Sunday, June 30, 2013

You Will Eat the Good

This is one of those times when I am so blown by how the Bible comes together. 

Manna falls from heaven to give sustenance to God's people. They eat, and they live. 

Jesus is the Word become flesh, to dwell among us. 

The Word tells Satan that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word of God. 

And hundreds of years earlier, the prophet Isaiah writes, 

If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land (1:19)

And the psalms beg us to taste and see that the Lord is good. 

Eat the good. 

Be satisfied.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Golden Gardens

Chipotle kindly mailed our house a buy one get one burrito coupon and Emily has been dying to use it. So we had a little roommate date.

After that, I packed a backpack with a sweater, a book, a blanket and a beverage and went to the beach. It's 5 miles from my house, and features water forest and mountains. Aka amazing. Enjoy. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Being Known

I'm coming to an end of a journal. I didn't have a back up on hand, because someone gives it to me, or I just find one I really love and buy it even thought I don't need it yet. The last time I didn't have a backup, I ended up making an emergency trip because I ran out of pages unexpectedly and I was stuck with a journal I picked out haphazardly. I am never letting that happen again

I am not artsy.

But I got it in my head that this time, I was going to design my own journal. I went to this INCREDIBLE art supply store near my house and spent about 20 minutes in the sketchbook/journal area picking out a white, 220 lined page half german book. Then I spent the next half hour selecting paints and glitter for it. A nice man asked if I needed help but I said no. When he rang me up, he asked if I'd found everything and when I said yes, he said, "I had confidence that you would"

So I went home and wondered how I was going to decorate this thing.

I've been listening to a sermon series called "I AM", and it's based on who Jesus claims to be in the Gospel of John. Of course, the way, the truth and the life played a role, and I remembered that talk that I gave at the beginning of the semester. I talked about who Jesus is and who I'm not, and how those things are linked in my understanding of the gospel, in my faith, and in the way I see the world.

And I remember the woman.

The woman who came to draw water.

The woman who was told she should be asking for it from a man with no bucket.

The woman who was known as a whore.

The woman who Jesus decided to meet.

The woman who realized living water stood before her.

The woman who said,

"Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?"

I don't think I would ever find a journal with John 4:29 printed on it. It's not a popular verse. It's not well known.

But it tells me that I am well known.

I don't know why that matters so much to me. I don't know why that fact has buried itself in my heart and cause peace like a river to flow through my being. I don't know why I'm obsessed with the more than 700 uses of the word yada (to know, to be known, to be deeply respected) in the Old Testament. And I don't know why I cry every time I read through that un-named woman's story.

But I know that God's pursuit of my heart has been complete and beautiful. I know that he has drawn me with chords of kindness and lavished his love upon me, gracing me out of his fullness. And I know that he knows all I ever did and he still made himself known to me. I feel like a woman who is trembling as I walk down the aisle to my groom, because he has waited for me and I have been so unfaithful. And he's grinning and he takes my hand and says, "I know you. And I want you to know that I love you, and nothing you do is going to make me stop". I cry because he is far too good for me, and I try to run away but, he's holding me and won't let go until I've given him my heart. And I do, and even though I keep cheating on him, he only pursues me harder. He relentlessly pursues me, no matter what.

That's what it's like to be known by Jesus.

And so that's what's on my journal,

"Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?"

Boundless Joy

Tonight, I packed a picnic dinner. I added lime juice to the beans and veggies from last night to make a salad, and brought along a water bottle full of iced coffee and a couple of those great cookies. 

And I sat here

I have to say, I like this place. A lot. I've been here almost four weeks. There's so much to discover.

 My roommates are waiting for me to get tired of the rain. I told them not to hold their breath. Em came home to me standing in our driveway last night, letting the drizzle fall on me. I can't help myself. It smells so good, and it is so beautiful, against the backdrop of all the evergreen trees. Anyway, it's going to be warm and sunny for at least the next week now. 

I saw these lyrics on twitter and loved them. The rest of the song is pretty mediocre, but this I love:

"My joy is boundless, My soul knows its worth, In arms stretching wider, Than my heart could ever fall"
Hillsong, Up In Arms

This is me, right here and right now. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Farmer's Market

Over a dozen farmer's market happen in Seattle every week. Today, I went to the one in Lake City. 

And then I made this for dinner: 

Earlier today, I'd had the brilliant idea of cooking black beans in taco seasoning. To that I added red onion, corn, yellow pepper, tomato and avocado. The avocado was from the grocery store super on sale. It was delicious! So so good! 

I also decided to bake something for my roommates: 

Coconut chocolate chip cookies! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Awkward hour snack

For that time of day when dinner is too far off and you need something small but relatively filling. 

This also uses my leftovers. Leftover naan, black beans, and a slathering of garlic hummus. Yum! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Roommate spotlight: episode 1

This is a new feature in which I will highlight something one of my roommates says or does. 

Today, we have Sandy, who recently started her 4 summer classes (of which I know 2: Pilates and how to handle lab rats). She was telling me about this party at The Gorge ( 3 hours away), 

"Have you heard about paradiso? It's this big thing with like house music and - not that I'm into that or whatever but a lot of people are..." 

Sandy, you don't have to get defensive or nervous. I'm not interested in judging your likes and dislikes. You do you. 

