Thursday, December 27, 2007

Really Quick

I'm sitting amidst boxes and paperwork, waiting for Adrian and Hannah to get back with the moving truck. I've spent the last few weeks packing and finding an apartment and traveling. We're finally almost ready to move. We're loading the truck tomorrow and arriving in Hartford on Saturday. I'll be without internet until January 7th. Until then, au revoir!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Life Update

(I'm out of clever titles for now. . . )

So, yes, I haven't forgotten that I own a blog. I've just been curled up in bed sleeping or reading, or generally just avoiding the computer and the-front-room-that-is-too-close-to-the-kitchen-smells ;-). I am fairing nausea better than I thought I would, but it's still not jolly. Oh, and note to people whose blogs I read: if you post pictures of food, I probably will just skip right to the next post; same with descriptions of food :-).

Adrian has been the sweetest, waiting on me hand and foot, doing the dishes for me, and finishing supper when I'm unable. He's the best :-).

I'm at 10 1/2 weeks now. I've been to the midwife once, and am going back for a more complete exam, bloodwork, etc., in another week and a half, but even though I finally found a midwife I really like, we're back to square one in January because. . .

. . . We're moving to Connecticut the last week of December! Adrian's grueling job search finally paid off, and he has accepted a job in Windsor, CT, just north of Hartford. A few weeks ago, when he first flew up there for an interview, I started googling blogging friends who live in New England, and Zan is only 2 hours away, and Becky less than that! So I was pretty happy about that :-). I've never even visited New England, so this could be interesting. I've always been intrigued by the area, and all of its ties to history, but various relatives are already chuckling at the thought of me living in such a cold, northern state. I'm going to have to get some warmer clothes. Or drink hot tea constantly. Or both.

We had a good Thanksgiving with Adrian's brother Arne and various family in Louisville, and we're going down to Georgia for 4 days at Christmas, just before coming back and moving. So that means I'll be frantically packing to get it done before Christmas week.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Little Taxonomic Exercise

I've observed with amusement the variety of responses we've received from friends and acquaintances, regarding our pregnancy announcement. And so I give you a classification system:

The Presumptive (Type I):
Before we've even taken any pregnancy tests, certain peoples were already asking, "So, are you pregnant yet?"

The Expectant:
When told that we have news, "Susan must be pregnant."

The Incredulous:
"I heard from someone. . . *pauses with questioning/unbelieving look* . . . that. . . you're pregnant?"

The Curious:
"So. . . were you and Adrian hoping to start a family this soon?"

The Presumptive (Type II):
"So I bet you weren't expecting to be pregnant this soon, were you?" *wink*

The Consoling:
"I wanted to let you know that I've never regretted any of my children. . . "

Hehe.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reformation Day: A Reminder for our Times

Today is Reformation Day, a holiday celebrating the great faithfulness of our forefathers in the faith, as they defended the Word of God in the Middle Ages. On October 31st of 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famed ninety-five theses onto the castle door of the church at Wittenberg. He was challenging the Catholic church's practice of indulgences, and what ensued is what is commonly known in history books as the Protestant Reformation.

Many Christians today (myself guilty at times!) look at our culture today and think that there is no hope for the Gospel, and that we are indeed sinking into greater and greater unbelief, heresy, and corruption. We are prone to see the earth on a freight train headed straight towards a great engulfment. We see our current political situations, the unBiblical laws passed, the millions of our children who are murdered by their own parents each year, prayer stripped out of schools, Gospel truth replaced by moral relativism, and the "Christians" in our society following mammon and Hollywood more readily than Jesus. And we take a VERY pessimistic view of where our glove is headed. We think there is nothing that can be done.

But look at Europe at the time leading up to the Protestant Reformation. The Word of God was held captive by a religious elite who were corrupt to the very core, hiding theft, adultery, greed, swindling, and lies underneath the guise of the name of our Lord. The Gospel was not being preached to the masses; instead they were hearing select portions of scripture read to them in a language not native to them, and the public were being taught that they had to help earn their righteousness. They were so frightened of the future of their souls, and so frantic to do anything to earn their way into heaven, that the poor would give away some of their last pennies to buy off a few years from purgatory or to save their souls from hell. The masses murmured rote prayers in penance, trusted in priests to be their mediators before God, and lived in utter fear and spiritual darkness.

That, my friends, is despair. That sounds like a place where the Gospel truth would never spread. That's a society sinking into greater unbelief, heresy, and corruption. The Word of God was not even available to the masses! Yet God was still sovereign, even when His church came to the brink of self-destruction. He used a monk who was bold enough to challenge the powers that were, and He used corrupt church counsels and men who were still searching for the truth to accomplish His will. And look at the fruit it has born! Churches around the globe still benefit from the courage of men like Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli, and others. God's church continues to spread, not because all the factors are aligned in its favor, but because God is in His heaven, and He is still ruling.

So when I get discouraged and am tempted to adopt a very pessimistic eschatology, I remember the Protestant Reformation, and give a prayer of thanks to God for always preserving a remnant of His people. And I remember a brave monk in 1517, and all the reformers who came after him, who were willing to die because of their beliefs, letting the truths of God be their dying cry:

Sola scriptura - Scripture alone

Solus Christus - Christ alone

Sola gratia - Grace alone

Sola fide - Faith alone

Soli deo gloria - To God Alone be Glory!

Make sure to read some of the excellent posts linked at the 2007 Reformation Day Symposium.

Answers to Various Questions

First of all, I think it's hilarious how quickly I got comments on the previous post. Y'all are very perceptive! I also find it interesting that the phrase I used is common to Australia too; I didn't realize it was that wide-spread.

Our projected due date is June 22nd, though that has not been confirmed by a physician or midwife; I'm just going by online sites on how to calculate it. I'm 6 weeks, 3 days along (for those who don't know, those weeks are never calculated from conception, in case you're starting to count backwards to our wedding date. . . ). We think it's hilarious that our due date is exactly 9 months from our wedding day :-).

I took the first pregnancy test two weeks ago tomorrow, and another (different brand because I'm cautious) the next day; both were positive. For the first several days my main symptoms were just hunger and a bit of tiredness, but late last week I got that unpleasant queasiness that now seems here to stay a while :-P. But no really awful nausea/vomiting. Just enough to make me feel really bleh and make me want to not do much at all, especially with the added tiredness that comes with the first trimester. I actually delayed starting to write wedding thank you notes, thinking that if I did get pregnant the first month, that would be a good activity for me while I languished in bed, so this works out well :-).

Even though I'm becoming terribly sensitive to smells, and don't have any appetite, and have queasiness, I'm actually faring better right now than I thought I might, as I am keeping down food (even though it takes me a long time to force it down!). Adrian, thankfully, doesn't mind it when meals aren't gourmet, and he's taking my whims about smells quite well. (Honey, didn't you say you liked that smell yesterday?) He's wonderful :-D. I'm VERY thankful that I started a prenatal vitamin, cod liver oil capsules, and a B supplement several months ago, so I don't have to adjust to those new smells/tastes as well, because the latter two are strong.

As for cravings, I haven't had many, yet, except for fresh fruits and vegetables (especially fruits!), so I definitely splurged on my grocery trip yesterday, and bought more fruits than I usually do. Right now I'm mainly preferring really bland foods, though. Even my cravings for dark chocolate have disappeared temporarily (Don't faint, Jessica!).

As to what our birth plans are. . . we don't know yet. Part of it is, we don't know if we'll still be in Blacksburg in June. Adrian will hopefully be done with his internship and have another job, which may be here, or it may be in California, or Nebraska, or New York, or South Carolina, or Timbuktu (actually, only lower 48). I am looking at options in Blacksburg, though, because we may be here, and I do need to see someone before too many more weeks have passed. My first choice would be a birth center with a midwife, but the closest one is an hour and a half away, which isn't my idea of a fun drive, while in labor. And the closest midwife who delivers in a hospital is still over an hour away. I've spoken with a midwife who does home births, and I really like her (not alarmist, very experienced, etc.), and we do live one minute (literally) from a hospital with a birthing wing if an emergency arose. Also this midwife recommended a local family practice that does birthing as well, at a more personal level than most OB/GYN practices, and at a nearby hospital. So answer: I don't know :-).

