A Diary of our Current Meanderings, Thoughts, and Adventures...


Saturday, December 27, 2008

On the Third Day of Christmas...

On the third day of Christmas...we went to Grandma Knutsen's house. Did you think I forgot about the Advent and Christmas celebration? It has been with me and the story has been building but posting has been difficult because of the many activities of the season. Talk to me if you'd like to hear the full version. For now I'd like to put up a blurb about the celebration of the third day of Christmas.

From what I've read multiple myths have developed on the symbolism of the "three french hens". One that I'm particularly fond of focuses on what I consider the three-fold substance of the Christian faith: faith, hope, and love. These invisible gifts mean more to a broken world than any number of brown paper packages tied up with string (though I must admit that these are a few of my favorite things). From these spring peace, warmth, reconciliation, and perseverance to do what is good for the world despite the wrong that seems oft so strong.

In the spirit of this celebration I wish you faith in the good news of Jesus that light and goodness are spreading in the world; I wish you hope in his second coming when he will vanquish evil forever; I wish you love toward God and each other for tomorrow and every day in the years to come.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent has begun...

Here is some of the thoughts I've been collecting over Thanksgiving break. Most of what follows is not my own, but I'm sure the authors are more concerned with telling the story than with credit. I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. It is the cry of those who have experienced the tyranny of injustice in a world under the curse of sin, and yet who have hope of deliverance by a God who has heard the cries of oppressed slaves and brought deliverance (Rom 8:18-25).
The theme of readings and teachings during Advent is often to prepare for the Second Coming while commemorating the First Coming of Christ at Christmas. Preparation for his Second Coming includes penitence, watching, and praying.

O, Holy Spirit, blow on the embers of my soul and reignite your baptismal love in the fireplace of my being. May I become your fire in a cold, indifferent world. Impassion my spirit; enkindle my heart.

The Church Calendar starts with Advent. This is the beginning of the new year. Here is a version of the traditional progression. Each group is waiting for the Messiah. You could take these readings and celebrate right in your own home or with some friends. Light a candle every week for each group.

- Gold candle
- Is. 9:2-7
- Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (Charles Wesley)
- I heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Henry Longfellow)
- O Come, O Come Emmanuel

- White Candle
- Luke 2:8-14 / 1 Timothy 3:16
- It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
- Hark the Herald Angles Sing
- While Shepherds Watch Their Flock By Night
- Rarely do we give much thought as to what the Nativity meant to the angels. The phrase “was seen by angels” in 1 Timothy 3:16 invites us to view the whole of the Christmas story from the perspective of the angels.

- Green Candle
- Luke 2:15-20
- Angles from the Realms of Glory
- Go Tell It on the Mountain
- Angles We Have Heard On High
- How Great Our Joy (German Carol)
- Shepherds were on the lowest rung of society. But they exemplified how the Savior of the world would treat his people.

- Blue Candle
- Mathew 2:1-12
- Angles from the Realms of Glory
- We Three Kings
- The First Noel
- As With Gladness Men of Old

- Matthew 1:18-25 / Luke 1:26-38
- What Child is This?
- Away In a Manger
- Most people know who Joseph was in the Christmas story. But most don’t know him very well. What you might not know is that Christmas cost Joseph a great deal.
- From one generation to another, Mary has been known as the mother of God. What was God doing, and why did he choose Mary to do it?

- Red Candle
- Luke 2:25-32
- Joy To the World

What have you been coming up with? Tell me some stories about what you have done or what you plan to do this year.

Decking the Halls

Well, it's that time again...time to decorate for Christmas! Can you believe how fast the season has come upon us. We are in the beginning of the Advent season...the anticipation of Christ's birth...and now, his second coming. It's a wonderful time! We are nice and busy too...friends, family, baking, Christmas-movie watching, and just a little bit of shopping.

This past weekend, we decided it would be a good time to begin decorating the house. Our dear friend Britani, who was our roommate last summer, and who will soon be a permenant roommate of ours, was here--so the timing was just right. We had lots of fun dancing and decorating.

Here are some pictures for you to see. So tell us, what are some things you like to do around the Christmas season?

Organizing Bryce's millions of ornaments.

Brit and I working on fluffing out our tree. Unfortunately, yes, our tree is fake. We go out of town to Iowa every year at Christmastime for a couple of weeks, so it would be difficult to maintain a real tree...so fak-ie it is. :)

Bryce under the tree...looking coy and flirtacious.

This is for everyone that has been wanting to see a preggo pic of me! 4 1/2 months.

Our Tree!

We are always dancing..and I love it.

What in the world should we do with this pear???

Always, always, always singing.
We found the perfect place for "the pear".

