Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Frozen Lake Mac

It warmed up to 40*F here this weekend! I love it when it warms up like that mostly because it's fun to watch the native Michiganders run around in shorts and without coats. They're crazy! While you can get away with a lighter coat it's still pretty nippy! I tried to get out for a walk by the water but it was especially chilly there.

I love walking by the water during the warmer seasons but I can't decide how I feel about this view of the lake. It's pretty. But it's so harsh.

This could become a problem...

My sister gifted me a couple of really fun crafting magazines over Christmas and it's been lots of fun to look through them and get ideas for projects. I think I may be fighting off some seasonal affective disorder because I've been kinda bummed lately and feeling like I have cabin fever too so the other night I went to Barnes and Noble to look at books and more craft magazines. I seemingly needed some inspiration and a distraction from my moodiness. I found some really cool magazines that I thought I would document so I wouldn't forget them and also just in case one of my sisters reads this and needs a fun magazine suggestion to look through! Both my sisters are very artistic and I felt that these magazines might appeal to their creative aesthetics too!

Molly Makes is always fun to look through. I love that they frequently add little crafting packets to them magazines so you will have all the materials to complete at least one project right off the bat! I want to make a few skirts and this magazine really motivated me to get the ball rolling!

I've never seen this publication called Flow before, but it, too, was beautifully put together and was packed full of fun items like cards, papers, a gratitude notebook, and that sort of thing. I was surprised by how much they had managed to pack into that magazine just to give away.

The last one was not actually at B&N. It was an advertisement inside one of the other magazines that looked really fun! I looked it up online and it's a beautifully put together magazine that looks like a cross between a craft magazine and a life-style magazine. I would love to get my hands on one and look through it! You can buy digital versions it would seem.

Actually, while I love looking at magazines I rarely buy them. They can be pretty expensive ranging from $7.99 to over $20 per publication. I love going to the bookstores to look through them and occasionally splurge on one if I think it's a good investment of ideas and techniques, but I left Barnes and Noble empty handed this time. I've got lots of ideas though. :)

Coat shopping

After dealing with below freezing temperatures for a several day stretch I began to realize that my beloved coat from China had run its course and was too worn out to keep me warm. I keep trying to trick myself into believing that winter is almost over and I could tough it out, but in reality it's only January and we likely have another 2 months of this nonsense at least before it's warm enough to go back to the China coat. Desperate times call for a more heavy duty jacket so I went to Target to check out the post-Christmas sales.

Let's be honest that I'm definitely drawn to the girly, cinched-waist coats and ideally would have liked one that came down mid-thigh or even to my calves. But heavy-duty won out and I went with the one that is shown second. Maybe I'll keep an eye out online to see if any of those other ones will go on sale further...or keep an eye on the clearance racks to see if they will drop to 70% off. Wool, unfortunately, just isn't as warm as those quilted, puffy jackets! And on the bright side, we're 2/3rds of the way through January and February is a short month...which hopefully means spring is right around the corner (maybe not the best logic there, and definitely wishful thinking!)! Which means I won't have to put on tons of layers and carry heavy outerwear around with me. That will be so nice!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Frozen...the cold never bothered me anyway...and other lies.

Well, I left my house around 11:15 this morning after having a battle with my car. See, it's only 9 degrees farenheit here and my lock on my driver side door froze and wouldn't open. That's a first for me. Luckily my passenger side door unlocked and I just entered and exited from there. Yeah, it looked funny but I'm not too proud yet to just go with it and find the humor in it. After driving around for a bit the driver side lock warmed up and unlocked. I got home from work, ate leftover curry for dinner and hid away in my room with the laptop re-reading old blogs and watching Psych.

I promised myself that after I graduated I would homeschool myself in the classics. You know...read Dickens and Tolstoy and maybe even Victor Hugo. Maybe I would save up for Rosetta Stone and finish learning Mandarin. Well I lied to myself. I haven't done that, but I've watched a lot of Psych. Which is possibly the opposite of educating oneself.

I'm not a huge fan of this cold. I will admit to liking the song "Let it Go" from frozen, but I always feel a little cringe-y inside when she sings, "the cold never bothered me anyway!" Because it simply isn't true for me. Chilly weather...not such a bad thing. 9 degrees...eww. On the brighter side it has caused me to slow down and rest a lot more. I ran so hard from last spring up till Christmas break. I'm not kidding...there was not a lot of rest that happened this year. If it wasn't moving it was working extra, traveling to celebrate weddings (which was wonderful, but not at all restful) and general busyness. Being able to come home and spend an evening relaxing...it's not a bad thing at all really. It makes me grateful for this winter season. It's the only time that I find it more convenient to lie low for awhile.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

It's a Marshmallow World in the Winter

 It snowed this morning! It happened while I was at work. And I just happened to get out really early today and realized I had enough time to go for a walk before getting ready for church. So I stopped at the little park and took a little stroll in it. It wasn't windy so it didn't feel as cold as it has lately and the snow looked like someone had shaken it from a sugar shaker.

