"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

24 July 2010

Beginning to Understand Anti-Jock Sentiments in America

Coming from the rather un-dramatic high school background I do, I've had a hard time really comprehending the "anti-jock" mentality that a lot of people who weren't jocks in high school have.

Today, I caught a glimpse of the reasons behind those feelings.

I was walking from my car into the mall for work this morning. There was a group of teenage boys running on the sidewalk that goes around the perimeter of the mall - it looked like it was a sports team. I didn't think twice about it, since they were a little ways off. Another lady and I stepped onto the sidewalk to get in the doors to the mall. As the first pair passed us, one of the boys snapped rudely, "Way to cut us off, why don't you?" at us. The other one laughed uproariously, like his friend had delivered the punch line to the funniest joke in the world.

Needless to say, I was irritated and a bit perplexed at how some children think the world is their own and everyone else needs to cater to them.

I reported them to mall security before going in to work.

Then I felt better.

23 July 2010

Daily Breakfast Dilemma

Lately, I've been waking up and deliberating what to eat for breakfast. If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, how come there aren't more interesting and healthy options? I can only jazz up oatmeal and omelettes in so many ways. 
Yesterday, after griping about breakfast on FB, I ended up eating leftover rice with an egg, diced tomatoes, red bell pepper and basil with some sesame oil and soy sauce. I was feeling rebellious and not wanting to eat a "breakfast food," because it's mostly all crap that's bad for you.

Then I got some good ideas for future breakfasts from some friends:

- Omelette made in a rice cooker: http://bit.ly/aUzl4x.
- Granola and yogurt (which I do from time to time)
- Bircher muesli - 1 can of fruit cocktail or fresh cut fruit, some fried oats (fried in butter and sugar - don't let it burn), a bit of honey, some lemon juice, a grated apple and plain yogurt - you can make a lot and eat it through the week
- And although this might be stretching it for me: "Cold rice is good for breakfast! With granola, if I have it, and bananas and milk."

If you have any other HEALTHY ideas, please share!

20 July 2010

Twice in one month! Hurray!

Fourth of July was fun, but low key, this year. After church, we started packing for our week-long trip to Kentucky for the LIFE 2010 youth conference. I made some rolls to take with us to Chris and Keri's later on, and Nich did some picking up around the house. We had an early dinner at Chris and Keri's, ran by the Fischers' to say hello, and then went to Congress Park for fireworks with Chris and Keri and some of their friends. It was a good time, but since the sun didn't fully set until around 9:30, it made for a pretty late night. I was TIRED. However, we did get to try the new frozen yogurt place on Broadway, which was absolutely scrumptious, albeit a tad expensive for frequent visits. I got fresh mango pieces and blueberries to top my vanilla - yummy!

The youth conference was great overall. The teens in both of our rooms were great, and I even got to take a nap on three out of the 5 days we were there. My girls were great about going to bed at a relatively decent hour every night (12:30-1:00), and I had no grumpy morning people.

Now that we're home again, we're not leaving on another trip for a while. It's nice to be home in our own bed, especially now that it's started to cool off again. The first few days back were hellish, particularly because our house had NO cross breeze. There are these huge windows that DON'T OPEN in the living room that soak up all the morning sun, which is terrific in the winter, but horrid in the summer. And the living room is cut off from the kitchen and dining room with a wall, so any air doesn't travel in there anyway - we don't use that room much lately. Our backyard is at least 50% concrete from the unused inground pool and surrounding area, which brutally traps the afternoon heat. Needless to say, I am thankful for gray, overcast, rainy days right now when I can turn the AC off in the bedroom and come out of my "hole."

My college friend Andrea visited quickly last Monday night on her way from seeing family in Massachusetts to heading to NJ to see other friends. It was fun to see her and a good excuse for us to go out to dinner at Ali Baba Express, our favorite Turkish restaurant in Lake George.

We celebrated Nich's 32nd on Wednesday. I felt a bit guilty as this year, just because we've been so busy this summer, I wasn't able to put forth the time and creative energy into making his birthday extra special. But we went out to dinner with a bunch of friends - where Nich had to sit at the kids' table because two of them insisted they had to sit next to him - and then came back to our house for root beer floats and games. Thankfully, my husband is sweet and easy to please, and he was kind enough to tell me that night that it was one of his best birthdays ever. :~)

On Friday night, I attended our friend Catie's bachelorette party. It was grand, clean fun. We went out for dinner, took her on a scavenger hunt of sorts with stops for coffee and ice cream, and then some of the girls spent the night at the Queensbury Hotel (because there's a hot tub there, and Catie wanted a hot tub).

