Friday, December 26, 2008

My New Toy

I'm a LOT of years behind the iPod craze. Yes, I have been pretty happy with my Dell DJ for quite a while. But this year I took a liking to the new iPod nano. Christmas present.Yeah, it's hot pink. HOT pink. It rocks. So far I have listened to very little music and played a lot of games. I am really looking forward to listening to music and podcasts in the near future, though.

But seriously, it's been a fun Christmas and we have played lots of games and had tons of fun with family. My sister, brother-in-law, and new niece are coming to visit tomorrow, so we have some after-Christmas fun still to anticipate. Yeah!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Hannah's First Thanksgiving

Hannah was a busy girl while her mom was away! We're trying to be a good, positive influence on our new niece.

Happy first Thanksgiving, Hannah!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Welcome Hannah Grace

I'm an aunt! Hannah Grace was born at 1:35 this morning. She was only five pounds, nine ounces! What a tiny, sweet baby. Melanie and I are going to road trip it down there this weekend. It's 8 hours each way, and we only have Friday night and Saturday to do it. It's totally worth it, though!! I can't wait to meet her!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Song of Hope

The latest New Life Worship CD has been in my CD player nonstop. I bought the downloaded version, so I don't have access to lyrics and can't find them online. I typed these out because it's one of my favorites. (Warning: they may not be correct. There are few words that were hard to decipher. I gave it my best shot.) It has encouraged me so much as I have listened to it. Repeatedly. I hope the lyrics encourage you, too. Pick it up if you have a chance. It's totally worth it.


Find rest, my soul

Confess your freedom

Surrender all

Embrace your healing

I will cast my cares

You are always there

You are greater, greater than the fight

That rages for my life

I have found my rest is in

You are brighter, breaking through the night

Lighting up my sight

I have seen my rest is in You

Find hope, my soul

You know He’s with you

My Savior God

Still I will praise You

I will cast my cares

For You have always cared

You are greater, greater than the fight

That rages for my life

I have found my rest is in

You are brighter, breaking through the night

Lighting up my sight

I have seen my rest is in You

His yoke is easy

His burden is light

I have decided

I’m gonna fix my eyes

On the Perfecter

The Author of my faith, Jesus Christ

Friday, September 26, 2008

Boys and Their Toys

Here it is! It's very nice. I love it. I drove it yesterday! I can't wait to take everyone for a ride in it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Who brings a computer on vacation?

I am usually pretty unplugged on vacation. I just figured I would rather upload some pictures to Facebook than sit mindlessly in front of the TV while my husband took a nap this afternoon. So I'm on the computer in the Rocky Mountains. Have I mentioned it's gorgeous here? We're staying in Estes Park tonight and spending the rest of our weekend with Mandy (Matt's sister) in Denver. We have had a great time so far. I am so sad that I can't be with Melanie tomorrow. Her brother Craig loved spending time in Colorado, so I am thinking about her and him as we view the gorgeous backdrop throughout the area. If I can't be with her to remember her brother, then it's fitting that I'm here to remember him.

So I'm blogging on vacation. But this is probably all you will see (or hear) of me. Hopefully I'll have some good pictures to post when we return. For now, you can check my Facebook for some new and older ones. :-)

Oh, and before I go, here's my current favorite Psalm:

Psalm 130
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israell, put your hope in the Lord, for wiht the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.

Miss you all! We look forward to seeing you next week. And I love you lots, Mel.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Know & Tell Friday

I've never done this before, but a friend of mine does it pretty regularly, so I thought I would give it a shot today. Maybe you should, too!

1. My favorite bedtime attire is right now, shorts and a tank top. We don't have A/C in our bedroom, and there have been some hot nights!! (No, that's not what I mean, Jenni).

2. The perfect meal would include something Italian and super cheesy with a hearty side of Vinny's garlic bread and a big glass of Diet Pepsi.

