Thursday, October 30, 2008


Princess pumpkins, of course. I got one of those cheapie pumpkin carving kits at the grocery store, and great googley moogley, they work! I found free stencils of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella on the Huggies diapers website. I think that Sleeping Beauty turned out better, probably because my hand wasn't so TIRED.

Cinderella, poor thing, has a swollen cheek -- maybe she had a root canal yesterday.

And if you look at Sleeping Beauty closely, she has a bad case of The Pox -- it was a medieval tale, after all. (I had to use that side to make her luxurious locks fit...the other side was perfect, of course.) But they look cool from a distance!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

my church is just so....relevant. it makes me smile!

Before you ever utter the word "relevant" in regards to church again, read this excerpt from a new book titled, "Christless Christianity". (Of all places, I found the link to this book on the Seattle Times newspaper website!)

( said I could use this gem of a clip as long as I credited them. Hmmmm.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

voting like you aren't voting

This election cycle has left me underwhelmed, frustrated and unexcited about any presidential candidate. And I'm NOT an apathetic voter. I have a BA in political science from one of the largest Pac-10 schools. I was the only female member of College Republicans the year I joined. I worked in a congressional office for a quarter. I am not tooting my own horn...just know that I'm an involved voter. I study the issues, read the voter's guide, go to candidates' websites, read the opposition opinions. I really do care. I think it is very important to vote my values! The Lord told the early Christians to be the best citizens in Rome, and that included voting because it was the right thing to do. However...

Why has this election left me cold? Why have I almost been beligerent in my frustration? My focus was off. I believed that the right candidates could save America. I've been mulling these thoughts for over a year now, and it is only recently that I finally am able to articulate it in a somewhat coherent manner. I'm frustrated because I have heard well-meaning Christians say that if we receive a candidate of a certain party, the Lord has blessed us as a nation; and conversely, if we get the candidate that we didn't vote for, it is clear that the Lord is not blessing us. What about non-democratic nations -- are blessings upon their civic life dependent upon the moral fiber of their leadership? What about Christians in China? What about Christians in Africa who are constantly persecuted and martyred by their governments? What about North Korea, Pakistan, on and on and on...

Ultimately, it comes down to this: The Lord sets kings up and deposes them. See Daniel 2:20 - 23. Don't get me wrong, we are to be involved in our world, not to withdraw. We are to prayerfully vote (not blindly check any old box), but the Lord takes it from there. Further, we are not to become overly despondent, nor are we to be overly jubilant about the election outcome.

Need Biblical proof for this assertion? Click to read this enlightening and balanced article on the subject by John Piper. Here is a paragraph from the article that outlines a bit of his thought process:

...We deal with the system. We deal with the news. We deal with the candidates. We deal with the issues. But we deal with it all as if not dealing with it. It does not have our fullest attention. It is not the great thing in our lives. Christ is. And Christ will be ruling over his people with perfect supremacy no matter who is elected and no matter what government stands or falls. So we vote as though not voting.
Agree? Disagree? PLEASE -- I would love to hear from you. Provide me reasons for either position.

By the way -- I mailed in my ballot last Tuesday morning, happy to live in a country that allows me to vote at all, and praying for my candidate to win.

Friday, October 24, 2008

wear a bike helmet. always.

Last night at 6:45 I received the phone call that I never wanted to receive: "Steph, I've been hit by a car. You need to come..."

I grabbed the girls (half dressed for bed...). Ilsa's dress was inside out in fact... and drove "purposefully" to the scene -- only 1 mile from our home. The authorities had not yet arrived, but there were lots of cars in the area with hazards on, and a group of people standing around. There he was, sitting on the curb, surrounded by strangers. Right there. Next to the offramp from I-10 onto a major north south arterial here in Almost Mexico, AZ.

The driver of the car had stopped to turn left (to go northbound) at the top of the offramp, Chad was proceeding south on the arterial. As Chad continued in front of him, the driver pulled right out into Chad. Chad went onto the hood of his vehicle headfirst, rolled across onto the street. His ankle was hugely swollen, and he had lots of cuts and abraisions, aka "road rash".

We went to the ER, a friend watched the girls (bless you, Cora!), and Chad was checked out. It could have been so much worse. He wore his helmet. Had he not, this would be a very different day in our household.

May we praise the Lord in our thankfulness and joy! This accident was known to him before the universe was created. May we honor Him in our humility and trust. Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The past week, we've had a little, ahem, problem...mice. So far, we've "dispatched" two mice (no signs of rats, but doesn't "Rat Patrol" sound better?). Not inside the house, mind you, but on our front porch, back porch and maybe, just maybe, right inside our garage. We are told that this is completely normal in Almost Mexico, AZ in the fall, and due to all of the new home construction, many pests have been displaced from the long-empty lots.

