Re-inventing the date night...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

So last Sunday afternoon we made dinner together for Mum and Dad. I know, who has rhubarb flan for dinner right? But anyway, I was surprised at how well it turned out! Not because we can't cook or anything, just because it was a new recipe and the rhubarb wasn't quite up to its usual standard.

Most studies of love & marriage show that the decline of romantic love over time is inevitable. The butterflies of early romance quickly flutter away and are replaced by familiar, predictable feelings of long-term attachment. But several experiments show that regular injections of novelty and excitement - simply doing new things together as a couple - may help bring the butterflies back, recreating the chemical surges of early courtship (which, by the way, are also the brain chemicals involved in drug addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder). So on that riveting note, I thought about re-inventing the date night to come up with some different ideas. Here are some of our ideas so far...

Eeling, floundering, goat shooting, fishing, golf, random road trip, attending a rugby or soccer match, picnic dinner at the beach, progressive dinner with other couples, reading a landscaping book together (have actually done this one surprise, surprise haha), a trip to the observatory, games of tennis & badminton and my personal favourite (I found this one online) - find it & fix it. Buying a cheap piece of used furniture from a garage sale and fixing it up together: painting/sanding/decorating/etc.

All this got me thinking about God and our first love. When we first 'met' God, all the crazy emotions we felt and things we did for Him simply because we were 'in love' with Him. And maybe now, the feelings have worn off somewhat and we don't spend as much time with Him as we should. Or maybe the relationship has become stale and familiar. (Just cracked myself up when the line 'and may you' came into my head. I think I've seen too many Rob Bell dvds haha)

So what things can we do to inject some novelty back into our romance to make it come alive again? And how do we press in even when the feelings aren't there anymore?

Because that's what God longs for. To romance us and for us to do things for Him & spend time with Him simply because we love Him - no other reason.

Speak God, you're servant is listening

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Jessie Garrick and I went for a swim at Whale Bay yesterday. Yup that's right, in the rain. Was beautiful. No people, no noise, just us and the rain and a couple of brave seagulls. It was so peaceful. And on Sunday afternoon I finally got to spend some quality time with Jase. It hadn't happened in about 3 weeks due to a number of things and seeing one of my love languages is time, I tend to get a bit tetchy and disillusioned if I don't spend proper time with people close to me on a regular basis.

So then it got me thinking, when was the last time I took some time out to be with God... With no people around, no noise, no 'to do' list to think about, no problems to talk about; just being with my best friend. One on one with no distractions.

Even though I'm super busy at the moment, I took time out of my day to be with Jess because I wanted to. Not because I felt obligated to or thought that I should, but because I knew how much we'd both enjoy it.

And that's how it should be with us and God. Not a 'quiet time' because we should, because we think our 'church rep' will suffer if don't or maybe our pastors might ask us how we're doing. No, quality time spent with our Lord because we want to. I challenge you (just like I'm challenging me right about now) to go somewhere just you and Jesus and see what He has to say to you. You just might be pleasantly surprised!

The scent of a hamburger

Friday, March 13, 2009

So the hospital tells me I have to go and see a dietitian. How exciting. Never mind that my diets been the same for about the last however many years and I've never had any issues before. I think it's just their way of saying, we have no idea what's wrong with you so we'll try this. But anyway, all that aside, lately I've been doing a lot of research on food and here’s a few things I came across that I didn’t know too much about

Did you know....

The scent of a Hamburger can be manufactured?

Open your refrigerator, your freezer, your kitchen cupboards, and look at the labels on your food. You'll find "natural flavor" or "artificial flavor" in just about every list of ingredients. The similarities between these two broad categories of flavor are far more significant than their differences. Both are man-made additives that give most processed food most of its taste. The initial purchase of a food item may be driven by its packaging or appearance, but subsequent purchases are determined mainly by its taste. About 90 percent of the money that Americans spend on food is used to buy processed food. But the canning, freezing, and dehydrating techniques used to process food destroy most of its flavor. Since the end of World War II, a vast industry has arisen in the United States to make processed food palatable. Without this flavor industry, today's fast food industry could not exist. The names of the leading American fast food chains and their best-selling menu items have become famous worldwide, embedded in our popular culture. Few people, however, can name the companies that manufacture fast food's taste. All of these aromas are made through the same basic process: the manipulation of volatile chemicals to create a particular smell. The basic science behind the scent of your shaving cream is the same as that governing the flavor of your TV dinner.

