Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Hallelujah Song

My church has been singing this song recently. I have looked to find the lyrics online (since I post on my church's Facebook page the lyrics to the song we sang on Sunday) but failed to find this song. So here it is. Hopefully it will help others who are searching for the same thing, but I know it will help me when I keep searching for the previous time I posted the lyrics so I don't have to type them up again.
The authors to this song also wrote "The Trees of the Field" which is a song in our green hymnal which involves clapping and as a conservative, no electronic instruments church, it's always surprising to see that one (but it is a fun song and seems based on Scripture).

The Hallelujah Song
By Stuart Dauermann and Steffi Rubin

There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus,
His Spirit has freed us from sin and death.
When the law could not save us in mercy God gave us
His Son as an offering to pay our debt.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

Now indebted to Him by His Spirit within
We've an offering to give Him in thankfulness.
Take our bodies and minds as we willingly bind them
With love to the alter of holiness.

So, we thank Thee, O Lord, for the love and accord
You have given Your people in all the earth.
That though different we be by Your Spirit we're free to
Grow in the fullness of our new birth.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Trains vs Planes

Recently we went to visit my family in CT for a weekend. It was tricky to get tickets and we didn't want to spend a bundle, so we flew up and rode the Amtrak train back. Which is better? Well here's the TL;DR - it depends on what you value. Read more to find out!

Trains: 🚄
Getting on and off is SO MUCH QUICKER! No security theater, no baggage checking and scanning, no emptying all your pockets and forgetting something and get more delays and all that garbage. It takes a couple minutes to step off the platform onto the train and find your seat.
You have so much space! You can stretch out, walk around, plug in (plenty of outlets), find the dining cart (long trains have them) and order something, and not get all cramped up. There's even WiFi, but if the train is full then it's gonna be slow and spotty.
You have a decent view - the train is relaxing and you ride through some nice areas. There's lots to see out there and it's not too hurried, just chugging along.
You can bring all your stuff. I don't know that there's any baggage restrictions, it just has to fit in the luggage bay or in overhead storage. There's under-seat space as well so you have plenty of room for stuff (including liquids and fragile things and personal electronic devices that can stay fully powered on the whole trip).
Bigger restrooms - it's still going to have some 'turbulence' as you're bouncing along, but it's nice to have a little extra space.

Planes: ✈
Getting to your destination is SO MUCH QUICKER! Even with the security stuff, still much quicker. For our usually trips, it's a generous 2.5hrs to get from our house in MD to my parent's house in CT. The train is around 6.5hrs.
You have personal service - you can (usually) get assigned seats so you sit with your people, the attendants ask what you'd like to drink and give you a snack, and you can fall asleep knowing you won't miss your stop because everyone (usually) is getting off and even if not, they check that only the correct people stay on.
Everyone boards together! You are getting on an empty plane, so as long as you get a good position or have assigned seating, then you can sit with your people! Unless you are boarding the train at the end of the line, there are already people in it and if it's a busy one (like from New Haven through NYC to DC), then you might struggle to find two open seats near each other.
They only check your ticket once! You scan your ticket, board, then can zone out (except for the safety briefing) until you reach your destination. No checking your ticket each time you enter another zone.
Signage is great! There are lots of signs telling you where to go when to be there. The electronic signs are all around telling you which terminal and gate and such. On the train platform, you have to keep paying attention and checking and asking. It's a little stressful but it's doable.

Ticket pricing - you have to check both and it depends on a load of factors which will be cheaper.
There will be stress. It's travel, you don't want to miss your connections but things are late and early and you have to keep on your toes and leave buffers all around.

