Sunday, January 26, 2014


Today I went to Goodwill and dropped off some old clothes that have been riding around in my car, waiting to be donated, for way too long.

Everyone there was so friendly and smiling and grateful for the donations, and the sun was shining, and the helpful gentleman who took the donations from me asked if I wanted a tax exempt receipt.

He asked if I wanted a tax-exempt receipt for my old broken laundry hamper full of clothes that I don't wear anymore.  I looked at it, looked at him, and shook my head.  He was really doing me a favor - helping me streamline and organize my life a bit more by taking those old things off my hands.

His question stayed with me for a little while, though.
Why in the world does donating my old clothes merit a break in my taxes?

Sometimes I'm so confused by this whole being-an-adult thing.  Was it fiscally irresponsible and silly of me to not get a tax exempt receipt, or whatever-it-was he asked me about?
He looked at me in a funny way and said thanks a little more sincerely than before when I said no.
Do people donate clothes just to get a break in their taxes and he was surprised by my lack of this particular motive?

Really, guys.  I shouldn't have thought about it for that long, but sometimes, I just get to wondering, and can't stop.

Honestly, sometimes I have to convince myself that I'm an adult.  I really feel like I'm just pretending most of the time, and it makes me laugh to think of all the "adults" I looked at when I was a young teenager.  I though they were all so calm and had everything figured out.

Spoiler Alert:  They probably didn't.
The things I thought meant "adulthood" really now screen bigger thoughts than my little head could have encompassed then:

Yes, I have a set of jingley keys and a car, but I had no idea that meant I would feel such intense terror when it looked like that 18-wheeler was not going to yield to me while I had someone else's daughter in my passenger seat.

Yes, I have a closet full of clothes I've chosen for myself, and a kitchen full of awesome gadgets, but I had no idea of the fierce inner struggle with materialism that these things would introduce in my life.

Yes, I have young girls who look up to me as I looked up to some beautiful women when I was younger.
I had no idea how unworthy I would feel of their regard.
I had no idea how burdened I would feel for their hurts, small though they may seem.

I had no idea how incredibly honored I would feel to hold their hearts, and listen to their sweetest dreams.

Maybe I won't ever know whether or not I should ask for a tax thing of some sort or other when I donate my clothes, much less how to use it to my advantage.  Maybe I'll never stop fearing the possibility of idiocy in traffic going 70 mph.  Maybe I'll never come to terms with this materialistic world in which I reside as an alien and a stranger.

I would like to think that I can overcome those things, but you know what?  I might not.

I hope, though, that I won't ever feel worthy of the hearts that choose to entrust themselves to my care.
I hope I'll never feel callous to those burdens they ask me to help them carry.

That's the the true North - the one thing I am confident of in my adulthood - I must love and be loved, and let my heart break for those whose hearts are broken, and rejoice with those who rejoice til it feels like my heart will burst with the fullness of it all.
The rest is just extra fluff.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Recipe: Cinnamon Rolls

Well, my friends, what better time to post a recipe for cinnamon rolls than at the beginning of the year when I'm not eating sugar?


A few days ago, I was looking over my instagram profile...
(Wait, am I the only one that does this?  Does this make me vain?  Yikes!)
Here's the thing, I look over my instagram profile to remind me of all the lovely things that have happened lately, because that's exactly what I post - lovely little things in my life.

Anyway, as I was looking back over it, I found that picture of the cinnamon rolls I made for my family after Christmas.  A friend had commented on it wanting the recipe, and I had responded to her that it would be on my blog soon.

I have a set of "process" pictures (which I've generally felt are required material in a recipe post) for this recipe that I decided I would post with it on my blog.
Well, turns out those are on the old computer, which I'm just not dealing with right now for many reasons.

I was sorely tempted to wait to post this recipe until I found some way to get those pictures, but I'm just going to bite the bullet and post it, then add pictures later...

Now that I've started out with an incredibly long preface, let me add to it still more.  These cinnamon rolls hold a special place in my heart.
Well, let's face it, all cinnamon rolls hold a special place in my heart.
But these?  They mean summers at camp, they mean afternoon snacks with Lisa and Kara, they mean Sunday morning breakfast with Jennie before church, and so many other things.

