Thursday, September 20, 2007

Donuts Rule

I just want to say that Dunkin' Donuts is awesome. The Boston Kreme is my favorite. My husband introduced me on our Chicago trip last year, and we have been best friends ever since. You should try it sometime.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Purple Weekend

This was my purple weekend. I won this book at a conference.

And I won this bathroom by having the best husband in the entire world.


Three days and very little sleep later:

He picked out all the fixtures without input - we had talked a little bit about it, but in a future, this is what I might want someday, kind of way. He even asked me while I was gone how tall I am. He was trying to decide where to place the wall sconces so I could get the best light for doing my makeup. Does it get any better than that?

Think about a few days without your spouse - even though you miss him or her, you try to think of the things you can do with a little alone time: read a book (or a magazine if you're my husband), watch your favorite TV shows, watch a movie he or she wouldn't like, eat what you want, follow your own schedule, work on your hobbies...all the stuff you have very little time for during a normal week. He gave up all those things plus a lot of the basics like food and sleep so he could finish this bathroom for me.

Do you know what he said? He knew that I wanted a finished room in our house, and since he knew the basement bathroom couldn't be completed in 3 days, he decided to do this room so I would have one room that is completely done. How amazing is that? He totally put himself in my shoes and did what he thought would make me happy. Holy cow - I knew I married an awesome man, but this is so over the top and amazing. He works so hard at his job that he's often pretty beat when he gets home. For him to set aside so much time to complete this room for me is beyond what I could have dreamed. He finished it from top to bottom: ceiling tiles, baseboards and all the trim, fixtures, a new half wall to hide the plumbing, new electrical and plumbing, new laminate hardwood-look flooring (I absolutely love it), new wall color...there's probably even more I'm not thinking even thinking of right now. That makes ME tired! And thanks to my wonderful father-in-law, Vern, for pitching in on Saturday to get it all completed before I came home!

Thank you, baby. I feel like I won the lottery for the greatest, most loving and giving husband that can be found. You inspire me to keep thinking up new, fun surprises to show how much I love you.

I suppose I have to finish soon. I could write about this forever. Here is the very awesome wall sconce he picked out:

It is all even cooler in person, so please come over and see it soon!

And here is my wonderful baby at 3:57 a.m. on Saturday morning (it's hard to see the time in the picture):

I couldn't ask for a better husband. You were SO worth waiting for!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Office, Part 2

I took some pictures. I hope they turned out okay. This is my new office! I am so stressed today that I am not enjoying it very much, but it is a great office. And I like it very much. I just prefer to be putting on my workout clothes and walking out the stress in just a few minutes.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Change Can Be Good

I tend to resist change. But I moved to a new office this week (same workplace, just a new office :-), and I am absolutely loving it. I loved cleaning out the desk and making room for more stuff. I loved rearranging furniture and decor. I loved buying a new picture frame into which will go a collage of pictures from our recent vacation. I am (gasp) excited to be in my office! Not that I don't like my job, but it's been a while since I actually can't wait to get to work.

I am going to enjoy this for as long as it lasts. And hopefully I'll get a picture taken soon so you can see it, too!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Oh, Sweet Bliss

Vacation is long over, but it sure is fun to reminisce! So I'll do my best in summarizing the 12 days that we were gone. We'll see how far I get in this first post.

We flew into San Francisco and had quite an ordeal just getting to the car rental place, but we finally picked up our white Nissan Xterra. We really liked it, but we returned it on Tuesday in exchange for a little cheaper vehicle. It was definitely necessary for the off-roading we did, though! Anyway, we drove across the Bay Bridge and I got to take a bunch of pictures of the Port of Oakland for my husband. Only a few turned out, but there were a LOT of containers being loaded onto and off the ships. We hit the traffic jam of the was crazy for a LLLOOONNNGGG way out of Oakland. We stopped in Tracy for some In-N-Out Burger. Have you been there? It's crazy good. By the time we got back on the road, the traffic had thinned out.

We stayed in Modesto on night one. We loaded up that night with road trip food and a cooler for our drinks. We planned on being in the mountains for a few days and didn't know what kind of food or how often we'd be able to find anything.

On Saturday, we drove to Jamestown to see Railtown 1897. Lots of movies ("Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again," "Back to the Future III," etc.) and TV shows have used the park to tape their train scenes. We rode the train and then took a tour of the roundhouse. (This is us at Railtown.)

