Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Stage of Life

Just a few weeks ago, I was holding on tightly to 2008. Today is a completely different story - bring in the new year!


We've noticed, when hanging out with friends, that we are all in different stages of life. Some have houses and are working on those; some have children and are developing a family. Most have moved past the stage of life we are currently in: married college couple going from day to day.

I have been perfectly content in this stage. I love renting. I enjoy being able to make plans at the last minute and not worrying about what to do with the kids. My job is great and we've done lots of fun traveling. Our life is pretty simple and, despite a few short-lived longings for the next step, I have enjoyed where we are at right now. Part of me has not wanted to move forward. I am comfortable in this stage.

2009, to me, will be about moving to a new stage in life. Hubs will not be in college anymore. He'll be kicking off his career, while I take classes online to finish my degree. We will probably still rent for a while, but we'll look for a bigger place so we can add a dog (hopefully) to the family, realizing that buying a home is right around the corner. We will not stop traveling - with 3 trips already planned, we are talking about a couple more, too! Our conversations will change: we will discuss how to use our resources wisely to plan for owning a dental practice and having a family someday. 2009, my friends, seems like the start of a whole new chapter of our lives.
We. Will. Officially. Be Grown-ups.

Hubs and I couldn't be more excited for it! God has prepared us in every way for our next journey in life. I've realized that our lives will change, but we will will be the same people. We can't wait to start looking for places to live, planning for what is ahead, and living this next journey.

That is what 2009 has in store for us...what does it have in store for YOU?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Favorite

I was introduced to a new coffee mug over Christmas by my brother, who happens to work at one of my favorite stores: Starbucks. This coffee mug, apparently, has not caught on to the majority of people, but Tim did a great job of selling them to his family this year.

Ta da!

Okay, I know they look a little boring, but they are amazing. Did you wonder about why there are no handles? They are double walled mugs so they do not get hot at all to the touch! Yes folks, you can now cradle your hot cuppa joe in your hands with ease. They come in brown, white, and red and are only $6.95, which is a great price for such cool mugs, dontcha think?

I received one as a gift and I purchased the other 2. When I took it to the counter to pay, the starbucks lady even mentioned that it was weird that they don't have a handle. I, the customer, had to tell her why they are so neat! I was hoping she would include an extra mug for the tip, but no such luck. I will have to wait until they go on sale to get more (yes, I'm cheap and haven't convinced Hubs that we need 3 more mugs to add to our already overflowing mug cabinet).

I Know.

I love books - just looking at a book gets me excited. There is only one Book, however, that I believe to be true in every word. There is no spin on the facts, no personal interpretation to grasp - just Truth. The Bible convicts and challenges; it brings counseling; it comforts and encourages. It is the words of the God of the universe written down for us. It is our way of knowing God intimately.

These verses are on my mind this morning and have brought me comfort.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,

That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

How my heart yearns within me!
Job 19:25-27


I have no doubts that I will see God someday. I have no idea what that will be like, I can't even fathom it; but I know.

That's all.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Slow Down!

The past two weeks were a blur, so it was very nice to relax in Kansas and not think about everything that could, should, and would get done when we came back home. I'll admit that the first night home I was overwhelmed with everything. "What is 'everything'?" you ask. It's pretty much life in general, but I will save those details for another post.

Christmas Eve and Day did not feel like Christmas. I blame the fact that I got too anxious at Thanksgiving. I put up my tree and played Christmas music too early this year. By the time Christmas came, the "magical feeling" was gone. That doesn't mean we didn't have a wonderful time, though. I won't go through all our gifts or the details of each day, but here are a few highlights:

The movie we went to on Christmas Day was perfect. We I was momentarily disappointed when we found out Marley and Me was sold out at the first theatre. We did find tickets, however, to an older theatre. This theatre did not have the stadium seating we have all come to love; nor the comfy seats and up-to-date decor. No, this theatre was decked out in a retro-blue color to compliment the peeling off-white walls, the seats were bouncy, and the floor sloped. But, none of us cared because the tickets were $1.50 less than the nicer theatre and there were only about 20 people occupying the teal seats. Enough about the theatre, though. The movie was hands-down one of the best movies we had seen in a long time. Even my brother, the skeptical, pouting, 19-year-old, embarrased to be seen going into a PG family movie, was laughing and enjoying himself. In the end, there was not a dry eye to be found (even I, who never cries at movies, was bawling). A must-see, in my opinion.

The day after Christmas could not have been more beautiful and unexpected. The temperature reached 69 degrees in Kansas City and we walked the plaza without our coats! The plaza lights were pretty and the atmosphere is always fun.

The musical we went to on the day after Christmas was surprisingly good. I wasn't sure what to expect from a kids-musical titled Seussical, but it was great! We laughed and enjoyed the talents of the actors/musicians. It would be a great event for children, as adults were the minority in the theatre, and I have had one of the songs in my head ever since!

The Rook game we played was fun. I am always looking forward to playing card or board games. Sometimes, Richard and I are horrible partners, but we were on a roll and winning each round. We finally lost let my parents win the last hand.

We got back home on Saturday night. It was great to be back in church on Sunday. I hope you have that same feeling about your church. It just feels like you are home, once you are among your church family.

I can't believe 2009 is days away, but I am ready now.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Signing Off - Merry Christmas!


I'm signing off for a few days to enjoy Christmas with our families. It looks like we may have a white Christmas, but I still hope to wake up and see giant snowflakes lightly falling from the sky. Perhaps the road crews here in Nebraska will learn how to clear the roads while we are gone - (THAT's a-whole-nother post).

Merry Christmas to everyone who reads my random ramblings! I hope your Christmas is filled with peace and joy. Have wonderful times with loved-ones and be sure to keep the true reason for Christmas in the forefront: that God sent his beloved son into the world so that He could bring us salvation and eternal life with Him.

Love,
Hubs & Feather

Monday, December 22, 2008

Books & Headaches

Friday night Hubs told me to get out of the house. I go crazy when everything is quiet and he needs quiet to study. So, I bundled up and spent the evening at Barnes and Noble - alone. Now, don't any of you start feeling sorry for me, I can spend hours in that store. And, when I arrived, I realized I wasn't the only one with this idea!

I started by first ordering a grande, non-fat gingersnap latte, with an extra shot of espresso and no whip. Then, I wandered around to find a comfy chair to sit in and read. No suck luck. They only had hard, wood chairs that happened to be place in the most inconveinent of spots. But, I'm sure that having people cozy down with a brand new book is not really what they are going for. They would prefer you buy the book and read it at home. So, I cozied up on a wooden chair and finished reading my current book, Marley and Me. It made me laugh and cry.


For the remainder of the evening, I looked at books. It amazes me how many books are written on the same topics. There are some great books out there, but there is also a lot of crud. When the 10 minute warning came over the intercom, I headed back home. A successfull, relaxing Friday night.

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For the past 5 days, I have had a headache. One of those dull, annoying ones. I should have known what was coming, but I forgot. Sunday, however I woke up with a migraine. I knew it before I got out of bed. I immediately went to the cupboard and took 2 advil, ate a piece of banana bread, and laid back down. I had dull pain for most of the day and finally, at about 3pm, I couldn't stand up anymore. I went back to laying down and slept for 4 more hours, only to then wake up with a quesy stomach.

Hubs hated seeing me in pain, so he braved the negative temperature and bought me some of my new favorite medicine:



Did it take away my headache? No, but it made it possible for me to move around and get things done. And finally, this morning, I woke up headache-free for the first time in a week!

Why did I have a headache for a whole week? Here are my possible reasons:

1. No BC this past week.
2. Ate too much chocolate and sweets at work.
3. Worry, stress, etc.
4. The weather. For some reason, going from the cold temperature into a warm house messes with my head.
5. What do you think?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Perfect Peace

You may already know that one of my favorite verses is Isaiah 26:3-4.

