Gifts of Goodness

March 9, 2012

Friday Listday is about to come at you like a whirlwind.

1. Oh, man, you guys. Overwhelmed with goodness. Last night I got home to gifts and cards that had come in the mail. They blessed me so. I received two cards — one from my kind grandma and one from my sweet grandpa — the one who had a birthday this week. Grandma sent me $10 and some stamps (I mean, why not?) and called me “first class.” Grandpa sent me the cutest card that will go on my postcard wall and he told me that he is proud of me. He signed it, “Grandpa Dale (your special).” Heart. Bursting.

2. I also received a package from my mom. She sent me a sweet card and some tea and some of her famous cookies. She suggested we go to Israel together in May. So we shall. She is the bestest. She also sent me this picture of my brother and cousin napping together when they were little. A tiny brown boy and a pale little man. Best nappy time friends.

3. My final gift was a package from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Missouri. You guys. Yes, my heart skipped a beat. Laura and Almanzo moved to Missouri with their daughter, and Almanzo built them a wonderful house there. They lived there for the rest of their lives. It is where Laura wrote her books. My sweet and dear friend Kerry had ordered me a bookmark and a pin from the Laura museum. Kerry reads my bloggy and knows of my Ingalls obsession and decided to send me these gifts because she is thoughtful and kind and the awesomest. And just as I was sad that I was finished reading them! I will cherish these gifts, and you better believe that I will wear my pin.

4. So, these were all the gifts waiting for me when I got home last night. I cried with gratefulness — the gifts were lovely, but overall I was just so blessed and overwhelmed by the love of each of these people.

As I write this, I feel like I understand what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself” as Jesus asked us to do. Each of these people went out of their way to bring me cheer and remind me of God’s love and his provision. The Lord is so good to us, and he uses his people to show us his love. I am blessed.

5. OK, switching gears. We celebrated Purim last night. I’ll post a few more pictures next week, but I thought you might want to hear how it sounds when we read the Esther story and blot out the name of Haman every time it is mentioned in the text. So my friend Diana the Sailor made you this video. (Also, I’m wearing a feather boa because I was originally dressed as a peacock for my Purim costume.)

6. Charles in Charge (my dad) is coming to town this weekend! We’re going to hang out and go to the Broadmoor and listen to good music and be friends. It should be fun times.

7. If you’ve watched Friday Night Lights then you love Landry Clarke. Well, Landry (a.k.a. Jesse Plemons) in a band (not Crucifictorious) called Cowboy and Indian. They will be releasing a CD soon, but they have a couple of songs out on iTunes already. This is one of them. I love it. You should listen.

OK, I hope you have a good weekend and feel the love of Jesus and show it to others too. Lots of love.

Denise

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Happy Purim!

March 8, 2012

Thank you for all the concern about my burned-to-a-crisp leg. It really doesn’t hurt at all. I just hope I don’t have a permanent tattoo advertising the cheapest curling iron I could find at Target.

You guys. I am sad. I am pretty much done with the Little House books. I still have to read The First Four Years and Farmer Boy, but both of them are different in tone and characters. I just finished These Happy Golden Years.

Laura is all grown up and she just got married to Almanzo. It’s happy, but also sad because she is no longer a little girl playing with Mary along the banks of Plum Creek. Now she cooks and teaches and sews dresses for herself. On her very last night at home, she asks Pa to play the fiddle and she remembers each of the songs and is reminded of her home in the big woods, and on the prairie, and in the dugout and on Silver Lake. “Then while the sun was going down he played all the old tunes that Laura had known ever since she could remember.”

It’s OK to cry at books, you guys.

So we’re celebrating Purim this evening! Like I mentioned yesterday, the holiday of Purim comes from the book of Esther. During this time, the Israelites were in exile and under the control of the Persian king. This king decided he wanted a new wife, so he searched the kingdom for some beautiful ladies. Hadassah (Esther) was one of them. She won the favor of the king and became queen, but she never told him that she was a Jew. Esther had a cousin named Mordecai and he made a man named Haman angry because he would not bow down to him. Haman apparently took things a little too personally because he decided to kill all of the Jews in the whole world simply because Mordecai made him mad. Haman managed to get the king to agree to this killing, and he planned to murder all the Jews in the month of Adar. Well, Esther stepped up and was very brave — she ended up telling the king that she was Jewish, and she exposed Haman’s plot and the king sided with her. The Jews would not be killed, and instead, Haman was hanged on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai. Bam! Haman, what now?!

