Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Thoughts on Politics

Alternately titled: "Can't we All Just Get Along?"

Already, social media is BLOWING UP with information and opinions regarding the 2012 Presidential Election.

I get it. It's a BIG DEAL. And we should all be passionate about what we believe and stand for!

However, the thing that's bugging me right now is how we are all so busy trying to be RIGHT, that I think we're forgetting what's important.

Yes, some of us are Democrats. And some of us are Republicans. And whatever else.

But we are all Americans.

we are one nation, under God.

And I'm certainly no expert. But I think if we would all come together and stop trying to be so right all the time, we might get somewhere! We need to stop letting the party line separate us!

On Sunday, my pastor mentioned that he's a "Republicrat." And I liked that. I like to think of myself the same way.

Yes, I lean strongly toward the Republican side of things. But there are some areas in which I agree more with Democrats. I think the best way to vote is to strongly go with what you think is best for our nation. Not strictly with what your party believes.

Those are my two cents, and I feel very passionately about it!


As a funny side story, last year on election day, everyone on Facebook was arguing and complaining and being very negative all around. I found myself in a bad mood because of it.

So I promised myself I would not log on to Facebook on election day next year.

Well, I recently realized I didn't know the exact date of election day, 2012. So I looked it up.

Turns out, this year is going to be just like the year I was born:

This year, just like 1984, my birthday happens to fall on the first Tuesday of November. During a presidential election, no less!

And everybody knows your birthday is the most fun Facebook day of the year!

So anyway, in some crazy oxymoron sort of phenomenon, November 6 will the best and worst Facebook day of the year for me. What are the odds? And what a dilemma! ;-)

Monday, January 30, 2012


God is showing me it's okay to just be. I don't have to always be busy, and I don't always have to be worrying about "what's next?"

I've been taking time to "unplug" more often. To put away the distractions and open my eyes.

I have to ask myself: a month ago, would I have seen the gift of raindrops clinging to branches during a January thunderstorm? Would I have recognized the blessing in the little white sheep souvenir brought to me all the way from Dublin? Would I have noticed the simple pleasure of fluffy whipped cream atop a steaming mug of hot cocoa?

I'm not sure that I would have. But last week I did. And that in itself is the biggest blessing.

Just some of last week's blessings:

65. Melted snow

66. January thunder storm

67. Getting to know people in my classes

68. Rest after a long day

69. Lunch date with a friend

70. Unexpected free gift card

71. A little piece of Ireland from my sister's trip
72. Belly laughs

73. Check marks on the to-do list

74. Fun open mic night with friends
75. Cute chocolaty drinks

76. Saturday with nothing on the agenda

77. Days slowly getting longer

78. Warm forecast for most of the week

79. Anticipation of reading a book I've been looking forward to for awhile

80. Beautiful white-out
{it appears we have come full circle, weather-wise, this week}


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Born in the Wrong Era

I've always felt a tiny bit misplaced in life.

In second or third grade I read Molly's series of the American Girl books. I remember wanting to be her.

When I was 12 years old, my favorite TV show was I Love Lucy. In 1996.

And now that I'm all grown up, I have a strange fascination with anything involving 50s housewives.

I think I would have fit in pretty well about 50, 60, or 70 years ago. I would have loved to have grown up during that time. (Aside from the fact that I can't imagine life without my iPhone).

So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered Mad Men about a week ago!

Don't get me wrong...I had heard of the show. I don't live under a rock. (No offense if you actually haven't heard of the show. If that's the case then I'm a jerk). But somehow I thought the show was about the Mafia or something. How I got that wrong impression, I have no idea! Anyway, if you haven't seen it, it's about a fictional ad agency on Madison Avenue. (hence the name "Mad Men.") It is set in the 1960s. (hence the reason why I am beyond obsessed with it).

Do you watch this show? The actual theme and tone are a bit depressing. However, the beautiful sets and costumes more than make up for that in my book.

The main family in the story is the Drapers. And here is their beautiful home. Just look at those cars! *swoon*

Oh to have a dining room/dinner party like this one. Maybe someday

It all just makes me nostalgic for a time that I didn't even exist in

I understand that AMC is probably overly-romanticizing everything. But I still love it.

