August 31, 2011

The One with Miss Type A

It's amazing to me how quickly people have me pegged. No matter where I go my personality comes out almost instantly, despite my efforts to start fresh. I think I'm doing a great job of being Miss Go-With-The-Flow, but somehow everyone deduces the truth--I'm a bit of spaz. I try to be Miss HappyGoLuckyLifeofTheParty, but after an hour or five, my cover is blown. They figure me out. 

High School.
New Town # 1, 2 or 3. 

I simply can't avoid the real me.

Truth is, I'm an early-to-bed-early-to-rise kind of girl. I've been that way since high school. Just ask my dad--after youth group events, I was the one pulling him out the door so I could "get to bed." Yes, I was not the coolest 16 year old.

Not much has changed in the last decade. I'm always aware of the clock as my bedtime draws near. I just know my body, and I know I need X amount of sleep. So what if I'm a party pooper? If I missed out on late night goofing off in the dorms or fun outings to Denny's? At least I wake up happy and well-rested in the morning. Friends from college know this about me well. And they know not to expect it to change any time soon, even if I don't have class at 7:25am. 

Truth is, I'm a homebody. Always have been. Always will be. I'm not ashamed to admit this. Again, it doesn't make me the "cool kid," but if given the choice between a fun party and a quiet evening at home, I would always choose the latter. I love people. I'm at ease in groups of any size. But at the end of the day, I'm energized by down time

Truth is, the lists of confessions could go on and on. But it's not really necessary. Everyone's got me figured out already.


All that is true. But.

Despite what I'm not, I also happen to have a love for good times with good friends. Games. Food. Conversation. Laughter. I love it all. So don't be afraid to invite me to a party. I will have a good time, and I'm make sure everyone else does too. I just might have to say goodnight a little earlier than others. After all, I couldn't work with teens if I didn't love a good time and if I didn't learn how to go-with-the-flow. You can teach an old fish new tricks. :)



Do people know the REAL you? 

August 30, 2011

The One Where She Fell In a Hole, Et Cetera

Top Ten things I'm pondering on this beautiful late summer morning...

1) Where in the world did my lovely red 1 tsp and 1 Tbsp measuring spoons disappear to months ago??! It is a mystery. I thought for sure I'd find them in the move. But no. They are MIA forever. Lucky for me, I have 2 extra measuring spoon sets. One of which is passed on from my grandma--the metal kind with pretty, colorful handles. *love*

2) I fell in a hole yesterday morning. No joke. There was a piece of garbage in a rut on our front lawn. I stepped over to pick it up and plummeted to the bottom of a crevice in the earth's surface. Ok, a bit of an exaggeration, but this hole (covered mostly by overgrown grass) was at least a foot deep and about 2 feet WIDER than I anticipated. Kevin laughed at me.

3) How do friendships start? And how do they stick? I was thinking about this yesterday too. 

4) Somewhere along the way I became a coffee drinker. HOW did this happen?! I'm not a daily-drinker by any means. BUT I can drink Kevin's strong coffee concoctions and smile. 

5) I thought I would be grossed out when he ordered a Starbucks Venti iced coffee with a shot of hazelnut and room for milk. Blech. But no. It was amazing. We shared this drink with happiness on our faces.  

6) But nothing beats the indulgence of a Hazelnut Frappuccino with REAL Whipped Cream and Caramel drizzled on top. Help me, now. 

7) Why is it so hard for me to compile reasons I would be good for such and such a job? I'm realizing how I don't think very highly of my skills and I tend to downplay my talents in everyday life. But when it comes to competing for a job, you're supposed to play yourself up, right? It's going to take serious practice for me.  

8) I'm still waiting. Wondering. What does God have for me? The options seem endless now, but I'm learning lessons through the journey, the waiting process, the patience testing. Thanking God for giving me peace (when normally I'd be freaking.) 

9) It's been a four Sundays in a new church. A month since I've last participated in leading the worship service, week after week, year after year. It's been good to stand with the congregation and worship without distractions of "What note am I playing next?" or "What was that transition again??" or "Should I be singing a different harmony right now?" But I think I'm ready. Ready to be used for what God created me for--leading in worship. Excited after planning with the worship teams last night.   

10) I hope this batch of 100% Whole Wheat bread turns out even better than the last. Rising high above the edge of the pan. Just asking to be eaten. (recipe soon!)

