January 31, 2010

The One with a Few Challenges

I am tired.
I have been busy.
And thus more likely to prefer lounging in my big comfy chair
than on this much less wonderful desk chair.
Oh, how I miss the days I spent with my iBook.
RIP, iBook.
Our time together was sweet.
And much too short lived.

I digress.

After spending my first day on the job in the fifth grade
kindergarten was quite a drastic change.
A lovely change really.
I simply cannot resist the adorable age of five.
And I had "young fives" at that.
The little voices.
The smiles.
The hug requests.
The spontaneous tears.
The snot.
The incessant noise.
The simple forms of discipline.
The excitement.
The love.
All of it, good and not so good, was truly enjoyable.

Someone asked me my favorite part of working with the kindergarteners.
Another asked if there was crying over minuscule mishaps.
There were DEFINITELY tears.
I believe both sets of tears had to do with their "card system"--
they each start on a green card,
then if discipline is needed it moves to yellow,
then orange,
then red.
When they get red they must go to the office.
The same boy who cried when he got a yellow
bawled at the end of the day because he didn't get to choose a piece of candy
which students received if their cards remained green all day.
My heart broke at the same time I suppressed a giggle.
Oh, to be five again!

I think my favorite part (of my two days of subbing) was that I was being responsible for actually teaching them.
That's the difference between elementary subbing
and high school subbing like Kevin is doing.
At the older age, most subs are left with homework assignments to pass out and nothing else.
At the younger age, I have the same students for the entire day and the show must go on! :D
It's frightening but exhilarating at the same time.
Kind of like sky diving.
Or maybe not.

It's also wonderful to walk down the halls after dismissal and hear little voices
shouting, "Mrs. Eccles!" or "Mrs. E!"
Makes me feel like I spent my time well.
I invested it.

When I arrived home I had already stopped at the library.
After all, we have an official Friday night tradition.
Which I absolutely love.
Homemade pizza and a (library) movie night.
My wonderful Kevin had started the pizza dough for me.
And I picked out three films that had actually been on my "to watch" list.
We chose Ben Button for Friday night.
It was long.
Quite a marathon.
But very intriguing. Very good.
And by 9:50 both of us were exhausted and ready for bed.

And we didn't set alarms!
We "slept in" until almost 8am.
Even though I was awake at 5.
Gosh darn it.
I worked out. We had awesome French Toast.
Then Kevin came with me on our grocery hunt.
I decided to indulge his cravings for Taco Bell
and we spent a long hour there talking and talking.
I enjoyed my cinnamon twists immensely.

I then met Britt in Ann Arbor.
We had a girls day.
Much needed.
Much fun.
We visited the apartment complex she and Nick hope to get into soon.
Which would be great because it's right near the Sam's Club we frequent.
Then we found out Jennie and Nich were in the area at their "home away from home"--
the Ronald McDonald House.
Conveniently located right next to the Children's Hospital.
Where their three babies have been in the NICU for the last 130 days.
For the first time, I was privileged to visit all of them.
Touch their little hands.
Hear their tiny cries.
See pour Landon's bodies pulse with the ventilator.
Experience for a just moment the life Jennie & Nich have been living for months.
And then watch them as the reality hit them--
they were going to be taking home their first baby that evening!
Brennan is home!
And Brooklyn is just a few days behind.
What a miracle.
I am so thankful for that visit.

Britt and I spent a little more time together and then parted ways.
That evening was another one of relaxation.
I ate some leftover chili and we watched yet another movie.
Cold Mountain this time.
This was also two and one-half hours long.
But oh so entertaining.
There were great one liners in almost every scene.
And it just drew the viewer into the drama.
There was romance.
And war.
And suspense.
Every aspect of a film I enjoy.
(Though I must admit, I was quite shocked at the intimate scene. Eek. too much.)

Tonight proved to be a great time spent with our teens.
Youth group seems to be extending to three hours
now that the entire church is participating in small groups
for discussion of Max Lucado's Fearless.
Which is totally a great "problem" to have. :)
Our time of honest sharing was great.
I was thrilled to see so many of them listening intently as I shared my own personal experiences with the fear of not mattering (tonight's topic).
And to hear their answers to the question, "When do you feel significant?"
One girl said she always feels important to Kevin and I.
And that right there was proof that it's all worth it.
That's what it's all about for us.
To love them and make certain they know we care.
So that they may see glimpses of the immense concern our God has for them.
I challenged them to read Psalm 139 this week.
And not just read it but understand it.
And not just understand it but soak in its truth.
To being to know they are exactly as they are.