There are pros and cons to each and it depends on the time of year and what you value, but it's nice to have both options.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

How To Pack Light

 As some have noted, I like to travel light. My husband is on board and we can usually travel with just carry-ons. We most notably went on a 10-day trip to Germany and surrounding area with just his backpack, my duffel bag, and a small backpack.
How do we do this? Well, we think through the whole trip and pack as little as possible to cover all the situations. We have bags that fit as carry-ons, namely I have an Under Armor duffel bag which is probably 8 years old and showing no signs of wear despite me using it for nearly every vacation and Mark has a "Cabin Max Metz backpack flight approved carry on bag" which is currently unavailable on Amazon.
Mark's Cabin Max in the distance

My UA duffel, topped with my hat that I didn't want crushed

Inside these we use packing cubes - you can get them in all sorts of sizes but the largest one I have tightly fits 6 rolled up t-shirts, a pair of shorts, a lightweight sweatshirt, and a set of pjs (shirt and pants). I probably could have fit another rolled up t-shirt.
Tip: pack the shorts, wear the jeans. Weather permitting, wear the sweatshirt too (but it was too warm and I was just bringing it as a habit from growing up in New England).
Large packing cube, not fully packed

That's all in the largest of my packing cubes. In my midsize packing cube, I stuff my socks, underclothes, and also a knee wrap hoping if I bring it with me, I won't need it (that's how those things usually work).
Large packing cube, left, with medium packing cube, right

I have a small packing cube but it mainly fits toiletries but since we were driving not flying, I didn't need to split up my toiletries so I didn't use my smallest cube. Here are my two cubes on top of my swimming suit and cover-ups in my duffel, topped by my hat.
Starting to pack it in

Since we were renting a house and I didn't know what I'd need, I packed my hair drying and straightener in there (turns out I didn't use either of them as the house provided a wall hair dryer like in hotels and I didn't care enough to do any straightening)
Packing cubes and such

My duffel has a handy end pocket used mainly for shoes, but I have a canvas pouch that I got from a Stitch Fix order that I use to bag my shoes, so I can use my shoe pouch for other things as well as shoes and not get everything dirty from whatever I've walked through. So in this end pocket I put a lot of liquids. As mentioned, we weren't flying, so I brought my full-size shampoo, conditioner, face wash, aloe spray, contact solution, and such. I put them in the end pocket because if they spill, they aren't near clothes.
Tip: wear the sneakers, pack the sandals.
Tip: bring travel size items to save on space.
End pocket with liquids and my tan canvas shoe bag containing sandals
 Next to pack was my toiletries bag. I keep most of these things in here because then I don't have to move them back and forth. I have a travel-size deodorant, travel-sized hair brush, razor, contact case, nail kit, and more. Usually I just need to add my medicines and this bag is good to go.
Next to this bag but not really in the picture is a small makeup bag - this contains chap stick, nail file, neutral eye shadows, and a few other things. I add my concealer since I haven't bought a second one to leave in there and my glasses wax because again I just have one of those, and this is good to go.
Tip: buy duplicates, in travel sizes, of toiletry items so you can leave them in your travel kit rather than remembering to raid your shower/bathroom before a trip. But this works best if you travel often otherwise you end up with a bag of expired goods.

Next up is my charger - I got the yellow coated wire from REI I think and it works well to corral cords for transit. I also got a thing to cover my charger cord to reinforce it and make it visually appealing. I usually stash this in the side pocket of my duffel so it is easy to reach and doesn't get tangled around anything.
Charger ready for transport
 Here is my fully stuffed bag containing full-sized toiletries in the end pocket (on left), two packing cubes atop my swim stuff, hair dryer, straightener, toiletries bag, make-up bag, and I believe I stuffed a blank comic book in there thinking I might doodle while away but I ended up not so I didn't need to pack that. It was a little hard to close but the zipper is strong and there were still some air pockets in there so I could have fit a bit more. Also my long front-side pocket has my phone charger and some dairy pills and other assorted things.
Fully packed bag, ready to zip
 Lastly, we got something like these vacuum bags which are amazing to use with your laundry. It's a fact that used clothes take up more space than clean, folded/rolled cloths, but this bag solves that AND doesn't require a vacuum! You just stuff your clothes in it, seal the top (like closing a ziplock baggie), then roll it down to press out all the air (there are special one-way vents at the bottom).
Note: those are not the ones we have, but the ones we have are out of stock (by The Chestnut on Amazon).
Tip: in a pinch, you can use these bags to vacuum pack your clean clothes to save on space but they may be a little wrinkly on the other side.
Don't air your dirty laundry, vacuum pack it instead
Over all, I could have packed lighter but I didn't know entirely what I needed. That's a big part of packing light - knowing what all you will need and sticking to that.
We did bring several other bags of stuff for the house, like towels, sheets, beach items like an umbrella, games, sports equipment, food, and such. I didn't include those in this post since there's not much you can do to pack folded sheets, towels, and equipment more concisely - they basically are the size that they are.

