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Friday, February 28, 2014

{SQT} Reintroductions, Being Useless, and some GIFs

Everyone take a moment to look over there ----> 

That's me. 
Yep, I know. Sorry about the blur. 

So, before my darling Hunky Husband left for his vacation to Colorado (withOUT me... see #3), I was reading an article from Dwija... and then felt so inclined to read it aloud to him as he innocently sat watching Chuck. 

"She's funny," was his first response... to which I was all like, WELL DUH.
And then he said it. The thing that changed this blog forever. 
"Well, you can use our names, and a picture with most of your face could be okay." You!Can!Use!Our!Names!

I had to check and make sure it wasn't just the 'you're-interrupting-my-show-leave-me-alone' talking. It wasn't, apparently. We talked about it at length (ie, talked about it incessantly until he said it was time for bed; and then while he took a shower, I stood outside blabbing at him; and then blabbed at him while he brushed his teeth, too) and we're doing this thing. 

I'm Adrie. He's Zeke. No more ridiculous screen names! Huzzah! 

Although, I do call him Hunky Husband every once in awhile in real life, so I'm gonna just keep doing that sometimes. 

 Can we talk about how much time I have that I'm clicking through all the archives of the bloggers I love? (Or maybe it's just because folding laundry is dumb and I hate it.)

Zeke went on a trip to Colorado, to visit his brother and go snowmobiling and snowboarding and all that. He left last night, and I got a text at 2:50 am that said, "I'm going to bed now. Have a good night." 
Which I think means that they made it to Colorado, and that he'll sleep until about noon. 

Apparently, I'm completely useless without Zeke. 
I have to be at our morning meeting at work at 8:30 every morning. This morning, I woke up in a panic at 8:33. Because (oh duh) my Hunky Husband has the good morning alarm on his iPod touch, which he took to Colorado and I didn't think to set an alarm myself. 
I made it to work at 8:40. And lets be honest, my co-workers will have to suffer through the squirrel on my head looking at 'em all day, cuz I didn't have time to brush my hair. 
 The reason Zeke's going withOUT me to Colorado--- 

Is cuz I'm going on a women's retreat this weekend! 

I'm very excited. I'm leaving in.... five hours. FIVE HOURS?

I need to pack. So far, I have Combos and Pretzel thins in my bag. And that is all. Oh man.

I have a stack of registrations on my desk right now (yeah, the ones I'm avoiding... what of it?). 

In part, I wanna go like this... 

... just for the joy of it, 

but really? Lots of registrations is such a good thing! And it means that summer is coming!

 Does anyone want to tell the weather that summer is coming? 

NEGATIVE FOUR. As the "high temp." 

I put "high temp" in quoties, because anything below zero cannot really be considered a high.

Come on summertime! 

See the rest of the Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

{Theme Thursday} Fences

Linking up with Clan Donaldson and the rest of the ladies for Theme Thursday!

I saw "fences" on the list for today and thought, "Easy Peasy!"

And then I realized that there are! no! fences! anywhere in my neighborhood.


So I give you a reposted picture...

My niece checkin' out the cows
... because come on. Look at those cute little boots!...

... and a note from scripture.

  "... In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility..." - Ephesians 2:13 &14, ESV

In this passage, Paul is talking about the Jews and the Gentiles, and the division that once (and let's be honest, still does) exist  between those two groups of people. The Gentiles were totally excluded from God, from God's people, from the temple, from His covenant promises... it was pretty bleak to be a Gentile. But Christ, through his sacrifice on the cross, brought those two groups together. He broke down the wall that divided them.

I loved Jen's post the other day, and the comments that it generated (I've never seen such a beautiful and full-of-grace comment section in my life!) because it was such a great reminder of this passage.

You know what? We may believe different things sometimes (like about the Eucharist, or intercessory prayer, or what have you). Some of us are mommies, some of us aren't. Some mommies breastfeed, some bottle feed. Some are married, some aren't. Some wear pants, some wear skirts, cover their heads, don't cover their heads. Some drink alcohol, some don't. Some are of this ethnicity, some are of that ethnicity. There are so many "walls" that divide us...but

Christ Jesus who unites us is bigger than anything that divides us. 