3. The most memorable girl's night out I've ever had was when's hard for me to pick the "most" because so many have been so great. One that stands out is when some of us went to Starbucks after the Women's Conference. It was spontaneous, which is not my nature. We had a fun time! That was in March 2008. I was 30-years-old (if I have to admit it).

4. My earliest memory is being in the basement of our first church for Sunday School. I have no idea how old I was.

5. The family is gone for the evening and I will spend my time reading, playing games on my phone, making whatever I want for dinner, and watching TV in the background. Maybe call someone I don't talk too much.

6. Right now I am blogging, of course! And drinking Diet Pepsi.

7. When I am done blogging, I am going to decide what to do next.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Go, Carl, Go!

You have heard that I love NASCAR. But do you know why?

I have been a fan for around 6 years. I definitely knew about it and watched races prior to that time, but I was very casual about it. When I moved to another city, I decided to start watching more regularly so I could have something to share with my dad (he has loved cars and racing for a very long time).

I began watching and cheering for his favorites because, well, that's all I knew. I hated the ones he hated, too. Oh, that Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. To mention such names is tantamount to swearing in his presence. So I got into it and realized how interesting the season as a whole could be. Like other sports, you compete all season for the big year-end "prize" - to be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion. (Used to be Nextel Cup, used to be Winston Cup...but that's another blog.)

Some of my favorites did better than others. I loved Matt Kenseth. He's from Wisconsin (Midwestern-born like me), drives a Ford, and I liked his humble personality. He won the championship in 2003. Two years in a row! I loved Kurt Busch when he drove a Ford (one of the key criteria in my home). He was brash and bold, but he was a great driver. He won the championship in 2004. I cried. (Stop laughing.)

So now we skip ahead to 2008. Kyle Busch is really showing his stuff. However, Carl Edwards is up to four wins (second to Kyle in this category). Carl is from Missouri (I lived there for 7 years). He has the best personality of any guy on the circuit. He is a tough competitor, but he's friendly, gives a great interview, and is respectful. I really like Carl. I met him in October 2004. He was just entering the scene, and I was able to get the above picture with him. Single girl, single guy - my head was spinning. Sure, I'm a pastor. And Carl...well, I knew that would likely never work out well. But a girl can dream, right?

I am amazed at how popular he is now. He has the best shot to win this year's championship of all the guys I root for (Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Carl, Jamie McMurray, David Ragan - they all drive for the same owner). And he won the race on Sunday! It was a great race with plenty of ups and downs. It's like a movie; you can't stop it in the middle or skip to the end lest you miss some great plot twist. It's tense; the protagonist may lose it all. And when he pulls off the win, it's that much sweeter. I didn't get to watch it until Monday, but I still screamed and yelled for him. There is nothing like your guy winning. I'm sure you agree, no matter what sport you follow.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Until Then

Scripture John 7:6-8 "Therefore Jesus told them, 'The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.'"

Observation Jesus knew the importance of God's timing and allowing Him to prepare the way. His family was not aware of it, so they pressured Him to come out of anonymity. However, Jesus was confident in knowing that the Father would show Him when the right time arrived.

Application "The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing." How many times have I seen this proven true in my life? Even when waiting means prolonged pain, God's timing is still best. The current pain will eventually pass, but the perseverance gained and the closer walk with God will be worth it. I know because it has been true in the past. I believe it will be true in the future. Even those closest to me may not see the timing as God's, but I must continue to trust and believe. I will hold on because I want to see "the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:14).

Prayer Dear Father, You are my Strength and my Shield. The consequences of sin are at times devastating, especially when I didn't commit the sin. Yet I am reminded that I, too, am a sinner and am in need of Your grace daily. Please guide me with Your counsel and hold my hand today. I desperately need Your presence to comfort me and keep me safe through the storm. I may get wet, but please preserve my life so that I may tell the story of Your great goodness. Forgive me of my sins - for my bad attitude, my desire for revenge, and my ungodly thoughts. Wash me and purify my heart. Show me how to respond in a godly way. Transform my heart and mind as only You can.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Awww! Aren't they adorable?
Irresistible, right?