So, in Esther 9, the holiday of Purim is instituted. Purim is the plural of “pur” which means “lot” because Haman cast a lot against the Jews. This holiday is celebrated every year because God saved his people from destruction. For the Jews, the Bible says,  “it was a month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor.”

Purim is a very celebratory holiday. You eat good food and drink wine and read the story of Esther to remember God’s work. Whenever Haman’s name is read, you shake noisemakers to blot out his name from the earth. This is because Haman was a descendent of Amalek, and Deuteronomy 25:19 says that when the Israelites get to the Promised Land they should “blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.”

One tradition of Purim is to make Hamantaschen which are triangular cookies. Hamantaschen means “Haman’s pockets” in Yiddish. I made some last night — some filled with a poppyseed/honey mixture and some filled with Nutella. They did not all stay so triangular, but I tried.

I’ve never celebrated Purim before, so it’s been fun to learn about it. We’re celebrating tonight at small group, which should be great. We’re bringing canned goods to give to the food shelf at our church, and we’ll eat and read the story of Esther. We’re also dressing up in costumes and masks — it’s traditional to “masquerade” during Purim because the name of God is actually never mentioned in the book of Esther, but it is clear that he was at work behind the scenes, saving his people from destruction.

So, that’s Purim! It’s fun and celebratory and a remembering of God’s continued faithfulness to his people.

Alright, I must be off. Have a Happy Purim!

Burn!!

March 6, 2012

Said like Kelso from That 70s Show.

So yesterday I was sitting in front of my full-length mirror in my bedroom curling my hair. The curling iron slipped from my hair and fell for a split second onto my leg. It didn’t hurt very much and I snatched it up super quickly. You guys, I have such a bad burn. It is angry red and has left a really wide gash on my leg. I will spare you a picture because my legs are not “summer ready” i.e. “skinny,” but it’s bad. This is a probably a good thing though because now that my back is starting to get better I was concerned I wouldn’t have much left to complain about. No worries!

I went to Target today and I accidentally bought a dress.

I just finished reading Little Town on the Prairie and I think it’s in my top two. Laura is growing up and they live in town now and get to do so many fun things like recite all of American history in front of the whole town. (Laura seems to think this is fun.) But she also gets to go to some parties and go sledding and hang out with Almanzo Wilder.

Ben the Bachelor is the Worst Update: Ben is still the worst.

I am loving this song “Porcelain” by Lucy Schwartz lately. You should listen.

Ok, I gots to go. I have an Aramaic midterm tomorrow and would you like to know how many minutes I have studied? Four. So, I’m gonna try to add in a few more seconds today. Talk to you tomorrow!

If I Lay Here

March 2, 2012

I’ve heard that it’s Friday. That can only mean one thing. A very random list of things on this here bloggy.

1. I think we should start with this.

2. Yesterday I made gluten-free pancakes. They were a little flat and chewy, but overall, not too bad. I also had real maple syrup on them, which I thought I hated, but turns out it was pretty good. Next I will make maple candy in the snow like Laura did.

3. Speaking of which, I found this fun site where you can get recipes that are mentioned in the Little House books and take quizzes based on facts from the books. I just took a quiz and aced it. Jealous much?

4. Taylor Kitsch (a.k.a. Tim Riggins, a.k.a. my future husband) has been doing interviews for his horrible new movie John Carter. He was on Regis and Kelly (or whatever it is called now that Regis has apparently been replaced by guest hosts like Alec Baldwin) and he was lovely. Someone in the audience had a “Texas Forever” sign and he talked a bit about Friday Night Lights. The most important news is that apparently old Taylor is building a house in Austin and spent a lot of time researching for movie roles at UT where Jaci goes to school. Thus, she has been tasked with finding out his exact location so that next time I come to visit we can “run into him” and he and I can start our fairytale romance.

