Easy to Please

Caution:This post may be a bit lame…I don’t have much to write about, but get irritated when I follow blogs and they go days/weeks without posting. So here is a little insight into me and how to please me!

It all started with hangers. I love an organized closet, if my closet is messy it bothers me more than if my room is messy. There is something about an organized closet that makes my day so much more efficient. Now when I say organized I mean all my shirts are hung together and color coded from black to white with the rainbow in between. The skirts are hung in the same fashion and my pants are part of another section. When I look into this kind of closet I become a decision master. Within 30 seconds I can pick an entire outfit accessories and all. Somehow I married an incredible man who totally tolerates this fetish I have, and humored me when I told him I NEEDED new slimline velvet hangers. He drove me to the store and I picked up a box of 50 hangers. I came home and for the next 4 hours had a cleaning frenzie while he watched in shock and horror. Not only did I organize my closet to almost perfection (50 more hangers should do the trick), but I somehow convinced him that his closet needed to be sorted and reorganized. Now when organizing a man’s closet I have a totally different system, dress clothes on one side and casual on the other. Color coding is a bit over kill, keeping it simple is the best way to go. I managed to convince him that many articles of clothing just had to go because there simply weren’t enough hangers and some of them just wouldn’t make the cut. He got rid of at least 20 items…I’m super proud of him for this and now everything fits perfectly. Oh and while cleaning his closet we found a spot of mold 1 foot around… pretty gross, they should be fixing that any day now, I hope! So hopefully today I should be getting my 2nd box of hangers and then I may just have to post of picture!

5 other things that please:
1. Blistex, not the stick kind, the medicated tube kind that for some reason I can only find as a trial size with the stick kind. I purchase the stick just to get the trial size..silly I know, but I love it!
2. Using the last of something, consolidating is a great feeling. I only like to have one of something. Even having two tubes of toothpaste in our medicine cabinet annoys me.
3. Clean sheets, nothing beats this, I wash at least once a week!
4.Baking, this is such a relaxing activity and the outcome is delicious.
5. Hugs, need I say more?

I hope you enjoyed this insight into our lives, sorry for the silly post, it was the best I could do today!

If you pray…

For those of you who read this and like to support Andrew and I prayerfully, I have a request. I just dropped off my application for a teaching position at my school of choice 10 minutes ago. I am boldly asking God to provide this job for me and I’m asking you to pray the same for me 🙂 Thanks! P.S. It is too nice outside for me to sit and blog, I’ll try to post something lengthier tomorrow!

Andrew’s thoughts on communication

Sometimes we talk about things and completely speak past each other in a conversation. Laura and I do that a lot with money – it’s like we’re using different languages to make our points based on our background and experiences. I think the same can be said for conversations with people about Jesus. For those raised in church, a lot of times we take our “insider” communication skills to the “outsiders.” Now, of course the intention is good! We’re all about sharing our transformational experience of having a relationship with Jesus. But how we say it is, I think, just as important as what we say.

I follow a blog by a cool guy in Boston, Dave Schmelzer. He’s the pastor of a really unique church in Cambridge, where the church-going rate is one of the lowest in the U.S. He is all about language and the how of Jesus-communication. Even in his blog there will be some folks who are really learning how to communicate Jesus effectively (as there are many people not following Jesus who read the blog), and they frequently succomb to the traps of Christianese. One thing I’ve learned from him is that we really have to change our attitude about everyone.

The tradition is to view people who are Christians as “in the box” and people who are not Christians, regardless of their faith/convictions, as “outside the box.” In this paradigm, the job of Christians is to lure as many people as possible into the box. Now, to be sure, there are truths here. But, is this the most helpful way for people (Christians and non-Christians alike) to view this situation? I think not for 2 reasons: 1) Christians feel pressured to do whatever possible to bring people in the box, or else the people outside the box are going to hell! Is there a hell? In my opinion, yes, but I also don’t believe that it is any of our jobs to determine who’s going there! A lot of anxiety is associated with the term evangelism because of this! 2) Non-Christians are freaked out by a lot of the tools used in evangelism (just google Chick tracts), or they are just confused by the language Christians are using (I refer to Laura’s post – “Have you been saved?”).

So is there a good solution? Maybe. What if we looked at all people as being on a journey, either towards God or away from God? Just throw away the “boxes” for a moment. Now, I think you will agree that anyone who is moving toward God, whether they are walking, running, or sprinting, is in a good place. And anyone who has decided to turn around, or continue moving away from God is not experiencing the same joy and peace that I might believe Jesus provides. This is an interesting way to look at how people relate to God. However, it is a little trickier than the traditional view. Remember, there is no “box” of the Church, so you can’t assume that people sitting in the pews on Sunday morning are in a good place, and those walking their dogs outside are in a bad place in relationship to God. The challenge is that, to know where people stand, you really have to have a relationship with them! 

