Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What is Religious? Just some Thoughts

In my class, we were asked to discuss the question “what is religious?”

Here is my response to our reading:

Religion as Orientation: A mini-lecture, Charles Long says that, “Religion defies definition, paradoxically she notes, because when we look at religiousness we see that it is all about boundaries.”
In response to this quote, I think that spirituality is the aspect that defies definition and religion that has the boundaries. Maybe I am messing with semantics and missing the point but it does seem that there is an important difference between the two.

For example, a Christian could experience God, while snowboarding, backpacking, or even through the process of getting a tattoo while at the same time the legalists from that religion may say that these practices are not ways to experience God. However, someone from another background may be expected to endure body piercings, tattoos, and the use of Peyote to experience God.

It makes sense that the religion, rules and culture, guiding ones spiritual practices may be what orients ones spirituality. Religion helps show (through definition and therefore some form of understanding) the significance of spirituality (or the individuals way of experiencing truth and the world).

I think this varies from Long’s definition in that he says “many people live without Gods, nobody lives without religion.” I would replace religion with spirituality. The spirituality is in everyone and the religion directs it.


Another student commented that my definition requires a higher power and asked where a religion “like Theravada Buddhism -- which I would guess is largely regarded to fit into the category of religion, though the emphasis is on mental development, not experiencing a specific "higher power" -- fit into your idea of religion?”

My second response:

You bring up a good point, as I did imply that the spirituality is in relation to a higher power. Tough, I am not sure that it is necessary to have a higher power for these definitions to work.

According to my definition, Theravada Buddhism would still fit. Spirituality, in this case, is experienced through mental development rather than a God or a god. Mental development is the process of reaching their ultimate good as defined by their religion. The ways that the person is guided through this mental development, say fasting or other rituals, would be the religion.

I agree my definitions do fit in the sense that religion does help people to orient themselves.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Coininia Room

Jesus is relational.

Last Sunday in church our pastor was talking about how John was extremely focused on relationships (1 John 1 vrs. 3). Paul’s desire is to journey through life with God centered people.

Paul wanted fellowship. My pastor broke down the word fellowship into the original language. It came from Coninia, a word meaning to have in common, share life, and to be together. Having this understanding helped me to see why relationships are so important. Fellowship is also the reason that Jesus came to earth, so He could get to know us and we could get to know Him.

I grew up in a Lutheran church. The church had a lot to offer both the community and its members. Nothing could beat the community. Every Sunday between services people gathered together in the Coininia Room for coffee, donuts, and Cool-Aid. You were able to truly journey together. I would argue that there is no greater joy than this.

Dear God,
Please help us to experience true joy though you and with others.  
Help us to journey through life and experience true fellowship.

Read through 1 John, 2 John and 3 John.  They are all really short.  I read most of 1 John in a day and the rest along with 2 John and 3 John the next day.

As you read think about relationships and joy.

Are there passages or verses that relate to fellowship?  Joy? Both?

What passage speaks to you the most?  What don't you understand?

Variety is The Spice of Life...or in This Case, The Source of Life

I sometimes get frustrated when I think of churches being huge buildings with constant remodeling and purchasing of unnecessary equipment. I was recently back home and my husband and I joined my parents at the church that I went to in high school. The church is gorgeous and huge.

As I was giving my husband a tour of the building, he was shocked at the size of the building and it made me think. Was this church I grew up in one of these maga-churches? My husband soon brought up the point that South Canyon Lutheran Church (SCLC) was able to provide so many services to the community that other churches don’t have a means to offer and I re-realized (the last time was in reference to various church beliefs toward music) that there is a need for all types of churches.

SCLC is able to provide weekly meals to the community, monthly meals for high school students (the high school is a couple hundred yards away), adopt over 50 families for Christmas and Easter, provide monthly meals for families in need, quilt hundreds of quilts to donate, pay for seminary students and work with many great organizations in the community.

SCLC is a wonderful church and communities need all kinds of churches. The church my husband and I attend (Emmaus Road Community Church)  meets in an old civic center with breaking folding chairs and little to no heat, but this church caters to the needs of a young community in a college town. There is a church in Spearfish, South Dakota that has a lot of doctors and set up a free clinic once a week and the church my husband grew up in regularly donates to missionaries.

Friday, January 21, 2011

How to Read Your Bible Every Day

This may sound crazy but you can do it if you want to. If you treat it like any other habit, it will become a part of you daily routine. Once reading is a habit switch things up a bit and have fun.

Alright, I know that there are people out there that say they want to read the Bible every day but say they cant. You may also want to pray or meditate. This could even apply to exercise. My strategy that I am going to share is specifically for reading the Bible but if you want to adapt it to something else, please do and comment what you are trying to change, how it works or what some strategies may be. If there is something else that you would like to turn into a habit, more than reading the Bible do that first.

My thinking behind the plan:
I worked at a residential treatment facility and one of the things that we were taught was that “these kids have bad habits.” If an adult changes the location of the garbage can, they will keep throwing things in the wrong spot for some time. If grown adults do that with little things, how many times do you think a 16 year old will make the same mistakes? This lecture typically continues with the statistic that it takes 30 consecutive days to form a habit. (For some people this may be more, for others less.) People will also slip back into old habits. The trick is to not get upset or down about it but just get back to the good habit you want to pursue.

Action Plan:
First you must be determined to do this.

Set a goal. I would suggest starting small and possibly performing challenges or switching things up later on. This may depend on your personality. It will be harder for some and easier for others, but everyone can do it. If I can, you can. I just passed a year and a half (the first 6 months were reading proverbs, but you can and probably should switch before that).

The book of proverbs is 31 chapters long and there are never more than 31 days in a month, so start by reading the chapter that corresponds with the day of the month.

If you miss a day, let it go, but don’t make excuses. Proverbs is wonderful for this because it does not need to be read ever day and you always have something to read.

You don’t need a bookmark, it might make you feel bad if your forgot to read on a given day day.
If you need a rewards system set one up. I tend to mark the books that I have read, just to see what I have or have not read. I tend to re read the same books over and over so it is nice to see when you have read a new book. You could reward yourself a new Bible at some point. I know that ice cream is a good reward for short term things but I wouldn’t suggest it for a long term goal. If your goal is to read every day for a month, then after a month go get a pizza and have friends over for ice cream.  If you want to do it again go for it.

Remember one chapter in Proverbs takes about 3 – 5 minutes to read quickly. You can do this while still in bed, before you go to bed, in the shower, in the bathroom, or on Bible gateway while checking yore email. Any thing that you do every day (another habit, or necessity) will be a good time to plan your reading around. I read before I get out of bed while stretching. My husband reads the Bible three days a week and book for fun the other days after he gets ready. Other times could be while using mouthwash, eating breakfast or taking a bath. You could lock yourself in the bathroom when you get ready and take five extra min while sitting on the edge of the tub.

Once reading becomes a habit, you can change things up. Here are some ideas:

Start reading the Bible from the beginning and going all the way through
Read a random chapter
Read one verse or passage over and over (Lectio Davina)
Pray through scripture
Challenge yourself to read more some days (maybe once a week)
Get a group of friends to read through X in X amount of time (I have a good guide for this)
Read a chapter, copy a vrs down to memorize that day
Make an extra copy for a friend
Do a study of a character
Write in the margins every day
Read the Bible in another language
Complete a topical study
Do what works for you

If you want to start with fun things, I wont stop you but it will take longer to make the act of reading a habit. (Some people may argue that it is better to read because you want to rather than out of habit. I don’t disagree, but if it I a true habit first, it will come.)

If you have any other tips or strategies, especially that vary from mine, please add them.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


More art...

I am missing summer and Washington a bit.  Winter is beautiful but I miss the color and life.

Here are some photographs that I took over the summer.  I am fascinated by both large and small creations.  This set of photographs is focusing on small aspects of creation.  A couple summers ago, I went to a flower camp with my mother-in-law and we were introduced to some of the beauty that is smaller than the pinky fingernail of a small child.  It is miraculous that there is that much detail put into life forms that live above 14,000 feet.  These images are not from the camp but rather a large variety of climates in WA state, including rain forests, mountains (sub-alpine), the ocean, and a desert).

To see more of my photography see my photography blog.

Maybe I will post some winter photos soon....


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Real Solution

A while back I wrote a post commenting on the topic of Global Healthcare and how I think that the ideal solution would be people (especially the church) taking care of others, so that the government doesn't need to.  I have a minor lack of trust in the American population and in response do not think that people helping people to the point of there not being a need for government assistance is an unrealistic and naive ideal.

I would like to show you a video of some people who, I am ecstatic to say, are proving me wrong.

