Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Homemade natural cleaner

I'm blogging because I don't want to clean the bathrooms.

That is my least favorite thing to clean, by far. Not necessarily the toilets, although it's not that fun, but the counters & the tub... blah! The tubs mainly because I can't get down on my knees for very long so I usually can't get a good scrubbing in. But, it's next on the list - so far I have cleaned the guest bedrooms & the living room.

You know what's a great all-purpose cleaner? Equal parts water & vinegar. I have a squirt bottle with the mixture that I use in the kitchen, tile floor, window sills, etc. It's cheap, & has no chemicals. Yes it stinks a bit, but not for long. I love it (as much as you can love a cleaning product).

All right, back to cleaning....

Monday, January 25, 2010

January cleaning

Somehow I decided this week I would clean the whole house. As in, even the things I don't clean on a normal basis - the top of the fans, the baseboards, etc. I really don't enjoy cleaning so I'm not quite sure how I decided this was a good idea. (I am great at tidying up - I so much prefer being neat & tidy to being meticulously clean!) It needs to be done, I suppose. Instead of breaking things into tasks, like spending one day just cleaning all of the windows & another day scrubbing all the cabinet fronts, I'm breaking it into rooms - bedrooms one day (since two of them are pretty easy), study another day, etc. I'm already behind... today I was supposed to clean the living room but had less time than anticipated. I guess since I created this crazy schedule, I could allow myself to stretch it into next week. I mean, who spends their BIRTHDAY week cleaning the house, right?!

The sinus infection still lingers in the form of a croaky voice & cough. I'm hoping in a couple days I'll be back to normal. I decided the worst part of not being able to talk (much) is not being able to sing - I sing all the time, & it's quite the bummer to not be able to.

I'm excited - Friday Josh is taking me to Austin to hang out for a couple days for my birthday! He's taking Friday off so we can have fun. I'll have to make a list of things I want to do. :-)

Have a great week!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Review: Safely Home by Randy Alcorn

The plot: A Chinese man comes to the US for college & several years later, he & his American roommate end up spending time together in China. Basically, the American has his perception of China, then as he spends time there with his roommate, he sees the real China behind the facade - the politics, the censorship, the persecution of Christians. (This book is fiction, based on real situations & information.)

What we talked about in book club: I hadn't read it yet by the time we met for book club because our library didn't have it, so I read it after we met. That being said, I wasn't very involved in the conversation & don't remember tons of it. I do remember everyone talking about one part of the book where the Chinese man's wife had saved the box that their Bible came in, simply because it carried the book that was so holy & precious to them (since unregistered Bibles are not allowed in China).

Recommendation: Read it, read it, read it. Period. Not only is the story a page-turner, it is SO eye-opening to the conditions in China, particularly for believers. We can be so unaware of what is going on in the world, & we need to be praying for our family there. God used this book to do a lot in my heart (you can read more about that in this post) so it was life-changing for me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Check out this color!

This tree in our backyard is a gorgeous red! The leaves have just started falling (apparently this particular tree didn't get the memo that it is supposed to shed in the fall)... & it's a big tree... lots of raking, here we come! In the meantime, I am enjoying the beautiful color!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

not breathing, food, laughs...

I'm sick. :-(

Josh was sick last week & we're pretty sure it was a sinus infection, & pretty sure that's what I have too. The weather has been making my allergies act up, & now my sinuses are pinched shut, my head is throbbing, & it hurts to swallow (which in turn makes my head hurt worse... fun). Even my scalp hurts.

I decided the worst part about having a sinus infection is the fact that it makes sleep miserable. When you're sick, sleep is great; you have an excuse to sleep in, take naps, & rest helps you feel better. When your head feels like it's going to explode every time you lay down, it makes sleep not all that fun. Poo. I wish I could at least enjoy the fact that I can't work out by sleeping in, but no such luck.

Done hearing me whine? Me too.

If you would like some new recipes to try out, go to our recipe blog; there have been several new recipes posted in the past couple of weeks, including the recipe for beef rice curry I made last night.

Dennis Quaid was on Ellen again today... I love that show. If you want a good laugh, see the last time he was on there... it's hilarious.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A random update for you

I just got in my Gevalia coffee... yumm. Isn't it fun to get packages, too?

I also have become quite the tea drinker. A year ago I didn't drink any tea - not iced, not hot, nothin. Then Josh & I discovered Teavana last summer, which pulled me in to the hot tea world. Now I drink two or three cups of hot tea a day! Always peppermint at night, then I have currently in my pantry, green tea (which I will probably always keep on hand), rooibos, & chamomile with honey & vanilla. I love that I like a drink that is actually good for you (opposed to diet drinks), plus it helps with that whole 8 glasses of water a day thing.

