Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012 Books Read [So Far]

January 2012

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

February 2012
Fallen by Lauren Kate (the beginning of the Fallen Series).
Torment by Lauren Kate (book #2)
Passion by Lauren Kate (book #3)
Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate (a supplement book in between book 3 and 4).
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl (Andrew couldn't believe I hadn't read it ever so he bought it for me).
The Magician's Nephew  By C.S. Lewis

March 2012
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Graveyard of Dreams: Dashed Hopes and Shattered Aspirations Along Alaska's Iditarod Trail by Craig Medred.

April 2012
Plains Thunder by Lee Hudson & The Remarkable Women of the Bible  by Elizabeth George (for Bible Study).
 Nearing Home by Billy Graham

May 2012
The Horse & His Boy by C.S. Lewis.
Finished the three from April.
 Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

June 2012
Rapture by Lauren Kate (book #4)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S.Lewis

July 2012
F in Exams

August 2012:
Things a Woman Should Know About Style  by Karen Homer
Country Wisdom: 501 Old-Fashioned Ideas to Simplify Your Life by Susan Waggoner of Country Living staff.

September 2012:
Love & Respect

October 2012:
This is Where I Leave You

Currently reading:
The Life of Pi.

What I would like to read:
Steal a Pencil for Me
Let Me Be a Woman
Power of a Praying Wife
Boundaries In Marriage
Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild  by Mary A. Kassian.
True Women 101: Divine Design also by Kassian. It's more Bible Study Material.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Some things related to my 2012 goals.

It has been barely three weeks since I posted about my 2012 goals but I wanted to give an update on where I am. Not everything I write here will be directly related, but nonetheless, it is all connected somehow and important - no matter how hard to follow it comes out. I have a lot of things I want to say, but I'm not sure how to make it all 'flow'.

Sometime back in late November/early December I began doing regular devotions/reading passages of the Bible. And I am proud to say that since then I have maybe missed just a handful. I received a devotional book from Andrew for Christmas and I have only missed two days so far in that book. I am a little behind in my prayer life, but I am working on it. I tend to journal my prayers instead.

The first book of 2012 I finished is entitled Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. Rick Skinner sent this book up to me last year when I was asking for book suggestions for this upcoming year. While reading this book, I began asking myself - would I have the faith this family did? How would I fare against persecution? Do I have any persecution in my own life? Should I? If I don't, could the reason be because no one knows about having Jesus in my life? What am I afraid of? Why am I hiding?

One of the areas in my life I want to grow in this year is involvement - not just in spending quality time with friends and involving myself within the women's ministry of Hospitality House, but I want to be involved in the community. I would love to be involved in a women's only Bible study...there is one being offered on Sunday evenings through Changepoint, the church we attend. It starts next week I think. As much as I have been thinking about trying to sign up (it is limited to 20 women), I am apprehensive because I am afraid that Andrew will think we are doing too much. We don't - not really. Here is a rough outlook of the days of our week:

Mondays: work, run after work, dinner finished around 6:30/7. Hangout at the house/get lunch ready for next day...
Tuesdays: pretty much the same thing. Instead of running after work, I go to a Step class at the gym from 5:40-6:40 so dinner is a little later.
Wednesdays: Andrew picks me up from work and drops me off at the house before he heads to the Dome to do his marathon training group. While he's gone I make dinner.
Thursdays: After picking me up we head to Eagle River for the Hospitality House. We usually get back between 9 and 10 pm.
Fridays: Same as Mondays/Tuesdays. We might go out on the town after.
Saturdays: Andrew runs with his training group in the mornings. We try to sleep in a little. Usually go grocery shopping/clean the house. Go out with friends.
Sundays: Sleep in, Church @11:30 (until 1pm). Stop by B&N for weekly coffee. Afternoons pretty much open right now.

Would it really break our schedule to add a two hour discipleship class on Sunday evenings from 5:30-7:30 at Changepoint? I don't think so. There is one more factor that I am a little uneasy about and that is that I have to pay a small fee (like $50) to participate from January to May (or is it April?). Growing up I never had to pay for a Sunday School class or anything that was offered by the church, unless maybe we decided to buy a study book and work through it...but even then most times the church paid for it. Many of the classes have some sort of fee to them. Despite the fee, we really don't have any money to spare for it.