A video of the Good Shepherd Clinic in Spearfish, SD.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

13 Ways to Get Your Fruits & Veggies


We seem to eat a lot of sweets and too much food in general over the holidays so here are some ideas that can help reverse the negative effects of the over eating.  Some of these will satisfy the sweet tooth while at the same time, ensure that you get your fruits and vegetables.  Several of these simple recipes use a lot of sugar or dairy, and I realize that may not always be the best option for everyone, but the mail ingredient is either a fruit or a vegetable.  Many people do not get their recommended 5 fruits and veggies a day and after a carbohydrate overload out bodies probably need some extra fruits and veggies.  

Healthy Snacks

1. Carrot sticks with hummus - Garden or roasted red pepper flavors are my favorite.  Broccoli is also good.  I invite you to try a couple different flavors with different veggies.  I also enjoy using hummus on salad instead of dressing.

2. Dried fruit - A dehydrator will pay off quickly.  It also comes with recipes for fruits and veggies.  If you are like me and let fruit get old, just cut it up and dehydrate it (I dip it in a honey and water mix about half and half).  This seems to make the best banana chips.  Fruit leather is also great - use a blender add honey, sugar or 100% fruit juice concentrate.  Apple sauce also works well.  My husband argues that it is not worth it to buy applesauce, but believe me, it is.

3. Trail Mix made from your dried fruit - I know that peanuts can be high in fat, but when mixed with a lot of fruit it is marvelous.  It is cheaper to make your own.

4. Veggie Chips - I recently saw these at our local Co-op.  I have not tried them but it seems that if you took carrots and dipped them in a b.sugar and water mixture they would be really good and sweet.  There are also recipes for dried cucumber.

5. Veggie Rolls - This one may not be the healthiest but it is one of the few ways my husband will eat vegetables.  Take a tortilla, spread a thin layer of cream cheese, making sure that one edge has a thicker layer to seal the roll.  Cut up carrots and cucumber (works best if sliced using a peeler - not chunks) and sprinkle that on the shell as well.  be careful not to get too many veggies on the edge with extra cream cheese.  Roll it all up starting at the end that doesn't have extra cream cheese and slice like you would a sushi roll.  These are quick, fairly healthy and will make you the life of the party.  You can try other veggies (maybe mushrooms or onions) and use fat free cream cheese, if desired.

6. Apples and Cheddar Cheese - Slice an apple and slice some cheddar cheese and eat one slice of each.  Some people eat peanut butter with their apples.  Be careful PB has a lot of calories and fat (same as peanuts) but it is perfect for vegetarians.

7. Fruit Smoothies - Take frozen fruit, vanilla yogurt, water (milk or fruit juice) and toss in a blender.  There is plenty of flavor, I typically use water.  If the drink gets stuck or the blender acts strange, you typically need more water.  These are great in the summer.

8. Fruit and yogurt - Easy take a couple tablespoons of yogurt and mix in a bunch of fruit.  You can use yogurt as the sauce in a fruit salad.

Easy Side Dish Ideas

9. Cheesy beans - My favorite way to prepare this is using yellow beans from my grandma's garden, however that is not always possible.  Canned green beans (NO SALT ADDED - only ingredients are beans and water - Most canned fruits and veggies have the option of sugar or salt - go without).  Cook on the stove, draining most of the water and adding 1 - 2 slices of cheese/can of beans.

10. Asian Vegetables - This is another way that my husband will eat vegetables.  Take frozen or canned vegetables (Asian frozen veggies work well - I sometimes add green beans or carrots from my grandma's garden).  Cook them on the stove as you normally would.  Add soy sauce and honey.  I use about half and half.  The recipe called for peanut oil, sesame seeds and cooks the veggies in the oven.  Add only if you know what you are doing and feel free to bake them if that is how you cook your veggies.  We don't keep sesame seeds on hand, I don't like Peanut oil, and we don't have oven safe dishes, so I made up the recipe I gave you.

11. Eggplant Pizza - Use eggplants as the crust.  Find a firm eggplant, dip it in a flour breading mixture and fry it in as little vegetable oil as possibly (This is the unhealthy part but it is smart to vary your vegetables).  Add pizza sauce and cheese.

12. Cutie Salad - Romaine lettuce (if you smell the root and it doesn't smell, this will be the best, and you might not need dressing).  Sliced carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, radishes, other types of lettuce, all work well on top of the salad, if desired.  Sprinkle cheese on top and add cutie oranges around the side.  Add dressing of you choice, if you choose (keep in mind, garden flavored hummus might be enough).  If you find a bundle of lettuce with no smell there is a good chance you will want/need much less dressing.  You can also try olive oil and vinegar (flavored works well).

