Saturday, July 31, 2010

Another piece of the puzzle

In case you haven't noticed, I am not a professional photographer.  I take pictures with a point and shoot digital camera and those pictures are for my enjoyment.  I don't fancy myself a photographer.  Appreciate accordingly :)

It's surreal to talk about something, dream about it, plan for it, and practically taste it, and then see it come to fruition.

Later this week, I'll try to get a picture from the road.  It's really exciting to see cars slow down and strain to see the structure that is very quickly becoming our home.

This week, the contractors put the windows and (back) doors in.  Again, I'll reiterate the fact that I love the windows.  When my parents came out to see the progress, my mom said, "Were you afraid you wouldn't like them?"  Well, actually, yes. Yes, I was.  Favorite is terrified we're going to spend too much money and I'm terrified I will pick something we won't like. 

Ah.  The fears of building a home.

Mom was thrilled that I decided I liked the windows, though.  So much so, she decided to do a bit of modeling:
Nothing like having family who may be more excited about the project than you are :)

It's just so neat to see the house come together bit by bit.
First it was decking, then framing, then roofing and now windows.  This is the back of the house, and the french doors on the end lead to my bedroom (and Favorite's).  I'll share the bedroom with him, but I'm really  not sure what he's going to do for a closet.  The one in the master bedroom is mine ;)

My porch :)  I can already see myself spending a lot of time out here.  It is possible for a prayer closet to have a view of the great outdoors, right?

Now Favorite and I have the task of finding bathtubs.  We should've jumped the gun on this adventure, but we didn't think about it.  It's going to be a good time fitting these things through a too-small doorway.  Welcome to construction.

What?

Oh, why is Favorite standing in the tub?

Well, his shoulders are rather large, you see.  Before the purchase, we have to determine whether or not it's going to be a good fit.

I'd say based on his serious "model" face, this one's a keeper.

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray
with joy because of your partnership
in the gospel from the first day until now,
being confident of this, that he who
began a good work in you will carry it on to
completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
--Philippians 1:4-6

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Peace of Belief

It's guess-what-I-saw-Friday.  So far, I have nothing to show you.  I did see windows IN MY HOUSE.  Yep...they put them in.  And I'll likely be posting pictures of that later, but that's not the purpose of this post.

I also got to have Friday morning breakfast with Favorite, my parents and Big Bro this morning.  And while that was fantastic, that is also not the purpose of this post.

Do you ever feel like God speaks a scripture to your heart?  When you ask for Him to meet you and guide you, do you ever see the scripture come up more and more often?  Do you ignore it until it absolutely slams you in the face and you realize that God has been trying to talk to you if only you would listen?

Don't make me stand on this ledge alone.

Yet even if you do leave me hanging out here in the World of the Oblivious, I can't deny that those scenarios are true in this life of the ordinary.

The recent scripture?

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
--Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess
or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us
around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!
--Ephesians 3:20-21 (The Message)

It's a reminder of the man who asked Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief.  Previous to this request, Jesus said, "Everything is possible for him who believes" (Mark 9:23).

These days, that's my prayer--for God to do immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine.  It's my prayer for my women's group, for my church, for my family and for myself.  I know I can have a peace in His Word.  I desire that sweet peace (Stop laughing, Kate.  I didn't say peas.  Peace, woman.  Peace).

More than anything I want to rest in that belief.

Let it be, Lord.  Let it be.

"Help Me Believe"
Nichole Nordeman

Take me back to the time
When I was maybe eight or nine
And I believed
when Jesus walked on waters blue
and If he helped me I could to
If I believed

Before rational analysis and systematic thinking
Robbed me of a sweet simplicity
When wonders and when mysterys
Were far less often silly dreams
and childhood fantasies

CHORUS:
Help me believe
'cause I don't want to miss any miracles
Maybe I'd see
Much better by closing my eyes
and I would shed this grown up skin I'm in
To touch an Angels wing
And I would be free
Help me believe

When mustard seeds made mountians move
A burning bush that spoke for you
was good enough
When manna fell from heavens high
just because you told the sky to open up

Am I too wise to recognize that everything uncertain
is certainly a possibility
When logic fails my reasoning
and science crushes underneath
The weight of all that is unseen

CHORUS

When someone else's education
plays upon my reservations
I'm the first to cave
I'm the first to bleed
If I abandoned all that seeks
To make my faith informed and chic
Could you?
Would you?
Show your self to me?

CHORUS

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hey, Taylor Swift, I got a song idea.