Free to a good any home.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Mother Lode

My sister is due with her first child (a daughter!) in a few months. We are having her first baby shower next weekend, so I have been looking for deals so I can get her MORE stuff! She hasn't bought a lot of clothes, which of course is one of the most fun baby shopping experiences. At least, it is for me. I found this adorable outfit at H&M:

It wasn't even on SALE. Hel-lo?!?! (Get it? Hello Kitty?) I don't know the last time I bought a clothing item at regular price. I just thought the Hello Kitty was too adorable, and I figured a hot pink sweater for a baby girl could be worn over many things in the winter. I hope so, because I think it's just precious.

Then my clearance shopping instinct kicked in and I purchased the following items for next summer:

That would be 2 pairs of shorts, 4 tank tops (all items were 98 cents each), two floral print dresses, one insanely cute smocked pink top with brown polka dots (her nursery colors will be pink and brown), and two peasant-style tops with stitching on the sleeves. Oh, and I didn't include them in the picture, but there is a set of onesies with Disney princesses dresses. One says "It's all about the..." and has a picture of a dress. SO cute! I am so glad she found out she is having a girl - it's so fun to shop when you know who you're shopping for!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

So we bought kitty #2 last weekend. Legato. He he...we get to use a musical term to name our kitty! Yeah! He's much, much calmer than Monkey. That's my kind of pet. Life is stressful enough that I don't need a spastic kitty to raise my stress level when I'm supposed to be relaxing at home. Am I right here? I'm counting down the days until they become "outdoor kittens."

I suspect he may have a kitty cold (which is apparently life-threatening at his age), so we have to keep them apart for a couple of weeks. They were so funny when they were able to play together a little bit. I have no idea how to get the video from a mini-DV tape onto my computer, but I would love to so you could see it. I was scared that Monkey would definitely hurt Legato, but the vet said it would be very unlikely that he could cause him real harm.

Ohhh-kkaaayyyyy....maybe you should watch them play before you make a judgment call like that. It's pretty rough in the land of Monkey. Until he gets neutered in a few weeks. Then he may not have quite so much energy.

I hope.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Quote on Prayer

"Prayer always has its effects in the spirit realm. The only thing you must remember is this: It won't be the one who reads about prayer who will move mountains, and it won't be the one who believes in prayer who will cast that mountain into the sea. It won't even be the one who aches to pray more often who will carry the day in battle. It'll go to the one who prays.

You need to pray, my friend."

-Fred Stoeker, The Healing Choice (p. 133)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Reader's MEME

I found this MEME on the blog of one of my favorite authors. I LOVE to read, and I thought it looked like fun. Feel free to use it on your blog if you like!

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading? I believe my parents read to me quite a bit. But I have always loved reading; I can't remember NOT loving it.

2. What are some books you read as a child? Nancy Drew mysteries, Hardy Boys mysteries, Box Car kids, The Baby-Sitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins...pretty much everything I could get my hands on!

3. What is your favorite genre? Probably Christian non-fiction. I read a ton of ministry, marriage, and other Christian living books. I love Christian fiction and fiction in general, too.

4. Do you have a favorite novel? I have a difficult time choosing favorites. To narrow it down, some of the top ones I can recall are The Covenant by Terry Blackstock, The Awakening by Angela Hunt,

5. Where do you usually read? At home, on the couch.

6. When do you usually read? In the evening, often before bed.

7. Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time? Oh yes. I have a number of books in progress. I buy more books than I can read at one time, so they keep piling up on the floor, the shelves, the nightstand...

8. Do you read non-fiction in a different way or place than you read fiction? I usually read fiction straight through, often in a few days. If I don't have the time, I will drag it out a little more. I read non-fiction more slowly to process the content and what it means to me personally.

9. Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library? I buy most of them. I like to have them to loan out and I like full bookshelves. I also highlight and mark up the books that really mean a lot to me. In addition, as a future author, this is a great quote from another author: "I buy them. Because if nobody buys books, authors starve. Sad but true."

10. Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them? Yes, I keep them. I loan them out as well, but I like to have them for quick access. I often plan on re-reading most of the books I have.

11. If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? Were they some of the same ones you read as a child? N/A

12. What are you reading now? Hmmm...I have lots of things in progress. Matt and I are reading The First Five Years by Bill and Pam Farrel together. I am also reading The Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas, In Search of Eden by Linda Windsor, a re-read of Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore, and a book recommended by a friend called The Healing Choice by Brenda Stoeker and Susan Allen. The intended audience is wives who have been betrayed, but I have found that it applies to a much broader spectrum as the woman who writes the first half dealt with her mother's battle with cancer. Many of the truths I have read are universally applicable to everyone who has taken an "unintended journey" in life (who hasn't?). It really has given me some great tools to draw closer to God. I'm only about a third of the way through it, but it is incredible in its ability to honestly address pain and how we deal with it.

13. Do you keep a TBR (To Be Read) list? I buy what I want to read. If I can't afford everything I am interested in (generally true), I save it in my cart so I can retrieve it the next time I'm ready to place an order.

14. What's next? I just ordered Every Woman's Battle, Believing God by Beth Moore, and I also have Authentic Faith by Gary Thomas that I really want to start and When Sinners Say I Do...don't remember the author.

15. What books would you like to reread? A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. Joy That Lasts by Gary Smalley. Visioneering by Andy Stanley.

16. Who are your favorite authors? Oh, I have so many. I will list just a few. For non-fiction, it would be Gary Thomas, Brenda Stoeker, Beth Moore, John Ortberg, and Andy Stanley. For fiction, Angela Hunt, Karen Kingsbury, Terry Blackstock, and Dee Henderson.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Missing You

When you live far from those you call family - parents, siblings, and extended family - you have to create your own family. Your friends become like family. Those you work with, minister with, and share life with are the family God has provided. I am grateful for each one I have come to know and love.

However, if you are a sister, you also know that there is no bond like a sister bond. We are linked forever by our blood and our heritage, our memories and our faces, our laughs and our shared experiences.

I have two sisters. They live 8 hours from me. One is pregnant, due near the end of October. I feel far removed from this incredible event in her life. I haven't seen her since the end of March, and I don't know when I will be able to meet her beautiful baby because of the distance between us. I talk to my sisters on the phone, but we don't get to "share life" as fully as when we lived in the same town. They still live in the same town, and sometimes I get jealous of the times they share. I am the oldest and not used to being the one left out of things.

Ministry is a different calling; if I had a choice, I would live much closer to them. But unless God allows it, I will make the best of what we have, the times we do share, and the friendship that was birthed decades ago in our cozy, childhood home.

(With Mom and Grandma)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fading Away

Psalm 102:25-27 "In the beginning, You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing, You will change them and they will be discarded. But You remain the same, and Your years will never end."

As beautiful as this earth is, it is not forever. As much as I love my clothes/books/shoes (fill in the blank), they are temporary and will all wear out or be discarded. My feelings seem so real that I can forget what is real: God. God alone. Only God is real and everlasting. Being centered on God will provide lasting satisfaction. Nothing else will fill my deepest longings. I have been reading and re-reading and reading again the Word of God. It is the real truth I need when the lies are masquerading as truth. So in lieu of my personal thoughts, I wanted to list some other verses I have loved lately. I hope they encourage you as only God's truth can.

Psalm 27:13-14 "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

Psalm 73:23-26 "Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Psalm 116:1-2 "I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live."

Psalm 91:9-12 "If you make the Most High your dwelling - even the Lord, who is my refuge - then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."

2 Samuel 22:29-31 "You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light. With your help, I can advance against a troop; with my God, I can scale a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him."

Monday, July 07, 2008


Before I write, I had to throw in a vacation picture. LOVE the Goldmoor.

