Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving and a Question

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is this Thursday. Wednesday afternoon W. and I will hop on a plane and fly to Florida to spend Thanksgiving with my mom. This will be the first Thanksgiving in eleven years that I have not hosted. I really am not sure I'll know what to do with myself. I'm so used to doing all the cooking. It will be a nice change, and I'm sure I will still get to help do something! What about you? What are your plans for Thanksgiving? What is your favorite Thanksgiving food? I love them all...a lot. Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. I have so much to be thankful for this year, and every year, really.

This is probably going to sound very random, and it kind of is. I hope it will make sense a little later, but right now I need your input and help. What book, that you do not own, is on your must-read or to-read list? Please leave a comment, letting me know the title of the book. Random, I know. But, I promise in a couple of days it will make more sense to you. Ha! How's that for suspense... Have a great Monday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coming Out of a Bloggy Hiatus

What a better reason to come out of a bloggy hiatus than to celebrate! In the few months I have been trying to get better, so much has happened with you all. Not the least of which is the fact that Kelly keeps getting cuter and cuter as she gets closer to her due date. I know I'm a day late, but I wanted to participate in the bloggy baby shower, too. So here goes:

Like Julie, I found your blog from a comment you left on Beth Moore's blog, and I was instantly drawn to you. I had only been a Christian for a short time when I found your blog, and your faith in God made me want to know him more. After reading your blog for a little while, I felt compelled to pray for you. I remember that you had written a post about your struggles and it broke my heart. I remember sitting on my couch, thinking about what I could do for you. Of course, I immediately wanted to send you a gift. I mean, come on, that's what I do ;) But, I didn't know you at all, so that was out of the question. Instead, I felt God tell me that all I needed to do was pray. So, I remember typing you a really long email with a bunch of verses that I wanted to pray over you. I felt like such a stalker. Ha! But, I knew that God wanted me to pray for you. Any time I let my self-doubts start creeping in, doubts like "God, I don't even know her, and God, I'm sure she thinks I'm nuts", something would happen, and God would remind me that I was supposed to pray for you. And, I am so glad He had me pray for you. Not only was my faith strengthened by seeing how big and awesome our God is, but I also made a friend in the process. I have sincerely loved getting to know you over these past few months. You are an amazing, sweet woman. I hope that we get the opportunity to get to know each other better in the future, and maybe even get to meet one another someday soon!

Like Caroline, I distinctly remember when I felt God release me from praying for you. It was shortly after Sarah announced that she was pregnant. While I was so happy for Sarah, I began praying even harder for you. One night, I had a dream and both you and Sarah were in it. You were skiing of all things, but you both had on matching snow suits. (Only a girl would have this dream ;) Anyway, as crazy as it sounds, I knew that God was telling me that your prayers, and my prayers, and the prayers of everyone else who loves you, had been answered. I just felt that you were going to have a baby. There were so many times that I wanted to say something to you, and ask you if you were pregnant, but I didn't for fear that I was wrong and had misunderstood. So, you can imagine how happy I was when I found out you were, in fact, pregnant! I screamed, and cried, and danced, and mailed a baby gift right away!

I know that you are going to be a wonderful mother. Of that, I have no doubt. My only advice is to love much and pray for the patience of Job! If you have those two things, you cannot go wrong. And, don't take yourself too seriously. Try not to worry about all the little things because the big picture is way more important. God brought you this precious baby, and He will be faithful to her and to you. So, try not to worry. (Easier said than done, I know). After all, how can you possibly go wrong with God in control and a hundred gallons of antibacterial soap around! ;) You'll do great, I promise! Best wishes always. I love you, friend!
I look so forward to catching up with you all. I have missed you SO much!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tag--I'm It!!

OK, ladies. I've been tagged. Both Meredith and Heather tagged me to post six quirks that I have. Really, all I have to say is 6? I can only pick six? Oh, what will I choose? Well, here goes. Here, in no particular order, are six unremarkable quirks about me.

1. I talk in my sleep. Not mumble, groan talk, but complete sentences, carry on conversations talk. Sometimes with my eyes open. Scary, I know. You don't have to tell me. I'm the one spilling my guts to people in the middle of the night. AND, unless you tell me, I don't know I did it. Or what I said.

