Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

So, I just went over my journal entry for this time last year and had a good chuckle over some of my goals for 2010.   Mostly I feel like a failure...  why do I do this to myself again?

  • Daily Prayer Journal - was consistent for exactly 2 months, and then sporadic the rest of the year... would like to get better about this.
  • Read 1 spiritual growth book per month - I think it was more like 5 for the year.  Not bad, considering I ended up reading a lot more pregnancy/baby books than I had planned for!  ;-)  (For what it's worth, my favorite was "200 Pomegranates & an Audience of 1" by Shawn Wood.)
  • Read 1 business-related book every other month - really bad here.  Only read one:  "If You're  Not Having Fun Selling Real Estate, You're Not Doing it Right" by Jennifer Allan (very helpful - I like her style). I bought some good ones though, does that count?  LOL.
  • Lose body fat - really epic fail.  I just added in this category.  But I got a super cute baby out of the deal, and a jogging stroller for Christmas, so hopefully I can get back on track for this goal!  
  • Get pregnant - yes, it's true (I am a dork), I actually wrote this as a goal on January 1, 2010.  I had a positive pregnancy test on February 3, 2010.  Mission accomplished.  haha.
  • Complete Dave Ramsey's Baby Step #2 - the debt snowball - we're not quite done with paying off our cars, but we're getting closer...
  • Regular "date nights" with Eli - lukewarm on this one - did a little better pre October 3rd.  However, we've got a hot date planned at our favorite steak house for our 5-year anniversary on January 7th!!!
  • Get in a small group by March - OK, we actually didn't accomplish this until September-ish, but it feels like I've known the people in our wonderful little group longer than that!  After having the awesome spiritual family that we did in St. Louis, this is something Eli and I spent a long time missing; and now I am thankful to say that God has surrounded us with another wonderful group of people to keep us accountable and real and to love and live life with.  Still love & cherish you STL folk and am so thankful for the technologies (facebook, blogs, email, cell phones) that allow us to stay close.
So, what are my goals for 2011?  Not sure yet...  Should I even make any?  Who knows?  But I will.  If nothing else, it will give us something to laugh at next year!  ;-)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Like Father, Like Son

Here's a photo from Eli's first Christmas...

And here are our attempts to recreate it...

And here's a photo of Eli with his white German Shepherd "Angel"...

Unfortunately, Cooper (our black German Shepherd) would not let us recreate this scene...

But, Denver played along nicely...


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Micah FAQs

People ask a lot of funny questions.  Here's my attempt to corporately answer the most common and/or most interesting.

How long is he sleeping?
I'll usually swaddle him up and put him down around 9:30 (after feeding him).  He'll usually then sleep for about 6-8 hours, wake up, eat, and then do another 3-4 hours.  I think this is pretty awesome compared to our old 2 hr routine.  However, once Micah's asleep at 9:30pm, I am frantically trying to do laundry, clean up, do dishes, shower, and pump.  On a good night, I'm asleep at 11pm and up again in 4 hours.  Still, this feels pretty good.

Is he sleeping through the night?
This is so subjective.  I give the same answer I gave above (6-8 hours) and some people are amazed and others act like they pity me.  Your definition of "through the night" might be different than mine, but in my book, I appreciate my 6 hours and don't expect any more for quite some time (or ever?)  LOL.

How are the dogs with him?
Good question!  Micah has 2 big furry brothers.  Cooper (our black 7 year old German Shepherd) is the body guard.  He guards me, and by default guards Micah since he appears to be an extension of me now.  He mostly ignores Micah.  Denver (our 5 year old "average dane" lab mix) is absolutely intrigued by every movement and sound Micah makes.  He may be slightly jealous of all the attention he used to get, but he takes it like a champ.  He even puts up with extended photo shoots.  Oh, and he checks for dirty diapers.  Seriously.  We hold Micah up to Denver and he sniffs his bottom.  If he sniffs and leaves, it's clean.  If he sniffs and points, it's dirty.  How handy is that?!?!  haha.

