Monthly Archives: March 2011

call me friend

A friend came over tonight. We had dinner and took a walk and later tea with banana bread. I haven’t had a better evening in a while…there’s just something about spending some humble down time with people…especially one on one. She is one of the first people I met here who told me that day to go ahead and call her even if I didn’t end up at her church. She’s a smart one, and I’m honored to call her friend.

James 1 talks about wisdom. I had a discipler once reassure me that when we ask for it, it’s granted. We can make a God-honoring decision trusting that He has given the wisdom we’ve requested in faith. I desire wisdom, believe I am receiving it, and yet because the facts aren’t all “in” am not any closer to feeling decisive about a rather big detail of my life…so the proof of the wisdom granted is in the pudding which hasn’t set yet. Perhaps I really just want time to speed up or for enough patience that I can enjoy the prolonging of the decision to be made. Rash decisions aren’t so fun as good decisions.

Once again the hour is late and I am still up. On April 6th, one week from today, I am almost certainly going to bed immediately after my mentoring class ends at 7 (sometimes early). So don’t wait up for a post ;). I hope you can go on a walk with someone this week. A dog might be a worthy substitute for a person, too…or better yet a person and a dog.

Until next time, good night.

cuppa things

heh. In most settings, I am a grammar advocate, but in written conversation with K, we both slack off a bit. My subject line made me think of that, but the “cuppa” is actually referring to the tea that I’ve been enjoying from the teapot I posted about earlier. It’s fantastic. You should probably have a teapot of your own…it has multiple cups of tea ready for consumption (without having to get up and heat more water or pull down another tea bag and wait for it to steep). Delicious and refreshing.

Tonight I got to help with a band contest at our local middle school; it was a 6th and 7th grade solo contest. If you know much about me, you know that it was my 7th grade year that my life path was first determined. Sure I’d thrown around being a teacher, and a vet, and a figure skater, and an opera singer, in no particular order, but that was the event that changed my mind for good…at least through my junior year of college when it shifted slightly (and it might shift back, you never know).

If you don’t know, let me fill you in on the details (if you were K, I might try “deets”, instead of details)…I had an early morning solo time in 7th grade and was determined to get the best of center award. It was practically meant to be. I had practiced my solo a lot, was getting some musicality out of it (I came to find out later that it was not a solo normally assigned, but a gal in my lesson asked to play it because her mom had way back when)…anyway, that award was going to be mine because those folks got to play at the concert in the spring. I was probably cutely nervous (not adorable…just the kind of nervousness that as an adult I can say “you’re cute” because so many unfounded “what ifs” come up in the moments preceding the performance) and went in to my center to play for my parents and undoubtedly some center-squatters who were waiting for their kid to perform soon.

Everything was going fine until somewhere about halfway through the second page when my eyes skipped their line and I freaked. I could not get back in, I lost my spot and my composure: I cried. My gracious pianist (and dear friend and band director) and the judge encouraged me to pick up from where I’d left off, and though I left defeated, I did finish the piece without any more memorable botches.

Fully expecting to get a dreaded II rating (at which point my thoughts turned to ending my musical career for a while), I noticed on the ratings sheet that I had received the I+ rating instead. I was elated, but confused and expecting the disappointing blow of an error to be proven by the ballot. The following Monday when reading the ballot, the words at the bottom in the comments section were the golden, life-changing words that melted my heart and defined my purpose:

Humans make mistakes, but the recovery is the most important part, and you recovered well!

The life and encouragement that filled me with these words is hands-down what turned me to teaching music. I decided from that moment on to be that voice of encouragement and life for someone else down the road. My diversion now may be only temporarily (I miss band enough, to be sure, to want to go for it eventually), but I still have the joy of teaching music and its life applications daily.

the logo for music in our schools month (march)

On another note, I painted a banner based on this logo freehand for my

program THIS coming Tuesday. I did it on green paper with white tempera paint (had no idea the second “e” was in that word until I read the bottle’s label), to look like a chalkboard.

There is no such thing…

You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Perhaps that is so (and I can agree that most of my “free” lunches actually cost…maybe not my wallet, but somebody’s money and usually my time or something). But free dinner is another matter. My roommate snagged an extra plate from the FFA banquet she hosted that was AWESOME. Steak. Mashed Potatoes infused with something I can’t describe. A dinner roll, corn, green beans, salad (which got a little soggy overnight, so I picked around it…oops). Yes, I ate free steak tonight. Surprisingly for a meal prepared for ~200 people, the meat wasn’t overcooked…though microwaving it reduced the medium quality of the rareness to almost done, it was still a little pink and had juice.