Beefy tagged me, and I have not blogged much, so this seemed like an easy one. Hopefully.
Here are the rules: All of the answers must be just one word.

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Your significant other? Hysterical
3. Your hair? Long
4. Your mother? Smart
5. Your father? Fanatic
6. Your favorite thing? Home
7. Your dream last night? Unsure
8. Your favorite drink? Starbucks
9. Your dream/goal? Trust
10. The room you’re in? Alone
11. Your church? Friendly
12. Your fear? Misunderstood
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Mothering
14. Where were you last night? Home
15. What you’re not? Quiet
16. Muffins? Pastries
17. One of your wish list items? Purse
18. Where you grew up? Des Moines
19. The last thing you did? X-ray
20. What are you wearing? casual
21. Your TV? HGTV
22. Your pets? Kitty
23. Your computer? laptop
24. Your life? Eventful
25. Your mood? Tired
26. Missing someone? Sisters
27. Your car? Cluttered
28. Something you’re not wearing? glasses
29. Favorite store? Limited
30. Your summer? Fast
31. Like (love) someone? Completely
32. Your favorite color? Red
33. Last time you laughed? Yesterday
34. Last time you cried? Yesterday
35. Who will re post this? ??

I tag Mel...I haven't talked to her in a while, and I miss her.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

VBS Slacker

Wow, I'm a slacker. I haven't posted in a long time. It's VBS week, so I am too mentally and physically to think of something great to post. But I can share a picture of our new baby...

He he he...did you think it was really a baby? OK, maybe not.

I am NOT a pet person. I think I have made it abundantly clear that I don't like animals. THen why, oh why, does this kitten have to be so cute? His name is Monkey. He found us, so we took him in. Our little orphan kitty. Awww.

Don't be deceived by his docile appearance in the picture. He is very annoying when he runs around like a crazy cat. Sometimes, if Matt's gone, I put him back in the cage when I get sick of hearing him jump on everything and wondering what electrical cord he is going to chew through first. Once he's old enough (2-4 weeks hopefully), he will definitely be morphing into an outdoor kitten. But we found him at 5 weeks old, and he's only 6 weeks now, so we want him to get bigger so he has a fighting chance out there as a country cat.

I never thought I'd have an indoor pet, even temporarily. What is this world coming to? Will I soon believe in global warming? (HA - that's a joke, people. I like a cute kitten; I didn't lose my mind.)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Is Summer Here Yet?

When I get tired and stressed, I crave vacation. I want to get away. I want the feeling of being carefree. I am currently dreaming of some summer fun we have planned.
July 3-4 Galena (The Goldmoor - love it!)
July 11-14 Minneapolis (this and this and this)
July 19 Des Moines (my husband loves these)
August 28-September 1 Wisconsin Dells (not sure yet, but we would really like to go)

I can't stop thinking about HAVING FUN! Never mind the fact that our summer is also supposed to include re-siding and insulating part of our home, fixing the RV so we can get rid of it, finishing the half-finished bathroom...the list goes on.

OK, back to vacation. Last summer we went to California and had an amazing time...
Then we did Galena again; of course, it was awesome...

Thanksgiving was stressful with a flat tire on I-80, but still a great time...

There are so many more...Matt and I love traveling together. I can't wait to relax and see what this year's adventures will bring!

Monday, June 02, 2008


Steve and I went over VBS stuff today. VBS begins three weeks from today, and the to do list we came up with is 3 and a half pages long. My head hurts. I need to go home and think about something else for a while! I have been dying for some time off lately, but I don't see that happening before VBS. The good thing is we are staying here for a night the week after VBS. Something to look forward to for sure! We stayed in the room below (the Turret Room) for my birthday. Fun!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


It's been a long week. We had meetings all day Tuesday and Wednesday. It helped that it was here. I love that place. But I still have ADD, so sitting still and paying attention for hours on end is difficult for me. So I snacked. And snacked. And snacked. I'm very thankful that it's over.

My work to-do list is long from being gone those two days and busy with lots of stuff includes (but is definitely not limited to):
1. Looking over the Discovery 101 class material for Pastor Marvin's class next Sunday
2. Finding some closing ceremony skits for our VBS meeting next week
3. Helping Steve start to plan the VBS All-Volunteer Meeting
4. Making a CD label for the VBS music CD
5. Working with Michelle to get everything ready for the VBS registration table next week
6. Send out next week's worship set (good thing I just remembered that)
7. Figuring out what to do for a VBS promo poster to put up around the community

I can't think about what else right now...or the to do list at home. I am just glad I can go home tonight. There is a graduation open house every day this weekend, but I am not too worried about that. I'm just glad there IS a weekend!

By the way, I really want to share the great stuff God is doing in my life. I just haven't had time to type it all out. But He is awesome and so faithful.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oh, the Horror

I just found a grammatical error in an old post of mine. I changed it, so don't even try to find it. I am mortified. I must proof my posts more diligently in the future. I am glad this blog isn't more widely read; some of my co-workers may have found fodder for great teasing.

Whew. Good thing I avoided being teased at work.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blog Name Confirmed!

OK, so we're going with "Under the Bell Tower." I like it. Now we have to take a picture and figure out how to make the header, but someday we'll get it done.

Other than that...this week is not as busy as recent weeks have been for us. I am embarrassed to say that (because of visitors) we finally put away the Christmas mess that had exploded in our living room and never went away. Yes, we had Christmas trees in our home in May. Actually, we still do but they are now evergreens instead of decked out "Christmas" trees. Matt created a park scene by grouping a bunch of evergreens (we have a lot of trees) and some other plants around our church bench. It's creative. It keeps me from having to dismantle Christmas to put them back together in a few months. Now I wish we had another bench from the church to put in the entryway. I like having one there. I think I might stalk some former members of the church and see if anyone knows where they went.

That's all I can come up with now. I wish I had a picture of the park scene. I'll see what I can do when I get home and maybe post it later.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

New Blog Name

I need help - I want to change my blog name. My husband will design me a header, but I need a name first. Here are my options (keeping in mind that the above is our home minus all the cars in the driveway):

Church in the Lurch
Under the Bell Tower
God in the Living Room
Life by the Cemetery
Learning Patience from...a House

If you have any other cute ones...throw them out for me. I need something fresh.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Six Words

Amie tagged me (again :-), so I will happily take on the task of listing 6 words or phrases that best describe me.

Here are the rules:
1. Write your own six-word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
3. Link to the person who tagged you in your post.
4. Tag five more blogs with links.
5. Remember to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

So I will give it my best here:
1. obsessive
2. ever-changing
3. hopeful
4. faithful
5. thoughtful
6. God's
I tag T, Judy, Natalie, Hannah...who else...that will have to do for now.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Great Friends

I wish I had time to write a tribute to all of the great friends in my life. Just this week, one godly woman ministered to me in an incredible way. She is like a second mother to me; I have known her for over half my life. I wish I could quantify what she means to me, but it's just not possible. Thank you, Sharon, for reminding me what it means to be a godly wife and woman.

Another friend e-mailed, and it was a God thing. That's all I can say. She has been through a lot, a LOT in her nine years of marriage. What an encouragement and a support she is.

Other friends have been so loving and caring in the past few months, and some are going through their own hard times. To all my girlfriends, far and near: I love you. I can't imagine my life without you. Thank God for friendships that draw us closer to Him and give us a glimpse of His love for us.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stealing Creativity

I am a woman.

I like romance.

I love to surprise my husband.

However, I can easily get stuck in the same ruts, and we have only been together for three years and married for two years. I found this book a few months ago. I have barely touched the tip of the iceberg in flipping through it, but here's a sample:

Give her one Hershey's Kiss.
Give her one thousand Hershey's Kisses.

Remove all the little paper strips (that say "Kisses" on them) from a couple hundred Hershey's Kisses. Fill a little jewelry box with them. Wrap 'em up and present them to her.

Write a clever certificate explaining that the little paper slips are coupons
redeemable for one kiss each.

Not only are there 1001 ideas, but I think it inspires creativity and thinking outside the box when it comes to romance. Some ideas are far beyond my budget, and others are free. It is incredible the ideas you can come up with if you devote some time to it. (Since we don't all have a bunch of time, I'm recommending the book instead!)

If your husband complains about not being romantic naturally, get it for him. Take away his excuses! (Just don't tell your husbands I suggested it; I like them and still want to be their friend.)

It was $11.53 at Amazon. It was a great investment in my marriage. I look forward to using the ideas for a long time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I am preparing a workshop for the women's conference at our church next weekend. I am very excited to share and believe that God has a message He wants to share through me. However, I am thinking today about how hard it can be to be transparent in life as well as in a leadership role. It's even hard to share the blunt force of my true feelings with friends or my husband at times. Can he handle the ugliness of my feelings, my pain? Can they still love me when they see the unpretty parts?

Transparency is a gift we give. Often, when I give it, I receive it back as well. So I will step out, be transparent, and allow what others "intended to harm me" to be used for good (Genesis 50:20).

So be it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Planning a Wedding...or Building a Marriage?

Wedding season is coming. I have been contemplating what to get for some of these couples. I hated getting a slew of gifts that weren't on my registry, I didn't need, couldn't figure out where to return, etc., so I am sympathetic to that perspective. I also know that they will receive many things to fill their home but not much to help their minds and hearts adjust to being a husband and wife. This is one of the best (if not the very best) books I have read on marriage. It challenged me and changed my thinking in many ways.

What if God created marriage to make you holy more than to make you happy?

I think I will throw this in the gift bag along with a cookie sheet or cake pan. I wonder which will do more good for their future?

Monday, April 21, 2008

I love Amie

I've intended to come back at random points in the past few months. I'm back because Amie tagged me. I needed to come back anyway. Thanks for the excuse, Amie.

The rules for this meme are as follows:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog; some random, some weird

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by linking to their names/blogs

4. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they are tagged

I will do my best here to find 7 things of interest about me.
  1. I love Hostess 100-calorie packs; specifically, the chocolate cake and cinnamon streusel ones. I eat one almost every day.

  2. I bring my own ice to work. At some point, bags of ice in the freezer were nowhere to be found, and I like to drink my pop with ice. So I started filling Ziploc bags with ice in the morning and bringing it with me a few times a week. I don't think it's that weird, but when Bill made fun of me and my ice, I realized other people may see it as so. I'm not terribly concerned about it; I brought ice again today.

  3. I am 30 years old and do not have a washer or dryer hooked up in my home. (That's not weird as much as it is very, very sad.)

  4. I love "What Not to Wear." I constantly evaluate my wardrobe on the basis of "The Rules."

  5. My sisters and I grew up playing church in our front yard. We sang worship and special music with the legs of our trampoline as microphones. Not the huge trampolines they have now, but the little ones with the super-short legs. I also preached and prayed. I guess it was a pre-cursor of things to come...

  6. I always thought that my love of NASCAR and some other spectator sports would be a big "plus" in getting a man. After all, they love sitting on the couch with the remote watching sports all weekend, right? I found the one who does not. And, ironically enough, I am very grateful. He is creative and interesting and, although he boggles me with the things he comes up with, I am glad we don't obsess over football games or baseball stats or even NASCAR points. (Trust me, I have seriously lightened up on the NASCAR thing since being married to Matt. I even gave up the chance to see a race this year.)

  7. I love pictures. I get pretty upset if an important occasion passes and I do not have a picture by which to commemorate it. I am usually willing to ask passing strangers to take a picture because the chance of not getting one at all is too much to risk. Thankfully, we have some pretty great pics taken by total strangers, such as this one from our second anniversary:

As for tagging people, I have no idea. I'll go with Haleigh and Mary. I know it's not seven, but it will have to do.