Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Yes, I Am a Nerd; No, You Can't Judge Me

This weekend I headed off to Southeast Oklahoma to attend a regional Tri-Beta Biological Science Convention.  I go to about 4-5 of these a year.  Go ahead, you can say it: I'm a big nerd.  In case you're wondering what happens at these kinds of things, you spend weeks preparing either a poster or power point presentation to present and share your research with everyone else who comes.  Most of the time, you just do it for the sake of sharing information, this one was a competition.  One thing I find hilarious is that at some of them they have a "biology social"  one night that includes a dance.  Seriously?  Can you imagine the awkwardness of hundreds of 20+ biologists having a dance?  That last bit had no point other than I find it totally weird that we have "socials" akin to a Jr. High dance at these things.

Most of the people from my research lab, including myself, were completely dreading spending a weekend, unpaid, at this thing.  Normally,because grants pay for us to go to these things, we stay in nice hotels but this one required us to stay in dorms; which, by the way, did not have any places where there was a mirror and plug in within reaching distance of each other.  Anyways, Some of the girls in my lab and myself were getting ready to go to bed the first night when one of us looked up and said, "Are we all reading our Bible?".  We, in fact, were.  We then went on to discuss what we had been reading and various things that God had been doing in our lives lately.  Now, I have known these girls for over a year now and knew that they at least attended a church but had no idea of the amazing relationships they have with God!

It was so comforting and encouraging for my soul to realize that in a Biological Research lab that normally would consist of "non religious" people, I have multiple fellow Christians that I can lift up in prayer and ask for help from in return.  I also felt guilty, why have I never asked them about their personal relationship with Christ?  I have seen them multiple times a week for quite some time but never built up the courage to ask them one simple question or have one conversation with them that should come as second nature to me.  My goal is to talk to everyone I work with and make sure that they aren't going to Hell just because I'm too scared of being a little uncomfortable should they not want my Savior.
I encourage you to do the same, who do you see regularly that you really don't know the condition of their soul?  If you would like me to pray for you as you also try this out, let me know - I would love that privilege!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

So many things...

I'm terrible at keeping up with this.  My life has been a blur of random hecticness (I'm pretty sure that's not a word).  So, I have some quick snaps of what we've been up to lately and I'm hoping to elaborate on some of them soon!

First, we had puppies.  Actually, our beautiful Miniature Australian Shepherd had puppies...and they're muts.
This is mom with some little pups:

This is a super cute close up of one them at around 2 weeks: Notice that it looks pretty much nothing like mom.

So, needless to say, puppies have taken up some of out time an energy.  Revival came and went.  We took the youth on a scavenger hunt at the zoo.  I have some great pictures of that, and I feel that it is worthy of a post all it's own, but, here's a group picture:
If you'll notice, we all had jackets and some even hoods on.  This is because the day we had planned to go was the coldest day of spring break.  Perfect, right?

Sadly, another thing has monopolized our time recently is Lost.  Ty and I have foregone cable.  In it's place, we have sponsored this little beauty through Holt International:

Her name is Iam, she's 6 years old and in an orphanage in the Phillipines. I greatly encourage you, if you have $30 a month, to sponsor a child.  It has changed our lives and the way we care about less fortunate people.  If you don't have the money to sponsor, spend some time praying for all of the children in orphanages around the world that need a good home!

But, the reason I'm telling you this is because of our infatuation with Lost.  Like I said, we don't have cable, so, we watch Netflix instantly through our wii.  This results in getting hooked on complete seasons of shows to the point where it isn't unheard of for us to watch a season in the matter of a few weeks.  Please don't judge me.  SO, when we get back from our busy weekends at church retreats (for Ty) and Biology conventions (for me, of course), I'm hoping to share some things that have gone on in our lives lately!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


