Friday, December 31, 2010

Five Question Friday December 31st, 2010

December 31st? Really, 2010? Where did you go?

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Chattanooga, Tennessee right now. I have so much I want to write about, so maybe later. I don't have much time now, so I'll do my 5 Question Friday. :)

1. How long does your Christmas tree stay up?
As previously mentioned, this is my first year putting up a tree. So we'll see. Since I put it up so late, I think I'll leave it up at least a couple more weeks. But at the same time, I'm in declutter mode, so when I get home it might come down!

2. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve?
Well, I'm here in Tennessee for a conference called The Ramp. It's phenomenal and I'll be there all day!

3. Do you have any New Year's resolutions?
No..... I make resolutions and changes throughout the year. Not at the beginning of the year. It's more as I think/feel things!

4. How did you spend New Year's Eve when you were younger?
Church services and potlucks followed by endless volleyball games. It was always so fun. We would play until like 5 a.m. and then come home and sleep til noon. Or I would. My brother would be up early watching football.

5. What was the best way you've ever spent New Year's Eve?
Hmmm..... I loved New Year's Eve when I was younger. And one year, when I think I was 23, I babysat for 10 kids on New Year's Eve, had a blast, and earned $250! But the best was probably last year at The Ramp (in Hamilton instead of Chattanooga). It was an incredible, mind-blowing night!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - December 23, 2010

Hello, Everyone! Happy Christmas Eve Eve! :) Hope you are all having a great day.

A little late in the day posting this because apparently anesthesia and I do NOT get along well. It refuses to play nice. But makes me have crazy blood pressure and then sleep the afternoon away. As in, slept in the recovery room. Slept on the drive home. Slept once I got to my parents. The nurse warned me I might want to sleep like up to 3 hours..... um.... try more like 7. Yeah, crazy. Especially considering most nights I get 4-5 hours of sleep. So my naps today were longer than I usually sleep at night!

Anyway, all went seemingly well, and I will hopefully have results soon.

Last Thursday Thirteen of this Christmas season! I will go with the shallow subject of 13 Christmas treats that I love. :) Food, drink, etc.

1) My mom's jewel cookies. My mom bakes a lot of Christmas cookies each year. My favorites are what are called jewel cookies. They have butter cookie rolled in chopped walnuts with a glaze and a cherry. Yum!

2) Peppermint Mochas. Okay, so I often get this at Caribou during the non-holiday season, but at Starbucks it's one of their Christmas specials. I haven't had ANY coffee in 2 days, so this sounds so good right now. :)

3) Fudge! Yummy chocolatey fudge is soooo good! I know that you can get this year round, but it always feels Christmasy to me.

4) Candy Cane cookies. My grandma makes these for me. They are butter cookies, pink and white, twisted together to look like a candy cane. Very good!

5) Salted Caramel Hot Chocolates - Another Starbucks item makes the list!

6) Russian Tea Cakes - Another cookie my mom makes. They're similar to what a lot of people call Pecan Sandies, but they are (in my opinion) better.

7) Chocolate Covered Cherries - such a yummy candy. Probably my favorite candy in the world.

8) Gloria Mix - those hard candies that they sell around Christmas have always been a favorite! Now I think it might be more tradition than anything else. :)

9) Reese's Peanut Butter Trees - yum. I love Reese's in general, but the holiday ones are extra festive!

10) Butter Cookies (frosted) - my mom makes these in Christmas shapes and frosts them. Love them!

11) Christmas Popcorn - people always send us this at work in huge tins. Popcorn and hot chocolate while watching a Christmas movie? Yes, please!

12) Umm..... I'm running out of ideas here! I know I love Christmas time treats but I can't think of anything else!

13) Oh wait! Christmas Blend coffee at Starbucks and Reindeer blend at Caribou! Both are great blends. :)

Now there are two questions - will I be able to eat by Christmas and will I be able to work it all off in January if I can! :)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ugh.....

Christmas week - it's the most wonderful time of the year! Right? Right?

Well, I have a supply of Christmas spirit and eyes on the true meaning of Christmas, but I have to admit, it has been a rough week. And I'm feeling the stress.

I've been having major, major stomach problems that started in June and have gotten steadily worse. So about 3 weeks ago, I went to a specialist like my family doctor wanted me to. He prescribed some tests. They're tomorrow. As part of the prep for those tests, I can't eat today. At all.... clear liquids only. I also can't take any medicine. Including the medicine that keeps my stomach calm (instead of in pain from the ulcer they think I have).

Which wouldn't be so bad except..... earlier this week, I got a random (but fierce) cold. No cold medicine.... no chicken noodle soup.... nothing. And..... no coffee! Deanna - coffee = not the same!

And right now, I'm choking down some stuff I have to take to prep for my two tests tomorrow. It's disgusting. It tastes absolutely terrible and makes me want to gag. I have to drink it now and then more later.

Then tomorrow, I have to go to the tests. My dad has to take off to take me as I'm not allowed to drive afterward! At one point, I had planned on going to work after the anesthesia wore off, but now that I realized I'm not supposed to drive for 24 whole hours, that's not going to work. Plus my boss suggested I not try to come in after, so he was fine with it. Instead, I asked my parents if my dad can just drive me straight to my parents' house afterwards and I'll stay there all day.

You see, we're going out of town very early Friday morning anyway. So I was planning on spending the night there anyway Thursday. We're just cutting out the step of me coming home and being alone for a few hours beforehand. Just in case of complications from anesthesia, plus that way I won't have to drive before I'm supposed to!

I'm very grateful for my parents, but here's the complication. Now tonight, while I'm not feeling well, I have to a) cpntinue to choke down this disgusting potion, b) wrap gifts for my parents and the couple things I'm taking on the trip, c) pack for a trip where I will be staying 3 different locations in 4 nights, and d) do some laundry! I should also clean a little, but for now, I think I'm just going to relax. Maybe take a little nap.

Not sure if I'll get to write again before Christmas due to the travel, so if I don't, Merry Christmas, everyone!

Who and Why Wednesday

I'm participating in this blog link up hosted by Legally Brunette.

1. Who is the better "Santa Clause"?
Tim Allen
OR
Edmund Gwenn (Santa in the original Miracle on 34th Street)

2. Who is the better "Grinch"?
The one on the Dr. Seuss cartoon
OR
Jim Carrey

3. Who is the better Ebenezer Scrooge?
Michael Caine (in the Muppet Christmas Carol)
OR
Jim Carrey (in the newer Christmas Carol)

4. Who is the best animated Christmas character?
Rudolph
OR
Frosty

5. Who is the best live Christmas character?
Clark Griswold (in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation)
OR
Will Ferrell (in Elf)

My answers:
1. Hmmm...... that's a tough one. I think I'm going to go with Tim Allen, because though I haven't seen the whole thing in years, I have fond memories of The Santa Clause. Never really cared for Miracle on 34th Street.

2. Definitely the cartoon one! Jim Carrey, in my opinion, tends to make the characters about him and his acting style rather than playing the character.

3. Michael Caine. Again, Carrey is over the top, in my opinion.

4. Oh, I love them both! I'll say Rudolph though. I love Rudolph!

5. I have never seen National Lampoon (any of them) so Elf, 100%

Christmas Video - Where's the Line?

I just heard this song for the first time. It's an AMAZING video about the true meaning of Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Five Question Friday - December 17, 2010

Five Question Friday time again!

1. Do you regift...and if so, do you have a regifting horror story?
I have in the past, but no horror stories. Because my regifting has been pretty basic stuff - stuff given to me by people I don't know well and given to people I don't know well! For example, I was a teacher. Everyone in the world who can't figure out what to give their children's first grade teacher tends to go with two options - an apple-shaped candle or a Bath and Body Works gift basket. Both of these are fine. But when you're teaching 45 youngsters (kindergarten is two classes!) and end up with 20 some of these items, you've got to do what you've got to do. And storing them for years is not what you've got to do. :)

2. Do you know what you are getting for Christmas this year?
Um, not really. My parents already gave me my main gift in September (new luggage) so I know what that is! But other than that, I don't know what anyone is giving me. Because I didn't even give anyone any ideas this year!

3. Who brings the most gifts in your family, you or Santa?
Let's not start the Santa rant again. So, I'll just say me. :)

4. What store do you love to by jeans from?
New York and Company.... but recently, I did a little bit of shopping at Old Navy ($15 Black Friday sale!) and I love them!

5. Christmas meal: Big, All Out Meal or Snacks and Apps?
Big, all-out meal. Both sides of the family have done that every Christmas that I can remember.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 12/16/2010

In keeping with my Christmas-y themes, my Thursday Thirteen this week is going to be 13 Christmas movies/shows that I love! This is in no particular order. There are some I don't like, even classics, so if you notice an absence of certain movies that you would expect to see, just know I'm not a big fan (cough.... It's A Wonderful Life.... cough)

1. White Christmas
The traditional favorite makes the list..... I love this movie! It's a musical! It's about Christmas! What more do I need?