Nothing Holding Me Back

I think the Torwalts' album came out two years ago now. I probably wrote about it then.

I was flipping through my binder of guitar chords, and playing some, realizing how many I have now! It's crazy that I used to know about 6 songs, and now I have over well over a hundred that I play through regularly. Anyway, I hadn't played this one in a LONG time, and was struck by it:

Verse 1
Thank You for the cross that You have carried
Thank You for Your blood that was shed
You took the weight of sin upon Your shoulders
And Sacrificed Your life so I could live
Now nothing is holding me back from You
Redeemer of my soul
Now nothing can hold me back from You
Your Love will never let me go
Verse 2
Thank You for Your death and resurrection
Thank You for the power of Your blood
I am overwhelmed by Your affection
The Kindness and the Greatness of Your Love
The Kindness and the Greatness of Your Love
Verse 3
Thank You that we’re living in Your Kingdom
Jesus You’re the King upon the throne
Thank You for the way You always love me
Now I get to love You in return
Now I get to love You in return
Jesus, You make all things new

It's just so...Gospel 
Sin separated us from God. Jesus lived without sin so that He could become it on the cross, and slay it, bringing us into His Kingdom. Not that we loved God, but that He loved us. He loved us and died for us and lives ever for us, calling us into His arms. He transforms us and it is only by His grace that we love Him and are saved from our selves. 
Praise the Lord, oh my soul! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Slavery Rescue Grace

Yesterday, I went to church.


I mean, truly exhausted, desperately hoping I wouldn't fall asleep.

Saturday night, I stayed overnight at a sleepover for forty-seven 7-12 year old girls.

I didn't sleep.

Any time I could have imagined even getting close, yet another girl would come up to me, having awakened from a bad dream or with anxiety. Or there would be someone trying to jump on a trampoline or someone else telling on the other girls who were being too loud.

Once parents had taken back their children and the gym had been tidied, I ducked home for a shower, made a starbucks run, and headed off to church.

I liked this church even more than I'd remembered.

We studied Psalm 22 yesterday. I love that Pastor Andy quoted someone else who said that all psalms are Messianic in light of systematic theology. And I love that I've been reading Exodus and Deuteronomy.

Psalm 22 is what Jesus quotes on the cross when he cried out, God, my God, why have you forsaken me? 

He cries in desperation, completely abandoned, and then verse 3 says, Yet you are holy

Always remembering God's character.


Jesus knows what it is to be forsaken, and continue to trust in our Father. And that's the thing: Pastor Andy put it like this, "Jesus didn't come to make you a good person. He came to make you a son or daughter"

I sat in church, and I realized how familiar I was with the first verse or two of this psalm, and how unfamiliar I was with the rest.

Like verse 21, Save have rescued me.

The already/not yet paradox. Present in the psalms, present in the life of the Christian. Already saved, currently being sanctified.

Or verse 24, For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him 

And verse 26, The afflicted (can also be translated as meek) shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever! 

Matthew 5. Blessed are the meek, the poor in spirit. To be poor in spirit is to understand who God is and who you are and know there's a difference.

The psalm ends, He has done it 

The same way Jesus' life ends, It is finished.

And we see the promise,

And he said, "Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you. Exodus 34:10 

Pulled out of slavery to see his glory. To sing his praise.

To be his child.

The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place. Deuteronomy 1:30-31

These things were on my mind yesterday.

We sang I Shall Not Be Moved,

"Just like a tree planted by the waters, I shall not be moved"

And it just reminded me to drink fully from the presence of the Lord, to be satisfied with his richness.

I had come to be filled, and I was.

Then this morning, I started reading Steve Turner's book Amazing Grace. It's the story of John Newton, and the famous song he penned. It's his story of grace, but it's also the story of how grace has amazed millions since then.

A former slave trader, who was once enslaved himself in Africa, kept two verses near him after his conversion to Christianity, posted on his wall like this,

Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, Isaiah 43:3


Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bond-man in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee. Deuteronomy 40:15

God had always been with him, and it was God alone who rescued and redeemed him. It was this that allowed him to pen the words,

"Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!"

He was poor in spirit. He knew who he was and who God is and he saw the difference.

Sherman Whitfield, a man who came to Jesus while hearing a church sing this song said,

"When they got to the wretch part, I said, 'He's in the wretch-saving business? I said, 'I qualify. I qualify'"

John Newton writes his own understanding of depravity, "I believe our hearts are all alike, destitute of every good, and prone to every evil. Like money from the same mint, they bears the same impression of total depravity. But grace makes a difference, and grace deserves praise"

Amazing grace

Saturday, June 22, 2013

When I Was 12...

I am a shameless fan of Taylor Swift. Like a drive 4 hours to the middle of nowhere to see her first headlining tour kind of shameless. Mash up 7 minutes worth of T-Swift for the BCXC mix kind of shameless. Go to her concert with my sister and sit next to moms with their 8 year olds kind of shameless.

But this started when I was oh, about 16 or 17. You know, old enough to at least be around guys and have friends dating and whatnot. I get it.

I have long been skeptical of how young her fan base has become. I just don't think pre teens should be trying to emulate her where they are right now.

One of the girls in my class today said, "Love Story is my favorite song because I love fairy tales and princesses and weddings and brides".

