Thursday, January 27, 2011

YuanBao

My friend Hannah shared these pictures of a chick hatching at their home and gave me permission to share them with you all.


 Here is YuanBao while he was hatching...


five minutes old


ten minutes old




 several hours old



one day old

According to Hannah, "YuanBao means "precious treasure" and is sometimes used for money or gold  (YuanBao is golden right now, and his mother considers him very precious).  He is out of a Japanese bantam father, and a Rhode Island Red mix mother.  He is very lively and curious, and he twitters and cheeps while he is eating.  When he is done eating, he burrows under his mother's wing and peeps out until he falls asleep."  

If you care to know how to pronounce this chick's name, you can listen to it HERE.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Oklahoma Aquarium

My mom and I went to the Oklahoma Aquarium on Friday and had a wonderful time!  Here are a couple of my photos and a narrated slide show video.  Enjoy!







Monday, January 17, 2011

Perfectly Timed Knowledge

My Bible reading today was about the family of Israel’s move to Egypt.  What stuck out to me is that God let Jacob/Israel think his son Joseph was dead for many years.  God was silent.  Only later – in His own timing –  was the silence broken in a way that gave hope and reassurance to Israel about the years to come.  God told Israel:

“I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes” (Genesis 46:3-4).

God is always a step (and then some) ahead of us, and He will always provide us the information we need at the time we need it.  It was not in Israel’s timing – I am sure he would have appreciated hearing that his son was alive much sooner than he did – but it was God’s perfect timing that made it possible for Joseph to rise to prominence in Egypt and stockpile food for the terrible drought.

The family’s move to Egypt would prevent the Israelites from assimilating with the pagan Canaanites.  God’s timing brought this about.  If Israel had known everything in his own timing, he would have “rescued” Joseph from Egypt and potentially caused the downfall of his family.

I can apply this to my own life.  There is much that I care to know about the upcoming days, but God will provide this knowledge in the time that is best for me.  I will trust Him with my today and all of my tomorrows.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Perfect Cup of Tea with Cindi Bigelow

It is warming up today, but we are recovering from some very cold weather here in Oklahoma. It was only 3 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday morning when I went to work, so the 41 degrees of this afternoon was a welcome change. That is one thing I love about Oklahoma; if you don't like the weather, stick around. It won't last long! So, I don't expect our snow (which fell on Sunday) to last much longer.

But this post isn't primarily about the weather. It is about tea.

I love tea, but my appreciation for the beverage is reaching new heights since last night. Why? Because making tea is an art, and art requires technique -- something I was sadly lacking. I have a feeling yesterday's discovery will have ramifications that will last long after this cold weather has disappeared.

It happened like this. Zachary was giving me a ride home from church and bell choir last night, and, in an effort to combat the bitterly cold temperatures, we were imagining our favorite hot drinks (after Zachary tried to get a reaction out of me by suggesting ice-cream -- which worked). Hot chocolate and tea were both brought up, but we both agreed that tea was the beverage of choice.

I told Zachary, "I am going to go home and make a hot cup of tea." Something better than my usual efforts was about to be enjoyed, but I didn't know that when I said goodnight to Zachary and headed in.

Dad had something to show me almost as soon as I stepped in out of the cold -- a YouTube video made of Cindi Bigelow demonstrating how to make the perfect cup of tea. She is the president of the family-owned Bigelow company and is the granddaughter of the woman who created the Constant Comment recipe (a favorite of mine). As Cindi put it, "I do think there are some fun things you will really enjoy learning about [...] that will really make a difference to ensure that you are getting all the flavor in a cup that you deserve."

Her video made my mouth gape with enlightenment. You see, I knew I had some bad tea habits -- such as occasionally forgetting my brewing tea until it is stronger than medicine, etc. -- but I had no clue that I was still missing out when I made a "good" cup of tea. Watch the video, below. If you are anything like me, you might pick up on a few new things.



While I was watching the video, my dad was practicing his new skills, and he handed me a perfect cup of Constant Comment at the end. I smelled the difference before I tasted it. It was a clearer fragrance, and the taste lived up to my new expectations. It was quite possibly the best cup of tea I have ever tasted. It was fresh and pure, and the slight bitterness I am used to was gone.

Based on her video, I can now recognize a few of my worst tea making habits.

1. Occasionally reusing the water in the tea pot
2. Letting the water boil too long
3. Brewing the tea for longer than 4 minutes (Cindi prefers 3 minutes)
4. Not covering the cup while it brews
5.  Squeezing the tea bag to get the most out of it (doing so actually makes the tea bitter -- not better)

What do you all think? After watching the video, did you learn anything new, or were you already making the perfect cup of tea?

Friday, January 07, 2011

A Baby Quilt for My Cousin

My cousin Christal and her husband Andrew were blessed with a baby this last autumn!  Little Alyvia is my very first, first cousin once removed of the next generation (I like genealogy, so I think about stuff like that).  Based on the pictures and videos I have seen, she is an adorable baby, and her parents are so blessed!  I decided to make a baby quilt for the family to help celebrate this gift of life. I used yellow, green, and blue Winnie the Pooh fabric, so it can be used for both girls and boys.








This is my cousin Christal with her baby Alyvia.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Letting Others Go First... and a Quilt Update

My Bible reading today was about the Tower of Babel, the generations leading up to Abram, and the beginning of his wanderings.  The key verse I picked out today is Genesis 13:9. Abram and Lot’s servants had been arguing over land, but Abram said to his nephew, “If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left."

Abram let Lot choose first.  He allowed someone else to take precedence over him, even though he was the elder of the two and – naturally speaking – had more right to the best land than his nephew did.  Yet, Abram chose to trust God and to prefer another over himself.  I need to do the same in my everyday interactions with others.

In other news, I started working on my new quilt again today for the first time in months!  The last thing I did on it (before my school schedule made quilting impossible) was WRONG, so it took me a long time just to figure out what I did last time and how I could fix it.  Well, I did that and was able to move on... to create even bigger mistakes!  Let's just say I took out a lot of stitches tonight.  I feel like I didn't get much done, but I know that just organizing my supplies, reminding myself of the steps, etc. is progress in itself, and I will get back into the flow of piecing a quilt soon!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

2011

2011 is here! I am so excited to welcome the new year. It is the year I have been looking forward to for many reasons.

First, Zachary proposed to me in April, so we will be getting married in June of what is now THIS YEAR!

Second, I finished my last college courses in December, so I will be graduating with my BA in March of THIS YEAR!

Over the last couple days, I have been reviewing 2010 in a unique way. You see, I was so busy with school, the One Thing! Challenge, etc. that, sadly, I didn't keep up my personal journal very well during 2010. What I did keep up was my Monthly Planner Calendar which was actually quite detailed (although it did not contain everything). I copied its contents into my journal (which I keep on my computer), so now the journal reflects my busy year a little bit better.

Looking over my calendar made me aware (again) of God's amazing provision and help. There is no way I could have survived 2010 without His help. For all the joy I experienced in 2010, there were many challenges to overcome as well. Some of them are reflected in blog posts and deal with school, etc., but others were of such mammoth proportions that I didn't write about them -- I just prayed about them and shared them with my family and Zachary. I am so grateful for these relationships!

I look forward to 2011 with great anticipation, but I rely on my Heavenly Father's help to get me through the as yet unseen challenges I know I will face. Our God is faithful!

Happy New Year!