Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Lowdown on Russia: HELP!

We have 24 hours!

Hopefully most of you know about the missions trip to Russia that I am supposed to be going on tomorrow. The Lord has blessed us so far. But at the last minute (less than 48 hours before we are supposed to go) Johnson & Wales University pulled their financial support from underneath us (about $4,500.) The main reason is that it seems because there has been some things happening in Russia in the past and recently, and since the school has paid for our plane tickets they don’t want to be liable if anything happens to us. (Though there is no government issued travel warning at this time) We had already raised the remaining amount, and were ready to go. At first the  shock hit. Then we prayed, asked God for guidance, and weighed all of the options according to scripture. After talking to missionaries "on the ground," and realizing that the name of Christ was at stake, there was a clear directive. We must go

Our plans were with schools, English clubs, teachers<-most who are unsaved, a church, and missionaries. The team is prepared to build relationships and to speak to students about the gospel. Breaking the trust that the ONLY gospel preaching church has with the people in the city of Zavolzhye (50,000 people- one known church.. WHAT!)... we just cant do that. 

$4,500 is the total to cover the difference of what the school was going to cover. There are six of us that are going (Kevin, Jake, Niki, Kim, Jasmine, and me). This money will help go to the cost of the plane tickets and cost of visas. In the past 12 hours and since we first got the news, we have raised almost $2,600, but we still have a little ways to go. And we need your help if possible.

Here is how you can help:
**Donating right now using this verified paypal account that we set up:
** You can send a check to Grace Harbor @ 9 Esten Street Providence RI 02908 -with "Russia Missions" in the memo (This is a tax deductible option) 
**Most importantly: You can be praying for God's will, for the gospel to be proclaimed among the nations, for safety, for the city of Zavolzh'ye

In order to go on the trip tomorrow morning, We do not physically need your donation in hand but just a pledge of the amount being given. So if you can, please just respond to this email if you are able to give and how much.

Feel free to ask if you have questions.

In Christ,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quotes on Marriage

A friend lent me her copy of "Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas. (subtitle: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy) I enjoy reading books about marriage, because even though I'm not married or anywhere close to being married (though I'd love to be married), there are a lot of take aways and applications about such things like: loving one another, church membership, friendship, priorities, and how we relate to God. (Not to mention great insights into the purpose and intention of marriage.)

I am digging this book so far (and think you should read it.) At the beginning of each chapter there are great quotes. So I thought I would share some of them with you:

"Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, in infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate." - WH Auden.

"Marriage is the merciless revealer, the great white searchlight turned on the darkest places of human nature." Katherine Anne Porter

"Marriage requires radical commitment to love our spouses as they are, while longing for them to become what they are not yet. Every marriage moves either towards enhancing one another's glory or toward degrading each other."-Dan Elexander and Tremper Longmann III

"If you treat a man as he is, he will stay as he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become the bigger and better man." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"We must never be naive enough to think of marriage as a safe harbor from the fall... The deepest struggles of life will occur in the most primary relationship affected by the fall: marriage." -Dan Alexander and Tremper Longman III

"A magnificent marriage begins not with knowing one another but with knowing God." -Gary and Betsy Ricucci

What do you think?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Slow Release Foods

Have you ever heard of the concept of slow release foods? No? Me either until recently.

This trimester I am taking a class called "Food and Culture" where we learn about cuisines, diets, nutrition, and agriculture from all over the world and its influence on culture and society. A few weeks ago we did a case study on a people group that had suddenly developed an epidemic of diabetes. Since the early 1900s, more than half of all the tribe was diagnosed with diabetes and it was the number one cause of death. 

Nutritionists and scientists did study after study, with many of the conclusions relating to the diet of the tribe "before and after" the mass production of food. Before prepackaged and mass produced food became widely available and grocery stores were packed with these kinds of options, this specific people group were foragers and hunters mostly eating the plants found in their desert region.  The plants they ate contained certain membranes that, when digested, released the sugars and carbohydrates slowly into the blood stream. These foods had more bang for the buck, lasting longer in the body. 

The food that the tribe had been eating in the past hundred years or so was packed with quick release sugars and carbs- white bread, soft drinks, baked goods, many pastas. You might have heard of "refined" sugars and grains, and that is exactly what we are talking about. You eat them and your body processes them quickly, letting all the sugar and carbs straight into your blood stream. Basically injecting your body with sugar.

The theory was that the people's bodies did not know how to handle the intense inflow of sugars and carbs, and therefore they got diabetes. 

After doing some outside research, I realized that the whole thing makes sense and that many nutritionists promote a "slow release" diet, full of foods made up of whole grains, fiber and minerals so often taken out of refined foods.  Eating these kinds of foods helps improve concentration, keep you feeling full longer, regulate sugar levels, and a bunch of other good things. 

Examples of "slow carbs" are whole grain breads and crackers, potatoes with their skin, beans & legumes, brown rice, oats, and whole grain pasta.

Anyways, in the past week or so Ive been eating foods with these concepts in mind. Some foods that Ive had have been plain oatmeal with dried cranberries and almonds,  potatoes mixed up with corn, lentils and diced tomatoes, whole grain wheat thins, and brown rice and beans with chicken. This does not necessarily differ a whole lot from what I usually eat, but Ive been more conscious of choosing whole grains instead of anything refined or with empty carbs.

 It has been an interesting experiment and I do feel like eating these kinds of foods has kept me full for longer amounts of time, I feel more awake and energized, and even healthier. By no means do I have the medical training to tell you anything more in depth, but I felt like I should share this brief overview. If you have any other questions, or would like to explore this more, I have some really helpful links below.

Do you think your diet is full of quick or slow release foods?
Have you heard of this concept before?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Experience New England: My Bucket List

A girl can dream, (and this is the short version of those dreams).

Bucket List: list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term "kicked the bucket".

New Bedford Whaling Museum
The 107 year old whaling museum located in Massachusetts, “it is home to the world's largest ship model, Lagoda, a half-scale whale ship built in 1916 by the aging shipwrights of New Bedford's famed fleet. The Museum displays four species of complete whale skeletons, including a Blue whale, the world's largest mammal plus a mother and fetus of the highly endangered Northern Atlantic Right whale.” How can you beat that excitement? No, Im not joking.

"The Nation's First Sunrise"
Viewing the "first sun rise in the USA" is a  popular activity among visitors of Maine's Acadia National Park. Cadillac Mountain sees the first sunrise in the fall and winter, and during most of the spring and summer, the sun rises first on Mars Hill, 150 miles to the northeast. This would be invigorating. 

Hartland Brick Church Famous Roast Beef Supper
Maybe I am crazy, but this seems like a really cool thing to randomly do.
“People drive an hour and a half or more to make the pilgrimage, and not just once a year or once a month, but some for nine straight Saturdays starting in January--every year. These dinners take place in the basement of  "the Brick Church" in Hartland, and no matter the weather. A bad snowstorm or driving sleet might keep servings down to 200 or 250; a good night will feed some 400 people.” And J.D. Salinger went to them!

Sandwich, Massachusetts
I have to admit one thing: I have been here before…. BUT, it was at 1am, for ten minutes, and we climbed a tree.. I don’t think that counts. I want to see the boardwalk and watch tugboats enter the Cape Cod Canal at dawn, and then hit up the Sandwich Glass Museum. Sandwich is the oldest town on Cape Cod by the way.  (photo from Yankee Magazine)

Wild Game Supper
Congregational Church's annual "Wild Game Supper" in Bradford, Vermont, comes to mind. The out-of-town crowd at that hunting-season event grew so overwhelming--even at $25 a head--that the church recently set a serving limit of 900. The writer Calvin Trillin once called it "the Super Bowl of church suppers."

Cable Car Cinema
Located on South Main Street in Providence RI, this comfy cinema and cafĂ© is known for its couches, great atmosphere, fun indie films, and speakers in the bathroom (so you don’t miss TOO much)! Reasonable prices, and a great date or hangout atmosphere. I see this place all the time, and want to go SOO bad.

What about you? Do you have any dreams to travel around New England?
 Any places that strike your fancy?  
 Am I missing something important? Do share!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Book Review: The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex


This one word is the premise for “What are You Waiting For? The One Thing No one Ever Tells You About Sex,” written by Dannah Gresh. Yada is a Hebrew word that means “to be known, to be deeply respected,” and is the word used when talking about a husband and wife “laying” with each other. It is found more than 900 times in the Bible, and aside from marital relations, it is most commonly found in verses that talk about humanity being known by God. The alternate word, "Shekalb," literally means an exchange of fluids- and is used when describing rape or adultery. So many people think that they can just exchange fluids with someone, and come away unharmed. But when your soul is looking to be deeply known and respected, as is the purpose of sex, and you just “exchange fluids,” you are setting yourself up to be deeply unsatisfied.
Gresh strives to show us that sex isn’t just an exchange of fluids, but it is “an exquisite revelation of a much greater love,” e.i- a picture of our relationship with God. Amen. 

While reading the first chapters of this book, I was turned off by the sort of “shock jock” literary hooks and emotional chick flick definitions of romance.  So I put my super critical glasses on and prepared to deal with whatever horrible theology was about to be thrown my way. After reading the book in its entirety, I came to the conclusion that the first two chapters should be cut from the book, leaving an age appropriate (written for young adults), challenging, redeeming, truthful nutshell exposition on sex.

I loved Gresh’s treatment on counterfit love via “friends with benefits,” as she includes interesting and easily digestable scientific research on hormones and brain functions. I love how she discusses the quest we all have for love, “to be known and respected,” and how the enemy often turns this search into an unsatiable desire for unhealthy love.

“Every man who knocks at the door of a brothel is looking for God.” –G.K Chesterton.

I was encouraged by Gresh’s stance on same sex attraction, as she challenges the reader to replace lies with truth, drag struggles into the light, and get help from fellow Christians. Isn’t that what we are called to do as Christians- admit we are sinners?  James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” She also talks about pornography and other “unmentionable” sexual sin. I liked that she talks about it in regards to both men AND women, and how “sex is not a solo sport,” (the title of chapter nine).  She offers the idea of forgiveness, and being made whole in Christ as the ultimate solution.

In Chapter 14, Gresh pulls out Ephesians 5 as a biblical model for finding a mate, and I whole heartedly agree with this whole chapter. She talks about finding someone that is showing signs of what Ephesians 5 talks about. I was actually surprised by this chapter, as it seems to contradict what she says in chapter two about what kind of love to be looking for. But I will eagerly take it.

Anyways, this book does struggle slightly (in my opinion) with romanticism, the idea that you want some epic  pursuit with flowers everyday ending with a carriage ride and then a marriage proposal kind of romance. If I had a daughter, would I give it to her to read? I think I might, as long as a discussion followed it up. Would this be my definite first pick for a book on the theology of sex? Probably not so much. 

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"How to Help Your Grieving Friend"

Molly Piper is a sweet blogger. She is encouraging, honest, and I always glean something from her insights. She has the most adorable kids who do silly things. Anyways, she lost her daughter as a stillborn and after reflecting on everything, wrote a very helpful little series about grieving that I have enjoyed, and thought I would share.

Posts in this series:

Though I obviously have not lost a child, grieving has some similar tendencies, and I definitely relate to her posts. It was a blessing to have people bring over food. It is great when people ask me specific questions. I wish someone would clean my house. Dont tell me that my dad "lives as my guardian angel in my heart." And I'm both scatterbrained and exhausted (though not as much any more), and hope no one feels offended if I have forgotten to call or do something with them. 

My sister reminded me that is has been a month since my dad died. I cant even believe it at all, because the  whole thing feels like it could have happened yesterday. Wow.

God has been my comforter, provider, and father in ways I never would have imagined, and while I am trying to "take joy in my trials," I am definitely not enjoying it at all. 

Anyways. I am so thankful for the people who have dug down in and asked those awkward questions to see how I am since I'm not especially good at communicating that kind of thing. Haha. 

Read those posts. Let me know what you think! 
Have any other ideas of something that was helpful to you in a rough time?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February Wallpapers

Maybe this is over the top, but I like to change the wall paper of my desktop seasonally. This is the one I currently have, from Smashing Mag.

Every month, they put up tons of free wall papers that are specific to that month, and they all come with or without calendars, also multiple sizes depending on your screen. I love them all. 

Tim Challies also has some good ones over on his blog today. Some of them have Christian themes, but they are NOT tacky. Quite some lookers if you ask me.

Go take a gander and get some lovely designs!