Wednesday, July 30, 2008

time for a few updates...

there are several things i want to update everyone on:

1) Before & After - no i didn't forget. i know the deadline passed on this one from what i wrote earlier. boomama has postponed her date, but i spent all weekend working on our bedroom and bathroom (items #2 & #3) and can let you know that I AM DONE!!!

that's right: SUCCESS! so i didn't finish until july 28, but still... i'm finished! i don't have any before pictures, but i'll post some after pics later. stay tuned.

2) ICE CREAM FAST - a number of you know i gave up ice cream from early july until AUGUST 8 (jeanette's bday). its kind of like a summer lent, i guess, but i wanted to practice self-discipline and give something up that sometimes has power over me. (did i mention how much i love ice cream?)

this weekend, i did eat few bites of ice cream while at a baby shower, but only because it was an ice cream cake and a piece was handed to me and i could not hand it back. that would have been totally inappropriate to make a scene in such a setting. it was during the gift opening and there was just no way not to eat it without drawing attention. kati, who we all know is very wise (no pun intended), was next to me and i told her my dilemma, and she agreed i had to eat it. i don't want to be legalistic about this "fast" so i decided it was only a few bites (i was handed a very small piece).

here's the thing: i didn't even enjoy it. it wasn't very good. all the other ladies raved about how yummy the cake was. and i'm sure it was. i believe that God didn't let me enjoy it so that i wouldn't feel guilty. he knew i wasn't succumbing to temptation, so i think he let me not really enjoy it so that i would stay strong.

this was put to the test the next day. we had some friends in from out of town, and after church a group of us went to el rod's for lunch. katie had been promised by her hubby jason that they'd get tcby while in town, because she had been craving it and there wasn't one in richmond. so after lunch, we walked across the street and they all got ice cream/yogurt. except me! i held up and did not give into the temptation. the boys all sat at the kiddie picnic table, which i thought was cute. they are so funny!

anyway, i feel good about not falling off the wagon and look forward to officially breaking my ice cream fast while celebrating the olympics and sassy's bday on aug. 8!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

passing through...

yesterday, we were greeted with the company of david's only (and younger) sister, lisa. lisa and her boyfriend, ron, were driving from kerrville,texas to charlottesville, virginia so because she is moving. since i know all smart folks are asking, "why charlottesville?", let me explain.

lisa has been working as an athletic trainer for a small unversity in texas the past few years (after she got her masters). she decided that it was time to go back to school for her PhD in kinesiology (aka sports medicine). she applied and was accepted to UVA, and we have since forgiven her since it means she'll be in the same state as us.

so there are officially 3 chinns in the state of virginia! hooray! (david's brother mike and his wife bertie have lived in va beach since 2004.)

we took them to dinner last night at sharkey's (mondays are bogo burger nights) and then we played spades back at our house. david and i were losing terribly when we finally called it quits and headed to bed. (we lost two hands in a row going blind nill when i was set on the 13th and last trick. bah!)

this morning david helped load up our old entertainment center we decided to get rid of and then he cooked a wonderful breakfast of waffles, eggs, bacon and sausage. the bacon was turkey, so it wasn't really bacon, according to our texas visitors, but the sausage was pork so that was "the real deal." :)

after bfast, david and i headed to work and they hit the road for hooville. you can be sure that the past 24 hours included a lot of joking about uva. i mean how can we resist now that we have a family member at the enemy school? but seriously, it was great to see lisa, meet ron, and we are very excited she will be so close by!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Update on Chris

David told me that Chris returned to work part-time last week. (He works at a bank). Just wanted to keep people posted on his recovery!

Thanks for all who have been praying. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers -- and we'll keep updating you all!

The Week's Recap!

What a busy week it has been!


I left off with you all on Tuesday – with full anticipation of our chicken & waffles night. Let me just say this: It did not disappoint!

When we arrived, Ryan and Lisa were in the kitchen, and "Roscoe" Ryan was covered with flour & grease. There were 4 pots of oil on the stove with chicken pieces being fried. It was fantastic. Sarah had made some delicious deviled eggs, and Kati some yummy potato salad. We’re talking a complete southern feast with SWEET TEA! (Of course. Is there any other kind of tea?) I mixed up the waffle batter and then deferred to my better half, who has a way with waffles that makes them divine. He gets them coming out nice and fluffy and always crisp and golden. You can see from the picture the spread that we ate (on durable square plates provided by Terri).

The combination of chicken and waffles was quite tasty, and some of us even tried eating them in the same bite. I admit that I was in heaven – even though my stomach was of course rumbly afterwards. Sarah brought mint brownies which were also amazing, and most of us had to be rolled out to our cars. Or at least it felt like it!


I persuaded Terri to join me on the road trip, and we set off first thing Wednesday morning. The drive was uneventful, and I enjoyed the road-tripping tunes of DJ Deuce (what I call her anyways), who kept my ears happy while I was driving amongst the trucks on 81 & 64. I discovered some new music and really enjoyed several new artists she introduced me to.

After dropping Terri off in Short Pump (where she would meet up with friends later), I headed into the city to Rachel’s new place. She lives in an apartment in The Fan, and other than the moaning cat her roommate owns, it was an awesome place to be. We grabbed lunch and then decided to go to a pool at a friend’s apartment complex down near Shockoe Bottom. I read, Rachel napped, and we both took dips in the pool to combat our sweat from the sun. It was incredibly relaxing.

We then went to the grocery store and bought ingredients to make a pizza for dinner. Our toppings of choice are broccoli, spinach & pineapple, and this may sound gross to some of you, but don’t knock it until you try it. This was Rachel’s first attempt at using her oven for dinner (her kitchen is the one part of the apartment that leaves some things desired) and it worked just fine. Who needs fancy? We decided to eat it out on the balcony/patio, because a storm was brewing. We ate and chatted and watched runners go up and down the street, until finally the storm hit. It was such a relaxing feeling, smelling the rain coming and enjoying the breeze.

I asked Rach to take me to the anatomy lab she has TA’ed this summer, and she graciously let me in and let me touch some cadavers. It was awesome! So cool. I’ll spare the details so as not to gross out anyone, but I definitely got to gently handle a body and have Rach show me some neat things (like a spinal cord). She then showed me another building where she has class and we picked her first syllabi for year 2 classes (which begin on Monday). She is going to be an amazing doctor, I just know it!

We got back to her place and decided to watch Project Runway. We were going to try and squeeze in an old Alias episode, but there wasn’t enough time. So we chilled and watched TV and waited for Terri to call. Terri was just one block away at a Shane Claiborne event called “Jesus for President.” We heard from her at the very end of our show (perfect timing) and we walked to get her. After a quick Kroger run near Carytown to get Terri some chocolate, we called it a night. It was a fabulous day.

Thursday, Rach went to work and I went for a run. I decided to not focus on distance or frustration and just run for enjoyment. It went really well and I felt very refreshed. I then did some reading on the balcony and ate breakfast while Terri got ready for the day. I then got cleaned up and we went on a driving Richmond tour. It was Terri’s first time in Richmond, and I did my best to show her the main parts of the city. We finished up our tour at Commonwealth Chapel, where my sis & her family go to church. My bro-in-law was there picking up my oldest nephew Jonas from Vacation Bible School, and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see Jonas (and his brother Asher). They are so adorable. I love squeezing them. After a brief visit, it was time to meet Rachel and head to lunch.

