Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Don't Want to Forget

Sometimes when I start to take my husband for granted and little things start to bother me, I remember that lonely, shy high schooler who wondered if anyone would ever notice me. Back then I would have been so ecstatic to be able to look into the future and see Luke there with me.
My heart is yearning for something different now. And someday when God answers my prayers, I don't want to forget the way I feel now.

When I suffer from morning sickness and fatigue...
Once my feet have swollen, and I can no longer see them...
Even when I'm screaming in a hospital bed...
I won't forget. It will all be worth it.

After I've been up all night with a screaming baby...
On the days when I can't find time for a shower...
I will remember the yearning in my heart.

When I'm cleaning up after a sick toddler...
On the days I want to lose my patience over tantrums...
I'll think back on these days, and know that I can handle anything

During sibling fights...
When I just need a break...
On those days when I just want a moment to myself, but the kids are begging me to read them a story...
I'll see those things as blessings. And I'll say yes every time, because I'll think back on these endless days of waiting.

I don't write this to be melodramatic. But during the Christmas season, it is hard not to picture life in the future with little ones at this time of year. I know how badly I want this, and I don't want to take it for granted once it comes. All this waiting has been so difficult, but I think it has taught me some things. I think I will appreciate every smile and kiss just a little bit more than I would have if I hadn't had to wait. I'll have a little more patience. I'll take advantage of more opportunities to spend time with my children. And I'll have a bit more thankfulness in my heart.

Look around you. How many of the things in your life are things you waited and yearned for? Are you appreciating them the way you thought you would? I know I need to open my eyes in some areas, and see how blessed I really am!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christian Romance Novels

Last week I wrote a post about Breaking Dawn and the fact that I think it gives women false expectations about love and romance. Found here. At the end of the post, I briefly mentioned that I believe Christian romance novels can sometimes give the same false expectations.

A few days after writing that, I came across this YouTube video by Joy Eggerichs (daughter of Emerson, who wrote my favorite relationship book, Love and Respect). Her words expressed my thoughts exactly! I couldn't resist sharing it here, because I know it gave me some things to think about.

DISCLAIMER: I am not posting this to say that every Christian romance novel is wrong to read. Period. I just think that we need to examine our use of them. Make sure we are not running to these idealistic stories to escape from the pain and disappointment of day-to-day life, and creating unrealistic ideas about how the Christian men in our lives should act.



Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Tree

It is tradition at our house to ring in the Christmas season by picking out, purchasing, and decorating our Christmas tree the weekend of Thanksgiving.

Luke and I went out on Saturday morning on a mission to find the perfect tree. It felt strange to me, because the weather was unseasonably warm and sunny. And it still feels like it should be about Halloween to me since time has been flying by all semester. So it felt odd.

Once we got it inside, however, and I started pulling boxes of ornaments out of the attic, I was immediately in Christmas mode. We spent the day decorated while we watched the Ohio State/Michigan game. And then we enjoyed our cozy tree all evening:

We chose the big, vintage-style colorful lights this year, and I think they're fun!

Each ornament carries its own set of memories...

This is Gabby's 4th Christmas and Ellie's 3rd. You'd think they'd be used to the tree and lights by now. But no. They make me slightly nervous!

It didn't take long for them to warm up to the tree, though. Literally. The lights give off a good amount of heat, and it's the cats' favorite place to sleep now. (Don't worry, we are super careful about only turning the lights on when we are in the living room).

What a great way to end the Thanksgiving weekend, and begin the Christmas season! I am still gradually pulling out other decorations to transform the whole house a little at a time. Last year the entire house was decorated the day after Thanksgiving, and I had two trees up! My Christmas cards were all completed and ready to send out the first week of December. This year is so different. I've been so busy with school, I'm nowhere near as ahead of the game. But I suppose each year is different. And I only have two weeks of class left! As soon as I'm done with finals, I'll have plenty of time to spend on Christmasy things :-)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week in Review: Thanksgiving!

~On Sunday, Luke and I went with 2 other couples from our small group to a Kari Jobe concert. It was actually more of a Night of Worship than a concert. It was such a great night!

