Monday, June 23, 2008

Energy crisis

I was astonished to receive our electric bill and find out that it was $199.21 this month! That's the highest it's ever been. Keep in mind our (total electric) apartment is only 840 square feet. Nonetheless, this is really the kick in the butt we needed.

I finally decided to take to heart all the energy saving strategies I've been seeing in magazines, and they're really commonsense, too. We are making sure to close the blinds and curtains whenever we leave the house. We are unplugging appliances when not in use and particularly at night as we commonly leave the computer on 24/7. The only exceptions to the appliance rule are the washer, dryer, frig, oven, microwave, and alarm clocks because those are in very hard to reach places. Maybe one day we can get one of those handy devices that allows you to cut the flow of electricity to all outlets with the push of a single button. We are also in the process of switching our incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent. I heard today that fluorescent bulbs use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs. That was on HGTV though, so it may not be perfectly accurate. As for the air conditioning, maybe we should just start praying for sub-90-degree temperatures. The average daily temperature for this electric bill was 92! I predict next month will average 98 or higher. I hope all this makes a difference! I'll let you know in a month how much we save.

Matt had his first big project and test in his first master's class today. He said it went very well. He also got to solo a student in formation today, the first of that kind, I think. We got a very nice bottle of single barrel Jack Daniel's for that. For those of you not in the pilot world, when a student solos in a jet, it is customary for that student to purchase an expensive bottle of liquor for his instructor pilot. Perhaps this is meant to persuade the grading?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer skies

I have been reading the book The Way of the Wild Heart by John Eldredge and am amazed at how much God speaks to me through what I am reading. The book is a sequel to Wild at Heart and is intended to be a guide for parents/caregivers of boys and men to understand how God fathers boys and men. It describes the stages boys and men go through in their lives and how God uses those stages to speak to the needs of their hearts.

Even though the book is essentially for men, it also proves valuable for women as a tool for understanding the boys and men in their lives and themselves, too, because of how all our relationships connect. God has revealed to me so much about my own heart that I could never understand without him. Yesterday while I was reading on the boat, this passage stood out to me.

"This, I confess, has been the hardest part for me in raising my sons. How do we help them not just know, but love the Word of God? Rote memorization won't do it, and I've counseled too many young men whose souls grew numb to the Scriptures because of Bible class. It ought to sober us that the Scribes and Pharisees knew more Bible than you or I ever will, and yet they couldn't recognize Jesus. The greatest enemy of true faith has always been religion (notice who Jesus reserves his harshest words for), and a religious attitude is not what we are after. Let them see your love for the Scriptures. Let them see the Word of God dwell in you richly. Talk about it naturally, as you bring it into daily life. Teach the young man to have time wtih God that is real and meaningful."

Sometime during college is when I first realized the difference between religion and relationship. And that has truly served me more than anything else I learned in college. Even today at church it was so obvious. Matt and I went to church and when we came out and got in the car, I said I really got a lot out of church, but I couldn't tell you a word they actually said. He felt the same way. The most important part of being there was being focused on God and listening to him. Some of the details of the mass guided our thinking, sure, but the individual message was where we really saw God.

I took this picture out the window of the car this weekend. The clouds just looked so beautiful and bright. I couldn't resist. And thankfully the camera didn't fly out of my hand as we cruised down the road at 60 mph.

I took this picture of Matt when he wasn't looking. Doesn't he look handsome? :)

The lake was absolutely glass! Matt floated away from the boat on the tube to take this picture. Our friends Russ and Diana were with us on this day. It's too bad none of us were looking, but it's nice that you can see the boat's reflection in the water.

Here is the ski pylon in daylight.

This is Matt's favorite new toy and already has him thinking about other toys he can get like a vintage wooden water ski and so on...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Imagine a world without money...

You probably know I am a big advocate for organic foods and I could talk your ear off about why. I have done a lot of homework about this topic because it is really fascinating to me. Over the last year, it has become my favorite hobby. Actually, I think Debbie is to thank for this. What I am learning more and more through this journey is that simply knowing what organic means and reasons to buy organic is a very small piece of the picture.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I buy Stonyfield Farm yogurt. Tonight I was reading a environmental comparison of major companies (Nike, IBM, Stonyfield Farm...) produced from Climate Counts. A comment on the article mentioned that Stonyfield Farm supports industrial agriculture. My first thought was, "yeah, well we did progress through the industrial period in history so most agriculture is probably 'industrial' (a.k.a. modern!)". I was curious though so I did a yahoo search and found an article from BusinessWeek ( as well as a retort from Stonyfield Farm and others ( Briefly, the basic idea of the first article is that organic business is getting much higher in demand, which means that there is a lot of pressure from consumers and shareholders to turn bigger profits. This is great for farmers except that there isn't yet enough supply. Creating enough supply means building bigger farms (thus more environmental impact and a fear of corporations in general seem to accompany this) and importing some products (there is question of whether we can trust the organic integrity of imports). Both of these measures follow USDA organic standards, but aren't exactly ideal.

