Came across an interesting verse the other day while I was doing my BSF homework:

If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.
1 Peter 4:15 NIV

Murderer, thief, any other kind of criminal … meddler.

We’ve been getting quite a few beans and squash lately. In fact, we’ve already consumed two previous batches of similar size. I’m intending to transplant the blueberry bushes into the ground instead of keeping them in pots next year. Will also have to put netting around them so that I can enjoy more than about three berries. Here’s what was recently harvested:
harvest
Also, I discovered that we have a plum tree. I need to learn more about getting larger, better fruits from fruiting trees (and also keep it highly productive). We had our trees pruned last year in the fall and I think that helped the fruit trees decide to bear more fruit. Maybe a lesson to be had here? We need “pruning” if we want to bear more fruit …
Plums in plum tree (that are out of reach):
plums

I’m still getting accustomed to writing “2012” as the year, ten days into this “new” year. And though a little on the late side, I thought I should Cliff-notes last year as a way to bid it farewell.
In the very first post of 2011, we alluded to the fact that we would soon be a family of four. What we didn’t know was the sheer amount of changes that would take place before that time. I switched jobs, we finalized on the purchase of a house, we packed and moved, finished remodeling our old house, put it on the market, and sold our old house. Summer sort of came and with that, our son. I took maternity leave and Dan took a decent-length paternity leave (really grateful for the time he took off from work). Chops became fully potty-trained (naps, bedtimes and all) sometime during the summer. Dan changed teams, and then changed teams again. I went back to work, Spiky started daycare, schedules are mostly adjusted to. Kind of a big year for us! I feel like I/we need to come up for some air …
Some things I am hoping for in myself in 2012 include: being more intentional with my relationships (be a better friend, and also to take more initiative in making new friends); focusing on trust and joy instead of stress, control, and “bitterness”; creating time for creativity (music/crafts) and exercise.
Some things I am hoping for in our family in 2012 include: time and ability (you know … kids) to go on family trips; becoming an even more cohesive family; becoming a family that is a refuge/sanctuary for each person who makes up the family as well as for those we each interact with (I particularly like this combined definition of refuge – “any place, person, action, or thing that offers protection, help, comfort, or relief”).
God, please, please watch over us and bless us all in this new year!

Inevitably, we will all die. I know — what a happy thought. I was thinking of people I’ve known more than just in-passing who have already died for whatever reason: all four of my grandparents, some of Dan’s grandparents, friend’s parent(s), classmates, a coworker, and most recently the husband of my piano teacher growing up. What are they remembered by? I think at the very root of it, the example they set for others in their life.
So … I want to be a good example. That’s what I was thinking the other night. I want to be a good example to my kids; so they can believe and know what it means to be wise, to be selfless, to serve others and be generous. I also want to be a good example to others; to always have a positive attitude, to be open to advice, to be willing to happily go the extra mile. I want to be a good example in deeds as well as attitude/thoughts — I want to be a good example in my heart as well as outwardly that people can see and want to emulate.

Perhaps it’s because we have a baby around the house, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that Chops is growing up. She wants to make food and feed people:

she likes helping her baby brother (or at least trying):

and enjoys practicing her language skills regardless of language. (This is her attempting to say “bon jour”):

This weekend, we were at a nearby shopping center and decided to let her ride in one of those coin-operated cars. She really enjoyed it — so much so that she cried when we insisted it was time to leave and informed us, “Daddy make me cry! I want to drive in my red car! No thank you! No thank you!” as we carried her out to the car (the real one):

Kind of wish life was really like a movie so you can continue to replay stages/scenes you really enjoy and/or rewind back time. At the same time, I’m looking forward to continuing to enjoy her developments and delight in things that she learns and discovers.

It’s easy to worry endlessly about things that are out of our control. The first part of February was pretty stressful for our family. In the space of two weeks, we found out that my contract position was ending. Around the same time we made an offer on a house. We worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a job in a timely manner. We worried that our offer wouldn’t be accepted. We worried about the loan application process, especially in light of my up-in-the-air employment status. It was just a little too much to be worrying about all that given that Babychops came down with a fever during the same time-frame.
God’s timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Shortly before my manager indicated to me that my contract was ending, a recruiter called and initiated the application process for me for a position in Seattle. Our offer was accepted pretty close to our offering amount the day after we made the offer. Throughout the application process, the interviewers were very understanding of Babychop’s being sick, and in the end they offered me a position, leading to a seamless transition between my old and new jobs. And, because I’m in the same line of work, amongst other things, our loan officer said that a new job doesn’t adversely affect our home loan application.
Sometimes, we just need to be more aware of God’s provisions and save ourselves some needless worrying and stress. We’re so grateful to God that everything is going so smoothly and better than what we would even have imagined possible.
If everything goes smoothly, we should be getting keys to our “new” house mid-March :).

Last night, we selected a movie at random to watch through the Watch Instantly feature of our netflix subscription — Chaos Theory. It’s not highly rated from everything I see online, but I liked it anyway, especially the take-away at the end of the movie:

Ever heard of chaos theory, Ed? It’s a science. Tries to determine underlying patterns in chaotic systems: weather, ocean currents, blood flow — that sort of thing. But it turns out that there are few things more chaotic than the beat of a human heart. It’s speeding up, slowing down. Pretty face, flight of stairs. It’s always changing depending on what’s happening to us out there. It’s an erratic son of a bitch. But underneath all of that bump-de-bump mess, there is in fact a pattern. The truth — and it’s love. The most important thing about love is that we choose to give it, and we choose to receive it. Making it the least random act in the entire universe. It transcends blood, it transcends betrayal, and all the dirt that makes us human.

The most important thing about love is that we choose to give it, and we choose to receive it …

I don’t know exactly what I used to think of parental pride. It seems almost obligatory for parents to brag about their children. But in the past, having never been a parent, I attributed some of that to one-up-manship. But …
Now I wonder. I find lately that I (and my husband too, incidentally) like to relate cute little stories about accomplishments our daughter has made. Mostly they are silly things, like her mopping up her own messes while saying, “Uh oh! Mess!! Mess!!” Or … how lately, she’s gotten more and more into “parenting” her doll and will sit her doll on her lap and have her baby turn pages in the book for her, or help her baby do hand-motions to songs she likes (e.g. “Wheels on the Bus”). All in all, rather insignificant, but we delight in these stories.
And it makes me a little more aware of how God must delight in us when we do those little things. Even if they aren’t earth-shattering things.

When we talk about people and relationships, we often talk about it in terms of growing. Growing apart or growing together; growing up, growing more mature. We use the word ‘grow’ to describe what plants do as well. With plants, they are growing, dying or dead — there is really no such thing as stagnating.
So if we consider our relationship with God and one where we are supposed to be constantly growing, plant-like, to not be growing really might mean that it’s a dying relationship?

Our experience with Father’s Day dinner causes me to re-ask myself this question: if you had the choice, would you rather spend time or money? And by spend, I mean it in terms of paying.
For Father’s Day, we had determined to try out a Chinese buffet place that several friends had recommended because: 1) who doesn’t like Chinese food, 2) who doesn’t like a lot of it, and 3) where else are kids fairly well tolerated? However, when we arrived at the buffet, there was a line out the door for tables, and when I asked one of the ladies waiting, I discovered that there was at least a half-hour wait. So … off we went to McCormick & Schmicks, after calling ahead for a table.
Without going into the details, the food was good … when we finally received our entrees, a bit over an hour after we first ordered. And as the food was so severely delayed, the manager gave us a huge discount off our bill; we only paid for appetizers and drinks. Now, especially since Babychops was with us and did NOT enjoy the duration of said event, it was a somewhat unpleasant dining experience and one where I think I would have opted for full-price meals in exchange for quick/regular service.
So … are there times when you would rather spend/waste time? Times where you would rather spend/waste money? How do you make this kind of decision (i.e., what are factors you consider)? And how often are you aware of this choice?