Stocking on the staircase: Bryce, Kim, Brit and Poppy!
Poppy's stocking is my favorite...it's so cute and little.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Notes

Every year, Bryce's Grandma and Grandpa Knutsen create "Turkey Notes" for all of their many grandchildren. I thought I'd share the Turkey Notes written for Bryce, me, and Poppy. (Don't read into them-they usually don't make a ton of sense...:) )


Turkey's not a Sophie
Turkey's not a Bradley
Turkey's overwhelmed
He is a Daddy!


Turkey's not a Chester
Turkey's not a Tommy
Turkey is much better
She is a mommy!


Turkey is a Kicker
Turkey is a hoppy
Everyone loves you
Because you are Poppy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Engaged Anniversary to Us! :)

Tomorrow will mark the two year anniversary of Bryce and my engagement. It was a cold and rainy night...Bryce told me we were going out to eat in Philly with friends, who all of a sudden "couldn't make it" at the last minute. We had a nice dinner, and then headed out on the town. We walked around a bit...as the rain had stopped for a little. And we stopped at the stairs of Tenth Presbyterian Church. This church had been the first place Bryce and I travelled to together, and probably when I knew for sure I would be with him, one day. It ended up also being the church we were married in. It was pretty special for us.
Bryce sat me down on the stairs, and took out a poem, and began to read it to me. He then added his own lines...he was nice and smooth, I assure you. And out came the ring. It was a really wonderful and special evening.

I think we have learned so much in 2 years...most of all-how tough marriage is! Things I have learned through being married.

My advice for a good marriage/things I am learning about marriage:

Appreciate coming home to your best friend.
The things that drive you crazy about another person will probably always drive you crazy-so don't waste too much energy on trying to make them change.
You have to make a little time for just each other.
2 stubborn people=soooo many conversations that lead to not a whole lot of change in the end-but keep being willing to have the conversations!
Give in once in awhile.
Think of the other person, and what you can do to make them happy.
Play together, even if you're competitive.
Don't make big decisions by yourself!
Don't wait until something terrible happens to remind the other person how much they mean to you.
Say "thank you" and "I'm sorry"--and mean it!
Have secrets that only you two know about one another.

I think that's all for now. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

4 Months Pregnant

Well, we went to the doctor today, to check on Poppy. We will be 4 months by Monday! I think part of us wonders where the time has gone, and are freaked out by having a child in 5 months, but I think the other part is wondering if this baby will every get here!
The baby is doing well, heart is beating nice and strong, and I am feeling good, so I guess these are all good signs.
I had to buy my first pair of maternity pants...I was at the doctor, and when the ob checked me out, she noticed the large indent in my skin from my jeans button..."Um...have you considered maternity pants?" She asked. Crap, I thought. But I caved, and bought a pair--and they feel really good actually. I am quite pleased.
In a month we could potentially find out the sex of the baby. Bryce has been wanting to find out, while I have definitely been wanting to wait. I am really liking the idea of a "surprise", and I kind of have these dreams of delivering the baby and Bryce saying, "It's a girl!" (or boy--I really have no preference either way) So, I think we will be waiting, however, I/we are willing to hear your arguments on the matter if you have a preference to finding out vs. not finding out.
I know everyone wants to see a belly picture, so I'll make sure to take one of those in the next couple days too.
Oh, and I am pretty sure I felt the baby for the first time the other day. It was very quick, and very subtle, yet noticable. It kind of felt like the nervous butterflies, but just one big butterfly-fluttering across my stomach very quickly. Any hoot--if I did feel it, it was pretty cool, but I'm anxious for it to happen again!
Well, that's the update on Poppy--make sure you talk to her/him when you see me next--I want her/him to know all of my wonderful friends and family right away! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some days, you gotta dance!

So, this past weekend we went to our friends/old roommate's, Andy and Lindsey's wedding. It was a lot of fun, and it was good to be able to spend some quality time with friends, and to join in on their special day. It was very special-and custom to who they are both individually and as a couple, and I liked that.
I think the best part was just letting loose to dance though. I've decided that we all need a reason to dance. We didn't take a whole lot of pictures...mostly because we rocked the dance floor all night, but we really had a great time. Here are just a couple, of us, and our friend Randy.
Good times. I thought you might like to see.

Bryce attempting Michael's toe hold...and looking frightening!

Randy's MJ Kick...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

house show

Some of you prefer that I use CAPS when I post so I'll try to accommodate you.

Kim, Poppy and I are looking forward to the holiday season. This year we're hoping to develop some of our own traditions with family and friends. Here are a couple of ideas we have...

For some time now I've wanted to follow the Christian liturgical calendar through Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and continues through Christmas Eve. The 12 days of Christmas begin on the 25th and ends on the feast of Epiphany. You all know the song that goes with the 12 days of Christmas, right? Well this year I think we'd like to pay a little more attention to each of the days. You might have fun doing this with us. Does anyone want to dialogue with us so we can explore together?

Kim and I are also planning a breakfast for all of our friends at our house. My mom's "Warm Grapefruit w/Brown Sugar" has made quite an impression on Kim. We hope to share the love.

December 13th we're hosting (which means it's at our house) a House Show for John Francis. He's a local musician we know through the Circle of Hope Network. This will be for anyone we know in the area. We're looking forward to the warmth of seasonal cheer, good music, and people we love. I wish our house could hold more than 35 people!

What are you doing for the holidays? Maybe we could share some ideas...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

this election season...

Kim and i have been wading through this election season with steps seeped in amazement. so many notable things have surfaced in these last few months. I'd like to make a few observations that express this amazement.

within the lifetime of my coworkers and some family members African-Americans have secured the ability to vote and now know the next president will be one of their own. this change has come with painstaking determination. some of you don't face racism everyday. since i moved to NJ/Philadelphia my attempts to understanding the deep seeded racial tension Kim and I live in has changed my view of the world. i wonder what it feels like to overcome suppression. this amazes me.

many of the Christians I know believe God's choice for president ran under the slogan of "country first". McCain said in his speech last night that he has no higher loyalty than to the country he loves. this romantic nationalism should have no support from Christians who claim their allegiance and citizenship are to Christ and his kingdom. this amazes me.

through the recent microscopic inspection of the candidates and their policies, a relatively few number of people have taken a step back to look at the larger picture of historic liberal politics of which both modern "conservative" and "liberal" politics are a part. the differences between Obama and McCain are minute in comparison. both candidates want to continue the foreign policies that have come back to haunt us such as supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan to fight the Russians in the 1980's and then dropping them when our purposes were served. both candidates support these policies. this shortsightedness amazes me.

the accusations of socialism thrown at Obama are very disturbing. socialism would entail the government taking all of your money and redistributing it evenly. taxing the very richest Americans to help the very poorest Americans may, at a glance, look socialistic, but it is far from socialism. these accusations amaze me.

in many center-left Christian circles Obama was praised as if the kingdom he preaches was the kingdom of God. the kingdom of God as described in the gospels does not have a commander-in-chief that is willing to "switch focus" from Iraq to Afghanistan. this delusion amazes me.

a couple of thoughts...if Americans spent half the energy they used in this election on loving their neighbors, we'd be the salt and light Jesus has called us to be. government is not our savior. Jesus, who has beaten sin and death on the cross, is in the process of turning wrong to right and evil to good. if we believe in his program of redemption we cannot buy either candidate's policies.

hope all is well with you. feel free to tell me what you think.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm All Alone...

It is a little weird being by myself this weekend. Bryce is off galavanting in Buffalo, NY for a work trip, and he has left me here to fend for myself for a few days. Let's see what I've been doing for the past few days without him.
Well, Wednesday I went to my Mommy's and watched the Phillies win the World Series!! Can you believe it? The World Series! I have never seen the city of Philadelphia win a championship in my lifetime--so what an exciting moment! I think I might have had a tear in my eye the moment Brad Lidge struck out the last Tampa Bay Ray. :)
Friday, in order to celebrate, I took a half day of work to go up to the city for the Phillies parade and ceremony down Broad Street. I have never seen anything so CRAZY in my life! There were SOOOOO many people flooding the streets, cheering and celebrating like crazy, it was NUTS! Mom scored me tickets to the ceremony inside Citizens Bank Park so Laurie and I met at the stadium after a looooong, tiring day of walking, trying to connect with one another, etc. But it was definitely cool to see them make some speeches and get some Philly Phan treatment. But it was definitely a long day. I will put some pictures up soon so you can see what I mean.
Friday night I headed out to an annual party in South Philly that is called "Etharween", as it is thrown by a friend named Ethan. We didn't make it last year, but I was glad to go this year. He made it a mustache theme, and I decided to go as a milk advertisement. I packed on some white goop on my top lip, and carried around a glass of fake milk. I was pretty impressed with my simple/yet cleverly-mustached costume. We also did a lot of dancing. I love dancing. I mean, seriously love dancing.
Today I will be doing the necessary house work...fun, fun. Anyway, just thought I'd give an update on the last few days by myself. Oh--and I stayed in our house by myself for the first time--2 nights in a row! I'm so proud of myself. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008


Well, this year's Halloween will be a bit different for us. Bryce will be out of town for work and I am here, for the weekend. So, we decidedly to celebrate our Halloween a bit earlier. On Saturday we headed down to our friend's house for a little party action. Now, to be honest, it was basically a high-school party...with lots of underaged girls dressing in way too little clothing...but hey-we needed a place to go and show off our killer costumes. So, we dealt. It made for good conversation at least.
Because I am pregnant, and Bryce looks good in short shorts, we decided to be Juno and Paullie Bleaker, from the movie: Juno. In case you haven't seen Juno--it's basically about a teenage girl who gets pregnant, and decides to give the baby up for adoption, after developing a good relationship with the "Mom" that would like a baby but can't have one. Juno is a cynical, somewhat outcast teen, while Paullie is shy and sweet, and on the cross-country team--hence the little shorts, headband, etc. It's a really fun, witty movie...
I am posting the picture of the real Juno and Paullie beside us. I'm not gonna lie, we looked awesome.

Who are the real Juno and Paullie?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Painting the Town Red...

Well, the Phils have made it into the Post Season. I'm so excited! So, they may have lost last night, but they are certainly not out--afterall, they are coming home to play the next 3 games! I am trying every method possible to win tickets...haven't been lucky so far, but I'm hopeful. :) On Wednesday Mom and I took the train up to the city for a Phillies pep rally. The players were already in Tampa, so that was a bit sad, but the Phanatic graced us with his presence and Mayor Nutter gave us a hearty speech as well. It was a good time. I needed a nice break from work too! Enjoy some pictures!

Mom and I taking the train into the city. What's with my right eye??

I love this picture of Bryce. He always does things to make me happy...like taking corny pictures of ourselves.
A giant Jersey...

A Philly Day...

City Hall...It was a really nice day, just a bit chilly...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

I totally love doing fall festive activities...even when I freeze my butt off. On Saturday we went over to Mood's Farm in Mullica Hill to go apple/pumpkin picking. Sadly, there were no apples...booo. But, we made the best of what we had. There were at least 25 of us, so we definitely had a good time. Micah is here visiting from Iowa (bryce's brother) so we got to show him a part of NJ he had never seen before-farm land! I'm sure he felt right at home. :) (and definitely heard about it from my friends!)
After a long morning of pumpkin picking, we went home and enjoyed wild rice and mushroom soup (DELISH) and homemade caramel apples...I'd say it was a pretty great October day. Here are some pix!

Annie-bananie and me. We actually got a little lost in the kids maze...oops.
Kofi and Chloe. I love these kids.

Bryce and Micah felt right at home on the hay ride. Except that they call it a hay-RACK ride in Iowa. Weird.

Hay-Riding it up...

We totally found pumpkins that like us...
The whole group...although some got cut out. Sorry guys, Farmer's fault.

Annalise and her baby pumpkin. She is so stinkin'
cute I can't take it.

Mommy, Daddy, and Poppy Pumpkins....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is it contagious?

I stole that title from Mandy's post. : ) I told you all about the three of us pregnant girls at the conference in Harrisburg this week, but I wanted to show a picture to prove. Monica (middle) is 5 months, and Mandy (left) is 7 months. This is also the first shot of my belly. It kind of looks I just ate too much lunch, which is possible, except that it's hard, and doesn't go away when I suck in! So--Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

House Pix

Aunt Rhonda has requested to see some house pictures...it will take too long to do all of them right now, but I have some of our downstairs...which is really the best part because nothing else is quite done like we want them to be yet. : ) So--here goes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A New Blog...

I thought it might be fun to start a blog, to show our family and friends what's going on, how big my belly gets, share some pictures, and just have a place to share some ideas and thoughts. I went through a Xanga phase awhile back, but hopefully this will be a place for both Bryce and I to share what's going on.
Thanks Monica for getting me started... :) Monica is a friend that I work with. As we work online, we don't have much of a face-to-face relationship, but she, along with Mandy and I have become cyber friends, and enjoy our time together when we do get to see one another! (Like today, as we are at a Professional Development in Harrisburg, PA.)
What's funny about the two of them, plus me, is that we are all preggo. Mandy is about 7 months, Mon is about 5 1/2 months, and I'm just about 3...so it's kind of funny. I'll try to put a picture up of the different stages of our bellies. So funny...

It's been a great Fall so far...just enough chill to keep me happy, and the leaves are looking really pretty. We've also been able to have some great bonfires in the backyard, and have loved watching the Phils kick butt in the post-season!! Go PHILS!

We have also been a part some really cool movements with Circle of Hope. Last weekend was the "soft start" of our Camden, NJ church plant--which was really exciting to be a part of. It kind of feels like we are embarking on something 'big'...I can't wait to see how things start moving and shaking in South Jersey. This past weekend we also traveled up to the Bensalem, PA area for a retreat with CoH. It was a Discernment Retreat where we all worked really hard to get out our big ideas, and our goals for 2009. It is amazing to see where we as the church has come in the past year, and it was cool to pour out our ideas on paper, and see where they take us in the next year. We also got to play some sweet games like "ga-ga", and a little kickball. I think my body was a little annoyed at me for doing so much physical activity after being lazy for so long!

Okay--that is probably enough for the first blog post. I hope you all enjoy, and come back again sometime! : )