Maybe I was a little iron deficient…I don’t eat a lot of meat (not avoiding it, just requires planning ahead enough to defrost it), so this exclamation of delight is probably a result of the amendment of that condition… :).

My friends, I am happy to announce my jumping back on the Couch to 5K train. I’m on week 4 (didn’t want to get ahead of myself when I started because I was afraid the weather would sour…it did, so it was a wise move), and though it’s a little too cold to call it most enjoyable, it’s a good feeling to be active again and the lessons learned about pushing past boundaries in my head are coming back to the front of my mind. The most interesting thought-trains come up while I am running along to the cheesy music (sorry Robert from Southern California, your mixes are only inspirational because of your voiceovers…the music is cheesy!). The other day I was reflecting on my detachment to this community while running past a shop I suspect to be a charitable secondhand store and realized that my discontent with lack of community and connection is not out of reach for correcting. I am not giving myself to much outside of my work and my leisure and the occasional school music event. I visited Valley Church the next day, and though I’m not sold on the church (hard to know after 1 service), a similar point was made from a Biblical perspective…and it was the first point. It’s time to do some investigation.

I’m finding some encouragement in living here, too. God has provided a roommate for this summer; this is a big, big, biggie. My current roommate is great, but as she has a home in Ames, she’s only here part-time. I happen to enjoy the prospective roommate as a friend, so that’s exciting. I’m being moved to find contentment in small group (1-on-1 settings, or 2-3 peeps) interactions where large group things are nil. That’s been a gift. The other part of the message (point 2) at Valley involved Jeremiah 29:7…

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
(Jeremiah 29:7 ESV)

Granted, I’m not in exile officially, but I’ve definitely acted like it…and I haven’t taken this wisdom to heart in my time here. I’m going there now, anxious to see what He does.

My kitchen table looks like last week’s tornado hit it (we had some warnings…), so it’s probably time to sort through the work rubble and the bills rubble…but I hope that your Monday evening is wholly blessed!


I had just wiped up the puddle that forms when I pour a cup of coffee (this is a new development…it never used to do that) and was arranging the knitted dishcloth when I noticed there’s a hole in it (totally just typed whole…where is my spelling brain these days?).

Accolades will be accepted: I have worn out one of my hand knits. This is a most wonderful feeling. I knitted it for my sophomore year of college dorm room (a lime green one), which means about4.5 years of intermittent use. Probably not as long as a bought, woven dishcloth, but so much more enjoyable.

Busted. Not sure if this was because of a snag in the washing process or the result of being washed, but it's a feat.

Please don’t mind the off-colored picture. Fluorescent lighting didn’t help, and it’s faded. Not to mention, I have used it since yesterday…


Have a great Sunday!

tea, pizza, and chance run-ins matches my mugs.

I decided to make the rounds today…big rounds. Goodwill, the Library, the Flea Market (well, it’s a junk and antique store here), Fareway, and WalMart. I didn’t intend to go crazy and buy stuff but I managed to pick up replacement cling wrap (still puzzled as to where the other stuff went), some entertainment for the evening (movies and books), and this beauty of a teapot. I saw it in December and picked it up but decided not to buy it (though brand new) because it’s a frivolous thing to have a red teapot when you have a perfectly functional modern one made of bone china from your cooperating teachers in England. Except this one is so cute. So today, on discovering it was still there and about half the cost of a similar pot at Cook’s Emporium, I took a chance on it.

check out the mugs that match!

It turns out it was a good chance, and the red is suited to the mugs I got from Karen. Now I’ve got a lot of different themes of decorating going (this is a terrible time of figuring out how I want to decorate and finding what I have to be more practical than replacing everything, and yet trying to find new ways to make what I have work).

While I was on my errands, I ran into Angie, a gal I had talked to at camp this summer, one day after being hired here. It was THE coolest thing ever…she’d given me her number way back when, but I lost it in the move and had forgotten her name. She kind of chased me out of the store and was like: Patty? It turns out her daughter had spotted me in the store about a month ago and I didn’t notice. No worries, but it was SO good to catch up with her, as she and her family are relatively new to the area and she understood some of the struggles of moving to this particular, close-knit and life-long-resident community. I think we might get together soon.

In WalMart I ran into two girls I had at All State Music Camp who went on to major in saxophone at UI. They’re in town for NASA (not the space NASA, but the North American Saxophone Association) at Simpson…it’s a pretty big deal and explains the crazy traffic at Simpson today and the high school tonight. I’m not sure if they were as glad to see them as I was, but it was neat nonetheless.

