Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Few of my Favorite Things: Rose Edition...

My jellies: Mama doesn't let me sleep with them, but I bring them to her every morning so she can put them on me... aren't they cute? (Thank you Aunt Lydia!)

Playing outside: Being outside makes me so happy. Sometimes I even get to help bring the trash to the dumpster. Big people might say it's not very far, but I'm sure it must be a whole mile in baby steps.

Looking at pictures: I miss Grandma and Nonnie and Kathryn and Mea and Katelyn and... everybody. (Thank you Nonnie!)

Dolly and doggy: My baby is so sweet. She's a good girl like me. My doggy plays with dolly and me. (Thank you Grandma and Nonnie!)

When Pappa gets home from school:
I talk about Papa all day long. When he finally gets home I toddle to see him as quick as I can. That's my very favoritist part of the day.

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These are some of my favorite things.... check out other's here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The sun is out!

It rained all morning and all day yesterday and all day** the day before yesterday and all day the day before that! But now, the sun in shining. Hurrah! Time to head to the park...

** Well, just about all day. For a few brief moments it stopped and Rosalind and I went to the park (we really like it). But the moments quickly passed and we arrived home soaking wet. :)

Our home: the office and our bedroom

Loose papers everywhere. Cell phone always in use. Books covering the bed and floor. Not a quiet moment ever.

This is what I envisioned having the office in our bedroom would entail... but I actually like it. The chrome and black make the corner feel distinct from the rest of the room while still blending in. And though papers and books may abound, it's kind of fun.

I love the way Joshua used a cheap white board (less than half the cost of black for some reason!) and a scrap from the grow boxes to make the shelf and monitor stand. Amazing what a 99 cent can of spray paint can do!

And now for a peek at "the bedroom part". A bit of tulle left from our wedding inspired me to make a sheer drape for the head of the bed.

Though not a very busy street outside, the major gaps between shade and window casing required curtains desperately-- which I finally got around to making from an old sheet. Feels much more like a real bedroom now! :)

Check out what works for others here. :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Plans...and menu plans

Laura over at "I'm an Organizing Junkie" hosts a weekly Menu Planning Monday. Since I need to get better about menu planning, I thought I'd join in... especially because this week will be kind of different. :)

A week and a half ago, Joshua surprised me with a ticket for Rosalind and me to go back "home"! I couldn't believe it at first, having resigned myself to waiting until October for a dash up for his brother Steve's wedding. But I am thrilled. It has made the whole process of adjusting much easier. Before just looking at pictures from Missouri made me cry. Now I know I'll get to see everyone soon. Thank you darling!

...And soon I will be homesick for Alabama. Or at least the wonderful man I'm leaving behind!

But with this in mind, I thought it imperative to chart out the meals for the week-- especially the part in which Joshua will be fending for himself.


Scrambled eggs, toast, hash browns and juice
Granola topped with dried fruit
Blueberry muffins
Yogurt and granola
And lots of sausage egg casserole for Josh while I'm gone.


Monday- Creamed chicken on wheat biscuits with corn.

Taco salad pizza

Pork chops (stocked up for 99 cents a pound last week!) with mashed potatoes, cooked carrots and homemade rolls.

...and for the rest of the week while the girls are gone...

Chicken tetrazzini (in fridge-ready to heat up)

Friday- Mini cheddar meat loaf with twice baked potatoes (in fridge- ready to heat up)

Dinner at a friend's house.

Left over taco salad pizza from Monday night

Chicken broccoli casserole (in fridge-ready to heat up)

Left over chicken tetrazzini

....arriving home late Tuesday night ....

Wednesday- Joshua taking me out for my birthday

Thursday- I have no clue!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rejoice the Lord is King!

Rejoice, the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore;
Mortals give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Savior, reigns, the God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains He took His seat above;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

His kingdom cannot fail, He rules o’er earth and Heav’n,
The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus giv’n;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

He all His foes shall quell, shall all our sins destroy,
And every bosom swell with pure seraphic joy;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice,
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Rejoice in glorious hope! Jesus the Judge shall come,
And take His servants up to their eternal home.
We soon shall hear th’archangel’s voice;
The trump of God shall sound, rejoice!

Charles Wesley

Whether rejoicing in the goodness of God to me... or needing to be reminded that He does reign so I should rejoice, the words of this hymn have been such a blessing to me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A few of my favorite things...

