Monday, March 29, 2010

Daybook (random postcard edition)

(from the simple womans daybook)

Outside my's spring! It's supposed to be 75 degrees tomorrow.

I am thinking...that my sister will be here on Friday.  She's been sending me random postcards as she cleans and packs.  I have gotten one from South Africa, the Bahamas, Paris, Maui, and Nurnberg so far. 

I am thankful for...pancakes.

I am the awards party at the DTC this week.  Excited to go back to my old stomping grounds.  A close substitute for missing the party at my hotel in February. 

I am currently reading...Glamour.

I am hoping...that orientation goes well tomorrow.  Lots of new hires!

On my mind...singing "Blessed be the Name" country style.  It was ridiculous.

Noticing that...there is a direct connection between the weather and people's attitudes.

Around the house...Chey dog has a friend for a few days and they chase each other up and down the stairs. 

Pondering these words..."Always forgive your enemies.  Nothing annoys them so much." -Oscar Wilde-

From the kitchen...fritters from Whole Foods. Yum!

One of my favorite things...playing devil's advocate.

From my picture journal...Sisters (Sydney 2007)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Daybook (snow in March edition)

(from the simple woman's daybook)

Outside my's snowing.  A lot.  Forecasters said anything between 10-14 inches.  So far there are probably 4-5 at my house.  In most other jobs, being accurate only 50% of the time would get you fired.  Not so in the world of meteorology, apparantly.

I am thinking...that my sister will be here in 10 days.  She is not thrilled about the potential of late spring snow, but she'll learn to love it!

I am thankful for...guests who tip $70 for a bottle of champagne at gala functions.

I am sleep.  What else on a snowy night?

I am currently reading...The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.  Very inspirational for those who have the desire to go out and change the world...on a big or small scale. 

I am get at least one or two more ski days in before the end of the season.  Did not ride my bike this past week, even though the weekend was beautiful. 

On my mind...that in just a few months it will be Sunday Sangria time at Jazz in the Park.

Noticing that...caramel apple cider is a worthy substitute for coffee at Starbucks.  It didn't hurt that today was free pastry day. 

Pondering these words..."For all that has been, thanks.  For all that will be, yes." -Dag Hammarskjold

From the kitchen...nada.  Haven't been home enough to cook recently.

One of my favorite things...snow days.  Sadly I will not get one tomorrow.  But playing outside with the dog on a snowy morning is good too. 

From my picture journal...a perfect snow day

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weighing Risks

In 1998 our family planned a visit to Egypt to visit friends.   In August of 2008 there was a bombing at the US Embassy in Kenya.   People started questioning our plan to travel.  I remember asking my friend and she said, "if it was too dangerous for you to come, my parents would tell you to reschedule your vacation for a different time.  We want you to visit, but not at the risk of your safety."  We went on our trip and had a great time. (interesting fact: the distance between Cairo and Nairobi is 2100 miles)

In February of 2009 I had a trip planned to Thailand.  In November of 2008 there were protests in Bangkok that closed the international airport.  My boss asked if I was still planning to travel.   I contacted the organization that I was traveling with and asked what would happen if there was unrest at the time of my trip.  They let me know that I could reschedule my trip to Thailand or go to another country over the same dates.  Thailand was another life-changing experience. 

I want to travel to as many places as possible.  I don't want to risk my safety, but am not willing to contain my travels to percieved "safe" places, like western Europe.  Or Canada.  Recently a co-worker said that the reason that I get along so well with everyone at our hotel, an extremely diverse and international workforce, is because I have traveled and experienced different cultures.  I hope so.  I am fascinated by all the world offers, culture, languages, food, games, natural wonders and people. 

I am currently reading The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Clairborne.  One of our pastors referenced it in a sermon a few weeks ago.  It is a fascinating read about being an "ordinary radical."  The author, and his friends, are trying to live as Jesus would want: clothing the naked, housing the homeless, feeding the hungry and serving the "least of these."  There is a lot of focus on getting out of your comfort zone or your safe life.  For example, actually inviting people into your home to feed them, rather than donating money to a soup kitchen that you've never been in .  The author was interested in the work that Mother Theresa was doing in Calcutta and he finally called India and asked if he could visit.  She said "come."  Apparantly she told anyone who asked about her work to "Come and see." What an invitation!

The passage that our pastor referenced was about safety, which happened to be a timely topic.  The author had gone to Iraq on a peace mission.   When he returned someone questioned "How could you be so careless with your life...?"    I hope that I am living deliberately, not carelessly.  God has a plan for my life.  So far, I feel that travel is an integral part of it.  Three months from today our mission team of 50 youth and 12 sponsors will have just returned from Guatemala.  Sixty-two lives in Denver will have been changed for the better because of service, love and understanding.  And we will be a part of the story in Guatemala.  It's worth it. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daybook (daylight edition)

(from the simple woman's daybook)

Outside my window...losing the extra hour of sleep on Saturday night was worth it for DAYLIGHT!

I am thinking...that three months from today we will be in Salama, Guatemala on our Habitat build. 

I am thankful for...beautiful spring days skiing in the mountains with friends.

I am "Friday on Saturday" this week.

I am currently reading...a Newsweek article about the state of education in America. 

I am start riding my bike in the coming week.  Bike MS will sneak up on me in just a few months.

On my friend who has been accepted into seminary.  He will rock the word everywhere he goes!