2. Elf
A newer favorite. Seriously, this is one of the more quotable movies in the world. "I like smiling. Smiling's my favorite." "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?" "You sit on a throne of lies!" "I thought maybe we could make ginger bread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice skating, and maybe even hold hands." "He's an angry elf!" "I'm sorry I ruined your lives, and crammed eleven cookies into the VCR."

Seriously, if you haven't seen this movie, you need to. Will Farrell is PERFECT in the role of Buddy!

3. While You Were Sleeping

This was one of the rare movies I saw in the theater when I was younger. It's one of those cute, feel good movies. A little creepy if you really think too hard about it, but what romantic comedy isn't? ;)

4. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

A classic. I remember every year growing up watching this. Herbie the little dentist, Rudolph's strange shining nose - etc. This is a holiday classic that always puts me back in time.

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon!)
Okay, so I've seen the Jim Carrey version and it's okay. But as far as favorites go, it's the Dr. Suess cartoon version all the way! It's more about the story and less about the special effects.

6. Cheesy Lifetime/Hallmark Made for TV Movies
Lifetime movies in general? Love them. Cheesy Lifetime and Hallmark movies about Christmas? Love them more! Last year, I taped a bunch and watched them on Christmas Day. :)

7. Charlie Brown Christmas

Love the reminder of what Christmas is really about. There is chaos, there is noise, there is confusion, and then there is a child reading Luke 2. Love it.

8. Home Alone
My friends and I got together and watched this recently - first time in years that I had seen it! So funny and touching at the same time. I love the scene in the church where they're listening to Christmas carols by the children's choir.

9. Home Alone 2

I like this one, in parts, better than the first. I like the family stuff and the plot better. But I like the house scenes (where the robbers come) in the first one better. The second one everything is stepped up a couple of notches to the point where it's not suspending disbelief, but just over the top. However, I still love this.

10. The Holiday

Another great romantic comedy.

11. The Nativity Story

A live action story of the events of the Bible account of Christmas - yes, there is some creative license taken I'm sure, but overall a great movie!

12. A Christmas Carol (the Mickey Mouse version)

Love it! Another old time favorite! The Dickens' classic with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck? Yes, please!

13. Holiday Inn
Much like White Christmas, we have music and holidays. Yay!

Any of you have any suggestions of a Christmas movie?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Word-y Wednesday

Today, I feel like writing but can't settle on any one subject. So you get a hodge-podge of my thoughts. :)

A couple of weeks ago I was in the store to pick up like 2 things. I ended up buying a Christmas tree - my first one. Last night, I finally got around to putting it up and decorating it. I watched Elf while I did so. I'm not entirely happy with it, so I may work on it more, but at least it's up. At this rate, with Christmas being next week, I may leave it up until the end of January.

Snow, snow, snow...... we've had plenty of snow this week. Of the "takes 90 minutes to go my usual 15 minute commute to work" variety. Have I mentioned that I hate snow? It's pretty, at first, but then it turns gray and ugly. And it's cold.... and wet.... and makes driving dangerous.

Christmas is in 10 days! Yikes! I'm excited, but a little sad. I love Christmas, but this Christmas season has gone by so quickly. I've yet to watch a single Christmas movie other than Elf last night. I've only been to one Christmas party. I haven't even wrapped gifts yet!

I am coming to the realization more and more every day that no matter how much I would like to have everything figured out with no uncertainty, I'm never going to attain that. Life will always continue to be full of surprises, twists, turns, etc. and I can embrace it or let it make me cry. Yesterday, I let it make me cry. Today, I'm embracing. :) I needed to adjust my attitude and so I did (for now anyway).

This weekend is going to be a Christmas-y weekend! I love it! Friday night, I have a birthday party, but it's an Ugly-Christmas-sweater birthday party. Saturday at church we have a Nativity Walk, which is where they set up many, many nativities (including a live one) for people to come walk through and look at, and then we eat Christmas cookies and watch a movie or two about Christmas. I'm volunteering at that. Then Sunday is church, and our children's choir will be doing their songs. Love!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meet Me Monday

Snowy, blizzardy day in Michigan. It took me an hour and a half to drive the 8 miles to work. Tow trucks had spun off the road blocking portions of them. Yes, tow trucks were spinning off the road. And I was stressed because I went from being early for work to late, and my boss doesn't handle lateness well. And..... he's not even here. :) But I saw this on The Price Family blog
and thought it sounded fun.


How do you order your steak? Medium well. I don't like bloody meat at all!

Are you superstitious about anything? No, I'm not. I know God is in control!

Who is your best friend? Hmmm..... I have several super close friends. So I'm tempted to "cheat" and list three people. :) But instead, I shall behave and choose just one. My friend Ashley who I've written about before. We became friends in June of 2007 through some "interesting" circumstances (this could be a blog post in and of itself - maybe one day) and she is truly the one person who I talk to about anything and everything and all the time! She's there for the highs, she's there for the lows, and everything in between. But she lives far away..... (insert sad face here).


When is the last time your wore a dress (for the guys...a suit)? Um, less than 24 hours ago. I wear dresses often. Work, church, etc.


Do you have any trips scheduled? In two weeks, I will be going to Indiana and Chicago for the Christmas holidays. In three weeks, Chattanooga, here I come! :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Five Question Friday.... er.... Sunday! December 10th....er 12th, 2010

Um, no comment. It's been a weekend. An excitingly wonderful weekend, but a blog free weekend. I'm currently trying to catch up on posts but also answer these questions. And then maybe I'll blog about my weekend. Or not. :)

1. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
Well, we are almost always traveling on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So as kids, we would open with our parents whenever we were all home - usually the 22nd or 23rd, it would seem. Even years we stayed home, we usually wouldn't do them Christmas Day because we liked to spread out the celebration and we saw my Grandma, aunts, etc. on Christmas Day and did their gifts then. So we would do ours on the 24th or something and then the gifts from the rest of the family when we saw them.

2. What is your favorite Christmas cookie (or candy)?
Hmmmm..... probably "jewel" cookies that my mom makes. They're little cookies rolled in chopped walnuts with a glaze thing and a cherry. Hard to describe, even harder not to eat. :)

3. What's the worst Christmas gift you've ever received?
Haha.... how to answer this without sounding like a brat? I can't think of any one thing, but for the last 10 years or so before she was put into a nursing home, my grandma had a slight QVC obsession. The stuff she ordered was...... interesting, to say the least. But she always had GREAT intentions! :) And then one year my cousin Jeremy gave me a 4 pack of AA batteries. His theory was "Who doesn't need batteries?" I mean, yeah.... but it was a random gift!

4. Christmas song that you love?
"Oh Holy Night" is probably my very favorite. See my Thursday Thirteen post. :)

5. How many trees do you put up?
This year is my first year putting up a tree! So one! :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - December 9, 2010

I have a lot to write about this week, but no time to write. So a more thorough update will be forthcoming. But since I love Christmas, I didn't want to miss an opportunity to do another Christmas-themed Thursday Thirteen! Especially since I missed 5 Question Friday last week which was Christmas questions!

Today, I am going to list 13 Christmas songs/carols that I love. I love more than this, but it's Thursday Thirteen, not Thursday Three Hundred. :)

1. Oh Holy Night - This is my favorite Christmas carol of all time. I love it. The imagery in the words, the reverential tone about the King of Kings coming to earth, and the haunting melody of it all set it apart. I especially love the Josh Groban version!

2. The Christmas Song - especially when sung by Nat King Cole. It just brings up all those Christmas memories. Okay, so I've never actually done the whole "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" thing, but it still has that nostalgic feel.

3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas -

4. The Chipmunks Song - Cheesy and silly, but it makes me laugh everytime! Alvin just wants a Hula Hoop!

5. The Grinch Song - This was one of my favorite Christmas cartoons growing up, so that probably factors into this choice, but it's another song that makes me smile.

6. Silent Night - I love this song about the night of Jesus' birth. And it has such a peaceful, calming tone to it.

However, one time, this song did not inspire calm, peaceful feelings in me. You see, when I was teaching first grade, my class learned this song in music. They get back to class, and we're having carpet time. (Going over the calendar, reading a story, etc.) One of my precious 6 year olds raises his hand and very calmly asks "Miss _________, what's a virgin?" Yes, he learned the word "virgin" by singing Silent Night in music and wanted to know what it meant.....

7. Joy to the World
This was always a favorite when we would go caroling at hospitals and nursing homes as we did practically every year. It's easy to sing and almost everyone knows the words. It's also fun to play on the piano.