We went to Carytown and settled on Galaxy Diner. I daringly tried a fried pickle, which was pretty gross. After a tasty meal, we dropped Rachel off, said our goodbyes, and headed back to Short Pump. We ran into Short Pump Town Center to see my sis, who is a manager at Pottery Barn Kids. She was taking a late lunch break, so we got to chat for a few minutes and grab drinks from Starbucks before hitting the road. Then it was back to 64 & 81. We chatted most of the way home and enjoyed the nice weather. We made it home just in time for dinner… and so ends the great impromptu Richmond roadtrip of July 2008.


i am back in town... and back online (sort of).

before i left on my road trip, our internet at home stopped working. i didn't have internet while in richmond, and although i'm back, the internet at home is not great.

if i have time at work today, i'll post my pics and recap from my trip. otherwise, it might be a day or so. i've got to get the internet thing at home figured out... david says it is going in and out and we've been getting error messages from comcast. i was about to pull my hair out tuesday night but i've settled down now after my trip and am ready to try again. i think.

more later...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

tonight is the night, plus other happenings.

tonight is roscoe's night... a.k.a. our church staff team's chicken and waffles night at the hartsooks!

i am so excited! the chinns are taking care of the waffle part. ryan has promised to use his personal recipe for the fried chicken, and several others are bringing sides and such. i will post pictures later! :)

in other news:

last night, we had our final summer women's bible study. we've been doing the stepping up study with beth moore, and it has been quite a journey. the focus of the study is the psalms of ascent, and i have learned so much from these 15 songs. as a group we memorized psalm 121, and kiera helped us put hand motions to the verses last night. she is extremely talented and creative, and it helps to have those left-brained people in such a group. several folks had to miss last night, so we are going to wait and take our group picture when all are around. that gives us a good reason to have a "reunion" in a few weeks (to take a picture together and maybe share a pot-luck). i will miss my monday nights with these ladies as they truly have blessed me with their presence. we have all grown so much, individually in our walks with God as well as together as a group. we've laughed together and shared our hearts with each other. its been one of my favorite groups ever!

finally, i am going to be making an impromptu road trip to richmond tomorrow to visit rachel! year two of med school starts next week, and my job starts in august, so now is the time! i'll try to snap some pics and make a post from there as well.

Monday, July 21, 2008

b & a update

before and after update:

item 1) get navajo room ready for jesse is complete!

okay, i still gotta make room for her clothes in the closet, because currently david's are living in there. but that's so minor. she and her mom (who was visiting) stayed in there last night so i can check that box off!

one down, two to go...

did i mention...

...that God is downright amazing? i meant to post this yesterday, but the day went faster than i could keep up with.

yesterday i had the opportunity to speak on psalm 51 at church, and to start the week i wasn't excited about it. but on friday, God gave me a fresh word and it just rocked and rolled from there. i had the chance to do something i've never done, and that was speak without notes during my sermon. i didn't need any, because it was all God and i just spoke from the Word. i couldn't contain my excitement and passion for God's word, and it was just a blast. like seriously it was the coolest thing ever.

of course i was nervous ahead of time even though i had practiced for several hours on saturday, just pacing around our basement preaching to the air. but nerves are good because they keep me humble and remind me that it is not me -- its ALL God!

this weekend has been full of so much joy. my excitement over God's Word is just because He is good and alive and i just want to share it with others. so i hope others are blessed by what he can say through me, and if it can encourage anyone else to get into His Word for themselves, i've done my job.

if you go online to listen, i'd love to hear any constructive criticism or feedback. i'm really desiring to work on my communication skills as i seek to honor God in his call on my life as a bible teacher.

and if you remember, keep me in your prayers that i will be faithful in this role in His kingdom. the next time i'll speak is aug. 10, when i'll cover the psalms of ascent in our last week in our psalms series.

thanks for everyone's encouragement. and remember, God is good. run hard after Him and He will always come through!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

boomama's before and after!

i just found out about this (somehow i missed it earlier) but boomama has hit on something i too struggle with -- setting goals and actually accomplishing them around the house!

she has decided to do an internet "before and after" where we all set some goals, post it on the web, then DO IT, and then post pictures for all to see.


i have decided to participate even though i only have one week! we have really been doing this all summer, but now i have extra motivation to push through this last week.

my goals:
1) get navajo room ready for jesse to move in
2) clean/organize the master bath
3) get our bedroom "decluttered"

in one week's time, you will see some pics of houseofchinn! :)


if i were solomon writing ecclesiates 3, there's one more "time" i would add in -- a time to say hello and a time to say goodbye. this is something that definitely is a "season" under heaven, especially where we live in blacksburg.

living in a college town can be challenging sometimes, because its such a transient place. people come and go, and yet, some of us stay. so we have a lot of hellos and goodbyes...more than the average person in some suburb or city somewhere.

this week has been a week to say farewell to our friends deric and sarah. they have both recently received their PhDs and are moving to boston to start jobs/post-grad work. it is a very exciting time for them, as they are going to be able to experience the fruits of their labor. but it is also a sad time, as they are saying farewell to blacksburg for a long time.

david and i met deric through basketball in war memorial gym, and it turned out he had been to nlcf so he recognized us. there's been a group of mostly grad students deric knows that david and i joined in with who have played basketball together weekly for the last 2 years. and now its time to say farewell.

we played our last "game" with deric on tuesday in the gym, and last night we joined a crowd of folks at the cellar to have a final meal with deric and his wife sarah. they pack up the uhaul on sunday (assuming uhaul actually has a truck for them -- they've had quite an ordeal with their reservation).

in august, new folks will come to town and we'll continue to make new friends. but we'll sure miss the old ones. and we'll sure miss our saturday basketball games with deric and company.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The two ends of the marriage spectrum...

This past weekend was a unique one for David and I. That's because we had the pleasure of being able to celebrate two ends of the marriage spectrum.

Saturday, our friend John got married in Blacksburg. He and his bride, Ashley, had smiles on their faces the entire time, and Ashley was quite possibly the most excited bride I had ever seen on stage. (And I've seen a lot of weddings...working with a college church, we average about 5-6 per year.)

This couple was experiencing the first moments of what its like when you say your vows to each other. Long after the flashbulbs from cameras stop popping, you still have the privilege to wake up each day next to the person who you promised to cherish. The person to whom you slid a ring on the third finger on their left hand and said, "I choose you." Weddings are fun and happy occasions, but the marriages they start are what I love the most. I enjoy seeing people lock eyes when they come down the aisle. I love watching the groom tear up while everyone else is staring at the bride. The pure joy and excitement is a blessing to experience. The apostle Paul tells us it is an image of Christ and the church.

On Sunday, we got to experience the other end of the spectrum. Witnessing the first moments of a marriage on Saturday, we got to witness some of the final moments of a marriage on Sunday. My grandparents, Maurice & Katherine Carpenter, were being honored at a party for their 60th wedding anniversary (which was actually July 3).

That's right. 60 years. That's a lot of mornings to wake up and smell the kitten breath of the person on the other side of the bed. That's a lot of burned dinners, miscommunications, and apologies. That's a lot of sunsets enjoyed together, children raised, and if lucky, even grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All of these were present Sunday when we honored Mema & Papa.

Papa has been battling cancer recently, and is due to turn 85 in August. Mema turned 85 back in March and is already a breast cancer survivor. Do the math and you'll realize they were married the same year they turned 25. That's not that young to get married, and in fact, in their day, it was old. The fact that they have both stayed in strong health this long is a huge blessing not everyone gets to experience. Neither is the experience of true love and devotion. Unfortunately, so many marriages fail. When you get to celebrate ones that lasts, its such a blessing.

My prayer is that David and I make it to 60 years. Not because I don't think we will want to, but so many things can get in the way. Life can get in the way -- sickness, accidents, you name it.

We're not guaranteed tomorrow. We've been married approximately 6 years, 10 months, 7 days, 18 hours, and 25 minutes. And we know we're not guaranteed 7 years. Or even 6 years, 10 months, 8 days and 19 hours. But I hope we are blessed to experience as much love in devotion in however much time we have left as Mema & Papa have in their 60+ years together. They are great examples of serving God and devoting their lives to Him. Their faith and trust in their savior Jesus has been the glue in their marriage. David and I can only hope we can imitate this as much as our imperfect souls allow. If we can be half the married couple and servants of Jesus Christ that the Carpenters have been, we are in for a long, fun ride.

What a weekend. Happy events, happy marriages. Some in the first few moments. Some in probably the later moments. But both extremely joyous occasions. What a great God we serve.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I am realizing more and more that I lack self-discipline. When I was younger, I didn't struggle with this nearly as much as I do now. Exercise is a great example. In high school, I lived for sports, and played them year-round. I was always going to practice and would often leave and head straight to the gym. I was fit and in shape, and I thrived on it. Now, I struggle with the motivation to exercise. I think part of it is that I was always involved in team sports, and I really don't like running. I used to run because it kept me in shape for my sports. But now, I just can't stand it. I try to run, and at times it is very cathartic for me (especially in the rain). But I am discovering that I am just so slow that I lose my motivation. I keep telling David that I want to run a road race so I'll have something to train for, but 2008 has been empty for me. I've averaged one race a year (5k, 10k, or duathlon) each of the past 4 years, but so far this year is a wash. I really need to work on this...

Books are another example. There have been times in my life when I was a reading machine. But now is not one of them. I like to read, and enjoy when I do, but my motivation is low. I just don't discipline myself to do it. I get easily distracted by other things (like reading people's blogs or trying to clean my house) and I don't take the time to sit and read. I even get distracted by silly things on TV because I'm tired and I sometimes view reading as work. This is probably in part because it takes a lot of effort for me to read because of my ADHD, and focusing without distraction is very challenging. Grad school for me was a major trial, although its not something I shared with a lot of people. Trying to keep up with the reading when you have the disabilities I do is tough. But so many people joke about "being ADD" that it's not worth explaining sometimes that you have it and what it really means. But enough of that tangent...this is not a post on ADHD.

Anyway, all this to say that I am realizing I need more discipline. Whether it's in prayer or fasting, reading or exercising, I am trying to do better. To start, I decided last week that I'd give up ice cream until Jeanette's b-day (8/8/08). I chose that date because it was a month away (at the time) and I knew I'd want to eat some when we celebrate that day. So I figured it would be a good test of my willpower and self-discipline.

So if you see me between now and then, ask me how I'm doing with that and with other areas of discipline in my life... just don't offer me a bowl of ice cream! :)

Friday, July 11, 2008


Today I met my longtime friend Kati for coffee. Okay, that's a lie. Those of you who know me know that I don't drink coffee. I drank hot tea. (Sorry Jeanette, I confess I got a hot drink in the summer. Can we still be friends?) Anyway, back to the point. Kati and I got together originally to discuss women's ministry stuff, but instead we got sidetracked talking about life. It was great to catch up and reconnect -- and its strange that we have lived in the same town for 10 years now and yet we rarely see each other these days. Gone are the days of sharing an apartment in the nlcf-ghetto, when we were all single and were involved in prank wars. Now are the days of work, responsibility, and family. But that is still no excuse to not make friendships a priority. It was wonderful to reconnect with Kati and I look forward to doing it again soon. I felt a heavy conviction in my spirit as I biked home from the coffee shop that I needed to be faithful in the old friendships in my life just as much as I am to the new ones. As the girl scouts song goes, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold."

I also had the privilege to reconnect with my friend Kelly. Kelly now lives in Richmond, but is in town for her brother's wedding. While her hubby was out shooting "all the guns" with the men out in Craig Co., she was with the ladies doing nails and last minute details. Having some spare time, she stopped by houseofchinn, and I gladly stopped my house cleaning to catch up. One of my favorite things about Kelly is the fact that you can just pick up where you left off with her. Even though David and I only see her and Kevin several times a year, they are just comfortable friends. (I cannot wait until our trip to France with them & the Schmidts in December!) Kelly always makes me laugh and is just someone that you can discuss life with and feel good afterwards -- a very cathartic friendship.

So yay for a day of reconnection -- some planned, others spontaneous. But in both cases, pure joy. Definitely a day of enjoying the "gold" in my life.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

psalms meditations

Mike Swann and I are splitting the latest teaching series at church. It's on the Psalms, and I did the intro last Sunday.

