Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Do you grill your fruit?


If your answer is no, you should.

Go run out to your closest farmer's market and get yourself some peaches. Grilled bananas is amazing too. And don't even get me started on grilled pineapple. Heavenly I tell you.



This was my dinner tonight. I'm being serious. Well, before the peach glory, I actually had a piece of peanut butter toast. I figured I got all of my main food groups, so I called it good.


Seriously. Look at the honey dripping off.

Here is what you do:
Peach. Slice it in half. Grill it for about 5 minutes.
Drizzle honey on both sides.
Sprinkle granola.
Enjoy and fall in love.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Because sometimes breathing is necessary.


Oy, has it been a good week.

Take, for instance, my evening last night:



Loving my sunsets by the water!


Loving her evening workouts in the water!

Perfection, eh?

LOVE it. This week has been a nice breather for us. Moments like these pictures show abounded, which we needed. It has been a deep breath kind of week. Sleeping in in the mornings. Late night conversations with friends. Mid-day on Wednesday we were both home so we threw on our swimsuits and played in the water with Sophie; so fun!

We're both taking today off to just have a day away, unplugged, un-everything'd. The year is going to get crazy-busy for us beginning next week and we want to enter into it rested and restored. It'll be fun and I'm looking forward to all of it, but it'll be a pretty quick pace.

This has been a fairly chaotic summer. For me, for sure, but especially for Lane. He has been gone A TON, so even if I've been around, with him leaving and going and leaving and going it still just lends a sense of instability to our life.

I just looked at the calendar, and of the past 12 weeks, L has been home for only 2 of those weekends. We'll both be home this weekend, which has been so unheard of and rare this summer, and I can't wait! This will be only his 3rd time making it to church with me out of the last 12 Sundays! We might as well be living Active Duty Army Life again with that track record!

I'm excited for our weekend- We're doing our day away today: just going into the mountains for a day to read, relax, journal, think. Then tonight is over to a friends house for dinner. Saturday is cleaning out our garage. Saturday evening is over to another friends house for dinner. Sunday is showing up and sitting next to each other at church! So good.

We're just slowing down to catch our breath before the next sprint starts. Summer's are supposed to be relaxing, right? Ayiyi! It's a good life, though.

Monday, August 9, 2010

There are no guarantees...


This might be a doozy of a post, but my mind is thinking about this stuff right now...

At church yesterday morning, our pastor spoke on parenting. He called it 'Mythbusters: Godly homes produce Godly children.' It was basically speaking on how there are no promises that just because you raise your children in a certain way they will chose to follow Jesus. Good parents sometimes have hard kids that turn out not following Jesus, making poor life choices, etc. And sometimes bad parents have great kids who end up loving Jesus later in life and having great families of their own.

And all of this got me thinking. You can try to control things as much as possible, do all the 'right' things, but sometimes there are just no guarantees in life.

Take for instance, my sweet friend Brooke. She's phenomenal. They were (and still are!) some of our most cherished friends while we lived in Georgia. I don't think she would mind me sharing this because she talks about it freely on her blog, but they're pregnant right now but her baby boy has a fatal birth defect. He can live inside of her womb, but as soon as he is born they know that he is not going to make it.

Seriously? It's heartbreaking and doesn't make sense. As she shared the other day, as soon as she found out she was pregnant, she took prenatal vitamins, she ate healthy, works out... did everything 'right'. They're now looking at adopting in Africa- kids who are healthy and living probably despite not having prenatal vitamins/health care/clean water/etc.

Also, take my friend Kelsey- also a sweet friend from our time in Georgia. She and her husband Chris came to Fort Benning for a years' worth of training and they were in our small group from church. He went to West Point, they were strong believers, newly married, a great great couple. He has been in Afghanistan for the last year or so and we recently found out that he got killed. Again... Seriously? He was one of the good guys. Like, really solid, amazing man, great husband kind of good guys. Kelsey is now a 23-year-old widow. It doesn't make sense.

You can be an amazing parent and just have a tough kid. You can do all of the right stuff while pregnant and still lose a baby. You can marry a phenomenal man but still lose him so much earlier than you were anticipating. There just are no guarantees in life.

And this sometimes makes me want to hole myself up. Never have kids in case I would have to say goodbye to early. Not let Lane go anywhere without me in case something happens. Try to protect myself from the (potential) pain.

But. I would lose out on too much. And Jesus calls us to hope. And trust. Believe that this isn't all there is. Show others what it is like to love a good God who is unchanging despite what life looks like and who loves us so much. It's a journey, for sure.

So that's what's on my mind today... sorry if I'm a Debbie Downer- I'll try to not be like this everyday. :) Makes me excited to hang out in heaven someday.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My weekend project


My entertainment this weekend consisted of turning this fun box... holder... wood... thing:

Into this:


Isn't she way cute?!

Technically, I didn't create it from scratch. Actually, not even technically- I just flat out didn't create it from scratch. I saw her at a garage sale and just knew the possibilities hidden within that rough exterior.

I took her from her wooden plank boringness and led her into this beauty.

She was painted with leftover paint from my living room walls but she still needed some oomph. So I was totally inspired by this project and put my own mark on it. It brought my sweet little box to life.



She is currently sitting by our back door but I still have absolutely no idea what her purpose is... maybe a shoe holder? Blankets when it gets colder? Magazines? We'll see. But for now, she is just making me happy by just being herself.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The brilliance of local


I swung by our local farmer's market yesterday afternoon and absolutely fell in love. There's something about them that speak to my heart. Knowing I'm getting better food grown by hardworking people that live 5 miles away from me rather than 3000. Supporting farmer's directly and ensuring that they are being paid fairly. It's such a different environment than a grocery store.

I walked around, chatting with each farmer... asked where their farm was, how to tell if their produce was ready, how long they've lived here and little pieces of their story. I love interactions like that.