And I challenge you to do the same.

January 27, 2010

The One with the Subbing Newbie

Wednesday was my first day as an official substitute teaching in the calling system.
But I'm thankful I didn't get called.
As we joined many in our church conference for a day of Prayer and Fasting.
For Haiti.
For the response teams.
For the work of the Holy Spirit to be done.
For Haitian pastors.
For our sponsored children.
For the provision of basic needs.
For rebuilding and restoring.

This day-long fast was so much easier than the one we did in November.
Having totally changed eating habits has been a tremendous blessing.
I didn't even realize how I was overeating.
As if I was scared to feel hungry.
But now I've learned the beauty that is a hunger pang.
And the greatness that is a lack of uncomfortable bellies.
Now that I'm used to being hungry the fast seemed so much more natural.
Less like torture.
Allowing for easier focus on the prayer topics at hand.
I did, however, start complaining of "starvation" around 3pm.
But within an instant I was reminded
of all those people trapped in the rubble for days and weeks at a time.
No food or drink.
Sustained by God alone.
And suddenly I could complain no longer.
Thank you, Lord for your overflowing blessings in my life.
All those things I take for granted.
Clothing. And lots of it.
Clean water. An endless supply.
A dry home. With room to spare.
Cupboards and fridge filled. Never fearful of true starvation.
And the list goes on and on.

What do you take for granted?
For what should we be giving God praise?

Back the "official sub" thing.
Today was my first day on the job.
I was actually able to secure the position last night online.
Which allowed for a much more planned out morning.
I taught a 5th grade classroom.
From 8:48-3:40.
And let me tell you, I was a bit nervous.
A bit excited.
But when some of your friends warn you about those kids at that school the worry factor increases.
I was determined to go in with confidence.
And I did just that.
I did my best to maintain authority and order.
That classroom of thirty 10 year olds lived up to their infamous reputation.
When I spoke with other teachers they all responded, "Oh NO! You're teaching for Mrs. Reed!!"
The individual students were awesome.
But put more than one of them (or all thirty) together at the same time and chaos ensues.
I tried every silence tactic.
I made some up and used the teacher's tried and true methods.
But only those three students who naturally obeyed would give me their full attention.
It was a bit draining.
A bit frustrating.
But not defeating.

And get this!
The music teacher who came in to the classroom for one hour may be sending her daughter to take piano lessons for me.
AND when I asked her name I instantly remembered what my mom had mentioned to me a month ago.
My elementary school teacher/principal's brother lives in my town.
And this music teacher was his wife!
What a crazy little world we live in!
We both got goosebumps when we made that connection.
And she definitely has me on her request list for music sub jobs. :)

Tonight I missed a call while at worship practice.
I was bummed.
Then I checked online and starting clicking to secure a job.
Then my phone rang.
For the same job I was "competing" for online.
Tomorrow is a day in kindergarten!
I'm pretty excited about it.
And if any of the teachers from today's school know anything at all then it can only improve from here!

The One with Sleep Socks

Sleeping in socks.
I never thought I would be that person.
I had tried this tactic before and it was terrible.
Sure, for the first 5 minutes under the chilly sheets it was lovely.
But throughout the night as my body temperature changed
I found myself gasping for air.
It was way too hot for me.
And hot is just plain uncomfortable.
But after reading Kristen's sock sleeping testimony,
I thought I could try again.
The reason I chose to make a second attempt
lies in the temperature of our bedroom.
In an effort to save on sky high winter utilities
our bedroom's vents are closed.
Thus our room is approximately 55 degrees.
Which isn't that drastic considering our home thermostat
is set at 62.
Dear Guests, we apologize.
In any case it takes an impressive balance to keep my body
temp happy throughout the night.
Wearing light pajamas and my socks to bed equals perfection.
I'm only cold for 2 minutes rather than spending the first
thirty minutes in bed trying to warm my feet.
On my husband.
He's not thrilled about that arrangement.
But I'm pretty sure he's liking the sock thing.
I know I am.