Names? We've only briefly discussed ideas. I have a friend who insists I need to send her a full list of our possibilities, but I simply don't have one yet. We do like Germanic names, though, or other Northern European names (Swedish, etc.). We're both of German descent, with other European mixed in (Swedish and English for me). We want names that have not been overused, but also ones that most people have at least heard of, so the poor child doesn't have to spell his name for someone every day of his life. And no, Hannah, Enoch is currently NOT in the running for a first name for a boy. We also don't know yet if we'll find out the gender. Part of that will be determined by if we have an ultrasound. We'll see :-).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Baking Experiments of Late

One of my favorite novel kitchen gadgets that we received for our wedding is a pizza baking stone. I've always gone with the old pizza-on-a-pan method of cooking, and it's sort of funny how I came about the pizza stone. I had planned on registering for two regular metal pizza pans, but Wal-Mart didn't have the particular size I wanted, and the pizza pans at Bed, Bath, & Beyond were $15 a piece! I noticed that BB&B also had a complete pizza baking set (stone, wood "shovel", rack, and cutter) for the same price, so I registered for the stone instead. And we both love it! It gives a great firm crust that is still chewy. Mmmmm. Highly recommended.

One of my next cooking experiments I hope to embark upon is sourdough bread. One of the women at our church makes fabulous sourdough bread, and I'm going to get tips from her. For now, though, I have a bun in the oven.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Playing House

Growing up, one of my favorite pastimes was playing house with Hannah and/or with friends. We'd organize our play kitchens, our baby nurseries, create forts, etc., and play shopping. I liked doing this because my dream was to someday "play house" for real. I am LOVING setting up my own (our own) house now :-). It is so much fun, and a fulfillment of many dreams.

It is quite a bit of work, though. Getting into a routine of shopping (and learning the location of stores!), making menus, creating a budget, etc. takes a lot of initial legwork. And then there is the great task of organizing! Adrian moved into the apartment in early June, and I brought up two loads of my stuff during the summer, then we added wedding presents on top of all that, so there were literally humongous piles to sort through and organize. Of course, being the type-A, hyper-organization freak I sometimes can be, this wasn't all that bad of a task, just very involved :-P.

Oh, and meals are great fun to prepare every day. Due to teaching, tutoring, wedding planning, and the distractions of a certain young man *cough*, I haven't regularly cooked meals in quite some time, so I'm really enjoying getting back into the kitchen. I think Adrian appreciates it too ;-). He admits his diet has vastly improved. We've greatly appreciated all the helpful wedding gifts people gave us, and are enjoying using them. We received a pizza stone, and I am completely sold on the idea of baking pizza on a stone, after just one try; vastly better than metal pan-baked!

Oh, a word of advice to all the young ladies who, like me, fill hope chests in their single years. I suggest focusing on specialty and handmade items that are priceless, not just cookware that can be bought at any department store. We were blessed with a lot of basic cookware like mixing bowls, casserole dishes, etc., even some that we didn't register for (but were nicer than we had!), so I'm glad that most of my hope chest items were handmade or more particular items (like a glass bread plate a la Laura Ingalls Wilder, or teacups, or a handpainted bowl, or handmade quilt). Anyway, just a suggestion. We couldn't believe how generous people were!

I feel bad, because as is often the case with weddings, I won't be able to really thank some of the gifters. Even with the precaution of having a few people to tape cards to gifts, we still have some cardless gifts, and one or two with a very generic first name on them. As a suggestion, please write your last name on a wedding card!

It's different being in a completely different area, and adjusting to a new set of stores and a new church. It helps that Adrian has lived here for a while :-). And I just spent most of today at various government agencies changing legal identification, etc. Long story as to why, but I had to go to the DMV three times! But it's done now :-). I'm officially Susan Garrison Keister. Yay!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Finally, a post! :-)

I finally decided that if I keep waiting for time to post, it's never going to come, so I'm posting anyway :-). Our professional photographs have not yet arrived, nor our video, but they both should be forthcoming the next few weeks. Meanwhile, we've been enjoying select photos by family and friends. For a more complete group of photos, see photo links in previous post. Many thanks to Grace True for providing the photos for this post :-).

We had a wonderful wedding day!

Family and friends started arriving on Thursday, my groom among them :-), and Friday consisted of a whirlwind of activity, including decorations and last-minute decorations at the church all afternoon.

Our longtime friends, the Trues, put together the flower arrangements.



And they did a beautiful job!!!



I felt like on Friday I was constantly being accosted by someone for a question, help, etc., which was rather necessary, but exhausting. But, I had already promised Adrian that Saturday was my day of delegation (not doing tasks myself), and I wouldn't worry about anything once the ceremony started :-). I'd planned the wedding all summer, and I wasn't about to not enjoy it from over-busyness! My mom is the one who really brought me through that last week, in fact, as I was finally wearying of wedding details. Mothers are wonderful :-D. But I digress.

Anyway, the rehearsal was very helpful and amusing, as we had quite a collection of witty people at the gathering, so it was a light, fun event.





Twins!



The rehearsal dinner was even better than the rehearsal. We made the mistake of asking various family and friends to "roast" us, and they did a really good job! Lane and Ben have both posted their roasts on respective blogs. My abdominal muscles were aching after Ben's roast of me :-).


After a late Friday night, we started pictures the next morning around 9:30. By this time I was done with any personal tasks, and was able to just enjoy the day. I wasn't nervous or stressed or anything, and I really felt so relaxed throughout the whole day. It was wonderful :-).

Here is our ridiculously cute flower girl, Ila Keister (Lane's oldest). Her mother, Sarah, made her beautiful dress and headpiece.





And here is the cutie ringbearer, Ila's brother James, held by Adrian:



Maid-of-honor Hannah Garrison and Best Man Lane Keister (you can just barely see my hair and veil):



Jessie was able to come down mid-Friday, and was vastly helpful Friday and Saturday, running to and fro, accomplishing an untold number of tasks :-). She and the Trues were WONDERFUL errand women :-). Here is Jessie, holding Edmund, who is Lane's youngest - only 2 months old! Awwwwwww.



This picture takes some explaining:



I decided that I didn't want to have a whole train of bridesmaids, making the rehearsal and ceremony much more complicated, but I did have several friends I wanted to honor. I asked Hannah to be my maid-of-honor, and I had no more bridesmaids; however I had 9 "bouquet maids".

I processed on my dad's arm with only a white Bible in my hands, and then after the congregation was seated, Anne's Theme was played on the harp while the bouquet maids slowly filed to the front from the back row of the sanctuary, carrying one to two roses each. They handed me the roses individually, as they came up to where I was in the front of the sanctuary. Then the last maid tied a ribbon around my bouquet, and they all returned to their seats down a side aisle. It was a nice touch, I thought, and was a simple way of honoring my friends :-). I got the idea from a woman in my church. The above picture is all of us practicing just before the ceremony.

Back in the bride's room just before the ceremony:



I made Hannah's dress and Jessie and I made mine together, in July.


Dr. and Mrs. Adrian Keister!



Monday, September 24, 2007

Link to Some Photos

One of our friends, Camila Mota, has saved some pictures on the Internet for us to see. We thought we'd pass along the link. In addition, Ashley has a few pictures on her blog. Enjoy!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Miscellaneous Items on Blogging

1. Yes, I finally took down my book lists. I haven't accurately been updating them since April or May, ever since I started wedding planning, and I'll be merging my blog with Adrian's soon anyway. I've been reading in the past few months, but not updating!

2. I've had several people mention to me that they're unable to comment to my blog because of the way I have comments restricted. I wish I didn't have to restrict comments! But I've had blog troll problems in the past, lifted restrictions after a few months (without announcing the lift), and had the same problems again. Rinse, and repeat. It's irritating, to say the least.

