29 September 2011

28 September 2011

Finding Nemo

Avery loves fish. In fact, "ish" was one of her first words and one of the first animals she recognized in books and other pictures (like on the Long John Silver's sign!). So we gave her "Finding Nemo" for Christmas last year. We came across it on TV last weekend, and since she was being such a good girl we let her watch a little bit of it. I had to take these picture of her watching the movie so intently, along with her pal Pinky. She looks like such a big girl!

27 September 2011

BSF 2011-2012: Acts 2

In Acts 2, Jesus' followers finally experience the Holy Spirit's much-anticipated arrival. I'm sure they had no idea how the Spirit would arrive and indwell them. So God provided several signs of the Holy Spirit's arrival, including an audible sound like the wind, a visible fire above each person's head and evidence of His presence through the believers' clearly and articulately speaking in foreign languages.

Then Peter gave a powerful sermon, thanks to the Holy Spirit's indwelling. He clearly shared the gospel message, confirmed prophecies about Jesus in the Psalms and finally called the people to repent and return to God. After Peter's sermon, 3,000 people believed and were baptized. These people formed the first church!

I love the picture of unity in this chapter. The Holy Spirit unifies all believers. We shouldn't quibble over differences in our denominations or different opinions over minor, gray area issues. Instead, all Christians should be united in sharing the gospel around the world. The fact that the other 11 apostles stood with Peter told the people listening to his sermon that all of them were united in thought, word and deed.

Are you united with other believers? How are you helping to unify (or separate) the Christian church? What are you doing to help spread the gospel message across the globe?

26 September 2011

Updating another bathroom

With our newly remodeled hallway bathroom (Avery’s bathroom), I have been inspired to give the master bathroom a new look. A full remodel is not in the budget right now, but painted walls and an exhaust fan that works would be a good start…at least that was my thought.

I began tackling the exhaust fan on Saturday with a trip to Menards to buy the necessary supplies: a new fan, a drywall board and vent piping. After six hours of work (and less cuss words than could be expected), I succeeded in the following: cutting my finger with a knife, falling of the ladder and screwing up my ankle, creating a big hole in the ceiling and calling an electrician this morning to come finish it. The good news is I easily removed the wallpaper border.

I will give myself an A for effort but an F for execution. I guess some things are worth paying for.

23 September 2011

Pot Roast with Mushroom Sauce

I fondly remember enjoying pot roast made by my Grandma Hromada many years ago. But what working mom has time to prep and cook a traditional pot roast dinner? That's where the slow cooker steps in!

This is a fabulous recipe. The meat is so juicy and tender, and the veggies are yummy after they're cooked all day with the meat. This takes a little bit more prep work than most slow cooker recipes. So I usually brown the meat the night before, put it in a Ziploc bag and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Then I prepare everything else in the morning. Add this to your household menu for the upcoming cool fall days!

1 1 1/2-pound boneless beef eye of round roast or round rump roast
4 or 5 medium potatoes, quartered
1 16-ounce package peeled baby carrots (I actually use only about half of the bag for more potatoes and less carrots!)
1 10 3/4-ounce can condensed golden mushroom soup
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon or basil
1 tablespoon dried minced onion

Preparation Instructions
Trim fat from roast. Lightly coat an unheated large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Add meat to skillet and brown on all sides. Place potatoes and carrots in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Place browned meat on top of vegetables. In a small bowl, stir together soup, tarragon or basil and onion. Pour over meat in cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. To serve, transfer meat and vegetables to a serving platter. Stir sauce and spoon over meat and vegetables.

20 September 2011

BSF 2011-2012: Acts 1

The book of Acts begins with the first 50 days after Jesus' resurrection. He appears to His disciples many times over the course of 40 days and gives them instructions about the coming Holy Spirit. Then Jesus ascends to heaven in front of His disciples. (Can you imagine what that would have been like?!) After that, there's a 10-day lull before the Holy Spirit arrives at Pentecost. So what do the disciples do during these 10 days as they're waiting for the Holy Spirit? They "joined together constantly in prayer" (Acts 1:14). When they were confused, scared and waiting for God to respond, they turned to Him in prayer.

Even before this week's lesson, I had determined that during BSF this year I would focus on prayer. As a co-assistant children's supervisor, I have a special privilege to pray for the children's program in my BSF class. As a wife, I have a special privilege to pray for my amazing husband. As a mother, I have a special privilege to pray for my sweet daughter. I could go on and on because as Christians, we've been called to be prayer warriors.