Bread Machine.
He and I are best friends.
Seriously, you all need to invest in one of these kitchen appliances.
Making your own bread is much cheaper than buying a loaf.
Not to mention being able to count the ingredients on one hand.
Versus reading pages of additives.
Just throw in the ingredients.
Select settings.
Press start.
And you're just hours away from fresh warm bread.
Nothing beats it.
I would recommend a machine with a horizontal baking insert.
Like this one.
(Though I would recommend shopping for a better price.)
So that your bread looks more like a real loaf.
And has fewer hard/dry edges than if you use a vertical variety.
Like mine.
But seriously, you can't complain when it was found for $2 at a rummage sale.
This is why I used the bread machine to make the dough.
Then turn it out.
Roll it up.
Let it rise.
And bake in my own bread pan.
Check out more tips at the We Are THAT Family.

January 25, 2010

The One with the Spontaneous Nap

I'm a huge fan of snow, right?
I love winter.*
Which is why I would never be a little bummed to see the snowflakes whirling around today.
After yesterday in the upper 40s.
Nope. I would want to savor winter for all it's worth.
I'm definitely not ok with an early spring.

*MckMama totally loves winter too. Especially after her cruise I'm sure.

While talking with Britt this afternoon I definitely did not keep talking to her after my phone had unexpectedly died.
Nah. I certainly would have noticed right away when a call was dropped.
And then when my phone literally would not turn back on even when plugged into a charger, we wouldn't rush it to the Verizon E.R.
Only to find out we could have removed the battery and rebooted the darn thing ourselves.
No, I totally would have figured that out myself.
I'm smart, after all.
And when the solution was so easy there wouldn't be even a moment of frustration leading down the anger road.
Nope, I always handle unforeseen circumstances with grace.*

*Lucky for me, I have a husband who instantly reminded me that this wasn't a wasted trip.
We got time out of the house together.
And that was nice.

When my husband walked through the kitchen I wouldn't throw his wallet at him.
The one I never would have pick pocketed.
And when it fell to the floor and he bent down to pick it up, I certainly wouldn't jump on his back.
And not let go as we tipped abruptly to the ground.
Never. I always think fast on my feet (err...on his back) and would have kept either of us from getting injured in the collapse.
But after said mishap we definitely would not take the next 30 minutes to chill on the kitchen floor.
The perfectly clean kitchen floor.
Isn't that where everyone takes a nap?
Well, neither do I.

January 23, 2010

The One with All the Cheesecake*

A good Saturday.
The perfect kind.
Did nothing.
And loved every minute of it.
Didn't feel guilty.
Not one little bit.
(Which is totally a big deal for me.)
Woke up at 8am.
Went for a brisk run.
Made a French Toast brunch for me and my husband.
That was scrumptious.
Sat in my comfy chair for the next two hours watching Friends.
*One of the episodes was the infamous cheesecake saga.
And paged through The Pioneer Woman Cooks again.
Realized I hadn't done the breakfast dishes yet at 3pm.
Headed out on an ice cream date with Kevin.
Went to the Independent Dairy for the first time.
It was totally worth it.
Peanut Butter Mackinac Island Fudge.
Glory be!
Sat and talked in the quaint little parlor for the next hour.
Came back home and watched more Friends.
Talked to Britt on the phone about blog stuff and getting together.
Our kitchen smelled like Mongolian Barbeque tonight.
Made my own version of Stir Fry.
Watched Away We Go.
Definitely entertaining but not at all virtuous.
Wouldn't recommend it.
Read my husband's blog post.
His second in a week!
It's really quality.
You should read it.
Made brownies for youth group tomorrow night.
Watched more Friends.
Put on sweat pants.
Relaxed after doing nothing.

January 22, 2010

The One with the Bridges

I'm a little bit in love with my new and improved (and somewhat insane) schedule.
I mean, seriously.
Who, in their right mind, wakes up at 5:30am when they DON'T have to??!
And I may just be out of my mind.
But I like it here.
The view is nice.

Life is especially good when your husband gets a sub job the night before.
Rather than 20 minutes after the indicated start time.
Or even more than a month before.
He didn't get called Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday.
Then, Wednesday night he answers a call for a two day job in March.
When did it become March?
But whatever.
That's two days we don't have to wonder about.

Then Thursday night he received another call.
For today.
But watch. He won't get called at all next week.
This substitute teacher coordinating company really likes yanking at my emotions.
One minute we think we're good to go.
The next minute we wonder if they hate us and have permenantly removed us (him) off the call list.

