September 30, 2009

The One with Many Hats

I don't know which is worse.
Having a super stuffy nose and needing to blow it, but with no avail.
Or have an incessantly leaky nose, leading to very sore nostrils.
I've had both in the last 2 days.
And sinus headaches.
And migraines.
And achy ness.
It's lame.
All this hit me from nowhere it seems.
Sunday I was down and out with a horrible migraine that turned into nausea.
As per usual.
I napped for 3 hours.
And felt worse when I finally managed to pry myself off the couch.
I started feeling better 9.
I figured that was that.
But at the exact same time Kevin starting complaining of his yearly chest/head cold/flu symptoms, I began experiencing the same thing.
Poor guy is totally totally out of it.
It's kinda cute actually.
He loses his train of thought after just a few words.
And stands there not knowing he had even starting talking to me to begin with.

This was frustrating for me at first.
Seeing as how I'm normally forcing my brain into overdrive to keep up with him.
Now I'm slamming on the breaks and dropping into first gear.
I've decided to give him my patience though.
I know. I'm such a good person.
He's just so cute, though.

In any case, my last night pretty much sucked.
My throat was dry.
And itchy.
And I couldn't breath.
And I was sweating.
Though we had our window open to the 50 degree temperatures.
I got up 2 or 3 times.
I hate getting up.
You should see me.
I have such a bad attitude about it.

We got up at 6:45.
I would have kept sleeping, but I needed to make his lunch.
He got out of the shower and announced he felt worse than yesterday.
My poor boy.
So he's home again.
And we're taking care of each other.
Or least moaning and groaning a lot.

Warm apple cider is the bomb.
(Kevin would disagree with the "warm" part. But he loves cider way more than any person I've ever seen.)
Not kidding.
Come on, you know what I'm talking about.
It's amazing.
We had a coupon for $2.00 per gallon of cider at our farmer's market.
We bought two.
And will probably get more this weekend. :)

I've been asked twice now.
To teach piano lessons.
The first request was back in December.
I kind of freaked out and never made a decision about it.
Just put in on the high dusty shelves of my mind there it remained.
Until two weeks ago when another person came to me about lessons.
I have never taught lessons.
I started piano when I was 9.
That was a long time ago.
There are some things that just become a part of you after that many years of playing.
I'm afraid I'm going to do a horrible job.
Totally throw off these beginners.
Ruin their understanding of music forever.
One potential student is a great 7th grade girl in our youth group.
She already plays sax in the band, so she has come concept of music for sure.
The other is a woman in her 60s.
Who's never read a note in her life.
And she's wanting her granddaughters to start lessons in the summer.
This is all super exciting.
And also so scary I might wet my pants.
But Kevin has assured me he's confident I can do this.
I have many seasoned piano teachers whom I could go to with questions.
I can dig out my beginner books and those stacks of lesson notebooks.
And find out how in the world I got from there.
to here.
Playing in church every Sunday.
Britt was so right.
She predicted I would be playing piano and singing in a small church.
I never saw it coming.
I never thought I was good enough.
And I probably wasn't.
But they hadn't had a soul play that piano in 10 years.
So I must have sounded like Debussy or something.
(I can't even stand joking about that. It's hypocrisy.)

But about these lessons.
I'm trying to figure out how much to charge.
And where to begin.
And where to start.
And where to go.
And there goes my free schedule.
Between ever growing youth ministry responsibilities. (:::youth pastor/director)
Worship team. (:::piano player. singer. semi-leader.)
AVON. (:::avon lady)
Bible quizzing. (:::quiz coach)
Weekly Sunday bake sales. (These people get quite upset if there aren't cookies.) (:::cookie lady)
Household duties. (:::wife)
And now piano lessons. (:::piano teacher)

I'm busy.
But if I can play a role in these new musicians lives
that is at all similar to the imprints left by my beloved piano teachers
(And not so much musically, as spiritually & emotionally & mentally)
I will consider myself beyond blessed.

I wonder what life will look like in 7 years.
Or next year for that matter.

September 28, 2009

The One with First things First

I need you to pray.
Pray hard.
For Jennie.
For Nich.
For Hailey.
And for their little tiny babies that are such fragile gifts from our God.
Precious Katelyn pressed on as long as she could.
Now she is with Jesus.
And may his Spirit be ever present with Katelyn's Mommy & Daddy.
And all those who loved her so dearly.
And pray for Brooklyn & Landon & Brennan as they continue to win this battle.
We love you.