I don't take advantage of my prayer relationship with God quite enough. Often I can't concentrate when my to-do list is running through my mind. And honestly it's difficult to talk to someone who isn't in the same room as me, even though I can feel and sense God's presence. I should enjoy and anticipate my times of talking to my heavenly Father, the Creator and the Ruler of the universe! And what peace I have knowing that He listens to me!

This year I want to become a better pray-er. I want to have more focused and effective prayers, so I am making thorough lists of prayer requests. I want to have a more consistent prayer life, so I am making daily prayer appointments with God and trying to keep in touch with Him with "arrow prayers" during the day. And ultimately, I want to teach Avery how to pray (more than just at meals).

How 'bout you? How would you rate your prayer life? What are you doing to improve it?

17 September 2011

Avery performs Zaccheus' Song

All of the people in Avery's life have been teaching her several classic children's Sunday School songs. Here she is performing Zaccheus' Song (minus a few words and phrases!):

In case you can't understand Avery, here are the lyrics:

Zacchaeus was a wee little man
And a wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see.
And as the Savior passed that way,
He looked up in that tree.
And He said, “Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I’m going to your house today.
Yes, I’m going to your house today.”

15 September 2011


For a long time, Avery has been an expert at telling you the sounds animals make. She knows that cows say "moo," monkeys say "ee-ee" and cats say "meow." But there's one cat in her life who doesn't say "meow." Aunt Karen's cat, Oliver.

He is a little particular about short people who like to play with his toys, pull his fur and run screaming through Karen's condo. So when Avery stresses him out, he hisses at her, hoping that will get her to leave him alone for a little bit. All she wants to do is play with him! Unfortunately, he doesn't play quite like the big dogs at Mommaw and Poppaw Clark's house.

I'm sure one day Avery will calm down. Or maybe one day Oliver will face the fact that Avery isn't going anywhere and he has to learn to live with her. Until then, here is Avery's impersonation of Oliver.

14 September 2011

Two! Two! Two!

We all know that Avery is 2 years old. Even Avery knows that. But just this week, she started showing two fingers without any help. She's very proud of this milestone, as you can see below:

13 September 2011

BSF 2011-2012: Introduction to Acts

Last night was the first meeting night for BSF this year. The first night includes a lot of fellowship and getting reacquainted, and the first lesson will be completed for discussion next week. Last night's lecture was an introduction to what we'll study over the course of the year.

Here's what struck me during the lecture. Many people wonder if the Bible is still relevant today. After all, it was written more than 2,000 years ago to completely different generations of people in a totally different part of the world. How can my life in the 21st century relate to a new believer in Rome during the first 30 years after Jesus' death and resurrection?

I firmly believe the Bible is the perfect, inerrant, written word of God. It is alive and active, and it can be applied to any situation in life. We'll see this in our study of Acts this year. For example, here are a few of the topics facing the early church, which are covered in this year's study:
  • Political unrest
  • Unbelievers suppressing Christians and their beliefs
  • Evil lifestyles
  • Waiting for Christ's return
  • Conflict within the church
  • False teachers
Hmmm...aren't we still battling these situations today? Whatever we read in the Bible can be applied to whatever situation we're facing right now!

Bonus: Here's a lesson I learned while working in the children's program last night. God has given each of us special abilities and talents to use for Him. When I do my job, everyone else can do their jobs with confidence. And everything runs smoothly when we're all doing our part!

12 September 2011

Daddy's Little Referee

While watching the Colts game yesterday (well, the Texans game since the Colts forgot to show up), Avery saw a referee announce a false start and make the signal for the penalty. With no prompting from me, she immediately turned around, did the signal (the same as travelling in basketball) and stated, "That man just did travel!" This was quite an awesome moment for me. I know it was a different sport, but she recognized a basketball signal on her own. How awesome is that?! Just a chip off the ol' officiating block!

10 September 2011

BSF 2011-2012: Acts of the Apostles

For the past eight years, I've enjoyed a yearlong, in-depth Bible study with an international group called Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). Each week consists of a personal study, a small group where we discuss our discoveries during the personal study, a lecture and comprehensive notes about the week's Bible passage.

I'm officially a "graduate" this year since I've completed all eight studies in the series. Whoo hoo! Here is the full eight-year BSF schedule:
  • Isaiah
  • Acts of the Apostles
  • Genesis
  • Matthew
  • The Life of Moses
  • Romans
  • History of Israel and the Minor Prophets
  • John
After completing the eight years, I've read practically the whole Bible...or at least I can more clearly understand the Bible's timeline and how everything fits together.

