Check out my other blog: Arugula Addict! I'll be writing about my journey to becoming a healthier person.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy :)

1. A cold winter night
2. Open windows (I love fresh air!)
3. Lots of quilts
4. All the above at the same time
5. No-alarm-clock-mornings
6. Doing "kickbacks" with my exercise DVD
7. A tall glass of water
8. Not a single ant in sight (I just had to sneak that one in!)
9.My brown teddy bear
10. A white pita bread with marmite and vegenaise

11. A real card in the mail
12. Soft white chocolate chip cookies
13. Warm sunshine
14. Singing along to Celine Dion
15. Driving on the freeway
16. Singing along to Celine Dion and driving down the freeway
17. Buying a really good book for a dollar at the library
18. Coupons for candy bars, expensive vegan treats, or favourite foods
19. Soy yogurt at Grocery Outlet for 33 cents apiece

20. Friday night Boggle
21. A windy night
22. My favourite reality shows
23. Snow! At least a foot of it!
24. Spending time with my best friends
25. A good deal on an airline ticket
26. A roadtrip
27. Making memories
28. A Peanut Butter Moo'd Jamba Juice Smoothie
29. Buying something on sale and finding out it was marked down even further at the register
30. Making other people happy

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sincerely Mistaken

In a discussion at church about the trials we face in life, a well-meaning person said that trials help our character grow and strengthen our spiritual muscles. This led to someone quoting the verse that those "whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth." Hebrews 12. I had to get up and leave.

Recently I have been thinking about children who go through difficult times in life. Children who are abused, children who are homeless, children who are orphans, children who are hungry, children who are suffering. When I sat in church and heard someone using the verse from Hebrews in reference to life's trials, my mind immediately jumped to the innocent children who must endure trials through no fault of their own, and questioned how a God Who loves children could explain it as chastening.

The context of a verse really does make a difference. If you go to Bible Gateway you can look up a verse in a bunch of different versions, so I proceeded to do so. I learned that the verse was set in context that referred to discipline needed when someone purposely makes wrong decisions. The verse does not indicate in any way that God would choose to discipline someone merely because He loved them and had no reason to inflict punishment upon them.

My biggest pet peeve is people who are eager to rush into rationalizing the horrible things in life, people who attempt to explain evil, and people who feel it is their God-given duty to expound on their understandings of Scripture or Ellen White without taking the time to listen to the hearts of the ones they are preaching to.

I recently heard Clifford Goldstein share a excellent quotation on the mystery of sin. It comes from the book That I May Know Him, p. 15, and says "Sin is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it, is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin."

God is Love. This should be our ultimate goal, to reflect His Love, to understand the pain of those we minister to, and to bring healing through His Love to all we interact with in our sphere of life.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thankful for Teeth

At last! Time to sit back and blog, leisurely. What a wonderful thing Friday night is, with quiet time to spend with family playing Rummikub and Boggle, laughing around the kitchen table and catching up on the week, or listening to Ray Boltz sing "I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb" while blogging one's random thoughts.

I just finished a really great book called "It's Always Darkest Before the Fridge Door Opens" by Martha Bolton and Phil Callaway. I first saw this book at the Family Christian Bookstore on the discount rack several months ago, didn't buy it the first time, went back a couple weeks later to buy it and all the copies were gone. I was quite disappointed, but when I was in FCB on Sunday, browsing through their discounted books again, I found it! I was so happy even though there was only one copy and it was bent on the back. I'm gonna give it to my mom for her birthday (hopefully she doesn't read this post!) but decided to read it first because I needed a good laugh. It is definitely worth it! I love how they take everyday annoyances and turn them into humorous occurrences.

By the way, here's a frugal tip. FCB has one of those "preferred customer" punch cards where each time you make a purchase, your card is punched and after 10 punches you get a 25% off gift certificate that you can use for any of the items, even sale items. My strategy is to make small purchases, a book here, a card there, to get my 10 card punches. I try to be sure that I buy something on sale and use the monthly coupon that FCB mails me because I signed up for them. Then, once I get my gift certificate, I go in when I know I have a good hour or two to browse and head straight for the discount rack where I look carefully at every single book and decide which ones I would like to buy. The books usually range from $2.97 to $5.97 at the discounted price (normally, they range from $9.99 to $19.99). Once I have my selection, I apply the 25% off to get a double discount. The last time I was in, I spent $25 on books that would have cost me about $75 if I'd bought them at full price. Most of the books I'm giving as gifts, but I did find several I'm keeping for myself! I absolutely love bargains!!!

Tonight, as I stood flossing my teeth in front of the mirror, I began to feel rather annoyed that I had to spend so much time on my teeth. I did not start flossing regularly till I was in my late 20s, and only then because I realized I wouldn't have my original teeth for many more years if I didn't do so very soon! I grew up on sweets and still have an extremely sweet tooth, make that teeth! My least favourite activity used to be brushing my teeth and I would skip it if I could (I know, awful, isn't it?). And then when I read in Reader's Digest that you need to spend about 10 minutes on your teeth every day to have healthy teeth, well that just about did me in!