Another class that looked super interesting is a 16-week Perspectives on the Christian World Movement class meeting on Wednesday evenings. It presents the biblical, historical, cultural and strategic aspects on The Great Commission. It does cost about $250, and I could take it as a regular class and get a certificate of completion OR sign up for college credit through a participating university. We don't have the money for it now, but I am hoping that if the church thinks it is popular enough, that they will offer it again next fall or even next spring. Then I might think about taking it. I'll have to save for it. If you want to check out the church we have been going to, here is the website: Changepoint.

This weekend Andrew and I bought two things to enrich our lives and help our house feel more like a home (this may fall under the category of getting higher-quality things we've been wanting). The first, a ping-pong table that Andrew has been wanting for quite some time. It was over half off at Target.  He's been working on putting that together these past two days. I think he's almost done since he just called me to help him.

And it is practically set up. We've been breaking down all the cardboard boxes we've been collecting in the basement and setting them out for recycling. At one point we thought about moving off-base, but right now, it seems that staying on base is a better idea. for one thing, to move off base in Anchorage, we'd have to get rid of Chip. And that's not happening. Although by the time we get the basement looking some-what decent, our friend Julian will be moving his stuff back in as he is taking off for a six month deployment starting in May. So the clean basement will become a mess of boxes again.

The second thing we bought was a five shelf bookshelf! Granted that it is not of the best quality, it is already set up and kitty-cornered in the dining room. It is so nice to be able to display our books and games. Most of Andrew's books are about running, while I have a bit of a different collection. We do have three copies of Crazy Love by Francis Chan, so the first one to claim dibs on it gets it...and I know you all will be fighting to get your hands on that book....

Having the bookshelf adds a new dimension to living in this house. Friends can browse and borrow. Andrew can read one of mine if he chooses too. We have better access to games. And it puts something in the space that has been empty for so long.

One more quick thing... this weekend I didn't watch any television! Or movies! Okay I did watch the new episode of Big Bang Theory with Andrew via computer, but other than that, I've been reading and busy with other things around the house. And I am happy this weekend has been t.v.-free. It is very refreshing. I hope it happens more often.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn

I just finished reading the above-titled book that Mr. Skinner, Andrew's Father sent me to read about a month ago. I have been asking people in my life which books they would recommend I read this upcoming year, and as the new year has come, I began asking those same people for book suggestions that would increase my faith, grow my walk with Jesus, strengthen my marriage and help mold me into a better woman of God.

Honestly, when Rick sent me a few books, I put them in my closet, thinking that it was a nice gesture but I would probably never read them. And a few days ago (probably four), I was hunting around for something to read and I picked this one up. And started reading. And haven't stopped reading it until just now, when I finished with the short paragraph on the author's biography. Here is the description from the back of the book:

"Is this the day I die?"
Quan stiffened at the shout behind him. The voice rang with the authority of the Gong An Ju, trhe Public Security Bureau. 'You meet in the night like the criminals you are. How dare you defy the law? In three minutes,' Scarbrow said matter-of-factly, 'we will shoot every man and woman - an child - who does not declare himself loyal to the people rather than the gweilos, foreign devils.'

'Surely this is the day'.
American business executive Ben Fielding has no idea what his brilliant old college roommate is facing in China. But when they're reunited in China after twenty years, the men are shocked at what they discover about each other. Thrown together in an hour of encroaching darkness, watched  by unseen eyes, both must make choices that will determine not only destinies of two men, but two families, two nations...and two worlds.


This book is a fictitious story - but has been researched profusely. The sad thing: this is just a small sliver of the picture of what happens every day to those being persecuted because of their faith.

Reading this book I have been....Challenged. There is Scripture woven through out this story and as I am reading, I know those references - I have recently just read most of them! Is this not God speaking to me? I cried towards the end of the book - at the cruelty, at the forgiveness, at the martyrdom, at the grace and mercy shown.

Read this book if you would like to be challenged in your faith - and how you view yourself and the world around you.


A couple of years ago, I faced a pivotal moment in my walk with God and since that day, the best way I can describe the change is that even though I had grown up in a Christian home and had gone to church and youth group all my life - even going to a Christian College (which I would never trade for anything) - I never felt more alive than I did in that moment. It was if I wasn't really living until that very moment and now I could see everything I had been missing out on. I was alive.

There have been periods in my life since then that haven't been as wonderful as I would have liked them to be. But things are changing. I am stepping up to the plate. I have continued in reading the Couple's Devotional Andrew and I received from my dear friend Elaine Gratton and reading the scripture verses. I asked for a devotional called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and was very pleased when I received it as a gift for Christmas. I started it immediately and have already seen and felt the benefits. The readings are short, so I've taken to reading it, reading the verses in my Bible, reading the whole passage to get a bigger picture (sometimes even the whole chapter) then re-reading the devotional for the particular day. Sometimes I then read a portion of the Bible that has no relation to what the devotional was about! I am getting more and more interested in the Bible and all it has to teach me and I am so super excited!

One of my desires this year is to continue to be refined into the woman God has created me to be, but also to be molded into the supportive, creative, spontaneous, generous, loving, praying wife that Andrew needs me to be.

One thing I do ask of those who read this: that you would pray for my husband. He is going through a desert place in his faith right now, and I fear he has been in this place for some time, and he is discouraged because he can't see the edge of the desert.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

House of Bread & Snow City Cafe

Sarah and I had lunch here before she left for her holiday vacation with her family  in Syracuse NY.  The cafe is located just after the intersection of Dimond Boulevard and Old Seward Highway.
I got a sandwich on Basil Parmesan Bread. So yummy.

A really cool holiday decoration idea. 

Some of the goods they sell. All the bread is made daily and the menu of breads varies day-to-day.

One more view of the order/pick up counter. The cafe also sells pastries and has a full coffee bar.
 The food was delicious. Even though I can't quite remember the sandwich, I believe Sarah had the same one, and she also had some soup which she fed to her son, Johnie. It is decently priced by Alaska's standards...I got some iced tea drink and the total was $11.00. I really liked the place; one downside is that there isn't really a lot of tables, so if it is busy during a lunch or dinner hour (or maybe on the weekend) then you'll be taking your lunch to go. I do think it's pretty cool because behind the counter is the big ovens used to bake the bread everyday. And when you order, they give you a number which is placed on your table and when your order is ready, they bring it to your table.

Another place I recently went (Andrew and I went) is Snow City Cafe. This little cafe is located at the end of 4th Ave in downtown Anchorage, right before you get to the bluff (Dad, it is near where we went on the bluff, near the statue overlooking Cook Inlet).  Andrew and I have been wanting to go to this restaurant, but every time we have tried, we either a. can't find parking or b. there is a really long wait. It's true. This place is so popular that you either need to go right when it opens at 8 am or wait until about an hour before it closes. Otherwise you will have an hour plus wait and it will be super busy and the kitchen will be full.

But it;s pretty much worth it. Andrew and I went last Sunday, for a late lunch/early dinner. We got there a little after 2:30 pm and left right before it closed, at 4pm. By the time we ordered, the kitchen had slowed down so our order came out pretty quickly.

Price-wise, I thought it was a little expensive ($11 for an omelet?) but i am beginning to realize that in Alaska, everything is a little bit more expensive. So, it was quite average. Andrew and I both got omelets - which came with a side of hash browns and toast of your choice. Andrew also got an americano and I got a white chocolate raspberry mocha. With tip, we paid $35.00. Not too bad I guess.

I got the Farmer's Market Omelet. It had spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms in it.

My handsome husband!

I tried to be discreet in my photo taking, so I  took one without really looking through the lens. This was at about 3:30 pm, after the restaurant was slowing down.

A Snow-covered sign from the stop light as we left.

So there you have it: two restaurants to check out when you all come and visit!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The search for a more meaningful 2012

I've recently taken up more of my somewhat lost pastime of journaling. I journal thoughts, I make lists, I pray, I tell about my day, I vent my feelings, I collect recipes and cut out projects and just generally have this space for whatever comes to me that day. And so here are some of my thoughts I've scribbled down (paraphrased) the past few weeks:

1. Spend more quality time with people I love.
 So I know this is hard when it comes to family, but my family up here in Alaska are my friends and the people of Hospitality House. As I was reminded all too well on Friday, there are people that come into your life and are only there for a short time - so I need to make the most of those times before the Military decides to move them away (or us away). And so for this year, I would like to invest more in my friend's lives. My friend Sarah lives in Chugiak and I know she wants to take a belly dancing class in Eagle River this winter to help keep her mind off her husband's deployment (he just left and will be gone for 10 or so months). I've been getting to know the Powell's and the Worrick's and the Ovel's better as well.  This connects into...

2. Connect/be more involved with the Women's Ministry of Hospitality House.
I've been put on the planning committee because I hosted a girl's night at my house back in October. And now that Amy is gone, I feel the need to step up into the committee even though I don't feel like I am a spiritual leader. But I already have some ideas.

3. Take advantage of low-cost to free activities offered on base, plus in and around Anchorage.
There is a pretty cool monthly activity Anchorage does called First Friday. The first Friday of every month, various businesses downtown host gallery displays and many are opening nights for artists. The Anchorage Museum offers free admission to most of the exhibits. In the summer, there are concerts in the Town square. Plus, the First Friday allows us to experience restaurants and shops we may be looking at and wanting to go to, and we don't have to feel obliged to buy anything. For this upcoming one, the Anchorage Press's Black & White Photography Contest gallery opening is being presented at Indigo Tea Lounge downtown and I really want to check it out.

4. Be more spontaneous, creative, intuitive, interactive.
Relatively self-explanatory. Actually start and finish the quilt I promised Andrew in 2010. Spend less time watching television and more time reading books, playing board games, working on projects.

5. Invest in a couple of high-quality items.
There are a couple of items I've been eyeing/thinking about for the past couple of years and I think this is the year to invest in those. Some examples would be a little black dress (never owned one) and a fancy dress watch (I've been looking since graduation from college) or replacing my glasses (I've worn the same frames since the ninth grade).

6. Be financially sound.
It's no secret that this year we've had our fair share of savings-draining incidents with car repairs and then having to buy a used-new-to-us vehicle to replace the totaled Maxima. We have another trip to take in July - to Seattle and to Boston right after one another and both for weddings of which Andrew is in. My hope is to put aside 10% of my paychecks every month into our Nest/Emergency fund. We would like to have the Maxima paid off by the end of the year (so we can finally get it out of the extra spot in our driveway!), along with a good chunk of the Impreza paid off. This leads into what is my last one for now...

7. Giving to God what is God's.
Something that has been on my mind for the past year to year and a half is tithing. I grew up tithing because my parents instilled it in me, the church taught it, the Bible mandates it, and it is something I have enjoyed doing. And then I got engaged. All monies had been channeled into the wedding expenses. I figured I was still okay because I was sponsoring a child through Compassion. Andrew and I got married and I was still sponsoring a child. But then things got really tight financially and I prayerfully decided that I would have to give up on sponsorship in order to meet our own basic needs here. Looking back, we were not as bad off as I may make it seem. But nonetheless, I stopped sponsorship.

But not tithing has still been bothering me.

Based on my previous experiences, I have been taken care of financially when I've given my tithe. There have been times in my life when I am so stretched thin financially and yet everything works out. Bills are paid on time and in full, basic necessities are taken care of, and I am even provided a way to go to a conference I'd been looking forward to, or be able to attend a birthday party for a friend because $20 is found and I can put gas in the car. Everything seems to work out perfectly when I am relying on God to provide.

So I've been looking into what the Bible says about tithing. Her's what I've found (NIV):
Deuteronomy 15:7-11
If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

Proverbs 3:9
Honor the LORD with your wealth, 
   with the firstfruits of all your crops

Malachi 3:10-12
 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

Matthew 6:1-4
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
   2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

2 Corinthians 8-9
1 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
 8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
 10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.
 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”[b]
16 Thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. 17 For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. 18And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. 19 What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. 20 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.
 22 In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. 24 Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.

 1 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. 2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. 3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
   “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
   their righteousness endures forever.”[c]
 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

And so, it has been laid on my heart to give back. I have been praying about where my giving would be most beneficial -  to a woman who is on fire for God and incredible strong in her faith, currently serving in Boston MA with Charles River Church or investing the monies into the women's ministry here at Hospitality House? More prayer is needed on my part. But I think I am closer to an answer.

Welcome 2012.

2011 Reflection Questions

So I decided to copy this from my sister in law Krista, as she posted this little questionnaire on her blog and ever since reading it, I've been thinking about some of the questions! So here is my version!

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?I got married. Moved well across the United States. Got to watch the Official start of the Iditarod Sleddog race! Ordered a dress for a wedding 7 weeks before it was to take place and almost panicked when it came in and got altered three days before I left. Found a new job that I absolutely LOVE! Experienced a car accident. Said goodbye to a dear friend.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?I honestly can't remember if I made any resolutions last year. If I did, it was probably something wedding-related. For this year, I have a couple of goals I would like to accomplish.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth or get pregnant?
A friend from college gave birth this year. And a couple of women from Hospitality House either gave birth or just found out they are expecting! (Yay Bonnie!)
4. Did anyone close to you get married?
This has been the year for weddings! My two best friends got married this year: Kelly & Frank in February (about 3 weeks before ours); Jaadin & Jeff got married in May (see dress story in number 1). Then Andrew's older sister Krista Married her love Tyson (also in May) and our best man/Andrew's best friend tied the knot in June. Finally, my baby sister Bridget and her husband Matt married at the end of October.
5. Did anyone close to you die?
No, but Grampa had signs of a stroke.
6. Travel?
We've done a TON of travel this year! Andrew traveled back to MA from AK for us to get married, we honeymooned in Martha's Vineyard, I moved to Anchorage AK, Andrew flew back to MA three times (once with me in October) and I flew to Western New York for Jaadin's Wedding. We've also done a little bit of traveling in and around the Anchorage Area, going to Seward, Whittier, Wasilla, Willow and Palmer.
7. Did you move anywhere?
Yes. To Anchorage AK
8. What was the best month?
I want to say the end of February, because that's when we got married, and the beginning of March because I got to see the official start of the Iditarod Race (I've always wanted to!) But then again, July was pretty good because my mom came to visit. Or September when my dad was here. Or December because I got to spend some quality time with wonderful ladies.
9. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?More motivation in making our lives fuller, more meaningful.
10. What date(s) from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 5th (Kelly & Frank), February 27th (me and Andrew), May 14th (Jaadin & Jeff), Veteran's day (car accident), December 30th (a favorite family drove away in the newest part of their journey).
11. What was your biggest achievement of the year?Getting married...but that shouldn't be something you conquer like some achievements are. Getting connected to some wonderful friends. Finally getting out of B&N. 
12. What was your biggest failure?
Struggling to adjust to a lot of major changes in life happening all at once. 
13. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Most recently, I've had to go to the ER for abdominal cramping/pain and a horrible virus that mimicked food poisoning.

14. What was the best thing you bought?

Table-Top Ping Pong Set (I got it for Andrew for Christmas and I think I've been more excited for it!). Or cat, Chip.
15. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My Mom's. She has been so strong and has become such a wonderful leader of herself and in her jobs. She's taken a lot of big steps in getting her personal life healed in recent years and I'm proud of her.
16. Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed?
Moving on.
17. Where did most of your money go?
A wedding, Plane tickets, buying furniture (thanks to the wedding money we received), student loans and buying a new car.
18. What did you get really, really, really excited about?Having the opportunity to visit with family so many times - both them coming here and us being able to go there. 
19. What song will always remind you of 2011?
I'm not sure.
20. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier!
ii. thinner or fatter? a little heavier, but I accredit it to more muscle definition.
iii. richer or poorer? Richer in life. 
21. What do you wish you’d done more of?
More time outside, enjoying the sunshine (especially in the summer here), more quality moments with friends, more reading, more finishing projects I've started.
22. What do you wish you’d done less of?I wish I’d worried less.
23. How did you spend New Year’s Eve/Day?We went to the movies with friends, picked up a friend from the airport and drove/followed her home, made it to a party just in time for the countdown and to win two giftcards!
24. What was an unexpected surprise?
I'm not sure we had any.
25. Did you fall in love in 2011?
26. What was the best concert you’ve been to this year?I haven't gone to one in a couple years, but probably the comedian who came to Changepoint this summer. We brought my mom.
27. What was your favorite TV program?We’ve gotten hooked on The Big Bang Theory, Fringe, Friday Night Lights and most recently for me: Terra Nova.
28. Do you dislike anyone now that you didn’t dislike this time last year?
No one comes to mind.
29. What was the best book you read?
There have been a couple of good ones: Kisses from Katie (makes me miss Africa), Sacred Marriage by Gary Chapman, Cold Hands Warm Heart by Jeff King.
30. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I've been listening a lot to KLOVE and I like most of the artists there.
31. What did you want and get?
Marry Andrew - and I did that.
32. What did you want and not get?
I’m pretty contented over all. :)
33. What was your favorite film of this year?I really enjoyed Hanna. 
34. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
We went to Seward for the night. It was wonderful. We went to the Discovery center/Aquarium there, went to Exit Glacier and walked around, ate at a really bad restaurant, then a really good one and stayed in this cute bugalow. I turned 24.
35. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not having to be so darn busy when on trips home.
36. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
A little classier. I bought a bunch of new clothes back in june-ish and got rid  of/donated a lot of my old baggy tee-shirts etc and bought things that I can wear with jeans or dress pants.
37. What kept you sane?Andrew. Chip. Family.
38. What political issue stirred you the most?I'm not into politics.
39. Who did you miss?
Various family and friends.
40. Who was the best new person you met?
Amy Sawtelle & family. She has been the answer to my prayers even before I came here.
41. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:Don't fight Change. It's going to happen anyway.
42. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: Beautiful Things by Grangor.
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make me new, You are making me new