Is it bad to love those things? No.

Is it perhaps problematic to constantly have value placed on being in a relationship? Yes.

I was thinking about what I listened to at that age

Maybe I'm remembering with rose-colored glasses but I feel like there were more options...

Regardless, I am so excited because I have a chance to make up some dance-y warm up routines and I have SO MANY IDEAS!

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Bunch of Things

First of all, I am officially certified in CPR and First Aid and based on all the other times I've been certified, the most pressing point about this is that I now make .06 more per hour (I have never used anything I learned in a class like this). But I also know how to preserve your life until the ambulance shows up. And how to yell at people who are making that difficult for me. 

Next up, whoever scheduled our first aid class fails. Who thought it was a good idea to have a class end at 4:30 in Seattle? Driving home was really fun. 

I have a library card! I had six choices of designs! There are twenty six branches of the Seattle Public Library, which is CRAZY. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around, because there is just one Waukesha Public Library, and one Beloit College Library. You can return books at any branch, and they all have slightly varied schedules. Many of them are not open on Fridays. I have now visited two. The one in my neighborhood is not terribly impressive, but the staff is ridiculously helpful.  

The developmental recreational program ended their season last week, and tomorrow night there is a sleepover. Guess who signed up to work that? Bring it on. 

I'm reading Exodus and I re-discovered a quote in my journal from the devotional I read at Lent, 

"They complained about the Lord's provision, not because he didn't provide, but because they weren't content with what he provided" 

Convicting much? God led the Israelites out of Egypt, provided manna for them to eat, and water always, and they complained. They were captives who had been set free and they were upset about that. How ridiculous. 

Oh wait

That's me. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Never Done

I graduated a month ago, but I still have classes to take.

I have CPR and First Aid on Friday, and then U100 with USAG which will raise my pay by $1 an hour. I can basically continue taking classes for the foreseeable future, but most of them get kind of expensive, so I'm going to spread them out.

Just when you think you're done with school, it comes back. Just remember that.

I may eventually try to get my judging certifications. I've always thought about that.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Now that the house for the summer is set, I will offer descriptions. Be warned, our house is not exactly "good" at actually talking, so much of my impressions of my roommates is based off of very little. Further, we all have weird schedules that don't really match each other so we mostly see each other in passing.

Sandy. Sandy is Korean. She was born in the US, and is from Bellevue, WA, but cooks Korean food all the time. I have not actually seen her eat meat, but that doesn't mean she doesn't. Her mom likes to drink; they left a restaurant because they were between liquor licenses and not serving alcohol. Sandy likes country music, especially Kenny Chesney. She walked at graduation (U-Washington) last week but still has to take summer classes in order to officially have her degree in psychology. She has a job at some sort of medical clinic or something and self-describes her drunken state as being elephant like,  despite being very small. She lives at this house year round. I think Sandy is the most extroverted of our house, and she is always very nice. She thinks Beloit College sounds like a dream come true (obviously). Oh, and she's currently in Mexico and I taught her how to pay for checked baggage online to make airports easier. She doesn't fly. She's also bad at cleaning her hair out of the when you're the only dark long hair in the house...we ALL KNOW WHO IT IS

Emily. Emily also graduated from U-Wash last week, pre-med. She is staying here over the summer in order to take an MCAT prep class or something of that nature. She is from northern Washington, or as she likes to say, almost Canada. Her mom is very bubbly and fun to talk to. Emily pretty much always wears basketball shorts and a fleece, and is known for not going out and always always always studying. She is at home next to Canada currently but I think she is coming back here soon. I have only seen her eat Rice-A-Roni, cereal, frozen pizza and chipotle burritos. She also likes country music. Emily is very sweet, even though we haven't actually seen each other that much. She wants me to teach her the guitar this summer, which I am definitely not qualified for, but I do have a Taylor Swift song book which I know for a fact she will like, and also all the stuff my teacher gave me when I first started so I will improvise.

Cat. She is from Ohio, but goes to an arts school (Cornish) in Seattle so she's familiar with the area. She is one of three sub leasers (including me). Cat and I have talked the most. She's lived in several different Seattle neighborhoods so she's been giving me tips on apartment hunting for Liztowne and I. She has a bunch of sisters and crazy stories from working at the downtown Forever 21. She misses her dog a whole lot. She also works at the Space Needle restaurant, which I think would be pretty cool. Cat also wishes her school were more like Beloit (again, duh. It's the best). She's taking a class this fall on how to design apps for phones and such! She's always drawing. We went to the park together on Sunday. Cat consumes more coffee than I do, and also enjoys cinnamon raisin bread, texas toast, and oatmeal. Sometimes ice cream. Cat is bummed because her friends are in bands that play in places she can't go to because they card and she is only 20.

Caroline. Caroline moved in yesterday so I don't know her story at all. Except she is rumored to be from Michigan and she is doing some kind of internship involving the environment. When I met her for a second, there was also a boy with her and he had a car but in the morning the boy and car were both gone so I don't know if they drove here from Michigan or what the deal is. I have literally not seen her. I peeked in her room though because she left the door open and she has a mac, and a copy of jane eyre on the desk. Her shoe collection is basically keens and hiking boots, and she has several frolfing discs. And some plaid/flannel. Oh, and she went grocery shopping and put vanilla yogurt, a quart of strawberries and mixed salad greens in the fridge and blue jello and a bag of unidentified food items on her shelf.