It has been a great week- an exhausting week- a week full of adjustments!

Susanne, over at Living to Tell the Story is hosting "Favorite Five" today so I thought I'd join in with five of the things I'm grateful for this week...

Sweet baby hugs: What can be more delightful than warm chubby arms wrapped around your neck or little lips smothering your cheeks with kisses?

Long walks at the park:
There's a lovely park just five minutes walk from our home. Massive old trees shade the walking paths, and Rose and I often go after lunch to enjoy the beauty of God's creation.

Watching the plants begin to grow:

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Great internet finds: We've had some pretty rough nights around here lately [Rose wide awake and ready for stories at 2:00 am- help!]. Imagine my delight when I got on Librivox a few days ago and found that "Mother" had just been completed. I downloaded it immediately and have been so blessed- just what I needed. :) You can download it here.

Having just recently joined the coupon zealots out there, this story about made me cry with laughter.

On a more serious note, Elizabeth Botkin wrote a great article on girl's reading boy's literature.
I'm working on recording St. Bartholomew's Eve by G. A. Henty and found it especially pertinent.

Dinner time:
Can it really just be Friday? I'm sure Joshua has already put in 80 hours studying! This has made dinner a jealously guarded highlight of my day: a time to set aside the books, relax and talk.

Our home: the living room

I think it's about time to post a few pictures of our home!

We fell in love with this little house when we first saw it. After looking at several rather scary apartments this duplex with its big shaded yard and quiet neighborhood was really attractive.

But there were two major drawbacks for me. First the tiny closets, limited cupboard space, small linen closet- in short almost no storage space. Second, an unfinished wood bookshelf spanning the length of one living room wall (it really did not go with the beautiful one Joshua's dad made us).

As I thought about it though, I realized that the one was the answer to the other. Instead of filling the bookshelf with books, it could serve as storage space...

My sis Heidi and I
A batten burg curtain my mother found at a garage sale a year ago worked perfectly as a covering.

Now the only other change I would make would be to cover the couch. For a free one it is pretty comfortable-- but quite crazy looking.

Since I wasn't going to spend the money buying fabric to cover it, I tried this:

Which looked okay until you sat down. :)

Then a few days ago I was attempting to find a spot to store the cover from the guest bed we sold before moving. My efforts to squeeze it into the linen closet were proving futile when an idea struck me...

I love it: a "new" couch for free! And now just one last shot of the other side of the room.

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Check out Crystal's blog for some great frugal ideas.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

James and Betty Taylor: Bedtime Stories Part I

How I miss the nights of telling stories to my sweet little siblings before bed! Rosalind still prefers pictures of dogs and horses to "real" stories, but in anticipation of the day that she begs for "one more" story, I thought I would record some of my favorite...

One sunny winter morning in 1776 Betty Johnson awoke for the last time in her parents' home-- for today she was getting married. Her husband to be, James Taylor, was a lively young man known for his love of dancing and partying. They had met at her fine old church, fallen in love and now the day they had waited for was finally here.

She gaily prepared for the wedding and festivities to follow. As the clock struck noon the bridal party entered the church in Royston. There she found her beloved James, excited-- and breathless. It was not until after the ceremony was over and they were pronounced man and wife that she realized the reason:

That morning, James had risen before dawn to make the last preparations to welcome his bride. But as he gathered wood and brought in grain, he began to be troubled with things he'd never considered before.

A little while earlier, Methodist preachers had visited the area and he had been among the foremost scoffers. This morning however, he could not shake the verse "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" from his mind.

Would he and his house serve the Lord? Hours passed as he struggled with this question. Finally he knew the answer must be yes. And out in his little barn, he surrendered his life to Christ.

But in the contemplation of these things he had lost all track of time. When he arose from his knees it was almost midday and he was still in work clothes! Would he make it in time? Hurriedly he donned his outfit and ran the whole two miles to church. He arrived breathless just as the wedding was about to begin...

As they left the church after the ceremony, James earnestly told Betty what had happened. In dismay she replied, "Surely I have not married one of those Methodists!"

Certainly this was not what she had bargained for! Every day James held "family prayers" and every day Betty flatly refused to join him. Daily she grumbled and scolded him. One day when she was being especially trying, James picked her up and carried her up the stairs. There, he kneeled down beside her and poured out his heart to God on her behalf.

