Monthly Archives: February 2011


I just spent half an hour reading some articles from a webzine my sister sent me. Maybe it’s more like 45 minutes…I didn’t look at the clock when I started, but figure there is some space in between when I came home from Perspectives and when I actually got on (after hearing about my roommate’s awesome FFA team adventures today and starting the dishwasher). These articles challenged me a bit. I’m going to remain vague (K, you probably know the types of boldness I am referring to) here, so sorry to disappoint, but the writers commended boldness in addition to that in sharing the gospel. Interesting…perhaps to be taken with a grain of salt (however many verses were cited in the articles). So, if you are so inclined, pray that I would consider such boldness with Godly wisdom and not folly.

I went to a church in DSM again this past weekend and afterward spent time at Starbucks (or St. Arbucks as our Perspectives instructor called it…ha ha), Jordan Creek, and Target. I got some great deals in the clearance aisles and also found a pair of trousers (perfect trousers) that are only imperfect in that they are about 1/2″ too long with heels on. That’s significant enough that I would ruin the pants if I wore them one day without hemming, so I’m either stuck getting skilled in hemming fast or finding a tailor that isn’t too expensive. We’ll see.

This past weekend I spent time at the show choir/jazz band festival Indianola hosted. Working in a secondary music environment was awesome. It brought me back to some of the roots a certain professor may have stamped out of me (unintentionally, I’m sure…at least I hope). Band is back on my horizon, especially as I picked up my clarinet last week and today and found that love came out when I played…I love the sound, I love the feeling of playing. Now I just need to be confident in practicing at home. Maybe that’s another reason to move to a rental house…though my operatic neighbor practices at all hours of the day, something tells me the clarinet would be just enough to bug some peeps. The practice rooms at school don’t fit my schedule; if I get there early, band and orchestra rehearsals are happening. If I stay late…I don’t really feel like staying much later than 4. Perhaps I’m uncharacteristically selfish of my time after 4, but I consider it to be my “living” portion of the week…not that school isn’t, but I don’t have the full freedom of determining how and where to spend my time in school hours. Sacrifice may need to be made here. We’ll see.

I’m craving dance again. Bother…there was dancing at Lake Robbins, but it would have been impractical to leave here at 8:30pm and try to find it for the first time only to turn around and go home again. Zumba classes cost the price of membership at the Y (too much considering the distance would limit my trips to the facility). I teach dance to my kiddos…but sometimes I am just the teacher/spectator because the number of students works out perfectly. I will not lament…but I will keep looking for an opportunity to dance. It is such a feel-good thing, you know? If you don’t know, perhaps you haven’t tried it lately. Do it (and then tell me where I can too).

I need to get back to the point of blogging where there is something witty to share. Or a lesson learned. Something of substance and interest to more than the one party who is best-informed that reads this. So, perhaps until then…adieu. Peace!

The Finisher

I’m in a rut where I don’t finish things lately. Having been a finisher (a person who ascribes value to finishing tasks and checking off lists) for most of my memory, this is a really deep rut.

Take housework. It’s not finished ever…if I devote a whole day to cleaning the apartment, there are still dishes after I cook supper. If I do 4 loads of laundry over 2 days, there’s inevitably more to do because I was wearing clothes and dirtying towels in the meantime. Books are half-read, knitting projects sit around nearly finished, but still an hour or two away from  completion. Even my school work…I’m too good at not finishing. How did I get this way? How do I undo this?

Today is a day off. I really contemplated spending it in Des Moines, a place where new discoveries and coffee shops await. I decided to stay in because I’ve got work (work in progress) to do for camp (and actually set up an appointment to do so) and because I didn’t need to put additional miles on my car…I’ve put off an oil change, and though the warning whistle hasn’t gone off yet, I need to do it pretty soon. And though I desire to go shopping (recall my post about wanting a Target here; this town is too small), I’m not sure if that desire is just to pacify my restlessness or to actually have a bit of an adventure–a bargain safari, if you will.