How's he eating?
This one amuses me.  He eats like a champ.  It's his favorite activity.  Do babies have any other hobbies besides eating?

Are you having fun?
Do you see the smile on my face?
(Even when he's screaming!)
Of course, I'm having fun.  Being a mom is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced.

How big is he?
This one is ever-changing of course.  But so far, he remains in the 95th percentile for height and the 25th percentile for weight.  Right now that means, almost 25 inches long and almost 11 lbs.

Who does he look like?
This one is easy!  Definitely all Eli!  He has the Hosack nose, and maybe my ears.  But the rest is Eli.  Blue eyes, straight brown hair (even the same hair line!), chin, forehead, etc.  Check out Eli's baby photo next to this one of Micah:

 And then there's this classic shot.  What more do you need?

Oh, how I love these 2 boys!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010


OK, God, I get it.  I'm supposed to study Luke.

In June of 2009, Eli and I moved back to Kansas and began attending Grace Community Church in Spring Hill.  Pastor Joel was in the middle of preaching through the Gospel of Luke.  I think back then he was in chapter 4 or so.  Now, we're in chapter 11 or so.

In September of 2009, my favorite podcaster, Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, began a 2-year journey through Luke.

Recently, our little town of Spring Hill experienced a great loss in the life of 17-year old Nathan Stiles.  His life, however, was such a beautiful testimony of Jesus' love that his death is pulling people together in amazing ways.  At his funeral, his parents initiated "The Nathan Project" by giving out over 1000 Bibles to kids and adults alike.  The project's goal is to get people studying the Bible.  Numerous local churches have banded together to start offering small group study times.  Eli and I have incorporated it into our Wednesday night classes, and have been blessed to see our junior high class go from 10-12 to 30+ kids every Wednesday!  It's so exciting to see so many people excited to study God's word!

Anyway, Nathan's favorite book was Luke.  So that's what all (to my knowledge) the small groups all over the area are studying.

Coincidence?  I think not.  I don't think God deals in coincidences.  So, what's it all about?  JESUS!  I, we, people all over the world are all learning more about Jesus right now! Luke was a doctor with a knack for fact-checking.  His gospel is packed with detail and proof that Jesus is the Son of God.  Really, read it.  You'll see.

If nothing else, don't let this Christmas season go by without reading Luke 2.  You may already be quite familiar with it if you're a Peanuts fan...

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
-Luke 18:27

Saturday, December 18, 2010

11 Weeks Old!

I think I'm long overdue for another Micah update here...  a lot has gone on in his little world since my last post!

For Micah's 2 month birthday, we went on our first road trip to Branson, MO.  And as you can see from the photos below, we had a blast!

Christmas Magic @ Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO
Eli and I left on Thursday, December 2nd and after a pit-stop in Osceola, MO (home of the famous Osceola Cheese), checked into our BEAUTIFUL hotel room just after dark.  We stayed in a condo-resort on Tablerock Lake.  Our room had a jacuzzi tub, a gas fireplace, a full kitchen, and a balcony with a beautiful view.  Micah definitely took his first vacation in style!  On Friday, we were joined by my mom (Grandma Mary) and step-dad (Grandpa Poonie) and Eli's parents (Pappy & Grandma CC) and grandma (Nan).  We spent the full day at Silver Dollar City (one of my most favorite places ever - especially at Christmas time!!!).  And although Micah is too young to appreciate how fun SDC is, he was in awe of all the lights and enjoyed the Christmas parade (music AND lights!).  Can't wait to take him back next year... he'll really love it then!  On Saturday, we had breakfast at Cracker Barrel (a road trip tradition!), went to the Butterfly Palace, and then headed home.

