Friday, February 29, 2008

Christ the Good Shepherd

This stained glass window is in Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Collinsville, IL. It is such a great visual of John 10 where Jesus speaks of being the Good Shepherd Who knows His sheep, leads His sheep, and lays down His life for His sheep. It is such a comfort to look up at that window and know I am one of Jesus’ sheep.
Double click on the picture to see it larger.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

This is the Signature dessert of The Tap Room in St. Louis. It is a very moist, dense cake served with warm caramel sauce and whipped cream. Delicious!

The Tap Room

Chris got me into this place located in the wonderful city of St. Louis. For an appetizer, the pretzel sticks with the white cheddar dipping sauce are awesome. They have great sandwiches like the roast beef or the wiener schnitzel. And for dessert, I highly recommend the sticky toffee pudding.

Large Catechism, The Sacrament of the Altar (Food of Souls)--Martin Luther

“Now examine further the effectiveness and benefits that really caused the Sacrament to be instituted. This is its most necessary part, so that we may know what we should seek and gain there. This is plain and clear from the words just mentioned, ‘This is My body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.’ Briefly, that is like saying, ‘For this reason we go to the Sacrament: there we receive such a treasure by and in which we gain forgiveness of sins.’ ‘Why so?’ Because the words stand here and give us this. Therefore, Christ asks me to eat and drink, so that this treasure may be my own and may benefit me as a sure pledge and token. In fact, it is the very same treasure that is appointed for me against my sins, death, and every disaster.’

On this account it is indeed called a food of souls, which nourishes and strengthens the new man. For by Baptism we are first born anew (John 3:5). But, as we said before, there still remains the old vicious nature of flesh and blood in mankind. There are so many hindrances and temptations of the devil and of the world that we often become weary and faint, and sometimes we also stumble (Hebrews 12:3).

Therefore, the Sacrament is given as a daily pasture and sustenance, that faith may refresh and strengthen itself (Psalm 23:1-3) so that it will not fall back in such a battle, but become ever stronger and stronger.”

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"The Best of What's Around" Dave Matthews Band

This may not be as well known as some other DMB songs, but I really like it. I think it’s great musically, and it makes for a good theme song for life—sometimes we just have to make the best of what’s around.

“See you and me
Have a better time than most can dream
Have it better than the best
So we can pull on through
Whatever tears at us
Whatever holds us down
And if nothing can be done
We'll make the best of what's around”

Listen to a clip here

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

1 Corinthians 15:51-57

51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."55"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Because I work in a large church, I probably go to a lot more funerals than most people do. Within the first two months of this year alone, I will have gone to funerals for a baby, a 27 year old, a 50 something old man who died of cancer, and a 90 year old man that I visited regularly. And I see the family and friends of these people grieving, deeply hurting. And I hurt too. The sting of death. I see it up close a lot, and it’s hard. Yet, this verse in 1 Corinthians gives so much hope and peace in the midst of the hurting. Christ died and rose! Death has been swallowed up in victory! Those who have faith in Christ will be in heaven and have eternal life. Christ was victorious over death, and those who believe in Him have this victory. This verse reminds us how even though we do experience the sting of death, even though it is natural to grieve, we can at the same time rejoice in the victory over death of Christ Jesus our Lord and all who believe.

Large Catechism, Baptism--Martin Luther

“…one sees what a great, excellent thing Baptism is. It delivers us from the devil’s jaws and makes us God’s own. It suppresses and takes away sin and then daily strengthens the new man. It is working and always continues working until we pass from this estate of misery to eternal glory.

For this reason let everyone value his Baptism as a daily dress (Galatians 3:27) in which he is to walk constantly. Then he may ever be found in the faith and its fruit, so that he may suppress the old man and grow up in the new.”

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"How Deep the Father's Love for Us"

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

The first time I heard this song, it blew me away. The words are so powerful, reminding me of my great sinfulness, and Christ’s suffering and sacrifice for me.

I’ve listened to different artists singing this and like the Phillips Craig & Dean version the best.
Listen and download here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

This book tells the true story of how Corrie ten Boom and her family risked their lives to help Jews escape from the Nazis. She and her family were Christians, and this book shows how that faith sustained Corrie, even as she endured the concentration camp. It is awesome to read how she was able to forgive the people who had tormented her and so many others. This was a woman who knew God’s love and forgiveness, and lived her faith.