I have reassured the girls that mice in the real world aren't like Gus Gus from Cinderella. They neither sing, nor do they sew. Every morning, the first thing they ask Daddy is, "Did we get a mouse?"
To see the look on Ingrid "The Enforcer" Jespersen's on the picture. It's worth it.

A couple of weeks ago, Chad killed a black widow spider by our garage. And yesterday I saw the strangest spider I have ever seen. It was about an inch long from front of top legs to bottom of back legs. It's hard to see here, but the red part is actually brith cherry red, not rust-colored. Sorry for the poor quality -- it is a download off of my phone. Anyone knows what it is? I'm very curious to know. Always a new adventure here in Almost Mexico.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

10 things for which I am thankful

I just found out there I'm not the only one who does a "10 things thankful" list! There's actually a site that has a whole section devoted to 10 things to be thankful about lists, on tuesdays, called "10 things tuesdays". Here's link:

XBOX Wife Ten Things Tuesday

  1. "An inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:4-5)
  2. good news from the "tax man"
  3. a working coffeemaker
  4. The new Costco environmentally friendly laundry detergent that smells like a field of lavender in bloom, rippling in the wind...
  5. mail-in balloting
  6. band-aids as cheap entertainment
  7. mouse traps
  8. our library lets us check out 25 books at a time
  9. "5" gum -- the pink kind
  10. honeycrisp apple time!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

james 3:10

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
James 3:10

Pastor Andy, thank you for the admonishment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

bread = english muffins

I don't think my family will ever let me buy the bagged engish muffins again.

Monday, October 13, 2008

planning ahead

Due to the recent economic challenges, Chad and I have started planning for tough times. Before you start calling us "weirdos", consider the tenuous nature of the world economy. We aren't becoming "survivalists", we believe we are being prudent.

We have been asking local bakeries and buying 5 and 6 gallon food-grade buckets with self-sealing lids to store food staples. On Saturday, we went up to Costco and bought 50 pound bags of sugar and rice and a 25 pound bag of salt. We will be buying 50 pound bags of whole wheat and white flour from Wheat Montana (probably the most premium flour in the U.S. for its high protein content and the grower's "better than organic" farming methods). We might even buy 50 pounds of whole grain and a grain mill. We're going to get some sort of dried bean mixture, and continue to freeze fresh meats, etc. as we go.

I really struggled with this for a while. I felt that we weren't trusting in the Lord's provision, and that somehow we were not living faithfully:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth
corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal... Matthew 6:19

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and {yet} your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a {single} hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is {alive} today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, {will He} not much more {clothe} you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:26 - 34

But then I started to think about the way that the Lord provides: through a paycheck, knowledge of world events, the wisdom of friends, etc. I don't believe that Jesus was telling us to just stop cooking meals because the Lord would drop manna from Heaven. He provides in ways through work. Think about Adam: he was given the job of caring for the Garden of Eden. Before the Fall. Work is good, and planning is important. The Lord gave Joseph special knowledge through dreams warning him of famine in the years ahead. He stored up plenty of food to provide for Egypt and his family.

I'd love to hear your thoughts: criticism? suggestions? ideas?

Friday, October 10, 2008

pizza = sourdough discard crust

Almost anyone who is a sourdough baker at some point realizes that they have to stop throwing away their "discard" because it is such a waste of flour! I started a sourdough discard jar, which is not fed like my primary starter jar. I just dump my discard starter into this big old jar and shove it to the back of the fridge. But I'm always looking for something, anything, to do with this stuff. I've done pancakes, I am going to try english muffins, and today I decided to make pizza crust.
I put 1 cup of discard starter in the bowl of the stand mixer, then added about a 1/2 a cup of water, a teaspoon of kosher salt, a teaspoon of dry yeast (which I probably didn't need to do) and start adding bread flour. I ended up with about a 1:2:4 ratio of water to starter to flour (in other words about, 1/2 cup of water, 1 cup of discard starter and 2 cups of flour). I kneaded it on 2, then upped it to 5 on my KitchenAid for about 7 or 8 minutes, until the dough was smooth, satiny and still a bit tacky, but definitely clean from the bowl.
I divided this into two balls and covered with a tea towel for about half an hour to rest while the oven was pre heated to a blistering 550, with a baking stone placed on the middle shelf.
I have no skill jerking a completed pizza off of a peel, so generally, I stretch my crust and place it onto a piece of parchment on the back of a sheet pan/cookie sheet. I then add my toppings. (I used this technique: flatten into a disc, then balance the disc on the back of my knuckles and stretch with my thumbs, only stretching the outer inch or so. The crust rarely tears and is surprisingly even and thin...the way we like it.) I can then easily slide the parchmented pizza onto the stone.
I think I should have either pre-baked the crust for a few minutes, or just put the sauce and pepperoni on first, and then added the cheese during the last few minutes, because the crust, although cooked through, didn't get that good char and slight crunch on the edges.