~ I spent most of Monday and Tuesday studying for a huge neuro exam I had Tuesday evening. It was a lot of hard work, but I did really well on the test! So I rewarded myself with probably the last pumpkin spice latte of the season afterward. It was divine :-)

~On Wednesday, I spent most of the day working on Thanksgiving preparations. I made some pumpkin pie cupcakes for the next day, and tried a new mac and cheese recipe for dinner (it was good!)

~On Wednesday I also squeezed in enough time to finish reading a book! This is significant, because it's the first book I've read for leisure all semester. The book is called She's out of Control, and it's book 2 in the Ashley Stockingdale series by Kristin Billerbeck. The lovely Heather lent me the last two books in the series after I finished the first one in the middle of the summer! I'm so happy that I'm finally getting to read them, and so appreciative that she lent them to me and told me to take as much time as I need to read them :-) Anyway, the series is great, and totally hilarious! A really good Christian fiction series. And for me to say that?? means it's really good. I have some problems with a lot of Christian fiction books. (see my Breaking Dawn post if you're curious as to why).

~Thursday was wonderful! I just love Thanksgiving :-) Luke and I slept in and watched the Macy's Parade. Then we went to my grandparents' for awhile, and later headed to Luke's side of the family for the big meal. After we ate, we spent all day playing board games and fawning over Luke's new baby cousin. Later, Luke went out shopping until about midnight with his sisters for cheap blu-rays. I opted out of that (I am too little and gentle to deal with big, pushy crowds like that! haha), and chose to have a peaceful evening watching Home Alone instead. When Luke got home, we were both still wide awake for some reason, and ended up staying awake until 2 or 2:30 watching all the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends. Another great Thanksgiving spent with loved ones :-)

~I slept in super late on Friday (you probably won't ever find me at any of those early bird sales!) but around noon I hit the town with Mom and Julie. We had lunch at Panera, and then braved the crowds at Target, Kohls, Barns and Noble, and Ulta (smaller than the crowds at Walmart the night before. This I could at least handle!). We didn't buy much, but it was fun to have the experience of shopping a bit on Black Friday.

~Friday evening I went out with my family again to go see The Muppets. I have always been a huge Muppets fan, and I have to say that this movie was AMAZING! Sooo funny! It doesn't hurt that Amy Adams and Jason Segel are two of my favorite actors. And the cameos?? hysterical! There was one cameo in particular that caught me so off guard that I almost couldn't handle it. I laughed soooo hard. If you've seen it, you probably know which part I'm talking about, but I'm not going to say who it was because I don't want to ruin it for anyone :-) Anyway, go see this movie now!! I think anyone would love it!

~Saturday was Christmas tree day! We picked out our tree in the morning, and spent most of the day decorating while we watched the (sad) Ohio State game. The cats kind of love the tree, but I'm afraid we're going to have a Christmas Vacation moment!

~Saturday night I was feeling a little under the weather, so we chilled at home in the evening, had a delicious homemade white pizza for dinner(recipe found here) and watched the DVR'd Thanksgiving episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Did anyone else watch it? It was so good! Can you tell that Luke and I took advantage of our leisure time and watched a LOT of TV and movies? Haha...don't judge. Luke worked two jobs for the past 6 months, and I have been juggling work/school/home, and this was the first time in a looong time that we could just do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted! And we loved it :-)

I'm a little sad to see this week end. I have one more week of class, and then it's finals week, so I'm going to have to really buckle down and work hard. I guess it's sad to go from being so carefree this week to having so much to worry about in the next two! But then I'll have an entire month off from classes! So I think pushing through two more weeks won't be so bad :-)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving highlights as seen through my lens:

Pumpkin pie cupcakes I made for Thanksgiving dinner. Found here

Thanksgiving Tree at Grandma and Grandpa's

An afternoon spent playing games at Luke's aunt and uncles house after our delicious dinner. Starting with Bananagrams

And then moving on to Tripoley.

iPad fun!

It was a fun, full day! Luke and I stayed up until 2:30 last night watching all the Friends Thanksgiving episodes that were airing all night. We then slept in super late, and I spent today shopping with my mom and sister.

Still to come this weekend: Going to see The Muppets with family tonight and getting our tree tomorrow! I love Thanksgiving weekend :-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Alphabet Thanksgiving

Good morning! I am so excited to have a whole week off from class!! I have all kinds of fun plans for the weekend, and can't wait to spend time with family!

Every year I do a Thanksgiving sort of post of things I'm thankful for. This year I wanted to do it a little differently, and came up with the idea of writing something I'm thankful for with every letter of the alphabet. So here goes:

A - Akron....the University of. I'm loving it and it's my top choice for graduate school.

B - Babies. I love babies, and can't wait to have my own someday.

C - Chocolate and coffee....gotta love the simple pleasures in life!

D - Dreams for the future.

E - Entertainment: like movies, books, blogging, etc. I can't remember the last time I was bored!

F - Friends, family, and freedom

G - God, and my relationship with Him. This is my #1.

H - Happiness...and the ability to choose to be happy even when things aren't going my way.

I - iPhone. It's petty, but I love mine. Such a luxury! And it makes like so much easier.

J - Julie, my sister. I know I used "F" for family, but a sister is really something extra special in a category of its own :-)

K -Kitties...They love me and cuddle with me unconditionally

L - Luke! Obviously :-)

M - Music

N - New beginnings, new perspectives. These two phrases define the last 7 or 8 months of my life.

O - Oven. Only because "B" for baking was already taken. I love to bake!! I'm thankful for hobbies like that.

P - Peace, one of God's greatest gifts.

Q - Quiet time with the Lord. The best way to begin each day.

R - Reading good books.

S - Speech pathology, my new career choice!

T - Trust in the Lord. It's something I'm working on daily, and it's where my peace comes from.

U - United States of America. What a blessing to be able to live in a free country, and even have a say in government issues.

V - Vehicle. Oh my, after the trouble we had with our Passat two years ago, I will never take for-granted my wonderful Ford Fusion, which has never given us any trouble for even a second!

W - Winter beauty. You have no idea how much it pained me to write that, but it really is beautiful. At first. And "W" is a hard letter!

X - X-rays??? Umm, I broke my arm once and they were helpful. Obviously "X" is an almost impossible letter!

Y - You...all of my blog friends! What an amazing part of my life you've all become!

Z - Zoo. Umm, I couldn't think of a better "Z" word. And it really is one of my favorite places.

What are you thankful for? Tomorrow between watching the parade, gorging ourselves on turkey, and falling asleep in front of the football games, let's remember to thank God for all the blessings in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving! Have an excellent holiday, and enjoy every minute with your loved ones. I'm peacin' out until at least Friday, so see ya on the flip side!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Guard Your Heart!

On Friday, I went to see the latest movie in The Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn Part 1. I have been a Twilight fan since I began reading the first book in 2008. I wouldn't put myself in the "Twi-hard" category, but I do enjoy the books and the movies an acceptable amount. I've heard some incredibly bad reviews about this latest movie, so I think I'm in the minority when I say: I loved it.

For the first time in a really long time, I got totally sucked in by this movie. Maybe partly because I had already read the book and knew what was going to happen, so the incredibly weird stuff didn't shock me much, because I knew it was coming.

Anyway, let me tell you why I loved it so much: the romance! The wedding scene was sooo beautiful! And romantic!
And the honeymoon? First of all, let me just say that I thought those scenes were completely inappropriate for all the little junior high girls who will go see this movie (call me old fashioned)! But anyway, it was equally as romantic.

Sounds like a pretty sweet and romantic movie right? And where is the harm in that?

Well I do believe there is some harm in that if we are not careful!

Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart. For it is the wellspring of life."

How many women get totally irritated and angry when we see our husbands or boyfriends looking at other women? Or watching movies, TV shows, or even commercials that contain scantily clad women who look perfect in every single way? It is really hard for us to live up to those images that completely inundate the media.

Those images are not real. They are a total fantasy, and no one is really that perfect. Lighting, slow motion, and Photoshop are really responsible for those perfect images.

And just like those images are not real, a perfect romance like Edward and Bella have? Is not real.

See the parallel?

Now I'm not saying that it is totally wrong to read the Twilight books or go see the movies. Everyone is different, and it may not effect you at all! But I know people who have read the books, and who are looking for a Twilight sort of romance. And they're just not going to find one, because romance like that doesn't exist long-term in the real world!

I guess what I'm saying is that we need to guard our hearts, just like Proverbs 4:23 tells us. If we're going to allow ourselves to read books or go see movies like this, we need to know that it's not real. We need to completely separate ourselves from those fictional situations, stop comparing our own relationships to those in the movies, and get rid of all expectations that real life is like that. Because I think Satan can sneakily use the media to steal our contentment about our own relationships.

If I've learned nothing else about marriage and relationships, I've learned that we cannot compare our relationship to anyone else's! Especially not the relationships of fictional characters!

And I'm not even talking about simply Twilight movies. I'm talking about things as close to home as those Christian romance novels that are so readily available to us even in our own church libraries.

Again, each person is different, and we need to guard our own hearts and know what we can handle, and how things affect us. But there are some Christian romance novels out there with some pretty idealistic portrayals of romance and relationships.

So I guess I'll get off my soapbox for the day :-) But I just wanted to share what God is teaching me about my own heart, and the way I need to protect it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week in Review

~On Sunday Luke and I spent the day shopping. We went out to lunch at Fuddruckers first, which was so good! And then I spent the day spending birthday gift cards. I found some amazing sales, and ended up coming home with a lot of great things! We ended the evening with Bible study, and it was a fun day :-)

~On Monday night we celebrated Luke's moms birthday with the family. And we watched funny You Tube videos for most of the evening, which was fun.

~ On Tuesday I completed and handed in my very last lab exercise for A&P. Yes, it deserved a picture. And yes, it was a huge highlight of my week. I'm in the home stretch now!
~On Wednesday, I completed a huge chunk of work that needed to be done for grad school applications. Again, another huge highlight of my week. The stress level just keeps going down!

~On Friday afternoon I went to see Breaking Dawn with my friend Kristin. I know a lot of people didn't like it, but I thought it was so good! It was sooo romantic. And even though I thought some of the images in the movie were a bit shocking, I really liked it! Maybe my favorite movie of the series so far! (Although Twilight is and will always be my favorite book of the series).
~After the movie, I went to Kristin's house to have some pizza with her and her family, and that was fun :-)

~On Saturday, my mom and I hit up some craft shows. I didn't end up buying anything, but it's fun to look, and start to get in the mood for Christmas!

~Saturday afternoon I had all kinds of plans to be super productive, but then my tooth started trying to kill me! I've had a bit of a toothache for a few days, but oh my word. I thought I was going to die. I tweeted that I'm sure labor is much worse, but I honestly could not imagine anything worse than that pain! It felt like someone had jammed a hot iron poker right into my gums! After a few hours, the pain just subsided as quickly as it had begun, which I was so thankful for! But anyway, all of my plans to be productive didn't happen, but some quality cuddle time with my little Ellie did. While I was trying not to die :-P (why do these things always happen on the weekends when the dentist is not in?!) She was cold and actually climbed under the blanket and then gripped onto my jeans with her claws, and legs straight out, and just started to purr uncontrollably. She is probably the dumbest cat in the world, but she's so sweet!! haha
I just thought she looked so funny and cute! What other cat falls asleep like that??

It was kind of a low key week again, and I spent most of it working on homework and grad school applications. But I am sooo excited for a bit of a break next week, and to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Need a Laugh?

I'm going to be really honest right now and let everyone know that I woke up in a grumpy mood this morning. For no particular reason - just one of those mornings.

The thing is, I should be sooo happy this morning, because:
  • I don't have school or work today!
  • I'm going to see Breaking Dawn part 1 later this afternoon!!!
  • I took two big tests yesterday and did great on both...a big load off my mind
  • I've made great strides in my grad school applications, completing my resume, statement of purpose, getting all my letters of recommendation lined up, and taking the GRE. Now all that's left is to send my undergrad transcripts and fill out the applications.
  • It's the weekend!!!
  • I might be going to a Kari Jobe concert later this weekend
See?? So many great things going on right now!! I have no clue where my bad mood was coming from!!! Anyway, I'm choosing to overcome it today. Using laughter :-)

So if there's anyone else out there who's in a funk this morning, I'm here to help you out :-)

First of all, some short, funny videos. Of the funniest characters on TV: Andy Dwyer, the Dunphys, Barney Stinson, and Dwight Schrute.


The Dunphys

(Below is Luke's favorite moment ever)

Barney Stinson

And Dwight Schrute

And some things I've found on Pinterest lately that had me rolling:

Hopefully these made you laugh too! Happy Friday :-)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Salvation Story

Salvation Stories

I am so excited today to link up with Callie @ Through Clouded Glass. She is hosting a link-up where we all share our testimonies before Thanksgiving. I thought this was a great idea, since it's the #1 thing I'm thankful for! And when Callie first introduced the idea, I realized I had never shared my entire testimony on my blog! It blows my mind, because my faith is the single most important thing I want people to take away from this blog.

Anyway, I'm so excited to share this with you today! I'll try not to write a novel ;-)


I grew up in a Christian home, and so did my parents. So I guess you could say my faith is deep in my roots. In fact, my mom and dad went to the same church with each other (the same church I also still attend now) for most of their lives. Isn't that cute? Anyway, I'm already getting off track. From a very young age, My parents taught me about Jesus, and the importance of being saved. My mom used to read Precious Moments: Stories from the Bible to me every night before going to bed when I was old enough to understand. In fact, it is resting on my bookshelf, waiting to be used again when I have a little someone to read it to (waiting more patiently than me, I should add ;-))

I can remember sitting on my little bed and praying the salvation prayer with my mom when I was very young: probably 5 or 6. Old enough to make the decision, but not really old enough to understand the importance of what I had done.

Fast forward to the summer before eighth grade. I was at a Christian summer camp, and our speaker for the week was telling the story of the Crucifixion - he was explaining, very graphically, what Jesus had gone through to save us from our sins so we could have eternal life. I will never forget that day. I can picture every detail of the room, and exactly where I was sitting. The story of the Crucifixion and Resurrection changed for me that day. It become totally real for me. Instead of just being a story in a book, it was something that had really happened, in a way much more violently and graphically than I had ever pictured it before. I could feel my heart breaking, and started sobbing right in the middle of the session (along with just about everyone else in the room). I made a decision that night to recommit my life to the Lord, and this time I really understood what the decision meant.

Since that time there have been many storms in my life. In junior high and early high school I was extremely shy and dealt with extreme loneliness and I think, in hindsight, even depression. God delivered me from that and blessed me with some amazing friends my sophomore year and beyond.

I struggled through a horrible first year of college, once again dealing with extreme loneliness and feeling like I didn't fit in. I was in a dramatic relationship with someone and that added a lot of stress. And God delivered me from all of that by letting me fall in love with Luke the following summer. Everything friendship-wise and relationship-wise fell into place after that.

I've never written about this, but a few months after Luke and I started dating, I started having anxiety attacks. I never knew when they would hit, and they were terrifying (anyone who's ever had one knows what I'm talking about!). After a few months of these horrible attacks, I was at a women's retreat at my church and prayed with faith that God would deliver me, and He did. I haven't had a full-blown panic attack since that day, over six years ago.

I dealt with discontentment with my job and career choice for four years. I knew God had something different for me, and I'm so glad to be able to say that I think, with guidance from the Lord, I found it in SLP.

Every one of these situations (and so many others in-between) have brought me closer to the Lord, strengthened my faith, and proved once again that if I let God have control of my life, He will work things out so much better than I could have imagined!

Today I'm dealing with the toughest, most violent storm of my life so far: infertility. After 17 months, I am still going through this storm, and have no idea how long it will last. But today I can say that the hope and peace that I've experienced through this situation has been totally worth it. I know God has an amazing plan in store. I don't know if it will involve starting my career as an SLP before having kids, having my own kids, adopting kids, fostering kids...who knows?? But God knows, and I am so happy to be able to sit back, let go, and let God do His thing.

Accepting Christ as my Savior and letting Him have control of my life has been the best decision I've ever made. I can't even imagine where I'd be without Him. There are times in the past couple of years that I don't even know if I would have made it at all without Him. He has offered this free gift of salvation to everyone, and He wants nothing more than for us to accept it and put our faith in Him. If you have not made that decision, it is my hopeful prayer that you will. It changes everything.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Answers Part 1...and the Giveaway Winner!!

I want to thank everybody who asked a question for my Q&A series! I had so many that I'm going to have to answer in installments. For the first installment, I answered your questions about my relationship with Luke. And I announce the giveaway winner at the beginning of the video, so I guess you'll just have to watch it to see who won!! (I will be in touch with the winner right away!)

A couple of disclaimers:

~I'm sorry the giveaway part is sooo quiet! The rest of it is loud enough, but something weird must have been going on with the sound during the giveaway part.

~I recorded the answers to the questions on Monday and picked the giveaway winner on Tuesday. Hence the different outfit and curly hair in the beginning.

~I apologize for my frequent use of the word "like." Seriously, this is one of my biggest pet peeves, and I had no idea I was guilty of it too!!!! I'll have to work on that! I will put my new speech education to use and coach myself not to say that word so much!

Anyway, here's the video! My first ever vlog where I'm actually in front of the camera. Scary stuff for me :-P

Thanks again for the questions, and congratulations to the giveaway winner!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week in Review: Birthday, CMAs, and Busyness

This post is a day later than normal, but I had a pretty full and great weekend, and didn't feel like wasting much of it on my computer.

Also, thanks for the great response on my Q & A post! Wow, I have so many questions to answer!! I'm definitely going to have to make my answers a series rather than one single post. And I've decided to answer them in vlog form, so that will be something new for me :-) On Wednesday I will be posting the first installment, plus the winner of the giveaway in a vlog! So be sure to check back then. If you haven't asked a question yet, you have a chance to win a $25 gift card to Starbucks if you do!

Okay, now on to last week in review. It was a busy, amazing week!

~Sunday was my birthday, so I spent the day at my parents' house where my mom made a delicious lunch. And then we had an ice cream sandwhich cake like the one I made her for her birthday in May. It was a fun day spent with family. And then my in-laws came over to our house in the evening, so it was a really full day with family. A great birthday! I felt spoiled and blessed.

~ I substitute taught 4th and 5th grade on Monday, and once again loved it. I have shocked myself so much this year with how much more I like to sub in the older grades than the younger ones!

~Wednesday was a busy day. I studied all day, then visited with my grandma for awhile, and then went out shopping for a bit and to dinner at Chipotle with Luke and JC. It was a last minute, unexpected little outing, and it was nice to get out after my long day of studying!

~One of the major highlights of my week was watching the CMA awards on Wednesday! I had no one to watch it with, so I tweeted through the whole thing. That way it felt like I was watching it with some of you :-) Anyway, I thought Brad and Carrie were hysterical and did great hosting again. I was happy with almost all of the awards, and loved the live performances. I've always loved If I Die Young by The Band Perry, but seeing them on the CMAs started an obsession with them. I've been listening to The Band Perry station on Pandora ever since, and love it!

~On Thursday I met with my cousin Anissa for delicious Quesadillas for lunch. She's going to school for SLP, and is also applying to grad schools this semester. It was great to talk with her about the whole application process, and to have someone to relate to who is going through it right now! We're both highly stressed about the whole thing, but I'm sure God will open doors wherever He wants to, and vice versa :-) With that thought, I can have peace about the whole process.

~After lunch with Anissa, I headed over to my sister's house. We went to Sally's to pick up some hair-highlighting supplies, and then Julie did my hair! I haven't dyed or highlighted my hair in about 7 years, but I wanted to change things up a bit to go along with all the changes in my life I guess. It's a very subtle difference, but I think it makes my hair look a lot shinier and gives it more "depth" if that makes sense. And it literally cost $6 instead of $100. So I think that's a good deal. Julie did a great job!

