Friday, March 31, 2006

Suko Family Blog

I really recommend that you check out the Suko Family Blog. Caleb Suko is our pastor's son. He and his wife Christina are working towards getting support to be missionaries in Ukraine. Christina is native Ukrainian. She came to America to go to Bible College. They have 3 kids, Naomi, Mishael and Noelle. I had the opportunity to go on a 5 week mission trip to Ukraine when I was 17. I will never forget the experience of serving the Lord there. Right now Caleb, Christina and their children are visiting Ukraine for a couple weeks. They are visiting Christina's family and also scouting out where they may be needed when they are finally able to go out on the mission field. They have lots of great pictures on their blog. They also have a website, that has lots of great info on what they are doing.

Spring in Washington, D.C.

My sister-in-law Ruhiyyih is now living in Washington, D.C.. She has taken lots of grogeous pictures of spring there. Click here to check them out!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Welcome Spring!!

Getting Ready...

I know it has been a while since I have posted anything on my blog, but here I am! :) My weight loss efforts have been going well. I have lost a total of 8 pounds. It was 10 pounds but I have been doing lots of cardio and strength training at the gym. A lady at my church who is a fitness instructor said that I would probably see a little bit of weight gain since I am gaining muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. I know that my body is definitely changing because I have gone down 1 pant size!! I found some old pants that I had put away because they became too small. Well I tried them on the other day and now they are almost too big!! Woohoo! I also bought a new pair of jeans and had to get a smaller size. I guess the tip to not pay too much attention to how much you weigh on the scale is a good tip. Even though I may have only lost 8 pounds of fat I have replaced 2 pounds of fat with muscle, so the scale can be a little deceiving. I plan on only weighing myself every two weeks if not less than that.
Rue and I have been discussing more about when we will try to have a baby. It was going to be this June but we are now thinking perhaps this next spring. We really want to take a road trip across the country before we have a baby and also, hopefully, go on a cruise. We are actually already saving our pennies and we will see what happens. I know Rue really wants to have a baby because he talks about it more than I do. He pats my stomach and talks about the day when there will be a little baby in there. :) I am really looking forward to being pregnant. I know since Rue and I are waiting we will be nice and prepared. (But of course you can probably never be fully prepared for what a baby will bring.)

Friday, March 24, 2006

He Prays for Us

In Ladies' Bible Study we are reading the book Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone by Elyse Fitzpatrick. In one little section she talks about Jesus praying for believers. I know that whenever I read the passage in John 17 where Jesus prays for believers I am really encouraged. I don't think often enough about the fact that Jesus prays for me. When she reminded me of this I was very humbled. Christ prays that believers' faith will not fail. He prayed this for the disciple Peter in Luke 22:32. As John Piper has said that Satan likes to eat up faith. It is so wonderful to know that when my faith is waning Jesus is praying for me. One girl in Bible Study brought up the fact also that Jesus is constantly praying for all believers. He isn't like us where we have a prayer list and we pray for a couple people a day. I don't have to worry that I won't show up on His prayer list until next week. He is constantly making intercession for believers. "Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him [Christ], since He always lives to make intercession for them." --Hebrews 7:25
Since Jesus is God then we can trust that He knows exactly how to pray for us. He knows completely what God's will is and so therefore He can pray God's will. What an amazing love that God has for us!! This makes me want to pray more than I do. This makes me want to seek to have a closer and closer relationship with the Lord. Can there be anything more satisfying that drawing close to the Lord and enjoying Him and Him alone. I can be so deceived into thinking that something worldly will satisfy me more than spending time with the Lord but in the end it only leaves me more empty. When the Lord is my focus and my joy, the things of the world go dim. Like the hymn says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will go strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." I am still so far from being where I should be in my walk with the Lord, but I know that He is working in my heart and praying for me. What an amazing love!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this recipe for whole wheat chocolate chip cookies and decided to try it. I have always wanted to try to make cookies with whole wheat and now that I am on a diet this is the perfect time. I made the batch yesturday and took half of them to Bible Study with me this morning. The ladies enjoyed them a lot. They do not taste like an original fattening chocolate chip cookie but they are still very delicious. They have a bit of a nutty taste because of the whole wheat pastry flour. They are kind of between chewy and soft. The recipe still uses sugar but it is half of what you would use for regular cookies. (I may try to use Splenda next time and see how they do.) Also you only use 2 tbls butter and replace the rest with nonfat sour cream. I was skeptical at first, but I was wrong. This is definitely a delightful little cookie! :)

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 36 cookies

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbls unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg white (I used the whole egg)
1/4 cup nonfat sour cream ( I used reduced fat sour cream since that is all I had)
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (you really should use mini
because this is such a small cookie)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease or coat with nonstick cookie spray.

2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, cream the sugars and butter until smooth. Stir in the vanilla, egg and sour cream. Add the dry ingredients and chocolate chips and stir until well blended.

3. Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just set. Slide the cookies on the parchment paper onto a countertop to cool, or remove cookies from the sheets and cool on a wire rack.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Discovery Land

Every quarter my church holds the Discipleship Intstitute. It takes place in Sunday evenings from 5:30-7:30pm. There are usually three or four different classes to choose from. There can be classes like Old and Nee Testament Survey, Parenting classes, Christian finance classes, purity classes for the teenagers, and marriage classes. It goes for 4 weeks then we take one week off and then the first 4 weeks repeat so you can switch and go to a class that you didn't go to in the first 4 weeks. My pastor asked if I would be in charge of the kid's program, called Discovery Land. I will be teaching the first 4 weeks and then a friend of mine will do it the second 4 weeks so that way we both will at least be able to take one class. My mom is helping me. Last night was the first night. We weren't quite sure how many kids we were going to have. We had about 12. (Sometimes in Jr. Church we will have up to 30!)

I started off with prayer and songs. I always choose a different child to come up and help me hold up the visuals for the songs. The kids really enjoy helping in that way. Then I read half of a missionary story to them. It was about Jim and Elisabeth Elliot who went to Ecuador in the 1950's and Jim and 4 other men were killed by the indians they were trying to reach for Christ. Elisabeth went back and lived with those indians who killed her husband and learned their language and made it into a written language. She also helped lead many of the indians to Christ. Today there is a Bible College for those indians and even one of the men who killed her husband is now a follower of Christ.
After half of the missionary story we sang a few more songs then I told half of the Bible lesson. We learned about Noah and the flood. During this time I also have a child come up and hold the picture cards for the story. After this we had a little craft and had snack. After this we sang some more songs and I finished the Bible lesson. Then we played a Bible review game. It was pretty much like "Hot Potato" but when the music stopped whoever had the potato had to answer a question about the Bible lesson. If they could not answer it then anybody could raise their hand and I would call on someone to answer the question. After this game I finished reading them the missionary story. It was almost time to leave but not quite so we played a couple rounds of "Heads Up, Seven Up". I had a really wonderful time teaching the kids. There were a few kids that were a little rowdy but I still had a good time.
Here are some pictures that my mom took of Discovery Land. (She did some "poster" effects on some of them.)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Big Pond

My parent's live on about 2 acres of property out on the Key Peninsula. I lived there from 4th grade all the way up to being married. It was a great place for a kid to grow up. There were just enough woods so you could feel like you were having an adventure, plus a good sized pond that we would put the canoe in and pretty much just float around. We could paddle a few good strokes and then we would reach the other side of the pond. I would sometimes take a book out there with me and float around and read. There was also a little creek that flowed away from the pond and ran into the woods and into a little hollow. My brother and I decided to dig a little mini pond down there. A couple of the neighbor girls joined us also. We dug a little pond about the diameter of a small round kitchen table and about 2 feet deep. We had a great time wading in it. Once the middle of summer came around though the big pond would dry up and so would the creek. But once fall and winter came again, it would fill right back up. There is a man made lake a little ways down the road and the pond is runoff from that. I remember there was even a few times when we swam in the big pond. The deepest part was probably 7 feet deep. I was always way to scared to touch the bottom. Once Ben and I did and it was really icky. It creeped me out. When we would climb out of the pond all the little hairs on our arms and legs would be black because of the dirt stuck to them. Of course we did not care at all, we just loved to go swimming. Now when I think back on it I would not go swimming in it now, but we have some great memories. When the pond was dry we would walk through it to the other side were there was a tree with a branch hanging out over the deepest side of the pond. On that side of the pond the bank was very steep so Ben climbed up into the tree and securely tied a thick rope to the branch. We tied a loop in the bottom of the rope and stuck a thick piece of wood through it. We would put the piece of rope between our legs and a walk as far up the bank as we could. Then we would jump and take off flying down over the pond. I loved that swing! I would go out there almost everyday and go swinging. It felt like I was flying. Sadly, a couple years later when we had gotten a little older and forgotten the swing, the branch broke off and that tree could no longer be used to fly over the pond. I am hoping though that we will be able to find another good tree for a rope swing though so that my brother's and my children can have the great fun that we did.

Well, over the years the property has become overgrown with blackberry bushes. They started out small and then every year got bigger and bigger until it seemed they had invaded the entire property. The big pond was completely cut of from view and their was no way to get to it. Also the little pond that we dug was completely overgrown also and there was no longer any access to it.
But just this week my parents hired a guy who goes to our church to do some excavating. He owns an excavating company. As I am writing this he is out at my parents right now clearing away all the black berry bushes. Even though black berry bushes are nice for their berries, they just seem to take over once they get going. My mom sent me some pictures of before and after. He will also be coming back tomorrow to finish up the job. I can't wait to go over there and be able to see the pond again and go to the place where we dug the little pond. I don't know if the little pond will have filled itself back up but I just want to see the little hollow again.

