Confirmation

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Today we experienced the confirmation of a family member.  In the Lutheran Church, children around the age of thirteen go through 2 years of study in order to be confirmed and become a “official” member of our congregation.  And though you may have your own thoughts on baptism/confirmation systematically speaking : I have always enjoyed this moment. This is because I grew up in the church and since I did not have a “conversation” experience, confirmation is my personal “conversation” experience.  I know this sounds shocking for some–but when people ask me “knowing Jesus for the first time”, I look at them with this crazy face … because honestly I cannot think of a time when Christ and God were not a part of my life (which is the real truth, right?)

And though this is a decision a young teenager makes in most churches–I believe that everyone person should take this decision seriously. Mostly because they are standing before God. I know as a kid, I thought “oh my gosh I am committing my life to this and I don’t even know all of my life but okay, here is goes–better not lie to God.” I’m sure there are other ways to think of this–especially because lying to God is a mute point anyways–He’s God, right?–but whatever moment is the distinguishing moment you committed life to Christ (confirmation, baptism, a small prayer), it should be a distinguishable moment.  And maybe that’s why I hang onto confirmation.

I also think it is a point to make sure if you have been attending one specific church all your life that you know what you are committing to.  Now–I do believe you can commit to God and not commit to the congregation you are going. Please make sure if you are part of a congregation this is something they are okay with (meaning if you switch from “x” church to “y” church their not going to drop you off the face of the earth.) But i also believe as you get older, know where you are.  For example–I grew up Methodist. And though I love my methodist heritage, I choose to follow another tradition – Lutheranism.  And it is different in both practice and faith.  I have friends who are Presbyterian, Baptist, Catholic and non-denominational… and they have come from presbyterian, baptist, catholic and non-denominational backgrounds. And they have taken whole-heartedly the decision to follow a tradition different from their own. Or embrace in full their childhood tradition.

 

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Come Along little Doggie

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Every once and a while–I get the urge to share some of the dog training facts to help those out in the world who (like me) think that the rates they charge for dog training are ridiculous considering EVERYONE can benefit from a little advice here and there.

So I thought I would share some advice on training dogs for a dog door.

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1) Make sure your dog is house-trained.  A dog door doesn’t really make sense unless your dog is trained to go outside when he or she needs to do their business.  I could write a whole other post on house training but I’ll keep it simple.

2) never force your dog through the door. They will associate your anger or frustration and have trouble going through the door (which they already have trouble with naturally.)

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3) take your dog out and shut the door so they can’t come back in except through the door. Stick your hand through and use a treat or toy to lure them through. Be encouraging and let them know it’s safe. When they make it through the door, reward them with the treat.

Simple?!, well, let’s just day you have to practice a couple times. But eventually they figure it out and after 2 years even through switching houses it only took 2 times and April mastered the door. Scout once….

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Running Around …like a chicken with its head cut off

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My last blog was all about how to get through moving/buying a house.  Soooo… It is only fitting that the my next blog be about how to deal with home improvements.  My husband and I were blessed to be able to update some of the things in our house.  Consider this a part 2 of how to buy a home as well as how to deal with upgrades.

Some tips to remember:

1) Do your own research: I know its hard and sometimes practically impossible, but it is helpful.  Anyone (female or male) can look up information. And it helps with your budget as well as Knowing how much things realistically cost is extremely helpful for not getting scammed.  Finally–getting quotes isn’t always the best solution.  You have to look at who is doing the work vs costs vs will you have to repair it again and again in the future [this is VERY important–you’re not getting a bargain if you have to pay $200 every years vs $1k up front to get it done right.

2) Make an order of what you want done and then prioritize. For us-this was important.  We had items that were a safety issue (electrical, fence) as well as upgrades (painting) as well as other items to consider (update bathroom.) I know money is a question for everyone so think about what MUST be done vs could be done vs let’s think about what we want & need . [This is helpful for house-buying: if you do not have time to worry about upgrading/updates then think about this when you are buying a house.