2. I love monkeys--all kinds of monkeys. I think they are awesome, and if I had a pet, I would want a monkey. But, since no one else seems to think having a monkey for a pet is such a great idea, I have to settle for stuffed ones. I have two. Grand Master Monkey and Sleepy Time Curious George. Yes, for real. Hey, no laughing. Did I mention they are fierce? ;)

3. I play with my eyelashes when I am tired, but only the eyelashes on my right eye. Which is funny because I'm left handed. Regardless, if I'm playing with my eyelashes it's a sure sign that I am very sleepy. And, if I'm missing a bunch of eyelashes on that eye you can know that I've had a rough month. Ha!

4. I love school, and I even (please do not start throwing things at me) love homework. I always have. I was one of those irritating kids who asked for extra credit homework all the time. I still love to do homework. Maybe that's why I love Beth Moore so much? I can tell you this. I signed up to take a Bible study at church this fall, and I nearly died and went to heaven when I found out that our "workbook" is an enormous three-ring binder filled with worksheets to fill out. And, yes, I still shop for new school supplies every year. Some people reorganize their lives around New Year's Day. Well, for me it is mid-August. And, yes, I know I'm weird.

5. I love music. Almost any kind of music, really. I know most of the words to many Top 40 song from the last couple of decades. My dream is to go on Don't Forget The Lyrics. I play at home every time it is on. And, if you are ever over when it is on, don't talk to me unless it's during a commercial break. You'll break my concentration. And, seriously, it takes a lot of concentration to remember the words to "Blame it on the Rain."

6. And, finally, well at least for this meme, I cannot stand and will complain for years about any movie that doesn't end the way I want it to. Seriously, if I don't like the ending, I will not ever like the movie. Even if I liked all of it but the last five minutes. There is one huge exception to that rule and that is with "The Way We Were." That is my absolute favorite movie of all times (except maybe Gone With the Wind), and I love it even though K-K-Katie and Hubbell don't end up together in the end. I could psychoanalyze that for you, but refer to number 4. You already think I'm weird. So, I'll just let it drop.

And, before I go. Thank you all so much for your prayers. They mean the world to me. The two tests they've done so far have been normal, which they expected, and I have another test tomorrow morning. Yuck, yuck, yuck! Thanks again for praying! I love you all.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In the Words of Kindergarten Cop...

It's not a tumor. Well, at least they're pretty sure it's not a tumor, but more about that later.

First, I want to thank all of you who have checked up on me the last few days. You have no idea how much it means to me that you are thinking about me and praying for me. I told George last night that I have the best girlfriends in the entire world, and I truly do mean that! Each one of you is such a blessing to me.

And, I have to tell you, I hate being out of touch with what is going on with you. While I've been in my drug induced, comatose state, I know I've missed so much. And, I am so behind on things it's not even funny. I've been carrying around cards in my purse for weeks that I haven't mailed yet. I owe people birthday presents and care packages that I haven't had time to put together. I haven't even sent out W's birthday invitations for his party with his friends. I guess I'll have to make phone calls to all the parents. Oh well, I guess life goes on, right? I really don't mean to complain. I know that there are a lot worse things going on out there than my inability to get birthday invitations in the mail. I just really want you all to know that I am thinking about you and praying for you, and if I owe you something in the mail, please know it will be forthcoming...sometime.

Now for my health update. I'll try to make it short because I'm tired of talking about it. Ha! But, I really would appreciate your prayers, so here goes. I went to the neurologist yesterday. I really liked him. He seemed very competent and was very nice to me. Anyway, he doesn't think my migraines are causing my severe headaches. He doesn't think that I have a brain tumor or cancer, PTL, but he is testing me for those anyway. I go tomorrow morning for a CT angiogram of the blood vessels in my brain, and I go one week from today to have an MRI done. Instead of being a real tumor, my neurologist thinks I have a pseudotumor cerebri. I guess that means that my symptoms mimic those of a brain tumor, but there is actually no tumor present. Instead, my body is producing too much cerebrospinal fluid which is causing my spinal column to swell. It is also causing me to have too much cerebrospinal fluid around my brain. That, in turn, is causing pressure, which is causing my headaches. There are two different types of pseudotumors, one responds well to treatment and the other does not. If treatment doesn't work, pseudotumors can cause blindness. Assuming the CT angiogram, MRI, and blood work all come back negative, ruling out a real tumor or cancer, this is probably what is wrong with me. My doctor will order a spinal tap to confirm the diagnosis and relieve some of the pressure in my spine. The he will have to determine what is causing my body to overproduce cerebrospinal fluid, and my treatment will depend on the cause.

