Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hotel Life

I have been living out of a hotel for the last 24 days.  And I have 15 days left.  Can I say I am in the home stretch yet?  The joys of living out of a hotel room.  There are some definite pros and some serious cons.

Pros

  • Well for one, I don't have to make my bed.  Someone does it for me!  Everyday.
  • The little coffee pods are miraculously restocked when I return to my room after work.
  • I have HGTV, TLC, and the Food Network to watch.  We don't have cable at home, so I'm pretty much getting my fill of DIY projects, What Not to Wear, and Pioneer Woman.  Oh, how I love Pioneer Woman.
  • Little to no responsibility.  Actually, I think this might be more of a con.  I do not want to develop bad habits that will follow me back home.

Cons
  • The strange noises.  The hotel is right next door to a fire station and the light rail tracks.  There must be a lot of emergencies, because those sirens seem to go blaring every 15 minutes.  I have a hard time falling asleep a night because of all the weird noises.  I'm used to living in the country, where all I hear is the occasional cow moo from the neighbors that live 1/4 mile away.
  • Laundry costs $3.50 per load.  Lucky for me, I've learned to master the no-need-to-sort-throw-everything-in-one-load method.  I'll teach you about it someday.  But seriously, $3.50 seems pretty steep. 
  • There are so many pillows, you would think that I could cuddle up with a couple and get a good night's sleep, but really no amount of pillows can substitute for my #1 snuggler back home.  (I'm talking about my husband, although my puggle is also a world class snuggler).
    One thing that I think I've always known, but has really been reinforced on this trip, is how much I love being home.  Everyone has a little bit of that grass-is-always-greener mentality, and unfortunately those few minutes that I thought "I could go to Baltimore, it would break up the day-to-day stuff at my regular job" have more so impacted my home life.  Duh, Amy.  You aren't just in Baltimore during the work day!  
    I want to get back to my actual life.  The life where I spend my free time with my hubby, even if it means I don't have the Food Network.  I want the routine of making my own bed (somedays) and doing laundry in my own house.  Actual life sure beats this hotel life any day of the week.  
      

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Gardening for an Extreme Beginner

I've ordered the seeds and bought the books.  I'm officially a beginning gardener.  A real beginner.  I really have no idea what to do once it comes to actual planting.  The only thing I've planted before are flowers, but I am really eager to plant and harvest actual food.  I have a lot to learn before we are eating food from our garden though.

I bought these books at Barnes & Noble this afternoon.


I ordered about 35 items from SeedsNow.com.  They only sell organic, non-GMO seeds.  I'm excited to not only grow our own food, but to do it organically.  The other great thing about this site is that you can buy sampler packs of just a few seeds in order to try them out.

I bought the following seeds:
-Green onions
-Rosemary
-Cilantro
-Thyme
-Basil
-Honeydew melon
-Watermelon
-Romaine lettuce
-Kale
-Spinach
-Lemon cucumber
-Green cucumber
-Summer squash
-Zucchini
-Spaghetti squash
-Alfalfa sprouts
-Tomatoes (two kinds)
-Carrots
-Broccoli (green and purple)
-Peppers (seven kinds, I might be crazy)
-Sugar snap peas
-Green beans
-Asparagus

And just for fun:
-Little pumpkins
-Giant pumpkins
-Jack O'Lantern pumpkins

Seth and I moved out to an acreage in November, and have plenty of space for a garden.  He wants to use a large open area that is already partially tilled.  But I want to save this space for our future dream of building a tennis court.  And I would rather start some raised beds closer to the house and the outbuilding that I will use as a garden shed.

I know that not all the above seeds will be planted and harvested at the same time.  And I also need to start planning the locations of plants and figuring out what to plant at what time.  Just a lot to learn before I get started!  I plan to document this gardening journey along the way.  Any tips or suggestions that you have are welcome!

I'm still on my work trip and have 19 days left until I return home.  I think this will be a fun and rewarding project to work on with my hubby.  I'm expecting a lot of hard work and time and dirt in our future!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Seeking Spiritual Growth

Last week, I started one of John MacArthur's Bible studies on Spiritual Growth.  I have finished the first section and want to reflect on what I learned.  The main theme that he focused on was that spiritual growth is accomplished by giving glory to God.  Spiritual growth has nothing to do with prosperity, the amount of time I've been a Christian, busyness with church activities, book knowledge, the amount of God's love for us, or even my position in Christ (because I was placed in Christ from the moment I believed).    

Instead, spiritual growth involves matching my practice with my position.  Growing in grace equals giving glory to God.  In all I do, I should focus on the glory of God.

"But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen." -2 Peter 3:18

There are many examples throughout the Bible of when God showed His glory, but the world rejected it: in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:8); in the face of Moses (Exodus 33); in the Temple (1 Kings 8:10); and in Christ (John 1:14).  In the future, when Christ returns, the glory of the Lord will fill the whole earth  (Matthew 24:30), and none will be able to turn away from it.