Ephesians 2:8-9

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

This is such an important passage since it reminds us we can do NOTHING to earn our salvation. We are saved by grace alone. And our faith is a gift from God. By our nature we are hostile to God and would not come to him. But thanks be to God that He gives us faith. I am so thankful everything depends on Him, and nothing depends on me.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Disney World, Orlando, Florida

There is so much I could say about Disney World. It truly is a magical place. Going there is escaping reality for awhile which is nice. I love everything about it—the characters, the rides, the parades, the fireworks, just the atmosphere of it. Each park offers a unique experience. Magic Kingdom has some great rides like It’s a Small World, and Haunted Mansion, and fun shows like Country Bear Jamboree. Epcot has the great international pavilion. I love being able to get a glimpse of 11 different countries. And the fireworks/laser show there is amazing. Soarin’ was an awesome ride too. MGM is fun for me since I used to study film. I like the Great Movie Ride, and enjoy the drop on Tower of Terror. And Animal Kingdom with its safari and The Lion King show is lots of fun. Downtown Disney is cool too with all the shops and restaurants.

I went to Disney World the first time when I was in college. I went with a friend from high school, and it was a great time. But the second time I went, it was with my mom in 2006, and that was so incredibly awesome. My mom had never been there, and taking the trip together was something I really wanted to do. My mom is so fun and young at heart. I knew we would have a blast. Part of the fun for me that trip was watching my mom enjoy it so much. She really got into the pin trading. We did it all—had our pics taken with the characters and everything. I took over 500 pics from that trip, and my mom took quite a few too. I don’t think DisneyWorld is a place I could ever get tired of. I am such a kid at heart, and I think get excited as any kid does. Like I said, it’s magical place.


I remember when I was little going shopping with my mom, and today we still enjoy our shopping trips. We always have fun together, and we seem to always have something comical happen or have some adventure. I love going to the mall, and also stores that are unique in nature, whether it be a grocery store like Trader Joe’s or a store that sells collectibles like Coca-Cola stuff or movie/TV memorabilia or a store that sells all games and puzzles. I also enjoy trips to Target or Wal-Mart occasionally, and I love bookstores. And I love stores at Christmas time, with all the decorations and fun Christmas stuff they have. Shopping is a fun activity to do with my mom or a friend because we can chat while looking at stuff. Sometimes my mom and I have had quests going from store to store looking for a particular collectible item. A good quest is fun once in awhile. Though I like to buy myself something occasionally, I also love buying gifts for others. I love finding something I know a person I care about will like.

"Jesus, Priceless Treasure"

Jesus, priceless treasure,
Fount of purest pleasure,
Truest friend to me,
Ah, how long in anguish
Shall my spirit languish,
Yearning, Lord, for Thee?
Thou are mine, O Lamb divine!
I will suffer naught to hide Thee;
Naught I ask beside Thee.

In Thine arms I rest me;
Foes who would molest me
Cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
Ev’ry heart be quaking,
Jesus calms my fear.
Lightnings flash and thunders crash;
Yet, though sin and hell assail me,
Jesus will not fail me.

Satan, I defy thee;
Death, I now decry thee;
Fear, I bid thee cease.
World, thou shalt not harm me
Nor thy treats alarm me
While I sing of peace.
God’s great pow’r guards ev’ry hour;
Earth and all its depths adore Him,
Silent bow before Him.

Hence, all earthly treasure!
Jesus is my pleasure,
Jesus is my choice.
Hence, all empty glory!
Naught to me thy story
Told with tempting voice.
Pain or loss, or shame or cross,
Shall not from my Savior move me
Since He deigns to love me.

Evil world, I leave thee;
Thou canst not deceive me,
Thine appeal is vain.
Sin that once did blind me,
Get thee far behind me,
Come not forth again.
Past thy hour, o pride and pow’r;
Sinful life, thy bonds I sever,
Leave thee now forever.

Hence, all fear and sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
Though the storms may gather,
Still have peace within.
Yea, whate’er I here must bear,
Thou are still my purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure!

Text: Johann Franck, tr. Catherine Winkworth
Tune: Johann Cruger

I love the melody and words to this hymn. I especially like vs. 3 and 6. I find a lot of comfort in this hymn; it is a reminder God is always with us no matter what, and that He is there to help us though the devil, the world, death assail us and we face many storms and trials in life. He has given us faith and strengthens that faith so we can persevere, and He gives us His perfect peace.

No Reservations

This was a really cute movie about a brilliant chef who ends up raising her niece and develops feelings for her sous-chef whom she initially dislikes. I thought Catherine Zeta-Jones was great, and she plays the kind of character I like to write—someone who puts up walls and is afraid to trust, but eventually learns it’s good to let people in. I would have gone a little deeper with some of the stuff, but I thought the movie was quite enjoyable and touching too.

Psalm 86

A prayer of David.
1 Hear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God;
save your
servant who trusts in you.
3 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy.
7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.
9 All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
14 The arrogant are attacking me, O God; a band of ruthless men seeks my life—men without regard for you.
15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant your strength to your servant and save the son of your maidservant.
17 Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

This is an awesome Psalm speaking of God’s abounding love, faithfulness, and forgiveness. It is a wonderful prayer to God, asking Him to answer us and show mercy to us. V. 13 is especially awesome, reminding us that we have been delivered from the depths of the grace. Awesome how that points us to Christ and what He has done for us.


I have loved cucumbers since I was a kid. I remember when I was little, there was a restaurant my parents and I used to go to a lot, so the owner would sometimes come and talk to us. When he found out I liked cucumbers, he would sometimes bring a plate of cucumbers for me. And I still like them with dip or on a salad, or on veggie sandwiches or even on a hot dog sometimes. And cucumber salads, especially with sour cream, onion, and sugar are delicious.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Barnes & Noble

I love Barnes & Nobles for the same reason I love Borders—they have so many things I love—books, CDs, movies, magazines, coffee, etc. A lot of people have a preference between Borders and Barnes & Noble, but I don’t think I really do. I love both stores, and shop at both. And it’s nice because if one store doesn’t have a specific thing I’m looking for, I’ll just go to the other one. Barnes & Noble is a store I can spend a lot of time in; I always find plenty to look at.


I love books. I love music. I love movies. I love coffee. So a store like Borders is incredibly awesome. I actually get overwhelmed sometimes when I’m in there (but in a good way) because there is so much stuff in there I am interested in and want to look at. I can easily spend hours in a store like Borders. I can also easily spend a lot of money there! Borders is a very happy place!

Large Catechism, Second Petition Lord's Prayer--Martin Luther

“But because He is God, He also claims the honor of giving much more and more abundantly than anyone can understand (Ephesians 3:20). He is like an eternal, unfailing fountain. The more it pours forth and overflows, the more it continues to give. God desires nothing more seriously from us than that we ask Him for much and great things. In fact, He is angry if we do not ask and pray confidently (Hebrews 4:16).”

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s is a grocery store, but is unique. They have brands and food items you can’t find in your typical grocery store. I like some of the ethnic foods they have there. I love the guaca-salsa they have there, and I love to try different wines. When looking for cheap wine (that is good), you can’t really beat Charles Shaw wine that they sell (or “3 buck chuck” as it is often called). It is always a treat to go there and find new things to try. And the prices are VERY reasonable.
Visit the website.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Ghosts That Haunt Me--Crash Test Dummies

This was the first album the Crash Test Dummies did. This group was popular in the 90s, and the lead singer has a very unique voice. My favorite songs on this album, “Comin’ Back Soon (The Bereft Man’s Song),” “Thick-Necked Man,” “Here on Earth (I’ll Have My Cake),” and “At My Funeral,” were not hit singles, but they are my favorite from this album. I used to say some of this music was my “angry music,” that I’d play it when I was in a bad mood, particularly “Thick-Necked Man.” But it doesn’t mean I ONLY listen to this music when I’m angry or in a bad mood. Some of the songs are fun, and some ponder the deep stuff people contemplate having to do with death and relationships.
Listen to some clips

Friday, February 15, 2008

Top of the Riverfront

This is a revolving restaurant located on the 28th floor of the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis. It’s weird at first moving, but the movement is very slow and you get a great panoramic view of the city and the Arch. It’s gorgeous at night looking out over all the lights. The food is great—wonderful appetizers like the mushrooms or crabcakes. Great lobster bisque. And the Tuttomare is great for an entre. And an incredible dessert cart! Awesome place for the food and the atmosphere!
Check Out the Menus

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Petra Praise The Rock Cries Out--Petra

Petra rocks it! There are so many great songs on this CD including “King of Kings,” “Salvation Belongs to Our God,” “The King of Glory Shall Come In,” “No Weapon Formed Against Us,” “I Will Celebrate,” “I Will Sing Praise,” “I Will Call Upon the Lord,” etc. It’s a great album to listen to.

Listen to Clips

John 15:12-13

12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Thanks be to God that He does love us so much He sent His one and only Son to lay down His life for us!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Milk Chocolate Covered Oreos

As if Oreos themselves aren’t good enough, they then come out with milk chocolate covered Oreos. Awesome! I especially like the milk chocolate covered mint Oreos, and also like peanut butter crème Oreos covered with milk chocolate.

Large Catechism, Second Article Apostle's Creed--Martin Luther

“For when we had been created by God the Father and had received from Him all kinds of good, the devil came and led us into disobedience, sin, death, and all evil (Genesis 3). So we fell under God’s wrath and displeasure and were doomed to eternal damnation, just as we had merited and deserved. There was no counsel, help, or comfort until this only and eternal Son of God—in His immeasurable goodness—had compassion upon our misery and wretchedness. He came from heaven to help us (John 1:9). So those tyrants and jailers are all expelled now. In their place has come Jesus Christ, Lord of life, righteousness and every blessing, and salvation. He has delivered us poor, lost people from hell’s jaws, has won us, has made us free (Romans 8:1-2), and has brought us again into the Father’s favor and grace. He has taken us as His own property under His shelter and protection (Psalm 61:3-4) so that He may govern us by His righteousness, wisdom, power, life and blessedness.

Let this, then, be the sum of this article: the little word Lord means simply the same as redeemer. It means the One who has brought us from Satan to God, from death to life, from sin to righteousness, and who preserves us in the same.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

1 Peter 1:3-9

Praise to God for a Living Hope
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

So many of the things we tend to cling to or hold on to are not lasting. The people we love die. Things are spoiled all the time for us whether it be food or the plans we make. The possessions we have can fade as can the happiness we experience from things of this world. But we have an inheritance that cannot perish, spoil or fade. We have living hope. We have new birth. We have a Savior Who died and rose for us. And we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy because we receive salvation. I love these words in 1 Peter, and they are so good to cling to when faced with the difficulties and “suckiness” of life.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Eight is Enough

I was pretty little when this show first aired, but when I was in junior high, I really got into watching reruns of Eight is Enough. I think for me being an only child, this show about a large family was fascinating. I loved watching the sibling interactions and seeing how the family dealt with different challenges, tragedies, conflicts with each other etc. Some of it may be a little hokey when you watch it now, but it’s one of those shows that gives me a happy feeling when I watch it because I watched it as a kid and enjoyed it so much. It’s too bad so many of the actors/actresses struggled with drugs and alcohol, but some of them became Christians (Grant Goodeve and Willie Aames “Bibleman”) and their lives turned around.

Large Catechism, First Article Apostle's Creed--Martin Luther

“Wherever we escape from disaster or danger, we ought to remember that it is God who gives and does all these things. In these escapes we sense and see His fatherly heart and His surpassing love toward us (Exodus 34:6). In this way the heart would be warmed and kindled to be thankful, and to use all such good things to honor and praise God…

For here we see how the Father has given Himself to us, together with all creatures, and has most richly provided for us in this life. We see that He has overwhelmed us with unspeakable, eternal treasures by His Son and the Holy Spirit, as we shall hear (Colossians 2:2).”

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dying Young Soundtrack

This soundtrack consists of mostly instrumental pieces, which in large part are performed by Kenny G. I like writing with this soundtrack on in the background.

Listen to clips

The Bourne Ultimatum

This third Bourne movie is the most suspenseful yet. Lots of great chase sequences, and scenes of Bourne eluding people as he finally really pieces together what happened to him and finds out what the CIA program he got drawn into was all about.

Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer has become my favorite clothing store. I love the dress shirts there, and I especially love that they are wrinkle resistant since I hate ironing so much! The clothes can be a little pricey, so I look for things on clearance, or ask for gift cards for the store for Christmas or my birthday.

The Joy of Tech (4/27/07)


People blog for all different reasons. I have blogged to keep a journal for myself about what was happening at a particular my life and to update people on what’s happening in my life. This particular blog was inspired by my boyfriend Chris who has a similar type blog. This is a great way to celebrate all the blessings God gives. As I make all these entries I am thankful for the many many ways God blesses us and makes life interesting for us. And I hope it’s fun for the people who happen to read this blog to see this stuff, maybe be exposed to some new stuff or be reminded themselves of all the blessings they have.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Romans 8:28-39

More Than Conquerors
28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This passage is always comforting to me, and it is one I share often when I visit people. We do face a lot of difficulties and hardship in a fallen world, but no matter what NOTHING can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. That is something we can always cling to.

The Bourne Supremacy

This is a great sequel to The Bourne Identity. When his girlfriend is killed, and he is framed for something, Jason gets in touch with the CIA and starts to remember more of his past and what he’s done for the CIA. Lots of suspense.


I love this Greek food. Meat (lamb usually, but could be another kind of meat) with onions, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce (yogurt cucumber sauce) served on pita bread. It's so good!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

"Cry Love" John Hiatt

I love this song! The guitar stuff is great. The first time I heard this, I found it incredibly catchy. Some lyrics:
The trust of a woman, in his hand
But he was a little boy, not a man
You loved him stronger, than he could feel
Yeah, he was wrapped up in himself like an orange peel.