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I wrote the following post yesterday afternoon after reading of the death of some of Gaddafi’s family members. I feel that it is all the more relevant today in light of the news of Osama’s murder that I awoke to this morning. In that regard, you can apply my arguments below to the death of Osama as well.

You do not have to agree with me, but please do me the courtesy of reading and prayerfully considering what I have to say in it’s entirety before you form an opinion as to where I stand on terrorism and “justice”.

 

This issue is heavy on my heart today. 

I have been keeping up with the events unfolding in the East, Libya in specific, and my heart is constantly broken for those people. The amount of daily unrest is unreal. The news source I follow on Twitter reports almost daily on the number of deaths occurring from these struggles. My thoughts and prayers are generally with the victims of the violence, praying first that God will protect them, but also that He will intervene to bring about a change in a nonviolent way. A change of heart among the rulers of those nations. An opportunity for mutual understanding and compromise. Peace. 

When various countries began to turn to military force to stop Gaddafi, I was conflicted. Yes, he needed to be stopped, but was this the right way to handle it? Possibly risking the lives of civilians in order to stop someone from further threatening those civilians’ lives seemed counter-productive. (As did fighting violence with violence.) But what other option did the leaders have? Negotiations had failed and people were continuing to die.

I don’t envy the job of the leaders of the various nations. If I had been in their place, I don’t know how I would have best handled the situation. It seems like there is no right course of action to be found. 

Saturday night, I read that a NATO strike had killed one of Gaddafi’s sons and three of his grandchildren. For those who are unaware, most of Gaddafi’s family, specifically his sons, support him and his political stance. In the eyes of the world, I would guess that this is a victory. 

But as I thought on this and shared it with my husband Sunday morning, my heart was as equally broken for these deaths as it had been for the deaths of the oppressed. I wept for the loss of life, regardless of the evil acts that have been committed.

These people were, in all likelihood, just as terrible as Gaddafi, a man most of the world agrees is a tyrannical murderer. But all of these people, Gaddafi included, are clearly lost and separated from the grace and love of God. They are people who were created in God’s image—just like me. And they were murdered on Saturday.

To what end? Do their deaths bring back the victims who were slain? Does killing them right the wrongs that have been done? Has any of the pain from their actions or their association with Gaddafi been erased in their death? Clearly no.

Am I denying that their actions were evil?

Honestly, I have no idea what they have specifically done, but in a nutshell, no.

Do I deny that there should be consequences for their actions?

No.

But, do I think that they should have died for their actions (or for their relation to and support of someone so cruel)?

Emphatically, no.

The point remains that it was God who created them and gave them life and it is He that should have the power to take that away. 

Have we forgotten the Sermon on the Mount?

Matthew 7 – 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

Or

Matthew 7 – 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

Or maybe it is more clear in Romans 12.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
   if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I feel like that bears repeating at least once more:

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

So my response to this is that while we should continue praying for the victims, we should also extend those prayers to the rulers. Right now it seems that the only way for the death and destruction in these nations to end is by killing the rulers, but this perpetuates the violence. Instead, let us pray for a supernatural change in their hearts and minds, for it is only then that there is a chance of peaceful reconciliation.

❤ LF

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Heart = Breaking

On Tuesday evening, I had to make the decision about what to do with my sweet aging puppy. He is 16 years old and currently has joint issues, is both blind and deaf, and, as of last Sunday, has seizures. He also is at high risk of drowning since he can’t find my parents’ pool until after he’s fallen in.

If you’re not a pet-owner, you probably won’t understand, but can you imagine having to make the decision to put-down your best friend? Completely heart-wrenching. As a result, I cried a lot, drank chocolate milk, and watched All Dogs Go to Heaven. (It seemed appropriate at the time.)

Since my dog lives in Sugar Land, my husband and I spent the afternoon out there Sunday, photographing him, holding him for the last time, and helping him to enjoy his last day alive.

He was a stray when we adopted him and he turned out to be the sweetest puppy who ever lived.

 

Skidd(Mark) Bond {June 8, 1995 - April 11, 2011}

 

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March Madness

Hi there! Remember me? Wondering what happened to me? So am I. The anticipated, calm, beginning-of-spring side of March gave way to complete March madness! (And I’m not talking about sports!)

Since I believe that focusing on more relaxing things can help keep the stress at bay, I want to share with you what I did with my first weekend of spring.

First: I bought a new book. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I was killing time in the book section of Target and it caught my eye. Kathleen, over at Kapachino, has seemed excited about reading it, so I picked it up and thought I’d start a project of my own. I’ll let you know how it goes when I get into it.

Second: I got a new haircut! And it only cost $25. (I love Living Social!) Unlike usual, I didn’t spend time pre-cut obsessing over what to do and how much to cut. Instead, I went in, demonstrated how short, and then sat back and worried until she was done. It turned out a little shorter than I wanted, but I’m working with it. (photo below!)

