Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Latte Art Throwdown

The setting: Octane, a hip coffee and alcohol bar in Atlanta, where once a month they do a "Thursday Night Throwdown".

In attendance: 22 competitors from all over the nation, including the 2007 World Barista Champion, the 2008 (reigning) World Barista Champion (from Ireland), and various hardcore local baristas (one of them - no kidding - had an espresso portafilter as a tattoo). The chairperson of the WBC was a judge. Various committee members from the Specialty Coffee Association of America were watching.

The challenge: Each competitor gets one pull of espresso, one chance to steam milk, and one pour to create their best latte art. $5 gets you in. The pot that night: $110, plus an iPod Shuffle.

I threw in my five bucks and pulled a number to see when in the lineup I would be competing.... Lucky number 13.

Here's a screen shot of the judges' scoring of my design(btw... I didn't finish last!):

That was from my first TNT experience. At the next Thursday Night Throwdown, I didn't compete... I was a judge! Kylene got to represent the Chatt Room by competing - She didn't finish last!

The next Throwdown is November 13th, and I'll try my hand at competing again. Who wants to join me?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Show Me the Money

Here's a great link that tells you how rich you are in relation to the rest of the world. Jonathan and my salaries combined make us the 40,553,300 richest people on the earth, living in the top .67% of wealth...and non-profits don't pay well.

Find out your number at www.globalrichlist.com

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Felt Flowers

Kylene and I had a night in while Jonathan ran Team Trivia at the shop. What could have been better than The Devil Wears Prada, rum and coke, and crafts that cost about $.30 cents to make?

I was looking for something fun to put on my winter jacket, and found the felt flower tutorial here.

These were Kylene's finals.
And mine...

And a lovely bouquet!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Romance-Part 2

Romance is the deepest thing in life. It is deeper even than reality. --G.K. Chesterton

As I said in the first part of this post, Jesus has always been "it" for me. He was my Husband, and though I eventually wanted to be married, I wasn't lacking in romance or love or intimacy. I was actually somewhat fearful of a deep relationship because I thought it would hurt my romance with the Lord.

Fortunately, His ways are higher than mine, and He gave me amazing Jonathan to journey through life with. The first thing that caused me to fall in love with Jonathan was that I saw Jesus in Jonathan more than I saw Jonathan. I knew that through being with Jonathan, I would experience the Lord in even more wild, amazing, and romantic ways than ever before. And I have!!! Jonathan isn't competition for loving God--to love Jonathan IS to love the Lord, and to love the Lord IS to love Jonathan. Already, door after door has been opened for us to love God and love others in ways we couldn't have when we were single.

In marriage, I haven't been completed or satisfied in any way I wasn't before, because Jesus in me is my completion and my satisfaction. I also haven't sold out. Jonathan is God's best for me. Jonathan is "immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine" (Eph 3:20). Everyday with him grows better, because every day I fall more deeply in love with Jonathan, and therefore, I fall more deeply in love with God. (Or does it work that I fall in love with God first? Either way, it's incredible.)

Last night, Jonathan and I were able to be wooed together by the Lover of our souls. We sat next to each other and listened to music, prayed, journaled, and read. Neither of us were anticipating a direct and wild encounter with the Lord, but He came and changed us. Through what the Lord was doing in Jonathan, I heard God's love for me in a tender, personal, and powerful way--and with more passion and desire than I have ever heard before. And through what I heard from the Lord, Jonathan and I were able, together, to commit to pursue Him with more abandon and trust.

I'm so thankful that I get to continue my Romance with my Husband walking alongside my husband. I couldn't ask for more!

My First Dress

Well, I finally went for it and decided to try and make some clothes. I bought some plain, cheap fabric so I could mess up and not waste too much, but it actually turned out well. I was inspired to make a dress like this, but it ended up quite different. Actually, I think I made 3 dresses altogether considering how many times I took it apart and started over again. (Seam ripper is my bff in sewing!)

Here's the final product. Not bad for my first item of clothing and no pattern, eh?

I added a broach and leggings to spice up the boring color a bit. I like that it can be simple, but I could probably dress it up a bit too. Yea!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Egypt Revisited

Here's a great clip one of my friends took of crossing the street in Cairo. This was our normal day-to-day experience any time we needed to get from one side of the road to the other.

