February 27, 2009

The One with the Pop Quiz

What a wonderful day this has been.  (That reminds me of a song I once learned.  "What a day this has been.  What a rare mood I'm in.  Why it's almost like being in love.  There's a smile on my face for the whole human race.  Well it's almost like being in love.   All the music of life seems to be like a bell that is ringing for me.  And from the way that I feel when that bell starts to peel I would swear I was falling, I could swear I was falling, it's almost like being in love."  Anyone know where that's from?  Listen here if you're interested.)

It started out 52 degrees and rainy now it's 34 degrees and cloudy.  I had a great workout, was able to style my hair awesomely (don't knock my word formations), organized the bathroom shelves, booked a great hotel at a great price for our upcoming youth conference, made a delicious and nutritious strawberry-banana smoothie for lunch, read more of the suprisingly intriguing Breaking Dawn book in peace and quiet, and realized I haven't had a headache all week (we're thinking it's because severe headaches can be a side affect of Celiac and I've been nearly gluten free since last Thursday).  Not bad, eh?  

Oh, and for those of you who would never take the time to listen to the link above or could never come up with the source of the song without google help, it's "Almost Like Being in Love" from the 1950s musical Brigadoon.  I was in my high school's production of this great show in 2001. 

February 26, 2009

The One with the Cakes

My apologies for my lack of postage (not the of stamp genre...) I guess I have been distracted with reading other intriguing blogs, facebooking, researching Celiac, orchestrating multiple events for youth group, baking cakes and other delicacies I can no longer eat (for more info click here), and spending lots of qt with my groom.  

On the diseased insides front.  I have an appt with the GI in a couple weeks and until then I am to stay off of "bread products" according my general doctor.  He gave no specific information on the Celiac diet so if I were stupid or computer illiterate I would be no where close to following the gluten-free diet.  However, I thought I should lunge headfirst into this to see if it has positive effects.  (For an insanely long list of the ingredients that are unsafe for those diagnosed with Celiac Disease click here)  Surprisingly enough, I think it's working.  I have had a day or when when I "snuck" a bite of something with gluten and was quickly reminded of its affects.  My stomach would growl, I would feel nauseated, and...well...I won't go there.  But all that to say, I'm thinking this might be for real, folks.  I have been bummed about life without my life affair with carbs but I'm getting over that.  I know there are plenty of delicious and even more nutritious options.  And I think this might be God's way of completely eliminating one of my temptations.  

Well, I feel better now that I've posted.  I must keep reading the most intriguing book of the Twilight series:  Breaking Dawn.  

February 22, 2009

The One with MORE Snow

Gosh, it's been a while.  I keep meaning to sit down and add another entry but for some reason I haven't been able to get around to it.  Thursday afternoon I helped set up for the church rummage sale and came home with a box full of goodies for only $4 (for more details on the contents of the box click here.)  Later that day when Kevin & I went over to the church for worship team practice we decided on a few more items during our private tour of the rummage sale.  For a grand total of $22 we came home with a nearly-new upholstered office chair (for Kevin's desk) and two lovely formal sitting chairs for our living room (they have dark wooden legs and low, horseshoe shaped back and arms.  Their deep maroon/navy striped fabric goes well with our maroon leather recliner and our couch.)  

Friday was a nice day at home for me.  I cleaned this and that, organized hear and there, baked a beautiful apple pie (pictured here) to take to dinner at the Eccles, read a few pages of Breaking Dawn, and who knows what else.  The only negative part of the day was my fifth migraine of the week.  fifth?!  Honestly, that's just ridiculous.  Due to my pain, we opted to postpone our steak and potatoes dinner for Sunday afternoon when I could fully enjoy it.  I did manage to start feeling a bit better around 8pm and we watched The Terminal--one of the new movies given to us on Thursday from one of the ladies in worship team.  Speaking of which, I am so excited about the widened selection of romantic comedies we now own.  I haven't seen all these movies and I'm not a huge fan of a couple of them, but there's a handful that I've been wanting for quite some time.  We were given:  13 Going On 30, 50 First Dates, A Cinderella Story, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Miss Congeniality 2, Monster-in-Law, The Perfect Man, Seabiscuit, and The Terminal.  Not bad for free!

