December 31, 2009

If I Could Be Honest

If I could be honest with you for a moment...

This has not been a good year. And, as much as I'd like to post a list of the greatest moments of this year now almost past, a list of some good things will have to suffice.


This was year number three of my blog.

There's something to be said of this accomplishment, even though my blog today is a far cry from its beginnings. As I read more bloggers, of varying styles, my own inclinations of what is important to report seem to fine-tune. I do believe that everything I post is post-worthy, and I hope you find Fear & Trembling a good source of elsewhere ill-reported news.

However, I do hope to get back to more original work as the year begins. I can't promise much in the way of spiritual insight (as the early stages of F&T offered), but I would like to do more creative writing in the form of both personal narrative and "tying it all together" pieces. I have a personal goal of writing familial stories for my Dad - at his request - and I'd like to honor that by posting them here.

I started my own business.

I majored in art from my freshman year and was committed to being a "professional artist" as a career; little did I know that job would become desperately scarce with overabundance of the pool of artists, the twists of modern artistic taste, and the economic downturn. But I always loved every stage of the creative process and knew I would find a way to incorporate it into my adult life. My concentration was fibers/sculpture in school, and now I am making fabric baby toys as a side business! Who knew it would come full circle like that?

I've also discovered a real entrepreneurial spirit within me while setting up my etsy shop, butterbean. From designing the patterns, choosing fabric and the actual construction to marketing, advertising and networking, I have found a genuine interest in selling that I wouldn't have guessed I had. At first it was hard to imagine that anyone would think my products were cool, useful or fun. But that's just the self-deprecation that overwhelms me. When I reassured myself that I'm making quality items at reasonable prices, it became a lot easier to be confident!

I finally got a real job.

Well, I don't know if anyone else counts "admin asst" as a real job, but since it is at a reputable company with possibility for job growth, it counts for me.

I am extremely thankful that I was able to find work - and good work at that - in this economy. I was unemployed for two and a half months, but it was so grueling and awful that my heart breaks for those who have suffered it longer. And as much as I've complained about my bachelor's degree giving me no more clout than anyone else who has one, I think it played a major role in my getting this job.

My degree is not just a "piece of paper," it's a guarantee that I can work hard for intangible goals, that I can use my mind to solve complex problems, and that I have the ability to work through tedious steps of a process to get a job (which I may or may not agree with) done. If you've been to a liberal arts school, you know what I'm talking about!

I am very thankful for the opportunity to excel in this company. And if we meet in person, I can tell you everything I've already learned about long term care insurance. Just be warned, I've always got my salesman's hat on. =)

Nic earned his Master's from Western Michigan University.

Many people seem to not know this happened! I guess it went over without a bang, since he didn't have a graduation ceremony, and he then went straight to another program (PhD) at Wisconsin shortly thereafter. However, if earning a bachelor's (which many people do) is a big deal, then a Master's should rank pretty high on peoples' lists.

There is a popular misconception that, if you choose what you "do" in life (meaning, a career), that you should have absolutely no complaints about it, and it should be easy for you. But just because you had a say in the career choice (meaning, it wasn't the only job available) doesn't mean it won't be hard. In fact, academia is taxing both mentally and emotionally in unique ways.

I'm willing to put out there that jobs requiring a high level of abstract thought are NOT easy. Keep in mind that, just as you can only train your body into a certain level of performance, so goes it with the mind. And how do you train your mind to "do" philosophy? Beats me; I ended my philosophical career path at the b.a. level, after realizing I did not have the mind capacity for it. For everyone else, Nic included, you read hours of complicated philosophical text in hopes of grasping at an iota of comprehension. Then you do it again. And again. And again... Even your "breaks" are comprised of catching up on reading you didn't have time for/didn't understand the first go around. It's truly exhausting... and I'm just a spectator!

All this is to say that Nic earning the higher degree, applying for and getting into a great PhD program for philosophy, applying for and getting a fellowship (the highest honor) for that program deserves recognition, praise and, probably, a nice bottle of wine from me as well.


Nope, that's it. I know, it's a short list. But the other "big things" from this year aren't really much to talk about. I've moved so many times that it's old hat, wishing for a house instead of an apartment won't bring me one, and having the money I want for pretty much anything else I'd like to talk about is just a matter of saving. For now, the apartment is fine and the bills are getting paid, so what else can I say?

I hope this year was great for you... I've been reading that it has been for many... and this new one brings some ease to any discomforts you are currently feeling. If you are a Christian, I hope for your growth in Christ and to find a good Reformed church to go to =)

Happy New Year to you all.


December 24, 2009

Final Thoughts for 2009

This is something I posted at the beginning of last year. As we draw nearer to the celebration of Our Savior's birth, I hope we are all thinking of Him more than ever, and drawing near to the reality of His saving work in Christ.

I pray that this year He will remove my unbelief. It's so terrible and terrifying to live without knowing Him... to think that He has forgotten you, or never knew you. Terrifying, yet another reason to study His word and doctrines in hopes of drawing close once again (or, for some, in the first place).

Merry Christmas to you and your family. Let this be a common prayer, that we would each come to know Him in a real way this year; to know Him as He truly is and to honor Him as such.