Cat and Caroline don't have cars so they could not get excited with me that I found gas 6 cents cheaper than the city median today on my way to work. But Betsy and Alissa were enthused via text message so I'm glad they've got my back.

The 5 of us girls should be able to make things work until the end of August. So far, we are all nice to each other, but mostly we keep to ourselves. Emma told me her first roommate when she moved here said, "I don't have to like you. We can just live here". Um so it could be weirder I guess.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

An Anchor For My Soul

Word play title guys, I'm so clever.

I found a church! It's called Anchor (now you get it I'm so funny). It's tiny but has a sweet website and a cool app that has all the sermons, and a built-in Bible with a daily reading plan.

It meets at the Wallingford Boys and Girls Club, around the corner and down the street (a mile) from my house.

This morning, I was walking and a guy who seriously resembled stevehaus opened the door for me. I went upstairs to the room...more like an area...where the congregation meets and there was coffee and a few people filing in (I was 10 minutes early). There was a guy playing the guitar, finishing up worship practice. He made eye contact with me and when he was done, came over and introduced himself and explained a little more about Anchor. The worship was really great, and I felt very home there. Then came the sermon, which is kind of a moment of truth. Pastor Andrew preached out of Psalms 1 and 2, and there was SO MUCH GOSPEL. ALL ABOUT THE GOSPEL. So that basically sealed the deal.

We took communion mostly independently, but we did pray together and read Scripture so I am willing to let this one point I wanted in a church go. And during this time, there was space for people to share words that they felt were for the church. A lot of freedom, a lot of joy. More wonderful worship, simple, but joyful.

Afterwards a bunch of people came and met me...when you're new at a small church it's generally quite obvious.

Overall, I think this is it guys! Now we can't move too far away from here, Liztowne.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


So I finally remembered to take a picture of me eating something delicious with meat! 

Chicken and broccoli in a garlic butter lime sauce. I used a clove of garlic, 2 ish tablespoons of butter, cilantro, penzey's fox point mix, pepper, half a lime, and fried it up in pan. It tastes soooo good! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

It is because of the Lord

I was flipping through my journal somewhat haphazardly and I came across two thoughts that were separate at the time but now seem so inextricably linked and it's amazing.

First was a quote from AW Pink's commentary on John (This point was taken from his chapter on John 11:11-27)

It is not until we cease to depend upon ourselves that we begin to depend upon God 

Then, a verse, from one of my top 60 books of the Bible (see what I did there? But really, it probably is in my top 10)

It is because of the Lord's mercy and lovingkindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Do you see it?

I didn't then.

But I do now.

It is because of the Lord.

The Lord.

Not me.

Not you.

Not us.

But the Lord.

Our mercy, when we feebly scrape it from the depths of ourselves, will not save us. Our lovingkindness pales compared to His. Our deepest compassions are but a glimpse of our Father's. We are weak and empty and only scratching the surface in learning what it means to be faithful.

Which is why we can't depend on ourselves. And when we cease to do so, we are thrust whole-heartedly into the arms of our Maker and Savior.

It isn't because of us.

It's because of the Lord.

Veggie Quesadilla

I know this is my second meal idea and it's also vegetarian but mostly I was too lazy to cook meat. 

Get yourself some shredded cheese, a red pepper, some pre-cooked black beans, some read onion and fold it into a tortilla. Grill it on medium-high heat for about 90 seconds each side and you've got yourself a lightly crispy quesadilla. 

Top with the fixings of your liking and enjoy! 

Even if none of y'all care about my cooking, at the very least it will be a guarantee that I am in fact eating and I can look back for my own records when I'm stuck in a slump. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Interpretation We All Need

I've written about the Jesus Story Book Bible several times before, but it is so important.

It sounds silly that I so often sit reading a children's book but it is simple.

Simple isn't bad.

Simple isn't silly.

It's basic.

It's essential.

It's life giving.

It is water to a thirsty soul.

My friend Tina suffers from pretty serious depression. She has had a heavy load to bear, and it got heavier when her dad died in April. When she came to visit me in March, because she was tired and needed rest and didn't know where to go, I provided the best that I could. I listened. I tried. I sat. I hugged. I prayed. I lamented with her. I mourned with her. I gave her Reese's cups and we worshiped and sometimes we cried but sometimes we laughed.

And we sat, reading, on my bed, drinking coffee.

And she looked at me and said,

"Kate, have you ever dealt with depression?"

I breathed heavy, "No, Tina, I never have"

"People who haven't been depressed don't understand what it's like"

"Tell me, Tina. How do you feel"

"I feel trapped. Like my mind is a prison. Because I know in my head that God is good and that He has blessed me with people who love me but I keep telling myself it's all a lie and that my friends don't really like me and my dad has quit on me and that God could never love me. Every minute of my day is a battle, and every night is filled with nightmares and I am exhausted. I want it to be so "

I'm at a loss for words. I muster some up and say, "Thank you, Christina for sharing that. You are brave. You are strong. You are empty, always waiting to be filled with the exact amount of grace you need for each moment"

She hands me a picture book. "Have you ever seen this? It's wonderful. It's the Gospel for children, all throughout the Bible"

I didn't know how this related to what we were talking about.

