Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Hubs & I will have our first niece or nephew!
Excited much? The next progressive step in our lives was for somebody to have a baby. And I couldn't be happier that it is my brother and sister-in-law taking the plunge. We are joining them in their excitement and can't wait to meet the little guy (or gal).
I love my aunts. They are fun and wise and loving and very special. I hope that I can be that to this little one. I love my uncles. They are crazy and funny and loving and very special. I hope that Hubs can be a favorite to this little one.
So, this Christmas is the last with just the sibs. Next year we will have a welcomed addition, but I want to enjoy this last time together without our time and attention diverted towards the cuteness and antics of the children (maybe they'll have twins...).
But, I can tell you exactly where I'll be next year on Christmas Day:
On the couch holding my niece or nephew. Enjoying everything about him for the limited time I have to see him. And, giving the stare-down to any and all who dare to snatch him out of my hands.
Congratulations little bro & sis. I love you lots, pray for you often and rejoice with your news!
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
The tradition continued for us to participate in a Thanksgiving 5K. Every year that Hubs and I have participated, it has been below freezing, so we were delighted and overdressed for the sunny 46 degree weather. None of us had been running consistently, but we all finished. It feels incredibly good to get out and move before sitting and eating in the afternoon.
After lunch, we found a dog park so that Ransom could run. He hasn't really been able to run since we moved to St. Louis. He enjoyed himself, and it calmed him down for the rest of the trip. Surprisingly to all of us, it was a busy place.
To finish off the day, we played Kinect. It is really fun; it is hilarious. And, I was painfully sore for the rest of the trip.
On Friday, we went out to a farm to "shoot some guns." I hadn't shot anything for a long time and wasn't as excited as the guys. But, once I got used to it again I was reminded at how fun it can be - as long as you are being smart and cautious, of course.
We started off with Dad's new 38 caliber hand gun. It was a little too tiny for me to be very accurate. I would need some definite target practice if this was going to be useful for me.
I look extremely dumb shooting with my giant hoodie over my head. I'll think that through next time. In the picture below, Richard caught the smoke coming from the gun. You might notice how skewed my hand is compared to the photo above, which shows the kick-back that tiny gun has. I need some strength in those arms!
Things then moved to guns bigger than I care to handle and targets further away. These guns were loud and heavy. Maybe if there would have been something to rest the gun on....nope, I still wouldn't have shot it.
Mom and I hung out in the car and watched. It was comfortable watching from the car, but a bit chilly to just stand around.
Things moved back to the smaller scale and I even got back out and shot the 22 rifle. Pathetically, that was still too much for me to hold for 10 rounds. I a) need to lift some weights or b) need to stick to hand guns. Richard was the sharp-shooter of the day with this Winchester Colt 45 rifle. He shot 4 rounds right in the bulls-eye!
This year I was very thankful for a break and that we live close enough to go visit family for the holiday. I know that we could have had fun in St. Louis, but to be surrounded by familiarity, without the constant reminders of school and work, was oh, so rejuvenating.
Hundreds (literally) of emails filled my inbox over the past week filling me in on all the deals that were too good to pass up.
Unlike years before, I barely read them and moved them directly to the trash bin.
The deals were too tempting and I knew that if I looked for too long, I would find things that I thought I needed. Sure enough, when I did venture out with my mom on Saturday, the sales were going on and I wanted oh-so badly to cash in on all the great sales.
But I didn’t need anything. And I didn’t have the money to spend on anything. And I shouldn’t spend money just because something is on sale – at least, this is what Hubs is trying to teach me. I want plenty of things and didn’t want to even give myself the opportunity to succumb to the pressure.
However, today the deals are out again and they are just as tempting as before. (I should really stop reading about the Kindle Fire.) So, instead of shopping myself, I thought I’d share some of my favorite deals with you!
I did cash in on this one, because we needed the items and I can’t get them cheaper than this!
30% off these brands: Method, Covergirl, Rainbow Light vitamins, Pantene, Neutrogena, Luna, Crest 3D, Cheerios, Yes To, Playtex & Aveeno / use coupon code: SOAP30. Also, free shipping when on orders over $39 (combined total between all their sites: wag.com, yoyo.com, & beautybar.com).