What are you pondering today?

---linked up with OhAmanda's Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten {Tuesday}

August 29, 2011

The One with the Friend I Needed

{friends! only 2 days to enter the Scrapbook Software giveaway

Just as I needed that lovely date night with my husband, I discovered a need for quality time with a girlfriend. Or, rather, God knew what was necessary to fill my spirit with His grace. 

Friendship. Time together. Souls sharing. 

One of my great new friends, Denise, wanted to spend some time together, and we decided to take a walk (closer to a hike) through this glorious cemetery. It sounds creepy, yes, but this is the most amazing places to visit, to picnic, to walk, to photograph. The roads are seemingly endless, curving this way and that, steeper and steeper. The grounds are carved into incredible levels, adding dimension and unique character to the tree covered acreage. And after taking in the beautiful weather, the rich history, and the good company, we headed to Tim Horton's. I indulged a bit in a hazelnut frappuccino topped with real whipped cream. Yum!   

And through all this we shared stories--some that were small and silly and others more life changing. And my heart was filled with exactly what it needed. Listening. Laughing. Being open, encouraging, relaxed. 

I am thankful.

I've been pondering friendship--How they begin, how they take root, how they matter. What are your thoughts?

August 28, 2011

The One with the Fancy Schmany Date

{My Memories Digital Scrapbook Giveaway going on through Wednesday!}  

Sometimes I just need carefree time with my husband. Outside our predictable, routine life that I love so much. (I really do.) But when he says, "I think we need a date night," I fall a little more in love with him. (AND when he shows me a buy one entree get one free coupon for Ruby Tuesday, I am all for it. This man knows the way to my heart. Good food. for cheap.Oh! and did I mention we were using an anonymous gift someone had sneaked into Kevin's pen cup who knows when and who knows how long ago. THANK mysterious gift-giver!)  

He was gone for the large part of the day--8am to 4:30pm--at an introductory spiritual retreat for his new Seminary program. You know how I spent the day. It was nice to have some alone time, but I loved having thoughts of our date floating around in the back of my mind. Yes, it's always nice when it comes dinner time and don't know what to make and he suggests a date. But having this night out planned in advance, complete with an email invitation? I mean, seriously. That's romance to me. 

When he arrived home, I quickly changed into the cute dress he bought me on our anniversary. This necessitated a outfit change for him, which he wasn't totally stoke about, but he seemed to think it was it to have me in that dress. *grin*  

And we were off. Coupon in hand, maps drawn up (we're new to the area, give us a break!), me hoping I wasn't going to freeze in the restaurant. (Freezing temperatures really put a damper on my enjoyment.) 

Thankfully, Ruby Tuesday had chosen an appropriate temperature and we both ordered the perfect meals. Steak, cheesy mashed potatoes, and onion rings for him. Chicken, steamed broccoli and balsamic tomatoes for me. 

For dessert? We took a stop off at Sam's Club (where I felt WAY overdressed), did a bit of wandering and bit of shopping, and shared a $0.97 ice cream cup. Yeah. We're those people. And we like it that way.

Through all of this, there was gloriously deep conversation and amazingly rich laughter. My favorite combination. 

A seriously perfect night

And now, in thinking over this summation of our evening I've come to the following conclusions--I like coupons. food. advanced planning. and talking and laughing with my husband. 


August 27, 2011

The One with the Book Worm

Today I...

...started book seven of Harry Potter after finishing half of five and all of six in the last week. This is an impressive record for me. Can't. Stop. Reading.

...didn't have time for a full blown, well-thought-out blog post because of my intense reading regimen. So you're getting this list. 

...was disappointed that the "Farmer's Market Downtown" signs seem to have been misleading. 

...met our neighbors, Eddie and Carol. At least I think her name is Carol. Darn it. They remind me a lot of Tom and Donna, our lovely neighbors for years and years during my growing up years.

...almost burnt my perfect granola because I absentmindedly turned the oven to 325 instead of 250. eeep!

IMG_6763 all dressed up for a date to Ruby Tuesday with my husband. Someone anonymously left us a generous gift in Kevin's pen cup (who knows how long ago) with a typed note saying "Take yourselves out to a nice dinner. You deserve it." Well thank you very much, friend!