All-in-all, it was a fantastic trip, but I am glad that our first vacation with Micah was a driving vacation and not a flying vacation.  And wow, my little SUV was full to the brim!  I have no interest in being a mini-van mom, but I can see the need to upgrade to a Suburban or something!  LOL.  By the time we packed our gigantic pack-n-play (with built-in bassinet and changing table), 100 diapers & wipes, Micah's 10 outfits, our clothes, my pump & cooler, things started to get interesting...  ;-)  I should have taken a photo of the car all loaded up.  Anyway, it was a good warm-up for going to Mexico in April for Eli's cousin's wedding and going to Little Cayman in May for my Dad's 60th birthday!  Hopefully, we'll have another road trip in here soon to St. Louis!

Micah Paul @ 2 months
Meanwhile, my little man has been growing & growing & growing.  He remains tall & skinny though.  He can really hold his head up well, and is rolling over like a champ!  He smiles and coos and giggles and melts my heart a little more every single day.

I'm back to work now, but really have it made.  On the days Eli is working, I work from home or occasionally take Micah into the office with me.  He's already been to 3 or 4 sales meetings and 3 office Christmas parties (Olathe Crown, Spring Hill Crown, and Paola Crown). Poor little guy probably doesn't stand a chance since he's 4th generation real estate blood... haha!  When Eli's home, he usually brings Micah to meet me and Uncle Nick for lunch so I never have to go too long without seeing him!

Baby Dedication @ Grace Community Church
Between coming to the office with me and going to every single youth group activity at church, Micah is probably about as socialized as a baby can be.  He doesn't seem to mind being passed around and especially loves all his older "brothers" and "sisters" in our junior high youth group!

One other very special event in Micah's life so far was his baby dedication at our church.  Our whole family was able to be there while Pastor Joel dedicated Micah to the Lord and our church family promised to love and teach him.  He is one blessed little boy to have such an awesome biological family and a huge extended church family in his life!!!

OK, I think I'm blogged out for now.  Here's my favorite photo of the moment (I found the hat on etsy):
Anne Geddes doesn't have much on this adorable shot!  ;-)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One Month Update

Today Micah is 5 weeks old.  5 weeks!!!  I cannot believe how fast time has gone by!  He has already changed so much.  His eyes are open longer every day.  He's more alert and he watches me like a hawk.

Friday was his one month check-up and he's up to 8 lbs. 2 oz. and is 22 3/4 inches long!  So he's growing like a champ...  almost 4 inches in a month!!!  He's in the 90th percentile for height and 25th percentile for weight - tall and skinny!

People keep asking if I'm sleeping and if he's a good baby - like the 2 are somehow irreversibly connected.  Having nothing to compare to, I always say of course he is!  And it's amazing how quickly your perception of a good night's rest changes!!!  In high school and college, 6 hours was pretty standard; maybe 8 on a weekend.  When Eli and I got married, 8 hours became more my standard.  And while pregnant, 8 hours was a must - 10 ideal!  Now, my hungry little man eats every 2-3 hours for almost an hour at a time.  (By the way, I never realized that when people say newborns eat every 2 hours that means from start-to-start NOT finish-to-start!!!)  That means I'm sleeping in 1 or 2 hours increments.   In God's perfect design, pregnancy has prepared me for this though - since I was up that often making trips to the bathroom anyway!!!  Recently he has occasionally made it 4 hours between feedings, and 3 hours of sleep pretty much feels like 8 now.

As for being a good baby... I'd have to say that Harvey Karp's book "The Happiest Baby on the Block" has been a life-saver in so many ways.  It teaches you that you can't spoil a newborn - which is good to know and comforting because I don't know how you can resist going to pick them up when they start to cry!  But, most importantly it teaches you the "5 S's" to calming your baby:

  1. Swaddling - Micah loves this!
  2. Swinging - sometimes this helps.
  3. Sucking - mostly he wants to nurse, but he has occasionally taken a pacifier now.  And he loves sucking on his fist.  Last week he gave himself a hickey from sucking on his forearm!
  4. Side/Stomach - he does like to be carried sideways.
  5. Shushing - perhaps the most amazing and counterintuitive of the 5 is that babies love loud white noise (like they heard in the womb) - we have found that our vacuum cleaner works like a charm on Micah.  Just another reason we love our Dyson!  ;-)

In those lonely late night feedings, I have watched a lot of TV episodes and instant streaming movies on Netflix.  My favorite so far:  Castle - Season 1.  I've also read a lot of books (I am so thankful that I can "turn the page" with one hand on my Kindle!).  Also have loved the website by The Bump/The Nest/The Knot crew.  It has a whole list of "Things to Do with One Hand" including hilarious videos, lullabies, audio-books, and more!