40% off one full-priced item / use coupon code: YOYO40. Same free shipping as soap.com & wag.com. This site has games, books & toys galore. Check it out, especially if you are giving games as gifts!
35% off all products (great prices on dog food, etc). Also, free shipping on orders over $49 ($39 if shopping between all sites – see soap.com above)
35% off all products / use coupon code cyber2011. I love their mineral powder and haven’t needed any since last year’s Cyber Monday sale. I am almost out, but have been holding on, waiting for this very sale.
50% off + free shipping. I love this brand for my work clothes and they NEVER have free shipping. This is a great deal that I won’t be taking advantage of, though my mom scored some awesome pants.
Of course, there are great deals on photo sites today, too. I wish I was more prepared and ready to order some of those gifts. And, I’m sure there are deals on the sites you like best too.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
And those things are not BAD; that’s not what I’m saying. No, the only wrong here is my own response to what I see or what I desire. And lately, my response has not been contentment. It has not been a desire to be used by God in the here and now. And it has certainly not been gratitude.
I think it has to come back to the little stuff. I can make an overarching statement of the things I am thankful for: health, husband, home, family, salvation, but when those little [big] extras come up, it doesn’t really help to think about how thankful I am for my health.
Let me demonstrate with brown leather boots; flat, chunky, wear with jeans, essence of fall boots. They are all over Pinterest. They are on all sorts of people’s feet. They are in pictures, in stores, and I love them. They aren’t a necessity right now and I can’t justify buying a pair (since I rarely even wear jeans nowadays). But my immediate reaction has been to [inwardly] pout because I don’t have them. Instead of this wrong response, I should put on gratefulness.
So, is this where I start thinking through the list things in which to be thankful: house, car, heater, husband, family, etc? I don’t find that helps much. But, what about if I am grateful over something applicable to this instance? “I already own a pair of black, brown & gray boots. Ones that I love and I wear often because they are more work appropriate. Thank you Lord, for allowing me to have stylish clothes that I need for my job.”
I still love those boots. I even want them. But I’m learning to not sin in my response of not getting them right now. I am finding that this allows me to learn to be thankful, to not be swallowed up in my discontentment, and frees me to be excited for others that have things I want.
There are much bigger things in my life where I have noticed discontentment and ungratefulness; boots are just a simple example. But I am hoping that by slowly learning to put a relevant thankful thought in the place of an ugly one, and with the Holy Spirit’s diligent prodding of my heart, I can train my heart and mind to be one of gratefulness and joy.
So, what better time of the year to confess my sinful thoughts and actions to the Lord and really work on cultivating a spirit of gratitude? Because let's face it; a life of thanks-giving is much more happy than a life of me-giving.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
1. Which version of the Bible do you regularly read: New King James (NKJ), New American Standard (NAS) or English Standard (ESV)? I’m asking because I’ve always used the NKJ and bought an ESV Bible last year and am wishing I would have bought the NAS. The only NAS Bible I have is on my kindle.
2. If you travel out of town for all the holidays and don’t have any kids, do you still decorate your own house? I will, but I feel like we need to have a party or something since nobody will see them except for Hubs and me.
3. How do you plug-in Christmas lights outside? I want to put lights on the blue spruce in our yard, but have no clue how to power them. Obviously, I’ve never done this before. Do you just use an extension cord?
4. What is the passage or verse in the Bible that is on your mind right now? 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.” Ever since a friend shared this verse years ago, I continually come back to it.
5. If you took a vacation over Christmas, which of the following would you choose: a big city with the Christmas hustle bustle; a snowy ski destination in the Rocky Mountains; a warm beach in Hawai’i; or, you would never vacation over Christmas. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to vacation every year over Christmas, but it would be a fun twist to the holidays especially since we don’t have children – I would want it to be with our family though. However, when the kids come along, I think we will stay put most of the time.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Side note: In St. Louis, the trick or treaters tell you a joke to get candy! We actually didn't have too many stop by, so in between visitors, I made supper - a very non-fall dish - Chicken Makhani.
Friday, October 21, 2011
At my full-time job I have a TV which is constantly on Fox News. I haven’t watched Fox News consistently in over 5 years – since I lived on my own and had cable! Even then, I only watched it in the mornings as I was getting ready for class. I’m sad to say that I am hooked. I anxiously turn on the TV on Monday mornings to catch up on what I missed over the weekend. I find myself bummed out when I am going to miss an interview that is over my lunch hour. And, on the positive, I feel more informed about the [republican] presidential candidates than usual. I can see why those that do nothing but watch Fox News all day could be depressed, or complaining, or angry at the world today – there is rarely anything to be happy about. However, I try not to be affected in this way. Instead it is a reminder that this world will never be anything close to perfect and promotes thankfulness that I am only a visitor.
The Saint Louis Cardinals welcomed us this year by making it to the Word’s Series. Being a true football-girl, I’ve felt quite foreign in this primarily baseball-town. However, I work blocks away from Busch Stadium and have dealt with crazy traffic over the last weeks of playoffs (they call them playoffs, right?), so it was impossible not to know that something big was happening. It doesn’t look like the Rams will welcome us in the same way.
Usually, I really get into Fall. It is the best time of the year. I would make it to the pumpkin patch/stand, go apple picking, and definitely decorate the house with leaves and pumpkins and the colors of fall. I would spend time outside enjoying the weather and I would take pictures of the beautiful trees. We would have people over for chili and cinnamon rolls and I would want be able to shop for the fall styles.
The time and the energy is just not there this year. I would rather get my house cleaned than decorate it – thus the lack of décor in general. There is not even a pumpkin on our front porch! It’s even stranger that I just don’t care. My efforts this fall consist of an over-priced ½ gallon of Louisburg Apple Cider & a Pumpkin Tree [that has since died and is in the trash] from Trader Joes. Time with Hubs is a precious commodity, one for which I sacrifice much. Success this fall will be making it through to the next day.
The year is passing quickly and yet slowly. Monday’s [once my favorite day of the week] roll around before I know it, yet when I think of Hubs’ journey in school, we have just begun. As easy as it can be to be melancholy, to be tired, and to be unsociable; we still try to have fun, laugh, and get through enjoy this season of life.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
It is the most frustrating thing ever. I leave my purse. I leave my keys. I leave an article of clothing somewhere. And then hours later, we are trucking back to each store searching for where I could have left them. I start sweating from the pressure and when I get hot, it’s like the world is ending. My favorite, and most understanding, shopping companion [Ruth] is very much used to this sort of shopping catastrophe. This weekend, my MIL was introduced.
We went to Nordstrom Rack, where I found 2 very cute pairs of black boots to replace the pair I have, which are falling apart big time. I tried them on and they were both lovely. I left all my belongings and went in search of my MIL to get her opinion. She liked them and we oohhed and ahhed. Then I took them off and put them back because they were out of my price range. I ended up finding a cute dress for $16 [originally $49] and a pair of leggings. We checked out and that’s when I noticed my keys were missing.
The search began. The shoe racks, the cashier, the dressing room, underneath the clothing racks, and the bathroom; then we repeated. No sign of them. I went to the car; not in there either. We enlisted the help of employees; still nothing. I looked in the shoe boxes and tipped the shoes upside down; nothing. Then I remembered that a young boy was in the shoe aisle, where I had laid all my stuff down. I started wondering if he grabbed them and they were gone forever. It had been 10 minutes and we hadn’t seen them. I start thinking about what Hubs is going to say.
Then I see my MIL smiling. The keys had been found by an employee. Where were they? INSIDE one of the boots. They must have been lodged in there, too, because I had tipped the boots upside down. Maybe the boots really wanted to come home with me. They still stayed at the store, though.
For those of you that have shopped with me before…sound familiar? I love it when someone else drives!
Friday, October 7, 2011
In the news today...
A woman killed her husband. Eleven gun shots while he was shaving. She was acquitted by a jury of mostly women on the defense that she has "battered-woman syndrome." Her husband was abusive for years, which gave her a disease, which is why she killed.
So much to say.
Two wrongs never make a right.
Killing is never acceptable. Finding a safe place is acceptable. Using legal methods to find safety in an abusive relationship is acceptable. Murder is not.
This is an example of how we seek to blame someone or something for our sinful actions (in this case a "disease"). When the responsibility is ours.
If we continue in this manner, people will literally be able to "get away with murder" because it will never be their fault. Oh wait, this happens all the time in a process we term "abortion."
Food for thought.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
But on Friday night, we were both exhausted and needed a break. So we went for a family walk at a nearby park. It’s a beautiful park with ponds and trees. There are tennis courts and playgrounds and walking trails. It was a perfect night for a relaxing, uneventful, calm walk together.
As has become our habit, we loaded Ransom up with his backpack and 5-pound dumbbells on each side to make him work a little hard, and hopefully burn a little more energy. He loves to watch every single squirrel with extreme interest just in case I let him loose to chase them – which I never do. But to the ducks, he shows little-to-no interest. If he didn’t look so much like a Labrador, you’d never know he was.
Towards the end of our walk, it had gotten dark and we were walking next to one of the ponds. The pups needed a drink so I let him go to the edge of the pond. As he leans down to the water, the dumbbells shift in his pack, making him heavier towards the front. He loses his balance and slips in. It wasn’t too bad, though, because his head stayed above the water and I think he could touch. Immediately, he gets out.
Great, we think. Water is something we usually have to force him in anyways so he is probably scarred and will never venture towards water again.
But…his memory is very short.
I again tried to get him interested in the ducks as we walked toward our car. Maybe it was the surge of energy from the quick dip in the pond. Maybe his Labrador instincts kicked in. Whatever the reason, this time he was interested in the ducks and he took off towards them, and another pond.
The ducks, of course, got into the pond and swam away as we approached. Their rush to the water made him more interested and he kept going. And then, it was like he remembered he was thirsty. We reached the water’s edge and it was déjà vu. He bent down to get a drink. The dumbbells shifted. The weight made him lose his balance. In he goes.
This time, he went head-first and all of him sank below the dark water. When he emerged, he is in panic-mode because this water-dog doesn’t remember that he can swim really well. Plus, we have him loaded down with 10 extra pounds, so he can’t even get his front legs up and out of the water. By this time, Hubs is there to assist and Ransom has gotten us all wet from the splashing and the shaking.
We had a good laugh over it and it was actually a nice way to get our minds off of everything else. And it worked out well for Ransom. He got a bath when we got home!
Friday, September 30, 2011
I did not expect much from this book. I was happily surprised to find that the gospel was solid and enjoyed her story of conversion. Being in the intellectual environment, Christ was "poo-pooed" and she had to endure tribulation on the professional and personal level by choosing Christ over reason & intellect. The greates part of all is seeing the transformation in her heart, her life and her overall perception and way of meeting day-to-day life
I will admit, the writing is very literary in style and there were parts when I was tempted to skip over to get back to the main story. Some of the dialogue was long; but again, it was in an effort to demonstrate the struggles she was having both pre- and post-conversion. It was refreshing to read a TRUE story, rather than fiction.
Praise God for His amazing grace in bringing another lost soul to Himself!
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Things still aren't on the wall, but I finished up a project this week that I am really excited about. So, it is a good time to show you our basement.
Our basement is made up of a living area and oh-so-much glorious storage!
Then, there is the storage. If you remember, my kitchen has about 5 feet of usable counter space, and very little cabinetry. SO, I have my pantry in the basement:
And then there is more storage. Not only do we need kitchen storage, but the closets are very tiny and the garage is very small, so we need more storage! Such a shock for us coming from walk-in closets and large garages!
The "library" could be considered one of my favorite areas. Browsing through our shelves can tell you so much about us. I'll gladly loan them out, so stop on by. I'm just excited to have my books back out!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The main difference this time is that I'm not bored. I used to be bored in the evenings or on the weekends, but this time it is just the opposite.
Adjustment take time and as we settle in, we are acutely aware of the difference in our life right now. But slowly, Mondays [which previously was my day off] aren't as dreadful. Priorities are [gradually] falling into the right place. Friendships are being built. Home is starting to feel like home.