And what do I love most about the whole thing?

Betty Draper.

She is such a glamorous housewife! I want to wear a big dress, heels, and pearls like that while I do housework!

She is who I want to be when I grow up :-)

Now, I've only watched about five episodes of season 1 so far. And I'm not sure...but I have a hunch that Betty is about to completely lose her mind and go totally crazy. But I'm ignoring that for now because I love her so much.

Do you watch Mad Men? I'm so excited I discovered it! It's available for instant streaming through Netflix...in case you didn't know :-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Current Reading Love

Over the past year or so, I've become increasingly interested in biographies and autobiographies. I used to think they were boring, but obviously I was way off base. I'll take a good biography over a fiction book any day (with a few exceptions).

I started my biography obsession last year when I read Life, in Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson. It was a book about a girl who had tried to commit suicide by jumping under a train. She miraculously survived, but lost both of her legs. The story was an incredible story of hope, and I loved it!

Next up I read Unplanned by Abby Johnson. It was about a woman who had worked for Planned Parenthood and then changed her whole stance on the abortion issue. The book was great to read for anyone on either side of the issue.

This year I've jumped into the biography/autobiography thing with both feet. I finished Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman a few days ago. It is the story of the Chapman family (as in, Steven Curtis Chapman) and their journey through adoption and ultimately, the tragic loss of their youngest daughter. The book was so good and totally inspired me to want to adopt. Even more than I was already inspired! Make sure you read it with a box of tissues.

I'm currently in the middle of reading Tina Fey's autobiography, Bossypants. I will add a disclaimer that I do not agree with everything in the book, and there's definitely some language in there. But for the most part, I can't read more than a sentence or two without laughing out loud. If you like her and that type of random humor, you will be in stitches if you read this book. (I always read on my Kindle in between classes at school in the atrium where a lot of people hang out. Last week I was reading Choosing to See and wiping away tears, and this week I'm reading Bossypants and suppressing giggles. People are going to start thinking I'm crazy!)

I just received another Amazon gift card as a thank you for pet-sitting the week of Christmas. And I've decided I think I'll spend it on two more biographies I've been wanting to read:

Kristin Chenoweth's A Little Bit Wicked

And Gabby Giffords' book

I don't know where this obsession has come from, but I just love reading/hearing interesting stories about people. Maybe that's why I read so many blogs, too!

What are some other biographies I need to read??

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Fun Surprise!

I love surprises! And I got a good one last Tuesday...

I had had a long day of classes followed by Luke's volleyball games at the church. By the time I walked through the door at home, I had been gone for roughly 14 hours, just like every Tuesday.

I can't even begin to tell you what a wonderful surprise it was to walk into the kitchen and see this after such a long day:
Luke surprised me with a Keurig!! I had broken my coffee pot a few weeks prior, and he went behind my back and bought a Keurig instead of a replacement coffee pot. I was so shocked!! I have wanted one for awhile.

The next day I promptly went out to buy some K-cups. There were so many to choose from!! But I finally settled on this butter toffee flavored coffee.

I liked it, but I didn't love it. I kind of wished I had just bought straight coffee so I could use my favorite go-to creamer (Coffee Mate's white chocolate caramel latte). Anyway, I have a gift card from Bed Bath and Beyond that I got for my birthday, and I've decided to spend it on K-cups.

So I need some help: what is your favorite kind/flavor/brand of K-cups? I know there are tons of different kinds, and I may just end up buying a variety pack. But I feel overwhelmed with all the choices, and would love some recommendations :-)

And I have to sign off by saying a big THANK YOU to Luke!! It was such a fun surprise, and I really loved it!

It reminded me of the time Luke surprised me with another "just because" gift back when we were engaged: a waffle iron.

Maybe my love language is small kitchen appliances??

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Eyes on the Prize

As I mentioned on Friday, Luke and I heard some news last week that has slightly shaken us. We're really on the edge of our seats, waiting to see how God answers all of our questions and prayers.

My natural reaction would be to fret constantly about the situation. But looking for the gifts in every moment has kept my eyes on what is important. When I fix my gaze there instead of my fears, the fears lose their power.

This week's gifts:

45. Four-day weekends

46. Green traffic lights

47. A husband who helps carry in groceries (without being asked!)

48. My favorite study area on campus

49. Interesting classes that I love

50. Watching Luke do what he's good at

51. Coming home to a BIG surprise from Luke!

52. Afternoon pick-me-up courtesy of my new Keurig

53. Sweet blog comments

54. Parking deck at school so I don't have to scrape snow and ice off of my car at the end of the day

55. All-wheel drive

56. Walking in the door at home after an hour and 45 minute drive through ice and snow

57. Winter sunshine, spilling through curtains
58. Ellie in a cuddly mood

59. Baby gift shopping with Mom

60. Four deer out in the snow

61. First birthday celebration

62. Afternoon spent with my sister and brother-in-law looking at Ireland pictures

63. Family pizza nights

64.. The promise that God will always provide.


Friday, January 20, 2012

The Only Place to Fall

It was a warm, spring afternoon, and I was taking a walk with my good friend Sarah. She may not even remember this. But we were catching up, just talking about life. I spoke to her about the possibility of quitting my full-time job, and going back to school in the fall.

I can't remember the exact words she used in her response, but they went something like this:

"Wow, that sounds like it will be really hard. But it will be an excellent chance to stretch your faith. The best situations for stretching our faith in God are those where we have nowhere to fall but into his arms."

Sarah can correct me if I got this quote totally wrong. but I know it was along those lines. And the major gist of what she was saying has stuck with me until today.

This year has definitely been a faith-stretching year, since I did end up quitting my job and going back to school. The first few months I found myself worrying a lot. I didn't know how we were going to make ends meet some of the time.

Finally, by about October, I had a revelation: God was going to take care of us. It didn't matter how few days I subbed or how many bills we had. As long as we trusted, gave back our first fruits, and asked Him, God provided. In many cases we even had more than enough, which made absolutely no sense since we had so much less money coming in than normal.

Yesterday we got some news. We could look at this news as a huge stresser. At this point, there are a lot of questions and we can't see any answers yet. All we know is that all of a sudden we have an immediate need, and we have no idea how it will be met. We are officially out on a limb, with nowhere to fall except His arms.

What we do know is that God won't let us hit the ground. He is there to catch us, no matter what. He has simply provided us with another situation where His power will be proven.

So today instead of worrying and trying to answer the millions of questions in my head, I am choosing to rest in His peace. I can't wait to find out how He will put all the pieces of this situation together in His perfect way. And when He does, I will definitely share all the details here in the hopes that this chapter of our story will help others to see that there is a God, and that He is a mighty, powerful God. He always provides if we seek Him first.


Before I sign off, I just want to thank everyone for your sweet comments on my last post. I really don't write posts like that for sympathy, but instead to hopefully show others that there is hope in every bad situation and that God has a perfect plan in mind. But your comments made my heart happy, and brought me a lot of encouragement!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Verbal Spill

I've tried to write this post about four times and it just keeps coming out whiny and all wrong.

So I'm just going to let my thoughts spill out. If you know me well in real life, you know that this is pretty much how I communicate: I just talk about whatever comes to my mind. My dad calls it my "stream of consciousness." So here you go:

I've heard and seen tons of pregnancy announcements lately. And you better believe Satan has been using them to make me feel completely isolated. He's feeding me lies like crazy. Telling me that God forgot about me. That He just doesn't want me to be happy, and that my infertility is a punishment because of some unknown yet unforgivable thing I've done in my past(look in the Old Testament and see how God often punished women...I'm sure you can see how Satan uses that to plant major paranoia and fear in me).

I can recognize the lies for what they are. However, they cross my mind multiple times a day, and it's gotten worse with the pregnancy announcements.

Sometimes I want to lock myself in my bedroom and close my eyes and cover my ears so I can't hear about anymore pregnancies until I have my own to announce. So many friends are "ahead of me" in life. And not just a bit ahead of me, but they've lapped me twice because most are expecting their second child (or third).