You can see the highlights pretty well in this picture

~On Friday I didn't have to work or anything so I went out to lunch with some of Luke's family who are from out of town. It was nice to see everybody! And then I went over to Sarah's house, and had such a great time with her! We played Just Dance 3. It was awesome! Have you played it yet?? Umm, Let's go to the Mall by Robin Sparkles is on it! All you HIMYM fans would appreciate that one :-) Anyway, we then took a walk on a beautiful trail near Sarah's apartment, and talked about everything under the sun. We basically solved all the world's problems ;-) It was freezing on our walk, so we came back to her apartment for some hot cocoa while Sarah shared some of her recent favorite songs with me. What a great Friday. I feel so blessed to have someone like Sarah in my life!

~On Saturday morning I made these delicious sweet rolls that I've seen all over Pinterest lately. They were definitely a hit with the hubby! And I thought they were pretty good too! Later this week I'm going to do a whole post of all my favorite recipes I've found this fall, and I'll post a link to the recipe then.

~Saturday afternoon we went to see one of Luke's sister Diana's last volleyball matches. They sadly didn't win, but it's still always fun to watch Di play!

~ Saturday night we went out with our friends Marc and Brandi to dinner and a movie (Di and her friend met up with us later as well). We had a quick dinner at Fazolli's, and then went to see J. Edgar. I thought it was long and a little slow, but I guarantee it will win or at least be nominated for a lot of awards. I typically don't like award-winning movies. I don't know what that says about me. Ha!

What a busy week! No wonder I didn't get as much done as I wanted to regarding applying to grad. school! So this week I'm buckling down! I want to have it finished before Thanksgiving, even though the deadlines aren't until January 1. I just don't want it hanging over my head during the holiday season!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Q and A Post... And a Giveaway!

After almost three years of blogging and over 800 posts, there is one "typical blogger thing" that I haven't done yet. And that is a Q and A post.

Honestly? The reason I've never done one before is because I was always afraid no one would ask me any questions! So here's the deal: I'm going to do a giveaway. That's right...I'm bribing you to ask me questions. I am so not above bribery. Ha! Plus I've been wanting to do a giveaway ever since I hit 100 followers. This way, I'm killing two birds with one stone.

So what could you win?

A $25 Starbucks gift card! It's pretty simple. But I received two Starbucks gift cards for my birthday, and it is such a blessing for me to know that every class day for the rest of the semester will involve a free Starbucks drink (Which is two days a week. And I'm pretending that the calories are also free. Ahem). Anyway, I thought, what better gift for a sweet blog friend, too?

The best part is? The only thing you have to do to be entered is to ask a question! You don't have to follow me or tweet about it or blog about it or anything (although if you want to do those things, by all means, go ahead :-)). Just ask a question, and I will enter you in the drawing. One vote per person regardless of the amount of questions, so everyone will be on a completely even playing field.

Ask me anything! I will answer any question unless it is extremely personal. But you already know I don't hold much back in my writing, so there's not much I won't answer.

I am planning on posting my answers next Wednesday, the 16th. So the giveaway will end on Tuesday at midnight.

Go ahead and ask away in the comment section!

It's OK Thursday!

Its Ok Thursdays

It's OK turn 27 and get this as a birthday gift and to love it: be a Starbucks addict now that I have quick access to it two days a week. And that my sister and cousin fed the addiction for my birthday think it's pretty awesome that I've held a brain in my hands (sheep brain dissection was this week in A&P) make a vow not to log onto facebook on election day next year. I just got too fired up this year about people's comments. yell at the TV during the CMA awards because of sheer excitement goof off all afternoon at the zoo with my sister (again, at 27 years of age :-P) have a love/hate relationship with Chipotle, where I ate twice this week (which is two times more than I've eaten there in the past year). I love the way it tastes, and hate the way it makes me feel afterwards! celebrate Thanksgiving and not just skip to Christmas.

Happy Thursday!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Today marks exactly 3 years since Luke and I became homeowners and moved into our very first house.

Our house actually has 3 apartments in it. We own the house, but rent out two of the apartments and live in the third one. It's a pretty amazing situation, and we are very blessed.

Anyway, back when we bought the house, we had a 5-year plan. We wanted to save up for a down payment on our forever house while we lived here. We then wanted to move into our dream house but keep this one, renting out the third apartment as well. At this point, I pictured us with one baby, but I knew we didn't have room for more than one baby here, so we'd have to move before we had another one. Hence the 5-year plan.

Well, you know what they say. We make plans and God laughs.

Our plan is not looking like it's going to come to fruition in any way, shape, or form. Instead of teaching, I'm going back to school for speech-language pathology. I'll be in school for 2.5 more years, so we won't be ready to move out at the 5-year mark. And we didn't realize our lemon of a VW Passat was going to eat up so much of our second home savings (We've been rid of the car for a year, and we're still paying for the repairs!! C'est la vie).

Since our plans aren't turning out the way we had originally thought they would, I've learned to be content. For a while, every time I thought about this house, the only things I could see were:
  • it's lack of a dishwasher
  • the 20-some steps we have to walk up to get into the house
  • the teeny, tiny yard
  • the fact that we have to share the house with other people and therefore we don't feel like we have the amount of privacy we would if we lived in a house by ourselves.
  • the small kitchen and lack of counter space
  • the lack of air-conditioning
  • the fact that I live next door to a fire station. It's loud a lot. Especially on Saturdays at noon when they test the tornado alarm. Bane of my existence, right there.
  • etc.
Around the time I decided to go back to school, I decided that I needed a major attitude adjustment about this house. Is it my dream house? No. But that doesn't mean I can't see it for the blessing that it is! Now when I look at our house, I see

A kitchen where I've:
  • Learned to cook, and cooked hundreds of meals to enjoy with my husband
  • Stolen so many kisses and asked for afternoon hugs from Luke after work
  • Baked more cookies than you could ever imagine
  • Washed and dried hundreds of hours worth of dishes while talking to God, singing, or pondering life.
A bathroom where I've:
  • Sung in the shower
  • destressed in much-needed bubble baths
  • Done loads and loads of laundry. Have I ever mentioned how much I love the smell of clean laundry? Because I do. Almost in an unnatural and extreme way. Therefore, laundry is my favorite chore. Don't even get me started on clean sheet day. Best day of the week!!! Clearly I am off on a tangent...
A dining room where I've:
  • Shared romantic dinners with my husband
  • Had deep conversations with friends
  • Met with God most mornings with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa and a Bible and devotional in hand

A bedroom where I've:
  • found a peaceful and comfortable haven every night with my favorite person. I try not to let my fears or worries enter this room, and God has blessed me with restful, sleep-ful nights just about every night for the past three years.
  • Laughed and cried through thousands of chapters of many books with the little nightstand lamp turned on.
  • Taken some pretty divine naps
  • Cuddled with the two cutest cats in the world!

A living room where I've:
  • Cuddled up for movie nights with Luke
  • Laughed and cried and had some very deep conversations with friends
  • decorated Christmas trees and celebrated three Christmas seasons
  • Spent so much time de-stressing
And a little yard where I've
  • Talked and laughed around bonfires with friends and family
  • Played in the snow
  • laid out in the sun with my iPod and a good book on a lot of warm, spring days.

When I look at all the everyday things that go on in our little house, I realize that it is our home. Our own safe haven in a crazy world. The place where we connect, entertain, escape, and live.

So as much as I complain about our little house, I know that someday when Luke and I are sitting in our rocking chairs at a nursing home, I will look back at this house so fondly. It was really where we began and built our life together. As soon as we got married we began renovating it and making it ours. And then we lived our first married years here.

I wish we lived in a nice big house with a gigantic yard, cathedral ceilings, a big fireplace in the living room, a wrap-around porch, an enormous whirlpool bathtub, a roomy kitchen with a dishwasher, a garage, and a walk-in closet the size of my current bedroom. But if we lived in one, I guarantee that I'd be looking back on our first house and missing it.

It's all about perspective, and I'm choosing to see this house as the blessing it is. It's home to us, and therefore it's my favorite place to be :-)