Please wait for one moment.
I must greet my husband at the door.
He worked hard today.

dot. dot. dot............................................................

So that was a much longer break than anticipated.
Here I am, two hours later.
I said hello.
He told me about his crazy day.
I took the mini apple pie out of the oven.
In celebration of his first subbing paycheck!
We ate the yummy pie.
He realized his paycheck was wrong.
He called PCMI.
Then I called PCMI.
Because I hadn't heard from them yet concerning my employment.
They said I was sent an email verifying my compliance for the position.
I never recieved it.
So I could have maybe possibly worked this week.
But I didn't know that.
I was waiting like I was told to do.
I then called the ISD.
It was 30 minutes after the sub coordinator's end of the workday.
But hopefully I'll get that squared away Monday.

Then I read some of my latest library checkout.
Pride and Prejudice.
Is it some sort of sacrilege to watch the movie and then read the book?
I hope not.

Then I was sleepy.
So I changed my reading over to Real Simple.
Then I was hungry.
So I started baking up our pizza crust.
And cutting up the toppings.
Green peppers.

And over dinner we will watch one of the two movies I picked out from said library.
Totally different.
But both interested me.
And Kevin liked my picks.
I'm interested to see what we think.

And these bridges?
Are they covered?
Because I'm from the county with the most covered bridges.
There's a festival and everything.
I should say I'm some sort of expert on these bridges.
But I'm totally not.
All's I know is they make the best pizza.
Seriously. There's a covered bridge where they make pizza.

My internal timer is getting ready to ding.
That must mean the pizza's done!

January 20, 2010

The One with the Restaurant Food

I just borrowed my new favorite cookbook from the library.
I absolutely love it.
And I hate the thought of having to return it eventually.
*sad face*
It was on my wish list.
I was hoping Kevin would convince someone it was the most important item on that list.
Aside from the 30 Day Shred.
The two would balance each other out if you will.
It's perfection.
And decidedly not low fat.
Better than I expected it would be.
I read through most all of it already.
Ree is so witty.
So real.
So my bff.
Or maybe that's just in my imagination.
Kevin thinks I have a girl crush.
And I just might freely admit it.
Although I don't think he'll mind.
As soon as her recipes hit our table, we'll both be in love.

I'm still waiting on book one of Karen Kingsbury's Redemption series.
I now have book 2 and 3.
I didn't want to have to be on a waiting list for those too.
When I mentioned my long wait to the librarian, she got to work for me.
Requested it to be delivered from outside the library system.
I was so thrilled.
Now I just hope it comes soon.
Not that I don't have my own series to read.

It's nice to be completely ready for the day by 7:30am.
These past two mornings I decided to change my routine.
Now I'm waking up at 5:30am.
With my husband.
I had been "sleeping in" until 6:30, giving me just enough time to make a lunch for him before he leaves for a subbing job.
But with my own substitute teaching job around the corner, I thought I needed to get my butt in gear.
By getting up at 5:30 I have time to do my devotions.
Make breakfast.
And lunches.
(Time to cool down before showering.
I hate getting out of the shower when I'm still sweating from my workout.)
And fiddle around with this or that and still be completely ready by 7:30.
That is, I believe, the earliest I'll have to leave for an elementary sub job.
So I think I'm good to go.
I thought the 5:30 thing would be more difficult than it is.
But it's nice to be up with my husband.
And it's even nicer to be more than ready for my day at the same time I normally start it.
I'm not a newspaper boy.
Or a farmer.
Or a mother.
But I'm ok with this.
Especially since Kevin's been serving me all along by going to bed at 10-10:30 when I want to.
Now I can wake up when he wants to.

Kevin was getting really frustrated.
He hadn't had a sub job since last Thursday.
And he didn't get called Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
But we tried to make the best of our time together.
Yesterday we cashed in on one of our Christmas gifts from a youth group family.
An Olive Garden gift card.
We had a late lunch.
I had my favorite soup, salad, and breadsticks.
Mmm, minestrone.
Kevin ordered his non-stop craving...fettuccine alfredo.
It was nice to get out.
And even nicer to not to have to pay.

