Friday, February 25, 2011

Five Question Friday - 2/25/2011

1. Can you drive a stick shift?
No, I've never tried. I know there is something called a clutch involved, but that's really the extent of my knowledge.

2. What are two foods you just can't eat?
Tomatoes (slimy bits of weirdly textured disgustingness!) and onions. Tomatoes are just wrong, and onions I am allergic to. Last night, I went to someone's house for dinner, and they had made nice little salads. I couldn't bring myself to eat the tomatoes. I did, however, force down cucumbers which normally I won't eat. So I considered it a moral victory.

3. Do you buy Girl Scout Cookies? What is your favorite kind?
I don't want to because there are places they donate the proceeds to that I have extremely strong moral objections to. However, at work, I end up buying them to keep the peace/not say no to our branch manager's cute daughter. My favorites are Samoas, but Thin Mints and Tagalongs are also great.
I've also been weak some years and bought from the cute kids at the grocery store. Their sweet little faces are so hard to say no to!
It's a scam, I tell ya! :)

4. How do you pamper yourself?
I don't really go out and do pampering activities often (manicures, pedicures, etc.). But when I feel the need to pamper myself, it usually involves laying on the couch and watching Gilmore Girls or chick flicks.

5. What is your nickname and how did you get it?
Some of my friends call me "Dee" and I think it's pretty obvious. No real nicknames other than things my parents have called me practically my whole life. That I would prefer not to share on my blog, thank you very much. ;)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday - February 23, 2011

Jamie
is hosting "What I Love Wednesday" again. Here's what I'm loving this week.

*My New Schedule

This is not a new work schedule or anything like that but a new, self-imposed schedule. In my quest for health, I decided one thing holding me back was not getting enough sleep. For one thing, they say it makes weight loss harder. For another thing, maybe my 2 month long (almost) bout with cold, bronchitis, sinus infection, and more could have been helped with some more sleep. For another thing, constantly falling asleep on the couch was hurting my already injured back. So, the new routine is that at 10:00 the tv and computer go off and I go toward bed. I may read in bed, but I'm not on the couch watching tv, disrupting my cicadian rhythms, etc. I was noticing that I was waking up 2-3 times a night because of the tv, so clearly I wasn't sleeping late. This is the first night this week I've violated that (I didn't get home until after 10), and overall I've been sleeping better and feeling more rested.

*Gym

Also getting back into the routine of (insert dramatic music) going to the gym. I've been every day this week, including a couple pretty intense workouts! I still can't say I'm enjoying the workout, but I like the feeling after the workout. :)

*Reading

Turning off the tv and hitting the books has been great. I'm getting a lot of reading done. I love to read, but it's been shelved lately (hehe.... reading pun!). But I'm almost done with a book already this week!


Staying light later

Days are getting longer! It's still light sometimes when I leave work! Yay! This makes me so happy. I don't like it when I leave for work in the dark and leave work in the dark. It's just sad. Even though the weather is not spring like this week (8 degrees!), the light lets me know it's coming.... eventually. :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Redemption

Disclaimer.... This is a somewhat heavy post and does talk about some controversial things. I'm not meaning to offend anyone, but want to get my thoughts out.

Last night, I watched the movie "Taken" with Liam Neeson and it has stayed with me ever since. Now, I don't recommend this movie overall. It's pretty violent, and I don't like violent movies. Like at all. No blood, please! But if you can handle the violence, it's a pretty good story.

In summary, Liam Neeson's character is a retired CIA agent. He's not close to his daughter, though he wants to be. He was always gone when she was young. Her mom divorced him because of it, and remarried another man. One day, she wants to go to Europe with a friend. They need his permission since she's a minor. He's opposed because of the dangers. Eventually, he gives in to her going and touring museums, though he gives her rules.

Rules that we learn she had no intention of keeping. In fact, pretty much everything she told him about the trip was a lie. She wasn't planning on going to museums. She and her friend were going to follow U2 around Europe. Anyway, soon after arriving, she and her friend are kidnapped by people involved in human trafficking. She's able to get word to him right before she's taken. To make a long story short, he goes through a lot to find her. He kills and hurts a lot of people. He puts himself through a lot of physical pain and is almost killed numerous times.

