Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye and Good Riddance, 2009

Usually at the end of the year, I take stock of what the last 365 days brought me.  And I suppose this year will be no different.  I am not sorry to see this year go.  The first half of it wasn't easy for me, and it feels like it's taken me most of the second half to right it.  The good news is I have.  There have been many heartbreaks, false starts, angry words.  Some of them I would like to have a "do-over" for.  But not all of them.  If I hadn't gotten angry, I might not have ever gotten better.  I know that's an odd way to look at it, but it's true.  Just goes to prove that there is purpose even in the hard things.

There have been happy moments.  My brother got engaged to Melissa, who couldn't be a better match for him.  Chell and Kelly got married in April.  Way back in January, my friend Sarah had this guy...


who is easily one of the cutest ever.  Speaking of, Chell  (and Kelly) had Kamryn in October.  And Babies are so much fun, especially when I can hand them back to someone when they are hungry, fussy, or smelly.  I vacationed in the STL with Amber, and we had a really good week as far as vacations with no beach go.  And in November, I got to cram in some beach time in Alabama with the family.

I have to say that I am really excited about 2010.  Amber and I are getting a house on the Gulf Coast for Spring Break in April for our third installment of our "girl-only vacation," even though we might let her Steven be our driver for a while this time.  And my little brother is getting married in June.  Who knows what else this year my hold?  I, for one, can't wait to get started...

Old Friends...

Today was a day to celebrate the most cherished kind of friend in my book, old ones.  I'm not talking age, but those friends with whom no matter how long it's been, you just pick right up where you left off. 

I had lunch with two friends from high school today.  I hadn't seen Sara in two years, even though she lives in the same town as me, and hadn't seen Shemaiah in at least eight years.  We had a nice time catching up and filling Maiah in on the small town life.  So many things change, but then again, so many don't. 

After that, I headed to Crystal's to meet up and head to DM's house.  I was a little early, Sheena was right on time, and Crys was running late (thanks to a call from a friend headed to town this weekend).  Once we got on the road, Michael called and changed up the plans because his roommate is under the weather.  And yet somehow, we ended up singing for his Wednesday night service.  It was so nice to sing with my girls again.  One of the best parts of my holiday, in fact.  And Michael's church people were so gracious and sweet, especially Phyllis, who is exactly what Crys will be like in 50 years, if not sooner.

I've told Michael this before, but everytime I see him function as a "grown up" pastor, I think how lucky we are to know such a man of God.  We all met 10 years ago, and it wasn't necessarily love at first sight.  He was the first guy I knew who really challenged my way of thinking about God and worship, and at times that really bugged me.  But, as years passed, and we matured (some of us faster than others), I learned to love that about him.  He can play a guitar (but we remember the days of three songs on repeat) and he teaches his congregation about God, not just preaches.  It's obvious that they love him.  Michael's had a hard way to go in the last few years, and I find that unfair because good people aren't supposed to have awful things happen to them.  (I know that's not how it works, but a girl can dream, right?)  If I didn't have such an abiding love and respect for him before, I certainly do now.  And I truly believe that things are going to be alright, because even Job got a happy ending eventually.  As much crap as we give him about the way he dresses (holey jeans with plaid pj pants underneath, really??), or a million other things (mostly because we can), I felt like it was time to put some love out in the atmosphere for him.  DM, I don't know what us girls would do without you.  After all, every comedianne needs a straight man or the jokes just aren't as funny.  Nothing but love for you...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Break Week 2 Recap

Other than write the last two posts, I haven't done all that much the last couple of days.  And please don't think that's a problem for me.  I love not doing a darn thing, mostly because I felt like all I did was run for the last couple of months (and I know that January and February are not going to slow down). 

Monday was my little sister's 19th birthday.  This meant that we got to go eat Mexican, and were threatened that if we so much as whispered birthday we would die.  When we got back, we watched 500 Days of Summer.  I had not seen this movie yet, but had heard raves about how wonderful it was.  One friend swears it changed his life.  While I don't know about all that, I do agree that it was a great movie, definitely one that I want to add to my collection soon. 

Other than, I have pretty much been spending my iTunes gift cards (I got over $100 worth) and plotting the rest of my week.  Today, things are going to be picking up.  In a fun turn of events, I have two meetings with friends today.  Some of the girls from high school are getting together at a local joint for lunch today.  One of the girls, Maiah, I haven't seen in years and I've never met another's little girl (despite the fact she lives in town and the baby will be one tomorrow).  So, I'm pretty excited about that!  Then, the girls and I are heading out to the O.Z. to visit our friend, Michael, for the evening.  It's always a good time when we get together, singing and photography options have been discussed (as well as eating, of course). 

The rest of my week is going to include my family's birthday/New Year's party, vegging out on New Year's Day, and a Chrysalis meeting on Saturday.  Who knows what else I will cram in there before I go back to work?  I promise to keep you updated!

What I Did For Christmas Part 2

Christmas Day is a different game all together.  The kids all get up and go to Mass with my mother.  I complain about this (8:15 Mass comes early when you don't get to bed until midnight), but I don't think it would feel like Christmas if I missed it. 

When we get home, my mom starts cooking, because we do late lunch at our house with my dad's side of the family.  Among my mama's specialities are:



Christmas candies



Homemade rolls (I could totally eat my weight in these

My dad's side of the family is much smaller than my mom's.  But there were still plenty of people there.  We ate till we were stuffed, and then it was time to open presents.  That meant this kid got an awesome gift...


                                                    

Once all the presents have been opened and the family had gone, it was time for me to head to my 3rd Christmas with the Mays/Partridge clan.  I have done presents with Crystal's family for several years (which also includes Sheena), and it's always one of the most entertaining parts of my holidays.  We opened presents, ate some more, and watched Elf.  It was perfect!

 
Let the record show that Crystal looks fabulous, and her hubby does not normally look like Jabba the Hut.

All in all, it was a great Christmas.  Even Shredder approved.  Well, as much as Shredder approves of anything!

                                       

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What I Did For Christmas Part 1

My family is not really one of those families that has a million little traditions.  But rest assured that what few traditions we have, my sister will point at and remind us all that we must do it because it's tradition and that's how tradition works.  So here's what I did for Christmas...

On Christmas Eve, we go to my mom's side of the family.  This means that we go to Grandma MJ's (the farm house that has been in our family for 100+ years) to have dinner and open presents.  And drink homemade wine.  (One of the other things our family has been doing for a long time)  This is the BIG side of my family.  We were missing some members and still came in close to 30.  And that's just my aunts & uncles plus first cousins and kids.  It was a good time.  Most of the cousins are now in their twenties or thirties, so there are always lots of people to talk to.  This year, Aunt Beth brought poppers and paper crowns.  No, we don't really know why, but look how awesomely festive we were...


Thumbs up to the Christmas crowns!



My sis, sister-in-law, and practically cousin-in-law (I hope!  Just love her!)



My brother and sis-in-law.  Save the date cards, anyone?

When Christmas at Grandma's is over, I go back to my parents' to stay the night.  This is one of the insisted upon traditions.  i have to admit Christmas wouldn't be the same if I did get up to go see what Santa brought ("Those who don't believe don't get presents," my mother says.) while eating some kinds of confection (this year it was cinnamon rolls from Pietie), and then going to Mass.  Tune in later for "What I Did For Christmas" Part 2.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Doing What's Right...

This will be short because I don't really have a lot of words at the moment.  But, what I have been thinking about these days is how hard doing the right thing is.  Even when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you are making the right decision, sometimes it just sucks.  Because that other thing, that thing that's not right for you at this time, can be so tempting that you find yourself asking why you have to say "no" when "yes" would be so very easy (and maybe even fun) for the moment.  I know that I'm doing the right thing.  I know exactly what God is trying to show me.  And I believe that He will deliver on His promises to me, even got a little extra confirmation on that.  But to be perfectly honest, that's not quieting the little bit of sadness I am feeling right now.  And we all know how I love to be honest....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Apparently, I'm a little boring...

So, I promised to do a better job with the blogging, right?  Problem is that you have to do something to blog about.  Early break has been kind of boring.  Here's a quick review:

Sunday:  Christmas cantata at church.  Lunch at Sandy's.  Tim, Megan and I brought the wine, declaring ourselves the new Three Kings. 

Monday:  Had a panic attack over my lost purse.  Turns out it was in Tim's car, so I got to run by Woody Hall @ my alma mater to pick it up.  Then, Lib and I Christmas shopped and ate copious amounts of Mexican @ Tequila's. Came home and worked last basketball game of the year.

Tuesday:  Planned to clean my house.  Ended up nursing a very painful pulled muscle in my leg/foot and watching Season 1 of Bones.  Slept (a lot).

Today:  Watched more Bones.  Am eventually going to my parents for supper.

I promise things will pick up.  Next week is looking almost busy even, so I'll be in touch!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

On the first night of Christmas break, my friends gave to me...

Yesterday was not a great day.  It should have been.  It was the end of school for 2009, and it has been a very long semester.  But it wasn't.  Luckily, last night it took a fabulous turn.  I got an invite to sing karaoke with a bunch of super fun people to celebrate the end of the semester.  People like this guy...


Timmy believes himself to be a karaoke rock star.  It's also of note that while incredibly spirited, Tim has a few tonal issues.  He got addicted while he was in the Air Force, and turns out it's kind of contagious.  He's become a bit of a regular at this particular dive and so has many of our crew.  Last night included all the usual suspects and several surprise guests.  Like this guy...



...the normally very quiet Jake.  He swung for the fences with the Marvin Gaye classic, "Let's Get It On."  It may very well be the highlight of my year!  He rocked, and while I promised I would not post these pics on Facebook, a performance like that deserves to be documented!  Way to go, Jake!

Here are a few other AWESOME people/performances...



Picking out the perfect song is half the battle.



Crystal singing a little number to Jake.  He just kept getting redder and redder, making this funnier and funnier...


Ronnie singing a crowd favorite.  Well, most of the crowd loved it anyway.



Eventually, even Timmy came around.



There was even time for a little dancing!

Somehow, there ended up being no picture of me, but I feel it's important to note here that I may very well become a karaoke junkie.  For my debut, I chose "Sin Wagon" by the Dixie Chicks and "Fancy" by Reba McEntire.  I had a blast!  It was just what I needed to get past the crappier parts of my day and kick off break in a big way.  Thanks for the invite, Crys!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Alphabet Survey (Because I Am All About Avoidance)

A

Available:  For weddings, wakes, and bar mitzvahs

Age: 28

Annoyance:  Pushy sales people.

Animals?  Delilah, who it turns out is not nearly as weird as my brother and sis-in-laws cat, Nala.


B

Best feeling in the world: Being with the people I love, especially my "nieces" or old friends

Best weather: Sunny, with low humidity.  Or snowy, with no ice.

Been in love:  I have thought that I was, but I don't think I even have a clue what real love is like

Been on stage: I did community theater from the time I was 7 until I was 19.  So, yes.

Boys:  are sometimes more trouble than they are worth.  But I guess we girls can be that way too.


C

Candy: Milk Duds.  Or those sugar-covered Orange Slices. (But only after they have sat out and gotten a little stale.  I'm weird, I know.)

Chinese / Mexican food:  Either sounds really good right about now.

Cake or pie:  I love cake.  I'm a little picky when it comes pies.

Continent to visit: Any of them would be fun.  Well, I take that back.  I don't want to go to Antarctica.


D

Dancing in the rain: Sure.  Why not?  As long as it's warm.  Cold rain = no fun

Drop things: All the time.  I'm a little bit of a clutz.

Dog: My first was named Hambone.  Yes, I named him.  I was 4.  I have no clue why I picked that.

Diamonds: are truly beautiful.


E

Eyes: Brown

Everyone’s got:  a song to sing


F

First thought when you wake up: "Was that the alarm?  Crap.  How many more minutes can I sleep and not be late for work?"

Food:  Homemade lasagna or Sherry Houseman's funeral potatoes  (I still need the recipe for this, Crys!)


G

Greatest fear:  Being in another bad wreck

Gum: I keep it everywhere!  Purse, desk, car....


H


Hair color: A chemically enhanced brown.

Happy:  is just an emotion

Holiday: Christmas.  (Lots of tradition)


I

Ice cream: is a food group

Instrument: my voice is the only one worth hearing me use/play



J

Jewelry: Is a lot of fun.  But I haven't been wearing much lately.

Job: I love teaching middle school.  I don't know that there are any other grades I would like as much.


K

Keep a journal? My blog would be the closest thing.  I have one on my computer in Word and prayer journals that I write in on and off.

Kissing: is fun with the right person.



L

Laughed so hard you cried:   Last night.  My sister was on a bit of roll.

Last time slept: Lately, I have been sleeping really hard.  I fall asleep and the next thing I know it's morning.


M

Movies: Last one I bought was Night At The Museum 2, for my kids at school

Motion sickness: Only if I try to read in the car or I can't see out the front window


N

Not ready for: Christmas!  I don't have all my gifts bought or presents wrapped!

Name: I have this thing about names.  I like to play around with spellings and which ones sound good together.  I actually helped name a friend's daughter (who is now almost 11!  I can't believe it's been that long!)


O

One wish: To be able to live on a beach for as long as I wanted


P

Perfect pizza: Lots of veggies amd cheese.  I used to love the double decker from Palace Pizzeria

Pets: Just Delilah, though once in a while I think about getting her a friend


Q

Quote you’re loving: Whatever you are, be a good one.  - Abrahan Lincoln



R

Reality TV:  is kind of over.  I like So You Think You Can Dance a lot though.


S

Song of the moment: "Close Your Eyes and Wander" by Ernie Halter (any song by him is just fine) or anything from either of the Glee soundtracks

Salad Dressing: Italian, Honey Mustard, or Three-Cheese Ranch

Strawberries: Awesome!  Especially with homemade pie crust



T

Thunderstorms: love them, as long as they don't get too violent. 

Trust: is something you have to prove you are worthy of


U

Unpredictable: my hair


V

Vacation spot: BEACH!  Can't get enough of it and can't wait to go back in April!


W

Weakness: Sad eyes

Worst feeling: Sunday night, knowing you have school in the morning


X

X-rays: aren't fun, but you get over it


Y

Yellow: is the color of my front room.


Z

Zoo animal: Giraffe, of course

Just Two More Days...

In just two days, I will officially be on Christmas break.  It's been a very hectic month, and I am more than thankful to have a job that allows me time off for the holidays.  I don't have to go back to work until January 3, so expect a lot of blogging while I am off, not that there aren't a million things going during break too.  The good news is that they are all the things I LOVE to do rather than loathe.  (Imagine, 15 evenings where I won't have to go home smelling like concession stand food!)  Things things include but are not limited to:  the NYI Christmas party, Chrysalis team meeting, Christmas cantata at church, Mays' family Christmas, Reichert family Christmas Eve, Miller family Christmas Day, my sister's bday, my brother's bday/New Year's Eve.

And to get there, all I have to do is survive today and tomorrow with 60 plus middle schoolers.  Awesome~

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yeah, I'm a bit of blog failure...

A good blogger would be busy writing all of her important events down and taking lots of pictures.  But, I'm not that girl.  Instead, while putting off writing a talk that I am supposed to preview next weekend, I am finally updating my neglected blog. 

Thanksgiving was great.  Took zero pictures, but I had a great time visiting with the portion of the family that came to the farmhouse.  I avoided Black Friday shopping because I think of shopping as recreation and not an endurance sport.  On Saturday, I hung out with my dad's side of the family. Sunday was a busy day.  I attended two really great church services, watched a kick-butt hour about what my first crush ever (Chris Jackson) has been up to in NYC, filmed some segments for Rick, who is video taping our church services, and griped for a while about how I can't hear harmony.

Back to work for me on Monday, and started living the next three weeks before we go to break.  These weeks are jammed packed with all sorts of things school and holiday related.  I found out that a seminar I am taking next semester is going to earn me a free Netbook and a ton of continuing eduation hours so that was great news.  On Wednesday, I fixed dinner for the awesome family who I adore for taking me in as a stray in college and loving me ever since.  Debbie was pleasantly surprised when I called Tuesday night to ask if it would be okay for me to take care of dinner, but not nearly pleased as I was on Wednesday night when it all actually worked out.  (I have a somewhat questionable cooking history.)  The rest of the week flew by with me doing things like trying to fit $500 of concessions in my car.  (Wish I really wish I did have a picture of that one!) 

Friday was a rough day at work because of a situation that I really dislike, yet am totally unsure how to really help. It left me feeling really sad, so I hung around the house and went to bed early. Today, I have been pretty useless, other than getting one Christmas present purchased and buying this:


                                   
 
Of course, as Sheena will gladly testify, it took me a couple of passes to acutally decide to get it, but it was too cute to resist!  Barring a sudden burst of energy that has me working into the night, I would say with absolute certainty that hanging this up was the only productive thing I did this weekend.  Oh well! 
 
This week is jammed packed.  I promise to get a ton of pictures from the Pink Out benefit on Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Time On My Hands...

This is why it's best that I be kept busy....


Really?  The camera again?


Some of us are happier than others...


Just because she wants to be on the blog doesn't mean I have to...


I am using this time to plot your death.



I'd take you out with just this paw if I wasn't so sleepy...

Movie Review: The Blind Side

If you haven't seen this movie yet, stop reading immediately and get to your local theater!  If you have, then you know what an incredibly moving and funny film it was. If you don't know the back story, let me catch you up.  This movie is based on the true story of Michael Oher and the Tuohy family, who took him in and helped him to be successful in football and in school.  That's right up this teacher's alley!  I went with my mom and sister last Saturday.  A big bucket of popcorn, a Sprite, great company and one incredible movie=all smiles!

Sandra Bullock gave what I believe to be the best performance of her career.  I wouldn't be terribly surprised if she was nominated for an Oscar for the role of Leigh Ann.  Quintin Aaron was a true find as Oher, playing the role with a true vulnerability and charm.  The true scene stealer was the boy who played S.J., Jae Head.  What a cutie! 

It doesn't jam its message down your throat and it doesn't pretend that because one kid got what he needed and made it out, doesn't mean that every kid does.  In fact, it reminds us that too many don't for a multitude of reasons.  But it was agreed upon in our car on the ride home at least, that this story makes you want to do something nice for someone else.  In a time where too many movie are filled with gore or negative messages, this was a truly feel-good film.  And sometimes, that's just what you need!

Experimental Cooking Tuesdays


Tonight, we decide to try out a recipe inspired by my friend, Janna, Cookie Dough Wontons.  At first, we couldn't get the set up right.  We ended up with something that looked like this:


Which for the recorded tasted ok, but wasn't really the desired effect.  So my sister Libbie, who has been threatening me about getting on this blog anyway, came up with a different method.



First, put a wrapper in an egg wash.




Then, you place cookie dough in the middle.




Finally, fold the corners up toward the middle, securing it tightly.




Pop the wonton in hot oil for about a minute (or until they are golden brown).




Then, take it out at a nice golden brown.




Cover with powdered sugar and you got yourself a yummy treat!  I declare Experimental Cooking Tuesday a great success!!  Thanks for the inspiration, Janna, and to my little sis for her experimental cooking expertise!





ENJOY!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fabulous Friday...

I didn't have to go to work yesterday because it was Deer Day. Yes, you read that right.  It's a time honored tradition to allow our students a chance to enjoy shotgun season.  Here's to taking down a few of those adorable, white-tailed car crashers, boys and girls! 

I'm certainly not complaining.  I got to spend the day with my "nieces!"  I'm now up to four (Maleia, Maia, Kelsey, and Kamryn), Kamryn being the newest at just 8 weeks old.  I hadn't gotten to spend much time with them or their mama, Chell, recently, and I was really excited.  And judging by the screams of "Aunt Katie," so were they!  We decided to take a little trip to Marion, and we needed to take two cars, so Kelsey and Maia rode with me.  We taked about all the important subjects (kindergarten, sisters) and then sang along to the Glee soundtrack.  Leia got a haircut (12 inches, and it still hits her shoulders) and we had lunch at the Hong Kong Buffet and did some shopping (and chasing of children).  A three-cart parade and an hour later, we were done in Target and ready to head home.  This time I had Maleia in my car and we talked about important subjects (singing, sisters) and sang along with the Glee soundtrack.  Then, I went to my parents to have a free supper of chili and Italian beef.  It was a very good day...


The tweebs last Christmas...



                                                                         The big sister

However, as much as I love these adorable faces (and I do), I still am not sure that I want to have children of my own.  Because from what I have seen and heard, children are a lot of work.  They demand things like meals and clothing on a regular basis, and they don't adhere to my sleep schedule.  I will be the first one to say that I am a pretty selfish person when it comes to time.  Kids don't fit into that very well.  I know better than to say never, but from where I stand right now, it's hard to imagine a time when I would want to have a kid that I didn't get to return to their parent when one or both of us were worn out.  And I'm perfectly okay with that.  (And as long as I keep a steady supply of Play-doh, kid food, and Strawberry Shortcake, Maia is too!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some Survey Fun To Last The Weekend

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while blogging?  Reduced Fat Cheese Nips or Kettle Corn in a bag

2. What is one thing you wouldn’t want to live without?  People I love around me

3. Beach, mountains or farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?  The beach.  I love sand and water!  If I had money and a choice, I would have a house on Folly Beach, SC and do nothing but just hang out by the water.

4. What’s your least favorite chore / household duty?  All of them.  Every last one.

5. Who do people say you remind them of?  I must have one of those faces, because I always remind someone of someone else.

6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying home with the family?  I am mostly a homebody.  But parties and socializing have their place.

7. What’s your all time favorite movie?  The American President (at least this week)

8. Do you sleep in your make-up or remove it like a good little girl every night?   I try to remember to wash it off every night.  I'm much better now than I used to be.

9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you’ve never had a chance to learn? What is it?    I have always wanted to just quit my job and plan events.  I really like that kind of thing.  So that would be the hidden talent.  I also love to take pictures, but that's not so much a hidden talent as a developing one.  As far as deep desires, I would love to learn how to dance.  Unfortunately, I have serious rhythm issues.  I would also like to learn a foreign language.

10. What’s one strange thing that you’re really good at?  I'm good at writing letters.  I'm much better with writing what I mean to say than I am about saying it.

11. What first attracted you to your spouse?  HAHAHAHA!  Whew!  That's hilarious! It would seem I will have to get back to you on that one.

12. What is something you love to smell?  I know this is a little crazy but, I love the smell of the Reichert farm house.  It stays on your clothes after you've been there.  It always gives me happy thoughts.

13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.  I am unintentionally loud. 

14. When you have extra money, what’s the first thing you think to do with it?
      "Amber, let's go shopping!" 

15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?  I have a big laugh, except when I get really tickled and then I am silent and I cry happy tears until I can't talk or get my breath.  This doesn't happen all the time, and when it does it's usually at some inappropriate time.  Like in church.  Or during family pictures.  My brother, Matt, and cousin, Rob, are two of the single funniest guys I know and their stories get me every time.

16. Where is your favorite place to shop?   TARGET.  All the way. 

17. What’s one thing you’d do more often if you had more time?  Take pictures

18. Are you a big spender or frugal?  Big spender.  I'm learning to be a little more careful with my money though.

19. Who is your favorite character of all time?  Hmm....I know a lot of characters.  I always wanted to play Annie Oakley in Annie, Get Your Gun or Miss Adelaide or Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls.  Mostly any lady with a really great score.

20. Would you want to be famous?  This is a funny question to me.  People tell my friends and me that we should go on American Idol or something all the time because we can sing.  While I think there are things about that life that could be pretty fun, I also think there is a lot that would be a big hassle.  And I don't know that the good would outweigh the bad.  I think if I could be Broadway famous without being that Hollywood paparazzi kind of famous then, yes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quiet Time

God is teaching me to be quiet.  If you know me, this is probably the funniest sentence in the world to you, because I am anything but quiet in real life.  Not only do I love to talk, I usually do it at a decibel level that is just slightly below the roar of a jet engine.  I can't help it, I was born that way.  When I was little my parents thought I had hearing loss or something, because I lacked that ever important inside voice.  But my ears are just fine.  It's my mouth that has the problem.. 

But, back to my point.  What you should know about me, other than my lack of volume control, is that I am a day person.  I do pretty well once I am up and going, but the minute I get home and have time to relax, I'm toast.  So, nighttime is not a good time for me to be praying or reading the Bible, because chances are I just won't.  And getting up any earlier in the morning is just going to make me angry, and I don't want to start my day off that way either.  I know that part of being a Christian is sacrifice, but Jesus also knows I need my sleep or I am not of any use to His Kingdom.  The question was "When would I be at my best to make full use of the Word and my prayer time?" I got two answers.  One was to listen to praise music on my way into work, like a primer for my day.  The second is to use my lunch time to read the Bible and write in my journal (which sounds a little classier than the spiral-bound notebook I use).   Which is where the quiet time comes in.  I have been using my lunch time this way for a couple of weeks now, and I love it.  Sometimes I consider a whole chapter of the Word, and sometimes just a verse.  Other times, like today, I make a list of prayer requests as God brings people to my mind.  What I love is the sense of stillness that comes over me during this time.  In fact, I was so still today that my motion sensor lights shut off in my room!  One of my favorite Psalms is 46:10, "Be still and know that He is God."  God's all about the lessons, and I'm just trying to learn.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Unexpected Blessings

I am so thankful for a God who sees our needs when we don't even know we need them.  Cindy, the woman who was a breast cancer survivor that I met at work, sent me the sweetest card yesterday.  She wanted to thank me for the breast cancer bracelet I gave to her (which God very clearly told me to do right after our conversation) and let me know that she would be praying for the women I work with who are fighting breast cancer.  It made me cry, because it was encouragement that I didn't even know I needed, just like the parent note I received this week.  I am so thankful that God uses people to lift us up and keep us on the right path.

In other completely unrelated news, I had a very nice time shopping last night with my friend, Sheena.  We hit some great sales and I have a few adorable additions to my fall wardrobe, including some new jeans.  I can't actually remember the last time that I bought jeans, but it was time.  The ones I got are made by Lee and have an elastic waistband that doesn't look like one, which makes them fit so much better than regular jeans.  I also got two really cute tops at Macy's for $20 (that's total for BOTH, instead of $40 or more apiece like their orignal price tags.)  And I bought new black boots because my old ones were coming apart. 

Though all that makes me happy, the best part was buying the Glee soundtrack, going to Sonic and singing along all the way home!  There's nothing better than Cherry Limeade and choral arrangements, and I dare you to say different.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Questions and Encouragement

One of the things I am struggling with right now is when I don't have an answer for a situation.  It doesn't really matter what area of my life is involved--it happens in all of them.  There are several situations going on right now that I just don't have any answers for.  I don't understand why some people can have more children than they can care for, yet others desperately long for or suffer the loss of a child.  I don't know what to tell a mother who tells me that she has done everything for her child she knows to do and yet it's still not helping.  I have a clue how to help someone who is sinking under the weight of their own fears.  I wish that I had answers for these things.  The good news is that I believe God has answers.  And even if He never reveals the "why's," there is a purpose to all of this.  I don't know how people who don't have faith in God survive this life. 

On a wonderfully sweet note, I had a parent send me the sweetest message last night on Facebook.  She wanted to let me know that she appreciated my involvement with her child.  She thanked me for caring and bascially for doing what I think good teachers are supposed to do.  But, it made me feel like maybe I am making a difference, which is something I question almost every day.  Encouragement is such a gift, so today I am going to try to pass that on to someone else.  I hope you will too.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ladybugs

One of my favorite illustrations about life comes from the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.  In it, Frances, the main character, is talking to her new friend about how she can't find the love that she is looking for.  Her friend tells her a story about how when she was little she wanted to catch ladybugs.  (And I know what you are thinking, "Ladybugs, really?  What does this have to do with anything?"  But hear me out...)  Katherine tells Frances that she had tried to catch ladybugs but failed, and that she took a nap in defeat.  When she woke up, there were ladybugs all over her.  We find what we are looking for when we stop trying so hard, in other words.