Country singers should expand their repertoire.  Taylor Swift may sing "today was a fairy tale," but she's never said anything about the days the windows arrived for her house.  Maybe she just isn't to that stage of life yet.

She should consider it as an awesome addition to her next album, though.  Guaranteed it'd bring her more of the 30 something listeners who no longer care about white horses and Romeo/Juliet proposals.

Not only that, but it's a pretty exciting moment in time.  I mean, tell me you wouldn't have peed your pants to see several construction workers carry something like this into your rapidly rising home?

Ah.  Gorgeous.


This isn't the full extent of what arrived, but it is a pretty decent representation.

I can honestly say that I never thought I would've been so excited to see some wood and glass show up at my residence.  I think it was partly due to last night's dilemma.

But it was also an indication that I picked something that turned out nicely.  I really LIKE what I chose.

It's reassurance.

And I need a lot of reassurance.

Thankfully, there was a little more to be had.


This is the back of my house, and you should note that it is covered in shingles.

It's a big deal.

Come to think of it, "Hey my house was roofed" sounds like a great song title.

Get to writing, Taylor.  We'll talk royalties later.

The current payoff is this:  I really like the shingle color.  So that's also a win.


There's still quite a bit to go--especially when you consider that I can still see the sky in my bedroom.

But it's coming together faster than I would've imagined.

Instead of "Walking in Memphis," Marc Cohen needs to consider something like "Seeing My House."  Now that's a tune worth committing to memory.


The guys also got a decent start on my front porch today.  It's the one thing that is holding up the roof.

Ah...a front porch.  Nothing says southern living quite like a front porch.

Can you see yourself sitting out there with me?  Holding a glass of tea?  We would probably discuss the weather.  Or my need to be an American Idol.  Just whatever.

The point is, WE WOULD BE SITTING ON MY PORCH.  I love the idea of it.

What I don't love?

Don't freak out.  I love the dog. 

Kinda.

Some days.

Can you see his dirty, little face?  He got it voluntarily.

When we walk over the house, he likes to roll in every dirt spot he can find.

This means that on the way back to the house, he resembles a little beige dog instead of his black and white self.

And when he shakes, he looks like Pigpen from Charlie Brown.

But I don't think that's worth a song.

We thought our heads were in the game.

Favorite and I have collectively decided that everything we do is a fiasco.

I'm not sure why we thought purchasing doors for the house would be any different.  But, in our little, storybook heads, we imagined that we would go to the store, grab the one we had picked months ago, pick out two more to go in different places on the house, head to our movie (Inception--so good...but another story for another time) and enjoy an evening together.

Alas.  It was not to be.

If you have been reading since the initial stages of the house-building process, you would know that this was the door we picked TWO MONTHS before we ever broke ground.  I love this door.  I love the simplicity of it.  I love that it's red.  I really, really just love this door.

When we got to Lowe's, I immediately ran to the isle where my beautiful door was residing and gasped to see that the sign below it said "Special Order."

Special Order?  No.  We need the door tomorrow.  The contractor wants to put the doors in.  Like, tomorrow.

Calmly, we spoke to the extremely nice lady who was working the counter.  She explained that even if we did order the door, it would likely take two weeks to get it in and it would only come on a Friday.

Panic set in.  What would we do?  We needed doors.  We couldn't wait!  The contractor was waiting on us!  We didn't want to slow down the process since it took so long to get it started.

After much agony (which I will spare you), we found out that this door isn't even available for order in this color.  That's right.  The door on display is unavailable.  Instead, this door is supposed to be an example of how pretty a door can be if you...wait for it...PAINT IT.

No sign explained that this color was unavailable.  Leave it to me to fall in love with a product that doesn't even exist.

The wonderful sales lady went above and beyond to help us find something, but it took two trips to Home Depot and one to Menards to finally settle on doors for the house.  Turns out if you have 2x6 walls, few, if any, home improvement stores carry doors in stock.  They ALL have to be ordered.

Yes, we called the contractor and apologized profusely.  Yes, we probably paid a little more money for doors than we would've had this not been a fiasco.  But thankfully, the contractor didn't seem bothered and we are now finished with this part of the process.

The front door looks almost exactly like the one I picked out, but, because nothing in our lives can be short a fiasco, we'll have to have it painted.  At the suggestion of my father (and the nice lady at Lowe's), we'll probably have a local autobody shop paint it just to make sure that it looks nice.

And I will end up with a beautiful, red, front door.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

And all this is for You...for Your glory and Your fame...

About a week ago, my friend Courtney and her family began asking questions about the oil spill in the gulf and what they could do as part of a relief effort.