Stay tuned: hopefully we will get what the student's perspective!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
When I heard about the Great Balloon Race in Forest Park, I was most excited for the Friday night "Balloons A-Glow." We were unable to make it to that, but on the schedule for the next day was the actual race, a time to walk up next to the balloons while they were being inflated, and sky-divers. So, Hubs and I decided to go check it out right in the middle of the events schedule activities. Which, is always a gamble as to what kind of parking availability you might find. We were fortunate to find something fairly close, with not too many difficulties. I think we learned some tips about parking in the park that we have packed away for next time, too.
Reason #1 to go to this event: It's FREE. I love free stuff.The day was perfect in temperature, but overcast. It ended up drizzling on us for a bit. We arrived just in time to walk amongst the balloons as they were being blown up. What a process that is! Of course you have to walk through all the vendors before making it to the actual balloons, but it was like walking through the midway of the state fair, which is fun in itself.
There were lots of balloons up when we first arrived. The movie-theatre-popcorn-shaped one was pretty impressive.
It took a lot of work for them to get the balloons upright. I had not clue. In my limited thinking, I assumed you simple pushed a button and they stood up on their own. It was interesting to just stand and watch the process.
You had to watch out. As they are inflating, the wind would blow them every which way, knocking you over if you weren't paying attention.
And the thing people ride in, really is a basket! Flimsy looking things held in the sky by hot air. As fun as it sounds to be on one...it seems very precarious. I also never thought through keeping the balloon on the ground once inflated. All these people putting their weight on the basket, and it still hopped around with the wind blew.
We love events that let us bring the pups [always carrying water in his backpack], and this one does! He not only strikes up multiple conversations with people, but he gets out and learns how to be socialized, especially with little kids that want to give him love.
Probably our favorite part of the day [we didn't actually stay for the balloon race], was the sky divers. We watched 4 people jump out of a plan and land on an "X" in the middle of the field. And it was so cool! I would never have the crazy guts to jump out of a plane.
This event happens every year in Forest Park [one of my favorite places in St. Louis] and I'd highly recommend checking it out next year - September 14-16, 2012.
Friday, September 16, 2011
While eating some lunch, the beast scurries from under the TV right to the middle of the floor. I may or may not have let out a little scream at this point. Then I went to get a shoe and was going to take care of this problem once and for all. After a good 10 minutes of staring at the thing, I texted Richard:
I might have been a little dramatic, but we talked and discussed using a Tupperware container to keep him in place so that Hubs could take care of it when he got home. I sent a text back to assure him I caught the thing:
I can assure you. The giant spider is dead.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I think the difficulty in writing fantasy novels comes in finding the right balance so that it remains a real possibility and not too far out there. In this story, Freda and Daniel find a passageway into a mythical land where they are burdened with the task of saving the world. This, by no surprise, affects the rest of their life in very different ways and in the years that follow, they realize their job may not be completed.
This book has several different story-lines simultaneously which converge at the end. I love that. It is a story that keeps you on your toes and makes you want to keep reading, from the very beginning, so that you can try to understand all that is happening. The ending was complete; yet still left me waiting for the next book. Best of all, although I wanted to continue reading, it didn't suck me so far in that I couldn't stop reading.
The writing is good, the story-line complex and intriguing. Besides one tiny discrepancy I found in the plot, it was a great, entertaining read.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> 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
Monday, September 5, 2011
We weren't dissappointed. What a great spot for a family outing - picnics, hiking, biking, gathering, grilling, swimming [if you do that sort of thing in a river - I do not]. It was gorgeous. And, it's FREE!
Part of the reason we chose this activity was to get the Pups out and exercised. We loaded him up with full Nalgene bottles in his pack [water for us and him] to make him work a little harder. It was pretty chilly - not being used to such reasonable temperatures - so Hubs made a stop and surprised me with some coffee. Made my day.
As you can tell, Ransom had a blast. It was fun to see him working - dogs are so happy when they have a job to do - and he even took a little jump into the river. If we would have been more prepared with a long leash, we would have let him get in further. Hubs and I enjoyed the calm, quietness of the woods.
After we finished a pretty lengthy trail, we decided to do another short one. I'm excited to go back again sometime, maybe in the fall when the leaves are changing. Afterwards we got some fast food, dropped the pups off at home for a nap, and went to a matinee for $7.25 each! We finally concluded the Harry Potter movie series.
And the weather is still perfect. It really was the break we needed before we settle in for a semester of school and work!