Lately, I have had ladybugs in the literal and figurative sense.  There has been an infestation of Japanese beetle (who look like ladybugs) here in the So. IL the last week or so.  But there have been other ladybugs too.  In two separate conversations in the last two days, God has revealed to me that acts that I might consider small can have great meaning to others, that sometimes people just want a chance to tell their stories.  Let me explain.  Yesterday, as I was getting groceries, there was a lady trying to untangle a produce bag.  I unhooked the bag, and she started a conversation with me.  Come to find out, she was as excited as I was about the first decent oranges of the season, and showed me a trick for determining which oranges were the best because she used to work in a factory that dealt with fruit.  (Look for the ones with the smoothest skin because orange skin pits as it gets older.)  It was a short interaction that didn't exactly revolutionize my day, but it was obvious that she just wanted to share what she knew.  And for the record, the tip totally works and the oranges I picked were really yummy.

Then a few minutes ago, as I was warming up lunch, I spoke to a sales rep who was sitting in the lounge.  She commented on how nice the lounge looked (it's decorated in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness), and I told her that two people on our staff are currently fighting breast cancer.  She said she was a two-time survivor and had undergone a double masectomy a couple years ago.  She then went on to share a funny story about how she had scehduled a mamogram recently only to remember that she didn't need one.  Again, it wasn't a long exchange, but she just wanted to share with someone. 

In short, we are all looking for someone to connect with.  It doesn't have to be someone we know.  There's a certain bond that we have as people living on planet Earth.  While close friends are great, we don't have to know someone to brighten their day or change their point of view.  We all have stories.  We all have things of value to share.  We are all ladybugs, looking for a still place to land.

If Only This Blog Had a Smell Feature...

So, last night, as I was putting away the lasagna (that I made for just me because I had a craving for it while grocery shopping), I noticed a smell in my kitchen.  It wasn't entirely unpleasant, but I also couldn't really place it.  At the time, I attributed it to the peppers and onions I had cooked and went on.  So, this morning, as I went to grab my lunch out of the fridge, the smell was worse...MUCH worse.  Come to find out, a jar of pickles that I had sort of forgotten about, had turned over on the second shelf of the fridge and leaked pickle juice everywhere.  Hopefully, the baking soda that I quickly threw in there will help absorb the stench before I get home! 

In other news,  my new fitness program is rocking.  I have lost 2 pounds since Sunday and have worked out every day!  And I feel better, which of course, begs the question "Why don't I want to do this all the time?"  I'm super excited because I bought a new iPod yesterday and the weather is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend, so I am going to add a couple long walks to my cardio and strength building.  (Wow, I almost sound like I know what I'm doing!)

And finally, if you haven't given it a listen, picked up the Glory Revealed Volume Two CD at your local retailer.  The first volume was great, but I think this one might be even better.  I have a terrible time remember Scripture and feel like I at least vaguely remember the Psalms in song form.  Plus, I love Mac Powell and wish I could keep him in my closet to sing to me whenever I want.  (But there are several laws of God and man that keep that from being okay, so I will just have to settle for the CD.  :)  There are other wonderful artists joining him, so consider this my official endorsement.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blog Slump

Lately, aside from being crazy busy and sick, I just haven't felt like blogging.  I have had lots of things going on, but none of them are things that I would be comfortable blogging about right now.  However, there is some good news on the weight loss front.  I found someone who is going to be my accountability partner, which is the thing that I really needed the most.  I have officially worked out two days in a row which is two days longer than I've had a streak last in a while.  It's not going to be especially fun, because I am out of shape in a major way, but I think I can get back to where I want to be.  It's just going to take work. 

I promise I will blog up a storm soon.  Things have to slow down eventually, right?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Nice End To a Crazy Week

My internet is fixed.  I feel much better.  I bought some great movies last night.  And tonight, I'll have Trick or Treat-ers at my house.  Today is, in fact, a very good day. 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Making Up For Lost Time

Ok, I know it's been a while since I've posted.  I've had the flu and I am way behind.  SO, today you get a lazy post and I promise more this weekend, especially since I now have internet access at my house.

1. Who knows a secret or two about you? 
     Honestly, I don't have ton of secrets.  But if there were any to be had my girls would know them. 

2. Four words to explain why you last threw up? I was very sick

3. Have you ever burned yourself?  If you can, I have.  My straightener and the oven are two constants

4. Who is your hero? 
     I don't really have one person.  I admire different things about a lot of people.  However, I think Jen Lancaster may be my literary hero.

5. Would you ever want to be a supermodel? 
    Only if there was a way I could still eat and be one. So, probably not.

6. When is your next party?  I was just thinking that I need to throw a poker party or something soon

7. Do you know what you will wear tomorrow?  Whatever is clean and near the top of the pile.

8. Have you ever accidentally eaten an insect?  We'll just pretend that no is the only option here.

9. Do you talk baby talk?  To babies.  And to mock those who do it any other time.

10. Would you ever work in a retirement home?
      I think it might be more exhausting than teaching middle school.  But it would also be interesting.

11. Are you ever purposely irritating?  Only when it is well and truly deserved.

12. If you could fly, where would you go first?  Fiji or the Seychelles.  Or anywhere fabulously tropical.

13. Do you prefer boats or planes?  I'll go with planes because I have been on them more.

14. One best friend or 10 acquaintances?  One best friend.

15. Favorite food?  Potatoes

16. Do you believe that your first love never dies? 
      I believe that it's a part of you, but I don't think it has to be any more a part than we allow it to be

17. What upcoming event are you waiting and ready for?  Thanksgiving, Christmas, Matt and Mel's wedding

18. Do you get your nails done?  Nope.  I have good nails naturally so I don't mess with that.

19. What was the last thing you ordered at McDonald’s?  French fries and a Sweet Tea

20. Are you an emotional person?  I'm not a big crier, but I get worked up about things very easily

21. When did your last relationship end?  Not long after it began

22. Favorite place to be?  The beach

23. How do you feel about your hair?  That it's fantastic

24. Do you sleep with a fan on?  Nope.  It gives me a sore throat.

25. Did you sleep in past noon today? 
      I wish.  The alarm went off at 5:30, but I put it off til 6:00.  I'm not good at sleeping late though.  I'm more of a napper.

26. Are you sarcastic?
      I can be.  It depends on the company I keep.  When I am with my family or at the Mays, I have to be on my best game.

27. Did you have a good birthday this year?  Yes, I had a very good one!

28. What is your favorite kind of weather?
       I like nights when it's comfortable enough to sit outside and star gaze

29. Have you ever cried during a movie? 
      All the time.  I cry more at movies than I do about real life (I'm not sure that's something I should admit to).  Recently just the trailers for The Blind Side have been getting to me.

30. Who’s the last person you had a deep conversation with? Tara. When you don't get to talk much, you tend to get right to the point about things.

31. Who was the last person you cried in front of?  It was people, not person. 

32. Do you like your name? 
      Yes.  I used to hate Katherine, but I have grown to love it.  Most people call me Katie, which is fine.  Some people call me Kate, which is okay too, but only if you know me pretty well.  DO NOT call me Kathy.  Ever.