This picture is before any work was done. This is only a small part of the property that was invaded by blackberry bushes. Just behind the black berry bushes, you see in the distance, is the big pond. Obviously you can't actually see the pond. And just as a side note, the little red shed my mom built all by herself when we moved onto the property. She's pretty handy! She is the tom-boy of the twins.

This is a little bit of a different angle, but you can see that there are no longer any black berry bushes. Where you see the pile of twigs and brush is where the big pond is. The wood shed on the left my mom also designed and built! Yep, pretty handy! :)

This is a better picture of the pond. Behind the excavater you can see there is still a little water in the pond. I don't think there was as much runoff this year. That is my dad standing there. A couple feet in front of him is a pretty big sink hole. You can't see it from the angle of the picture, but it is pretty deep and you don't see it until you almost step into it. It goes pretty far under ground but no one risked jumping in it to see how big it actually is. My dad dumped a bunch of cinder blocks in it to keep anyone from falling in.

This is a picture of him excavating around the pond.

My mom trying her hand at the excavater. Yep, like I said, she's pretty handy! :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Discovery Children's Choir

At church we have a children's choir. There are two ladies who are in charge of it. They practice every Sunday when they dismiss the kids to children's church. They practice for the first 20 minutes of children's church and then they send the kids down to children's church where they have a Bible story and craft. The kids usually sing on holidays and special occasions and an occassional Sunday here and there. This is a picture of the kids singing last Sunday. They did a GREAT job! They really sung out and none of them yelled, like some children might do when they are told to sing louder. :) My step-daughter Daisy had a short little solo and she did very well. (She is the girl in the blue shirt.) She has a very lovely singing voice.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Twins

Here is a picture of my mom and Aunt Karin when they were 4 years old. My Gramma made the dresses they are wearing and my mom said that sometimes my Gramma would make a matching dress for herself and my Auntie Annie so all 4 of them would have the same dress.
One time when I was visiting my Aunt Karin I noticed she had the tiniest little ring on a chain around her neck. I asked her what it was and she said that my Gramma had put it on her finger after she and my mom were born so that she would be able to tell them apart. I have noticed that in a lot of pictures of my mom and aunt, when they were little, they had different color barrets in there hair whenever they wore a matching outfit. My mom sent this picture to everyone in the family and asked if they could figure out who was who. My Aunt Karin's husband (my Uncle Dave) wrote back and said, "I can't tell which is which, but I know I got the cute one." My mom is on the left. :)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Westminster Larger Catechism

"The duties required in the first commandment ["You shall have no other gods before Me."] are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify Him accordingly, by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of Him; believing Him; trusting, hoping, delighting, rejoicing in Him; being zealous for Him; calling upon Him, giving all praise and thanks, and yielding all obedience and submission to Him with the whole man; being careful in all things to please Him, and sorrowful when in anything He is offended; walking humbly with Him."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Little Pencil Writing

One of my families dearest friends now has her own blog. We used to live across from Judy and her family when we lived in up in Sumner. She was the first person to show me how to make home made bread. She had me roll up my little sleeves, wash my hands and then let me pound down the dough once it had risen. Her son Casey and my brother were best buds. She is the one I wrote about in my post on Christmas Recipes. Her blog is called "Little Pencil Writing". Click here to check it out! :)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Then and Now

This last fall my mom went down to L.A. for a small (42 year) reunion with her kindergarten teacher.
These are pictures of then and now. :)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Getting Ready...

Well, yesterday I had the stomach flu. I woke up at about 4am and was horribly sick. Yesterday seems like a blur. I was so miserable the whole day. Rue was so sweet. He came home on his lunch break (which is at 7pm) and brought me chicken noodle soup and saltine crackers. I had only eaten one muffin all day. I sipped Sprite every 15 minutes or so because I knew I was really dehydrated. I had a little bit of the soup and nibbled on a couple of the saltine crackers. I went to bed around 9:30 and did not sleep very well at all even after taking 2 NyQuil. (1 NyQuil usually konks me out.) I slept curled up in a tight ball because that seemed to make the nausea go away. Around 3am I started to feel better and then fell into a really deep sleep. I woke up at 7:45 to get Daisy up for school and I felt soooooo much better. I don't really have any energy still but at least I don't fell sick anymore. I took a 3 hour nap after I got Daisy up and now I feel like I could take another one. I am trying to drink plenty of liquids and Rue just went into Tacoma to get me some soup from Vien Dong, which is a nice little Vietnamese restaurant that Rue's family loves to go to. They have wonderful soups.

Also, about my weight loss efforts, I have some really GREAT news! I realized this morning that I was reading my scale wrong. I thought that each little line between the numbers represented 1 pound. But I realized this morning that there are only 5 lines between each "10". So between 180 and 170 there is only 5 lines. Each line represents 2 pounds! So instead of losing 4 pounds in my first 2 weeks on the diet, I lost 8!! I can't believe I was reading it wrong. I was so giddy when I realized what I had done. )I also lost 2 pounds yesterday from being sick but I won't really count that because I know it was water weight and I will probably gain it back.) So, anyways I am really excited!! Woohoo! :)