...painted my toenails bright pink. 

...managed to resist the adorable stray kitten's cries on my back porch. Even after she ran up to greet us (probably smelling our leftovers.) We are calling her Sphinx. 

...reminded all of you to go enter my Digital Scrapbook Giveaway!!

...received tons of helpful job advice (and had some fun conversation besides) from my wonderful father-in-law. 

August 26, 2011

Simple Thanks

[don't miss out on the digital scrapbook software giveaway!]

friday favorite things | finding joy
On this cool, overcast Friday, I am finding reason for thanks

fun conversations with a mom who loves me from my head down to my toes

finding a few leftover freshly baked cookies from a recent Etsy order


friends--both near and far--who have me on their hearts and don't hesitate to pray. and support. and actually pursue opportunities with me in mind. 

Friendly's cookies & cream ice cream and peanut butter sauce (drool) and the friends who love us enough to share.

husband who consults me in his decisions, values my opinions, wants to know the deepest me. 

God who reveals to me--one at a time, little by little--all of the ways He cares. 

Giving up euchariesteo today. 

this post is linked up with Finding Joy's Friday Favorites

August 25, 2011

Digital Scrapbooking {giveaway}

giveaway now closed! but even if you don't win the MyMemories Suite, there's still a deal awaiting you. Simply follow this link, purchase the suite and use the coupon code STMMMS86322 when you check out for $10.00 OFF the scrapbook software PLUS another $10 coupon for the MyMemories store!


For the past many years, scrapbooking has been all the rage. I remember going to Creative Memories parties with my mom when I was in high school. I absolutely loved it! Over the years, I collected many wonderful scrapbooking tools and put them to good use. I finished my wedding scrapbook, a Kevin & Mel: The Dating Years, and am part way (a few pages) into a college memory scrapbook. I love sitting down with piles of pictures, sorting, gathering, prioritizing. Then clipping and cutting, trimming and taping everything into place. I love clean, simple layouts with important facts written in the margins. I enjoy using pieces of our wedding cards for accents, or that ribbon that tied another marriage announcement. True scrapbooking. 

But all of this requires time. LARGE chunks of time. 
And space. An area where you can spread out, undisturbed for hours at a time. 
And clean up. Oh the clean up. But hey, it is SCRAP booking after all.

Beauty comes at a price, my friends.

But it doesn't always have to. There's the miraculous thing called digital scrapbooking. Most of us keeping folder upon folder of pictures on our computers, right? And maybe, maybe 5% of them are good enough to get printed. Then only a handful of the printed photos will get used in the ever-dreamed-about perfect scrapbook. 

With this computerized version of scrapbooking you have NO mess! You can come back and scrapbook whenever you want and click SAVE if you're not quite finished. With jobs to go to, friends to be with, meals to make, kids to care for, husbands to love, the physical form of scrapbooking just may become obsolete. Or at least a once-a-year activity. :) rates MyMemories as the top digital scrapbook software on the market. It's easy to use and not to hard on the wallet. So go check it out-- see what all the fuss is about. 


Now, get this!! MyMemories is giving ONE my lovely readers a free copy of their scrapbook software. Yes, please! 

If you would like to be entered to win simply leave a comment on this post telling me why.

For additional entries (be sure to leave a comment for each of these--)

1) subscribe to or become a follower
2) tweet the following: "I just entered to win @MyMemoriesSuite digital scrapbooking software from @adorkablemel. Enter here:"
3) check out my Adorkable Recipe blog and tell me what you think I should bake next!


-----BUT WAIT, there's more!!------

Even if you don't win the MyMemories Suite, there's still a deal awaiting you. Simply follow this link, purchase the suite and use the coupon code STMMMS86322 when you check out for $10.00 OFF the scrapbook software PLUS another $10 coupon for the MyMemories store


August 23, 2011

Top Ten Best Recipes from this Summer

For something fun and simple, I thought I'd share ten of my favorite recipes that I have posted on Adorkable Recipes this summer. Brown Eyed Baker inspired me with her list, and then Oh!Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday rolled around for the perfect opportunity! I hope you love this little compilation as much as I do! :) 











Do you have a favorite food or recipe from this past summer? I'd love to hear about it!

