Category Archives: Recommendations

Recommendation: Music to Get You in the Mood

In the mood for Christmas (what were you thinking?). Yes, I’ve already started the Christmas music. I can’t help it. I was in the holiday mood before Halloween this year. It must be Alaska.

I love love love the Todd Agnew album, “Do You See What I See?”

I bought this a few years ago and have played the heck out of it (much longer than is seasonally appropriate) each year. I think one reason that I love it is because its not the traditional cheery, merry, Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks kind of album- so you can get away with it this early. Don’t get me wrong– I love the Chipmunks, too.

AND– it’s all about Jesus! Incredible!

Each track on the album is written from the perspective of a different character in the nativity story. I think it’s quite insightful.  “This is All I Have to Give” gives an account of Joseph wondering what he has to offer his new son:

I’d always hoped you’d have my eyes, maybe a little bit of the skill of my hands,
But, as I look into your eyes, I see your hands created mine.

This is all I have to give,
You can share my home and bear my name, but this is not how you should live,
The son of God has become the son of man – this is all I have to give.


“Did You Know” also got me thinking… Did Jesus always know that he was God? Did he look around and see the world he created? Or was it all new to him?

Were Mary’s the first eyes you saw
Or did You remember choosing that shade of brown?
Were You surprised at the shepherd’s crazy story
Or did You know You wrote the song the angels sang?

What was this life like for You?

Did You know?
Did the cross cast its shadow o’er your cradle?
Did You know?
Did You shudder each time Your hammer struck a nail?
Did you know?
How much heaven and how much earth
Were in this baby at His birth?
Did you know? Or did you wonder?

I am enthusiastic about this album because I think it breathes new life into a story that we have heard over and over. It allows us to enter into the story from a perspective that perhaps we have not considered. And really, it can’t be too early for that, right?


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Recommendation: Something to put your coffee in

I have had the same travel coffee mug for 9 years. I got it at Target when I used to work there in college. It was $18. I thought that was a very extravagant coffee mug purchase at the time. However– it lasted 9 years! The past few weeks it’s started to leak around the lid and I have had embarrassing coffee stains on my shirt… too many times.
So I’ve been searching for a replacement and found one I am very excited about.

JOEmo XL Time Capsule Mug = AWESOME

It’s double-wall vacuum sealed, stainless steel and it closes tight with a lid so you can throw it in your bag without spilling. AND… it keeps drinks hot for 6-8 hours. AMAZING. It even comes with a basket for loose tea. Versatile and functional! I love it!

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Un-Recommendation: A Bad Idea

I am too tired to divulge all the details right now, but I’ll give you a teaser.

I needed to be at an Alaska Youth Board meeting last night in Eagle River. So I decided to drive down Thursday, attend the meeting, stay in a hotel, and drive back today.
WOW… that was a bad idea. Don’t do it. I am so wiped out.
More later.

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The Reunion Tour

I let a friend borrow my ipod while he was on vacation for two weeks. I thought, “Two weeks, no problem! I can live without it for two measly weeks…”

I imagine some of the greatest reunion scenes in cinematic history were not as sweet as having my little friend back in my hands. Since, I have been really enjoying the music that I have. I am usually a very restless music collector– never really happy with my current collection. Our time apart has made me much more appreciative.

So… here are my favorites for the Reunion Week:

Derek Webb

Something Corporate

John Mayer

Elliott Smith

Ben Folds


The Get Up Kids

The Weatherthans

Howie Day

Marvin Gaye

Todd Agnew


Reel Big Fish

This might be cause for a new playlist…

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Recommendation: Chicken Tortilla Soup

I found this soup on my favorite recipe database. I made it Christmas eve for the marathon of church services. It was excellent. I like it with a little dollop of sour cream. Instead of making tortilla strips I used crunched up tortilla chips. I’m thinking I need to make another batch… soup is one of the few things that I can stomach these days. 🙂

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup


  • 1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 7 corn tortillas
  • vegetable oil

number of stars


  1. Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  3. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.

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Recommendation: Tomato Soup

Campbell’s Select Tomato Basil Soup

Excellent with grilled cheese. I’m enjoying that right now. Pepper Jack & Colby Jack cheese on wheat bread. Mmm… mmm… mmm…

Good stuff. Nothing better on a -40 degree day. Yuck.

Sometimes I wonder why people choose to live here…

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Recommended: Pizza

New favorite pizza: Papa Murphy’s Stuffed Chicago Style

I think this pizza weighs like 5lbs.

5lbs of pure goodness.

Perfect for a Thursday night in with my friends from The Office.

Wow… I just referred to fictional characters as my friends. I need help.

My beverage of choice with this pizza? Alaskan Winter Ale. Mmm mmm good.

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