I read,

"You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children - with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God's children would miss him always, and long for him - lost children yearning for their home...'I'm going to do battle against the snake. I'll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I'm coming back for you!' And he would. One day, God himself would come"

And I felt it.

I felt the breath of fresh air rush through my soul, right over the fountain of living water.

I looked up, and she said, "Sometimes I am so tired I can't read my Bible. And I'm too scared to face God. But I read this and He reaches me"

When you are tired, you don't want to go mattress shopping. You just want a place to rest your head.

When you're thirsty, you don't need a hundred choices of exotic drinks. You just need a glass of water.

When life is hard and complicated, sometimes, you just need a little bit more simple.

And so this children's interpretation has found its home with me. At school, it was in my backpack with me every day, for breaks in the library and moments of being overwhelmed. And now it rests on the table right next to my bed, always ready to be delved into, even for five minutes of filling.

Quiet Desperation

Crazy Mrs. Zinos introduced me to Henry David Thoreau in Pre-AP English sophomore year of high school. One of his quotes has long been stuck in my head,

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation"

I have wondered what that really means. What are they desperate for? At times, I have also wondered if I am one of those men leading a life of quiet desperation.

How do you stop being desperate?

How do you stop always looking at what's next and focusing in on what is now?

I was considering this when I got into my car this morning, and there was Christy Knockels coming through the stereo,

Let me be most satisfied in You. 

What is the secret?

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:11

The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalm 34:10 

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed,
  and meditate on you in the watches of the night;for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. Psalm 63:5-7

For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. Psalm 107:9

My schedule right now is not all the way yet - I'm still training, and it's the end of the session. Then there are two weeks off; I may have some hours, but not as many as I will have. And then there will still be Tuesday mornings and Fridays. So I am submitting requests to volunteer, and making lists of fun things to do for low/no cost. 

Because there is no waiting for the next great thing. God is great, all the time, and He is always here.  

God is right now. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

And Oh Yeah, Give Up Your Idols

That's the katefinman translation of 1 John 5:21.

Over the last two days, I've been reading 1 John; the epistle is so full of the character of God versus the character of men, and on why and how the testimony of life in Christ can be trusted.

On and on we learn about who the Lord is without any mention of idolatry. And then, in the closing, it appears:

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

That's it. Those are the last two versus in the letter.

It so struck me as I read it. It's almost to say, now that you know God is love and faithful and true, why would you want anything else?

This has been such a great pairing with the Screwtape Letters, because the tempters work so hard to get the humans to focus on anything but God, because they are oh so aware of His nature and His desires. And that's exactly what the letter reminds us - God is good, give Him your all.

Cooking for One on the Cheap

I know I've only been doing this a little over a week now, but some friends and I have been discussing this so I thought I'd share what I've learned so far.

- Have groceries at home! If you don't have food already at your house, going to pick something up will seem too convenient to pass up.

- Buy stuff you use a lot in bulk - it can be stored or frozen. There's a store here that sells oatmeal, cereals, flours, granolas, etc by the pound, which is pretty great. Oatmeal is actually just great because you can add so many things to it (brown sugar, any fruit, maple syrup, chocolate chips, instant coffee. Look at 2 for sales even if you won't use it all right away. Meats, cheeses, breads can so easily be frozen.

- Invest in herbs and spices. I have a starter spice box and picked up a few other things, including a window basil plant for my room. It is super easy to make ok food taste great! I had to get dried cilantro (booo) but it's still good. CIlantro plants are actually pretty hard to maintain and I am not exactly a star plant person. A head of garlic is also a good idea. Maybe that's just me. Oh, and onions! Limes too. Chicken and lime, black beans and lime. Lime garlic butter sauce for pasta. So good.

- Produce! I think this is what I spent a good chunk of my budget on. Veggies and fruits make great snacks, sides, and even toppings for everything else. I also picked up some cream cheese, hummus, and peanut butter that compliment these well.

- Don't be afraid to cook two or three meals' worth of food at once. It can be stored! I did this with chicken tacos that I made. Actually I do this with almost everything I make.

- Prepping dried black beans can be a little annoying (read: time consuming) but they are really easy to season and combine with other things. I ended up adding some to the chicken tacos, and it was great.

- Don't forget good snacks. I already mentioned produce, but I also like having peanut butter and rice cakes, white cheddar cheez-its, gold fish, etc on hand. It's also better to make your own granola bars than buy them. Seriously. They test better, they're fresher, there are less preservatives, and they will cost you less.

- This might also just be a personal problem, but I work over dinner 4 nights a week (3-8:30/9), and by the time I get home I really don't feel like cooking. I eat a bigger "lunch" pretty late, close to when I leave, and then I put the leftovers in the fridge to heat up when I come home.

- Go to the store with a list and at least a few meal ideas, ok? If you just buy random stuff, then when you get home you may not have any decent meals you can put together.

- Oh, and don't freak out the first time you go shopping. The first time you get groceries, you'll need to get everything, so the bill will be higher than what you'd normally expect for the weeks after.

I think that's it for now. I'll add "post grad cooking for one" to the list of books I'm supposed to write one day.

