Friday, October 31, 2008

Who's a dork? That would be me...

So back in May, I heard that they were going to publish a study version of the ESV (English Standard Version) Bible. I was SO excited. I've never had a study Bible before (study bibles have notes at the bottom of each page that commentate on the verses you just read- helps sometimes when you just aren't understanding what is going on). So, I pre-ordered from Amazon in August and waited for October 15th...and waited...and waited after October 15th...where's my Bible? So I look on Amazon and the Bible is still on my shopping list! Wait, did I not purchase it? Guess not. Okay, I will buy it "again".

So then yesterday, I get this little nastygram on my apartment door telling me that if I don't pick up my package by today, they will return to the post office. I am thinking "wow guys, my package must have just gotten here because I ordered it this weekend...uber sensitive about packages sitting around aren't we?". So I check my mail and sure enough, there is a friendly little orange card from the post office saying I have a package. So when I go into the apt office, she hands me my Amazon box. As I turn to go, she says "oh wait, here's another". With crinkled brow I take the other package. Yes, you guessed it...I am now the proud owner of TWO ESV study Bibles- one in genuine leather and one in TruTone...(I'm keeping the was cheaper :) ). I am such a dork. If I would have just checked the right email account, I would have seen that Amazon had shipped it on October 15th as promised. Hehe...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My first running injury

That would be a torn gastroneimus muscle, or what most people call your calf muscle. After a week of icing it and limping along, I decide the looming Mud Run was looking a bit iffy the way I was feeling, so I went to see a sports medicine person today and thus the diagnosis. I did my first PT session (deep tissue massage and torn muscle=Melissa about to kick the guy in the face with the other foot while she quips "so what's the point of this massage, I mean besides to cause me lots of pain?"- good thing he had a sense of humor). I've got 5 more sessions scheduled before the race...which the doc says is still possible, we'll know more after this's to fast recovery!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


The title really should be "God hugs". I know that sounds weird, but bear with me. As believers in Christ, we all KNOW that God listens to us...but sometimes it feels as if He isn't. These past two weeks for me have been filled with little moments where I feel like God is giving me a hug, saying "I am hearing you". I have been overwhelmed with what the world would call "coincidences" or "that's weird" moments. God has been confirming what He is teaching me and how I am applying it in my life, left and right, and I just feel so blessed to have that knowledge and tangible reassurance.

Besides the amazing message I got to hear at church today, which confirmed my blog from Thursday, I purchased the latest album from Sovereign Grace Music, and lo and behold my favorite psalm ever, Psalm 130, is one of the psalms they did...and here are the lyrics...once again confirming my blog from Thursday- which could probably be subtitled "The Big Picture". God is so good.

Out of the depths, O Lord, I cry to You
When I am tempted to despair
Though I might fail to trust Your promises
You never fail to hear my prayer
And if You judged my sin
I’d never stand again
But I see mercy in Your hands

So more than watchmen for the morning
I will wait for You, my God
When my fears come with no warning
In Your Word I’ll put my trust
When the harvest time is over and I still see no fruit
I will wait, I will wait for You

The secret mysteries belong to You
We only know what You reveal
And all my questions that are unresolved
Don’t change the wisdom of Your will
In every trial and loss
My hope is in the cross
Where Your compassions never fail

For those of you who are interested, here is Psalm 130 (ESV), which those lyrics are based on:

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my please for mercy!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for morning
more than watchmen for the morning

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast
and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities

Friday, October 24, 2008


That is the sound that my heart is making right now...ouch.

Please pray for my Grandma. Her name is Dorothy. We found out last week that she has stage II breast cancer. She's 86 and has decided not to do anything, which I can understand. She's the sweetest grandma ever, so its unimaginable to think of her being in pain- that's what makes it the hardest.

I also just heard that my aunt, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a year ago and has been in remission for several months, now has to start chemo again. Please pray for her (Laurie).