Presenting Cinnamon Rolls, Tejas Syle:

  • 3 c. Biscuit mix
  • 1 c. Milk
  • 1/2 c. Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon & 1/2 c. granulated sugar, or packed brown sugar, mixed together


1.  Using a spoon, stir biscuit mix together with milk just until a ball begins to form. 

2.  Spoon dough onto a floured board.

3.  Kneed about 5-6 times, using extra dry mix as needed to prevent sticking to board or hands.

4.  Using a rolling pin, roll dough out to form a rectangle approximately 10” x  8”. (If you're anything like me, you'll pull out a ruler and measure it, thereby making your genius chef of a Dad crack up...)

5.  Brush with melted butter.  You may not need to use all of the butter, but do be generous with it.  (Not being a butter eater* myself, I always underestimate the amount I should use, and my cinnamon sugar falls out of the roll as I'm transferring it to bake - no bueno.)

6.  Sprinkle with sugar cinnamon mixture.

7.  Roll lengthwise…make roll snug.  Make it VERY snug.  You'll think you have it snug enough, but it needs to be even snugger, I promise.

8.  Cut roll into 1” wide slices then place slices on a greased cookie sheet.  Two things need to be mentioned here:
The best way to cut any sort of roll like this is with floss.  If you don't know how to do that, youtube it.  It will change your life, I promise.
Personally, I always make these cinnamon rolls on a pizza stone without greasing it, but you can use a cookie sheet if you really want to, I guess.

9.  Bake at 350 degrees until moderately brown lightly golden (I like gooey cinnamon rolls).  Time depends entirely on your oven and your taste.  I'd say set your timer for a little less than the time on the biscuit mix box, then monitor the oven.  I don't remember exactly how long they took last time I made them, but it was longer than I estimated.  If you want less gooey, "moderately brown" cinnamon rolls, just make sure to keep an eye on the bottoms as well as the tops.  It's easy to get them a little too crispy on accident.

While the rolls are in the oven, mix up your icing:

  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Melted Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2-3 Tbsp Milk, or enough to make icing "spreading" consistency

1.  Mix powdered sugar and melted butter with electric mixer.

2.  Add vanilla (I think next time I make them, you know, sometime next year, I'll only use half a tsp of vanilla - it can be a little over-powering.)

3.  Add milk slowly, beating until smooth.  Make sure you don't make your icing too "spreadable" - remember it will melt when poured over your hot cinnamon rolls.

Drizzle your icing over the rolls while they are still warm from the oven.
These are equally delicious leftover - I don't even heat them up.

I like them best just plain, but if you want a special treat, you can try one of the following:

These can be added to the roll after the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Chocolate chips
  • Pecans or walnuts
  • Raisins
  • Diced fresh fruit such as apples, peaches, bananas
  • Pie fillings such as apple or cherry
For Orange Cinnamon Rolls, substitute orange juice for milk in making the dough and the icing.  Also, use brown sugar with the cinnamon instead of granulated sugar.

*As I was writing this, I felt instictively that it was a reference to some bad b-movie, or alternative reality book.  Anyone know what that might be?  I just have this weird picture in my head of some creepy Marsh-wiggle type creatures who make and eat butter all the time, and maybe evenutally turn out to be evil...
Anybody else?  Or is this just a symptom of an over-active imagination?
**Update: I remembered where it's from! It's from a Hallmark movie called The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns that I used to watch when I was younger. I cannot, for the life of me, remember whether the butter eaters were evil or not, though.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Upstairs Neighbor

All my growing up years, I said I would never live in an apartment.  My parents had never lived in apartments, so why should I ever need to? When you're 10, this kind of logic makes perfect sense.

Well, I made it through college without ever living in an apartment, but obviously I had good friends that lived in apartments.  And I heard nothing but bad from them about the noise from the neighbors.  All these friends lived on the first floor, so most of the noise they complained about came from above.

When I graduated college, I went to work at Camp Tejas.  I was still sticking to the childhood resolution of no apartment living - yay on-camp housing!  But then the CEO decided to start moving people off camp, and I was one of the first.  Turns out, moving off camp was a really great decision.