We have been so blessed that Eli has been able to be off work and home with us this entire time.  He goes back to work tomorrow though which is going to stink.  However, since he works 24 hours shifts, he'll only be gone about 9 days a month.  That's not a bad gig.  And we fortunately will not need any daycare for Micah with that schedule.  I'll be going back part-time in another 2 weeks, but as a Realtor and as Crown Realty's web designer and online marketing IT person, I can do MOST of my work from home with Micah on my lap (like he is right now as I type this blog!) so that's pretty wonderful!

I guess that's about it for now... I will leave you with this adorable photo from Halloween:

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Labor Story

First of all, I should say that I wanted a home birth in the jacuzzi tub without any interventions or medications.  Not exactly what I got, but the end result was the same:  the most beautiful baby boy I have ever seen!  So despite some disappointments and set backs, I am so thrilled to be a mother to Micah Paul Casey!

So, at 4:30am on Saturday, October 2nd, I woke up feeling wet and ran to the restroom.  I called out to Eli, "Either I wet my pants or my water broke."  All he heard was "my water broke" so he was up like a true paramedic on call in no time.  

We called my doctor's office to let them know and they told us to pack our bags and head to the hospital.  We took our time (I even took clothes out of the dryer - one last nesting ritual I suppose) and got to OPR at around 6am where I had to be triaged to confirm that yes, my water had indeed broken.

Unfortunately, since I still had not had a single contraction by 8am, they decided to induce me.  (Most doctors try to deliver within 24 hours of the water breaking to decrease the chance of the baby getting an infection).  And thus began the pitocin  (something I dreaded since it makes your contractions very intense and close together and it has been known to increase the chances of jaundice in a newborn).  It was pretty terrible, but I was able to labor for 11 hours without any pain meds (another thing I wanted to avoid for the health of the baby).  

At 7pm, I was still only dilated to 2 cm (even though I'd been at 1 cm for at least 10 days already!).  So after I had made such little progress and my Lamaze breathing was losing its effectiveness, I decided to go ahead and try and IV-administrated pain reliever called staydol.  I could still feel quite a bit of the pain of the contractions, but felt more relaxed in between.  At 9:30pm, I was still 2 cm, and at that point the doctors and nurses recommended an epidural - thinking that if I could relax a little it might help.  To no avail though...

At 11:30pm, Micah's heartbeat was going up and the doctors were afraid that continuing to have contractions after having no water for so long might be causing an infection... so we had to proceed to a Cesarean Section.  They checked me one last time at midnight and since I was still at 2 cm, Eli gowned up and I got wheeled to surgery.

The C-Section was probably the strangest thing I have ever experienced.  Couldn't feel pain, but I could feel all the stretching and moving of my stomach.  Luckily, there was a curtain up in front of me so I couldn't see anything.  Eli, of course, was fascinated by the procedure, and watched the whole thing!  Finally, I heard a piercing cry and knew that Micah Paul had entered the world at 12:39am.

The nurses cleaned him up and weighed and measured him (7 lbs. 4 oz. and 19 inches long) and handed him off to Eli who got to come hold him by my head.  It was so amazing -- he kept turning his head from side to side as he heard Eli and I talking.  And he got a grip on one of Eli's fingers and one of mine while the docs finished stitching and stapling me up.  

I felt like the Grinch whose heart grew 4 sizes on Christmas day.  Never knew I could love anyone this much.  Such an amazing feeling to be a mommy!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

To Save a Life

2 weeks ago our church hosted a movie night and invited area teens (junior & senior high school students) to come out for a night of fun, giveaways, concessions, an awesome live band (Briar Cox), and the amazing movie To Save a Life.