I started running again (couch to 5k) with the warmer temps we’ve had for a whole week (AWESOME!)…and no precip has made that even more enjoyable. I like that I can finish these small goals. I’m hoping it translates to some other areas, like knitting, housework, school work, paperwork. The absence of deadlines and grades makes getting certain things done more…up to me…and my will has been less than determined in seeing things through.

I did sit down and write out my testimony for Bible Study. So I guess that’s finished (ha, well, not actually finished, as my life is not over). I’m really excited to actually get to the study part after next week; I appreciate the efforts to have common ground and back knowledge, but think if ever given the opportunity to be in a new group I’ll suggest we split testimony and study so we don’t get together and miss out on the Word altogether. Not sure why this didn’t occur to me earlier, as it was the model we used in Ames (although I never ended up sharing my God story with the group there), but I suppose I am rather reserved in new settings and withhold ideas anyway…so had it occurred to me I might not have been bold enough to share. No matter, we’re almost done. Perhaps sharing my story will give me an opportunity to share (in the study context) with confidence in a new group.

I suppose in writing a post like this, my readership (all 3 of you) may think I desire pity. I hope I don’t…I think a renewal of hope and the reminder/restoration of purpose for being here is all I want. Small order, right? 🙂 And my hope remains that God will reveal that to me through authentic relationships and meaningful service here…which is to say  I need to get in a church, stat.

To close, in a post all about finishing, I’ll celebrate the awesome sunshine we’re enjoying yet again. Woohoo! Have a great weekend :).


Call me

I was eating dinner tonight when I took a second look at a postcard I received from a church I visited. When I got the postcard, I noted that it was odd, as I hadn’t filled out a visitor card (rebellious as I am, I have taken to saving that for at least a second or third visit, so as not to be on a bunch of mailing lists which inquire if I need anything at this time), and even if I had, I never would have used my first name (the formal one…Patricia) instead of Patty. I left it on the table and moved on with life. Fast forward to today, and my careful perusal of it (I read when I eat alone, but sometimes forget to take substantial resources to the table and am left scouring one section of the paper or a piece of junk mail) revealed that it was from an outreach website this church must have signed up to use. By my address there’s a postal Automatic-type code. And where the stamp should be, it says “mailed by outreach, inc.”.

So here’s how I think it went down: I moved. The post office took note of my address change and sold it down to the river who sold it down to this Outreach company who sent me a postcard for the church I visited. The moving-theme of the postcard (“Patricia’s moving checklist) almost confirms it for me.

But as I ate my ravioli, golden bread (garlic bruschetta bread for $3.59…ouch), and salad, I though about how cool it would be if I ended up at that church. I always used to joke that God could “call” me by sending a text message to my phone (since I don’t have texting, any messages that get through would have to be divine, right?), but maybe this postcard isn’t that far off. The church isn’t a big one, accustomed to membership drives. Maybe all of the newish folks in I-town got it too, but I’m still thinking that would be cool. The scoop so far: exegetical teaching (check). I was planning on some more visits soon, but for now am going as invited to some other churches. I’ll touch back in with you.

I decided to bake peanut butter cookies. My recipe said, in my own handwriting, to bake the cookies for 50-60% less time than the original recipe called for. That wasn’t necessary, as it turns out, and I wonder if my dad’s oven is too hot (hint, hint reader) because 6 minutes yielded blanched, weak cookies. Tasty, but not that pretty. 9 minutes was pretty good. We’ll stick with that here.

I am a glutton for punishment, but I’m going to try to knit a whole project in a night. Yes, I have other projects to do, but I’m going to try anyway. I’m on a timeline here. But first, dishes. I destroyed the kitchen tonight. 🙂

Peace to you, and don’t throw that junk mail away without looking at it!


To Long For Long

I am a coffee-fiend. I love the stuff and drink it often, write about it almost as often, and find most of its forms to be delightful (excepting the flavored roasts…those are nasty). My morning is my peak coffee time, and it accompanies an hour or so of reading, praying, and thinking as naturally as my favorite spot on the couch.

But something happened. I haven’t had coffee like normal in a week. Somewhere between getting sick and now I haven’t been in the mood for it. Now I’m feeling 100% again (finally), so I’m hoping tomorrow is the morning.

