Sunday, October 31, 2010

Old Age

I drove off with the drive-thru tube at the bank yesterday. I didn't notice until I was inside Starbucks and set it on the table.

For my birthday, Hubs fixed the kitchen faucet. It no longer screams while the water is running, plus water doesn't splatter all over my cloths. It's the best gift.

These two small things may or may not be a sign of my age. But, today I turn 27 and actually, I feel 27. Even better, I am happy to be 27. For a while I struggled living in the present. I would sit and wish I was younger and less "tied down." I would mourn those days of fun, freedom, spontaneity, and ease. Other days I would sit and dream about the future, planning it in my head and wishing that I was already there - a  house, kids, stability.

But living in the here-and-now is so freeing. As we make plans for the future, I leave them to be experience in the future. Instead, I concentrate on what I is going on now, in real life. I concentrate on loving my family and friends, serving others, and growing. And as I look back into the past, I enjoy the memories, but I leave them there and don't think of what could have been.

I think that is why 27 is so exciting. I don't know everything that is going to happen this year, but I do know there will be changes. But that isn't the focus. The focus is this: how am I going to serve God with my life today?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Java Jitters

To me, there is hardly anything better than a good hot cup of coffee. The aroma. The taste. The warmth, especially on a cool morning.

My coffee love began in high school. I started drinking it with more creamer and sugar than coffee until my dad challenged me to "drink it like a man." Why I wanted to be "like a man" brings up so many other issues, but from then on, I rarely used cream and never used sugar.Then I went to italy, where shots of espresso were served after each meal. The love intensified from that point on.

Coffee drinking became a very regular occurance. I never struggled with drinking caffinated coffee at any time of the day. I would drink a pot and fall a sleep an hour later. It was comfort.

When I went to Nebraska for college, my coffee drinking reached the point of addiction. I would make a pot of coffee in the morning - drink it all. Then I would make a pot of coffee in the evenign - drink it all. That was somewhere between 20-24 cups a day. I determined that I would never be that addicted again.

Since then, I have not been addicted and I don't need it like I used to. I still enjoy it and drink it frequently; but it is under control.

For the past few years, however, I have developed a new problem with coffee. The Java Jitters. It's more than jitters, though. My blood sugar has always been sensitive. If I don't eat normal meals and snacks, I will find myself with virtego, the shakes, hot flashes, claminess, and unable to focus or concentrate. Coffee seems to intensify these symptoms.

I used to combat it by eating dense food with the coffee, trying to combat the effects. In the past 6 months, however, I have learned that isn't even helping. If I drink more than 1-2 cups of coffee in the morning, I will go haywire in the afternoon. It is hard to explain, but I just feel weak and "not-all-there." I have my theories that caffiene causes you to metabolize faster and therefore the food that would normally keep me going for 4-5 hours, runs out after 3-4. I have no idea if this is biochemically accurate, but I feel like I learned that years ago.

Whatever the reason is, I don't know. But it happens. No matter if I make sure to eat good meals and snacks, or if I don't, the problem is still there. It just may have a different intesity level.

Does this make me stop drinking coffee? Absolutely not. I just deal with the java jitters.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pike's Place, continued

Pike's Place was fun. I bought this tiny lemon white-chocolate cheesecake that was delish and a really funny gift for Hubs. As I browsed, I was always searching for a certain store.

The original Starbucks. At first I thought this was it:

It was on Pike Street and it was the first one I saw. So, I went inside and got a drink. I decided not to buy any gifts there since I had just arrived. I thought I would just stop by later. It wasn't much different than a normal Starbucks, just a little different atmosphere.

Half a block later, I stumbled across the REAL first Starbucks.

It was smaller, older, and if that wasn't enough, the inside SHOUTED that it was the first Starbucks.

No tables and chairs. No normal Starbucks merchandise. No pastries. Two tall counters against two of the walls. The other wall was shelves containing merchandise and coffee beans ONLY sold at this store. And the other wall was the front door.

It was tiny, compared to most, and it was busy with tourists. I'm pretty sure everyday Seattle dwellers go to the many other Starbucks store in town. I browsed and bought some unique gifts. The lady at the counter told me they sold waaaaay more merchandise than coffee, she compared this store to a Target. It wasn't surprising. They had the coffee mugs all boxed and ready to go for the tourists.

This Starbucks store only uses the original brown logo. If you haven't seen it, it is the one with the naked girl in detail. So, I was very careful with my selection of mugs. Call me crazy, but I felt a little odd buying someone a mug with a large Starbucks logo, "aka large naked breasts."

Being such a big fan of coffee and of Starbucks, this was a definite highlight. What I didn't think about was that I would now need to lug all my purchases uphill to my bus stop. I verified my bus choice with a local and hopped on. It was nice to sit after walking for a solid 3+ hours wearing cute flats - the tennies just didn't go with the skinny jeans.