I hope you found this post helpful! 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Isaiah 7

We had a guest speaker (Dr. Todd S. Beall) this Sunday who spoke on Isaiah 7, and it was really encouraging. We started with reading Matthew 1:18-25, which seems random to read in August but it references the prophecy given in Isaiah 7. Here are the notes!

God's Plans vs. Our Plans
Isaiah 7:1-25

  1. A crisis of faith and God's reassuring promise (7:1-9)
    • Israel/Syria wants to replace Judah's King Ahaz. God says it won't happen.
  2. An unbelieving king (7:10-12)
    • God commands Ahaz to ask for a sign. Ahaz says no.
    • A fun thought: if God gave you an incredible promise and told you to ask for a sign, what would you request as a sign?
  3. An amazing sign of deliverance (7:13-16)
    • A miraculous conception (7:14a)
      • pregnant virgin, referenced in Matthew 1
    • A comforting name (7:14b)
      • Immanuel - God with us. The miracle of the incarnation.
    • A promise of deliverance, both now and in the future (7:15-16, 8:5-10)
      • the threatening countries would be deserted when the Child is born
  4. A reminder of the foolishness of man's ways (7:17-25)
    • Ahaz's hired army of Assyria would devastate Judah
  1. Can we fathom God's plans and God's ways?
    • maybe my short-sighted plan is good enough => BAD IDEA
  2. Do we trust God, no matter what?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hershey's Gold Review

Alternate title: My quest for Hershey's Gold.
I forgot where I first saw an ad for Hershey's Gold, the new candy bar from Hershey's, but it seemed tasty and I was intrigued. I thought I'd pick up a bar if I saw it in a store while I shopped.
And then I started watching the Olympics. I am a fan of Speed Skating and Apolo Ohno but those commercials are pervasive (granted, not annoying, just repetitive). I then decided I needed to try this new candy bar. And thus began my/our quest (I got my husband to help me).
I added the candy bar to our grocery list, so Mark looked for it when he was at Wegman's. He looked in the candy aisle and in the checkout area, but alas he did not see it anywhere! It was a sad day, and slightly puzzling because we do not live in a rural area and we expect to be able to find any food we desire. I know, First World Problems.
The next time we were out, we were by Target so we looked there. Alas, another strikeout!!! Where is this candy???
I then made it my quest on President's Day, as I ran errands, to find this candy bar. My first stop was Walmart, and there were some empty areas on the Hershey's shelf in the candy aisle but none of the tags mentioned Gold so I was sad. I looked in the checkout as I was checking out and still didn't find it. WHY.
I needed some fresh groceries so I went to Aldi's and didn't expect to find Hershey's Gold and I was correct - no Hershey's Gold there but I did get a load of fresh produce for under $8 which was cool.
My last stop of the day (unless I didn't find Hershey's Gold at which point I'm not sure where I'd look) was CVS. I looked all over the candy aisle and NO GOLD. I was sad. I decided to just check the front checkout and GOLD GOLD GOLD THEY HAD GOLD so I bought a bar.
We planned to try the bar that night, but we had a very filling dinner so it just sat on the table. The next evening, Mark was out but I opened the bar and limited myself to one three-piece chunk (the bar is interestingly perforated) and somehow I was able to keep myself to that limit.