5. Vulnerability Corner with Denise: It has been a tough week. Pray for me. I’ll pray for you too.

6. What’s that? You would like to see another video interview of celebrities I like? OK, here’s Dax Shepard and Joy Bryant (Crosby and Jasmine on Parenthood) talking about their “wedding.” Also, I think I would like to work on the Parenthood set. They all seem to have so much fun together. And who doesn’t want to get to know all those crazy Bravermans better? Let’s make this happen — I could write for TV, right? Next season on Parenthood, Crosby’s best man’s younger brother comes to Berkeley and falls in love with a TV screenwriter from Colorado…

7. And I think we should end with this. Let’s just forget the world with Llama Patrol.

Have a blessed weekend!

What’s In A Name?

March 1, 2012

I feel like I do not have much to tell you today. Mostly because I didn’t watch any TV yesterday, and that’s usually what I talk to you about. Did you watch any TV yesterday? Tell me about it.

So, it is The Long Winter in the Ingalls world. An old Indian warned them that winter would last for seven awful months and there would be so many blizzards. And he was right. The train cannot get through with any supplies, so it is bad news bears. They are out of coal, and Laura and Pa have to twist hay into sturdy sticks so they can burn them. There is no more flour, so they have a sack of wheat that they grind continuously in the coffee grinder so they can have bread. It is pretty miserable. I’m hoping that “all’s well that ends well.”

We’re starting to translate parts of Daniel in my Aramaic class. The Israelites have been exiled to Babylon and some of the brightest Israelite young men have been brought to the palace to learn and work for the king. Daniel and his three friends are there. I’ve gone on my name rant about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, right? How those are the names the Babylonian king gave them and that they’re all names that honor false gods? Their true names were Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, which mean: “Yahweh is gracious,” “Who is like Yahweh” and “Yahweh has helped.” That’s what they would want to be called — their Hebrew names. Probs not Rack, Shack and Benny.

I do love the bunny, though.

I taught a class at church last night, and I think it went pretty well. It started out with me blabbering a lot, but then we got into the Old Testament and Jewishness and me forcing everyone to celebrate Passover, and I felt right at home. We talked about how when little Orthodox Jewish boys in Israel start to study Torah, their rabbis go around and put a piece of wax paper on their new Bibles. They then put a squirt of honey on each paper and have the boys stick their finger in it to taste it. “Never forget what God’s Word tastes like!” they say. It is sweeter than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.

Well, today I have to do some tutoring and some small grouping. I also am going to try to work out for the first time since last week when my back decided to mutiny. We’ll see.

Have a good times day, friends!

Feed the Birds

February 24, 2012

Fri! Day! List! Day!

1. My back, you guys, has given up on life. It’s been hurting all week and last night at kickboxing it decided to quit working. So I’ve been icing it and lying on the couch and whining a lot.

2. I love this tiny little duck. He is on a very important mission. He is probably quacking a case. He’s specquackular. I really think his detective skills are all they’re quacked up to be. You guys, I’ll be here all night. Seriously. I can’t get off the couch cause of my back.

3. So, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I will say it again. You should start watching the sitcom Happy Endings. It’s on Wednesday nights on a channel. Maybe ABC? Anyway, it kills me. Last night they called one of the characters “Tuppence a Bag” because he attracts birds. Mary Poppins plus clever nicknames? Exactly. Start watching.

4. When you have a dog who’s been rescued from a tsunami, you have to fill his water bowl in a special way.

5. Laura and the fam are living in the surveyor’s house for the winter. It is the largest, grandest place they have ever lived. It has three rooms. And a pantry. Pa made a checkers board and he and Laura play. Ma doesn’t care for it.

6. For some reason, these bacon and corn griddle cakes look so good to me. But they are filled with fat, so I’m not going to make them. Until a day that my resolve is weak. So someone make them and report on the deliciousness, please!

7. Landon Pigg is a musician who is dating Mae Whitman (Amber on Parenthood). He has a new song and the Parenthood cast made the video for it. They’re very bad at lip syncing, but it’s super cute.

Okey dokes. I’m going to try to get a massage. Have a great weekend!

Oh, hi!