I really believe this perspective is true, because growing up I knew people who went to church but were totally not following God, or they were “backsliding,” yet most people wouldn’t really know how to relate to them because, after all, they are going to church! And, I knew people who didn’t go to church on a regular basis, but were genuinely following Jesus and experiencing him on a regular basis. I feel that by changing my attitude to look at everyone as being on the same plane, just in different positions related to Jesus, I can be more helpful to people in pushing them (or helping them turn around) towards Jesus. 

As Laura was saying, we can’t really use phrases or attitudes that belong in the “church box.” The box is gone! I try to use normal language like I use every day at work or at home to talk about my friendship with Jesus and the awesome things he does like healing people’s diseases, protecting me from sinful attitude and behavior, etc. Am I completely successful? I have no idea. I still get tense and nervous when the subject of Jesus and faith comes up, yet I am fairly confident that I am on a good path to helping people move closer to Jesus and to really experience a relationship with him. 

What do you think?

Turn or Burn? In the arms of a loving God?

Andrew and I have begun a class at the Vineyard church called Alpha.  This is a class that takes you through the basics of Christianity.  We are not exploring Christianity like many in the class, rather we are trying to learn how to communicate the ideas of Christianity to the nonbeliever.  Many questions came up and we had a great discussion on the car ride home.  One thing we talked about was how often people use “Christianese.”  This language is something Christians use that non christians don’t understand.  We think this is rude and it is our goal to never use it.  Exhibit A: My title.  Turn or burn, turn from what and burn where/why.  The arms of a loving God?  Does God have arms and what exactly happens in those arms?  Once Saved, always saved?, Washed in the blood?, Saved by Grace?  These are just a few!  There are MANY other phrases that cause people to feel out of place when in the company of Christian people.  If you use “Christianese” STOP, it’s rude 🙂

And now for a fun little activity…post your favorite “Christianese” saying…this is the LAST TIME you’re allowed to use it, so make it good!

Gabe- I feel like you will have a few good ones for this post…please don’t disappoint 🙂

Wedded Bliss

Ah the joys of marriage…well kind of. Andrew and I went away for the weekend the first week of February. When we got home we both let the luggage sit for a couple days. It finally started to annoy me so I unpacked my belonging (I thought I got them all out). I try not to touch Andrew’s things, I like my things put away a certain way so I assume most people don’t want there things moved. Around day 5 of being home Andrew moved the bag from in front of the dresser to the floor space in front of the closet. This caused the closet to remain open at all times. I tried to not let this bug me…pick your battles right? It is his closet anyway so it shouldn’t bother me that the door remains open and the clothes spill out…I mean I only have to share a room with him! I let this go for a week. Yesterday I was off work so I wanted to pick the house up a bit. In order to clean up the room I wanted our closet door closed so I moved the piece of luggage to another wall. Andrew came home, the luggage sat, I waited…nothing. Bed time rolls around and I decided to get crafty. While he was not watching I rolled the luggage so it blocked our bedroom door. I knew that he wouldn’d miss it sitting there. He stepped over the luggage to get into the room. Then do you know what he did???? He picked it up and MOVED it, he didn’t unload it, he just moved it! I was appalled and without thinking I shouted, ” You have to be kidding me!” He burst into laughter and so did I. We laughed so hard we almost cried. Then he emptied out the bag and threatened to throw away my one stray item that I overlooked. I tried to pawn it off as his, but my underwear and his underwear look slightly different 🙂 I love my husband!

Chemistry lesson

Today I thought that I would give our readers a little insight to what exactly it is that I do, and why I haven’t done anything the past 6 months! For starters, I got married. That was a big job in itself! But, I also finished a project and published a paper on that subject last August. While I was attempting to begin a new project, I encountered major issues with the instrument that I need to do my research. It is called “atomic force microscopy” because there is a tiny probe that glides along the surface of molecules to generate a topographical image of the sample, giving at times atomic resolution. My own method uses a special sample plate that sends out a signal to move the probe up and down so it doesn’t drag on the surface, allowing for better imaging of soft materials. That plate has been rebuilt several times over the past few years, and it finally reached a point where I basically could not run an experiment without wires breaking and ending every experiment. So I have spent the better part of the last 6 months doing tests, repairs, and convincing my boss that it is beyond repair. I finally got the green light to purchase a new sample plate (to the tune of $6000) which arrived last week. Unfortunately I still am waiting on another part that the company did not send, which allows me to control the temperature of my experiments. That part (really just a few wires that have to be soldered together) will be made here on campus, but they are waiting on some other parts they ordered for the wires to connect. So, I am still sitting here at my desk, dreaming of the day I can do chemistry again!

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A Quick Funny

So this morning Andrew and I were really tired.  We have been up until after 1:00 everynight…this needs to change before my head explodes (yes I get headaches from being tired).  Today is my day off which I typically spend with mom.  I dropped off Andrew at work and the following “conversation” ensued.