Of course, I think that I could probably jump-start my coffee drinking comeback with some coffee-house coffee. And so I propose to you, entrepreneur, build a chain coffee shop in Indianola. I’m all for small business, but ours here has grown too comfortable…their hours cater to few (closing at 5 p.m.?), their prices are high, and their coffee is subpar. Going to a gas station is about equivalent for me (I’m not in favor of that). Maybe I’m particular…:)

Happy Tuesday evening, and laundry done! 😀


***next day edit***

I had 2 cups of coffee. The type/brand/batch of coffee is definitely the problem. Glad to be back in the coffee swing, but I’ll be more glad when this bag is gone!

Happy February 12th

Okay, it’s not technically a holiday. But on this day in 2000 I went to my first semi-formal. I wore a dress I was convinced was beautiful…which matched K’s dress that we’d picked up the same day at Sears. We’d been at a Mathcounts competition in the morning, and I recall drawing the dress on a piece of paper in the back seat of our coach’s car. I even remember the awful black sandals. I danced with a boy for the first time (and with 3 total, perhaps) to the late 90s slow song hits…junior high school dances are pretty bad my friends.

February 12, 2002 was the day we put our dog Heidi down. That’s not such a good memory, either. The night before I’d been at a speech contest (individual) where I read a prose piece I’d written as an English paper about my family as the Presidential family…from the perspective of Heidi. I won a little medal for being outstanding (it was a local contest and didn’t do anything to qualify me for state, but I later did that at districts). She was a husky mix. It’s hard to believe 9 years have passed already.

So far today has been unmemorable. I decided to stay in Indianola this weekend because I’d been sick earlier this week (and ended up with several time-slots filled with Indianola-ites, to my relief and delight) and excepting a run/walk outside (it’s 40 something degrees here) on the bike trail near my apartment, I’ve been lazy and in favor of remaining that way. February 12th is pretty close to February 14th, and while I know there’s a lot of hype and fervor about being in a relationship or being single on this holiday, that’s not really aching my heart this year. As much as I am loving parts of this new life arrangement, I am missing friends in Ames. My uninvolvement in a church (still looking) has led me to be largely unconnected, except for a Bible Study I’ve been part of for about 4 weeks now. This unconnection is so unhealthy…I feel more insignificant than not in this place that I’ve been put in. It’s a selfish outlook, but it’s my ache. I hear about things going on at Cornerstone, in my old connection group, and I’m so ready to be part of that again.

For a bit of comic relief, I put my iPod on shuffle songs and the cutest accordion song just came on. It sounds Italian. Now there’s drunken-type singing in the background. Isn’t music great?

Hopefully you can find some reason to be outside today. It’s even sunny. How about that for February 12th?

Peace to you,


History Book

Tonight at Bible Study we are giving testimonies, as there are some of us who are less acquainted with one another than others. I appreciate the chance to get to know one another :).

In order to get a feel for the direction that God has taken my life in more recent history,  I decided to read through some of my musings as a high school and college student. Before I moved (or perhaps as I was sorting boxes over Christmas break) I read through childhood and junior high journals (whoa. who was that kid?), and they didn’t have much to say about God.

What’s wild to me is that in these young adult chronicles there were days that it sounded like I was getting it. I had the lingo down, even citing “discernment” and “wisdom” in my prayers.  This is probably attributable to some women in my life at the time who are Godly and spoke in that language readily and naturally (thank you God for their presence in my life at the time). My blatant misunderstanding of the way things worked (denying the works-based grace in one breath and yet touting my good works in the next) and my belief that I really wasn’t all that bad points to a big lack of Truth in the form of Scripture in my life. I loved coming across an entry from December of my sophomore year in college (the turning point year) that said:

“I’m in kind of a tight spot in my faith walk. I believe and I’m trying to do the right thing (not works, but living to worship and glorify Him who saved the world from sin), but I’m not growing. Part of that is my own lack of motivation…I feel like I [was] really burnt out. Reading a book every week (or 2 weeks) from the Bible was more of an assignment than a lesson…”

Sure enough, the following semester God did incredible things with me; I started attending 24/7 (I’d visited my freshman year) where the Bible was preached. For 30-45 minutes. Uncomfortable for a Lutheran like myself. But I ate it up. I was encouraged by my Bible Study leader to memorize scripture, and like reading a book every week (or two weeks) I totally resisted at first. But in the process, God softened my heart to His word and I came to enjoy it and more than “keep up” on it. The following summer I had employment for just three weeks. Not exactly a college student’s dream summer situation…and I moped about it, but I had a reading plan that got me in the word while I was moping…and somewhere along the line that summer of nothing turned into a summer of great opportunity.