August 22, 2011

Finding Communion

For many months now, my perspective has been changing. Learning to live fully, appreciating every good and perfect gift, finding God even in the pain. His blessings are everywhere, one thousand gifts every day, waiting to be discovered. And my thanks, my notice, blesses Him in return. 

My eyes have been opening to these gifts, to living life in communion with God, in eucharisteo. To be endlessly in a state of thanksgiving, finding the grace given in every moment. It becomes an eager hunt, looking, searching, everywhere. 

Rain pouring from rooftops.

Water cold on my tongue. 

Husband's kiss. 

Sweetness of a cookie. 

Lovely flower bursting from the cracks in the sidewalks. 

And even in hard times, in darkness, when all hope feels lost, He is there. Our great God has gifts to offer us even in the suffering, through the tears. And I've been finding Him. When I search for Him, for His grace, for reasons to be be thankful, even as I find myself weeping, God shows up. But no. He has always been there. It was me all along who didn't see, who was too consumed by grief, anger. Eucharisteo--endless thanksgiving--opens my eyes to Jesus and the gifts His presence pours out on my life. He becomes salve. 

The counting never ends. In hanging clothes on the line, cleaning crumbs from the floor, washing dishes, making beds. The opportunity to worship is just waiting to be discovered. 


Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts opened my life to fullness. 


August 21, 2011

The One with an Observation

There is something to be said for observing the small nuances of a new place. It's lovely to be able to point to the few subtle differences from town to town. Though so much is standard, predictable, understood, each group of people lives together in a unique way. Community

This new town is quaint. If you live in the village, you can walk just about anywhere. Sidewalks lead to the Post Office, the bank, the local diner, even Walmart. Churches tower at every corner. Presbyterian. Free Methodist. Catholic. United Methodist--all within blocks of one another. Many of these establishments have historical value, all of them unique in their architecture. Steeples touch the clouds. Brick lines the walls. Stone covers the sidewalks

And one of these churches has bells that chime, announcing the hour with music. The first ring is 8am. Then at 9am, noon, and 6pm the chiming is accompanied by a hymn or two. Sometimes I sing along. Other times I don't notice its song. And every Sunday at 8am, two different churches have bells ding-ding-dinging in a sort of a battle of the bells escapades. 

I'm sure there will come a day when I won't pay much notice to these bells. I will have their songs ingrained in my daily rhythm. But for now, I smile

It's lovely, living in a small town. 

August 20, 2011

The One with Market Thankfulness

I am head over heals for local produce markets, for generous friends with gardens, for weekend farmers' markets. 


For just a few dollars, we can eat the fruit God created for our nutrition and our enjoyment. Sinking my teeth into a homegrown peach is like a glimpse of heaven. Filling our stomachs with yellow squash, green peppers, plums, white flesh peaches, and wonderful corn on the cob brings cleansing. It's amazing how my insides thank me when I fill it with such goodness. 


And eating snacks like this--those peaches I've been dreaming about, with yogurt, and perfect homemade granola

So. Good. 


August 19, 2011

The One with My First Photo Gig

Kevin and I have long been discussing and dreaming about becoming a professional wedding photography duo. I like details and artsy perspectives. He enjoys editing and managing the "big picture." In December we purchased our Canon Digital Rebel and have been learning the full extent of its abilities ever since. I still have so much to learn, but the best way is hands on experience. It's like becoming a church pianist. One day you just play for "specials" and the next, someone hears you play piano and you're playing week after week. You don't really know what you're doing, but you've GOT to figure it out. :) 

That was July 23rd for me. Kevin's dad does some wedding photography as a side business and took our photos on the day we were wed. He was going to be photographing Kevin's cousin's wedding in Indiana and asked Kevin and I to be assistant photographers. Kevin would be doing most of the photography. I would set up the poses. 

But at the last minute, Elise, the aforementioned cousin, needed Kevin to step in as an usher. He accepted. And I was launched into full-assistant-role. There wasn't too much pressure, but I wanted to do well and learn quickly

It was a fantastic experience, and felt pretty good about how I set up shots and how much I learned about my camera (and lighting and composition and and and). I loved being in the moment, working hard to capture the essence of every loving encounter, every playful exchange. Kevin and I spent many hours wading through the high number of photos to narrow down the ones that deserved editing. Then, the other day, I finally had the time to edit. Adobe Photoshop is brilliant, by the way. 