I hate cancer.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


As I drove over to Irma's this morning, I was wondering what I was going to be studying next...I had finished going over my favorite chapter, Isaiah 43 and didn't quite know where to move onto next. As we sat down to study, I flipped through the Psalms and stopped at Psalm 65. As I read through it, some of the phrases started catching my eyes:

"awesome deeds", "farthest seas", "ends of the earth", "full of water", "girded with might", "roaring of seas, waves", "overflowing with abundance", "crown the year", "joy, shout, sing"

This psalm describes the acts of God and I started thinking about the bolded words and how those were significant in describing God Himself, as in not only His actions, but how that speaks of His character.

God does not stop halfway. His works are awesome, full, mighty, overflowing, abundant, they crown our life, raising shouts of joy and singing from within us...they are unending- reaching to every corner of our heart and life. And so is God. And He doesn't change.

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ"- Philippians 1:6

"Also henceforth, I am he, there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?"- Isaiah 43:13

"equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory, forever and ever, amen"- Hebrews 13:21

"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

The totality and supremacy of God's work and presence in our lives should astound us . It cannot be undone, or surpassed by anything of this world. A friend may bless us in one moment and hurt our feelings in the next- as we are only human. God may bless and God may bring troubles and trials into our lives, but He is not troubling or trialing us to hurt us- remember that He can see the big picture- He is expressing His love for us- disciplining and preparing and tempering us for some purpose and reason that He has yet to reveal.

In a world that is insecure and ever changing from moment to moment, how great is the knowledge of knowing His love for us and that He is permanent- in all aspects!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dynamo into the playoffs!

Well, regardless of the outcome of tonight's soccer game, Dynamo would have been in the playoffs, but their win tonight marks the first time they are going into the playoffs as first place in the Western conference! Great game against LA Galaxy (no, Beckham was not there...). It was a shutout- 3-0...all three goals within the first 25 minutes of the game. Awesome!

The lineup (the stadium was packed tonight!)

Me and Erin

Odds and Ends

Half Marathon-3 months and counting! 3 months from today I will be at approximately mile 6 of my first half marathon!

I got my OFFICIAL USA Triathlon membership yesterday...and a cool sticker that is now gracing my rear windshield :). For every triathlon you do, you have to pay for insurance...its cheaper to buy the year long USAT membership if you plan on doing three or more tris a year (which I plan to do) so, its worth it. Plus, you get a cool sticker. Now tell me that's not motivation...

I made my half training schedule last weekend, working in three other races between now and 1/18/2009...the Mud Run 10K (which is really more fun than a least I hope!), the Pearland 10 mile Jingle Jog at the beginning of December and then...I talked my brother (who is also training for a half-marathon, except he runs a 6ish minute mile!) to doing a 30k (18.64 miles) relay race on Dec 21st in we will each run about 9.3 miles apiece.

I am so excited that God has blessed me with such great health over this past year that these athletic goals are becoming realities. I went a year without needing any steroid injections to control inflammation. Of course, 3 5Ks, a 10K, a sprint tri, and a flight lead later, I had to bite the bullet and get doped up this week for a minor flare which consisted of costochondritis (the connective tissue between my ribs was swelling...pushing the ribs apart...ouch!)...but I am feeling MUCH better and even went for a easy run this morning :). Yay for God's grace and presence in my life!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pumpkin Bread/Muffin recipe

I've had several people ask for the pumpkin bread recipe. So here it is (you can also find it on page 624 of the old version of The Joy of Cooking...however, I have changed it some ( I use both brown and white sugar a different spices)).

Canned pumpkin from scratch:

Cut a pie pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds and string. Place face down on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 deg for 1 hr or until super soft. Scoop out soft pumpkin from shell and blend or put through a ricer to obtain smooth texture. Makes ~ 1 cup "canned" pumpkin (depends on the size of the pumpkin- of course)

Pumpkin Bread

Sift together:
1 3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1/4tsp double acting baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4tsp ginger

In a bowl, beat 2/3 c brown sugar, 2/3c white sugar, 1/3c shortening, and 2 eggs.
Add and beat in 1 c canned pumpkin

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl alternately with 1/3 c milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla. Beat only enough to make sure flour mixture/milk is mixed in- don't over beat.