Organic farms are usually thought of as small, quaint, and old-fashioned oases with little pig-tailed girls in gingham dresses gathering milk in sparkling galvanized buckets from happy, smiling cows. I'm sure they are far from this idealistic, nonetheless, if this is heaven, conventional farming is the devil. This may not be far from the truth, but there certainly is a lot of gray area. Going to the grocery store can be confusing enough when you are comparing ingredients, nutrition facts, ounce-to-dollar rations, and calculating how to feed your family while still affording to put gas in your tank to get to the grocery store in the first place. Confusing! Unfortunately, it really comes down to money though. In a world without money, there would be no such thing as organic versus conventional and everything in between. Everything would just be real food grown naturally because there wouldn't be so much competition to make more and more in order to be wealthier and wealthier. I hope all the changes in the marketplace eventually bring us back to a place like that: just real food without all the gimmicks.

I pray for peace in your mind, heart, and grocery cart. Here's my plan. Maybe you will like it, too.

1. Buy organic when I can afford it and especialy for the items that make the most difference. Here is the link I promised to the top ten foods to buy organic: There is so much great information there. Be sure to give it a glance before your next grocery store escapade.

2. Buy real food. I want to know what the ingredients are and only buy ones that make sense to eat and are actually good and useful for my body.

3. Eat what I buy. So often I buy things that sit in the pantry for weeks or months. I end up having so much extra stuff. I just want to buy what we need and nothing more so that our grocery bill will reflect what we actually eat.

Okay, that's the whole plan. Let me know what you think:)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Delectable dessert


This simple treat is all I could want in a dessert, but it's actually good for me! That made me enjoy it even more! For this sweet, summery snack (hey, it could even be breakfast!) combine a six ounce cup of vanilla yogurt with one cup of sliced strawberries and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Enjoy!

I have a new class of kids for the summer and they are so cute that I thought you might like to see some pictures of them. I hope that's legal...

Adie and me.



Kate and Canyon.

Reid and Kaleb.

Kaleb and Reid.


They have already shown me that temperament makes a huge difference in your experiences with children. The children in my pre-k class this year were loveable and wonderful, no doubt, but they were also often very stubborn, aggressive and moody. These kids are much more relaxed and low key. They are fun and have great personalities, but they are also much more likely to go with the flow...for the most part. I love it!

Here is a sneak peak of Matt's new pride and joy. We bought a ski pylon for the boat. Usually we have the ski rope attached to a harness on the back of the boat which makes it drag in the water some of the time and you can't ski out to the sides of the boat as much, yada, yada, yada. This ski pylon, however, makes our boat everything Matt could ever hope it would be and the skiing will be taken up a notch for him. Let's just say he's extremely excited to try it out tomorrow! More and better pictures will come after skiing tomorrow.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We live at a crossroads

"This is what the Lord says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.'" Jeremiah 6:16

There is more than one path. Stand at the intersection and examine your choices. Pray for the intercession of the Spirit, that he may reveal the way, the truth, and the life. Don't wait; walk in it now. Choose that path and go! It does not promise to be easy, but your heart will find peace.

"There is so much more to life..." has become a cliche statement. Like most cliches, however, it has become that because it's true. God has created us for a great adventure. When we believe that is true, we start to see it all around us. When we accept the invitation to the banquet and join him there, the longings of our hearts are fulfilled. When we become our role in His story, take a stand, and wield our sword, we work for and with our God Almighty, for his eternal glory.

Dear Jesus,

I pray today that you reveal to each of us the unique role for which you have created us. Open our ears, eyes, and hearts so that we might understand your message. Speak to us now.

We accept your invitation, answer your knocking, and drop our nets. We seek you, Lord and Father, with all our hearts. Be our firsthand guide through this uncharted territory as we put all our trust and hope in you.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The price of yogurt

The pre-school I work at bought organic yogurt last week! I was ecstatic!

Please, before you think I'm nuts, allow me to explain the reason for my enthusiasm. The pre-school I work at usually buys food in bulk at Sam's or Wal-Mart; the cheaper the better. "The cheaper the better" is a motto many of us live by. Finally Stonyfield Farm Yobaby yogurt was either cheaper or the same price as those other yogurts. This is a wonderful thing, but it's not just about the price of yogurt.

Buying conventional foods has a hidden cost of which many of us are unaware because we don't see it in our daily lives.

There is a cost to our bodies. Many modern food choices contain numerous additives that weren't in foods fifty to sixty years ago. When you buy organic foods, you can rest assured you are keeping artificial ingredients and strange chemicals (such as high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, sodium acid pyrophosphate, red 40, and azodicarbonamide for instance) out of your food, your body, and the environment. Some studies claim there is a link between consumption of these chemicals and diseases such as cancer. That's certainly a possibility, but the evidence is nonconclusive. There is definitely a relationship, however, between the first two items I listed and obesity, as these ingredients are not properly digested in the human body and are therefore stored as fat (that is another blog entry entirely though).