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the LORD forever,
For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.

These verses have been my encouragement throughout the last 2 1/2 years, and just when I think I have worn them out, God brings them to my mind again. Lately, I have been tired and overwhelmed. It seems like there is a lot of things going on in our life that I cannot control. I don't necessarily know what to do or what to say. The apartment has been too quiet; silence makes me nervous. And despite the myriad of things on my mind, life keeps going and I am forced to try keep up with it, or play catch up over the weekend.

The thing I do know and the thing that keeps me going is that I can have peace when my mind is stayed on the Lord because He is my stength. My mind can only be stayed on the Lord when I am in His Word and talking to Him daily - which has not been happening and explains the lack of peace.

Later on, in that chapter of Isaiah, it reads:

Yes, in the way of Your judgments,
O LORD, we have waited for You;
The desire of our soul is for Your name
And for the remembrance of You.
With my soul I have desired You in the night,
Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;
For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

I love the phrase, "The desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You." We have been studying the names of God in a ladies Bible study and this month we are studying Jehovah-Shalom. Jehovah-Shalom means "The Lord of Peace." In a world full of chaos, crisis, concerns, and fears I am so thankful that I know the God of Peace - who promises peace, brings peace, and is peace - and that I can rest in Him no matter the circumstances.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Excitement is mounting!

There is so many reasons to be excited for the upcoming week and here are a few of mine:

Christmas.
I love Christmas and everything about it. Mostly, I love the family-time and the time of remembering Christ's birth. We get to celebrate 2 times this year and I am excited for them both!

Testing Shmesting.
Richard will be done with his final exam in 6 days. Oh man, that will be so great!

Family time.
We are spending 3 full days in Kansas with my side of the family. I am excited to just relax and enjoy time spent with them. We will carol, play games, watch movies, go to a musical, and who knows what else. Plus, mom is making chili - Y-U-M!

And then, we are heading back home to celebrate and spend the day with Hubs's family. I can't wait for that either. Mostly because I pretty much love all the presents I got for people this year and I can't wait for them to open them! Both celebrations are very different; but similar in that we will have a great time full of fun and laughter with people we love.

Friends.
Sarah is coming to town tomorrow and even though I won't see her tomorrow, it is good just knowing she is minutes away. Although, she probably won't be at the other end of her email for our daily correspondance. I can't wait to see her and Brode and Andrew!

Martha and company are coming to town sometime and we get to see them on January 2nd. It has been too long since we've talked and I can't wait to see her and her boys!

Time off.
Thanks to an amazing job, I get the day after Christmas and the day after New Years off! In other words, I get a 5 day weekend followed by a 4 day weekend. Extra, much-needed time with my Hubs, friends, and family.

The anticipation and preparation makes it hard for me to concentrate on working. What are you excited for?

The Before, The During, The After

I looked in the mirror as everyone stood around, waiting for my response. "What do you think?" someone asked.

"It's so different. They look huge." I turned and saw expectant looks. Everyone was waiting for me to jump up and down in excitement, yet, I didn't know what to think, or say.

By the time I went to bed last night, I had looked at myself in the mirror enough times to say that I really do love my "new smile." It helped that Hubs was thrilled at how they turned out and had me smile every so often so he could look at them more.

I don't have many pictures of me before braces on this computer, and since the morning was not lacking in stress (I woke up at 7:00am. Put my head under the faucet. Had no gas in my car. Roads are slippery. People drive ridiculously. Put on make-up in the car with no heat. But, made it to work by 8.), I will show the one that I have.

The Before.

Day 1 of braces.


The during.


The After.

What do you think? Do I look like an adult now?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In the smoker's corner

Last year, during the first snow storm of the year, I ended up parking on the top floor of the parking garage. After work, I waded through the snow and wind to clean off my car. The very next day, I paid for a reserved spot on the 3rd floor, 1 quick flight of stairs to the entrance to my building.

With the $10/month I pay for my reserved spot, I never have to remember where I parked at the end of the day (if any of you know my short-term memory, you know what an issue this can be). I never have to battle the rain or the snow or the heat. I have the comfort of knowing exactly where I will park each and every day.

I also get something extra with my $10/month. I get a car that reeks of smoke. You see, there is a sign in our parking garage that instructs smokers to smoke on the 3rd floor so that employees do not walk through a cloud of carcinogens to get to their vehicles. That is a great benefit to those who do not park on the 3rd floor. Each evening, if I don't first walk through fresh smoke to get to my car, I get in my car and am assailed by stale cigarette smoke. And, if I plan an appointment for mid-morning or mid-afternoon, I get to maneuver my way through what could only be called a smoker's lounge (since there are too many to fit stay in the designated corner), holding my breath as I quickly walk through, to get to my already smoke-smelling car.

I don't blame the smokers because they are smoking in their designated area. It is completely my fault for taking a spot on the 3rd floor. But, what I do find strange everytime I walk by is how incredibly odd it is that the people who have developed a completely nasty habit can take 3-5 10-minute smoke breaks to read their novel or catch up on the latest gossip while those of us who refrain from smoking a cancer-stick work through those multiple breaks.

I guess smoking must make a person 30-50 minutes more efficient than the rest of us.

(And yes, I do realize that I have now completely lost any readership that currently smokes.)

Tasty Tuesday - Raspberry Pinwheels

Raspberry Pinwheels

I made these and gave them out as gifts this year. I put them in mason jars with a red and white striped ribbon around the mouth of the jar to play-up the red and white theme of the cookies. Then I put an adhesive bow on the lid. (I totally stole this idea from a magazine because I am not that creatively smart). Luckily, the cookies actually tasted yummy, too, and weren't too much work. It would have been smart of me to take a picture, because I think they actually turned out kinda cute! Instead, I am showcasing the photo from the magazine.

Ingredients
1 1/2 sticks of butter (at room temperature)
1 8oz. block of cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour (plus extra for workspace)
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 large egg
Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)

Directions
Mix the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix. Gradually add the flour until just combined. Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times. Form dough into 2 1-inch thick squares. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour or so.

Take one of the squares from the fridge and lay out on a floured piece of parchment paper. Roll or form dough into a 9 x 12 inch rectangle. Hint: the dough works better if it remains somewhat chilled so don't work it a lot). Take half of the jam and spread it over the dough (don't use too much jam). Cut the rectangle 2 times so that you end up with 3 9x4 inch rectangles. Starting with the long end, roll each rectangle into a log. Cover each log with waxed paper and put back into the fridge for at least 30 minutes; OR, you can put these logs into the freezer for up to 2 months.

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take the logs from the fridge and cut into 1 inch slices; place on the parchment-lined cookie sheets. Whip the egg and brush onto the tops of each roll; sprinkle the raw sugar on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Check out more Christmas recipes here:
Our Lives In a Nutshell

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brace yourself

Life with braces is quickly coming to an end. A date has been set for the removal and I can't say that I will miss these things. They capture food in very hard places to reach. They change colors depending on what I eat. They poke and rub. And, they give me the appearance of a teenager, instead of a mid-20s adult. The end result, however, should be well worth the past 19 months. I'll be sure to post before and after pictures.

Here are eight things I learned this weekend:

1. Hubs does not eat recipes with any sort of vinaigrette as an ingredient.
2. When making a new recipe for Christmas gifts, bake a trial batch first, to make sure you don't end up with unrecognizable treats. (The second batch turned out beautiful.)
3. Cold wind comes right through our sliding glass door, condenses, and make frost on the INSIDE of our apartment. The result: heater runs nearly non-stop.
4. My allotted Christmas budget is getting slim - and I still have 7 people to buy for.
5. Hubs is sick of studying.
6. I am sick of Hubs studying.
7. I only like changes when I control them.
8. Somewhere along the past week I have lost my Christmas spirit, but hopefully a fun time with friends tonight will bring it back.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Needed:

A recipe for really yummy, I mean knock-your-socks-off-can't-get-enough-of-it, spinach and artichoke dip. I signed myself up for it.