But....the flavor was super good. Pretty tangy. I'm definitely writing this one down and putting into my weekly used recipes binder!

product placement = haiku bags

I love bags. Not expensive Prada or whatever is trendy these days, but colorful, technical, purposed, interesting, outdoorsy bags that don't look crazy with a dress at church. Here's are two that I'm trying to decide between from Haiku . These bags are not leather. But they look and feel exactly like pebbled leather. They are almost indestructible! For the record, I'm not a bag collector -- I don't have a California Closet full of bags. I have one Timbuk2 tote, a few reusable grocery bags (one that I got free from Method, two from our local "granola" market) and a couple of purses that are years (not an exaggeration) old.

The first is called the To-Go. It is roomy, filled with pockets and nice details like a lined pocket for your cell, side pockets for my insulated aluminum Laken water bottle (which I think is way better than Sigg).

The smaller version, called the Grab Bag, is cute too, but envelope thin.

Zappos carries Haiku, as do REI and Title Nine. And to Chad's encouragement and cheering, I'm sure getting practical these days. I used to be a Coach and Clinique girl. Now I'm REI, Timbuk2, Philosophy, Chaco's and Target.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


This morning, Ingrid came into our room complaining of owies on her leg. She had been bitten overnight in two places by an insect of some sort (probably a spider). The bites looked pretty sore and itchy, so I put some topical Benadryl on them. As the morning progressed, it became apparent that these bites were not going to feel better anytime soon. She started complaining of a headache, and feeling generally yucky. I knew she really must not be feeling well when I told the girls that we needed to go up to Base to run some errands, and she didn't want to go. She always loves outings.

One of the stops was the pharmacy to pick up an Rx, so I dropped by the Peds clinic to have her checked out. By this time, each of the bites were easily the size of a silver dollar and raised a good quarter of an inch. The triage nurse told me to give her some oral Benadryl and just watch for changes in the way they look.

As of tonight, the Benadryl hasn't reduced the swelling or redness at all, but they haven't gotten any worse either. Poor Ingy.

Ilsa just has kind of gone with the flow...bless her heart! Oh, and tonight, she didn't even ask for her Sassy once.

Monday, October 6, 2008

mod*mom = giveaway

One of my favorite blogs is sponsoring a contest to give away two smokin' hot new Dyson hand vacs as a way to raise breast cancer awareness.

Click on over to mod*mom for details, and check out the post from 9/22/08 with the picture of the pink vacuum.

sassy is broken...

Oh sweet Ilsa, today I discovered that your beloved sassy (pacifier) had cracked. We promised you that we wouldn't buy you another one. I never thought I'd be sad about it, but I really am. You loved it so much. It helped comfort you when your teeth were coming in; when you missed Mommy and Daddy; on takeoff and landing on trips up to visit your Grandmas and Grandpas; sleeping when the storms blew over our home.

When I told you it was broken and had to go into the garbage, your face showed your heartbreak. I understand. You did a great job sleeping at naptime and going to bed tonight. Sweetheart, Mommy and Daddy will be here to comfort you. Lord willing, when you know Him, He will be your comforter forever.

Love, Mommy

Friday, October 3, 2008

10 things for which i'm thankful

In no particular order:

  1. Quick Domino's Pizza delivery

  2. Banana bread

  3. Cinnamon rolls in a can

  4. Moisturizer & lip balm

  5. My little OXO broom and dust pan


  7. The health, physical strength and joy of my children

  8. My husband does what he can to maintain his health

  9. Affordable groceries at the Base Commissary

  10. Strawberries

bread = four day sourdough

Okay, I'm not convinced that this bread was worth four days of preparation. The flavor was really, really good, but not outstanding. I think I can find a better recipe that doesn't take four days, and still yields a great-tasting loaf. To its credit, the recipe did yield three loaves, but this was the best of the bunch.
On the other hand, I got to use my brand new bread lame ("luhmay" - fancy schmanzy french bread slashing tool) to create this pretty cool design on the top of the loaf, and new baguette pan which did help achieve a very crunchy crust. Thanks mom for the great birthday presents!

crochet = mini snuggly baby blanket

Ingrid received a beautiful mini blanket when she was born from a dear friend of mine. Ingrid still loves her "softie" and feels lost without it during stressful times. It used to be pink, and is now sort of dirty tan.