IT IS DELICIOUS. If you like caramelized creme, peanuts, and pretzels, this is the candy bar for you! If you are expecting chocolaty goodness, look elsewhere - this bar is not chocolate. But this bar is different, it's sweet and salty and has some crunch and I would like more places to carry it!!!

I would like another piece but alas, when Mark came home, we broke off one three-piece chunk at a time and shared it but we ate the whole thing. Do I want to know how many servings are in this? I dare to look and WOOHOO it's a two serving bar so we are good! I won't look at the nutrition facts because seriously people, this is a candy bar.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

James chapter 1

We had a guest speaker, Jim Schuppe, do an excellent series on James. Here are my notes from the first three sessions - I found them rewarding and thought I'd share.

Friends We Deplore - Trials (James 1:1-12)
1. Count it all joy - make a choice to see it as good. Thank God for trials. Don't ask why it was taken away; ask why it was given.
2. Go through the trial fully (completely). It will produce patience/endurance/maturity.
3. Ask God for wisdom. He will give it.
4. Ask in faith (no doubts). Faith is not a feeling/emotion - it is an action. 
5. Rejoice in your status change. "to those who love Him"

Terrorists We Adore - Temptations (James 1:13-20)
Five Deceptions/Rationalizations:
1. God made me this way and I can't help it (victim). See Adam & Eve - Genesis 3.
2. The Devil made me do it. Actually: 
 a. Drawn away by desires (normal, human, not necessarily bad).  
 b. Enticed (baited) - offer for wrong fulfillment. 
 c. Sin (action) - grabbing the bait.
3. It won't kill me / hurt me / I can do this and get away with it - FALSE. Many examples. God's way is best.
4. The Devil has better offers / more fun - Satan takes, doesn't give, and doesn't stick around.
5. I can do this myself - rather: 
 a. Listen.
 b. Speak truth to yourself and speak carefully.
 c. Control your anger.

Elephant in the Room We Ignore - Word of God (James 1:21-25)
1. The Word of God helps those who need salvation.
2. The Word of God helps those getting out of / free from sin.
3. The Word of God helps those who capture its words. Hang on, internalize, grasp
4. The Word of God only blesses those who obey it. No other way. Be doers, not just hearers. 

And here's a comic I drew a while ago that's related:
Aaaaaand I've misplaced my notes for James 1:26-27, which is a bummer because there is a lot in those two verses:
"If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (ESV)
I found the header: 
The tasks we minimize - Religion (James 1:26-27)

And a summary of chapter two and beyond:
The millionaires we insult - racism (James 2:1-13)

The response we overlook - faith (James 2:14-26)

The instrument so difficult to play - speech (James 3:1-18). I drew some comics on this one so check out my other blog for those (will post links later).

Monday, November 27, 2017

Double Movie Review: Thor 3 and Justice League

Ok, so this review will have spoilers. I will do a super short summary where I will keep out the spoilers, then a full review where there could be some minor spoilers.

Super short with no spoilers: both are PG-13 and I would not recommend for any kids (quite a bit of violence and a little bit of language), but both get positive reviews from me for the age-appropriate audience. I'm not liking the Marvel trend of crude butt humor. I'm not a fan of romance and neither of these movies had much of that, so that was nice. I like light-hearted characters and both movies had these. I went in with too high of hopes for Thor and too low of hopes for Justice League.

Thor 3: I went in with high hopes for this one - it's Marvel; it's not GotG; it's classic characters Thor and Hulk and Loki. I was a little disappointed but overall still give this one a positive review. The negative is that Disney/Marvel is really on the butt humor trend that GotG2 started but thankfully was not nearly as crude (still kinda crude though). The positive is that it has some good humorous points, there is no romance, and Thor is just a really optimistic character.

Justice League: I went in with low hopes for this one - BvS really dampened my hopes for a DC movie and I just didn't see this matching up to WW. The good news is, they stayed off the crude humor trend, there is minimal romance, and added some really optimistic characters (Aquaman and Flash) which strayed away from the dark doom and gloom of MoS and BvS. I give this one a positive review. The scene with Aquaman and the lasso of truth was hilarious.