My husband and I do the financial freedom plan by Dave Ramsey.  Actually, we use his common sense principles - but I refuse to pay the money for the books, dvd's, etc.  Anyways the reason I was saying this is because I was day dreaming today about what I would do with the extra money we will have each month when we finally get completely out of debt, and, one of the first things I thought was - I can start cooking with real butter again!  Yeah...I am that cool and like to live life on the edge.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Maybe I should rename the blog

Let me preface this by saying I have all kinds of ministry related things I could blog about right now, but this is what is on my mind so this is what is being written.
I woke up this morning feeling sad about not having kids/ quite possibly not ever having biological children.   This then brings about the thoughts of where in the world will we come up with the $30,000+ to adopt  a child?  People try to tell you to be patient, but what I've learned are the people that say that have never had a hard time getting pregnant.  It's hard to be patient.  So, what I decided to do this morning was to stop moping, (another skill I've learned since all of this started a few years ago) get up and enjoy the quiet house that will cease when/if we have children.
As I was getting my coffee, I looked up at the cabinet door that I keep my spices in and read the verse I have taped on it.  (I tape Bible verses that we are wanting to memorize in various places in my house and switch them out from time to time, sometimes I succeed in memorizing them, sometimes they just serve as encouragement - I highly recommend it!)  The verse I looked at this morning was Isaiah 55:8-9  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." God's plan for my life is so much bigger/better than I can comprehend.  He knows what he's doing!  Even though all I can think about right now is how I want to have children and stay at home to take care of them and help my husband at the church; God sees the entirety of my life in one glance and knows what is best for me and what I can handle.
In January, as I was looking back on the seemingly tough year we had had in one aspect, I realized the immense amount of blessings God has given us and will continue to give us - children or not!
Jesus in John 16:33 "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world."

Monday, February 28, 2011

Countdown to Revival!

So, next week is the first Revival my husband is in charge of at a church.  Naturally, this requires a lot of planning and work; especially this week as we're finishing up all of the last minute details.  I got home from work around 2:30 with papers to grade, church members to contact, a house to clean, lesson plans to study... So, I did what everyone would do in that situation, and decided to take my first stab at making hot rolls from scratch!  (That's what you do when you have a lot of stuff to do, right?)  I also decided to roast/bake a chicken for dinner!

It turns out that making bread is not as difficult as I originally thought it would be.  It is just as if not more time consuming than expected.  I got the recipe off of the internet - it's pretty sweet (has an entire cup of sugar in it!) and a little denser than I normally like my rolls; so I didn't include the link.

Here's a picture of my bread dough rising on my stove.

Meanwhile...I roasted my chicken.

 You may or may not care about this, but I roasted it upside down from how they direct you to in the recipes and it turned out much juicier!  I also stuffed it with lemons and oranges; pretty tasty!

And, the finished product of the rolls.  I made 64.  Yeah...there are only two humans in my household.  That's 32 rolls a piece.  Looks like I'm going to take some food to church members this week!

I have absolutely no idea if there is a point to this post, other than I'm proud of my stab at being domestic tonight!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Valentine's Banquet

I think a lot of churches have a valentine's banquet each year; they all seem to vary slightly as to how nice they are and what they include.  Some are for the youth to bring "dates" to, others are put on "by the youth"  (really by their parents and youth minister) for the adults in the church.  The latter is what we have. My husband kind of lets me take control of the Valentine's Banquet.  It is always the Sunday closest to Valentine's day, and my goal is for it to be like attending a nice meal.  Sometimes I have some kind of theme.  This year, I wasn't quite feeling the theme direction so I just got some people to help me and hoped it would turn out alright.