I got to the corn guy and he had me take a bite of the corn. Raw. Seriously. He pulled down the husk and I took a bite right there in the farmer's market. It was Delicious. He said that corn sold in grocery stores is developed to ship; to be hardy and last a week or two. But true, local farm corn is grown to be eaten that day so it is much more tender and much sweeter so I could bite it right off. All it needs is to be warmed up enough to melt some butter on it. Fascinating, huh?

I liked him so I bought a lot of corn. Some squash and zucchini at another guys place. Fresh Colorado peaches at another. Green beans too.

And I could carry it all around in my cute pink tote!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I heart Craig's List


Just this year I have begun something new.

I have entered into the world of Craig's List and it has been epic.

In the fall I dabbled my toes. I needed a new coffee table and found a BEAUTY on there. She's perfect. I'm looking at her right now and still just as in love as I was on Day 1.

Then I took some time off. But this week I was realizing that we had some things we needed to get rid of to open up our house because we have just accumulated some junk in our years.

So I returned. Craig's List was beckoning me back.

Yesterday we put up a desk. SOLD within the afternoon.

This morning we put up some dining room chairs. SOLD within 2 hours!

I now have cash burning in my wallet which is a dangerous, dangerous thing. It feels like free money to me. The responsible thing would be to put it toward vital things like groceries, gas, etc.

That is boring.

In an ideal world I would use this new money to buy shoes maybe. But in my old age I think that I am becoming responsible and will put it towards something necessary.

Still. Craig's List ROCKS!

Monday, August 2, 2010

GREAT weekend!


Hey friends!

It is now officially Day 2 of August.

School starts in 2 weeks.

Summer is winding down. We've checked off pretty much every box that we wanted to accomplish this summer... except one. But more on that later. :) But we wanted to go to Costa Rica- Check. We wanted to go backpacking- Double Check. We wanted lots of time with our family and friends- Check It Up. We wanted to get rested and restored before we enter into another year of chaos- Absolutely Check. It has been good.

And. We wanted to climb a 14er. We got to check that one off this last Saturday.

Now. For any of my friends not from Colorado or not familiar with the glory of 14ers let me tell you- 14ers are mountains that are above 14,000 feet in elevation; there are 54 of them in Colorado and it is kind of a big thing here to try to climb as many 14ers as you can. I grew up climbing them, and this was the first one that Lane and I had done in awhile because our first years of marriage were way out in Georgia far away from anything close to a 14er.


This is our crew at the trailhead at 6:30 am about to begin our way up. Me and L on the right, with his sister and her hubby on the left.



We ran into 5 of these guys on our way up. True, wild mountain goats. So fun!

Capturing the boy as he summits. (And yes, if I was at the top taking his picture as he came up... that means that I SUMMITED BEFORE HIM. My tough Army Ranger is no match for me on the mountains. :) Just kidding. He really could have kicked my bootie if he wanted to, but still. I wear that badge with pride.)


Standing on top of my 11th 14er. SO AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL.


If you haven't been able to pick it up yet, we LOVE the outdoors. It's a way that we connect to each other, and absolutely a way that we connect with God. These pictures seriously don't do it justice... the view was INCREDIBLE. Being out in nature, and especially on top of a mountain you get such an appreciation with the CREATIVITY and GENEROSITY of our creator, and it makes me appreciate my body and what I have been given. I love being outside because it just shouts to me of a loving God. I love meeting him out there and love experiencing such neat moments and such accomplishment with Lane.

Yes, it was a good good weekend.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Station

In the absence of any life-changing thoughts going on in my brain this morning, I thought I'd share one of my favorite essays... I think I first heard (read) it when I was in high school and it struck a chord so I've held onto it and it still means a lot to me. Enjoy~!

The Station
Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day, at a certain hour we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true, and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering--waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

"When we we reach the station, that will be it!" we cry. "When I'm 18." "When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes Benz!" "When I put the last kid through college." "When I have paid off the mortgage!" "When I get a promotion." "When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live
happily ever after!"

Sooner or later we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us. "Relish the moment" is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24- 'This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.' It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We're back! Physically... maybe not mentally quite yet


Um, hi.

It's been awhile.

How are you guys?

We got back from camp with our YL high schoolers late Saturday night (early Sunday mornin') and it has taken me a few days to recover. Seriously. I can't do this stuff like I used to.

Especially because I haven't really let myself recover. Sunday was spent at church and then with friends till late, then Monday we had a post-camp lake party at our place complete with tubing and hamburgers. A girl can't ask for more.

So... our week. It was SO fun! So utterly, numbingly exhausting and packed full of awesome stuff. SO life-changing for these kids. And me.

Our relationships were tightened. Faiths were strengthened... and created. Laughter. Oh, the laughter.

It was unbelievable sitting around and talking with these kids. The stories they brought were heartbreaking. And this wasn't a camp for troubled teens or anything, just normal high schoolers. But it is what life is now handing kids these days; they have a lot of hurt. Abandonment, drug addict parents, absent dads, wrong choices, divorces... so we just sat there and listened to them. It is so beautiful to see what actually being heard can do for a person's self-confidence.


Here's our awesome group- the girls rockin the 80s and the boys as the tough men of Braveheart. Anything in the name of a volleyball competition


Me and my man at the dress up dinner


Our group of 30 was just a drop in the bucket of the total group of 500- SO fun!


We make this look good.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

And we're off


Goodmorning, friends!

I hope you have had a FANTASTIC weekend! Ours has been pretty jam-packed, but so fun.

I am going to be out of commission for the next week because we are about to leave for a little trip. More like an adventure.

My hubster runs a non-profit organization called Young Life here- it's a Christian organization that works with high school and middle school students, and college leaders. We are about to head to the beautiful mountains of Colorado with about 500 of our closest high school friends for a week of chaos, laughter, relationships, and absolute STUNNING beauty.

It will be a great time.

It will be EXHAUSTING.

But these kids won't go back home the same. That makes it worth it.

If you're the praying kind, we'd appreciate your prayers for sure!!! Kids will hear about God's love for them in a beautiful setting, process it with their best friends and adults who care about them, and have so much fun their little hearts won't even know what to do with it. Safety, changed hearts, FUN... and sleep for me. ;)

Have a great week, and I'll see you when we get back!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dear Army


Thank you for all you have given us, experientially, monetarily, everything. You have expanded our borders.

However, you realized that you overpaid us and are now asking for that money back.

Really? From us, who have given so much to you in return? Can't we just keep it and call it good?

I know you're just trying to keep books straight and there needs to be integrity and all. But really. Ouch.

It's a good thing that we're responsible with our money and pretty much throw all of it into savings so we can handle a thing like this.

However, this hurts. Especially when it's to the tune of $3,000!

I know it's just money. We'll be fine. There are a lot worse things in life and there are so many people in this world who won't make that much in a year or maybe their entire lifetime. It's just money.

But still... that's painful.

Sincerely, respectfully, but also a little bit angry with you,
Sarah

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Won't you be my neighbor?


I love our neighborhood.


It was by total accident (and by accident I mean total, undisputed, so obviously Jesus, non-coincidental awesome set-up) that we landed in this place. We never could have afforded or had the chance to even make a decision to live here. But we stumbled (were sent) into this AMAZING neighborhood, and stumbled even deeper into a very cool cul-de-sac with very cool families.

And just recently, our neighborhood has taken on a new and even more amazing persona. Up till now, we'd all been the neighbors who wave hello when picking up the paper, etc, etc. But one night we all just ended up at one of our houses and started talking about how we need to be in better community with each other.

How it is so easy to just live our lives in our house, shut our garage door, and to just be closed out to neighbors but that there is a much better way.

There is such a higher potential to being neighbors. We could be in each others lives.

Ummmm, hello? Yes please.

So we've started doing Sunday night dinners together. It's so chill. And it is so fun! It's a total inter-generational thing too, which I love. It's intentional. It's life-giving. There's laughter. And wine. :)

For the first time, we are really getting to know our neighbors. And not only as friends, but as an intentional community.

It feels like that's how it is supposed to be.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Something is seriously wrong with me...


I was prepared.

I had snacks in my purse to prevent unnecessary stops for food.

I had converted my leftover change sitting in my kitchen into cash so that I didn't really feel like I was spending money and could be getting things for free! (Which I know isn't true, but it's easier to live in delusions sometimes.)

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon just begging to be filled with new sundresses and tank tops from cute stores.

And I didn't find a single thing.

I walked into Target, a.k.a. my mecca, and only walked out with ONE thing. And it was a practical thing at that!

One thing. From Target. I strolled through the aisles feeling lost, confused, and helpless.

I just knew I didn't need any of that stuff. Sure, it'd be fun to have and would make me happy maybe for an hour or two, but I just didn't NEED it. Consumerism was kind of making me sick, knowing the conditions that others in the world live in. If they could see my closet, they would freak out. I don't need new things at all! So I didn't buy any of it.

Am I growing a conscience when it comes to shopping? Alert the authorities. Something is seriously wrong with me.

Or right with me. But it was weird.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Beautiful weekend


I should be hopping in the shower right now to be getting ready for church, but in typical Sarah fashion I am trying to cram way to many things into a non-equal amount of shrinking time.

I made homemade tortillas this morning. Hmmm. Not sure they turned out right; they don't quite look like they did on the lady's blog. I haven't tasted one yet, but hopefully it'll still taste yummy. I'm all about making homemade bread. It's an addiction, really.

The boy is off playing Army this weekend again. So that means that I watched High School Musical 3 yesterday. Cheesy confession- it made me cry. Just a little! My eyes just teared up, I mean. Really.

And that also means that I am going shopping this afternoon. Maybe just to TJMaxx and Marshalls. Bargain shopping so I'm still being fiscally responsible. He'll be proud of me.

In other news, I'm abnormally excited for tomorrow night to get here so I can watch The Bachelorette and see what Ally does. I'm kind of ridiculous.

I really should go now. I just do not love showing up to church by myself and finding a place to sit... by myself... so maybe this is me procrastinating.

I'm going to go clean now.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Backpacking is Favorite


I'm sitting outside on our back porch, sipping some coffee, listening to people laughing on the lake, staring at the mountains while typing away on my laptop, and trying to be productive yet fighting the urge to dream my afternoon away.

Doesn't get much better than this.

Unless I had a slice of chocolate cake sitting next to me, but other than that.

And also unlimited spending money on clothes.

Anyway.

We had an AMAZING backpacking trip with our friends. Jena and I have been friends since we were in high school, then husbands came along and joined our crew and this was the first time the four of us have spent together. (Lane missed their wedding because he was deployed, then all of the following big events of friends weddings, etc. that we would have done together because he was deployed! Boo deployments!) This made up for any lost time and more though.

They're a phenomenal couple. They're just EASY to be around. Conversation flows, they share easily and ask questions back, laughter is abundant, hearts are shared, struggles talked about... we love them! Couldn't have picked a better couple to join us in exploring the Colorado mountains! It was an adventure to be sure.

As always, it was just GOOD to get away. I feel like L and I have done a good job of enjoying our summer together. Unplug. Appreciate each other. Enjoy creation. Sift through life. Check and re-check priorities. Nature speaks to both of us so loudly that it is hard to ignore what we hear out there.




Even Sophie got to join us on our outdoor adventure! This pic was just from a day-hike after we found our camp, but she had her own little backpack that she carried her own food in. Adorable!

We got hit by a MASSIVE hailstorm, but we all thought it was awesome. Wouldn't be a true Colorado adventure without a little fight from the elements.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fourth. Fireworks. Fantastic.


This past weekend was a three-day-long celebration of the fourth for us. I loved every second.

Friday night: Lane and I got some great tickets from my parents to go to a Colorado Rockies game. Brats. Beer. Baseball. Fireworks. Lane. Perfection! (not necessarily in that order). The Rox won, then Coors Field put on one of the coolest fireworks shows either of us have seen. Such a fun date night!


Saturday: Fourth of July parade with the whole fam. Firetrucks, marching bands, politicians, churches, clowns. True small town fashion. Back to the parents house for some bbq, then home to hang out with some friends.




Sunday: Church- which was just incredible. I love our pastor, and he BROUGHT IT this weekend. Then up to Estes Park with friends. More fireworks! And just a little piece of S & L trivia- Estes Park is a super cute little mountain town in Colorado... important because it is where we met in October of our freshman year of college. And then where we spent the first few days of being married in an amazing Bed and Breakfast. Yay Estes Park!



Monday: Because of bad weather in some parts, there were a lot of fireworks shows canceled so we got to do a third show on the 5th! Our neighbors took us out on the lake in their boat and we watched 3 shows at once.

Lane reminded me that he had missed the last 2 fourth of Julys because he was overseas, so it was fitting this year to make it up in a big fashion and see 3 in one year! I agree. :)

I really wanted to get up pictures of our last weekend, but we are on our way out the door (as in- Lane is in the car waiting for me and is so annoyed that I am this addicted to blogging that I have to post one as he's busy packing, packing the car, getting supplies, gear... funny. I'll just let him do all the work!). We're going backpacking for the next few days with some dear friends of ours. Should be super fun!

Hope you guys have a great Tuesday!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Why do we do what we do?


Anyone else reveling in the afterglow of July 4th on this beautiful July 5th Monday? MMmmmmm. Deep sigh of contentment

This morning I'm putting up an article that I have posted on CinCHouse right now as it seems to fit well in the celebrating of our nation's birthday and honoring the military. It's about the pride of being in the military and why we live the life that it requires. I know not everyone out there is of the military persuasion reading my blog, so if you aren't, maybe it will show you some of military life, and if you are, hopefully it rings true for you too!

:::::::::

Uniforms. Gunfire. Humvees. Saluting. All a part of a typical day.

Some non-military friends came to visit us and since we wanted to give them a taste of the military life, we took them on a tour through post. Of course we had to show them all the cool landmarks like the Airborne jump towers, where Ranger school takes place, and where basic training is held. They were absolutely impressed with all of that, but the aspect of post that they were most amazed by surprised me. The soldiers. The fact that guys just walk around all day in uniform was incredible in their eyes. Walking through the PX and getting to see people sitting in the Food Court, shopping, and getting haircuts in uniform was awe-inspiring.

I think it’s amazing too, but it becomes so normal that I tend to forget that we really are in our own little world here in the military.

If I think about the fact that for my friend, her husband’s job entails going into an office, processing loans, then coming home at 5 p.m., it gets weird. Then it gets especially interesting when I think about my husband’s job and how it entails jumping out of planes and walking through the villages of Afghanistan carrying a weapon.

It’s definitely not the most normal of professions.

If this is such a different life than what many of our friends from home are living, why did we go this route? If this is a lifestyle that requires strength, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice, why do we, along with thousands of others in the nation, choose this? Wouldn’t it just be easier to find a job at a store down the street from our families and call it good? What is it about the military that draws so many different people from so many different walks of life into it?

Why do we do what we do?

So others don’t have to.

Because you make life-long friends.

Because you came from a military heritage and other options weren’t as fulfilling.

Because you believe in the cause.

Because it develops an awareness of the world that you would not have been able to possess otherwise.

Because of the camaraderie created from sharing life with those who are standing by your side through the good, the bad, the funny, and the tears.

Because there is something significant in devoting your life to a bigger cause, to something greater than yourself.

Because you get to see the world and the country.

Because we know that we need to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.

Because we fell in love with a soldier.

Sometimes living a life devoted to the military is as complicated as politics, economics, or family dynamics. But sometimes it is as simple as a love story. There is a powerful purpose in what we do, no matter what the reason is that got us here in the first place.

This is a life-changing profession. I believe for both us and for those we serve. I think that it is impossible to leave the military as the same person you were when you entered it, whether service member or spouse. You get to experience things that you never would have had the opportunity to otherwise. It expands your worldview, forges friendships, and instills pride. It develops compassion, patience, and grace. It cultivates selflessness when you help others in need, and then gratitude when you receive help that you needed too. It changes you.

We could continue to list reasons of why we do what we do. But, there is one very important reason: It matters.

This life makes a difference. And it’s worth it. Sometimes a reality check might come when you look around your post or base and realize that not everyone in America is used to seeing people wear berets, salute officers passing by, or pull to the side of the road to let a patrol pass. But we are the few fortunate ones who get to experience the immense pride that comes from serving. And I am grateful.

It is at the front of my mind constantly, but especially so during times such as these when we just celebrated Memorial Day and the Fourth of July is around the corner. So if military life has just gotten normal for you, pause for a moment the next time you’re on post to look around and truly recognize the importance, the power, and the beauty of what you are surrounded by.

The uniforms. The formations. The soldiers. The Sacrifice. The Pride.

:::::::::::

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!


I know it's not Christmas, but the 4th of July really is one of the most wonderful times of the year!!!

Growing up in small-town America with a parade that would rival any other, a grandpa that was born on the 4th of July and enjoying homemade vanilla ice cream with family on the lake, being a high school history teacher, and traditions of bbq's and fireworks in my heritage, LOVING Independence Day is in my blood. Add in a husband that has been overseas serving on the 4th and it adds up to a very patriotic gal. :)

I hope all of y'all are having a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

Ours has been wonderful- full of baseball, fireworks, parades, family, friends, and food. I couldn't ask for much more.

I'll be sure to post pictures soon, but for today I wanted to share a quick article with you guys about the beauty of our country. Many times I've talked about how much I like the CBS Sunday Morning News program, and this morning Ben Stein had a great commentary on Independence Day. If you have a free 3 minutes, read this and think about how great of a country we live in. One that speaks to the deepest desires of the human heart- freedom and individual dignity. It's good stuff. There's an actual video with him talking, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to embed this correctly; if you click the link it will take you to CBS' page with the article, and the video will be there too if you want to watch that instead.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Shenanigans of the mouth


Remember my trip to the dentist on Monday? Well, I had to go back.

Booo.

I had a cavity. Ugh. This was not my proudest moment. I feel like a failure even just admitting that fact. It was my first one.

Have any of you guys ever had to get a cavity filled before? Well, it's not the most fun way to spend your Wednesday afternoon. She told me I would feel a little 'pinch' and then shoved a needle halfway through my gums.

And my mouth went numb.

Remember my 'Active Salivary Glands' problem? Try getting control of that issue with numb lips. Hah!

So I got the cavity filled. Drilling. Not fun. Then afterward my poor, poor self didn't know exactly how bad the numb lips were all afternoon long. I felt fine, so when I checked out of the office I was my normal chatty self with the receptionist, smiling and laughing.

I then ran errands all afternoon- Kohl's, Target, Wal-mart, Arc Thrift Store, etc... checked out there too and talked to the cashiers there too. My lips felt funny, but I thought it was just me.

Then I came home. Lane was in the kitchen, took one look at me, and burst out laughing. Once he smartened up and regained composure the first words out of his mouth were...

And I quote:

"I would still love you even if you looked like that for the rest of your life."

So I freak out not knowing what he's talking about, but then we both die laughing and of course, have to document the freakishness that was my mouth.


I was out in public like that, people. I am trying to smile here, much like I would have when checking out and smiling with the many people I encountered.

After laughing for a good 20 minutes Lane apparently felt the freedom to again put his foot in his mouth and say:

"You know what, it's actually probably a good thing you don't look like that all the time."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Calling


We've now been home from Costa Rica for a little over a month but I still find myself thinking about that trip a lot- laughing out loud at funny stories when I'm all by myself in the grocery store, remembering the beautiful sunsets, digesting even more lessons I learned.

This picture was taken on our canopy tour day. This is how I felt all trip! So fun!


Don't be jealous of the sexy helmet I got to wear.

So anyway, Lane was reading a book while we were there that got me thinking a lot, and I'm still thinking about it. It was called 'Handoff', and part of it talked about your calling versus your career.

Your calling is something that transcends everything; discovering your calling is so much bigger than just a job.

One year ago I would have said that my calling is something along the lines of
:: Educating teenagers in a relevant and loving way::

However, in the absence of a full-time teaching job, I found myself questioning my purpose and therefore my calling. And, in the future when I'm a mom, my calling will change again if I define it by the limited standards of simply what I do.

So right now I'm trying to listen to God and figure out what I my calling is. Who I am at my core. Then orient my life around that.

Educating people?
Informing them of my life through authentic living and instilling change through transparency?
Giving people a bigger picture of the world around them and helping discover their own ways to impact it for the good?
Is is something with using the creativity and power of words to change lives for the better?
Authentic, transparent living?
Loving others?
Living abundant life?

Hmmm. I'll be processing that a bit. Happy Wednesday to you all!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dentists and Fires


Goodmorning everyone. It's Monday morning and I am getting ready to go to the dentist this morning. I've never been one to hate going to the dentist so I'm not too worried about it.

I do remember being traumatized maybe 5 years ago or so when one of the hygienists working on me told me that I have "Very active salivary glands."

She politely told me that I drool a lot.

Hello embarrassment. I am always a little worried about that when I'm sitting in the chair. So then when they try to be all chatty and talking to me while 8 instruments are in my mouth I mostly just grunt, not wanting to try to move my tongue around too much which activates my already active salivary glands even more.

The rest of the day will consist of heading over to the gym, grocery shopping, LOTS of laundry, and camping out with my beloved Mac and getting some writing done.

Laundry needs to happen stat because our house currently smells like a campfire. We went camping this weekend with my family: 2 grandparents, 1 7-month-pregnant sister + husband, 1 sister still recovering from Disneyland + husband, 5 nieces and nephews, 5 dogs, and Lane and I. It was interesting. There was a lot of barking. But actually it was really fun. I have a pretty awesome family. And they love me even when I smell like a campfire. What more could you ask?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

10 in 10


I mentioned last week that Gina over at The Shabby Chic Cottage threw out a gauntlet of a challenge to complete 10 tasks in 10 days. I have a secret obsession with lists, so this is right up my alley!

Mission accepted. Operation 10 Tasks is officially in session. Want to join me? Go check it out!

1) Re-do our guest bedroom
2) Put desk (and hopefully sell!) on Craig's List
3) Repaint trunk
4) Clean out garage
5) Weed garden
6) Paint molding in kitchen
7) Reorganize closets
8) Create necklaces
9) Post office packages
10) Work out 10 times

Yay! Is it weird how excited I get about this?!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday ramblings


Tuesday morning thoughts:

Slowly but surely I am becoming addicted to The Bachelorette. I had never seen any of the show until the last Bachelor with Jake. I don't like that I like it, but I just can't turn it off! Addicting, I tell you. Casey was weird, Justin I don't love, not sure how I feel about Frank, but I really like Chris L. and Ty. I'm kind of embarrassed I know all of those names. Any other Bachelorette watchers out there?

I wanted to wake up before 6 am this morning and go running before it got too hot. After hitting the snooze button for 45 minutes I just gave into the fact that running isn't going to happen and I might have to to a P90x cardio workout because I don't think I'll have enough time to do a whole gym outting today. That's probably a good thing after my self-imposed 2-a-day yesterday of spinning and then GroupPower (weightlifting class). My body is a bit tired.

I'm getting my haircut today. Probably nothing dramatic, but I am thinking about bangs. Not sure if they'll work for me, but I'm intrigued.

I had weird dreams last night.

I am going to go paint my guest bedroom now which I am super excited about. The big reveal will be coming soon; it's going to be cute!

Hope you guys have a great day!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Unschooling?


I saw a news piece the other day (and by other day I, of course, mean 3 months ago... ) and it has got me thinking.

Have you guys heard of UnSchooling? It falls under Home Schooling, but is not at all the same thing. It is learning without boundaries, textbooks, classrooms, or formal education of any sort. It's about process, not content (unschooling.com if you want more). Unschooling parents believe that their kids will learn better by setting the rhythms of their own day and learning what they choose to learn rather than by what someone is telling them to learn. I can totally see benefits to Home Schooling... but this isn't that.

I personally just don't get it. My apologies to anyone reading this if they are an Unschooler... maybe you could give me your perspective and the benefits of it. As an educator though, obviously I deeply believe in the purpose, advantages, and transforming power of formal education. The social skills as well as the ABC's. The problem solving abilities as well as the deductive reasoning. The conflict management as well as the memorization. Discipline, work ethic, and yes, fun!

The extra crazy thing to me is that the radical Unschooling parents let their philosophy merge into their parenting style. Laissez Faire to the extreme. The mom in the piece said that there is no judgement in their home. They don't punish because they don't have rules. There are no chores. The kids eat whatever they want, go to bed when they want, do what they want. The kids are responsible for setting the rhythms of their own days.

Really?

Now, I know I'm not a parent yet or anything, but it seems to me that that is the whole role of the parent. Instruct your child in the way they should go... because you're the PARENT. You just might know what they need more than they do. Discipline, mold, teach, instruct, guide. Let there be consequences if they are needed. Set them up for success for the rest of their life. Do what you can to turn your child into a loving, responsible, aware, compassionate individual.

Okay. I'm going to stop now. This whole movement just doesn't make much sense to me. There are over 150,000 families in the U.S. who it does make sense to though. Pretty interesting stuff.

Here is a link to the news piece I saw if you want to check it out yourself.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Friday!


It will be a good weekend on my home front. As opposed to last weekend, which was pretty much a tsunami All Weekend Long, this weekend is supposed to be gorgeous. So you know what that means: Garage Sales!!!

I'm spending my Friday morning assisting my sister do her garage sale and I'm going to keep her two little ones occupied while she is busy making Boku Bucks. Maybe having a garage sale isn't the best way to get rich, so maybe we should define success by the amount of junk we get rid of.

Then. Saturday equals community garage sale galore. It will be epic.

Two fun things I want to share with you today.

1) Do you guys know The Shabby Chic Cottage? She's just the greatest. She put up a post saying that starting on the 23rd she's giving her readers a challenge: The 10 tasks in 10 days Challenge. Hers is a decorating blog so she might be going more for things around the house, but the way I'm defining it for me is that it could be home related, work related, organizing, working out... anything I've been procrastinating on that I might need a little shove and motivation to get it going. If you need the same, this is it! Go check her out and read what the challenge is all about to see if you want to join me in getting things done!

2) Kelly over at Between the Lines has been doing something fun she calls Fabulous Food Fridays where she highlights different bloggers and recipes they've created and this week she's featuring me! She's an awesome momma, a writer, and a great girl so you should jump on over and check out her blog and see the recipe of mine she put up! :)

Between the Lines

Enjoy your Friday!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Feeling excited and slightly guilty


I wasn't going to do a post today because... well, no reason. I just wasn't feeling brilliant.

BUT, one of the to-do's on my list today was take my big ol' box of clothes that has been sitting in our bedroom since the day we moved in (8 months ago!) over to Goodwill.

Let me rewind a little bit.

Anytime before Lane leaves for time away we ask each other what is something that we're most looking forward to about this next {enter time frame here} apart and something we're not excited about. For this 3 week stint. For 2 week trainings he used to have to do at Fort Campbell. For a weekend trip. And yes, even for deployments we would ask what is something good you anticipate and something that might not be so fun.

It might seem like a nerdy little exercise for any who are not external processors like myself, but it helps us (read: me) to process what's coming up, but also for us to acknowledge that we're going to miss each other like crazy but to recognize that life does go on without the other. I can't sit here pining away for him otherwise my days would be miserable and go so slowly, and he can't be moping around missing his wife otherwise he might not perform his job as well as he should. So we ask about sunshine/rainclouds aka highs/lows aka rose/thorns. I like it.

Anyway. The point of this post.

I couldn't admit this to Lane when we were talking, so it is still my little secret, but one of the main things that I was excited about doing while he's gone right now is going through his closet and getting rid of t-shirts that he has had for 10+ YEARS. Seriously. He's still wearing shirts he wore in high school. And he wears them with pride. Despite the faded colors. Despite the gaping holes. It kills me.

I've threatened to do this before but I never could just pull the trigger when he's been gone in the past.

Back to the Goodwill trip today.

I spent last night going through our closet one final time and added quite a few of his t-shirts. Don't feel too sorry for the boy. His t-shirt collection has now gone from 2,572 to 2,540. He has so many t-shirts. FROM HIGH SCHOOL. Any other husbands out there do this or just mine?

I was so excited pulling up to the Goodwill today. I felt lighter already. But then, when I put the bag containing his clothes in I felt this huge stab of guilt. It was done. I actually started laughing out loud at what I just did and probably looked pretty weird to anyone driving by. Crazy lady donating clothes again! Irreversible. I couldn't take them back; they had gone into the abyss of the huge clothing donation window.

Hmmm. I don't know if I'll tell him. Maybe I'll just let him figure it out on his own.

I do feel slightly guiltly.

But it was WORTH IT.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bedtime buddies


I really never love any of the time that Lane is gone, but nights are the most not fun of it all. Once the sun goes down and it's dark sometimes gets me a little scared, especially when I'm in bed trying to fall asleep and hearing noises or seeing shadows of trees that I'm SURE weren't there just the night before!

To help me get enjoy these nights a little bit more, I always keep a handy arsenal of books and such in case I need them at a given moments' notice:



I sleep on the right side of the bed and L is on the left, so to take his place I have:

* The remote, in case I can't fall asleep and need Jerry Seinfeld or late-night infomercials to keep me company
* My bible; actually most nights I put my hand on it and fall asleep touching it. I'm a nerd. But it helps
* Relevant magazine; do you guys know Relevant? Very cool mag. Very witty, very thought-provoking, very... Relevant.
* A book called "We the People", a study on the political history of the U.S. Again: Me=Nerd. I love all things history.
* A book called Good News for those Trying Harder written by my pastor
* A book of Celtic prayers
and lastly
* The Catcher in the Rye because I'm trying to catch up on my classics.

This might be a weird thing that I do when the boy is gone, but every time, on that first night I'm walking back to the bedroom prepared with an armful of reading material and entertainment and it stays there until he walks back in the door. Maybe it's to fill space on the bed to it doesn't seem so empty. Maybe it's to keep my mind occupied in the quiet so I don't get lonely. Who knows? Weird coping mechanisms.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My weekend project


Lane is off playing Army pretty much for the month of June so that equals a lot of movie watching and craft projects for me.

This weekend my movies included It's Complicated (liked, not hilarious, but cute. Good renter), Extraordinary Measures (just could not get into; had to turn it off halfway through and it's driving me crazy not knowing how it ended, but I just did not love this one), and Crazy Heart (Really Liked. Really really liked. Jeff Bridges does great in it and I just think Maggie Gyllenhaal is the cutest). Wow; that is a lot of movies for one weekend. And if I'm honest I watched Capitalism: A Love Story by Michael Moore this weeked too because I was curious about it.

I swear I have real life friends too, and I spent time with them and out of my house this weekend but two reasons for the movie watching: 1) It was pretty much a hurricane here this weekend, all weekend. Movies called my name. 2) I just hate a quiet house while Lane is gone. Music or the TV is on pretty much all the time even if I'm not watching it and just need background noise to cleaning or something. Anyone else out there hate quiet homes while your man is gone?

So anyway, did I tell you about these lamps I found at a garage sale? Despite their retro-fabulousness they stole my heart for a cheap price. The orange though. I just could not handle the orange.


So I went to Lowe's and picked out a sample of yellow paint for 3 bucks and painted them. It's not a crazy life-changing difference, but enough to make me love them that much more. How cool are they!?



Then I got some burlap and cute green polka-dot ribbon for 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby and so non-perfectly glued them onto my lamp. That might take some more work, but they work for me for now! Off to my guest bedroom they go. Which needs a serious transformation. These will help.



Look at sweet Sophie. She just went swimming in the lake. She loves her life here even though I think it is the most annoying thing ever that she can never go outside without chasing the pelicans in the water. Oh, the life of a dog.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sassiness


Goodmorning, friends! I love the mornings- the chill that's still in the air, the quiet outside, the prospect of a new day and not knowing what it will hold.

Maybe I just woke up on the right side of the bed; I don't think I'm this chipper each morning. Either way, this is a beautiful morning!

This morning I wanted to share with you something that has revolutionized my week. I only discovered it a few days ago, but I foresee it having lasting power in my life.

It's from the Flat Belly Diet plan. I'm not on it, but they have a drink called Sassy Water. I'd drink it just for the name- how fun! It's supposed to be a drink that kind of kick-starts your diet, reducing bloat, aiding digestion, yada yada yada. I just think it's yummy.

It actually is really pretty and summerish too. If you're hosting a shower or party of any sort, it'd be perfect!

I have to tell you, I was even more inspired to make it after finding this:


Yes, that is mint. In my backyard. I was doing some yardwork the other day weeding and such and came across this. I thought 'Whoa! Those weeds are crazy overgrown, that'll take awhile!' Then, I stepped closer, smelled the beautiful smell, and realized they were not weeds, but were, in fact, mint.

In my backyard. All I could ever want. And that picture doesn't even capture all of it. It is Everywhere. Fine by me. Sassy Water and then some mojitos coming up!

Sassy Water:

2 liters water (about 8 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
12 small spearmint leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and let flavors blend overnight.

Drink entire pitcher by the end of each day.

Hope you guys have a great Friday and have some fun weekend plans ahead of you!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Abide


Things I am good at:

* Planning
* Dreaming
* Organizing

Things I am not good at:

* Letting things be out of my control
* Trusting
* Waiting

I am soo not good at waiting. Zero patience for this girl.

I have a lot of dreams for my life right now. My eyes have been opened up into this whole new world that I so desire to be a part of, and I have been doing everything in my power to enter into it.

And I have... little... by... little. That's what writing for CinCHouse is about. And probably trying to write for more things like that. I love writing. It nourishes me.

So there's this book... that I wrote... and it has my heart and soul behind it. And I deeply believe in it and so badly want it to be published.