So as I made faces at myself while I flossed away with the mile-long strand of Johnson's mint waxed floss, I decided to take the book I'd been reading to heart and tried to think of what I was grateful for. Immediately, I thought, "I'm thankful for my teeth. I'm thankful that I have enough money to afford dental insurance. And I'm thankful that I have a nice dental hygienist and dentist that I feel comfortable with." I'm also thankful that I have an electric toothbrush that makes it easier to keep my teeth clean, I'm thankful that I can afford to buy enough floss that I can use enough to stretch from here to the moon each time I floss, and I'm thankful that brushing and flossing has now become a habit and isn't the painful chore it used to be.

I know, it's kind of funny to spend a whole post on brushing one's teeth, but think of all the people out there who don't have teeth. Or if they do, they have all kinds of problems that they can't afford to fix. Maybe they have a toothache and no money to see a dentist, or they need crowns or braces or dentures. I have a huge overbite and the only way to correct it is to do jaw surgery, but I don't have any desire at all to do something that drastic (they say it even changes your profile, and I like my profile right now, thank you very much!), but I'm thankful that I have teeth to eat with.

So I'm thankful for teeth :) What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Ants Go Marching One By One. . .

. . .but I'm not singing Hurrah, Hurrah! I hate ants. I could say it a thousand times and it would still not be enough times to talk about how much I hate ants! Now I'm feeling itchy and seeing tiny black spots wherever I look! There is a neat row of black ants marching from my floorboard to my Terro ant bait, causing me to question whether the Terro is indeed deadly or just sugar water. I hate ants.

I have a secret ant deterrent. It doesn't kill ants, but it keeps them corralled within a specified space until it dries out. Soft Scrub!!!

Right now I have a circle of Soft Scrub drawn around my ant baits, because I vacuumed up the ant trail and poured Soft Scrub down the crack in the floorboard where they were streaming out from. I found one ant on my bed, so I'm not too happy about that. Now if only someone can invent a Soft Scrub that doesn't dry up and harden and comes out of carpet easily, I will be happy for life! I hate ants.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


a wooden statue
set in stone
silent, guarded

battered by monsoon rains
pounded by arctic winds
scalded by saharan sun

a woman rushes by
intent on her destination
with a small child in tow

a tiny hand reaches out
touches the wooden statue and
tears fall. . .

(c) maria L. 3.04.2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thought For The Week

I get the Women of Faith e-newsletter, and this week's email was from Lisa Harper who included a "chain letter." I may have read this story somewhere before, but it still brings tears to my eyes.

His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college.

He is brilliant. He is kind of profound and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college. Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students but are not sure how to go about it.

One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt full of holes, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat.

The church is completely packed and he can’t find a seat. By now, people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realizes there are no seats, he just sits down right on the carpet. By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.

About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the deacon, in his eighties, has silver-gray hair and a three-piece suit. He is a godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can’t blame him for what he’s going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?

It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man’s cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can’t even hear anyone breathing. The minister can’t even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.

And now, to their amazement, they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor and lower himself to sit down next to Bill. There, he worships with the young man so he won’t be alone.

Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control, he says: "What I’m about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Education is More Than a Degree Program

I cancelled my enrollment agreement today. I was so excited about starting a Masters in Psychology online, but now I'm back to square one, looking for a program that is reputable, affordable, and meets my career goals. Argh!!! At least this lesson didn't cost me to the tune of $6,000 which is approximately how much I spent last summer!

I was already feeling uncomfortable with the school itself when the correspondence I received from various personnel had grammar and spelling mistakes and were not professional. Then, after paying the $75 application fee (kind of steep for a school that isn't even regionally accredited), I discovered that the program I'm interested in had a 34% completion rate and no data was available for the licensure exam pass rate. I also learned that the only payment options available to me as a degree student was to pre-pay a full semester's tuition (regardless of the number of credits I took) or to pay on a payment plan. In addition I had planned to start with just a 1-credit class, so both payment options meant I would be paying more than I would be receiving in actual classes. I also discovered I would have to pay a $125 fee for an orientation to the learning process and software. So. . .after much deliberation and talking it out, I decided that seeing the amount of hassle I was going through just at the beginning of the program wasn't worth it.

It's kind of frustrating. I mean, I don't want to be known as the girl who's taken a class in each of 12 different graduate programs but can't get one program finished completely! But with each program that doesn't work out, I realize more of what I am looking for. I don't think I want to do an online program. I don't want an Education degree. I do want a professional program that cares more about me as a student than about  making money off of me. In addition, I'm looking for a program where I can invest my hard-earned money and know that I will receive a benefit that matches the money I'm putting into the program.

So it looks like I'm back to the drawing board. . .again! The plan now is to keep researching programs and save up money. Maybe in 5 years I'll have enough to go to a real university and study in a real Psychology program. We shall see :) Until then, now I'm happy because I don't have to watch my pennies so closely and maybe this week I'll go out for lunch. I've been wanting Indian food with tamarind chutney for two weeks now!!!