I came home from my church leadership meeting yesterday afternoon.
Just after sharing Jennie & Nich's story with our church body--coveting their prayers.
Kevin came to see me.
He had a unique expression on his face.
I commented on it.
And then he said he had to tell me something really bad.
As soon as the words spilled out of his mouth, I started sobbing.
Right then.
We prayed right there.
I cried again as I told my mom. and my dad.
And as I read Jennie's post.

And now for something completely different.
Once again, I shall join MckMama for a confessional Monday.
Not that I ever do anything I would be ashamed about.

I definitely do not live under the assumption that one ought to make their bed every day.
I would never admit to missing but 3 days of bed making in my conscious memory.
Nope, I'm certainly not bred for the anal retentive nature of hyper obsessive bed making.
And even if I was this ridiculous, I would never admit to leaving my bed unmade on Saturday.
And I would never use crankiness and sleeplessness as excuses.

When I decide to read a book, I am always intensely focused until it's finished.
Therefore, I would never read the first two books in a series in about 2 weeks and then take the remaining 6 months to finish book three.
Nope, not me.
I'm certainly never distracted with the 7 other books and 3 other magazines I read in my spare time.
(Which, by the way, is becoming increasingly valuable to me as my days become overfilled.)

I would never ever ever eat chocolate for breakfast.
That would be a completely juvenile desire first of all.
And second of all, after seeing fudge recipes at 8 in the morning, I would not take a spoon and dig in to my own previously made fudge.
Nope, not me.
And even if I did eat fudge before breakfast, I would never over eat something so decadent.
Because then I would get sick.
And I definitely did not get sick.

That is all.

Now go pray.

September 26, 2009

The One with the Sudsy Water Fights

It's interesting.
The glorious habits of nature.
That go unnoticed far too often.
The sun rises and sets.
Each day.
The same.
But the skies around it change.
Adding to its brilliant movements.
Tonight we went on a stroll at dusk.
It was perfect.
Not just the time together.
But taking note of the world around us.
Appreciating God's masterful strokes in new ways.
Such a breathtaking experience.
And to think.
It could be had tomorrow night.
And the next.

But alas. I am exhausted.
What a great weekend.
What a tiring weekend.
During the 4-4:30 half hour on Friday I was going in every direction.
As I started pizza dough and cinnamon roll dough, Kevin called.
We talked for a bit.
Then a gentleman from church called.
A lady from church dropped off car wash towels.
The gentleman rang the doorbell to pick up his brownie order.
He called again for something 5 minutes later.
Britt called.
I worked on the pizza dough.
The phone rang again.
I worked on the cinnamon roll dough.
Oh! and I looked out the window to notice our neighbor mowing.
The neighbor who is sent to ICU almost every week.
And won't quit smoking.
Even on the mower.
And to top it off, he was wearing red flannel polar bear pajama pants.

But 7:30 pm four of our favorite teens had arrived.
We were having a bonfire & overnighter.
I got freaked out about 10 minutes till start time.
As per usual.
My blood pressure soars almost on cue prior to any "event."
I'm a spaz like that.
Just being honest.
I got over it.
Thanks to my husband, who just so happens to be my sanity.

The guys started a great bonfire.
Two more teens arrived.
The girls and I hung out inside and partook of the homemade pizza.
And popcorn.
They love popcorn almost as much as I do. :D
Another great girl arrived after marching band.
Poor thing was exhausted.
Mad Gab.
[I pretty much rock at that game.]
We all hung out around the fire.
What a perfect night.
Truth or dare.
Ghosts in the graveyard.
Four more teens arrived at 10.
With tons more food we never got around to eating.
More story telling.
Flaming tennis ball catch.
[I didn't think I sanctioned this activity. But apparently I did. oops.]

We headed in around 11.
Made more popcorn.
Started Back to the Future.
One of the greatest trilogies of all time.
And who doesn't love some serious '80s action.
These teens can't believe we were BORN all the way back then.
[An interesting dichotomy my life is. Half of those with whom I interact find me incredibly old. The other half can't believe how young I am.]
Oh, and speaking of the 80s, what in the world is up with the fashion trends this fall?!
High tops.
Shoulder pads.

So half of the 12 of us watched Back to the Future.
The other half played ping pong and hung out in the other half of the basement.
It was a great relaxing time.
The guys took over the basement at 1 and started the 2nd movie.
The girls headed up to the crazy rose red room.
Our house is seriously perfect for this.
For lots of people.
Many guests.
Good times.

