easter egg hunt.

If you're local, please join us at Park View on Saturday, April 11, for a free community Easter egg hunt.


Ever have one of those really good days, where you fall into bed at night knowing that you really like your life? The kind you just want to bottle up, so you can pull it out on a day where life seems so much harder?

The temperature was 63 on Sunday, after several days of gray skies and nearly constant rain. I love the first day of warmer weather (and this was our second one this year). I opened the windows and let the dogs play outside, and even joined them for a while.

My day didn't actually start that great - I overslept and had to rush around in the morning. But then I was there for an incredible and powerful worship service and I got an amazing amount of stuff (fun stuff) done in the afternoon. I ate dinner on Nick and Heather's back deck at Nathan and Seth's birthday party (I love back decks but don't have one, so I live vicariously through them). And then I went with several friends to the Norva to see my friend's band Triomorrow play in his first concert.

I loved Sunday.

unplugged, an experiment.

Several days ago, Kimba at A Soft Place To Land decided to try stepping away from her computer for a whole day, and invited others to join her.

I completely disregarded the idea at first - I mean, I work on a computer. There's absolutely no way that I can not use one for an entire day.

But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered what it would be like if I actually tried to do it - to spend one day where I only used the computer when I really needed to. Then I wondered how much more I would get done if I refused to turn on the TV as well.

So I decided to give it a try. I would work on my computer and check email, and that was it. No random browsing, no reading blogs, no online games, and no TV.

I kept busy and managed to finish a lot of random things that I've been wanting to do for a while. I was actually surprised at just how much I did get done. So surprised, in fact, that I've decided that I need to make fun time on the computer one of the last things I do during the day, rather than one of the first.

Honestly - by the end of the evening, I was ready to sit down and unwind a bit in front of the TV. And I did, which I guess means that I technically failed the challenge I had set up for myself. But I'm content, because I let other things (including real life) come first.

Now if only I can keep the momentum going...

beautiful thought.

"There is a time for risky love. There is a time for extravagant gestures. There is a time to pour out your affections on one you love. And when the time comes --seize it, don't miss it."
- Max Lucado

a bit of randomness.

Just a few random updates on my life...

First, any photo in a post about food - its probably a safe bet that I stole the photo from the same place I got the recipe. I wish I was that talented, as either a stager or a photographer. I should probably start documenting those appropriately.

I just sold my car, tonight. Victor has been taking care of it for me for a portion of the price (which has been a fabulous help!) and called me today with an offer. I accepted it, then a few hours later I was holding the cash in my hand. So glad to have that taken care of.

I'm planning a community Easter egg hunt as a Bridge outreach for the day before Easter (so if you're local, come and bring kids with you!). Lots and lots of details involved, trying to find the best prices for everything we want to do. I'm trying to plan a duck race and having a hard time finding inexpensive ducks that will float upright, as odd as that sounds.

Katie and Jake (and maybe a few others) are coming for a visit in a couple weeks. He wants to ride the ferry and go to the zoo. I can't wait to hang out with that kid. And his mom, too, of course.

And here is a problem that has been running through my mind for a while, with no clear solution - I can't figure out how to organize my bead supplies, in a way that doesn't involve spending a ton of money I don't have and that actually makes it convenient to use them. I've been looking for inspiration online, without a lot of luck. I have a couple kinda-ideas floating around in my head that might work - just need to start trying them out.

recipe reviews.

I'm still working my on accomplishing goal number 13 for the year, trying 50 new recipes. After today, I've finished 50 f them. I've blogged about a few already, but thought I would cover some of the others in one single post.

Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie

I made this for dinner for Billy and Trish - I was looking for something that would travel well, and use up a bunch of things I had on hand, including a pie crust. I'm not sure I've ever had a chicken pot pie with cream cheese - it added a bit of a different taste, and I'm still not sure how I felt about it.

White Chicken Chili

I made this on Heather's recommendation, and it was really good! I added a ca of diced tomatoes and some frozen corn, because I like my soups and chili really thick and chunky.

3 Packet Crockpot Pot Roast

I've actually never made a pot roast before, in the crockpot or anywhere else. This was good, though the spices were pretty concentrated. I added some chopped carrots and potatoes to the crockpot, but although I cooked the whole thing for a long time, the potatoes and carrots never really got done enough. I'm not sure why.

Creamy Broccoli Casserole

Very good, healthy, and I'll definitely be making it again! In fact, I think the next time my family wants to eat broccoli casserole, I'll try to make this version, as its healthier than the recipe we'd normally use.