There is no "in" crowd in the Christian faith. As believers, we are unified in Him, first and foremost, and we have so much we can learn from one another- fences notwithstanding. 


Sometimes fences are, literally, a very good thing.  

Have a happy Thursday and why didn't I find that picture before,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

{Ten Minute Tuesday} Clean out that Purse!

Merciful heavens. What is this coincidence?! I had this post all ready to go except the picture, so I went to add that, then saw some stuff in my Blogger Reader... 
Stuff like Kendra's purse dump post. 
What? That's just... no way. Apparently, great minds... scratch that- who am I kidding? Kendra's mind is way cooler than mine. What are the chances, though, right? 

Okay, I'll get over myself and just post this now. 

That's right, ladies! Time to clean out those purses! 

I don't know about you, but my purse seems to be a cesspool of stuff I don't need and really don't want to be carrying around... and taking those ten minutes to restore basic sanity into my purse? Priceless, really. 

So give your shoulders a break, toss the stuff you don't need, and you'll have more room (and organized space!) for the stuff you do need! 

Edited to Include

The coincidence was just too great. I had to do Kendra's challenge. It was a divine appointment, apparently. 

Empty sunglasses case, used and crumpled name tag, envelope containing gift cards, granola bar, Bible, notebook, receipts and church bulletins, playbill, checkbook, used tissues, gloves, wallet, binder. (Not shown because I threw it outside: a rock.)

Front pocket: Seven pens, hand sanitizer, granola bar (two? really?) neosporin

-It's my favorite thing in here: Da Binder. I lug this thing everywhere. Zeke rolls his eyes at me, but really. REALLY. It's saved my bum so many times. That last minute stop at the grocery store? I've got my list. Don't have an address? I've got it. Pharmacy trip? I've got copies of the insurance cards and prescription numbers. Bam. 

-Wow, I really have a lot of these: Holy pens, Batman. Seriously. Not to mention, I have a pen in the binder! Hello, my name is Adrie, and I'm a pen pirate. 

-I've been looking for those: Um, nothing. Because I only take the important stuff. And you, know, rocks. Sweet heaven.

-Huh. THAT shouldn't be in here:  Um, most things. I think it's a tie between the rock and the USED TISSUES OMIGOSH. 

Linking up also with Growing Home Blog.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Not for a Moment

(Hey, hey! Two posts in one day! Take that, 7 in 7!)  Disclaimer: I'm going to complain a little.

Today just... ugh.

I thought this time was different, you know? I get so hopeful and then so disappointed. I really thought my body finally worked this time, started to think about announcements and names... all while telling myself  Nuh uh, girl. Don't go there. You'll just be crushed... 

But I thought this time felt... different. Zeke reminded me, "You thought last time felt different, too." And he was right (and the little-girl-me inside my head is stomping my foot that he was right) and I'm disappointed. Again.

And Zeke says, "God has everything under control. He knows best- we have to trust that. It just wasn't the right time yet."

I know he's right. But geez. I just really wanted it to be the right time, already!

And Zeke says, "Honey, be patient and trust. We'll have children someday, whether they're from us or from someone else. God knows your heart." And that makes me want to cry because I don't like being patient.

And I'm mad at Zeke for being so very right and so very trusting and for having his emotions so very under control and for being just.so.faithful.

This song came on at work today. I want to listen to it over and over and over...

"Not for a moment will you forsake me, not for a moment will you forsake me."

I know the truth in that. I know it.

Hopefully the message in my head will work its way into my heart today.

Linking up with Living Proverbs 31, Marriage Monday, and Monday Musings

A Day in the Happy Life

So, I decided to do one of these "day in the life posts," you know, just to rub it in the faces of  Haley and Jen and  Mama H (and pretty much every blogger out there) that no one touches me for hours at a time and wiping bottoms is not a part of my day (neener-neener).

I give you... Thursday.


5:30 am- I wake up to take my temp, and promptly fall back asleep under my flannel sheets. (I swear, those things have a bigger presence in this blog than ... than... my sisters. Did you know I have sisters?)

7:00 am- I wake up to my alarm. Hit snooze, mumbling "Five more minutes."

7:05 am- See above.

7:10 am- See above.