I have a weird relationship with eating out.
Sometimes I'm just in the mood.
I don't feel like coming up with something to cook.
Or I need a change in scenery.
Or I'm craving french fries.
But when it comes right down to it, I struggle.
It's hard for me to spend four times the amount I could spend on a meal made at home.
A meal that I could prepare.
So I try not to order items I can make just as tasty in my own home.
Hence the french fries.
It's one of the only items I don't make.
Just because I try not to fry things.
So I like to reserve fried items for dinners out.
But then, when we decide to go out, and I know I'm going to order something fried, I have a hard time choosing a restaurant that charges 3 times more than a fast food joint and where I have to tip the waitress.
Thus, many times, it's just nice to "splurge" for fast food.
But every once in a while, a nicer restaurant is a needed (re)treat.
Especially when the tab's on someone else.
I'll go out to dinner anytime if someone else is paying.
You know, just in case you were wanting to treat us.
I didn't want you to get the wrong idea.

January 18, 2010

The One with the Ice Rink

What a great way to spend Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
An afternoon at the ice rink.
With some of my favorite people.
Our teens.
We had a church society meeting last night, so youth group plans were altered.
Originally, we said we'd go sledding before the meeting @4pm.
But then all of the snow melted.
And I'm not a fan of mud sledding.
Change of plans.
I called the ice rink before church Sunday morning.
Totally surprised they answered, but glad they did.
With the word that the noon skate was still on for Monday, we talked to the teens.
They all agreed it was a great plan.
I announced it in church.
Sent out the text messages.
And the plans were set.
We had just over an hour of skating.
And all 14 of us had a blast!
There was a rousing game of Ice Rink Tag.
And of course the entertainment of falling.

Some were beginners.
There were spills.
Other were a bit more skilled.
No one was anywhere near professional.
If Michaela's brother had been there, that might be a different story.
He's a crazy ice hockey player.
So is Devon, one of our teens, for that matter.
The fact that those two guys weren't around made Kevin and I look pretty good.
And we're not that good.
But we didn't fall.
And we have improved from our experience five years ago.

::skating in January 2005::
Kevin and I might have to make the $2 noon skate a regular date.
When we're not subbing that is.
I like the rink when it's not swarming with people.
And when the ice isn't all gouged up because of the swarms of people.

This day of ice skating turned out to be a very successful last minute event.
And one that I've wanted to do with the teens for a year now.
I'm so glad we did!

::lacing up Michaela's skates::
::and they're off::
Michaela. Megan. Harry. Isaac. Katie.
Harry. Michaela. Isaac. Katie.
::Megan and Shelby encourage John::
::we danced.
::we smiled.

:::The last 10 seconds are priceless:::

January 17, 2010

The One with Facts of My Life

Intriguing and mundane details of an adorkable life. Updated as desired.
  • According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator I am an ESFJ. Extroverted. Sensing. Feeling. Judging. "Warmhearted, conscientious, and cooperative. Want harmony in their environment, work with determination to establish it. Like to work with others to complete tasks accurately and on time. Loyal, follow through even in small matters. Notice what others need in their day-by-day lives and try to provide it. Want to be appreciated for who they are and for what they contribute."
  • In January 2007 I spent three weeks experiencing the true culture of Jamaica. I have never been the same.
  • Kevin can tell me how awesome he thinks I am and I will never ever tire of it.
  • My best and longest friend, Elizabeth, and I were "introduced" in utero. Our mom's were in Lamaze class together. Then they started going to the same church. And that pretty much set our friendship in stone. 
  • I rotate my bath towels, kitchen towels, wash clothes, underwear, socks and tshirts. For even wear. 
  • I'm not a huge fan of pop. That is, I'm not a huge fan of drinking my calories. I'd rather eat them. So I stick to Diet Coke. And boy do I love Diet Coke!
  • I get extremely excited over plastic ware. Especially when I pick the perfect container to hold leftovers.
  • I refuse to spend more than $15 on a pair of pants. Never have. (Hopefully) never will.
  • My nose bleeds at the most inopportune times in the most violent of ways. This has been an ongoing occurrence since childhood. You probably didn't want to know that, though, did you?
  • My parents taught me how to balance a checkbook and manage my money. Kevin's parents taught him to do the same. We work well together. He has the "big" picture. I keep track of the details.
  • I have the best mom in the whole world. And she's become one of my closest friends.
  • I can't stand commercials.
  • I love memorizing Scripture. My favorites include: Romans 8:35-39. I John 4:18. Psalm 94:19. II Corinthians 1:3-4. Philippians 4:6-7. I kind of wish I would have been a Bible Quizzer in high school.
  • I never liked hot tea. Until high school. When apple cinnamon tea became a favorite. Then blueberry, then peach in college. Now I can drink and truly enjoy any variety of this leafy hot beverage.
  • I was class president my senior year of high school.
  • I was also on Homecoming Court and Prom Court. I still don't know how that happened.
  • I love footstools. I almost always feel more comfortable with my feet propped up.
  • I am really hard on myself. The smallest mistake results in the biggest feelings of failure. This is something that needs some serious alterations.
  • Some would say I was a momma's girl when I was younger. Others thought I was a daddy's girl. I think it just depended on which parent I was with.
  • My husband makes me laugh harder than anyone ever could.
  • I have an excellent sense of timing. I go to the kitchen to check the baking process just as the timer hits "zero." This happens nearly every time I'm cooking.
  • Umuhoza Albert is my amazing 10 year old sponsor child living in Rwanda. He's been asking me to visit him since 2005 when I first "adopted" him. I pray that someday I will see him face to face.
  • The summer of 2006 was spent traveling with Wellspring--a worship team coordinated by SAU to work at various camps throughout Ohio, Michigan, and Canada. Six guys. Two girls. Ten weeks. One van. We became a family. We loved like family. Prayed like family. Worshipped as Family. Argued like family. And served like family. An experience I will never forget.