Kevin & I woke up at 8 and I started the cinnamon rolls baking.
We couldn't believe most of the boys had been awake since 6:30.
And yes, we know they went to sleep.
Apparently not all teens sleep in on Saturdays as is stigmatized.
The girls lived up to that stereotype, however.
We played Apples to Apples and more MadGab.
Parents picked up the students.
And we had 3 hours to chill before gearing up again.

Today was our scheduled FREE car wash.
Our teens got sponsors prior to today.
We washed cars for free. literally. no donations necessary.
The sponsors will then turn in their donation this week.
After finding out the number cars washed.
(i.e. I will sponsor you for $1 a car. You washed 20 cars, I'll give you $20.'s $20 even though you washed 2 cars.)
It's a great fundraising idea.

The weather was shaky for the first hour.
It took a while (way too long) to figure out the messed up hose situation.
Some of the teens had no idea what washing a car meant.
It was a stressful start, but turned out wonderfully.
We had a blast.
Though most of us could have fallen asleep standing up.
No lie.

I love those teens.

::sleepy after cinnamon rolls & the next morning::

::He was such a great leader this day::
I couldn't have done it without him.

:::I heart my girls:::
12. Katie
3. Melanie
6. Michaela
9. Ashley
and for once a self portrait where our faces don't look abnormally large.

September 25, 2009

The One with the Newbies

I'm sorry for being a lame-o this week.
I kept thinking, "I'm gonna write about this or that."
But sitting down and getting it done was another thing entirely.
My life has gotten progressively busier in the last few months.
Funny how that happens.

I'm pretty creeped out right now.
The last two mornings I've woken up with bug bites.
Random bites.
I get bitten a lot so this doesn't seem out of the ordinary.
But these bites are different.
And I'm weirded out by their appearance.
And the fact that we're apparently sleeping with a third party.
Ack! the thought of a spider sleeping with us just grosses me out.
Last night before falling asleep I spoke to this bug/insect/creepy crawler.
I referred to him as Spider.
"Dear Spider," I said, "please do not sleep with us tonight.
Please do not bite me tonight.
Sincerely, Me."
It didn't work.
I have At least 3 more bites this morning.

In other news you should check out my online AVON store.
The link is on the top right sidebar.
There's free shipping through Sept. 28 with any purchase of $5 or more.
That's pretty rad I think.

I have had quite a bit of excitement these last 2 days.
Since last week many of my SBC friends have been waiting.
Waiting in eager expectation.
Hoping that little baby Luke will be born safe and sound.
With as few interventions as possible.
I was jumping up and down when I saw Sara's tweet.
Their baby boy joined their family on Wednesday.
Congratulations, Sara & Kyle.
We love you guys.

Sara also tweeted about Kyle running in to an old college friend.
Whose wife happened to be having quadruplets!
I put two and two together and asked if it happened to be Nich & Jennie.
Sure enough.
Jennie has been one of my good friends since she was my RA in '04-05.
We have been praying hard throughout this miracle of a pregnancy.
God has definitely had his hand on these babies and on Jennie.
I got word from Britt yesterday that Jennie had gone in for an emergency C-section.
The two little boys and two little girls are in the NICU right now.
Jennie & Nich are truly showing what a great peace God can pour out on those who trust him.
We will keep praying for you guys.
We love you, friends.

And now for something completely different.
After sending in a few photos to, I got an email.
They want to use this picture in their book to be published next year.
Rock on!
Thanks, Karina, for capturing this mosquito smacking moment.
And again, a big thank you goes to my loving husband who could not bear to see such a blood thirsty insect ruin my flawless complexion.

September 22, 2009

The One with the Dream

First things first.
I love laughing at awkward things.
Especially when those awkward situations were totally not on purpose.
This is why Fail Blog entertains me.
(And sometimes disgusts me. But that's another matter entirely.)
When I saw this segment on Rachael Ray today, I couldn't wait to type in the address.
I think I may have found my new favorite website.
And it's just that.
Come on. You know you have a bunch of family photos that seem too awkward and embarrassing to ever be seen by anyone.
Like when everyone wore the same exact shirt.
Or when your little sister had wet her pants and you took the picture anyways.
If you have a good sense of humor and don't mind laughing at yourself and the rest of the world who has submitted pictures, you have to explore this site.
Simply amazing.
I already submitted a few photos.
Not the greatest.
But still entertaining.
I can think of many more which lay secured in photo albums.
I'll just have to dig those out.