Now, they are planning a trip to a specific area in Alabama and are hard at work fundraising for the trip.  It is their hope to buy from the local merchants in order to boost the local economy.  For more information, go here.

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as
Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
--Ephesians 5:1-2

------------------------------------------

A few people have asked for a house update.  I've tried to keep up with pictures, but I haven't been as faithful about posting them on here.  But, without further adieu, the newest house installment.

Ok, you'll have to forgive this photo.  I keep forgetting to tell the contractor that I have a blog to run, and would he mind not parking large pieces of equipment in front of the house as it impedes the picture-taking process.

Sadly, my inability to remember this slight detail leads to images like this.  But this is, in fact the front of the house.
This is the front of the garage.

Have I mentioned I'm pumped to have a garage?  I have NEVER gotten to park my vehicle in a garage.  EVER.

I won't know how to act when I'm driving down the road with a clear windshield instead of a hole the size of my hand scraped out in the frost.

Stop freaking out.  It's not that dangerous.

Ok...maybe it was.  But I really needed to focus on my hair those mornings. 

Anyway...

This would be my living room/kitchen/dining room area.  That big hole would be the space where the french doors are going to go.

HOLLA!

The dirt outside of the hole will eventually be the world's largest deck, but we've got a while before that particular dream comes true.

I'm really more concerned about getting the inside finished, first.

This picture and the previous picture are of the same wall.  This one is just a little farther down.

Through the wall, you can see my bedroom and the french doors that will be in there.

I also love this double window.  Actually, I just love windows.  I love the prospect of lots of natural light in the house.
I guess that's why I love this big window so much.

I know I've shown you pictures of it before, but it's easily going to be my favorite part of the house.  Not only do we have a great view outside, it makes for a fantastic look inside.

I can already see bookshelves and a couple of chairs in this room.  If I can get plenty to read, I may never leave my house again.

Thankfully, though, we're seeing a lot of progress from day to day.  The roof is almost entirely decked.  They will start on the tar paper and shingles this week.  In a few weeks, the outside will be done and our part will start.  Yikes!

------------------------------

Tonight, I met with my prayer group women for the second time.

And yet again, God showed up. 

I shouldn't be surprised.  After all, our devotional is all about praying God's word.

My new prayer? 

"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!"
  --Ephesians 3:20-21  (The Message)
 
If you are a praying person, please pray this scripture in my life for this season.  I realize I am so blessed, but that doesn't keep me from struggling through particular circumstances. 

Tonight, I was especially blessed by a prayer from one of the women.  She acknowledged that God has often tried to draw her closer and she has sometimes refused him.  Then, she openly thanked Him for not giving up on her.
 
Later, as we sat through communion at church, that's all I could think about. 
 
Thank you, Lord for not giving up on me. 
 
"I'm asking God for one thing,
only one thing:
To live with him in his house
my whole life long.
I'll contemplate his beauty;
I'll study at his feet.
That's the only quiet, secure place
in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway,
far from the buzz of traffic."
--Psalm 27:4-5 (The Message)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Honor of Kelly's Korner: Real

A little while back, Kelly at Kelly's Korner posted and asked other bloggers how "real" they were on their personal blogs. 

She discusses the fact that she really has reached this wonderful place in her life where her days really are consumed with playdates, shopping, cooking and enjoyable activities.  But she also mentions that life wasn't always that way for her.

And while she never says it, I doubt she believes life will always be the way it is now.

I guess the funny thing about ordinary living is that some days really aren't funny, but they are very real, and they are very ordinary, and they are lived by more people than me.

I have a lot of those days.  I don't always post about them, and sometimes I ignore them and post something else.  While I have been truthful about some of the things I'm working through, I haven't always been entirely honest about how I've felt during the process.

I hate struggling with the same issues over and over again.  I despise PCOS with all my being.  I promised myself that I wouldn't let this stupid disease rob me of my joy, but girls, surely many of you understand that it's difficult when you are faced with multiple symptoms that make you feel significantly less girly/successful/capable, etc.

I hate that my hair is falling out.  It didn't used to fall out this quickly, and I've always had really thick hair so I probably didn't notice the loss.  But it doesn't feel so thick anymore.  It lays a lot differently than it used to because it's not as thick.  I hate that I have to pull two or three handfuls out of my head after every single shower of the day.  That doesn't even count the amount that falls out IN the shower.  I'm not exaggerating.

I hate that, while my hair is falling out, other hair grows.  Ever heard of hirsutism?  Look it up, because it's a glorious side effect of a syndrome that has no treatment.  The only treatment for this particular difficulty?  Laser treatments (or at home remedies that are temporary at best).

I hate that I am working my rear end off (or not, as it were) in order to keep my weight in check only to stay at exactly the same weight every week.  I hate that "healthy" people likely assume that my weight is the result of all the "treats" I eat when I'm alone.  I challenge them to search my house for said treats, because I sure haven't found them if they are here. 

I HATE being fat.  I hate feeling this way.  I really do.  And please, no messages or emails about how I'm not fat, blah blah blah.  My doctor has made it very clear that I am, in fact, fat.  Your email won't be helpful. 

I feel like this disease has robbed me of so much--things I'm willing to talk about here, and things that I won't.  And I know that God is in control.  And I do trust Him.  I really do.  There are just some things I no longer want to deal with. 

God has really spoken to my heart about being jealous of other situations when He has called me to my life and other people to theirs, but I would be lying if I said that particular lesson was easy to swallow every single day.  I don't begrudge others what they have.  Sometimes I just wish my situation were similar.  I don't want pity.  I just want to be done with this season already.  I'm tired of waiting and working and seeing no results when I'm working so hard for exactly that end.

I'm just tired.  I have laid this down in front of Him so many times, but every day is a battle.  I'm sick of fighting it.  Do you know how much easier it would be to say "Screw it" and then let it go?  Unfortunately, experience has taught me that I would only go through another cycle of self-loathing because I wasn't doing my fair share to keep this stupid disease in check.

Not that my efforts seem effective, anyway.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is real.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On my way to where the air is sweet...

Today's house update is brought to you by the letters Y, E, A and H.


Last week, the contractor and crew were bookin' it.  It didn't take them any time to get the outside framed up.

This is the front of the house.

And it's an amazing sight to see from the road when I drive home.




This was the interior just a few days ago.

Technically, I was standing in my kitchen and giving you a view of the kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom.

What?  What do you mean you can't see them?

Ha.  Just kidding.  I was having a hard time with the layout, too...much to Favorite's chagrin.

Yep, ladies and gents, this is where another conversation regarding the size of this dwelling ensued.  Don't get excited.  It ended the same way it has ended since we started this endeavor.

But it got increasingly less difficult this week when they finished framing all the rooms. 

Again, I'm standing in my kitchen.

What do you mean it doesn't look like a kitchen?  What about saw horses doesn't scream kitchen?

You can see through the kitchen to a bedroom, a bathroom and another bedroom.

I would love to give you several shots of the inside, but I think the interior framing makes the pictures a little on the confusing side.  So, for your benefit, I'll wait until you can actually tell what it is you are supposed to appreciate.

But tell me that's not a view.

That would be the big bay window on the front of the house.

It would also be my favorite part of the house so far.

On a side note, I haven't been allowed to move in yet.  Chris keeps saying something about the necessity of roofing, but they did put trusses on today, so I'm halfway there.

He's going to have to drag me out of there in my sleeping bag after next week.  I can almost guarantee it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Farming...and what they don't tell you

I married a farmer.

Ok, well, I really married a social worker...who was a farmer...who became a prison guard...but stayed a farmer.

Following?  Me either.

When the farming life is spun by those who live it, they tell you about the "together" time (sweating in a field praying you can go pack as soon as possible), the money (which is good most years...like this one...but scary during other years...and, thankfully, not the day job for either one of us), and all the time in God's great outdoors (sweating your...well, you get the picture).

What they don't tell you is the possibility of being a spectacle.  It shouldn't be news, but I guess it often catches me off guard.

So when you see the couple driving down interstate at 40 mph with about 80 tomato boxes in the back of the truck, just wave.

I'll wave back.

Prayer Group and other thoughts

Last night was our first women's prayer group meeting.  I wasn't sure who would be coming (for sure); I wasn't sure what God wanted us to do for the weeks we will be meeting together.  I was completely nervous about what He had led me to do for the first week.

But I shouldn't have been.

When God shows up, there's no shortage of recognition.  And He did show up.  We still have no idea what we'll be doing from week to week, but we have a bit of direction regarding prayer.  We know the things that have pricked our hearts, and we know that we will be interceding for those things until we can write a date at the bottom of the page.  We know that God delivers.  We know that God restores.  And we are going to wait on Him to do those things--in our lives, our churches and our communities.