You guys, in my ranting yesterday I forgot to give you a Little House update! Why didn’t you tell me how disappointed you were?! Don’t worry, I’ll fix it now.

So, the Ingalls family left the prairie of Kansas and moved to the banks of Plum Creek — in Minnesota! No bigs, but I’ve been there. Whatevs. This location is where they based the show. In reality, they only lived there for awhile before moving on to South Dakota, but in the show, they stay there forever. Anyhoo, they live in a sod dugout for awhile, which was basically a house that was cut into a hill. Cozy, right? Ma swept the dirt floor a lot. This is how pathetically obsessed I was with the olden days when I was young: I would’ve given my right arm to spend the night in a sod house. Or my best bonnet.

Don’t worry, though, Pa built a beautiful house out of boughten (that’s what they call it) wood, and it was so spacious and gorgeous. (It was probably the size of my living room.) Pa got the wood on credit but the wheat crop was going to pay for it all. Was, you guys. Because then the grasshoppers came. Millions of them. They chewed and chewed and chewed and ate up all of the wheat and Pa had to walk 300 miles in his patched boots to find work. It was quite tragic. Also, I lived in Minnesota for a long time, and I don’t feel like I ever saw grasshoppers. They’ve been replaced by mosquitoes.

Shall we move on? We shall.

Ben the Bachelor is the biggest dummy I have ever seen in the history of all the things I have seen. Ever.

So Diana and I spent yesterday working on our thesis proposals and it did no go well. We’re behind and it’s so hard to figure out a thesis statement and find research related to what you want to do, and overall it’s awful and we are probably going to quit school. I’ll make a career out of blog rants. I think it can be done.

Also, my mom (and yesterday a blog commenter) told me that Oprah went and spent the day interviewing Hasidic Jews in New York. I watched the videos on YouTube, and it was super fascinating to learn about their customs. And guess what else Oprah found in New York? Black Hasidic Jews! You guys, have I found my people?!

OK, enough. If you like, you can pray that I come up with a coherent topic for my thesis. I suggest prayer, because if I don’t come up with a topic, there will be so much whining and ranting and raging and rampaging. It’s really in your best interest.

Have a good Tuesday! Shalom!

 

Just so you know, this blog will contain regular updates on the happenings of the Ingalls family until I finish all nine books of the Little House series. Consider yourselves warned.

So, in the Big Woods, Laura just turned five. And she got a rag doll for Christmas that she named Charlotte. It was her favorite thing ever. Also, listen up, my future children — everyone got mittens and one piece of candy for Christmas. And they were thrilled to death about it. I expect the same. Also, they just made a ton of snow candy and sugar cakes out of maple syrup and I want some right now. The dumb thing is that I don’t actually even like maple syrup, but when Laura describes it tapped fresh from a tree and boiled into syrupy goodness, it sounds so delicious. (Mom, did we try to make snow candy once? I have a feeling it didn’t turn out.)

Oh, yes. The best activity of the fall was playing with a balloon made of the bladder of the pig Pa had just butchered. So there’s that.

What else? Oh yes. Drew crying on Parenthood = Me crying at home.

I got proposed to by a stranger over on the Boundless blog yesterday, so I should be wed within the month.

So, Kristy invited me to come in yesterday as a guest speaker for the theology class she teaches at Colorado Christian University. She wanted me to talk about God from the Hebrew perspective. I’m sure the students were all bored to tears, but I had fun. We talked about how as Western thinkers we see God and theology very linearly, but the Bible shows God in such concrete, physical ways. We talked about how God’s word is sweet like honey, and how to the Hebrew mind, God is not understood philosophically or through systematic theology, but he’s understood functionally. Our God acts, he does. It was pretty fun, and I’m so grateful to Kristy for allowing me and my weird wannabe Jewishness into her class.

Well, Wednesday is a busy day for me, you guys. Every week it includes failing an Aramaic quiz and lots of other stuff. I best get to it. Bye!

The Long Winter

February 14, 2012

Seriously, I am ready for summer.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! Please bring me some chocolate. Also, my back is killing me. Please send me a gift card for a massage. Post haste.

Guess what arrived in the mail yesterday?!?!?!?!