Third: My husband and I built a living-room blanket-fort to sleep in on Friday night and managed to sleep-in (in the fort!) until almost noon! While the OCD side of me is embarassed and wants to stress out about wasting half the day, the more practical side of me is both proud of our accomplishment and grateful for the sleep. (We were so back-logged on sleep it was getting ridiculous! Example: I fell asleep mid-blowdry during my hair appoinment Friday evening!)

Fourth: Sunday was amazing. After church I drove up to Hunstville to have a wonderful picnic at the duck pond with Cio, Nicole, and, as an added surprise, Ronnie! Nicole made fresh spring rolls and sushi for us! Accompanying that, we had sweet green tea, sangria, and fresh strawberries and watermelon. We sat in the shady gazeebo while the geese squaked in the distance and the gardens bloomed with bright azaleas. It was the perfect first day of spring and I am so glad I got to spend it with such great company! That evening Cio, Nicole, and I made dinner and cocktails and played a much anticipated game of Harry Potter Scene It before I had to head back to Houston. I don’t think I could have asked for a better first day of spring if I tried.

Ronni, Nicole, and me!

What did you so this weekend?

What are your feelings on spring? Are you planning anything special to prepare for the change of seasons and arrival of flowers?

❤ LF

{img by CIO!}

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It’s Complicated

As you can probably tell, my relationship with my blog has become a little rocky. I don’t give it as much attention as it needs, and it doesn’t invite me over as much as it used to. I don’t think we’re ready to part ways, but our relationship has become less exclusive. While we were on a break in November, I met Tumblr. While that started as a friendship, it soon developed into a more serious relationship. When my blog and I got back together after the break, Tumblr stuck around. I still have feelings for my blog, but Tumblr fulfills me in a different way. When catching my blog up on my life gets a little stressful, Tumblr is there, ready and willing to accept snip-its and anecdotes from my world. Ready to process the wordless photo I took of my day. Or the dream I had the night before. Or even to reblog a great post I read.

But, while Tumblr fills a lot of my needs, it doesn’t replace my blog.

So what do I do?

Do I sacrifice my relationship with Tumblr out of nostalgia for my relationship with my blog, which came first? No. Tumblr and I have a good thing going, I don’t think I can drop it like that.

Do I give up my blog to deepen my relationship with Tumblr? No, we’ve been through too much to just never talk again, it wouldn’t be right.

So, can I sustain two relationships at once without one side getting jealous? No, I probably can’t do that either. Someone will get hurt.

A compromise it is, then.

My blog and I will try out the friendship thing. I won’t spend every minute of my time with it, but I promise to keep it in the loop and not drop it from my life. Maybe, in time, the friendship will grow back to what it was before and we’ll start spending more time together again.  Besides, it’s not good to get completely wrapped up in a new relationship – friends are important too.

So, Blog. Let’s be friends. Can you handle that?

❤ LF

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I can hardly believe the new year is already here.

A year ago today was my two-week wedding “weekiversary” and I was planning out everything I wanted (needed!) to do with my last week of freedom before the start of my public accounting career.

My goals for 2010 were pretty simple: Take and pass all four sections of the CPA exam, enjoy my first year of marriage, and don’t get fired.

2010 is over, and while I didn’t take all of my exam, I still think I did a pretty good job at meeting my other goals. Chris and I happily celebrated our one-year anniversary two weeks ago (post coming soon!), and I didn’t get fired from my impossible job (I fired THEM!).

In addition to meeting my self-proclaimed goals, we also accomplished some great things. We found a new church in Houston that we LOVE, I quit my very financially-necessary but terrible job and relied on God to provide a new path for us, we spontaneously went to Hawaii, I got a new job (i.e. God provided me with a new job), and Chris applied to Cambridge.

In 2011 Chris and I are looking forward to a whole new set of adventures, the biggest being us learning whether we will be moving to Cambridge this fall. I will also hopefully be finally finishing my exam once and for all and (for the first time in…years?) I will get to experience the glorious thing that is true free time.

In addition to our larger, more long-term goals, I have a few smaller, internet related, goals that I’d like to share with you.

First, I would like to complete my 101 in 1001 goals list so that I can share it here. I am currently stuck at 83 and I’m having a hard time thinking of more. Some of my more specific, real-life goals for this year and beyond are contained here, so I can’t wait to finish this list and start crossing things off.

Second, I would like to re-evaluate my 365 Photo Project. I had some trouble with Flickr awhile back, so the last photo I uploaded was from 9/20. I had been keeping up with taking photos and only missing a day here and there, but then Christmas happened. Now I think I have a lot of missing days. I’m not sure what to do about that.

Third, I would like to successfully complete the Thirty-day Challenge on Tumblr. This goal is a little more obtainable than the 365 Photo Project, so I have high hopes of completing it.

Fourth, I would like to finally finally finally figure out a way to share some of my favorite recipes with you in a way that the perfectionist side of me can live with. (As I was writing this goal I thought of a new possible solution, so this may be even more easily achieved than I thought!)