::so many great things happening here::
1. I'm in a disgusting blue robe.
2. Kevin has a disturbing look on his face.
3. (Future) Dad-in-law couldn't be left out.
4. Dad's face is beat red.
We love you, Dad. :D
::my loving fiance smacking the mosquito that landed on my forehead
at the precise moment the photo was taken.::
Thanks, babe.
::many thanks to my great father in law.
who happened to see this as a great photo op.::
which it was, I'm not gonna lie.
::apparently I was extremely upset with my playmate.
Or maybe the fact that my thighs are like Dunder-Mifflin Tires.

I had a dream.
A dream I actually remember.
It was surprisingly detailed.
And not at all obscure and completely random as 99% of my dreams are.
I was on the stage at a large convention center.
I remember I was wearing my glasses.
And my favorite jean jacket.
And I wish I would have done something different with my hair.
Though the room was filled with women, I could see individual faces.
Like my mom.
And this other lady who I could describe to you but have no clue who she is.
I was speaking.
At a Women of Faith conference.
I'm not sure why.
Or what I was speaking about.
But I remember feeling extraordinarily witty.
And the audience was thrilled.
Hanging on my every word.

I loved being in this position of influence.
I loved sharing my message of hope.
I was not at all intimidated by the thousands of people listening.
I was moved by the Spirit of God.
I kept sharing.
Kept throwing in anecdotes.
It was awesome.

But apparently I was a just a guest speaker of some sort.
I looked exactly as I do now.
I was just 23 years old and yet women of all ages were learning.
Loving the message I was sharing.

I remember talking with my mom and grandma afterwards.
We were all thrilled with how the speaking engagement went.
Then I saw the internet headlines on the Women of Faith website.
They were praying about the possible addition to their keynote speakers.
What?! Wait! That's me.

Apparently there were two other women who had spoken.
All three of us were called back for an interviewing process.
One of the women I recognize as going to SAFMC.
But I don't know her name.
Only her face.
The three of us met all of the wonderful ladies from the WOF team.
I talked extensively with Patsy Clairmont and Sheila Walsh.
I told them how much I love peanut butter.
All while standing on the stage steps with them getting a group photo taken for the press.
I loved being in the presence of these women.
And the thought that I might be joining their ranks.

Then I woke up.
Thank you, Nature, for calling.

When I came back from the bathroom I almost shook Kevin awake to tell him of the awesomeness.
It was so real and amazing that I tried to re-enter the dream upon getting back in bed.
I'm not really sure that worked.
Have you ever tried that?
Yeah, not so much.

I have no clue if this is supposed to mean anything.
But I loved this dream.
And I it would be a dream come true if it came to be.
Though I'm not sure how that would ever happen.
Or why.

But I just wanted to share.

September 21, 2009

The One where She Never Cheats

Ahh, yes.
It's Monday.
Oddly enough, my weeks are less stressful/busy than my weekends.
So I kind of look forward to Mondays.
Except that my husband isn't home.
Cause I miss him.
But I get more stuff done when I'm alone.
So that's a plus.
Stuff like admitting the truth about my perfect looking lifestyle.
Thank you, MckMama, for another "Not me! Monday"

I most certainly did not wait four hours after waking up to workout.
No, not me!
I start my day eagerly and efficiently.

It was definitely not this girl who got totally geeked out about going to the new Super Walmart.
No! I'm not at all a victim of this massive company that controls all suburban life.
And I would certainly not get excited over the opening of it's "super sized" self.
Especially not since there was a "regular" Walmart across the street.
I would never expect that every Walmart in America be Super by now.

It would not be my fingers that are still tingling.
Nope. I'm not experiencing that numbing "your fingers fell asleep" feeling after 3 days of guitar "lessons."
My fingers are strong and mighty and groomed for such instrumentation.
And because my fingers are NOT numb, I would not have been totally psyched to show Kevin what I learned.
Because I'm a professional musician.
I would never get overly enthused over one accurate chord strumming.

It was definitely not me who threw herself into a tizzy on Saturday.
Simply because plans were not going as planned.
I would never complain over being forced into change.
Nope, "Flexible" is my middle name.

