Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The 8th World Wonder - The Public Library

Have I mentioned that I love the library?

For those of you who are ignorant, as I once was, let me enlighten you to the beauties of the public library.

First off, it is a room, or series of room-like structures, filled with books. BOOKS people - pretty much the most amazing, awesome, awe-inspiring, incredible, stupendous, and perfect inanimate objects to ever grace the earth. And it is a building filled with them.

Secondly, every book in the room can be taken home with you - for FREE. I'm starting to believe that impossibly wonderful things are actually possible. While there are unfortunate drawbacks (you have to return the books), you can actually extend your enjoyment almost indefinitely by renewing and rechecking out books that you love. If however, you're lazy normal and you don't want to waste time renewing the same book over and over again - no problem. You can just keep it and they'll just charge you for the cost of the book. Seriously - you get to try the product out before you decide if you want to keep it! How many places let you do that? Not satisfied - no worries. Just bring the book back within your allotted 2-3 weeks and you won't be charged a penny.

Thirdly, if they don't have the book(s) you want, they will go out and scavenge for them and bring these shining beautiful books back to the nearest and most convenient library to you, where you can check them out, once again ladies and gentlemen, for free. :D

Finally, not only are books, movies, magazines, and other random media free for your perusing, but they have free passes to local educational entertainment such as :

1. The Portland Art Museum
2. The Children's Museum
3. The Japanese Gardens
5. etc

I'm not kidding. You can get FREE passes to any of the above and more by doing nothing more complicated than calling your local library and reserving them for the day you want to go. I may sound like an advertisement for the library, but guys, it sells itself. Can I dare believe some place so amazing actually exists? Yes, I can - because it does.

In short, I heart the public library. If the government is going to take my money and put it toward something, I'm not going to complain if it goes to the library. That, my friends, is actually a worthwhile investment of my money (and yours!).

Finding peace, and trying to understand the world

Just what is it about complacency that makes my life more difficult? One would tend to think that when things are going your way, when they are as you expect, that life would be so much better. After all, there's nothing unexpected or untoward to complain about - things are just peachy! And while my life definitely isn't perfect at this point, it is certainly great - I have a fabulous wife, house and a decent job that pays the bills.

Why is it, then that I find myself wondering more and more about my disposition and my perspective on life? I'm reading through the Psalms right now, and I can't help but feel like we would be so much closer to God if we just had more struggles in our life, if things weren't quite so easy. Then we wouldn't think that we had it all together, we'd realize that God is in control of everything, and that He is directing each and every step we take.

Hard times make us rely on God. Hard times make us look at every event, big and small, and attribute it to God's greater plan - for what else could it be? As humans, we have nothing else to explain it (unless you go with random chance.) Disaster in my life? God's going to use it for good - that's who He is, and that's what He does! But when everything is going well, we trudge along and minor inconveniences (such as lousy drivers on the freeway) annoy us to no end.

I think my faith will be much stronger the day I can say I am as devoted, attentive and reliant on God when things are going well as when they are going poorly.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The pursuit of Wisdom

January 22nd -

"I now understand why I've fallen for SO many stupid guys:

1) no good guys exist."

While pretending to unpack the office today, I found my journals. It was an amusing afternoon reading through my thoughts as a 13 year old girl to present day. Somewhere between then and now, I wrote the above jaded statement about men. Fortunately, for my heart and mankind's reputation, Andy appeared in my life (and my journal some pages later). At which point, I found this scribbled happily at the beginning of multitudes of pages gushing with sappy lovey-dovey stuff:

"So I met my husband-to-be and unless God tells me I'm crazy - wow."

Wow. All I can say is that I'm thankful that God truly does mold us, change us, and help us to grow as individuals. I can't begin to describe how idiotic I was when I was younger. I'm just glad that God doesn't leave us how we are. Although the process can be painful and frustrating, I'm thankful I'm no longer who I was. I now know that I can/will be glad of any pain that I will have to endure in the years to come if it will make me a wiser and more loving woman of God.

James 1:5
"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

I think this verse is a double edged sword. I've seen the things that have caused the most growth in my life and I realize that when God gives you wisdom, it comes through humbling experiences.

James 3:13
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."

Proverbs 11:2
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."

While reading through my journals I was torn between a desire to burn the evidence of my stupidity and grabbing labeling materials and marking them all as "Evidence of God's Grace and Loving Kindness."

It's funny because I'm confident that in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, I'll look back and see God's grace in my life all over again and recognize that God has given me more wisdom than I had before and that through the difficult things in my life, He'll have answered the one prayer that is consistent throughout every page of my journal - "Change my heart, Oh God. Make me more like You. Fill me with wisdom and understanding. Lead me in paths of righteousness."

Truly this hymn is the banner that covers my life:

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Morning ponderings on Psalm 106 (NASB)

Each morning as I wolf down my cereal & toast, I like to have something to read. Given that somehow I run from the beginning of my day to the end, I have made it a point to read the Word during breakfast. It's almost guaranteed. Even though I'm rushed and hurried, God somehow always manages to impress something upon me in the short time that I get to share with Him. Sometimes it's something small, sometimes it's something bigger. I want to try and voice these out, and with my new commitment to blogging more (wait, that's not a new commitment...) I think I can safely share it here. Hopefully it resonates with you...or at least makes you think.

Psalm 106 is basically a rough history of the nation of Israel, all crammed into one chapter. Yowza. Hundreds of years, millions of people. You'd think it would take more than that, but no. And what is it summed up by in the sub-title? "Israel's Rebelliousness and the LORD'S Deliverances." Dang. That kinda sucks for Israel when you think about it. Years and years of history, and what are they remembered for? Rebelliousness. Gotta work on that Israel.

However, the real meat of it is right there in the same sentence. First portion: Israel (People in general) screw up. A lot. Second Portion: God is always there to fix it. Not just once - He doesn't just toss us after the first screwup. That's Deliverances ladies and gentlemen - plural. And the same applies to us.

The majority of Psalm 106 plays like a broken record: Israel forgets God, Israel becomes oppressed, God saves Israel. And what struck me about this is that we're the same way. It's easy to look at the Old Testament and dismiss it as boring, old stories. I know I did that for a long time. The New Testament was much more interesting - it had Jesus, and Paul and all kinds of good stuff. But the OT? Wasn't that just rules, regulations and some stuff in Song of Solomon that you weren't really supposed to read (or understand) until you were married?

After having much of the OT summed up for me in Psalm 106, I came to a conclusion. The OT isn't boring (it is old.) What God is providing for us through the OT is twofold: a warning and a promise. The warning is to not repeat history - God gave everything He had to the Israelites, and they just didn't get it. The promise is of salvation through Jesus' death and resurrection on the cross. We already have the promise - in our hands, tangible and living.

So far, I haven't even quoted any scripture, but now we're there. Because while we often dismiss much of the OT as "old" - it still applies to everyday life, and Psalm 106 especially. So let's get into it:

Psalm 106: 19-25

19 They made a calf in Horeb
And worshiped a molten image.
20 Thus they exchanged their glory
For the image of an ox that eats grass.
21 They forgot God their Savior,
Who had done great things in Egypt,
22 Wonders in the land of Ham
And awesome things by the Red Sea.
23 Therefore He said that He would destroy them,
Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him,
To turn away His wrath from destroying them.
24 Then they despised the pleasant land;
They did not believe in His word,
25 But grumbled in their tents;
They did not listen to the voice of the LORD.

Here we see one snapshot - Israel has just gotten out of Egypt - God saved them from intense slavery and the murder of their male children. Kind of a big deal, no? And what do they do? They made a gold cow. Yeah. A cow. That eats grass, farts methane to destroy the ozone layer, and provides tasty steaks. They "forgot God their Savior." How often do we do that? How often do we forget the awesome saving power of our Lord, and throw it all away for the things of this world? Maybe it's not a cow - but it's probably other worldly things. Idols aren't just statues made of gold - it's anything that holds a place in our hearts before God.

This comes into play later in Psalm 106, specifically verses 35-39:

35 But they mingled with the nations
And learned their practices,
36 And served their idols,
Which became a snare to them.
37 They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons,
38 And shed innocent blood,
The blood of their sons and their daughters,
Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;
And the land was polluted with the blood.
39 Thus they became unclean in their practices,
And played the harlot in their deeds.

Are we doing this? Are we becoming more worldly in our actions? I know I'm guilty. I know I allow myself to say, do, hear and see things that I shouldn't. Every time, it's a compromise, letting myself be snared by the world. I pray that I will change my ways - to stay clean. Even though I know God forgives me every time I screw up.

What happens next? God promises His wrath (something I never want to face, but thanks to Jesus, never have to) upon Israel. Moses intervenes, begging for forgiveness. God relents, and is still planning on giving them the land of Canaan, a land "flowing with milk and honey." Sounds nice, doesn't it? I don't think I'd complain. However, what is Israel's response? They rejected the land, didn't believe in God, and didn't listen. What a thank-you, Hallmark should take notes.

Again, how does this apply to us? How often do we trust in our own understanding, and push God aside? How often do we look at small things in our life and dismiss all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us? I know I allow it to happen more than I should. This fallen world, Satan and his demons, want us to be dragged down until we can't see the light and hope that is God above. I challenge you readers (and myself) to stand above this, rejoicing in the salvation that God has provided for us - along with the tons of good things that He has provided.

Sounds like we've got a pretty difficult road ahead of us. But if there is one thing to take from Psalm 106, it's the promise of God's greatest gift in Jesus. For the psalm ends with:

43 Many times He would deliver them;
They, however, were rebellious in their counsel,
And so sank down in their iniquity.
44 Nevertheless He looked upon their distress
When He heard their cry;
45 And He remembered His covenant for their sake,
And relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.
46 He also made them objects of compassion
In the presence of all their captors.
47 Save us, O LORD our God,
And gather us from among the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name
And glory in Your praise.

God delivers us from our iniquity. God looks upon our distresses, when we cry out - and God remembers his promise. We are forgiven, we are redeemed, we are saved. And at the end of the day, we should echo the psalmist in verse 48:

48 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting.
And let all the people say, "Amen."
Praise the LORD!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Things I enjoy (also known as things that keep me sane)

Apparently my wife has started to blog a lot more, given the recent spasm of posts. While life isn't a competition, I am definitely feeling the need to step it up and begin providing our small reader base a reason to read the blog more. I think it might also help me to mull over my own thoughts in written form - something I've never been very good at. There have been times in my life where I kept a journal of sorts, and my propensity to write in it always seemed to dry up quickly.

Rather than learn from my mistakes and recognize that writing/blogging my thoughts just isn't for me, I'm going to keep banging my head against the wall and try to convince myself that this can and will become a regular thing. I may even rely on you, the loyal fanbase, to pester me with questions such as "why haven't you blogged lately?" and "I really wish the internet was full of details about Andy and Elisha's life so I didn't have to ask them personally." (I realize the last statement was not a question.)

So, um, here's another blog post. Not forced, for real. This time anyway.

Some things I have enjoyed lately:

1.) Seeing my lovely wife after 4 days of being gone.

2.) Backpacking the Jefferson Wilderness (post soon to come with pictures)

3.) Not Always Right (Hilarious website

4.) Finding new, interesting and great ways to look at passages of scripture that you've read a dozen times. I think this will always happen - God's Word being alive is certainly true. (Exodus was the scripture, by the way.)

Some things I have not enjoyed lately:

1.) Growing older to the point that I wake up in the middle of the night to use the 'loo. WTF bladder?! 4AM is not a good time for this. Wait another freakin' 2 hours and 45 minutes so I can get more uninterrupted sleep. I'm not even 25 yet. I really, really really don't want this to get worse, but I know it's going to. Old people, don't chime in about my future doom and how bad it will be. I realize it is imminent.

2.) Knowing that I need to eat less/eat healthier/exercise more. Curse my efficient body. So good at retaining, so bad at releasing. Oh, and screw you everything-that-tastes-good-but-is-fattening.

3.) Knowing that I'll probably suck at blogging more, but trying anyway.


"Who has never killed an hour? Not casually or without thought, but carefully: a premeditated murder of minutes. The violence comes from a combination of giving up, not caring, and a resignation that getting past it is all you can hope to accomplish. So you kill the hour. You do not work, you do not read, you do not daydream. If you sleep it is not because you need to sleep. And when at last it is over, there is no evidence: no weapon, no blood, and no body. The only clue might be the shadows beneath your eyes or a terribly thin line near the corner of your mouth indicating something has been suffered, that in the privacy of your life you have lost something and the loss is too empty to share."

Monday, September 14, 2009


Did I mention that I dyed my hair blonde?!

Love N Dancing

Love N Dancing. Not "Love & Dancing," but just Love N Dancing. Lame name and pretty much a lame movie, with one redeeming quality - it's a movie entirely about West Coast Swing dancing.

I somewhat suspected the movie to claim that the dance was "West Coast Swing" when, in reality, it was some stupid combination of Lindy aeriels and moves (ie. when Benji Schwimmer competed in So You Think You Can Dance the first year and they gave him a "WCS routine" which was really a Lindy/jitterbug/random aeriels routine.... grrrrr...). However, I was pleasantly surprised to find several WCS pros (Jordan & Tatiana ::sighs dreamily::, Benji Schwimmer & Heidi Groskreutz, and Kyle Redd & Sarah Van Drake, etc) dancing away on my screen with their usual talent and skill.

I made it through the movie solely because there was real WCS dancing that composed 80% of the entire movie. The acting was just interesting enough that it didn't pollute my enjoyment of the dancing, but horrible enough that if the dancing hadn't been included, I wouldn't have made it through the first 15 minutes.

My recommendation: Don't watch this movie unless -

1) you ran out of WCS competition videos to watch
2) you want to laugh at bad acting and directing
3) you are stalking Jordan and Tatiana
4) you are stalking Benji Schwimmer and Heidi Groskreutz
5) you are a WCS pro stalker in general
6) you have nothing better to do, you are bored out of your mind, and you don't mind suffering through a bad script for a story about a girl who discovers the wonder of WCS.

So there you are. Go watch it or not.

[the end]

Mission Impossible: Organize

This morning my brain = tired. Which is what happens when you stay out until 3AM every morning and wake up at 8AM that same morning. Generally speaking I like to go to bed when the hour is in the PM and wake up when it again reaches the PM. Skipping the AM altogether is quite suitable to me.

Now that I've sufficiently warned you that this post may be filled with typos and runon sentences and things that generally don't make sense (due of course to the lack of sleep mentioned above), we can move on to discussing Operation: Organize, Revitalize, and Design.

This is currently the quilting/computer room:

[yes, I do quilt on the floor]

I'm hoping to get it to the point where it looks something more like this:

I like the organization of the above photo, but I will definitely be removing all touches and traces of all things remotely "girly" (minus the obvious quilting supplies).

I'd love to get some ideas/suggestions/recommendations from everyone about different techniques that have helped them organize, fun crafty ways to make the room "pop", and any other advice or suggestions that might help a girl decorate her sewing room with a modern, ungirly, and fun theme.

1.....2.....3... Go!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I made it past my 100th post and didn't even know it! This is officially my 106th post. I know it would have been cooler if I had remembered to make some special post about the 100th post, but this one will just have to do! Here's to a hundred (and six) more posts to be written!

On Community

Regarding the below post, if anyone is interested in reading about the adventure of two families who have already begun a living-together-in-community-household, my cousin Brittany and her husband, Dan, have already begun to enter the world of "having all things in common." You can follow their adventures at their household blog -

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Please hold your breath while I impart to you fellow bloggy friends the good news!

Our dear friend Mandi will be moving in with us!! While many of you just read this sentence and wondered how a happily married couple could possible consider having a new room mate as good news, please let me provide some illumination.

First, Andy and I are incredibly social people. We like love having people stay at our house for extended periods of time. On top of this, Mandi is one our favorite people in the whole world and we adore spending time with her. So we're thrilled that we'll have a new member of our family for the next 9 months until she gets married.

Finally, even after she moves out when she gets married June 2010, we're still considering filling our house with people. We are becoming strong proponents of community and we've always wanted our home to be a place where the people in our community feel welcome and at home. We are beginning to believe, more and more, that God created us to be in community with other believers. Not just the "go to church on Sunday and Bible study once a week" style of community, but the living/eating/sleeping/sharing type of community that happens in a family. When we look at the early church we see so much of this type of church community, and we wonder whether we've lost some of the blessings that God intended for the church by separating ourselves into our own private little homes.

We're excited about experimenting in this "home-style" version of community. :D

Yay for Mandi!

Blogging more

I will blog more. I will blog more. I will blog more. I will blog more. I will blog more. I will blog more.

Maybe if I repeat this little mantra in my blog, I'll actually end up blogging more.

Although, if I actually do end up blogging more it will probably be because wedding season is over and our life is returning back to a somewhat human pace again.

So let's raise our glasses (and our determination) to blogging more!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Joys of Fabric

Quilting - oh how I love thee! I especially love this quilt -

Isn't it adorable? I just bought the fabric to make a quilt that will end up being similar, except I'll be using bright fuschia (not pink, ladies and gentlemen, but FUSCHIA) to replace the green. While I don't really enjoy FUSCHIA as a color, my little sister Chantel adores it and this quilt is going to be her Christmas present this year. So I'm simply going to figuratively close my eyes to the color and pretend it is green while I quilt it all together. Here's a picture of the fabric pre-quilting!

Also, I've been dying to post photos of the quilting process, but I'm a little reluctant to because most of them will end up as Christmas presents this year and most of the people who actually read my blog will be the recipients of my quilting efforts.... I'll post as much as I can without revealing too much! For example - this is a ________ (insert offending color name here) that I've been working on recently.

Initially, I was just using scraps from my Super-Awesome-Garage-Sale-Find to practice a new quilting technique. For about 3 months I did not permit myself to spend lots of money on new quilting fabric which meant my quilting fingers needed an outlet and this quilt is the product of said quilting-finger-itchiness. Now I'm running out of my scraps in this color scheme and I'm at a loss about what to do with it. My options, as I see them, are:

1. Make a really cute baby girl quilt and WAIT (one of my greatest flaws = impatience) until someone I know has a baby girl....
2. Add really REALLY large borders and make it a twin size bed quilt. However, who really wants a pink quilt???! Seriously, it's offensive.
3. Add strips of fabric in between the strips of quilted-ness and make it a strippy type of quilt... Still, my largest problem remains, who wants a pink quilt?! Ugh.

I've been informed recently that there are girls out there who like pink (and even some boys!) and that, perhaps, someone may appreciate a PINK quilt, but I'm still struggling to accept that someone might like this color scheme. However, since I have put so much effort into this offensive quilt (it literally has taken more time than all my other quilts put together!) and I really don't want it sitting around the house polluting my quilting space with it's offensive pink pollutants, I'm determined to give it away to some unlucky person. I'm thinking maybe giving it to Andy's grandmother, Mimi (if members of the Catts family are reading this, do you know if Mimi actually likes that one unmentionable color??).

On another side note related to quilting, you may have noticed a brief comment about my: Super-Awesome-Garage-Sale-Find! When you read this, you must have wondered - "What on earth did Elisha find at a garage sale?! It must have been amazing to receive it's own title as the Super-Awesome-Garage-Sale-Find!" Well, my friends, family, and random blog stumblers, this is the story of my Super-Awesome-Garage-Sale-Find:

Once upon a time, some brilliant genius invented the Happy Valley Garage Sales (HVGS). For those of you who are from some foreign land and are unfamiliar with the wonderosity of the the HVGS, it is a gathering of many home-dwellers in the Happy Valley area who open up their garage doors and sell furnishings and nicknacks from the comfort of their driveway. Simply put, one can spend days wandering this garage sale extravanganza and still find deals that will make any garage-shopper filled with glee. While doing said wandering, I discovered a discreet bin of fabric. I perused the fabric thinking to myself, "My! what beautiful fabric options to choose from!" However, the garage sale lady wanted $5 per tiny sack of fabric and that was simply too expensive for scraps I may or may not use. I nearly left the garage sale saddened by the fact that I didn't have such a great store of scraps in my own home to make scrappy quilts with, but instead, I mustered up my courage, fully prepared for a great disappointment, and asked how much the garage-seller wanted for ALL the scraps. Expecting her to quote a number around $100+, I braced myself for her answer. "$7" she said simply. I was stunned. I'm pretty sure my jaw fell to the ground in a cartoon-like fashion. I nearly offered her $10 to make myself feel like I wasn't cheating such a nice old lady (calling her a saint might be more appropriate), but wisely, my garage-shopping instinct kicked in, and I proudly told her I would take it all. While my insides were jumping up and down, I kept my calm exterior as we packed bag after bag after bag after bag of quilting scraps. While I stumbled back to my mom (my garage-shopping partner in crime) with all my loot, her face widened as she remebered the sign that said "$5" for each tiny bag. I'm pretty sure she thought I had just thrown all my money out the window for hundreds of tiny pieces of fabric. I'm also pretty sure she thought I had lost my mind. Until, somehow in the state of my delirious happiness, I managed to inform her that all this beautious fabric was achieved for the low price of $7.

And that, my friends, is the Super-Awesome-Garage-Sale-Find of the century. ::sigh happily:: The End.