One thing that really stuck with me was it reignited my desire to do something for those involved in human trafficking. It's something that goes on all over the world, and most people don't even know it. Even here in the US, there are known trafficking hot spots! This makes me sick and I can't even believe it. I want to help them. I know a missionary who rescues girls in Thailand who are trafficked and sold as sex slaves. These girls are as young as 8 years old. 8 years old! That's about a 2nd grader! An estimated 800,000 are trafficked annually. Think about it. Absorb that number. Huge.

Even more than that, what really got to me about this movie was the thought of redemption. The father went through incredible pain, enormous expense, and risked everything. Why? Love. He loved his daughter. He never hesitated. He never stopped to think about whether or not to proceed. The one he loved was in danger and needed him, and he did everything to save her. Guns held to his head - he didn't waver. Handcuffed with a knife to his throat - no fear. His only fear, his only thought was for his daughter.

This violent movie made me think of God. When there was no way for us to get to Him, when we were in danger of being away from Him forever, He came to us. He spared no expense. He didn't hesitate. Even when it cost Him everything - the King of Kings Who created the world came to His creation, was beaten and killed for us. We were worth everything to Him. Just like the father in the movie, He did it because of love - love for everyone who ever lived and everyone who ever would live.

Despite the fact that the daughter was in the situation she was in because of her own bad decisions and choices to lie to him, the father rescued her. When we make choices that put us in danger, our Heavenly Father still wants to rescue us. When she called him, He came to her instantly. God is always wanting us to call out to Him. Just like the father in the movie didn't tell her "You got yourself in this mess. Figure it out," God did not wait for us to come up with a plan to get back to Him. He came up with the ultimate plan, the ultimate sacrifice. And just like at the end of the movie when he rescued her, he didn't remind her it was all her fault or condemn her, God is not waiting to rescue us so He can condemn us. He just wants us safe with Him where we belong. He's not waiting to say "I told you so; look what you did." He's waiting to say "I love you. I'll take care of you." And that's what He did from the beginning - He loved us and took care of it.

In closing, here is a quote I love from Derek Loux. Derek was active in ending human trafficking and rescuing orphans before his death. This quote ties together my two main thoughts from the movie.
“My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him. And when He redeems us, we can’t even really appreciate or comprehend it.... Today, settle your busy heart down and rest in the benefits of redemption. Enjoy the fruits of His goodness, and stop trying to “pay Him back”. - Derek Loux

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lost.... Again.

As I've mentioned, I'm really good at getting lost. As in, really, really, really good at it. As I mentioned earlier this week, I have a story from last Tuesday that demonstrates this.

Last weekend, John came to visit from Alabama.
We had a very nice time! On Tuesday morning, it was time to take him back to the airport so he could go home to Alabama. Instead of just dropping him off at the curb, we parked in the parking structure and walked inside the airport together. After he got to security, I told him bye and started walking back to my car. Around this time, my boss asked where I was and I told him "I'm leaving the airport now."

Fast forward 30 minutes..... 30 minutes of desperately searching the parking structure (in 25 degree weather). Fast forward desperate/cranky phone calls to John saying "Don't you remember where I parked? Don't you remember which zone? Which zone was it?" You see, I looked at the sign when I got out of my car and it was "Level 2 Red." But it turns out the WHOLE 2nd level is "Red." So, this wasn't helpful.

After another 15 minutes and walking around while talking on the phone, it turns out that I had gotten off the wrong elevator when returning and so..... I was pretty much on the other side of the structure from where I needed to be.

But at least I got off on the right floor! :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Five Question Friday - February 18th, 2011

I'm back with 5QF. There was a cancelled one two weeks ago (due to a tragedy in Mama M's family) and one last week that I didn't participate in. But it's back and so am I! And while I've been getting ready to type this, it turned Saturday. Sigh. Oh well. I'll do it anyway! Here's where it is if you want to link up and view other entries.

1. Have you worn the same outfit more than one day in a row?
No. Other than sports uniforms when I was in high school.... and maybe some work uniforms way back in the day. But they were always washed! I just remember a few times that I had games two days in a row. And with the uniforms, I had multiple uniforms that were all the same. So I may or may not have worn the same two days in a row. But in general, no. In fact, I kind of keep mental track of what I wear each week so even if I do laundry in between, I don't end up wearing the same pants or shirt twice in one week.

2. If you had to choose any LARGE city to live in, which would it be?
Hmmm...... I live near Detroit, which is a large-ish city. Not big like it used to be. But I love being in cities. So just about anyone. New York City sounds lovely. So does Chicago. Or even Nashville. Actually, Nashville has nice weather. So Nashville it is. Unless I'm thinking internationally.... Paris, London, Rome..... hmmm, I have a lot of options for this answer!

3. Fly or drive with the kids on vacation?
I have no kids, so this is more hypothetical than anything. Flying gets you there faster. But with flying, there is more stress of security, packing exact things, etc. Driving takes longer, but if your kid is melting down, you can stop. Take a little break. And you're only disturbing yourself and those travelling with you. Not a whole captive airplane. But I guess it would depend on how long it was. A 20 hour drive or a 5 hour flight? Fly. A 10 hour drive or a 3 hour flight (with security probably a 6 hour ordeal)? Probably drive. Anything shorter, drive.

4. What is your idea of "spring cleaning"?
Ha! What is my idea of cleaning?

5. What is the best book you have ever read?
The Bible! It's the Word of God!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - 2/17/2011

Thursday Thirteen time! In honor of my birthday (yay!), I'm going to write about 13 of my memorable birthdays. No particular order. :)

1) This year! Very easy to remember because it was yesterday. I worked all day and then went out to dinner with my parents. We went to Red Robin which is yummy. After dinner, I went to my friend Johnna's house and visited her and her sweet daughter for a little while. Vegas is one year old and so sweet!

2) Last year, my birthday celebrations stretched out. It was the big 3-0. :) You can read about it here. It involved time with many friends, a parties, and family time. It was a good one! Here's a picture from my joint party with Jessica!

3) 21st birthday
On my actual 21st birthday, I was at a Friday night service at church. At the time, it wasn't my home church, but it now is. Anyway, we had started
having weekly services with Damon Thompson. But other than that, I was thrown a surprise party. :) I could tell my mom was planning something. In fact, the Thursday before my birthday, I was pretty sure she was throwing one that night. To the point that when my class was cancelled, I didn't go home early. I was afraid I would ruin the surprise. But the party was actually Sunday. My friend Linda distracted me after church and several friends were there. :)

4) 5th
My 5th birthday is the first one I really have a memory of. I remember we were still in our old house (the one I lived in until I was 6) and I had a party. My friends came over along with some of my family. I also remember the gift my grandma gave me. Inside of each gift was another box. So really it was like 8 gifts in 1. It was fun. :)

5) 24th
On my 24th birthday, my parents and I went to New York for a few days. So I was able to spend it with my cousin, his wife, and their kids. Stephen, their sweet son, was 2 months old. I got to spend the day cuddling a sweet baby. :)

6) 26th
This was not memorable in a good way. My friends blew me off, plans cancelled, and it was just overall not a fun day....

7) 28th
For my 28th birthday, it was the last day of my brother, sister, and Caleb's visit to the US. They had come in November and left in February. Much fun. Here is a picture of me, Caleb, Gage, and Cole.

8) 13th
Turning 13.... momentous. From a pre-teen to a teenager! We had a family party. It was fun.

9) 6th
This was a big one.... I had a McDonald's birthday party! This was majorly exciting at the time. :)

10) 29th
My wonderful friend Ashley came to visit me from Alabama. We had the greatest day. Well, other than the hospital visit.... but anyway. She made me breakfast. We went to downtown Birmingham, ate lunch at Hunter House, went to the Palladium and watched Confessions of a Shopoholic, walked around Birmingham doing some site seeing and shopping, went to Mom and Dad's for dinner, and had a great time! Here's a picture!


11) 16th
Sweet sixteen party! My friends came. My family came. My aunt brought me pink sweetheart roses and balloons. It was a good day. :)

12) 22nd
This was the last day before winter break while I was teaching. My students brought me cards and a couple of small gifts. :) Lovely!