And so, friends, I give you--my favorite shots from Elise & Matt's wedding day (Congrats, guys!!):














August 18, 2011

The One with our Evening at Lake Ontario

You may remember how we've been little party animals since moving to NY. It's been a great way to get to know the people with whom we'll be living life. Connections--true, deep, meaningful relationships--make life beautiful. 

The second week here, we were invited to join a bunch of other church families out at "Getaway Camp"--a relaxed version of Family Camp, with fewer scheduled camp meetings and more time to just relax with your loved ones. Held at one of the 3 church conference campgrounds, this was not the type of camping experience I'm used to. There were street signs. And "cottages"--the size of modest houses. And the most glorious lakeside views you could imagine. 

Lake Ontario was quite rough and tumble when we arrived. The winds were whipping. White caps were plentiful. Kevin and I had a great time freezing time with photography, all while chatting and munching on pizza and s'mores. 

Pastor Randy and Sheryl are definitely fun people to spend time with--and on this bicycle built for two they show some mad skill. 

I'm sure Megan loves me for snapping this picture. But it was just too perfect to keep keep to myself. ;) She has a good excuse for that response to her s'more--that marshmallow was JUMBO!

Kevin was on a roll with the photographing-Melanie-while-she's eating. And I figured it was only fair to Megan that I post one of myself munching away.

And last but not least, the most picturesque photo of the night (with a teeny-tiny-me in the center)--captured by my husband.

What a joy it is to be living so close to the Great Lakes!

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August 16, 2011

The One with the Sappy Kitties

For the sake of complete honesty and because I seem to have an affinity for sharing my embarrassing moments, I will now expand about the "goodbye" entry from yesterday. 

I miss my cats. 


It wasn't until we said goodbye to our Butterscotch (after already giving Maisy a new home) that I realized how attached I had become. Those little rascals really kept me company. Even if they didn't do a whole lot, just knowing they were there, asleep in the other room, ready to receive my silly conversation and my need for snuggles--it made me feel comfortable. Hearing Butter's crazy-long back nails tapping along on the kitchen floor or knowing he had laid down because of the loud THUD. Maisy's little happy purr in response to anything I had to say always made me grin, and having her sleep on my head during the night (albeit annoying was lovely in a way.) 


I loved our gatos

Now, if detailing a few of the reasons I loved wasn't ridiculous enough, brace yourself for what I am about to tell you. 

The moment we closed the door behind ourselves after waving goodbye to our crying, scared-out-his-mind Blubberscotches (another loving nickname), I started sobbing. Over-sized tears pouring down my cheeks, staining my tshirt. And I couldn't. stop. Kevin kept holding me, listening as I confessed how crazy I was for crying over a CAT, and he smiled, but he understood. Butter was my first pet EVER. 

And I had just said goodbye. I was worried about him. Would he be scared forever? Would he miss me, feel betrayed, wonder if we were ever coming back for me? Would he die instantly of a heart attack? 

But all the worry aside, I just really loved that cat with the sway back and the saggy belly. The one that created hairballs the size of small countries. The one who always managed to gouge out a chunk of my leg with his long back claws when he made himself comfy on my lap. The one who made the occasional mess that really grossed me out (and yet I still loved him?!) The one who didn't really love many people besides the two of us. The one who was obsessed with cardboard and Kevin's Converse. The one who made a place for himself on my lap even when it already occupied. The one who was relegated to a life of uncertainty and irritation when the GIRL (Maisy) moved in. (We're still sorry about that, Butter.) The one who tried to took quite an adventure when we lived in our trailer at camp. The one who loved me almost as much as I loved him. 


That darn cat.


August 15, 2011

The One Where We Celebrated Goodbye

Moving to a new place, a new town, a new life comes with its blessings. But it also necessitates goodbyes. I have had to say many goodbyes to dear friends and yes, family, throughout my life. 

Leaving home for the very first time and moving onto the campus of Spring Arbor University was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. I cried. A lot. There were many hours on the phone with my mom. Many lonely Tuesday mornings as I was alone in my dorm room room on my later-class-day. I knew things would never be the same

And I was right. 

