“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.”
― Bob Goff

When we got rid of all of our stuff, we didn’t know we were going to buy an RV.

When we bought an RV, we didn’t know there would be a sermon about  -”You don’t have to understand completely to obey immediately”

But when we heard that quote, we did know what we had to do next.

This past week, Brent gave his notice at his job.  His last Sunday will be May 4th.  We don’t have another job lined up, we don’t even know where we  are going.  But God is asking us to go and we are saying yes.  We are saying yes to fear and uncertainty but also saying yes to faith and trust.  We are saying yes to jumping and the expectation that God will go before us and meet us where we are at.  We are saying yes to God’s grand adventure.

We do have some plans.  Visit friends, write a lot, rest and drive and meet new people.  But most of all our plans are to love and trust and say yes a lot.  It sounds irresponsible but sometimes God is that way.  We expected and waited for God to show up with a grand plan but as we waited and waited it became more clear to us that we would have to start walking in faith before we knew what would happen next.  As Brent likes to say, “God is a lamp to our feet, not a lighthouse to your future – he’ll only show us the next step”

We don’t know where we will be a year from now – heck we don’t even know when we start driving, if we will go North, South, West or East (probably not east).  We only know that it will be difficult and scary and a whole lot of messy, but also exciting and adventurous and even more of faith than we ever thought we had.  And we can’t wait to tell you all about it.

This episode titled “When Knowledge Conquered Fear” and it’s about how humankind used to look to the stars for divine revelations from the gods and how comets especially were harbingers of doom.  But slowly, as a child grows up and learns about the reality around us, we learned what comets actually were and how they worked.   I can see how people would have been nervous seeing things flying through the night sky.  If it did hit us, all kinds of terrible things could happen.

But somewhere in the late 1600s, there was discussion among scientists about how the heavenly bodies moved around the universe and it was found through a lot of collaboration and the invention of a totally new way of doing math that the planets moved in ellipses.  And the comets moved in ellipses too.  Edmond Halley tracked down the historical record of comets and found one particular one that makes an appearance every 75 or so years.  It’s due back around here in 2061.

There were so many different inventions made by Newton, Halley, Hooke and the other scientists in this episode.  It really showed how one new discovery leads to another and another and another.  We’re still using the principles discovered in our daily lives.  And by finding the way the universe really worked, it became predictable and wondrous, not a source of fear and doom.

The only thing that Tyson says that I take issue with is that “Newton’s laws swept away the need for a Master Clockmaker (God) to explain the precision and beauty of the solar system” and replaced it with a new set of laws that weren’t written in the Bible.  To that I just see that God is also a Master Physicist and we just haven’t figured it all out yet.  :)

We live in a garage, if any of you readers don’t know that.  We have a toy hauler RV which means there’s a completely separate room with a locking door that is typically used for ATVs, motorcycle, whatever “toys” you have.  We saw this as a bedroom.  It’s tight, and our king sized bed barely fits in it, but we make it work and have for almost two years now.

Last winter we realized that the garage area was not as insulated as the rest of the RV.  Now the rest of the RV is not very insulated at all – we joke that the windows keep out heat better than the walls.  So to have a room that is less insulated?  We really were living in a garage.  We had ice on the wall and stuff frozen to the ground and a mini glacier in the corner, and when spring came it all melted and then our room was damp, damp, damp and gross.  We had a dehumidifier but it didn’t completely fix the problem.  So I said – before this last winter, we had to do something different.  We knew that the box springs were getting completely wrecked because of the moisture and we needed to get them off the ground somehow.

Well, it didn’t happen.  We did get some garage insulation sheets to put around the bed and that helped us feel warmer, but it didn’t completely help with the moisture problem.  We thawed out in spring to water and wet everywhere and our box springs were getting worse and worse.

So as soon as it got sort of nice out, we set out to make this happen.  We didn’t want to put a normal metal frame around our bed because the floor is slanted at the end, and also our bed is so ginormous that we already have to climb in from the foot.  I just saw gashed up shins with that solution.  So I suggested we throw simple pallets on the ground and just put our mattress right on top of that.  I asked around and confirmed that this would work, and found that they weren’t that expensive so it seemed like the perfect solution.

So I took myself to the hardware store and asked about the pallets and they sent someone out to help me load them.  I’m pretty thankful for this because there was no way I could have gotten them in myself.  I think I grossly underestimated the size of just normal pallets compared to the size of our truck.

When we got home, the plan was to open the back, slide the mattress out, throw the box springs onto the lawn, put the pallets in, slide the mattress back on, and viola – a new bed!  Of course things are never that easy.  First I had to sweep a million feathers and dust bunnies out of the corners – and everything was damp.  It was really gross and I’m trying not to think about it too much.  :P

Then, I completely forgot that there’s this *thing* sticking out into the middle of our room.  I think it’s a fuel pump that goes into the gas tank or something?  But it sticks out so far that the pallets couldn’t fit the correct way.  So the one row of pallets were the short way and the other row was the long way.   Because of this, there is about 8 inches of pallet sticking out at the bottom of the bed.  We could pull our mattress down so it’s flush with that, but there’s already so little room in there.  So we might still get cut up shins but I’m going to ask my dad if he’ll come over with a saw and help us get rid of that.

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But after it all was done, I laid down and it was pretty comfortable.  It’s solid and the slanty floor is not noticeable.  Next on the docket it is a new mattress and I have been eyeing this homemade wool mattress tutorial with interest, but I don’t know how far Brent is willing to let me go….

So not 100% totally crappy, but works for us.  I guess that’s how we roll in RV land.

Episode 1

There were three main topics in Episode 2 of Cosmos:  Artificial Selection, Natural Selection, and the Five Major Extinctions in pre-history.

First – Artificial Selection.  I don’t think there’s anyone who’s going to argue with this.  Breeding.  People have been breeding animals and plants for their desired traits for longer than history has been written down.

Here’s my favorite Artificially Selected Animal :)  His name is Frank and he’s a Golden Doodle.

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Natural Selection is the science term for when animals develop traits that help them thrive in their environment and then over millions of years, new species evolve.  The example Cosmos used was a brown bear that lives at the north pole that has a accidental white cub.  The white cub survives better because it could hide better, then it also grows up and has white cubs.  Eventually the white bears get all the food, the brown bears can’t survive, and the Polar Bear is invented.

Tyson pointed out all the ways our DNA was similar to the rest of the life on the planet, but why not?   It’s easy to see how the conclusion is made that we were a descendant of animals – we’re made up of the same stuff, we have all the same parts, we connect closely with our pets and animals in the wild.  We have to live here, it makes sense that we have all the same components as the life here.

But Natural Selection is not contrary to scripture.  I don’t know very many Christians that would say that God’s hand isn’t directly involved in their lives.  That He guides us, creates opportunities for us, and shows us His love in our every day actions.  What prevents the same thing from happening with evolution?  What if God started literally from a scratch one celled organism and slowly tweaked it and grew it and nurtured His creation until it grew unto the gorgeous and diverse menagerie we have today?

The second main part of the episode was about the Five Mass Extinction Events.  Never learning about this stuff in school, I was pretty shocked that there were five.  What I remembered learning was that the dinosaurs all died at once and we don’t know why.  Apparently we have some ideas why now!

The Bible only mentions one Mass Extinction Event, and since they both happened in pre-written-history, it’s possible that it was the cause of one of science’s Five.  Except that humans weren’t around for the other ones.  I think the main point of the biblical flood was really that God was saying He wasn’t going to have any more Mass Extinction Events.  He was keeping us around.  :)

I want to do a little plug for Rob Bell’s “What is the Bible” series.  He comes with the view that the Genesis stories are more morally based instead of literal history.  Even if you don’t agree, it’s an interesting read.

Lest you think I’m a super awesome baker just because I don’t stir my soda with carrots or dust pans with sugar, you are incorrect.  I’m not bad at it or anything, but I really dislike baking.  I enjoy baking for special occasions like birthdays or pi day or Thanksgiving, but other than that, it really is not my favorite thing to do.

Brent’s last birthday he said he wanted a “cake ball cake”.  I said no way!  He countered with some type of begging and I told him if he remembered in a year, I’d make him a cake ball cake, whatever that was.  I thought the matter was over – until Brent pulls out his phone and sends himself a reminder a year from then.  Checkmate, Brent!  You won this one.

So my friend has a cake ball maker thingy so I asked her if I could use it and she gladly offered.  I made no plans in my head until the last day and then the plans got super epic.  Three kinds of cake balls, three different types of frosting – one glorious tower of cake balls.

We live close by so I gathered all the ingredients into a couple of bags and hauled it all over.  Then I made about three trips back home to get all the things I forgot.  Then I set to work.  First I made a batch of vanilla, then of chocolate.  And just one cake recipe is a big batch.  I had probably over 80 cake balls by the end.  When I saw the difficulty of the third recipe and the amount of cake balls I already had, I just scrapped it right there – two was good enough.

I will say that the cake ball maker is a blessing and a curse.  My friend told me how to work it and I also watched a youtube tips tutorial.  If you overfill the little cups, the batter will spill all over the inside of the maker.  If you under fill, the cake balls won’t be perfectly round.  Somehow I managed to do both of these things.  All of my cake balls were flat and it looked like a waffle iron with all the spillage.  I tried to clean it up before my friend came home but I don’t think I wrecked it or anything and now she’s reading this so I hope she isn’t mad!

Anyway, now I had 80 odd cake balls in the fridge.  Now to frost them and pile them into a tower of awesomeness.  If you search pinterest for “cake ball cake” you will come across some crazy cakes.  I’m not sure if that was what I was envisioning, but that is not what happened.

First, I had cherry chips and I put them in a candy melter type thing.  They weren’t melting fast enough for me, so I decided to work on the second flavor – lime.  I had vanilla chips in a pot on the stove and I added lime juice for the flavor.  Anyone who has melted chocolate will immediately see the gigantic mistake here.  You never, ever add water to melting chocolate – it will never melt and basically ruin it.  The thing is – I Knew This!  I knew this would happen and I did it anyway.  So when it didn’t melt properly, I went to google how to fix it (you can’t) and while I was doing this, it burned.  So now I had two of my three flavors that weren’t doing what I wanted.  And Brent was due home soon.

So I went for my final flavor – peanut butter chips.  I took my time, melted them on the stove slowly and adding shortening instead of water and it worked fine (surprise surprise).  I managed to dip about 25 cake balls before it started running low so I borrowed some white chips from my friend to stretch it out for the last few balls.  I managed to make a nice looking pyramid of 30 chocolate cake balls with peanut butter frosting and chocolate drizzle.  The only problem – the peanut butter frosting was brown and the whole thing looked like an unimpressive pile of poop.  Literally.

But it tasted good.  And I managed to finish just minutes before Brent got home.  And he liked his birthday cake and gift, and all was okay with the world.

Happy Birthday babe!  I love you but I’m never making that cake again!

As a Christian, I’m totally fascinated by science the more I learn about it.  But I have seen how Christians seem to get up in arms and wholesale disagree with science, and at the same time the scientific community displaying Christians as archaic, old fashioned fairy-tale believers.  And that makes me sad because both of those subjects are such huge passions for me, and I have almost never come across something in science that disagrees with my faith.

So, on to Cosmos – Episode One.

I think the longest duration that I watched the Superbowl this year was the 1 minute promo for the reboot of Cosmos.  I had recently discovered the Carl Sagan version of it and devoured it over a weekend.  Plus I love Neil deGrasse Tyson and cooler special effects of the universe are awesome.  So the day appeared on the internet, we all excitedly gathered around the computer to watch.  Maybe I was the only excited one, but my family humors me mostly.

Tyson starts out with saying that the history of science and astronomy is fascinating and was built with pioneers with great imaginations but also adhered to a strict set of rules -

Test ideas by experiment and observation
Build on those ideas that pass the test
Reject the ones that fail
Follow the evidence wherever it leads
Question everything

I’m cool with that.  I’m cool with questioning both science and the Bible.  Both theologians and scientists are constantly trying to look at things through new eyes, testing ideas with how they see the world and coming up with new theories.  The Bible doesn’t change, and technically neither does science.  But as a culture, we change.  Five hundred years ago we didn’t know about germs and thought that slavery was perfectly okay.  Today we know better.  That wasn’t a change in science or in the Bible, but a change in us.  So questioning everything makes us better and stronger, not skeptics.

The first “scientist” story that Tyson goes into is Giordano Bruno, who had a dream that the universe was infinite and then started preaching that, which eventually got him burned at the stake.  That is what the show said,  but the thing about Bruno was that he wasn’t a scientist, he was a monk who had a dream.  Admittedly a cool dream, and definitely intuitive, but that was not why he was martyred.  He also quit the monastery, quit believing in Jesus’ divinity, and started believing in reincarnation.  Not that I condone burning at the stake or anything, but it was not for science.  There was a different guy, Copernicus, who really was a scientist, and also believed that the earth revolved around the sun, who didn’t publish his findings until his deathbed in order to avoid persecution.  But as far as my 20 minutes of Googling, I can not find any instance where the church put someone to death for their belief in science.  Of course, if any of you find someone, I will gladly amend this post :)  Question everything, after all, even me (don’t tell Brent that).

The next part that Tyson gets into is the age of the universe and origin of life.  Which is, according to scientific research – 13.798 billion years, give or take 37 million years.  I can get behind this too, personally.  I believe that God created everything.  I believe that God created the Big Bang and flung the stars into the universe.  It just took a really really long time.  Some people say that there is a (big) time delay between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.  I personally think that about 9 billion years after God said “go!” there was a planet out there that was formless and empty and dark.  And God broke out his canvas again and painted life all over it.  I personally don’t care if it took a billion years or not.  I know God did it, and I believe His hand was all over it and guiding it.  He can take his time if He wants.

I want to quick touch on the “death before the fall” thing.  Because that was a huge roadblock for me.  Young earth creationists say that God couldn’t have created life over billions of years because He said that the earth was good and there was no death before Eve at that fruit.  But I don’t buy that.  We don’t know there was no death for other creatures.  We also don’t know how long Adam and Eve lived in the garden before succumbing to temptation.  Mayflies only live for a day or two at most.  So they all lived infinitely?  Plus the circle of life *is* good.  The ways the seasons change and leaves die and are composted and the bugs eat the dead animals and the symbiosis of every living creature is a beautiful and meticulous thing.  God created the earth as good.  The way it is now is good.  Genesis 2 only says that humans would experience death if sin came into the world.

Which brings me to the one and only thing that I disagree with science on.  I believe that humans are spiritual creatures, created by God for his relationship and pleasure.  We are like the animals in chemistry, DNA, and physics, but drastically different in spirit.  We can think, reason, choose, invent, create, speak, record, believe, and question.  We are part of this world but not of this world.  God created us differently, special to him and to this earth.  The Bible is a guideline for our lives, but I don’t think it gives enough detail for us to make scientific conjectures.  But that’s what our good and beautiful brains are for.

So I strayed a little from the Cosmos Episode – but if you watched it, you realize I didn’t.  Tyson talks about the universe and how it came to be, and how we came to be.  And just because we disagree how it got here doesn’t make it any less of God’s good and perfect creation.

Episode 2

Way back when I was 20 (okay maybe not that long ago), I lived in my own and had big plans one Friday night.  Then they fell through.  I was really itching to go out and do something fun.  So I got on the dial-up and looked at what cities were within a few hours of driving and took off.  I ended up driving for 4 hours, catching a hotel, driving the rest of the way to St. Louis, MO the next morning and spending the day taking the free bus around the city and just seeing the sites.  I spent the next night back at the hotel and was back by Sunday.

A couple of weeks later, I ran into this new guy at my Bible study church group and mentioned that I had just been to St. Louis for a mini vacation.  He was intrigued by this girl who just went out of town on a whim and did whatever she wanted.

Almost a year later, I was on my annual *Oh my goodness summer is almost over I must go camping before it gets cold* Camping Trip (traditionally the last weekend of September).  Halfway through, I realized that I didn’t need or want to be alone on my adventures anymore and I called my boyfriend and told him I was coming home a day early.

Twelve years ago today, I married him.  We’ve been all over Wisconsin, and a bunch of other states.  We’ve been to two other continents – one to add a new, 6yo adventurer to our family.  We’ve flown all over the US and driven our house across the continent.

I’ll go adventuring with you, Brent – to the end of the world – as long as we’re together.

Every year, I pick out a cake for Brent to make for my birthday, and every year I sit in the other room and listen to him talk to himself and laugh and laugh and laugh and write down what he says. Here are the highlights this year :)

(Our friends graciously let us use their nicer kitchen, and they have a dog named Frank)

I am prepared! Maybe.

Come on, Franklin! Grease the pan!

It’s like an awesome cooking show in here!

I’m going to line it with kibble.

You know how I know this cake is going to be awesome? I’m going to dust the pan with SUGAR!

FLOOOWWWWERRRR

I like that what you use to deodorize your fridge is what you bake with. “Takes the butt smell out of your fridge, and makes your cake rise”

Friend walks in – “HOLY COW”
It said put cocaine on the dish!

We’ll do extra nutmeg, cuz we don’t have allspice – the stupid spice

You stir it with carrots

*Brent comes out with a carrot in his drink*

Oh Crap I screwed up

Screwing up is optional.

Directions are optional

(Singing) “Beat it – beat it – when you’re making birthday cake and there’s no one in the room, just beat it!”