Miss your exit? Here's what you do in Egypt to get back to where you were going!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Bubble

When I was at school at Berry College, I definitely lived in what was affectionately called the "Berry Bubble". Life inside the bubble was great - I could live, eat, work, play, worship and serve without ever having to leave campus. There were stretches of time where I didn't even know what current events were happening or what the latest movies were because I was so engrossed in life within the confines of the bubble. I enjoyed that time of my life - but of course it wasn't an accurate day-to-day representation of what life in the "real world" was like.

I find myself sometimes easing back into a "bubble" lifestyle. It's facilitated in part by the fact that I work where I live, the grocery store is a block away, our church is a two-minute car ride away, and I can get my outdoor fix on the Chattahoochee River. I don't really go out of my way to interact with anyone outside this new bubble.

So I find it difficult when I faced with Scripture that says things like:

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? ... and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed..." (Isaiah 58:7-8, 10)

Within my bubble, where do I see the hungry? The poor wanderer? The naked? The oppressed? I read verses like this and my heart is stirred to serve and love in the name of Christ, yet rarely am I faced with obvious need. Is it just that I'm not looking hard enough? Or should I make deliberate steps outside of my bubble and find those whom I could serve?

I trust that as the Spirit guides, I'll no doubt be overwhelmed with opportunities to serve. It's just that right now I've got a desire to have my bubble burst a bit.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

More Baseball

Jonathan and I went on a "date" on Thursday. He took me out for Subway (how romantic!) and then we went to the Braves vs. Rockies game. We had lots of fun, and practically had the stadium to ourselves since the Braves aren't doing great this season. Here are some pics:

I LOVE my husband!!!!

Photo Contest

United Airlines is having a travel photo contest. The winner gets a vacation for two to Hawaii. I figured I don't have anything to lose, though I doubt I'll win. It was hard to pick just three, but here are the final postings.

The Mediterranean Sea, Alexandria, Egypt

The Nile, Cairo, Egypt

The Red Sea, Dahab, Egypt

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Romance-Part 1

If all the world were mine and if it were pure gold
And I could by desire always stay here as the noblest, loveliest, richest Queen,
All that would be worthless to me!
I would much rather see Christ my beloved Lord in heavenly glory.
-Mechthild of Magdeburg

There are many things about the Lord that overwhelm and amaze me. But, there is a specific characteristic that continues to surprise and take my breath away every time I experience it.

The Lord is a Romancer. He pursues, He loves, and He woos my heart. He does it with a reckless passion that I can best describe through cheesy love songs like Feels Like Home and To Make You Feel My Love.

Prior to marriage, the way I related to God the most intimately and the most often was imagining Him as my Husband. It's hard to explain, but Jesus was the one I would confide in, dance with, laugh with, and be the last one I spoke to before I fell asleep at night. Jesus was the one who held me when I was sad or afraid. He would tell me I was beautiful and lovely when I needed to hear it (and even when I didn't). Jesus was my Husband and I needed no other--many times I didn't even want another. Strangely enough, I would pray that Jesus wouldn't bring a man into my life for a long time, because I treasured my romance with Him so much that I didn't want it to change! (Thankfully, His ways are higher than mine, and the Lord brought Jonathan into my life. I'll post about this soon.)

A few weeks ago I was feeling exhausted and drained. Jonathan knows that when I am feeling empty, the best thing for me is to spend an afternoon at Starbucks, so he asked me to go. Honestly, I didn't feel like it, but did because he asked me. I don't know what it is about Starbucks specifically, but it seems that the moment I sit down in one of those comfy chairs with my extra hot chai, I am in the presence of God.

One of my favorite memories is from the Starbucks on CU's campus. I remember sitting there, listening to my ipod and drinking in the very tangible and alive presence of God. His presence was so alive that when I looked up, it seemed like the people around me were swirling like leaves around me while I was completely still. It was a moment of eternity in the temporary world. It was beautiful.

