Thursday, December 30, 2010

Once Upon A Time...

Once upon a time…okay, a few weeks ago... December 8th to be exact, I went back to work.  Thankfully, it’s only part-time or I think I would die a thousand deaths.  I’m not being dramatic, that’s not how I roll.  I have really enjoyed going back to work.  I really enjoy the independence of being a working woman.  Nope, can’t do it.  I thought maybe I could lie to myself.  Turns out, I’m much too clever for that.  If you’re wondering why I haven’t enjoyed going back to work, it’s because of this:
And this...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go crawl in a corner somewhere and lament on how much she grows and changes in such a short time, and therefore how much I miss by being gone three days a week. 


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Blessed Three Months, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Today, my sweet baby girl is three months old.  I can’t believe how much she’s grown in that time.  I see her every day, and she sneaks it by me.  Then, one day, I wake up and wonder how she got so big! Watching her grow is bittersweet.  I’m sad to see how fast it’s going, but at the same time, it’s so much fun.  Also today, I went to see my doctor, because my body has been doing some abnormal things since I gave birth.  While I was in the exam room waiting, I heard a woman crying outside in the hallway.  I gathered from the bits of the conversation I was hearing that she had miscarried.  My heart ached for her, and I was reminded once again of how blessed I am.  Dean and I have marveled at how blessed, and how fortunate we’ve been in the last few months.  I can think of a few acquaintances whose babies were born around the same time as Dinah, and more than one of them had extended hospital stays or even losses.  I’m so blessed and so thankful to have a sweet, HEALTHY baby girl. 
I’ve heard the Christmas story every year since I can remember.  I’ve heard it in many ways, whether it be simply the words from the Bible, or a song, or a play.  This year, I see it differently than ever before.  The sermon Sunday morning was over Luke 2, but instead of focusing on just the birth of Jesus, we read farther through the dedication of the baby Jesus at the temple.  Luke 2:34-35 stood out to me, it says :  Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”  As I thought about that passage, I thought of it from the perspective of Mary, of a mother.  How much joy and sadness she must’ve felt.  And, I thought of it from the perspective of an ordinary woman.  This Christmas, I’m reminded of how blessed I truly am.  As my mother put it this morning, a baby changes things.  My own baby has changed my life forever.  That baby, Jesus, has changed my life even more, and eternally, along with the lives of every other human who accepts Him for who He is. 

And, since I likely will not take the time to post anything for a few days, I pray you all have a Merry Christmas, and that God will richly bless you this year. 
(Sorry the pic is a little blurry.  That’s what happens when you snap a picture on the fly, using a camera on a Stone Age phone, with a subject that is never still. )

Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh, Christmas Tree!

I love my Christmas tree.  It’s big, and pretty, and it was the gift that Dean and I gave each other for our first Christmas.  It makes me happy.  Last year, it had to stay in storage because we lived in a travel trailer while we built our house.  Oh, but this year, the house is finished enough to put it up…and unfinished enough that we still have room for it.  To cut back on cost of decorations, we picked up pinecones at our apartment complex that first Christmas, sprinkled them with glitter, and hung them on the tree.  I still love it, even three years later. 
I snapped a picture with my stone-age camera, so it’s not the best quality.  It’s hard enough to get a good picture of a Christmas tree with a good camera.   
And, the best part of our Christmas tree this year is that Dinah loves to look at it. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sometimes Dreams Do Collide

I had big dreams once.  I guess we all do.  My idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up changed a little over time, but mostly it stayed the same.  When I was three, I wanted to be a paramedic.  This was largely connected to the fact that my favorite TV show, aside from Smurfs, was Emergency.  In first grade, I said I wanted to be a Truck Driver, probably because that’s what my big brother wanted to be when he grew up.  Mostly throughout childhood, I wanted to sing country music, or just sing really.  If we’re being completely honest, that idea has always remained in the back of my mind.  When I graduated high school, I was going to be a surgeon or a pediatrician, and live in Montana on a horse ranch.  After a couple of semesters of college, I realized that dream didn’t sound nearly as appealing.  I was fascinated with medicine, but hated chemistry, and Montana was, well IS, much too cold for my taste.  My college career from that point on was one of uncertainty.  I just really didn’t know what I wanted to do.  In all that time, one thing never crossed my mind: Stay-at-home Mom.  I wanted to get married, and I didn’t rule out the possibility of kids, but that’s as far as it went.  I thought women who wanted to stay home had no ambition.  Over the last few years, God has changed my heart and my view on this.  At this point, I still have some dreams for my future, but I know they need to be molded some more.   My dream for this moment in time is to stay at home with my precious daughter.  I realize now how important that is.  Last week, after 11 weeks at home, I went back to work.  I’m only working on a part-time basis.  It’s all I had the heart for, and I couldn’t, nor did I want to afford daycare.  I felt in my heart of hearts, that God did not give me a child for someone else to raise.  He entrusted her to me.  So, until I can afford to stay home with her all the time, I am working three days a week.  My mother is driving down each week to stay with Dinah while I work, and going home again on weekends.
And, I still have big dreams. 

What are yours?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Introducing...

At long last, I have the time and resources to introduce the newest addition to our family:


Meet Dinah Clare.  
And, it only took me eleven weeks.  Since the start of my blogging hiatus, everything…and nothing, has changed.  In an instant, I went from a young married woman, to a mother.  It’s still kind of surreal sometimes, but really it wasn’t as much of an adjustment as I thought it might be.  It really did change in an instant.  I guess my instincts kicked in.  I’ve had a lot to learn and figure out over the past several weeks, but it has been a blast.  Who knew a baby who mostly eats and sleeps could be so much fun?  She’s getting older now, though, and even more fun.  I love that she has started smiling and cooing.  I love every second with her. 
For the duration of my pregnancy, I’ve kept up with two blogs.  Now that it’s over, I think it’s time for a consolidation.  My focus has changed a little over the last several months, so I’m directing the blog to reflect that. 
Take the journey with me…

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Things I've Learned...

In light of the fact that tomorrow is my baby's 3 Week birthday, here are some things I've learned about her...well, I'm going to call it a birthday, but don't worry I don't give her cake to celebrate.  In fact, I don't even give myself cake to celebrate...but now that the idea has crossed my mind, I'm going to make myself some cookies for the occasion.  That is, if I ever get the chance in the midst of caring for a 3-week-old baby. 

Anyway, here are some things I've learned about my precious child:

 1. She has a new hobby.  It involves being perfectly content with life, until I decide to eat lunch. She likes to see how long she can postpone my nourishment, and she is quite proficient at it.
 2. I love her. I suppose I knew this would happen, but I didn't entirely understand it.  I mean, I love everything about her.  I love her pitiful little whimper, her facial expressoins (especially when she raises one eyebrow), her little fingers and toes, her soft head, how much she looks like her daddy...you get the idea.
 3. When she hiccups, it sounds like a squeak toy.
 4. She sometimes curls up on my lap and goes to sleep with her head resting on her hand and on her foot at the same time.
 5. She LOVES her Daddy.  More than anything. Seriously. Not fair.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ma Familia: Daddy Dearest

Last week, I had all intentions of continuing with my spotlights on family, and writing about my dad. It didn’t happen. I started to a few times, but couldn’t quite find the right words. It’s a hard topic for me. I love my dad, but talking about him is a source of great hurt for me. I’ve always thought he was one of the best people I’ve ever known. I still think that. I was daddy’s little girl, and that relationship has helped shape the person I am today. I have some great memories of my Dad. What’s the problem then, right?