A long day ends in the best way.

Yesterday I left our home at 6:30am and returned at 8:30pm. That qualifies as a long day in my book. My entire body ached when I got home so I decided to unwind with a warm shower. I was in bed at 9:30. But that's not where the evening ends. I started out with such good intentions of a full nights' rest.

There is one movie that never gets old to me - Pride and Prejudice. I have seen it so many times and each time I watch I wonder if I will get tired of it. But I never do. it can't be just any version. It must be the A&E version. It must be the 6 hour long version. It must have Colin Firth in it. It is simply the best, mainly because it is almost word-for-word directly from the book.

I have asked for this movie for years, and for this past birthday, I finally received it (along with 30+ hours of other romantic DVDs). If you are a female; if you have a spot in your heart for romantic love stories; and if you have never seen this movie - have a girl night and watch it. You are sure to love it!

What, you ask, does this have to do with last night? Since I have discovered my new watch-movies-in-bed machine, I decided that I would watch part of this movie to "wind-down" and fall asleep. I had put it on the previous night while I was cleaning, so I knew exactly where I would start the movie back up and it happened to be one of the best parts (Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth - hilarious).

Before I knew it Hubs was coming to be and it was 11:30! I peeled myself away from the movie and went to bed, but today I am tortured. All I want to do is finish the movie!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Party it up!

Last Friday was my company's Holiday Party. If, when you think of company party you cringe and visions of awkward social situations pop into your head, you have never been to my company's parties.

Our Holiday Party committee starts planning in the middle of summer and so far we have not been dissappointed with the activities. Plus, the food is delicious and the people are fun. There are not awkward pauses during conversation, but maybe that has to do with almost everyone in our company speaking in front of people for a living. Even Hubs, who isn't a huge fan of attending parties where he knows hardly anyone, enjoys himself. I believe that our company owners put this party on to thank us for our hard work and we in turn thank them by having a great time.

This year was no different. The committee put together an extensive murder mystery. We watched a video and worked as tables to figure out who the murderer was. Our team didn't win, but when the prize is a t-shirt with a co-workers life-size face ironed on, you can't be too disappointed.

Abby requested pictures of the new outfit that I wore. Luckily, the photographer captured a couple of my best side... (look for the bright green).




Look really hard in the background. Yup. There I am!

Okay, so they did take one picture when I was facing the camera.


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The next evening, we got together with Hubs's family and played games and watched football. It is a tradition to go to a fancy dinner, but we decided to eat in and relax this year. I dominated barely won at Phase 10 and we ordered from our favorite Chinese restaurant. Plus we took this fun picture.

For Pop and Gram


I was missing my Pop-pop and Gram last night. It's been such a long time since I've seen them (since May); and, it will probably be a long time until I see them again. I can remember when I spent Christmas with them last and it was YEARS ago.

There was a time that they lived down the street. We could come over whenever we wanted and saw them all the time. I have some great memories at their house or on trips with them. I took those years for granted. We moved away and they get to travel all over the country and see so many great sights.


Gram is always up for playing games with me, even when she has better things to do. I've always been able to talk to her about anything and she has always been there to listen and to tell me the right thing to do. We went on some fun trips together and I love hanging out with her. I love Gram.


"Pop-pop can fix anything" is what we always say. He can build anything, too. He taught me about the center of gravity when I was building towers with blocks - I aced that section of physics. Whenever I see a train, my mind immediatly goes to Pop-pop because he used to build locomotives for GE. He was patient with us as we tagged along to help him with his projects and taught us so many things. I love Pop-pop.

So, if you are reading, Grandma and Pop-pop, I miss you and will miss spending Christmas with you. I am horrible at calling and emailing and writing, but I think about you all the time. I am planning on 2009 bringing us to visit and spend much needed time with you. Travel safe.

I love you, Heather

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Marley & Me

I laughed so hard that I cried just watching this trailer! I cannot wait to see this movie.



Hopefully, I will own one of those adorable puppies sometime in the next year.

Hallelujah!


There are a few things wrong with this picture.
1. I am not with the Cambridge Singers.
2. The Royal Philharmonic will not be there.
3. John Rutter will not be conducting - that, by the way, would be a privilege.
4. It will not be the complete work.

However, the picture provides a springboard into the topic of a local production of The Messiah.
1. A choir composed of 3 local churches.
2. An orchestra composed of the same churches.
3. A conductor from one of the churches.
4. Comprised of 5 choral pieces and 4 solo pieces.


If you have never been to a performance of Handel's Messiah, you are truly missing out. Biblical text put to a masterful music score featuring elaborate solos and arrangements. It tells the story from the prophecy of the Messiah to His death and ressurection. Usually, you will see the complete work performed at Easter which is about four hours in lenth. I have been fortunate enough as to have sung the entire work four times with some amazing artists.

Tomorrow and Saturday, however, we will be performing a smaller portion of The Messiah for the community. It will only be about 35 minutes long and will feature some amazing local solists. The best part is that it is FREE! I have really enjoyed preparing for this because it has been so long since I have sung great choral music.

Let me know if you would like more details about the performance by emailing me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas isn't Christmas without...

Everyone has things they must do, eat, see, play during the Christmas season for it to feel right. For me, Christmas isn't Christmas without...


The Carpenter's Christmas CD
To me, it is the sound of Christmas.

The smell of a real Christmas tree
I actually haven't had a real tree in 4 years! It is a must that the Christmas Tree is cut down by us at a farm. I have been improvising with a candle.

An advent calendar
See this post.

Carolling on Christmas Eve
See this post.

The Christmas Story
Read by a member of the family each year on Christmas Day PRIOR to opening presents.

A new ornament
Each year, my mom bought us a new ornament commemorating something special that happened that year. Now, I buy an ornament for us each year for the same reason (this year, a palm tree for our Hawaii trip). Hubs's family also does a new ornament each year so this tradition will be easy to carry on.

Treats
The tastes of Christmas: Almond bark covered pretzels, sugar cookies, green cookies, peppermint lattes, & candy canes.

And Christmas is not Christmas unless there is snow!
This actually hasn't happened for us in many years and it always makes me a little sad. I wish I could get myself to New York just for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

These are the main ones. So tell me, what makes Christmas Christmas for you?

Holding on.

It feels like yesterday was November 1st. How I completely skipped over the past 6 weeks, I have no idea. But here we are, 15 days until Christmas...only 21 days until 2009.

I've been holding on tightly to 2008. I want to savor these last days before 2009 changes our course completely.

2008 was great! Fun trips with my Hubs; great times with friends; good friendships built; growth in my life and relationships. We have become comfortable with our life, our jobs/school, our community. And there are still great times left in 2008. I can't wait to spend time with my family for 3 WHOLE DAYS! None of this quick weekend stuff.

No. I'm not dreading 2009 - I'm excited for it. It will include many fun trips - Atlanta, Hawaii, and one still to be determined. It will include a visit to my grandparents in Texas. It will include lots of changes in our life and adjustments that will surely cause us to grow and learn. (More on this after 2009 gets here).

When 2009 comes, I will be ready, excited, and will face it head on. But, I will live these last days of 2008 to the fullest - just living them without anticipating the future.