I still have a few books left.  We meet on Sunday evenings at 4:45-5:55, and you are more than welcome to join.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Guess What I Saw Friday: You'll have to settle for a story

For the past few weeks, I've really kept my eyes open to bring you something that would really blow your socks off.  I'm still kicking myself for not getting the picture of the helicopter trimming trees in my area, because I'm pretty sure that would've been amazing.  But that's not my story for this evening.

Tonight, Sheena and I went to Hobby Lobby because I needed to have a poster framed (since I've had it for two years...and it has yet to make an appearance in my classroom).  While we were there, we saw a little girl (probably around 6 years old) wearing the brightest pink tutu and leotard I have ever seen in my life.

All I was thinking was that you needed to see it.  It truly was a sight.  And any kid that brave needs to be appreciated, no?

Since I teach, and everyone I know is aware of this fact, I never think of how I might appear to other people.  So when I pulled a camera out of my bag to take a picture, I considered it a pretty normal act.

Unfortunately, my camera makes noise when you turn it on.  (Not anymore.  Fixed that problem.)

When the noise was heard, the little girl turned around, and I felt rude not asking for a picture.  I said, "Can I take a picture of you in your pretty pink tutu?"

Her father looked at her, turned to look at me, looked to his right down the aisle and then turned and said, "Her mother would really rather you didn't." 

Then he gave me a look every parent has.  The one that indicates that you have done something very distasteful.  He pulled his daughter close to himself in the name of keeping her in arms reach.

So tonight, in the name of bringing you "Guess What I Saw Friday," I might have been mistaken for a child stalker.  Appreciate my sacrifice, people.  Appreciate.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The post where I talk about a lot of topics that aren't really related and make no attempt to make them relate (wait...pretty much every post...crap)

Whoever said opposites attract was likely referring to more than looks, but I always marvel at how crazy we must look together.

Favorite looks like your local hispanic male.  I look like the most recent albino escapee from some Nordic island (with the exception of the green eyes).

In this particular picture, we were at a hibachi grill to celebrate Lil bro's girlfriend's birthday.

Do you remember Sparkles?  Well, I've decided that a different name would suit her better.  Therefore, I shall refer to her as Nutmeg.
This was right before the nice ladies sang her a "Happy Japanese song" and made her dance. 

Frankly, I'm not sure what a sad Japanese song sounds like.  Or an overwhelmed Japanese song.  But if they all involve instruments, we should probably be thankful they chose the one they did.

Happy birthday, Nutmeg.

In other news, the contractor has been working on my house so there are a variety of new images for your viewing pleasure on that front.

This is what they had done by the end of the day yesterday.

I'll admit; it was pretty cool to see all the equipment show up and to see how much progress these guys have made in just two days.

The scary part?  Some bills are starting to come in, and Favorite hyperventilates every time we have to pay one.  I keep reminding him that we can afford this, but I think it's something about letting go of that much money at once.

Don't tell him, but sometimes it makes me a little nervous, too.

Today, the work crew managed to get part of my upstairs floor down.  It's so crazy to see it come together.

You know when you dream about something for so long and then you finally see that dream coming true before your very eyes?  Yeah.  It feels a little like that.

I keep commenting that the space doesn't seem very big to me (because I'm spatially challenged).  In all actuality, the top floor is 1800 sq. feet (and then there's the full basement).  Those numbers mean nothing to me, though.

My first indication that this space was mightly large?  The cabinet guy called.  He gave us a great deal on cabinets, but informed me that my kitchen would have 18 feet of kitchen cabinets not including my 11 foot island.  Please don't think I'm trying to brag.  When I read that, you could've knocked me over with a feather.

Then you would've had to rent a hot-air balloon to pull me out of the sky.  I was on cloud 9.

 But big space or no, I don't want you to think that I'm not grateful for this opportunity.

I feel so blessed that Favorite and I have been given the means to do this.  I pray we use what we've been given to glorify our Savior.

Keep praying for us...we've got so much more to go!
"If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am
I denounced because of something I thank God for?
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do,
do it all for the glory of God"
                                     (1 Corinthians 10:30-31).

Monday, July 12, 2010

The post where I talk a lot about food (and a little about purses)

Today, I began my second venture with spaghetti squash.  I have understood that you can replace spaghetti with spaghetti squash in any recipe and it's supposed to be just as good.

It's not true.

While I think spaghetti squash can be a great substitute, you can't just serve it with marinara and expect people who hate squash to enjoy the dish.  You can, however, create cassaroles that keep the squash taste at a minimum (if that's what you're trying to avoid).

