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Friday, August 31, 2012

Factual Friday: Autumn

Fact: Meteorological Fall starts tomorrow (September 1st)!

For the purpose of meteorological records, the seasons are divided into equal portions: Summer is June, July, August, Fall consists of September, October, November, Winter is December, January, February, and Spring is made up of March, April, and May. This makes it easy to classify records and divide the year evenly.

It's hard to believe that September is already knocking at the door! I feel like June was just a week ago and July was yesterday! Now here we are at the end of August! And so much is happening! I turned 27, we are less than two weeks away from our move (11 days!), and we're getting ready to celebrate our 2nd anniversary! My, how time flies!

I love autumn. It's one of my two favorite seasons, spring being the other. I love the milder temperatures that come with both seasons along with the explosion of colors. Of course, there are things I love about summer and winter as well but fall IS just around the corner ;)

This will be my first fall in Nebraska. I'm looking forward to seeing what that means and what the season has to offer in a new state. I'm looking forward to warm shirts, pumpkin lattes and caramel apple spices, and hopefully some beautiful fall colors. I know there will be some changes and it won't be the same as I'm used to but I know it will be special in its own way.

So here's to the adventure! :) Happy Fall!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Redeem the Time

When I was on my Emmaus Walk at the beginning of May, one phrase that God brought to mind over and over again was "Redeem the time". I knew I had heard the phrase (or something similar) in Scripture before so I tried to find what my brain was recalling but the small concordance in my Bible didn't help and I couldn't seem to remember exact references.

When I got back home from the weekend I tried looking up the exact phrase but to no avail. Thankfully, BlueLetterBible.org and BibleGateway.com had plenty of translation options and searching abilities to help me find the verses I was trying to find. Because, believe it or not, just putting in "redeem the time" got me nowhere.

There were two verses that were floating around in my mind during that Emmaus weekend:
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:15-17 (ESV)

"Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." Colossians 4:5-6 (ESV)
Now, obviously neither of these have the actual phrase "redeem the time" (mostly translation choices), but I still believe God led me to these Scriptures through that phrase and showed me another way to think of it: "best use of the time".

The Greek word used for "making the most" or "best use" is exagoraz┼Ź. According to Strong's, it is used only 4 times in the Bible: the two instances I listed above, Galatians 3:13, and Galatians 4:5. While Ephesians and Colossians are both speaking of time and our lives, Galatians uses the word in a different context: Jesus redeeming us from under the Law through His sacrifice.

It's an interesting concept to me right now, both because of my Emmaus weekend (with its theme of "Be Still") and the upcoming move to Nebraska (where I have a chance to begin a new schedule). In order to redeem something, a price must be paid, a sacrifice made. So, in order to make wise use of my time, to "redeem" it, I have to sacrifice something.

What does that look like? I don't know that I know yet. I have a few ideas (one of which is reducing "screen" time) but they're still floating around. I'm hoping with the move to Nebraska that I will be able to begin a new schedule that redeems more of my time and makes better use of it. :)

What are some of your ideas to redeem your time?

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Factual Friday: Achilles

IT'S BAAAAAACK! :D

It's been quite a while since I've done one of these posts :) So welcome again to Factual Friday!

Fact: The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body.

Secondary Fact: My husband ruptured his Achilles at the end of July playing indoor soccer and had surgery 15 days later to repair it.

Despite knowing where it was and that my husband had ruptured his, I had no clue that the Achilles is the largest tendon in the body. Go figure!

This time of injury has taught us both a lot about reliance on others, humility, and loving care. Dan has had to rely on me much more than usual to drive him places for appointments and to carry things around the house. It has been humbling for both of us to realize how much help we need and how much help the other person has been to us. I've also had to realize how to step back and allow my husband to still do the things that he can. I steal from him when I treat him as a complete invalid when he wants to help as able.

I'm looking forward to when my husband is able to walk again but I also know that this time of healing has slowed us down and taught us some valuable lessons, despite the difficulties. Lessons I hope I remember for a long time to come.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Three weeks

The countdown has begun. In just under three weeks now, our little apartment where we started our married life will be empty and we will be on our journey to Nebraska.

Three...weeks...

Excuse me a minute while the brevity of that sinks in...

