Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Songs

I thought I'd share the lyrics to my FAVORITE Christmas song.  It's not very famous, but it's beautiful! 

1. Let all mortal flesh keep silence, 
 and with fear and trembling stand;
 ponder nothing earthly-minded, 
 for with blessing in his hand, 
 Christ our God to earth descendeth, 
 our full homage to demand. 

2. King of kings, yet born of Mary, 
 as of old on earth he stood, 
 Lord of lords, in human vesture, 
 in the body and the blood; 
 he will give to all the faithful 
 his own self for heavenly food. 

3. Rank on rank the host of heaven 
 spreads its vanguard on the way, 
 as the Light of light descendeth 
 from the realms of endless day, 
 that the powers of hell may vanish 
 as the darkness clears away. 

4. At his feet the six-winged seraph, 
 cherubim, with sleepless eye, 
 veil their faces to the presence, 
 as with ceaseless voice they cry: 
 Alleluia, Alleluia, 
 Alleluia, Lord Most High!
 
Merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jonathan's Tats

Okay, so I know I've only written maybe 7 posts in the history of this blog, but I guess it's never too late to attempt to be a regular blogger. And since Sarah did a tattoo blog pretty recently, I thought I'd do a complementary explanation of my adventures in ink.

I got all three of my tattoos from Arte Sagrado down in Lima, Peru. They did a great job with all of them, and it was mondo inexpensive too!

Tattoo #1:

The inspiration for this one was the time I spent down in South America with a group of guys and girls dedicated to sharing Jesus with indigenous people in fairly remote regions of the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Jungle. I designed this tattoo for me and two other guys who were my traveling partners. It's a cross (for Jesus reasons) made of bamboo (connection to the jungle) and tilted to also be an "X" (because our team was called the "Xtreme Team").

Tattoo #2:

As Sarah hinted at in her post, I had no idea we would eventually get together when I stole her idea for a wrist tattoo of scripture. My take on it: Two verses in New Testament Greek. It's 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17. "Be joyful always. Pray continually." It's a great reminder for me of what my faith walk should look like on a daily basis.





Tattoo #3:

So this is actually my family crest. You can ask my dad about all the history and genealogy of our family, but the relevant stuff is that "Pascual" basically means Easter and has very Christian roots. Two of the quadrants of the coat of arms has the "agnus dei" symbol ("lamb of God"), and around the border in Latin it reads "from under whose feet the living waters flow", which is a line from a book of vespers from a pope or something like that.

As far as I know, no one in the world (except my two buddies) shares any of my exact tattoos. I like that they're unique and meaningful, as tattoos should be. I'd love to get something else done, maybe a bit bigger. I'll let you know when that happens...

More with Less Monday

Families work best when at least one person likes to cook.  That way, you know you'll always get good food.  Unfortunately, neither of us love to cook.  We'll do it and it'll be fine, but there's no thrill in preparing and sitting down to a meal.

I tossed around the idea of writing down what we eat for a week, but then I realized how humiliating it would be confessing to the blog world that we eat both Burger King and Kraft Mac n' Cheese once a week.

But, we are both much better cooks when living in other countries.  Fast and processed food is much more difficult to come by in other places. In Egypt, my fast meal was a ful and musaka (I have no idea how to write those words in English) sandwich. In Turkey, it was chicken doner (most people know it is shwarma).  Both of those snacks get old pretty quickly.

So, I figured I'd spotlight my favorite cookbook in the world.  The More With Less Cookbook.  This is absolutely the best cookbook for:
1.  Living simply on a small budget
2.  Living in a country where complicated ingredients are hard to come by. 
3.  Leaving a smaller carbon footprint on the world.

This cookbook was written by the Mennonite Church years and years ago with the tag line, "Suggestions by the Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world's limited food resources."

Doesn't even the thought of eating better and being more wise with the resources you consume make you feel great?

I haven't made everything in the cookbook, but my favorite things in it are the Basic Lentil Soup, Tomato Soup, Lentil Burgers, and Pancakes.  (Did you even know that you can make pancakes without a store bought mix?).  I also ADORE the homemade Indian chai tea from the More with Less: Extending the Table Cookbook.

So, I highly recommend this book. If I only had one cookbook to live by, it would be this one.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rory's Winter Hat

This knit up in about an hour (after I read the instructions correctly).  
 I knit a bow to attach the bottom parts of the hat together.


I also knitted mittens to go along with it, but we had lost one within Rory's first 45 seconds wearing them.  So, we're sticking with socks on her hands instead.


Isn't the cutest kid ever???  I can't get enough of her chubby cheeks!

Monday, December 13, 2010

More with Less Monday: November Spending

November felt good.  For the first time since January, we weren't dishing out money to pay up front for Rory's birth (which is in the process of being paid back in full thanks to the AMAZING Christian Healthcare Ministries).  So, all of our other months have looked like we were living OVER our means.  Even though we knew we weren't, it wasn't fun to look at the negative on our FinanceWorks budget planner.

Anyway, on to the good stuff.

Food spending: $310
Groceries-$228
*We were actually EXACTLY on budget ($220) with groceries and eating out combined a few days before the end of the month.  But then, we made a date mistake and made a trip to the grocery store on 11/30 rather than 12/1.
Eating out-$82
*The worst part about the eating out section is that only 2 items in the list of things are over $10.  The rest of the expenses are $3-$4. I can get coffee for free in 3 different places.  I shouldn't need to buy it.  Ever.

Shopping: $21
New-$0
Recycled-$21
*Hooray!!!  A month where I only bought used! 