The thing is, my hands and arms feel so empty. I just know they were made to rock a newborn; to change diapers; to give baby baths; to wipe tears away; to give big bear hugs.


Today Satan wants my arms to be empty. He wants me to be so focused on the emptiness and pain that I miss one really important fact:

My arms were made for more than just baby-holding.

Maybe the reason they're empty right now is because God needs to fill them with something else. Maybe He wants me to take the comfort He has given me in the past 19 months, and use my empty hands to comfort and bless others.

I need to fill them with something:

  • A broom or paintbrush to turn my house into a haven for my little family and those we invite into our home.
  • A cookie sheet, baking up a blessing for someone who's lonely
  • Things that I can give away to someone in need
  • A textbook, getting ready for the future God has for me
  • Hands folded in prayer for others who are going through this ugly infertility or other bad situations
  • Etc. The possibilities are endless.
And there is the revelation. My verbal spillage always seems to result in a treasure.

I knew there was a reason 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 showed up in a sermon and in the book I was reading on Sunday:

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

Maybe sometimes we have to go through pain in order to feel God's comfort and pass it on to others.


And just like that, you have been brought through the crazy maze that is my thought pattern. Kudos to you if you made it this far :-)

I am off to let God fill my arms. It seems silly to let them sit idle simply because they are not filled the way I want them to be. I'm glad that He has had victory in my heart today: in a day when I really wanted to curl up and sulk.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Looking for Joy

This week had its fair share of annoyances and inconveniences.

In spite of those things, when I look back on the last seven days, I only see joy. During those annoying and inconvenient situations, I looked for blessings, and always found them.

Instead of focusing on the bad things, God is showing me to be thankful for the following instead. What a full week I had!!

27. Beautiful new bed, compliments of my handyman husband

28. Delicious, new dish for dinner shared together
29. Good weather and no snow or ice on my drive to school

30. Beautiful, blue skies during a walk through campus

31. Sweet notes from students
32. January Raindrops
33. A restful night of sleep after two that weren't

34. Classrooms with windows

35. Starbucks smell wafting through the lounge

36. New scarf
37. Gabby, always making me laugh

38. Long visits with Grandma

39. Snowflakes floating by my window

40. Surprise visit from a friend

41. Movie date night
42. Sunday morning worship

43. Sunday morning fellowship

44. Burgers at our favorite place

Friday, January 13, 2012

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

I like to write posts like this from time to time just to share the great things I've discovered lately! So here are my favorite things lately (yes, half of them are books):

1. The Hunger Games trilogy

Some of the best, most entertaining books I've ever read. I could not put them down!

2. One Thousand Gifts
I've written about this one enough already, but the things I learned in this book are changing my life.

3. Choosing to See
This book is written by Mary Beth Chapman (Steven Curtis Chapman's wife) and I'm only halfway done, but it is so good. I haven't gotten to the tragic part yet. But anyway, the Chapmans are very passionate about adoption, and even have a foundation that helps couples with the cost. I was reading through the chapters about adoption at school yesterday in the atrium of the floor where my classes are...cried like a baby. I need to stop reading emotional things when I'm out in public! Ha! Anyway, this book is just fueling the flames that have already started in my heart regarding adoption.

4. Muenster chicken
I found and pinned the recipe awhile ago, and finally got around to making it last week. It is so good, and really easy!

5. Scarves.
Luke says I have too many scarves, but I just love them so much! I got three more for Christmas and have to fight the urge to wear one every single day. The one in the picture above was a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law Maria. I believe it's from Body Central and I'm obsessed with it!

6. Dark Chocolate Sensation Swiss Miss
The best instant hot cocoa ever. Period.

7. Kindle Fire
Yes, I'm still obsessed with it. No, it has still not left my hands for very long since I opened it on Christmas Eve. I've read almost 4 books on it, played so many games, watched movies...etc. I have lots of little breaks between classes this semester, and my Kindle is the perfect thing to fill that time. I'm in love.

What are you loving lately??