To comment to my blog, all you have to do is establish a Blogger account, though. You don't have to give out personal information, or pay a dime. And you don't even have to register a blog, just an account. Visit blogger.com and sign up. It's pretty straightforward, I assure you!

3. I think my sister Hannah is bribe-able, and with payment of dark chocolate, she will probably post some wedding details and preliminary pictures next week, on Monday or Wednesday. So stay tuned for that.

4. I think this will probably be my last post before the wedding. I'm going to lie around and sip tea and eat bon-bons for the next 5 days. . . or frantically get ready for everything. One of the two ;-). So, adieu until early-to-mid October. Adrian and I will be back from our honeymoon trip on October 5th.

Last-minute advice, anyone? :-)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Autumn?

Hmmm. Around the blogosphere everyone seems to be experiencing delightful signs of autumn, whether it be crisp cool air or even the start of leaves changing. Australian friends are a noticeable exception, of course ;-). Well, in Georgia the heat has dropped off, but it's still rather warm and humid, and NOT FALL-LIKE. Hmmmph. I have a wedding in a week, and I want it to feel like fall! Autumn is my favorite season of the year (Adrian's too), and it would be marvelous to have a fall crispness in the air :-). I'm still holding out hope, because in Georgia the change to fall is very sudden, and usually a few days before the official start of Autumn.

Oh, and poll: when is the first day of autumn? I seem to be running into discrepancies online. Some sites say the 22nd; some say the 23rd. So our wedding is either the last day of summer or the first day of autumn. And it's so funny, because I have a friend whose birthday is the 22nd, and one of Adrian's nieces has that birthday as well, and of course Bilbo and Frodo have that birthday. So much competition for the 22nd of September!

I know I haven't been able to response to all your lovely comments on the courtship post. Glad several of you enjoyed the book :-). Ashley is coming over soon to stuff tulle with birdseed, so I better go!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Interesting Critique of the Courtship and Betrothal Movements

Here is a very interesting online book that is a self-proclaimed response to the courtship and betrothal movements. It is written by Robin Phillips, son of Michael and Judy Phillips, who are well-known in the courtship and betrothal communities for their writings, particularly Best Friends for Life. Unfortunately, I don't know how to copy and paste parts of a PDF file, or I'd give a sampling of the book, but let me just say, if you are an advocate of either betrothal or courtship, in whatever form, READ THIS BOOK!

It's. . . interesting. . . refreshing. . . largely true, to say the least. I like Robin Phillips perspective. He doesn't think recreational dating is a good practice, and he understands problems with our culture's general view and practices related to romance, but he also has some very good critiques of commonly-held views in courtship and betrothal circles. He attacks the movements, not all courtship. It's a very good read.

I'm feeling mischievous. . .

Go here. . .

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Engagement Pictures

Per request, here are some pictures. Mother Dear took our engagement pictures in July on Virginia Tech's campus. She did a lovely job, I thought :-).




Okay, okay, this is not an engagement picture. This is a picture of Adrian and me sorting through books. We were lining up L.M. Montgomery books to put on the shelf. This is the 3rd and smallest bedroom in our apartment, and we're using it for a library/office.



I love this picture, with my hair squished between me and Adrian :-).



We took this picture for Hannah, and other obsessed Narnians :-D.


This is on a bridge on the duckpond, near where Adrian proposed.



This is our "official" engagement picture. I love Adrian's smile in this one :-). And actually, our coordinating clothes weren't planned on our part.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

4!

No, the title of this post does not mean I'm excited about the number 4; I'm actually more excited about the number "four factorial," or 4 times 3 times 2 times 1 - written 4! in mathematical shorthand. 4! is 24, and there are only 24 more days left until September 22nd :-). In some ways that seems still a loooonnnngggg way away, but mostly now it is seeming really close! That's only a little more than 3 weeks. Wow!

So, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, contrary to popular opinion. And actually, my wedding planning workload severely decreased about 2 weeks ago (finally!), so I'm finally not living and breathing wedding details (until week after next, when last minute details will consume my time until the wedding). But I've also been babysitting a good deal, some days up to 10 hours, so I've still not found a whole lot of blogging time.

I actually think that I will be able to blog more once the wedding is past. Not having a long-distance relationship with Adrian (partly through e-mail and chat) will help me focus my online time more. We'll see, but I'm hopeful! Adrian and I will probably merge our blogs after we're married, but I'll make sure to announce that if/when it happens. We'll probably just use his blog, for ease of transfer, rather than establish a whole new blog. I may have to make his blog a bit more feminine, when he's away at work ;-). Do you think he'd notice if I changed the background to pink?

Update on books: I now only have about 5 books in my possession! *cries* All the other ones I kept out in July went up to Blacksburg a few weeks ago. I couldn't part with Jane Austen, so she stayed, as did my Bible and a few other books I hope to read in the coming weeks.

My dress is done!!! Wow, it's been a while since I updated on wedding plans, because my dress has been done for a while. Jessie came for 2 days in early July, and we had a fantastic time sewing and getting almost everything done in that time! Jessie is a wonderfully fast sewer, which helps :-). And she's great company! Oh, and we figured out that blood smears come out of my dress fabric better than. . . other things. (inside joke) I also made my veil a few weeks later. And my garter. And Jessie made the ringbearer's pillow and flower girl basket while she was here! Very cute. I'd post pictures, but the pillow uses my dress fabric ;-).

My parents and I had a good time in Blacksburg in July, carting up most of my belongings in a U-haul. We arrived to an apartment that was still in need of unpacking and organization, so we spent our 5-day visit mostly sorting through stuff and organizing. The apartment still needs a lot of help (tons of stuff not unpacked!), but at least one can navigate through the rooms now. I'll roll up my sleeves and dive in after the wedding :-). I can't wait to get the apartment organized and sew some curtains and such!

Hannah and I just visited Adrian again a few weekends ago and had a good time. Adrian's church gave us an engagement party, which was fun. Then Hannah gave me a bridal shower last weekend with women from our church. Fun, fun!

Things are coming together. I do feel like my life is sort of in limbo right now, though! A good kind of limbo, though. Hopefully when we're married and more settled, I'll be able to write more posts of substance. Until then, life updates are going to have to be the main event ;-).

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tim Keller, on marriage

My pastor has given Adrian and me nine sermons on marriage to listen to; it's a series by Tim Keller, PCA pastor from New York City. We've been trying to listen to one or two a week, and then discuss them over the phone. I highly recommend them, and I think I speak for Adrian too when I say that :-).

Tim Keller defines deep marriage oneness as coming from the process of two people journeying to a common horizon. For the Christian, this common horizon is heaven, and the journey together sanctifies. The whole series just oozes grace, but I especially like what Keller has to say about the sanctifying effects of marriage. He talks about how focusing on this common horizon and on sanctification can give a married person a vision of what God wants his spouse to become, and what they will be someday without the shackles of sin. And we should want others to catch that same glimpse of the beauty of this person.

Keller talks about the "glory self" and the "dross" in a person. The glory self is the person deep inside, the potential that God will bring to fruition in glorification. We get glimpses of this glory self in others sometimes, just as we get glimpses of a covered mountain when a wind blows away the clouds of fog for a brief moment. The dross in a person is the sin, the filth that God will slowly burn away through trials - and one of the ways He purifies people in this is by marriage. Marriage is a very sanctifying experience.

Now comes the part of one of his sermons that particularly struck both Adrian and me. Keller is speaking about dross and says that a non-Christian (or any spouse that is not Christ-centered, since Christians are not immune to self-centeredness) will look at the dross, the filth in his spouse and become disillusioned and discontented by his spouse, and say "I can envision someone better." This is why marriages end; one spouse wants to seek for someone who is better.