Saturday morning we headed to the doctor's office for the second week in a row and found out that he's fairly convinced I have Celiac Disease.  The results of my blood test are strong indicators of the disease but he has referred to a gastroenterologist for a second opinion and a possible scope.  So.........it looks like I'll be saying, "Bye, bye gluten.....It was a bittersweet relationship we had.  Thanks for your deliciousness.  No thanks for your side effects.  Have a nice life without me."  (I'll keep you posted on this unfolding story.)

After the appointment, we did some quick grocery shopping (buying lots of fruit for me to eat), helped the church men move the piano and organ off the stage, and headed for SA around 11:45am.  After a snowy drive and a stop at Wendy's (grilled chicken salad for me...) we arrived at the Eccles' around 1:45.  I waved out of the car as Kevin went inside and I drove myself through the treacherous country roads to the home where Ruth's bridal shower was.  It was a small gathering due to the inclimate weather, but we had a really wonderful time together.  I got back to the family at 4:30 only to find out that we owed $230 on our taxes.  But the good news was we were getting $1300 back!!  Woot!  We celebrated with a great dinner topped off with my apple pie and of course wonderful conversation along the way.

We headed for home at 8:30 with Brian in tow.  The three of us had quite a fun car ride home despite the road conditions, and went to bed fairly shortly after getting back.  This morning, it's off to church after a great breakfast of pancakes and scrambled eggs for the guys and a veggie stuffed omelet and banana for moi. :D  

God bless our day of worship.

February 19, 2009

The One While Eating Blackberry Yogurt

So I just got back from 3 hours at the church working to set up for the rummage sale going on Friday and Saturday.  Wow there was a lot of stuff.  I worked mainly on the clothes--there were bags upon bags upon bags of clothes--and though they are definitely not organized how they should be (aka "how I would arrange them"), they should still sell.  I found a couple items for me and one for Kevin which is sweet and I was bummed that this gorgeous navy winter dress coat was too short in the sleeves.  I picked up a few other random things such as 2 mini pie plates, a large vase, a Necco tin (reminded of my grandpa Nick), a beautiful "bubble" glass bowl, and extra spoons (we're always running out it seems).  In addition to bringing over a couple bags of clothes, I baked 3 dozen peanut butter, chocolate chip, and snickerdoodle cookies to sell.  I displayed them quite beautifully (it's all in the presentation, right?) and even included my information in case anyone is so impressed they must order more! :D  

Now I'm trying to figure out what in the world I'm going to eat.  Yes, it's true that I have trouble making decisions, but that indecisiveness is not why I don't know what to eat.  You see, this morning I received a call from my doctor's receptionist saying that Dr. Kabir wants to see me in 3 to 5 days and has directed me to obstain from bread (gluten) products until the appointment.  *sigh*  My blood work has shown the anti-gliadan antibody which is a potential warning sign that I may, in fact, have Celiac Disease.  Though false positives are possible, my guess is that they doctor is going to order a scope and a small intestine biopsy--the only fail-proof means of diagnosing the disease.  Saturday morning we shall see.  For now I will dig through the layers and layers of gluten in our cupboards to find something less appealing to fill my stomach.  

February 16, 2009

The One to Satisfy the Current Facebook Phenomenon

25 Random Facts about Moi
  1. I love taking naps, but I hate waking up from them.
  2. I love watching FRIENDS with friends.
  3. I watch the Food Network more than any other television station.
  4. I can't imagine life without music but I can't pinpoint my favorite genre.  I love worship, classical, old school CCM, jazz, rock, and more.
  5. I hate going a day without working out and I really miss having free access to a gym.
  6. I love driving our stick shift '98 civic.
  7. I have suffered from chronic headaches since I was in elementary school.
  8. Oftentimes I let my emotions get the best of me.  
  9. Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks but I only eat it at night.  while watching a favorite show.
  10. It is physically impossible for me to walk slowly.
  11. I am currently reading multiple books:  Eclipse, Seven Checkpoints for Youth Ministry, Jesus Calling, and Mere Christianity. 
  12. I love working in the kitchen.  My skills have improved exponentially since this past summer.  Some of my specialities include chocolate chip cookies, sourdough or wheat or banana bread, and brownies.  I am willing to try any recipe at least once!  Kevin loves my hobby.
  13. I don't at all mind spending days at home in peace and quiet--in fact I quite enjoy personal time. 
  14. Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip is the best ice cream in the world!  Actually, I love ALL ice cream.
  15. My water bottle like an extension of my body.
  16. I am a salad connoiseur. 
  17. No matter how much I moisturize my hands are always dry in cold weather.
  18. I really enjoy the opportunity to share my relationship experiences with those who ask.
  19. I am an information sponge--reading every word on flyers, magazines, bulletins, books, and more.
  20. Even if I've been in a restaurant multiple times I still have to ask the waitress to come back later to take my order.  My decision making skills are somewhat sluggish.
  21. I do not consider myself athletic in the least, but I love downhill skiing and ultimate frisbee despite how ridiculous I may look. 
  22. I was completely technologically illiterate until college. I had no idea what instant messaging was, I didn't have an email address, and I was one of the only students that didn't have a personal computer.
  23. I thrive on words of encouragement and I love finding ways to encourage others.
  24. I am absolutely positively forever head over heels in love with my husband, Kevin Michael Eccles.
  25. I am finally beginning to understand the meaning of abiding with my Lord--to be constantly aware of his presence and involvement in every moment of my day.     

February 15, 2009

The One with the Perfect Day

Our Valentine's Day was the best ever.  We didn't intend on making a big deal out of it, and we didn't, but the day was just perfect.  Kevin was the absolute picture of a man wooing his bride with his words and actions all throughout the day.  My every day Prince was really on his game!  

We left home around 9:15am to get me to my doctor's appointment and Kevin's haircut (very romantic).  (In case you're interested...the doctor thinks I have IBS which doesn't have much of a solution other than over-the-counter meds.  He called for a blood test also to check to Celiac disease and has requested a stool sample to test.  fun... In addition, I mentioned my chronic headaches and that my mom experiences migraines and before I knew it he was prescribing three meds for the migraines.  Yikes!  After consulting with my nurse mother, I went ahead and only picked up one of the prescriptions to start with.  And get this...last night I had one of the worst headaches I'd had in a long time and had left the new medication at home.  That was a kick in the rear.  Never gonna forget the Midrin again.)  Now on to the more enjoyable parts of the day (though it is true love to support me at the doctor's...)

We picked up a shower gift at Kohl's and decided to make a stop at Biggby's  where we used our BOGO coupon.  Kevin had an iced americano with a shot of hazelnut and I couldn't resist a double dark hot chocolate.  We spent a relaxing afternoon at home and around 3:30 left for Ann Arbor.  A few weeks ago we decided on a new Valentine's Day tradition that we both agree was the best idea ever!  Every year, our goal is to try a new pizza place for a Valentine's treat--fun and delicious and a way to celebrate without making a big fuss.  (Our kids will probably love us for this tradition!)  I found Anthony's Gourmet Pizza online and it was the perfect choice.  This place boasts Chicago Style Stuffed Deep Dish and an Anthony's Deep Dish among other specialities.  After putting in our order for an Anthony's Deep Dish with green peppers, pepperoni, and roasted garlic, we relaxed in a comfortable environment and played a few hands of rummy with the cards that were piled in the "activity corner."  It was so much fun.  Our pizza was served in the most casual manner and the manager came out a couple times to check on us and chat.  We finished off a medium!  (I won't tell you who had the most.)  

By 6pm we were on the road for Spring Arbor where we were going to attend the University's production of Phantom.  We had time to kill and figured all our friends would be out for V-day so we hit McD's and each had a small hot fudge sundae while sitting in the big leather chairs.  It topped off a perfect meal.  We were glad to be nearly an hour early for the show because the auditorium lobby was already packed!  We snagged perfect seats for us and Britt & Nick and her family.  It was great seeing our friends and our Canadian mom and dad again!  The show was fantastic!  I was so thrilled with the performance.  I was exhausted and still headache-y by 10:45pm when the show let out so we hit the road rather quickly.  After swinging by the gas station for a caffeine boost, we made the seemingly long drive with good conversation and hit the sack within minutes of pulling in the driveway.  

February 13, 2009

The One with the Wedding Rerun

♥Tomorrow will be our fifth Valentine's Day together.  Though this "holiday" isn't necessarily a "big" deal to me, it has got me thinking...

It's been nearly nine months since we said, "I do."  I've loved every day with him exponentially more than the day before.   I never dreamed that our marriage would end up being even better than I fantasized.  I've learned more than I thought possible.  I've loved greater than I believed I knew how.  I've discovered more of who I am, who he is, and most importantly more of who God is.  I will forever keep these vows.  

"Melanie, will you have Kevin to be your wedded husband, to live together in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to him, so long as you both shall live?"

I will.

I, Melanie, take you, Kevin, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part.  This is my solemn vow.

February 11, 2009

The One where the Rains Came Down

For some reason I thought I had already updated the blog, only to find that I was mistaken.  I think I spent so much time changing the look that I got lost in the creativity and forgot about the writing.  Oh well.

I think I'm finally back to "normal." (Laugh if you know that's a relative term...)  It's nice to not have to think of how my stomach will react to certain foods or if my body can handle a certain amount of physical exertion.  I went on a walk yesterday and was actually a bit shaky for the remainder of the day.  Every inch of my body was sore yesterday as well, and I was not looking forward to dealing with that ache for another day.  To my surprise, this morning I woke up feeling like a new woman.  I fixed a nice pancake breakfast for my husband and I before he left for work, and once I was convinced my body was truly healthy I hopped on the ellipse.  I had been hoping for an outside run (more like a jog...but whatever) as I was excited to see the grass once again, but the rain was absolutely pouring and the thought of being drenched didn't really appeal.  Anyways...the workout felt great and had no ill effects.

After a nice warm shower, I dressed (in real clothes for the first time since Sunday) and set to work on mini whole wheat loaves of bread for a church baking order and a batch of peanut butter cookies.  I made the cookies for two reasons.  1)  I'm freezing them until they can be sold at the church rummage sale on the 21st and 22nd.  and 2) I couldn't remember the last time I had made peanut butter cookies and thought it was about time to rectify that.  Both the bread and the cookies turned out perfectly.

I managed to do a load of laundry, re-make our bed (with a "new"/different comforter on for a fresh change), head to the church for some miscellaneous duties, and grab lunch just before Kevin pulled in around 2pm.  I heart Wednesdays...when he has the option of leaving after his last class instead of staying till 5 or 6. =)

It's been pouring here all day and there have been a non-stop flood warning for our county.  I've not really been concerned--just enjoying the grass and the change in weather that I hadn't even realized I missed.  At 5pm the gentleman who ordered the whole wheat bread stopped by to pick up the loaves and decided to check on our basement sump pumps at the same time.  With all the flooding he wanted to be certain our basement didn't become victim to the waters.  After a few minutes of the three of us (well I wasn't actually "involved"...more like "supporting") examining the pipes, suddenly we were all showered by a small explosion of water that burst from a broken pipe.  Yikes!  Kevin and I had to monitor the water pumpage while Larry ran to pick up new pipes so we could restore order to the home.  We were so thankful for God's timing tonight...even if it did delay dinner a few minutes. :)  

I'm looking forward to more relaxing hours with my love this evening.  

"The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."  Mt. 7:25

February 10, 2009

The One that's Moving On

I don't really feel like blogging right now, but I also didn't want the "sick" blog headlining for much longer.  I'm still not 100%...a bit weak and such (which is hard for me to deal with...) but praise God for the phenergan injection (yowzers that stung for 24 hours!) and the prescription that eased my vomitting and diarrhea.  It was awful awful pain.  And my poor husband...he's never had to deal with anything as treacherous as that.  He was truly wonderful.  And yesterday he skipped his night class to be home earlier with me.  And....he brought home the most gorgeous fragrant red tulips ever.  Thank you, Love!  

I managed a walk this morning which reminded me that I'm still not all the way healthy...and it also made me happy that I could be outside and not be freezing!  Yay spring-like weather!  I didn't realize how much I missed it.  Now...if only the soggy ground would dry up....

February 9, 2009

The One that's Sick

So the weekend was great.  Before 4:00pm on Sunday that is.  Let's just say that 4 hours of vomitting and...other...things.... in addition to severe stomach pains sends you to the Emergency Room.  I'm so thankful for the quick service there.  I'm also eternally grateful for my husband who was more than willing to comfort me and stand by my side through all the horror of this--gastroenteritis.  The meds they gave me have really helped soothe my stomach and I slept through the night after we crashed into bed at 11pm.  We'll see how I hold up today.  At this point I'm able to hold down water (which was something I couldn't say before.  I would be hugging the toilet within 1 minute of a sip of water.)  I'm really sore.  Which tends to happen after one of my full-body-vomitting episodes (and the runs I went on this weekend probably just add to the pain).  Anyways...I'll stop there before I get too graphic.  Thanks for praying. 