In the present, the glory of God should be displayed by His believers.  The key to my spiritual growth is showing the glory of God through me.  

"And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." - Ephesians 3:19

"To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."  -Colossians 1:27

My pride can stand in the way of giving God glory, because man seeks glory for himself.  However, as I focus more on God and giving the glory to Him, I will be changed into the image of Christ - this is the process of spiritual growth.

The writer of the study gave the example from 1 John, which we had also studied recently at our church Bible study class.  In 1 John 2:12-14 there are three levels of growth:  little children, young men, and fathers.  The little children know the Father, but they do not know the Scripture well.  The young men know the Father and have the Word of God abiding in them.  They are strong and grounded in the Word.  The fathers have those two things, but they also know God intimately.  

Spiritual growth progresses from knowing that I am saved to knowing the Word to knowing God himself.  By spending my life focusing on His glory, I can work toward spiritual growth.  I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series and absorbing the teaching from the Bible.  I pray that God will show me how I can give Him glory and grow spiritually through this study.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Weekend in DC & then a snow day

This weekend I traveled from Baltimore to Washington D.C. by train.  The trip is about 1 hour and on the commuter train only costs $7.  Pretty good, considering it cost $10 for a 10 minute cab drive in the city.  While there, I went to the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery and then Amanda met up with me before Seamus came and picked up both up.  We also took a drive to the National Harbor near Alexandria.  The convention center/hotel was hosting a cheer leading competition, so there were swarms of little gals everywhere.  I didn't take pictures of them, that would have been weird.



On Sunday, we toured the Kennedy Performing Arts Center.  The view from the top deck was amazing!  Seamus and Amanda are just so easy to spend time with and they are very welcoming.



And then I meet up with my friend Kirsten for brunch.  I loved catching up with her.  We hadn't seen each other for a couple years, and now she is moving to New York City in a few months.  Just crazy to see where people end up after college.



Yesterday, with the holiday, we didn't have class, so I just relaxed and watched a lot of shows on Amazon Prime.  But, I've been a little bored, okay a lot bored.  I know I could find more productive things to do with my time like exercise, for example.  I think some of it related to me just missing home and my husband.  Homesickness is real, I'm telling you!

But when I woke up today, I was somewhat excited to go to work.  I mean, it at least gives me something to do all day.  Unfortunately, Baltimore is expecting up to 10 inches of snow today, so the office is closed for a snow day.  It is around noon now, and it isn't too bad yet.  So, we'll see if it continues coming down, and whether or not it affects work for the rest of the week.


In the meantime, I have already done my laundry and watched a couple more shows.  I know, I know.  How can a person fit so much excitement in one morning?  I'll try to tone it down for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Missing home

I've been away from home for 9 days.  I have 30 days left.  I know this is going to be tough, it already is.  I miss everything about being home:  my bed, my house, my dogs, but mostly my husband.


Yes, I volunteered to come to Baltimore.  Yes, the extra money will be nice.  But, I have to think I wasn't really in my right mind when I said I would do this.  It isn't the work during the day, that is just fine.  It's mostly the evenings and the weekends.  Saturdays and Sundays are wonderful at home.  We sleep in on Saturdays, we go to church on Sundays.  We relax and reconnect.  Gosh, even weekdays are better at home.  Because we are together.  We work together, so we ride to work in the morning, and we ride home at night.  I love that time.  We've been married for 6 years, I still love every day with him.  And I am sad during those days when he is far away.

I'll be in his arms in 30 days.  Let the countdown begin.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Photography, blogging, and Baltimore


I'm not much of a "sharer".  I like my privacy, and I don't feel like my life is all that interesting.  But, this year I want to start documenting our journey on our new acreage, the beginning of my photography hobby, and my appreciation of all the blessings God has given to us. 

Currently, I'm stuck in a hotel room for a few weeks on a work assignment out of town.  I'm attempting to utilize this time to learn how to take better pictures.  I got a new Canon Rebel SL1 (DSLR camera) right before Thanksgiving as an early birthday/Christmas/let's-move-into-a-new-house present. 


So far, me and the "Auto" feature have been good friends.  But, I am eager to learn more.  Not only do I want to learn the features of my camera, but also how to better compose pictures.  I'm excited to take up this new hobby!  

One of the ways I plan to take more (and better) pictures this year is by practice and sharing my progress through Project 52.  I will take and post a picture every week this year.  So, at the end of the year, I'll have 52 pictures - that hopefully reflect something that happened that week.  Since we are already into week 2, I will share two pictures this week.

Weeks 1 & 2:
This is the view from my hotel window.  The Emerson Bromo-Seltzer clock tower now houses artists' studios.  According to my excellent research (errr...Wikipedia reading), this used to be the tallest building in Baltimore.

One of my other goals while here in Baltimore is to spend more time in the Word.  I've got the time, so there are no excuses.  

"The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple."  Psalm 19:7

I'm excited to start 2014 and document it along the way!