This is what my recipe looked like when I was finished.  You can find the original here.  I have never been good at leaving well enough alone, though.  I didn't have any of the cheeses and I can't have breadcrumbs so I just sauteed the onions, garlic, mushrooms and herbs, added cherry tomatoes and mixed a handful (or to taste) of shredded cheese with the spaghetti squash.  I made sure to top the whole thing with a bit of cheese and then I baked it according to the instructions (SO YUM!). 

Even Favorite, the perpetual carnivore, loved it.  Two carnivoristic thumbs up, people!  That's a win.

Tonight we went out to eat at our favorite pizza joint.

I have to limit the carbs so we usually end up getting very thin, whole-wheat crust.

Looks great, no?

And, even though you'll probably think this is weird, Favorite and I spent the rest of our date night doing something we enjoy:  grocery shopping.


 While shopping, we found something called a Grapple (pronounced grape-El).

It's supposed to be an apple that tastes like a grape.  We are curious people.  We thought you would benefit from our services on this front.

The following pictures chronicle the journey of the Grapple.

Favorite, daring as he is, gives the Grapple a shot...
Holy fruit, Batman.  It's an epic fail.

So there you have it.  Don't buy Grapples.  If I had to describe it, I would say that it tastes like watered-down grape kool-aid with absolutely no sweetener.  Total proof that man should not mess with nature.

But there was happiness on the horizon.

This would be a 6 cup Bialetti Moka Express.  Basically?  It's a stovetop espresso machine.  If you aren't excited by this purchase, then you can't possibly understand how much I LOVE coffee--particularly soy lattes. 

Now, with the additional purchase of a frother, I can make them at home.  Every day.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.

I cannot even explain the joyful sobs that are rising in my throat at this purchase.

*Sobbing*  I'd like to the thank the kind people at Bialetti for thinking of the little man--the little man who loves his (um...her) latte.  The little man who doesn't have a Starbucks in his (her) tiny town.  The little man who can't always drive 30 minutes to get a latte, and who was spending a ridiculous amount of time...

Oh...right.  Well, you can clearly see I'm excited about the purchase.

*Looks around uncomfortably*

And without any transition whatsoever...

You should've known that I wouldn't post something without including some information about purses, so here we go.

This beautiful, sleek piece is called the Melie Bianco S9-72 shoulder bag.

I love it.  It looks a little retro, which I love.  It's yellow, which I love.  It's completely pulled together and so elegant, which I LOVE.

Basically, I LOVE this bag.

The only thing that has kept me from this purchase is that the strap drop is 6.5 inches.  I'm not sure that's enough.  Generally, I like to look at a bag to make sure it's going to suit my purposes, but with Amazon's return policy, I may make an exception.

Plus, you're totally going to love Bianco's polka-dotted insides.  I do!

Then, there's this one-of-a-kind frame bag.

I found it on etsy (love that site), and fell in love with it immediately because it has an awesome throw-back look.  On top of that, it's handmade, and has an awesome interior (made out of a shirt).

The downside?  It's $170 with shipping.  Of course, I would pay that kind of money to have a one-of-a-kind piece of beautiful, but I would want to look over that piece of beautiful first.

So while it pains me, this purchase is just a little too risky. 

Oh...now I'm going to cry for an entirely different reason.

Well, at least I have the possible purchase of the Bianco bag to comfort me.

I just realized that someone should totally pay me to test out handbags and blog about them.  I could make someone a lot of money...or I could just get every bag of my dreams without paying for them.  I'd say win-win.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Finds, Loves, and Projects: The post that includes my internet shopping interests and some real life projects.

Is Sunday really the first day of the week?  It feels more like the seventh to me.  I'm always exhausted by Sunday afternoon.  It must be my extremely taxing days that include...well...um...yeah. 

Don't be jealous.  In a week or so, it will be back to the grindstone.  I need to get some lesson plans in order for the next wave of students.

But the summer affords me opportunities I don't have during the school year.
1.  Lots of blogging. (Despite lack of comments.  You all think you could make a girl's day here?)

2.  Lots of reading.  I may quit Little Bee.  The story itself is interesting, but the author won't stay there long enough to let me like the book.  What can I say?  I only need so much back story before I just need you to get on with it.  I'm now on Eat, Pray Love and I am fascinated by this woman's life.  Who wouldn't appreciate someone who moves to Italy and tries to learn Italian because "it's a beautiful language"?  Although, I really want to point out to her that God (Christian) and Allah are not the same, scripturally speaking.

3.  Internet browsing.   I can't help myself.  I love to look for fun bags (have I mentioned I like purses?  HA!), cute dresses, interesting jewelry, etc.  The browsing has led to some new enjoyments in my life.

About the Author Dress
June Cleaver I am not.  But I wouldn't mind looking like her every now and again.

I think there's just something about these dresses from the 50s and 60s that scream class and professionalism--and most of those women were never professionals.

They also scream, "I'm a woman."  It's something I like people to notice now and again :)



 Truthfully, if I were to post my weight loss goals to the world, this would be what I would post.

I'm not interested in losing a certain amount of weight or becoming a certain size.  Frankly, I think what is good for one girl may, in fact, be way too thin for another.  So we all have to find a happy medium.

And these dresses are my happy medium. 

Hepcat Dress

I've shown you this once before.  I'm currently on a mad hunt to find one that I won't have to pay an arm and a leg for, because I went to see the material at Dillard's, and it's gorgeous!

It's actually ridged and looks more woven than anything.  In other words, it has a bit of texture.

The purse is also larger than I originally anticipated, and so fits my stipulation that I have to be able to carry a book around in a purse.

Yet in my search to find it, I also found this one:

I love bags that have structure to them, so it's no surprise I fell in love with this little number (plus, it's shiny!).

The shape is really similar to Vera Bradley's bowler (another bag I have grown to love)

Unfortunately, this was a limited edition, and originally cost $900.

Well, I have taste, don't I?

This is a Vera Bradley Bowler in Barcelona. 

The new color is beautiful, but has an element of elegant.  And I think that it would even appeal to people who haven't previously enjoyed Vera designs.

Of course, I also like this color in the Alice design as well as the Julia

I'm just not sure if the Julia can/will hold a book (or my wallet, for that matter).


This is a devotional I've had for a long time, but I haven't worked my way through it completely.

God's really drawing me to Him during this season.  I'm trying to commit more scripture to my mind, and I appreciate any prayers you have sent my way.

This is the book I wanted to use for the upcoming Women's Prayer Group.  Unfortunately, it is out of print!  I HATE that! 


Instead, we are using this book.

Please don't think that I use Beth Moore books because I have some sort of obsession.  It's just not true (even though I do like her a lot).

I use most of these materials because they are set up nicely.  You don't realize how nice it is to have common questions available for the group until you have a group of women staring at you and nothing to say to them ;) 

Turns out, we all retain something from high school in that way--and no one in the group wants to talk first.

I'm really excited about this prayer group though.  God has given me something that will glorify Him for our first meeting, but I'm not really sure how I will organize our time together after that.  Thankfully, I'm not worried about it.

Once some of my Bible study women suggested something like this, God spoke to my heart and said "YES."  So I'm confident that this is what we should be doing.  He just hasn't revealed how we should do it yet.  Probably for a reason.

It's open enrollment.  We are just interested in holding one another accountable for time in the Word and praying as a group before evening church.  I can email information if you are interested.

But you should remember I was serious about getting comments.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Following Christ and Not Smelling Like A Foot

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers" (Galatians 6:9-10).

These verses have always been my favorite.  I truly believe that God has called us to remain faithful--to share our lives and encourage others in the family of believers (and otherwise).  Are we always successful?  Girl, please.  Faith is rough.  That's why we need the encouragement of others so badly.

This morning, I was encouraged.

I love women's ministry.  I have been involved in it for the past few years, and there is nothing I like better than meeting with a group of women to study scripture.  My women understand that none of us are perfect.  They "get" this thing called grace.  And I find encouragement with them.

Our new director has decided we are going to call ourselves "The Apron Society" and our purpose is to serve.

My heart is moved by that.  I think the purpose of the church is to move outside the walls and serve the community in which it resides.  Because I teach high school, I believe in the phrase "They won't care to know until they know you care."  Basically, I believe we are called to live our faith in front of people--not to showboat, but to give credit to Christ Jesus.

To whoever reads my blog:  I am an angry, bitter, jealous, hateful person.  I was a born sinner in every way.  Left to my own devices, I would likely condemn people--in spite of the things in my past.  Anything that is good in me has been due to the grace of Jesus Christ.  I am thankful that there is NO condemnation for me (or for you) IN Christ Jesus.  We are free--and those whom Christ has set free are FREE INDEED.  I am not in bondage to my past--to my sinful self.  Will you see perfection lived out in me?  I doubt it.  But I refuse to live in fear or as a slave to sin.  I choose to remember to fear not, because he has redeemed me and I am His.