I would never encourage anyone to watch a show as inappropriate as Friends.
No, not me!
That sitcom is overflowing with innuendos and inappropriate relations.
Therefore, three things would not be true.
1. I would not admit that it is one of my favorite series of all time.
2. I definitely do not own the complete series--beautifully boxed in red.
3. I would never ever ever invite the early arriving teens to join us in watching an episode prior to youth group.

And because I am a perfect example at all times.
And because I never bend the rules.
I would never be found slipping through the rows of corn at a corn maze in an attempt to outsmart the maze.
Nope, I never cheat.
And I would never have to do such an awful thing while having "fun" in a corn maze.
And even if I did I would not admit to getting even more lost than before.
And ending up in the last group out.
Because I have an innate sense of direction that cannot be topped.
I could walk through that maze lickity split.
And you would never find my remains there months later.
Nope, not me!

::getting lost in a corn maze--spiritfire edition::
(this event marks our official 1st anniversary as youth leaders. what?!)

::let the fun begin::
(I would so never do this by myself. You would find my bones in the corn.)
::the great farm that owns the maze::
we were pleasantly surprised with it's awesomeness. And just 5 minutes away!
::running in to other lost members of our group::
::the men consult the map::
(they are the only reason I'm not still in the corn.
Well, them and this 10 year old girl who was walking around with us and her map.)
::the crazy version::
(I'm pretty sure the fish face is my only crazy photo face.)

September 16, 2009

The One with Fall

I love fall.
I think it might be my favorite season.
There's just something perfectly unique about autumn.
Maybe it's because I'm a November baby.
I've always been quite partial to the months leading up to "my" day.
(By the way, isn't it true that the whole world stops to celebrate me?)
In any case, I'm pretty sure fall rolled in during the night.
Right before we went to bed there was a change in the wind.
And the smell of the outdoors became distinct.
"It is no longer summer," the Wind declared.
And I was happy.

Not only do I love fall because it ushers in my birthday.
I love the colors.
The leaves are absolutely spectacular.
Their rich hues are my favorite in the spectrum.
The breeze that blows in autumn is distinct.
You can hear it rustling the leaves in a new way.
The leaves that are becoming dry.
Preparing to show off their hidden glory.
Before dropping eloquently to the ground.

The shadows look different in fall.
The clouds pass by in a more decisive way than in summer.
They have something up their sleeve.

I love freshly pressed apple cider.
Absolutely nothing.
Beats it.
I just plain love apples.
All year round.
But there's something special about their being in season.
There's cider donuts.
And pumpkin donuts.
And pumpkin picking.
The scent of cinnamon fills the air.
Cinnamon is absolutely my favorite spice.
I use it year round.
But it takes on its own life when it accompanies sweet potatoes.

I love being able to wear cutsie outfits one day.
And bundle up in a sweatshirt the next.
The temperatures of autumn are ideal for me.
I love needing a light blanket.
Being able to snuggle.
Sitting close to a camp fire.
Eating foods that warm me to the core.

September 15, 2009

The One with the Phone Call(s)

I'm not sure how this happened.
Or when.
When did I fall in love with my job?
With teenagers?
With the soul-searching, heart breaking work known as the ministry of Jesus Christ?
It's hard for me to comprehend.
I worked with teens before.
When I was a teenager myself, I was leader.
Throughout college I was a camp counselor.
I did the Wellspring thing (the "traveling college worship team" thing. go to camps. lead worship. love teens. et cetera).
But I guess I kinda just pushed all of those experiences aside.
Just something I "did."
Who knew it would become my life's work.
Or at least my life's work as of today.
And for the last year.

Yes, people, that is why I am writing.
That is why I am all sentimental.
It was a year ago this month (next week specifically) that I was officially announced youth pastor at this lovely little church in Southern Michigan.
It was hard.
Correction: It is hard.
This work is draining.

There have been countless moments in the last year when I wept.
I cried because I felt like a failure.
I didn't think I would ever get the hang of this.
I was certain all of my work was falling on deaf ears and hard hearts.
But then, the very next moment God would show me changes.
Miraculous changes in the lives of these students.
Even (and especially) in the students who I thought I'd never ever ever get through to.

And I know it's not me.
I am nothing.
I don't know what I'm doing.
I say the wrong thing.
I talk over their heads.
I get frustrated.

But God is working.
His Spirit is softening their hearts.
He is using my lame words and my miniscule efforts for his glory.
That's kinda his thing.
You know. Moses. David. Joseph. Paul. Peter.
They all fell short.
They were all scared.
But they were obedient.
They let his passionate fire sweep through their spirits.
And He worked.

