheaper ticket has that much more taxes to apply? It drives me batty! While I enjoy planning and taking trips, looking for airfare is not my favorite pastime. And then the school is located is a somewhat remote area so I typically check the airfare for three destinations to figure out the best/cheapest deal! The first time I returned for a visit, I landed in Frankfurt, Germany. The second time in Basel, Switzerland. Maybe this last time, I land in Zurich, Switzerland...we shall see.

On Friday evening, I saw the movie Eat, Pray, Love. Even though I've never read Elizabeth Gilbert's book, I knew mostly what the book was about (and consequently an aspect/period of her life). I also knew that this book has been well received by the general public and caused "spiritual awakening" is many people. This awareness didn't stop me from going to see the film. Overall I would say the movie was okay. Save your money and just rent it when it comes out. My sister was very turned off to Liz' spiritual transformation (God is in me, God is me) and I was turned off to the broken marriage part of her story. The only thing we both enjoyed about this movie was the scenery...it made us want to travel to Italy, India and Bali! The colors, the food, the sounds, the animals...breath-taking!

Sunday, August 15


The symbol of death
new life

The old self

Down into the water
to be washed

The new self

A portrayal of the Savior
of the life that only He can bring
A wondrous occasion
to show, though me, our King

**Five people were baptized at my church today. I love watching baptisms and always find tears in my eyes when I see them or hear about them. They are such a beautiful reminder of how God has changed my life. Perhaps the best baptisms I've seen were those I witnessed in Germany...the Christian believers shared their testimonies, which were always amazing to hear, followed by a verse/encouragement from a mentor/leader and concluded with a prayer of blessing over them...so perfect. But regardless of what is included in the baptism or not, the symbolism is powerful. It's humbling and exciting to consider just how much the Holy Spirit wants to transform that person and use them to permeate godliness within the church and community!

Friday, August 13

Sweet Speech

Who I am:
I am a fairly optimistic person...a glass-half-full type of gal. I tend to believe the best of people, giving them the benefit of the doubt, time after time. I am also more introverted than extroverted although I love spending time with people...what this usually means is that I am the listener and the entertained, by the things others say. Sure, I can be witty, entertaining, and talkative...but I naturally tend to absorb more than I tend to expend.

What this means:
This means that I listen to others. A lot. This also means that I am more of a peace-keeping type of person and often am given counselor or advisory type roles. I tend to show compassion and understanding even if I also understand the other side of the story too. There is a confrontational side of me (in addition to the counselor side of me)...this is the side that will offer suggestions of how to fix the problem, will offer the other side of the story and will, rarely though it may be, tell some one that its time to move past the problem.

How this affects me:
Because I am often the listener, I hear a lot of words...and not always welcomed words. Because I am often a counselor/consoler, people want to hear feedback from me. What I have learned in my lifetime thus far is just how important words are. Negative words, cruel words, bitter words...these are all like poison...quick to hit the target and spread their pain. Remarkably, they hurt not only the person who receives them but also the person who speaks them. Sweet words, positive words, and charming words...these are like life...they have the ability to breathe life and encouragement to people and can propel others to do good. And again, they have an equally good effect on the speaker as well as the receiver.

I want to be more than just someone who is good at listening and consoling.
I want to be a speaker of sweet words.
I want to look continually for the good in all things, in all people and to encourage others to do likewise.

Maybe that's why God has given me the last 5 years...
Time to practice.

Thursday, August 12

You can't take it back...

I've been thinking lately about my speech. I said something rude and unnecessary on Sunday. Thankfully it was just in the presence of my family and I immediately said sorry once it came out but I wish I hadn't made the comment to begin with.

It's amazing how one little word or comment can be like fire and just leave you feeling dirty or awful. Not a good feeling...anyhow, it got me thinking about a movie I like, You've Got Mail. There is this great scene about saying hurtful things...and I'm sharing it with you.


Joe writes on his computer. Brinkley on the floor next to him.
And cut between Joe and his computer screen.

Do you ever feel you become the worst version of yourself? That a Pandora's Box of all the secret hateful parts -- your arrogance, your spite, your condescension -- has sprung open. Someone provokes you, and instead of just smiling and moving on, you zing them. Hello, it's Mr. Nasty. I'm sure you have no idea what I'm talking about.

As Kathleen reads the end of Joe's letter.
Kathleen hits the Reply key and starts to type:

I know what you mean and I'm completely jealous. What happens to me when I'm provoked is that I get tongue-tied. My mind goes blank. Then I spend all night tossing and turning trying to think of what I should have said.

As he replies:

Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could pass all my zingers to you and then I would never behave badly and you could behave badly all the time and we'd both be happy? On the other hand, I must warn you that when you finally have the pleasure of saying the thing you mean to say at the moment you mean to say it, remorse inevitably follows.

Wednesday, August 11

How my thesis paper is changing me...

I've shared before that I am working on my Master's degree (and almost done, thank you very much!) and part of my degree requires me to write a thesis paper.

My chosen topic is on Suffering: What does the Bible say, how does it impact missions and the Church? (that's not the exact title...still working on that...any suggestions???)

In studying the Bible and in reading books for research, I'm finding my mind and understanding of sin and suffering is being changed, which has great implications!