Each day I'm posting a meditation on the web site from Eugene Peterson's "A Year with the Psalms" book. This is a nifty little book my mom loaned me from the library of Walnut Grove Baptist Church. It was written in 1979 (the year I was born!) but it is still very timely. I'm digging the short meditations and prayers, and it seemed like the perfect thing to post daily on the web to encourage our church members to be reading/thinking/praying about the Psalms daily.

Feel free to follow along on and if you want, you can listen to the messages here.

chicken and waffles

So at the nlcf staff meeting on Tuesday, we discussed restaurants that serve chicken and waffles. It started with Ddubb mentioning that he had heard of this, to which Ryan replied, "Snoop talks about that all the time on his Reality show. It's called Roscoe's." I mentioned that Gladys Knight has a similar restaurant in Atlanta (I heard about at Deeper Still the other week) and Jeanette finalized the discussion with the admission that she had seen one in Roanoke (called Thelma's). Mike confessed he didn't like fried chicken (it sour's his stomach?!?!?!) and we all wondered, "what kind of pastor do we have who doesn't like fried chicken?" Or at least that's what I wondered...

Anyway, ever since Tuesday, I cannot stop thinking about chicken & waffles. I love both of those foods, and have been craving them together ever since.

Ddubb then emailed the staff this video, and Mike followed by suggesting this one. It's all become too much for me. I want chicken and waffles now!

I'm going to have to find some peeps to take a trip to Thelma's so we can give it a try... Any takers in Bburg up for a road trip to Roanoke for some chicken n' waffles?

And finally, a confession: I love working for a church where we can discuss chicken and waffles for 30 minutes of a staff meeting. I don't make many such meetings these days because of my other (*paying*) job, but when I can make them, I always leave feeling like we've accomplished something! :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Minnesota Recap

So we spent last week in Minnesota with David's family celebrating Grandpa Miller's 90th birthday. We had a great week staying in a lake house eating together, fishing together, and shopping together.

We arrived in Minneapolis Monday morning after flying out of Charlotte. God really blessed our flight and we flew first class on standby! We didn't have to pay for the first class seats and enjoyed a delicious breakfast on the flight. We were sitting in Row 1 -- a first for me! It was an awesome experience that actually had a number of spiritual parallels for me. I'll share those at a later time.

On Tuesday, we smoked a pig that we ate on all week. David, Scott and Mike ran the show and I carved the pig when it was done.

The ladies went out on Wednesday for manicures/pedicures and some shopping. The men stayed home and played poker and pool.

On Thursday night we all went out to dinner for Grandpa's 90th, and I tried walleye for the first time (it's a very popular fish up in MN).

On Thursday/Friday, Chris took his boat out in fishing "shifts" and David and I went on Friday. I caught 20 fish! They weren't all big, but Chris told me that a fish is a fish! That's my new favorite saying!

David and I left early, early, early on Saturday morning. We left the house at 2:30 am in Grandpa's car. He wanted to drive and at first refused to give David the keys, but after a few minutes, we were able to convince him to let David get behind the wheel. For the next 2.5 hours, he showed off his remarkable photographic memory and told stories about people and places. We landed in Charlotte around 10:00 and were home around 1:00, just in time for me to get my act together for church on Sunday (I was speaking and my message needed a lot of work.)

What a great week...more stories later.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday Update

Thank you everyone for praying for Chris.

He just arrived in Brainerd to join the rest of the family, and had encouraging results to share. Basically, the ultrasound was normal and the labs were normal as well!

Praise Jesus! They don't have any thoughts as to why Monday's showed up with rapid decline, but today they were comfortable enough with the results to allow him to travel and join the family.

His next appointment is scheduled for early next week, and we pray that things continue to look good at that time. Keep him and the kidney in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you for your support of our family during this time. David and I have felt like it was no coincidence that it happened this week while we were physically here. We are praying that we can be the examples God desires us to be in the Chinn family and that we can be the literal hands and feet of Christ this week.

We are humbled that God has answered our prayer for a miracle of normal test results and we look forward to communicating more of God's healing of Chris in the future. Keep praying! God is good. :)