February 6, 2009

The One before Camp

In a couple hours I'll be driving a couple of our teens and myself to SBC for Senior Teen Winter Retreat.  I've not been a "counselor" since 2005 so that's weirding me out a little.  I'm not sure if I'm going to have more than just my girls in my "cabin."  I love being out there.  I hate when Kevin can't be there with me.  It just doesn't feel right.  I know it'll be a great time for probably more reasons that I can count.  It always works that way.  I hate that I'm going to be gone from him all weekend..."our" time together.  I hope the weather cooperates.  I wonder if I'll get to use my ice skates?  Will it be warm enough Saturday morning to head out for a run (now that my muscles are no longer screaming after their most reason running experience).  I'm weird.  Why do I still get butterflies like this?  I'm a grown up aren't I?  I'm also a worry wort though.  Why in the world am I confessing all this?  *sigh*

You just wait.  In 3 days or so I'll come back with a beaming report of our time at the retreat.  Just you wait.  

February 4, 2009

The One with the Five Swimming Pools We Didn't Even Visit

Right now I'm annoyed.  Annoyed at ABC Family.  You see, this summer I started watching Gilmore Girls every afternoon at 5pm.  I had seen random orders of episodes during last school year as all of the girls in my house were big fans.  So when I found the show on daily I enjoyed watching the unfolding of events in chronological order.  Now there seems to be no problem with all of this.  And there isn't.  The problem began about 2 months ago when, just the day before I had been watching the first episode of season 6, the tv station suddenly decided to start all over again.  *sigh*SIGH*  I have not stopped watching the show though I am on round two of viewing.  They are just that good.  But still...the torture of not knowing what happens in the final seasons is just grating.  

*steps off soapbox*

On a much more mature note...Kevin and I headed out the door for Frankenmuth at 6:45am on Tuesday morning.  We made it to this quaint, intriguing, and quite unique tourist town by 8:20am leaving me with plenty of time to set up to lead worship with Pastor Dale at the 9:15am service.  It was a blessing to be able to join together with all the other conference pastors and spouses for a time of challenge, fellowship, and relaxation.  I was able to catch up with good friends, meet knew ones and become "real" friends with one of my blogger friends, Emily.  Kevin and I were a bit out of the loop for the morning session as the whole focus of the discussion and message by Dr. MoJo (Robert Moore-Jumonville from SAU) was based off the movie Groundhog Day which the whole group had watched the night before.  Oh well.  We had a great lunch all together then Kevin and I did some shopping and touring of the local area.  We stopped in Bronner's--the world's largest Christmas store which is fully operational 361 days of the year--and I had a little field day in the Kitchen Collection outlet store at the Birch Run Outlet Mall.  Some day we will need to spend an entire day exploring all of the stores at one of the most expansive outlet malls I've ever seen.  

For dinner the group gathered together for a delicious meal (during which I did not stuff myself...always proud of the little victories...).  Dr. MoJo sat next to Kevin and I and boy was that ever God-ordained.  He was such a blessing to talk with and catch up with (as he was a prof in my Phi/Rel dept) and he got my wheels cranking once again.  Spring Arbor offers a Master's in Spiritual Formation and Leadership (MSFL) and ever since the day it was established I desired to enroll.  Though I'm not sure it's financially feasible at this moment in time, it's a definite hope for the future (possibly if we would move back to the SA area for Kevin to start teaching.)  Not only that, but MoJo was definitely passionate about the possibility of both Kevin and myself one day teaching at the university.  Dr. Brewer (and others) have been encouraging me in that direction.  It should be interesting to see with the Lord leads me (and us) in the future.  

The final two group sessions at the retreat were quite transforming for my personal life.  I pray that my heart will be permanently changed and continue with the desires and the motivations that rose up these past two days.  

Kevin had to do even more driving this afternoon as he had a cume at 7pm on campus.  I have a quiet evening ahead of me and look forward to deciding on dinner.  Why is it that food is such a difficult decision for me?  

February 1, 2009

The One with the Souper Bowl

After the whole youth group made their mark on the chili and the tortilla chips and nacho dip, the boys headed downstairs to watch the big game as boys do.  The girls had the best night, though.  (In my extremely biased opinion.)  We spent our time frosting 100+ sugar cookies that we will be giving to the church ladies as a surprise on Valentine's weekend.  We had a great time and I learned alot about decorating with frosting from these three girls.  

Steph, Katie & Megan in action
The start of our hard work 

The four of us together:  I really love these girls!

Kevin "hiding" from the camera while watching the game
Chris, John and Chris in the guys' room

The finished product.  We were *proud*