An Epic Win

One of the perks of working as a full-time staff with InterVarsity (and being married to one) is that a few times a year, InterVarsity Press sends a free shipment of new books that have recently been published. My (Lindsay) goal is to read one book each time we get a shipment (which is usually two or three books), and so far, I’ve been doing pretty good: I’ve read three books from the last four shipments, and am working on the latest one now.

My current choice is Work, Play, Love by Mark R. Shaw, and while I’m only two chapters in, it’s been challenging my ideas about life. Specifically, it’s been challenging what Shaw has been focusing on in these two chapters: the work-life balance. It’s one thing I’ve struggled with in the past few years – especially because Hans works from home and works non-traditional hours, all of which tends to blend with family life in a unique way.

Work, Play, Love cover

One thing I also like about the book is that it has lots of pictures. When was the last time you read a (non-children’s) book with pictures?

After a discussion about the way Lady Wisdom worked and played with God during the creation of the world, focusing on Proverbs 8, chapter two focused on the idea of play. While sharing with Hans about the book, I told him about fiero (an Italian word that Shaw equates with the idea of an “epic win” in a competition). Shaw’s encouragement in the chapter is (among other things) to structure our workday so that we can seek to accomplish an epic win.

And so, I decided to attempt an epic win yesterday. It looked something like this:

  1. Spend time focused on Caleb, playing with him as he desired, especially in the morning.
  2. Clean up the kitchen before dinner prep started.
  3. Make Caleb’s Christmas present. (I was guessing it would take an hour of sewing)
  4. Roast a turkey with all the fixings. (We were a few days late for our Thanksgiving meal at home.)

Coming up with my list in the morning gave me something to focus on and a reason to multi-task more efficiently than normal. (I ran from my sewing machine to the kitchen a few times.) But it also gave me a feeling of satisfaction to see everything done at the end of the day. I thought I was crazy for attempting a few “big” things in one day, but it was fun to juggle them and work hard.

Of course, today I didn’t come up with as structured of a list for my epic win, and I haven’t focused on the other ways to structure my day much, either, so I have some working to do. But after my experiment I’m ready to try again.

Now on to reading the rest of the book!

Note: I was not asked to write a review of the book – I simply wanted to share my thoughts about and experience with the book.

Making Progress: One Room (Mostly) Done!

We started our big house remodel last spring. I knew I was idealistic in my expectations of finishing this summer, but I hadn’t fully appreciated how much work it is to remodel yourself, especially while pregnant and with a toddler hanging around. And so, as I think it is with most remodelling projects, we’re not done yet. Not too long ago, Hans asked me what we’ll work on next summer…  and I responded with a resounding, “finish this summer’s projects!”

Dance a little... we finished a house project!

I know the photo’s blurry, but we had fun dancing around once the room was clean. It feels good to have a room done!

It has been fun to see the changes in the house. The electrical work is done upstairs. We have three bedrooms – and Hans and I moved into our new (mostly finished) room a few weeks ago. Caleb now gets to sleep in what is to be his room – granted it still needs to be mudded, primed, and painted. But it was fantastic to get our first room cleaned and moved into. We’re still finding places for everything, but it’s nice having our stuff all in the same room. (Before it was in semi-storage as we moved stuff around to work.)

It's done!

Our friend, Chris, and his son, Christopher, helped us with a lot of the work this summer. My dad came for a few days and helped us mud the walls when Hans was really busy with work, and when Hans’ parents were visiting last month, they helped me prime. And another friend helped us paint. This has definitely been a group venture!

The reason the room isn’t completely done is two-fold. Trim still needs to go up (but that’s pretty trivial after all the changes we’ve made) and we plan to have new built-in drawers made to replace the current ones, giving us more storage (and more attractive storage) than what is already there. Caleb’s room will have the same built-ins installed as well, so there’s a “hole” in the drywall in his room, revealing the old, ugly wallpaper where it will go. Hopefully that will be done next summer. Anyone with drawer-making skills want to come show us how to build them? :)

It has been wonderful to have three bedrooms, even though they’re not finished yet. We’ve already had a few people take advantage of our third bedroom, and when the baby comes, it will be nice to have the flexibility that another room gives. But maybe next time we remodel, we’ll take it in smaller stages…

New Bedroom!