Noticing that...I have much more time to get things done at work.  A marked improvement over the insanity of the last 8 months. 

Pondering these words..."I struggle most days to find ways to do as I please..."

From the kitchen...I'm eating 1-2 "cuties" a day in an effort to get through the whole bag. 

Around the house...the guest room is still a disaster.  At least I have April 2 as a deadline. 

One of my favorite things...organizing games for the youth.  On Sunday they used cell phones to take pictures of scenes they acted out from the 23rd psalm and the Lord's prayer. 

From my picture journal... "Live Aloha" (Hawaii 2005)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Two Hands

"Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes...but no plans."
-Peter Drucker-

Hearing this song, "Two Hands," makes me think. 
There are many things that I am interested in.  Some things that I am extremely enthusiastic about.   But it makes me wonder if I should pick one thing (whatever that is) and pursue it with both hands.  The idea of commitment is determining that something is important enough that you are putting time, energy, resources and both hands behind it. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Daybook (spanish and sangria edition)

(from the simple woman's daybook)

March 9, 2010
Outside my's dark and cold.  I don't like "springing forward" but will enjoy some daylight when I get home from work next week.

I am thinking...that the youth at my church have amazing talent!

I am thankful for...a consistently positive attitude. 

From the kitchen...nothing today, but I have been on a brownie baking kick the past week.  We've actually determined that brownies magically appear at our Thursday book discussion.  See my previous post for links to some of the recipes. 

I am creating (1) entertaining dialogue for my Spanish exam. 
I am creating (2)...smack talk videos for the Fantasy Service League at work, very fun.

I am work at 6:30 am so that I can join our night owls for breakfast.

I am reading...The Summer Hideaway by Susan Wiggs.  I really like the Lakeshore Chronicles collection. 

I am hoping...that my sister's last few days of work go well.  Then she packs.  Then she moves to Colorado. 

I am hearing...the weigh in on the Biggest Loser.

Around the windows, soon.

One of my favorite reading a good book by a favorite author.  

A few plans for the rest of the week...breakfast, Spanish final with snacks / sangria, book discussion and skiing. 

Pictures...why I live in Colorado

Monday, March 8, 2010


I love experimenting with new recipes.  In fact, it's seldom that I make the same thing twice, especially when it's dessert.  The exception would be the white chocolate chex mix (affectionately called "crack" by friends) and Christmas goodies.   Since I had 4 events in less than a week that required bringing something sweet, I pursued adventures in brownies.   I have no problem using the basic brownie mix on sale at the store and then modifying it.   I'm also a big fan of All Recipes online.   I like to read the user reviews and then modify recipes as needed.   Of the 4 treats I made, two were especially scrumptious and I will share them with you.

Coconut Macaroon Brownies
Basically I just used the coconut filling in this recipe and rather than making the brownies from scratch, made them from a mix (for 9x13 pan) and instead baked them in a 9x9 pan which made them thick which worked well with the filling.  Yum!

Butterscotch Blondies
I followed this recipe exactly, although cooking at altitude, I baked it a few minutes longer.  They hold their shape really well, so after cooling in the fridge I cut these into triangles for a different appearance.  Really rich...and delicious.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Return of VOLAR

VOLAR (the voice of logic and reason also known as the Spanish verb "to fly"):  When I'm torn between doing what's reasonable and taking advantage of another travel opportunity.

I got an email this week from CCS.  I am invited to take another volunteer vacation in 2010 at 1/3 of the cost.  I had not really been planning on any additional trips this year that require any kind of outlay of money.  I am going on a mission trip in June, but the cost of that is primarily defrayed by fundraising (such as the youth talent show tonight).  I have now won a vacation by getting an award at work.  Conveniently that includes the extra week off with pay, airfare, lodging and spending money.  It's the closest thing to a free ride that I've ever seen. 

But it's hard for me not consider one more trip, even though having three trips in a year is blessing enough. 

I need to follow the advice of beer distributors everywhere..."know when to say when."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Daybook (going to the gym or else edition)

(from the simple woman's daybook)

Outside my window...I heard it was 50 degrees today, but didn't witness it.  It is (again) night and cold.

I am gym clothes.  I am going.  I promise. 

I am hearing...The Biggest Loser.

I am make delicious treats for my co-workers birthday later this week.

I am noticing that...I throw things in empty drawers and cabinets, just because I can.

I am thinking...that I may try and swing another volunteer vacation this year.  CCS is offering alumni a 2/3 discount in 2010. 

I am hoping...that I can commit to hitting the gym 2-3 times a week and eat more salads.  At least until the end of H2O. 

I am reading...the notes at the end of The Year of Living Biblically.  "...the expert of all experts on kosher crickets is...."

I am creating...order in the chaos

I am remembering...last year on March 2, I left Chiang Mai, Thailand and headed to Taipei, Taiwan. What a crazy fun adventure that trip was!
quotation trees Chiang Mai
making spring rolls at cooking school
On my mind...what if the earth really has fallen of its axis because of the earthquake in Chile?

Words that I am pondering...the hilarity of country song lyrics.  Consider "Rain is a Good Thing" by Luke Bryan (rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey.....)

From the a fantastic easy Thai cook book for Christmas and will be enjoying my beef noodles that I made on Sunday.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Spanish class, book discussion, and the youth talent show.

One of my favorite things...sleep!  It has taken me 2 weeks to catch up from Peru

For your enjoyment...
garden next to the National Palace Museum in Taipei


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