Friday, October 23, 2009

On That Whole Losing Weight Thing...

So, I am again at the beginning of my weight loss journey.  Unfortunately, this is not my first trip.  I have never been a skinny girl.  I can't remember a time when my thighs didn't rub together or when I could just pick up any old thing off the rack and know it would fit.  And it's not because I have zero short-term memory.  My biggest issues are that I like to eat and I don't exercise.  It's not like the whole "Why aren't these pants fitting?" thing is a real mystery.

I'm just not motivated by the being a healthy weight is good for me thing.  I never have been.  What I need is some reason to be motivated beyond that.  The good news is that I have some events coming up that I can use as motivation, the biggest one being that my little brother, Matt is marrying my amazing, gorgeous, built-like-she-was-made-to-hang-with-my-family sister-in-love, Mel, on June 12, 2010.  And I want to wear a cute dress and have the best time, and I know I won't be able to do that if I feel and look then like I do now.  I also want to set a good example of setting a goal and achieving it for my students.  So, I think I am going to make this struggle a little more public than I might otherwise, harnessing the power of a classroom full of weght-loss coaches who are as ruthless as Jillian but as loving as Bob.  On top of that, I have 23 months and counting until I turn the big 30.  I've always said I am going to throw myself one heck of a party for this big night, and if I am going to do that, I want to look good.  REALLY good.  So, if I'm going to make that happen, there's never been a better time to start.

I want to make clear that I am not one of those people who sits around and talks about how unattractive I am.  I am not saying that bigger can't be beautiful.  I have a decent self-image and I don't bash myself or support those who do.  What I am saying is that right now, I don't fit into my pants.  And I like my pants, so this is a little upsetting.  I have to do this, not because it is the socially conscious thing to do, but because it's the only way I am going to have clothes to wear to work because I have already made a promise to myself that I am not going to buy bigger pants. 

It's time.  Waistline, you are officially on notice. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Peas, Sweet Peas

I know what the web address says, but lately my life hasn't felt particularly funny.  Nothing's really wrong, I've just been in a season of really thinking about my life.  For the first time ever I am really comfortable with where I am in my life.  Sure, there are always some things I would like to change (I wouldn't cry if I were four inches taller, many pounds thinner and completely out of debt), but I'm not unhappy.  This is a definite change over last year.  I look back on that time in my life, and while it wasn't all bad, it also wasn't all good.  Things now are so very different.

This last year has been a year of pruning in my life.  God has called me to look at what really matters and forget about the rest.  I believe that God doesn't forget even the most trivial details of our lives, but that He sometimes needs us to acknowledge that some things are just that.  I am just over the drama.  And from a drama queen of the highest ranking, that's kind of a big deal. 

In an quest to give me a drama-free (or at least drama-reduced) life, God has asked me to make a couple of really difficult choices in the last year.  He wants me to think about the kind of daughter, sister, friend, teacher I really want to be, then buckle down and be that person.  No excuses.  I want to be honest, kind, loving, real.  I want to be present in the lives of the people that I love.  I want to be a teacher that students will remember for how much I cared about them as individuals, even if they don't remember a single lesson I taught in my classroom.  I don't want to be bogged down in negative, bitter or filled with anger.  I see people like that now and think "How do they stand it?"  But I was one of them not that long ago.  It's an easy pit to fall into, one that takes a conscious decision to get out of. 

This kind of leads me to the other thing that God has asked me to do.  God has asked me to consider the company I keep.  God didn't point any fingers or anything of the sort.  What He did was just show me, in a way only God can, that not all people have good intentions and that even those who do aren't always good for me.  In truth, I am kind of a Pollyanna-type when it comes to people.  I like people to like me (even if I say otherwise), and I believe that most people are what they say they are.  But countless times over the last year, God has revealed that appearances are just that, and that sometimes the face we want people to see is so very different from our real motives or intentions.  I have been hurt by people I thought I could trust and had people who claimed to care about me turn their backs in the last year.  But ALL things work together for good.  I've never really believed that the way I do these days.

Sometimes it's hard to believe that I am happy.  I know that sounds crazy, but I have just never been satisfied with where I was.  I always wanted something more.  And there's nothing wrong with that if that longing is positive, if it leads you to strive for the things you want.  But it wasn't like that for me.  I always felt like I wasn't enough, that I was defective or less than everyone else.  For the first time in my life, I am at peace, no matter what storms surround me.  And after 28 years, that feels pretty good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When God Wants Your Attention

Not too long ago, I wrote about being a single, Christian girl.  The thing is, contrary to what you might think, I don't spend all that much time pondering my situation.  It's just one of those things that is.  I am a teacher.  I am a photographer.  I am single.  It's so much a part of my life that there's not really a lot of point to dissecting it.  When I was in my early 20s, I thought about it a lot.  I was kind of consumed by the quest to not be single, and was angry when I was so unsuccessful.  Maybe it's just that I'm busy or maybe it's a little something that I like to think of as maturity, but I just don't feel like that anymore.  I'm not angry or angsty or anything of the sort.  I just am.

Which leads me to my point, and I promise you I have one.  I have been asked to give what is commonly refered to as "The Singles Talk" at a teen retreat this winter.  Normally, women shy away from this particular talk, but I felt God asking me to do it.  My mom is the director this time, and so I went to her and said "I really want to do this talk."  She answered "Good, because I felt lead to ask you to give this talk, but I didn't know if you would want to."  Honestly, there is a part of me that wishes I wasn't a candidate for this particular talk.  I figured, like most Midwestern girls I know, that by the time I was pushing 30 I would be married and maybe have a kid or two.  But, I'm not.  And I believe there's a God constructed reason for that, even if I don't know what it is.  What God is asking of me right now is to consider what He is.  And that seems to be where the focus of my talk will be.  It's not about about what I am, it's about the Great I AM.  He's showing me that I'm not the same girl who gave this talk before (that's right, this is my second time), but He's still the same God.  And there's a certain amount of comfort in that.  It doesn't mean I don't wish the phone would ring, but it also means that I no longer sit around waiting for my real life to begin. 

That's just where my head is today.  Thought it was worth sharing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

GLEE!!

I know that I talked about it before, but Glee is my new can't miss show.  It's hilarious and brilliant and they sing!  What more could you possibly want?  If you aren't watching it, catch an episode or two here.  I promise you will be hooked!  I recommend "The Rhodes Not Taken", "Acafella" or  "Throwdown," which was this week's episode, but I love them all.  In my family, Lib and I have been known to watch it at our respective houses and text about it during the commercials.  My mom actually told me Wednesday night that my father said she had to get off the phone because Glee was getting ready to start. (I would have said it first but I was racing home from Wednesday night dinner at the Mays'.)  We are serious about our shows, people! 