The movie is a must-see for every teenager, every parent of a teenager, every friend of a teenager, and certainly anyone who works in any capacity with teenagers!  It deals with all the junk that high school students today have to go through (drinking, sex, drugs, lies, friendships, parents' divorce, suicide, pregnancy, school violence, and I'm sure I'm forgetting more...).  This movie was so well done and I know that in our little corner of the world God is already using it to have a tremendous impact on some of the students at Spring Hill and area schools.

Check out the trailer:

And check it out... I know it's available to rent at Redbox and Netflix.  I promise it's worth your time.

In the upcoming weeks are Sunday night youth group meetings will be dealing with some of the issues this movie presented.  Please join me in our prayer for all the kids that can and will be touched by this.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

JR. High Youth Retreat

We spent our Friday the 13th with some of the coolest kids I know!

Started off by going to Johnson County Arboretum - where we first spent some time in solitude.  Everyone found a nice place by the lake and spent some time in the Word.  Specifically, we were reading verses on seeking God:
"Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you."  - Psalm 9:10
Afterwards, we spent some time seeking geocaches.  Don't have a clue what I'm talking about?  Check out so you won't be a "muggle" any more!  We didn't have too much luck, but did find one cache!  Decided next time we go geocaching in a forest, we'll have to go in the fall when the foliage is a bit tamer!

Then, it was pizza and a movie!  We watched "End of the Spear" - great movie based on a true story about missionaries in Ecuador.  It's a very serious, bittersweet story, but one we can all be inspired by!

Then, our nursery got a little cooler with some of the kids' artwork...  I was impressed by how creative and talented they all are!  Our nursery is definitely looking more complete now:

So, THANK YOU to all the kids (and their parents for letting them!) for spending your Friday with us!!!

To see all the underwater fun, visit my facebook photo album.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Last week (July 11th - July 16th), Eli and I had the privilege of chaperoning our church's junior high youth group on a mission trip to the Osage Indian Reservation at Pawhuska, Oklahoma. It was all the kids' very first mission trip, and it was truly an honor to see how God worked in their lives that week to teach them what being Christlike is really about. We all definitely grew closer to God and to each other through hard work and lots of fun!

Although, I have had a superbly wonderful pregnancy so far, I have dealt with a few "symptoms" like heartburn, backache, general tiredness, etc. However, I have to say that on this trip God gave me SUPERNATURAL STRENGTH that even my littlest of symptoms hardly surfaced at all! What an amazing God we serve that He knew just what I needed for the week.

Yet, His best prize to me was that our baby learned to kick and elbow me like crazy during the mission trip. Every night during our worship (Club) time, our little boy would just start dancing and moving around like crazy. Since then, we have discovered that he absolutely LOVES David Crowder Band. It gets him going like no other music can! Eli thinks we might have a little worship leader in there (only if he gets his daddy's voice and not mine though!).

Here's a photo of our whole group on top of Lookout Mountain.

Since we've been back, we have committed to doing daily devotional time of 20 minutes (like we did on the trip every morning) and we have been all keeping each other accountable.  It's been so fun getting texts from the kids reminding me to read my Bible and pray.  Talk about motivational!  

It hasn't been that long ago since Eli and I first moved here and being the middle school sponsors was first brought up to us, and we were both terrified of the idea!  I thought middle school ministry might be the last thing on earth I could possibly grow in.  As usual, God had other plans, and now I truly can't imagine us serving in any other capacity at this time.  Love these kids!  Love God for always knowing best!!!  :-)

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July Fun

Fun 3 day weekend!

Friday, we finished putting in a new patio in our backyard.  Now it's time to go shopping for some patio furniture and a fire pit for s'mores!  Before we know it, we'll be adding a kiddie pool back there too!  :-)

Saturday night was the Spring Hill car show at the local neighborhood hot spot - where else?  the Sonic!  Mom entered her 1956 Ford T-Bird, and although she didn't win, it was a pretty popular car.  Beforehand, Mom & Steve came over to add some fish to the nursery wall.