So, a lot of people do this a different way, but here is what works pretty well for me.
1.  Find someone to decorate.  If I have a theme, I let them know what it is; this year I just told her to do what she wanted.  (She did an amazing job, by the way!)
2.  Pick out a menu early.  This year, we had brisket so I asked a man in our church who smokes meat to make all of it.  I have no idea how many pounds it took; or I would help you out.
3.  Have some kind of sign up so you can start planning how many tables to set up and how much food to prepare.  We had 42 sign up; I planned for 60 (You have to feed the workers too).
4.  If you can cook it ahead of time; do it.  Ex.  I made the dessert the day before (as seen in my apple pie post)
5.  Be realistic when planning your menu, you cannot realistically make lobster and make any money off of this deal.
6.  Rotate your help.  I had 3 people other than myself helping in the kitchen, all completely separate from the people who helped last year.  This keeps parents from getting burned out and allows them to enjoy the banquet from time to time.  I'm still waiting on the year when the parents want to throw it completely and let my husband and myself set out. (Just kidding, but really that would be awesome.)
7.  Don't feel the need to get into some kind of routine and make it the same - versatility is great!  On the same note, it is ok if you have some staples like we have the "Not so Newly Wed" game every year.
8.  Remind the students of the proper etiquette for serving and ushering.
9.  Have a menu on the table and include instructions for leaving a donation, if they wish. I also leave some kind of chocolate at each place; just to make it look a little nicer.

So, pretty much here's how it went down.  The boys usher the people in and seat them at their table.  Serve them drinks first.  Once pretty much everyone is there, we started salads.   After salads were done, we started the main course.  I'm an over achiever, I plate it nicely and buy parsley so it looks like I spent a lot of money on the meal. ( I only spent $120 to feed 60 people this year!) We have very talented youth, so we had kids singing or playing the piano throughout the meal.  After everyone was done, we served dessert then had the game.  I had these great plans to take wonderful pictures so you could see just how fabulous and eloquent the meal was; so just imagine the nicest meal you've ever had and realize it probably wasn't that great; but hopefully pretty close.  I got busy in the kitchen, took a picture of the garlic I roasted for the mashed potatoes and that was the end of it.  I would love to hear about your church's valentine's banquet, so I can steal some of your ideas!

Here's a shake down on how much food I cooked.
I made the Pioneer Woman's Garlic Mashed Potatoes - I don't want to steal her thunder so feel free to look up the how to's on her website :
I think he planned for 4 oz. uncooked meat per person
I used 30 lbs of potatoes
2 1/2 pkg cream cheese
4 1/2 sticks of butter (not margarine)
6 heads of roasted garlic
salt and pepper
the recipe calls for cream, but I didn't need it in mine.
The whole process from cutting potatoes to being done took about an hour, I recommend mashing by hand - it's a little more work but they turn out much better.  I kept them hot in one of those huge roasters.
3 cans of green beans
1 lb. of bacon
15 cans of crescent rolls
4 heads of lettuce
2 pkgs of spring mix
3 pkgs of baby spinach
3 bottles of salad dressing (3 different kinds)
3 bottles of barbeque sauce
And all of the apple pie from the previous post!

Maybe you could plan a banquet for your church!  Seriously, I would love to know how you do similar things; whether at your church, or home, or school, or work...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What About Me?

     We were warned that it would be hard for me to get pregnant.  What I wasn't warned about was how hard it would be to be someone who has a hard time getting pregnant.  This becomes especially difficult in social places such as your church.  It seems that every "young adult" class is focused on young parents.  While we have a great Sunday School teacher (My husband and I attend a young adult Sunday School class to get a break from being teenagers.), it inevitably comes around to how the scripture pertains to parents.  We get life advice on raising kids. Every week.  It becomes physically painful.
      So, last night I thought, what are our churches doing to reach out to young couples such as my husband and I?  I know that we are far from being alone in this battle, and so many people have to have words of wisdom in coping with infertility.  So why don't we have ministries that relate to this struggle?  There are many stories in the Bible of women who begged God for children, why aren't we seeking out the right and wrong ways to handle this through scripture?
      Tomorrow morning, while you're at church, why not search out someone that your church doesn't minister well to?  I believe that every church has a weak spot (if yours doesn't, I would love some advice.), so let's look for it and work on making it our strength!