Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 215 - Presents!

I have been extremely busy. I have neglected my blogs and wanted to give a quick update. I think I'll do it by bullet points:

  • Crazy birthday weekend. My birthday was last Saturday and Martin was in a wedding. We had a great day. Thankfully my friend Kellyanne kept reminding me it was my birthday. I kept forgetting. Not sure if that's me being 33 or just the fact that we were celebrating at the wedding and it didn't feel like my birthday. Sunday after church we went to Martin's parents house and had Wild Wings (they have the BEST buffalo chicken cheese steak in the world) and just chilled.

  • Our Anniversary was Tuesday. Eight years! Time sure does fly by when you're having fun! We weren't going to do anything special because we had such a busy weekend but about halfway through the day I started feeling guilty that we should do something special to remember the day we became one. So we got adventurous and went to a new restaurant. It's down the road from our neighborhood but we've just never gone before. It's called Terra Nova and it was amazing. It was perfect for a special meal. A place we will probably only go a couple of times a year. I had salmon stuffed with crab and was able to make two meals out of it. Nothing was bad. It was all yummy.

  • Birthday Present! Growing up we could chose to either have a party or get a present from my parents for our birthday. I always chose the party because I was a social butterfly but now that I am older I much prefer the presents! So I took all my birthday money from my parents, Martin's parents, Martin's brother, Tim, and my boss, Jim and ordered a new camera! We have a big fancy Cannon camera but I really wanted something I could slip into my purse and take pictures of life. So I researched and found the Nikon coolpix S70. It is completely a touch screen on the back which will take some getting used to but it has gotten good reviews. Martin picked out the color. He thinks it looks very unique (I had the black picked out - surprise surprise) Here is what it looks like:

    • Birthversary present. A few months ago I got Martin a camelback (a backpack that holds water and has a straw thing to suck out of) for when he goes bike riding. It was his early anniversary present. So he surprised me for my birthday/anniversary with an Amazon Kindle and case. I was completely blown away. If you don't know what a Kindle is then don't feel bad. I wasn't quite convinced they would take off but I have now joined the masses. They are electronic devices that hold books. And lots of books. Over 3,000 electronic books can be held on one Kindle. It is slim and light and you can download thousands of free books like Jane Austen books! You can also buy a book in seconds. Martin got me the one that has WiFi available on it so if I'm at a place with free internet I can simply go to and download away! The battery life last for over a month! The sad part is - I LOVE books. I love how they look, I love smelling them, I love seeing them on my bookshelf in my living room. Sometimes I buy a book for the cover. But this will allow me to read more. I know that we have to read lots of books for adoption and we can simply download them in seconds. Can you tell I'm excited? The sad part is that it is backordered. They just released the cheaper, newer Kindle so I'm pretty sure half of the world ordered one because they haven't even told me when my Kindle will be shipped. When you buy one you are put on a waiting list. Hopefully I'll get it before vacation at the end of September! So for now, I have to settle for pictures - here's a picture of the cute leather case Martin got me and the Kindle:

      • Monday, August 9, 2010

        Day 197 - Thoughts about Elisabeth

        Elisabeth Elliot: Wife of Jim Elliot, missionary in South America, killed while trying to bring the Gospel to an unreached people group; Mother of only child, Valerie; Married three times; Widowed twice; One of my mother's favorite people.

        I used to make fun of my mother listening to Elisabeth Elliot every day on the radio. I looked up her old saying "'You are loved with an everlasting love,' - that's what the Bible says - 'and underneath are the everlasting arms.' This is your friend, Elisabeth Elliot..." My mother turned on the radio twice every day growing up. Once was for the daily Bible reading and once was for Elisabeth. She often started many words of advice (unsolicited of course), "Well Elisabeth Elliot always says..." The conversation always ended with me rolling my eyes, groaning and walking away.

        Fast forward 20 years or so; lots has happened since then. The first being I'm a new creation in Christ, the rest are just details. I am now reading Let Me Be A Woman by Elisabeth Elliot. It's a small book full of many chapters, which makes it really easy to put beside your bed and read before dozing off. She wrote the book for her daughter Valerie. I'm not sure if it was a series of letters through the years or just something she sat down and wrote.

        I was reading recently about how Elisabeth was single for many years. Valerie was already married when she wrote this but she was saying that she didn't know it then but she had the gift of singleness during that time. I always have struggled when people ask if they think someone has the gift of singleness. 9 out of 10 times the person desires to be married and perhaps one day have children; they just haven't met anyone worth doing that with. So the simple answer would be no.