Monday, June 10, 2013

C.S. Lewis' Best Work

I know the Chronicles of Narnia are what made him a household name. And I love Mere Christianity, The Weight of Glory, Surprised by Joy and The Great Divorce as much as the next person, but when it comes down to it, nothing beats

The Screwtape Letters.

Hear me out, ok.

For those of you unfamiliar with the title, I'll fill you in. The entire book is a series of letters written from Uncle Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood. Screwtape and Wormwood both work for the devil, as tempters, and though Screwtape is a master, his nephew is just learning the craft. They are assigned people on earth, and it is their duty to keep them from becoming Christians. They are the antithesis of guardian angels if you will. Screwtape attempts to educate Wormwood on how to exploit human weaknesses and caution him against the nature of God, or as he calls Him, "The Enemy".

The book is pure brilliance, I'm telling you. Some people struggle a little bit because what is good to the Christian is bad in this book. So Satan is "Our Father", God is "The Enemy" and Screwtape talks about winning men over in sin.

Check it out -

"Once you have made the world an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man"

"if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles"

"Pleasure is His invention, you know"

"They will then progress quietly and comfortably towards Our Father's house"

"We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow's end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heal the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present"

#eucharisteo #1000gifts

"They will find out in the end, never fear, to whom their time, their souls, and their bodies really belong - certainly, not to them"

Debbie gave a wonderful talk at InterVarsity about entitlement vs entrustment; we don't deserve our time, or any of the gifts we receive, but they are given us that His name be great.

"Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are 'pleasures for evermore'"

"We thus distract men's minds from who He (Jesus) is, and what He did"

"What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call 'Christianity and'"

This is so powerful, in that is shows that when Christ is not our full devotion, and we yet cling to something else, we remain in the hands of our enemy.

The Screwtape Letters is legitimately one of the best books I have ever read, and I probably say that a lot, but when you read a lot of books, you get to have a lot of bests, ok?

If I had to make a top 5 right now, Screwtape would be in it. (Along with...1,000 Gifts, Desiring God, Chosen by God,  andddd I'm going to go ahead and throw Anna Karenina in there. Just because I can).

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Church Hopping (Updated)

This morning, I went to Mars Hill U-District. Mars Hill is an enormous church spread out among at least a dozen campuses. Its headed by a famous senior pastor, Mark Driscoll, who's known for stirring up some controversy. It's a very young adult oriented church, and makes its sermons available online as podcasts, but that's not the only way they light up itunes charts. There are a number of Mars Hill bands that lead worship with a lot of original songs each week.

I decided to check it out because I was familiar with it.

I don't think I'll be returning.

I liked that someone, Jamie - 2 years out of school and in civil engineering - invited me to sit with her and her husband. She told me a little more about how the church works and invited me to her community group this week.

I liked that even though I had no chance of knowing the music, I was still able to pick up on the words. This is always, for me, a mark of Spirit-led worship.

I LOVED seeing husbands and wives praying together over communion.


I did not like that music very much. There was a bizarre rock version of Be Thou My Vision and that was as close as it came to what I'd be comfortable with.

It did not feel like a family. At RVC, people knew each other and they talked and the old and the young all meshed together and were involved in each others lives.

I did not like that we watched a screen of Pastor Mark preaching at another campus. I want to know the pastor who is teaching me each week.

While I thought much of what he said was biblically consistent, there were some elements that I did not find to be accurate, nor did I think some of flippancy was anywhere near appropriate.

The gospel was not explicitly preached and taught

I did not like taking communion individually.

So, although it's tempting to be at a church where I could meet other people my age very easily, I'm going to have to move on.

What's great about living in a younger person oriented area is that there are a lot of churches with evening services. So I'm actually going to hit up The City Church tonight. Stay tuned.


I did go to the City Church and it was better but not enormously better.

First off, I think that going to church in U-district may be the problem. The churches are all geared toward younger people and even though I am one, I don't usually like those churches that much. I'm going to be moving, though, so I'm not sure how invested I want to get before I figure out where I'll be living. I do need somewhere to be fed in the meantime though.

I liked that a girl named Felicia met me at the door and got to know me a little, including introducing me to other people there, and showing me around the building.

I liked that I was familiar with most of the worship we did. There was also a joyful freedom. I received pictures while we were worshiping, and it was definitely Spirit-filled.

I liked that I got a card for a free latte at the coffee shop during the week.

The gospel was at least mentioned. I felt like the pastor missed a number of opportunities to be more explicit, though.

I did not like the screen preaching. Seattle, what's up with you? Despite the dozens of churches I've visited, I've never been preached at from a screen and now twice in one day!

The preaching pastor had a lot of fluff. I don't like fluff in church. A little, sure, but 1/3 of the sermon time, no.

This might be an ok summer church. I'm not trying to be picky, RVC did everything I could have wanted, I think.