So, anyway, if you happen to think of me tomorrow morning, or any time in the next several days, I would appreciate your prayers. I am still in severe pain most of the time. Until they rule out cancer and brain tumors, they can't give me anything different for the pain. So, I'm basically in limbo, not knowing how well I will be able to function day-to-day until then. I know I can count on you to pray for me, and like I said earlier, that means the world to me. You are all fabulous women, and each of you have been such a blessing to me. I love you all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 13, 1997...

was eleven years ago yesterday. And, I will never forget what I was doing that day. Never. It's permanently etched in my mind and is one of the most important days of my life. At 6:00 a.m. on August 13, 1997, I walked through the doors of Mercy Hospital poised to rid my body of the alien that had invaded it for the last nine months. Well, I was poised to lose the alien and the unmentionable amount of pounds I had gained, and I probably don't have to tell you how disappointing that was. Someone should have told me that I would still look pregnant when I left the hospital. It would have been the humane thing to do, and it would have stopped me from trying to roll my wheelchair into oncoming traffic as I left the hospital. OK, maybe not. That may have been caused by the hormones and lack of sleep.

Oh, I kid. I didn't really try to push my wheelchair into oncoming traffic. I just thought about it.

Now, some of you may be offended that I called by child an alien, but get over it. He was an alien; my doctor told me so. You see, I had one of the WORST pregnancies ever recorded in human history. I lost so much weight my first trimester due to my "morning" sickness, I was nearly hospitalized. I literally spent almost the entire first three months of my pregnancy either in my bed or in my bathroom. Oh, but don't cry for me Argentina. I more than made up for the weight I lost in the last two trimesters. I told Julia yesterday that I took the whole eating for two thing very seriously, and apparently I thought the second person was an NFL linebacker. I would tell you my daily eating schedule, but I'm too embarrassed to put it in print. I gained so much weight, and not surprisingly got so big, I couldn't drive the last month of my pregnancy. If I pushed the seat far enough back to accommodate my gigantic stomach, my vertically challenged feet couldn't touch the pedals. So, basically I looked like the Goodyear blimp with appendages.

And, no I'm not exaggerating. Not. At. All. People started asking me when I was due at six and a half months. And, let's not talk about the fact that I was my biggest and most swollen during the hottest months of the year. There was only one thing that was remotely good about being so big so early in my pregnancy. It got me out of a speeding ticket. You see, when I was six months pregnant, I was driving myself to the hospital to get an ultrasound done, and I may or may not have been speeding. I really couldn't tell you because my speedometer cable had broken. So I was just driving what I thought seemed like the correct speed. I could have paced myself with traffic, if there had been any. But, I was on a two lane highway, and there was no one else around. Well, no one except the County Sheriff's Deputy, who was driving the other direction. Apparently, he thought I was going too fast. So, he made a U-turn in the middle of the highway, and pulled me over. When he got up to the car, he looked at me, asking where I was going. I told him I was going to the hospital. His face turned white, and for a second, I thought I was going to have to take him with me. He took another look at my very large belly, and he started screaming "Go! Go!." So, I did. I may have been blonde at that time, but I was not stupid. I waved at him and took off before he could change his mind. And, yes, girls, that is my favorite pregnancy story.

And, not only did I gain a lot of weight, but I had a terrible case of pregnancy rash. What? You didn't know such a thing existed. Well, that's funny. I didn't either. But, apparently, it does, and according to my dermatologist, I had the worst case he had ever seen. Seriously. I was covered from shoulders to knees with a bright red, bumpy, itchy rash. It was so bad, when I had my rash cream prescription filled, the pharmacist handed me back 12 tubes of rash cream. That was just for the first prescription. I had two refills on there too. Of course, the rash cream also came with a big sign that read "Unclean, Unclean," and a voucher for a stay at the nearest Holiday Inn located outside of my camp. Alright, alright, it didn't really come with that, but it should have. But, because I get my prescriptions filled in my local grocery story, the rash cream did come with at least two half gallons of Edy's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. You know, so I could drown my sorrows.

Oh, in case you are wondering, I was allergic to W's placenta. That's what caused the rash. My doctor called it alien placenta. See, I told you he said W. was an alien, and you thought I was just being mean.
With all of the nutrients I was taking in, I didn't have to wonder if W. was healthy. Oh, he was healthy alright. He was having a grand time in utero, and he apparently had no intention of ever leaving. My doctor got concerned because he was getting so big and decided he better induce me. So, I faithfully presented myself at the hospital at 6 a.m. on August 13, 1997.