One can make anything smell like charbroiled hamburgers because that smell has been created by the fast food industry to make you want to eat their food. They do not have to list the chemicals that make this smell on the ingredient list. All they have to write is "artificial flavor" (or color). There could be about a hundred toxic ingredients that make up this smell, but because you have no idea what they are anyway, all the food manufacturers have to let you know (by law) is that their product contains "artificial flavor." This lack of public disclosure enables the companies to maintain the secrecy of their formulas. It also hides the fact that flavor compounds sometimes contain more ingredients than the foods being given their taste. The ubiquitous phrase "artificial strawberry flavor" gives little hint of the chemical wizardry and manufacturing skill that can make a highly processed food taste like a strawberry.

A typical artificial strawberry flavor, like the kind found in a Burger King strawberry milk shake, contains the following ingredients: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amylketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone (10 percent solution in alcohol), aionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, undecalactone, vanillin, and solvent. Without affecting the appearance or nutritional value, processed foods could even be made with aroma chemicals such as hexanal (the smell of freshly cut grass) or 3-methyl butanoic acid (the smell of body odor). The flavor industry is highly secretive. Its leading companies will not divulge the precise formulas of flavor compounds or the identities of clients. The secrecy is deemed essential for protecting the reputation of beloved brands. The fast food chains, understandably, would like the public to believe that the flavors of their food somehow originate in their restaurant kitchens, not in distant factories run by other firms

Click here for more crazy info about the food we eat.

Things I'm loving...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Having a new project
- For a 50's themed 21st birthday -
So I get an excuse to go op-shopping, or to make something for this funky theme. The funny part is, a lot of the dresses I 'googled' look pretty modern to me! Amazing how fashion comes and goes.

Coffee with friends
People who come in to work to see me and we go out to coffee together, well it just makes my day. Thanks to Heather and Arna :) love you girls!

Free Dinners
Tomorrow night I get to go to a free dinner. So it's a 'sleep' seminar and they'll probably try and talk you into buying stuff, but hay, a free dinner is a free dinner! Pretty stoked about that. Here's to a great night with friends...

Simple Weddings
I went to Becky & Jeremy's wedding last Saturday and was blown away by how such a simple wedding could be so peaceful, relaxing and yet totally effective and charming. I had such a great time and loved everything about it!

The Theatre
Starting next Friday is 'Faulty Towers' being held put on at the Otamatea Theatre. I just love this show and own all the episodes so can't wait to go see it in real life!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I had an MRI scan last week. Having been having health problems since last June and the doctors still can't figure out what's wrong with me after countless tests, they decided to take photos of my brain instead. Sort of exciting (almost like caving except you can't move at all), but sort of scary in a way because I didn't know what to expect. I had some fun with the nurse who proceeded to put one of those IV thingys in my arm but popped the vein instead. She then moved onto the second vein which was equally as painful, attached the IV thing to a long tube and put two syringes at the end of it. Then they counted down and squirted the contrast dye at high speed into my vein causing copious amounts of blood to leak out of the IV. Gross! Lucky for me, I couldn't see any of this; could only feel my blood dripping everywhere (I hope there's no squeamish people in Renewal Youth reading this). My arm still hurts!
Which brings me to a word that I still haven't quite grasped the full meaning of.


Did you ever wonder if you weren't healed from something or it took a long time, that meant you didn't have enough faith? Or if it was because you didn't pray enough? Or had sin in your life that hadn't been dealt with? If God has the power to heal then why doesn't He? I have been wrestling with these thoughts for awhile now and wondering how on earth people who are diagnosed with cancer and don't ever get healed, cope. How do they stay happy? How do they explain to non-believers why their loving Heavenly Father hasn't made them whole? I was talking with a good friend about this subject recently. She's been through a lot herself so I knew I'd find some wisdom in what she had to say. Sometimes I believe God cares more about our character then about our comfort and well-being. So I've come to think of it a little something like this:

Faith is implicit trust in a sovereign God who knows exactly what He is doing and is in total control. Faith doesn't just fall from the sky conveniently whenever you need it. It involves the heart, as well as the choices you make. Here's a question that really challenged me... Will you still serve God while you're sick? Will you still pursue what He has called you to do? Or will you believe the lie that there must be something wrong with you for this to have happened and therefore God must be punishing you.

A guy who definitely knows what it's like to trust God has this blogsite that I quite often visit. You can check it out here.

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