7:15 am- I fiiiinally get up, record basal body temp on chart. It's the fourth above the cover line, so I may have actually ovulated! I kiss Zeke on the shoulder, like every morning. Shower without shaving (hey, it's winter). I get dressed (cute skirt with cute boots!), have some cinnamon toast, clean toilets, start a load of laundry.

7:45 am- Zeke is up. Offer him toast... he declines with a sound something like, "Nugh." Head downstairs to read my Bible and have some quiet time.

8:15 am- I feed Tucker Turtle and the fish, put my cute boots on, yell up the stairs to Zeke that I'm heading to work. Out the door!

8:17 am- I realize I forgot my keys upon reaching my locked office, stat the walk back home. It starts to sleet.

8:19 am- I unlock my office, run a report with registered camper numbers to bring to the staff meeting, check e-mails and realize that they're mostly just junk and nothing that needs to be taken care of right away (!).

8:30 am- Cup of coffee #1. I help move tables around in the dining hall so we have enough space for the group of 200 people that's coming in today. Staff prayer time, followed by weekly staff meeting. I leave the meeting twice to answer the phone.

9:50 am- Time to head back to my office with cup of coffee #2. Check e-mail (there's more now), check Camp's Facebook page. Process registration payments from last weekend and make copies of checks. Answer phone calls and e-mails.


12:00 pm- Wha? Where did the morning go? Staff meetings always eat up the morning. Lunch time. The phone rings just as I'm heading to the dining hall- I walk parent through online registration. It is big time snowing outside- lots of big, fluffy flakes... but it's 34 degrees... which means that if it gets any colder, everything will freeze. I eat lunch with the office ladies. When going to get more water, my tights get caught on the head of a nail that's sticking out of the bench and rip. I take off my boot and pound the nail into the bench further using the heel.

Zeke arrives at about 12:30- tell him about the lightbulb that's out in my office.

The phone rings- it's the food delivery guy who is bringing half of the food (meat and veggies, mostly) for the big group this weekend. He's stuck and can't get to Camp.  Zeke takes off in a pickup to rescue the stranded food.

The phone rings- it's the other food delivery guy (the one bringing the coffee most of the dry goods). He's stuck about two hours away... and won't make it up here this weekend. I call the cook and tell him the news- he sounds a little panicked.

1:00 pm- Back to my office with cup of tea #1. I meet with program coordinator to discuss Women's Retreat brochure- I show her color scheme options and we choose one. I get to work on the brochure, send copies to be approved. It's still snowing. The mail comes, with lots of registrations. I start entering registrations, answer the phone, registrations, answer the phone... Still snowing.


5:30 pm- I head home for the day, without cleaning up my desk first (I know! I should really do that). It's till snowing, and the walkway is very slippery. I almost fall on my face five feet in front of three cars of young men. I pretend like it didn't happen, they're trying not to laugh. I change out of my skirt, boots, and (sadly ripped) tights. Wonder about how they could make tights out of Kevlar.

5:34 pm- My Hunky Husband calls- he needs to go into town and can I come along? I ask if it's okay that I'm wearing yoga pants. He says he doesn't care. I put on a pair of much less stylish boots.

The boots I wore to work (Ah! The flash! Apologies!)
 5:47 pm- Zeke swings by in a Camp vehicle- the suburban- which is one of our "fleet" (as he calls it) of eight vehicles.

The "after" boots. Not as stylish. I'm wearing yoga pants. Yes, that is a Bible on the center console- no, it's not mine. It puts the "Bible" into "Bible Camp vehicle!"

We head into town, and Zeke tells me that we need to be at an auto parts store by 6. It takes 15 minutes to get there. This should be interesting. I ask what we need to get- apparently the battery in this suburban has been acting up, so we need to get it checked. I call the auto parts place to see if they'll stay open just a teensy bit longer. It's really quite nasty on the roads...

6:02 pm- At the autoparts place. The nice lady who stayed late for us checks the battery, and tells Zeke that we're gonna need a new one. This is the third battery Camp has purchased this month, which kinda sucks. Zeke buys the battery and we head back to the suburban. He puts the battery in the trunk. Next stop is Bomgaars-- like a Farm and Fleet.

6:15 pm- Zeke sets out to search for plumbing parts, with me tagging along. Bomgaars has no baby chicks in their baby chick bins, which is terribly disappointing.

