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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hey guys! I won't be

Hey guys! I won't be blogging much this week- Bryan's grandma passed away last night so we will be in Idaho for a while

Friday, February 18, 2011

ok this is a terrible cell phone pic of a computer screen... But I sort of want this awesome and trippy light to act as the new headboard in our bedroom...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Value of Doubting

So I'm really frustrated about my LACK of community and church.

The thing that is hardest for me is that I really do love God, and I really do love His church.  I just don’t like most local churches.  Or fundamentalists.  And I know that sounds terrible, honestly, it sounds hypocritical and awful even to my ears.  It makes me sound like one of those hipster Christians who just ‘hates the church’ because they’ve been so ‘you know, like, burned.’  And I don’t want to be a hipster Christian, but I find myself falling into it so easily. 
 
What I really want, I cannot seem to find.  And I’m not sure what that means.  I want a church that has doubts.  I think doubts can be a really powerful, good thing.  Often, when I go to a new church, I am much more concerned by their absolute certainty about one thing or another than I am concerned about their doubts.  Here’s the thing:  one church is certain that God is this way, another church is certain that God is that way.  And they’re both Christian churches that read the same Bible and profess the same creeds. 
 
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
 
I know this church in our area that is really into Creationism.  Like, really, really, really into it.  I have a lot of family members that believe in a literal 6 day Creation; I don’t subscribe to the same belief, but I understand it.  This church, however, is very involved in organizations whose chief goal is to ‘disprove’ evolution.  Now, it seems to me that it’s hard to disprove anything that has a large amount of scientific backing, especially using Faith, which cannot be proven itself.  But, this church is really, really into it.  I’ve talked to the pastor’s wife several times and she has brought up this organization, as well as other Young Earth theories every time I’ve talked to her.  She’s SURE that this is a young Earth and that the accounts of creation in Genesis are literal, day-by-day guidelines for how God created.  As I come from a different school of thought, it’s hard for me to want to even visit a church that puts such a strong emphasis on something that is “known” to them, when it’s really a belief.
 
This is true of many churches.  I would have a hard time with a church that preached evolution, over and over again, from the pulpit.  It’s not a soapbox.  And Creation/Evolution has very little to do with how we live our lives today, in the here-and-now.
 
When I have asked some local pastors about women in leadership in some churches, I have been told, point-blank, that God does not permit that.  This is not the church’s ‘stand’ or ‘belief,’ it is what is, and I should know that.
 
I have not found a church so far that has been open about doubts or uncertainty.  I haven’t been able to find a church where the pastor says something along the lines of “here are two schools of thought, both have merit, both have Biblical basis, it’s up to you to discern which you think is right.”  Instead, I have found a LOT of certainty.  It seems as though the congregation should just accept everything the pastor says as canon.  And if there is one thing my parents raised me to do… it’s not that.
 
So here I am, full of doubts about all sorts of things, and I cannot seem to find a local body of Christ that is willing to talk these things through with me.  And it’s really frustrating and disheartening.
 
There is a part of me that thinks, “Maybe I need to do something about that.”  But I am not a theologian.  I do, however, miss the body of Christ.  Yesterday I told Bryan I had found several theology books that I wanted to download to my Kindle; I also told him that I thought I was being very lax about my beliefs, “almost to the point of not believing.”  He seemed concerned, like I was about to say that I am now agnostic.  That isn’t so.  What I meant, I explained, is that if you stop playing guitar for years (like I have) then, to a large extent, you are no longer a guitarist.  And if you have stopped putting time and effort and thought and heart into your spiritual beliefs, I’m not sure that you are a “believer” in the truly active sense; you’re certainly not practicing it a whole lot. 
 
And this is upsetting to me, because I certainly do not want to be that way.  I do have many, many doubts and uncertainties about many things.  I find myself at local churches disagreeing more than I agree.  I find myself laughing at the emotional chess that I feel some pastors like to play.  I find myself getting colder and more hostile to those around me, who appear to be just listening and not actively engaging with the message.  And this makes me less and less interested in being a part of the body.  And I don’t think that’s right.
 
So what is the next step?  Bryan and I have talked about the possibility of doing some sort of small-group book study in the community, opening it up and getting all ecumenical like.  Neither of the non-denominational churches in the area are our cup of tea, unfortunately.  We still need to visit the Presbyterian church again, give it another go.  But I want people who are willing to step out of their denomination, who are willing to think outside of their comfort zone.  Pastors are helpful, yes, but not if they are not pushing you to find Truth; it seems like so many pastors that I have seen do not WANT you to doubt.  Doubt is not the enemy.  If anything, I think it can be extremely useful because that means that you need to sort it out and figure out what exactly it is that you believe.  Some people may go through a period of doubt and come out on the other side not sure of what they believe, or if they believe in any sort of Theism at all.  That’s a definite possibility.  I know, in the past, that when I doubted things and took the time to really read about it, sometimes it led to MORE doubts, but it also made me realize “wow, this is important enough to care about, important enough to ask questions about.”  And I have found that my beliefs have been strengthened as a result.
 