Never before did she realize how much James cared for her. All the next day she quietly pondered what he had said and that evening joined him for family prayers.

From that day forward they were laborers together in God's kingdom and one day their great-grandson Hudson Taylor would bring the Gospel to thousands.

From Hudson Taylor Vol. I by Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Little Mommy

Check out more Wordless Wednesdays here.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wedding Vows

In the sight of God and witnesses here gathered,
I, Joshua, take thee, Anna, to be my lawfully wedded wife.
As I set this ring a seal upon thy finger
I set thee also a seal upon my heart.
As many waters cannot quench love
I vow to love thee in sorrow and in joy;
In sickness and in health; in poverty and in prosperity.
And as Christ loves the church
I, with Divine assistence, will endeavor
To always love, protect and cherish thee
And hereto pledge my faithfulness to thee for as long as I shall live.

In the sight of God and witnesses here gathered,
I, Anna, take thee Joshua, to be my lawfully wedded husband.
As I set this ring a seal upon thy hand
I set thee also a seal upon my heart.
As many waters cannot quench love
I vow to love thee in sorrow and in joy;
In sickness and in health; in poverty and in prosperity.
And as the Church is subject unto Christ
I, with Divine assistence, will endeavor
To always love, honor and obey thee
And hereto pledge my faithfulness for as long as I shall live.

August 19, 2006
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Looking forward and looking back

Had you told me two years ago that today I would be standing on the front porch waiving good-bye to my beloved as he began his first day of law school, I would have been incredulous. We were supposed to be half way across the world, teaching English in China...

Joshua and I began our marriage intending to spend the first year in Missouri growing in our relationship as husband and wife, completing our degrees and learning Chinese. Then we would head to the mainland to teach English together.

But God had other plans for us. Ten months after we were married, He blessed us with a beautiful baby daughter. The pregnancy went well with no hint that complications might occur. It was not until after our tiny Rosebud was safely in our arms that we realized something was wrong.

During the next 24 hours my life hung in the balance. As numerous doctors tried to stop the hemorrhaging, people we did not even know prayed for us and God spared my life.

In the days and weeks that followed, Joshua and I were filled with gratitude to God for His mercy to us. But, we also wondered if He might be redirecting our paths. After the complications, we were told to not even think about having a baby in China. And yet we believe that children are God's blessing and did not want to put off our family indefinitely.

What were we to do? Should we go anyway? Wait and go short term later?

As we thought about it, talked about it and prayed about it, God began re-kindling a childhood dream of Joshua's: the law.

By now it was late October. [For those considering attending law school, this is not the recommended timeline, you're supposed to start preparing in like June.] There was one last LSAT in '07- December 1st. He barely registered in time and had just one month to study like crazy.

At least study like crazy is what you're supposed to do: since he still had to provide for us, he worked all day and crammed in a few hours each night and on Saturdays getting ready for the big test.

December 1st came, the test was taken and then began the long wait for the scores. Sometimes we wished our Christmas present could just be a peak at those scores. At long last they arrived-- with a good report.

So, the next few weeks were spent preparing the rest of the application [writing and re-writing that essay, then tossing it and writing and re-writing a new one... ]. It seems like such a short time since the first application was taken to the post office...

That first step is over and now begins the next one: much bigger, more intimidating and more exciting! What an adventure this journey of life is!
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Another one for the grandparents...

As will soon be apparent, I haven't done much video-recording before. But Joshua encouraged me to try so here goes.

Playing in the Sand from Anna Christensen on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In the kitchen...

I was so excited to bake fresh bread again after our move. But... let's just say I'm not quite used to the oven (good excuse at least, right?!). It smelled delicious, but I pulled it out of the oven a rather dismal brown.

Not wanting to waste, I spent a little while this afternoon rescuing it from being tossed out.

Sausage Egg Casserole- A family favorite - so nice and easy for a busy morning. At least I got the bread part ready today. :)

4 slices bread, cubed
1/2 pound sausage, fried and drained
3/4 cup shredded cheese
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
dash of pepper

Layer the first three ingredients in an 8x8 dish. Combine the remaining ones and pour over bread. Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 until set, about 30-45 minutes.