But, then I got off the bus and had a mile and a half walk back to the hotel. This walk was quicker, now that I knew where I was going. But this time I was also carrying a large back of purchases. Our hotel wasn't very fun to hang out at, and I still had seven hours until Hubs was done.

Off I went for another 4 hours of shopping, in my flats. When my feet couldn't stand it anymore, I got a yogurt parfait from Red Mango and cozied up in a chair at Barnes and Noble and read. A great way to end a fun day in Seattle.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pike's Place

I actually debated about whether or not I was actually going to take the journey to Pike's Place. As I perused the bus routes, I became increasingly confused and almost gave up. My adventurous nature won me over though, and I set off with my camera, purse and bus route book in hand.

I calculated that I would need to walk about 1 mile to get to the bus stop that would make the trip easiest. I just needed to get to 45th street. I found 47th street and then found 44th street, but I never passed a 45th street. I kept looking over my maps, which showed a 45th street intersecting with the road I was on and could not understand what I was missing. Stress set in, which means I immediately became hot within my abdomen and started sweating.

Then, I happened to look up. High, high, very high above me was a street - 45th street, with no possible way to get up to it. So, I began to make the trek up into the University of Washington campus. And I don't use the word "trek" lightly. Many stairs, lots of uphills, and paths that curved in and out of buildings. Keep in mind that you can only see until the next tree or hill. Basically, I pointed myself in the general direction I needed to go, and I went.

Forty-five minutes later, I had maneuvered myself to the desired bus stop, which I actually thought would be a train station. Slight mishap. Panic set in again. What if I didn't have enough money? The buses only took cash and I only had $2. Thankfully, the fare was exactly $2. I was on my way to downtown Seattle, unaware of the soreness of my feet due to the high of my adventure.

When I got off the bus, I pointed myself towards Puget Sound and began walking downhill. Then I saw this sign:

I was there! From then on, I just walked and took in my surroundings. First, I noticed the fish:

 Whole crabs, if you are interested. Or, they also had live ones if you really want them fresh.

 Random sea life that I would never eat.

This poor guy doesn't look so good. I think they thought the sunglasses would help.

And they would fillet these whole fish for you right there. I didn't stay around to watch.

 Hey, and if you were from out of town, no biggie. They'll ship it for you! I didn't purchase any seafood.

Next came the beautiful produce:
 It was so colorful and it looked delicious. It was my dream grocery store!

 They gave out samples along the way. And there were so many different vendors.

These were very popular arrangements made from peppers.

Finally, there were the flowers:

Bouquets and arrangements everywhere. They were beautiful. And since I love fresh cut flowers, I would be tempted to buy one each week if I lived anywhere near here. They even had bouquets in hollowed pumpkins. So beautiful.

 These was the just one of the bouquets that stuck out to me. Look how beautiful for only $5. The $5 bouquets at Dillons are no where near this beautiful.

There were so many other things. Cheese, pasta, cheesecake, books, trinkets, clothes, novelties, and more. Level upon levels of shops and booths. I just walked and walked until I had seen enough. 

Then I just sat in a park and looked over Puget Sound sipping my coffee.

Nasty picture, but it's all I've got.

Speaking of coffee, I have left out one of the best parts about my trip to Pike's Place. 

To be continued...

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Ferry Ride

Hubs and I had an afternoon together in Seattle and needed something fun to do. We thought we would drive to Olympic National Park (and right through Forks for all you Twilight readers). As we were driving I noticed something odd. We were getting closer and closer to water, yet Gigi (our Garmin) did not show a bridge coming up. Sure enough, soon we hear Gigi say, "Board ferry."

Well, after talking with the ferry attendant we learned that Olympic National Park was a little too far away, but she suggested we take the ferry ride anyway. It was cheap if you were just passengers and that week they had been seeing orcas in the water.

Um, if there is a chance to see an orca, you better believe we went on the ferry! I'm glad we did, too.

The ferry was HUGE and I couldn't believe the number of cars on this boat. It makes sense considering this was the only way people could get to these towns, but still. There were lines and lines of cars on either side. We boarded the ferry and took in the beautiful views.

The town on the other side was Kingston. We had lunch and walked around taking in the quaint village. Although not our original plan, it was perfect.

This was the bus stop in Kingston. We chuckled over the seating that someone had provided while you wait.

The ride back was just as fun. We didn't see any orcas, just this bird and a very cute dog that had the same curly tail like Ransom.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Another state to check off my list, and this was a good one. I thought that I would like the Pacific Northwest, but I can now conclude that, of the cities I have visited, Seattle is my favorite. To give you a reference point, these are the major cities I have visited (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Honolulu, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Orlando, Rome, San Diego, St. Louis, Venice, Washington DC).

The path that I jogged on. So beautiful I didn't even realize I was jogging!

The phrase I heard most before taking this trip was, Oh, it rains all the time there or some version of that theme. I'm happy to report that it does not rain all the time. For the 4 days we were there, we did not see one drop. We asked many locals about the weather and they said it rains a lot in the winter, instead of snow. Rain vs. Snow. 35 degree lows, no wind vs -10 degree lows, 30 mph wind. You take your pick.

In fact, of all the locals we talked to not one said anything bad about the Seattle area. Quite the opposite, actually. They all loved it. That was impressive to me.

Mount Rainier is in the background.

I loved it. There were ginormous trees everywhere. I finally got to show Hubs what I mean when I say, "trees." These trees make mid-Kansas trees look like shrubs. 

A quaint little town accessed only by ferry.

Mount Rainier was always in the backdrop, along with other various jagged peaks from the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. 

Morning fog lifting off of Lake Washington.

Lush green grass and cool clean air. And large bodies of water all over. Whether it be lakes, sounds, straights or bays - there was plenty of water.

Again, Mount Rainier right in the center.

From what I was told, Seattle lays right in a valley. There aren't many places where you are on flat ground. Instead, you are either walking uphill or downhill. The mornings were covered in fog, but it cleared up and became sunny each day. And even when I was downtown, the air smelled clean and fresh.

And finally, there is so much to do in Seattle. Shopping, coffee, outdoor activities, state parks, mountains, skiing, hiking, touring, and more!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The pups has always had some separation issues. We found that out during the first month of him joining the family. We learned how to manage his separation issues, though, and life has been good. I've never understood how a dog could love a crate, but ours truly does. To him it means that we are coming home - so relax.

But, in any other circumstance, Ransom still feels the need to find us if we are not nearby. At the dog park, Ransom wants to play but only if he knows that we are sitting on a bench nearby watching. If he loses sight of us, he immediately starts searching.

Ransom wants to be wherever we are. Here, he is directly under my feet as I am rolling out cinnamon rolls. He couldn't be more in the way.

So, I guess it shouldn't surprise me that 30 minutes after dropping Ransom off at the pet-sitters/kennel I got a phone call about his "behavior." He is now not only jumping short fences, he is climbing over 6-foot fences to get out. We book this very nice indoor/outdoor run with plenty of room to move about and stretch, but he won't stay in its confines.

I should have known it would not be a good stay when we walked in the door and he turned right back around and ran out. I'm still not quite sure how it is possible, but he has been moved to a crate for safety.

The thing is, he isn't the only one who is attached. I am too. I've never been super anxious to get home from a vacation, but now that I know I will get to see him...I'm thrilled.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Excerpts from "Principles of Clothing Selection"

We have a very cute used bookstore in our town. One where they wrap your books up in paper and twine. While I was browsing, I found this book and was so intrigued that I left with it:

This book was published in 1923 and belonged to Irene Baker. It looks like she read it in her Domestic Arts class in 1930.

As I read through it, I giggle and I smile. It is a fun read and actually very beneficial for the style-handicapped, such as myself. So, don't be surprised when you get a little excerpt every now and then from this fun book.

Today's excerpt is from the preface:

"The aim of this book is to aid in developing a new viewpoint that will lead women to select clothing on the basis of its aesthetic, hygienic, and economic values rather than on the basis of its conformity to fashion. This will establish saner standards of dress than now prevail and thus be a contribution to the development of the ideal American home."

How interesting that in 1923 they were addressing issue of fashion and money and style. Sounds like something that could be written for today.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Clean Room

I love a clean room. Free of clutter. Free of dust. Free of dog hair. A candle's scent filling the clean air. I just rest in the relaxation that a clean room brings. I am horrible, however, at maintaining a clean room. I don't like the time and work that it takes to keep the room clean. So, gradually the clean room gets to a cluttered room to a disaster mess. And, the mess is overwhelming to me.

The same goes inside my head. Last night the stress became overwhelming. The house was messy. There was paperwork to do. Dishes to clean. Closets to organize. Clothes to launder. Errands to run. Lists to be made. And sin issues to be dealt with. As I began to tackle the piles, my mind went into melt down over a sin area that I have been struggling with. I was at wits end wondering why I keep falling in this way. I speak truth to myself. I know how to alter my thoughts, but I still end up here.

Then, in the midst of my laundry, I realized the thing I had been missing. Prayer. I hadn't ever prayed about the situation. Not. Once. Usually, the avenue people go to first, I had completely neglected. I was trying to beat the sin on my own.

I thought over the past weeks. I started with a clean mind - it was on God, quiet times were deep and real (not 15-minute get-bys), my prayer life was consistent (not just at meals), and my attitude was right (not pretend). Slowly, I had stopped maintaining my spiritual life and finally, it came crashing over me.

As I sat down, I confessed my sin. I cleaned out my heart and mind so that I could start over with a clean one. I read through Psalm 51 a few times and prayed those words to God.  I prayed for the diligence to maintain my heart - the picking up of the clutter each day by confessing my sin. The chores of dusting and vacuuming by digging into God's Word and praying. Not leaving it to the next day, but making time for it each day. So that in some way I may please God with a sweet aroma.

Sure, a clean room is nice, but a clean heart is peaceful.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My plans

When Starbucks came out with Pike's Place coffee, I thought it was an odd name for a coffee. First, I (naturally) thought it was named after Pike's Peak, although somehow I figured I was probably wrong. Then, I really didn't care what it was named after and it hadn't entered my mind again.

Until...I found out we were going to Seattle. Then, I knew I would need to visit the first Starbucks, which happens to be at Pike's Place Market. As a lover of browsing around cool local markets and shops, this intrigued me. Little did I know that it is 9-acres of shops - from food to spices to gifts to clothes to restaurants.

I think you now know my plans. Since I will have an entire day to entertain myself, I am planning to spend a lot of it at Pike's Place. I am kind of excited to walk and browse, sip coffee, and even have lunch.

And if I still have time after that, I found out our hotel is right across the street from University Village, which has lots of fun stores like Madewell, North Face, get the point. Stores we don't have around here.

This is gonna be fun!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lee: A Life of Virtue by John Perry

I really like history, and especially Civil War history, though I have read very few books on the subject. I was very excited to receive this biography of General Robert E. Lee. The book takes you through the entire life of General Lee, where I learned about his family, his career, and his personality. Of course, there is play-by-play of his career and decisions as General of the Confederate States of America.

I really enjoyed the read. I loved learning the reasons behind General Lee's decision to leave the United States army and join the Virginia Militia, and then the Confederate Army. But even more than the war history, I was enthralled in the relationship between Robert and his wife, Mary. The letters they wrote to each other, for they lived much of their life apart, and the love they shared. The war details did get a little drawn out at points, however I think that if I had a better grasp on the geography, I would feel differently.

Mainly, this book further established in my mind that 1) the Civil War was not chiefly fought over slavery and I am not sure the United States did the right thing; and 2) that I would love to read more of Mary letters to the General. I think I could learn a lot from her about being a godly wife to my husband.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, October 11, 2010

A morning race run

Pre-run family photo:

The 3-mile winners:

Post-run family photo:

Turns out I won the 2-mile race. Though it doesn't really count considering I was the only person running the 2-mile route - everyone else walked. 

Still, it was a fun time and a great way to start the day!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why I didn't get the jeans

There was a big sale at Banana Republic yesterday. A pair of very cute skinny jeans that were marked down from $89.50 to $49.50. Then, they were an additional 30% off - making them only $34.65 - which is a G-R-E-A-T deal. I debated all day as they sat in my shopping cart waiting for me to push "Complete Order."

But, I didn't do it. And here is why:

1.  I did not NEED the skinny jeans. I already have a pair that I LOVE, and even though I was sure to love these, sigh, I knew that I should use money on something I really need - like slouchy suede boots or cute sweaters.

2.  I need to learn to not spend money just because it is a G-R-E-A-T deal.

3.  My birthday is right around the corner (25 days) and I am hoping to shop-til-I-drop in Kansas City!

4.  I am trying to be extra budget-conscious for the next few months as we save up for our GIANT vacation.

Where are we going? Let me give you a few hints...

It's ancient.
It's fought over.
It's smaller than New Jersey (in square miles).
And here is some of what we will see:

The Mediterranean Sea

 Old walls

Desert and maybe some camels


Yes. We are going to Israel!

I could only be more excited if I was pregnant (haha). Really, we are thrilled for this opportunity. It is a study trip, so we will be taking in more than our little brains can handle from Dr. Doug Bookman of Shepherd's Theological Seminary. He is awesome, by the way.

I can't wait to be in a place where so much history has taken place and so much more will take place. We will see all of Israel and we will learn so much about God in the process.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Our next destination

October is turning out to be an out-of-control month. It is only day 2, I know, but I have never seen my planner so full. It's fun that way.

One of the more exciting prospects of October is that we will be taking a trip to...

Seattle, Washington!

I am so excited. Washington is one of those states that I have never visited, and never quite knew how I was going to get there to visit. It just so happens that Hubs is headed there for a dental excursion, and I am going to tag along.

So, like usual, I am going to ask what you think we MUST see, do or experience while we are there. This isn't a "just-for-fun" trip and we won't have a lot of time, but I'd like to hear from you if you have been there. What did you like? What did you not like about Seattle?

As I am sitting here discussing Seattle, it dawned on me that I should probably arrange a place for the Pups to stay while we are gone, book our flights, and reserve a hotel room. I better get on that!