Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving in the desert...

Here are some shots from our trip to Phoenix...

We packed a lot into a few days! Lots of eating, game playing, s'more making, hiking, and present opening :)...

We're planning to spend Christmas this year with the Wittes, so we decided to open presents with the Browns already at Thanksgiving

Guitar Hero 3 baby!
We got up early one morning and joined Nana and Poppa Brown for a hike around the White Tank Mountains... VERY pretty.
3 generations of Brown men. Can you tell they're related?
Yes, that is a tarantula...

Sunday, November 25, 2007


First of all, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Phoenix with the Browns. More on that later - including pictures!

Tonight I picked up a new book of mine - Dangerous Surrender by Kay Warren - and I know that God has already touched my heart by the truth that I read in the first chapter. This book talks about a life surrendered to God... and what God can do with such a life. For Kay Warren, it means working with the HIV/AIDS crisis. A cause that also tugs at my heart, when I'm not too distracted by other things.

I'll share what specifically struck me tonight. First of all, some statistics.

*If you have a roof overhead, food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, and a place to sleep, you're doing better than 75% of the people in this world.

*If you have ANY money in the bank you are in the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

*If you have never experienced battle, imprisonment, torture, or starvation, you are ahead of 500 million other people.

*If you can attend worship services without fear, you are more blessed than 3 billion people in the world.

Then Kay writes, "I don't tell this to you to make you feel guilty - but I do hope you feel uncomfortable. I hope these statistics disturb you. God in his sovereignty decided where you would be born and allowed you to live in a place that has almost everything anyone could ever desire, so there is no guilt that he has ordered our lives in such a way. The only guilt we bear is the guilt of ignoring the men, women, and children of this world who do not have what we have - the guilt of spending the majority of our time, money, and resources exclusively on ourselves and our families. That is legitimate guilt."

Wake up call.

I'm a follower of Christ. Not a great one most times, but I have given my life to him and trust in his will for my life. I believe that Christ died for me to set me free from sin and make me right with God. I know that my only comfort in life and in death is that I'm not my own, but belong body and soul to my faithful savior Jesus Christ.

But do I make a daily choice to surrender my will to him? No. Do I hide in my comfortable life, spending more time and energy on myself than anyone else? Do I dream more about having a house/kids/you name it than justice, hope and peace for this sad world? You betcha.

Only God can change my hard heart, and only I can let him.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brown Family Update #3

This'll be quick, but at least enough to get Julie off my back. Not that she can talk...


Update on me? Hm...

I'm a brunette now - see India Night pictures

I'm home alone until Wednesday, when I fly to Phoenix for THanksgiving. Josh is already there, and Riley is with my parents. It is a little sad to be alone here, but I hope to get lots of Christmas cards and shopping done/presents wrapped/etc. PLUS my dear friend Lora calls to suggest craft/shopping/eating times, which I'm very thankful for. I've gone a little crazy at Hobby Lobby and Michael's lately :).

I'm currently watching ELF, my favorite movie!

I'm co-chairing the Kelley Partner's Club with Lora for 2008.

I lost a new sweater a couple of weeks ago - and nothing gets under my fingernails like losing things - especially clothes! And then yesterday I found it! Made my day. It was behind the laundry hamper and behind a closet door and I'm oh so happy to have it back.

I'm trying to study Isaiah a little bit here and there and am enjoying it. We're going to start Sacred Marriage with our church small group soon, which I'm looking forward to. Much as I enjoy getting involved in a small group here, I miss my GR small group! So much.

I can't think of anything else. Back to ELF!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

India Night

So I really have to take a break from the updates to bring you some shots from India Night...

Did you ever think you'd see Josh wearing Indian clothes AND dancing to Indian music? Awesome.

The Indian students from the MBA program (and there are quite a few!) put on an excellent cultural event for the rest of us on Saturday night. They served REALLY good food, performed Indian songs and dances, and one guy even painted our names in Hindi. Very cool. I also got a henna tattoo put on my hand, which is fun. It is still there 3 days later! We had so much fun!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Brown Family Update #2


Our little cutie is doing well. He is much loved and pretty spoiled, and we can't imagine life without him. He almost always walks on all fours, which is great. Good to know that our significant surgery investment hasn't gone to waste! He spends large portions of each day napping in his bed, in our bed, or his new favorite spot - the chair by the window (see picture). The chair will never be the same! The added bonus of this spot is that he can spy on our neighbors through the front window.

Riley lives for the chance to get down to the doggy park just around the corner from our townhouse. He runs around like a crazy dog and chases after balls, sticks, and leaves. Pure glee. And sometimes there are even other dogs there... what could be better?!

