Archive for ‘My Life’

December 7, 2010

Moving day!

December 3, 2010

Our first Christmas tree….

First of all, aren’t I a tease?  I promised exciting changes and a redesign, and none of it’s happened.  What gives?  Well, the main reason is that WordPress is being infuriatingly confusing for no reason.  But I promise this is still in the works.  Maybe it will be a Christmas present, although I hope it comes sooner than that!

Speaking of Christmas….  All the God stations have started playing Christmas music, but two things about this have bothered me:

1) All the songs about Santa.  Enough said.

2) The song “Christmas Shoes.”  This song bothers me so much that I thought about it nearly all day yesterday. There are SO many things wrong with it, from the trite and rather unbelievable story line to the cliche and maudlin lyrics.  The rhymes are forced.  The melody sounds poorly crafted to fit a bad poem.  The guy who sings it doesn’t sound that great.  And what child, especially a boy, knows what size shoes his mother wears?  If the writer had left that little detail out no one would have questioned it, but the lyrics “these shoes are just her size” necessarily call into question the integrity of the poet.  I’ve read that this song is allegedly based on a real event… but whose?  Tell me, because I’ve got some bad news for you… You may not be aware, but someone totally botched your story.  Like, badly. But the worst part of the song?  As I listened, scoffing, to the first verse and chorus incredulous of its completely overdone sentiment, I felt a little catch in the back of my throat and my face got tight.  I don’t know if I’ve ever felt such conflicting emotions, other than the time I almost broke my nose on Eric’s elbow and was laughing and sobbing hysterically.

I digress.  What was this post supposed to be about anyway? Oh yes, our tree.

Now it’s not our first Christmas, but it is our first tree.  Last year we did not get a tree, mostly because we were very penniless and partly because we were leaving town for Christmas anyway.  This year we’re still leaving town for Christmas, and we’re still pretty penniless, but Eric has a job.  We decided to express our gratitude for this job by being a real married couple and buying a Christmas tree.

So, we got out our saw and bought a tree-gathering license and headed out to the forest…. just kidding.  We hopped in the Corolla and headed down to the Home Depot, where we scored this cutie for $13.  It was a cheater — it’s technically over 4 feet tall, but since its top is so weird and most self-respecting tree buyers would have lobbed it off, it was placed with the 2-4 foot trees and thus was cheaper.  Our kind of tree.

So far, Kieran has decided the tree stand is his new water dish, has batted around half of our ornaments (there are only 5), and bitten our lights, causing half of them to go out until I found the right one to twist. I can’t wait to come home and find that he’s knocked the entire tree over. What a child.

Without further adieu, here it is.  Our first little Christmas tree:

November 27, 2010

Give thanks…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s a new list of thanks inspired by this weekend with my family.  I needed to catch up, anyway!

[previous gifts here]


The complete immediate family gathered ’round a table

Listening to my Papa play the guitar

Watching my Mama spend her days in service to us all (and helping where I can!)

Seeing my newlywed sister and her husband’s love for each other

Getting to share home, laughter, food, and Christ with guests

A poinsettia on the door step

Breakfast at Chaps

A fireplace and wood stove keeping us warm in very chilly conditions

Veritable feet of snow outside!

Chocolate stout cake for three family birthdays.

Thank you, Father, for this wonderfully warm, joyful weekend, the hope we have in you, and the freedom you give us to enjoy your good gifts even though we deserve none of them.

November 22, 2010

My favorite things, 2010.

Lots of favorite things posts circulating the web right now, so I thought I’d jump on in and participate.   Though I try not to be materialistic, I do have my little creature comforts.  Things: great stuff to have, horrible word to use in an essay.

And without further ado, and in no particular order…. the things I love in 2010.

1-3) This outfit

1) Eric’s thrifted Oregon sweatshirt. His mark on me when we first started dating.  I never gave it back.

2) Vigoss studio skinny jeans from BP.

3) Fake Costco Uggs.  3 years old.  Well worth the $20. I’m not “into” Uggs, but these things… they’re like cheap, rad slippers that you can wear anywhere.  They are my go-to getting-the-mail shoe, quick run to Target shoe, driving-to-pick-up-Eric shoe….  I don’t wear them “out” other than for errands, but..  ok I’ll stop making excuses.  I really do love them.

Sadly (awesomely?), you will find me in this outfit 90% of the time if I’m not working on a given day.

4) This chapstick

5) This tea

(I drink it almost every morning)

6) This Bible

(ESV Personal Size Reference)

7) This makeup

(Mary Kay signature concealer)

8) These guys


9) This gadget

10) These headphones

What are your favorites?  Time to curl up with Kieran and The Fountainhead.

<3 Brynna

p.s.  Since the horrendous linked boxes around images are glaringly obvious in this post, now’s as good a time as any to announce that there will be some changes coming soon, including a redesign! (Hopefully before the New Year, although with the holidays you never know.)


November 18, 2010

Poor, poor blog…

I’m so sorry for the neglect.  I will post tomorrow about something [hopefully] interesting.  As with most weeks, I planned on taking things day by day.  However, I ended up substituting Monday through Thursday with more days to come next week and most likely the week after.  Yesterday, my longest day, I was at school from 7 until 4:30, at church Thanksgiving from 6:30 to 9:00, and celebrating Kristen‘s birthday from 9:00 to 10:30… and woke up at 5:30 to do the 7-4:30 shift again!  By the way, this is a resignation fill-in, meaning there are no lesson plans and I have the same kids all day for all subjects. Needless to say I am exhausted.  It’ll be a night of pizza and good beer and moping about the Blazers’ bad news.

Love to you all. <3

November 11, 2010

Airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars

A few things on my mind today…

I’m sick.  That’s right. Last week I bought 2 big cartons of OJ because my favorite Simply Orange was on sale, and we started drinking it furiously. I also had excess toiletry money in the budget and decided it was a good time to buy and begin taking daily vitamins.  And I began Yoga.  And what did I get from all my healthy endeavors?  A nasty cold.  And when did it rear its ugly head?  The morning of my first ever substitute job.  Thankfully that first day (Monday)  was mostly a sore throat.  Yesterday (I hope) was the worst, and I’m not ashamed to say that while I did two very strenuous things — taking my computer to the genius bar and making chicken soup — I spent most of the day lying on the couch watching Veronica Mars.

I had to skip Yoga yesterday morning because I figured nose breathing wasn’t really going to happen for me… but I’ve gone twice so far and survived!  Thankfully this yoga practice continues my experience with Americanized yoga studios, and actually this one doesn’t attempt to bring in spirituality whatsoever.  It’s funny — I almost miss being told to breathe out my negative energy. :)  As it is, the entirety of my mental focus is devoted to not falling out of the silly balance poses, which I do all the time anyway.  My second session was significantly more difficult than my first.  I thought it was just me until I left class and all the regulars were saying it was brutal — and the hottest class they’d ever been in.  Some were estimating upwards of 115 degrees.  Yikes.

Novel-writing is still eh.  While some of my friends are carting right along, I cannot seem to find an idea I actually want to stick with for a whole novel, and I’m beginning to think I’m far too ADD and far too much of a perfectionist to see this thing through.  What that really means, of course, is that I should figure out a way to combat ADD and perfectionism.  I’ll let you know how that goes. :)

Happy Thursday, all!  Today: More rest, lunch with Hannah and picking up my fixed computer (!).  If I get industrious, mayyybe some online Christmas shopping/brainstorming. :)


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November 3, 2010

Ethics of yoga.

Am I crazy?  Not only did I just sign up to write thousands of words of a novel every day (I’m currently stuck on word 644, by the way), but I just purchased a 20x pass to a Bikram yoga studio for use in the next 60 days.  Yes, Bikram is the type of yoga you do in 105 degree heat. On top of that, I have my first writing group meeting tonight with the lovely Sara, and Eric and I hope to start attending a mid-week church service in the near future.  (As a side note, Sara holds the distinguished position of being the very best “group project” partner I ever worked with in my undergraduate career.  Boy, did we wrangle The Awakening into submission…)

Life slowed for Eric and me, pleasantly, a few months ago, when my summer job from hell ended and at the same time God opened the door for us to visit and grow to love a new body of believers.  Jobless and ministry-less for the time being, I am now part of what I suspect is a tiny minority of people who literally have no regular commitments whatsoever.  Except church on Sunday.   All that is about to change.