The last time I moved across the country I was 5 years old. The most I was concerned about was making sure my toys, blanket, and stuffed elephant came with me. Now I'm a wife and managing a household (though no children yet) and the enormity of moving an entire home-worth of household goods seems daunting. I'm grateful for movers who will handle most of it but still...

This is about how I feel
Sometimes I feel like being uprooted occasionally is a good thing. It forces us to rely on God for the unknown and live out the belief that He is all-powerful and sovereign. I've had to trust that we would find a place to rent that we liked in a window of 48 hours (we did) and then I had to rely on God as we started figuring out how to do this move with my husband still on crutches (plans are falling into place).

All along the way, God has walked each step with us, providing and guiding, leading us into this new adventure. I can't wait to see what He has in store out in Nebraska!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Spreading our Wings

You see that little phrase up there? In the header? The one that says "Oh how the little things strengthen my tiny wings"? Well, it looks like Dan and I will soon have a chance to spread those wings a little. 

We've been waiting to announce this until things were set but now it's official! Good thing we've started packing!
Almost all of those are books...
 Because Dan and I are officially moving to Lincoln, Nebraska!

Right where that star is!

In less than a month!!

Dan has been out of work since May but that will all be changing soon! Between tearing his Achilles tendon at the end of July and all the pre-employment screenings and paperwork that have been needed, we held off on setting a start date but as of today we are moving forward. Dan is slated to start work on Tuesday, September 25th!

This is HUGE! This East Coast girl has lived in Maryland since I was 5! I'm excited and nervous about the move and a whole bunch of other jumbled emotions rolled into one.

We went last weekend to look at places to rent. That was my first time setting foot in the state of Nebraska. It was fun getting to explore the area a little bit and I've already found a Thai restaurant that I loved and want to visit again :) We are looking forward to exploring our new home even more in the months and years to come!

It's amazing to see how God has provided through all of this. He has sustained us through a time of uncertainty and job searching, provided for our needs, and softened hearts when needed to allow us to make this transition or take care of things (such as my job and Dan's Achilles). And now? Now He has provided this amazing opportunity to trust Him even more as we move.

It is truly an exciting time, friends! We will miss everyone on the East Coast  but hope to stay in touch, whether that is by phone, through e-mail, the blog here, or Facebook. We look forward to seeing what God has in store for us and sharing the adventure with you as we head west!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Advanced Book Review: Full Disclosure

While I do most of my book reviews through the BookSneeze program, sometimes I get the opportunity to review them through other venues. This one is a case in point. Actually, an ad of Facebook led me to this one.

I've been a Dee Henderson fan for awhile and, like my mom, was always looking to see when she might have a new book coming out. So when I saw an ad on Facebook saying she had one coming out in October I jumped on it, hoping it wasn't a misleading ad. To my great surprise it wasn't! There really would be a new book, "Full Disclosure"! So I sent the page to friends and family that I knew liked her work.

Then I saw it...the link to request an advanced readers' copy of the book in return for a written review. Since I'm used to and comfortable with that arrangement I snatched up my copy pretty quickly. And then, less than 9 days after it arrived, I finished it. :)

"Full Disclosure" is pure Dee Henderson, both alike and different from her previous work. The book has definitely stuck with me even days after finishing it as I continue to digest it. From the fun and quirky moments to the quiet suspense, it definitely reminded me of some of the things I liked about Dee's writing. At the same time, it was vastly different from many of her others. The edge-of-your-seat action is almost nowhere to be seen after the first few chapters. There is almost never a sense that a main character is in mortal danger. The love story develops nicely, even if it feels a bit rushed in some points and slower at others.

I'm not sure how I felt about the fact that several characters were reused from her other books. It was also obvious how much of herself the author was inserting into one of the characters. It became a slight distraction from the world of the book, pulling me back to reality. I will say that my pattern-observing engineer husband must be rubbing off on me because my excitement about the twists and turns in the story wasn't for the twist itself but because I had figured it out earlier and was excited that it was confirmed.

On the whole, it was definitely a good and enjoyable read. If you're a tried and true fan of Dee Henderson or even if you're new to her writing, "Full Disclosure" was definitely a welcome return for the author. Now let's just hope she doesn't wait 5 years again!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tomatoes! Basil! Sandwich!