I know nothing about plumbing parts, so I entertain myself with a catalog that tells me "your kitchen faucet truly becomes an extension of you." I wonder what kind of faucet would best represent me... probably something short and stubby and multicolored.

Zeke is not finding the part he needed. He says, "What do you think?" I tell him to follow his heart. I'm not sure if that suggestion helped, but he takes something off the shelf.. so...

He also wants to look at fluid transporters (?) and is disappointed when he finds one that you can use to transport diesel but not gas. I ask what the difference is. He says that diesel is combustible; gas is flammable. I tell him that I know of something else that's flammable and pinch his beee-hind. He rolls his eyes.

6:43 pm- We check out, and head back to the suburban. It's gotten colder, still snowing, and now it's really windy. Zeke turns the key in the ignition... suburban won't start. The auto parts lady was correct about the whole "you need a new battery" thing.

My Hunky Husband heads inside to ask for a jump.

Nice Bomgaars employee guy comes over with battery cables, and we're up and running.

6:51 pm- We're driving very slowly home. The wind and the snow and the more wind have made visibility.. well, like this.

Hunky Husband silhouette!
Zeke opens his window so he could see the edge of the road on one side. The sound of the snow hitting the trees is incredible. There are three cars in the ditches on our way home- not from sliding, by the looks of it, but simply because they couldn't see the road.

7:28 pm- Home safe and sound. Zeke drops me off at home and heads out again to start clearing sidewalks. I put mittens and and hat on and clear our little walkway.

The mixture is about 60% snow, 30% water, and 10%  ice... and is 100% slippery. It starts sticking to my shovel, and is really heavy. It's still sleeting.

7:41 pm- I get back in the house and take off my now soaking coat and hat. I strip our bed, put the laundry in the dryer, then throw the sheets in the wash. I put a load of folded laundry away, then go downstairs to read some blogs and check my personal e-mail. Then I check Camp's Facebook page again, and start planning for a mailing that needs to go out next week for our youth retreats.

8:52 pm- Zeke is not home yet. I start getting hungry and thinking about what I'm going to feed him... I take the laundry out of the dryer and turn on Netflix while I fold.

8:57 pm- Zeke gets home. He reports that he's just stopping by for a little bit and needs a fresh shirt. The one he's wearing is all sweaty. His eyebrows are frozen. "I have brain freeze from the outside in!" he says. His eyes are all sparkly. I'm less excited about this. He eats an apple and a Swiss Roll (we eat healthy around here), I run upstairs to get him a clean shirt and socks. I step in a big ole puddle of melting snow on the way back down.

9:11 pm- Zeke leaves after I give him a quick back scratch. I make myself a peanut butter sandwich, then get back to the 'Flix and the folding. Finish folding and read some blogs, and check my Facebook account.

9:47 pm- Zeke still moving snow. I put away another load of laundry, tidy up around the house, and make the bed.

10:34 pm- Realize that I'm about done for the night. I get myself a Kerr jar of water (my husband has a thing about using mason jars as cups... I just go with it), and hunker down with my blanket and Netflix. I'm hearing Hunky Husband in the Bobcat, scraping the ice around and backing up (*beep, beep*).

10:39 pm- Zeke stops home for an ibuprofen (which we keep in our entryway) and says he has just a little more to do. He also notices that I'm watching a show he likes and says, "You're watching that withooooout meeeeee?" I start watching a different show (one he doesn't like). I also check in on Facebook and see that everyone is posting wedding ideas to my sister's wall, because she just got engaged. (And.she.madeittotheblog! See? I have sisters!)

11:10 pm- Zeke is home! He's all wet, and heads upstairs to take a shower. I close down the computer and go upstairs, wash my face, and change into PJ's.

11:20 pm- I rub Zeke's shoulders for a little, then realize that he still hasn't eaten anything. I whip together another peanut butter sandwich and find some leftover meatloaf. Like I said, we eat healthy around here.  Then we watch a quick episode of some show... I'm not really paying attention. I put some thieves oil on Zeke's feet, then crawl into bed.

11:37 pm- Zeke gets a phone call that a pilot light in a water heater is out. He talks the retreat host through the process of relighting it.

11:42 pm- Zeke puts his pants back on and heads over to make sure the pilot light was lit correctly. I start reading my book.

11:58 pm- Zeke is back. Bed time!

Friday, February 21, 2014

{Seven Quick Takes/Five Favorites} Marshmallows, Chuck, and Impossible Pie

Linking up with Conversion Diary and Moxie Wife
(and can I just say, I've had so much fun linking up with other blogs this past month. Omigoshsomanynewblogsonmyblogroll.)

So, last weekend (was it only last weekend? Feels like longer...) we had a Marriage Retreat here at Camp. Poor Zeke wasn't feeling so great, so we didn't go to as many of the sessions as I would have liked. 

(I was pretty disappointed... and then crabby at Zeke... and then understanding.... and then got a sore throat myself and wanted him to make me tea. These are known as the Four Stages of Being Cranky With Your Husband Because He's Sick and Is Preventing You From Doing Something You Wanted To Do.)


I did help out with the activity on Saturday evening, and my goodness. Hilarious. 

Okay, so the couples played "Minute-to-Win-It: Couple's Edition." There were, of course, the golfball stacking challenges and the moving M&M's challenges... 

Funny, and sweet to see couples all focused and working together. 

But then. Oh, but then. 

The couple who planned this activity modified one of the games... and oh my goodness. 

Okay, so here's the premise. The couple had to try to eat as many marshmallows as they could- alternating who ate the marshmallow each time. The challenge was, they had to start with the marshmallow between their foreheads, getting it into their mouth without using their hands. 

So, so, so funny. The couples either looked like they were very, um, amorous (cough, cough), or like they were trying to bite each other's faces off! The pictures are priceless. And proooobably shouldn't go on Camp's Facebook page. 

Try it. It's so funny. Minute-to-Win-It? Best party game ever.

Sweet heaven- Impossible Pie. 
I found a recipe for this on a blog that I now can't remember the name of and can't find. (I totally freaked out in a comment on said blog, so if it's yours, let me know and I'll link to ya.)

So, I live at Camp, right? We've determined this? 

Well, we get lots of leftovers- and I try to use leftovers as much as I can so I don't have to actually, you know, buy food.

I love this recipe. Love love love love. 


We've been watching lots of Netflix (we don't have TV, because we live at Camp, as we've previously established)- and we have really been loving "Chuck." 

Minimum wage computer geek suddenly thrown into the CIA? Priceless. 


Simcha's probably one of my favorite people to read- I've been wasting way too much time on the internet by looking through her archives. And Haley's, too!!

A couple oldies, but goodies...

I've been in an "I'm-lost-and-don't-know-what-I'm-doing-next" stage lately. You know, like, my husband has no clean underwear in his dresser, but there's like 78 pairs in the dryer! My planning binder is collecting dust, I've had no idea what's for dinner this week... ugh. Gotta get out of this rut! 

So I cleaned the toilets today (because that's what Confident Mom told me to do today- planning binder back in service) and man. I love cleaning toilets. Is that strange? I dunno, it's just so... satisfying. 

A not-so-favorite?
Here's what it's doing outside today.

Snowing, then sorta-kinda melting. 

It's going to get cold again tonight, which means ice. Lots and lots of ice. <Sigh>

And we'll finish up these quick takes with a Tucker Turtle comparison...

Two years ago, at our wedding

Oh my goodness my cutie is HUGE!

Happy Friday, friends. Hope it's a good one!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

{Theme Thursday} Dishes (and Impossible Casserole)

Linking up with Clan Donaldson for Theme Thursday!

Registering for wedding gifts is... 

Well, it can be really exciting, full of anticipation, and ... well, if you're anything like me, overwhelming and challenging. 

So, I knew we were gonna need something to eat off of as a married couple, and Zeke's extensive line of leftover dishes wasn't going to work (even though 'they fit Ramen noodles so well!"), and so the dish hunt began. 

And I found these.

And I liked the whiteness, the classic-ness, and the not-round-not-square-ness.

The price? Well, that was another story. But hey, people were gonna buy these FOR me. Why not splurge a little?

Cut to me, after dropping a bowl on the floor and it shattering, bursting into tears and yelling at my husband who happened to bump into me because now we don't have enough bowls and we can't afford to replace this one! Ah!

All you brilliant folks probably already knew this would happen and are far wiser than splurging on pricey fancy dishes that would all have been broken within two years of marriage, anyway.


The reason for that rant was to show you this.

And tell you that man, I love me some Impossible Casserole. Well, the original recipe was called Impossible Pie, but it's more casserole-y to me.

The Recipe: Impossible Casserole

1 cup of meat (precooked and cut up)
1 cup of veggies, chopped
1 cup of cheese
2 cups of milk
1 cup of Jiffy Baking Mix
4 eggs
Applicable Spices

Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish, layer in the meat, veggies, and cheese. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, eggs, and baking mix together (I use a fork), then add spices. Pour mixture into bowl. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or so, or until knife comes clean.

This recipe is awesome (AWESOME) for leftovers. Which is pretty much all we eat. You can mix and match stuff to make the 1 cup...

Some of our favorite combinations?

Leftover hamburger patty, cut up, with 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup green pepper and shredded cheese (I added about 1/4 cup ketchup)

Leftover bacon and diced ham, onion and green pepper, and shredded cheese (and about 1/4 cup maple syrup!)

Too. Good. Too. Easy. Impossible to screw up, and you'll almost always have all the ingredients.

You're welcome. =)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ministry Is Worth the Sacrifice


We leave for work early, and come home late. We are sore, we are tired, our eyes hurt from pouring over lists and databases and accounts receivable. We are "on" all the time. We get calls at 4 am. We scrimp and save and put in extra hours for which we won't be paid. We have expensive medical bills for shots to prevent diseases we can't pronounce. We drive through the night, and we sleep in our cars. We sacrifice time with our families. We leave leisure for someone else. We fall in love and have our hearts broken. We give our best and live off the leftovers. We pour into others, and rarely get the chance to be filled up ourselves.

We work in ministry.

Some of us are missionaries, some are youth leaders, church secretaries, volunteers, pastors, outdoor ministry people... and those titles really only cover about 60% of what we do in a day. The rest is "extra," things that don't quite fit into any job description... but we see those Good Things that aren't getting done and we do them, job description notwithstanding.

I know, because I am one of those people. 

And sometimes? Sometimes it doesn't seem worth it.

I love my job, I really do. I love seeing lives changed by the work we're doing here at Camp. I really treasure the fact that we have the opportunity to fill up others in ministry- by providing for pastors and youth leaders and missionaries. I love meeting new people and making great friends.

It's exhausting and challenging and sometimes frustrating and grating.

Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, from the confines of a jail cell after being falsely accused. He tells them,

"For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 
Assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,  which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,  and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,  in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory." (Ephesians 3:1-13, ESV)
Paul's ministry led him to jail. Quite often really. It led to beatings and death threats. People who were once his friends became enemies. His ministry was anything but comfortable. Which makes me seem pretty darn silly when I complain about spending so much time in my (air conditioned) office during the summer.

Let's look into what Paul is saying here.

God's got it covered, even when ministry is hard.
At the very beginning of this part of his letter, Paul makes it clear that he's a prisoner FOR Christ Jesus.

Sure, he's waiting trial while sitting in a Roman prison. And yes, it was the Jewish mob who got him here in the first place. Even so, Paul is a prisoner for Christ- God is in control of Paul's life, even in this circumstance. Even in the suffering. 

Throughout so much of the New Testament, this is evident. God is there, even when things are hard, even when we're so tired of continually sacrificing. We also see that really, it's those sacrifices and trials and suffering that lead us closer to holiness. It's through carrying the small (and sometimes not so small) crosses of every day life that make us more like Christ. 

Ministry is a gift.
Paul was made a minister (in the Greek, literally a "hard-laborer") by the gift of God's grace, he says in verse 7. We don't deserve any of this- not our lives, not our salvation, and we definitely don't deserve a role in God's work. It's a privilege, given to us by the grace of God, that we can work for his glory!

That's so hard for me to remember, especially when it's 9:30 pm and I've been at work since 8:30 am and the last bus load of kids just called and said they'll be an hour late. This is a gift, it's a gift, it's a gift.

Ministry has an amazing purpose.
Paul says, "... God's grace, that was given to me for you." We've been given the amazing, completely undeserved grace of God- not because of anything we did. Not because we're so much better than those murders and thieves. Not because of the fact that we tithe and are generally nice people. God's grace is a gift- given freely, given even though we could never earn it, and it was given to us so we can share that grace with others.

That's the heart of ministry. I've been so forgiven- so I can forgive other people. I've been so blessed- in order that I may be a blessing to others.

Ministry has huge significance.
Through the church- through the body of believers- through you and through me... that's how the wisdom of God is made known to everyone- including those in the heavenly places. This is God's intention- that we live our lives in service to others- so that his name and his glory are made known. Ministry has eternal significance.

So whether your ministry takes place in your home with your children, in a church building, at a Bible Camp, in a hospital, on a blog, in an orphanage in Tanzania, in a mechanic shop, on the sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic, in your office, at a mom's group, in a jail... do it with joy! You are making a difference- even when it doesn't feel like it, and even when it's hard.

Your ministry, whatever it may be, is worth the sacrifice. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

{Ten Minute Tuesday} All-Purpose Orange Peel Cleaning Solution

This is gonna be a fun Tuesday project! And a yummy one, too.

I really like cleaning with natural products as much as possible. My general all-purpose cleaner is an all-natural one:

1/2 c vinegar
1 c water
7-10 drops of essential oil (I use lavender a lot- but I'd also suggest lemon or peppermint!)

I found this recipe to bump up the cleaning power of my all-purpose cleaning solution- add orange peels!

Here's how it works. Peel one or two oranges (and well, you'd better eat the oranges, while you're at it) and put the peels into a Ball jar. Then, fill the jar with white vinegar. Leave the jar in a cool, dark place for about a month.

After about a month has passed, remove the orange peel and toss it, saving the orangey vinegar! Then, I make my all-purpose cleaner with the recipe above, using the super-orange-vinegar! I don't use the essential oils, since the vinegar already smells so good and has great cleaning properties with the orangey-ness.

Have a great Tuesday, making your home a happier, healthier place!

Friday, February 14, 2014

{7 Quick Takes... er 5, actually} Valentine's Day Quotes

 Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary today!

My hunkiest of hubbies, after he had to go to town for work (so we didn't eat lunch together, like we usually do):  
So, I went to China One (the Chinese buffet where we spend waaaaay too much time) and got my food, and it was good... but you weren't there, and it was soooo boring. Definitely missing something. The crab rangoons were still the best, though. 

I burst into tears at that one. 
Yes, overly emotional. But, still, my husband likes hanging out with me! He misses me when I'm not around! Is there anything better?

During a conversation about how sometimes, when you've spoken with someone on the phone, you get this mental image of what they look like... and then when you meet them, sometimes they kind of "fit" their voice, and sometimes they don't at all. You know?

I said that, because I talk on the phone with a LOT of people at work, I'm told quite often that I'm younger than I seem on the phone.

My co-worker: 
Well, that's probably because people don't expect a younger person to be  sweet- and you're always just so sweet over the phone.


Okay, so I didn't actually hear this yet today, but I know I will... 
One of our former co-workers (who's coming to our Marriage Retreat today! Yay!) never calls his wife by her name. He always (always) refers to her as "my love," or "my bride," or "Cutie." Literally. Always. 

They've been married for at least thirty years. 

 This morning, after I told my alarm clock, "Five more minutes," like I do every morning, my hubby: 
Nooo, wake up so I can cuddle you!
I think I coulda cuddled just fine still asleep, but whatever.

Zeke just got home (like, really, just now) after being in town (see #1), and he brought a pizza. 

I had a different one I was going to use for #5, but he.Brought.A.Pizza. 

I'll be working all night, and don't have time to cook. 

Is there anything more romantic? I think not, ladies. I think not. 

Happy Valentine's Day- go snuggle with those you love!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

{Theme Thursday} Hearts

Linking up with Clan Donaldson for Theme Thursday today!

Ah, Valentine's Day. A day of romance, gazing into the eyes of the one you love, of chocolates and roses.

Or, in my case, a day of making name tags, registering retreat guests, and helping in the kitchen!

Honestly, though, the fact that I'll be working the weekend doesn't really bother me. It's so much fun to facilitate an important and meaningful event like this annual retreat- and I get to work with Zeke the whole time. 


I'm working on making name tags for our upcoming Marriage Retreat this weekend here at Camp. 

What do you think? Are the hearts too girly? Zeke says yes. I think the simple fact that there isn't any pink on these things is a testament to my maturity. I was thinking of gluing sparkles all over them.

Just sayin'. 

Happy Valentine's Day- and I hope that, like myself, you get to spend it with the ones you love!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Grand Beginnings: The Story of Us Part II

The much-awaited Part II. Which won't make much sense if you haven't read the celebrated (cough cough) Part I. 

Zeke helped me onto the backseat of the motorcycle, laughing at my clumsiness- which I maintained was caused by my lack of coordination but probably also had something to do with  nerves and my lack of coordination. (For the record, I can now get on that backseat with no assistance). Then he got on and lifted the bike off the kickstand. I touched his sides gingerly, and then realized that I could hold on as tight as I wanted and it would be deemed completely appropriate in this situation. Well then.

About five seconds later, I was glad to be holding on tight. That bike was much more powerful than I thought. I squealed and held on tighter as he turned the corner, and tighter still when he turned the next one. He admitted to me later that he liked hearing me squeal and turned hard corners just to tease me.

Then we talked. And talked. And talked a little more. About dreams and high school and family and friends. He was deep, intelligent, caring. He’d always been so quiet, but once he started talking, he had a lot to say. He had important things to say, and I started regretting everything I’d ever thought about him. Except that he was cute and had nice eyes (I'd thought that back in high school, too). He was so much more, so much different, that I ever thought. I felt bad that I’d judged him so harshly in high school. That I’d wasted time not being friends with him.

I also felt bad that I hadn't worn waterproof mascara. All that wind in my eyes made for some pretty smeary eye-makeup... not attractive. (And that's how I learned to always wear eye gear when riding a motorcycle).

We went back to the party. I felt mellow, a little sad. The motorcycle ride had been exciting, an adventure, something that I’d never otherwise do, and I was so glad that I had gone with him. But I was sad that Zeke and I had never been friends. What made me so superficial? Aren’t unpopular kids supposed to be accepting and understanding? And why hadn’t I made friends like him in college?

I was pretty tired, and had to work in the morning, so I made my exit pretty soon after we got back. I thanked Angela, said goodbye to the birthday boy, and then waved at Zeke before leaving. I was glad that I’d gotten the chance to talk to him. Never judge a book by its cover, I thought. I’m glad I got to read a little more of your story.

I got home just as a storm was rolling in. Thunderstorms in rural Iowa are impressive to watch as they gather. All that open space makes it possible to see the lightning from miles away. Lightning has always spoken to me, reminded me of what a powerful God we have. A powerful God who looks past what people see, and into the heart of a person. I got out of my car in the driveway and sat on the trunk, watching the lighting.

I sent up a little prayer. Lord, thank you for the reminder. I could have had such an amazing friend in Zeke, but my own pride got in the way. Let me see as you see, and thanks for showing me how wrong I was. Thanks for letting me actually meet him.

I opened my eyes as I heard a motorcycle rev past my driveway, rumbling with the thunder into the distance. That must be Zeke going home, too, I thought.

But then I heard the rumble get louder again. The rumble of that motorcycle was headed back towards me. Zeke pulled into my driveway.

“Hey,” he said, “what are you doing?”

“Well,” I said, blushing again, “I’m watching the lightning.”

We talked for another two hours, until the storm got closer and it started to rain.

“I better go,” he said. “I’m gonna get wet on the way home.” He motioned towards the bike.

“Oh! Yeah. Well, I’ll see you later, I guess.” I said.

“Yeah. Have a good night,” he replied, swinging his leg over the motorcycle. He was so comfortable with that bike. He was so comfortable with everything. I blushed again and wished that I was a little more like him.

“Bye,” I said. He pulled away, the bike matching the thunder. I stood in the rain until I couldn’t hear the motorcycle anymore. Then I walked inside, feeling like something had just happened, but not knowing exactly what it was.

I now know what happened that night-  it was the beginning of something amazing.

If you wanna hear more of our super romantic stories, you can check out



or, if you're feeling particularly brave, THE ONE WITH THE TESTICLES.

So actually, this story is the most romantic one we've got. And the one with the fewest bodily fluids.

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