The decision to do Yoga is quite timely, as an online debate has been heating up (haha get it? Bikram?…) about whether or not Christians should practice Yoga.  Mark Driscoll’s July 2010 commentary, found here, sparked quite the conversation.  Keep in mind if you watch this or have seen it that Driscoll loves controversy.  If you stop the video ten seconds in you will write him off as a crazy man.  I almost did.  If you watch the whole thing you realize that all he’s saying is that Christians should be careful.  And yes, he could have said it in a much less contentious way.  The Village Church’s Geoff Ashley address the topic in this article in what I think is a much more responsible way.  He is careful to address concerns of parties on both sides of the debate while calming the discussion. Here are my observations, along with some reasons I am fine with doing Yoga myself.

read more »

October 28, 2010

New things.

In case you haven’t noticed, my series are getting a little bit wimpy lately.  My love hate relationship with running is still a love hate relationship; my garden is frozen and was hauled away by the garbage truck last week.  I’m still a fledgling foodie, but this blog cannot live by zucchini bread alone!  So here I am to introduce a couple of exciting new series ideas I’m hoping to introduce, shortly (I originally typo’d “shorty,” and believe me when I say I was SO tempted to leave it…):

On dwelling. I like the word dwell and all its connotations.  I’m hung up on it because I want my home to be a place where we thrive and feel at home, that’s comfortable and inviting and pleasant and peaceful.  This series will be about the little things I do to make my apartment homey.  My next large home project is my office room, which I’m really hoping to transform into some sort of creativity center.  Its major flaw is that it lacks any sort of functional furniture, so it has become a file and storage catch-all — and my poor, neglected piano hides behind all of it.  Unacceptable.

On writing, or reading, or both. I look over the myriad blogs online about decorating and design and fashion and photography and all those beautiful things, and the truth is, folks, that I just don’t know as much about painting pretty pictures with images as I do with words.  Not that I’m not visual, or that I’m not trying to be better at photography, and so many etceteras, but if I truly want to write about my passions, my passion is writing.  Unfortunately, lately I’ve been one of those writing posers there are so many of.  You know, the kind that say “I’m a writer” and/or “I love to write,” and then don’t write.  Ever.  I aim to change that, and hopefully I’ll like what I do enough to subject it to your collective scrutiny.

On teaching and kids. This is perhaps premature/wishful thinking, but I’m in the active process of finding a job, and I’m most qualified to teach.  That means that the job I do hopefully find will involve kids, and the funny things they do or the brilliant things I find out (ha) will inevitably make their ways here.  I am on two substitute lists now, although I have yet to get a call… so we’ll see.

In the mean time, I do have a question for you.  Who are you? I know people read this thing, because my dashboard tool thing tells me so.  But it’s not smart enough to tell me who you are.  I’m posting these entries as Facebook statuses for the whole world to see, and I don’t consider you a “stalker” for clicking a link in your news feed…. so come forth.  Leave a comment. Say hey.  I’m really, truly glad you’re here.  And maybe I’ll be able to “consider my audience” more that way as I post.  Just a suggestion. ;)

[photo credit]

October 18, 2010

Lazy food…

Today I am acutely aware of how little I have to do.  The unemployment bit is beginning to get very boring, although I really do appreciate the time I have to myself and the abundant time to get things done.  Thankfully, my efficiency was put to the test late last week, so I know it’s still working:  I cranked out application essays, work samples, photo sorting for a friend, two short freelance articles, and an in-depth lesson plan.  On top of that I dedicated a whole day to observing at a school, another half-day to teaching at said school, and three hours of my Friday evening to interviewing.  Everything went fabulously and I felt I did as well as I could have, but I came in second to someone with more experience.  I’m disappointed, but not angry.  God will provide. :)

Had I gotten that job, my week (and months to follow) would have been an insanely hectic whirlwind of planning, executing (plans and probably children), grading, playing catch-up, and stressing every evening and weekend moment.  Although I was up for the challenge, I have to also be thankful for the relief from such stress and anxiety and for the opportunity to rescue my home from the tornado that hit it while I was focused on the process.  And by the way, our food supply pretty much consists of bagels at this point.  Good thing we love bagels.

