April 22, 2010

Protector of the baby birdies - and it just so happens to be Earth Day!

On the way in to work yesterday I accidently came a little too close to a bird that was sitting under a tree in one of the medians in the parking lot.  He flared his tail and starting squawking at me.  I looked up in the tree to see if he was protecting a nest, but I didn't see anything.  Oh well.

On my way back out to my car that evening the same bird was still sitting in the same spot!  This time he flared his tail, squawked, and hopped in place.  The hopping allowed me to see that he... she... was sitting on her eggs.  Why is her nest on the ground?!  This is a terrible place for baby birdie eggs.  I just know someone is going to come barreling through the parking lot on their cell phone, not paying attention, and crush the eggs while the mama is not around.  Needless to say I lost a little sleep over this.

My wonderful husband was heading to Lowes and suggesting getting something to put around the bird to protect her and her eggs.  Great idea!

This morning I parked near the tree and sure enough, there she was!  I got out my little fence and slowly got close enough to her to put it up where it might make a difference.  She was flaring her tail, squawking her little beak at me, hopping on one leg, and even shaking a little.  She was not happy, but I did my best to convince her that I was not going to hurt her babies.  I hope she understood.  Meanwhile, whoever parked right in front of her next was still sitting in his car reading something, only slightly distracted (I'm sure) by the crazy bird lady that has parked beside him.  I apologized to him at one point, slightly embarrassed at all the noise the bird and I were making.

We brought in two interview candidates today and the first one was already in the lobby when I got there, so I grabbed him and walked him to his interview location.  I asked a co-worker to grab the second candidate for me when he arrived.  She did, and she walked him to my cube.  I looked up when they got there and instantly recognized him.  "Were... you... sitting in your car... while... I was putting the fence around that bird?" Yup.  Awesome.  What are the chances? :)

April 11, 2010

Acts 3:1-17

I really love the messages I hear at my church.  I really love the things they get me thinking about... the way the continue to challenge me.  I thought I might start typing my notes into a blog.  It may not be complete thoughts or even complete sentences; it will just be the notes I take on Sunday morning's.

Today was on Acts 3:17 - Belief unlocks the power.
1. In the midst of the mass spiritual awakening, God is concerned with the hurting individual.  God sends his messengers away from the excitement that's going on in and around the church to the individuals in need.
2. Peter and John reached the lame man in the streets as individuals, normal people, not as ministers in the church.  The church is not where God does the majority of his ministry and miracles.
*Who am I ministering to individually?  Do I pray about it, plan for it, and work strategically to minister to individuals?  Am I deliberate?
3.  Ministry in the streets is what amazed the community in these verses.  The community needs to see.  Jesus' works demonstrated the word.  We should persuade with our message and amaze with our works.
A. With miraculous answers to prayer.  Do we believe God enough to pray big?
B. With radical generosity.
C. With joy in the midst of persecution.  Do I live well and suffer well?
C. With the love/unity within the church.  The early church displayed unity among ethnicities, fasted regularly that there would be more food for the hungry, brought in babies that were left on doorsteps unwanted, took in refugees who needed shelter.
*If all followers of Christ committed to giving back to God the first ten percent of what he has given them, would there be a need for medicaid and medicare, would we need to put our faith in the government to take care of so much?  what would it mean for the homeless or orphans?  Would each local church then be able to support it's community?  Would the world look radically different?

Our pastor, JD, has five people groups that he believes God has put on his heart for this church to find a way to make a difference: the homeless, orphans, unwed mothers, prisoners, and high school dropouts.

Salad Dressing

I don't often make salads, only because I feel like they should not cost much, but by the time you get the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, and whatever else you want on it, the cost adds up.  For me, the right time to make a salad is when I have enough random things from other meals that I can just get the bag of lettuce, spring mix, baby spinach, whatever.  We have so many great salad fixings around the house right now.  Strawberries and grapefruit, dried apricots that we always have on hand from Trader Joes, pecans leftover from a bunch of bags we got to make Christmas goodies, goat cheese from dinner a few weeks ago, blue cheese because we always have it, a fresh green chili pepper from stuffed peppers we did last week, and cherry tomatoes that we mixed with orzo the other day.  Perfect!