We're doing an underwater-themed nursery and friends and family members have been adding their custom fish creations to it.  It's becoming quite a work of art.  To see them all, check out my facebook photo album.

Yesterday, we went over to Eli's parents' house and got to see Caleb and his band perform some of their latest work.  Plus, have some great food and shoot off some fireworks (before the rain stopped us!).

I still haven't been feeling our baby boy moving around too much, but he did seem to enjoy his uncle Caleb's music, because he was moving like crazy last night.  He must have been dancing away in there!

I'll leave you with this video from the "Frog Prince" firework.  It's a little difficult to see, but his mouth and eyes light up every once in a while.  Of course, I loved it!  :-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ultrasound Photos

Today was the big day!  We got to see our baby for the first time!

And although he was shy at first, the ultrasound technician poked and prodded him to get him to move around.  And this is what we saw.... no doubt about it, he's all boy!

Eli is very proud.  
I'm sure we will be pulling this out of the closet someday to embarrass him in front of his girlfriend.

And here's his first recorded footprint.  The toes are point towards the left.  Big toe on top.

Needless to say, we are on cloud 9.  Totally awesome day.  
Totally awesome God who already has a plan for this little baby boy!  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One Week...

...until we find out if we're having a BOY or GIRL!

What do you think our baby is?

Vote now!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Review: Love & Respect

Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Lost Meaning of Ephesians 5:33

Ephesians 5:33 (NIV) states: “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”  I think most of us GET the “love” part; yet tend to overlook the “respect” part.  In his book, Dr. Eggerichs unpacks this verse for us with plenty of personal stories, scientific studies on gender differences, and additional scripture.  Eggerichs explains and illustrates the impact of this verse on relationships with what he calls the “Crazy Cycle” - that a man needs respect to show a woman love and a woman needs love to show the man respect and when that chain gets broken somewhere along the way, we end up in the “crazy cycle” of the husband feeling disrespected and the wife feeling unloved.  Fortunately, Eggerichs gives very real, very practical examples of how to break free of this doomed pattern.

 “Love & Respect” certainly challenged me, inspired me (and most of all, instructed me!) in how to be a better wife.  I also know that even if my husband never reads this book, he will be a better husband because of how I treat him (and how God intervenes!).  So whether you are thinking about getting married, hope one day to get married, have been married for 1 year or 50 years, I think there is something in this book for you!

-Katie Casey
Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Pregnancy Update

How far along? 16 weeks 5 days
Total weight gain: 0
Maternity clothes: not yet, but some of my jeans are getting too tight to be comfortable
Best moment this week: knowing that the baby can now hear is amazing!
Movement: none yet (at least none that I am positive is the baby!)
Food cravings:  salty stuff mostly - pickles and pizza (though not together!)
Gender:  we get to find out on May 26th!
Belly button: no changes yet - I sure will miss my "innie" when that happens!
What I miss: margaritas, horseback riding
What I am looking forward to: finding out the gender and seeing our baby for the 1st time on our May 26th ultrasound!
Milestones: we received baby's first stuffed animal (a teddy bear named "Chaucer") from good friends in St. Louis!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Big News!

Yesterday, we got to hear the most amazing sound in the whole world. Our baby's heartbeat!

I have to admit, I am super-paranoid and didn't want to share our good news until we reached this milestone. I mean, I took 4 pregnancy tests just to make sure I wasn't seeing double (lines, that is!).

I was so nervous while the nurse searched for the heartbeat with the dopler wand. We kept hearing mine and she explained that wasn't it as it was too slow. Of course, the longer it took to find baby's, the faster mine got! And then... there it was! like a little train engine going 170 bpm! What a miracle!

Of course, our parents and family already know. Here is a video from the night we told my mom and Eli's parents. Our brothers both already knew, so Nick was filming it!

The Unveiling from Katie Casey on Vimeo.

