Monday, November 28, 2011

The Break We Needed

Hubs and I looked forward to Thanksgiving more than ever this year. It's been a [trying] year and we were just ready for relaxation. That is exactly what we got in the form of family togetherness, hobbies, and laughter.

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.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday: 2011 thoughts

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:,, &
40% off one full-priced item / use coupon code: YOYO40. Same free shipping as & 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 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.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Relevant Thanks-Giving

In a country where we have an overwhelming amount for which to be thankful (no dangling preposition here thanks to my grandmother’s voice in my head), I find myself increasingly un-thankful. Just spending any small amount of time watching TV, perusing Facebook, pinning on Pinterest, and stepping outside of my house is slowly eating away at any grateful spirit that I had cultivated. Whether it is new clothes, house furnishings, thinner legs, or a different stage in life; I always have something I would rather have or somewhere I would rather be.

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

Outtakes 2011

Hubs humored me a few weeks ago and was willing to try to take a few family photos after church. Although, I was planning on pictures without the dog, he managed to get in a few of them to remind us why we don't have great pictures with all three of us together.

Because he wants to look at us, not the camera...

Because we catch him in awkward and embarrassing poses...

Because he sits pretty looking the wrong direction...

Because he's too large to hold...

Because the 10-second timer isn't long enough...

He still ends up making us loose the fake-smile because we laugh a lot. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Five Random Questions

I have some random questions on my mind, and who better to pose them to than the people that read my blog? Plus, I have a feeling I have lost a majority of my readership from my tumultuous October that kept me from even desiring to blog about anything. Hopefully I can find out if anyone is still reading...

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

A 28-year-old birthday

Twenty-eight is not glamorous. And, for those of you on facebook wondering, I did not go to NYC to celebrate. Instead, this is what I did...

It started with breakfast at Starbucks and reading in Psalms. It was one of the highlights of my day, and could have only been better if I could have stayed there for hours and not minutes.

I spent the next 3.5 hours in this chair.

For lunch, I treated myself and drove all the way to see Hubs. We walked around and enjoyed the fall day.

And then it was this chair for 4.5 more hours.

Traffic was backed-up on the drive home. I guess people are in a hurry to get home for the Halloween festivities.

I had planned for Ransom and I to go for a little run after work, but after the traffic jam and getting out of work a little late, we just played fetch in the back yard for a while.

And then we tried to take a picture together.

 By that time, it was already starting to get dark. So we got ready for the trick-or-treaters.

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.

 To end the night, I dished up a bowl of my favorite ice cream and watched Hawaii 5-0.

Ransom cuddled up next to me and dozed off. 

And that is the excitement of turning 28!