Laura: “Bye babe, love you, have a great day.”

Andrew: “Alright love you, see you tonight.”

Then there is silence, Andrew gets out of the car.

Andrew: “What did you just say?”

Laura: “Nothing”

10 seconds later

Andrew: “What did you just say?”

Laura: “Nothing”

Andrew: “Oh I thought you just asked me what I wanted for dinner”

Haha he is a little sneaky snake.  I told him when he decides what he wants for dinner he can e-mail me and I’ll make it.  I just had to laugh 🙂

Running a Mile a Minute!

For those of you who think this post is going to be about Andrew and I working out…you will be disappointed. In fact over the last couple weeks I don’t know if we have seen the inside of the gym. Being busy is no excuse, but it is our excuse!

Saturday was a busy day. I worked 8 hours. Which typically I hate doing on Saturdays. This Saturday was different though because I had several friends come visit AND Andrew brought me lunch. We were able to sit down and eat lunch uninterrupted, it was wonderful. I rushed home at 6:00 to prepare for our party that started at 7:00. One person came at 7:00….the most UNPUNCTUAL person at church was there at 7:00, I couldn’t believe it! No one else came until 8:00, lesson learned…you can’t predict young adults! Our party was great, we ate, drank, watched “The Breakup” and played charades. It’s amazing what a game of charades can do to a group of people. It takes people who don’t really know each other well and forces them to crack their pride shell off.

Sunday, the day of rest, was not all that restful! Andrew and I got up and went to Vineyard to see our good friend Jenna lead the opening song of worship (she did awesome BTW). Then we grabbed a bite to eat and went home to let Lennox out. [We were watching him this weekend and he has affirmed for us that we do not want a dog anytime soon. Our whole day had to be planned around him eating and going to the bathroom. We are not ready for that responsibility, clearly children are out of the question.] We ran a couple errands then rushed to church by 4:00 to cook dinner for Godsearch. At five I rushed back to my parents to feed the dog, then booked it back to church to get there by 6:00. We had a great service followed by a wonderful dinner. After going home to let the dog out to go to the bathroom AGAIN we went to the ice arena on campus to play broomball with the young adults from church.  I kinda forced Andrew to go play with me, against his will he did, and actually admitted having a good time afterwards.  Then it was his turn to make a request of me…he wanted us to go over to our friend’s house to play Guitar Hero World Tour.  As much as I love this game it was already 11:00PM and I was TIRED.  I compromised and went anyway.  We had a GREAT time and I’m so glad I agreed to go!  Our weekend was jam packed, luckily we were able to relax and unwind last night and we are now gearing up for another busy week!

P.S. I see that about 20 people a day are reading…post a comment so we know who is out there keeping up on our lives 🙂

V-Day Party!

Well, we had a great Valetine’s Day, even though Laura doesn’t really care for the holiday. Several friends came over to Laura’s parents’ house for some food, wine, and Laura’s very own invention: Valentines Charades! Yes, she spent quite a bit of time coming up with fun movies, conversation heart themes, and songs all related to Valentine’s Day. 

Here are some pictures of the festivities.

Thanks, Jenna, for the awesome photography!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

BEWARE: This note was written after working a full day on a Saturday (This puts me in a bad mood). Also I am in a sad mood that I am not getting to visit my family right now. If I sound synical it’s because today I feel synical, so…don’t form any opinions about me due to the post!

Just wanted to give a love shout out to our family and friends! Due to a culmination of circumstances Andrew and I were not able to go to Texas this weekend with my parents to cheer my brother on in the Austin marathon. This living far from family thing gets worse every week for me (Laura). Knowing that I won’t see my nephew for months after he is born is killing me! I just love my family and knowing that we will probably never live close makes me relatively devastated! So I just wanted to say GOOD LUCK BRYAN in the marathon tomorrow! Andrew and I will be cheering you on from here!

Confession: I don’t like Valentine’s Day, I never have and probably never really will. Rarely have I been single on Valentine’s day, so its not because I hated being single on Valentine’s Day. I just hate the idea that people are required to do nice things for their significant other on this one day a year. It means way more to me when Andrew does something for me out of the blue…which he does often! I would maybe go so far as to say I am ANTI-Valentine’s Day. I request that people not do anything for me or give me anything on V-Day. People think I’m just saying that, but deep down I want something. I DON’T! Then there is the whole single on Valentine’s Day issue. The fact that one day a year single people feel like absolute crap really gets to me. SO this years solution…having a love party on V-Day. We are getting together with friends tonight…single, dating, engaged and married people to celebrate love, not this holiday that makes people feel obligated and crappy. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my mother’s, mother in law’s and Andrew’s gifts. I probably would have enjoyed Andrew’s even more had he not felt obligated to do it. And due to the fact that I specifically requested not to celebrate Valentine’s Day I actually feel worse because I didn’t even get him a card! So Here’s to Valentine’s Day…yay.