8. I Want a Hippopotumas for Christmas
I love the way the young child has figured out all the logistics of the situation. From what the hippo eats to the hippo not going through the chimney. It's another silly song, but again.... it makes me smile. :)

9. The First Noel
Other than Jingle Bells, this was the first Christmas carol I learned to play on the piano. Aside from that, I like the words. But there are a lot of them! Two Christmases ago, we did this song for a children's choir. May have been a little ambitious on my part!

10. All I Want for Christmas Is You
Fun, cute song - it's very catchy as well.

11. What Child Is This?
This is another one that just has that old-style Christmasy feel to it.

12. O Come All Ye Faithful
Another caroling favorite!

13. I'll Be Home For Christmas
This one reminds me of the Christmases that I was surrounded by family. It makes me miss all my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. a little more, but at the same time brings back pleasant memories!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 12/2/2010

Happy Thursday, everyone! It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving was a week ago. A week ago this time, I was almost home to get ready for all night shopping.

For today's Thursday Thirteen, in honor of December, I'm going to post 13 things I LOVE about Christmas. I adore Christmas and all the fun that goes with it!

1. Music
I love Christmas music. Next week's list will probably be dedicated to my 13 favorite Christmas songs. And it's playing everywhere! The radio, my house, stores - everywhere!

2. Parties
Christmas parties are a given. This weekend, I have 4 to choose from. In addition to a myriad of other plans, there are fun parties. I love Christmas parties.

3. Shopping
Hello? The sales? The hustle and bustle of crowds? The decorations in the mall? LOVE all the shopping! Especially buying gifts and thinking about how people will react to them!

4. Coffee Drinks
Peppermint Mochas. Salted Caramel coffees and hot chocolates. The list goes on at Caribou and Starbucks!

5. Family Time
Most Christmas seasons, we make a trip to Indiana/Chicago to see family. Then we see family nearer to here. I love seeing my cousins, aunts, uncles, and more.

6. Christmas Movies
Oh my word. I love Christmas movies! The traditional kind (White Christmas, Home Alone) as well as tv movies - ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas!

7. Christmas Lights
Driving through neighborhoods = beautiful. Driving through my little town - even better! They have the "Big, Bright Light Show" every year where the buildings downtown are COVERED in lights! It's soooo pretty!

8. Christmas Decorations
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree.... how lovely are your branches! Love decorating for Christmas! Love seeing other peoples' decorations!

9. Time off work
Um, I don't think I need to elaborate. :) Though I do miss my Christmas breaks as a teacher...... 2 weeks or so!

10. Church programs
I love church programs about Christmas - the kids' choirs, the adult programs, etc. At my church, we have an annual Nativity Walk where they set up tons of nativity scenes, we walk through it, and then watch a Christmas movie or two!

11. Wrapping Presents
I love wrapping presents. Picking out the ribbons and bows, etc!

12. Presents
I love watching people open the gifts I got them! It's so much fun - especially when they're children and get so excited. Getting presents isn't so bad either! :)

13. Christmas Candy
Chocolate covered cherries..... those Christmas tree nougats.... peppermint M&Ms. Yummy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful - Day 12

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

I hope you had a great day. I spent most of the day with my parents, grandma, aunt, uncle, and "nephews." There was food, there was football, and there was lots of talk. Yay!

I got home around 9, planned my attack for Friday, rested about an hour, watched "A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving" (a Gilmore Girls Thanksgiving episode), and got ready to shop! Now, I'm sitting on my couch for about another 10 minutes before I head to Old Navy. Today's route includes: Old Navy, Walmart, Kohls, JC Penneys, Sears, Target, and then we'll see how it flows. It's not planned out after then. Then I will come home, crash for a few hours, and then head to a place I volunteer.

So, today, I'm thankful for Black Friday sales. I love it. I know some people would rather do just about anything to avoid the craziness, but I fully embrace it. There's something about the atmosphere of a store at 4 a.m. when it's usually closed until 8. The sales, the bargains, the intricate planning needed to be successful - I love it all! And tonight with them starting at midnight, I'm not trying to do it after sleeping for 2-3 hours. Of course, doing it on no sleep may not work out much better. :)

Happy Shopping, everyone! (Or Happy Avoiding of Shopping!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful - Day 11

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

I'm barely getting this post in on time. It was a long day of work, doctor appointment, and coffee with my dear friend Ashley. So much fun! (Well, the coffee with Ashley part anyway...)

Today, I would like to say I'm thankful to live in the United States of America. Our country is far from perfect, but I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather live. I don't agree with the opinions of many, but I'm glad we have the right to disagree. I'm thankful for our freedoms. I'm thankful to the men and women who gave their lives to secure these freedoms.

The song "God Bless the U.S.A." by Lee Greenwood makes me emotional almost every time. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful - Day 10

I was just thinking.... I'm thankful for telephones. I was thinking about what I would write about right as I hung up from a long phone call. Telephones can provide a communication that you don't get online through writing. Of course, there are services like Skype where you can talk online, but a cell phone can go anywhere.

Thinking back to when I was younger and nobody really had cell phones (unless you were Zach Morris from Saved by the Bell in which case you had one the size of a briefcase!), I wonder how we ever got anywhere. I mean, how would I meet my friends places if we couldn't call when we got there to see where the other was? How did we know if someone was running late? And carrying change for pay phones seems positively barbaric!

My phone is pretty and pink. It also has the internet on it. And I can text quickly.

So I'm thankful for phones, but especially for cell phones. (Though I do cringe when I find out 7 year olds have them.... I understand safety, but really? How often are your 7 year olds alone so they need a phone? And why are they alone?)

Happy almost Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful - Day 9

Thanksgiving week is here! I have so many things to be thankful for. :)

I'm especially thankful for relative health today. I have residual back problems from my car accidents and I've been battling a cold. But really it's quite minor, all things considered. Remember this post? The little boy I mentioned died early yesterday morning. My heart breaks for his parents and other loved ones - please keep them in your prayers.

It's when things like this happen to people I know and have known for a long time that it really hits me - I am so blessed. I am healthy. I'm (relatively) strong. My immediate family is as well.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thankful - Day 8

I just got home from a long day of a conference at church. The rest of the welcome team and I had to be there from 2 til now (around 9:30) - not too long of a day, but after a very full week, tiring. (Last night, we had a fundraiser for a children's home that I volunteer at and didn't get home until 2:30 a.m. from clean-up and follow-up from that. So tired is a bit of an understatement!)

I was thinking today how thankful I am for my church and my church family. I go to a great church - worship is great, our pastor is a phenomenal teacher, and we also have great guest speakers from time to time! But one thing that stands out is the love I feel when I go there. God's love, yes, but also love from many people. Some of my closest friends are there, and even a lot of people who I don't know well always reach out with a hug and a kind word.

My church isn't perfect; no church will ever be as they're all made up of imperfect people, but I do think my church does an excellent job of showing God's love to others and to each other!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Five Question Friday - 11/19/2010

Five Question Friday time again!

1. What Christmas song do you loathe?
There are a few that make me turn the station - I don't know their names though. They're the really schmaltzy-sentimental types like the ones the Carpenters sing. In fact, I'll go with "Merry Christmas, Darling" like Mama said (the host of 5QF). But I do love most Christmas music. My absolute favorite is Oh Holy Night, when it's sung properly (such as by Josh Groban!).

2. Do you and your significant other cuddle at night or sleep on opposite sides of the bed?
No significant other.

3. Have you ever had surgery?
Not really (which is pretty amazing with all my injuries!). I had to have oral surgery because of some teeth issues when I was 13 or 14, and I had my wisdom teeth taken out when I was 19ish, but I don't think that really counts.

4. When do you typically have your holiday shopping done?
Most of it, the day after Thanksgiving, but I'll be picking small stuff up til the very end. Or I'll find someone got me an unexpected gift so I'll go to find them something as well.

5. If money were not an issue (and you HAD to pick something), what would your ultimate luxury item be?
Hmmm..... I'm not sure what's considered a luxury item. A nice, big house on a lake for vacations. I'll go with that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful - Day 7

Wow, only one week left until Thanksgiving! I'm really surprised - both by how fast time is going and how bad I've been at blogging things I'm thankful for each day!

In honor of my usual "Thursday Thirteen," I'm going to incorporate that into my blog today. I'm going to list 13 people that I'm thankful for.

1. and 2. My parents. I'm close to my parents, and talk to my mom almost every day. We live about 45 minutes apart, but they're still willing to come and help me when I need something. My mom even likes to still do my laundry! They were great parents while my brother and I were growing up and they still are!