It won't be easy, the rest of the month will pass by quickly:
December 11: Messiah performance
December 13: Messiah performance
December 15: Flock Christmas Party
December 18: CRDTs Test for Hubs
December 19-21: Finish Christmas Shopping
December 22: Boards Test Day 1
December 23: Boards Test Day 2
December 24: Travel to Kansas
December 25-28th: Kansas
December 28: Clabaugh Christmas
December 31: New Year's Party!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Five for Friday

1. I do believe DayQuill is one the best medicines ever invented.
2. Zinc really does lessen the severity of cold symptoms.
3. Lysol gives your home a nice hospital smell.
4. Infomercials are the only thing on network TV at 1am - you'd think they could at least play some old re-runs or something.
5. Hubs is taking his last final as I type!

I (obviously) have a cold. We have my company's Holiday Party tonight and we will go. No matter how exhausted, stuffed up, and sick I feel. No matter how red and raw my nose is. I will wear the new outfit I bought for this party and we will have fun.

PS - I watched another movie on my laptop last night. So awesome!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A New Discovery

I consider myself a faily intelligent woman. For instance, I can tell you where your sternocleidomastoid muscle is; or, tell you how many carbons are in a benzene ring. I can explain how carbohydrates are digested; or even tell you how many sharps are in the key of A. Those things, I can handle. The simple logics of everyday life, I seem to have trouble with.

So, how it took me 2.5 years to discover that I could watch DVDs on my laptop while Hubs studies, is beyond me.

For two and a half YEARS, I have had to forgo watching TV, let alone DVDs, while Richard studies. We picked our apartment particularly due to the beautiful office for him to study in. It has glass, french doors leading in from the living room. We didn't realize, however, that these glass doors would not block sound at all. So, if I have a TV show to watch, I mute during commercials, and sit really close to the TV when it comes back on so that I can keep the volume low (sacrificial love at its finest, is it not?).

Last night, I popped in our latest Netflix to watch and heard a reminder from the office to keep it low. I mentioned that I wish edI could just hook some headphones up to the TV and Hubs said, "Why don't you just watch it on your laptop so you can use your headphones." He said this so causually - duh.

Genius of an idea, dontcha think? Wait, it gets better. Not only can I watch DVDs at a normal volume, but I also can watch them from the comfort of my own bed. It might have taken 2.5 years to make this connection, but you can better believe I will be making it worth my while for the next 3 weeks of studying.

Forty-five minutes later, Hubs found me under the covers, headphones on, DVD playing, sound asleep.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The countdown is on. The tree is crooked. The presents are beautiful.

My mom had a great big advent calendar that hung on the wall. It was made of fabric and she attached 3 pieces of candy to each day until Christmas. We loved that thing.

When I moved away, my mom bought me a really cool advent calendar from Starbucks. It is a reusable one, so I got it ready this weekend.
There are 2 pieces of candy in each box. Each morning, you pull out the box, take out the candy, and flip the box around to start a picture.


We bought this Christmas tree for our first Christmas together. It is perfect for our little apartment since it is tall and skinny. After taking this picture, I realized the tree is pretty crooked, especially the star. The real problem, I think, is the star. It is too heavy for the tree, but I loved it and bought it anyway.

Don't know if you can see the packages under the tree, so here's a close-up:

Sarah taught me to wrap presents last year. Not just wrap presents, I could put paper over them and tape them up. But, she taught me to wrap presents so that they are pretty. Last year, I started with a pretty easy patterned paper, but this year I have the "ho's" to line up. Hubs was impressed with my new found skill. Hmmm, Mom, I wonder what this present could be.... :)

Wondering what our apartment looks like, outside of my beautiful closet from this post (it isn't that lovely right now)? You can get a little glimpse from the few photos, but I hope to take you on a tour of our abode in the near future - most likely AFTER I have cleaned.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A funny...

Hubs just called.

Me: What are you doing?
Hubs: Chuckling.
Me: Why are you chuckling?
Hubs: Because someone wrote a permanent message on the Brita water pitcher.
Me: Oh yeah...

Let me explain. I went to the fridge this morning to pour myself a glass of cold water. As I lift the pitcher, water pours all over the floor. Noticing the sharpie on the counter, I wrote on the pitcher, "Do not fill the water to the brim," cleaned up the water, and went on my merry way. Later, it dawned on me that I had written it in permanent marker. Oh well. It will be a funny reminder in the future.

Was it worth it?

A recap of Friday, November 28th

1:15am: Wake up. Is it time yet? Nope, go back to sleep.

2:15am: Wake up. Did I miss it? Nope, go back to sleep.

3:00am: Get up. I haven't slept at all anyways.

3:30am: Tell Hubs goodbye. He says, "I can't believe you're actually doing this."

3:50am: Arrive at Younkers. I am not standing in line.

3:55am: Get out of car and stand in line.

4:20am: Stand in line to check out.
4:25-4:40am: Call Ruth about 10 times to compare shopping experiences.
4:45am: Battery dies in phone. Realize I'm going to have to go back home to charge it.

5:05am: Finally check out.

5:15am: Home. Plug phone in. Lay on couch for a 30 minute nap.

6:50am: Wake up. Jump off the couch. Grab phone. Leave.

7:00am: Arrive at mall.

7:30am: Not feeling good. Naseau. Headache. Can barely concentrate on shopping walking.

7:35am: Buy pretzel and coke. That should help.

7:45am: Pretzel and coke didn't help. Sitting on the floor at the mall, on the phone with Dad, wondering if I am going to make it.

8:00am: Decide to try one more store.

8:30am: Head home. Lay in bed.

9:45am: Leave with Hubs for another mall.

1:00pm: Start fading fast. Need food.

1:30pm: Leave the mall. Eat Chinese food for lunch.

2:45pm: Full and ready for a nap. Head to a football party.

7:45pm: Home, at last. Quickly change into comfies and heat up leftovers for supper.

8:30pm: Fast asleep on the couch.

So, are you wondering if it was worth the exhaustion, sickness, grungy feeling, and time? I went through my receipts - here are the totals:

Regular price: $1,154.96
Price paid: $596.01
Minus giftcards: $215.00
Total spent: $381.01

Top savings of the day was a $180.01 savings on 1 item! Besides the one little episode on the mall floor, we really had a lot of fun. The bargains were contagious and we did get most of our Christmas shopping done, plus a little shopping for ourselves using up some leftover giftcards.

Ups and Downs

Up: Watched some of the Macy's Day Parade. Make fun all you want, but I like it.

Up: Spent some much needed quality time with Hubs.

Up: Had a great Thanksgiving Day in Council Bluffs with Hubs's family.
Down: Had a giant hot flash for the entire day.

Up: Got lounge pants as a free gift at one of the stores. Oh my - my new favorite pants.

Up: Got some great deals on Black Friday including my outfit for the many Christmas outings over the next few weeks.

Up: Decorated the house for Christmas.
Down: Hubs snapped a picture of me decorating for Christmas.

Up: Hubs has his final Final this week, ever.
Down: He has to study for it all week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Concerning Thanksgiving

I've been contemplating what I should write concerning Thanksgiving.

I could go through some memories of past Thanksgiving Days. I would tell you about the one where my parents left me to go to San Antonio. I would tell you about the ones where I end up sick before we even eat the food. I could tell you about the one where we ran a 5K in 15 degree weather. Or, maybe I would tell you about the one where Richard met my family - that's a good story.

I could tell you what I am thankful for this year. I am thankful for my job, for my warm apartment, for the last year of dental school. I am thankful for our cars and that we were able to make repairs on them this year. I am thankful for God's direction in decisions made and the ones still coming. I am thankful for my salvation. I am thankful for my friends that have encouraged and challenged me this year. I am thankful for my family, both near and far away, and that my love for them keeps on going no matter how far we apart we are.

I could tell you about our plans this year. About how we are going to visit Hubs's family tomorrow and that I'm making a special pie just for his grandpa. About how I can't wait for leftover turkey and how I am hoping to get great shopping deals on Friday.