The problem is that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when I was very young. The problem is that I was stuck watching one of the most important people in my life to suffer, unable to do a thing about it. It’s heartbreaking. It’s something I’ve struggled with talking about for a very long time. Even now, I’ve been married for three years, and have a friend that I can share absolutely anything and everything with, and I find it hard to talk about that topic. In a way, his health has changed the way I think of him. Sure, I remember the good things, the great times, the things he taught me. But, then I remember what it’s done to my family, and how it’s shaped my life, and what I’ve missed out on, and what I used to have. So often, I think of something I wish I could call and ask my dad about, or I wish he could come visit me or help with our house. And now, I think about my relationship with my grandpas, how wonderful a grandpa my dad would’ve made, and how much my daughter will miss out on. I find a little comfort in knowing that she will at least have one Grandpa who loves her as much as we do, who plays with her, who supports her, and who encourages her.

Just like I wish my husband could’ve known my Dad when he was well. I know I’ll wish the same for my daughter. She would’ve stood on his feet as they danced in the living room. He would’ve told her jokes, taught her to whistle, teased her and made her laugh. He would have taught her about honesty, and love, and family. He would’ve told her how pretty she was, how talented she was, and how much worth she had, to God and to us. He would’ve helped shape her in the ways he helped shape me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

I’ve spotlighted several of my family members over the past several months. I didn’t really plan it that way, but once I started; I felt it had to be continued. It all started with my Grandpa last October around his 90th birthday. Since then, I’ve talked about my Mother, my older brother, my younger brother, my other Grandpa, and one of my Grandmothers. Today, because I haven’t honored her yet, and because it’s her birthday, I feel it appropriate to mention my Grandma, Jane. She is my youngest grandparent (at age 82 as of today), married to my oldest Grandpa at nine years his junior, and is the mother of four daughters, including, of course, my own mother. I fully expect this description to be a gross understatement and underestimate of the great qualities my grandmother possesses, simply because the preceding family spotlights have all been such. It seems I just don’t have the time, or the space, and probably not the words to adequately describe the character of these people.


My Grandmother grew up in the country, in the midst of the Great Depression, with the stock market crash occurring around her first birthday. Her family taught her to work hard, and it’s a lesson she learned well. She went from working on her family’s farm on an Oklahoma river bottom, to getting married at age 17, to raising four little girls in a tiny, drafty house. Her later life, in which I’ve known her, has looked much different. I am the seventh of ten grandchildren. In my lifetime, she has been a school cook, home gardener, bait shop co-owner, daughter, sister, mother, aunt, wife, grandmother, and great-grandmother. As a cook, she worked tirelessly to make sure the kids she served were fed nutritious, well-balanced meals while they were at school. School lunches have changed dramatically since her career as head-cook, but that’s another story.

As a mother, she kept her children clothed, fed, clean and safe. As a grandmother, she has done everything possible to keep me clothed, fed, and safe. She didn’t play games with me, like my other Grandma. Instead, she carved out cucumbers to make me a sailboat, provided old sheets for me to make tents in her living room, and she took me fishing. She has worked tirelessly her entire life to care for her family, and she still does so today. Today, she’s 82 and has a husband who is almost 91, children ranging from 57-62, grandchildren ranging from 22-41, and great-grandchildren ranging from 0-16. And she still, to this day, in some way, on any given day, does something to take care of one of them. I’m thankful for my grandma. I could never convey the extent to which she’s shaped my life, and I pray that I will love my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren the way she has loved hers.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Countdown...T-minus 23 days...or LESS

Can I ask you a very important question? WHERE did the month of August go? I’ve noticed the older I get, the faster time seems to go. This is getting ridiculous, though. I have this sneaky suspicion that a baby is only going to speed things up even more. The merry-go-round just keeps spinning faster. It’s only a matter of time until the dizziness gets to be too much, and I throw up all over any innocent bystanders. There’s also a distinct possibility that I have too much imagination for my own good.


I’ve spent the past eight and a half months going back and forth between excitement and panic. I’ve really enjoyed the past three years of married life, just the two of us. What have we gotten ourselves into? By now, my mind has started to calm and I’m getting anxious for the next step. I keep thinking about the day when I’ll call into work, and say I’m not coming. God has really changed my heart. I’m finally ready. I’m not ready in the sense that we still have no kitchen sink, and the living room is still a construction zone. But, in my heart, I’m ready for what lies ahead. It’s a good thing too, because it’s all going to break loose in the next three weeks.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ma Familia: Mother, Dear

Empty nest = Bubba the Bulldog
The picture doesn't do her justice, but I love it because it's her and Bubba, who thinks he's her child. 

Have I mentioned lately that I think I’m growing up? The fact that I am married and about to have a baby is probably a pretty indication to most people. It’s more than that, though, and it started long before the baby. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a change in my head and my heart. I love my mother, of course. I always have. The difference is, now that I’m older, I appreciate my mother. They’re easy to take for granted, I think. You get so used to relying on her that you don’t realize how much you do. This change of heart all started right around my senior year of high school, but it has grown more and more ever since. That year, my great-grandmother passed away. The day of her funeral, my Grandma told me, “When you lose your Mom, you lose your best friend.” I never forgot that. Partly, because my Grandma and Great-Grandma never seemed that close.


Since then, I’ve grown to understand more and more what she meant. My mother wasn’t a perfect parent. She’s a little kooky, and sometimes her words and actions make no sense at all to me. Some days she downright drives me crazy. It’s taken me years to truly understand how much she loves my brothers and me. She would do absolutely anything for us. She has always made sure our needs were taken care of before her own. For years, I thought that’s how it was supposed to be, and it was. What I didn’t realize was that not all mothers saw it that way. We got new clothes when we needed them. She never bought anything new for herself. If she needed something, she went to Goodwill. Of course, she shopped at Goodwill for our clothes sometimes too, but we got new things if we needed them. Since I’ve been married, I’ve noticed keeping in touch and visiting people is harder. Dean and I sometimes feel like we do all the visiting, and that no one comes to see us. The exception to the rule is my mother. She doesn’t have to have an excuse to come, or someone else to see while she’s at it. It’s time to move? Mom is coming to help where she can. People are coming over to help weld up the steel frame on our house? Mom is there to make everyone lunch. She stands out, because when others aren’t, Mom is there.

When the baby comes, Mom will be there. I just have to convince her that she doesn’t have to listen to Grandma and stay for two months. Because, when baby comes, she’s not the only one who will be there!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Four Seasons

No, not those four seasons...

All seasons were not created equal, at least not this year. I know that technically, each season lasts three months.

It never feels like it to me, though. It feels like winter long before December 21st, it feels like summer before June 21st, and sometimes it doesn’t feel quite like spring on March 20th. The past year has felt particularly off to me. In my little world, winter lasted far longer than three months. No, it seemed more like six months of winter. Spring lasted for about three weeks. And now, summer will soon be drawing to a close. It’s no secret that I despise, with every fiber of my being, the winter season. Even though I’ve spent the end of my pregnancy in the heat of summer, and it’s been a hot summer, I am still not ready for winter. I will enjoy the fall weather this year, probably more than usual. But, it still feels like a time of mourning. While most people are welcoming cooler days, snuggling up and enjoying hot chocolate, and enjoying the wonder and beauty of autumn leaves, I will be in mourning. I will admit that the various shades of red, yellow and orange leaves are pretty, but that’s as far as it goes. Falling leaves, to me, do not seem magical. I see the beautiful green foliage and life of spring and summer withering and dying, and falling to the ground to be trampled underfoot. It just serves as a reminder of what is to come: winter. A time when everything is dead, and cold, and my mood teeters on the borderline of depression. This year, I pray for a warmer winter. I don’t want my tiny little girl cold, after all. And if it is as cold as last year, I hope I’m too enveloped in love for our new little life that I don’t even notice. In the meantime, I’m going to soak up what’s left of the warm weather every chance I get.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I Learned it From my Brother

I’ve learned a lot from my brothers over the years. I’ve learned some useful things, and I’ve learned some useless things. Today, once again, I’ve learned something from my brothers. I’ve been doing a Bible study on 1 Peter for the last couple weeks. Today’s focus was on 1 Peter 3:8-12. God used my brothers to teach me an important lesson, without them even being here.


1 Peter 3:8 says, “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, loves as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” (NIV) These aren’t new commands. I’ve known for years that I should love others, be sympathetic, compassionate and humble. But, today, something clicked when I read, “love as brothers.” I love my brothers more than I could ever explain. Sharing the same parents produces a different bond than I have with any other people on earth. There have been plenty of times that they’ve annoyed, aggravated or just plain angered me, maybe more than anyone else I know. But, even in those moments, I want good things for them. I want them to be loved, blessed, happy, successful, and fortunate. I go out of my way to love them and serve them. Sure, there have been times in my life when they asked me to do something and I said, “No. Do it yourself.” It’s easier to say that to them than it is anyone else. There have also been times when they walked in the door at 11pm, and said “I’m hungry. Will you make me some French toast?” And, I figured out how to make it, even though I’d never made it before and even though it was 11pm and I’m not a night owl.

I’m grateful for my brothers for a lot of reasons. Today, I’m grateful for them, because I don’t think I would have quite grasped this lesson if not for them. When I read the words “love as brothers” it hit me. As a child of God, I have many brothers and many sisters. I’m called to love them. But, more than that, I’m called to love them as I love my brothers. I’m supposed to love them more than myself, I’m supposed to live in harmony with them, be patient, kind, sympathetic, compassionate, honest, do good to them, and to pursue peace with them. I’m supposed to go out of my way to love and serve them, just like I would for the siblings that share my earthly mother and father.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Little Advice

Never take your kitchen for granted.


I think I’ve taken my kitchens for granted in the past. I always knew I needed a kitchen, but it was never the most exciting room in the house. You don’t adorn it with cute lamps, or pretty comforters, or soft pillows. You just stuff the pots and pans in the cabinets. Sure, pots and pans are useful, but they’re just not cute. And, let’s face it, life is all about cute. Isn’t it?

If you’ve been around me in the last year (or technically 11 ½ months) you’ve heard me moan and groan about life in a construction zone, stupid campers, and the lack of a kitchen. I’m not generally much of a complainer, but this last year has taken its toll. I’ve learned a lot, though. For example, I’ve learned that in any future home-building adventures, I would prefer my role to me more along the lines of homeowner. I say what I want, and someone else does it…in a somewhat timely manner.

I realize that some of these trials have served to make me more grateful. It’s working too. I get excited about each completed step. I get excited over things I never imagined. We bought a water heater, I got excited. We put in a washer/dryer hookup, I got excited. That brings me back to the kitchen. After spending almost a year with an electric skillet & crock pot to cook in, and a tiny cube of a fridge, our eating habits had gone to pot. Eating out is not a luxury to me anymore. Maybe someday, but for now, all I want is to be able to buy the food I’ll use in a week, and store it in the fridge. Then, when I’m ready to cook it, I want to be able to prepare it, stick it in the oven, and pull out a warm, home-cooked meal.

A few weeks ago, we got our fridge and have been using it. I can’t tell you how much difference having a full-size fridge has made in our cooking/eating habits. And then, last night, it happened. We were able to get our oven out of storage, and hook it up. Oh what a beautiful sight an oven is. I’m pretty sure the clouds parted, the heavens began to sing, and an angel kissed me on the cheek as I stood back to admire it.

(Once again, excuse the quality of the pic taken on my phone.)
And tonight, I can finally start to provide my little family with the nutrition we all need. I’ll feel like a better mother as I bite into baked fish, rather than hamburger helper, knowing my poor baby is finally getting the nutrition she needs…eight months into pregnancy. Now, if I can just wait another week and a half until our countertops come in, and I have a kitchen sink.  I’ll never take my kitchen for granted again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Dear, Sweet Grandma

I think I’ve made it clear by now how great an impact my grandparents have all had on my life. They each contributed something different and unique, and helped to shape me into the person I am today. In my own life, grandparents have provided a unique friendship that I know I’ll never share with anyone else. I will never be able to convey the extent to which they’ve shaped me, and the things they’ve taught me. I doubt I even know the extent myself.


Since I have spotlighted my Grandpas (even though I feel I didn’t do them justice), it only seems fair to continue on with my Grandmothers as well. I didn’t plan it this way, but so far I’ve gone from oldest to youngest, so I might as well keep the trend.

Without further adieu, allow me to introduce Grandma G.
Smallest in stature, and by far the meekest, she tried so hard to be fair and just with everyone. She was soft spoken, and sweet. My younger brother will tell you she was the sweetest woman on earth. My Grandpa once told me, “I met one angel in my life, and I married her.” She was a fabulous cook, and kept her house perfect. In fact, she strived to make everything she touched perfect. She made us fun summer treats, bought us the cookies and cereal that Mom always said was too expensive, and she played games and did puzzles with us. The fact that she took the time to do puzzles and play games, spoke to my young heart like nothing else she could have done. But, most importantly, she reflected Christ in her everyday actions and taught me the importance of a relationship with Him. When I was a young child, she was my Sunday school teacher. When I got a little older, anytime my parents didn’t get around in time for church or weren’t going for some reason, I picked up the phone and called Grandma to come get me and take me with her. And, of course, she happily obliged. I will never forget what it was like to walk into Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Their smiles & greetings were unmistakable. They were both genuinely happy to see me. At Grandma’s house, I belonged. No matter what was going on in my little world, I was safe and loved, supported and encouraged, when I was at Grandma’s.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Construction

Our kitchen is quickly becoming my favorite room in the house. It could be that I just really like seeing the progress. It could be that I love the light fixtures, and that it is so well-lit. It could be that I love the way the color of the cabinets look with the walls. It took us awhile to decide what to do with the kitchen/living room walls. Then, it occurred to me that I picked the bedroom color, and I picked the bathroom color. So, I stepped back, and let Dean pick. I was sort of leery of his choice of an orangey-red, but I went along with it. It’s turned out quite nicely. Then again, it could just be the fact that I’m getting so close to having a completed kitchen, when I haven’t had a full kitchen in almost A YEAR. A word of advice: Try, at all costs, not to go that long without a kitchen. It is ridiculous. It’s torturous. It’s depressing. Just don’t do it, okay? Trust me on this. Life is better when you have a kitchen.
It’s going to be small, but I’ve lived in apartments, I’ve done small. It will have less counter space than I’ve had in the past (except for the past year), but more cabinet space. Cabinets are good. Cabinets are very good.


*Please excuse the white spots on the wall. This is what happens when we hire someone else to do something. Dean decides it needs adjustment (in this case, the sheetrock needed touched up) and ends up fixing their work anyway. The same thing happened with the septic lines. We paid someone to put them in. We dug them up, and changed the slope, because it wasn’t up to code. At least I know I will never live in a poorly built house. We have yet to touch up the paint where he touched up the sheetrock.

**It still lacks the stove, flooring, and countertops.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I Have Issues

My brain is programmed to pick up grammatical errors. Have I ever told you that before? I’ve noticed this about myself more since I’ve been at my current job than I ever did before. In fact, in December/January it had gotten to the point that I was actually talking to an advisor at OU about going back for my Masters to go into editing. And then, I peed on a stick, a plus sign appeared, and everything was put on hold. But, this is what happens in my brain:

actual excerpt: “Once this was done, they’re product would work…”

my brain: “Once this was done, they’re product would work…”

See what I mean? Issues! Why I can’t just ignore it and go on about my day, I don’t know. I’m an editor for our company newsletter, and on my rotation, I take the liberty to correct grammatical errors in articles I’ve been sent. I take the term “editor” to heart. It’s very gratifying. But, under normal circumstances, as is the case with the excerpt above, my job is not to worry with the grammatical errors in an email I got. My concern is supposed to be the malfunctioning product to which the email is referring.

I’m not saying I never make mistakes, or that I can spell every word in the English language, but I notice things…a lot. When I don’t remember how a word is spelled, I’m aware of that fact, and I look it up. I very rarely use spell check. I’m very arrogant about it. I don’t come right out and tell people I don’t use spell check, aside from this very moment in the midst of my confession. It’s more of a quiet arrogance when I see the check mark icon, and think to myself, “I don’t need you, spell check. You never find anything anyway.” I wanted my final paper in college to be perfect, so I took it to the library to have someone look it over and proofread it for me. They sent me home with some corrections, and instead of believing they were right and I was wrong, I got a second opinion. The proofreader was an English major, and I was not. It is very unlike me not to question myself or my abilities, but I couldn’t believe I’d make that many mistakes. So, I got my mother the English teacher’s opinion. I was right in all but a couple of the instances. As further proof, my grade on that paper was very high. It is literally the one ability of mine in which I don’t question myself.

Monday, August 2, 2010

If I Have to Jump, Then I'll Jump...

There is a time, when you have to be a grown up and resign yourself to do what you don’t want to do. I don’t like those times. I imagine no one does.


There is a time when you have to compromise. You give up part of what you want to gain another part. It’s a learned art, but productive.

There is a time when you step up to the edge of the road, and see nothing before you but a deep canyon with no way across. And, you have to jump off, with no parachute, and trust God that instead of plunging to the hard, dusty ground, you’ll somehow soar. It’s the hardest to do, but sometimes turns out more rewarding than any other option.

This is the crossroads at which my husband and I have found ourselves:

Do I continue to work full-time at a job I hate, leave my baby with someone else and bring home no money after paying for insurance and childcare? I have only 8 more weeks and still have not toured any daycares or gotten on any waiting lists, because I really don’t want this option. I’ve been praying against it from the beginning. I told myself I was praying God’s will and trusting in his provision. Maybe I was. And, maybe I was being stubborn.

Do I find a way to work part-time, still make no money, have to get an individual insurance plan which is often more expensive and not as good, but at least spend part of the week at home?

Or, do I jump out in faith, even though there is no guarantee Dean’s job can support us, and quit altogether?

We’ve been struggling for some time with this decision. We kept hoping and praying that Dean’s job would pick up enough that we could afford for me to quit. It has picked up, or it looks that way, but there is absolutely no guarantee of anything. Then, on Friday, we happened to have our radios tuned to the same station at the same time. The Christian station was having a pledge drive, and encouraging people to exercise their faith. This was the first time for each of us to come up with the idea: maybe we just need to jump, even though we can’t see what’s in front of us, and trust God to provide.

I’ve made leaps of faith before, but never of this magnitude. Please pray that we will be sensitive to God’s direction, and obedient to His will.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Grandpa

Last October, when my Grandpa turned 90, I wrote a post about him. It only seemed right. Well, now it only seems fair to feature my other Grandpa. I plan to focus on my Grandmothers at some point as well. As a child, I thought everyone loved their grandparents. I thought everyone was close to their grandparents. And, I thought every grandparent thought their grandchildren had hung the moon. That’s how it was in my world, so I believed that was how it was in the rest of the world. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that wasn’t true. I still find it sad.


Grandparents, for me, were four of the most important relationships I would ever have. They had a direct influence on molding me into an adult. My mother has often said she loved that they loved her kids as much as she did. She particularly said that about my Grandpa Jack, her father-in-law.

I love all of my Grandparents, but I was closest to Grandpa Jack. It was as if his sole mission was to make me laugh, and oh, did he ever do that job well. In turn, my main goal when he was around was to make him laugh. He spent hours playing with us, and making toys for us. He took an old lawn mower, and took the blades off so we could ride it. He made a playhouse and kept in his yard. He made us stilts, and toys like he would have played with as a kid. He told us stories, made funny faces, and taught us things. There was never a doubt that he loved us, and supported us, and was proud of us.

He gave us an example of how to live. We saw him read his Bible, and we prayed with him. We saw the way he loved his family, and the way he treated others. The only times I remember deliberately disobeying my parents as a child were when I wanted to see my Grandpa and nothing was going to stop me. The most trouble I ever got in was for walking to my Grandparents house (I was a little young to be walking that far, and I took my little brother along) after my mother had said, “No.”

He died when I was 17, and I was heartbroken. That was almost 10 years ago, and still remains the worst day of my life, to date. It wasn’t bad because I was worried about him. I knew in my heart I would see him again. It was bad because I couldn’t stand the thought of the rest of my life without him. I still think about him every single day. It wasn’t until after he was gone that I realized he was my best friend.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Look Back: The Honeymoon

Since Tuesday was my anniversary, I have still been in memory mode. My wedding/honeymoon is probably my favorite memory to look back on and remember. It was so much fun. So happy and perfect…*sigh


Anyway, 3 years ago today, I was still on my honeymoon. We scheduled a sailing excursion, but it was cancelled due to weather (twice). We went to an aquarium, which I kind of thought might be a little dull, but it was actually really interesting. We checked out all the local shops. We visited the beach pretty much every day. Why wouldn’t we? It was right across the street! And, we ate Cold Stone every day. No kidding. How did I not feel guilty about that? We didn’t eat out much. We cooked in the little kitchen in our tiny cottage. We had plenty of time to just hang out and enjoy each other’s company.

This is where we stayed… We loved it.

The Crescent

screened porch, in case we didn't want to sit in the yard

The afternoon of our wedding, we saw the family off and came directly back to this couch for a nap!

Where we ate most of our meals

I love king size beds.  I always sleep well in a king size.  (There was no TV in the room when we stayed there, just the one in the living room)

Thanks for letting me reminisce and share my memories with you! 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Anniversary

Three years ago…
At 8:30am Eastern Time, I walked onto a beach of soft, white sand. It was slightly overcast that morning, which provided the perfect light to bring out the colors and contrasts of God’s beautiful creation. It was more beautiful that morning than any other day that week. Pictures couldn’t capture the beauty we beheld that day.

With a bouquet of white daisies and yellow roses, and a few white orchids in my hair, I made my way to the water’s edge, where the man God had made just for me was waiting. There, we stood together in the warm ocean, with a few family and friends gathered around, and listened to the preacher talk about leaving our families and cleaving to each other. It was a simple ceremony, just like we’d wanted it. We didn’t want any tradition or extravagance to take away from the focus that day: the commitment we were making to each other and to God.

I couldn’t have asked for a happier, more beautiful day. It truly was the happiest day of my life. I love to look back on that day, and the wonderful week that followed. We spent time shopping, eating, resting, learning, exploring. And, we spent a lot of time on that same beach, talking and laughing and enjoying each other.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Untitled

She filled her special cup with the company logo with ice water, and sat down at her desk. What she really wanted was a grande non-fat vanilla/hazelnut latte from starbucks. She buried herself in work, trying to ignore the fact that she’d awakened an hour and a half early that morning and hadn’t been able to go back to sleep. Being that she was seven months pregnant, lack of sleep was not something she could easily ignore. The news she’d received the day before still stuck in her head. It wasn’t something that was going to be forgotten anytime soon, or ever. It wasn’t shocking news. She’d known it was coming. It was twenty three years in the making, after all, and she was only twenty seven. It felt, at that moment, as if her whole life had led up to this. She was sad. She was always sad when she thought about this, and the fact that she couldn’t fix it. But she didn’t cry. Not even her raging pregnancy hormones made her cry. She was used to not being able to fix it. It hurt, though. A little piece of her heart longed to tell someone. The rest of her wanted to bury it. She had, on very few occasions, talked to people about this topic. It wasn’t easy for her to talk about. For some reason, she felt like she should be used to the way things were. She felt that way today, too. Today, though, it was different. It was more final, though still unknown. She felt like stone, strong and cold, but at the same time, she felt weak. She heard the rumble of thunder outside her office building, and it seemed to shake her to her core. Rain seemed appropriate at that moment. Six months. She didn’t know what to do with this information. She wanted to go back and change things. She had wanted that for as long as she could remember. She had wondered how it would end, but now that the end was nearer, she wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening. The prediction could be wrong, after all. There was a discrepancy in some of the information leading to this prediction. But, she knew in her heart, it didn’t change anything. It might change the timeline, but the timeline was just an educated guess to begin with. The fact remained. Her sweet Daddy, who let her dance on his feet as a little girl and told her how pretty and special she was, who made her smile and molded her into the woman she was today, who she had helplessly watched suffer for so long, was dying.
To be continued...

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Secular Workplace

In the business world, you often give special treatment to those who are well off. Ford Motor Company giving free vehicles to Toby Keith comes to mind. And, I’ve always thought it was backwards. I’ve seen it in my own job too. I work with business owners, and there are certain customers that I am required to “baby” more than the others. Never mind that they don’t do most of their business with us, the fact that they are a big business with lots of revenue means they could benefit us, so we want to keep them happy. I use “we” very loosely there. Although I am expected to give them special treatment, I don’t always do it, unless specifically instructed. I feel like it’s my job to provide them with good service, but that goes for all of my customers. I don’t like treating them any different than anyone else.
The expectation that I will treat them differently has bothered me more today. Maybe I’m in a bad mood. Maybe working a job I don’t particularly enjoy for over a 1 ¾ years is getting to me. Maybe it’s the longing to quit and stay home with the baby on the way. Whatever it is, when I got a call from one such customer today, and they expected special treatment, to the point of not even being friendly to me anymore, it really got to me. I immediately thought of James 2:1-4, which says “
My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.  If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

I know, working in a secular occupation, it is sometimes hard to find a balance. For me, today, it just reinforces the thought that this is not what I’m called to do. Please pray that God will provide a way for me to stay home with the baby, and give me clear direction from there.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ma Familia. Part 2: The Baby Brother

As I have previously talked about, I really enjoyed growing up with brothers. I always longed for a sister, but I wouldn’t trade my brothers for the world. I recently talked about my older brother. So, it’s only fair that I devote the same attention to my baby brother. Never mind that the “baby” brother is 23 ½ years old, I’ll call him what I want.


He’s younger than me, so he didn’t teach me things or take care of me. No, in many cases, it was the opposite. I took it upon myself to look out for him. We are a little bit closer in age than my older brother and me. So, we spent a lot of our childhood together. We built forts together, made tents out of bed sheets together; climbed trees together, went places together, and used our imaginations together. And now, he lives about half an hour away from me (because I convinced him to move away from all that he knew, and locate closer to me), and he works with my husband. He has been invaluable in the construction of our house. We need help. I call Asa. Help arrives. I can call him at 9pm, and he’ll be there to pull wire, despite the fact that he has to work the next morning. He does it because we’re family, and that’s the way we were raised to treat family. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve learned that all families are not like that. I’ve seen it firsthand, but it’s still hard for me to grasp.

And as much as he is like my brother Josh, he is completely different. He isn’t mechanical. He doesn’t know how to operate every piece of equipment he’s ever come in contact with. But, he can tell you more about animals than you’ll ever learn at a zoo. He knows what snake is most poisonous, and what kinds live where. He can tell you what a serval cat is, and what they were famous for in history, and even what they are like in person. When we were kids, he had a subscription to ZooBooks magazine. He kept every issue, and read and re-read each one. And he still does. He is as much of an animal lover as I have ever seen. I can easily picture him as a park ranger at Yellowstone, or a National Geographic Photographer.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Addiction

I occasionally visit the pioneer woman’s website. Today, as I read the title of one post, my heart skipped a beat. It said “Berries for the Fourth.” My mind danced with visions of blackberries. And, sure enough, what I found was several recipes for blackberries. I’ve always loved them, but this year, I love them even more. Maybe more than is healthy. Being pregnant has put my taste for fruit in overdrive. I might have to go to blackberry rehab. I’ve also recently discovered self-serve frozen yogurt shops. I had read about one in Texas a few months ago, and then I noticed about 3 cropped up in our city shortly after. It wasn’t until recently that I walked through the door of one. And now, I’m hooked. I blame it on the fact that of the topping choices, they had lots of fruit, including… Yep, that’s right, BLACKBERRIES. I’ve decided that I’d never take off work if they would pay me in blackberries. I wonder if I could ever get tired of them. This might just be the year I find out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ma Familia. Part 1: Oh, Brother

It is my belief that everyone should have a brother. It is also my belief that everyone should have a sister, but I am not the ideal advocate for that, considering I don’t have a biological sister. I have some pretty awesome sisters-in-law, though. From the time I was a child, it has made me a little sad to hear someone say “I’m an only child.” I realize it is possible to grow up with no siblings and turn out to be a happy, well-rounded individual. It’s just impossible for me to truly grasp. I also believe that every girl needs an older brother. I have come to terms with the fact that my girl won’t have one. I’m actually ok with it. I must be growing up. Or it may have something to do with the fact that I am not usually one to worry about things I can’t change.