We also visited Matt's cabin from when they lived out there in Long Barn, CA. That was the beginning of our journey across Sonora Pass. We got some beautiful pictures (see the last post), but the driving was pretty insane. Nightfall came about halfway through the Pass, so we spent a lot of the drive in the dark, which is pretty crazy when you have no idea what the drop off right next to you is like. I am glad I was driving - I get more scared when riding then driving.

Anyway, after discovering I have acrophobia (unlike him), we made it to Judy's Tahoe cabin. We were SO tired, and we had quite an ordeal just getting a cheeseburger at McDonald's (I think they were closed but forgot to turn off the menu board, so they made the burgers for the starving travelers.) We had the alarm code and punched it in, but then we set it off trying to find our way around (it's quite a big place). We figured out she had switched the "arm" and "disarm" codes around in her note - possibly on purpose. She's quite the practical joker. We decided not to figure out the hot water heater until the morning, so I washed my face in the most freezing water I have ever used in my life. And we fell blissfully asleep.

This is already too long, so I will have to continue with day 3 and on at another time.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I have been a blogging slacker, but I desperately want to write some things down about our vacation. At the very least, I'll post a few pictures and hopefully get some stuff written soon. Above is a location we found while driving across Sonora Pass (a.k.a. Insane, Crazy, Winding Highway to get across California). It was a beautiful drive while it was still light, and this area was gorgeous. We were finally able to watch some of our video last night. That was so much fun!!

This is from our dinner at Lou's Pier 47 Restaurant in San Francisco. It was a fun restaurant, very cute, and one of the pictures that we were able to get of both of us! Anyway, I will try to post more soon. Whatever "soon" means. It probably means "after VBS."

Monday, April 23, 2007

What Do I Do?

This is a funny question. People ask, "You're a children's pastor? So, what do you do during the week?" I try not to be insulted. :-) But seriously, I kind of wonder, too: what do I do? It varies so immensely based on the season, the activities that are going on, etc. And if the senior pastor asks you to do something, then you do it regardless of whether or not it's on your "job description." So...I thought I would take a sample day of yesterday and see what I actually DO.

  • We are beginning to switch over to a new church management system. More than just a database, it will help us track volunteers, assign kids to classes/events, securely check them in and out, identify students by school/grade/birthdate, and a host of other items too detailed to list here. I am in charge of the implementation project with the awesome T as my sidekick (seriously - that's what they call it, a sidekick). We're very superhero-ish. Anyway, yesterday we had some problems entering data, so I worked on that. I also reviewed T's bunch of e-mails about a meeting we have scheduled this week to train data entry volunteers and attempted to line up child care for the meeting.

  • I entered into this same program a list of as many schools as I could find in the phone book if I knew that we have children who attend there. I also set security rights for all the staff who are the only users we have entered at this point.

  • I counted the offering from Sunday's kid's services.

  • I cleaned up some curriculum that was returned to me and took it to a closet upstairs.

  • I met with the leaders from our Sunday morning kid's church program. They have kicked off a new program in the past few weeks, and we talked about getting schedules put together for those volunteers. I helped them make one up in Excel and I will follow up with them next week to see if they were able to plug volunteers into all the spots as needed for the next 3 months.

  • I updated a quarterly schedule of youth volunteers for my pre-school classes. Each quarter, I get new curriculum for these classes. I have to update and copy new schedules, list the quarterly Bible verses, schedule youth volunteers, assimilate and distribute the materials (6 separate sets of teachers during those 3 months), and create a quarterly calendar for the entire children's ministry with a note to parents regarding that quarter's lesson themes and other activities or news. I am going on vacation at the end of May, so I need to finish all this work ahead of my regular schedule.

  • I made a few phone calls and sent e-mails to find substitutes for next month.

  • I have a meeting on Tuesday, so I printed off some materials to go over with a new teacher so I would be ready to meet with her.

  • I looked over the VBS volunteer list and considered who to ask for some of the empty positions still to be filled.

  • Last year's VBS materials were on a hard drive that crashed, so I have to create any documents used from scratch. I began yesterday with the creating schedule for the week.