I still have no idea why I live in this little town. I have no idea if this is where God is putting me permanently or if it's just for a time, but I am so grateful to live in such a safe, clean, and beautiful place. There are so many spots nearby to go for a walk and to enjoy every season. It's not perfect and life isn't always easy no matter where you live, but this place is like a little haven. Of all the towns I've lived in this one is special and I'll always feel fondly for it.

PS: Dean Martin sings "It's a Marshmallow World In the Winter" so wonderfully. :)

Last visit to the lake

 I got reeaalllly sick over the holidays. It was all I could do to get through work so I could go home and sleep most of the day away. At a certain point I got tired of that. I wanted to be able to get up and go out and do things. And I found myself missing summer and it's warmth. I loved going to the lake during the summer to watch the sunset. That was what I really wanted to do. So I bundled up, went out for some tea and chased the sunset to the lake. It really was a race there in the end as I kind of made the decision to go see the sun set one last time in 2014 a little bit late in the day. But it was the last clear day forecasted for some time so I took advantage of it and I'm very grateful that I did. It's a different kind of place in the winter. The water was high and really choppy. In the summer it feels welcoming. In the winter it seemed kind of moody. But it was still very beautiful.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I'm becoming less convinced. Beauty is beauty and some people will appreciate it for the many forms it takes and others will just overlook it or decide they don't like regardless. Sometimes its form is inviting and gentle while other times it is harsh and dangerous. I think that while we tend to prefer that which is gentle and inviting I can't deny that the harsher wintry version of this place is pretty stunning.

Christmas thoughts

First post in 2015 is inspired by this picture!

When I was in school I saw a lot of religious art like this. And I wasn't crazy about it. Maybe because my professors always got the stories behind the art wrong (art scholars, not necessarily Bible scholars) which irritated me. But also because I think it's hard to depict a scene from the Bible in a way that is serious and Christ honoring.

However, something in this picture really struck me. It's not that I think it's the most excellent piece of artwork, rather that this one did explain something. See, this past year I learned a lot about The Curse and especially how it pertains to women.* It hits us in our relationships with spouse and children and just in the family unit. But it also serves to point us back to Christ. It makes us realize that something is wrong and that we need someone else to fix it and that someone is Jesus. I can't imagine the pain and sorrow experienced by Adam and Eve. We are used to a broken world; it's all we know. They knew perfection! And they are the only humans who experienced a perfect and broken world. They also bore the shame of bringing all their children (us included) down with them. No parent wants to give their children that kind of future or leave that kind of legacy.

While learning more about The Curse I also realized that right away God set his plan for salvation into motion! The gospel is first clearly given while God is cursing the man, woman, and serpent! It's right there in it! Only our God would give a curse that is designed to turn men and women to redemption. He's amazing that way!

So this picture for me meant something because it showed how since the beginning of our history we have needed a Savior and that Savior came as a baby to live with us and die for us and rise again to save us all. All the pain and sadness that we as humanity live with every day can be changed into something beautiful because we have a gracious and loving God. I see a lot of comfort, compassion, and hope in this scene. It shows how though God cursed women, in the curse he said he would bring redemption through childbirth and years and years and years later he gave woman the blessing and privilege of bearing the Redeemer. This is not meant to sound feminist at all...nor is it meant to exalt and honor Mary more than she should be...but this picture to me shows that God loves women. Woman helped bring sin into the world and God allowed woman the privilege of playing a part in the remedy.

This year more than any other Christmas that I can remember I've been really thinking about some of the lyrics in the Christmas carols. Hark the Herald has these beautiful lyrics:

"Mild He laid his glory by
born that man no more may die
born to raise the sons of earth
 born to give them second birth" 
"Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus our Emanuel!"

 And Joy to the World: 

"He's come to make his blessings known far as the curse is found..." 

It's not just celebrating the birthday of Jesus...it's celebrating His love and perfection and power. This was the moment in history where started the physical fulfillment of his promise to redeem us. This was his entrance to earth where he would one day die for us. It's quite serious and very beautiful. 

This year I feel that Christmas is just the beginning of a season of celebrating. I feel like it starts with Christmas and ends with Easter. We waited for his arrival as a baby and then we wait for the fulfillment of his Resurrection. We can celebrate his fulfillment of prophecy in birth, all he did and taught during his ministry, and his victory of death and sin! He won!