Macaroni and Cheese

I was looking for a healthier version of this, as its one of my favorite comfort foods. It was good, but not nearly cheesy enough. I mixed the leftovers with broccoli and leftover ham, and enjoyed it, but maybe mac and cheese is one of those meals that just isn't made to be healthy.

Ham and Potato Chowder with Scallions

Good, and fairly easy to make. Its not the best potato soup I've ever had, but I liked it and I'm enjoying the leftovers (this makes a lot, so I've had plenty of them). I wish there was more ham in it, though, so I've been adding that to the leftovers. I topped it with a little bit of reduced-fat cheddar cheese. My sister and nephew, and maybe my mom, are coming to visit in a couple weeks, so I'd like to make this for them.

Mexican Chicken Casserole

Also very good, though honestly its pretty similar in flavor to a lot of tacos or chicken/salsa recipe combinations I've made in the past. Given that, I'm not sure the extra work for this was worth it, but I'll keep the recipe and probably make it again.

if you know a firefighter with a kid.

Now that Jenni and Robbie's baby shower is over, I can finally show you my favorite part of their gift. I knew I wanted to get them something unique, so I searched Etsy for baby items using the key word fire (since Robbie is a fireman).

And I found this:

Isn't it adorable? I bought it from We R Onesieful.

the message.

I've been looking up Scripture for my cousin Alison, alternating between using the NIV, which I know, and the Message. Isaiah 43:1 has always been a favorite passage of mine, but I absolutely love the way its translated in the Message:

But now, God's Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
     the One who got you started, Israel:
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
     I've called your name. You're mine.
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.
     When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place,
     it won't be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
     The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
     all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That's how much you mean to me!
     That's how much I love you!
I'd sell off the whole world to get you back,
     trade the creation just for you."

Isaiah 43:1-4, The Message

my new car.

I bought a new car.

This is what it looks like:

I love it.

out of the mouths of babes.

Just some little bits of wisdom from kids, to brighten your day (the last one is my favorite):

buying a car.

I love shopping. I do not like shopping for a car.

My car has bit the dust. Or, at least, its close enough that there's not much point in spending the money to fix it, seeing as that would be putting more money into it than its worth. So, I've been looking for a car.

Honestly? The whole process is just way out of my comfort zone. I don't like dealing with salesmen, feeling like I have to be constantly guarding my words and my expressions to make a good deal.

Last week Victor (my friend, and also, conveniently, my mechanic) and I drove around to a couple local big name dealerships, and found a couple options. And I spent most of last week trying to decide between a 2004 Xterra and a 2006 CRV (the CRV was more expensive, but also the better deal).

Then I decided both were more than I really wanted to spend, so I started looking more online at classified ads and Craigs List and such, and found a 2003 Escape at a small dealership that was a bit more in my price line. I looked at it, Victor looked at it, and now I'm still trying to make a decision.

I'm not an indecisive person, really, but this one has me paralyzed. I just keep thinking there's a better option, a better deal right around the corner.

Soon, though, I'm going to have to make a choice.

baby stuff.

If I were decorating a nursery, these are the prints I would want to use:

hear us from heaven.

This is the song echoing in my head and heart today, following worship at church (my first time back on the team in a couple months!). If it starts a little slow and doesn't grab you at first, hang on until the chorus - that's where the real power is.

why i'm celebrating lent.

I've had a few people ask me why I'm celebrating Lent.

Or, they just tell me that I'm not Catholic.

Yes, thank you, I knew that.

Regardless, I do actually have reasons for deciding to do this. (And for the record, its much harder than I thought, because I think about chocolate all the time. But that's just because I won't let myself have it.)

I like using seasons to set goals. I'm a goal-oriented person - this is what works for me. I like starting new things, and starting fresh, so I try to take advantage of those times to either add or subtract something from my life. Lent is just one example - I also do this at New Year's, and on my birthday, and at the start of fall (still feels like going back to school to me), and at the beginning of a new month or even a new week.

I also think its good to practice discipline. Discipline is essential in some things, a smart idea in others, and even exercising it on something relatively inconsequential is good practice.

And finally, although I'm a big fan of contemporary churches, I think there's still a lot to be said for old traditions. I want Easter to be more meaningful this year, to be something that I anticipate rather than just a one-morning-and-one-meal celebration. And every time I crave chocolate and remember why I'm not letting myself indulge, I'm pointed back to Christ and his work on the cross.