This was the week for visits from Houghton friends! Jill came Friday afternoon to stay for the weekend. Saturday was a gorgeous day, so we took Jill to walk around the Yaddo Gardens in Saratoga. The rosebushes looked like they had just been trimmed, but they were still pretty and smelled nice. We grabbed a quick lunch in Wilton, and then spent the afternoon by the Hudson, dozing and wading in the water. We went to Lake George for dinner again, and Keri joined us at Ali Baba.

Sunday was Catie's wedding, and it was absolutely beautiful in every sense of the word. The ceremony was meaningful, and there is just something extra special about the marriage between two people whose hearts' desire is to serve the Lord and who you KNOW with absolute certainty that God brought together. I know Catie has been praying for Josh for a long, long time, and it was just so RIGHT to see them starting on this journey of marriage together. Someone joked later on at the reception that the pastor never gave a chance for anyone to object to the marriage, and it struck me that I haven't ever heard that said at a wedding between two believers. Because for those God has brought together, it's not any person's business to pull them apart.

The pastor also reminded Josh and Catie (and the rest of us) that the option to cut and run when things get tough - an option that most of the world sees a valid - is not an option at all for those who call Christ our Lord. I loved that reminder about what commitment truly means, about what "through thick and thin" really means. Because things WILL get tough; that's life. But how beautiful when you work through those times, and you are ever closer for it.

So I'll end with some pictures from the past week.

 Nich with the Fischer kids at Moe's for his birthday dinner. :~)

Keri, Nich, me, and Jill at Shepard's Park in Lake George after a yummy dinner at Ali Baba Express
 Andrea, me, and Nich

Josh & Catie:
We wish you a lifetime of joy!

02 July 2010

Inconsistent, I know

Good heavens, it has been nearly a month since I posted here. I'm going to try to get on here at least once a month, though, I promise.

Since my last post...

Well, I'm home.

I had a revelation in the last week of my time in Korea. One of my aunts asked me if I missed my mom more or Nich more. I refrained from answering - I mean, who knows how my answer would incriminate me in the future? Honestly though, after many years of feeling a bit "homeless", especially after my parents downsized from the house I lived in while in Cameroon to an apartment, I have found that "home" for me is where Nich is. The two weeks that we were apart were MUCH harder than either of us had anticipated, and it was so, so, so good to see him drive up to the airport last Wednesday night.

Speaking of the airport, my flight to Albany from Minneapolis/St. Paul was FIFTY minutes ... EARLY. How crazy is that? That never happens.

The week since I've been home has been a bit of a roller coaster. The weekend was packed to the brim with graduation parties. We also launched a 20Somethings ministry at our church, so that's been keeping us busy, what with communicating with people, fielding phone calls that have come our way, organizing this week's meeting. Thankfully (and a bit sadly), this was our last year leading a teen community group, so we have a bit more time to focus on this new ministry. We had 20 people in attendance last week, which was AMAZING, and we've had at least four more people express interest this week. So exciting!

I was back to work on Monday night at BBW. On Tuesday, we had a LONG photoshoot modeling for a friend who is a wedding photographer and wanted to add to her portfolio. That part was fine, but there was a videographer who came along who was quite bossy. And quite inconsiderate of our time and daylight hours. And there was a hairdresser who couldn't seem to talk and work at the same time, resulting in a hair/make up session that was twice as long as necessary and a burned cheek on my part from a curling iron.

On Wednesday, we had a parent-chaperone meeting for the upcoming nationwide youth conference next week. I'm starting to wonder how sane Nich and I were when we were thinking through this summer's schedule. We both have great kids in our rooms, though, so it shouldn't be too draining of a week. I hope. You can pray for us.

Yesterday was crazy. I had my first physical in over a year. I'm notoriously bad about going to the doctor, probably because we never did in Cameroon while I was growing up. I'm relatively healthy, so unless I have to, I don't go. The last time I had a physical was when I had to for my visa. Before that, it had been two years (since grad school where it was free). Anyway, I'm fine. We then had to drop off Nich's Subaru at the mechanic to be worked on, because the transmission has been gimpy. Then we had to drive the Civic over to a friend's to be test-driven. Speaking of, if you know of anyone who wants to buy a sporty little Civic Si, please please please let them know we have one! It's a terrific car.

Needless to say, I'm still a bit tired. Thankfully, today, there is NOTHING on the calendar besides the few phone calls I had to make this morning. So now, I'm hanging out with Nich's laptop (mine apparently has a virus on it that sent out a mass email to everyone on my contact list, so if you got a funny link, mark it as SPAM) with my bowl of pasta and chicken with peanut sauce, catching up on blogging and reading friends' blogs. I might venture outside, but I've been convicted more lately about taking care of my skin, which means I feel guilty sitting out in the sun without being slathered in sunscreen. And sunscreen makes me feel sticky. So then I don't go outside as much.