  • I really love milk. I try to stick to the skim variety, though. I know, I know. It's white water. But hey! It's still highly nutritious!
  • I love taking naps, but I hate waking up from them.
  • I'm not high maintenance. But I'm not low maintenance either. What's the word for mid-maintenance?
  • A while back, Kevin's parents had all of us take the Flag Page test and I found out I'm an entirely blue flag. Meaning 82% of my talents lie in relating to people (versus Task/Creation/Leading/Showman Talents). I love people (acceptance, warm, caring.) I am sensitive (diligent, thoughtful, considerate). I am thoughtful (considerate, warm, caring). I'm sincere at heart (thoughtful, genuine, compassionate). And primarily I thrive on encouragement (nurture, build up, believe). At first I thought this was bizarre as everyone else had lovely mixes of talents, but now I'm loving this depiction of who I am.
  • I love watching Friends with friends. It's taken me about eight times through the ten seasons to have the episodes memorized.
  • I started taking piano lessons when I was ten. I have always loved sitting down with my mom and my grandma. Still do.
  • Kevin and I didn't say those three sacred words ("I love you") until a year or more into our relationship. He had committed to reserving those words for the woman he would marry. And marry me he did. Now he tells me many times each day that he loves me.
  • I watch the Food Network more than any other television station.
  • My palate just does not enjoy wine. Not even a little bit.
  • 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 much more.
  • I hate going a day without working out--I just feel so great afterwards. I really miss having free access to a gym. But I do love a great aerobic workout dvd. And I'm a big Pilates fan.
  • I love driving our stick shift '98 Civic.
  • I have suffered from chronic headaches since I was in elementary school.
  • Oftentimes I let my emotions get the best of me. Or I could just say I "wear my heart on my sleeve."
  • Kevin and I are frighteningly similar to Calvin and Susie: the characters in Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes.
  • I adore my baby sister. Yes. She's almost 21 years old.
  • Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks but I only eat it at night...while watching a favorite show.
  • I didn't date anyone until I was 19 years old. It was a personal choice of mine. Kevin happened to be that guy. My first boyfriend. My first handhold. My first kiss. My first fight. My first love. One proposal and three rings later, he is my husband for always.
  • It is physically impossible for me to walk slowly.
  • I am almost always reading multiple books concurrently. One magazine, one on spiritual growth, one on Christian fiction, one on youth ministry, and one novel to read aloud to Kevin (i.e. Lord of the Rings).
  • My dad taught me how to ski when I was four years old. So yes, I've been skiing for some 20 years. But once a year doesn't allow for much growth, if you catch my drift.
  • I never ever thought I'd be a youth pastor. But here I am, over a year later!
  • 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! (any requests?!) Kevin loves my hobby! ;)
  • I don't at all mind spending days at home in peace and quiet--in fact I quite enjoy personal time.
  • I loved being involved in speech competitions in elementary and junior high school through ACSI.
  • Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip is the best ice cream in the world! Actually, I love ALL ice cream.
  • My water bottle is an extension of my body.
  • I am a salad connoiseur.
  • When the seasons change from fall to winter, my hands know. They become dry and cracked immediately.
  • I really enjoy the opportunity to share my relationship experiences with those who ask.
  • I am an information sponge--reading every word on flyers, magazines, bulletins, books, and more.
  • In college, some of my friends would ask me to make sandwiches for them. Mine always looked irresistible, I guess.
  • 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.
  • I do not consider myself athletic in the least, but I love downhill skiing and ultimate frisbee despite how ridiculous I may look.
  • 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.
  • Baking has been a love of mine since I was a young girl. I spent hours under Mrs. S's tutelage.
  • I have a thing for crime shows. My favorites are Law and Order: SVU and Criminal Minds.
  • I have so many thoughts, hopes, questions and dreams for the future: grad school, women's ministries, a business/restaurant with my husband, professional wedding planning, children, teaching, writing Bible studies, keeping up with my love of hospitality & baking, being involved in a challenging music program, giving piano lessons, leading a worship team, et cetera...
  • I am absolutely positively forever head over heels in love with my husband, Kevin Michael Eccles.
  • I am only 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.