One Simple Meal Recipe

13. Homemade pizza - you can make or purchase dough.  When I purchase it we use the Jiffy boxed stuff or the Frozen packs of 5 loafs.  We prefer the frozen but you have to plan it the night before.  Follow crust instructions.  My favorite pizza toppings are canned pineapple (we tried cutting fresh pineapple and it is not good) and Sweet Heat Jalepenos.  I try to avoid pepperoni but you can use it.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


My husband just put up all of our band posters. I am stoked about it. Here they are. We have actually seen most of these bands together.  There are a few cut off around the corner.

The Kurt poster is from a show that was in the Seattle Art Museum all about Kurt Cobain. It was a pretty sweet show.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why Christian Music Sucks!!!

People in one of my classes seem to hate Christian music.  They also don't like Christians or anything to do with them.  They didn’t know that a band they listen to, Underoath, was a Christian band.  When they found out they decided to mock Christian music instead of admitting that Christians were capable of producing valid work.  Their reasons for why Christian music sucks are below along with my somewhat frustrated responses.

1. “If you have a crappy band, just start calling yourselves a Christian Band and you will have no problem getting fans.*”

Yes, there are bad Christian bands the same as there are bad secular bands, but when we consider that Christian record labels are fairly small in comparison to others it seems a little less likely that they would become famous.   If a band found out they stink and then switched to a Christian record label it would typically mean that they switched to a smaller label.  I think that bands have to be decent based on fans, their music samples, and playing small gigs before they can get signed (I could be wrong).

It could be assumed that there are Christians who like music simply because it is Christian (I am not sure why it is bad to like something simply because you want to support the group or cause) Maybe they like the lyrics, stage presence, like the beat or another specific quality.  All of these are valid reasons to like a band.  Many people like hip hop music for the beats, even if they believe that the chauvinistic lyrics are wrong and unintelligent.  Even if these are people's reasons for liking music, these are valid reasons to like a band and indicate that the music is good, not bad.

2. An example of a bad concept (in a graphic design class) could be “all those Christian Band Cd covers where its just people staring, like morons. Maybe they are staring at God.*”

Well most small startup bands have this problem with their CD covers. They don’t have the money to get a great CD cover, however, if you look at Invisible Creature (a Christian Design firm in Seattle) or Demon Hunter, a Christian band that has great design, you will see that not all Christian CD covers have terrible design.

Christian music often has extremely deep lyrics and concepts in their music.  These concepts often lead to great package design.

Quote 1 and 2 = debunked, I guess Christian music isn't the worst thing ever.

**Remember that these quotes (reasons for why Christian music sucks) come from some boys who just found out one of their favorite bands was a pretty famous Christian band.

Here are my favorite 13 Christian heavy bands and here are 13 more.  See for yourself.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Goals

My Goals for 2011 

A cute post

1.Do Art
a. I would like to make money off my art and continue marketing both for my design work and art as well. I would either like to sell work in a gallery, gift shop, farmers market, bazaar, on ETSY or any other venue.
b. I would like to create artwork for me. This could include working in mediums that I enjoy but don’t have as much time to use while in school. This also could include more crafty and upcycleing projects.
c. Mat ink drawings and photographs

2.Stay Healthy
a. I would like to continue to make exercise a part of daily life. While in Laramie I want to continue to go to weekly yoga classes, the rock wall and the break dance group. I also plan to continue riding my bike to class.  The hard part will be if we go somewhere else over the summer. The yoga classes are no longer free and I may not like them as much. I was not a fan of the yoga class I took over the summer and it was really too hot to ride my bike everyday.  The rock wall is also really expensive.
b. Think positively.  This may need to be broken up more but I know that I struggle with depression and in response negativity.  I know that it is not as simple as changing my thinking but it could help.  Maybe I will write more on depression...Maybe I will do some "art therapy."  I have been wanting to come up with lesson plans.  This would be a good way to do art and take care of myself.
c. Take time to relax by myself (baths and yoga).
d. Eat healthy snacks.

3.Read the Bible every day
a. Well I have been going strong for quite a while now. I read the whole Bible in the last 6 months and have started reading sections in more detail as well as opening up the Bible and reading where I open to. I was reading at least a chapter but I might start to read a couple verses over and over (like Lectio Divina style). I think that I will not really have any rules as long as I keep reading.