January is a great month. Partly because it's a new year, looking forward to what the Lord will do. But mainly because it's my birthday month. :-) I love birthdays! I kind of make a big deal out of them... which can be bad when no one realizes my ridiculously high expectations (it's interesting that I even have high expectations regarding my birthday, because I tend to live life with a "let's not get too excited so I don't get let down" kind of way... but that's another quirk for another day). But thanks to Josh & my parents & Haley, I have people who make it a very fun time. So, yay for January!

& yay for this week! Tonight Josh & I are going out to dinner... this is a rare occurance but much needed, as he has been working hard on a project he finishes today & we need to get out of the house & just have fun & good conversation. Yay for tomorrow, because with it comes the return of AMERICAL IDOL! Oh yes. We love this show. I think it's the only show year-round that we actually attempt to watch every episode of. (I know that was really bad grammar, ending a sentence with the word "of." Ah, did it again.) & yay for this weekend, because one of our good friends from high school is coming to visit us, Mr. Aaron Schrank himself. It should be good times... except for the obligatory game of Settlers of Catan that I agreed to (what was I thinking???).

I just remembered, I have a couple of book reviews to write up... hopefully coming soon!!

Here's to January!! :-)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The purpose of your life

Today's devo... good stuff!!

"You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something" (Psalm 139: 15). (Msg)

If you are going to discover how God wants to use your life and work, you must know why you were created. If you start trying to determine your purpose in life before understanding why you were created, you will inevitably get hung up on the things you do as the basis for fulfillment in your life, which will only lead to frustration and disappointment.

First and foremost, God created you to know Him and to have an intimate relationship with Him. In fact, God says that if a man is going to boast about anything in life, "boast about this: that he understands and knows me" (Jer. 9:24). Mankind's relationship with God was lost in the Garden when Adam and Eve sinned. Jesus' death on the cross, however, allows us to restore this relationship with God and to have an intimate fellowship with Him. The apostle Paul came to understand this when he said, "I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself" (Phil. 3:10, THE MESSAGE).

Establishing this relationship with God is vital to understanding your purpose. If you don't have this relationship with God, you will seek to fulfill your purpose out of wrong motives; such as fear, insecurity, pride, money, relationships, guilt, or unresolved anger. God's desire is for you to be motivated out of love for Him and to desire to worship Him in all that you do. As you develop your relationship with God, He will begin to reveal His purpose for your life. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord" (Jer. 29:11).

Today, ask God to help you discover your unique purpose.

-Os Hillman

Friday, January 1, 2010


Happy New Year! We had a great night last night with two couples that are great friends to us, the Smiths & the Sandlins. We chatted & played a (very long!) game of Cranium - it kept us there until past 1:30 in the morning! I may not have been my most pleasant self, but hey, I made it, right? The Smiths are moving soon, which is terribly sad because we treasure their friendship, so we are enjoying every bit of time we get to spend with them.

So we have slept in, had coffee & breakfast, & Josh took down our Christmas lights & is now watching a bowl game. We spent some time in the Word as we had our coffee, & I don't know about you, but every time the old year passes & a new one comes, I consider the past & wonder about the future. God often teaches me things in seasons, & I have seen this in every year we've been married - May 2007-Dec 2007 was a period of starting our new life here, making friends, & learning how God desired us to serve Him as a married couple in the "real world." 2008 was a year of learning how to be married - communication, dealing with conflict, & specifically for us, helping each other out of grumpy moods instead of both ending up grumpy & having dumb arguments. 2009 was a year of enjoyment, really - we had three great vacations & continued to learn how to walk through life together, pursuing the Lord in the things He has given us to do in our daily lives. & within those past 2 1/2 yrs, the Lord has used this time to teach me & grow me immensely, with lots of lessons & lots of time in His Word, & I'm so thankful for this season.

So I ponder 2010 - what will it look like? What will the Lord teach us? How will we grow individually as well as a couple? What fun things will we do, & what trials will we encounter? What new ways will the Lord reveal Himself to me? Where will my faith grow, & what new truths will I really grasp? I have no idea. So I have been praying that the Lord would prepare us for the things that will come our way, that He will continue to transform us into people that truly please Him, that we will rejoice in every situation & keep our hearts solely on Him.

This morning I was led to dedicate this year to the Lord - it is His year to do with it what He will. We will go where He leads, & in every circumstance I will choose to say, it is well with my soul!