January 16, 2010

The One with the Sci Fi

What a blessed day I had.
The alarm went off at 6:20.
I figured I could get an early start on my Saturday to get the most out of it.
Also, I just like keeping my weeks and weekends streamlined.
Sleepwise at least.
But as soon as I heard that annoying buzz I turned the thing OFF.
I woke around 7am and could have gotten up.
But Kevin was still sleeping heavily.
Which was odd.
Because he normally wakes at 5:30.
At 8am, I was feeling really wonderful and really lazy.
I was ready to start my day.
But Kevin rolled over and made sure I couldn't escape.
I couldn't believe how hard he slept.
At 9am we finally started our day.
It was a glorious way to enjoy Saturday morning.
It was needed, I do believe.

I had the itch to go for a run.
Especially after reading Jen's post.
She was right.
A brisk (but not bitter) winter run was exactly what I needed.
I had been in some tempermental ruts lately.
That's such a diplomatic way of putting it.
Bad moods.
Short fuses.
Not cool.
But that run.
It was excellent.
Felt so good.
Especially wearing my new gear Kevin bought me for Christmas.
There's something magical about looking good (or at least thinking you look good) when working out.
Really there is.

We had a wonderful brunch.
Whole wheat banana pancakes.
And eggs.
While watching a recorded Ellen.
She cracks me up.

And then I was off.
For the grocery shopping that I would have done Friday.
When the stores were quiet.
And roads were less congested.
I wish there was some sort of a back road path to Aldi.
But, alas, I must deal with the roads that actually exist.
While I was there I had the loveliest little encounter.
A nice older gentleman was standing behind me as I compared bags of rice.
I couldn't buy the wrong bag, you know.
I said, "Excuse me. Am I in your way?"
And he said, "Oh, no, not at all."
As I turned to leave he said, "Your hair looks so pretty like that. It really looks nice on you."
I was a bit taken aback.
Smiling, I said, "Thank you so much."
This really meant a lot to me.
As my hair almost never looks good.
And has warranted compliments maybe three times in my life.
He quickly added, "I have 3 daughters and 5 granddaughters. I'm used to noticing these things. If I don't, I get in trouble."
That made me smile even more and I thanked him once more before we parted ways.
It's the little things.

I came back having been successful.
And spending just $20.
I found 10oz bags of unsweetened bakers chocolate chips on sale for $0.50 at Aldi.
Down from $1.69.
I snatched up six.
I couldn't resist.
But other than that, I stuck to my list.
Now is not the time to deviate.
Then I swung by Bath and Body Works.
And exchanged one of my body creams to match the spray and body wash my Dad had bought me for Christmas.
I don't like to mix scents, you know.
It's not just not pleasant.
And there's something about laying scents.
It makes me feel beautiful.

Then there was the stop at the library.
We had just been there last night.
But my book wasn't in yet.
I was so anxious to start it.
And left me wanting (or needing) the next one.
This morning it had arrived.
I was so thrilled.
And while I was there I browsed.
In the dvd section I found the ab workout Karina had recommended.
Since I can't buy my own right now, I was thrilled with this!
While I was at it, I borrowed a yoga dvd.
Just because I'm curious to try it.
I love Pilates so I think I'll enjoy it.
I turned to the corner and found some tv series for rent.
My eyes skimmed the rows and found Firefly.
The series Kevin and I had just finished.
That totally left its viewers hanging.
With NO resolution.
Right when you were totally sucked into the story line.
It ended.
Which is why they made the movie.
And where did my eye land next?
The movie to tie up the loose ends.
I knew Kevin would be totally stoked with this library card "purchase."
We watched it almost immediately.