Well, I guess I should say that I and everyone who was related to me within the fourth degree on consanguinity presented themselves at the hospital. And, a few people who were not related to me at all showed up too. Have I told you that my family has a problem with boundaries? It was a good thing that birthing suite was large because there had to be 15-20 people there at any given time. And, once again, no I am not kidding. If the whole ordeal had been videotaped, I'm pretty sure we could have been on Jerry Springer or at least Maury Povich. Of course, I really didn't care. My birthing plan clearly stated that I wanted as many drugs as they would give me. (All kidding aside, I was blessed to have all the people I loved most in the world with me that day. All of my best girl friends were there, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.)

I would tell you the rest of the birthing story, but I won't for fear that I will horribly scar you for life. Instead, I'll just say a couple of things. First, I learned that I have very small hips. Unfortunately, with all the KFC, pancakes, fudge cakes, and Edy's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream I ate, you really couldn't tell. Well, without an X-ray anyway. Second, if I had one piece of advice for pregnant women, it would be this: find out which hospital has the best anesthesiologists, then pick an OB-GYN who goes to that hospital. Because if all Hades breaks loose, you want a good anesthesiologist. Trust me.

With all that said, my little alien entered the world at 8:24 p.m., and my life hasn't been the same since. He spent the day with his not-terribly-active great grandparents the other day. Not surprisingly, he had a lot of pent-up energy. When George and I got home from work, he told me this. "I've been bored all day, but I'm not now. You're my thrill ride." And, I just wanted to look at him and say, "Oh baby boy, you have no idea. You are my thrill ride." And, no matter how much I joke about my pregnancy (and girls, you are supposed to be laughing at this), and no matter how trying the pregnancy was, I would do it over and over again. I love that boy more than I've loved anything in my entire life. He is completely worth it.

We always go out to dinner to celebrate birthdays. It's just our tradition. The birthday boy or girl gets to pick where we go eat. So, in honor of W's eleventh birthday, we went out for some hibachi last night at our local Japanese steakhouse. One thing I can say about this kid is that he likes good food. Never once did we get off easy and get to go to McDonald's for the birthday dinner. Oh no. We spent several years dining at Biaggi's Italian restaurant, and we learned rather quickly that we needed to keep a close eye on the child when it came time to order dessert. Because if we weren't paying attention, he would order some for himself. And, no kidding, he would order it like this, "May I have a piece of the torte chocolata, please?" He was six going on 36, and he still is. I could tell you a hundred stories, but I'll save some for later. I have some pictures to post, and I'll try to do that tonight (if my headache will allow it.) God blessed me by allowing me to enjoy W's birthday dinner last night, but I feel worse today than I have all week. The good news is that I go see the headache specialist next Tuesday. PTL!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Am Alive...I Think

Ladies, I have missed you so much!!! I can't believe it's been a week since I posted. Of course, it doesn't feel like it's been a week primarily because I was asleep for most of it. Ha! I have no intention on dwelling on my last week, but I do want to give you a little update. As many of you know, I had a really bad migraine two weeks ago. Unfortunately for me, it really hasn't gone away. It gets better...and then it gets worse. Well, last Wednesday it was so bad, quite frankly, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. I've pretty much been on every medication known to mankind, and none of it was working. So, my doctor basically knocked me out for a few days. He prescribed a sedative that kept me sleeping. Well, sleeping and drooling on myself. But, seriously, what's a girl to do? Someone would wake me up every four hours to take another pill, and then I would roll over and go back to sleep.

Well, most of the time, anyway. If you know me at all, you know that I am a people person. Don't get me wrong, I like having quiet time to myself, but I don't want that all the time. I love being connected and in relationship with other people, and we all know how much I love my girlfriends. So, sometimes I would make George bring me my laptop, and I would check my email and your blogs. I'd last about 10-15 minutes, and then I'd fall back asleep. On Thursday, I tried to be belligerent and thought I would go to my small group at church. Ha! That would have required having the ability to dress myself, and that, girls, was not happening. So, I missed small group, I missed a hot date Saturday night with my good friend Melissa (sorry Mel!), and I even missed church on Sunday. I'm back to work (which is a whole different story, for another time.), but I still feel lousy. I'm waiting for my doctor to call me back. He is referring me to a neurologist in Iowa City who specializes in headaches, primarily in women. I know many of you have been praying for me, and I cannot tell you enough how much that means to me. I would appreciate it if you would continue to pray for me. Please pray that my headaches would stop, that this referral process would go smoothly, and that I will be able to make it through my work days (or that they would give me a leave of absence).