3) When you decide on who is going to do what–get a timeline and then through it out the window.  This is from personal experience.  Things happen to contractors every day… and their work is based off what they’re doing, what the weather is like, whether they can get supplies or workers or whatever.  And honestly–take as much as you can but be patient. Being nit-picky only makes the contractors harder to work with and might add to the costs in the long run for the little things a kind heart might bring about cost-free.

4) this is a personal preference but always be appreciative of “The Help.” Today–my painter talked about how many clients do not want to talk to the people doing the work.  That shocked me.  I believe that everyone should show appreciation towards people helping me because they do not have to help me or be nice to me or even do a good job.  They can always leave the site, charge more, etc. So, in conclusion–thank people for helping them make your life easier.

I hope these things make upgrading and cleaning up a little easier. Good luck with your homes!

 

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“Toto…I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…”

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Finally the day has come.  I can finally let the world know : Shawn and I are….MOVING!

I have spent much of the last two month keeping quiet about this–mostly because I didn’t want to deal with people’s thoughts and opinions on picking a house they would never be living in or perhaps never see.  But now that its over (well, almost, we’re picking up the truck saturday 5/3), I can let out some things I have learned in the last few months.

1) GET AN GOOD AGENT: I heard a friend at church mention this once when her and her husband were looking for a new house to live in and I remember thinking–“Why?” but trust me–after experiencing the ups and downs of home-buying, offering, going to open houses and such–a good agent is important.  Our agent helped us sell our home in Anaheim along with find us a good home in Rancho Cucamonga, where we wanted to be.  And he handled working out details and making the 3-5 calls A DAY to confirm about our offer and the paperwork and everything else.  And he didn’t treat us like we knew nothing about home-buying (which we kind of did). I would say, unless you are trained or you live in an area that is not super competitive for home-buying (i.e. NOT california), then I suggest getting a good agent.  It will save your sanity.

2) LET THINGS GO: During a home buying process, there is a lot of give & tug. Buyers want perfect homes, sellers want the most for the money and yet these are two things they have little control over. I thank God that we were able to get a good buyer for the Anaheim house that let us stay rent free in the home an additional 30 days so we could find our next home. Not many people any luxury close to this and frankly, it helped me trust him more with letting my mom’s house go to just anyone.  But that is something I had no control over and I think that’s the most important thing to remember: some things you can’t control and you just have to let it go (i’d get all cliche but we all know God’s there anyways and “letting God” … just sounds like a puppet on strings and that’s the not the relationship I have with my awesome Creator.”)

3) COMMUNICATE: if you don’t like something-say so. If you can’t bare the idea of living 50 feet from a firehouse, mention it. Especially if you are moving into a place with your spouse. BOTH your opinions count–its a learning experience especially if you haven’t been together that long. I recommended not purchasing your first home right when you get married–it only complicates things and you have not had time to learn each other as a couple.  Especially if you did not live together before marriage.  I’ve seen things like this break relationships and cause riffs between people.  Probably should go back to advice #2 above if it gets like this.

4) TAKE A DEEP BREATHE AND RELAX: this one doesn’t needed explaining, just something that needs to be put into practice. See #2 and #3 for reference points.

I hope that helps people. Also it’s probably not a good idea to do this whole in your last quarter of school and trying to work on career development at work. But it wouldn’t be my life if it wasn’t exciting, right?

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Unity Means We Can be Different?

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Having moved across the country for school, worked in very ethnic neighborhoods, lived in England for 3 months and been to Jamaica—I am always amazed and awe-struck at the differences around the world. Yet—around the world people are always paranoid about things that are different.

Now, this isn’t my moment to get on a equal rights discussion (though can be very justified at time.) This is more of a discussion that it is okay to have differences and still work together. The thought came up when I was talking with friends about come personal problems with another individuals and their advice was that though you may respond by saying “ok” to someone, it does not mean you have to agree with all or even anything they just stated. It was a shocker to me. Yet-I could relate when I realized it’s the same thing: you can be united and be different.