So I’m not sure what to do; I’d really like direction.  If we are really supposed to start some sort of small group book discussion, I know that it will be me taking the lead, as Bryan isn’t as comfortable in that role.  That scares me a bit; I hate arguing with people who are “sure” about everything and unwilling to talk it out, so I'd hopefully have a group of people are open to discussion.  But at the same time, Bryan and I cannot be the only ones in this community who want more, who want to be part of a group that not only cares about Truth but authenticity and transparency.  And cookies. 
 
So I’m not quite sure.  I do know that reading bits and pieces of Rachel Held Evan’s blog reminds me of where I really should be; I’m hoping to download and read her book “Evolving in Monkey Town ” sometime soon.  Because I really, really do care.  And I don’t want to be stagnant and despondent and apathetic.  I want to ask hard questions and maybe not find any answers, but learn a lot on the way.  And I want to ask these questions and search for answers with people who want the same sorts of things that I do. 
 
So that’s where I am right now.  Unsure and confused and a bit anxious about the whole thing.  But we’ve almost been here a year and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for, and that’s getting old.
 
Does anyone have any suggestions?  Encouragement?  I’d love both.
 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Let's Talk About Sex...

I heard about this book called "Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage" a while ago and heard it was really awesome.  It's all about how God wants your marriage to be spiritual AND spicy.  A good sex life is SO important in a marriage.  I've talked to a lot of women in different churches who just don't feel like their sex life is important or fulfilling, and I have seen how harmful that can be to a marriage.  It's not supposed to be that way!!  I strongly believe God wants the marriage bed to be rockin'.



Right now "Sheet Music" is a FREE Kindle download.  I have just started reading it, so I can't say I agree with all of it, but what I've read so far, I love.  I think the church has come very far since the days that "sex" was a dirty word, but it's still a bit taboo, which is sad.  So far this book is pretty straightforward; the author mentions some people may be taken aback by some of the things covered, others may think he hasn't gone far enough.  It's not a how-to position book, it's about creating intimacy and fun in your marriage.  It's about having an awesome sex life THROUGHOUT your life.  Already he has touched on how a good sex life affects other aspects of your life.  A husband or wife that feels satisfied and safe and content in their marriage is more likely to feel happy in other areas of their life. 

If you don't have a Kindle, you can get free apps to either download this to your PC, your iPad, iPod, Android or Blackberry.  Like I said, I haven't read all of it yet, but check out the reviews on Amazon and see what you think.  FREE is a pretty darn good price.

This book is definitely written by a Christian, so if you are offended by that or that just doesn't interest you, I wouldn't recommend this book.  If religion/spirituality doesn't bother you, I think you will like this book.  Even if you don't, I think it will make you think and you may learn a bit about how men and women relate, and how they are similar and different. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Secret Frosting "Recipe"

The frosting I use on my cupcakes has been complimented many a time, I must say.  You can see it in my previous post.  It looks pretty freaking awesome, if I do say so myself.

Wanna know my awesome, super secret secret??!

Take canned frosting (not the whipped kind, the regular or super rich kind) and take it out of the can (or package or whatever you would call that) and put it in a mixing bowl.  Then add 1 tablespoon of water.  Using a hand mixer, mix for about 2 minutes straight on high.  The frosting will change in color and texture, going from dark and sort of oily-waxy looking to a light colored, soft, fluffy texture.  And it will look awesome and delicious and homemade.

I recommend putting the frosting in a Ziplock bag and then cutting a corner of the bag to use it as a pastry bag.  Swirl it on the cupcake and you're done!  I like to add a little Sugar in the Raw on top, makes it look pretty.

For my chocolate cupcakes, I like to do the above with chocolate frosting, but THEN I add two tablespoons (sometimes more...) of peanut butter and mix the heck out of it.  AWESOME.

Tada!  You know my secrets.  :-)


Cupcakes are a wonderful part of your complete breakfast on Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lack of Tax Smacks of Crap. Yeah. Tax refund. That almost rhymed.

Ish.

So I was WAY excited to do our taxes this year, thinking we'd get a whole lot back.  Last year we got about 2 of my California-doctor's-office paychecks back.  It was super rad.  Since we made about 80% more cash this year than last (since Bryan is no longer a student and can work full time) I was thinking, wooohoo, we'll probably get TWICE as much as we did last year!!!

Not only that, but since he was paying interest on student loans, we got to deduct all of that as well.  That HAS to count for something, right???


WRONG.  Apparently we made TOO MUCH money and we're in a different tax bracket, or something.  Or maybe our summer jobs just didn't take out a ton of tax???  Either way, Turbo Tax had our refund in the 4 digits, which is awesome, and then I put in our summer job W-2's.... and the fabulous fancy number that tells you how much cash you're going to get??  It PLUMMETED.  Not only was it out of the 4 digits, it was BARELY in the 3 digits.  Yeah.  SUCK.

So there goes my plan of doing our taxes super awesomely and getting a lot back and being able to pay off half our cruise.  In fact, in my mind, we'd be able to pay off half of our cruise AND it would have covered the tv we bought last month.  It was going to be GLORIOUS.

Except now it's CRAP.  Yeah, I said it.  Also, we somehow owe California $34????  What the crap is that?!  We lived there for only 3 months.  Not sure what they are smoking.  Well, I know what they're smoking, especially in Humboldt, but that is NOT the point.  The point is I wanted more cashola back and I am not going to get it.

So I'm feeling a bit entitled, which is another part of being a good Californian (especially a Humboldt County Californian!).  And annoyed.  I want their MONEY.  That's what I WANT.  The government's money. 

So that's lameface.

BUT something that is NOT lameface:  Bryan's folks and his youngest sister Heidi are in town this weekend visiting us.  Tomorrow we are going on a sleigh ride at the Elk Refuge, and then maybe out to burgers or something?  Maybe??  It will be a super fun time.  And Heidi is really into the Cosby Show right now (which is streaming on Netflix!!!) which is SO much better than some of the other crap she watches (meaning, Nickelodeon and whatever).  I can definitely handle Cosby.  It's fantastic, in fact.

Anyone else disappointed in their tax return this year???

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Minute to Win It

Dude.  Apparently we have cable.  I didn't know, but we do.  We just had to hook up the cordy thingy, apparently?  Either way, DANGEROUS.  Right now we're watching "Minute to Win It" (which is on NBC, not cable) and it's pretty addictive.  These two 24 year old gals are on and they've won like $250,000 so far for doing random little games.  It helps that they're super duper cute and tiny with big boobs and are BFFs.  And one, with her hubby, raises money to fund orphanages in India.  And they're Christians which is pretty awesome.

Also, I'm about to start my period... and I've cried three times tonight.  One time JUST BECAUSE I SAW SOMEONE CRY.  Didn't even know WHAT she was crying about.

Yeah, it's like THAT.

One of these gals makes me want highlights.  Except that I have promised to never dye my hair again because I HATE upkeep.

Yeah.  This is a really boring update.

(You still read it, though... didn't you?)


You get this picture of an iguana that someone in my family my brother took for reading this much.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sick Day!

So I'm sick.  Yesterday was really worse than today.  Yesterday I had a fever and chills and body aches and my throat KILLED.  Today I just have body aches and feel sick-ish.  I think sleeping from 11pm last night until 2:30pm today helped.  A lot.

So it's 5pm now and I'm just 'starting my day.'  Although I'm planning on going to bed around 11 again so it was a SHORT day.  I'm filling it with blogs and lots of blankets and cookies and watching the first two episodes of this season's "Being Erica."

source

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"Being Erica" is a Canadian show about a gal named Erica who is in her 30's, can't seem to find luck in love OR work, and goes to "therapy."  Her therapist has an unconventional way of helping her, however: he sends her back to her past mistakes so she can either change them or learn from them.  You get to see Erica try out different scenarios, wear crazy clothes, sport some really unfortunate hairstyles... it's excellent.  For every time you thought "man, if I could have just done that differently!!" there's Erica!  It's definitely not your normal girly tv show, but I love it.  There's lots of 90's throw backs, lots of cute boys, and it's very Canadian and incredibly charming. And now Season 3 has come to Hulu!  I definitely recommend it, I think it's very cute.

So that's my sick day.  Sleep all day, then watch girly shows.  I think when I finish the first two episodes I'm going to watch some of my favorite episodes of "Friends" and take a bath.  Yep.  Being sick sucks, but when your fever breaks and you have very little responsibility... that is awesome.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

If we had kids, and we were rich....

I would SERIOUSLY want to get my kids this dollhouse:

Currently on sale on gilt.com for the low low price of $310!!!  Okay, I know, that's ridiculously expensive.  But compared to the regular price of $548..... not that bad.  Right?  RIGHT???

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Man I'm Good!!!

Tonight for dinner I made tilapia for the second time in two weeks.  It's just so good that I had to do it again!!  I made it with garlic powder on top both times and with fresh pico de gallo.  Tonight, however, I realized we were out of onions after I had already chopped up tomatoes and green onions and cilantro.  Soooo, I added what was left of the green onions I had, threw in some dehydrated onion flakes, hot sauce, salt, and then cucumber.  I've never made pico with cucumber before but it's very tasty!!  I always put a good amount of lime and cilantro in my pico de gallo, and that plus the cucumber equals a very tasty, fresh salsa.

To cook the tilapia, I just put tilapia fillets on a non-stick, pam-sprayed baking sheet, and then threw some Lawry's garlic with parsley powder on both sides.  I then chopped up the pico and threw it together, stirring it quite a bit and smashing it so that the flavors mingled.  I put the fish in for about 5 minutes at 350, then turned them over for another 5 minutes.  Then they were done!  I served the tilapia with the pico on top, and it was YUMMY.

Also:  I did my 20 minute C25K week 5 run yesterday!!  It was great, although sloooooow.  Also, I tried jump roping after it, which was dumb, because my shin was already hurting.  For some reason my right shin tends to feel like it's about to get nasty shin splints, so I sort of have to baby it.  Jumping rope after was DUMB.  It still hurts.  LAMEFACE.  Whatevs, I will just take it easy today and then maybe just jog a bit tomorrow.   We'll see.

But seriously, try this tilapia recipe, it's delish, and fairly cheap.