Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hope

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead -- since he was about a hundred years old -- and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why it is credited to him as righteousness. The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness--for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
Romans 4:18-24

Monday, December 29, 2008

1 year anniversary







"Seahorses are monogamous, picking one mate for life. Daily greeting rituals include the male and female coming together each morning, dancing and changing color, twirling around with linked tails, and then separating for the rest of the day."  Taken from here

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Entertaining Angels


I was cold and wet waiting for the bus yesterday. I was a little annoyed that I couldn't find the receipt I needed to exchange a pair of jeans that fit perfectly one day and were too small the next. I was also complaining to myself, wishing I could jump in a car instead of having to wait for the bus in the pouring rain. I decided to head out to the mall anyway.

Only a few minutes passed before a middle-aged/older man made his way to the same bus stop. He was friendly and said hello. He went on to say that it was a great day because we're still here. He had a grin on his face, I couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic.

To be honest, I was a little surprised by his friendliness. I'm used to the hustle and bustle of Bean Town, where most people don't have time to be extra friendly, usually a smile is all strangers exchange. (I was almost weirded out by it, but I shouldn't have been. After all, I do find it strange when other people find friendliness itself strange. It usually doesn't make sense.)

The bus arrives and I'm relieved that I didn't have to wait in the cold too long. I sit down, the stranger sits in the available seat in front of me. I begin to understand what he meant when he said 'we're still here' after he goes on to say 'we're here to serve God' a few moments later, on the bus.

Again, I was surprised that I was surprised by his candidness. He continued to chat. 'You know, most people don't hear the voice of God because they're distracted by the little things around them, but if you listen, you'll hear his voice; his message is one of love.'

I had to agree. He was mumbling a little after that, saying something about how the government isn't going to change anything because in the end it's all up to us. I nodded in agreement and then laughed a little to myself when he said 'we really need to stop burning gasoline'. After that, he said goodbye and hopped off the bus. I should note that I didn't laugh because what he said seemed disconnected from everything else he was saying; instead, I laughed because it was connected to what I was complaining about earlier.

I felt guilty about the ungrateful attitude I had just minutes before; I realized I'd missed an opportunity to hear God's voice instead of my own ungrateful thoughts. Thankfully, he also speaks through all kinds of friendly folks, even the ones you meet at the bus stop on a cold day.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Illustration Friday: Rambunctious


...and that would be a deflating balloon that the evil cupcake is holding on to, it's a bit hard to tell, I know :D.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First (and second) snow!




From The Snow Fairy by Claude McKay

Throughout the afternoon I watched them there,
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky,
Whirling fantastic in the misty air,
Contending fierce for space supremacy.


And they flew down a mightier force at night,
As though in heaven there was revolt and riot,
And they, frail things had taken panic flight
Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet.


I went to bed and rose at early dawn
To see them huddled together in a heap,
Each merged into the other upon the lawn,
Worn out by the sharp struggle, fast asleep.



The sun shone brightly on them half the day,
By night they stealthily had stol'n away.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Lights!



A gluten-free gingerbread couple decked out in pink marzipan :D

Sometimes I feel like the older I get, the faster the Christmas season goes by...

I remember when I was little, time never passed quickly enough. Staring at the presents under the tree was torture! But I loved counting down the days until Christmas, especially when I got to eat the chocolates in the Advent calendar :)!

Jose and I took a mini-trip tonight. We went to go look at a neighborhood, more like 3 houses :P, decked out over-the-top in Christmas lights. I don't think I've ever seen a house so festive and bright, to say the least, it really put Disneyland to shame.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

About

At the ripe old age of 25 (kidding :), I can say that I've learned a few things -- but I've still got quite a bit of learnin' to do. This is where I reflect on what the Good Lord has taught me. He's been my source of strength and inspiration throughout the years. One of the greatest gifts he's given me? Well, there are 2 (actually, there are many). A strong, wise and loving husband and this tiny baby in my belly, Mirabel -- the little (miracle) girl I hope to meet around May 17th 2010. You can read more about her story here.

Life's been exciting so far. I grew up mostly in Northern/Southern California, then moved to Texas, and now we're living in good ol' Massachusetts (around the Boston area). Why are we here? (I ask myself that when it's 5 degrees outside. ;) Well, the husband is in grad school, so we'll be here until May 2011... then we'll find ourselves deep in the heart of Texas, once again. That's where pretty bluebonnets line the long, expansive highways (with little traffic) and the skies are just as blue, with many puffy clouds (whose funny shapes are guaranteed to keep you entertained for hours, thinking of unicorns and flying pigs).

You'll hear about our adventures on this blog -- mostly the indoor ones that revolve around yarn, fabric and drawing paper. I also try to post about etsy shop updates. Music and love keep us sane and content, so occasionally I'll blog about those things, too. Oh yes, and trips. We take those sometimes. We always have fun no matter where we are or what we're doing, even if we're just grocery shopping. Flour Arrangements is where I post about what becomes of the items purchased from the grocery store :).

Feel free to drop me a comment/email. I welcome random friendly hellos.

Thanks for stopping by :)!

Want to know how I came up with the blog name? Click here then fast forward to about 7 minutes and 20 seconds for the answer :).

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

What Boston's Bean like for us so far

It's been almost two months since we've moved to Boston and Jose and I have both grown to love this city in our own way. Initially, it did take us some time to adjust to being car-less, but now we don't really give it a second thought when we go out. We might change our minds once it starts snowing, though.

Speaking of snowing, I can't believe how cool it is here already! This morning when I woke up it was 48 degrees outside! I'm not sure when our radiators get turned on by our apartment complex, but Jose says probably not until November! The high today was in the mid 60s and it was a beautiful day. Perfect weather for a picnic, a Harvard Law Couple's picnic. Jose and I attended our first Harvard Law Couple's event earlier today. The picnic was inside but it was still fun. We got to meet a few different couples, including those in Jose's section. (There are 500 something first-year law students and the entire class gets divided up into sections consisting of about 80 students each.)

Everyone was really friendly at the indoor picnic, which made us both feel at ease. Well, mostly me :). The next event they're planning will revolve around apple picking in the Fall, I can't wait to go! I met a few folks today, and I'm pretty sure I'll be seeing more of them outside of these gatherings. Jose's already settled in; he's made some good friends and is enjoying law school more than undergrad. He says a lot of it just has to do with the people. They're more mature and he has quite a bit in common with them, which makes sense and is definitely a good sign :).

I've been working full-time and Jose's usually pretty busy studying during the week and on most weekend nights, but we make it a point to go out during the weekends. We've already explored quite a bit of the city, but there is still so much to see. It's a good thing we're going to be here for 3 more years. There's always something to do, whether it's taking a tour of historic Boston or strolling through a beautifully landscaped park, where it's usually very peaceful.

A park in Beacon Hill, Boston

Last weekend we checked out the library in Downtown Boston. It was a sight! I can easily say it's the most ornate library I've seen so far. What I like about it pretty much sums up what I love about Boston, in general: THE DETAILS! Even the AT&T building located in the South End is a stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks architectural masterpiece. Thankfully, the meticulously crafted historic structures have been nicely preserved. I've taken so many pictures!

These are the library photos (Click to enlarge. The second to last photo is the At&t building, the last photo is a church, all others are pictures of the library):


Jose and I both feel very blessed to be here for a variety of reasons. We've transformed this 100 year old, timeworn, but very easy-to-love apartment into a home that will serve us well for the next three years. We're both getting to experience and see so many beautiful things and places; as cheesy as it sounds, there's something very cozy and magical about this city. Hmm... I'm putting two and two together: They call Boston beantown and beans are the magical fruit, I'm sure that has something to do with it ;).

Thursday, August 7, 2008

First Week in Boston

Getting to know Boston has been an interesting experience for Jose and me :). The day we arrived, it was a lot hotter than we'd anticipated; it was about 91 degrees. So when we got to the apartment, we were a little disappointed that it didn't come with an AC unit. But we weren't too upset. What we'd seen on the way from the airport to our new place was enough to put us in a good mood for the rest of the day. The taxi driver was hilarious and I think we saw our lives flash before us the whole time we were in the car, let's just say the taxi drivers like to keep you on the edge of your seat when they're behind the wheel, literally :D. They honk for any reason, sometimes I think it's their way of greeting other drivers.

Anyhow, as I mentioned, the drive home was beautiful. The homes and apartments look like what you'd see on a stereotypical postcard of the East Coast. Tall, old, and classic, with just enough character to not be considered intimidating, the deep red brick buildings look cozy and inviting next to the many Christmasy looking trees. And the homes? They remind me of the Victorian ones in San Francisco, but they're a tad bit bigger...and I mean a tad. Every once in awhile you'll see a larger one, though. They usually have nice sized patios, tall pillars, and detailed molding on their exteriors.

So how does our apartment compare to these homes? It's old, about 100 years. It has creaky wooden floors and tons of character. The oven was probably from the 60s (I say was because it's no longer with us :P...), at least, and the heaters? They look like antiques, but they definitely match my style :). The oven started sparking the first day I used it, and it got so hot that it set off a fire alarm in the building. I didn't hear it, but I called 911 when the oven started to pop and sizzle after I turned it off, and they'd mentioned that an alarm had just gone off in the building. The head firefighter said it was no longer safe to use, so he, along with a few others, disconnected it from the wall...and I got a brand new beautiful oven a few days later! It works great! I don't think I've ever used an oven this new before, but it's nice to know I can bake again without having to worry about whether or not I'm going to start a fire in the kitchen :P. All in all, the kitchen is great. Not up to date, but huge! There's a ton of counter space, which makes cooking and baking a lot easier than it used to be in our old apartment.

Our new apartment has really turned into a home over the past few days. Our boxes arrived from Austin just two days ago and, anxious to set everything up and get this place feeling cozy, Jose and I unpacked all but one box the first night. UPS delivered them outside the building, so it was difficult getting a few of the 100lb boxes up here (the delivery guy was, apparently, supposed to help [he refused to and later got in trouble for it!] but he didn't, so Jose had to carry them all in on his own, injured shoulder and all!).

Other than that, we've gotten lost nearly every time we've left our apartment in a car :P, at least until today (you'll find out why in a minute :D). Though we did sell our car, Jose signed us up for a service called Zipcar; they charge their members a reasonable hourly fee to use one of their vehicles whenever an online appointment is made in advance. Thankfully, we live literally 2 blocks away from 18 Zipcars, so getting access to one is easy...getting back in time before our car rental ends isn't, though :P. This has made getting lost in Boston a bit more stressful for us (if we don't make it back before our time with the car is up, Zipcar charges us $50. They monitor their cars via satellite, cool huh?).

Good news, though! Our GPS system came in today! We decided to take a trip to Home Depot a few hours ago, to pick out a few flowers for our cute patio and try out the new GPS system, and it works wonderfully! We didn't get lost and we got back half an hour before our Zipcar reservation ended! I don't know why we didn't think of getting one before, but I really recommend it to anyone who's moving to a new city. It's a really cool device because it reroutes your trip if you take a wrong turn! Part of the reason why we were getting lost so much was because the streets here aren't named (a lot of the signs are missing), but the GPS is able to track our every move, so now we don't miss the streets we're supposed to turn on :).

We plan on going back to Harvard Square (click here to read about it) tomorrow.  Jose checked out a few stores and restaurants they have online, and they sound awesome. They have a bookstore that specializes in selling reallllly old books, some of them are from the 16th century! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

CD Review: A New Hope by Minipop

San Francisco is one of my favorite places on Earth. Its busy streets are bathed in creativity from the countless artists and musicians that give the city its spark. Minipop calls the great SF home, and their music accurately captures one of the city's many faces-the one that's usually covered with the make-up of a more eccentric stereotype. Sometimes gentle and carefree like the dandelion featured on the cover of their latest release, while other times appropriately mellow and candied, Minipop offer a generally smooth brew of music. Possibly inspired by groups from the 90s, like The Sundays, Minipop create hummable tunes that are melodiously comfortable. Using simple instruments like keyboards and guitars, Minipop easily create the kind of glowing dreampop that's light on emotions and easy on the ears.

A New Hope offers perfect picnic music that's also worth listening to on a rainy day. "Precious" is beautifully sung in a mildly sad tone as instruments whisper-in the melancholy feeling that isn't aggressively conveyed in the lyrics. A little bit more on the upbeat side, "Someone to Love" comes to life as Nick Forte's bass guitar is effectively showcased alongside lead singer Tricia Kanne's mild and delicate voice. The last song on A New Hope shares its name and marks the end of the listening experience perfectly as it comes together like a sweetly composed farewell song.

In A New Hope, Minipop has created a complete album without any holes that could reveal a lack of talent. All in all, like cotton candy, Minipop's tunes will satisfy your musical sweet tooth, but they'll do so without leaving you sticky and covered in pink sugar.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Birthday Massacre

Check out their MySpace page here

The Birthday Massacre give bland, computerized music a make-over by combining two different genres (electronica and rock, aka rocktronica) that would seem to clash if they weren't blended with just the right amount of color. Chibi, the lead singer, has a voice that takes plain old vanilla ice cream rock and gives it a good dose of purple sprinkles. A little less girlie than the color pink, Chibi's voice offers an unexpected but perfect amount of lightness that contrasts with the generally heavier notes created by airy synthesized sounds mixed with lower guitar tones. Borderlining goth rock while incorporating dreampop/electronica elements, The Birthday Massacre create an appealing, unmatched sound that's upbeat while, paradoxically, slightly macabre.

If you judged their album by it's cover, you'd get a good idea of what their music represents: Something dark and youthful, almost like a musical fairytale including goblins and a Peter pan-like hero. But you'd never guess they liked creating songs like "To Die For" with simple lyrics and a happy tune. Nonetheless, they do stay true to their image by covering heavier topics overshadowed by mysteriosly eerie sounds in songs like "Video Kid" and "Kill the Lights".

If you took all of the fun Halloween memories you had as a kid, collected them in a jar, then threw in a few sparkles, you'd end up with a snowglobe that resembles what The Birthday Massacre creates with music-something that's easy to grasp and hard to let go of, once you've seen and heard what it can do.


 

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