Saturday, March 29, 2008


Some people think I'm crazy because I like to run (ehem, my husband). But, really it has been therapeutic in so much of my life. I started running in middle school. I was a little bit of a psycho-worker-outer at that point, but that's for another time. I was involved in track a few years, but mostly enjoyed running on my own.

I don't know about you, but my mind is always thinking metaphors. Everywhere I go, my mind wanders to metaphors . . . even in the grocery store or driving or cooking . . . I'm always pulling life lessons or spiritual imagery or simply weird ideas out of random scenes/circumstances. That being said, I often think of running as a spiritual image (going along with 1 Corinthians 9).

Today I went to a park close by. I could feel spring in the air, even though it was only about 37 degrees. It's green, the birds are chirping, it's crisp. The path I ran goes around 3 softball fields, one of which Brian plays on with our church softball league in the summer. I was foreshadowing those warm nights of watching softball games.

Anyways, as I started on my run, (here comes the metaphor thinking) I couldn't help but notice that my gaze was fixed low: on the step immediately ahead. I notice that I have a tendency to do that. It's like I'm so focused on the "here and now", that I don't look up to soak in the big picture. And, it's so refreshing to lift your gaze. There was such radiance and peace on an early Saturday morning. So, I thought a lot about that for a while (more than I could write) . . . being reminded that God has the big picture of our lives and we like to focus on the tiny steps right before us. Then, as the run has it's tough points (when the wind is whipping in my face or my legs are feeling the burn), it's such a great picture for me of perseverance . . . every time I run. I think it's good for me to be reminded that I have to push through the times in life when I feel like I "can't breath" or I "can't take another step" or I "just want to stop". And, it's funny how I often feel like I have more energy once I push through those hard times.

And, this might be weird, but every time I finish my run, I feel like my vision gets sharper -- like colors are piercing in sharpness . . . I've felt that way since I was young. I think your blood is pumping hard, you're breathing hard, . . . and all my senses are accentuated. It's great.

Easter Celebrations

It was so wonderful to share in the joy of our risen Savior with family and friends. We had 14 of us in all around the table last Sunday. It was quite "cozy", . . . but, the more the merrier, right?!! Everyone brought a dish, and we had quite a feast. Then, we all enjoyed dessert while watching The Bee Movie . . . (really we started the movie to see if little Sophia would take a nap, . . . but then we all got sucked into it :).

Pictures of Brian's ham
I think we need a double oven
What would I do without my helper, Joy?!!!
Men and movies . . . (except Brian: he was in the kitchen :)

Jamie's Bridal Shower

I got to know Jamie back in 2003 through FOCUS (Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools). FOCUS is just like Young Life, except for private school students. Anyways, Jamie was a senior in high school when I started volunteering as a leader for FOCUS. My roommate Amy and I would host Bible studies, and I did some one-on-one discipleship. And, there was camp in the summer in Martha's Vineyard. Anyways, back to Jamie . . . when Jamie graduated from high school, my roommate (Krissy) and I were looking for a 3rd roommate (because Amy Claire moved out to be with her man in Colorado :). So, Jamie entered my life in a new way: we became roommates for over a year. It was grea to see Jamie grow that year between high school and college as she volunteered down in the city in a low-income area. We had great times together, and we continued to go to FOCUS together.

Well, God led us in different directions have that year: Jamie to college at Middlebury and I moved back home with my parents. And, God has blessed us both with godly men in our lives. And, Jamie gets married this May. It was so great to be at her bridal shower last weekend. It was great to see Jamie, and it was fun to catch up with other FOCUS students and leaders that I hadn't seen in ages. Fun times.

Us and some FOCUS peeps

A card I made for her

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter!

Rejoice in the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ!
We have new life in Him! I hope you all have a wonderful Easter celebration. We're looking forward to being with our family and friends.

The senior high girls made these for a Easter church ministry

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Flyers and Phantoms . . . 2 games in one week

Some of you probably aren't so familiar with these teams -- both Philadelphia ice hockey teams -- the Flyers our NHL team, and the Phantoms a division below. This week, we actually went to two ice hockey games, one of each team. That is definitely not a usual thing for us. I must say ice hockey isn't a sport that Brian and I follow much, but we both enjoy just about any sporting event.