A Christian should look at his spouse, and not ignore the dross blindly. And he should say, like the non-Christian, "I can envision someone better." But the Christian should be envisioning his spouse as that "better" person, purified and sanctified; he should want the perfection that his spouse will become - the glory self that has been glimpsed - not chase after someone else's perfection. And he has the privilege of helping his spouse grow into that person. Wow. That is the promise, the beauty of the Gospel.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My Sister is Awesome :-)

Hannah has been up in Quebec for 6 weeks (getting back in 3 days) studying at a university there. Glad it's her and not me. French is a beautiful language, but I cannot speak it, and my reading comprehension of it is limited. Anyway, so my mom just e-mailed Hannah asking her how her money was holding out for the trip, and this was her response (shared with Hannah's permission):

Hehe... funny you should ask about the money. First of all, let`s start of by saying that Dr. Chesnut suggested that we bring about $300 for spending money. At a recent meeting of our group to get stuff straight about the flight home and everything, he asked how that was doing for everyone. Every other person said that they had needed way more than that... about $700. You wanna know how much poorer I am after this trip (okay, so not including the actual price of the trip!) - including having to buy a couple textbooks, going on a $25 shopping spree to a Goodwill-type store near here, buying some bus tickets, eating out a few times, buying a lock for a locker, paying $10 every week to be able to take my lunches to school with me, various other small expenses, etc? I changed $20 of American money into Canadian money when we first crossed over and I haven`t needed any more since. As a matter of fact, I was able to give about $200 of `leftover´ money to the churches here who have blessed me so much. How, you might ask, if I only changed $20 at the beginning of the trip? Well, for our lunches, Dr. Chesnut gave us $45/week to buy them. The first week I bought lunches, but then I realized that if I made my lunches like I do at home, I could save money there. Mme Robillard provided me with bread and carrots and fruit and such to made lunches and I paid her $10/week. Also, there were a few times I didn`t end up eating supper with my family because I was invited elsewhere at church or they were out of town or something, and most of those times Mme Robillard gave me $10 per meal when that happened since she didn`t have to prepare it. Plus Dr. Chesnut gave each student $45 to buy the bus pass for the month of August here, but thankfully I didn`t need the bus pass since I walk to school, so I just used some of that money to buy a few one-time bus tickets that I`ve needed and pocketed the rest. Ah, how I love saving money! Yes, yes, I know... all in all we spent a lot of money for this trip. Just burst my bubble.
And you probably didn`t want to know all those little details, but there you have them anyway. :-) So, yeah, my money is holding out just fine.


People think I'm careful with money, until they meet my sister :-). The funny thing is, she's been plenty social while she's been there too. It's not like she's been hiding in a closet. It just goes to show that you can have fun, with people, and do it cheaply :-D.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Lane and Sarah Keister on the birth of their third child! I can't wait to meet little Edmund, as well as all of the rest of them, in September :-). Lane explains their choice of names here. I just love the name Edmund :-).

When I marry, Lord willing, I'll have 13 nieces and nephews(!). Fun, fun :-).

Monday, July 23, 2007

Our Story

One of my pet peeves is wedding websites that have "coming soon. . . " permanently published as the couple's story of how they met. I'm a female, so I like details! I love hearing how a couple met :-). So I vowed quite a while ago that I would definitely publish a story of how I met my future husband, when the time came. Of course, now I also realize why that story so often doesn't materialize. Time just gets away from you! So finally, 7 months after we began our courtship and 3 1/2 months after our engagement, here you go. I think some of you definitely pieced most of this together, but I still occasionally get questions from people who have read my blog, and still aren't quite sure how Adrian and I met. No, this doesn't contain every single detail (that's known as "privacy" ;-D), but I hope it satisfies some curious brains:

I dabbled in internet forums and blogs throughout college, finally signing up for my own blog in fall of 2005, soon after graduating college. My purpose in doing so was two-fold: (1) to have an outlet for my love for writing, and (2) to meet like-minded young women. I actually vowed to my mom that my purpose was not to find a husband online. *laughs nervously* Ah, irony.

I had briefly interacted with Adrian before I started blogging myself, both on his blog (which he had recently started) and a few other blogs. He seemed well-informed, but that was about the extent of my impression. Oh, and he liked math and was reformed in theology; I thought that was neat. Through the next year+, Adrian and I blogged quite a bit back and forth, going in spurts of greater and lesser blogging activity. At first we started out very casual, before later moving to deeper and more involved conversations.

Adrian intrigued me. He was very knowledgeable on a variety of subjects, very interesting to converse with, and his awareness of God's grace permeated his posts and his comments. I thought of him merely as a friend for quite a while, but the more I got to know him, the more I realized just what a dear brother in Christ he was, and how well-suited he seemed for me. He made me laugh, think, debate; sometimes he made me furious! He challenged me to think. He competed with me in math and constructively critiqued my poems. We discussed literature and debated every topic under the sun. I even challenged him to a debate on whether his blog background should be changed to something more exciting and easy-on-the-eyes than black (bleck!); I won that debate handily, for the record :-). Actually, I've remarked to Adrian that it's rather infuriating that I seem to win the inconsequential debates, and he always seems to win the more weighty ones. Ah well.

As we got to know one another, I found it quite amazing - and amusing - just how much we had in common. I mean, c'mon! The guy was a bigger math geek than me! He loved classical literature :-). He had a great taste in music. We had similar views on marriage, children, family life. We had almost identical views on Biblical doctrines and practical outworkings of those doctrines. And the man oozed the grace of God. So I watched, and waited, and typed, and prayed. Meanwhile my family had kept abreast of our internet activities, and I think my mom had read just about every word Adrian and I had ever typed to each other, since all our blogging interactions were public :-). Adrian's brother Lane had also interacted a bit with me, on his blogs and mine.

On November 1, 2006 Adrian e-mailed me, "casually" asking if he could come for a visit to meet me and my family. He said the reason, of course, was to claim a prize he had won a while back, on one of my geeky math posts in which I had offered cookies to the solver of a ridiculously-hard math problem; Adrian had solved it, naturally, but had never claimed the prize. In all my smart-aleckness, I e-mailed back, telling him that if the reason was for the cookies, we could overnight mail those to him, and save him time and gas money ;-). The man takes teasing very well, you must know; he revels in it, in fact. Good thing, or I'd drive him nuts! Anyway, Adrian came and visited for 3 days in early December, and we had a grand time. We met for the first time in person on December 8th, 2006, at approximately 1:25 p.m. At the end of his visit, he asked my dad for permission to court me, and my dad granted it. I accepted when Adrian asked me as well :-).

So we began a long-distance courtship. We've been very blessed to see each other every month since our first meeting in December, even with 6+ hours of driving time between us the whole time. I flew to Minnesota to meet Adrian's parents in January, and then I drove to Louisville, KY in May, to meet more of his family. Adrian spent 10 days with our family over his spring break in March, and he also drove here in June for my brother's wedding. We spent Valentine's Day together in Blacksburg, VA, where Adrian was finishing up a degree in Mathematical Physics at Virginia Tech. My parents were able to drive with me to Blacksburg in July as well, and Hannah plans on coming with me to visit Adrian in August.

I also drove up to Blacksburg in April, over my spring break from teaching, and Adrian proposed to me at the duck pond on Virginia Tech's campus, at sunset the day I arrived. I recounted the proposal in a separate story, so make sure to read that as well. I hadn't found the man of my dreams, as I've told Adrian several times. My dreams of the man I wanted to marry were far too small. Adrian surpassed those dreams; God has a tendency to bless us far more than we can imagine or ever deserve. So on April 2, 2007, when Adrian C. Keister got down on both knees and proposed to me, I said yes to the man beyond my dreams.

On September 22, 2007 when, Lord willing, we are joined together as man and wife, we will sing a beautiful song of God's grace, love, and sovereignty - a hymn that Adrian first introduced to me almost 2 years ago. Only God knew at the time that we would one day sing it at our wedding. Great and unsearchable are His ways. God also has a sense of humor. Not only did I end up falling for an "internet guy" after all, against my firm insistence to my mom, but the young woman who named her blog "An Old-Fashioned Girl" certainly found her husband in a very new-fangled way :-).