But instead, I'm just going to wish you a very relaxing and happy Thanksgiving Day and weekend. I hope we can get refreshed and energized for the rest of the year!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Connect, Reconnect, Stay Connected

Staying connected is hard. In the last few years, I've realized that people move. I've always wanted to be the one moving, but everyone else needs to stay put! I've moved around a few times in my life. Each time, no matter what, it is hard to stay connected with friends. I find that as I have gotten older, it becomes easier because friends seem to move more often and I realize I don't want to give up those friendships.

How do you stay connected? I remember writing letters to my friends when I moved to Kansas. Long distance was still expensive back then. I talk to my family on the phone mostly. But, I stay connected to most of my friends through email, my preferred form of communication.

I started this blog to stay connected to friends and family. However, it has become much more.

Connect. I have connected with people I never would have known before. I've met some great people and learn so much from reading their blogs. It has been great to connect with really wonderful people through similar hobbies, opinions, beliefs, interests, and lives.

Reconnect. Just today I found a cousin's blog. I haven't talked to her for many, many years since she was quite older than I, but it is so fun to read through her blog and see what is going on in her life. I reconnected with another familiar face from just a few years' back and some old high school friends, too. I really love accidentally finding these old friends and reconnecting through our blogs.

Stay Connected. Since God takes our life and your lives many places, I love having blogs that never move. No matter what, I can not only stay connected through my friends' blogs; but you can stay connected with me because my blog isn't going away anytime soon.

What a great communication tool blogging is (plus it makes as a great hobby). Whether you have a business blog, a family blog, a topical blog, or make it whatever you want - I'm sure you will find ways to connect, reconnect, and stay connected.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ups and Downs

As has become tradition, I will re-cap my ever-so-boring weekend to you in ups and downs in an attempt to make it more interesting.

Up: Chinese food and movie date with Hubs on Friday night.

Up: Worked out everyday.
Down: Hubs studied.

Up: Got new shampoo.
Down: Hubs continued to study.

Up: Took down all the fall decorations.
Down: Hubs studied (and mentioned that I was making a lot of noise).

Up: Covertly worked on some Christmas presents.
Down: Did I mention that Hubs was studying?

Up: Attempted to play piano for the first time in, I dunno, 5 years!
Down: Fingers cramped up from playing piano (for like 5 minutes) - let's just say it doesn't come back quickly.

Up: Bought the most beautiful ****** I've ever seen for someone's birthday (you know who you are)
Down: Richard studied some more.

Up: Hubs will be done with 2 finals at noon today.
Down: My coffee tastes like hot water today.


(The picture is old. I just thought this post needed something besides words.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Favorite Friday Fun

What is your favorite thing to do on Friday night? Relax? Party? Veg? Work?

Sometimes, I like to go home and change into comfies, get take-out, curl up on the couch and watch a movie.

Sometimes, I like to go to friends' houses and play games and laugh all night long.

Sometimes, I like to go out to eat with just my Hubs. Then, just walk around and catch up on the week.

Sometimes, I like to have a girl's night out and catch up with my friends.

Sometimes, I like to go away for the weekend.

What kind of Friday night will you have?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tips for healthy living this holiday season

These tips are not for you, they are for me. If I write down what I plan to do, I am more likely to go through with it. Plus, if I write it down for you all to see, maybe we all can help each other.

How many of us decide we are going to eat all the yummy holiday food for the next 6 weeks and worry about our health later? I found myself contemplating what I was going to do next week at Thanksgiving dinner. Do I just forget about how much I love the food because I am being "health concious?" Or, do I forget about my health and stuff as much good food down my throat as possible? What about all the parties and get-togethers coming up - how do we handle resisting all those delicious baked goodies?

Well, my overall suggestion would be to not resist them all (enjoy the food), but not eat them all either (don't stuff yourself). Easier said than done, right? Here are 10 tips for doing just that. Some came from a couple of articles I read, and some are just from me. I don't believe in setting goals you can't reach, so hopefully this are practical enough.

1. We seem to hang out around the table on Thanksgiving day, even after the meal. As soon as everyone is done eating, take the food off the table and put the dirty plates away. I find myself eating more simply because my plate is in front of me - not because I am hungry.

2. Make lower-fat substitutions when it comes to oil (canola or olive) and butter. Do mashed potatoes really need butter? If so, let each individual put it on their serving themselves so they can determine how much is right for them. Oh, and use non-fat evaporated milk for your pumpkin pie. Nobody has ever said anything bad about my pies and I've never used the real stuff.

3. Continue your normal eating habits each day. Skipping meals or snacks will just make you hungrier and mess with your body's schedule.

4. Take smaller helpings. If you are still hungry, I am sure more will be available. But, don't just get seconds because you feel like you have to. Have leftovers the next day instead.

5. Don't stand and talk next to the food at parties and dinners. Make a point to stand farther away so that you have to make a concious effort to get more treats.

6. Get moving! Instead of sitting around all day, go for a walk or play football or some other game outside. Even go to the mall and walk around. Don't stop your normal work-out schedule either. Continue to make time to take care of yourself throughout the busy season. You might find that you have more energy.

7. Drink iced tea and water instead of drinks with sugar.

8. If your office is anything like mine, you'll start to receive Christmas gifts from various vendors and clients. Which for us, means 20+ boxes of Godiva chocolates - oh my, sweet goodness - sittin on MY desk. Don't even tell yourself you aren't going to have ANY this year - let's be realistic, people! Instead, bring your own snacks to work and eat those so that you don't fill up on the sweets. Eat 1 a day at the most; and don't just take one because they are there. Actually, be hungry for it and enjoy it more. (Like I said, I'm telling myself these tips too!)

9. Don't keep a lot of baked items and sweets around the house. Make them for others, or for get-togethers. You will eat enough treats at parties that you don't need to have them around you all the time. Take leftovers to the office so you can get rid of them.

10. Don't plan on losing weight. Just plan on being healthy and maintaining your current weight. Eat moderately, don't gorge. Enjoy the time with family and friends MORE than enjoying the food.

Do you have any tips for staying healthy throughout the holidays while still enjoying them? What works for you?

PS - Can you tell this is what I want to do with my life someday?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One down. Four more to go.

Arby's roast beef sandwiches and curly fries is how we celebrated that Hubs passed his mannequin board exams! Phew.

Then, it was back to the books. He takes his last finals EVER over the next two weeks. It is sentimental and exciting. A long road is about to turn off onto a new road.

But, there are a few more obstacles in the way:
December 19: Computer board exams
December 22: Computer board exams
December 23: Computer board exams
January: Pretend/practice/mock patient board exams
February: Patient board exams

Yes, there are 3 full days of computerized exams; yes they are right before Christmas; and yes I would love to hang out with you anytime throughout the next month.

There were moments that I absolutely hated dental school. There were moments when I loved the life of a student. There were moments that I thought it would never end. There were moments that time flew by. These four years will be sweet memories in our adventures to come.

Congrats, Babe, on passing this first series of exams. I'll be praying, encouraging, and helping you as we head into the next ones.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Because I am just ready this year

First of all, you MUST read this: Here's the squishy (click the different colored words). Warning: do not take a drink while reading because you may spit it up, or choke, from laughing so hard.

I am ready for Christmastime. I know-it's still November, and usually I am the loudest voice reminding people that "Thanksgiving isn't even here yet." But, for some reason I am impatiently anticipating the Christmas music, movies, decorations, smells, treats, and traditions. So, those of you who are still anti-Christmas until November 28th, you should stop reading now.

Hubs and I recently talked about our favorite family tradition. Traditions are especially prevelant at Christmastime, and there are so many that I can think of that I love. However, my favorite tradition that Hubs and I are sure to continue throughout our lives is caroling.

It's not a very popular thing anymore, which is partly why I enjoy it so much. Even so, throughout the years we have continued to go caroling on Christmas Eve.