Like our headboard? Until Caleb’s room is done, we get to store his mattress in our room…

Cross Training 2014

Last weekend, Hans and I took two MTU international students to a regional InterVarsity conference, called Cross Training. We ventured the 5 1/2 hours south to Green Lake, WI, and joined 900 other students, volunteers, and staff workers for a weekend of being challenged by God and encouraged by community.

Cross Training Group Photo

Cross Training 2014 – Green Lake Group Photo (Photo taken by John Shih)      We’re way in the back…

Most of the time at the conference is spent in tracks, different class-like groups that focus on different areas. Hans spent the weekend with the Cross Roads International track, which is designed to introduce international students to the Bible and to Jesus. I know he enjoyed the weekend, and was excited to see the response that students had while they learned about the creation of the world and the entrance of sin in Genesis, through an overview of the old testament, and hearing a gospel presentation. But he would have to fill you in on the details…

My role for the weekend, as a volunteer, was to be a small group leader in the Disciples Multiplying Disciples track. All of the students taking the track were upperclassmen – mainly 3rd and 4th year students, I think. In the track, we were challenged to view discipleship the way Jesus did – as a way to help us grow, to be ready to do the same things that Jesus did. (It was pointed out that in the gospel of Luke we see Peter’s immaturity, impulsiveness, and failures, yet in the book of Acts, we see Peter doing what Jesus did, such as healing and preaching boldly.) And the students were challenged to invite a friend to begin a discipleship relationship – not simply when they returned to campus – but to do it Saturday afternoon. There were many nervous students leaving our track right after that challenge was given.

But after free time, when students returned to track time, my group was full of excitement. All but one of the seven students had made an invitation to a friend to join them and grow together, and all of those friends had said yes. My favorite part of the weekend was debriefing the challenge with the students, to see the excitement that they had for how God was working.

Discipleship Cycle

We used the discipleship cycle (developed by InterVarsity) during our track, and students were trained how to use it with their friends.

It was a busy weekend away, with little sleep and a long car ride, but I am really thankful that I had the opportunity to go with Hans. The two students that joined us from MTU were challenged in their tracks and really enjoyed the weekend, as well.

Plus, on our first night, it became apparent that something funny happened with my registration and I was not assigned a small group to lead in my track. As a result, I was placed with another leader and I was a little bummed that I wasn’t really needed. I had, after all, made arrangements to be gone all weekend so I could help, and I wanted to do something that was needed. But God had everything under control, which I realized when my co-leader had to be away from one of the sessions due to a situation in her chapter and I was able to keep things moving smoothly with our group. That was my experience of the whole weekend – God challenged me (and the students) and showed me that He was in control. I am so glad we could be a part of Cross Training Green Lake this year!

Good News!

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to share our happy news with the (online) world. Most people close to us know already, and for a variety of reasons, I’m hesitant to share with everyone and anyone.

Not that it’s bad news – it’s very, very good news: we’re having a baby!! March 14, 2015, is baby’s due date, and in my opinion, it happens to be the one of the coolest Pi Days in this century (3/14/15 – the first five digits of pi are 3.1415, although properly rounded it is 3.1416…)

This time around I’ve had a hard time deciding how and when to share the news with social media. I know what it feels like to miscarry and then watch pregnancy announcements and new baby photos flood my Facebook feed. I know I have friends going through losses of their own right now. And so, I feel reluctance to share with Facebook, and somewhat, on the blog.

Lindsay and Caleb, Fall 2014

Caleb is one excited big brother-to-be!

But God has blessed us with a new life, and it would be wrong not to celebrate. We’re excited to have this little one join us and it’s been fun introducing Caleb to the idea of a baby in the house. Every once in a while he will put his hand on my belly and proudly announce that he “feels the baby.” (Which, I might add, is currently impossible. Soon enough!)

Sometimes I’m still scared that something might happen during this pregnancy, but I know that God is in control of my life and the baby’s life, and I’m doing my best to trust Him, regardless of what happens.


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