My due date is October 13th - which is actually Nick's birthday - and we are so excited to be in this journey towards parenthood!!!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Book Review: The Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape Letters The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Didn't realize how controversial this one was. Especially the extra segment "Screwtape's Toast" in the back where the demons take credit for a lot of today's "social justice" movements and even equal-opportunity education in the public school systems. The demons' goals are simple: to get Christians to add something to their Christianity (i.e. Christianity AND Politics, Christianity AND Economics, etc.).

 C.S. Lewis' point is a familiar one: "MERE CHRISTIANITY" is the answer. No additives please.

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Review: 200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One

200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One: Creating a Life of Meaning and Influence 200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One: Creating a Life of Meaning and Influence by Shawn Wood
My rating:
5 of 5 stars 

"Here is what I know about you: Right now there is a work in you that God has not given up on. You may have; but God has not."  

In 200 Pomegranates, Shawn Wood looks at 10 verses from 1 Kings 7 that tell the story of Huram - a skilled craftsman from Tyre who is called upon by King Solomon to do some work in the Temple. His work? To create 2 columns 18 cubits high (~35 feet) on which he carved 200 pomegranates each. And all this beautiful craftsmanship was located at the top of the columns - in a place where no one would notice or see - in a place where only his "audience of one" would appreciate.  

From this vantage point, Wood launches into a portfolio of "artists" - people who have lived and are living their lives full of purpose and meaning, despite facing difficult and distracting circumstances. He writes, "God's gallery is filled with broken-down people with great upswing potential. We are a group of people who now have the opportunity to grow and expand the investment God made in us by following the model of Christ and investing in others and things that will last."  

I loved Wood's honest and humorous writing style and am so encouraged to do whatever I do (even if it's carving 200 out-of-sight pomegranates) as if I'm doing it only for my "audience of one." I highly recommend this little book with a powerful message.  

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

2 Great Resources

I stumbled upon 2 wonderful online resources for spiritual growth today while researching the author (Shawn Wood) of the book I am reading ("200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One").  More on the book later... but Shawn Wood is a member of Seacoast Church and when he referenced his church in the book, it inspired me to look into it further.

When I visited Seacoast's website, I found a wealth of wisdom there and a very neat tool in their NEXT STEPS area, so I took their Spiritual Health Assessment and have identified a few areas in which I need improvement and would like to grow.  When you have identified a "purpose area" and a "LifeTopic" in which you want to grow, you can find recommended articles, books, podcasts, and action steps to help you in that goal.  I figure, why not? it's not too late to set some New Year's Resolutions!  :-)

My next discovery is so cool (I think) that although I have only used it for 1 day, I couldn't keep it to myself, but rather than try to describe it, I'm going to let you read what they say on their website:

Reading the Bible and praying is not just for the spiritually elite; it is vital for every believer. You do not need to understand Greek and the sequence of Paul’s missionary journeys for the Holy Spirit to speak through the Word.
We created to provide followers of Christ with a tool to help them focus during their personal worship times.  Each Scripture Examen is a simple-guided experience to help you reflect on the Scripture as the Holy Spirit speaks to you.  Prayer Examens offer guidance to help you stay focused in your prayer life. We also provide a journal for you to keep a history of what God is teaching and doing in your life.
Whether you use or not, make sure the Scripture and prayer are priorities in your life.  These disciplines are the bedrock of following and having the mind of Christ.

I think that pretty much sums it up - so, - check it out with me.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book Review: The Sweet By and By

The Sweet By and By The Sweet By and By by Rachel Hauck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

This delightful novel by country singer and songwriter, Sara Evans, is a story about love, forgiveness, redemption, faith, and relationships. As she approaches her wedding day, the main character, Jade, has to deal with a lot of past pain and regret bubbling up to the surface – or rather, dragged to the surface by her estranged free-spirited mom and the rest of her rag-tag broken family and by her seemingly perfect, polished family-to-be. Through it all, Jade grows and learns that you do not have to cut off your past in order to have a future, but it is quite a wonderful journey that gets her to that point.  