As far as meal planning this week goes, we were blessed with some leftovers (we “won the leftover lottery,” as someone said) after a newcomers lunch at the church we’ve been attending, but other than that I’m looking forward to doing some more cooking.  My plan to save money on groceries last week worked, but mostly because of a lack of time to make meals.  I’m ready to put in a little more effort to feed us a bit better.  But since I’m feeling ADD about finding ACTUAL meals, here’s the compromise:  I will give you a vague outline, and then I promise to blog in-depth about anything spectacular.  Sound good?

Monday: Leftover church pasta/salad

Another day: Shrimp something, probably broiled with low-fat spices fried with butter and garlic.  Actually, some good shrimp tacos sound fantastic with cilantro and limes and white sauce…

Another day: Pizza – GOURMET!!  I’m thinking whole-wheat crust, very thin red potatoes, pears, figs, delish cheese or something else super fancy.

Another day: Something with lots of awesome vegetables, like fresh veggie-stir fry.

And on boring/lazy days: Leftover chili, more leftover church pasta, leftover frozen various soups.

I have a confession.  I really, really am not a huge fan of the vast majority of leftovers.  It’s not that the food actually isn’t good.  There’s just this little something that goes off in my mind and convinces me that it isn’t.  That something new would be better.  I clearly need to get over this and be more efficient/cost-effective, blahblahblah.  Hopefully I’m going through a weird food phase.  After all, when I’m busy I tend to be more in “shove this in my mouth so I don’t starve” mode and less in picky mode….

All this continues to support the idea that I need a job and/or children, which Betsy so lovingly pointed out yesterday do NOT help you save any money (*that was a joke anyway).  Please hire me, or at least let me take your children to the pumpkin patch. I’m not creepy, even though that sounded very very creepy.

Here’s what I kind of wish I was doing right now:

Eating this (via Kam Family)

Playing here (via Kam’s World)

Tickling these (*awkward/amusing idiom), via [Nati]


It’s another GORGEOUS cold sunny fall day here in Portland.  Keep it coming.

October 7, 2010

Advice for my 15-year-old self.

Yes, I’m only 23 (24 in 2 weeks!).  No, I’m not in any position to be giving crazy life advice — except maybe to myself.  Betsy and I came across a hilarious chat conversation on AOL Instant Messenger (we were both addicted in high school) between her and a mutual friend, and while we were reading it realized a) how ridiculous the entire conversation was, b) what babies we (and the boy) were, and c) how glad we are that we’re still friends.  Aww.

So here it is: a short, very likely cliche-sounding but very true list of advice I would give my 15-year-old self.  Surely my parents will read this and say, “But we said all those things to you!”  That’s not the point.  I’m not writing this because I would have listened; rather, rest assured that I have learned.

[Betsy and me dorking it up at Universal Studios LA in 2002.]

1. It’s hilarious how much popularity really doesn’t matter in the long run.

First of all, it turns out I have hung out with exactly ONE high school friend in the last year (Betsy excluded, because we lived in different cities and didn’t meet through school), and only two or so the year before that.  And they aren’t who you think they are based on who your friends are now.  All of my high school friendships except with that one person are pretty awkward, because everyone has changed so much.  The funny thing?  The people you’re friends with now are going to stay how they are, and you are not.  Why is that?  Because you weren’t really that much like them to begin with.  This isn’t a better/worse comparison or regrets about who I was friends with — just a little lesson in choosing friends wisely based on who YOU really are.