13) 10th
We always celebrated my birthday with my grandpa. Our birthdays were 4 days apart. He was 60 years older than me. So when we celebrated my 10th, we celebrated his 70th. :) He died October 2009, but I definitely thought of him this past weekend on his birthday!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday - February 16, 2011

Jamie is once again hosting "What I'm Loving Wednesday." I have a lot to be loving this week. :)

1) First and foremost, I'm loving the fact that today is my birthday. All the special facebook wishes, texts, phonecalls, and e-mails I've gotten have brightened my day. It's not just that I love attention, but it's the fact that people are taking time to write me/think of me/etc. I mean, a lot of them are pretty generic, but some of them are very much personalized. It's nice to be thought of. And tonight, I'm going out with my parents for my birthday. It really started last night. I got to a place I volunteer (it's a home for abused and neglected boys ranging in age from 11-17; I do admin work). There was a card waiting and I think each boy and staff member wished me a happy birthday at least once. And the card had personal messages from each; some generic, some specific. The generic ones are appreciated, so that isn't meant to be taken the wrong way. :)

2) I'm loving the fact that I had a great weekend. I know in my last post I referenced that I had a special weekend coming up but I would have to blog about it later. Well, I still don't really have time to do the whole post right now (I'm on my lunch break and had to answer about 150 facebook wishes so time is short). But to summarize, my "boyfriend" (it's in quotes because it still sounds weird to say) came to visit for the weekend. :) I had flown down to Alabama last month for his birthday weekend, and he came to visit this weekend for my birthday weekend. Since my birthday is mid-week when we both had to work and all. I picked him up at the airport Friday and dropped him off Tuesday morning. There is a funny story to the Tuesday morning part. Perhaps tomorrow. Anyway, it was a great weekend. We went to the zoo, WinterBlast in Downtown Detroit, he met my friends and family, etc. Oh, and Valentine's Day. :) Pictures to follow!

3) We are having a heat wave! It's been in the 30s and 40s for several days now! Yes, 40s! Woohoo! While there is still piles and piles of snow everywhere, the piles are not as high as they once were!

4) I'm loving the fact that I watched this season of the Bachelor. I hadn't watched for several seasons. But last night/this morning, I watched the episode I taped Monday, and it was HIGHLY entertaining. From Chantel's tears to Michelle FINALLY getting the boot, woohoo!

5) A new season of Survivor starts tonight! I think it's CBS' gift to me (but CBS, I really could have used a gift receipt for the Russell portion of this season..... I can't stand him, and don't know why you're polluting a third season with him. Especially since this makes 3 out of the last 4 seasons!)

What are you loving? Head over to Jamie's blog to let us know! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday - February 9, 2011

Jamie is once again hosting "What I'm Loving Wednesday." Visit her blog to link up!

I'm loving the fact that my birthday is one week from today. (Someone asked last week and I never replied. So, it's on the 16th. Sorry! It's been a whirlwind of a week!)

I'm loving the fact that in the first 2 days of this week, I worked 24 hours. When I need to leave early Friday, it won't be an issue!

I'm loving the fact that spring is eventually going to come. It's crazy-cold right now, but it's already February. Which means, spring officially starts next month. (Which means we'll only have like 3 months until it actually feels like spring!)

I am loving the fact that I was able to go back to the gym last week and this week. I don't like it particularly, but I'm glad I'm finally healthy enough to go back.

I am definitely loving the fact that I have a visitor coming this weekend. But that might need to be it's own post, so stay tuned.

I am loving "What I'm Loving Wednesday" because it's good to take a few minutes to think happy thoughts about the great things and people I've been blessed with!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - February 3, 2011

Today, I started to tweet something, then facebook it, and it inspired my Thursday Thirteen list. My Thursday Thirteen list for this week is

13 Signs That You May Spend Too Much Time on Social Networking Sites:


1) You have become an expert on keeping your thoughts to exactly 140 characters.

2) You really think someone not having a facebook account is a valid reason to not stay in touch.

3) When you want to check the weather, you just grab your phone to see if anyone has posted about snow.

