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. In this post, I'm going through what I packed for a family vacation in a neighboring state.
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!