Do you have anything big that you are looking forward to in 2011? Do you have any goals that you hope to achieve? Do you have any ideas of how to better meet my goals? I want to hear about them!

Happy 2011!

❤ LF


 

 

 

 

 

{images from here and here}

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I know I owe you an update about the job situation soon, and it’s coming, but I wanted to tell you about this great opportunity before it’s too late!

Do you remember when I mentioned the amazing jam my friend’s mom made? And how I said that she was a fantastic chef? Well, now you have a chance to sample some of her culinary masterpieces for yourself. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Chef Gabriella periodically hosts exquisite wine-pairing dinners in her home for a group of guests wishing for a night of wonderful food and equally wonderful complementary wines.

I’ve graciously been able to attend a few, and now it’s your turn!

The next dinner will be this Saturday, December 11 at 7:00PM in Sugar Land and costs $75 per person.

The menu is as follows:

Before dinner cocktail  – Ginger Pear Bellini

Aperitivo – Soup course – Silky smooth Butternut Squash Bisque with tangy goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts

Primo Piatto – First Course – Lobster Risotto, creamy carnaroli rice and fresh lobster with a hint of minty tarragon and a dash of Cointreau, a premium slightly sweet and bitter orange liqueur.

Intermezzo – Palate Cleanser Not the usual palate cleanser, little fried clouds of creamy ricotta fragrant with vanilla and orange.

Secondo Piatto – Second Course Succulent bone-in Pork Loin Roast with Balsamic Glaze with Ginger Roasted Acorn Squash and Polenta

Dolce – DessertDeep dark Chocolate Custard Tart with Sicilian Pistachios and sweet Maple Caramel Gelato

If you were planning to take a fancy night out – this is where you should go! The food is all homemade and so so good. It’s a great night of learning about different wines and meeting the new people at your table who also love great food and great wine! (Or, invite a bunch of your friends and fill the table with people you love!)

Or, if you already have plans this Saturday, don’t worry, there will be plenty of dinners to attend with her in the future (email me if you’d like me to keep you updated!). In the meantime, you should think about her holiday cookie cooking class! I haven’t been, but some friends have attended and said it was great. [I don’t think you can go wrong with (1) a great chef and (2) cookies!]

Her cookie cooking class is on Saturday, December 18, at 10:00AM and costs $30 per person.

The cookie menu is as follows:

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti
Gabriella’s Chocolate and Orange Brandy Truffles
Frollini al Burro Nocciolato – Brown Butter Pecan Shortbread
Fiammiferi di Sfoglia Glassati – Lemon Glazed Puff Pastry Matchsticks
Giorgio’s Amaretti (from her current favorite Italian chef)


She hasn’t asked me to tell you about this, I just want to you all to have the chance to participate if fine wining and dining is your type of thing. If you’re interested in either the dinner or the cookie cooking class, give me your email through the comments or by email (laurafresch(at)gmail(dot)com), and I will get you the info.

Hurry, seats generally fill up fast!

❤ LF


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By the time you read this, I will have already started my first day of work at my new job.

I hope that I will still be enjoying it by the time you read this post!

So what is my new job? That’s a great question. Maybe I’ll be able to tell you tonight. 😉

No but really, I’m not a hundred percent sure. My official title is “financial assistant.” As for what all that will entail…your guess is almost as good as mine.

Here is what I do know:

-I work for a very small financial planning company (the only other employees are a man and his wife).
-Among other things, I will be helping to redesign and systematize several of the processes in the office.
-I will work every weekday from 8:30AM-5:00PM, and I will actually have a designated lunch break that won’t require me to stay even later to “make up” the time I spent eating my lunch.
-Also, sometimes, when the office is really slow, they will decide that we will leave around 3:30-4:00PM that day.

Take a walk down memory lane with me for a moment so we can compare.

Here is what I did before:

-Audit people who hated auditors.
-Ruined people’s day (not intentionally, just be being an auditor and existing)
-Work through lunch (I actually had to change my lunch menu to items that could be eaten more easily while working. Not kidding. Hint: Clementines were out.)
-Work from ~8:30AM to anywhere from 6:00-11:30PM
-Find out around 7:00PM that we would be staying another 2+ hours
-Find out on Thursday/Friday afternoon that we would also be working the entire weekend.
-Oh, also! Share a small conference room with 5+ other people, including my boss and my boss’s boss.

 

 

Did I mention that the couple (the two only other employees) are both Christians?

Or that our office is across the freeway from my husband’s school?

Or that they know we’re hopefully moving to the UK next summer and yet hired me anyway? (And have also offered me advancement within the company next year if we don’t end up moving?)

I’m so thrilled. Today is also my boss’s birthday, so I made these. I don’t think it’s really considered sucking up when your office is only three people and the other two are married to each other.

I hope it’s a great day. I can’t wait to share the details with my community group tonight and you soon. This is such an answer to prayer!

 

❤ LF

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