Soli Deo Gloria

Saturday, July 07, 2007

*hyperventilating*

I'm going to go through book withdrawal this summer! Not reading so much as gazing. I'm only keeping about 15 books out until the wedding, and I have 25 boxes packed and ready to take up to Blacksburg next week. Almost all of my wonderful theology books are packed. And literature! I packed most of my copies of Austen, Bronte, Shakespeare, etc. And *gasp* - I packed Anne of Green Gables! It seemed like such a heartless thing to do. But I only saved out the books that I think I will likely read in the next two months, and I felt like a traitor deciding she was not one of them. But if I'd saved her, I would have wanted to save out the other 7 Anne books, and the Emily books, and the Pat books, etc. *sobs*

My room looks really bare right now. This is strange!


This post is written in honor of Jessica Slagg :-), who I undoubtedly thought of while I was composing it.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ramblings of a Bride-to-Be

When I registered this blog in late September of 2005 (my first post was actually not until October 2nd), the second post I wrote was a musing on the words "awesome" and "awful." Adrian commented to that post, his first (of many!) comments to my blog, and directed me to a hymn that demonstrates exactly what I was discussing, namely a misunderstanding in our culture of exactly what awe is, and what it means for something to be awesome or awful.

This September, Lord willing, almost 2 years after that blog exchange, we will sing How Sweet and Awful is the Place at our wedding. We wanted a solemn but beautiful hymn to open the service, and this one fit the bill! I love the old Irish melody and the words are simplify lovely and rich in meaning. I think it will be neat to sing this hymn, especially, because of our history with it :-).

Okay, so everyone wants to know more details about the wedding. I'll list some major ones, and feel free to ask for more details on comments. I'll probably oblige, assuming you ask usual questions. Don't ask me to post pictures of my dress, though :-).

So, our wedding is set for September 22nd, around noon or 1:00. My pastor will be officiating, and it will be held at my home church. Lane is the best man and Hannah is the maid-of-honor (those were really easy choices for us to make - hehe). Oh, and Lane's daughter (3 1/2) and son (almost 2) are going to be the flower girl and ringbearer (all the girls say "awwww"). We're Presbyterian geeks, er. . . traditionalists, so we've chosen to use the PCA BCO marriage service as the template for our service. The reception will also be at my church.

My church's sanctuary is in tones of green, so we chose burgundy, ivory, evergreen, and a medium dusty rose pink as our colors. Hannah and Ila will be in burgundy dresses, and Lane and James will have burgundy vests to match. Hannah's bouquet will probably be ivory roses with some really dark red roses mixed in, tied with a pink ribbon, and Ila will carry a flower petal basket with ivory rose petals. I'll explain my bouquet in a different post, as I haven't completely ironed that out yet :-), and it's a whole other explanation. I'll be in ivory for the sole reason that I don't want Adrian to think he's marrying a ghost, and I would definitely look ghostly pale in white!

Um, I'm not really sure what else people want to know, so if you're curious about something, feel free to ask :-). I'm sure I'll be posting more in the coming weeks.

Oh, and for those who are interested, we will be initially living in Blacksburg. Adrian has an internship there in a fiber optics lab (same type of stuff that his doctoral thesis covered). We're not sure where we'll end up more permanently, though, until he secures a more permanent job after the internship ends.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

We Have a Date

*throws confetti*

Lord willing, we'll be married on. . . Frodo and Bilbo Baggins' birthday. Kudos to anyone who knows what date that is off the top of your head. When we were looking at possible dates, I was the one who knew that. *proud look* Adrian must allow me to look exultant, since overall he clearly bests me in any and all Lord of the Rings trivia. He's read the books oodles of times, and I've only read the complete trilogy through once (some of the books and the Hobbit more than that).

I will post more wedding plans in the days (or weeks) that follow, as I know that female minds like details for these sorts of things ;-).

Oh, and for those who really don't want to utilize Google or Wikipedia, and just aren't LOTR geeks, our wedding date is set for September 22, 2007. Yay!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Bibliophile's Idea of a Good Saturday

The owner of this blog is currently gleeful because she picked up 28 George MacDonald books at a yard sale. . . for FREE. She will return to her regular (er, irregular and spotty) posting when she has finished rejoicing :-).

Friday, June 22, 2007

Life, in General

So, my brother is married. Yay! We all had a wonderful time. The wedding last weekend was beautiful, and it was so much fun to see lots of family friends. Of course, I was especially partial to the bearded fellow from Virginia :-D. I finished the quilt two weeks earlier than I needed to, which was a huge relief. Oh, and the wedding cake turned out nicely as well. I'll try to post some pictures of both soon. It is so nice for us all, I think, to now only have to discuss plans for one wedding. My poor mother was getting the two weddings confused ;-).

Next on my projects list is Hannah's maid-of-honor dress. She leaves for Quebec next Saturday (the 30th), and I'm determined that I will have her dress made before she leaves! It shouldn't take long. Then in early July Jessie is going to spend a few days with me and help me sew my dress :-).

I have been pleasantly surprised by a decent number of tutoring slots this summer. Tutoring is scarce during the summer, but I've had 6 tutoring slots each of the last two weeks, and have even more scheduled for next week. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to continue making some money, while giving me a goodly amount of time for sewing projects, etc.

This morning I'm off to smock with a few women from my church. This is our third or fourth meeting, and I'm so excited to be learning to smock, after wanting to all these years :-). It's a slow process, as I haven't been working on it much at home, but it's fun.

So, what is everyone else up to during these summer days?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Frugal Alternative to Registering For Niceties

Registering for china and silver used to be standard practice when a couple married. This has sort of fallen by the wayside of late, as fewer and fewer couples opt for traditional china and silver, instead choosing casual ware or more modern alternatives.

Well, I'm a traditionalist, so I still really like the idea of a household having a good set of china and silver. Adrian and I both hold a rather Puritan view of the Sabbath, but we'd like to celebrate it like a wedding, not a funeral. My mom grew up having a big Sunday noontime meal with china and silver every week, and that's the sort of tradition Adrian and I would like to establish as well.

Well guess what? China is expensive! And silver is more expensive! I would have been open to registering for china, even though about $80 per place setting is a really good price ($135 is a much more common price per setting), but I choked when I saw silver prices. New silver plated flatware easily can cost in excess of $300, per setting. And solid sterling silver is even more. *gulp* So I decided silver was a luxury we would pass by ;-). Multiply by 8, and that's a lot! Plus, considering Adrian and I would (a) like a lot of children and (b) like to be regularly hospitable to both couples and families with children, we figure 8 settings may not be very helpful in the long run.

Well, I'm a thrift store and garage sale nut. Two years ago I found a set of china at a thrift store for $20. It had 8 place settings (missing teacups) and a few serving pieces, and was in very good condition. (I might add here that buying used china and silverware is only really a good deal if it is in good condition! If your china is forming cracks under the glaze of the pattern - I forget what that is called - getting it for cheap is not a deal!) Anyway, so Adrian and I figured we could just find additional pieces of the same china pattern on E-bay or Replacements.com.

In addition, last Saturday I was out garage sale-ing with Mother Dear and Ashley, and I found a set of silver plate flatware, 8 place settings and several serving pieces, for $20! This was Oneida Nobility Plate, which is good stuff! A woman was selling off her grandmother's silver for a song, so I jumped on it. Then I headed to E-bay and Replacements.com to look at adding to the original 8 place settings.

I've discovered, by the way, that Replacements.com may often have a better selection (and it's an invaluable resource for finding the name of your pattern), but usually E-bay is way cheaper. Including my garage sale finds, I've bought (approximately) 16 place settings of my china pattern and 19 place settings of my silver plate flatware pattern for a total of only $300. That is an incredible savings! And that includes shipping and a silver-storing anti-tarnish box.