What’s awesome is that as much as I thought I was figuring “it” out then, I know I’ve figured out even more now with the beautiful reality that I’ve still got this side of heaven to be figuring out more (I assume being in the presence of God closes up some of the knowledge gaps here on earth…but I’ve got that to figure out once I’m there 🙂 ). I’ve been all over the board with what being a Christian looks like, what serving in a church looks like, what doctrinal issues are key (thank you, mixed denominational background!) and what can be lumped into a less important category.

But, like a lot of my journal entries, the most repeated word is “I”. To God be the glory and credit for this changed heart, not me and my “awesomeness” ;). I’d better head out…whoops! 🙂 Peace to you!


an endorsement

My endorsements aren’t necessarily worth much in the grand scheme…I’m not that well-read, I don’t have a prominent think-tank mind (that I or anyone else is so far aware of), but I finished reading David Platt’s Radical today and think you ought to as well.

The subtitle is “Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream”. for more information.

Like a lot of missional-living literature, it includes stories of people who took Christ’s commands seriously and patterned their life after him. It also includes words aimed at the hearts of “the rest” of us and our willingness to allow materialism to be the dominating theme of our faith.

In another note altogether, there are high school athletes entering the school’s athletic wing, presumably for practice or working out. I’m all for making the best use of a snowday, but is that really ok?

One more note, there’s a big truck-like snow blower (belonging to the school) clearing a walk that was way drifted over, and despite its size and might, it can’t clear the walk on the first pass. Crazy.

I hope that you’re enjoying coffee wherever you are. I intend to do some more of that (and good news–I have someone with which to share cupcakes today!).  Peace 🙂

to do list

I’ve become aware of a dependence on to do lists for optimum prioritizing. So, when graced with another early out afternoon, I decided to accomplish the most by making a list on my most favored medium, a post it note. Notice that tea topped the list (each tally is for cups so far…the list is about three hours old). Happily I report progress…though I was 8 chapters into Persuasion when I put it down last, today I’ve successfully managed to re-read those and am 50 pages from the end in chapter 22 or 23. It’s a nice story. Anne of Green Gables and Radical are also half-read from earlier reading endeavors, so there’s less to do there than it looks like.

I also brought home some new CDs I purchased for school (CDs which were available at the previously mentioned dance workshop) so I might spend some time doing a stick dance from India, the Hora, and a dance called Sasha which may be Russian or German…the compiler wasn’t sure.

The conditions are whiteout here in town; I can only imagine out of town to be worse. I live across a parking lot from the school district’s bus lot, and I can barely make them out from here, when I look closely it’s clear that they are still buses and still there, but it’s amazing what a bit of wind and snow combined do to vision.

Perhaps I blog too often…but if nothing else, I really enjoy going back and reading older posts of mine for the sake of reminiscing, which encourages me to be more recent. Pictures are fun to look at, too. Even if a lame-o scanned post it (which is less lame because I figured out how to scan with my printer that only barely tolerates Vista). I hope that the winter weather doesn’t make your travel perilous, and that you can read a cozy book like I am today. Peace!

hot potato

I just consumed homemade french fries in record time. I cut one potato (was going to do three, thought better of it when I looked in my fridge and saw too much food inside), sprayed it with the most vile cooking spray I have ever used (store brands usually get my love, but this is awful…I actually took some pictures, but they’re on my camera’s internal memory, and I don’t want to unearth the cord necessary to put them on here). Luckily, the taste of the cooking spray was overridden by garlic salt and pepper. I might have used regular salt, but I still lack a salt shaker…nearly bought one from WalMart, but it was so hideous (and I’m opposed to buying ones I don’t like just for the sake of buying them) that I refrained…so salted things end up being very salty.