Despite the pain of saying goodbye to my sister, my mom and dad, my grandma, my closest friends, there was beauty that came from that change. New, deep friendships--the kind that can only come from living in community. Dating the guy I am now joyfully married to. Expanding my perspective to include global issues and thought-provoking theological discussions. I loved every minute of those 4 years. 

But even that came to an end. We graduated. We said goodbye to the people who had become our family. We moved on. Because we had to. 


We made our first home together. I decorated and baked and cleaned. And learned what it means to be a wife--that it's so much more than housework and saying, "I love you." We met new people, found our place among them, expanded our family by 30 (teenagers.)

And God called us forward. onward. higher. deeper. He tested our obedience--that He might display His faithfulness. 

Thus, we sad goodbye again. It was a beautiful night--our Going Away Celebration. A dear friend, Brandy, put on a lovely party. All of our "kids" were there, plus some. The church family gathered. Immediate family and my dear friend, Brittney, made the journey. As sure as the the sky is blue, tears fell. But laughter prevailed. Memories were made--sealed away in the deepest corners of our mind, forever cherished.




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August 14, 2011

The One with the Saturday Blessings

Besides the great run I had Saturday morning, there were other perks to the day.

A) finding a box of Tim Horton's donuts (is it donuts or doughnuts?!) on the front porch with a note inside that said, "love you guys! love, the B family."
1. I love donuts. No matter how in-shape I am, I will always love doughnuts
2. How cool is it that we have such awesome, totally thoughtful friends in our new town already?!
B) I fixed myself a bowl of oven-baked Steel Cut Oats and Apples
1. I figured I needed the extra nutrition boost after my nearly-five-mile run.
2. You have really got to try that recipe. Fast, easy. super delish!

C) I didn't get out of bed until quarter to eight. Rock on!

D) We had spent an entire evening with Randy and Sheryl--dinner, Settlers of Catan, and Euchre--until 10pm.
1. Once again reminded of the blessing it is to have made such good friends so fast!
2. We knew for sure we felt totally comfortable hanging out at their house already when we just walked in the front door before realizing we didn't knock! :D 
E) While eating my oats for breakfast, I watched This Old House on PBS.
1. I loved it. Man, that guy has some serious saw skills!
2. Yes, I realize this makes me a total dork. But that's why they call me "adorkable," right?
3. My grandma would be so proud--we used to watch TOH together many a Saturday morning.  
Laugh at me if you must (Kevin cracked up at my This Old House confession), but those five bullet points really make for a swell weekend in my book!

What silly indulgences do YOU enjoy??
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August 13, 2011

The One with the Quad Complaint

Wednesday morning I decided it had been far too long since Jillian Michaels and I hung out. We were pretty much bffs for a year or more, but in the last few months, I've been doing a whole lot more running or stationary-biking or Pilates or yoga. The cold months of January and February were filled mostly with 30 Day Shred just because of time constraints (and maybe a wee-bit of laziness thrown in.)  

Before I got hooked on 30DS, I was rotating between No More Trouble Zones and Banish Fat Boost Metabolism. Those two workouts are 40-50 minutes long, and man-o-man do they make me sweat. No matter how accustomed and capable I was to the routines (after months and months!) I still felt the burn. 

That brings us back to this Wednesday-scenario. I put No More Trouble Zones in the DVD player, knowing full-well I would be aching the next day. This workout is done with weights and incorporates lots and lots of squats. My quads are probably the most in-shape muscle in my body, but no matter. Jillian gets paid the big bucks for a reason. She knows how to get me sweating. It felt great

Until Thursday morning. For the next 36 hours I could barely move. I am not exaggerating. The mere thought of walking up the stairs to our bedroom or bathroom was like torture. My legs almost couldn't lift high enough to make each step. If Kevin put his hand on my leg, I shrieked in pain. It was pathetic.  

The next two days I took it easy--went on a walk and did Pilates. But on this beautiful Saturday morning, I could move without wanting to cry. VICTORY! It felt like a running sort of day. So I mapped out a path and hit the ground running. Yes, my quads still hurt a bit, but it a successful run. So successful in fact that I will proudly report 4.7 miles run in 39 minutes--an 8.29 minute mile. WOOHOO! 

Take THAT, Jillian! 

how are YOU staying in shape this week?


August 12, 2011

The One with 5 Minute Beauty

I've written on Beauty before. It's a topic I'm passionate about, though not because I've mastered its meaning. For me, learning comes through teaching. Even when I don't fully grasp a concept--be it geometry, piano theory, or theology--if someone asks my help in studying and understanding, I reap the benefits. The area of a triangle, the C major scale, the transubstantiation debate becomes a part of my permanent memory. Complete comprehension.

The same goes for Beauty. I'm still learning how to look in the mirror and see beauty for what it truly is. My initial instinct is to look at the flaws--a pimple, extra chub, bitten fingernails. But the Lord looks at my heart. What's past the reflection? Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. 

And then, when He becomes my all in all, my source of Peace, steadfast love, and perfect faithfulness, I receive a glimpse of the Beauty--my beauty, just as my Lord sees. 

linked up with The Gypsy Mama's 5 Minute Friday.
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August 10, 2011

The One with the Double Bed

Just last week I came across this post by Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama. She compares and contrasts the double or queen sized marriage bed to that of the king sized, which she and her husband are most used to. The comments on this post are quite entertaining as well, with people telling tales of couples happily sharing a twin bed to those pairs who can't seem to imagine life without the spacious king sized mattress. 

First of all, I can totally understand the need for a king sized bed if you and/or your spouse are above or beyond the six foot marker. I cannot imagine what life would be like towering above the clouds with such height, but I can only assume that having your feet hang over the end of a small bed would just not be enjoyable.

But for those of us "average" length folk (you might even say we're on the shorter end of our kind at 5'4" and 5"10"), this subject of marriage-bed-size is another matter entirely. Some people are big snugglers. Some sweat through the night and can't stand touching another furnace-like body. Some have curious sleep habits, needing the sheets pulled up just-so or maybe they are "nesters" and form a cocoon of sheets around themselves at night. Whatever your situation, the final decision of double, queen or king sized bed is completely up to you and your spouse. 

For Kevin and I, the choice has always been the queen. We bought our own mattress and box springs at Sam's Club a day after we returned home from our honeymoon, and we never looked back. The size is just right. Small enough that I can touch his foot with mine during the night without having to go on a search and rescue mission; large enough that he can roll me away from him when I slip into my REM cycle and my body temperature sky rockets. Yes, he pulls the Ross "Hug and Roll." 

But all that changed last Monday when we moved into our new house. We had a long assembly line of church friends carrying in box after box, until suddenly the line stopped moving. What was going on inside? Our queen sized bed was no-way, no-how going to fit up the staircase to the room we had chosen to be our own. What to do? what. to. do. At that moment, we said to leave those pieces of our marriage bed in the first floor bedroom. We would decide later. 

Later came all too quickly, as putting together our bed was going to be a priority. (My mom always told me to make my bed first whenever we move. That way, you can actually collapse into bed when you're exhausted rather than trying to gain energy to put sheets on it. Smart woman, my momma.) Because I was in love with the headboard from the double bed my grandma had given us a year ago, I decided it might not be a bad thing to try out the double bed scenario. It would work for a while, right? 

YES. YES. and yes. We are really loving our double bed. I used to think they were impossibly small with no room to escape the touch of another's body. And yes, they are small. But we've found it to be just right for our sleeping habits. I get to snuggle and spoon to my heart's content, but he can still roll away (or roll me away) when I get too warm. Perfect. :)

So there you have it. We've officially become double-bed-marriage-bed-mates

What size bed are you attached to?


August 8, 2011

The One with So Many Parties

We've had so many invitations for this party or that visit since moving to our new hometown, in our new home state just last Monday. 

Thursday morning was breakfast with Pastor Randy. 
Thursday evening was a ladies' pool party. 
Friday night was surprise party for Nick O on obtaining his black belt in karate.
Sunday morning, following the church service, was a welcome reception for Kevin and me. 
Sunday afternoon was filled with fun at the pool with Pastor Randy and Sheryl and their four awesome kids. 
Coming up this Wednesday is a gathering of friends out at one of the church camps for pizza and partying. 
Friday I'm hitting the sales with the "garage sale Queen." 
NEXT Thursday is the Bible Quizzing kick off party. 
And that Sunday will be another youth pool party / get-to-know-Pastor-Kevin-and-Mel.


So many parties, so little time. 

But it's so so good to have friends, to be loved, to have our needs anticipated and hearts full

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. 