However, there was the small problem of the fact that there were not a lot of houses for rent anywhere near my price range.  I decided to go with an apartment, because that seemed like the most financially wise decision.  Also, the one I settled on was only 2 and a half years old, so surely it was well constructed enough that there wouldn't be any problem with noise.  The final determining factor was that the available unit was on the second floor in a 2-story complex - yay noise-free life!

Well, I did have a noise-free life for a little while, until we got new neighbors next door.  Turns out, that, if you do life one wall apart, you're going to hear each other - TV, fights, opening and closing of pantry doors, etc.  But I really got used to most of it.

Also, a friend of mine from work happened to be my downstairs neighbor, and one day he sort of jokingly told me I had to stop wearing my boots in the house. I had just gotten a new pair of cowboy boots (my first) and been wearing them a lot.  I started just wearing them into the door and taking them off immediately as soon as I got in the door.

However, that encounter made me a little more aware of my on noise-making capabilities.  It began to dawn on me that I must be a really annoying upstairs neighbor.

Guys, I'm a dropper by nature.  I drop things a lot - mostly on accident, but sometimes, I just drop things on purpose - my empty laundry basket, or my shoes, or what-have-you - instead of bending all the way down to set them down (I know, I know.  Super lazy of me.)

So I began to be a bit more thoughtful about the kind of noise I made.  Then they moved, and I got careless again.  In the time since they moved, I've had various short-term downstairs neighbors, none of which inspired me to be very respectful.  I'll spare you the tale of the ones I regularly stomped on the floor at.  Mostly I'm sparing you because I certainly could have conducted myself much more appropriately in that situation.
Those were the last neighbors before the ones who moved in yesterday.

As I said, I felt a little sheepish about the way I behaved with the last neighbors (not that they were angels, but, you know, I wasn't either.)  Therefore, when the new neighbors came yesterday, and I got the chance to meet them, I introduced myself and welcomed them, then I told them I wanted to apologize in advance because I'm a bit of a dropper, so there may be some noise from upstairs every once in a while.  They laughed and said it was fine, and apologized in advance for the fact that they have kids, so we may hear them.  I was totally fine with that, and everyone was happy.  We chatted for a little while longer, then I walked off.

Funnily enough, as I was walking away, I dropped my keys. We all laughed, and I picked them up, and went upstairs. And promptly started dropping things as usual.  You guys, it's embarrassing, the amount of things I drop on the floor.  I've tried to cut back on the purposeful dropping, but the accidental obviously continues.

Everybody will tell you about how terrible it is to have upstairs neighbors, but seriously, why doesn't anyone tell you how terrible it is to be that upstairs neighbor making all the noise?
I'm tiptoeing around my house and fumbling desperately to catch things when I drop them (probably making more noise than would happen if I just let them fall...)

I think I'm getting an upstairs-neighbor-guilt-complex, y'all.
I'm ready to be on the bottom floor and be on the receiving end of the noise; it's less stressful to be offended than to be the offender.

Friday, January 10, 2014

High Five for Friday #2

Well, I think it's been plenty long enough since my last one of these...  Almost a whole year?  Really Esther?

Well, in the interest, of getting back with the program, here are my five happies from this week:

1. On top of the already wonderful fact that I got Sarah to myself for the whole drive home (we always have the best talks on those drives) we got the most fantastic sunset to chase for quite a while.

2. The picture itself may not be a happy - why, friends, WHY can I not ever strike a match successfully the first time?  But, the happy thing is that I've been burning candles constantly to combat the gloomy clouds outside, and my apartment smells heavenly as a result.

3.  I've found my go-to snack for the no-processed-sugar year.

4. I went out on a limb and made my first sketch since probably high school.  I like words more than pictures, and probably always will, but sometimes it doesn't hurt to flesh out your words with a picture or two.

5.  I am currently sitting in a coffee shop in the middle of Austin, and I pretty much could not be happier with this lovely end to a wonderful week.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Needs and Wants

So, I've figured out what I'm going to do about shopping this year.

I know you were all on your toes wondering what was going to happen with that...

I discovered a disturbing trend in about April of my no-shopping-for-clothes year.  Notice the only thing I told myself I wouldn't shop for was clothes for me.
Well, I moved in January of that year, then again in April.  I know, I know.  I'm crazy.  In the midst of all that moving, I naturally needed to buy things for the new apartment in January, then again in April.

