Saturday, November 30, 2013

Giving Thanks

Yesterday was filled with cooking and hosting and conversing, so today I write to give thanks for just a few of many good gifts including

Good music.

Good books.

Work that I enjoy and that allows me to be with my baby girl yet gives me something outside the home and meaningful to do to prevent me from going crazy.

A loving, faithful husband.

A happy, healthy baby who is developing so well. Specifically, I am grateful for each of her heartbeats from the first few we heard at the first ultrasound to the ones I recently felt under her tiny ribs as I laid her down to sleep.


Variety in food. Cardamom, toasted almonds, pupusas, cumin, heirloom veggies, fresh baked bread, dim sum. I love food.

Mystery. Life would be so much blander if everything could be explained. Rather, there is so much that is inexplicable like giant, underground ant colonies; the beauty of fall trees; the migratory patterns of some species. It all so beautifully reflects the mystery of God himself -- although he has graciously revealed many of his attributes, in the end, he cannot be explained and his essence cannot be fully known.

Cars, the highway system, and passenger planes that get me quickly to those I love, and phone calls, Skype dates, Google hangouts, emails, Facebook messages & status updates, and blog posts for when I can't see them in person.

Happy Thanksgiving one day late!

Monday, November 25, 2013

More With Less: Part Two

A couple of weeks into my first semester of college, my roommate asked me if I had heard of a new thing called "Facebook." Within about ten minutes, she had opened my account. I had trouble finding many of my friends from high school in Colorado because Facebook was only at a dozen or so east and west coast universities at the time. My, how things change!

Now, nine years in, I am totally addicted.

I often find myself in the middle of a little life happening, and rather than enjoying whatever is going on, I try to figure out a clever status update. When I post something new, I wait with anticipation to see if anyone will comment and how many likes it will garner as if that will satisfy me. It doesn't. When someone takes a good picture of me, I immediately think, "profile picture!" During the first few weeks of Grace's life, I remember waking up at ungodly hours to breastfeed her and scrolling through my newsfeed to help keep me awake.

This summer, I got so sick of it all that I told myself, "Self, you may only go on Facebook twice a week!" I threw an inner temper tantrum, but stuck to my guns and discovered that 
  • Not that much happens on Facebook anyway. Even after several days of being off, I'd only have about ten minutes of catching up to do.
  • I felt happier. Perhaps this was because I was more present to my life rather than always looking at others' lives.
  • I wrote more blog posts during that period than I did before I had a baby. Again, I was caring for a little baby and starting a law firm and, because I wasn't going on Facebook, I had enough time to write more than I ever had before! (I thought a lot about the concept of creating over ingesting when I read this short, inexpensive ebook.)
After several weeks of following my little rule, I decided I had enough self control to ditch it. I soon found myself well on my way to living and breathing Facebook again. So, I recently re-instituted a rule: I only go on Facebook on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and my friend, Ingrid, is holding me accountable.

I am committed to living a life where entertainment isn't my knee jerk reaction to quiet spaces in my day. For me, Facebook is my achilles' heel, but I've also trimmed down a couple of other areas over the past months and years. I read just one or two books at a time so that I can really soak them in. I rarely go on Pinterest, mostly using it as a tool for organizing interesting things so that it's not another website to browse through. I also don't watch TV unless there is a show that Michael and I are especially excited to follow. (Most recently: MasterChef Junior. So fun!)

I still enjoy reading, Facebooking, Pinteresting, etc., but I enjoy them so much more now that they are not central in my life.


I wrote a post last week about how much richer my life feels when I do fewer things, take in less information, and own less stuff. This is part two of that post.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More With Less

Over the past half year, I've rediscovered how much happier I am when I do fewer things, take in less information, and own less stuff. This realization has led me to make some concrete changes in my life. These include:

  • Going on Facebook three days a week instead of multiple times per day.
  • Slowly meditating on Scripture rather than blazing through.
  • Unsubscribing from all those emails that I never read anyway.
  • Reading just one or two books at once and taking my time to savor the words.
  • Getting rid of lots of physical possessions.
  • Rarely going on Pinterest.

My life already feels fuller and richer. I think I am just beginning to tap into the slow, conscious way that we are designed to live rather than the frenetic speed that our culture tells us we must maintain in order to be valuable.

In place of deleting emails or scrolling through status updates, I now have more time for this:

Does my everyday life of caring for a tiny human, keeping up a home, and running a start-up business start to drag sometimes? You bet. But, do you see the delight on my baby's face in those few moments of playing peekaboo? They would be so easy to miss if I filled that boredom with entertainment. It is so good to slow down and to live.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thai Tea

A couple of years ago, after our attempts at making milk tea were successful, Michael and I decided to try to make homemade Thai tea. We scoured the internet in search of a recipe, but everyone said to just buy the mix. That's not what we wanted. We wanted to know exactly what ingredients to use to give black tea that orange color and that fragrant aroma.

In December 2011, we were visiting Michael's Thai aunt who lives about an hour outside of Bangkok. She spends her days cooking in her outdoor kitchen and tending fruits and vegetables grown all over her large property. Thailand has some of the best food in the world and the best food we had in Thailand came out of her kitchen. If anyone knew how to make Thai tea from scratch it would be her.

Via my mother-in-law's translation, we asked her, "How do you make Thai tea?" She answered, "You buy the mix." Oh, the disappointment! It was then that we realized that our question was the equivalent to approaching a Brit and asking how to make Earl Grey tea.

Our disappointment was eased when we found out that Thai tea "mix" is actually Thai tea leaves brewed properly and mixed with the right amount of sweetened condensed milk. Without further ado, here is how to make a large pitcher of Thai tea, restaurant style, at home.

Thai Tea (ชาเย็น, "cha-yen," literally: "cold tea")

1) Buy a bag or two of these Thai tea leaves and a can of sweetened condensed milk.
2) Brew 9 tablespoons of the tea leaves in 8 cups of boiling hot water. Let the leaves steep for a very long time to get the tea nice and strong.
3) Mix in 2/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk. Stir thoroughly as it tends to settle on the bottom.
4) Let it cool. Put it in the fridge for a few hours.
5) Drink!

Friday, November 8, 2013


Recently, I've been admiring these flowers that have popped up all over town this past month. Admire them with me!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cadence's One-Year-Old Pictures

About a year ago, I found myself wishing for the olden days I've never known where neighbors and friends felt free to pop by without apology. Around the same time, on one of my daily walks, a neighbor saw my big belly, asked how far along I was, told me he had an infant son, and offered me the baby's outgrown clothes. 

Shortly thereafter, I met his wife, Lori. She's become that "pop by" neighbor and friend. We hang out, text, call, and pop by on a regular basis. When Grace wakes up at 1am screaming, cuts a tooth, or starts waving bye-bye and I'm just bursting to tell someone, Lori is my go-to mama. It is so fun to have a friend whose front door I can see from my kitchen window who is in first time mommy mode too. 

Her son, Cadence, recently turned one! For his birthday gift, I took his one year pictures. These pictures look deceptively composed and serene. In reality, we were running around our neighborhood rocking flipflops and mommy-tails - that permanent ponytail moms often have, passing Grace back and forth, and making Cadence laugh. Due to her easy going spirit and Cadence being super photogenic, we got some good shots!

Happy birthday, little guy! And happy I-survived-my-first-year-of-motherhood day, Lori!

Friday, November 1, 2013


Last year, Grace was a pumpkin for Halloween.

This year, we decided to go along with her tongue always out, crazy hair look. Did we pull it off?

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