I assume that part of my addiction is rooted in the fact that I am a choir nerd.  I was in Regional Choir in high school and later, SCC Choir.  There is nothing like the bond that comes with creating something that you know is good.  Some kids find their place in high school.  I found mine in my College Choir.  We did musicals, madrigals, cantatas and a million other special performances. The music was fun, but the people were better. There are a million and one crazy stories from those days. Some of those people I lost touch with, but hold a spot in my heart.  Others, like those crazy girls I sing with every Sunday, are still part of my life. Glee just reminds me of those days.  We were all misfits in our own right, but together we were something special.  And if you don't believe it, I can totally show you some videos...

P.S.  And if you are ever the slightest bit addicted like me, you will want to know that there is a soundtrack coming soon.  You can find out all about here or check iTunes, which has most of the singles now that will be included on the final CD.  Entertainment Weekly said not that long ago that there will be a Volume Two released before the first season is over.  And all I can say is thank you, Ryan Murphy, you mad genius, you!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Anything But List-less

Three Reasons I Am Feeling a Little Bit Overwhelmed:
  • Too many things - I feel like I have done nothing but run since my birthday.  Sure, some of it was really fun and all of it was of my own choosing, but I just feel like I'm everywhere and nowhere all at once.  I haven't even had time to go meet Kamryn now that I am healthy enough because I have meetings or something going every night.
  • School stuff - It's the end of the first grading period, so I have grades to post (which I should probably be doing now instead of blogging).  I also have Think Pink Week (cancer awareness), basketball games starting, and Parent/Teacher Conferences.  It will all get done.  It will all be fine.  (I'm repeating this as often as necessary)
  • Trunk or Treat - Halloween is just two weeks away and I don't have any idea what I'm going to be for our church's big community outreach.  I always end up being something lame, even though I would love to have a more creative costume.  But at this point, I don't even have candy for my trunk, so I may have to just deal.

 And Three Things I'm Looking Forward To:
  •  La Croix Friday Nights - Before she moved to the STL, Amber and I used to go to this great church in Cape for their Friday night service.  We'd meet, worship with their rockin' praise band, listen to a great sermon and then go eat.  And now that she's back, so is this once-a-month tradition!  And I'm pumped!
  • Visiting Family - Some of my extended family is going to be in this weekend.  We only see them once every four or five years because they live out west, but all three of the "C" cousins will be here Saturday.  I love to listen to everyone tell stories and just hang out, so despite the continued crappy weather, we should have a good time.
  • Basketball Season - Yes, it means working the admission gate and the concession stand.  But it also means hollering for the home team until you're hoarse, taking a million action shots, and watching my "kids" have a blast from October to February.  I'm totally okay with the trade-off.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ok, so this is kind of a lazy post...

Things have been a little crazy recently so I haven't had a lot of time to post.  But, the good news is I will have internet access at home in less than a week!  So, here's something fun for now, and I promise a little more substance later, ok?


1. What is your occupation right now?  Middle School Teacher

2. What color are your socks right now?   Tan

3. What are you listening to right now?  The air vent blowing air, which is nice compared to the chaos that awaits in 10 minutes when the kids get down here

4. What was the last thing that you ate? Quaker Oat Squares in 1% milk

5. Can you drive a stick shift? Nope, I can barely drive an automatic.

6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Um...I think it was Sheena.

7. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yep!  I got this in an email from my Aunt Jane, who is fabulous and sends me pumpkins!

8. How old are you today? 28

9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?  I am a sports junkie.  I don't like football or baseball that much on TV, but I will watch pretty much anything else, from X-Games type things to swimming to NASCAR.  I especially love Track and Field!

10. What is your favorite drink? Sweet Tea!

11. Have you ever dyed your hair?  Whew!  That's funny!  My goal is to never actually know if I have gray hair so, I've dyed and/or highlighted it since I was in high school.  Recently, I just went back to my favorite home color, Feria 45.

12. Favorite food? Grandma's Chicken and Dumplings rank at the top.  But I have a lot of favorite things.  It's very mood dependent.  (Like most things with girls!  C'mon, you know it's true!)

13. What is the last movie you watched?  This last weekend, I watched Singin' In The Rain with my sister and An American In Paris on my own.  I bought a whole set of TCM movies Friday night.

14. Favorite day of the year?  I like Thanksgiving and Christmas equally.  I'm really big on any holiday that has a lot of traditions and family (biological and otherwise)

15 How do you vent anger?  It depends on what I'm angry about

16 What was your favorite toy as a child? I loved Barbie dolls.  I also had a bunny blankey that I loved on until it was no more

17. What is your favorite season?   Fall.  I love it when the leaves change and the weather gets crisp.  I also love that it gets me closer to high school basketball season!

18. Cherries or Blueberries?   Cherries, if I have to choose.  I don't really like either that much.

19. Living arrangements? Just me and Delilah in our messy little house

20. When was the last time you cried? Got a little teary yesterday when my middle school boys lost the state championship.  I am a sympathetic crier.

21. What is on the floor of your closet? I have two bedroom closets.  One has luggage on the floor.  The other has a shelf for clothes and a bag of goodies for when my "niece" comes over to play

22. What did you do last night?  Went to Coulterville to watch baseball, ate Mexican with my sister, and editted a bunch of photos

23. What are you most afraid of? Mice are pretty gross.  I also don't like anything that could jump on me unexpectedly (frogs, grasshoppers)

24. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers? Cheeseburgers!!

25. What is your favorite kind of dog? I've always been a fan of big dogs.  But I do know a pretty cool shih tzu or two

26. Favorite day of the week? Any day that I get to sleep in and do whatever I want to instead of all the things I have to

27. How many states have you lived in?  Just this one...IL

28. Diamonds or pearls?   Diamonds!  They don't call 'em a girls best friend for nothing!

29. What is your favorite flower?  I think they are all pretty fantastic...but irises and daisies are my favorites

Monday, October 5, 2009

Weekend Recap

So this weekend was absolutely full and a little bit crazy.  My weekend technically started on Thursday evening, because I'd taken Friday off.  We went to dinner at Flamingo Row, one of my favorite places to eat.  Then, I went home to the 'rents to borrow some free Internet.  I was able to thank all the people who had left sweet "Happy Birthday" messages on my Facebook and just generally hang out a bit.  Between the posts, text messages, calls and special deliveries, I felt pretty special and very loved on my big day!

Friday, I ended up staying home.  I colored my hair, cleaned my bathroom, and did some uninteresting, albeit necessary things like that.  Friday night was spent at the Hoe Down, the big PTO fundraiser.  I was taking photo booth pictures to raise money for the junior high track team.  I've coached track for several years, despite the fact that I didn't actually run track in school, and we have had moderate success. I'm hoping to use some of our money for new jerseys and some equipment.  I really like running the photo booth because it is relatively easy to do and kids make good subject matter.  (They make the best faces and have some of the funniest observations!) After I was finished, I went back to Mom and Dad's and hung out because my brother was staying the night so he could to go bow hunting Saturday morning.

Saturday, the girls and I sang at a memorial service for a friend's grandson.  I've sang at a lot of funerals, but singing at a baby's is a whole 'nother level of difficult.  I can't imagine what that family is going through during this time and if you think about it, lift up a prayer for that family.  (and for all families who have lost a child, like fellow blogger, Katie, and too many others.)