3. My brother. We don't talk very often.... due in large part to his living in Singapore. But I'm still very thankful for him. Growing up, we spent lots of time playing. He taught me basketball and football, and I only got hurt a few times. Hehe. We used to play basketball, the two of us versus like 6 neighborhood children. Because of him, we almost always won despite the numbers disadvantage. (His size and skill definitely worked in our favor.) The strategy was usually pass the ball to him and let him score. He's also a great writer, a wonderful speaker, and has given me a great sister-in-law and nephews!

Which brings me to 4. my sister-in-law Delia. I love her so much. She is a great friend and sister. She's fun, easy to talk to, and extremely caring! She's also a phenomenal mom to my two sweet babies!


5. My sweet nephew Caleb As you may be sensing from this post, family is important to me. Well, Caleb was definitely a great addition to the family! He'll be 4 in less than a month! Yikes! He's a thoughtful, sweet, adorable, kind, intelligent little boy. If only he lived closer......


6. My wonderful nephew Evan is little brother to Caleb and I'm pretty sure they keep my heart in their bedroom. :) His cute grins, his teasing personality, and his excitement makes him irresistable!

7. My friend Ashley. We live 13 hours apart, and still talk/e-mail/text practically daily. She is truly one of my closest friends and I'm very thankful for her. She cheers me up when I'm having a bad day, she prays for me when I need prayer, and she's wonderful in general. However, she is a bad blogger. Check out her blog here...... Notice how long it's been since she posted!



8. Another friend Ashley Ashley and I have known each other for a couple of years. However, we have become true friends within the past year. She's another one that I can talk to about just about anything (Not only can, but do!) We also have a great time hanging out and talking. We've been known to go to dinner at 6:30 and close the restaurant! Oops!


9. and 10. My cousins Anita and Kim These two wonderful ladies are actually married to my cousins, so I guess they're "cousins in law" but that just always looks weird to me. I think Anita was one of my main inspirations to blog because I enjoyed reading hers so much! Kim also blogs, but not as often. I do keep up with her on facebook more. One thing that they both have in common (among other things) is that they both have the gift of hospitality. They welcome visitors and do everything they can to make sure you enjoy your visit. They are also both wonderful moms to adorable children. :)

11. My friend Lisa This is the friend I went to visit in September. We've been friends for a long time - we worked together about 10 years ago. At that time, we weren't close, but have since become very, very close. If only she would move back to Michigan..... (hint, hint!)


12. My friend Lauren is one of the most loving people I've ever been around. You feel it just being around her. She's super-helpful, friendly, and writes a blog that often makes me think and I really enjoy. You can see it at www.laurenbentley.org.


13. My Boss I'm watching The Apprentice right now. Watching the craziness of this show makes me more thankful for my boss. Donald Trump is CRAZY!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thankful - Day 6

This should come as a surprise to no one, but I am very thankful for......

COFFEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously. I may be slightly addicted to coffee. I may drink 5-6 cups a day (okay, fine. 7-8). I may have had coffee this morning, coffee all afternoon, and a peppermint mocha for class tonight.

But it's okay, really. Want to know why? Because it's a vegetable. I drink it for my health.

You see, for those of you who didn't know it's a vegetable, coffee is made from coffee beans. Beans are vegetables. Therefore, it's like drinking a vitamin! There's nothing wrong with that, now is there?

Now, one serving of vegetables is great. But how to make it better? By adding another vegetable! Here's where the mocha comes in. What is chocolate made from? Cacoa beans. Therefore, chocolate is also a vegetable. So a mocha = 2 servings of vegetables!

The coffee was especially needed today because I got practically no sleep last night. I was really tired last night and ended up falling asleep on the couch around 9. Then, a friend woke me up by texting me at 11. No big deal. I got ready for bed and fell back asleep around 12. Then the same friend sent me a text at 2! (on accident, I will say) After that second wake-up, I could not fall back asleep all night. Then I had a very long day at work followed by a 2 hour class.

I'm very thankful for coffee!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thankful - Day 5

Seriously? Thanksgiving is next week? Already? How did this happen? Oh my goodness!!!!

Okay, now back to being thankful.....

I am very thankful for computers. Seriously. Yes, they can be a time waster, but I love them. I love social networking - facebook, blogs, etc. I love talking over Skype with family that is overseas.

I remember way back in the 80s when my aunt, uncle, and children first moved to Botswana. It would take roughly 3 weeks to get a letter there and 3 weeks to get a letter back. Calling was also dreadfully expensive. So we didn't have the greatest of contacts.

But now, my aunt, uncle, and one cousin are in Malawi - an even more remote area, and we can hear from them almost every day via facebook and e-mail. We can call over Skype, or buy cheap calling plans online.

And let's mention pictures. I don't know what I would do without seeing the pictures of my sweet Caleb and Evan online so often. I would probably buy impulsive plane tickets to Singapore, and that would get quite expensive! Okay, I wouldn't really do this, but it would be even harder to resist! Computers make it so much easier to see pictures than the days when you would have to have film, develop a picture, and mail it.

So, someone please remind me of this post next time my computer is frustrating me and I want to throw it out the window.

Or don't, since I only communicate with most of you via the computer. And if I'm trying to throw it out the window, I probably won't be reading your comments.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thankful - Day 4

Shallow Alert!!!!!

This post is nothing resembling deep or meaningful. But it is true.

I am thankful for Peppermint Mocha creamer. For a fraction of the cost of a Starbucks or Caribou Mocha, I can get a pretty decent mocha-ish coffee at home. As a total coffee addict, this is much appreciated. Yesterday, I bought more of it and I paid $2.09. This will be added to approximately 25 cups of coffee. That's less than 10 cents a cup. So with the coffee and filters, we're probably talking about $.30 a cup for coffee. Compare that to $3.50 or so at a coffee shop....

Now if only they would sell it year round instead of just for Christmas!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thankful - Day 3

Today has been a great day in some ways, but a rough day in others. Today was my friend's baby shower. I am soooo happy for her and her husband! They are so ready for this little miracle, and in just over a month, he'll be here.



But my heart is heavy for another friend - a friend who is, short of divine intervention, saying goodbye to her 1 year old son. This could happen any moment. His story can be found at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/vincentstringer. He's fought a hard fight the last 6 months, but it appears his fight is coming to an end. Cancer is a vicious disease! Thinking about him, and my dear childhood friend Rebecca and her family, makes me immediately tear up. (If you're reading this, please keep them in your prayers!)

That being said, it's made me appreciate the life I have. Thinking about Ashley and the precious life growing inside of her and little Vincent and the fact that his life has been so short makes me appreciate the fact that I am alive. The fact that I am reasonably healthy is a blessing. I am determined to make the most of it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Five Question Friday - 11/12/2010

Another edition of Five Question Friday from Mama! And later today I'll at least post one of my thankful things. I've started more than once this week, but life keeps happening when I try to blog. :)

1. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?

Well, as I discussed in this post, I've had a painful life! And since many incidents were so spread out, it's very hard to choose just one. Let's just say I'm glad to still be alive.

But, probably overall, the car accident in December 2007. A bulging disc, 3 rotated discs, and many torn muscles later, physical therapy and chiropractic treatments kinda "fixed" me. Until the February 2009 accident that is.....


2. How much sleep do you get at night?

This week (let's review that life happening thing) I've been lucky to get 4. Most weeks, I get between 5 and 6. Yes, I'm tired a lot, and yes, I do need coffee. :)

3. How long did you believe in Santa Claus? How did you find out that he does not exist?

My parents never believed it was wise to lie to your children and make the holiday about a magical mystical man giving presents instead of the birth of Christ, so never! Thank you, parents!

4. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?
Just this week, my friend Linda and I went to see You Again. It was cute, fluffy fun. I don't go to the movies often. The last two movies had been kids' movies, so it was nice to go to an adult (or at least teenage) movie with an adult!

5. What do you wear to bed?
Pajamas or sweats in the winter, t-shirt and shorts in the summer.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thankful - Day 2

Wow, I'm doing really great with this month of gratitude postings, aren't I? Considering it's November 8th and I'm posting for the 2nd time. Sigh.

This weekend, I just didn't feel like touching my computer. Sure, I checked facebook, twitter, and e-mail on my phone. Okay, I looked up one recipe. But overall, I just wanted to not deal with the computer!

But I'm back. Ahem.

This weekend, I thought several times I would write that I was thankful for Daylight Savings Time....because I love an extra hour of sleep. Or this weekend, an extra hour to get things done so I didn't have to get up so early, so just an extra hour of whatever. Either way..... (P.S. Thank you, whoever sets the DST schedule for making that extra hour while I'm sleeping on the weekend and not like a random mid-day Monday. An extra hour of work would not be as appreciated.)

Anyhow, back to today. Today, I am very thankful for books. As I've mentioned before, I love to read. I'm currently reading a book for class and 2 books for pleasure/my own growth. They are, as follows, Moses, the Greatest Youth Pastor Ever by Richard Crisco (for class), Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot, and Pretense by Lori Wick. Actually, that last one is re-reading.