I really enjoyed this book. Evan's descriptions put you right there: “The Indian summer day was perfumed with the sun-browned, dying fall leaves.” And her rich characters make you feel like that's your family she's talking about (or perhaps it makes you thankful for the one you've got!). Personally, I related to Jade in so many ways, and really loved experiencing her doubts and fears, and then her joy and fresh belief in herself, in others, and in Jesus right alongside her.  

I certainly hope to see more from Sara Evans in the future!  

-Katie Casey 
Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger  
View all my reviews

Friday, January 1, 2010

Best of 2009


There's been quite a few (thank you, Netflix and redbox!), but I think the most enjoyable, most edifying, and most impressive movie that I watched this year was FIREPROOF.  Honestly, I went into this with kind of low expectations (I'm ashamed to admit) and the idea that it would a cheesy moralistic Christian movie, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was really a wonderful movie that was encouraging and motivating.

This one is fairly easy, since I've only seen a handful in the theaters this year, but the prize easily goes to UP.  Of course, I am a huge Disney and Pixar fan - so it's probably no surprise to you - but this movie also had a great message about marriage and love and it had dogs with voice machines.  Who can forget the doberman with the squeaky voice or the lovable golden retriever - "Master???"  Also, my mom and Steve were inspired to include the balloon theme from UP in their wedding decor to signify the adventures they are going to embark on together.  Pretty cool.

I was thinking this category might go to a concert or play or even a hockey game (definitely not a Chiefs game or even a Royals game), but I think I am going to have to reward it to Ron Ruth.  He was the DJ at our wedding 4 years ago, he was the DJ at Mom's wedding in October, and then he was the DJ and the Crown Christmas party.  I use the word DJ so you understand, but really he is an "Entertainment Director" and that does suit what he does much better.  Truly, he makes you want to party.

I had to go to my goodreads profile to review what I've read this year for this category, and I realized it was going to be impossible to nominate just one.  So, I'm cheating a little and doing 2 (well, sort of 4, but they are series books, so that doesn't count, right?!?).  Anyway, both of these are parts of trilogies and I have read the first 2 books in each so far.  The first is Hunger Games & Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.  Excellent YA literature reminiscent of one of my childhood favorites, The Giver.  The second is a series being published posthumously by Swedish author Stieg Larsson, The Girl with athe Dragon Tattoo & The Girl Who Played With Fire.  The 3rd will be The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest out this spring.  They are wonderful intellectual mysteries, but really you read them for the colorful & rich characters.

Hands down, Mark Batterson's "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day," if the title doesn't intrigue you, perhaps my review of it will...

2009 Favorites

Catching Fire
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars
The Hunger Games

Katie Casey's favorite books »

On one of our last evenings in St. Louis, Eli and I went to our favorite place on the Hill, Cunetto's House of Pasta and ordered our favorite dish (pasta d'alba) and although we've had it many times before, it was especially good that night - making us promise we would be back.

Our first camping trip (besides at the ranch) together was to Branson, MO this spring.  We arrived late at night in the middle of a downpour that didn't stop all day.  We set up tent in the rain and woke up to a leaky tent.  We went to Wal-Mart, bought rain-gear and still managed to enjoy Silver Dollar City, and then (best of all!) checked into a jacuzzi suite hotel room.  It was wonderful...

The Amazon Kindle.

Who would have thought I would have ever included a category like this?!?!?  Well, since I've been at Mom's house for the last couple months (along with my brother, Nick), I have to add it... and it goes to Little Big Planet.  It's so much fun and even I can play it!

and, last but not least...
I'll never forget the half-marathon I ran this spring.  Not because it was my first or my best, but because despite the fact that it was freezing and raining, my wonderful husband drove me downtown for it and waited a VERY LONG time for me to finish and met me at the finish line with an umbrella and hug.  I really think knowing he was there at the end made me run a little bit faster than I would have managed otherwise.  So THANK YOU, ELI!  The site of you soaked and smiling at the finish line is burnt in my mind forever.  Here's to many more "best memories" in 2010!