I don't know if that sounds like a day's worth of work or not. I may have done a few other things in there, but that is the bulk of what I can remember. Anyway, it seems as though it's never a regular "to do" list but rather a constantly revolving door through which many events and people pass. There is no "typical day" in ministry. Not that I have ever experienced, anyway.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Great Getaway

We are beginning to plan our summer vacation! We have purchased our tickets and are going to spend 10 days in the San Jose/San Francisco area next month! I can't believe how quickly it is coming. Matt has a list a mile long of train and railroad-associated things to see and do. My list currently consists of malls and coffee shops to visit, but I hope to check out some of the tourism sites and find some other things that appeal to me. What I enjoyed so much about our honeymoon was the opportunity to just chill and relax - no pressure to go anywhere or do anything. Hopefully we can take at least a day to just do that. We are staying with some family friends of the Gidley's, and they have a separate guest home that will I'm sure be awesome! I've seen a few pictures - I'm not sure if they're still on Matt's website or not.

That is my exciting news - our first year of marriage was filled with so many fun trips and outings, and I'm looking forward to starting the second year off with a bang!
The more of this that happens on vacation, the better! Who wouldn't want to be doing this right about now? Bet it's not snowing there!

Monday, April 02, 2007

The First of Many

What a year of firsts! The first year of marriage has been just wonderful, and we celebrated our first anniversary on Sunday. It was so special to spend time over the weekend reminiscing about our wedding and everything surrounding it. We have done so much in this first year - it's really been full of a lot of fun trips and memories. God has blessed us incredibly. He has kept us healthy and provided for all our needs and given us the ability to travel and enjoy our "DINK" status. I have learned so much about my husband and about myself this year. I am determined to be a better wife in the second year than I was in the first. I am so excited to see what God will bring our way as we grow closer to Him and to each other.

Thanks for an amazing first year, baby. You have shown me more love than I ever imagined I would experience in this year, and I believe God has blessed me with the most incredible husband - even more than I could have asked for. I know the best is yet to come for us!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Awesome God

I don't know what else to say today. God is awesome. He did so many miracles this weekend in my life - every moment worked together and brought me to a place I have never been before with Him. I can't calm the excitement inside me. I feel like a different woman! I cannot fathom what He is going to do in my life that could be greater than this feeling, but I am reveling in every moment of it.

I'm also very glad that the super strong burning smell in my home this morning was not the house burning down. I forgot that when the weather gets warm, the Asian beetles get in the halogen lamp in our closet and they smell like the house is burning down. Thanks to my husband for driving all the way home to figure that out.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

To my Grandpa

To my Grandpa:
I was lucky to have two wonderful grandfathers in my life. I got you for the longest - 29 great years. I know that it was God's time to bring you home to be with Him, but I want you to know that I will miss you very much. I looked forward to holidays at your house so much. All the people, the laughter, the food, the fun, and your humor that made every occasion a blast. I think of all the times you and Grandma trekked down to southern Missouri and took me (and sometimes a friend) to dinner while I was in college. I remember all the graduations, musicals, drama team ministry, and so many other things in my growing-up years that you were a part of. But what I will remember most is your great hugs and your great smile and how they conveyed your great love for me. And I will be forever grateful to the man who invited you to church and to your willingness to hear and accept the salvation that Jesus offered. You began a Christian heritage that continues in your grandchildren and will continue for generations until Jesus comes. I couldn't be more grateful to follow in those footsteps that you laid out for us.
I love you so much, Grandpa. It was really hard to say good-bye this weekend. I want to hear one more joke, see one more smile, and get one more "I love you." As we were reminded this weekend - in God's time, it will only be a moment and then I will see you again.
Your Loving Granddaughter,

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wanna go to Cancun?

Sorry. I can't send you there. But you can live vicariously through Matt's and my honeymoon pictures! Visit the picture galleries on Matt's website and our honeymoon pictures are the top link. (Even if you've seen them, his web design is so great that you have to at least check that part out!)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Maggie May