Some of my all-time favorite books and/ or authors are:

1) The Bible
2) Terri Blackstock books (almost any of them)
3) Dee Henderson "The O'Malley Series" (I love these 7 books, but her other books fall flat for me.)
4) Radical by David Platt
5) Under Cover by John Bevere
6) Dealing with the Rejection and Praise of Men by Bob Sorge
7) Most Lori Wick books (though her more recent ones have not been as good)
8) Driven by Eternity by John Bevere
9) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
10) Envy by Bob Sorge
11) Emma by Jane Austen

And really, this list could go on and on. When I was younger, I absolutely loved the Babysitters' Club books, Nancy Drew mysteries, etc. Before that, I loved The Bobsy Twins and Boxcar Children books. Prior to that, I loved all the little story books I could get - Amelia Bedelia was a favorite. Pretty much my whole life I have loved books.

Friday, November 5, 2010

5 Question Friday - November 5, 2010

Brought to us by Mama, here is today's 5 Question Friday.

1. If you could have any talent and turn it into an occupation, what would it be?
Hmmm..... I love either writing or music, so if I were talented enough at either, that would probably be it.

2. Would you rather have a house at the beach or a cabin in the woods?
House at the beach. I'm SO cold! The beach sound wonderful right now where as a cabin in the woods makes me think of snow and winter.

3. Is there any meaning or reasoning for the names you chose for your child/children?
No kids.

4. What is your guilty pleasure? (I know we've done this one before, but I'm guessing people's "guilty pleasures" change frequently. At least, mine do!)
Reality tv. :) It's mindless, it's a waste of time, and it's addicting!

5. Do you live in a house that is deep cleaned or straightened?
Usually straightened, but occasionally I get this "need to clean" and I attack it with all sorts of cleaning supplies!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful - Day 1

So, I've been thinking that for the month of November I would post each day about something for which I'm thankful (in no particular order). As you can see, it's November 4th, and up til now, I've been to busy to post. Which is, in itself, something to be thankful for I feel.

Why? Because that brings me to one of the many things I'm thankful for - my job. It can be tiring. It can be stressful. There are days I wish I could respond meanly to a client who is upsetting me. But you know what? I have a job. In a state where roughly 16 out of every 100 are unable to find one and the number of people working lower-end jobs than trained for (think engineers at McDonalds)is much, much higher, I not only have a job, but one that I overall like. I have a fantastic boss, co-workers that I (for the most part) truly enjoy being around, and great clients (again, for the most part). In addition to this (and I don't say this to brag at all, but it's something I'm very thankful for), I make enough money to be able to live comfortably and still have extra to support charities and ministries that I feel led to support.

Thank you, God, for blessing me with this job!

Friday, October 29, 2010

5 Question Friday - 10/29/2010

As seen here, Five Question Friday!

My, it's been a week, between a final, a conference, etc. So it's nice to have something mindless to write about. :)

1. If you could be a fly on any wall, which would you choose?

Hmmm..... this is a tough one. I think somewhere in government so I could hear everything that goes on behind the scenes.

2. Do you budget your Christmas shopping or just get it done without budgeting?

Somewhere in between - I figure out what I can afford, who I need to buy for, and then set guidelines per person. But I don't follow them strictly.

3. What is the craziest fad diet you have ever done?

I don't think I've ever done one. I've done diets, that's for sure, but never what I would think of as a fad one. Cabbage soup? Sounds disgusting. HCG? 500 calories a day? And people are silly enough to think it's from the drops they take? So no.


4. Is there a TV show that you have seen every episode/season of?

The only one I can think of is Gilmore Girls. And interestingly enough, I never watched a single episode while it was actually airing. My Gilmore Girls love came later.

5. What one song always pulls at your heart?

Hmmm.... there are lots of them. Most recently "Beautiful the Blood." The best version can be ordered right here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm back!

Hello, dear blog readers!

I'm back from a weekend away. I came back to a small surprise - 3 new blog followers. :) Welcome! It's always nice to get new followers and find new blogs to follow through that.

This weekend was a crazy one. We went to Indiana for my uncle's 60th birthday party. It was great to see cousins, aunts, uncles, cousins-removed, etc. but it was a LOT of driving for a short time period. We left 7:30 Saturday morning, drove 5 hours, stayed at the party for about 5 hours, drove an hour and a half, stopped for the night, and then continued the drive today, finally returning to my parents around 1:00. Then we had lunch and then I had church. Turns out in a fun surprise, I had nursery tonight! Oops!

Also frustrating was I forgot my computer at home for the weekend. I had planned on getting a LOT of work done this weekend on the drive and at the hotel. By this time next week, I will have 1) finished reading the books for my class (the books were in the computer bag), 2) write my final exam/paper for my class, 3) finish planning a conference that is next weekend, and 4) actually run the conference next weekend. (By run, I mean the onsite, day of stuff - rides for our one speaker, food for both speakers, guest registration, etc. It's a lot to do.) This is on top of a very full work week plus my other week to week stuff (piano lessons, etc.).

In closing, here are a few weekend pictures!




Friday, October 22, 2010

5 Question Friday - October 22, 2010

Here is 5QF courtesy of Mama. Wasn't feeling the questions last week, so if you missed my 5 Question Friday, that's why. (Yes, because I'm SO sure you all noticed and thought about it! Don't worry; I'm not that delusional.)

1. Who is the better cook, you or your spouse?
Well, since I have no spouse....... (see? 5QFs lately have had a lot of spouse questions! Thereby making so many of my answers N/A that it's not my fault I don't feel like participating!)

2. How often do you talk to your mom?
Almost daily. She gets sad if I don't call. So I call. Trying to cut back though..... sometimes after I leave work, I just don't feel like talking. I've talked to approximately 10,000 clients, I feel like. I'm done with the phone. :)

3. Are you adventurous in the kitchen or stick to the recipe?
On those rare occasions when I cook, it varies. If I have a recipe, I stick to it (unless it's a minor modification like adding chocolate chips to brownies). But if I don't have a recipe and want to try something, occasionally I will. I do often have to modify recipes though, since many recipes call for onions and I am very allergic to them!

4. Is your second toe longer than your big toe?
No. Mine are "normal." Hehe.

5. Do you dress up for Halloween? (Bonus question: What will you be this year?)
No, I don't. I never have.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - October 21, 2010

Today's Thursday Thirteen is going to be a post of 13 things I find annoying. Yes, I know. It's an obnoxious subject, but I've had a day where everyone in the world has done their best to annoy me, so it's what's on my mind. :) And yes, I am VERY aware that I am exaggerating and not EVERYONE in the world has done their best to annoy me. But enough people have that, well......

1) People making a lot of noise before I'm up for the day. Let's also call this one of the many reasons I'm making my roommate move out. :) It's one thing if someone is sleeping late. But, I get up early. And even days like today when I slept in slightly (7:10), must you be so loud in the kitchen? At least this morning, it wasn't singing. Sometimes it's singing..... at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

2) People in my office who use the kitchen sink to brush their teeth and spit mouthwash into. Stop. Please. I'm begging. Use the bathroom for that. Bonus annoying points if they lean around you to spit into the sink right when you're making food. Gross. Disgusting. Cringe-inducing.

3) People who don't cover their mouth when they cough. I'm a slight germaphobe. I get this. But someone COUGHED on me the other day. That's just gross, people!

4) "Customer service" people who make it clear they are not interested in helping. At all. With anything.

5) Customer service people who have the nerve to get annoyed when you expect them to help with something that is clearly their job.

6) Customer service people who after making it clear they are not interested in helping then get annoyed that you expect them to follow that by giving you the wrong answer.... sigh.

7) Teachers/professors who give everyone in the class a perfect score thereby making you feel like you wasted time trying hard on the assignment when you look over at your classmate's messy, handwritten, spelling-error-filled assignment with the same score as yours.

8) People who send multiple texts before you have a chance to respond to the first one. Not if they're about different things but "Hey what are you doing tonight" followed 2 minutes later by "Want to get together tonight?" followed 3 minutes later by "Why aren't you answering me?" followed 2 minutes later by "Are you mad at me?" No! Or at least I wasn't until you just texted me 4 times in 10 minutes! I'm just not at my phone! Or I'm at work and can't text back right this second!

9) People who complain and complain and complain without realizing how good they have it. (Which, this post could definitely be doing. But I do realize that none of these things are really life-threatening issues.)

10) People who think they know everything and won't listen.

11) Walking through a cloud of smoke to get into a building that's no smoking.

12) People who eat really loudly.

13) People who try to make themselves feel better by making others feel bad

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Things on My Mind

I have a lot on my mind today! Big things, small things, medium things..... my mind does not discriminate.