This cake tastes amazing and there’s not even any carrots in it!

I need a carrot grater to wreck this thing.

Can your dog have a carrot?

Friend – we could all share a house and Tracy could do all the dishes.
Brent – and that is the story about how Tracy murders us all

I hit bake and it went to 350, is that good? Yes? That’s awesome, I’m a big boy!

Even Frank won’t eat carrots!

Friend – Is the oven on?
I don’t know – it said bake and 350.
*Friend gets up to look*
Bake
Preheat, c’mon just do it!
Preheat is for babies.

Will it ever go off of preheat? Preheating is optional.
*Friend – no it’s not*
Listen! I’ve made 6 awesome cakes, and i’ve never preheated. Preheating is a wive’s tale.
I don’t even listen to Jack when he says preheat. I just put it in for 10 minutes and it’s done.

*Friend – why is the microwave on?*
*Me – he’s melting butter*
It said room temperature butter and this is just much quicker.
*Friend – Then you put it on defrost to soften it and not melt it*
Oh, Audrey, I don’t do that.
*Friend – If you make chocolate chip cookies with melted butter they won’t turn out – it changes the whole structure.*
I would never make chocolate chip cookies.

Let’s beat this butter – I have to realign the molecules.

⅓ cup marmalade. Do you want me to just throw the rest of the marmalade in the garbage? Who are we going to pay to eat it?

Dude I’d make an awesome cooking show

What a nice hubby!  Although I haven’t tasted it yet…..

 

Life manifesto

March 19, 2014 — 1 Comment

 

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

All our lives and choices hang on these two commandments.  We love God by loving our neighbors.  We love God by caring for His creation.  We love God by following his guidelines for our lives.  We love God by loving and caring for ourselves because we are also children of God.

We love our neighbors around the world by sharing God’s love for them in our words and actions.  By not thinking worse of people because they are different.  By purchasing ethically made products.  By working toward access to food, shelter, and family for everyone.

We love our neighbors who are our families and friends by standing by them when they are hurting.  By helping them with their life situations when we can.  By not using our inside knowledge of their weaknesses or failures to exploit or hut them.  By remembering that if they hurt us, they are probably hurting too.  By giving them grace and also not allowing them to continue to hurt us.

We love our neighbors who are our children by helping them grow into the people God wants them to be.  By giving them rules that help them grow and not stifle them.  By not using our authority over them to antagonize them.  By not being threatened by their immaturity.   By letting them express their feelings and opinions safely.  By teaching them how to love others they way God loves us.

We love ourselves by remembering that we are also children of God.  By forgiving ourselves when we mess up.  By getting adequate rest and food to keep our bodies healthy.  By understanding how our emotions and feelings interact with others and learn the proper response.  By finding out how we uniquely fit into God’s plan and working toward that ideal daily.

—–

On love hangs all the law.  On God’s perfect love.  On God’s perfect ideal for us to love others the same way He loves us.  When we don’t love each other and ourselves perfectly, we are sinning.  We are missing the mark on God’s ideal for humanity.  When we join His family, however, he asks us to try.  We can never attain perfect love, but only work tirelessly toward it in our every word and action.  But God’s love for us is perfect and unending.  He allows us to continue to learn and try and fail and try all over again.  In his infinite grace, He forgives us every single second of every minute of every day that we’re alive.  And only when we get to heaven can we really see the entire story laid out and our place in it, and experience the true purpose that God has for humanity.

Realize we are all on a journey.  Some of us have deep hurts that make love more difficult, but that does not make any of us more unworthy or further from God.  Some people’s choices have far more reaching consequences, and their lives may not be as pretty as ours, but God’s love for each of us is infinite, and so should our love for each other.

Choose love today.

February:

- For Valentine’s day, Brent brought me flowers and then we had a friend over for lunch and had dinner with our BFFs at their house.  And we all did temporary tattoos.

- Reorganized our homeschool regimen for the 5397th time.

- Tried to make a potato battery and failed.

- Did our taxes and then did our taxes again and then did our taxes again from last year.

- Paid *alot* in propane since our electric fireplace went out and it was colder than the dark side of the moon.

March:

- Found a sale on TP and bought enough to probably last us a year.

- Started a sleep challenge with Brent where we try to sleep 8-9 hours per night and take a nap during the day.

- Failed at the sleep challenge a couple of times so we could have a sort of social life.

- Bought a fancy new electric fireplace that we don’t even have to move when we put the slide in.

- Made pie for pi day, of course. :)