I must admit.
I've enjoyed this little sci-fi ride.
I never ever ever thought I'd say that.
Just don't tell my husband.

January 15, 2010

The One with the String of Thoughts

I sound like an elephant when I walk through the kitchen.
I ate too many cookies.
My husband is singing in his falsetto from the bathroom.
He makes me laugh.
Most of the time.
Earlier today. Not so much.
Why am I so easily angered?
Why can't I seem to remember the good things in moments of frustration?
Why can't I just get it right?
We think Bianca is a boy.
My relationship with this mouse may have just been permanently severed.
In my post-argument huff, I decided to make these cookies.
That was a good decision.
I had wanted to watch American Idol this season.
But it overlaps Biggest Loser.
And I forgot to record it.
So that didn't happen.
But I hear I remind some of Morgan in Boston.
I hope that's a good thing.
Kevin was just looking for one of our 10 screw drivers.
The one that happens to be in our spare toilet.
Stopping it from running.
Why does the library never have the books I want?
Britt randomly reminded me of this precious moment.
Driving to the church with my dad.
In his stylin' Tacoma.
Oh. yeah.

that's a lot of dress.

I married a good man.
A man of God.
A man who loves me.
Respects me.
Protects me.
Cherishes me.
Now. If I can just keep all of those truths in mind the next time he doesn't meet one of my hidden expectations.

January 13, 2010

The One with Hand Cream and Phone Calls

Holy smokes.
The phone has been ringing off the hook.
Inquiring about Kevin's substitute teaching app.
A third time.
On my cell phone.
Informing me that my substitute app (Part 2) is in my inbox.
Pastor Dave from HFMC.
About a collaborative 30HourFamine event.
And in sympathy for my elbow.*
Pastor Dale asking about an email I forwarded him.
I didn't know the answer though.
I think that was it.
And it's only 11:49am.

*I closed the folding closet door.
With my elbow.
The door revolted.
And ate a piece of my elbow.
Yeah, sure it was mostly my fault.
But still.
Not nice.

This morning I heard the lovely little automated voice on Kevin's cell phone.
All the way from the bathroom.
A sub job that came at 5:45.
The earliest yet.
I wonder if that's a good sign.
Like he's up on the priority call list or something.
Who knows.

Three things that work for me.
They are totally unrelated.
But all three make me crazy happy.
It's the little things in life, ya know?

I decided to try Level 3 of Jillian's 30 Day Shred this morning.
I figure she wants you to do 10 days of each level.
But that's just too long to wait.
I was eager.
So at day 7 (day 14 total) I made the switch.
And holy smokes (wait, I said that once already, didn't I?).
It is in.tense.
But you can't beat a 20 minute workout.
When I finish I feel like I've actually worked out.
Previously, I could do no less than JM's 45 minute workouts.
But hey.
If this 30 Day Shred really works then I'm totally pumped.
Twenty minutes is so. much. easier to fit into a busy day.
Which wasn't a problem before.
But it's getting that way.
I recommend you try it.
But be ready for some serious butt kicking.

Also this morning I finished my piano music project.
You see, we now have the complete collection.
Of Kevin & Melanie's Piano Lesson books.
From a combined 19 years of piano lessons.
I went through piles of books.
By sheet music.
Lesson and Theory Series.
Technical exercises.
And more.

I figured they'd end up in a closet somewhere.
With little to no accessibility.
But I came up with a lovely little system of which I am so proud of.
Hence the photos.
I moved the Bibles from the bottom of this book shelf up one level.
Then strategically placed my precisely organized books.
As I stepped back to look at my work I realized something was missing.
I would never know where to find a certain type of book in a long line of books.
Enter: the handy dandy tabbed notebook dividers.
Labled with little Post-It Flags.
Now I'm happy.

And now, introducing my most favorite AVON product ever.
The only hand cream that actually heals and protects my freakishly dry.
painful hands.
Through the harsh Midwestern United States winters.
You simply must try this stuff.
It's inexpensive to boot!
Usually $2.99.
Go. now!