First of all, I'm a little stressed. Here's the scoop - next week, I have my final for my class due. It's a paper, so I really need to work on it. But first, I'll need to catch up on my reading. Also, next weekend, I have a conference at my one church. I'm looking forward to it, and I know it will be powerful and incredible. But still, as the organizer, there is still a LOT to get done.

These two things are enough to make me want to stay home this weekend. But no, I'm going out of town. All the way to Indiana and back in about 30 hours. We'll be there for my uncle's 60th birthday party. But we're leaving Michigan 7 Saturday morning and will be back no later than 3 on Sunday. So it's a super fast trip.

I'm a little nervous about it because my back has been really acting up lately and all the car ride is bad for it. Because of my different back injuries from the car accidents, I have a sensitive back. I think something my trainer had me doing at the gym made it worse last week. Yesterday, I could barely get out of bed. :(

Speaking of trainers, I'm glad I'm switching gyms. It makes quitting my trainer that much less confrontational "I'd stay with you, but I'm switching gyms! Sorry!" But really, I think I wouldn't stay with her anyway. She's gotten hooked on this new training style, new workout style, and I feel she doesn't listen. After two long, intensive stints of physical therapy for major injuries, I know that there are things I can't and shouldn't do. I have to work around them. But she seems to think I should just try. But there's a difference between pushing through pain of the workout variety and being in actual injury pain. After all my injuries, I think I'm the best judge of which my body is feeling at that point in time.

Adding to this is just general misery over fall allergies, plus a case of the stomach flu I came down with last week. So there has been a lot of general yuckiness.

Work has been pretty insane as well. My boss is out of town this week, so in some ways it's better. But still, really busy with a small side of drama. :)

Anyway, class tonight. I've done almost none of the reading. Maybe in the 1.5 hours between work and class?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - October 14, 2010

Another Thursday, another Thursday Thirteen!

Today, I'm going to list 13 of my favorite quotes. Some I think are funny, some serious, some motivational - all different reasons for liking them. (Disclaimer - if I know the source of the quote, I have listed it. Some I don't know the source, so I'll note that.)

1. "Character is more important than reputation; character is who you really are while reputation is who people think you are." Unknown
So true. What matters is not how other people see us, but who we really are. If we're fake and put on a great show for everyone else but to those closest to us or even in our own hearts we're mean, angry, bitter, etc., have we really reached any type of goal?

2. "Maturity is the consistent application of elementary things, not the occasional application of great things." Damon Thompson
You don't mature as person or show you're a mature person by occasionally doing something spectacular. You show it in consistently doing what you know to do, however small it is. This applies in personal life, work life, etc.

3. "Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened." Unknown
Too often, we spend our lives looking back. We're sad because things ended - a vacation, time with a loved one, an exceptional time in our life. Rather than look back with sadness, I choose to be happy that I had the experience at all. Or, I try to anyway.

4. "When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your fight." Abraham Kuyper

I think this one speaks for itself. Don't allow yourself to become complacent.

5. "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." Unknown Comedian

A friend sent me a list of this guys quotes once, and they were all like this (ripoffs and funny versions of the things people say). But I don't remember his name, nor can I find it online.

6. "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." Anonymous

I love this quote. Always makes me think of the movie Hitch though, as it's in there. :)

7. "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, Patriot

The reason for this quote being one of my favorites is apparently, he's related to me WAY back. But it's a direct relation - like he was the brother of my great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather or something? However many greats it takes to get back to the 1700s. This always made me feel cool in elementary school when we studied him.


8. "May the Force be with you." Master Yoda

Really, just about any Star Wars quote..... in fact, that might be a whole Thursday Thirteen list all to itself. :)

9. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

Jim Elliot was a missionary who lost his life trying to minister to the Aucan people of Ecuador. He gave up his life, something that wasn't his to keep anyway, to gain an eternal crown that he'll never lose. Poignant quote.

10. "For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone." Audrey Hepburn

11. "There, but for the grace of God, go I." John Bradford
I think of this quote when I feel tempted to judge someone for their circumstances or look down on them or even think I have the answers. It's hit me particularly hard while working at the homeless pregnancy shelter. No, I never did drugs. No, I didn't end up homeless and pregnant. But that doesn't make me any better than any of them. Who knows how I would have ended up if I hadn't had the advantages I have had in life? What if my parents had abused me and I had been in 20 foster homes by the time I was 13? I can help them try to make right choices now and get their feet under them, but their past is their past. And I'm not their judge.

12. "There's nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child." Frank A. Clark

Oh my goodness. So true. "How? Why? How come?" These hallmarks of questions with children on everything from why we don't eat with our hands to what clouds are made of punctuate my days working with children at school or church!

13. "True friendship is like sound health, the value of it is seldom known until it be lost." Charles Caleb Colton

True statement....

What are some of your favorite quotes?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

I started doing a "Miscellany Monday" post yesterday, but got so busy at work that it didn't get finished. And I can't very well post it on Tuesday! So I'm sort of continuing the post now. :)

-I had a great weekend! I went to Cleveland, Ohio where my aunt, uncle, and "nephews" recently moved. It was the weekend between my uncle's birthday and Cole's birthday. So we did a little celebrating. :) I must have been exhausted though, because I slept pretty much the whole 3 hour drive both ways! (or at least half of it!) And no, I wasn't driving, so no worries. And Michigan State beat Michigan, so that was also a noteworthy part of the weekend.

-Also of note this weekend, I informed my roommate that it's time for her to move on. :) I will have my house to myself by the end of November at the latest, but I'm hoping for earlier. She actually indicated she might have a place by this weekend, which would be phenomenal! I started thinking about what I want to do/keep in the space and then realized I'd probably just move most of the furniture that I moved out of that room back in. Ah, a separate room for my computer and bookcases? Yes, please! An extra closet so my clothes aren't all jammed in? Yes, please! The big bathroom for the winter that has no outside walls and therefore stays warmer AND has a bathtub? Yes, please!!!!

-I'm going to book club tonight for the first time in over a year. You see, the book club includes people who I don't know very well and people I used to work with. Since I was only close to the two I used to work with, it felt awkward to go right after quitting. Somehow, that turned into a year..... (And by close, I mean could converse with easily. These aren't the ex-co-workers who I was actually close enough to to keep in touch with after leaving. Those I still see often. These two I've talked/e-mailed about a total (between the two) of 4 times in a year.) The longer it went without going, the weirder it felt to go. But at the same time, I wanted to! We read "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet." I don't think I'll finish it completely by tonight, but I made good progress.

-Last night I slept for SEVEN hours! It was GLORIOUS! It's amazing what extra sleep does for you. The night before, I slept for 2.5, so 7 was quite the treat. I even slept through my alarm..... oops. Which meant I did not have a morning workout today, but I'll still have my evening workout. And I wasn't late for work as I still woke up in plenty of time for work. To compensate for the lack of workout (and because I would have done it anyway), I gave my co-worker the cookie that came with my lunch. A vendor brought us lunch from Jimmy John's today, and it came with a cookie- a cookie which I most definitely do not need!

-My day yesterday consisted of (remember, on 2.5 hours of sleep) 9 hours of work, 2.5 hours of volunteering, 1.5 hours of working out. This was crazily busy.

-The rest of my week is equally busy. Tonight, as mentioned, book club and workout. Tomorrow is working out with my trainer, work, meeting a friend's mom to plan for her baby shower, and class (guess I should do my homework......). Thursday is working out, work, teaching piano, and then the Gathering. Friday is a little more relaxed - work and getting together with a friend. Saturday, we have a guest speaker at church so there's a 10 a.m. service and a 6:30 p.m. service. In between, I'll work out or clean or both. Oh, and on top of all that, even more homework and planning a conference for church for October 29-31st.

Well, my lunch break is almost over seeing as insane people are calling me every two minutes. :) Talk to you all later!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Five Question Friday - 10/8/2010

Mama has brought us Five Question Friday once again!

1. What do you listen to while driving?
Usually music, specifically worship music. But sometimes I'll listen to speakers and sermons from church. As I drove to work this morning, I was listening to "Run" by Eddie James and Ultimate Call.

2. What is your least favorite thing about Fall?
This is so easy, because while I love fall, fall does not love me. It attacks my delicate respiratory system with its mean pollens, ragweeds, etc. In other words, my allergies are the worst in the fall!

3. What does your dream house look like, inside and out?
Hmmm..... full of happy people. :)

No, I don't really know. I'd like it bigger than my current house, but not too big. I like Victorian style houses, but other ones are nice as well. I like the big, high cathedral ceilings. A fairly open design is nice for entertaining.

4. Would you ever own a minivan?
If I needed one, I wouldn't have a problem with it. I don't want one now as I don't need it and the gas mileage wouldn't be as good as my little Cobalt!