And that is what this Spring entailed for me- querying agents, sending in proposals, sample chapters, outlines, and one-sentence-summaries.

Mostly I get rejected. Which is fine. It's part of the business. All of the great authors have "I got rejected 30 times before my book became an international bestseller!" stories. Maybe that will be my fate too? Probably not. But maybe?

However, in early May I got my first non-rejection! They were so interested that this agent (who was my dream agent BTW) asked to see the full manuscript. Which was a big deal in my brain and dream world. Then Lane and I went off to Costa Rica and Every Single Day I thought about that agent reading my book and what she thought. The Second that I could check e-mail, I most certainly did, and.... there it was. The non-rejection had become a rejection. She gave me the whole "we loved your work, gave it great consideration in full-staff meetings, and while I do believe that it is a worthwhile and significant project I don't ultimately feel we are the ones to represent your work"... or something like that. Not like I've memorized that e-mail or anything.

So I was super bummed. BUT- I knew that I had prayed like crazy over this whole process and entrusted it to God when I sent my manuscript off to her over e-mail. So, she just wasn't the one. I'm okay with that. I trust Him.

Then. The Very Next Day, this other agent I had contacted like, 2 months ago, e-mailed to ask for my full manuscript. Seriously? Excitement mixed with hesitation. Excitement. Hesitation again. Maybe some doubt. Wonder.

And he still has it and I haven't heard back. So I'm still querying my little heart away trying to get in touch with other agents out there who just maybe possibly could believe in this as much as I do and see a place for it in our world.

In the meantime I try to sit back and be patient. Believe that there is a plan for me and that this desire and dream won't be wasted. And not chart this process out on my own schedule with a month-by-month checklist of when my Life Plan will come to fruition.

I'm trying to learn the meaning of Abide. Dwell. Just trust, let things happen, and sit on the promises I have been given. Hasn't the rest of my life all pointed to the fact that God really does have my best in mind and things ALWAYS work out better than I ever could have planned them, even if there was some heartache involved in the mix?

There is a Plan. I'm trying to trust that. Believe it, and cling to it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

His secret ingredient


I have to admit that I am a health-food addict. I'm not crazy psycho about it, but I do love it.

Whole grains, black beans, quinoa, red peppers, and spinach speak to my heart. My mom calls my recipes 'weird' and 'different'. :) They're actually really yummy, but don't typically include cream of chicken soup. I try to limit eating dessert to once a week- I make myself EARN those suckers!

Most mornings I'll make a smoothie for breakfast- the ingredient list:

Organic, nonfat, plain yogurt
Tofu
Pure orange juice
Banana
Frozen strawberries
And protein powder if I'm feeling extra wild

It has taken some time, but I have been able to teach Lane this very complicated recipe. I have entrusted my breakfast to him a little at a time, and some mornings he will take over the breakfast-creating responsibilities.

This morning I went out for a run and before I left he told me that he would make our smoothies while I was gone.

This is how it went down:

I come back in huffing and puffing, grab the waiting beauty of a smoothie out of the fridge excited to replenish my body with some healthy strong stuff.

I get about halfway through and look over at The Boy who is grinning ear to ear.

Me: That make me nervous... What?

L: How's your smoothie?

Me: Delicious...

L: I put a secret in there... ICE CREAM! A couple scoops of it! Isn't it great!

I have no words for this. Apparently we still need to work on what exactly does, and does not qualify as a health food.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Seriously, it was THAT good


Hi, friends! Happy Monday to ya. Hope y'all had a relaxing, restoring, and fun weekend!

Mine was wonderful.

I don't really have anything of much consequence to share with you, but there were a few highlights that were so unbelievably epic that I feel I would be doing a disservice to not share them.

My Saturday morning had to, of course, include Garage Saleing. Is that a word? My spellchecker says no, but Saling is so wrong as well. You know what I mean. Garage Saling speaks to my heart. The thrill of the hunt. Turning another man's trash into your treasure. For CHEAP! Not knowing what the day will hold... I'm getting carried away just thinking about it.

So we hit up our first one (which was labeled an ESTATE sale, so I was THRILLED, but they deceived me- it was just a normal sale and I was mad at them) and they had okay stuff, but they had doors. As in closet doors. I'm semi-addicted to doors. I'll show you a picture of what I've done with one of them- she's beautiful. I needed more. But they were asking for 5 bucks a door and that was just too much for me because I wanted two of them. I was thinking more like 2 dollars. I'm cheap that way.

So I bypassed them with a broken heart not knowing when I would find a garage sale selling TWO of my beloved doors.

THEN! Last night we were driving back home and I passed by this same overpricing, lying house and the doors hadn't sold so they had them out front with a FREE! sign next to them! The stars aligned, heaven opened up and GAVE ME MY DOORS! I am beyond excited. I made Lane go home, get our bigger car and stuff those two doors in the back like there was no tomorrow.

At first he got annoyed with my FREE! sign loving shenanigans, but now he just accepts it. Many-a-thing have we taken from someone else's Free/trash pile. I'm not afraid.

That was awesome thing number 1.

Awesome thing number 2 was waking up early this morning and going on a long bike ride towards the mountains next to the river in the not-too-hot-early-chill with my hubster. It was gorgeous. I am in love with Colorado deeply.

And church was awesome too. Way awesome.

THEN. I made these:



Yes, my friends. You saw that right. Those are homemade bagels. They are life-changing.

And just to back up that point, read the note that I left on them for L to read when he came home.


It is a true statement.

Never again am I buying bagels from a store.

I made different toppings: parm, onion, garlic, sea salt. Next time I might experiment with the dough more. YUM!

And, the best part is how super easy they are. If you have a bread machine it's best, but a KitchenAid does the trick too.

Here's the recipe of the yummyness if you so dare to click. This is my warning. It WILL change your life.