Now, the china place settings do not all have teacups and I am missing one soup bowl. But I do have 16 dinner plates, 16 salad plates, and 15 bowls. I would eventually like teacups and saucers (and a tea/coffepot), but it's really not on my list of high priorities. My original set of china came with 8 saucers, and I've since found 2 teacups on E-bay, so to get a true complete 16 settings, I would need 14 more teacups, 8 saucers, and 1 bowl, but as far as strict dinner china is concerned, I have pretty much 16 settings. And Jessie surprised me for Christmas with the sugar bowl and creamer for my pattern :-).

Anyway, that's my frugal rambling for the moment :-). Anyone else like to share thoughts along similar lines?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Atlanta Bridal Fabric Source

Not sure if this will benefit anyone reading this, but I might as well type as not ;-). I've been having a horrible time trying to find the type of bridal fabric I want! I've spent hours online and at major fabric stores (Hancock, JoAnn, etc.) with no success. I want an ivory satin with some sort of a subtle, same-color design, either embroidered or a jacquard fabric.

Anyway, through a chain of sources, someone recommended Gail K. Fabrics to me, reportedly the best selection of bridal fabrics in Atlanta, and now I believe them. I have never seen so many bridal choices, or different trims for that matter. So, I'm a very happy girl today, since I finally found my material. Big load off my mind. If anyone is near the Atlanta area and wants an incredible selection of fabrics, go to Gail K. Fabrics on Cheshire Bridge Rd in Atlanta.

Oh, and a lot of Hancock Fabrics stores are going out of business, and mom and I stopped off at the one near us, while we were in that area, and I found a beautiful tiara for 70% off. It's the same store where I got the maid-of-honor and flower girl fabric for 60% off. *smiles* I love saving money.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stay-at-Home Economics

Here's an interesting article on the economics of a woman staying at home.

HT: Ashley

Monday, May 28, 2007

Food for Thought

Here is rather an amusing Lewis-like warning to be careful online :-).

HT: John Dekker

Saturday, May 26, 2007

An Interesting Effect

Don't anyone have a heart attack that I'm posting only days after my last post ;-).

So, I had an interesting effect while grading one of my students' finals. Let's see if anyone can figure out this paradox. Names and actual grades changed to protect the innocent ;-).

So, I have a student who we will call Sally. Sally was hovering on the C/D range before the final exam (70-79 is a C). She had just less than a 70 before the final exam, but rounded to the nearest whole number, she had a 70 average and was passing with a C.

Enter final exam. Sally's final exam score was higher than her previous course average (so more than a 70), but her final exam made her course average drop below a 70, rounding to a 69 as the nearest whole number. So her final course grade was a D.

So question: how did this happen?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A New Page

. . . And so the pages in my life continue to turn. Yesterday I proctored and graded my final exams for Heritage Classical Study Center, marking a new phase in my life. I'm no longer a mathematics teacher, though I am still a tutor. I'm done with lesson planning, classroom management, writing tests, and grading homework. Hopefully, of course, since I don't know what the future will bring. But I'm moving towards the roles of homemaker, wife, and Lord willing, mother. I'll be tutoring through the summer and probably through the fall as well, but it won't be my main occupation anymore. I loved the opportunity I had to teach at Heritage, but I'm excited about moving into a new role :-).

Adrian and I are hoping to marry this fall, though that is not set in stone yet (what is set in stone in this life?). We will keep everyone updated when we are able to decide anything with more certainty. This summer, besides tutoring, I have two quilts to finish (one by June 16th, for my brother's wedding), a wedding dress and veil to make, a maid-of-honor dress to sew (for Hannah), and some miscellaneous other projects. I think it would perhaps be nice to actually complete a granny square afghan I have that is begging to be sewn together. I love hand-crocheted afghans! And maybe I'll be able to get started on curtains for our apartment. We'll see :-). Once we have a date I'll be sure to share more about our wedding plans and such, since I know many of you are curious!

Many life changes coming this way :-). My brother marries next month, and we are excited to have Stephanie as a sister-in-law :-D. Hannah is gone most of the summer break in foreign countries. Right now she is in Mexico through early June. Then she leaves again in late June to spend several weeks in Quebec for study abroad, back in mid-August to begin her senior year at UGA. My mom will be taking my place at Heritage in the fall, teaching classes there once a week (homework session one other afternoon, as well), instead of teaching home schoolers independently as she has done for years. My dad has the summer off, something he has only done one other time in my memory (usually he teaches summer school or a college summer semester), and I think he'll enjoy the break :-D. It'll give him more freedom for Ben's wedding and travels in the next few months. I'll be sewing, and sewing, and sewing. And planning wedding stuff, and visiting Adrian.

Times are changing, but God is good :-).

I hope to have time for more blogging this summer, though we'll see! For now, I hopped on here briefly while I cooled down from my morning workout, but I better hop in the shower now so I can get started on some more piecing for Ben and Stephanie's quilt!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ready to Have a Baby?

I really appreciated Sherrin's post on readiness to have children. It struck a definite chord with me :-). I hope you enjoy!

Now off to pack to see Adrian for the weekend :-).

Monday, May 07, 2007

Blogging Buddies and a Cute Baby

Yay! Ashley posted pictures of our meeting with Becky from Saturday :-). It was so much fun to meet Becky in person! She's just like she is online. She also brought along Katherine. *grin* That child is absolutely a doll! I got my baby fill for a little while :-).

Ashley and I drove down to Newnan to meet up with Becky, her mom, and Katherine. We had lunch at Ruby Tuesday's and then hopped over to Starbuck's for a while as well. We had a good time chatting with each other, just about anything that came to mind. Good companionship is a blessing from God :-).

Hehe. I just realized. Jessie, didn't you and I first meet at a Ruby Tuesday's also? I hadn't thought of that. How funny! Anyway, so that makes three blogging friends I've met in person. And Adrian is the only one I didn't first meet at Ruby Tuesday's. He's also the only one I plan to marry. *wink*

Friday, May 04, 2007

Short Update

Okay, I figure I might as well post something, to appease the masses, or at least the remaining three or four who still check my lonely blog. Hehe. Besides, Adrian posted something yesterday, so I feel guilty.

I'm doing fine, just busy. My tutoring will end (except for a few homeschool students who will continue through the summer) on May 22nd, and my class finals are May 23rd. Until then, I'm snowed under. Today I'm trying to finalize my final exams, preparing for a giant trip to the copy place, and writing up keys to the finals, grading papers, planning for next week, etc., in preparation for a quick trip to Louisville with Adrian, to meet his brother Arne and family. Yay!

Oh, and I'm so excited! Ashley and I are going to drive to western Georgia tomorrow, to meet up with Becky for a few hours! Yay! That makes the third blog friend I'll get to meet in person (Jessie and Adrian being the other two).

Okay, now for a quick riddle. It's really not terribly exciting, trust me. I was talking with Adrian last night and said to him that I felt like the nagging wife in the Proverbs. To what was I referring? Amusing and serious answers are welcome. Just be nice.

Monday, April 16, 2007

For those wondering. . .

Praise God, Adrian is fine. We have been fielding numerous e-mails and phone calls today, from concerned people telling us they were praying and hoping Adrian was fine. Please pray for the students and faculty of Virginia Tech, as they deal with this tragedy, and that God will be glorified even in this great sadness.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Side-by-Side Comparison

The greatest (because it's so awful!) movie proposal in all of cinema, in my opinion, is Darcy's first proposal to Lizzy, a la A&E. That scene is absolutely delightful. Hehe. Here is the approximate text:

In vain I have struggled; it will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. In declaring myself thus, I am fully aware that I will be going expressly against the wishes of my family, my friends, and I hardly need add my own better judgment. The relative situation of our families is such that any alliance between us must be regarded as a highly reprehensible connection. Indeed as a rational man I cannot but regard it as such myself, but it cannot be helped. Almost from the earliest moments of our acquaintance, I have come to feel for you a passionate admiration and regard, which despite all my struggles has overcome every rational objection and I beg you, most fervently, to relieve my suffering and consent to be my wife.