Some of the things I bought were truly needed.  Others weren't.

About the time I discovered that my living room was drowning in pillows, I also discovered that I really hadn't saved any money through this whole no-shopping-for-clothes thing.

Arguably, saving money was never the point.  Stopping impulse spending was really the point.

Had I stopped it?

No.  My impulse spending had just transferred itself to housewares/decor...even cleaning products!
"Hey, here's a new kind of glass cleaner.  I should try it."  No, Esther, you shouldn't, because you have perfectly good glass cleaner - a whole bottle of it, no less!

So, the strategy this year is that I can buy any sort of thing, clothes included, as long as it is on my list.

I'm making a "wishlist" of sorts in my phone, and, anytime I see something on that list, I'm allowed to buy it, then I must remove it from the list.  If I see something while I'm out shopping, that I would really like/think I need, I may put that thing on the list, but can't buy it at the time.

Hopefully this will make me really think about all of my purchases this year.
If you happen to be out shopping with me, and I see a perfect dress on clearance, and feel that I need it right at that moment, please remind me that I already learned, through this past radical year, to live without those things - that I really don't need that perfect dress, I just want it.

And there's a huge difference between need and want.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


A while back, I said that "maybe one day" I would write about the church I grew up in.
Well, today's the day.

I grew up in a church where almost everybody had known each other since before I was born.  You see, when my parents were in college, a group of college students (of which my parents were a part), and some of their spiritual mentors, broke off from the church they'd been attending, and decided to form their own non-denominational fellowship, know as Bethlehem Mission.

This group of people were all united under one purpose - to pray for revival.
They've been faithfully and expectantly praying for revival since 1982.
They pray today with as much conviction that revival is coming as they had over 30 years ago.
I have never met another group of people like them.

There are many wonderful churches in my hometown who are evangelistic.
There are many wonderful churches there who reach out to immigrants.  (Is that the appropriate word?  I use it because there is a large population of Burmese refugees, who hardly speak a word of English, as well as other minority populations.  If there's a better word, somebody tell me please. My knowledge of the English language is failing me right now...)
There are many wonderful churches who take care of the elderly and the bed-ridden.
There are many wonderful churches who appeal to the youth, the college students, the "young marrieds," etc.

And there is a wonderful little church who doesn't do those things, but welcomes all those populations into her arms when they find her, and, sends her people out to help in the ministries of those other wonderful churches.
This little church is content to stay in the background and pray for the ministries that happen in her little town, to pray for her young people who serve those ministries, and her people who have been scattered elsewhere.
This little church doesn't have a youth group, a children's ministry, a college ministry, an anything else ministry.  She trains her children, her youth, her college students, her everyone, to pray with their whole, believing heart.

She prays for revival in her town, her state, her nation, her country, her world.
And she believes it's coming.

Growing up, I remember many people who lived out of town, who would come visit our little church very regularly.  These people traveled for hours, sometimes, to come to our little "House of Bread." (Did you know that's what Bethlehem means?)
Most of them were some of the original college students who had been involved at the beginning, and moved away after they graduated college.  I remember these far-away friends referring affectionately to "the Mission" and constantly reminding me how blessed I was to be there.

But I didn't know it.  To me, it was just church.  I thought everyone had a church like mine, where there were only a few families, who were basically all like my aunts and uncles, and grandparents, and cousins.

My actual cousin, who lived in Houston and went to a mega-church (I had no idea what that even was at the time, or that she went to one) once told me a story about riding in an elevator with her pastor.
First of all, elevators in church were a foreign concept to me - my church met in an old two-story house with one narrow stair-case.
Then she started talking about how it was just her and some friends her age and the pastor in the elevator.  She said when he spoke to them, none of them could even say anything in return, because they so revered him. *not her 8-year-old words, but the same basic idea*
Well, this was an entirely new concept to me.  As far back as I could remember, I'd called my pastor by only his first name, and talked to him exuberantly about every little thing under the sun.

As I grew older, I visited other friends' churches, and my cousin's church, and began to understand how unique my church really was.  I began to realize how hard it was going to be to find a new church when I inevitably grew up and moved away.

We are a little family, and we rarely change.

We don't have big special holiday services or anything, because that's not what we're about, but every year, at the end of the year, Steve, our pastor, does what he calls the Ebenezer sermon.  The idea for this sermon comes from 1 Sam. 7:12 where Samuel says "Thus far, the Lord has helped us."
In this sermon, he mentions major events in our church throughout the past year - weddings, births, deaths, graduations, etc.  Figuratively, we raise an "Ebenezer," or a "stone of help" just like Samuel, at the end of every year.  It is an incredible reminder of how the Lord preserves His people wherever they are.

I have now done the inevitable, just like I knew I would - I've grown up and moved away.  I'm now one of those who speak affectionately of "the Mission" and tell the children how blessed they are.

I don't think they know it, but one day they will.

I won't lie - the idea of trying to find a new church was suffocating to me when I first moved.  Fortunately I didn't have to face it alone.  I had a wonderful co-worker who was "church-hunting" too.

She'd grown up in a mega-church, so you can imagine how different our expectations were.  We researched websites for churches nearby, and decided on one in the next town over, about thirty minutes away, called River Valley Christian Fellowship.

It was the first one we decided to visit, and by the end of our second sunday there, we knew we wouldn't need to visit any other churches.  We were thoroughly hooked.

It was by no means a mega-church, but it came complete with all sorts of ministries, and 5 pastoral staff-members!
For me, that's a huge church.
It was by no means a small church, but I call my pastor by his first name, and he calls me by mine, and same with the four others.
For me, that's close-knit enough.

Pretty soon, I was leading the worship portion of the Children's service, and involved in a weekly community group where I made some fantastic friends and felt at home.
Not a sunday went by that I didn't get lots of hugs (my love language!), that I didn't have at least one person ask me how I was and really want to hear my answer.

After church, there are spontaneous lunch or coffee invitations, and lots and lots of laughter as we tear down chairs together (we meet in a middle school).
At River Valley, I am fed, and loved, and taught how to better love others.

And now I'm moving away.  It's hard and sad, but, since God brought me from the Mission to River Valley, I know that He will be faithful, not just once, not just twice, but as many times over as I need His faithfulness.

So, here I raise my Ebenezer.  Thus far He has helped me.  How can I doubt that He will continue?

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year's Resolutions? Not My Thing.

But I'll make a resolution on any other day of the year.

Really, it's quite ridiculous, this little part of me that's so determined to not do something a certain way just because that happens to be the way everyone else does it.  For quite a while, I didn't make resolutions on New Year's Day, or Eve, or what-have-you, just because that was the time that everyone else made theirs.

Not because I-know-I-won't-keep-it-so-why-try, or because I-think-we-should-make-life-decisions-not-year-long-resolutions, or anything like that.
No.  My only problem was that everyone-else-does-it-and-I'm-not-going-to-be-like-everyone-else-if-I-can-help-it.

Don't get me wrong here - I was a resolving fool.  I could make resolutions with the best of them.  And fail with the best of them...

But starting on New Year's? Never.  Well, to be more truthful, my journal from 1999 may have some resolutions in it...

My sister, I'm sure, has quite given up being my accountability partner for any of these middle-of-the-year resolution plans, because I can justify myself (to myself at least) into or out of anything, no matter how reasonable she may be in her steady efforts to keep me accountable, or how ridiculous I may be in my efforts to get out of things.

So, you may imagine how much I surprised myself last year when I made a New Year's Resolution, albeit somewhere around January 5th or so as I recall - but still - closer to New Year's than ever before.

And, how much more surprised I was when I kept my resolve throughout the year.
I did slip once, which I justified, and which may or may not really have been necessary, but the fact remains - I proved something to myself in a major way:

It is possible to make one of these resolutions and keep it for the duration of an entire year.

Also?  Let's talk about the fact that this was a resolution not to buy myself any clothes.

NOT TO BUY MYSELF ANY CLOTHES In case you didn't hear correctly the first time.

Now, in case you haven't noticed, I'll tell you a few things:

  • I'm a woman
  • I care about how I look - specifically how I dress
  • A year spans across all four seasons - Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter

Shockingly, I was fully clothed at all times (not in rags either!), I had a warm coat, an embarrassment of riches in the scarf and swimsuit department, and more button-ups than a woman who works at a summer camp should ever have need of.  And dresses.  So. Many. Dresses.  Shorts were a little freak-out moment, as you may remember.  But that was the only point where this was actually mildly difficult.  And I say mildly, because really? 5 pairs of shorts is plenty for a woman who also has the blessing of a washing machine and dryer in her apartment.