4.Grocery lists and food.
a. I would like to make a grocery list for two specific meals and cook both meals that week. As a part of this I would like to come up with ways to use the leftovers. I don’t expect to be good at this or do it every week but maybe once a month would be good.

5.Blog consistently
a.I would like to post in this blog and my design blog at least twice a week in addition to the Thursday 13.  In the summer I would like to post in my photography blog at least three to four times a week.

Of course these are general ideas and since they are mine I can change them at any time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

SMART Goals and Other Tips

My tips 

1. Use Tweet What You Eat or other online resources – Tweet What You Eat is an add on or extension of Twitter. It allows you to text what food you ate and the amount of calories to an online counter. It then adds them up. You can also include exercise and calories burned. This will help you see how much you really eat as well as see if you have met your healthy calorie intake and exercise for the day. I would recommend using TWYE for about a month. This is long enough to learn that you do naturally but not so long that you become unhealthily obsesses with calories.

Other resources

Tweet What You Spend is similar. My husband wanted a budget tracker that was more complex so he created a spread sheet in google docs. You could also use excel.

XXXChurch.com. or x3church.com is great for those of you who want to kick a porn habit/addiction.

2. Make your goals fit you. Foe example, experts say to make goals quantifiable. This is a good strategy however it doesn’t work for me all of the time. Some of my goals are (such as reading the bible every day or making a grocery list of two meals one week a month) but most of my goals are not.

3. Write your goals down and record how you are doing. When you write them down, use detail and explain your reasons and some possible ways you would like to see yourself complete the goals. Don’t be afraid to say that one goal will be more difficult than another.

4. To record you goals, you can blog or journal, have an accountability partner, or use the online resources I mentioned above. Make sure that you can be honest in the recording part. If you need to set up an anonymous blog or user name, do it.

5. Break down Large goals into smaller goals. My large goal may be to be a better wife. I now need to break that down in to specifics on how I want to do that
6. Include staying healthy or getting healthy and break that into specifics. I suggest this because wanting to be healthy will keep you from taking weight loss, or exercise too far. Also taking time to relax will help you keep the “bad belly fat” away. Getting dressed up and exercising will both boost your confidence. Getting enough sleep will help you loose weight (when I quit working overnights I lost over 8 pounds in a week just by getting enough sleep).

5 tips for a healthier you

1 – 5 SMART Goals

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reward, Target Date

Specific Goal Tips 

The Diet Tips video includes eating dark chocolate and exercising. Too bad I hate dark chocolate.

Quit Smoking


If you are in debt read DAVE RAMSEY! He is intense but has a lot of good stuff to say.

More Tips.

Please add your best tips to help others with their resolutions!!!! If you have a resolution blog post it below.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Last Years New Years Goals/Resolutions

My last years resolutions included finishing things, specifically Jade Empire, Cooking fun new foods, learning Sign Language and Spanish, read the Bible every day, doing Yoga, taking care of myself (including doing yoga and going to the rock wall).

I didn’t finish Jade Empire but I played over 30 hours and it is supposed to be a 20 hour game. I thought that I was closer to finishing it than I was, so I don’t feel too bad.

I did cook lots of new foods including Chinese, sushi, and eggplant.

I have taken care of myself for the most part, I did yoga weekly, have been break dancing, relaxing and gone to the rock wall. I also ride my bike to school most days.  Quitting my job may have been the healthiest thing that I did.  I was working overnights and was being forced to stay up for over 30 hours straight.  After I went back to sleeping I lost around 8 pounds in a week with out changing anything but my sleep schedule.

I have read every day since August 09.

I learned a lot of Spanish and Sign Language. I can understand Spanish better than I can speak it and I can sign better than I can read it. I am still working on Sign Language.

See last years goals in detail
My old Resolution Blog

I will get you all a list of my new goals soon...I haven't come up with them yet.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Poll results

Well its looks like most of you want to read and learn more about art (8), music (6) and culture (5).  I think that posting more about art and music should be fairly simple.  I have already started inserting some project ideas as well as photography and bands, since art and music have been leading the poll topic for a while.  I am not quite sure what I will come up with for culture but I think I can find something…If you have any suggestions, please comment.
The runners up all with 3 votes, were conspiracy theories, race, videos, and other religions/ spirituality.  I may try to throw some of these topics in as well.