Anyway, I sat down and heard Him calling to me. I began to journal and process where my heart was and where I longed to be with Him. I remembered those pre-marriage times where Jesus was all I had and all I wanted. Then, the Lord brought the song Blessed Be Your Name to my mind. In the past, I've always focused on blessing His name when things are difficult. But, what about the times of my greatest contentment and peace? I have shown Him that I need Him when I have nothing else, but now He is calling me to be desperate for Him when I have everything. Can I praise Him when life is easy?

And finally, I sat still long enough to hear Him remind me of who He created me to be, and who I am to Him. Jesus Christ is my Fountain. He is my Sustinance, my Glory, my Treasure, my Reward. He has cloaked me with His love and calls me to live in it--stepping in to this mysterious romance, living each moment with the hope and longing to see Him face to face. There is no need to strategize how to be a good example, or reach others, or even be a "good Christian." There is only Jesus: there is falling wildly in love with my heavenly Lover and living with no greater desire than to see Him face to face.

Amen. Come Lord Jesus. You are so beautiful to me.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

New Blog

In effort to prevent Jonathan's friends from asking him why he was sewing baby shoes or aprons, I've started a 2nd blog with all of my attempts at being creative and crafty. I named it Uncooked Rice in honor of my first attempt at being a domestic wife.

Check it out here: www.uncookedrice.blogspot.com

Monday, September 08, 2008

Down Time

Last week was busy! Altogether, we had 5 people staying the night, and the guests changed every day. I also had someone start the 3:45am shift at work this week, which means I was out the door at 3:15am on Wed and Thursday. On Friday night, Jonathan asked me what I would do if I had free time this weekend and I told him I wanted to spend hours at Starbucks with a grande non-fat chai, my ipod, journal, and Bible. I also said I wanted to sew.

I'll comment later about Starbucks, but here is what I did the very moment I got my free time!

"Say aloha (the goodbye version) to summer" cupcakes (thanks Martha Stewart for the idea):

A little purse with my new favorite fabric. I didn't follow any patterns or tutorials and even added some pleats, so I feel pretty good about it.

A new duvet cover. I know it doesn't really match the walls, but I liked the pattern too much to pass up. I was afraid Jonathan would think it was too girly, but he actually really liked it.

I just bought two bedsheets and sewed them together, leaving a small opening on one end.
I also attached two little ties in the corner so the comforter doesn't fall into the corner. Bonus!!!

Also, when Amanda came to visit, she brought all of her mad decoration skills and we got Kylene's room ready for her. (Did I mention we're getting a roommate in a few days???) Here's the final.

Next on my list is a new apron and perhaps some homemade clothes!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008


A few months ago, Jonathan and I decided we wanted to take a fun we're-married-and-travel-together trip. We decided to visit some of our closest friends who are living in Oakland, CA. I was counting down the days to see Calvin and Lesli and get a break from Hotlanta.

Then, a few weeks ago, Jonathan ended up having 3 out of 4 of his employees resign from the coffee shop(two moved out of the country and one started an internship). Needless to say, Jonathan couldn't take 4 days off of work when he only had 1 other person working for him.

So, I promised him I wouldn't leave my heart in San Francisco and set off for a great weekend on my own. Even though I missed Jonathan tons, it was one of the best trips I've been on that I can remember!

Lesli and I met the same summer I met Jonathan--the 3 of us were on the same English teaching team in Thailand. (Lesli and I always joke about how Jonathan changed our lives by pulling our luggage into the same room, determining that we would be roommates for the summer.) Ever since our summer together, Lesli and I have been wonderful friends. She is my greatest inspiration of someone who runs after the Lord without wavering, and has always been a great encouragement and accountability partner for me as well.

Anyway, my time with them was even more refreshing than I imagined! By the time I left, my spirit felt encouraged and I was ready to step back into our often chaotic life here. I'm so thankful for the people God has given me!

Anyway, here are a few of the photographic highlights.

The first day, we headed into the city. Here we are at Pier 39 looking at the sea lions.

It's not a true trip to San Fran without clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl!

And, a picture of the 3 of us overlooking the bay. Isn't it beautiful?

We also went for a hike in the Muir Woods, ate lots of Lesli's great cooking, got pedicures, and saw a movie. It couldn't have been better!