Bread Crumbs- just break up the the too dry, too dark bread and toss it in the blender for a few minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 300 for 20-30 minutes or until lightly golden (well, if it's already past lightly golden to begin with, until dry:)

Croutons- Heat 3 tablespoons of butter and stir in 2 1/2 cups of small cubes of French bread. Lightly season with garlic powder and salt. Bake at 300 for 15-20 minutes.

After putting the bread to use, I didn't feel quite so bad about burning it.

Check out other frugal ideas over at Biblical Womanhood.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Helping with the ironing

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If there were one household duty I would gladly resign, it would be ironing. But since entrusting a one year old with a hot iron probably isn't such a brilliant idea, I think I'm stuck with the job. :) ***

But that's one of the reasons I
love modern technology. While steadily conquering that pile of clothes, there are so many wonderful free things to listen to.
Volunteers from around the world have combined forces to provide free audio versions of numerous works in the public domain. Recordings range from poetry and fiction to politics and science. Since done completely on a volunteer basis there is a wide range of recording quality, but I have been able to listen to many books that I just haven't had time to read: like Homer's Iliad, Psmith in the City by P.G. Wodehouse, Austen's Emma and Joshua's recording of the Ballad of the White horse.

Plus, if you have a microphone (even the one on the computer will work) you can add to the collection...

Lectures- There is just so much wonderful information on the web! Currently I am listening to Steve Wilkin's series on church history: an area I really want to study. And though I don't agree with everything in them, I have greatly enjoyed Peter Kreeft's lectures.

Teaching Company Lectures- This company has made some of the finest professors from the most distinguished schools available to all of us. The topics range from literature to calculus to the history of the Supreme Court.

My favorite lectures are by Timothy Taylor on Economics. Yeah, I know, supposedly a rather dry topic; but he made it so interesting that even my 8 and 11 year old siblings were begging to dry dishes so they could finish the lecture...that's pretty impressive! (These are pretty expensive but many local libraries have a huge collection.) This site is amazing: customizable radio at your fingertips. You just create an account and pick the genre of music you want played. Then, as you listen rate the songs with a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" and voila! it generates more selections similar to what you like.

Sermons- There are several
sites that have compiled sermons like sermonindex and sermonaudio. Many churches have their own websites as well that allow you to download the weekly message. Since moving we've had our own Sunday evening service with messages from our home church.

And of course, there are Podcasts on just about every imaginable topic from grammar tips to "all things baby".

These are just a few of the things I've found make ironing (and other household duties of course) so much more enjoyable.

*** Well OK...confession here. Since the move (when all of the nicely ironed clothes got so wrinkly) Joshua has been getting up and ironing. But since he doesn't need to be worrying about getting his clothes de-wrinkled while franticly finishing the last edit of a paper, I'd say I should go tackle that closet full of wrinkly clothes... :)

One of Those Nights...

Last night was one of those nights. You know, the ones that really are good for you, but you would prefer not having.

Moving was difficult for me, but much more so on little Rosalind. I at least know why we were transplanted into a strange place but she just woke up one morning in a new house.

During the night she seems to notice the difference the most and over the past week has been waking up multiple times just needing to be reassured that we are here. Last night was especially rough. She got up three...four...five times and then woke up two hours earlier than usual and just wouldn't go back to sleep.

So, I got up groggily and she helped me make breakfast, wave good-bye to Josh (as he left for his first day of school!!) and before too long she was ready for a nap.

Though I would love for them to become less frequent soon, I know tired mornings like this are good for me. For, they make me realize that I just can't do this mothering thing in my own strength. I must rely upon God for patience with my sweet little girl.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Recipe: Stuffed Zucchini

In our family the birthday boy (or girl) gets to choose dinner. When I asked Joshua what he wanted, I was expecting something like steak or tilapia. Instead he asked for stuffed zucchini, lots of it.


2 large or 8 small zucchini or squash
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1+ cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 pound sausage
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup mozzarella or Parmesan cheese

Boil the zucchini for 5-10 minutes or until almost tender. Remove from water and cool slightly. Once they are cool enough to handle, gently cut off the top and with a spoon remove the insides leaving just a small rim.

Blend the pulp and add the eggs, cheese, bread crumbs, sausage and seasonings. If the mixture is soupy add up to half a cup more bread crumbs. Spoon into zucchini.