So these are the first tomatoes that came from my garden...
Aren't they beautiful?!
And again...
nom nom nom
Mix in a little pesto made with fresh basil from the garden (which I forgot to get a pictures of), add a slice of yummy mozzarella cheese...

And voila!
Just look at that yummy pesto goodness seeping out!
And again...
See the yummy tomato?
I always love it when we get to enjoy the fruits of our little patio garden. This time, I decided to try out a recipe I'd seen on Pinterest for a caprese grilled cheese sandwich.

Click for original recipe
It was truly fabulous (at least I thought so, it got an okay from Dan). I froze the leftover pesto in an ice cube tray to have individual servings for the future.

I tried to plant peas this year along with my basil and tomatoes but "Ninja Squirrel" had other ideas about those...Needless to say, we aren't going to be enjoying any peas this year. However, I am looking forward to enjoying some more basil and tomatoes for the rest of the summer. Four more tomatoes are growing and ripening right now and the basil plants are putting out more leaves after being trimmed back when I made pesto.

It's so nice to be able to enjoy a tangible benefit to the work I've put into these plants. Keep growing, little ones! :) Can't wait to enjoy some more when they're ready!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Giving Back

Sometimes, an era in your life is so impactful that you can truthfully say that you wouldn't be who you are or where you are today without that time. FLI is that for me.

FLI is the Focus Leadership Institute. My semester there in the Fall of 2007 was the original reason this blog came into existence. I met some lifelong friends there, friends that have been willing to love me and call me out when necessary. I learned a lot about myself, God, my dreams, the kind of life God wanted for me, and His promises. It was a truly incredible time. And now, I would like to give other students that same opportunity.

This summer, FLI graduated their 50th class. To celebrate and help provide for the next 50 classes, they've been running a giving challenge to provide $50,000 to the scholarship fund for future students by September 1st. Alumni are allowed to create pages to help with the effort and I have done just that, setting my personal goal at $1,000. I've included some pictures on the page from my time at FLI. However, they have only raised 36% of their goal and there's less than 4 weeks left!

If you have a heart for college students and forming the next generation of godly leaders, please consider a donation to the scholarship fund at FLI (click on the image below). For more information on the Institute or to apply, please visit https://www.focusleadership.org/.


Click on the image to go to the Donation website.
Don't delay though! Challenge ends on September 1st, less than a month away! :)

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Disney Cruise

In July, we went on a Disney cruise with my parents and siblings...

Getting on the ship...
This has become a family tradition that has occurred every 3 years since 2003. It started to celebrate my 18th birthday, high school graduation, my brother's 16th birthday, and my parents' 25th wedding anniversary...all of which happened in 2003! We loved it so much that we decided we had to continue!
Sailing away from NYC
This was my 4th cruise but my husband's 1st. It was also our 1st cruise together. I was hoping that Dan would enjoy it...I selfishly wanted to be able to go on more of them. ;) But it turns out I had nothing to worry about.
Our dressy date night at the adults-only restuarant, Palo
We had a blast! It was so relaxing and it was wonderful to escape the heat wave for a little bit to the Canadian coast. We stopped at Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John, New Brunswick. In Halifax, we went with my parents, sister, and her friend to see the little fishing village of Peggy's Cove (and their lighthouse) and then over to Fairview Cemetery where the victims of the Titanic were buried.



In St. John, Dan and I went off on our own and explored. We spent most of the day checking out the local farmers' market and the historic churches in town.
It was a fabulous, relaxing trip and I think it benefited us greatly to have that time away. It gave us a chance to lay down the stresses and worries of life and just enjoy the moment. Dan told me on the trip that he hadn't seen me that relaxed in awhile and he liked it. :)
Champagne brunch
Getting away occasionally, even for a weekend, is a great habit to have. Even if it's locally (see Valentine's Day, Part Two) it provides a much needed break from the normal everyday toil of life and a chance to regroup and breathe. It also gives us a chance to check-in with one another and focus more on strengthening our relationship and it usually brings up topics we wouldn't have had a chance to discuss at home. We're big fans of getaways :)

What's your favorite getaway that you've done recently?

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan