Tuesday, September 30, 2008

oh we love you...

our amazing friend katy just had her 29th birthday and we were able to have a surprise double date with she and her husband. it was wonderful to have an evening out with them! and we all felt pretty sneaky as katy arrived to our house blindfolded and david schlepped her all through our yard and over bushes and fences to throw her off our trail!

katy, you are so beautiful and we cherish you. we were so glad to get to be a part of your birthday celebration.
much love...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

an aussie holiday

i got an exciting email this past week from my friend, amy ruth, who was my bunkmate when i was on the mercy ship. she has been traveling the globe for the last 7 months and she is currently in the states. she got in touch with me to tell me that she could come down to visit for the afternoon and i was thrilled! she is incredibly inspiring - not only is her personality inspiring, but her faith is very inspiring as well. she is from australia and has one last month of travel here before heading back home. i was so honored that she made the trip down and spent the afternoon with us. her stories are unbelievable and i could listen to her talk in her wonderful accent all day long!

thank you so much for coming to visit, amy ruth! it was wonderful to see you! hopefully next time we meet it will be vacationing on your soil!

Friday, September 26, 2008


i think ryan and i would both readily admit that winter is hard for us. we both have a touch of seasonal depression as the leaves fall and the weather changes. as the autumnal equinox just passed, i think each of us felt a slight twinge of sorrow as we know what is to come. don't get me wrong, i love autumn, but i love spring even more. with spring, there is the hope of three glorious seasons in a row. and of course, winter has some great perks - hot chocolate, snuggling under blankets, fires in the fireplace, and of course Christmas! but, even though there is much goodness in winter, it is still a hard season for us. (i must say that our families are probably scoffing right now as winter in virgnia is a piece of cake in comparison to indiana! they could all tell you we've gone soft!)

anyway, i was met by an email today that indeed confirmed that summer is over. i was told that our last box of produce would be coming this week and then we were on our own for the rest of the year. i have certainly had to get creative using up things that i had never tried before this summer - collards, kohlrabi, tomatillos, parsnips and such. and there have been a few meals that we would collectively admit were not a huge success, but it was a great experience overall. and lily LOVED opening up the box each week to see what deliciousness lay there for her to enjoy!

so, as the last box came today, i figured i'd capture her sentiments regarding dave matthew's goodness that we've enjoyed all summer. it's been a bit like christmas for her on a weekly basis...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


my dear sister whitney has been telling me over and over how i need to make a "vision board." it is a board that you put pictures on or write dreams and goals on and apparently after putting it down in print, the likelihood of you successfully achieving this goal is increased. whit's boyfriend, jim, swears by the board. and rumor has it that even nastia liukin had a board - and it seems it did her some good, right?

anyway, i bring this up because prior to my birthday, i told ryan that i wanted to write down life goals together that we have individually and as a family (apparently i was feeling quite inspired on this particular day!) anyway, my husband is a man of many lists, and i should have known that he was a step ahead of me. he told me he would oblige, but that he already had his own "vision board" on a piece of paper in his wallet. life got busy, ryan was on call, and things got in the way and we did not get around to it.

i tell you all of this because my husband is wonderful. wonderful. i had hoped to discuss our visions together due to somewhat selfish desires. my wish was that if i told him what i dreamed of, he would jump on board with me and help these dreams become a reality. well, when my birthday rolled around, it was as if ryan and my vision board had gotten together and planned it all out.

one of my deepest desires is that ryan and i and our family would be able to serve on the mercy ship very regularly once he is done with residency. i would LOVE to be able to go for a month each summer as our family gets older. ryan could operate, i could work in the OR and our children would get the most rich cultural experiences possible. well, the first gift i received from ryan was a book on the mercy ships. beautiful. how well done, ryan.

a second desire that i have is a bit embarrassing. anyone who knows me well would be able to tell you that being graceful or flexible are not two of my stronger traits. (although as a child i was sure i was a star ballerina!) however, i truly hope that one day i could be a yoga instructor. i have loved the classes i have taken and while i am definitely still a novice, i hope that one day i will be more than that. i have even looked into yoga schools here in virginia. well, my very sweet husband got me a new bag for my yoga mat that is rockin. and his brothers got me an awesome new mat that is SO plush in comparison to my tattered old one. AND, ryan signed me up for a semester of yoga classes! ALL of this without ryan and i discussing this goal of mine! two nights ago i attended my first class and i felt so spoiled as i headed out alone to enjoy and hour and a half of teaching. (and nervous as there is always a high likelihood that i will make a fool of myself!) but, it was wonderful. i left the class a bit more stretched out and certainly a bit more peaceful. thank you so much, ryan. you are amazing and so very good to me.

maybe i don't need a vision board afterall. what do you think, whit? does posting it online for all to read help you reach your dreams?...

Monday, September 22, 2008


to our families,
we adore you. thank you for your constant love and support.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

i think this means we are really adults now...


that word would have accurately described all three of our husbands prior to the event.

a direct quote from ryan, "a yard sale opens your home up to being robbed."
yes, i quite agree... when people see the shrunken sweater and mildew-y pillows we are trying to sell, they will think to themselves, "i am sure they have lots of other great finds we should come back for in the still of the night!"

but, ryan wasn't alone in his dislike of the idea. i am pretty sure all three men said things like, "we'd get a bigger tax write off if we donate all of this junk." or "you are only going to make about $10 total."

well, i am now a firm believer in the statement, "one man's trash is another man's treasure." we made about $800 and katy, becca and i all have a much more organized and empty home thanks to the yard sale we held yesterday. and i think we would all agree that while the profit was nice, it was just a lot of fun and it was so nice to clear out our homes.

but, before you head off to have your own yard sale, let me warn you, those early birds aren't kidding around! we had advertised to start our sale at 8am and prior to 7am, as i was hauling loads and loads up, we had already had four customers! i'll tell you what, some people take their rummaging for treasures VERY seriously!

but, by and large, the day was a huge success and in the end, all three husbands pitched in... and i think if you asked them, they'd even tell you that they had a good time, too!

these pictures are nearing the end of the sale when our goods were quite picked over... initially the yard was so full you could hardly walk through!

thanks, becca and katy!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

food for thought...

"It is easier to change a man's religion than to change his diet." -Margaret Mead

just another reason to think about cutting your meat consumption...

from TIME
Meat: Making Global Warming Worse
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2008 By BRYAN WALSH

Need another reason to feel guilty about feeding your children that Happy Meal — aside from the fat, the calories and that voice in your head asking why you can't be bothered to actually cook a well-balanced meal now and then? Rajendra Pachauri would like to offer you one. The head of the U.N.'s Nobel Prize–winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Pachauri on Monday urged people around the world to cut back on meat in order to combat climate change. "Give up meat for one day [per week] at least initially, and decrease it from there," Pachauri told Britain's Observer newspaper. "In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity." So, that addiction to pork and beef isn't just clogging your arteries; it's flame-broiling the earth, too.

By the numbers, Pachauri is absolutely right. In a 2006 report, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) concluded that worldwide livestock farming generates 18% of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions — by comparison, all the world's cars, trains, planes and boats account for a combined 13% of greenhouse gas emissions. Much of livestock's contribution to global warming come from deforestation, as the growing demand for meat results in trees being cut down to make space for pasture or farmland to grow animal feed. Livestock takes up a lot of space — nearly one-third of the earth's entire landmass. In Latin America, the FAO estimates that some 70% of former forest cover has been converted for grazing. Lost forest cover heats the planet, because trees absorb CO2 while they're alive — and when they're burned or cut down, the greenhouse gas is released back into the atmosphere.

Then there's manure — all that animal waste generates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that has 296 times the warming effect of CO2. And of course, there is cow flatulence: as cattle digest grass or grain, they produce methane gas, of which they expel up to 200 L a day. Given that there are 100 million cattle in the U.S. alone, and that methane has 23 times the warming impact of CO2, the gas adds up.

The worrisome news is that as the world economy grows, so does global meat consumption. The average person in the industrialized world eats more than 176 lb. of meat annually, compared with around 66 lb. consumed by the average resident of the developing world. As developing nations get richer, one of the first things citizens spend their extra income on is a more meat-rich diet. Whereas pork would once have been a rare luxury in China, today even the relatively poor in the country's cities can afford a little meat at almost every meal — so much so that pork imports to China rose more than 900% through the first four months of the year. In 2008, global meat production is expected to top 280 million tons, and that figure could nearly double by 2050.

Producing all that meat will do more than just warm the world; it will also raise pressure on land resources. The FAO estimates that about 20% of the planet's pastureland has been degraded by grazing animals, and increased demand for meat means increased demand for animal feed — much of the world's grain production is fed to animals rather than to humans. (The global spike in grain prices over the past year is in large part due to the impact on grain supplies of the growing demand for meat.) The expanded production of meat has been facilitated by industrial feedlots, which bleed antibiotics and other noxious chemicals. And of course, the human health impact of too much meat can be seen in everything from bloated waistlines in America to rising rates of cardiovascular disease in developing nations, where heart attacks were once as rare as a T-bone steak.

So is Pachauri right that going vegetarian can save the planet? (At least the 68-year-old Indian economist practices what he preaches.) It's true that giving up that average 176 lb. of meat a year is one of the greenest lifestyle changes you can make as an individual. You can drive a more fuel-efficient car, or install compact fluorescent lightbulbs, or improve your insulation, but unless you intend to hunt wild buffalo and boar, there's really no green way to get meat — although organic, locally farmed beef or chicken is better than its factory-raised equivalents. The geophysicists Gidon Eschel and Pamela Martin have estimated that if every American reduced meat consumption by just 20%, the greenhouse gas savings would be the same as if we all switched from a normal sedan to a hybrid Prius.

Still, Pachauri is just slightly off. It's a tactical mistake, first of all, to focus global warming action on personal restrictions. The developed world could cut back hugely on its meat consumption, but those gains would be largely swallowed up — sorry — by the developing world, which isn't likely to give up its newly acquired taste for cheeseburgers and pork. The same goes for energy use, or travel. It's great for magazines to come up with 51 ways you can save the environment, but relying on individuals to voluntarily change their behavior is nowhere near as effective as political change aimed at speeding the transition to an economy far less carbon-intensive than our current one. So, by all means cut back on the burgers — I recommend a nice deep-fried scorpion — but remember that your choices from the takeout menu will matter less than the choices made by those who inherit the White House next January.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

hauling 25 extra pounds up a hill must lead to a hot bod, right?

kathy got us a new bike seat for our bike and we are thrilled with it. lily loves to say "new bike! new bike!" over and over as she pats my back and we ride!

our little bookworm...

a lot of distance separates denver from c'ville. i think that ash has recently been feeling that distance as she has asked me to post a new video of lily on our blog. so, in honor of you ash, i post this ridiculously long video of lily...

as i have previously stated, lily LOVES to read. her favorite activity is to go to her room with some of our living room chair cushions and make a seat for me and a seat for her as she drags out all of her books. and recently, she has been really into this book called "ish" that ash gave her last year. it is almost like a security blanket as she has been dragging it around the house all week. she doesn't even want me to read it, she just wants to peruse the pages on her own. she pretty much thinks she is so big now...

and ps. a huge belated bday wish to whit - just a day late! hooray for you!