Now, here’s the outpouring of this idea: there are several types of people in the united states. Social, economic, ethnic and cultural differences. Yet, we are called what we are – The United States (and Texas , and maybe California… 🙂 just kidding.) We agree that we are going to unite as states to follow one government and its established rules. We are one country-yet operate with state legislation.

I wish people would get this idea more regularly. Even in basic ideas, we don’t accept this. We think things have to match, not unite. And if they don’t match, then we don’t want to be a part of it. And I think this teaching starts very young—think of kids on a playground. Most kids find those that look like them, like to play the same sports or games or even those they know because they go to the same church or daycare. All based on similarities and we associate that as children that things that are like us are okay. I also know (so maybe this is attributed to my parents) that when I was a child-I was always curious in the things that were different. Yes-sometimes I starred as a kid, not because I was shocked but because I was actually trying to understand it with my mind. It was like a daze-glance…not a mean stare. I’m even guilty of this nowadays. I wish starring wasn’t culturally rude….I know it can have negative side effects, but sometimes people are just honestly trying to grab a visual so they can grasp the concept.

So maybe next time when you want to do something—try doing the different. The unusual, the unique. Instead of staying with the familiar. I’m not asking you to put your life in danger (at least not all the time), but I am asking people to step outside their narrow mindsets and perspectives and try & have an open approach to life. It allows for flexibility, love and grace

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Technology is your Friend?

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So as events are happening around our house and we are beginning to see how much techno gadgets we have in the house.  So I thought (hmm..) maybe I could dispense some knowledge I have about technology for those who think they don’t know anything.

1) PHONE — i have been through a G2, a samsung galaxy S3 and now have an iPhone.  As my advice always goes with any piece of technology buy according to what you NEED, not what fancy thing you want.  Yes, I agree some things have gadgets that are extremely helpful and maybe that is something to consider when BUYING but if you’re trying to save money look for what you need.  I have an iPhone because Shawn and I want to be able to see each other’s schedules and I wanted to sync all my other electronics, which are Apple. If you just need just a phone that makes calls and text, I would get the cheap phone.  We did that with our home line so that we could easily delete the 10+calls a day from telemarketers. The phone cost me $50, no contract.

2) COMPUTER (laptops/desktops/tablets)– again, my simple advice buy what you need pretty much applies. However, computers work a little different.  You want something that also lasts a longer time than 3 weeks.  You also don’t want to spend a ton of money.  I typically advise getting an Apple if you need simple functions, a Windows computer if you play several computer games and honestly, if you can build you’re own to fit what you need (Shawn has built too…) I know there are people who disagree with this, have loyalties to either Apple or Windows, but I’m trying to help, not encourage a battle. I want people to get the best deal.  The reason I go with Apple because my 5yr old desktop and my 4 year old laptop from Apple have lasted the test of time.  My gateway laptop lasted MAYBE 3 years before getting old and slow–grant it it still runs but i would have to buy another laptop anyways by this point, possibly 2, which is more in cost than my apple the firs time.

3) GAMING SYSTEMS: now, this is a little more complicated.  Pricing is about the same, so in my mind its not really something to consider. It’s what do you play and how often.  We have a PS3 and a Wii along with a home built computer with other games. I bought the Wii because i play the games on it and enjoy them more. I was willing to spend $50/game when something new came out. However, we got the PS3 because I really wanted the blue ray and the games at the time were much better quality. Now, I lived with someone who enjoyed online gaming more, so they owed an Xbox. These are all important things to consider. Since systems are $400-$600 dollars and games $50/game its always important to consider all avenues. HINT: computers are always an option instead of systems…figure out how much you play and what is worth it.