August 5, 2011

The One with the House Tour

Let's start from the beginning, shall we? This post will chronicle our moving process from the boxing and packing and loading stage in Michigan to the unloading and un-boxing and setting up home in New York. Enjoy!


For weeks before the move, I packed and piled boxes in the bedroom aptly nicknamed "The Rose Room." At least 2/3 of the space was filled 5 feet high with boxes.

Our new church generously purchased a UHaul truck for our move--a wonderful blessing. It was the largest they come--27 feet!

We had a small crew to load the truck, it was hot and humid, but we got the job done! Thanks so much to Chris, Garrett, Isaac and my mom and dad for working your tails off to help us pack the Uhaul.

After a 7.5 hour drive (Kevin and Dad E in the Uhaul, Mom E and Brian in the van, me and our goldfish in the non-air-conditioned Civic), a hail storm, toll booths and various pit stops, we arrived a half hour early to our new home. We were greeted by a beautifully hand painted signs by Lydia--one of our new teens--and a potted plant from Wendy O. and her family.

It took three days to get through all of the boxes, arrange things appropriately, scrub counters and floors and cupboards and stairs and walls. We never could have done it without the tireless help of Kevin's family and my mama. They were a tremendous asset. Gordon and Linda took multiple trips to the store to pick up shelving units, mini blinds, and a dehumidifier and, along with Kevin and Brian, transformed the creepy, dark, musty basement into usable storage space and laundry area. My mom worked with me to organized the kitchen--my top priority of course--and then our bedroom and dining room and more.

I still have lots of work to do--mostly hanging our numerous picture frames and wall hangings throughout the house--but it's set up and lovely to live in. You are welcome any time!


The view from the front door entrance--Our living room, complete with the beautiful piano that took 7 guys to move.

The new couch we purchased the day before loading the Uhaul. I LOVE it. Our micro-suede drapes matched perfectly too!

Another view of the living room. You can see the staircase on the left and you might notice the picture frame on the end table in the foreground (bottom right). That's the electronic photo frame Brandy and Pam and our teens gave to us before we left--it cycles through hundreds of pictures for our viewing pleasure. :)

Through the living room is this dining room--an extension of the extra long kitchen. I love the double french doors that lead to a small back deck, and having my Grandma Mary's dining room table and buffet (filled with my China) makes it a truly special space.

This is the view of the kitchen from the dining room. On the left is my desk, then our stand up freezer. It wouldn't fit down the basement stairs, but I kind of love having it so accessible.

The cute curtains were found by Mom and Dad E--the red flowers are the perfect accent to tie in with my red stand mixer and kitchen tools. The stove took some serious scrubbing to get it up to par. Those new drip pans turned it into an almost-new-looking appliance.

The large window over the sink is lovely, and I love those light fixtures above the curtains. Also, the sink is almost new and I'm SO thankful to have a double sink and garbage disposal.
This is the door in the kitchen that leads down to the basement. I didn't feel like taking pictures of that area. :) Though I did laundry for the first time today and it wasn't half bad.

Kevin's wood-paneling-offfice is located off of the kitchen/dining room, so he's always nearby. It's a small space, but the perfect size for his extra large LaZBoy recliner (for optimal reading), desk and two bookshelves.


Back to the front of the house and up the staircase...
(To the right of the staircase is a large bedroom and extra large closet, but it's just filled with boxes of decorations for now, so it wasn't really picture worthy. The closet, though, is totally useful--already stocked with our large collection of games and my excessive number of sweatshirts and coats.)

At the top of the stairs and to the right is our bedroom. We couldn't fit the queen sized mattress upstairs so we opted for the double bed. I am in love with the headboard--another gift from my Grandma Mary--and we're using our favorite bedding set again--a gift from my other Grams. The wood laminate floors are in all of the bedrooms and hallways--I really like the look of them!


This is the landing at the top of the stairs--the perfect spot for yet another bookcase.

Another small guest bedroom that also happens to be my "dressing room." Our closets are tiny, so I've occupied this spare one with my clothes, shoes, and purses.

The bathroom is upstairs as well. It's a nice size, and I think I've finally put everything where it looks nice and makes the most sense.

Three cheers for bathroom closets!

And that's that. I'm sure I'll upload more pictures as I settle in more and more. You won't mind will you??