Friday, December 30, 2005


Christmas was lovely and couldn’t have been better in my opinion. Everyone seemed to love the gifts I gave them. I was especially glad to see that my brother loved the shirts I bought him. I usually do have a good eye for what would look good on someone. And it was so adorable watching my nephew, Micah, open his and Sophia’s gifts. Have you ever seen a 2-year old get excited about clothes!? He does. His eyes light up and he exclaims “Mine!” and proudly shows his parents. I’m glad he can appreciate a good-looking piece of clothing when he sees it. He does look so cute in the little Gap jacket I bought him.

BF and I exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve, as usual, and I was relieved that she liked her gift, too, because it took quite awhile to make it. I thought it turned out just as well as I had hoped it would. Here is a pic:

I *loved* what she gave me, too . . a framed picture that she took of a door in Jerusalem, Israel. Yay!-now my art collection is officially started.

Time at Farmtown Grandma’s went fast! The highlights were the delicious smoked turkey and playing Disney Scene It! which is so much easier than the regular version of the game. Grandma was pretty excited about her bird tree. If you want to get her a good gift, just find something with a bird in it. I, for example, got her cardinal earrings. She was in such a good mood, she pulled out the accordian.

Uptown Grandma's house was a great time, too. Instead of having a traditional sharing time, we instead drew names and would bless or encourage the person whose name we drew. It wasn't mandatory, but everyone over the age of 8 wanted to participate and it was such a wonderful time! Lots of smiles and a few happy tears. I love my family!!! It's so amazing to have an entire side of the family that loves Jesus. Even little Jake who is 2 1/2 said he wanted to bless someone when we jokingly asked. We asked who and he said "Jesus" . . good answer :)

Grandma got all the girls warm pajama pants this year. Last year it was furry slippers.

Here's one of my favorite gifts . . a jewelry armoire . . can't wait to get organized!

Some of us, cousins, went ice skating the day after Christmas and it was a blast! . . no blisters or sore feet!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Meme

Yesterday I took the day off to try to catch up on shopping, baking, etc. It was such a productive day, which is something I can usually never say about days off. Finally, I've purchased all my gifts (including a few more for myself). It feels good to finally be done, even if it is only a couple days before Christmas.

In celebration of the eve of Christmas Eve, I've decided to do the Christmas meme I found on Cady's site:

1. egg nog or hot chocolate? neither . . . how about water or milk, because that's all I really drink

2. does santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? puts them under the tree. the elves wrap them.

3. colored lights on tree/house or white? white. when i was little, i would've said colored, but now i prefer white

4. do you hang mistletoe? no, but if I had it, I think it would be fun to hang it up

5. when do you put your decorations up? the day after Thanksgiving

6. what is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? my aunt's casserole or chicken tetrazzini

7. favorite holiday memory as a child? i vividly remember getting my first cabbage patch dolls when i was 3 (i think) and naming one marjorie (after uptown grandma) and the other barker lance (keeping his real name)

8. when and how did you learn the truth about santa? i asked my mom a logical question about the tooth fairy and learned she wasn't real . . . and then the wheels started turning as i stood there in silence and finally exclaimed in a very disappointed voice, "Does this mean that Santa and the Easter Bunny aren't real, either?" I think I cried. (It was the next worst realization to learning about sex.) But, then I thought all the kids in my class who still believed didn't have any common sense

9. do you open a gift on christmas eve? i exchange with BF at church and then go over my aunt & uncle's for dinner and exchange with my cousin, Joy

10. what kind of cookies does santa get set out for him? Oreos, of course . . america's favorite cookie

11. snow! love it or dread it? it's very pretty, BUT i don't like getting the bottoms of my pants wet or feeling like driving somewhere is dangerous.

12. can you ice skate? yes but i'm not that great at it, because i'm scared of falling down and having someone run over my fingers

13. do you remember your favorite gift? hmmm, i do remember really loving my gameboy and, of course, every pair of doc martens i got

14. what's the most important thing about the holidays for you? getting to see all my family that lives out of state (IN, TX, DC)

15. what is your favorite holiday dessert? hopscotches with chow mein noodles, marshmallows, and butterscotch

16. what is your favorite holiday tradition? i love the whole thing . . . christmas eve church and then dinner at aunt & uncle's . . . christmas morning w/ my immediate family . . . christmas midday at farmtown grandma's . . . and christmas evening at uptown grandma's with sharing time, which is where everyone shares about the past year (good times, bad times, God's faithfulness) and what they're anticipating for the next year . . . it's especially cute when the little kids want to share

17. what tops your tree? an angel, but i prefer a star

18. which do you prefer giving or receiving? the only thing better than that wonderful feeling that someone was thinking of you and was kind enough to bless you . . . is knowing that you could make someone else feel that way

19. what is your favorite christmas carol? oh come all ye faithful, o holy night

20. candy canes! yuck or yum? i love the fruit flavored ones

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Shuffle to the Back

Well, things with This Guy went well. I was dreading telling him my thoughts and as he began to say “nice things” I didn’t know if I would be able to. I was sitting there, thinking “S*&%, S#$&, S%@&” and then decided that rather than mentally swearing, I should probably pray about it. So I did, and it ended up going very, very smoothly . . at least for me. And in the end, I’m still glad I’m a girl, because I think ending something is a whole lot easier than starting it.

Last night was my fifth time line dancing with the Country Kickers. It’s my “new thing” and so much fun! Everyone there is so extremely nice and welcoming . . . and old. In fact, other than one other guy my age, I’m the youngest by probably 20 years. But it’s so great. I met a nice, older couple (M & S) in their late 50s who told me that I just had to meet their 29-year-old son and that they’d try to get him to come so I would have a dance partner my age. After talking a bit, I had quite a lot of reason to believe that he was a Christian. And his mother said he was very cute. And he’d come dancing before quite a few times so he should be familiar with some of the couples’ dances. Could it be that I would have a nice, young, talented dance partner and that he would be cute?

No. Neither. I mean I didn’t expect both to be true, but neither?? Not only can he not dance, but his mother is very biased. I could’ve easily overlooked his average looks if he could dance, but he was tripping over his feet and mine the whole night and his arms were more like the angel hair pasta I’ve been craving than those of a man who can lead. Even the simplest of dances had him stumped. With a last name like “Tucker” I expected him to be tearing up the dance floor like nobody’s business. Hey, if you’re country, it should be in your genes.

But, he was nice. And geez, most of the time that’s all I can say about single, Christian guys I meet. “Well, he’s really nice.” Not he’s cool or he’s funny or he’s such a godly man. He’s just nice. And I don’t want a “nice guy”. I want someone “who could be wicked, but wouldn’t” (Anne of Green Gables). Know what I mean?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

On my mind . . .

1. How hungry I am . . and when is R going to announce today's desserts? We're having dessert every day this week leading up to Christmas and yesterday was R's delicious banana pudding, some chocolate walnut cookies, and store-bought Pepperidge Farm Pirouettes in french vanilla and chocolate . . . yummm.

2. How am I going to get everything done before Christmas? Like buying gifts for 9 more people and wrapping them all and finishing a "project" and baking a dessert for work.

3. How I am going to tactfully tell This Guy today over lunch that we should "just be friends" and how I hope he'll realize that I really mean "acquaintances" (as in people who have met but never really talk).

4. How lazy I am and how I should be ashamed of myself for always reading blogs and writing on mine on the clock. (I really do have a good work ethic and can't stand those who don't . . . I just have to maintain my sanity.)


Monday, December 19, 2005

The Sweetest Thing

My State?

I took this "State Test" that I linked to from Abra's site. First, it said my state was the "State of Greed" and I was a little bit confused, because I thought it was supposed to be one of the 50 states. It is supposed to be an actual state, but they tricked me! They gave me a trick question! Is it a crime to think you make a decent living? Anyway . . . So I retook it and ended up with the State of Oklahoma, which is pretty accurate since it's only two states south. Here's what it said:

After overcoming a terrible tragedy in recent years, you have shown the ability to really shine through adversity. You've renovated your home, picked up the pieces, and built things all over again. Meanwhile, you seem uncannily drawn to the classic board game Twister, though it doesn't always lighten your mood. Despite all the hardships, you're one of those quirky folks who simply breaks out into song at random times in life. Ultimately, you just want people to know that you're O.K.

The only thing true in that paragraph is the part about breaking into song . . but I only do that sometimes in private.

I kept re-taking it to see if I could get Nebraska and it took me 4 tries. Instead, I got Kansas, Wyoming, and Iowa. It wasn't until I was honest and admitted to being a procrastinator that I ended up with my home state.

Take the quiz.

Friday, December 16, 2005


It's been so long since I've posted. I've been training people this week at work, so there hasn't been much time for an update.

This week has been an "aaah" week. For one, I gave This nice Guy my number a couple weeks ago not because I was interested in him or attracted to him, but just because I thought "Why not? I'll be open and just maybe go out once . . After all, I should be open to getting to know new people . . expand my horizons, etc. . .or if I decide I don't want to go before he calls, no big deal - I'll just tell him. .". But, oh, it's just not that simple, is it? Because when This Guy calls, he doesn't call to ask you out . . . he wants to talk . . about nothing important . . and for long periods of time. And when you say you've gotta go, it doesn't end there. It's like, "Oh, what are you going to eat?" or "What store are you going to?" and that can lead right back into more conversation! And he is just so eager to go on an official date, whereas I'm a much bigger fan of "hanging out", because if I don't like hanging out with you, then why would I want to sit down and get to know you? Now, of course I wouldn't mind this all so much if I was interested in him, but I've already determined that I'm not. Sometimes it doesn't take long to make a final decision.

Though I already knew I wasn't really into him, I thought I should accept his invitation to lunch and just be able to say I gave it a shot. Then I would have more grounds for telling him we should "just be friends". BUT, before even going to lunch, we were discussing what day I would be free and I said Thursday was it. I was busy every other night. And then, he said it. . . . . .

"Well, the U2 concert is that night-

-"What did you say? Are you going????"

And then . . .

"Yeah, do you want to come?"

"DO.I.WANT.TO.COME? I would love to!!"

So he explains that he has basically a free pass . . . all he has to do is check ids and give out wristbands for those who want to drink. But after that he can go to the concert . . he doesn't have to miss any of it! He can see the whole thing . . for free! And I can come with! And I can bring a friend!

Suddenly I'm very very glad I gave him my number. I wondered if I should feel bad going along when I knew I wasn't interested in him, but in one of our *many* conversations this week, I was able to explain where I stood . . . not where he did. This made me feel much better about going "as friends" - yay!

So we went last night and OHMYGOSH, it was amazing! I was doubtful that it could compare to their "Elevation" tour, but I dunno, it was so awesome!! We had great seats. . . totally lucked out [were blessed], because we didn't have assigned seats. I was so happy to have AG there with me, too. (She and I had been looking online for tickets, but of course they were so freakin expensive!) We were dancing and jumping and screaming and singing and swaying the entire time!!! They played for 2 1/2 hours! And I was so excited that they played a few of the songs I'd wanted them to play at their last concert, but they hadn't. Ie: "Mysterious Ways", which is one of my faves! It's a miracle I have any voice left today. I do feel a bit hoarse.

I have a full weekend, which does not include attending the Christmas party This Guy invited me to. He really made me feel bad when I said no, and I do not like being pressured. I had already made plans Saturday night and, like I said before, I barely know him and I prefer getting to know someone in a more comfortable setting, as friends.

I'll post concert pics later.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Deck the Halls

So much family fun tonight. It was annual decorate the tree night at Uptown Grandma's. We first sat down to bowls of chili and/or potato soup with some yummy bread (perfect for weather in the single digits!) . Oatmeal cake for dessert . . pretty good stuff.

It's so fun to hang our favorite ornaments and see which new ones G-ma has gotten this year . . I accidentally broke one-whoops!

After some laughing and pulling out atrocious ornaments from various boxes, I overheard Grandma saying, "The girls better not get silly tonight or I'll be upset" (because this dec-the-tree stuff is very serious business). Isn't the fun part supposed to be hanging the big plastic apples that Grandma no longer likes all over the tree and when she complains, hiding them in the back of the tree so the neighbors can look in the window and think we're tacky?

Plus, I don't think it's possible for Joy & I to get together, along with my sister and not laugh and be silly. Here's an example:

And again, I make those I love brave the cold for a cool picture (this time in the sleigh):

Grandma always comes in at the top when it comes to Christmas decorations at the lake, though there doesn't seem to be as many lights this year . . . (that's a big Santa on the balcony):

Not to be cheesy, but it really IS beginning to look a lot like Christmas :)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Boots Made Me Do It

Well, this whole don't-buy-myself-anything-this-Christmas-season-thing isn't exactly working. I was so sure this would be the year I stayed strong and resisted the temptation to buy gifts for myself. And if I hadn't found these boots, I think I would've been fine.

The day after Thanksgiving, my small town of about 25,000 people has a little lights festival where all the downtown shops are open for people to browse and drink cider and cookies and listen to the carolers, etc. I wasn't planning on going, but hadn't been in years, so I called up my parents (who have a tradition of going with their friends each year) and asked if I could meet up with them for maybe half an hour. I hoped to maybe run into people I hadn't seen in awhile and get into the Christmas spirit.

We met up at one of the coffee shops downtown and headed down the street to one of the large antique shops my town is "famous" for. I immediately felt odd hanging out with my parents and their friends . . . especially when I found them near the shall-we-say "romance" section of the coffee shop library, reading up on how to basically have a better sex life. They were a little embarrassed when I walked up. Sorry guys, didn't mean to cramp your style.

The antique shop had everything one could imagine and when I wandered over to the western section, there they were. Justin cowgirl boots. They looked like they'd never been worn and they were only $40. I've been wanting some for years, but just couldn't bring myself to spend over $100 on something I would rarely wear. So how could I pass up this "opportunity"? I couldn't.

The problem is that this totally ruined my don't-feel-like-shopping streak, which never usually lasts very long anyway. Since then I've added a few more items to the list of what I've bought myself this season. It's not bad, but it's also only December 8th.

BF and I decided we were in the mood for the Cheesecake Factory last Friday night and spontaneously made the 2 hour drive to Des Moines, IA just to eat there . . and shop J. Crew and a few other stores we somehow haven't managed to get in Omaha yet. I ended up getting a very cute vintage t-shirt from Fossil and a super-warm vintage-y hoodie uniquely stitched and slightly frayed. And just yesterday I found the nicest black leather planner for 2006 with so many different features . . and only $10 at T.J. Maxx!

Today I'm making a list of exactly what I'm getting for people and when I go to the store, I'll be "on a mission". Go, buy, leave . . no browsing! The only problem is . . I still don't know exactly what I'm getting everyone . . .

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sad News

I heard the news last night . . can't believe I didn't find out sooner.

Nick and Jessica split.

I'm really upset by this. I really thought they could make it. At least longer than three years! She said she was serious about keeping her vows.
I'm a Jessica fan, though I have been really disappointed by her the past few years. It's amazing what fame can do to you. I used to admire her for maintaining some modesty, saving herself for marriage, and seeming like a sweet, wholesome girl . . not to mention the fact that she is beautiful and has a great sense of style!

When I watched "Newlyweds", though I loved the show, I wondered how Nick put up with her. She acted spoiled, selfish, ultra-materialistic, unladylike and lazy. Perhaps she was putting on a show much of the time, but what kind of a way is that to start a marriage - acting for a camera, trying to get fans and publicity at the expense of your marriage?! And her videos kept getting more and more scandalous. Poor Nick didn't have much of a career anymore, so that couldn't have done much for his ego, not the mention the fact that his wife seemed too into herself to care. This is not to say that he didn't contribute in some ways. Of course no one knows what went on behind the scenes, but plenty went on for all to see that could lead anyone to see that marriage had to be tough.

I can see how so much publicity and fame could hurt their marriage . . I'm just disappointed that they didn't do whatever it took to keep it together.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Specialty

Yesterday, a co-worker/friend invited me over to her parents' for lunch where her father filled my plate to nearly overflowing with lots of Thanksgiving leftovers. As I was wondering how I could possibly eat everything on my plate, I heard him say, "K, you need to be sure to let her try the specialty." K kinda laughed and seemed hesitant. "What is it?," I asked, imagining something delicious and only for those who had a special love for dessert, but she wouldn't say. When K came back into the room, she was followed by a guy who was introduced to me as a family friend that was helping with their remodeling project. As soon as he walked into the room, I thought, "Man! he smells funky! That is such an odd smell!" I hoped he'd leave the room ASAP!! but he, too, sat down with a plate full of food, to eat with us. Just then, K pointed to a bowl of slimy, stringy nastiness that looked like a big glob of fat to me. It was "the specialty". When it comes to food, I'm always one to try new things . . it kinda goes along with my whole "love new experiences" thing and I just like being able to say I've tried weird stuff. I have to admit, I was really worried about this, though. It wasn't until after I'd put a small bite in my mouth that I realized . . this is what smelled bad. And it tasted worse. All I could think was, "Ok, Queen of Facial Expressions, don't let them see how painful this is. Focus. Don't breathe through your nose. Don't think about. Just don't think about it." K asked, "Do you want to know what it is?" "No, not yet," I said, thinking I have to swallow it first and make sure it's down. After what seemed like an eternity, it was over. "Ok, what was it?" I asked. "Chitlins," she said. "They're pig intestines. It's an acquired taste."

That is one taste I will never acquire.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving #2

Thanksgiving couldn't have been better. I slept in until 10ish and slowly got ready for the day. Headed out to Uptown Grandma's around 1 o'clock to have dinner with family. This year, there were only 13 of us (17 when my brother came), but it was nice. Of course, many laughs around the table, as always. Between Dad, Cousin! Ty, and Uncle Steve, most things said are humorous. I love my family. This year, the dish-washing duties were assigned to us "kids": Joy, Emily, Annie, & I. (My sister is celebrating Thanksgiving with friends in TN). Even though it was our job, we were given specific instructions as to how to wash them and "be careful not to chip them because they're Amy's plates". (This means my aunt inherits them when Grandma passes away. . . . I have dibs on her library and her entire "Snowy Vilage".)

The girls and I sat around and chatted for awhile after cleaning up and braved the cold without coats so we could get some pics down on the beach. Sorry . . it was my idea to go with no coats.

In the evening, Grandma pulled out her new domino game, Spinner (basically like Mexican Train with some wild dominoes). The only problem was that Grandma couldn't decide what the rules were exactly. . . She kept changing her mind. It was funny more than anything. We had yummy pies and cheesecake for dessert . . . to be honest, though, I'm not a big fan of either and was a little disappointed there was nothing really chocolate-y. The night ended with one of my favorite movies, "How to Lose a Guy . .".

I'm at work right now. It was my choice to come in, because this means I get another floating holiday. And, if I'm going to take a day off, I'd like to actually feel like I'm on vacation . . . like, leave the state or something. I have the pre-game show on for the NE vs. CU game and it's about time for kick-off.

Tonight I plan to clean my room . . . how often have I said that? Why can't it just stay clean?? I'm so unorganized right now. I know I have a bill to pay, but I don't even know where it is!

I almost forgot that I wanted to list a few things that I'm thankful for this year:
- my new sister-in-law who is very sweet and who I am growing to love despite the fact that she has the worst fashion sense I have ever before witnessed in my life and the fact that I'm really afraid she is one day going to rot my niece and nephew's teeth out by giving them lots and lots of sugar and candy, since she is clearly addicted to it . . (I'm thankful I only have to worry about superficial things like this)
- my new nephew and niece who I hope to spoil and love to pieces, since I can't very well pick them up and put them in my pocket
- the Lord's healing and restoration of my heart that I was beginning to think wasn't possible, but now I am 100% whole and so ready for what He has next
- my job that may not be the perfect fit for me - in fact, far from it, but has been a great way to step into the real world and more than provides for my needs
- my relationship with my family, because even though they annoy the living crap out of me at times, I love them and have a special relationship with each of them
- my singleness, because I know that it has purpose and instead of feeling lonely, pathetic, old, and left out, I am thoroughly enjoying myself
- the opportunity to be involved in Fresh Start and to witness, firsthand, the healing of more hearts!!!

I better stop now!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thanksgiving #1

So here is my weekend in a nutshell:
Friday I was so tired that I just wanted to go home, curl up on the couch and watch a movie. Of course that didn't end up happening. I was so close, but I just couldn't do it. Weekends are my only time to really be social. So, S & I ended up driving to Lincoln to watch the state high school football championship game (what a mouthful). We didn't know anyone playing, but it sounded like fun. We sat with BF's bro, ScottieT, and cousin, who at one point went to the competing schools.

I spent Saturday shopping with AnneG and hanging out at her house while she made (or threw in the oven some pre-made) food for her in-laws. Gotta love SuperTarget. BF and I went out for supper at Taste and I ordered the only thing on the menu that I could order and know what to expect: chicken quesadilla . . and calamari for an appetizer. It was still very unique, but yummy. Then, we headed over to Barnes & Noble to practice a little Espanol. I got to bed at midnight and surprisingly wasn't dragging.

Sunday, we celebrated Thanksgiving with Mom's side of the fam, about 30 minutes away. It was a nice day, eating lots and playing games. I usually opt out on some of the eats, like sauerkraut and dumplings and kolaches . . gross . . if being a true Czech involves eating that stuff, then I didn't get any of those genes. Everyone had to hold Sophia (or Fifi, as Micah calls her), so I was lucky to have a turn. She's adorable . . and it's official . . she looks just like my brother's baby pics. SO cute.

Hope everyone's Thanksgiving is great!!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Settling vs. Waiting

Why, as women, do we settle? I've done it, and I see other girls doing it all the time. And now that I've been there and know better, it drives me nuts when I see other girls making the same mistake. Of course, I couldn't tell when I was in it, but now it seems pretty clear.

I'm talking about dating someone who isn't crazy about you!! I know there are quite a few reading my blog that are married, but I'm sure you at least have a friend who has done this, or perhaps you have in the past.

Why do we stay in relationships that we don't feel completely secure in? Relationships where we can't be ourselves 100% or we're afraid that if we do something "wrong" the other person will want to leave. We only feel as though he's crazy about us some of the time and keep hoping for the day when we won't have to guess what he's thinking or how he's feeling. Is he in this as much as I am? Does he care as much as I do? We mistake physical affection for love. We believe what he says over what he does and how he acts. We lie to ourselves basically.

Why did I stay, I used to ask myself? Perhaps I didn't believe I deserved better. Maybe I thought my expectations were too high. It's not realistic to think someone will make you feel loved all the time. There were so many reasons it made sense for it to work that I couldn't understand how it wouldn't. I believed excuses . . lots of excuses. I focused on the good and not the negative . . I'm always the optimist. I thought, 'If I care, I'll stick it out'. I invested so much and cared so much, I didn't want to let go and give up. I wanted to be loved so much.

Mom would say, "It shouldn't be this much work." I spent too much time feeling unsure about things, about how he felt and what he thought.

I couldn't imagine a better fit. It had to be him, didn't it?

In a healthy relationship, he'll want to be with you all the time, even though you both have your own lives. You won't have to decide which to believe - words or actions - because they'll match! You won't wonder how he feels. He will do sweet things for you not for his own gain, but just because he's crazy about you. He'll care about everything that's going on in your life. He'll listen. You'll know you're #1.

It seems like common sense, but apparently it's not. I settled and now I see so many other girls doing the same! I'm glad to have gone through it, I suppose, because now I can see so much clearly. I now know what I want, what I'm waiting for, no matter how long I have to wait.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Here Comes Christmas

The first snow of the season has me thinking about Christmas and how far away it isn't. In less than a couple of weeks, I'll be ready to begin celebrating. I have this weird pet peeve: celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving. Of course, I think we should celebrate what Christmas means all year long, but I'm talking about the music, the lights, the decorations, and the cookies. I love it all, but it seems more special when it only goes on for a month. Plus, it just doesn't seem right to break out all the decor before sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner. Part of the anticipation of Christmas is knowing that you have to wait until Thanksgiving has past. It symbolizes the true end of fall, the beginning of winter, and the start of the Christmas season.

This year I'm on a budget. This is hard for me. Especially around Christmas. Usually the month before Christmas is the best time for sales and really cute stuff you can't not buy. Every year I end up spending more money on myself than I do on other people. I go out to buy a gift for someone and come home with two gifts for myself. Christmastime is the worst when it comes to self-control. You get in such a habit of swiping the debit card, you just can't stop. But I don't want to buy myself anything this year . . anything! I'm on a mission to pay off my last credit card and buying myself stuff I don't need will only put it off. It will feel so good to be debt-free! and I'm so close. I've decided I need to know what I'm getting people before I even head to the stores. Perhaps if I'm on a mission, it will prevent me from running across so many temptations. I can hope!

Today is just awful! Not only is it snowing, but it's cold slushy snow and the wind is blowing so much that it pelts your face with wet sleet. I had to get gas and the pump was wet and freezing cold with slush. I was 12 minutes late to work because I didn't realize it had snowed until I walked outside. I popped my trunk in hopes of finding my scraper/brush and had to reach so far into the back that my feet were no longer touching the ground and I the front of my pants was all wet. I'm a bit nervous to drive home tonight because one of my co-workers said it's getting worse . . so slick and so windy. And to think it got up to 75 last week and people were wearing short-sleeved shirts the the game! Why can't we just ease into this whole winter thing?

Friday, November 11, 2005


The most common complaint I hear from women my age is that there is no longer any "dating scene". Young people go out in packs, they drink, they "hook up," and the next day life returns to normal. I suppose you could find much depression in this behavior---for starters, that there is not even a pretense of anticipation of a love that will last forever in the cold expression, "to hook up"--- but there is also a lot about this behavior that should give us hope, and that is the fact that all of them have to drink to do it. They aren't drinking wine to begin a delightful conversation. They are drinking beer and hard liquor to get drunk---precisely to cut out delightful conversation and get "right to the point," as it were. That is the advertised purpose of most college parties. And this kind of drinking is really quite a stark admission: that, in fact, we realize we are not just like the lower animals, that our romantic longings and hopes should inform our most intimate actions, and that if the prevailing wisdom decrees "hook ups" don't matter, that sex is "no big deal," then we must numb ourselves in order to go through with it. Thus, we pay tribute to the importance of modesty by the very lengths to which we must go to stifle it. We are all modest already, deep down---because we are human---we just need to stop drinking so much, get off our Prozac, and come out of the closet about it. Like Modesty Anonymous.

I am writing because I see so much unhappiness around me, so many women settling for less, because I don't want to settle for less and because I don't think you should have to, either. I don't want to have sex because "I guess" I want it. I want to wait for something more exciting than that, and modesty helps me understand why.

by Wendy Shalit

(Thanks to Anne for letting me post this essay. I thought it was really good.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I Got a Kick

I don't know what Billie & Ella were singing about when they said,
"I get no kick in a plane
Flying too high with some guy in the sky
Is my idea of nothing to do"

It was so much fun! When I first opened the door of the plane, I thought I was going to have to sit in his lap. Unfortunately (just kidding :) I didn't have to. It wasn't scary at all. The whole ride was smooth, except for the times he intentionally made my heart skip a beat. . like when he had it stall (shut the engine off) and it went up and then down really fast, like a roller coaster. I loved it! We flew over college football practice where some of his friends still play and he "waved" with the wings moving back and forth. Most importantly I wanted to fly over Uptown Grandma's lake. She has a big picture of the island from above in her downstairs hallway. Dad told me that the first time Grandpa bought a plane, Dad was on the beach and Grandpa flew really low over the lake right in front of him, and that's the first time Dad saw the new plane. One reason the lake is so special to me is because Grandpa was one of the developers and he built many of the first homes on that island.

My friend said he'll take me again whenever I want to go. And I definitely want to go again!
I almost forgot to mention that he let me fly!
But we climbed 200 ft and then he took over again. I felt really safe with him flying and I could tell he knows what he's doing. I told him that getting his pilot's license was definitely cooler than being able to drink 4 beers in a minute and a half. . . Definitely! (I witnessed that, by the way . . and again I say . . definitely.)

I'll post one more picture of us with the Cessna.


I'm going flying with XB today. I've been wanting to go all summer . . ever since we started talking again and I learned he had his pilot's license. I've always wanted to see my town from above . . especially the lake. My grandpa used to own planes and sadly, that is actually how he lost his life. Uptown Grandma thinks it was vertigo, but no one really knows. It's no surprise that she doesn't want me flying with XB. Neither does Dad. Is it bad that I'm just not telling them? I talked to XB last night about meeting up and whatnot and he said, "You know we're gonna crash and die, right?" I said, "I'm ready." He kinda grunted doubtfully and said, "So you've done everything you wanna do, huh?" And I just said, "Anything I haven't done I'll be able to do in Heaven, so I'm not worried about it." It sounded a little crazy to him, as it would to most people, I suppose, so he kinda laughed like he didn't know what I was talking about. I told him, "Well, it's biblical. It's not like I'm going to be floating around on a cloud playing a harp." Not wanting to discuss anything of a spiritual nature, he said, "Ok, ok, we're not going to crash and die."

Our mini-discussion on Heaven got me to thinking about the page of "Heaven" (by Randy Alcorn) that I'd read yesterday. The book has been a slow reader because it's so full of information. What I love about it is that the author backs up what he says with Scripture and if something is merely his own speculation, he will state so, or just say, "I think, because . . " Reading this book has completely changed my thoughts about Heaven. To be honest, I was never really excited to go. How many people think of Heaven as some far-off place that is completely foreign and super boring and void of so many things they now love and enjoy? Probably all of us! Because XB doesn't have relationship with the Lord, our perspectives are so opposite. He is living for the moment, taking pleasure in temporary things that sadly will only lead to death in the end. Even those that know Jesus can often develop a "only live once" mentality. The following paragraph from the book really stuck out to me:

"The lack of an eternal perspective sets us up not only for discouragement but, also for sin. We tell ourselves, If I don't experience an intimate relationship now, I never will. Or If I don't have the means to go there, I never will. Then we feel desperate, tempted to take shortcuts to get what we want (what we think we want). We're tempted toward fornication, dishonesty, or theft. Or we live in regret, envy, and greed. But if we understand that we'll actually live in a new heavens and New Earth, a new universe full of opportunities, then we can forgo certain pleasures and experiences now, knowing we can enjoy them later. It's by giving up various pleasures, possessions, and power now that we obtain them in the next world. *If* we're Christians [and have a personal relationship with Jesus], we get two opportunites to live on Earth. This first one is but a dot. It begins, it ends. It's brief. The second opportunity will be a line, extending on forever. We all live in the dot. But if we're smart, we'll be living for the line."

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Polish Horseshoes & Fireworks

What a great weekend! Friday night I planned to go home and clean, but Uptown Grandma (as I'll refer to her, while my other grandma is Farmtown Grandma) called and asked if I'd like to have dinner and see a movie. She and I are quite close, so I was happy to be able to spend time with her. We ate Mexican at SanAnna's and went to see "Dreamer" which was such a good movie that I think I'd actually buy it. Yes, it was a heartwarming, wholesome movie. You know if Uptown Grandma liked it that it's safe for the whole family. After the movie, she asked me to stay the night with her, so I stayed in one of the guest rooms and we went to breakfast the next morning. Saturday, my family was in Kansas, so I had the house to myself. I decided to speak my mom's love language (as in, do something that makes her feel loved and appreciated) by cleaning the house (at least, parts of it). When I got to my room, it would be an understatement to say I was overwhelmed. I don't like to just tidy my room; I want it to be immaculate, which rarely ever happens. I did, however, move all my summer tops to the upper closet rod and my winter/fall to the bottom *tear*, so I no longer have to use a step stool to reach them. I pulled out all my sweaters and folded them neatly on my shelves. I realized that I own 20 sweaters, which felt like a sin, but not enough to get rid of any of them. Whenever I feel guilty about my closet, I just remember Uptown Grandma's many closets full of clothing and I don't feel nearly as bad.

I listened to the game on the radio while cleaning, and it was painful. That's all I'll say about that.

S invited me to see a matinee, and I was excited about the discount price, but it only ended up being the same price as a student ticket. Every little bit helps, though. Except for all the sex (and there was a whole lotta sex), I liked the movie. It was better than I expected it to be, actually. For one thing, I couldn't wait to see what she would be wearing in the next scene. Her character was just cute, I thought - personality and everything. S & I were near tears at the end. Why is it that love just isn't enough??!! Relationships have to be based on so much more than that. It sucks! Anyway, I won't say the title of the movie. . that way I won't ruin it for anyone. There are so many movies I want to see right now. I heard "Jarhead" was just horrible; BF walked out . . but that wasn't really on my list of must-sees anyway. I did hear that "An Unfinished Life" was good.

Anyway, my plan on Saturday night was to be in bed by 10. . or 11. Yeah right. Tommy was having a few people over, so I called D and he came along with S & I. We played polish horseshoes, which was fun as always, except for the freezing cold which made it impossible for me to catch the frisbee - ouch! Tommy actually has gloves he plays with! He looks so intense in this picture! Check out the jacket, too! Reminds me of something "Shaft" would wear -hehe.

Sunday, in celebration of L's 28th b-day, I went with AMC to her parents' acreage over in Iowa to celebrate with her friends and family. The food was "delish" . . so much of it. M brought her famous cheesecake again - I think it was butter toffee this time. L had wanted fireworks for her birthday, so her hubby picked some up in Missouri last month and we had a fireworks show after dark. How fun!

We took some pics outside, but sadly, everything seems pretty colorless already.

Friday, November 04, 2005

100 Things About Me

1. I am the oldest of 3 (brother -21, sister -18).

2. I am the most high-maintenance member of my family.

3. I sucked my thumb and slept with a blanket until I was 10, and I only stopped because I "lost" my blanket. (Thanks, Mom).

4. As a result of thumb-sucking, I've had braces twice.

5. I felt very self-conscious and ugly throughout junior high and high school, until my senior year.

6. I was outgoing throughout elementary.

7. I have no self-control when it comes to Cold Stone.

8. As much as I love eating out, I'd rather eat a home-cooked meal.

9. I'm only allergic to ragweed and can get bad hay fever in the Fall.

10. I had a lazy eye that turned in when I was 2 and I wore glasses and an eye patch.

11. I had two surgeries to correct it at ages 3 and 10, but I still wear contacts and glasses and my eye still turns in when I get tired.

12. I'm exactly half right-brain, half left-brain. (Basically half my Mom, half my Dad.)

13. I wish I was more thoughtful.

14. I gave my life to the Lord at age 11, fully understanding and wanting it to be a lifelong decision.

15. It was the best decision I ever made and will ever make.

16. One of my thumbs is shorter and fatter than the other.

17. My mom is one of my best friends.

18. My mom is one of the most selfless people I know.

19. I hate that I can be really selfish.

20. My first job was just before I turned 16 at a seasonal ice cream shop - yum! (I never learned how to make cones the Zesto way.)

21. Few things excite me as much as the word "Sale".

22. I played the piano for 8 years and wish I could still play well.

23. I played the trombone for 2 years and hated it. (Don't ask why I chose that instrument.)

24. My band teacher put me in the *select* bands. I thought he overestimated my talent and I quit.

25. I've tried playing several sports. Tennis and golf stuck.

26. I can't play competitive sports well. I psyche myself out.

27. I love playing sports for fun.

28. No one else in my immediate family likes sports. This has always disappointed me.

29. I majored in Speech Communication, but don't know what I really want to do.

30. My "first kiss" was when I cornered a boy in Kindergarten and kissed him on the nose.

31. I liked him for the next 7 years. (He's still a really nice, cute, smart guy.)
32. I don't agree with girls asking guys out.

33. I've done #32 once. (He said yes.) But, I shouldn't have.

34. I've only been in two relationships.

35. I was in love in one of them, but he didn't love the Lord, so I broke up with him, which was the hardest thing I've ever done.

36. I wanted to be in love in my other relationship, which lasted over three times as long as the first one. He wasn't in love with me, either.

37. I am loyal, sometimes to a fault.

38. My favorite season is summer because of the lake.

39. I know how much I paid for everything I own . . and I also know how much I 'saved'.

40. I hate losing touch with people.

41. I'm not capable of taking a shower in under ten minutes.

42. I only like Kraft macaroni and cheese with green peas mixed in.

43. I would love to have a full-body wax.

44. I'm only 100% dork around my sister.

45. Spelling and grammar errors drive me nuts.

46. I can't talk without using my hands and making facial expressions.

47. I don't usually like change, but I adapt well.

48. If I overanalyze, I can really overanalyze.

49. I'm very sentimental.

50. I'm emotional.

51. I wish I was less of both.

52. Fortunately, I'm not also very sensitive.

53. My sister is.

54. She and I don't have anything in common, but we get along. . finally.

55. People fascinate me.

56. Nothing gives me more joy than seeing God heal someone's heart and set them free.

57. I would be a mess without Him.

58. I've torn my ACL twice in the same knee in 2 years: snow-skiing and playing volleyball.

59. I didn't cry over it the first time, but I cried a LOT the second time.

60. I hate admitting #2, #49, & #50.

61. Barbies were my favorite childhood game (I only played alone). It was a huge creative outlet for me. (I basically created my own *wholesome* soap opera.)

62. I have an excellent immune system.

63. I can't ride in the car with my mom driving. I have to drive.

64. I wanted to be an architect when I was 12 and would draw floor plans on my small drafting board.

65. I can't eat bananas plain. I love them in ice cream and cereal and pie, though.

66. I could live on cereal. . especially Wheaties.

67. My love for clothing began with Limited Too and Gap Kids.

68. I'm not a cat lover, but I love my cat. And I loved my old cat (RIP).

69. I used to read 3-5 books at a time and once met my goal of 50 books in a year.

70. I miss reading that much.

71. My grandma's lake is my favorite place and I have made the most wonderful memories with friends and family there.

72. Moving out of state sounds fun and adventurous, but I'm not sure I could do it. I love being close to family and all things familiar.

73. I moved an hour away for college one year. Football games, a sorority, and a best friend weren't enough to keep me there.

74. The next 3 years of college, I lived with 3-4 girl friends in a big apartment nearly the size of my parents' house and had the time of my life :).

75. I have naturally blonde, wavy hair, which I used to hate, but now love.

76. I wish my chest was a cup-size bigger, but I'd rather be small than big, because I can get away with wearing more things without being revealing.

77. I used to have my nose pierced and wish I still did.

78. I prefer heels to flats, but sometimes feel too prissy wearing them.

79. I am 5'2". . . hence my heels preference.

80. I absolutely love surprises.

81. I hate pop (soda). Always have. In fact, I only drink water, milk, and a few mixed drinks.

82. It's easy for me to be content and optimistic.

83. I'm a firm believer that attitude is only 10% circumstance, 90% choice. (This doesn't mean I never have a bad attitude.)

84. I like my closet color-coordinated.

85. I have never been drunk.

86. I have been tipsy a few times, which was fun, but I felt stupid afterward.

87. I love the drink Sex on the Beach, but hate ordering it.

88. I hate missing out on anything.

89. I failed an Algebra class in college because I never went and missed a rescheduled test. I took it again and got a B.

90. Hearing people breathe is annoying and grosses me out. But coughing grosses me out more.

91. I think I have the most wonderful extended family anyone could ask for.

92. I hate talking on the phone. I love talking in person.

93. I took a dance class and now know several ballroom and latin dances.

94. I wish I had someone fun to dance with.

95. I don't love kids, but there are kids that I LOVE.

96. I don't have to travel to stay sane, but I love traveling.

97. I love organization, but I'm rarely organized.

98. My fave magazines are People, Real Simple, and Lucky.

99. My best friend and I like most of the same things, but have very different personalities.

100. I love my comfort zone . . but I love when I'm forced to step out of it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Process

Last night, I was chatting with a good friend of mine and we were discussing how we've been a bit discouraged and less motivated to seek the Lord on a consistent basis. We've been tempted to compare ourselves to others, perhaps, and thought, "I'll never be 'there'". Speaking for myself, I've been distracted by lesser things. Not even bad things, but things that don't press me to the Lord. Things that I do instead of spending time with Him. Things that may be good and fun, but they don't satisfy like He does; they don't touch my heart like He does.

So this post is for you, Friend (you know who you are). . . and for anyone else it may speak to.

Uncle Steve said some things last night that really got my attention (he's said them before, but they just got my attention this time):

“Make your end the process.”

“There’s always more with the Lord.”

It just made me think that if I have this place I want to be with the Lord, this place I want to be in my walk with Him, I’m never going to be there; I’ll never be satisfied with where I am. I’m never going to reach that end. But if I make my end the process, then I’ll be encouraged to keep going and pressing through when I don’t feel like it, or when my heart isn't in the condition I'd like it to be, or when I still feel so spiritually immature. I’ll always be looking and anticipating more, because there is always more with the Lord. It’s neverending. But if I don’t continue in the process, I’m not allowing him to give me more. I want to stay in the flow and not step out of it. I know that whatever life may bring, the Lord will be with me through the process. He'll be there in the dry times just as much as in the times when I feel saturated in His presence. If I seek Him, He'll keep transforming me and growing me up in Him, even when I can't see how or I ask why at times.

So bring on the process 'cause I'm stepping back into the flow.

Harry, Bob, and Angelina

You should've seen the look of glee on Ryan's face when I said, "Ryan, I totally thought it was Harry Potter when you came to the door!" (I really was taken aback by the resemblance. Well done to his mom and dad!)

Evan wasn't too into the whole costume thing. Here he is, yanking off his scarf/bandana.

Caroline said, "Look at me, I can twirl like a ballerina!"

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Overall, I had a good weekend. We went downtown to Upstream Brewery for S's birthday. I love the atmosphere, but my sandwich was just so-so. I hate when I decide to try something new and then I regret it! Should've stuck with the BBQ Chicken pizza.

On Sunday, it got up to 67 and BF & I ended up taking our Fall pics out at the lake with her new digital SLR. There were so many pretty spots. I'll have to post a picture later.

The bad part of the weekend was, of course, that we had our 3rd loss this season (24-31 to Oklahoma). SO sad! I was there, sitting amongst the Sooner fans, and their loud chants of "OooooooU!" The plus side was that we did have a great view of the field.

The ugly part was that I rear-ended someone on my way to Lincoln! And, I ask you, how does someone who went to school in Lincoln for a year take 3 wrong turns?? If I hadn't taken those wrong turns, I wouldn't have ended up having an accident. In my defense, the accident was not due to me being an air-head, like my last accident, 8 years ago, was. It was one of those exit/yield situations where you think the guy in front of you is going, so you turn to see when you can go and slowly roll forward . . crrrunch! That is the worst feeling! Fortunately, I did nothing to his truck. He had one of those old Ford pick-ups with the metal bumper that really messed up my hood, my bumper, and my headlight. I can't imagine if I'd actually been going at a speed greater than 1 mile per hour!

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Special Break and A Special Breed

I just had to take a blog break from work. Otherwise, I may have slithered out of my chair and crumpled into an unrecognizable ball on the floor. And to think, today is way better than yesterday. It's odd how usually my days are fine, and go smoothly and quickly, and I don't want to repeatedly bash my head on my keyboard and bite all my fingernails down to bloody stubs (ew! I never actually bite them down that far), yet other days I feel as though I need a professional masseuse and 4 Advil more than I need food and water. Yesterday, I scared myself, because after going home from work and being confronted with a very nasty person, who will remain nameless (but is not in my immediate family) I wanted desperately to use the "F-word" repeatedly. This may be normal for some, but it is very very unusual for me, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've been tempted to say it - usually those being very emotionally upsetting situations (involving boys and lots of crying-what else?).
At any rate, today they are catering Qdoba for lunch and that is my beam of light shining in the dreary workday.

Yummm . . . I just had a soft shell steak taco and a hard shell chicken taco with cheese and guac and lettuce and salsa, along with chips and salsa and a gigantic chocolate chip cookie. I ate it with my eyes closed (in private) and I think that made it taste even better. I have now gone from liking Qdoba to loving Qdoba. This may have lifted my spirits for the rest of the day . . I'll let you know.

Last night, Best Friend & I were talking about where the heck our husbands are and who the heck they are (not that I'm in a hurry . . just curious). I said it was going to take a special breed to be with me, and she agreed. But, then I got worried. I mean, I don't want him to be weird or anything or dorky or quirky. (I worry because I meet few people that actually impress me.) So I made my sister promise to not let me marry someone who wasn't cool. She just laughed and said she didn't think that was possible. So I made her promise to marry someone cool, too, so our husbands could get along and we could all hang out together and live happily ever after :).

And I'm pretty sure that you can tell just by reading that last paragraph why I need a special breed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Dinner and a Movie

I wish people would just stop having birthdays and babies! This is getting expensive!

My cousin and his wife, out in D.C., just welcomed their first, Walker Bransby. I'm so excited for them! Bransby is his great-grandmother's maiden name. I love when people use family names!

S had her 24th yesterday, so we went out to Biaggi's for Italian, and it was delicious! I get the same thing every time I go, which is: Spaghetti Pollo Rosso with sun-dried tomatoes, tomato cream sauce, chicken, and peas! I wish I would've eaten less last night so I would've had even more for lunch leftovers today (I love reheated pasta!). But I just couldn't stop!

We went to see "Just Like Heaven" which I thought was cute, but different. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I can be one of "those" who critiques movies a little too much. I often have to bite my tongue so I don't annoy those around me. . and myself. The funny thing is, I hate when other people do the exact same thing!

I can't get over movie prices! It's only been a few months that I have not been considered a student. (I graduated last December, but then had to take a 1 credit hour class in the Spring in order to receive my diploma and "technically" graduate.) Whenever I walk up to the box office, I have this debate going on in my head.

"Just say you're a student."

-"It's a lie! It's a lie!"

"It's not that big of a deal."

-"It's still a lie!"

"Everybody else lies and says they're a student."

-"Should you compare yourself to everyone else?"

Dangit! "One adult, please."

Now if the kid at the box office wants to assume I'm a student, then I'll let him give me a "discount".

Monday, October 24, 2005

It's a Girl!

Mom woke me up at 5:45 a.m. this morning to let me know that the baby had just arrived. I just talked to my brother and heard her making noises in the background. Can't wait to meet her! Isn't it funny how your hunch about the sex of a baby can be right so often? We all thought it was a girl, and we were right.

*Sophia Payton*

It's amazing to hold any baby, but when it's your sibling's baby, it's even more awesome. It's a new addition to your family. This little person is forever going to be a part of your life. Just one look and you love them. You always will.

Can't imagine what it will be like to have one of my own. . . I sure hope labor is this easy for me. This little girl came out in only two pushes!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

October Weekend

It was so nice to spend time with Best Friend this weekend. We stayed the night out at her grandparents' larger-than-life lake home, because she was house-sitting. One word can sum up our time together: Chill. We ate some delicious food from our fave Mexican place, El Bee's. We watched two movies back to back, without even getting up for a potty break. Both were good in very different ways: Crash & Fever Pitch. We ended the night with a game of pool. Oh, and I can't forget that Best Friend was awesome enough to surprise me with some Maggie Moo's ice cream: cake batter & cookie dough. I hate to admit it, since I'm such a big Cold Stone fan, but Maggie Moo's does have a better cake batter ice cream.

The sun was absolutely gorgeous coming up over the lake. We sat on the dock for awhile enjoying the pretty fall colors and smells.

Of course, the rest of the day we watched football. It was so sad that we had our 2nd loss this season :(

I let her try on my wig, too, so I just have to post a pic of it. (Hope you don't mind, BF.)

At night, I hung out with Awesome Married Couple and their cute little baby. I haven't hung out with them since our September lake party! L asked me, "So, Laura, do you like carving pumpkins?" They are king and queen of hinting. Needless to say, I ended up carving their pumpkin for them, something I didn't mind doing. I felt a little pressured, though, because they just sat there watching me, occasionally giving me tips and telling me, half-jokingly, that I only had one chance to get it right. (They only had one pumpkin.) Fortunately I think it turned out. What do you think?

Thursday, October 20, 2005


These are my kids. Well, they're not my kids, but they're definitely my favorite kids. I met them when they were only 3 weeks old and preemies. They were so tiny and beautiful. It was love at first sight.

At the time, I was looking for a job, after being jobless for a couple months due to knee surgery. I was interested in being a nanny, but didn't know where to look.

My friend nannied and said she'd heard of a woman who was pregnant with twins, already had a 3 year old, and wanted some help. She got me the number and I made a call. Debi wasn't actively looking for help, but when she heard I was interested, she told me to come over and meet her children and we could go from there. I ended up spending the day there and was immediately hired on as the "nanny". It was my only job for 7 months. Though I left for a more steady nanny job and eventually went on to other jobs after that, I never stopped coming over to baby-sit the kids.

It's been so wonderful watching them grow and develop their adorable personalities. I was like a proud Mama when I would watch them every day, and I would tell stories to everyone (who didn't really care). Though every stage with them has been fun, I'm really enjoying this age: 3 1/2. They're talking more than ever and I love hearing the things they'll say.

Evan is definitely all-boy, but he has the sweetest personality. Always has. Caroline used to take toys from him and when he'd take them back, she'd cry, and he'd just give them right back to her. He's always been a "sharer" and a "hugger". Whenever he has his little bursts of testosterone and ends up hurting her, he's quick to apologize and give her a hug. Last week, I had to scold him for misbehaving in the restaurant and later on, when I told him I loved him, he just looked up at me with his big brown eyes and said, "I wuv you Woah" (he still can't say a few of his letters yet).

Caroline has always been a princess. When she was only 6 months old, she would see flowers across the room and begin sniffing. She's always been drawn to jewelry and "pretty things". She loves anything that has to do with being feminine. She only refers to her bedroom as her "princess room", though the only princessy-thing about it is that it's pink. She can speak clearly, with the slightest (and cutest) lisp. And she loves to sing. She sings to herself all the time, but especially loves standing on a stool and performing "Twinkle, Twinkle", knowing every word and hitting every note. She has the stronger will of the two, but it's often the silent iron will. Oh, but her will can't touch her big brother's.

They say red hair symbolizes a fire-y personality and when it comes to Ryan, they're right. He's full of fire when it comes to not getting his way. We could be getting along great and all of a sudden he'll be upset with me. He's gotten better over the years, but it still makes for an unpleasant evening when I tell him 'no'. I can't help but laugh when I think of the time he called me a "dirty mudblood". His dad told me later it was a "person of questionable heritage" (from Harry Potter). Ryan and I do have some great memories. He and I used to go to the park and the toy store together a lot, stopping for an occasional ice cream cone. As he gets older, he prefers to keep to himself and play his computer games and build things. I'm always so happy when he wants to show me something or include me in his interests. (He doesn't like pictures, so I had to get one while he was sleeping. Too bad, because he's much cuter when he's awake!)

Kids really put things in perspective. No matter how bad my day or how hard my life may be, when I walk in the door and they're smiling and dancing for me, nothing else seems to matter.

Pepperoni Rolls

Yay! I "slaved" over pepperoni rolls the other night for our potluck today at work. But they were all nearly gone before lunchtime, which means they were a big hit. I've had a few people ask me for the recipe already.

1 pkg. Rhodes frozen dinner rolls
1 jar baby dill pickles
1 jar Grey Poupon Dijon mustard (with flecks)
2 pepperoni logs/sticks

Set rolls on cookie sheet (2 inches apart) and let rise for 2-3 hours. Mince at least half a jar of dill pickles. Cut pepperoni into smaller, skinny sticks.

Preheat oven to 375.

Take each roll and flatten into “mini pizza” (using rolling pin, but don’t make too thin). Spread thin layer of mustard. Sprinkle the pickle relish in the middle and put 4-5 little pepperoni sticks. Fold two ends in and roll up (like a burrito) and pinch together.

Bake for 15 minutes.
I had some seasoned fried chicken from the potluck and wondered who made it. It was so-so. I wish I hadn't asked, because it only confirmed my fear. It was the one girl (ok, one of two) that grosses me out and we suspect she doesn't wash her hands after using the bathroom. Ugh! I feel gross. Reminds me of Dad's definition of potluck:

You're lucky if you find the pot your wife brought.

I did, however, have some delicious banana pudding. Though it was very good, it still doesn't touch the kind I had in southern Alabama a year ago.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wiggin' Out!

I meant to write this post days ago when I posted my picture, but I am just now getting around to it. If you haven't already guessed by the subject of my post, the brown hair is not really mine. It is a wig!

I've always wondered what it would be like to be a brunette, but I'm not daring enough to color my hair. Plus, if I wanted my blond back, I would have to either wait a very long time, or really damage my hair by bleaching it. I never considered a wig before because I assumed it was too pricey and would probably look really fake. Last week, a co-worker told me she got hers for only $25 at Mr. Lee's! That settled it. I was going wig shopping.

I took a friend/co-worker with me and tried on 5 or 6 wigs before finding "the one". Let me tell you, we had a lot of laughs! My wig came to a total of $37.44! Of course, for that price, it is not human hair; it's synthetic. The downside to that is that I can't curl it or wash it, but for the price difference, it was worth it.

I put it on in the store and have since worn it every day (6 days) and only taken it off to go to bed. I decided that it's crazy enough that I'm wearing the thing, but how much weirder would it be if I kept switching back and forth between blond and brunette?! Besides, if I didn't wear it consistently, I wouldn't be able to know what it's really like to be brunette.

So far, I've discovered some things I like about the color:
1. It really brings out my eyes. I've always felt like my eyes do not stand out and can look dead.
2. I can get away with more dramatic eyes. Wearing more eye liner doesn't necessarily make me look more made-up. It's complimented by the dark hair color.
3. I can wear certain lip colors that I couldn't with blond hair. I've not worn much lipstick lately, but I have a few colors that I love that just didn't look good with blond hair.
4. It makes me look older. This is something I won't want in a matter of a few years I'm sure, but it's nice for a change. I've always looked quite a bit younger than I am.
5. It looks better when wearing certain colors.

What I like about wearing a wig:
1. It's quick and easy.
2. I know I can take it off whenever I want to.
3. It's fun!

What I don't like about wearing a wig:
1. It itches! After awhile, my head gets numb to the feeling of having all my hair secured to my head with a ponytail holder, barette, bobby pins, and a little cap. . . but it does itch - sometimes more than others.
2. I have to be careful that my blond doesn't peek out on the sides of my face. Not something that you really want to have to worry about. I've bobby-pinned some strands that seems to take care of the problem, but occasionally I'll play with it and begin to see some blond showing through.
3. It's not very versatile. Right now I have the top pulled back which looks best and most natural, but it would be fun to be able to pull it all up or curl it.
4. I feel like I have to tell everyone it's a wig. The vast majority of people have thought it was real, because it is the same length as my actual hair (a little shorter actually). But I would feel like I was deceiving people if I didn't admit it was fake.

For the most part, I've gotten compliments and positive responses, though there have been a number of people that prefer my blond hair (me being one of them, though I like the brown). My grandmother is my biggest critic. She hates it and has told me so at least 20 times (that is no exaggeration). She then apologizes for telling me it looks terrible and asks me to take it off so she doesn't have to apologize anymore. . . . I think I'll take the criticism and keep wearing it for awhile.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Wholesome Table Conversation

Looking out the dining room window at one cat stalking another.

Mom: "Well, are they going to fight or have sex?"

Dad: "Looks like they're mating."

Mom: "But he looks like he's about to pounce."

Dad: "That's the idea."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

This little guy is my nephew. I met him less than a year ago. In fact, I met his mom a little less than a year ago . . and in a whirlwind of a matter of months, I had a sister-in-law and a nephew.

It was all so strange. My little brother is only 21 and here he is a husband and a dad to this little boy. He's been the only daddy this kid has known. My brother plans on adopting him. It's so sweet to watch them together. Aaron is such a good dad, and Micah loves him like crazy.

He also loves my dad like crazy. "PapaPapaPapaPapa." He reaches out to my mom and my sister, too. But, me . . . he's not so sure about me. One day he likes me . . the next day he'd rather ignore me. One day he'll give me a kiss, the next day he's not interested. He sure doesn't seem to be this fickle with everyone else.

And this picture . . it took me about 25 shots to get this. He kept looking away on purpose. He gets this little grin on his face like he takes pleasure in making me work for his affection. There's another little grin he gets when he's fighting so hard not to smile at me and give me the satisfaction. Before the smile breaks, he'll just stare at me as if he doesn't find me the least bit amusing. And I do try too hard. I'm like a clown out of costume with this kid. It's exhausting.

I'm hopeful that one day he'll love me . . every day.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


I have a little obsession with make-up. It's been so unorganized since I've moved home a few months ago. I had an excuse to get organized when I got it all out to do Alyssa's make-up for prom. Here it is (minus my many many lipsticks and glosses). As you can see, I've gotten quite a few freebies from Clinique - gotta love those. And working at the Lauder counter didn't hurt either.
Here's what I can't live without:
Estee Lauder Idealist
Estee Lauder Illuminator
Estee Lauder Go Wink (which they are discontinuing, but Mary Kay has something very similar and almost easier to use).
Benefit's Hoola bronzing powder (a little goes a long way)
Estee Lauder Illusionist mascara
Favorite everyday lipstick: Clinique Bamboo Pink.
It's all just too much fun!
Share your favorites . . . .

True Story

Her phone rang.

She smiled. It was her husband.

"I'm not gonna answer that," she thought. "I know he's just calling to tell me to hurry up." She grabbed a sweatshirt and quickly pulled it over her head. It didn't match her sweatpants or flip flops, but who cared, she was only running out for a second.

Her husband was headed to work and she was parked behind him. Every once in awhile one of them would leave before the other and a car would have to be moved. She grabbed her keys off the dresser and headed for the back door. Should I shut it, she wondered. Nah, I'll be right back, she thought.

It was still raining outside. The sky was cloudy and even darker than usual for this time of the morning. She ducked her head as if to brace herself for the cold, rainy, Fall weather, and hurried outside. She smiled and waved good-bye to her husband as she ran past his truck and jumped into her car. In just a minute, she had backed out and pulled back into the drive. She wished she didn't have to go to work herself in just an hour or so. She'd rather stay in on such a dreary day. . maybe clean the house.

She loved the house. A couple of rooms had been newly re-modeled and she had decorated well. It felt warm and cozy inside, and it had character. But, she knew they wouldn't live there forever. It was in what she called a "pocketed" area. Most of the homes were built in the 30s or 40s, many of them with big screened-in front porches. The homes near hers were well-kept up, but home maintenance could vary from block to block, as could the type of neighbors. The streets were not well-lit, either. Overall, she had never felt completely safe there.

As she ran around the back of the house and opened the screen door, she immediately noticed muddy shoeprints going up the two steps into the kitchen. She froze. Immediately she thought of her husband. She had just washed the floors last night. Could he have somehow come back inside? But she had seen him drive away. Plus, he knew better than to track mud in the house. This didn't make sense. Her heart began to beat faster. She slowly walked up the stairs and through the kitchen looking to see where the footprints led. Her chest tightened as they went into the main room, turned into the hallway and went straight into the spare room. As she stood in the main room, peeking into the spare, she saw the closet door . . cracked. And she knew. There was a stranger in her house.

A chill went up her spine as she fought back tears. She felt panicked. Her mind began to race. She had to call her husband. She still wanted desperately to believe he'd tracked the mud in, he'd gone to get something from the closet, and she was alone in the house. But her phone was down the hall in their bedroom. Should she run out without it? Did she dare to run down the hall and back and risk facing the intruder? She did.

She bolted down the hall, grabbed her phone from her dresser, and ran as fast as she could to the back door. Her husband was already on the other end.

"Did you come back in the house and get something from the spare bedroom closet?"


Her voice was shaking. "Did you come back into the house and get something from the spare room closet?"


"-There's someone in the house." And in an instant, she was back in her car and pulling out of the drive. She sped off and headed straight for her brother and sister-in-law's house. Tears began streaming down her face the moment she stepped inside.

Within the next hour, the police were at her home searching the premises, looking for evidence, checking for fingerprints. Since she'd left, the footprints had gone down the hall, entered her bedroom, turned around (apparently after not finding anything of interest), and disappeared. The police called the incident a burglary, though nothing appeared missing.

She and her husband spent the day crying, so happy they, especially she, was safe. What if it hadn't rained? What if the intruder hadn't tracked mud into the house? They prayed together and thanked God for protecting her.

Her husband removed his Smith & Wesson from its case and decided to carry it with him for an indefinite period of time. That afternoon, they drove to the humane society and picked out a 6-month old bloodhound and called to arrange for a security system to be installed in their home. Their lives really will never quite be the same again. They will always be more aware of their surroundings. She will never walk to her car in the dark alone. They will always think someone could be watching.
I'm so thankful that my friend is safe. I know the Lord protected her and I am grateful! We walked around in her backyard today and there were no muddy areas. Praise God that his shoes were somehow muddy! It was just creepy to think some guy was back there watching in the dark, in the rain, inside their fence. To think he may have planned it. He may have known their schedule. It's really a wake-up call. I know I need to be more cautious even though I live in a safe, nice neighborhood.

Just thought I would write out my friend's story and tell you all to be cautious and never think it couldn't happen to you.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Look . . Twins!

Now we not only have the same iPod, we have the same laptop, too! I'm really not trying to copy Best Friend, but, what can I say, she likes cool stuff and she always gets it first. And just as I had decided which camera I wanted, she got that, too! Shoot!
Here we are having a CD swap night where we imported each other's favorite CDs, (while watching the O.C. . . . I will not get hooked, I will not get hooked).
After that, we went to a bar/grill in my town to hear the Chris Saub Duo and play some pool. I ran into some guys I knew from high school, which is always fun because I like seeing what other people are up to, which this time happened to be "working for my dad's construction company" and "working for his dad's construction company" and a job where "I pretty much do this [hang out] without the beer".

Fun night, and thanks to Best Friend for coming out to my neighborhood this time ;)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

"the very hairs of your head are numbered"

And the number of the very hairs of my head is a lot less than it was two days ago. If you have thick hair and haven't had your hair thinned before, it can be amazingly beneficial. It not only takes less times to dry and is easier to wash, but it can give you a much more attractive 'do' and contributes to making your locks more manageable. I used to be afraid to give Cousin Joy the 'go ahead' because my thick blond hair was like a trademark of sorts. I had gotten so many compliments over the years not only for the nice natural "blondness", but also for the thickness of my hair. My old hairdresser said I had the best hair ever. I mean, he was the best in town, and he never thinned my hair. But, Joy likes trying new things on my hair without telling me until after the fact, so several months ago, she went ahead and thinned it. The result was fabulous! I could actually "toss" my hair! I could run my fingers through it! I could blow dry it in under an hour (yes, that's an overexaggeration). It just lay on my shoulders so much more nicely. So, after several months of letting my hair grow even longer, it was time to thin again. This time, the change feels so much more dramatic than before and I'm kinda freaking out about it. I really liked having a nice thick ponytail. But I'm looking forward to perhaps styling it more often, which translates into at all, since I can't remember the last time I did anything but let it air-dry wavy or pull it up. So, all that to say, I'm a big fan of thinning shears (when used by a professional) - just remember to thin within reason to avoid shock.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

1,061 . . 1,062 . . . .