So, last Saturday we had Flyers tickets through my company. I'm always spoiled with our company tickets . . . VIP parking and 4 free tickets. It's such a treat! We actually took my little sister Joy and her best friend Megan. We made it a fun sleepover night. Here are some pics:

Our pre-game celebration . . . at home with virgin pina coladas Megan and Joy Us
Then, on Friday this week, the Phantom's had a "Faith and Family Night", so our church had advertised it for all the youth and any families. We had a great group: about 25 of us. It was a blast. It's always a crazy time caravaning through Philly rush-hour traffic, finding parking, then finding each other inside the arena, and situating ourselves in the seats, . . . I love it . . . I was all-smiles all night. We love being with youth. It's where our heart is. After the game, Kutless did a concert on the ice. It was great. It's a blessing to see so many youth praising God in worship in a huge arena. God is good. Here are some pics:

Some of "my" girls :) Joy, Megan & Me Kutless . . . on ice

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pot Roast Recipe . . . a good find

I adapted this recipe just a bit. Since I work all day, and I needed this done in time to take over someone's house after work, I threw all of this in the crock pot. I also added 1/2 a packet of onion soup mix. I also decided to do the potatoes and carrots separately . . . I roasted them in the oven with olive oil and Jane's Crazy Mixed-up Salt (a staple in our house). So, it was just the meat and the onions cooking on low in the crockpot for . . . oh, 8-9 hours. It fell apart without a knife and was so juicy.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
1 cup dry red wine
4 thyme sprigs (or ground thyme)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
4 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)


Preheat oven to 350º.
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chuck roast with salt and pepper. Add roast to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender.

Return browned roast to pan. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic, beef broth, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.

Add carrots and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf from pan; discard. Shred meat with 2 forks. Serve roast with vegetable mixture and cooking liquid. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.

10 servings (serving size: 3 ounces roast, about 3/4 cup vegetables, and about 3 tablespoons cooking liquid)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 307(31% from fat); FAT 10.4g (sat 3.5g,mono 4.8g,poly 0.5g); PROTEIN 28.6g; CHOLESTEROL 85mg; CALCIUM 34mg; SODIUM 340mg; FIBER 2.8g; IRON 3.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.7g

From Cooking Light, October 2006

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring Break

Brian was on Spring Break this week. And, this year I got smart . . . I remembered Brian's spring break last year, and how I longed to have a day or so off with him. Well, this year I decided to simulate my own Spring Break. I took Monday and Tuesday off work . . . and, the four day weekend was just what I needed.

Over the weekend, my mom and I headed down to Virginia to visit my brother and his family. It was so great to just drive down and back in the sunshine, have good conversation with mom in the car, see my brother and his family and be in their world, get to be "Aunt Mar" all weekend, and get to sleep in my niece's bedroom. I must admit that I missed Brian who stayed home, . . . but it was a fun visit with family.

Then, Tuesday Brian and I went to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. It's such a great museum. Brian actually had to go for one of his classes, and complete a packet as we went. Honestly, that packet helped guide our tour and teach us new things. We toured these exhibits: Upper Egypt, Mummies, Lower Egypt, Amarna, and Canaan & Israel. There were so many artifacts and cool things there. It's worth the visit. Then, we headed a few blocks away to a cool restaurant: The Bubble House. Anyone had bubble tea? It's quite funky, but worth the experience. (It has large black tapioca balls in the bottom of the cup). We got great food there too: spicy tuna roll, tilapia wrap, and marinated burger. It was fun to walk around that part of Philly with all the college students bustling around . . . college sometimes seems so long ago . . . but, not so much for Brian.

Anyway, I highly recommend creating a little Spring Break in your schedule. Personally, I have to devote "days off" to really goof off and chill, otherwise the day inevitably gets filled with all the things I've been hoping to do in my "spare time".

Oh, and here are some pics:

Mom and Ansley
I love kids socks!
Once the music starts, out come the moroccas
And, acrobatics
And, basically a full-fledged circus
Oh, let's not forget dinner in all the excitement. John inspecting the salmon
Robin making the special bean sauce
Bath time. Caleb laughed hilariously every time my mom said that Larry the Cucumber was a Pickle. She obviously wasn't up on Veggie Tales. Caleb kept saying, "Pickle" and laughing.
The fam - all ready for church.
This is a winner. You can tell my mom and I think our eager smiles will help the kids smile. Mind you, John is taking the picture while Robin is waving a horse on a pole. What we go through!
Caleb and the aforementioned horse on a pole
Good old Berenstein Bears - perfect for a Sunday afternoon
On a walk
Little Hokie fan . . . start'in 'em young

Moving onto the museum . . . the Sphinx
The Sarcophagus
Bubble tea - check out those tapioca balls