I'm guessing that December is probably going to be over our food budget.  We've got lots of parties where we're making yummy treats.   My family is also coming for a few days and my Boulderite younger brother only eats organic.

On another note, we're in the process of buying a house...and it's pretty much the scariest thing we've ever done.  WAY scarier than having a baby.  We're still in the offer/counter-offer process so nothing is guaranteed.  I know the house-buying journey can be controversial.  Some consider renting throwing your money away.  Others say it's the most affordable way to go because you don't have to pay any upkeep.  (According to my brother, when you rent, you're paying for freedom.)  The mortgage rates are great these days (apparently), but living in the city is expensive no matter what.

Any advice for new home buyers?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tattoos

I like tattoos.  Actually, most people in my generation probably like tattoos.

I got my first tattoo when I was 8 years ago...back in the day before it was popular to get wrist tattoos.  Jonathan and I met later that year and he thought my wrist tattoo was cool too.  Back then, we had no idea we'd fall in love and get married so he got a similar tattoo.  Now we're the cheesy couple with matching tattoos.

(If this picture looks bad, it's because it's a picture of a picture.  The actual photograph by Blume Photography is great.)

My wrist tattoo is two verses that remind me that I no longer live and it's Christ in me.
Philippians 1:21-For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Galatians 2:20-I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.
And now, on the [near] year anniversary of my second tattoo, I decided it was time to share it with the blogging world.  (Actually, I just needed to make sure my parents saw it first.)

So...here is my year-old tattoo that I dreamed up, Jonathan designed, and Tanner executed.  Yes, it was in Turkey...and no mom, I don't have HIV or Hepatitis.  The needle and ink were clean. 

When you think of tattoo parlors, what kind of music do you imagine playing?  Maybe some screaming, angry music?  Well, we listened to the best of late 80s soft rock.  My favorite song we listened to was "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx circa 1989.  Awesome.

Even though I like tattoos, I'm not a big fan of the pain.  To keep my mind off of it I was telling Jonathan a story, but I was talking so quickly the tattoo artist stopped and asked me if I was rapping.
I really like the location of my tattoo...except the one problem is that I rarely see it.

Here's the only post-healed picture I have of it.  Thanks again to the incredible Blume Photography.
What does this tattoo mean, you ask?

The tattoo starts with a wave in the middle of it.  God has always spoken to me through being around water.  It's refreshing and life-giving.  One time, while praying, I asked God, "Who do you want to be to me?"  He replied, "I am your fountain."   Psalm 36:9 says, "For with You is the fountain of life, in Your light do we see life."

The next picture is a bird. There are two separate meanings to this one.  The bird itself is symbolic of a nightingale [even though it doesn't look like one].  Nightingales are famous for being loud and singing in the nighttime.  When they are in cities and loud places, they sing even louder.  My hope is that I can be a nightingale--one who sings loudly of hope and peace and love and eternity.  I want to sing in the darkest of nights and the most desolate of places.  The heart is a reminder that I sing because He gave me a new heart.  Ezekiel 36:26 says, "And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you."

The olive branches are reminders of the fruit that will be produced through me if I remain in Christ.  "I am the vine and you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he is it that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

Jonathan has 3 tattoos, and plans for more.  His are awesome as well.  Maybe I can get him to post about his tattoos in the future.

What tattoos do you have?  What tattoos do you dream of getting?

Monday, December 06, 2010

More with Less Monday: Holidays Part 2

We caved and bought a Christmas tree this year.  It's small and overpriced... and I love it!

We had a good conversation about gifts last night with Jonathan's family and it made me think.  We don't like having a lot of stuff.  In fact, I am known for compulsively getting rid of stuff and then wishing I would have saved it.  (Are there support groups for anti-pack rats?)

As I said before, Jonathan and I are not gift givers.  In fact, we've never given each other Christmas gifts.  But, with a kid in the picture it will become more difficult in the future.  Our plan/policy is this:

Jesus received three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Therefore we will only give 3 gifts to our kids within our immediate family.  That will keep it simple and [hopefully] help them to understand that life is about more than stuff.

It's important to us that our kids grow up in a simple household where they don't get carried away with materialism.  I am so thankful for the ways my parents taught us to be responsible with our money.  We grew up in a very wealthy city and though we always had what we needed, it wasn't at the standard the Boulderite culture demanded.  I drove a 1984 Toyota Camry through high school when the cars around me were 2000 Jeeps and Audis.  When we ate out, we ordered from the kids menu and only drank water.  I learned how to live on less than those around me were living.  I will admit that it was tough for me at the time and I felt very deprived.  (I still can't turn down soda when it's offered to me because we were only allowed 1 a week growing up.  It's probably the middle child in me feeling deprived.)  But, just like the YEARS AND YEARS of piano lessons I was forced into by my mom, I'm thankful for it now.

So far, we've done well on more with less in Rory's 4 months of life outside the womb.  We were given tons of stuff [which we are so thankful for!] but have managed to stay away from anything that's battery operated and takes up lots of space.  Our splurges [all gifts!] were an infant holder, a baby bathtub, and a bumbo seat.  I'm not going to say I don't appreciate electronic things though.  Rory can fall asleep in a swinging chair in no time and it's nice turning on a mobile and walking away rather than running in and re-swinging it when she starts to fuss.  I also realize and acknowledge that this is a very personal conviction and lifestyle choice and am in no way criticizing others who do differently.

For those of you with kids, what do you do when Christmas and birthdays come around?  What's one thing you're going to change about holidays this year?