Another reason I don't often make salads is because I never have a good salad dressing.  If you know of a great ranch or blue cheese that tastes like you got it at a restaurant please let me know.  I decided to try to make a balsamic vinaigrette and it turned out excellent.

Salad Dressing
To make a whole bottle:
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp lemon juice (from the big plastic lemon is fine, but fresh is best)
** you can also just do 6 tbsp balsamic here
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (then one more at the end if you taste it and it needs it)
1 large clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp honey
a good pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper

To make enough for two:
1 tbsp balsamic
1 tbsp lemon juice
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (then on more at the end if you taste it and it needs it)
1 tiny clove of garlic minced
a tiny drop of honey
a small pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper

**I hold off on adding the last tbsp of olive oil until the end, because people's tastes are different and you may or may not like yours to have a little more bite**

April 10, 2010

I think I actually forgot for a moment how much I miss shopping.

I've always been a serious buy-returner.  I just can't make a decision in a 4x4 stall.  I've cut down on this habit since getting married.  1. because I have cut down on shopping period, and 2. because I just think it would freak Matt out a little for me to come home with $200 worth of clothing even if I only planned on keeping $50 worth.  Well, in preparation for Vegas, I've been dress shopping.

I stopped by TJMaxx the other day to check out their dresses and nothing fit.  I stopped by Ross the next day and everything fit!  Of the eight that fit that I liked, I brought five home with me, that's not too bad.  That's manageable, yes?  Today Matt and I swung by H&M because we were in the neighborhood (it's typically about 35 minutes away) and I got two more dresses.  We're up to seven now.  The same mall also has a Forever XXI which happened to have THE dress I had seen online that I really wanted for Vegas.  While searching for THAT dress I found two more I liked... three more in that store makes ten total, woops.  So, here I am at home with ten dresses.  I hope it goes without saying that I can't keep all ten dresses.  But seriously, how do I decided?  I love them all!

This is when it got fun.  Newlywed decision making at it's finest.  My sweet sweet husband got out a notebook and a pen and rated each dress 1-5 in three different categories.  a. First Impression or Overall Likeability b. Wearability (to include church, weddings, date night, cookouts, etc) and c. Fit.  It also got a check mark if it was a Vegas dress, because once I started dress shopping I ended up finding dresses I loved that would not necessarily work for Vegas.  He said he felt like Jay Z... haha.

After I tried them all and had seen them for a second time myself, I was able to put them in three piles of my own.  There were three I really wanted to keep, two that I could part with, but it might take some convincing, and five that I felt like I could let go without too much trouble.  Meanwhile, Matt tallied up his scores and one of his top four dress was in my keep pile so we decided it was a definite.  His second place dress, and the two that tied for third however, were in my "definitely could go back" pile! which also means he left out two I loved and two that I put in the maybe pile.

I had him re-convince me of the three that he liked from my "to go" pile, and I made attempts to re-convince him of the two he left out from my "keep" pile.  When all was said and done, we ended up keeping one more from mine and two more from his for a total of four really awesome dresses... for only $70!  What a fun thing :)

Side note:  Forever XXI has a terrible return policy (you have to get it back within 21 days and even then you can only get store credit even with the receipt and the tags still on... who does that?!) but they get brownie points because the bottom of their shopping bags say John 3:16.  Interesting, huh?  I thought it was pretty great.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not parish but have eternal life."

April 2, 2010

Automatic Flushing Toilets

How do I always seem to trigger them when I'm... er... sitting there, but when I'm done I can't seem to get the thing to flush. Frustrating. And scary!

Today is Good Friday! I made little treats for my co-workers. Made me feel like a room mother, and you know I love that :) I got little clay pots, filled them with Easter grass, placed one big egg filled with jelly beans in it and stuffed in a packet of seeds - marigolds for the ladies, peppers for the men. They were sooo cute. Didn't get a picture unfortunately, so you'll have to take my word for it.