        But Elisabeth described it in a way I've never thought of before. When you are given a gift from God, it's not something you choose for yourself. God gives them. He gives the gift of Salvation, we don't deserve it and can never pay Him back. He gives the gift of talents, we can't go from being tone deaf to singing beautifully by skill alone. He gives gifts and singleness might be one of them. It's not necessarily a permanent gift but if it's where God has you now, then it's a gift He has given not a cross you bear, as we love to say.

        I have been meditating on this for awhile now. Seeing how this looks in my life. Obviously I don't have the gift of singleness but I do have the gift of infertility. Ha! That sounds like an oxymoron but think about it. God has allowed Martin and I not to have children for eight years. It's not something that we chose. It's not something I necessarily want or like but it's obviously from God and because of that it's a gift. I say it's a gift not a cross I have to bear because in the midst of not having children Martin and I get to be an uncle and aunt to SO many! Not only to my brothers and sister's kids but to many here in New Jersey. We love it.

        I'm also thankful for the gift because it's made us see our God as so much bigger. Now when I think of my future children I don't just think of little black haired, blue eyed babies running around (a good mix of Martin and I) but maybe African babies or Asian babies or maybe just children and no babies. And this isn't just another option for us. We truly see it as where God wanted us all along.

        So, as much as I hated my mother quoting good ol' Elisabeth Elliot, I am very thankful for her wisdom on the subject of gifts. Whether it's the gift of singleness, infertility, motherhood, empty nest, poorness, uncertain future or where ever we all are - we must remember that we don't pick our gifts, God gives them and He knows what's best and it may not be for forever, but only for a season.

        Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

        Thanks Elisabeth. Thanks Mother.

        Tuesday, August 3, 2010

        Day 191 - A Long Silence and Diets

        I don't think I've gone this long without blogging since I've started. Not sure. But I've been crazy busy. When I got back San Jose, CA I hit the ground running at work getting ready for enrollment for IJS to begin. It began yesterday and PayPal, our payment provider, wouldn't let anyone pay for their courses. So yesterday was a day of panic for me but God quickly reminded me He pre-ordained this to happen before the beginning of time and I simply needed to ask for His wisdom on what to do. The problem has been solved today, thankfully.

        I've been on a new "diet." I hate calling it that although it calls itself that. It's called The Flat Belly Diet. The editor-in-chief of Prevention magazine put it out a few years ago and I heard about it through Kami who had heard about from a friend Kellyanne. And now Martin and I are doing it. I was VERY sceptical at first. I imagined a diet book with a hot pink cover and a stupid blonde on the front in a stupid bikini and it told you that you had to eat grapefruit and drink water with hot sauce in it. But Kami quickly assured me it was legit.

        I bought the quick reference guide (hooray for tiny books!) and the cookbook on for about $18.00 total (but not before previewing the book on Amazon - I sound like I'm promoting Amazon), got it two days later - it was at my door step when I got home from California.

        Here's the gist: belly fat is bad, bad, bad. It causes diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. It takes monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and puts them in every meal then combined with lean meats, fruits, veggies and healthy carbs you've got yourself a smaller belly!

        Well what has MUFAs in them? I had no idea a couple of weeks ago. They are oils, nuts, avocados, and wait for it, wait for it - dark chocolate! That's right folks - chocolate.

        Martin and I have been doing the 32 day plan and we are on the second week and love it. We eat four meals a day, no meal is over 400 calories, we eat less than 5 grams of saturated fats a day, and eat a MUFA at every meal. It gives you a shopping list for every week and the items that you should have left over from the week or weeks before are italicized so you don't buy them again. It also gives you alternatives if you don't like something or can't get a certain item.

        Here's the kicker - we don't have cravings. It's so weird. I don't feel like I'm depriving myself and I'm not hungry. Now, I'm only in my second week but this is usually the time that if I don't get a Snickers bar soon I'm going to hurt someone. I think it's because we get yummy meals (snacks) like - a whole grain waffle with a quarter cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips on top in the oven then a cup of fresh strawberries poured over it. Who needs a Snickers?

        Martin has been trying new things and I'm very proud of him. He's been more adventurous than me (what can I say - I hate sweet guacamole - give me spicy and I'll be fine but NOT sweet!). He told me he might try some stuff with mayonnaise in it. I'm not going to force the issue but hey - we might have a convert (although it's canola oil mayo but still).

        I'm not going to weigh until the 32 days is over. I'll let you know. I can tell my clothes are loose and that's enough for me at this point.

        It's a good lifestyle adapter. I like that. And August is the perfect month to try it because all the fruit and veggies are fresh and (sadly, more important to me) cheaper!

        Okay, that's all for now. I've got to get back to work. SO much to do and if I don't do it here, I do it at home.