We use a little thing called Facebook now that’s like AIM on steroids.  It will allow you to stalk almost everyone you could ever want to stalk, including those darn popular kids from high school.  I’m talking pictures, relationships, what they say to their friends…. Guess what?  They aren’t as glamorous as you thought they were. Turns out lots of girls with the “ideal” 15-year-old body (*that sounds creepy) struggle with their weight now.  The fancy rich girls with great clothes?  They would probably trade the things their parents bought them for better relationships with their parents.  The crazy party girls?  Sadly, several people you know or know of will be in rehab in a few years, and a couple will even die from overdoses and drunk driving car accidents.  And even the stories that don’t end tragically still don’t end the way you want your life to look.  Which brings me to….

2. Save close friendships for people who share your values.

This doesn’t necessarily mean faith, although that’s a huge plus because those bonds aren’t easily broken.  What I mean, mostly, is that you should choose to invest most of your energy in friends who have similar goals in the bigger picture of life.  Think about it. If you want to go to college and eventually get married and have kids and your friend thinks she will never go to school and doesn’t really want kids, then in five to ten years you will have virtually nothing in common.  Your friendship won’t have a base to stand on except silly high school stories, and most great relationships just can’t rely on tales that being with “that one time in Mr. Ferney’s ninth grade science class.”  There are people you know right now who you could invest in with a few sacrifices — and when you’re 23, you’ll wish these were the people you could call up when you visit home.

[Slightly more mature in Seattle, 2007.]

3. Don’t date that guy.

First, a disclaimer:  If you are an actual legitimate ex-boyfriend and you are reading this, I don’t regret dating you and you’re a great guy.  However, when I look back on high school under the umbrella term of “dating,” I count a lot of really unfortunate flings in that mix.  Pardon the less-than-flattering, kind of down right mean description, but man I dated a lot of tools.  Here’s some practical, obvious advice: if a guy is unwilling to call you his girlfriend he is not worth your time.  Same goes for if he doesn’t call you when he says he will.  When you are 16 you will meet a guy who buys a long-distance calling card and then kicks people out of his dorm room just to talk to you.  When you are 21, your future husband will stand outside in below-freezing weather trying to get cell service from his parents’ house in the middle of nowhere.  It can be done.  So if anyone you’re hanging out with now can’t find the time to pick up his local cell phone and dial your number, let it go. Just for kicks, here’s some even more obvious practical advice:  if a guy tells you he would rather smoke pot than hang out with you, he’s probably not worth your time.  You laugh (and I laugh!) but really, 15-year-old Brynna (and other girls out there), you will a) not stay friends with this person and b) wish you hadn’t been such an idiot.  Final advice on this topic comes from some hard-hitting, loving words from my dad: “When a guy wants something, he will move mountains to get it.”  This isn’t permission to be a diva (that’s another topic), but ask yourself — what mountains (even small ones) is this guy moving?

4. Do what you love.

You’ve always wanted to be a writer.  You think you aren’t good enough or that you can’t do it.  Pursue it with all your strength.  Find mentors, write all the time, and set goals.  This goes for anything you think you’re good at and enjoy.  Guess why lots of people “don’t make it” in writing, music, and art?  They give up because somewhere along the line they believed that it was too hard, or that they weren’t good enough. You’re going to go to college in a few years and start a major in philosophy pre-law.  Eventually you will change this to English (duh), because that’s what you’ve always been good at.  Don’t try to get fancy, or worry about looking smart, or anything else. Chances are if you’ve been saying you want to be a writer since you were seven, you want to be a writer.  Don’t try to make it more complicated.  And by all means, don’t do something you’re not sure about if it you have to take out a crap load of loans for it (oops).

[Looking wise and supa-fly in 2009.]

In summary, I know you’re finding out who you are right now and if you knew without a doubt who you were you wouldn’t need this advice.  But you do have a good idea of who you are — you know what you’re good at, and you know that you rest in the hands that hold the whole world.  When you’re 23, you’ll be so sure of this that you’ll build your whole life on it according to his grace.  Again, don’t make it so complicated.  Be yourself, find out what’s important to you and do that.

P.S. You’ll meet your husband when you’re 20.  His name is Eric and he’s a stud. It’s probably ok to give up on guys entirely before then.