After the Christmas Eve service, we would bundle up and pile into one van (my aunt/uncle/cousins would come, too). We had our "usuals" that expected us to stop by, but we would also pick other people that we thought would enjoy our visit. Since people might be celebrating, we would sing 3 quick songs and then quickly say "Merry Christmas," and be on our way. Some sang off-key (on purpose or accidently), some sang completely different words as the family member next to us; but it was not a concert - it was for fun and for those we visited. Of course, there would be the occasional snowball thrown as we climbed back into the van, but every single memory of caroling has been a great one.

So, do we still carol? Yup.

Will we carol this year? Absolutely. Can't wait.

I think I am going to continue writing posts about favorite past tradtions and new traditions that we have. What is one of your favorite Christmas traditions?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Who knew Santa Claus coming to town would win me $98?

At 11:10, I put on my radio headphones at work. Why? To listen for the "cue to call" in for a radio contest.

I heard it and started dialing. Then, in a momentary lapse of brain power, I couldn't get my fingers to work the phone in my normal speedy, efficient fashion. Hello! This is part of my job. So, after wasting a whole bunch of time trying to use the "redial" and "release" buttons, I just dialed the phone number again in the old-fashioned way. To my utter astonishment, it was ringing and I was the magical 7th caller.

Usually, the contests I play are taped, but they did this one live. It was the longest minute and a half waiting for the song to end. The contest is: they play a part of a Christmas song, when it stops play, you have to finish singing the phrase. My Christmas song was "Santa Claus is Coming to Town;" I finished the phrase and won a $98 gift card to the local mall!

I was recently asked how I win this stuff. My answer is that I just try to win. I drop my business card in fish bowls all around town. I call into the radio station if I want to win something. How many people, though, hear about a a contest and just never enter or call? If you want to start winning, just start trying. You won't win them all, but you'll definitely increase your chances!

Ups and Downs

Up: Peppermint coffee beans and cinnamon orange spice tea in my new canisters. Both decorative and functional.

Up: Hubs loves the cinnamon orange spice tea.

Up: Holiday sample party at Hy-Vee. Grocery shopping has never been so fun.

Down: Did not make a grocery list and have to go back to get all the stuff we really need.

Up: Husker game. Yummy football food. Warm fire.

Up: Watched Kung-Fu Panda. You should too.

Down: Wasted time worrying about things I can't control.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hand-eye coordination, please

Remember this hobby? I had high hopes of using it to make a few Christmas presents. Since those hopes were smashed in the realization that the skill did not just "come" to me naturally, I'm free to tell you about learning to crochet.

I thought learning to knit or crochet would be great for making scarves, blankets, etc. First things first, though; I had to buy the supplies. Michaels should have a huge sign that says, "Beginners: buy this stuff" so that one would not get overwhelmed by the floor-to-ceiling baskets of yarn and numerous different needles and hooks. As a true beginner, I chose the softest yarn I could find and medium sized needles and hook.

With the first stitch, I learned that hand-eye coordination is a must. However, as I watch my teachers with their hooks, I realize my hands cannot put in action what my eyes are seeing. Not to mention, I am not good with right and left directions. Wow - frustration at the max. Twenty minutes later, I completed my first row of 20 stitches - a whopping 17 minutes after everyone else at the table. At least I kept the others amused with my outbursts of frustration.

I didn't help that I picked the coziest yarn out there. That stuff is for the pros. It frays and strings apart really easily.

The second row was not any easier. Actually, the second row took another hour to complete. Hands-cramped and eyes-crossed, I completed 2 more rows before leaving. I learned only 1 type of stitch and my crocheting at this point is very uneven. And as for the knitting, if I am having trouble with just 1 hook, we can just imagine how using 2 needles would go. Thus, no handmade gifts this year. Bummer...I guess I'll just have to go shopping!

When I got home, I practiced for two more rows and it seemed to be easier with every stitch. I don't think it is a lost cause, and I will keep practicing. I at least have the basics and hopefully I can learn some different kinds of stitching so that it isn't such a boring product. Don't laugh at it, but I took a picture of my progress:


Yup, that is all I got accomplished in 2.5 hours of HARD work. Big sigh.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Under Construction

Please excuse my disorganized blog as I slowly try to update its look (again). Any helpful hints on how to fix the problems would be appreciated. I am learning as I go!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Crock pot Crap or Crock pot Cuisine?

Friends introduced me to the phrase "Crock pot Crap" years ago. After church, if we found out our moms were making any food in the crock pot, we would search for a friend to take us in for lunch. Anything other than eating the dreaded mystery, soggy, bland, food from the crock pot.

Since I have been married, many women have encouraged me to cook with the crock pot. They say it is convenient, easy, and good. I've tried it 3 times now.

The first time - the noodles soaked up all the liquid and were mush. Crock pot Crap
The second time - burned the chicken. Crock pot Crap
The third time - the roast was tender, the veggies seasoned and good. Still not "oh my, delicious," but edible.

This final time, however, I began to like my crock pot *gasp* and I realized why wives and mothers use the crock pot habitually.

1. It's made in the morning so that when you get home exhausted with 30 minutes before you have to leave for the next activity, meal preparation is minimal. Some nights it is either a warm meal from the crock pot or a cold sandwich. Take your pick.

2. Crock pot liners. The thought of cleaning the crock pot is enough to deter me away from using it. With these liners, after meal clean-up is literally 5 minutes. For a busy woman, that is key.

So, who cares what it tastes like: It's simple. It's fast. It's easy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The weekend ups and downs

It was a boring weekend so this will be short and sweet.

Up: Used my crockpot for the 3rd time, ever. More on this tomorrow.

Up: I had 19 new messages in my inbox this morning! Yippee.

Up: Caribou Coffee gives $1.00 off a drink between 6 and 8.
Down: Caribou Coffee give $1.00 off a drink between 6 and 8. Hard to resist the temptation.

Up: Went shopping alone on Saturday for Christmas stuff.
Down: Went shopping alone on Saturday for Christmas stuff.

Down: Read this blog in your spare time. Wow.

Up: I found someone to teach me the hobby.

Has anyone seen the remote control?

Our TV is a magnavox with wood panelling on the sides. It works perfectly for what we need, but about a year ago the remote control died. We bought a $5 replacement, which also broke. Since then we have just been getting up off our lazy duffs to change the channels and volume.

Sounds like a pain, right? Well, our bunny ear antenna can only receive about 3 channels, so it wasn't that big of a deal until recently. For some reason, the local stations have made some changes and channels. For instance, Fox used to be channel 18. Now, it is channel 69. It takes a long time to go from 8 to 69 but just holding down the channel up button on the TV. We also now receive channel 6, 8, 10, 89 and 106.

I mentioned our TV situation to a co-worker months back, who was appalled at the idea of 1) not having cable; 2) the wood paneling; and 3) the lack of a remote. So, the next day I had a brand new remote sitting on my desk. It was not just any remote - it was an over-sized, bright pink remote. Loud, flashy, and obnoxious. Hubs was horrified and said we were NOT, under any circumstances, going to use it.


This is Hubs, programming the giant, hot pink remote last night.

I think even Hubs will admit that it is so nice to just punch in the channel number. I don't think we will never ask the question, "Has anyone seen the remote control?"

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Hubs laughs, but it smells like Christmas outside. It's cold and windy - typical for November in Nebraska. I wouldn't mind the cold, however, if there was some snow! You all think I am crazy, but I love snow until about mid-January. Then I, like the rest of the normal people out there, am ready for it to go away.


I talked to my Gram last week and she said that Findley Lake already has snow (see picture above). Memories of my birthday as a kid came back. Without fail, we trick-or-treated in blizzard conditions. And then, the grass did not re-appear until April. I would trampse through feet - not inches - of snow to wait for the bus (school was rarely cancelled).