As of last night, I now have over 1,000 songs on my iPod. 1,062 to be exact, after last night's addition of some old Mariah hits, Frank Sinatra CDs, Faith Hill, and a few CCR classics. It's taken me about a month to reach this point and though it's very easy and quick to import and upload songs, I don't even want to know how many hours I've spent doing it. My free time has really only consisted of spending quality time with my laptop and iPod. This, however, does include running while listening to the iPod, which feels much more productive than sitting while listening to the iPod. It's so fun not knowing which song will play next. It also means that I don't have to listen to myself pant loudly which causes me to think about how much I hate running and I want to die. Listening to music means I can run until I get to the point where I think about how much I love running and how I could just run forever. The other night I began my jog to "Broken Wings" (the Tupac remix) and did my cool-down stretches to "Trip Through Your Wires" by U2. I'm loving the variety and randomness! I thought I would only enjoy jogging to upbeat music, but I've found that even slow songs and worship music can pump me up just as much. It dawned on me the other week that running in the dark while listening to loud music was probably not very conducive to looking out for my own safety. I feel pretty safe where I live, but I often jog through blocks that aren't well-lit and, though they're not bad parts of town, they're not exactly "inviting". I began carrying my Mace spray last week, which makes me feel better, though I know I still wouldn't be able to hear anyone if they were to sneak up on me. Scary thought. But, today I felt the cold weather blowing in. Unlike yesterday with temps reaching 90, today they, instead, dropped into the 50s! I think I might cry! Not only does this mean outdoor running is about to end, it means I have to wear socks and closed-toe shoes, take my boxed up sweaters out and probably to the dry cleaner's since they're a bit wrinkled, and scrape the frost off my windshield every morning. *Sigh* Fall has officially arrived.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

"It's a beautiful day here in Lincoln . . "

The guy on sports radio was right. It was a beautiful day, around 80 degrees with a nice breeze. But what made it even more beautiful was our win against ISU (#23), the first Big XII Team we've played this year. We won in the 2nd OT. What a game! Our offense finally showed up. So we are now 4-0 and remain undefeated at home against ISU (since '77)! Above, me & Micki had to get a picture with this guy! What a great paint job. He was eating up the attention, walking around the entire stadium. I love crazy fans!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Melissa (from Chattanooga) was in town
for a wedding last weekend. It was so fun
to see her and hang out again. She used to
live two doors down in our apartment
complex and she was like the 4th roomie.
While she was back, we hit up the mall,
the famous Henry Doorly Zoo, and the
new outdoor shopping center she hadn't
seen. Oh, and how could I forget - Red
Robin, where we ate at least once a week
when she lived here. It was fun to have
her back for a few days and reminisce
about football Saturdays, reality TV,
snow storms, trips to Target, and lots
of other random memories.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Things like this shouldn't happen to young girls. They shouldn't happen to anyone. It's one thing to even hear of what happened or what was lost. But then to hear their feelings, their thoughts, and to hear how it's affected them. I was just speechless. I wanted to say something to make them feel better, do something to fix it. I can't heal their hearts, but God can! He's grieved as He's seen what happened. And He is the only One who really understands. And if they'll surrender their lives to Him, He will delight in healing the pain and giving them grace to forgive and a new beginning, no longer victimized or affected by their past. Free. Now that is beautiful.

John 10:10
The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

"Your heart was torn; forgiveness was born
Yet through Your pain, You call us by name
That we would be free, yes free indeed
Free to run with You, to be all that You created us to be
In You, it is true, that we are free (oh Lord we are free)

"Oh we've come to declare the beauty of the Lord
To declare the beauty of the Lord
Oh we've come to declare the beauty of the Lord
To declare the beauty of the Lord"

- Christy & Nathan Nockels

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Detour in December

Last December, Best Friend & I took a little detour through Oregon on our way home from Kansas City. Oregon, Missouri, that is.

Psalm 144:2
"He is my loving God
and my fortress,
my stronghold,
and my deliverer,
my shield in whom I take refuge . . "

Friday, September 23, 2005

Sweet Running

At Fresh Start the other night, I gave the girls an example of "processing an issue of the heart" by using one from my past. Sharing my experience with them was good in that it reminded me of all the Lord had done in my heart. A miracle. He is my healer. He is everything.

As I went for a run that night, I thought,

"Lord, these past couple of years have been bittersweet. And all the sweet . . . that was You."


And this is why I can keep on running. I can keep on smiling. I used to run, years ago, out of my own strength. It was my outlet. I didn't really believe He could/would heal my heart. Once I let Him, He so proved me wrong. Now I run because of His strength that He has given me. A new, bridled (guided, purposeful) strength.

"Come what may, I want to run" - II Samuel 18:23

Today's M-ism

"Hi, Heth!"

(Our manager's name is Heather. M & Heather are not friends.)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

You're Not the Boss of Me

If my legs could talk, I'm pretty sure this is what they would've said last night:

"We remember the 5-mile run last week and no way is that happening again."

Good thing I'm the boss.

Today's M-ism

Remember M? The gal I work with? I've decided she's too funny to not write more about. So, here's the first M-ism:

"I'm pretty sure that the dead black squirrel I saw was actually the 9th black squirrel I saw this morning."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

24 Hours of Joy

My cousin, Joy, that is. She's hilarious. She's random, impulsive, fun, funny, often loud, and blatantly honest. Some say she's ditzy, but she's far from dumb. Her high-pitched voice and laugh make her . . . distinctive. And she's beautiful :)

Here's a recap of our weekend together>


2 p.m. : Shopping @ the Mall. Joy is usually the one to randomly decide she wants an outfit and blow all of her money on a shopping spree. I prefer to shop and shop and find the sales.

3 p.m. : I pay full price for a belt and shirt. Joy pays $10 for cropped trouser pants.

4 p.m. : Joy's friend meets up with us. Her home has just burnt down and she has lost everything. Joy buys her a very expensive pair of jeans and a shirt. How sweet.

5 p.m. : Joy & I run to Wal-Mart so I can pick up a birthday gift for my nephew. Joy disappears and comes back with sugar on her face. She's just eaten two doughnuts. Then she forgets to pay for them when she checks out. Easy to forget to pay for something you've already eaten.

6 p.m. : Micah's 2nd birthday party. Joy & I enjoy food and try to decide what to do that night.

7 p.m. : T calls and invites us to his party.

10 p.m. : We arrive at T's house and play polish horseshoes. We are awesome!

11 p.m. : We become the life of the party. We bring in Joy's techno CD and do a "dance" and sing for everyone. Several guys get into it; everyone else just laughs and watches - and we play the song 3 times over. It's hilarious!

12:30 p.m. : We drive home, so not tired or ready for bed yet.

1:00 a.m. : We stop at Taco John's and go through the drive-thru twice. We immediately regret it and drive to the nearest facility.

2:30 a.m. : We reluctantly go to bed for lack of something else to do.

3:30 a.m. : Joy is on my side of the bed. I try to be nice and fall back asleep.

4:30 a.m. : Joy is still on my side of the bed. There is room for another person on the other side of her. I nicely shove her to the other side.


11:30 a.m. : We go to church together.

1:00 p.m. : Joy tries to bribe the hostess at Mimi's to seat us faster by offering her $5. Nice try, Joy. "I used to do that for other people," she says of her days as a hostess.

3:00 p.m. : We lay out at the lake and get no sun, because, who are we kidding - it's September.

5:30 p.m. : We go inside and Joy pulls out brownie mix and cake mix. We make both. And order a pizza.

6:30 p.m. : Brownies are gross. Joy eats five anyway. We toss the rest. Cake is delicious. Pizza still hasn't arrived. Joy has called and chatted with the manager twice about the late pizza. She has decided to give the delivery guy some cake and asks the guy on the phone if he wants a piece, too. "Ask your manager, Kevin, if he wants a piece." Kevin wants a piece.

7:00 p.m. : Pizza arrives. Delivery guy is flustered by the cake. "This one is for you, and here's one for the guy with the deep voice and one for your manager, Kevin." Delivery guy starts to walk off without the money. We give him the money. He starts to walk off without giving us change. Joy says, "Hey, we're not tipping you that much. Kevin said we could have the pizza for free. Keep the ten for yourself." Kevin never said we could have it for free. But, we should have, because it was late and cold.

8:00 p.m. : Grandma comes home and we present the cake to her, even though we know she's starting her diet tomorrow. She doesn't seem to mind.

9:00 p.m. : Joy heads home. It's been fun.

(The picture is Joy doing the "dance" to "What Was Her Name?")