Place in a greased 9X13 pan and bake at 350 for 2o minutes or until tender. Top with cheese and bake five minutes more. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday my darling husband! What a joy this past year has been and I look forward to walking beside you as you begin the journey of life as a law student. Thank you for loving, caring for, protecting and guiding our little family. I am so blessed to get to be your wife. I love you.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Fall Garden

Knowing that we would be moving just when it was time to harvest I didn't plant a garden this spring. But earlier this week Joshua built four awesome garden boxes for me and I've been eagerly looking forward to getting my fingers in the dirt.

At first I didn't know how a fall garden would do. I've planted spring and summer crops before, but have never planted for the fall. Yet, as I researched it, I found that the fall is actually a better time to plant many cool weather crops like lettuce and spinach than the spring. The warmer weather helps the seeds sprout more quickly and gives them a vigorous start. Then as temperatures gradually drop, the growth slows producing lettuce that doesn't bolt as readily, nice heads of cabbage and so on... All this was unnecessary encouragement, but exciting to discover non-the-less.

So this morning I planted the first round of seeds and am now eagerly awaiting the tiny shoots of green.
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Friday, August 8, 2008

One for the Grandparents

Anna is letting me contribute to her blog from time to time (since I don't have one of my own), so here's my first guest post: a montage of home video taken this morning while I was on baby patrol. In Anna's defense, I will admit to having dressed Rosalind. . .and to (not) fixing her hair. My fault!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Book Review: The White Horse Ballad

But you and all the kind of Christ

Are ignorant and brave
And you have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.

I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, not for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?

from Book 1: The Vision of the King

I just love this ballad by G.K. Chesterton. It is an inspiring tale of the victory of a feeble light over powerful darkness: a chronicle of the legend of King Alfred of England.

Beginning with Alfred's vision (partially quoted above) during the dark days when the Danes had conquered and laid waste his kingdom, the poem follows Alfred's progress as he gathers his troops, burns the famous pot of stew and, after many failures, leads his men to victory over their oppressors.

One of the most delightful parts is when King Alfred disguises himself as a poor bard and enters the Danish camps. There he looked on his conqueror-King Guthrum of the Danes-as he sang old tales of happier days for England. The Danish, scoffing, took the harp and sang of the joy of battle, the power of the sword and the vanity of life...for death is dealt to all.

As King Guthrum finishes his song, the disguised king of England takes the harp and sings:

Sirs, I am but a nameless man,
A rhymester without home...
But you are more tired of victory,
Than we are tired of shame.

That though you hunt the Christian man
Like a hare on the hillside
The hare has yet more heart to run
Than you have heart to ride...

The poem ends triumphantly with Alfred ruling over England and the Danish king vanquished and converted.

Not only is the Ballad of the White Horse delightfully and wittily written, it was such an encouragement to me. How can I be discouraged when I serve the God who will reign over all? Though looking at politics, the economy, the state of many churches and especially my own heart is often so discouraging, yet this book inspires me to keep pressing on, knowing that...

We do have joy with a Cause
And faith with greatest Hope.

[Though I definitely think this book worth buying, you can download the text for free or listen to a free audio version that Joshua recorded for Librivox.]

Don't get any ideas...

Yesterday evening I was tidying the bathroom and arranging things on the shelves when the blush slipped out of my hand and fell into the toilet. The noise quickly brought little feet toddling in to see what happened. Rosalind glanced around and then looked up at me with an expression of "Mama, you're brilliant---that looks like so much fun!" on her face. Uh oh!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Settlin' in....

Our little sunshine

It is as hot as we were warned down here. Just a few minutes outside and you are dripping with sweat. But other than that (and really missing everyone) we like it in Alabama.

The move down went well. Joshua's parents and Becca, Timmy, Sammy and Heidi made the long trip with us. (Alas, I don't have pictures yet! ) I was shocked at how quickly they helped us get settled and start turning our little house into a home--besides making it all much more enjoyable. Thank you! We miss you dreadfully already...

We've kept busy the last few days scrubbing, unpacking, fixing, arranging things, rearranging them and settlin' in.

Joshua making garden boxes for me

Rosalind loves helping Pappa

Organizing the bookshelf
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Friday, August 1, 2008


My little helper

It is hard to believe that the move we've been anticipating for months is finally upon us. With so many miles soon to separate us from family and friends, I thought it was time to start a blog...
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