There is also a cost to the earth, our current residence. Studies have shown many conventional foods do not contain as many nutrients as they did just fifty years ago, most likely because modern agricultural practices leach the soil of valuable natural fertilizers. This happens when the land is used continuously and is not allowed an opportunity to be naturally replenished. Agricultural run-off (and the fertilizers and pesticides that run with it into our water supply) has created an ecological dead zone the size of Connecticut (and growing) where the Mississippi River flows into the Gulf of Mexico. For more information about this situation, visit When you buy organic foods, you know for certain the foods you are eating have been grown without artificial fertilizers pesticides. The land is managed in a way that allows it to be utilized for many more generations.

We pay for the way the earth is treated. You can pay at the grocery store or you can pay to clean up our air, water, and land.

I hope and pray you are not put off by this discussion, but rather want to understand more. This is so important to me. Now, believe me when I say I know it can be expensive to buy organic foods. But if you can believe me of that, also trust that it is worth it. I still can't afford to buy everything organic, so I try to choose wisely. Switching to buying organic foods is easiest when done gradually. Next time I'll write about the top ten foods that make the most environmental impact when bought organically (Horizon Organic is my source at That way you can make wise choices for the earth and your pocket book! Stay tuned:)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Happy 28th Anniversary Mom and Dad!!

Boy meets girl.

Boy and girl become boyfriend and girlfriend.

They start small. "Maybe we can try a dog first? If we can handle that, we'll know this is the real thing."

On June 7, 1980, they tied the knot! Congratulations Tony and Jeanne!

And they fed each other cake the nice way (at least that's what they captured on camera).

Next came baby Marcy! And they were overjoyed with their new beautiful baby girl.

Then came not one, but two babies. Surprise! It's Lisa and Brooke.

The Davy girls.

Aren't they precious?

There's just nothin' like wrestling with Dad in your underpants.

And, alas, two Davys had become five!

Jeanne and Tony were always very much in love.

Their family trips led them to exciting outdoor locales such as Taquemenon Falls.

They even made it through the teenage years.

And the adventures with Tony and Jeanne continued through Colorado...

...Wyoming, and more.

Best of all they loved their time together as a family through many years together.

And once in a while they even dressed up!

But mostly they just relaxed in t-shirts and jeans by the water, or the campfire, or in the backyard. Tony and Jeanne keep life simple. Live and love.

Love, love, love is all you need.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Incredible cedar plank salmon

We made some awesome salmon this weekend. If you like fish, you will love this.

The recipe is from Matt's Men's Health magazine.

What you'll need:

2 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dry tarragon (we didn't use this because we didn't have any)
1 tsp. dry basil
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 skinless salmon fillets (6 oz. each) - if you only have salmon with skin on one side like we did, you can halve the above recipe.
1 lemon

How to make it:

1. Blend all ingredients except the fish and lemon in a mixing bowl. Transfer, label, wrap tightly, and store at room temperature until needed.

2. Sprinkle both sides of the salmon evenly with the dry rub and then press the seasonings into the flesh. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours before cooking. (We cooked the fish just minutes after applying the rub and it was great.)

3. Soak the untreated 3/8-inch cedar plank in water for 1 to 2 hours. Preheat the grill on high. (The directions that came with the planks say to heat them on the gril for 3 minutes per side before putting the salmon on.) Place seasoned salmon fillets onto the plank (making sure they're not touching) and squeeze lemon over them. Place the planks on the grill, lower the heat to medium, and cover. Cook for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the fillet's thickness; their internal temperature should be 120 degrees F. Remove the plank from the grill. (Careful! Embers may stick to the bottom of the plank.) Serve with a hunk of lemon. Recipe serves two.

And here it is on an old ugly pan because the bottom of the plank was charred. Note that we made a huge piece of salmon so it took nearly an hour on the grill (because it was pretty thick, too), but it was well worth it for the juicy, smoked flavor.

If you want to make the side dish, you'll need:
1/2 cup dry couscous
1/2 yellow squash
1/2 red bell pepper
A smallish handful of sliced or chopped almonds
A bit of basil, salt, pepper and olive oil

To make, prepare the couscous according to its package directions. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Wa-lah! Recipe serves two.

We used wild alaskan salmon for this recipe because it is most environmentally sustainable. We want to be able to cook this salmon and other great tasting fish for years to come, which means choosing an eco-friendly method of catch. For information about which fish are easiest on the planet, please visit You can even print a pocket-sized guide to take with you to the grocery store and restaurants. If staff at a restaurant or meat counter can't tell you where the fish came from and how it was caught, take your money elsewhere. Your food choices really do matter, and you have a right to good quality food.

We went to the lake twice this weekend in search of calm water for skiing. The winds around here can be tremendous though and there were white caps all over the lake. Still, we enjoyed the sunshine (as proven by our sunburned bodies) and the refreshing dip in the water away from the 103 degree hot air above!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...