4) GADGETS — we have a ton of these. Kitchen gadgets for making hot dogs, a kitchen Aid blender, coffee pots, tea makers, you name it. I even have a bread machine with the goal to make more bread than buy. Let’s just say choose your gadgets carefully.  I would love to say we don’t use something, but we do use them all fairly. We have made bread (multiple times), made tea & coffee, SEVERAL waffles in different flavors. OF course, we asked for things on our wedding registry…and by craziness we got them…so we appreciate things.  My advice–watch your gadget intake 🙂

Spring cleaning

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Hello Blogging World.

So this week is a cleaning week. Cleaning inside our home…cleaning my mind to input new information. Cleaning house emotionally… So I thought I would also work on cleaning up my blog and getting some more organization to it.

1) Clean House:
My husband and I have a reason for this (please do not jump to conclusions—we will be notifying everyone when appropriate and NO, it is not a baby.) But due to the fact that we are both in school cleaning house is more becoming something we have to schedule.

For a married couple-no kids, I recommended balancing out the cleaning. Find out what people can tolerate. For example, no one likes doing laundry but my husband does not cook in the kitchen often and has excelled in doing laundry, even if just to do a quick load. So He does the laundry most of the time while I do dishes. I also take care of the puppies’ dinner while he has offered to do the yard once the gardeners are released. Compromise is key to house work—tackle major challenges together.

Also tackle one thing at a time. Don’t try & do everything on one day. It’s stressful and realistically not possible if you both work and have school. So make small goals. “Today, I will clean the dresser off & organize the closet.” Definitely doable in a couple hours at most. Or “I will sweep/vacuum the house today.” Do things that you can accomplish—you feel better when you get something done and you can then take breaks and decide if you want to tackle something else. My goal right now: boxing the computer room… which includes my books I do not use. I’ll be graduating soon with a major reorganization coming up (you’ll find out why)—its something I can gradually work on and feel accomplished when I get little projects done. For example—I packed my lady & the tramp collection. MAJOR accomplishment

2) Clean Your Mind
This is probably a more difficult task for me and something I need to be more disciplined about, but as a Christian I really want to clean up house in my mind, both through school and spiritual needs so I can live a little simpler. With graduating—that will break up some room for me to structure things on my time. Here are some short term goals:
Prayer/God Time: this NEEDS to happen. Somewhere. Where I take time out to do this. End of Story. I will admit I am not a morning person (AT ALL) so this is something I have to schedule into my daily activities. I realize it is a good thing to have but it needs focus and discipline along without making me feel stressed.
Worship: I’m slacking a little on this—mostly because Shawn and I have work/class and Sundays are literally the only day we get any sleep. Mentall I try to take some time to read scripture and give something back in thanks… My idea is that if Prayer time starts setting in it will be nature to worship whether I’m at church or not. And my personal goal with any children we have is to emphasis the importance of praising God in worship anytime…. (yes I understand kids needs structure but I don’t want religion as the institution suffocating them-God brings life so we don’t need any of that.)
Reading Goals: I have tons of books I would like to read. Not being in class will provide me with my own reading schedule. I am going to try & read as many as I can in a year… I like when people do this and think it is healthy relaxation.

3) Physical Cleaning: Yeah, I’m back to this again. I gained all the weight I lost and then some. I need a restructure about eating healthy and not just dieting. I want to do this so I can loose weight BEFORE children but it needs to be a full-time thing. Habit/Life-changing. So for that to stick I need more discipline, less hate/negativity and encouragement. Right now I want to get back to counting calories…and trying to add 1 veggie into my life daily. I have realized I lack veggies. A lot of veggies. …so baby steps. Also, I have tried doctors and nutritionists and other people telling me how to eat. The more restricted I feel, the more anxious and crazy I get. So need to work on a method that’s away from that.

Well I hope that gives people some guidance in cleaning. Some times things require restructure and a new foundation. Shalom in Christ my friends!!

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