Place in a greased bread pan and back at 350 deg for ~ 1hr. For muffins, place batter in muffin cups and bake (eh.. ~ 20 minutes or so...keep an eye on them).

The Joy of Cooking recipe calls for cloves in the spices, but I used ginger can vary the amounts of spice based on your personal preferences.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Being domestic...

So I finally had time today to get several things done today: oil change and vehicle inspection (I've been driving around illegally since October started-oops)...3 loads of laundry, I cleaned the living room, dining room, bathroom, and kitchen (for some reason I always save my bedroom for last- which is why it never gets cleaned :) )...and I made pumpkin bread/muffins. I'm headed over to Pam's for the night- Girls Group starts tomorrow and we have planning to do!!!! I'm excited about the new girls who are joining and can't wait to see what God is going to do with our group this year.

Baked pumpkins

You scoop out the soft stuff from the baked pumpkin and then put it through a ricer (the device on the left hand side of the picture) to give it a smoother texture

Finished product! The brown spots on the muffins are a streusel topping...I tend to put too much butter in my streusel topping so its gooey before cooking..however, this allows it to soak into the muffin more, so even though they looking kinda leprosy-ily, they still taste good...notice the missing one? Yum! These are for distribution...

PA part two

Jana and I saw these really neat looking mum decorations outside a cafe, so she bought a pumpkin and some mums and we proceeded to make one to put outside their place after church on Sunday. The neighbor kids joined in and we had a pumpkin carving fest...too bad Houston doesn't have a fall, I think I would enjoy that season very much...we don't really have a fall in Arizona either. Although, I did buy two pumpkins the other day (they are currently baking and will be made into pumpkin bread today) and Home Depot had mums...after the PA experience, it seemed a bit odd to be buying a mum while still wearing flip flops, but hey, you gotta be thankful for what you have :).

Pumpkin guts...its been awhile since I have done this

Jen put a sailboat on her pumpkin...although we all thought it kinda looked like a Cyclops pumpkin...

Jana and I and the finished project. Isn't it pretty?

Oh, this is Scott and Jana's dog, Sophie. She's a sweetheart.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Adventures in PA!

So I am currently in Lancaster, PA visiting my good friends Jana and Scott. I haven't seen them since their wedding almost a year ago, so it has been a TON of fun catching up with them and with their family out here. I flew in on Thursday night and on Friday, Jana and I played tourists shopping at the Kitchen Kettle Village (yum, apple and pumpkin butter!) and I dragged her to several quilt shops...I've got a new project in mind and I was actually able to talk to some of the ladies in the shops and discovered that my project won't be as challenging as I thought!

Okay, I really look like one of those red/purple hat ladies...but I was just trying on an Amish hat...
We joined Jana's family and Scott's brother and his wife Heidi at the Shady Maple Smorgasbord that evening for dinner...about as much Dutch food as you can imagine. Sooooo good. Today we took the train ( I love trains- I really wish Houston had them...or rather Texas in general) into Philadelphia so I could be a tourist. The big ticket items were to see the Liberty Bell and for me to re-enact a few scenes from "National Treasure". No, it's not my favorite movie, but I was really looking forward to being a bit goofy and running around Philadelphia :)

Me, Jana, and Scott waiting for the train in Lancaster

Jana and me on the train (we have a long train history :) )

Reading Terminal Market

Me re-enacting the scene in National Treasure where the girl is hiding in the flowers in the Reading Terminal Market and Riley comes up behind her and scares her....

Me in front of the Liberty Bell...I was unintentionally blocking the crack (thanks Scott for telling me..- it was also a lot smaller than I expected, the bell, not the crack)

Okay, remember the scene in National Treasure where they go into Urban Outfitters (seen above) and then look at the time on the clock tower on a $100 dollar bill using a water bottle? Well....

(okay, no, I wasn't looking at a $100 bill...but that's not the point...look, I even got the leather jacket on! :) )

After touring the Mutter Museum of medical oddities (slight gross, yet slighty fascinating...) we high-tailed it to the Rodin Museum (see The Thinker above) before catching the train back to Lancaster. Fun times!