Most of you who read my blog know my friend, Maggie May (her on the right, me in the middle, our friend Mandee on the left). I am thinking about her a lot this week because I just found out that she has breast cancer. She will have surgery on Wednesday followed by chemotherapy and radiation. I cannot fathom how this happens to a 26-year-old woman. I want to hug her and promise that everything will be okay. I really can't make that promise, but my God can. I believe with all my heart that He will heal her. He has great things to do in her life - she is AMAZING! She has so many gifts, and she has so much experience that I know God wants her to share. She is a true minister, one who loves others with all her heart and reaches out to them. I am blessed to be her friend, and now it's my job to be relentless in praying for her healing. I left my journal in the car, but I wrote about her today and was thinking of her in relation to this verse: "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 11:9-10, New Living Translation) Keep on seeking. KEEP ON ASKING. KEEP ON KNOCKING. Our God is listening - I wonder if He just wants us to show how desperate we are for Him. I'm desperate for Maggie this week and for Him to heal her completely. He may use the course of her surgery and treatment to do so, He may not. I do not know His plan, but I will keep on asking and believe that He will heal her. Will you believe and pray with me?

I love you, Maggie. You are an amazing friend and I miss seeing your beautiful smile. Thanks for sharing your infectious laugh with me on Sunday and proving that God is still good and will be with you through it all.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hooray for 2007!

I like the thought of beginning a new year by closing out the last one. So I will participate in Heth's meme today.

What did you do in 2006 that you had never done before?
Got married (that should be enough right there)...lived in a church...changed my name...

Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't recall making any. I am making one this's my secret, though. Well, two. The other is to be more consistent with my journaling.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Lots of people I love did (or will soon)...Melanie is the closest person I can recall giving birth last year.

Did anyone close to you die?
No - my grandpa came close at Christmas, but he's doing better now.

What countries did you visit?

What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
More self-control. More trust in God.

What dates will remain etched in your memory and why?
April 1: wedding day. Celebrating our birthdays together for the first time.

What's your biggest achievement of the year?
Adjusting to marriage...still working on that. Getting into journaling and being more consistent and seeing my relationship with God grow.

What was your biggest failure?
Putting myself before others too many times.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Illness - I was pretty sick in February. I ripped a nice chunk out of my arm when moving some stuff into our house...still have a scar from that one. That's about it from my recollection. Other unmentionable stuff.

What was the best thing you bought?
My birthday present to Matt. I'm very proud of that one.

Whose behavior merited celebration?
Matt and I have worked hard on setting a good foundation for our marriage. I am proud of us.

Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted?
All front page celebrities.

Where did most of your money go?
Hard to seems like bills. But we got to have fun, too, so I'm not complaining too much. We do eat out a lot, too.

What did you get really really excited about?
All the firsts of being married! Everything I get to do with my husband makes me excited...our wedding, our honeymoon, our Galena trip in July, our Chicago trip in December, our first Christmas together.

What song will always remind you of 2006?
"All I Ask of You" from "The Phantom of the Opera." Our wedding song.

Compared to this time last year are you?
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) fatter or thinner? Fatter, but it's a temporary situation.
c) richer or poorer? Richer

What do you wish you had done more of?
Letting go of my expectations.

What do you wish you had done less of?

How will you be spending New Year's Eve?
I was at home with my husband.

Did you fall in love in 2006?
Oh, yes.

What was your favorite TV program?
"King of Queens" and "Law & Order"

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

What was the best book you read?
Such a tough one for many great marriage books. Ask me if you want a list. :-) The biggest life-changer was the Bible. And Joy That Lasts by Gary Smalley was amazing.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
I still listen to a lot of United Live...probably a lot more rock since hanging out with my husband.

What did you want and get?
Someone to share life with.

What did you want and not get?
not sure...

What was your favorite film this year?
I really loved "Rocky Balboa." "World Trade Center" was awesome, too. Oh, hello - "Nacho Libre"!! Has to be top of my list with the new Rocky. "Did you tell them they were the Lord's cheeps?"

What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
Drove to Des Moines...shopped...ate dinner with my parents...enjoyed spending it ALL with my fiancee(at the time)!

What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying?
The same thing as every year - worrying less and trusting God more. A constant struggle. And some other things I won't share.

How would you describe your personal fashion in 2006?
Cheap trendy and black?

What kept you sane?
God and Matt and Starbucks and shopping.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
There is no "fancying" - just morbid curiosity.

What political issue stirred you the most?
They all get me worked up...the whole Iraq war gets me up in arms...ha ha ha.

Who did you miss?
My family; Christy; the Rasmussens; Leann; Tricia. But I got to see most of them at my wedding!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.
God works best when I am in the least amount of control. Wish I could learn that better.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime"