Notes in the Margin 1.29.12

Since the start of the new year, Deric has been walking the students through the 'main points' of Christianity. There's a lot of basics that really aren't very basic or simple to explain to someone else, especially if you don't understand them yourself. So he's been slowly reintroducing these concepts to the kids with equal emphasis on the 'why' of salvation, for example, and the 'what'. Why do we need to be saved? Who does the saving? What are we saved from?

Yesterday we looked at Genesis 3, the chapter entitled "The Fall of Man". I'm pretty sure everyone knows the story. Adam and Eve are living it up in the Garden of Eden. Everything is literally perfect. They only have one rule: "You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it  you will surely die." (Gen. 2:17) One day, the serpent approaches Eve and asks her what God told her about that tree. Basically, the serpent convinces her she'll be fine if she eats from the tree-- actually, she'll be more than fine. She'll "be like God, knowing good and evil." (3:5) Eve looks at the tree, takes some fruit, and eats it. She hands it to her husband, and he eats it. Then they both realize they're naked, sew clothes from fig leaves, and hide from God because they're embarrassed by their nakedness. God knows what they've done, and he pronounces a curse on Adam, Eve, and the serpent. Now that Adam knows good and evil, God banishes him and Eve from the garden so that he will not also eat from the tree of life and live forever.

I didn't expect to learn anything new from this story because I've heard it so many times. But I did. And what I learned made me ask some questions that I'd never thought of before.

1. Eve changes what God said.
Satan asked Eve if God really said she couldn't eat from any tree in the garden.
Eve: "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" (3:2-3)

God's commandment to Adam: "..You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (2:17)

God says that they will die if they eat from the tree.
Eve says they will die if they touch the tree.

Why did Eve change what God said? Did she just forget? Or did she change it on purpose? Did she make God sound more harsh than He really was? Do I make God sound more harsh than He really is so that I can rationalize my sin? If I make God sound more mean than He is, is it easier for me to say "that's not fair, so its okay to do such-and-such"?

2. Satan knows God's word (better than we do, I bet). He takes truth and twists it. Its much sneakier that way.

3. After talking with the serpent, Eve "saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it."(3:6) Basically, Eve noticed all the good qualities of the tree.

Did she, again, forget what God said-- that she could die? Did she consciously take notice of the good qualities and consciously forget about the bad? Do I purposefully look at the 'good' that can come of sin--the pleasure, the fun, the control over my own life? Do I do this to (again) rationalize my sin?

4. Why was the tree even in the garden in the first place?
The only reason I can think is because God gave Adam and Eve a choice. They could choose to love God and follow Him, or they could choose not to follow.

Did God put the tree in the garden so that his creation could have free will?

5. God isn't mentioned during Eve's conversation with the serpent. I assume He knew it was taking place because God is omniscient.

Was His choice to stay out of the conversation part of His desire to give Adam and Eve a choice? Could God have stepped in and prevented Eve from taking the fruit? Probably. But did He allow her to make her own choice? I think so. 

6. After all was said and done, "God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." (3:21)
Up to this point in Genesis, there is no mention of death. Adam and Eve were vegetarians: "Then God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." (1:29) Even the animals were vegetarians: "And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." (v. 30)

To make a garment of skin, an animal has to be killed. Adam's and Eve's sin brought about death. An animal died so that their shame in being naked could be covered.

But of course, this story isn't over. Our choices to go against God are sinful. Sin leads to death. But God loves us even when we choose not to love Him, and He graciously provided us a second chance through Jesus. Thank the Lord! (Seriously.)



Switching Things Up

You may have noticed a little change in color going on over here...and you may have noticed the change that happened about two weeks ago. At the start of the new year, I figured that was a good time to redo my blog header and liven things up. I'd stared at that same header for a whole year and was kinda sick of its boring look. So a few weeks ago, I used this picture as my inspiration for new colors:

I love all those colors together (and you may notice I pretty much stole the idea of a circle around the ampersand), and I love the wooden background in it as well. I thought it'd be fun to use those colors on the blog because they're not at all my typical colors. I usually hate orange, and I usually hate purple. But they looked so good together in that picture that I figured I'd try them out.

Two weeks later, I couldn't stand looking at all that orange. So last night I found a different picture that I'd had pinned to my Colors board on Pinterest and used this one for new inspiration:

Its kinda beachy, but still a little out there for me. Red isn't one of my favorite colors either, but I love the blue and brown so it should work better than the orange and purple. Considering almost our entire house is either brown, tan, or blue, I think I'll be able to deal with this for the next year.

Anyway, useless post about completely superficial stuff. But I thought I'd explain the reasons behind the two switcheroos. But before I go-- if you like that red/brown/blue picture, go check out Design Seeds. Its chock full of color palettes and pretty pictures, and its where I found some color ideas for our living room.



Maple Roasted Chicken & Sweet Potatoes

Yet again, I found a great recipe through Pinterest. Originally from Real Simple, this recipe was posted on Handle the Heat. It was an easy meal to make: throw in some bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, chop up two sweet potatoes and a yellow onion, add spices and let it cook for an hour or so. [Well, basically. That's not the actual recipe.]

Deric and Chad both loved it, but then again, that doesn't tell you much. They'll eat anything they don't have to prepare. And poor Chad only eats frozen meals (or fast food) when he doesn't eat with us.

ready to go in the oven

My verdict? Very good-- the chicken was sweet and flavorful; the sweet potatoes and onions were really soft. An added bonus is the very short preparation time-- maybe fifteen minutes to chop everything, flavor it and throw it together. Next time, I'll probably add an extra sweet potato because I thought the potatoes and onions were a little too soft from absorbing the chicken juice. An extra potato would probably fix that problem. (Side note: be sure to stir the dish once while cooking! I forgot, hence the burned edges of anything touching the side of the dish.)

Overall, the recipe was a success. I'm always happy when I find a recipe I can add to my not-so-limited-anymore-thanks-to-Pinterest rotation of meals. And Deric and Chad are happy, too.


Running Post-Holidays

For a few weeks there during the holiday season, I just about stopped running completely. I had no motivation to run, so I only ran once, maybe twice a week. During our week-and-a-half family visit, I ran twice...and only three miles total.

The lack of motivation to run combined with the increased amount of sugar I was consuming daily really set me back. All throughout the fall, I did three mile runs pretty steadily. But when the holidays came and I stopped running three to four times a week, I could barely make it to two miles. And then I could barely run one mile. It was sad, frustrating, and definitely not motivating. The harder it got to complete a run, the less I wanted to run. Its a vicious cycle.

via Pinterest

After we got home from Christmas, I was talking to my running friend, Melanie, about this frustration. She said she was in the same boat--no motivation, no runs, and more sweets. But her approach to getting back in shape was different than mine. I was trying to force myself to continue with three-mile runs, even though my body couldn't handle it. And when I couldn't complete those runs, I'd feel guilty for slacking off.

Melanie, on the other hand, was running what she could and walking the rest. (Mind you-- she walks so fast I about have to jog to keep up with her.) She was making sure she enjoyed her runs and was keeping positive about it--even if she had to walk some, she'd still exercised.

I liked her approach much better than my guilt-riddled one. So the next time I went to the gym, I ran what I could and walked when I got exhausted. I didn't beat myself up. I acknowledged that I'd slacked off and that I had to gain back the distance I'd lost. I left the gym feeling proud of myself for exercising.

Over the past two weeks, I've gone back to the Couch to 5K plan in order to retrain my body. I had to start over at the halfway mark, which is a bummer, but I can quickly feel my body getting back into shape. This approach feels much more possible than forcing my body to do what it can't. I don't dread running anymore, which is half of the fight. Now that I don't dread it, I'm more willing to get to the gym more often. And as a result, the running is starting to get easier again.

I'm glad I've broken the cycle! I'm not back to three miles yet, but I know I will be soon. And maybe this time I'll add on a few more miles...who knows?!


Hammer Time

As I mentioned earlier, Deric got nothing but tools for Christmas this year. They're technically his gift, but  its also a gift for me because I'll get to reap the benefits of them! (We also got gift cards to Lowe's, so we're all set!) I've already pinned enough furniture tutorials that I figured I should create a new pinboard for them. We've gone back and forth over what we he should build for our first project. There's so many things I want that I keep changing my mind.

From my Pinterest board, here are a few of my inspirations.

I've been dying for a bookshelf. All our books are crammed into one of the back bedrooms and I'd love for them to be more accessible. Over the summer, we thought we'd be able to get an old and amazing bookshelf from my grandparents' barn, but U-Haul wasn't very cooperative so the bookshelf will have to wait. In the meantime, I'd like to build one that we can use until we get the antique. You can never have too many bookshelves--eventually we'll need somewhere to put kids' books!

I love how the back of Elizabeth's bookcase is painted, and I like that she grouped her books according to color. When I was a kid, I grouped my books by height-- started at the top with short books and made my way down to the tall books. I remember my aunt asked me once if I wanted to group my books by the authors' names and I thought that was an awful way to arrange my books. ;)

Moving on..I also want end tables for our living room. We've got two but could really use one more. One of our end tables doesn't have any storage underneath, which is a bit of a hindrance. This table would be great because of all the storage.

This parsons table is from West Elm. It'd be so simple to make and much cheaper than the $200 price tag!

I'd love to have a console table. No idea where it'd go (yet), but I'd find a way to use it. It could double as an entryway table for guests and as extra storage + counter space in the kitchen during special occasions. (Thanksgiving this year proved to us how badly we could use extra counter space!) I'd like open shelving to slide in baskets and buckets and whatever else.

here and here

In our mudroom, we've got a system sort of like the picture below, but our shoe cubbies aren't nearly as pretty or as durable as this bench. We can't sit on ours and they don't hold as much, so this bench would work well. The bench looks fairly simple to make, so that's a plus.


We've got three pallets (left over from the roofers) in the garage that will probably get used as well. My favorite idea for pallets is this coffee table.

from here

We talked about possible projects again today and our game plan for now is to start with shelving for the dining room. Its quick, easy, and inexpensive, and it'll be a good project for Deric to get used to his tools. From there, we'll move up to bigger projects. (We've already got two shelves in there from Ikea but I underestimated the length of the wall when I was at the store, so our puny shelves could use some help.)

We may copy the Ikea shelves so we can put them all together, or we may move the Ikea shelves to another room and put a different style in the dining room. It all depends on the price of lumber--we're gonna stay within the limit of our gift cards for this project. :)

I realize that I've got way too many furniture ideas for one husband, but I plan to help him any way I can...which usually means staying away until its finished. :) We're both excited to be able to build our own furniture. We've wanted bookshelves, etc. for awhile but could never justify the price tag that comes with it all, so building it ourselves will help us conserve our money.

We're planning to get started tomorrow, so here's to a productive Saturday!


What to Do with a Bushel of Apples

This post is really, really late, but I had forgotten about it until I saw the pictures in iPhoto. My Grandad brought us a huge bag of apples when he came down for Thanksgiving (told you- late!). They're from his orchard and I don't remember what types of apples they were, but they were delicious. The only problem was that there was no way Deric and I could get through all the apples before they went bad if we only ate a few a day.

So, I figured this would be a good time to try making applesauce in the crockpot. When I googled 'crockpot applesauce', so many results came up that it was hard to narrow it down and pick someone's recipe. I ended up choosing Megan's recipe over at What Megan's Making. Her website is full of recipes and mouthwatering pictures (which I have not yet mastered, sorry).

Making applesauce in the crockpot is so easy. A ton of apples (literally) + water/apple juice + sugar + cinnamon + a pinch of salt = applesauce. The only drawback is peeling and slicing all the apples. I don't have one of those fancy peeler/slicer gadgets, so this was a little labor-intensive.

But after all the peeling and slicing, all I had to do was throw it together in the crockpot and let it cook on low for four hours. At the end of the four hours, I mashed the apples and added a bit more cinnamon. Done!

We had so much applesauce that we ate it for days. It was a good, healthy go-to snack---beats the tortilla chips I usually reach for. Next fall, I'll certainly be making more applesauce. And I'll be freezing plenty of it to have on hand through the winter. I need more healthy food after all the holiday sweets. Anyone else going through candy withdrawal?


Christmas: Indiana edition

The following photos are all from our Christmas morning with the Indiana fam. It was a big ordeal and literally took three hours for everyone to open their presents. And it was awesome.

Kensington, our niece, played Santa. She proudly read each name and handed out the gifts accordingly.

Deric's dad likes to think up the most creative ways to package gifts so that you can't guess what's what, although Deric's first gift, a shovel, was kinda hard to disguise.

But other things are much easier to disguise. A gift card, for example, doesn't look like a gift card when its packaged in a shirt box and under a stack of magazines (for added weight).

Kensington helped take pictures for everyone and even filmed video a few times. However, all the cameras were pointed at her for a majority of the morning. Watching kids open presents is much more fun than watching adults.

Two of Kensie's favorite gifts were quickly given a seat up front so they could watch her open the rest of her presents. That's Clifford and T-Bone, in case you didn't know.

Deric's theme for this year's gifts was tools. He got a miter saw, a table saw, and a shop-vac. He got a shovel, an oil drip pan, a 4-in-1 tool thingie, and other tools I don't know. He was very, very happy. And I'm very happy too, because now I'll be getting bookcases, tables, and shelves...and anything else I dream up.

All three women got Cricuts, a totally unexpected gift. Liz loves to scrapbook, so she was definitely excited. I don't scrapbook, but I have all sorts of plans for incorporating the Cricut designs/words into paintings and other house decorations.

Deric's dad worked hard all summer on their front lawn, which used to be completely wooded. But its now covered in green grass, so he was pretty pumped about his new sprinkler heads.

Kensie's absolute favorite gift was her new friend, Belle (and Mrs. Potts and Chip). Belle reads stories and sings songs from her movie, and she didn't leave Kensie's side all day. 

Christmas morning with Deric's family was so much fun. We spent the remainder of our time with them doing nothing and enjoying every minute of it. We watched movies, played on his mom's new iPad, ate too much, and played card games.

All too soon we had to get back in the car (again) for another road trip back home. As sad as it was to leave family and the Christmas season behind, it was so nice to get home. Living out of a suitcase wears on you, ya know? So now we're (obviously) back home and slowly taking down Christmas decorations, which I hate. But Deric and I both have new toys to use for projects of all sorts, so that should keep us occupied until the warmer months!


Christmas: Virginia edition

Like I mentioned a few posts ago, Deric and I traveled to see both of our families for Christmas. We started out in Virginia at my parents' house, then headed up to Indiana to see Deric's family. I like this whole being-married-means-two-Christmases thing. :)

There's about a billion pictures to go with this post, so the Indiana Christmas pics get a post of their own. And we'll keep words to a minimum because I'm not sure how much one blog post can hold.

Lunch with two good friends who I miss all year.

Sarah made cake balls multiple times and they were deelish.

Christmas with friends.

(My white balance was insanely off, so some pics will be black and white because that's the only way I know to fix it.)

Christmas Eve dinner: shrimp and crab legs! I miss living by the coast...

Getting ready for a family Christmas photo.

Meet Henry Melman, the newest addition to the family. He really loves the Christmas season and goes all out for it. Sadly, he was a bit too skinny to fit into the traditional Santa outfits, so he borrowed this ensemble from a friendly plastic goose. 

 We did our family Christmas on Monday night once Court and Tim arrived from Indiana. Isaac was asleep upstairs, which allowed us to concentrate on our gifts without them being stolen by tiny hands. His Christmas was the following morning.

Courtney played Santa and made sure everyone got all their gifts.

Dad got a nice, dark metal (what's it called?) watch from Courtney. He's stylin'.

My gift from Mom: a class at an art studio down here and watercolors! I'd mentioned that I've never used watercolors and wanted to try them out, so she got all the supplies for me. I've already got some plans for them..

Mom's gift from Sarah was a Vera Bradley backpack she'd been eyeing. Her laptop fits inside perfectly.

Sarah's present for the second year running...a pair of Toms. Last year was a red pair and this year was black.

Like I said, Isaac got to have Christmas morning all to himself. It was so fun watching him tear through the wrapping paper and get excited about the presents. And he waited so patiently until 8 before waking me up. :)

This picture just fits Christmas morning, don't you think?

Moving right along to the next day's festivities...gingerbread houses! I haven't been home for this in years so I was really excited. We scaled it back a bit though from the chaos it used to be with ten+ people participating. This year Deric, Sarah, myself and two of Sarah's friends were the only ones interested. Mom graciously made frosting for us and took pictures.

Deric is seriously genius. Who else thinks of a gingerbread covered wagon?! I love it.

Liz made a gingerbread soup kitchen stuck in a blizzard.

 Sarah and I made traditional houses.

 Kristen made a church. The church and soup kitchen were in competition over who had the biggest cross. I don't remember who won, but both crosses were about the same size as their buildings.

Don't you love Sarah's wreaths? So cute.  I also love her Nerds path leading up to the...oh wait, no front door.;) Gotta go around back!

My red-and-green gingerbread house. The yellow gumdrops are luminaries lighting the path to the door.

Deric and his frontier Christmas. That's a covered wagon pulled by teddy grahams, a tent, Christmas tree, and a campfire.

 My favorites are the lassoed teddy grahams and the Redhots embers in the fire.

Whew, I think that's enough pictures for one Christmas! It was such a great week and we were sad to leave, but it was made easier as we headed to see the other side of the family. There's more to come tomorrow with Christmas: Indiana. Get excited!