I much prefer this version:

In vain I have struggled; it will not do. My feelings can not be expressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. In declaring myself thus, I am fully aware that I will be going expressly according to the wishes of my family, my friends, and I hardly need add my own better judgment. The relative situation of our familes is such that any alliance between us must be regarded as a highly commendable connection. Indeed as a rational man I cannot but regard it as such myself, but it cannot be helped. Almost from the earliest moments of our meeting, I have come to feel for you a passionate admiration and regard, which despite all my encouragement has only added to all the other rational reasons we should be married; and I beg you, most fervently, to relieve my suffering and consent to be my wife.

What do you think? I rather think the second proposal is a great improvement, and terribly romantic. Especially if delivered on both knees, at sunset, by a duck pond, in a circle of stones under a cluster of trees. Now really, what girl could ask for a sweeter proposal? :-D And of course, really the more important detail is who is doing the asking. To complete the lovely scene, one must assume that the man doing the asking is the woman's man of her dreams. Just imagine in your mind's eye that he's sweet, sensitive, godly, handsome, intelligent, well-read, full of God-given grace, and wonderful in uncountable other ways, perfectly suited for the woman in question. Now that would be a romantic proposal. Why didn't Austen think of that?






Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hi there from Sister Dear!

Hello, Blogger World!
Mother Dear and I just thought an update would be nice. :-) So, Susan is very nice to let me take over her blog and post a short update, pictures, and a poem from yours truly. We had a lovely visit with Adrian. For part of his visit, we had to take him to Stone Mountain. We spent a lot of time there growing up, so it's a memory-filled place for us, plus anyone visiting down here has got to see Stone Mountain if you ask me. It's just cool! We hiked up and showed him around a bit and had a picnic. And, can you believe it, he hadn't ever eaten at Chick-fil-A! Down here, that's a real oddity, like not having e-mail or something. So, we stopped by there on our way back from Stone Mountain. It worked out quite nicely.

I was so struck with the wonderfulness and beauty of friction while we were walking up Stone Mountain (with some rather steep parts) that I just had to write an Ode to Friction. Here you have it! And then pictures below that. :-)


An Ode to Friction

Away we look up the great big rock
Our destination is the very top!
We march away with firm determination
To get to our great destination

Though the first part up is rather un-steep
Still Friction must assist and guide our feet
As we travel further and the going gets rougher
Keeping a sure foot-hold gets even tougher

Friction, my friend, my ever-present helper!
What a blessing you get the further upper
That we trod upon this great big rock
For you keep me from many falls and unpleasant shock

I place my foot with confidence and trust
I know you won’t let me fall to the dust
My feet are set on an incline so great
And your God-given powers keep me standing straight

Friction, friction, what wonders you bear!
What this world would be without you there
We’d have slipping and sliding and all things colliding
Thank God for you, our companion, ever-abiding












1. Playing Apples to Apples. Ashley, Paul, and Amy (Ashley's sister) came over for a fun evening of food, chess, comic books, and sewing!

2. Resting while hiking up. (Friction is even hard at work here, while we're sitting!!)

3. At the top, holding hands (everyone say, "aw!"), looking at the amazing view, and pointing out certain landmarks to Adrian.

4. I think they're kind of happy.

5. In front of the carving! Sadly the carving isn't all that clear in this picture.

6. In front of my dream house. ;-)

7. I think Adrian likes Susan's hair a little too much. He took this picture.

That's all for now, folks!

--Hannah, aka Sister Dear

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

To keep him or not to keep him?

Sooooo . . . I haven't visited the Garrisons' home in years. It's not that I don't love them, I've just been busy, I suppose. However, this strange guy decided to come into Susan's life and since he's here on a visit, well, someone had to make sure he's okay. With guys these days, you just never know.

He's a friendly sort of fellow. His beard is passable, I suppose. At least Susan likes it. Or at least that's what she claims. Not much she could do about it unless she decided to shave it off when he falls asleep sometime - now that would be a grand idea!

He talks about math as if he was in love with it - that kind of scares me. You'd think it was his life or something. I've always said that anyone who loves math is crazy, so...he's officially CRAZY! Once I get home, I'll see if there's a medical description for this symptom, and if so, I guess he'll be admitted to a hospital for crazies. Then poor Susan will be without a man. Or she could go along with him because she just might be crazy herself for liking him.

Which brings me to something else. Who needs a man anyway?! Come on, all they do is require attention, time, food...and all sorts of work. If a girl wants flowers, she only need move into a cottage covered with roses and then she can have roses anytime she wants...without the hassle of a man.

But to each her own. If she likes him, I suppose he'll do. I've always thought they were perfect for each other, so there's really no way for me to stand in the way of PREDESTINED love. Since there's no way she can resist it, how can I fault her? Or him for that matter. Of course, he's obviously the blessed one here. Any guy who gets a girl is beyond lucky - well, actually he's just out of his element because he does not in any way deserve such a wonderful, amazing, intelligent, beautiful, better-than-him lady! (Adrian just received a bonus point for saying AMEN to the last comment!) I mean, I don't mean to sound cocky, but after God created Adam, he, I assume, realized he could do better. It's well known that before every masterpiece you always produce a rough draft!

As we close, it looks like Adrian just might get to stay because he agreed that women were better! What a somewhat good guy! ;-)

So rest assured, everyone, Adrian is allowed to *drumroll please* stay. He's not being kicked out of the Garrisons' home...and he's not being told that he doesn't make the cut. I've always wanted to tell some guy that he wasn't good enough for my friend, but...what can we say except he gets to stay. And yes, he's paying me good money for this endorsement - or maybe that's just me wishing. To require money, I'd need good blackmail on him. If anyone has some (Lane??), please submit ASAP.

With all the love of a happily single, concerned friend,

Esther, Inc.
Helping Boys Mature Into Men since 1984

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sabbatical

In need of some R&R. I've really been unable to thoroughly read or cogently comment to blog posts of late. I've been busy. . . and distracted ;-). I'll have a very pleasant distraction for the next week and a half, with an additional person in the house. Then only a week after Adrian leaves, my friend Emily comes for a few days. Then I go on two weeks of Spring Break and hope to be traveling some during that time. All in all, I think it would best for my time, sanity, and productivity if I disappear until early April, perhaps the second week.

I'll still be on e-mail, undoubtedly, so I welcome links to blog posts that you think would particularly interest me; I just don't plan on keeping up with blogs in general, though I will probably be making guest appearances on Cucumberland Island, as the opportunity presents itself :-). And I'd love to hear from anyone by e-mail, unrelated to blogs :-). My e-mail is in my profile.

Ta-ta for now :-).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Narcissism

Join the conversation on Ashley's blog.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Picture from my VA visit

I admit that I didn't have my camera readily available for snapping pictures when Jessie and I posed in NC (it may or may not have been locked in my car. . . ), so to see a picture from my visit with Jessie, you'll have to go to her blog :-).

Meanwhile, here is one from my visit with Adrian:



I've given up on getting Blogger to load a picture to my profile, by the way. I'm not trying to be visually elusive; I'm just at my wit's end with Blogger picture profiles!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Abundance

Just over a year ago, on Valentine's Day, I posted a Valentine's Day Prayer from a Maiden-in-Waiting. I meant every word of it. I felt so incredibly blessed with love last year on Valentine's Day, and the Lord truly did allow me to count abundance, not drought. I was more content in my singleness probably than I ever had been. God had just recently opened my eyes to the vastness of His grace, and I was overwhelmed with His love. There was not lack in my life, but abundance. And Adrian agreed with my sentiment by commenting with a simple "Amen." Hehe. Little did we know. . . :-)

Why does God give good gifts to His children? And why does He not stop after a few token gifts, instead of continuing to pour them upon me? Or a better question, why did He not stop after giving me the greatest gift possible? No words nor sentiments can ever truly express my thankfulness for Christ's sacrifice for me on the cross. He paid the debt I could not pay and gifted me the righteousness I could not earn. That is love. God owes me nothing, yet He offers me righteousness, eternal life, a place at His table, co-inheritance with Christ. Why? Then I remember: He loves me, and more importantly, He does it for His glory. The only being in the universe who deserves to be given glory chooses to use me, a broken sinner, to bring Him glory. Wow.