I am not crazy enough to wish for 6 full months of snow, but I am wishing for a white Christmas. I would just love to wake up on Christmas day and see the ground completely white. Soft snowflakes gently falling. And then, when stepping out into the wintery weather, it is just quiet. The only thing heard is the crush of the snow beneath my feet. That, I do miss.

What do you think? Snow, or no snow?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Things for Thursday: weather, hobby, movie, politics

The weather lady kept saying this morning, "It will be extremely cold out today - in the 40s." If the 40s are extremely cold, what will she say when it is in the single digits in January? I thought it was quite nice when I walked outside this morning.

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I am trying to learn a new hobby. I can't say what the hobby is, however, because I hope to make some Christmas present with the new hobby. So, if you know what I am trying to learn and know how to do it, let me know. If you think I may be making the Christmas present for you, don't even ask what the hobby is that I am trying to learn, because I may not be able to learn it in time for Christmas.

Are you wondering why I even brought this up?

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It is rare that I actually laugh out loud during a movie. Last night, Hubs and I watched "Get Smart." I watched this show on a regular basis as a kid and was looking forward to seeing the movie. I was not disappointed. We both laughed out loud during the movie! There are similarities between this movie and the old TV show, but it isn't exactly the same. However, I think you will like this good, clean, fun movie. Now I might have to rent some of the old shows for fun.

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The elections are over and you all know the did not turn out how I hoped. Am I mad? No. Upset? No. Scared? Not really.

It is such a privilege to live somewhere in which we have a say in who our leaders will be. I had my say; as did the rest of America. My hope is not built on the President, in Congress; not even in this country. My hope is built on Christ and God remains on His throne.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
Romans 13:1-3

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ode to the addiction

O the addiction; O the need;
Has anyone, will anyone, email me today?

Each hour, each minute, I must check and see
Has anyone, will anyone, comment on my blog?

If only I didn’t work on a computer all day long;
If only I could get my mind off of it.

Instead, I frantically push “Send/Receive” and wait…
Will there be a new message? Nope.

Is my email broken? That is it! I’ll send a test email to check.
Yeah! I have a new message. Oh, it’s just the test.

O to not wonder why nobody has emailed.
O to not worry that nobody reads the blog.

It only compels me to write more.
It only compels me to email more.

Hoping I’ll make people think, wonder, laugh;
Hoping I’ll become a better writer, thinker.

But most of all, hoping to get more emails.
Looking forward to a full inbox.

I'm obviously not a poet, nor have I ever understood poetry. Just a gal who is realizing a true addiction to checking her email.

Get rid of the 'tude

As a teen, my parents were always telling me I had an attitude and that I needed to "get rid of it right now." Yeah right. I always thought, Well, I didn't have an attitude, but now that you said that I sure do.

As an adult, that attitude still creeps up sometimes often. I am unkind, I don't like to socialize, I say things I will regret, and "no body understands me." The 'tude can develop anywhere, anytime but usually when something doesn't go as I want or when people don't do what I think they should.

Then, I begin to justify it with popular phrases like: But, this is how I feel, so others can just deal with it. I'm just thinking about what is right for me. I deserve something better. I just don't feel like it today. It doesn't matter how I respond to others; I'm not having a good day.

Wait a minute. Isn't this what the world says is good and right? "Do what is right for yourself." Most talk show hosts will encourage this whether refering to building a career or getting a divorce. That can't be the wrong attitude, can it?

As I was feeling sorry for myself this weekend and developing the 'tude (multiple times, by the way), I realized how self-absorbed I can be. And contrary to the popular advice, it isn't and shouldn't be all about me. And, I'm not just talking about self-pity here; the 'tude mostly presents itself when I am thinking great and wonderful thoughts about me, myself, and I.

Now, there are definitely times that we aren't having a good day, right? That still does not mean we should develope an attitude and not treat others kindly. But guess what? Thinking selfishly about ourselves, and then acting in that manner is super easy because it's natural. It's sinful.

What's the Bible's solution for getting rid of the 'tude? Exactly opposite to the world's advice: to just quit thinking about yourself so much and think of others.

Rom. 12:10, 16 - Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Phil. 2:3-4 - Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Gal. 5:19-21 - Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are...jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions...of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

So, let's all do the thing that doesn't come naturally. Next time you feel the 'tude coming on (because I know I am not the only person out there that suffers this illness), confess your selfishness and conciously think of someone else in a loving, kind manner. Even take the next step and do something for someone else. It won't feel natural at first and you may want to go back to focusing on you, but read these, and other, verses.

Let's get rid of the 'tude!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Breakfast for Supper

Our Lives In a Nutshell

Sorry for 3 posts in one day, but I have the best breakfast pizza (egg casserole) to share with you all. Click the link above for more tasty ideas, or to join the fun!

Breakfast Pizza
Ingredients:
Refrigerated crescent rolls
1 lb ground Sausage
Frozen Shredded Hash browns
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
5 Eggs
1/4 cup milk
Pepper
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:
Brown and drain sausage. Unroll the crescent rolls and line 13x9 inch casserole dish with them. Press them together at the seams to seal. Scatter the sausage on top of the crescent rolls. Cover the sausage with the hash browns (about 1 1/2 cups). I just spread them around evenly. Then scatter the cheese over the hash browns.

Mix the eggs, milk, and pepper together. Pour into pan (I kind of make sure I get it evenly distributed). Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes, or until it is not runny.

So, those ingredients and directions are pretty vague but the recipe is at home. I usually just estimate it anyway. We just ate this a few nights ago and were reminded of how good it is. Plus, it makes for great leftovers!

Parks I Love - Part 1

One of the best things about the city in which I live: the parks. And, they aren't just the parks with a playground, picnic table and grass. There are some beautiful, large parks with lakes and ponds and trails and more!

Holmes Lake
This past week, I have gone to Holmes Lake 4 times! I never even realized how much I liked this park until this week. It has a small lake (hence the name) with a trail that wraps around it. There are ducks to feed, sand volleyball courts, softball fields, playgrounds, and plenty of picnic tables. PLUS, there are areas that you can just lay out a blanket and chill.

Probably the number one reason I love this park is because I fell in love with a tree (actually 2 trees) this week. The leaves began changing a few weeks ago, which is one of my favorite things in the world and this is the most gorgeous set of trees in all of the city. Since my discovery I have been visiting the trees and on one of my trips I took my camera along. I should have captured more some pictures of the park as a whole, but I really love this tree.




Ups and Downs

Up: When I came home from work on Friday night, Richard had a tub of my favorite ice cream sitting on the counter with candles in it and a birthday card next to it. That was the best part of my birthday.
Down: The Huskers did not play well on Saturday night. AT ALL!

Up: The extra hour of sleep Saturday was well worth it.
Down: I am now wide awake at 5am each morning.

Up: I ate way too much food this weekend.
Down: I did not work out at all this weekend.

Down: The truck died.
Up: It's fixed now.

Up: We have had an incredibly warm week, with sunny skies.
Down: I don't want to turn on my air conditioner, so it is pretty hot in the apartment.

Up: The financial crisis hasn't hit as hard in the midwest.
Down: The banking world is not doing so hot right now. (PS - My company works with banks)

Down: I'm sick of the campaign commercials, etc.
Up: It will all be over today. Happy Election Day!

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's a BIG day!


Hubs is, at this very moment, taking his manikin (or mannequin) board exams. This is the first of 3 rounds of testing this year for him to become a dentist. Today he will do a crown and a root canal. This is a big day for him, so I will be praying all day as he takes the exam.


Call me a pumpkin, witch, ghoul, or ghost. I am a quarter of a century old today (25)!

Birthdays are so fun. It is the one day a year that I don't feel guilty about splurging and having a day "all about me." So far, I have had a latte, a piece of homemade pumpkin cheesecake, and a lemon cupcake in the shape of a rose! Plus, I got this super-awesome giant High School Musical birthday card from my favorite people at work!