Bible believing
Gospel preaching
Traditional and contemporary worship
LIVE pastor who knew me and made an effort to know everyone in his church
Lots of opportunities to be involved
Prayer focused
Discipleship oriented
Communion explained, Scripture read, taken together
Baptism explained, testimony shared (believer's baptism)

If you've seen one of these in the Seattle area, please let me know.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Betsy and Alissa have already heard me raving about the app, but what can I say? I'm a girl obsessed. is a free budget planning tool (you can use it online if you don't have a smart phone, too). You set budgets for different categories, like rent, car payment, insurance, groceries, restaurants, gas, etc, and enter in your monthly income. You can also add in one-time purchases, or go bi-weekly if you're really fancy. It syncs with your bank account(s) to itemize your spending, and also allows you to record cash purchases. It sends you alerts when you're nearing your budget max for a specific category, lets you know how much you have left for the month and gives suggestions on ways to save. What I really like about it is the "goals" feature. I have goals of a trip to LA and apartment furnishings, and it helps you calculate how much you'll need to meet your goals, and how much you should save each month based on your time frame (or in how much time you'll meet your goal based on how much you can put aside). I love this feature because it automatically subtracts your goal money from your expendable dough. That way, you don't even feel like you can spend that money, but if it were an emergency, you'd still have it.

I cannot recommend this tool enough! I think it's going to make it so much easier to keep track of what I'm doing and have fun, too.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Work and Such

I started my new job! They have a very intense training process, so I will begin teaching my own classes in July. My off days are likely going to be Friday and Sunday. I will be working in the recreational gym, with all ages. The cool part about SGA is that they have a recreational team program as well. It's different from what I'm used to, but I think it's really exciting. With USAG, a lot of girls fall through the cracks. They can't get their backhand spring, and they never get to compete. Or they can't get their kip and end up quitting. SGA provides a fun and challenging space for girls who are never going to be great to be able to practice, set goals, and compete.  

Stay tuned on that. 

I had a fun time tonight chatting with the other girl who is subletting, Cat. She's from Ohio but goes to an arts school here. She also doesn't really know anyone here because her friends went home because it is summer. 

But Seattle is nice. It is for sure the most pedestrian friendly place I have ever experienced. The summers are nice and mild, and everyone warned me about how everyone freaks out when it snows a few inches in the winter. 

I am also out of shape. I don't know if it's this place or re-reading eat and run or coaching or the combo, but I want to be healthier. But I'm not going vegan anytime soon, folks, don't worry. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Believing That God is Good

I am beginning to feel more comfortable here. I know my way around the U-District pretty well and am figuring out how the city and metro area are laid out. I like hanging out around campus. There's a cool view of the city, with the mountains in the distant horizon. 

My roommates are nice people but I don't think we'll really be friends, which is ok. 

For the first time in my life, I am not on a sports team and there aren't a hundred clubs for me to join and I am not in class and I don't live in a hall full of different people. This got me wondering how I'm supposed to meet people and meet friends. I will be joining a church. Once I know my wok schedule, I want to look into volunteering. And maybe I will be friends with people I work with. Maybe. It is very different from my past experiences, when everyone is looking for someone. Here, I'm stepping onto a scene that already exists, and I'm trying to find my place. 

I was reading James just now, and the second half of 5:11 caught my eye: you have seen the purpose of The Lord, how The Lord is compassionate and merciful. 

The history of the faith, the church, is given to us in the Bible, as rocks on which to build our faith. God shows us His faithfulness and endurance throughout history to give us solid ground on which to stand, in all circumstances.  When Paul writes in Romans that God is making all things work to our good, it's not something he's just saying to make us feel better, it is built on countless proofs and providence. It has been tested and demonstrated time and time again. 

And that is the source of our delight and comfort. When we're told in Psalm 37:4 to delight ourselves in The Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. A lot of people take that to mean that if they can just prove to God how much they love Him, then He will give them what they want. But I have reason to believe it is not so. 

I think that when we are truly delighted in The Lord, He overwhelms our desires. We want more of Him and His will. We began to want more of what He wants for us and suddenly the desires of our hearts are no longer distinct from His. We begin to radiate an incorrigible joy, echoing John the Baptist in saying, this joy of mine is now complete. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


After recovering from the hike, I checked out some local things. I went to a coffee shop and drank milk tea! And I visited a used book store where I restrained myself and only bought two books. I sat on the university grass under a tree and read. I listened to everyone discuss the heat (it's 80) and had a good laugh. I have been here 3 days now and there has been no sight or sound of rain. I am mildly disappointed as a rain enthusiast but I am sure there will be plenty more to come. 

Although I just checked the weather and there is no rain predicted for the next week. I feel deceived. How am I supposed to put Barry's gift to good use? 

Soaking up the sun in Seattle. 

Hit By A Bird

This morning I woke up and somewhat impulsively decided I wanted to go hiking today. Yesterday was spent exploring a lot of the city and metro area so I thought I'd take a nice little drive today. 

I drove about an hour to arrive at River Meadows Park. It was beautiful. I am glad I took today to do something like this. I now know a good way to spend days off. 

The trails were not well marked, but it was easy enough to navigate. I had packed lunch and a blanket and a book so I was very happy for several hours.  

And yes, a small bird flew right into me. I'm not sure who was more frightened. 

Here are some pictures.  

I don't think you can tell from the picture, but I am actually in a tree here. I hung out there for awhile. 

I had a great time and was planning on exploring my neck of the urban jungle a little more but I am suddenly very sleepy. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Psalm 23 3 Ways

I think everyone who needs a little soul rest and comfort needs to turn here, and soak.  


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of The Lord forever. 


The Lord is my shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me]; I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him - not for my learning it, but] for His name's sake. Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cups runs over. Surely goodness, mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of The Lord [and His presence] shall be y dwelling place. 

Oh how I love His presence! I love this amplification. At the hipster church the pastor taught on prayer. He said, "prayer is not so we can have what we want, but so we can have God". There it is, it's about presence. 

Jesus Storybook Bible

God is my Shepherd
And I am his little lamb. 

He feeds me 
He guides me
He looks after me. 
I have everything I need. 

Inside, my heart is very quiet. 
As quiet as lying still in soft green grass
In a meadow
By a little stream. 

Even when I walk through 
The dark lonely scary places
I won't be afraid 
Because my Shepherd knows where I am

He is here with me 
He keeps me safe
He rescues me 

He makes me strong
And brave. 

Resting here in the evergreen state. 


So this morning I woke up in Seattle. I think I've finally begun to understand this moving thing. There are a lot of things that are hard. In an answer to a prayer I hadn't thought to pray, my friend Kelsey checked in with me today. 

Kelsey was traveling the world, but had home bases in smaller spaces when she married a California surfer dude. She moved to San Diego, and I'd known it was a pretty big transition for her. 

She shared some of her experiences with me: 

Yes, it takes time. Moving is always hard and the west coast is very different. Try not to let discouragement take root as you settle, it just takes time. I used to get very discouraged about living in san Diego. But as I adjusted more and more it became easier. 


Its hard to prepare yourself for such a big change. I think I underestimated how hard it would be. My regret is that I assumed because it was hard, that I was doing something wrong. And now I  feel like that is the case. I think some things are just truly, genuinely hard. 

This was very helpful and encouraging to hear. I also feel somewhat similar to some of the things I went through last year in Dakar. I had to learn to make a few mistakes and be wrong and ask questions but it was all more than worth it in the end. 

I'm looking forward to this feeling like home. I'm already very familiar with I-5 aka how to get anywhere without going nuts. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Long long long long long long day

This morning, still in Boise, I went to the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. It was awe striking. Not only did it honor Anne, her family and friends, and those who hid them, but it also served as a place to remember other human rights violations throughout the world and history, and to inspire us to make change where it is needed. I was blown away. I was also mildly upset by those who casually jogged or rode their bikes through the park. Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but this is an important place, with an important message and I think it deserves some respect. 

There were quotes from so many human rights leaders and victims. 

Then I went to a very hipster church plant in downtown Boise. The service was better than I expected after the Mumford and sons start. Everyone was very friendly and the gospel was preached. 

Then I had a hard drive the first 6 hours were just real long. Then the traffic was crazy. I finally found a place to park in the city and then I had to call Betsy because I was stressed and overwhelmed. I ended up getting back on the freeway to go to a nearby mall so I could have a place to relax because I can't meet my roommates for another 45 minutes now. 

I am really glad Liztowne and I aren't living in the city. I  should be able to handle 3 months once I get used to it, but indefinitely? No. 

Ok I am in my summer home now. My roommates seem like we will get along just fine. My room will also be good. I can basically live anywhere though so I wasn't concerned about that. 

I have kind of a lot to do and figure out but that will happen ndank ndank (step by step). 

I still can't really grasp what I just did. I know I said I'm looking forward to being in  one place but now that I'm here I'm less sure. But once I start the job and find a nice church I'm sure I could feel differently. I think I have chronic postgrad/moving syndrome. I will recover. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Mormons and Mountains

Today was again beautiful. I sound like a broken record, but I believe this just confirms that I am a west coast girl at heart. I spent the morning feeding my Mormon obsession in Salt Lake. I took an embarrassing number of pictures. There was a young adults conference also visiting temple square and I think people just thought I was Mormon, too. The salt lake folks were super friendly and nice. I justified my extensive amount of time there with my religious studies degree. 

I won't bore everyone too long, but here's a glimpse. 

This is the salt lake temple. There were people around and based on my knowledge of Mormon sacraments, it was a wedding! I obviously couldn't crash because you need a temple recommend, but it was still pretty cool. 

These are 130 year old blessing gowns from a smith child and a young child, respectively. I went to the museum of church history and art. Mormonism is the only religion that was started in the US. 


I finally got going and eventually landed in Boise. It was your standard 5 hour drive through the rolling hills, ya know. 

Sometimes I forget how far I am from where I was. Then someone checks by ID and is like, whoa, what are you doing out here?! Part of me is sad that the road trip is almost over but the other part is pumped to be in Seattle and settle in to a new home. 

I think it would have been more hindrance than help to have a co-pilot. I only have to worry about myself and my gas tank. I don't have to worry about someone else complaining about the number of John Piper sermons I listen to or consecutive belt outs of All Too Well. I also think most people have to go to the bathroom more than once every 5 hours. I am glad I got to see some friends along the way, though. If I had to go 4 days without seeing a single familiar face, I think it could have gotten lonely. Even introverts need friends sometimes. 

Tip of the day: even if your hotel has a restaurant, find someplace else within walking distance. It's a nice way to stretch your legs after driving all day. Unless the weather is really bad I guess. I've enjoyed it, though. I also don't really stop during the day so I am more excited about the prospect of being outside somewhere other than a gas station. 

Also, make sure your swimsuit is accessible! Even if you just sit in the hot tub, it's nice.