It's too big to understand.

But here I am, a year later.
And it's no longer just me.
Well it never was.
Besides this being His work, He gave me the best partner I could have asked for.
Kevin has exceeded all expectations in "helping."
We've morphed into much more mutual positions.
Co-directors, if you will.
Thank you, Love, for being the greatest leader.
An amazing male role model.
For showing them how to love a wife well.
How to love God with every part of your life.

And I'm thinking of all the work God is doing because of last night's conversation.
One of my girls called me yesterday evening.
She said she had a "quick question."
Now, you have to know she calls rather frequently and talks about this or that.
She shares her struggles. Her heartaches.
And I'm so thankful.
She was so hard-hearted.
She actually made me nervous.
She was in fights at school regularly.
She could care less about classes or grades.
She was bitter.
And I wouldn't give up.
I did my best to love her.
To prove that love to her.
To remain committed.
Never untrue to my word.

And so she calls.
She tells me things I never thought I'd hear.
This relationship is what youth ministry is all about.
So challenging.
So heart breaking.
So encouraging.
So real.

Her quick question turned out to be "should I break up with my boyfriend or not?"
"Quick question"?
Umm, not so much.
But our conversation went well.
She called again later, but I missed her call.
Then she called again.
This is not like her.
I picked up the phone and knew something was wrong.
Her voice cracked.
"What's up" I ask.

She pours out yet another painful occurance.
This precious girl.
Oh how I wish I could take the problems away.
They keep happening she says.
"Just when I think things are getting better something awful happens.
All's I want to do is get through this school year, and work hard and get good grades."
(inner cheering!)
She hasn't been in a fight all year.
Since I began talking to her about how she's better than that.
How to have self control.
Not to give them what they want.

She's done so well, and I encourage her.
I tell her how much I love her.
The moment seemed right.
She's not the sentimental type, but she needed to know.
I tell her how proud I am of her.
How great she's done.
Not to give up.
That Satan is coming at her from all sides because she keeps doing the right thing.
That years down the road she's going to see what an incredible woman she is because of what she overcame.
That she'll have the ability to help girls going through this stuff.
That she's so strong. That I could never endure what she has.

I pray for her.
Right there on the phone.
I pray for real.
And I promise her I'll keep praying.
And I'll keep loving.
"You know my number," I say.

And I am thankful.

September 14, 2009

The One with the Monday Confessions

Join me (& MckMama) in my quest for brutal honesty.
Or not.
You can just laugh.
Or shake your head.

I have perfected my culinary skills.
Therefore, I would never misread a recipe.
Especially one for simple "fantasy fudge."
Nope, not me.
I read thoroughly and follow directions flawlessly every time.
I would never add an entire 12oz can of evaporated milk when the recipe calls for only 2/3 cup.
I would never assume I know what I'm doing.
And because I would never make such a large mistake, I would never find myself completely perplexed when the fudge wouldn't set.
At room temperature (as called for in the directions).
Or in the refrigerator.
Or even in the freezer.

And even if all those things did happen, I would never take a spoon in dig in to the fudgy mess anyways.
But I hate to waste things.
Especially chocolate things.

You would never find me doing something as pointless as googling my name.
No! I never ever waste time.
And even if I did waste time googling my name, I would not be totally stoked if I found this website.
No, I find science and the work my husband does to be completely geeky and misunderstood.
So I would not be found instant messaging him this link informing him of the perfect melding of his worlds--me & science.

I most certainly did not overeat when dining at The Parlour.
(The Jackson restaurant that just so happens to have amazing food in addition their to-die-for ice cream sundaes and hard pack ice cream flavors.)
And never would I ever advocate that the teenagers under my care eat dessert before or in place of dinner.
I would never be tempted by something as fattening as ice cream.
Nope, this frozen delight is certainly not my most favorite food group.
And even if I did show self control by not ordering a crazy sundae,
(which I happen to believe to be the wise choice because all those toppings taint the beautiful ice cream)
I would not each just 3 bites too many.
Nope. I would never be perfectly satisified with my Moosetracks and Chocolate Overload (eek!) that would I push my limits and end up with a stomach ache.

::the group--prior to the sugar overload::

::The group--totally excited about the massive amounts of ice cream::

::Brothers with their Hot Fudge Brownie Sundaes (aka "The Awful Awful")::

::these two junior high girls powered through the 6 scoop Banana Split!::

And I am definitely not getting old.
For I would never agree with my husband that the second band performing on the plaza of SAU was just too loud.
Nope, I definitely not that lame.
And even if I happened to be that lame for just one night, I would never venture far from the front of the stage.
And the speakers.
And the crazed teenagers.
Nope, I'm totally not over that stage of life.

What about you?
Anything you would never admit to doing??
I figured it was just me.

September 8, 2009

The One with the Memory

Five years ago yesterday I was embarking on what would prove to be an unforgettable journey.
I was pretty much scared to death.
And way over-prepared.
It was five years ago yesterday that I met the man I would marry.
And the girls who would become lifelong friends.
I could never have imagined the changes that would happen in me and around me.
It was magical.
It was God.
Five years ago yesterday I unloaded my earthly possessions into Gamma 213.
I was officially a college freshman.
At one of the greatest Christian liberal arts schools in America.
(I happen to think it's the greatest school ever, but I'm a bit biased.)

I can hardly believe five new classes of freshmen have filed onto campus since then.
It seems like yesterday.
Yet, really, it is a world away.
Not so much because I am so incredibly old and five years is forever.
I realize five years is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
But it really was a different world for me before that day.

I knew one other person on the entire campus.
I had never been away from home for more than a week.
I had vowed to go to school in-state.
Ohio was home.
And I am the epitomy of a homebody.
(Even now, but that's another story altogether.)

There I was, standing around The Oak Tree.
Holding hands with the other students in my "core" group.
One of them happened to be Kevin.
My parents and my sister stood behind me.
Ron Kopicko, the chaplain, prayed. And probably said a bunch of nice things.
But I only remember thinking, "This is it. I have to say goodbye now. My life will never be the same again."
And I was oh, so right.
I turned around to a teary eyed family.
Gave them meaningful hugs and whispered, "I love you."
I looked around to see if I was the only freshman shedding a tear.
I'm certain that I was not.
But I did notice that Kevin and his family said a causual goodbye and that was that.
I was thinking, "Who in the heck is this guy? Why doesn't his family care that he's leaving home?"
I had no idea they lived 15 minutes away.
And his dad worked on campus.
And they went to church across the street.
So don't worry, family, I understand now.

And I never would have guessed that much of my free time for the next 4 years would be spent in their living room.
Doing laundry.
Eating homecooked meals.
Playing piano.
Getting sick on their couch.
Just being at "home."
As "at home" as I could feel, hundreds of miles from my own home.

It was hard to say goodbye.
Scary even.
My mom cried the entire 5 hour car ride home.
And then cried some more every time she walked past my room.
I cried too.
I was as brave as I could be.
But I called home every day those first 3 weeks.
Thanks, Mom, for being there. And never getting irritated at my inability to move on and grow up.
I couldn't have handled those weeks without an 800 minute phone card.

But before I knew it I was completely emersed in college life.
I found that nearly every girl on my floor was a wonderful friend.
And each of them had a little "crazy" in them.
I was able to let my hair down and act completely ridiculous.
Cry with them.
Laugh with them.
Pray with them.
Be myself.
I am still so thankful for those girls.
It occured to me before leaving for college that I might not find people who understand my brand of fun.
My weirdness.
My oddities.
My emotions.
But they totally did.

The next four years brought extreme challenges.
With family.
With coursework.
With spiritual growth.
God did a great work in me.
He brought out passions.
He directed me to the people who He wanted to shape me.
I was stressed.
I was overjoyed.
I was angry.
I was thankful.
I experienced a whole gammot of emotions that I didn't realize existed.
I learned to connect with my Savior in a way I never thought possible.
I grew up.

And I fell in love.
But that, my friends, is a story for another day.

::homecoming 2004::
hilary. karina. jaime. mel. jesse. britt. brooke. heather.
::my roomies::
::that's Gamma2 for you::

September 5, 2009

The One with a Food Confession

I need to get this out there.
I need you to know.
I need you to not laugh. Too hard.
Or be disgusted.
Give it a chance.
I did.
Kevin refuses.
He is totally missing out.
One of my favorite meals is a gluten free alternative to a Rachael Ray sammy.
(Sammy=slang for sandwich.)
She made a grilled cheese.
And put apple slices inside.
I thought this was totally weird.
And gross.
But then I tried it.
And I absolutely feel in love.
There were many cold winter days when I had this sandwich with my tomato soup.

That was before I knew I couldn't safely ingest gluten.
So now I eat all my sandwiches on corn tortillas.
This was a difficult change to make.
I couldn't figure out how to best manipulate the tortillas to suit my tastes.
Or to just keep from falling apart.
Which happens if you attempt to fold a corn tortilla straight from the fridge.
Don't do it.
But once I realized the stovetop method, I have never looked back.
I heat a dry skillet up to medium heat.
Lay the tortilla in the pan.
Apply desired toppings.
Cook approximately 5 minutes.
Until cheese is melted and tortilla is crisp.
Fold over.

So I combined my two loves: apple grilled cheese & corn tortillas.
With a third love: peanut butter.
That's where I lose Kevin.
He knows apples and peanut are delicious.
And that many Americans find cheese a good compliment for apple pie.
But putting all those ingredients together: not so much.
I, on the other hand, love. it.

Cheese on one half of my tortilla.
A thin layer of peanut butter on the other.
Thinly sliced apples on both sides.
A sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.
And I'm in heaven.

Please keep negative comments to yourself.
Don't ruin this for me.
Thank you.

September 4, 2009

The One with the Deliciousness

I found it.
I may never try a new recipe ever again.
Which is saying alot, since I'm always trying new recipes.
But seriously, this is the. best. cake. ever.
I made it yesterday to take to worship team practice last night.
Not any particular reason.
Everyone loved it.
It was perfect.
Perfectly chocolately.
Amazingly moist.
Did I mention chocolately?
Not too dense not to light.
Perfectly frosted.
With perfectly chocolately frosting.
The frosting was so good, in fact, that I might just admit to licking the bowl clean. *sigh*

It didn't take much more effort than your average cake-in-a-box.
It's quick and easy and delicious.
I went with a bundt cake this time.
Since I had never used my garage sale find bundt pan.
And since I just thought it sounded fun (and different!)
I think I might use this super-sized-donut pan more often!
It has the elegance and height of a two layer cake but is way way easier.


I could go on and on.
But I won't.
Oh wait, I already did.

In other news, I've started yet another book.
Yes, I realize I'm in the middle of at least 3 other books.
Not to mention my magazines.
The Reader's Digest (which just isn't up to snuff anymore.)
But in my defense I have to tell you, reading is all about the "mood."
I may be in the mood for a relaxed Christian novel.
Or the next best organizational tip.
Or the keys to getting involved in your teens' schools.
But I always need at least one spiritually challenging books.
They become very devotional for me.

My newest read is Sacred Marriage.
By Gary Thomas.
It was recommended to me by Pastor Mark VV.
And Sue--my former pastor's wife who happens to be have one of the longest lasting impacts on my life.
With those two endorsements, I couldn't not buy this book.
I'm glad I did.
The premise is this:
"What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?
Your marriage is more than a sacred covenant with another person.
It is a spiritual discipline designed to help you know God better,
trust him more fully,
and love him more dearly."

I encourage you to read this.
If you're married or ever plan on getting married.
It's good stuff.

And now, I shall go read.

September 3, 2009

The One with the Dew

It's taken a while to post again.
I mean, seriously, after writing about my new oven I'm not sure what could be better.
But alas, I think it's time.

I love this weather.
Yesterday I told God I felt like this whole week was a gift just for me.
Not even kidding.
This week's weather has been the ultimate form of my ideal.
Even though it's probably not "just for me," I'm still totally thankful.

It's hard to get moving though when the blankets covering you in bed are so comfy.
Just the perfect amount of warmth surrounded by the chill of the morning air.
So I have been coaxing myself out of bed with a mug (or two or three) of hot green tea.
What could be better?
Now, if I could only decide to get off my rumpous and get my daily exercise.

I'm just remembering the tasty chili we had for dinner last night.
It was delish.
You should definitely try this recipe sometime.
And make this bread to go with it.
Kevin and Ben truly enjoyed it.
Ben came to help out with Bible quizzing.
We're going to have about 9 quizzers which is really impressive.
Considering a few months ago we would have been lucky to have 9 youth show up on a regular night.
Let alone an extra night of quiz practice.
Some of the teens are really catching on to this quizzing thing.
Others are still too intimidated to grab I Corinthians by the horns and conquer it.
But I think this new addition to our responsibilities and schedules is a good one.
It will be fun.
It will be challenging. For everyone.
I want to memorize with them.

For now, though, I think I'll go for a walk.
Just before the dew lifts.