I had an early out today. I have a reputation at school for not paying attention to the forecast (and so my occasional longings for weather-related closings are usually inspired by an ominous gray cloud that prompts me to look at a website for weather)…but I’m not sure that the closest weather watcher’s predicted this early out. Granted, we’re headed for some heavy snow and wind in the next couple days, and south of here (in southern-er) Iowa they had freezing precip, but it looks to be just starting to get bad 5 hours later. Oh well. I took advantage of the free time to do some errands (let there be milk with impending snow storm) and watch an Amazon Video on Demand movie (like renting, but on your computer): Mansfield Park. Though I imagine they stretched Austen’s story a bit (there is an occasion of infidelity in the movie which would have been more tastefully mentioned in her novel), it was a lovely story in which the end result is just as you hoped it would be. I would contend that Fanny Price is a heroine I can identify with more than Elizabeth Bennett, though they have many similarities (smart, unfortunate families, quick wit). The Jane Austen Book Club (a book and movie which are a pleasant one-time indulgence for an Austen fan, but not a classic) doesn’t portray Fanny Price so admirably…which leads me to want to read Mansfield Park for myself. I got pretty far into it in June of 2005, but put it down rather abruptly and never got back to it.

I made cupcakes yesterday for the first time in a long time. Please celebrate with me the benefit of an electric mixer in the baking of cakes. I’ve tried by hand several times (read: all last year at camp) and my cakes didn’t rise properly, were tough, and often underbaked. These cupcakes were divine, and the cream cheese frosting was a nice addition to the Devil’s food. I had no idea cream cheese frosting has butter in it (I made it from scratch), which greatly adds to its charms and its…evil? I’m not a food-phobia person, as a general rule (you won’t catch me complaining about your home-baked goodie having too much fat or sugar), but I wonder if the snowstorm will force me to consume most of them by myself. So…come by for the sake of my conscience and have a cupcake! They’re good! Sprinkles, too!

Lately I’ve wondered if I’m switching out of my morning-person tendencies toward evening. I do look forward to coffee and have some great focused time in the mornings before scurrying to get out the door on time, but I have never remembered fighting yawns so late into the morning as lately. I wonder if an earlier bedtime would help. I should add that I made the conscious decision to go into work earlier than usual today (it’s not a chorus day) and found the uninterrupted time to be most productive. I took down all of my snowflakes (and set aside some for laminating…I trashed my own, but some student snowflakes deserved preservation) among other things. Funny timing with the snow we’re actually getting now…but you’ll have that. I’m ready for Valentine’s Day.

Which brings me to another topic. Do you remember how Valentine’s Day was in elementary school? That, to me, was a most magical holiday. Sure, it got awkward once we moved to Iowa because we were of an age where the message on the card held a bit more significance (I recall being selective in which generic salutation to give to each classmate in case of communicating too little or too much friendship), but before that, in the golden 1st and 2nd grade years…it was magic. First of all, the party was centered around the opening of “mail”. I know that Valentines have shifted into more economically friendly versions that skip the envelopes altogether, but the envelopes were my favorite part. When Mom brought home valentines from the store, licking 22 or more envelopes shut and addressing them was such a highlight. Opening them later, same story. I’ve always liked mail, I guess. Anyway, I know that there’s a lot of romantic love hype this time of year, which I don’t really want to try fighting…but there’s also a bit of angst and frantic measures to become un-single by the big day. I don’t want to be part of that, either. I’ll just put it out there that I’m awkwardly navigating a married adult holiday as an elementary school child…and it’s only awkward because I feel like I’m starting to fit in as an adult in so many other ways. Does that make sense? I’m not putting a lot of stock into that being sensible, as it’s my momentary conclusion. …long story short, I’m not pro-singles-awareness emo shennanigans.

I think I’m going to attend to the rest of dinner now…a slice of the best Papa Murphy’s Chicago stuffed crust pizza I’ve had to date…leftover from an enjoyable meal with a loved one this weekend!

Peace to you,