If he can't be outside romping around with the neighborhood dogs, his favorite indoor pastime continues to be tearing up his toys. Between that and his hair starting to shed big time, our floors are in a continual state of disarray.

He is going to stay with "Grandma" Witte for the week of Thanksgiving, and I'm already sad about it. We're really going to miss the little rascal. Thankfully he will be in good hands!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Brown Family Update #1


Thick in the middle of "case competition" work. They (thankfully) have the week off from class but (unfortunately) have a massive project to present on Thursday. Their job is to figure out what the Lego company should do to get profits back up. From what I understand, this toy giant has been slipping in popularity since video games have become so popular. So he will eat/sleep/breathe Lego's for the next few days and hopefully have some stellar idea to present to the class on Thursday. Anyone have any grand suggestions? Feel free to leave them here.

He has also been practicing interview skills, both at school and with me and Riley at home. Well, just me at home. I have a cereal bowl filled with interview question flashcards that I pull out at random and ask him. He starts interviewing for his all-important summer internship in early January, which is coming WAY SOON.

Who wouldn't want to hire this guy?

I'll add updates for Riley and me soon, but I have to finish this extra job/project first. 2.5 more hours to go! And then I'm done and can await my extra paycheck. Yipee!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Big Day For The Car

Moment 1:
I walk out of work into the parking lot, and notice that the car looks weird. Lopsided. That look it has when there is a flat tire involved. Sad.

Since I have never changed a tire in my life and didn't want to break the better of the two cars we own, I went back into the office and asked for help. Three folks from work, plus a nice random guy, came out to assist, and I got a nice lesson on jacks, lug nuts, and donuts. I now know how, even if I don't have the strength to get the lug nuts loose. We now have the smallest little tire ever on there. Josh tried to take it in tonight but made it too late... I'll try and take it in tomorrow.

Moment 2:
I gave a coworker, Ryan, a ride to the Convention Center this afternoon, where we were prepping for a big event tonight. Right when we got there someone asked him to run to the grocery store for something, so I handed him my keys so he could run out quick. He comes back 10 minutes later, super worried, saying "I can't get your car to start." Crap. Not another car problem for one day! So we head out and get almost to my car and it suddenly dawns on him. Wrong car.

He had actually broken into someone else's car (that was left open!), sat next to a purse left on the passenger seat, tried every key on my ring, wondered why in the world does she have a Toyota key for a Chevy?, and was unable to get it to start. Not a surprise! He told me later that some guy in the parking lot was eyeing him suspiciously the whole time, as thought he thought Ryan might be stealing the car. And actually, he kind of was trying to car-jack without knowing it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Lora Moment

Lora and I are sitting on her couch, laptops on laps, headphones in ears, doing evaluations for this extra job that we both have. We refer to this as "K-Leading"

Lora (demonstrating how her headphones, the standard ones that come with all i-pods, don't fit): God, my ears are so small. These things really hurt when I put them in.
Jessica: Yeah, I can see that.
Lora: What is this little "R" for?
Jessica(amazed): Seriously? Right and left.
Lora: Why does it matter which ear you put them in?
Jessica: Because they have different shapes. Look.
Lora (It is like a big fat spotlight has been switched on inside her head.): OOOHHH. I was wondering why sometimes they slide right in. And why other times it is like I have to jam them in my ears.

I can't imagine how this detail has escaped her for so long. I am laughing so hard it is difficult to type.

Lora: My ears are still small, though.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Book Recommendation

This is one of my favorite books of all time. A book about truth, celebration, not having it all together, learning that your friends have messy basements, too, and hope. It is satisfying. Encouraging. Enjoyable.

And big Z has made it possible for you to read an excerpt online. Here.

But here is a passage that sadly isn't included on Zondervan's website. She is talking about how she has an old house and struggles with jealousy over the new house of a friend. And it is one of my favorites:

On my worst days, I start to believe that what God wants is perfection.
That God is a new-house God. That everything has to work just right, with
no cracks in the plaster and no loose tiles. That I need to be completely
fixed up. I think that God's kind of people are squeaky-clean people whose
garages don't leak, but really a lot of the people God uses to do amazing things
are people who don't necessarily have it all together. A lot of the best
stories in the Bible, the ones where God does sacred, magical things through
people, have a cast of characters with kind of shady pasts, some serious

On my very best days, as an act of solidarity with my house, since we're both
kind of odd, mismatched, screwed-up things, I practice letting it be an old
not-fixed-up house, while I practice being a not-fixed-up person. I wear
my ugly pants, the saggy yellow terry-cloth ones with the permanently dirty
hems, and I walk around my house, looking at all thing things that I should fix
someday, but I don't fix them just yet, and I imagine God noticing all the
things about me that should get fixed up one day, and loving me anyway and being
okay with the mess for the time being.