So when a friend of mine had a little baby boy about two weeks ago, I decided to crochet a mini blankie for him. I hope he likes it even a fraction as much as Ingrid loves hers.

sola scriptura

Sola Scriptura -- scripture alone, the Bible is sufficient...

Check out this great blog article over on one of my favorite websites, Camp on This (Steve Camp -- yep, the singer/songwriter...)


Here are the Bible verses with which Camp leads his article:

The Scriptures should be our joy: Psalm 1:2 and Psalm 119.
God gives His Spirit through His Word: Galatians 3:2 and Romans 8:5.
The word of God gives hope: Romans 15:4 and Psalm 78:5, 7.
The word of God makes us free: Psalm 119:45 and John 8:32
The Word of God makes us wise: Psalm 19:7-8 and 119:98.
Wisdom brings joy: Proverbs 3:13.
The Word of God gives assurance: 1 John 5:13
The Word of God overcomes the evil one: Ephesians 6:17
The Word of God revives us: Psalm 19:7.
The Word of God is our life: Deuteronomy 32:46-47
Our physical life depends upon God's word:
He created us by His Word: Psalm 33:6 and Hebrews 11:3
He keeps us in existence by His Word: Hebrews 1:3
Our spiritual life depends upon God's Word:
We are born again by God's Word: James 1:18 and 1 Peter 1:23
We go on living spiritually by God's Word: Matthew 4:4
The Word of God causes faith: Romans 10:17 and John 20:31.

reflections on the ligonier fall conference

Some of you know that Chad and I had the distinct privilege of attending the Ligonier Fall Conference last weekend up in Scottsdale, AZ (near here, Almost Mexico, AZ). We heard R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur and Ligon Duncon speak to "Hard Questions Christians Face". There's no way I would ever comment on everything discussed (besides no one would want to read my post, if anyone does!!).

But what I did take away from the conference:
God is Sovereign. Completely. Wholly. To his own glory. Soli Deo GLORIA!

Psalm 115:3
Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.

Daniel 4:34 - 35
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

Amos 3:6
“Is a trumpet blown in a city,and the people are not afraid? Does
disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?
Christians! Don't try to "defend" your belief that God is sovereign! What I mean is this: we all have, from time to time, certain misconceptions about evil in the world, the bad stuff that happens whether natural calamity (disasters, famine, disease...), personal evil (sin of the heart that we all possess), supernatural (demonic) or the existence of hell because...
GOD EXISTS!!! He is the true and only living God! He is absolutely over everything, and will consummate all things -- that means when the time comes, evil WILL be eradicated. But for now, all of history is in line with his purposes, whether we understand it or not.
He is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY and can not look upon evil or do evil. This is the part I'm still struggling with (not because of unbelief, but because I don't get the subtle difference of these two concepts): God WILLS evil to exist, he ALLOWS it and DESIGNED it into the universe WITHOUT being RESPONSIBLE for it. In other words, God wills evil to exist but he did not create it.

Romans 3:5
But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of
God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I
speak in a human way.)
Romans 9:22-23
What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known
his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for
destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of
mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory...

Romans 5:8
...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still
sinners, Christ died for us.

Please comment if you wish. I'd love to hear feedback.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

new blog colors

Majority rules. Back to the original green and orange.


What about this combo? (olive, fuschia and orangeish)


Likee? Don't likee? Just messing around at 9:00 pm when I should be in bed...maybe I'll go back to the standard green template.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

1 down, 30 to go...

30 days to Halloween. Yep. 30. I've been hearing about the candy explosion day for oh, 11 months now. Ingrid has asked me every day, at least 5 times a day, if she can be:

  • Princess (Easy)
  • Pink Princess (Easy)
  • Ducky Fairy Princess Mermaid (Not so easy)
  • Ariel (The Little Mermaid -- tail logistics could be a problem)
  • Jasmine (no way...too much like a belly dancer)
  • Belle (a personal favorite)
  • One of The Incredibles (would've been SOOOOO cute - red shirt and leggings would've been practical, too!)
  • Wall-E (a box...what could be easier?)
  • Eve from Wall-E (hmmmm, a white garbage can?)
  • Hula Badula Girl (hula girl...) (See Jasmine)
  • A genie (See Jasmine)
  • A door (Huh? Maybe we could've tacked the 95 theses...appropriate considering it is Reformation Day the next day)
  • A rubber duckie in a bubble bath (easier than you might think...)
Ilsa would then chime in echoing whatever Ingrid said, except for a while, she really wanted to be Jack Jack from The Incredibles. With pretend fire on her head.
The question is now finally settled: Ariel and Cinderella. Thank you Target for reasonable, cute costumes.
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