Often, I get asked whether I like having Halloween on my birthday. When I was younger, it posed some difficulties in that my friends wanted to trick or treat instead of celebrate my birthday. Or, I always had to bring my birthday treats a day before or a day after Halloween because there was already a Halloween party.

But now, I could not imagine having my birthday on a different day. I remember one year that my dad sent me flowers at school. It was the best arrangement with the flowers sitting in a pumpkin. Sticks came out of the arrangement and fake cobwebs hung around the sticks. Now tell me whom else, besides a Halloween Birthday girl, can get that sort of cool arrangement for her birthday?

Ten reasons I love having a Halloween Birthday.
1. Stores start decorating for my birthday in September!
2. Lots of people celebrate on my birthday!
3. It's so cool to say, "Yeah, my birthday is on Halloween."
4. Fall/Halloween decorations are cool.
5. People can remember my birthday really easily.
6. I get cool Halloween Birthday cards.
7. October is the best month of the year.
8. It's a great time to eat chili and caramel apples.
9. It's the perfect holiday for a birthday. Let's face it - Halloween without my birthday, just wouldn't be fun!
10. I get to share my birthday with my grandma-in-law!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The inconvenience of convenience

I have grown up with the convenience of cell phones, the internet, pay-at-the-pump gas stations, 24-hour grocery stores less than 5 minutes away, multiple vehicles per family, and the news immediately as it happens via TV. So, when something isn't working...these conveniences are inconvenient (have I over-used the word "convenient" yet?).

I love that I can have news stories brought to me as they occur (as opposed to waiting for the next day's newspaper), but man do those reporters mess it up sometimes. They get to decide what news to share and how to share it.

I love having my cell phone for emergencies or just to call up a friend whenever I want. But, aren't there times that you just want to ignore its ring or leave it at home? However, it is so frustrating if the person you are calling doesn't have their phone with them at all times!

Or (I had this situation last week), your usual pharmacy (less than a block away) closes early on Saturday. So, you have to drive 3 miles to the 24-hour pharmacy and wait in line because it is the only one in a 20 mile radius!

And, what about when the grocery store is out of something you need? You mean I have to drive 5 minutes down the road to the other grocery store? Talk about inconvenience!

In my quest for continuing my education, I have found that some colleges and universities offer distance education courses. Convenient, right? The major I want to pursue, however, is not offered as a distance education option. How inconvenient!

Ha, I actually found myself getting upset about this.

My goodness, what struggles we 21st century people are faced with today!

Gourds galore and painted coconuts?

Random should be my middle name.


This picture depicts 1/3 the amount of gourds we have in our office. A co-worker has more gourds than he can handle at home and has brought them in for us to take. What do you do with gourds? I have no clue, but that did not stop me from rushing in to pick out the very best ones.


These are my choices. Aren't they amazing? And, they are completely random...just like me. Look how one of them is completely orange, with a perfect circle of green on its butt. And, look at the one that has watermelon coloring, except for a little patch of orange. I haven't seen two that are exactly a like - they are all unique and creative in their own special way. Just like people. Isn't God's awesomeness seen in his creative creation?

Someone found a recipe for gourd chips, but I think they would be cool for decorating. Too bad I am not decorating-savvy. So, right now they are just sitting next to the plant on my desk.

-------------------------------------------------------

Now this is hilarious.

Another one of my co-workers sent this painted coconut to us from Hawai'i. It has our names painted on it and it says, "I went nuts in Hawai'i." Now let me ask you: How nice is it that someone was thinking about us while vacationing? We think it just awesome and it sits on my desk, along with the gourds. And if you are doubting the authenticity of the coconut...I shook it and heard the milk inside! I'm definitely getting one of those when we go to Hawai'i again!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How old young do I really look?



Hubs and I went out for dinner Friday night. At the end of our meal, our waitress asked, "Would you like separate checks, or should I combine them?"

Hubs: Well, I should probably pay for my wife, don't you think?
Waitress: You guys are married? You look so young! I'll be right back with your check.

The waitress herself looked pretty young. When she returned...

Hubs: Do you mind if I ask how old you would have guessed us to be?
Waitress: Oh, I thought you were probably 18 or 19.
Hubs: Oh really? So, do you mind if I ask how old you are?
Waitress: Me? I'm 21! (she said this with confidence)
Feath: Oh wow. Well, I'm almost 25 and he is 24.
Waitress: Wow, you guys look really young. You must get carded all the time.

Although this was a new conversation to Hubs, I get this all the time. Sometimes, I stop at Starbucks on my way to work. I usually have to wait at the drive-thru window and the barista's try to make conversation. Their first question, without fail, is, "So, are you headed off to class this morning?" To which I respond, "No. I am headed off to work."

Before you even think of saying it, yes I know this will be wonderful when I am 50. And, yes I am happy that I look younger than my actual age instead of older. But I do wonder: Is it the clothes I wear? The fact that I am super short? Just my facial features in general? My demeanor? Hmmm.

For now, I blame it on the braces. I will be anxious to see if I get fewer remarks when they come off.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Halloween Theme

Our Lives In a Nutshell

Anything with pumpkin has to be good, right? Well, I sure think so. This recipe was introduced to me years ago by a friend's mom. Ever since, my mom has made it every October for me. You'll love it.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Ingredients
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs (lightly beaten)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

3 oz cream cheese (i like to add more than this)
5 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar (i add less of this)
3-4 tsp milk

Directions
Beat pumpkin, sugar & oil until blended. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, soda, cinnamon, & salt; gradually add to pumpkin mixture until well blended.

Pour into greased 15x10x1 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean). Cool on a wire rack.

For frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, & vanilla. Gradually beat in sugar until smooth. Add milk until frosting is the consistency that you want. Frost cake.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I forgot my camera

So many things to take pictures of and I left my camera at home.

1) My laundry room is clean. I did not plan to clean my it last night. It is usually disorganized and messy, but since I am usually the only person who uses it, it is the last thing on my list to clean. Last night, I went to unload the dryer. I thought it was odd that the floor was wet, but proceeded to unload anyways. Then, I realized that all the dirty clothes on the floor awaiting their turn for the washing machine were completely soaked. Not tonight. I don't have the energy for this. Sure enough, water is coming from the washing machine. All the hoses are tight. The drain is not clogged. It's a mystery. Well, the machine finishes spinning and it sounds like water is still pouring into the washing machine. Sure enough, the machine is off but water keeps on pouring in. I'm calling the repair man today.

So, I lay out all the soaked clothes throughout the apartment and stay up drying clothes late. I can't wait to see the water and electricity bill.

2) We finally have a jam-packed week again! I wish you could see our calendar!

3) The Husker game was a fun birthday present. It was a perfect day: clear skies, 63 degrees, light breeze, and we won!

4) We had 49 mph wind gusts yesterday. Laura, her mom, and I still went out for our 5K race. Let me tell ya, this is my kinda race. Girls on the Run of Nebraska is an organization/club to get young girls active. They sponsor a fun 5K 2 times each year. They don't keep track of your times; every body's number is "1;" it is just to get people out and active.

I didn't "train" for this run, because I just wanted to get out there and have fun. There were moments when I felt like I was running in place (against the wind), so I cannot imagine how hard it was for the girls half my size! Still, we finished and, I think, were happy with how we did, especially considering the circumstances. Laura's mom beat her last time by 1.5 minutes and I came in at 27:05. I think the best feeling is afterwards. I felt like I had accomplished something good and even this morning I just feel good. It's hard to explain.

By the way, Hubs did come and I am so glad he did! It was great to look for him to cheer me on. Also, all the encouragement along the way from the entire crowd helped so much to keep us going in the windy, cold weather.