I got to share the wonderful news of Good Earth Tea with the teapot saleslady. She filled the scoop on fermented foods…I was a little perplexed by the words she was using (something that sounded like Hibachi, but pretty sure she wasn’t talking about a grill)…but she was nice and eager to drink tea instead of coffee (why? her creamer calories were rather inflated…which is why I’m glad for the 10 calorie powdered stuff).

Once at home, I made a homemade pizza using a focaccia bread recipe from All Recipes (and camp!), a can of petite diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil in it, old (and possibly spoiled) mozzarella from the depths of my fridge, and spices. It turned out pretty good :). I enjoyed it with a Smithwick’s and Precious which was pretty tough to watch. I am glad for the perspective it offered. I take a lot of things for granted. A lot.


I’ve been knitting with some of my cotton and am about to try some tea from that pot…it’s probably oversteeped by now. Oh well!

Tomorrow: Valley Church in West Des Moines. I hear good things, and am thinking it might be time to try the drive. At least their young adult activities happen on Sunday after church (this means fewer trips, right?). We’ll see how it goes. I’ll try to update.

temper trap

This group was recently on a post and my sister was smart enough to watch the video and buy the album as well as recommend them to me (somehow her opinion is more moving than a blogger, even as much as his posts are usually pretty interesting and right on). I love the drums in most of the songs. They use a lot of toms, which adds a lot to the bass-driven melodies. And they’re catchy.

I’m enjoying great coffee this morning.  Like I do most mornings. No big surprise, and yet still worth mentioning.

Last night I was asked if I could do it over again (life decisions?), how would I do it? I couldn’t come up with much, as I think I’m kind of living my dream. That’s not too bad, right? I contributed learning a language besides English (perhaps actually attaining fluency in Spanish) and doing something more with knitting. Which is a bit lame…I can do stuff with knitting now and I have no shred of desire to own my own knitting store, so it’s pretty accessible. I suppose I could yearn for an earlier submission to Christ, but in doing so I wouldn’t be acknowledging the perfection of his plan for me coming to know him (and I still am)…so that’s not really a good one.

How can Saturday be half over already? Ha…I have so much to do this weekend…and I don’t want to do any of it. I just want to do fun things with fun people. Hmm. And embroider something for my wall. To that…


I sought shelter tonight…we had tornado warnings and sirens. That’s crazy. Crazier, only one neighbor from the third floor came down to the second floor…we hadn’t ever talked, so that was cool…but seriously peeps. It’s not like this apartment has a basement, but ground floor is better than third floor (and second).

We’re expecting snow this week, too. Snow is annoying (the cold is annoying), but it’s preferable to severe storms in my eyes.

For as filling and revitalizing as the last week was, this week is full of work. I am feeling behind…and anxious to make it past a couple calendar landmarks (namely April 6)…I mean, I don’t want those days to come any sooner with all I have left to do, but I’m looking to April 7th with anticipation. I tried to get more work done tonight at home, but the weather and a headache zapped me. I was listening to a podcast, or I wouldn’t be on the computer at all.

I ordered 2 free copies of Desiring God today; a really cool thing that their ministry is doing to celebrate the 25th anniversary (and re-release) of the book. I’m a few chapters in a borrowed copy, but think that I’ll try to “read along with John Piper” and follow the weekly videos starting next week. This might be a future Bible Study resource…whether one on one or in a group is yet to be determined.

I’ve heard from several different people that I’m being hard on myself in a couple different areas. I am wrestling with the balance of pursuing greatness (at work, in community, in relationship…especially with God) and the frustration of learning the ropes. Perhaps experience won’t ease the frustration, but it will season me with more wisdom gleaned from friends (and even strangers to some extent) and loved ones who invest in me.

The coffee pudding turned out great. Use half and half. K said hers (with milk) was maybe not so good. The caffeine definitely remained…

Stay cool, or warm or something. Or stay out of Iowa altogether and avoid the confusion of temperature/weather fluctuation.

the cling wrap caper, coffee pudding, strategic groceries

This week and the next two are going to be tough. I am keeping stress at bay as much as possible, but there is a ton of work to be done at home and at school. My break was fantastic, so I don’t regret a minute of it, but it’s go-time.

It’s funny, but my subject line is out of order. I’ll start with grocery shopping’s strategy. When I go to the store right after work, I am alongside many other people with the same idea. It slows down my shopping and is most noticeable at the checkout line (if you are ever curious who in a store is going to write a check, rest assured that I will find that line and wait in it…without fail). So today I decided, though needing some milk and produce, to go straight home and take a run. When I got back I decided to do some work on my computer with the help of a handy new IKEA egg timer to tell me to go at 6:00 to the grocery store. I did, and it was significantly less busy. I think I have found a new grocery shopping habit, though I need to wait for perspectives to be over to make Monday nights work (guilty of skipping out for the sake of getting grades done).