If you don't know Him, I pray He draws your heart.  I pray that, for everyone who reads this blog, God would speak to you on an individual level.  He can and will meet you where you are.  He did that for me.
_________________________________________________________________

The rest of my day was enjoyable.  I went to Cape with my mom and Gloria.  We went to our new favorite store.  I didn't buy anything of Vera's (although there's a new style I LOVE), but I did come home with something I stared at the last time we visited:
I've said over and over that I am a girly girl...much to my amazement.  But when it comes to jewelry, I just don't wear a lot.  I like to have different necklaces, etc., but I generally wear the same pair of earrings (my favorites) and the same two bracelets.  That is, until today.  This is a larkspur bracelet--and that's the official flower for July (which is my birth month).  I thought it was gorgeous, and I'll bet you see it become a regular part of my wardrobe.

I also had to get more of this:
Instead of the Sweet Pear, I decided to try something else.  Have I mentioned that my house no longer smells like a foot?  It's true.  That's my official plug for a product.  YOU NEED A LAMPE BERGER!  GET ONE TODAY!  THEY ARE AMAZING!  (That company should totally pay me royalties).

In other news, I am continuing my PCOS diet, and my doctor has prescribed an insulin sensitizing medicine to help.  Despite the rigorous perameters of the diet, I hadn't lost any weight.  I go to the gym 4-5 times a week and still didn't see any results.  Three days with the added treatment?  Four pounds down. 

Please don't think I'm sharing this information simply to receive praise, or even because I'm addicted to TMI.  I'm simply sharing in case there are other women who are struggling with the syndrome.  I want you to know that you are not alone, and there are treatments.  Feel freet to contact me if you have any questions--about PCOS or Jesus.  I'll talk about either ;) 

Actually, I'll probably talk about both if you contact me.  After all, God's grace has sustained me through this part of my life.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Guess-What-I-Saw-Friday: Offspring Edition

Let me begin by stating that I really do hate the word "hubby."  I'm not sure how that's what I came to call my beloved on here (hm...beloved sounds a little hokey for us.  How about Sparky instead?  That's more me).  So, in the future, I will refer to him by the name I call him when we are in the car--Favorite.

I have come to love Fridays, because Favorite and I have made an effort to go to breakfast together every Friday morning.  We've done this for the past few weeks, and it's really nice to have time out of the house just to hang out. 

We've been going to Cracker Barrell, and it's the only day of the week I eat a few carbs (bran muffin). 

Favorite makes fun of me for choosing the same places every time, but I think he should be excited that we get to spend time together.

During the school year, Favorite and I work opposite schedules.  I try to get in my classroom by 7:15 am and he leaves to go to work around 2 pm.  We get about two days a week together--and those are usually days that I have to work.

So I actually think it's kinda nice that I want to go to breakfast with you, Favorite.  Think of this as the time where we don't get on each other's nerves or choose housing items that are ridiculously expensive.

And sorry about the poor quality of the picture.  I wish the exposure was better because it really is a good picture of him (no silly hat or anything!).

This week, my guess-what-I-saw should actually be guess-WHO-I-saw.  Favorite and I had the opportunity to eat lunch with his best buddy from high school (and his family).  We haven't really had time to hang out since P (best friend) and B (best friend's wife) both have very demanding jobs and live away from here.  It's the first time we've really gotten to spend time together since they got married.

We did get to meet this little guy.  He's getting ready to turn 2, and it was our first meeting.

He was a little apprehensive about us at first.  He mostly wanted to walk around the restaurant--although he did enjoy the present Favorite and I got him (a dump truck--what little boy doesn't love big trucks?!).

The fun part was that he would always grin and show his teeth AFTER the picture.  So I have lots of mental images of him smiling, but none actually made it on to my camera.

The kid DOES love his food, though. I wanted to include this picture, because it was taken through the steam my fajitas were generating. Isn't that crazy?


And he LOVES sour cream.    When the food came, he sat and ate just like a little man.  He was seriously the most well behaved two year old I've ever had the pleasure of eating with.

Favorite, of course, was pumped to spend time talking to P.  They used to sit and hang out pretty much every night--and I have to credit B with the first couple of creative dates Favorite took me on.  You could say that they are part of the reason we are together today :)

Favorite would never admit it, but I know how much he misses his buddy.  Sometimes it sucks to grow up.

I was shocked that this little guy favored his father so much.  B has a much darker complexion (she's beautiful even AFTER birthing a child.  Some people have all the luck), but this little guy has the blondest hair and bluest eyes I've seen--just like his daddy.


You would've loved his little sour cream covered face, too :)

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends"
                                           --(John 15:13).