After the memorial, my girls and I went out on the wine trail. It was a beautiful day, if a little chilly.  We spent a while here where we observed some young women who thought it was okay to leave the house in hot pants and winter coats.  Ladies, this is always a fashion don't.  ALWAYS.  Just trust me.  Later, we went here and were part of a wedding reception with the most interesting music. There was a rap song about a cicada and no, I'm not making this up.  When we were worn out from the trail, we went to Aunt Sandy and Uncle Jason's and had stir-fry, which rocked!!  And if I wasn't blissed out enough, I got home and found out that my junior high boys won their state quarterfinals game and would be playing the semis on Wednesday!  Way to go, boys!

Sunday, I went to church and then out to have Mexican with Sheena and Ronnie.  After a trip to WalMart, some NASCAR and a nap, I went to my darling friend, DM's, church Sunday night.  He's not just an awesome photographer, he's also a pastor.  He preached a great sermon out of Isaiah 6, then we all went out for pizza.  DM, the girls, and I have been friends since college (almost 10 years), and I always forget how much I miss having meals together.  I laugh off more calories than I consume and that's pretty impressive!

I don't know that I would want every weekend to be this busy, but I'd be okay with every weekend being full of such good memories.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

HAPPY 28th BIRTHDAY TO ME!

It's officially my birthday!  And I am having a great day! My sister is bringing me a sandwich from my favorite sandwich place for lunch and my parents are taking me to dinner at Flamingo Row tonight (I'm sensing a strong food theme)!  Can't wait!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On Being A Single, Christian, Almost 28 Year-old

So I've been kicking around writing about being single recently.  And then, Big Mama published this post, and I knew the gauntlet had been thrown down.  After I read her wise words, I felt like God had grabbed me by the face and said "Sit still and write."  So, here I am writing.  (But tapping my foot, because we all know I can't sit still.)

I used to think being single was hard.  Sometimes I still do I guess, but part of me just doesn't look at it like I used to.  In the old days, if someone wanted to talk to me about being single or did something well meaning that I took the wrong way, I would just lose it.  I would cry or get mad, the mope around feeling badly about being 20-something and single.  These days, I just find it kind of funny.  Someone always has "perfect guy" for me, the right website, or the right words to comfort my sad, lonely existence.  And I know enough now to just say "Thank you." and move along.  Please, don't get me wrong here.  I love that people care enough to want to take care of me this way, and I appreciate their attempts mostly (there have been a couple too many awkward blind dates for my taste).  I am not mocking them or wishing that they wouldn't try to help.  Singleness is just one of those things that you either get or you don't.  There aren't enough blind dates, websites, or kind words that will help if we aren't ready to be receptive to the real issues at hand.
Because here's what I know.  Every person's journey is different.  It's taken me a long time to get to the point where I can accept whatever God has in store for me.  For a long time, I was mad at God.  I'd yell and scream and throw out questions like "How come she can get married and not me?"  I believe that God is big enough to handle my anger and my questions.  The breakdown in communication happened when I refused to listen to what He was answering in my heart.  Allow me to demonstrate:

Me:  (whining, screaming, and/or crying) God, I can't believe that I have to go to another friend's dream wedding.

God:  (in that kind, loving, mildly annoying because I am mad at Him, way) Be happy for your friend.  It's the next step in My plan for her.

Me: (with increasing desperation) I don't want to be alone.  Why can't you just send me somebody?  Anybody?  Please? 

God:  (still kind and loving) Be patient.  I have bigger plans for you.  Not just anybody is right for those plans.

Me: (whining, again) I wish I had someone to take out the trash, mow the lawn, fix the drier vent, cuddle on the couch and talk to at the end of the day etc....

God:  (not even annoyed with me, because He is eternally kind and loving about these things)  Be thankful for your earthly father, your able legs, the roof over your head, an ever-present Heavenly Father etc....

I know this will shock some of you, but I can tend toward the dramatic.  Time after time, I refused to hear God and pretended that He wasn't answering when I knew that He was.  God is the God of Miracles, but sometimes He's the God of Reasonable.  That's when I find Him a little hard to take.  It's not the same for everyone, but God has finally gotten me to the point where I accept that He doesn't need my help.  Shocking, right?  The Creator of the Universe doesn't need help from the girl who forgets when trash day is and routinely misplaces her car keys. 

Now, that's not to say I haven't tested it out.  I've "helped" His plan along when I thought it was dragging.  I've made my share of mistakes, some of which could have ended very badly (and I'm thankful they didn't).  And I've made the difficult choices when it would have been much easier to give in.  The world wants to tell single women a lot of junk, and I've had to learn to tune that out.  And I've had to learn to find humor in siutations that I would have thought completely humorless not that long ago.

I don't pretend to understand why I'm still single.  I don't know what God has in store for me.  I don't know if I will remain single for the rest of my life.  What I do know is that God is good, God is merciful, and God says right there in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  And that has to be enough, even on the days it doesn't feel like enough (and I do still have those). A long time ago, someone told me, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."  I still have plans, but I know that my plans all hinge on His plans for me.  And if 28 years has taught me anything, it's that His way is always better than what I have planned anyway.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Movie Review: Fame

 So it's not Monday...but here's the review anyway.

On Friday night, a group of girlies and I went to the late show to see Fame.  Now, it should be noted here that I was not as excited as some members of our little group.  It would be hard to be more excited than my sister and Sheena, who have been talking about this premiere for over a month.  But there I was in the theater with one on each side of me as the opening credits rolled.

This movie was pretty much exactly what I thought it would be.  I don't mean that in a negative way, though.  It just wasn't especially surprising on any count.  My best description was that Fame was like if So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol had a child.  If you love movies where people sing and dance, then this is your movie.  If you like movies that have complex and dramatic plotlines and extensive character development, then I'm sure there's something you will enjoy in another theater.  You have to know your audience, and it's obvious by the musical numbers and short vignettes that the people behind Fame were aiming for those of us with short attention spans and a love for theatrics.

That said, the performances were awesome. Kherington Payne, who was a brilliant contestant on SYTYCD, shines in the dance sequences.  When Asher Book opened his mouth to sing, I think we all found a new crush,  and Naturi Naughton can certainly hold her own when it comes to singing and playing.  I like that they didn't cast "names" but instead went with people who were truly talented in their discipline.  The brightest spot for this musical theater loving chic was Megan Mullally belting out "You Took Advantage Of Me."  While it freaks me out a little when she's not in character as Karen on Will & Grace, she shows why she continues to have just as much work treading the boards as she does on the big or small screen.


All in all, I'd give it a C.  It was great for a Friday night out with the girls but isn't going to garner any attention come award season (with the exception, perhaps, of the choreography).  That they took another go at this idea does prove, however, that the draw of this franchise may actually live forever. (Corny, but I couldn't resist!)


P.S. Real life story:  While the credits were playing, in the now empty theater, my sister, LuLu, felt the need to dance.  And because she actually can (unlike her uncoordinated older sister), she put on quite the show for those of us there to witness.  The attendant in the projection box seemed impressed, too.  It remains one of the funniest things I've seen in a while, and it had to be added namely because she said, and I quote, "This better make your blog."  So, there you have it.