I've always said that suffering and pain and sin were not part of God's plan...He did not create us that way and that it was merely a consequence of our choice and because of that choice, God had to provide a Savior. What is wrong with this thought is that it makes Christ a "plan B" or after-thought.

Now, I'm coming to think that God created us, fully knowing and ordaining us to sin, so that He could reveal His glory through the abundance of His grace through Christ's perfect life and undeserving death. Our sinning was part of the plan so that God could show us the part of Himself that wouldn't be seen or understood against a perfect non-sinful backdrop!

One book I read said something to the effect that you can't seen the brightness of the stars unless it is against the backdrop of the darkest night. You can't see God's grace unless there is someone or something in need of grace. You can't see God's redemption unless someone or something needs to be redeemed.

This mind shift is huge! Honestly, my mind feels full and a bit boggled as I try to wrap my understanding around this and all that it means. In the multitude of years that I have attended Sunday school, heard sermons, gone to Bible school and such, I'm confident I've heard all this before. But it went in one ear and then got rewired to my original thinking, confirming what I have believed all along. Now, my heart is hearing a new tune...a much more powerful and stunning tune...

and I am in awe.

Tuesday, August 10

After the beep...

One regular part of my job involves calling people for any variety of reasons. In the 3 years I have been here, I have come to dislike leaving messages, to a degree.

Voicemail (VM): You've reach the desk of John Smith. I'm either away from my desk or on the other line (or out playing golf, or off work at 1pm (!!!) or on a 3 week vacation but my voicemail won't tell you any of this). Please leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you.
Me: (spoken calmly but with importance) Hi John, this is Mindy from Northwest Ingredients. I'm calling in regards to your coconut order. I was just notified by the coconut company that their warehouse only has 42 of the 112 cases that you ordered. They are expecting more to arrive by next Monday so we can either ship the 42 cases or wait until Monday and ship everything all at once. Please give me a...
VM: This is the voicemail system. To review your message, press 1. To delete and re-record your message, press 2. To send, press 3 or simply hang up.
Me: (Press 2--big sigh)
VM: Please record.
Me: (Less calm, more direct) Hi John, this is Mindy from Northwest Ingredients. I'm calling in regards to your coconut order. I was just notified that the warehouse only has 42 of the 112 cases that...
VM: This is the voicemail system. To review your message, press 1. To delete and re-record your message, press 2. To send, press 3 or simply hangup.
Me: (Press 2--frustrated and grumbling)
VM: Please record.
Me: (Frustrated by trying to not let it come across) Hi John, this is Mindy from Northwest Ingredients. I'm calling in re...
VM: This is the voicemail system. To review your message, press 1. To delete and re-record your message, press 2. To send, press 3 or simply hangup.
Me: (Press 2--take a deep breath)
VM: Please record.
Me: HiJohnthisisMindyfromNorthwestIngredients...
VM: This is the voicemail system. To re...
Me: (Press 2)
VM: Please record.
Me: No coconut!
(hang up)

Friday, August 6

My Concert Report

Tonight was good...just what I needed! The concert I went to today was located at Chateau Ste. Michelle, a fairly well known winery that is only about 30 minutes away. Their concert area is just one large open grassy field where you can sit on blankets or low chairs. (Being a winery, one cannot bring alcohol onto the grounds but instead the guests are welcomed to buy bottles or glasses of wine.)
The concert was delightful...Natalie Merchant has a gorgeous voice that I find enchanting to listen to. It was one of those concerts that I found soothing...you just wanted to sit and listen. Along with the music, I found myself encapsulated by the rich plumy smell of wine as many of the guest partook quite liberally...the smell was intoxicating and added to the environment. It was all rather quite wonderful.

One a different note, it was amusing to watch Natalie dance...if you ever seen the movie Serendipity, picture in your mind that one scene where John Corbett is playing his clarinet and then dancing in a hippie, earthy type movement...that was Natalie's style. It made me smile. and giggle. and love her even more.

So was going by myself awful? No...not really. I'd do it again. Naturally, it's more fun to share these types of events with a friend but going solo wasn't awful.

Wednesday, August 4

In Darkness

I've never read My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers...not that I have anything against him or the book however reading a daily devotional just requires more discipline than I exert. Anyhow, I have been listening to Jan Karon's Mitford series on CD, in my car, over the last three months or so and heard the below devotional in section I listened to yesterday...it was so perfect for where I am that I thought I'd share it:

February 14: Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops —Matthew 10:27

Sometimes God puts us through the experience and discipline of darkness to teach us to hear and obey Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and God puts us into “the shadow of His hand” until we learn to hear Him (Isaiah 49:2 ). “Whatever I tell you in the dark. . .”— pay attention when God puts you into darkness, and keep your mouth closed while you are there. Are you in the dark right now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? If so, then remain quiet. If you open your mouth in the dark, you will speak while in the wrong mood— darkness is the time to listen. Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason for the darkness; just listen and obey. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else once you are back in the light.

Monday, August 2

Lest I Forget

Guess what's coming up this Friday?

Guess what I won't be forgetting this time like I did in April?

Now I just need to find my ticket!