All in all, I learned a lot about myself from the whole experience, and I really feel like a different person as far as shopping goes.  We'll see what this year holds as far as whether we've actually killed the shopping habit as I would have liked to.

So, lessons learned:

  • New Year's Resolutions can actually make a difference in my life, and my habits
  • I can actually keep a resolution if I really determine to do it

Therefore, you can bet I made a resolution this year:

I'm going off processed sugar for a year.

I said it.

Guys, I'm really scared about this one, and I'm afraid it may be harder than last year
Throughout my entire life, I've consistently craved sweet way more than salty or sour or savory.  And I know I have got to make a change.  I've gone off sugar for a few months at a time before, but I always go back to old habits of putting so much junk into my system.  Now that I know I can practice self-control, though, I'm going to do it for an entire year, so hopefully I will learn to get my sweet tooth under control.

Now, please don't think the point of this post was to say "Look at me and what I accomplished already, and what still-greater things I'm going to accomplish, because I'm Superwoman."
The point of this post is that I need you, and you, and you to know, so that you can keep me accountable to this decision.
Also I'm hoping it's a good way to revive the faith of some of you that have experienced some difficulty in keeping me accountable in the past.

Also, I think it's worth noting that I really don't think I'm going to make a huge change in my life by breaking a habit for a year, then returning to the way I was.  I will be coming up with some sort of plan to keep myself under control this year with the shopping - maybe one item a month or something?
Not sure yet, but I'll let you know.

Also, have you ever seen so many colons and bulleted lists and hyphens in a single post?

Also, do I say "also" too much?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

On Not Being a "Blogger"

I recently stumbled across the "about" page of a blogger whom I consistently follow.  Almost the first thing you see on this page is a casually posed picture of the blogger herself with perfectly touseled hair, an infinity scarf, a cross-body bag, a puffer vest, skinny jeans, and riding boots.  Below said picture, the girl makes a joke about that picture itself being enough proof that she is a "blogger."


Does posting selfies taken with your DSLR and tripod in a perfectly coordinated outfit with "outfit details" lined out beneath them make you a "blogger"?  I would beg to differ.  That photo proves that she is a Fashion Blogger, a Beauty Blogger, or a [life]Style Blogger, but just a "Blogger"?

When did blogging begin to be about where you got this or that scarf or table or rug or blouse or hairclip?  About how many pageviews you got on a single post?  About posting selfies with a professional sheen?

When did blogging cease to be about writing?  Or did I just fall into the wrong crowd?

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not trying to say anything against fashion/beauty/style blogs.  I follow a lot of them, and enjoy them, but that's not what I personally choose to post on my blog, so to corner "bloggers" with the generalization that they all wear top-knots and hipster glasses and post links to where they got all of their skirts seems a little bit much to me.

Maybe I'm overreacting, but this is by no means the first time I've seen this generalization.

I thoroughly enjoy this particular girl's blog.  In fact, hers is one of my favorites.  She is witty and entertaining, and she also happens to post a lot of "outfit posts" as do several other bloggers that I follow.  But those posts are not the reason that I consider her a "blogger."

This girl is a blogger because she blogs.  She blogs more regularly than any other blogger that I follow.
Are you getting tired of the words "blog" and "blogger" yet?

This is where the rubber meets the road for me.  I have a hard time considering myself a "blogger" not because I don't post about my clothes or my furniture or my etsy business (don't have one to post about anyway), but because I don't post.

That, my friends, is a problem.  I was horrified when I glanced at my archives the other day and realized that I only made 8 posts in 2013!  What?  That's crazy.  And my writing elsewhere has suffered as well.  It's time to get that back on track.

I'm not much for New Year's Resolutions and all that jazz (more on that tomorrow), but I have recently made a decision to write daily in a gratitude journal, and (hopefully) daily in a regular journal as well.  I won't promise to write daily on this blog, but I will guarantee you you'll see more than 8 posts this year.

I believe we can even hope for more than 8 posts in January!
(Notice I didn't guarantee that.)