I took care of dinner (eggs…because I had 28 in my position…now 26) and made the executive decision to use some expiring half and half for a coffee pudding recipe that is AMAZING…at least by its warm, not set remnants in the pan. I made some espresso, boiled the half and half, added a mixture of cornstarch, brown sugar, and salt, and boiled gently for a wee bit. I poured the hot stuff into mugs (cute) and am hoping to push the 3 hour minimum by eating some of it at 10 instead of 11. Hoping also that the caffeine cooked out…not sure that works.

I was supposed to put cling wrap on top of the pudding so that the skim wouldn’t form, but when I opened the drawer yesterday discovered it’s gone. I have no idea where I put it. A bigger search today yielded nothing. It was green, leftover from an oikos reach-out my junior (?) year of college when we baked wretched sugar cookies and made little Philippians 4:6-7 cards for each room on my dorm floor.

Here’s to efficient time management; knitting, school work, house work, correspondence (K, I haven’t forgotten the CD yet!), summer planning (and summer work prep), life decisions.

I hope your first full day of spring was warm and mild like ours!

Thicker, too good to be true, and productivity

I just put a pan of brownies in the oven which took approximately 1 minute to prepare. Are you kidding me? As I was checking the bake time and temp I noticed that I could choose between “thick”, “thicker”, and “thickest” brownie depth. Evidently the family size box of brownie mix can fit into a 9×9 pan to make a “thicker” brownie. I went for it, hoping to maximize the chewiness. Tragically I realize now that while the favored edge pieces will be thicker, there won’t be as much edge.

I am timing that pan of brownies with my oven timer, but because I am centered in another room (my room), I decided to put my IKEA wind-up timer to the test. I am afraid it’s not going to be a great one…the ring is faint and I’m pretty sure during the test round it continued to tick tick tick past the ringing bell. Now I’m wondering if it’s ticking too fast. Because they were both set for 30 minutes, I am hoping to test the accuracy of the timer…even if it’s close, that’ll be fine.

My evening back at home has been productive. It reminds me of the weekend I moved in here and had everything put away within a  couple days…except this time it was just everything that I used over break (mostly traveling) and it’s put away. That’s a pretty good feeling and will allow me to focus more on school than on housework tomorrow morning as I am getting ready to start the fourth quarter.

I was really blessed to spend time in IC and MPLS this week…fantastic people in both regions, to be sure, and such encouragement for me. I finished up an afghan and was able to give it to its long-intended recipient as well as pick up a few new project ideas for the future…so though I didn’t knit a project a day, it’s been a good knitting break. I also got to experiment with the Broken Rib stitch pattern, with compliments to my friend A–love the fabric very much. Except it resembles Half Double Crochet…so I’m hopeful that any of its recipients will know of my time investment and favor of knitting to crocheting :).

Can I just say that it’s a really good thing that IKEA is as far away as Minneapolis? I know that a lot of the stuff in there is cheap and that it might not last, but wow. Such inspiration, such temptation :). I like to think that I’m picking up some style and taste in decorating with the help of home magazines and catalogs and walking through places like IKEA (without buying everything…just a couple things that will hopefully make my kitchen function even better).

So glad for spring break and excited for the summer around the corner. God is shaping it up to be an exciting one! Have a great week 🙂


We have a family joke in which on a car trip someone exclaims, especially when close to the final destination, that they’ve forgotten their toothbrush and we better turn around and get it.

It was my reality yesterday, except that I got no further than 5 blocks from my apartment before I figured it out. I turned back and got it…and packed a lunch. Peanut butter and bacon sandwiches no longer remain a curiosity. I had them. They were okay. The bacon was cold, so I’m not sure if that made a difference.

Besides that I made it all the way up north without any glitches in directions (score!) and found my way to a Starbucks where I had a delicious cup of Tribute blend. I’ve begun to drink coffeehouse coffee without half and half (I am a creamer-in-my-coffee fan, but the half and half isn’t cutting it). What made it EVEN better than being just another cuppa during this self-proclaimed coffee week was sharing it with my seester. She’s rad.

Not much else to report at this time…but lots planned. So glad for the extra time I had to get here and spend here because of break. I might need another break to rest up before the LAST quarter starts ;), but I’m optimistic. Let’s do it!

I hope your St. Patty’s day was fantastic; I used to get pretty into it because of my name. It’s not every name that gets its own day (and the prefix of Saint)…so I pretty much have to celebrate it.

Contemplating a very big Creator who loves intimately today…Peace!