5. Do you wash new clothes before wearing them?
Um, am I supposed to? Oops! Only underwear. Something about underwear- it's got to be washed before worn!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 10/7/2010

Kind of late in posting Thursday Thirteen this week! Sadly, I'm having a hard time deciding on a topic. So, I think I've decided.... 13 trips I'm planning/would like to take in the next 12 months. (Semi-realistic ones..... while I would love to take a round-the-world trip, I'm thinking realistically and logically.) This includes big trips, small trips, and medium trips.

1) Cleveland, Ohio. This one is easy since I'm actually going to be there in about 36 hours. :) I'll see Cole, Gage, my Aunt Joyce, and my Uncle Bud. We'll be celebrating Cole's 6th birthday (where oh where does time go!) as well as my uncle's. I haven't seen them since they moved in August, so I'm definitely ready to see my boys!!!

2) Singapore! Yes, next year we are planning on taking another trip to Singapore. I'll get to see my babies!!!

3) Up North - I love Northern Michigan. It's a great weekend trip in the summer/fall. There are so many beautiful lakes, trees, etc.

4) Indiana - Another already planned trip, this one in two weeks. We'll celebrate my uncle's birthday and see lots of family on my mom's side.

5) Hamilton, Alabama. I really want to go back to the Ramp! However, with my trip to Singapore, I'm not sure if I'll have the vacation time for it next year. :( But I'll try to find a way to make it work! I miss my friends. I love it down there.

6) Chicago. Again, a good weekend trip from where I live. However, I want to actually see the city. Usually, when we go to "Chicago" we stay just outside the city and see NOTHING. Except for family, who I love, but I want to actually go!

7) Erie, PA. The last two years, I've taken weekend trips to Erie, PA. Again, close enough that I can go for the weekend. But far enough that I only go once a year or so. My cousin lives there with his wife and 2 kids. It's always great to see them, and we do fun things while there!

8) Lima, Peru. Check out www.missions.me for more info. I want to go on a missions trip! The Gathering, which I go to on Thursday nights is run by Dominic Russo, who also runs the mission that takes these trips.

9) Sandusky, Ohio for Cedar Point! I love Cedar Point. The roller coasters are phenomenal!!!

10) And.....

11) I'm.....

12) Out of.....

13) Suitable Day Trips and Next Year's Vacation Time.....





Anybody have any suggestions of trips I should add?

Friday, October 1, 2010

5 Question Friday - 10/1/2010

Welcome to the first Five Question Friday of October as brought to us by Mama! Last week I didn't participate in Five Question Friday because, to be honest, I just wasn't feeling the questions..... significant others, bathroom habits, etc. After the one that didn't apply to me and the one I wouldn't answer, there were only 3 questions left. And really, what is a 3 Question Friday?

And then yesterday, sadly, no Thursday Thirteen as I was dealing with mucho work drama! All day. Then after I got home, it was time to head over to my friend's house for some much needed downtime. In between the two, I had to bake and teach a piano lesson. So really, quite busy!

But now we're back.....

1. Did you have a pen pal when you were little (or now)? Where were/are they from?


I did! When I was (I think 7) I started having a pen pal from Africa. She was actually from somewhere in the United States, but her family was a missionary family. Now she lives in the US with her family and we're no longer pen pals, but we are facebook friends!

2. If you could do a different job for one day, what would it be?

I would like to be President. :) Unfortunately, at the rate it takes to get ANYTHING done in DC, being President for a day probably wouldn't accomplish a whole lot. Though I definitely have ideas on what I'd like to do.....

3. Do you remember your biggest fear from when you were little?

I think it was being kidnapped/left alone and forgotten/orphaned. Pretty much anything that would require me being separated from my family. I seriously couldn't even watch "An American Tail" because it bothered me SOOOOO much that little Fievel lost his family for so long. And a disturbing number of kids' movies are based around this theme! But I think "An American Tail" may have kicked off my paranoia. Even thinking about the movie was enough to make me cry....

Don't laugh. I was sensitive. :)


4. What do you think is a waste of time? Why?

Hmmm.....a lot of things are wastes of time, but if you enjoy them and you're choosing to spend your time on them, is that really so bad? (in moderation, of course) I will say that at the last company I worked, approximately 96% of our meetings were total wastes of time. (This was sooooo frustrating!)

5. What is the oldest item you have in your closet?

I bought a couple vintage skirts at a consignment shop recently. I don't know exactly how old they are, but that's probably it. Of things that I bought new, I still have my "senior shirt" from high school. I only use it to sleep in, I promise! But I have an emotional attachment to it!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 9/23/2010

This must be a very special post, because it's my first Thursday Thirteen since I reached 13 followers! So let's all take a moment of silence in honor of the occasion.

Okay, not really. That's a bit much, don't you think?

For today's Thursday Thirteen, I'm going to do thirteen pictures that make me smile. Some are of me, some are of family, some are random.


1. My sweet Cole. I think he was 2 in this picture? We went to the zoo. We were riding a train, which was his and Gage's favorite thing! While riding, he looked up with this adorably sweet look. I'm glad I captured it on film as it is one of my favorite pictures!


2. Silly Caleb..... my nephew is quite the silly little ham at times. Yes, in addition to the sunglasses, he is carrying around a toothbrush. Why, I really don't know!



3. Okay, this one has a story that makes the picture funny. As you know if you've been reading my blog, you know that last week I went out to Washington and Idaho to see a friend and her family. Well, this is her van in the picture. And here is the slightly (or very) embarrassing story behind all the white stuff on the van....

We went to Walmart (pretty much the only store in town!) to pick up some party essentials for the next day. When we got there, I discovered a big spider had built a web between the rear-view mirror on my side and the window. Now I HATE spiders. Especially big spiders....

So, killing wasn't a great option because I would have to get too close to it and it was big and ugly.

I had heard within the last month that when faced with these hideous creatures, a good way to kill them is to spray something on them. It momentarily paralyzes them, making them fall off of whatever they're clinging to, and thus making it possible to stomp on them to kill them. Easy enough.

I see sprayable sunscreen in the van......

(Now, in my defense, all sprayable sunscreens I had ever used were clear!)

I ask Lisa if she thought I should spray it on the spider. She says yes.

It went EVERYWHERE! And as you can see from some of the smearing, the more we tried wiping it off (with a wet baby wipe, when I think something dry was needed) the worse it got! So then, in addition to trying to clean up the mess while the two kids looked on in confusion, we were trying to do it while laughing so hard we could hardly breathe!

(For all of you "live and let live" bug lovers, don't hate me. Spiders just really creep me out!



4. Two of my wonderful friends - Audrey (the bride) and Linda. This was at Audrey's wedding (Audrey is actually my cousin in addition to being my friend). We needed to update the picture of the 3 of us as we all look better than the one I had currently had displayed at my house!




5. and 6. Also from Audrey's wedding. These two pictures have the same story, so I'm lumping them together. Kim (another cousin, Audrey's sister-in-law) was also a bridesmaid (hence our same "choice" of dress that day). We had these pieces of cloth that we were told we needed to wear. When that day came and we went to put them on, we realized that no one had thought about how we were to wear them and they were pretty long. So Kim and I got "creative." I thought we were funny. Some others didn't. :) (We ended up doubling them and wearing them over our shoulders. But my advice for all future brides is if you're getting married at a church that requires shoulders to be covered, just buy dresses that have something covering the shoulders. Adding to dresses is kind of a pain, and if you're going for the matching look, they don't end up looking identical.)




7. That is Gage, Cole's older brother. They were mice for a school play; and I have to say, for a rodent, he is downright adorable!


8. Another picture with Audrey. I just really like this picture of the two of us! This was at her brother Justin's wedding. She was the maid of honor, so she was more fancily attired. In addition to being my cousin, she's practically a sister to me. She lived with us for 6 months growing up and then again for 2 years when she was finishing up college. Love, love, love!



9. This is a silly picture of a good day. It was in Singapore on my mom's birthday last year. We went to a mall for a restaurant called "Carnivore." (As you can imagine, lots of meat was served!) Then we played on the play area with Caleb (Evan was only 6 weeks, so he didn't do much.) This was one of the things to sit/play on.



10. Why yes, my nephew is adorable. Thanks for noticing!



11. I loved my trip to Europe. I went with a large group ranging in age from 16-68! There were 43 of us, I believe! It was a great time, and this was our one whole group picture. It was taken in Switzerland, right before we went to Mt. Pilatus.

!

12. More of my boys. I'm a very proud aunt; what can I say. :)



13. Because of the ghetto nature of the door (underground parking garage in Detroit), Ashley was doing her best "ghetto pose." Hehe!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless (Almost) Wednesday - September 22, 2010

Technically, it’s only almost wordless Wednesday. But here are some pictures from my trip. I must say, I have to say that I think mountains are my favorite natural beauty/wonder. Waterfalls are also in contention. I actually did see a little waterfall in Spokane, but everywhere I turned were mountains!



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Deanna's How To Guide On: Annoying People on an Airplane!

So, flight back to Michigan……
I’m actually typing this on the plane (yay for my first trip post-laptop!) but obviously can’t post from the plane. But since I have nothing else to do except apparently entertain my crazy seatmate, I shall write a blog. Allow me to explain…..
The flight from Spokane to Phoenix was CROWDED! As in, every single seat was taken. And somehow, I ended up with a middle seat instead of the aisle that I thought I booked. (I love aisle seats and hate the trapped feeling of a non-aisle seat!) So I kept thinking in the back of my mind (as I sat between aisle guy who was sleeping thereby blocking the exit and window guy who was talkative and hairy and kept eating stinky beef jerky) “Wouldn’t it be great if I had a row to myself on the flight from Phoenix to Detroit?” (I had one on my way from Phoenix to Spokane last week and it was FABULOUS! I slept practically the whole way by stretching out between 3 seats!
Fast forward to boarding the plane….. it looks like a light crowd. Things are definitely looking favorably!
Fast forward to them finishing boarding the plane. Things are definitely looking good! They announce that people can feel free to find alternate seats if they choose since there are so many empty seats. I watch nervously to see if anyone is currently in a row of 3 and they’re going to take one of “my” seats…. No? Yay! I can sleep! (Keep in mind my plane lands at 1:30 a.m. 45 minutes from home and I get up for work tomorrow around 6. My desire for sleep is totally justified, I think!
The captain turns off the “fasten seatbelts” light. I decide to stretch out a little as I continue reading. Not completely out – I don’t get out my pillow quite yet, but I move to the window seat for back support and stretch my legs out on the other two seats.
About 5 minutes later, this lady comes and says “I’m going to sit here now. I’m in a row by myself and I don’t like flying alone!” So she sits down in my aisle seat! Now I can’t get up whenever I want! Now I’m once again trapped! Now I’m forced to listen to her as she talks and talks. And, she’s a nervous flyer , so she keeps asking me over and over “How much longer?” My response each time (as I’m not wearing a watch and don’t even really know exactly when we’re landing”) “I don’t know.” I make polite conversation for like half an hour and sporadically after that as she started talking.
She finally got up to harass/talk to the crew about what causes turbulence, are we going to crash, how much longer, etc. and I take the opportunity to remove a few items from my carry-on since I can now access it. These items included my pillow, my food, and my headphones. When she comes back, I’m watching a DVD on my computer. Can there really be any clearer sign to a stranger on a plane that you don’t feel like talking than headphones on which I pointedly remove every time she asks me “how much longer?” If so, I have no idea what it is. But, being subtle is lost on this woman. (The headphones trick never works with my mom either…. But I thought with a stranger it just might.) She persists in making comments every couple of minutes. “Are we landing soon?” “Are you supposed to have your computer on?” “What time is it?” (Um, I don’t know. Yes, or they would have announced it. You’re the one with the watch.”)
I’m now considering moving on to step 2 – pretending to sleep!

Friday, September 17, 2010

5 Question Friday - September 17, 2010

Five Question Friday as brought to us by Mama!

1. What is the first nightmare you remember?
I have vague memories of having bad dreams before this, but the first one I can really remember was while I was in Africa. This (what I thought) was a cobra was chasing us and chasing us, trying to kill us. I remember crying when I woke up.


2. Even if you're not a sports fan, what's your favorite sport to play/watch?
Figure skating! But if you mean the more major sports, I suppose hockey. As far as playing, volleyball or basketball. But probably volleyball.


3. If you could pull off one piece of trendy fashion, what would you want it to be (jeggings, hats, thigh high boots, etc.)?

I would never wear jeggings just because I despise the name! :) Probably hats. They just look silly on me!


4. Did you make good grades in school?
In high school, I was the valedictorian. In college, I wish I had done a little better, but made Magna Cum Laude, so clearly I did alright!


5. What magazines do you subscribe to? Glamour.... a recent subscription. I like to read it while I'm at the gym!

My First Blog Award!

I just received my first blog award!



It was from the wonderful Price Family!

With this great honor comes great responsibility.... here are the rules for accepting the award. :)

Rules for accepting the award:

1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.

3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.


(I may be a bit loose in my interpretation of "newly discovered."

Without further adieu, here are the 15 wonderful bloggers I would like to award.

1) Molly at Stilettos and Diapers
2) Rachel at Randomness with Rachel
3) Lori at Everyday Blessings
4) Joy at All About the Hendersons
5) Anita at The Other Side of Me
6) Kim at Kropf Konnections
7) Ashley at Roja in Virginia
8) Jennifer at Do I Have To Be A DINK?
9) Mrs. G at My Life in the Making
10) Sonja at The Mud and the Lotus
11) Aly at The Infertility Overachievers
12) Britt at P.E.A.C.E. Began
13) Courtney at The Peeks
14) Rebekah at Heart Cries
15) Rebekah at Sailing My Way Through

Enjoy, ladies!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 9/16/2010

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Today is a great day. I'm on vacation (after 7 hours on a plane to get here) and so I have plenty of time to think. It's also my brother's birthday, so you should all wish him a happy birthday. Just kidding. :)

In honor of the fact that I am now in Idaho, I'm going to write my Thursday Thirteen about 13 places I have been. As I've mentioned before, I love to travel.

1) Hilton Head, South Carolina
We went here as a senior in high school for our senior trip. Priceless memories.... crazy memories, including a 17 hour van ride where our chaperone blasted the heat as high as it would go when he got upset with us. The beaches there were the prettiest beaches I have ever seen!

2) Singapore
I've been to Singapore 3 times - 2005, 2006, and 2009. It's a beautiful city nation. I find it to be a little too hot, but still very nice. By a little too hot, it's right on the equator, and it's between 80 and 100 degrees ALL THE TIME! And sooo very humid! I love it though, especially because that's where my babies are. :)

3) Orlando, Florida
When I was 6, my family drove to Florida over Christmas break. I think it took us 3 days each way of driving? Maybe only 2. Once there, we went to Disney World and Epcot! This was really exciting! We didn't do a lot of big vacations, but that one was definitely a highlight!

4) San Francisco, California
In 2002, I went on a vacation to San Francisco both to see the area and visit friends who had moved out there. They had been my campus pastors in college, and since I had finished school but couldn't start full-time teaching until the fall, it was the perfect chance to go. That was my first time seeing the Pacific Ocean! We also went to Monterrey, Carmel, Pebble Beach, etc.

5) Hamilton, Alabama
This is a very unique place as well. But I love it. I love the people there, I love the Ramp, and I love just the atmosphere of the place. There are several little stores that are fun to look in. Really, I think it's mostly that I love the people and the Ramp down there!

6) Africa
When I was 8, my family and I went to Africa to visit my mom's twin sister and family. We flew into South Africa, but mainly spent time in Botswana. One dramatic story from that trip is chronicled here, but there were many more fun times, memories, and more!

7) Charlevoix, MI
Northern Michigan is beautiful! I grew up spending many summer breaks up in the Traverse City area where my Grandma had a home. But in more recent years, I went twice with a GREAT group of friends to Charlevoix. We rented two big houses, one on a beach and one on a golf course. They were the "quiet house" and the "beach house." Sleep was not something we did much of, but movies, food, luaus, and endless Uno games were the norm. Because it was through a church group, we also had worship services, Bible studies, discussions around the bonfires, etc. Love it and would love to go back!


8) Chicago
I put this on almost jokingly.... my aunt lives outside of Chicago. We go almost once a year and NEVER GO INTO THE CITY! I'm the only one in my family who seems to think we should. I mean, we've gone maybe twice? When we're like 15 minutes away? Really?

9) Pennsylvania
My cousin and his family live in Pennsylvania, so I go occasionally to visit. Other than spending time in their home, I love Presque Isle, which is a beach on Lake Erie.

10) Paris
As I've written about before, in 2004 I went to Europe. Paris was sooo beautiful!

11) Sandusky, Ohio
Home of Cedar Point, America's Roller Coast! I love Cedar Point and riding all the roller coasters. My favorite is probably the Maverick or the Raptor. But the Dragster and Millenium Force and Magnum are incredible as well!

12) Switzerland
Same trip as Paris, I loved seeing the Alps, riding to Mt. Pilatus, and taking a boat cruise to see more of the area. Not to mention, there was lots of great shopping. One of my favorite memories from this whole trip was a fondue restaurant we went to with live folk dancing and music.

13) Germany
Highlights of the Germany trip were Neuschwanstein Castle, the Black Forest, and Munich. It's a beautiful country full of friendly people!