But God doesn't stop with salvation, though such a gift would alone be enough to leave my cup overflowing. He gives me family, friends, food, shelter, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. And He even chooses to fulfill so many of my little girl dreams by sending me a man I do not deserve. Adrian's love for me astonishes me, and it gives me a human picture of Christ's love for me. Adrian accepts me for who I am. He loved me first, when I did not love him. He loves me in spite of the fact that he knows I'm not perfect. He overlooks the imperfections I have of which he is aware, and he genuinely does not remember them. He stands not only willing, but eager, to forgive my sins - past, present, future, and to help me turn from them, to Christ. His assurance of his readiness to forgive makes me even more secure in his love and therefore more able to love him in return. It's a picture of the Gospel, a beautiful weaving of law and grace.

Why has God chosen to bless me beyond measure? I'll never quite be able to answer that. God delights to give good gifts to His children, though they don't deserve them. He uses them to show His children a visible representation of the Gospel. And He does it for His glory. Sometimes, rather than trying to figure out the "why" of God's actions, all I can do is whisper "thank you," and then fall on my face in front of His throne.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bread-Winning Mum

I'm back from Virginia, where I had a marvelous time. Thanks to all for the sweet comments while I was gone. I easily had as much fun as Adrian indicated he had in a comment to my last post :-). I'm still trying to get things back in order after my return, but I wanted to share this article that really interested me. It was one of those articles that I kept recalling to mind and mulling over in my brain, long after I read it. Here are a few excerpts:

So what, I hear you say. In this enlightened age, why should we care who earns the most - who actually funds the children's piano lessons or who pays for new tyres on the car? Well, my husband cares. And if I'm honest about it, so do I.

. . .

But it left us staring at one very pertinent fact - we would be relying solely on my income. So far, so right on.

I was smashing the glass ceiling, Craig was breaking the mould. We (nervously) patted ourselves on the back. After all, we said, it doesn't matter who brings home the bacon. It'll get eaten just the same.

That was the theory. What we didn't bank on, as we sat in the French sunshine doing our sums, were the tensions and surprising pressures that would come with our new roles.


Make sure to read the whole article here. I'm interested in my readers' thoughts :-). You can easily guess mine. *grins*

HT: *scratches head trying to remember* I think Zan sent the link to Crystal or Mrs. B?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I'm going to be a bit too busy to blog in the next several days :-)

Tomorrow , Lord willing, I'm driving up to Jessie's house in NC, to spend a night on my way to Blacksburg, VA. Yes, that's right: I get to spend the weekend before Valentine's Day with my sweetheart :-). I'm planning on driving back early Tuesday morning, in time to return for tutoring later that day. I'm afraid I may be a bit too blissfully preoccupied in the next several days, just to explain my blogosphere absence in advance :-). Although, if you check here on Sunday, you may be able to read a joint post by Adrian and me :-). For now I'm off to pack, do laundry, and grade math papers. . . so I'll be ready to leave tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Net Finney

I thought this article was hilarious.

It is a situation that is becoming all too common. An unsuspecting individual begins to innocently search the internet for information on a particular subject and suddenly finds his or herself faced with the perils of Reformed theology.

"I was helping my ten-year-old son do a report on American Government." Said Kenneth Lyons, a concerned parent. "We were about to research America's election process, so we went to Google and typed in "election." The phone rang and I stepped out for no more than 5 minutes, and when I returned I found Eric reading some article by a guy named R.C. Sproul about believers being "elected" and "predestined" by God for salvation. I just freaked out! I didn't know what to do."

Lyons' story is not unique. Families and entire churches are discovering daily the theological risks of surfing the internet.
Hehe. Read the whole article here. It was especially funny to me because I've developed a lot of my theology through internet resources. I grew up in PCA churches, but I really didn't personally take hold of reformed theology until late high school and beyond, as I increased my own theological studies, largely through the internet. My adult Sunday School teacher was also largely responsible for my developing beliefs, but the internet was my main tool for theological study. Net Finney was invented too late to help me. Hehe.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Silly Me

Apparently, it would be far better for my health and wealth if I stay single, so I admit I'm such a silly girl for wanting to get married. *slaps self for insanity* There are even 10 reasons why I - and other singles - should stay just that - single.

The interesting thing is, the reasons are rather self-centered. Hmm. Of course it's easier in many ways to not be accountable to someone else, and to not have to serve someone else! This shouldn't be news! It's a pity that that is the only side that many can see, though :-(. Really, I found the whole article incredible, but then, why should I? This is the "me" generation, who considers everything in light of what is "in it" for "me." What's the easiest way out? Here are a few tidbits:

Attention, unmarried people of America: You can splurge on a fancy new wristwatch without having to explain yourself. You can stay out till 3 a.m. without having to phone home. You can leave the toilet seat up. In fact, there are many, many ways that single life rocks, though you may forget that fact when your relatives are grilling you about settling down.

You do less housework. . .
So the message here is for unmarried women to enjoy their less chore-filled life; fill those free hours with classes, good books, blabbing with friends—whatever makes you happy.

You can do what you want with your money. . .
Go ahead: Splurge on that pricey moisturizer or that obscenely large plasma TV you’ve been lusting after. You don’t have to justify your purchase to anyone but yourself.

You're more self-aware. . .
“People who aren’t married are still investing in themselves,” says Davis. “It’s not selfish—it’s giving to yourself, and that’s something married people can learn from single people.”

Since I have a few young readers, I won't post the most blatantly unBiblical reason, for fear of offending, but to my mature readers, I reference #5 in the article, which really gets to the heart of the matter. Can you say "sowing wild oats"?

To read the whole article, go here. HT: Ashley

Now, certainly God has given some the gift of singleness, and many other singles would like to get married but haven't found that "special someone." I'm not speaking against that! I'm irritated by the "stay single to rule your own life" mentality. I'm speaking against the mentality that says that marriage and children, two wonderful blessings from God, are inconveniences and not worth the sacrifice.

So, I decided, as a young single girl who hopes to be married soon, that I'm going to retaliate and write "10 fascinating benefits to being married, to counter the article's "10 fascinating benefits to being unmarried." Here we go:

1. You have someone to admire you for more than just your body, someone to stay by your side when you're old and wrinkled and no longer care about looking perpetually 21.

2. You're more likely to achieve great things. I totally disagree with the article's point #2, and I've seen data to prove my point. Men are far more likely to do well in business if they have a supportive wife and family. And women? What greater impact can you have on the world than to raise its future inhabitants?

3. You have someone beside you to share life's burdens. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. Pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.

4. The living cost for one person, versus averaging the cost for two people in one household, is far more. Economically, it is far more economical to share living costs. And children that may come along later? They're cheaper by the dozen :-D.

5. You are given a picture of Christ's love for His church, which is Holy and exclusive. Husbands have the opportunity to be a vessel of God's love to their wives, loving them, cherishing them, and laying their lives down for them, as Christ laid down His life for the church. Wives have the opportunity to serve their husbands and families as the church serves Christ, in loving devotion and honor.

6. You have a life-size teddy bear, and you have someone to challenge you intellectually. You have someone to work with you to solve life's puzzles and to seek out new knowledge with you.

7. You have a shoulder to lean on when you are down, and a listening ear to hear your troubles. You have open arms when you need comfort.

8. You get to live with your best friend.

9. You have a partner on life's journey.

10. You get to spend the rest of your life getting to know someone inside and out.

Now, I'm not saying all 10 of these benefits come easily. Even I, who have not been married, know that. And I think the author of the article knows many of the benefits I mentioned. But she, like me, knows that those benefits don't just happen. Marriage is hard work, as I'm sure any married person would agree. Remaining best friends with someone when you see his very worst faults is not just going to happen without a lot of love and a lot of grace. We'd all like someone else to be there to serve us, but living your life as service for another isn't quite as appealing. It sounds like. . . work. And it is :-). But work can be a drudgery or a sweet calling, and I think the author of the article completely missed that second choice.