Whatever the case, I am glad to have had an older brother myself. He taught me things. He took up for me. He took care of me. And, he still does.
Until I transferred to a different college, and moved 2 ½ hours away, I never once paid for auto parts or repair. Labor was never a question, and parts always somehow ended up being a birthday gift, even if my birthday was 8 months away. And best of all, he is a really good mechanic. I’ve never had a car problem that he couldn’t figure out and fix. (In fact, my car is sitting at his house at this very moment.) He’s not just a good mechanic, though. He’s also great with heavy equipment. The guy can drive absolutely anything. And, over the years, I’ve watched him grow into an upright, God-fearing man. He’s a lot like my Dad, and my Grandpa. And, like my Dad and my Grandpa, he’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had. It makes me happy to think my baby girl will grow up having an “Uncle Josh.” I know he’ll be wonderful in that role, and I am anxious to witness it.


Stay tuned for thoughts on my baby brother.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Obsession

There are a few things in life (mainly food items) that I sometimes get hooked on and can’t stop. I go through a period where I eat it often, and then it wears off and I go back to normal life. I don’t eat it for awhile, or don’t eat much of it, until it once again hits me and I start the cycle all over again. It’s been known to happen with Peanut Butter, Sunflower seeds, Twizzlers and there are probably others. Some of them I’m completely aware of the cycle, I just don’t know when it will hit (i.e. peanut butter). Some of them, I am aware that I like, or rather love, but I forget about the obsession until it crops up. And that is what happened to me this week.
My sweet co-worker offered me a couple Twizzlers. And then it happened. I thought about Twizzlers for the rest of the day. I thought about them all day the next day. And then, I bought some. I put them in my desk drawer. And now, every couple of hours, they call to me. It took me 4 work days to eat the whole bag.


It’s awful…or wonderful. Or maybe it’s both.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Sweetest Thing

That husband of mine, he’s a pretty sweet guy. I am continually aware of that fact. It’s usually pretty hard to overlook. That’s why I was bothered in Sunday school a couple weeks ago.


Our lesson was on marriage. So, each couple was asked a series of questions about their spouse. One of the questions was something along the lines of “What’s the sweetest thing your spouse has ever done for you?” He immediately began writing his answer, and I couldn’t for the life of me think of a good example. I knew there were plenty, but I just couldn’t think of one. I blame pregnancy. It’s done awful things to my brain.

Since then, I’ve felt a little bad for not having shared any good examples of how sweet he can be. It especially bothered me, because I knew there should be plenty to choose from, and yet there I sat with the perfect opportunity to brag on him and I couldn’t think of a thing!

So, today, I’ll share with you a few examples of the sweet nature of my hubby.

• While we were dating in college, he spent a semester in his hometown working, which was about 5 hours away from me. I hated it. Except for the long phone conversations at night.

He would often drive down to take me on a special date, and on one particular occasion sent me flowers at work before he came with a note that simply said, “Can’t wait to see you on Saturday.” I have never forgotten that…or the butterflies I felt.

• Also during that semester, my best friend came back to the states to visit family. She and her husband were missionaries in Poland at the time. I had made plans to drive 11 hours to her mother-in-law’s house in Illinois to visit. Dean drove the 5 hours to get to me, just to get back in the car and drive another 11 hours because he didn’t want me to make such a long trip alone.

• In the (almost) 3 years we’ve been married, I’ve only scraped ice off my car one or two times. He always scrapes my windows before he leaves for work. He’s even stopped by my work during ice storms (on more than one occasion) to scrape my windows before I got off.

• Just this week, he planted a couple rose bushes next to our house, because he wanted to make it feel more like a home for me. (It’s still under construction inside and out and not very homey).

I could list many more, but I’ll spare you. At least now I can now rest easy knowing I didn’t let his efforts and sweet thoughts go without recognition. He really is amazing. Have I mentioned lately that I love him? Because, I do…I love him A LOT.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Few of My Favorite…And Least Favorite Things: Home Edition

I have learned that, in construction, nothing ever goes as planned. I have also learned that it strains your marriage, and your patience. I’ve heard that building a house will test a marriage, and that is from people who have sub-contractors do the actual work. Doing the work yourself is a whole new ballgame. And, as many delays as you have when having a house built, you encounter so many more when you do the work yourself and only have evenings after a full day of work, and weekends. This results in being physically exhausted and emotionally drained. Add to the mix a 5th wheel with many problems, no A/C or heat. Then, when you think you’ve had enough, add a pregnancy. This describes my life in the past 9 months.


I am happy to report that I am still happily married. I am also happy to report that, by the grace of God and the generosity of our pastor and his wife, we are no longer residents of a 5th wheel. It is my firm belief that if that were not the case, you would be reading my obituary right now and not a blog post. No air conditioner and being 6 months pregnant don’t mix.

A couple nights ago, I took the time to walk around the property and see it for what it is. I have found that this time of year, it yields things I love, and things I hate. We’ll start with my least favorite and save the best for last. After all, we want to end on a positive note, right?

Least favorite, # 1:
Poison Ivy. I haven’t gotten it this year yet, thankfully. I had it pretty bad last year at two different times, which resulted in two doctor’s visits, shots, steroids, and misery. It represents all the evil in the world.  It prevents me from enjoying the entirety of our property, because I see it and retreat. It’s everywhere.
Least favorite, #2:
Mosquitoes. Need I say more? Although, if I had to choose, I would much rather have mosquitoes than poison ivy.

And, finally, what I DO like about the place.

Favorite, #1:

Blackberries! We don’t have big patches, but we have a few bushes sprinkled here and there. I love blackberries. They remind me of summertime and childhood. And, they're yummy.





Favorite, #2:
He makes me happy. I love that smile, and so much more.
(I told you I was saving the best for last.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Two Become One

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.  --Genesis 2:24


This weekend, Dean and I are going out of town for his cousin’s wedding. I’m looking forward to seeing family, and I’m very excited for the bride and groom. Since I got married, going to a wedding has a whole different feel to me.


And, of course, it makes me think about my own wedding. It was perfect. I didn’t put months and months of planning into it, so it didn’t feel strange after it was over. I’ve seen many people stress over every detail of their wedding for months in advance. Sure, we had stress, but on a small scale and it didn’t last long.

Dean and I wanted to get away from the traditions of the ceremony, and focus on the commitment we were making. We didn’t spend hours decorating. In fact, we did no decorating at all. My mom thought an arch for us to stand under would be nice. I didn’t think any piece of decoration would improve the venue at all. It was the beach, after all. God decorated for us! It was slightly overcast that morning, which was slightly disappointing to me, until I stepped onto the beach and saw how much more it made the colors of the sand, and the water come out. It was beautiful. In fact, we were there a week, because we stayed and honeymooned there, and it was never as beautiful as it was that morning. Oh, I loved that day. I loved the flowers, I loved the atmosphere, I loved the vows we took time to write together; I loved everything about it. I never got even a hint of cold feet. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was God’s plan for my life, and I trusted Him and the man he was joining me with completely.

And the week that followed was the most relaxing, and most fun week of my life. I’ve never had another week like it, and I often wish I could go back and re-live it.
This picture sums it up. I took the picture with my phone, set it as my wallpaper and haven’t changed it since.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Life Is A Playground

God knows when I’ve had enough. It helps that I told Him I couldn’t take it anymore, but really, He already knew. Remember how I’ve been living in a travel trailer for the last 8 months? The 8 months that was supposed to have been a couple? Yeah, that gets old. And then, things keep going wrong with the stupid thing, and it gets older. And then, you get pregnant and irritable and impatient, and it REALLY gets old. It’s at that point that you pray to God and beg Him to get you out of there. You know if things go well that it could be ready to move into (meaning the bedroom & bathroom are done at least) in 2-3 more weeks. But, when you reach the end of your rope, it’s not good enough. That is where I was. And then, God provided a place for us to stay for a couple weeks. Our pastor and his wife asked us to housesit while they were out of the country. Thank you, Jesus, a real shower and a bed on a frame instead of a mattress on plywood, and space to move, and no electrical issues, or heating/cooling issues, or plumbing issues, and a kitchen with working appliances and counter space, and did I mention a real shower? My nerves are very appreciative. At the same time, work has been a little slow for Dean, which isn’t the best thing for our pocketbook, but great for construction progress. It also helps that my brother works with Dean so they have the same days off, so he has help. That being the case, we may be ready to move in by the end of our house sitting. I pray that we will. In the meantime, I’m praising God for delivering me from the trials of the camper when I couldn’t take any more. Sometimes my life feels like swinging on a swing set. When the swing is at its highest, if I only look up, it feels like I’m falling. But, if I look around me, I’m aware of the seat holding me up and its fun.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Morning Commute

It was a peaceful morning. The world was still wet from a hard rain last night, and the sun was shining. I love days like this, particularly the sun shining part. I listened to the radio, sang along, and enjoyed the fact that no one was driving too slowly and no one was doing irritating, irresponsible things. I do not enjoy irresponsible drivers. I had made my way into town, and was stopped at a stoplight when I realized I wasn’t alone after all. He came out from under the hood of my car, and peered in the window at me before strolling along my windshield wiper blade to check out the scenery on the other side of the car. Apparently, I had transported a field mouse into town. He ducked back under the hood when the light turned green. When I stopped at another light, he popped back out. I tried to take his picture, but the lights kept turning green. Martin wasn’t all that shy, though. Yes, I called him Martin. Even a mouse needs a name. So, he went to work with me. I fully expect him to have exited the car and explored the parking lot, and surrounding areas. He’ll be a little surprised when he’s ready for bed tonight and can’t find his nest. Little does he know, he has transitioned from country mouse to city mouse. The moral of the story? Don’t hitchhike when you don’t know where you’re going.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What Makes a House Into a Home?

Currently, I reside with my husband and some lady bugs in a 29 foot travel trailer. We moved into it in mid-September, thinking it would only be for a couple months while we finish construction. And then it rained, and it rained. About the time it was dry enough to work, it rained some more. It has rained A LOT in the last year. So, between weather, and the end of daylight savings time, and work schedules, construction hasn’t gone nearly as quickly as we’d planned. We’ve learned a valuable lesson. God is in control, we are not. Everybody knows that. Yet, we always try to control things anyway. I don’t think we’re alone in that.


Living in a travel trailer that has something else go wrong with it weekly, and being in that situation for 7 months gets old. Add pregnancy into the mix, and I think you can imagine the escalation. I’ve always said that home was wherever my husband was. And, by always, I mean for the last 2 years and 9 months. Well, I might have to alter my definition of home a little bit. Home is where my husband is…as long as it’s not that god-forsaken camper. We moved from an 1152 square foot apartment, into a 29 ft travel trailer, with the intentions of building a small building/apartment (of our own) to live in while we finish paying off student loans and then building a house. It would be small, but it would be ours, and it would be temporary. Let me tell you, 600 sq ft has never sounded so good.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My New Love

When I think of bagels, I think of Panera Bread. Since I moved here for college, I have on multiple occasions been exposed to these beautiful treasures. They are a far cry from the plastic bags of bagels you buy at the grocery store. They come in all kinds of flavors, with all sorts of cream cheese spreads to top them off. My favorite of these scrumptious spreads has always been honey walnut. This morning, the CFO of our company brought a bunch of bagels from Panera. He does this occasionally, and I am always grateful. Being that I’m pregnant, I always welcome a snack, so I made my way to the break room and grabbed half a bagel. I looked at lids on the cream cheese spread to see what options I had…just in case I didn’t feel like honey walnut. And, there it was: hazelnut. They make hazelnut cream cheese spread?! That sounds absolutely wonderful. I should note that I adore anything hazelnut flavored. I seriously spent the first couple minutes holding my hazelnut slathered bagel just smelling it. It even SMELLED wonderful. And then, I sunk my teeth in. It was at that point that I saw little hearts fluttering around my face. I am in LOVE.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Goodbye, My Friend

Last week, I said goodbye to a dear friend of mine. Well, I wasn’t actually there, so I technically didn’t say goodbye.

His name was Tekoa Sur, (he was a registered Arabian horse) but the previous owners called him “Grey.” I didn’t think that was such a nice name, so I renamed him Gershwin. Although, I ended up calling him Grey most of the time anyway (especially when he was in trouble). This is probably the most sadness I’ve felt over an animal since I was a child. I sometimes get sad when a beloved pet dies, but I don’t cry, and I usually understand that it was just an animal. It doesn’t have a soul. This time, it’s different. We’d been through a lot together.

I was like a lot of little girls, and was absolutely enthralled with horses for as far back as I can remember. And, although I grew up on a very small ranch, our focus was cattle. We didn’t have enough space to need the help of a horse, and my dad never cared much for the creatures anyway. I, on the other hand, was in love with ever y horse I ever saw. So, I begged and pleaded for one. I wished on every star, every birthday candle, and any other occasion that called for wishing that I could have a horse. I prayed for a horse (although I always envisioned “wishes” as a prayer to God anyway). Finally, when I was 16, I bought a horse. My dad had a friend who made me a deal. I used my savings for a down payment, and made monthly payments. It took every bit of money I made, because my only job was as church pianist (and I refused to take much pay, because I was far from professional). I couldn’t care less about buying a car. I was finally getting that horse I had wanted since the day I was born, probably…I don’t actually recall the day I was born, but I’m sure it was soon thereafter.

He was a beautiful creature, albeit a little spirited and pretty stubborn. I loved to watch him run or graze in the pasture. When I would drive by him on my way down the driveway, I would stop and love on him. And, to ride him, took all my cares away. That horse could MOVE. When he got up to a full gallop, it was such a smooth ride. I could’ve sworn his feet never touched the ground. He was an amazing picture of God’s creation.

And, he was my friend. It was a time when I was drifting away from all of my friends (their lives were taking turns I refused to take), and the one good friend I had moved across the country. When I had boy troubles, I talked to the horse. When my grandpa (another very close friend) died, I talked to the horse. When my Dad’s health was deteriorating, I talked to the horse. He was there to rub his head against me, or carry me away from my worries.

Monday, March 29, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things!

1. Climbing into a bed of freshly washed sheets right after a shower.
2. Waking up on a Saturday morning with the sun shining in the window.
3. Going to sleep beside my hubby each night, and waking up beside him each morning.
4. Warm, sunny, spring days
5. A PB&J and a glass of milk
6. Spending a whole day with my hubby.
7. The sound of a baby laughing
8. Hugs
9. Wearing flip flops in the summer
10. Dinner with friends or family



Favorite movie: It’s A Wonderful Life
Favorite song: I can’t pick just one. Hmmm...maybe this one:
“Well, I’ll sing ya a little song, won’t take long, guess it won’t commit no murder
the ol’ gray goose fell off the roost, and I guess I won’t sing no further” ---my Grandpa used to sing this to me :)
Favorite color: blue, green or yellow (it all depends on the shade)
Favorite book: The Bible
Favorite sport to watch: OU Football
Favorite flower: Daisies (they’re so happy!)
Favorite animal: horses & dogs
Favorite ice cream: Cold Stone
Favorite fruit: pineapple
Favorite family member: just kidding!
Favorite dessert: coconut cream pie (2nd- blackberry cobbler)
Favorite Subway sandwich: Turkey w/ bacon: lettuce, pickles, olives, banana peppers & chipotle sauce

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Day of My Birth

Yesterday, I drove to work and sat at my desk, in my little cubicle, and was a little sad. You see, yesterday was my birthday. And, who wants to spend their birthday stuck at work? Not me! To make me want to get away even more, my hubby was off work, and the sun was shining. So, I talked to my boss, and she agreed that working on my birthday was no good.  I have a great boss. I decided I’d take off at noon, which made me feel better.

So, I was sitting in my little cube, working away (or at least trying to pass the time) when my sweet hubby appeared. He brought me flowers.
And, he bought me some decoration for my rather bleak little cubicle.
It helps. Well, as much as a dark cubicle away from any windows can be helped. And…he brought me a...

CAKE! This is the best part.
CAKE! This is the best part.
It was created by a dear friend of ours…who is 13. She’s very talented, and it was DELICIOUS. Mmmm… I need to go home and get some right now.
When noon finally rolled around, my hubby picked me up from work and took me to Red Lobster for lunch (my favorite) and then to a movie. We spent the afternoon together, enjoying the sunshine, and warm weather, and each other’s company. And pretty much my whole family remembered to call or text, which made me feel extra special. My little brother called and wanted to meet up, so I shared my yummy cake and he brought me a gift.
My Grandparents had this same picture hanging in their dining room when we were growing up.  I thought it was a very thoughtful gift. 

I wish I could spend every day enjoying the sunshine, and spending time with my hubby! That’s the best!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

10 reasons I’m ready for construction to be complete:

1. Living in a camper is not cool…especially in the winter…especially if it isn’t it very good shape.

2. I’m more than ready for a real shower. You know, where the shower itself is normal size, the water flow has more than just a water hose, and it has some pressure. (And I’m particularly excited about our shower because we are putting in a tankless water heater, which means cheaper electric bill, more eco friendly, and you never run out of hot water)

3. Cabinet space. I long to be able to keep my cabinets full, and have ingredients on hand. And I’m sick of going to the grocery store everyday and buying only what I can use that day. (I also like the idea of saving money by buying in bulk)

4. Flushing the toilet will be the end of it. No more emptying the holding tank….YUCK

5. I miss being able to cook what I want, because I have all the appliances I need. Blender, food processor, and an oven that cooks things well (and evenly).

6. The ability to lay on the couch and just watch TV if I feel like it.

7. Room to move. To stretch, to walk, to dance in the kitchen if I so choose (and I often do…or did before the camper days).

8. A closet big enough for more than just a couple pairs of pants & a couple shirts, and a dresser/chest of drawers with full size drawers (instead of the ones we have which are barely wider than my hand).

9. To have my washer/dryer back. I’ll be happy if I never have to set foot in a Laundromat again.

10. Pulling into the driveway, and be greeted by 2 loveable dogs, who are genuinely thrilled to have us home.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

There's a Song in my Heart

Have you ever noticed that songs can trigger memories? They do for me, anyway. They don’t usually trigger a specific memory, but usually a certain time period in my life. For instance, when I was in high school, I was the church pianist for the church I grew up in. One day, we pulled out the “old” hymnals, which we hadn’t used in several years, but had had used for YEARS before we bought the new ones. Someone chose a song which didn’t seem familiar to me, until I started playing. At that point, I started getting pictures in my head of the church nursery and the toys I’d played with in there as a small child. No kidding. It was the strangest thing.


That was probably the most extreme occurrence. Yesterday at work, I decided I could use some tunes, so I pulled out my mp3 player. It started playing a Jack Johnson album, and I immediately thought of warm weather and the first apartment Dean and I lived in after we got married. Good times. I often long for those times. There are a lot of reasons why I wouldn’t want to go back, but there are a lot of things I miss about that time too. We lived there for the first year of our marriage. It was small, but we made it home. It meant paying rent, but it was so stress free.

I was still finishing up my last year of college, and I didn’t have to be in class until 11:30am. Every morning, I’d get up and make Dean breakfast and send him off to work…and then I’d go back to bed. After a couple more hours sleep, I’d get up and start my day…which usually included an episode of the Cosby Show as I got ready for the day. On the days that I didn’t have class, I’d often bake banana bread to have waiting for Dean when he got home. I made other things too, but that was our favorite. In the afternoons, I’d go to one of the elementary schools in town and pickup a kindergartener named David. Then, we’d head home and get ready for Dean to get home from work.

At the time, I got tired of keeping a 5 year old all afternoon, and couldn’t wait for graduation and a real job. Now that I’ve been in the workforce after college, I really wish I could go back to those days. I miss that kid. I miss sleeping in. I miss spending time outside on a warm day if I so choose. I miss Jack Johnson playing on the radio with the warm spring breeze coming in the windows. I miss greeting my husband when he got home from work, and the smell of fresh banana bread.

All that time, I couldn’t wait to finish college. Now, I long to have that time back…. Or at least the part where I was home more and it was warm outside. Sigh…

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oh What A Beautiful Day

Oh, Lord my God, Thank you for the sunshine! Amen.

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to feel the hint of spring in the air. Tell me again, why I don’t live in Florida? Oh, right. God hasn’t led us to move there….yet.  I’m still waiting.

I guess I can wait. I’m not in a hurry for my Grandmother to disown me. Ok, she probably wouldn’t actually disown me, but she wouldn’t be happy. She already thinks that, for my mother’s sake, I should move within an hour of home in the next couple years. Besides, I like knowing that both mine and Dean’s families are just a few hours away, if we need or want to make the trip. Then again, it snows here in the winter. See? This is why I have to leave it up to the Lord.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the coming spring and summer. I don’t care if I will be big and pregnant through the hottest months of the year. (Ask me later if I still feel that way) I’m excited about warmer weather, flowers blooming, and green on the trees. I’m excited about tank tops and flip flops, and cute summery toenail polish. And ice cream. (That might be the pregnancy kicking in…at least I have no desire for pickles on it) Ooh! And butterflies! Now, if I can just figure out a way to get rid of these black cubicle walls and move my desk outside…

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Valentine's Day Surprise!

Our Valentine's Day was very unique this year.  We went to Kansas for my niece's first birthday party which was on Saturday.  She's an absolute doll, and we had lots of fun playing with her and watching her eat cake (and smear it all over her head).  For her parents, it was the highlight of their weekend.  For us, it was only part.  We invited my Mom for a Valentines dinner before we headed out of town.  We gathered at Cheddar's with her and my younger brother (and attempted to have my Dad on the phone for the fun, but ended up having to call him later).  On Sunday morning, we gathered for breakfast to celebrate with Dean's Mom and Dad, Sister and Brother-in-law, Brother and sister-in-law and our sweet little niece.
At each of these gatherings, we gave our parents the following Valentine:  (the actual cards were much cuter, but you get the idea)
My mother's reaction included:  "Are you kidding?" squealing and jumping around.  Dean's mother's reaction was much the same:  gasping, "Are you serious?" and jumping up to hug us.  Dean's dad teared up, and kept smiling and hugging us the whole rest of our visit. 

And that concludes our Valentine's weekend.