4) When trying to text a friend, you find yourself looking in your phone's address book under their twitter handle instead of their actual name.

5) You actually play Farmville or Cafe'World. (I've never gotten into these facebook games, so I guess I'm good!) ;)

6) You are "friends" with people you rarely talk to and then when you actually see them, 86% of your conversation is either silence or "So, last week, I saw on facebook that you went grocery shopping. How did that go?"

7) You get more of your news on world events from facebook and twitter than actual news sources.

8) You put enough funny things on facebook/twitter about your co-workers that people you rarely talk to in real life will occasionally see you and ask about "The young man in your office who likes Taylor Lautner" and other miscellaneous sentiments. (Speaking of things said in the office, today has been a plethora of funny quotes. Case in point - I was just called a cougar.)

9) Your "hide" button use is quite skillful to keep certain people from seeing certain posts. (Okay, fine, your default is to keep just a couple of miserable human beings who you don't have the courage to delete from tormenting you....)

10) You answer 90% of event invites with a "maybe" just to keep your options open, even though you know 80% is really more of a "probably not unless I'm really, really bored."

11) You create events like "Recognize Your Beauty" day.... events where people aren't actually supposed to go anywhere and do anything. Events just for the point of events?

12) You get depressed at the sight of the twitter "fail whale." Now how will you keep up with news?

13) You look over the list you just wrote for your blog and feel slightly smug that you haven't done all of these. Clearly that means I don't have a problem, right? ;)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday - February 2, 2011

Today is the type of day where it would be VERY easy to write a complainy blog-post. Instead, I'm participating in Jamie's "What I'm Loving Wednesday" bloghop. :)


1. That I made it to work safely despite the road conditions this morning...
(These are main roads, people. Main roads.)

2. It's my birthday month! :) Cue the celebrations, DSW coupons, etc. Got to love a birthday month. And on my DSW coupon, they featured the cutest pair of pink shoes that I MUST OWN!

3. Feeling better! As I mentioned last night, I'm finally mostly better from the plague that struck me the week of Christmas. I even was able to go to the gym earlier this week.

4. Target.com Last night I ordered a wedding shower gift and an organizer for my house - I got free shipping and don't have to brave the stores!

5. The Middle Eastern food that I am currently eating for lunch. I swear, I must be part Lebanese or something. If I wasn't already, if there is any truth to "you are what you eat" I totally am Lebanese now!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits! February 1, 2011

So, we are currently in the middle of (as the overly dramatic weathercasters have been calling it) "SNOWMAGEDDEON!!!!" or the "SNOWPOCALYPSE!!!" We are supposed to get a blizzard. So far, windy but no snow.

It's supposed to be so bad that my boss and I had the following conversation today (my boss who in the past has said there is no reason to be late for work in bad weather):
Me: So about tomorrow.....
Him: I'm taking these files home just in case I can't make it in tomorrow.
Me: What about the rest of us? I'll try to get here.
Him: Yeah. But if it's too bad, you should stay home.
Me: Ok.
Him: If it's only a normal storm, like 5, 6, or 8 inches, we should all be able to make it in. But if it's like 10 or 12 inches and still coming down and visibility is really bad, maybe we shouldn't.

So, I guess I may be getting a "snow day?" As an adult?
___________________________________________________________________________

In other news, it is February. As in, my birthday month. Yay! It should be an exciting month. Lots of plans already. One of those plans is a special visitor from Alabama. Yay!

__________________________________________________________________________

Yesterday, I was finally feeling healthy enough to try my new gym. :) Between the stomach troubles (which have gotten somewhat better) and then the cold/sinus infection/bronchitis/pleurisy, it had been about 2 months. And in that time, my old membership expired, but I had joined a new gym in pre-sale. But last night was my first time going. I didn't die. :) It actually wasn't as bad as I was expecting for my first time back after a long absence. I was going to go again tonight, but the blizzard scared me off. (The non-existant blizzard so far, but whatever!) Anyway, hoping to soon be back in major weight loss mode!
________________________________________________________________________

I'm also still in housecleaning mode. I got a lot done Saturday, but am in even further declutter mode right now. :)

Have a great week, everyone!