There are so many reasons we could be cynical, aren't there? There are undeserving people getting hired to luxurious positions of influence while earnest, hardworking people can't find a job at all.

There are babies having babies, babies killing babies, silly women trying to lead others by the power of their personalities while decent, gracious women who just want to love their kids and bake pies are demeaned as "backwater."

There are agents in popular culture who savagely force-feed us stories of murder, rape, white-collar crime, violence against the vulnerable and sexually perverse exploits while yet gentle teenagers genuinely struggle with whether or not hand-holding is ok.

In my own time and family, I have seen more emotional fallout than material struggle. There have been years of troubling, high-decibel fights, a divorce and remarriage, a difficult custody trial, drug abuse, unpredictable disease, psychological depression, two instances of jailing following arrest, too many "I hate yous" and too few "I love yous."

On the national scale, we have an outgoing President who some feel has been God's punishment on our nation because he helped us go to war. On the other hand, we have an incoming President who some feel has floated into office on a false pretense that his being black means something substantial about racism in America.

And in my own mirror, I have seen my once highly-admired beauty fall strand by strand into the sink, inexplicably, taking with it a great portion of both pride and confidence, leaving behind questions to be answered only by God Himself: How? And why? If you had asked me then, the best part of me had been taken away for no good reason.

There are many, many reasons to be misanthropic. Yet today I find myself an optimist, not a cynic. It is not because I see so many undeniably good, selfless acts committed by people every day, nor because I see myself doing similarly. In fact, it has nothing to do with people at all. I can be an optimist only because God is One who does everything selfishly for Himself, and because I am one of His people.

Romans 8:28-32

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

December 23, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion

Dear Blogger friends,

I know I neglect this blog.... my cynicism about politics really gets me down, and I just don't feel like posting. I feel more like.. sewing! I've been very busy these past few months sewing baby blocks and other toys for my etsy shop, butterbean (check my sidebar for thumbnails).

If you know a young child (ages 1-4 are perfect) who is in need of a gift (a little too late for Christmas, but maybe for belated, or an upcoming birthday), please check out my shop! I have blocks in two sizes, balls in several options, some magnets and (very soon) pillow sets. All items are made from modern prints - damask, argyle, polka dots, abstract- in fun color combos (pink/brown, blue/green, blue/copper, yellow/pink) . They can be made with or without rattles and other fun sounds inside.

They have been purchased for regular fun use as well as therapy toys and travel pillows (for car naps they are a perfect size). I utilize a hypo-allergenic polyester stuffing and brand new fabric. One of each block has an ironed-on logo tag which is very secure.

Shipping is low, as they are quite light. You do not need to be an etsy member to purchase; if you would like to custom order, please e-mail me at: . If you know of anyone - sister, niece, coworker, fellow blogger - who is stylish and a mom-to-be, these make a unique present. Many satisfied children and moms!

Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your families.

December 21, 2009

Say Thank You to the Troops

Hello all,

Here is a link to a site where you can send personalized cards to soldiers currently serving overseas. The cards were designed by U.S. schoolchildren. You pick the design you like, add a pre-printed message or write your own, and Xerox prints and sends a shipment of them out to U.S. soldiers every day until Christmas.

What better was to show your appreciation and say Merry Christmas to those serving in a country where open displays of celebrating Christmas are not allowed, unless on a military base (which has m.p.s)? They may not get to have a tree, but at least this way they'll get a message of thanks and Christmas well-wishes while they're away from their families.

I sent quite a few. I don't think it matters how many you send... I sent four I think. Why not take 5 minutes and send a dozen? I guess that means I should send some more!

Xerox U.S. Military thank you Christmas card link

December 17, 2009

Michael Moore's Wisdom

Michael Moore says we should boycott Connecticut, because Liebermann is opposing the public option portion of Reidcare, thus preventing it from moving on to a final vote.

What exactly does it mean to “boycott” a state - Just stop vacationing there? Stop buying CT-made products? I don’t even know what CT sells, let alone how to get those things. Actually, I think I’ll START shopping for CT-made items, like I started shopping at Whole Foods when its president wrote an editorial opposing a public option. And, of course, I’ll continue to boycott Moore’s idiotic, faux jingoistic p.o.c. movies. :)


Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore on Thursday called for a boycott of the state of Connecticut in reaction to Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-Conn.) opposition to key provisions of healthcare reform legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently removed the public option and Medicare-buy in proposal, which the centrist Lieberman opposes, from the bill in order to attract centrist votes. Reid needs 60 votes in order to break a Republican filibuster of the bill.
Moore focused his anger on the Connecticut voters who reelected Lieberman in favor of liberal candidate Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) in the 2006 elections.

He tweeted:
People of Connecticut: What have u done 2 this country? We hold u responsible. Start recall of Lieberman 2day or we'll boycott your state.

Lieberman has become the scourge of the left for withholding his vote on healthcare reform due to the inclusion of the public health insurance option and the Medicare buy-in proposals.

There is no provision in the state of Connecticut to recall public officials. “

I bolded that last part because it’s funny that Moore thinks recalling an official is something they even do there. He could’ve checked that fact first, before he reacted. But, we know that’s not his style…


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