You guys do not even know how happy I was to receive these books. I don’t know where our old copies went (my mom probably got rid of them in an organizing spree), and it’s been so long since I’ve read these books. Can faces light up? Because if so, mine did when I opened this package. (Also, I had just worked out, so post-work-out sweat combined with a lit-up face was probably frightening. I’m glad no one was around.) I am literally smiling right now just looking at the covers. I think I used to love the Little Town on the Prairie cover the most because I liked their dresses. And that tiny kitten blind old Mary is holding. Sorry if I don’t blog for the next few days — I will be hanging out with Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie and little Grace. Don’t bother me.

So I’m trying to get back in shape and it is rough. By this I mean that it is very difficult to have to look at my arms in the mirror while I do kickboxing punches. My diet is actually already pretty healthy, but I’m wondering if certain ways of eating have worked well for you guys — not necessarily for weight loss but for feeling energetic and healthy. Paleo, gluten-free, high-protein, all-natural, vegan — there are so many ways of eating out there, and lots of opinions. Do you follow any type of eating plan?

I was reading Our Father Abraham yesterday, and I was reminded that to the Hebrew mind, everything is spiritual. The Jewish mind — the mind of the Bible — recognizes that God is involved in all areas of life. There is no separation of secular and sacred because there is a recognition that God is involved at church, at work, in our eating, in our sleeping. That is why in the Scripture we see David praise God for his protection and love, and also why we must accept that Job praises God even after his life fell apart. God is in control. And he is at work and he is good no matter what is going on.

OK, I am going to go read about some prairie adventures, you guys. Hopefully Pa will keep the wolves at bay with some cheerful fiddle tunes!

City Sophistication

October 12, 2010

Hello Lovers!

I am at the Den Sem library and I have a ton of work to do, so natch, I decided to write you a blog post.

Now that I am a sophisticated city girl, my blog will probably be much more cultured and fashion-forward and insightful. I’ll post frequently about the latest art trends and Broadway shows. It’ll probably be way too snobby for you around here.

I went to Wal Mart yesterday. Bought a broom. And some beans.

So far I think I am adjusting pretty well to Denver. It’s a little odd, and I still need to meet more people, but I’ve been staying pretty busy. My new fave place in the city is Pearl Street. There are cute shops and restaurants and a farmer’s market on Sundays!

I did really miss my church last Sunday, though. And my friends. But the great things is that Colorado Springs is only an hour away. I’ve already had lots of visitors.

ALSO, folks, if you ever decide to move somewhere, get an iPhone first. This thing has been a lifesaver for finding things around the city. Seriously, if I didn’t have it, I’d probably have accidentally driven myself to Utah on a quest to find the mall.

In other sophisticated news, I had to get basic cable. You guys, I don’t pay for TV! That’s why I’m so loyal to Hulu — because I never actually get to see things when they air. I’m used to only getting the network channels, and PBS usually forgets to show The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

But you guys, I had to cave and let Comcast hook me up to their media madness. I was only getting like one channel, and I at least have to have NBC so that I can watch The Office NBC Nightly News with Bryan Williams. So, I am now paying $16.40 a month for television. Breaking the bank. The good news is that along with the network channels, I also get TBS, Bravo and, wait for it, the Hallmark channel! Wanna know why the Hallmark channel is the best news in the world? Because they play this.

That’s right! Pa, Ma, and Half Pint every day! I like city life.

Did you know that I own galoshes? I do. I’ve worn them about .07 times because, let’s face it, they’re galoshes. And it’s sunny about 383 days a year in Colorado. And, also, who wears galoshes? Well, let me tell you what, friends. I do. I wear them today.

I actually have worn these galoshes on occasion. Usually with velour pants or mesh shorts. (I told you–I am very fashionable.) But I hadn’t worn them lately, and there happened to be a cloud in the sky today, so tada! The only problem is that galoshes are a bit heavy, and it’s tough to finesse the gas pedal in my car when I’m wearing a weighty rubber boot. But I think a couple of fender benders are worth the fashion points, yes?

OK, gotta go. I will write again soon and post some pics of my swanky new place. Swanky means “affordable,” right?

Joves!