I've also had the pleasure of serving as a group leader for a few years. And this year, I'm tackling a new leadership position as a co-assistant children's supervisor. That's another post in itself!
Lately God has convicted me. I've realized that I haven't shared as much of my biblical knowledge as I should. So this year I'm committing to sharing some of that knowledge with you, our blog readers! My BSF class meets on Monday nights, so each Tuesday I plan to post a summary of the week's Scripture and my thoughts on the passage. This year's study is Acts of the Apostles, which will cover many other New Testament books besides Acts.

I'm telling you all of this to help me stay accountable. If you expect to see a BSF post on Tuesdays, I'll be more likely to deliver!

I hope the BSF posts this year will enlighten you about the Bible and God's plan for you. Perhaps the new insight into the Scripture will encourage you to study the Bible on your own or even join a local BSF class near you! So get ready to travel with me through the book of Acts!

08 September 2011

07 September 2011

The price of silence

Due to scheduling conflicts with Grandma and Grandpa's vacation and Mommaw's work schedule, I'm working from home this week. And enjoying some extra playtime with my girl.

Earlier this morning when I realized that Avery was unusually quiet and I hadn't seen her for awhile, I ventured down the hallway to her playroom and found this scene. She had emptied all of the toys from one of her baskets because she was looking for one particular toy, which wasn't even in the basket! I assured her that she will have to clean up all of this at some point today!

05 September 2011

Chirp! Chirp!

When I found out earlier this year that Indiana University (Chris' favorite team since birth) would take on Ball State University (my alma mater) at a football game at Lucas Oil Stadium, I quickly asked Chris if we could go. It didn't take much convincing because he was interested, too. Since my parents are BSU season ticket holders, we got really good seats for a decent price in BSU's old fogey section. It wasn't that bad! :o) But just before kickoff, when you're supposed to stand up and cheer, everyone in our section sat down. Except Chris and me!

Our evening started with a quick stop to visit my friend Marena, her husband and his parents as they tailgated. Poor Marena...she had to spend the game with three IU fans. But Chris was just the opposite and suffered through the game with three BSU fans, including a taunting mother-in-law!

As we talked with Marena and her family, we saw some lightning and heard some thunder. So Marena and her gang started packing away their tailgating equipment, and Chris and I decided to head over to the stadium. It started sprinkling about halfway to the stadium, then it started raining harder. So we started to run, but we were too far away from the stadium. We stood outside a fast food restaurant where we were sheltered from the rain. Then we went inside for a few minutes when the rain shifted to a different direction and started getting us even wetter. Just 15 or 20 minutes later, the rain stopped and the sun came out again. Considering how much we need rain around here, I didn't want to complain about the quick shower. But I'm sure I looked like a drowned rat for the first part of the game. Luckily, we stayed pretty dry compared to a lot of other fans!

This was my first time in Lucas Oil Stadium and Chris' first time there for a football game. That building is just as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside.

As we walked in, we stepped up to the stands to take a look at the view from one of the end zones. Then we took a long walk around the whole concourse before we started looking for our seats.

We walked right past this fancy-looking suite entrance. Then Chris said that our ticket section was listed on the sign. So this was where we were supposed to enter!

Once inside, we saw lots of Cardinal fans milling around a beautiful open room. This area featured our own private concession stands, private bathrooms and even flat-screen HD TVs. There were some free light snacks, and Charlie Cardinal was wandering around the room taking pictures with fans. I'm sure that earlier in the evening there were some other activities, but this was a nice perk for season ticket holders. If I had known that we'd walk into a huge room filled with BSU fans, I would have made Chris and his IU T-shirt sneak in another entrance!

Finally, we headed to our seats where we met up with my parents.

From our awesome seats, we had a good view of the Colts championship banners (this is only half of them!)...

...and that huge window facing the downtown skyline.

We enjoyed watching the teams warm up.

Then it was finally kickoff time.

The game was very exciting since both teams were pretty even in the first half. But my Cardinals took over in the second half and dominated offensively. IU's defense was too gassed to stop Ball State from scoring. In the end, Ball State was victorious, 27-20.

After each win, the Ball State players run to the student section and sing the school fight song in celebration of the victory. I was glad to witness this tradition this night!

Chris and I had a friendly wager on the game. If IU won, I was going to give Chris a 20-minute back massage. But since Ball State won, he will relinquish the remote control to me for one evening. I honestly didn't think I would be cashing in on the bet because I assumed the Hoosiers would win. But I'll gladly accept his payment. He was a very gracious loser...I don't think I would have been as humble and accepting.

We had a blast together with my parents. And it was extra exciting that Ball State won!