Basically, I want my life back. I feel so unconnected to everyone I care about, and I hate that. It makes me feeling like a horrible friend. I know that each of you have a lot going on in your lives, and I want to be there to cheer you on, pray for you, and just generally be there if you need anything! So, I'm going to go get caught up with all of you. (I tend to feel better in the mornings, so I am going to make use of that time!) But, before I go, I have to tell you two funny stories about being so doped up on medication that you are out of your mind.

First, I am so glad that God looks at the heart and knows our intentions, even when our words are lacking. Why? Well, because some of my prayers were a little, um, how should I say this, strange. Occasionally, I would come to a little bit, and when I did I would try to pray both for myself and for the people on my prayer list. But, my prayers would get all messed up. They would start out OK. I would generally be able to name the person I wanted to pray for, but then I would think something crazy, generally something related to some dream I'd been having. Or, even better, I'd fall back asleep in mid-thought. Crazy, girls. Crazy. But, I'm sure glad that God knew what I was trying to pray.

And, about those dreams. Whoa! Those were crazy, too. They ran the gamut from involving running from serial killers who looked suspiciously like people I know to gardening and a whole slew of other things. The weirdest ones I had, though, involved elevators. I had a couple of different dreams where I was stuck in an elevator and all of a sudden the elevator would start to swing wildly back and forth, kind of like swinging a yo-yo on a string, and throwing me all around the elevator. Inevitably, the elevator cable would break, and the elevator would start to fall. I could feel the drop in my stomach. It was seriously crazy. I would always wake up before the elevator hit bottom, but it was still disturbing.

What about you? Do you remember your dreams? If so, what's the craziest dream you've ever had? And, girls, let me tell you. I am so glad to be back, and I can't wait to catch up with you all!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Weekend at the Lake

OK ladies. As promised, here are some of my pictures from the lake this weekend.

Here is W. with his cousin C. This was taken minutes before the kiddos tipped themselves over in the paddle boat. I laughed at the time. Foreshadowing, friends. Foreshadowing.

This is George and W. on the jet ski.

Here they are again. And, no George isn't a ghost, promise. He's just very, very pale.

You thought I was kidding about being dumped off the jet ski, didn't you? Oh no, girls, I wasn't. That little head sticking up out of the water is me. I'm trying to pull myself back up.

Yes, here I am again, swimming along side the jet ski. Why? Because I was never able to do a pull up in high school, that's why.

Here's W. and his cousin C., swimming in the lake. You can't see it in this picture, but he has his shoes on. Seriously.

And, here we are. See, I'm a good sport. I'm smiling, and this is after I got dumped off the jet ski. Notice, however, that I am staying put on the boat. Less dangerous that way. At least until I learn to do some pull-ups!

So there you have it. Pictures and everything. I've been crazy busy at work, but I'll try to get my blog award passed on tomorrow. I love you gals!! You're the best!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!!

Ladies, ladies, ladies. I am so busy today, I am ready to pull my hair out. And, it's only Monday!! I had the busiest weekend, and it doesn't look like things are going to slow down anytime soon. W.'s birthday is in just a few days, and he will be back in school in just a couple of weeks. On top of that, I'm swamped at work, and I'm trying to work through a couple of things in my personal life right now. I've got to take one thing at a time, and breathe more. Because if I don't, I think I'll end up having some kind of anxiety attack. Well, if I'm not already having one. But, anyway enough about that!

I wanted to check in with all of my favorite bloggy friends. I had a great, but very busy weekend. My friend Julie and I went to see the Beth Moore simulcast. The message was amazing and very timely. The title of her message was "100 Fold Harvest". I'll try to write more about the message later. It was just amazing. I love how God speaks through Beth Moore. It's so awesome!

Immediately after the simulcast was over, I hopped in a car and drove to the lake. My dad's side of the family always has a little reunion the first weekend in August. It's always so much fun for us to go. It's fun to get to spend time with my cousins. We all about the same age and in the same season of life. And, our kids are all about the same age, too. It's so great to catch up with them. We had a good time this year, and (Julie this is especially for you ;) I took some pictures!! I will post them tonight when I get home from work. There is even a picture of a very drenched me. You know, I was posing a picture so you know what it looks like to fly off a jet ski going about 50 miles an hour. Ha!

I wish I had more time to write now, but I must get back to work. I have so much to say about my weekend, and I have to write about the great blog award Heather gave me. If you don't read her blog, go read it now! She is such an amazing, Godly woman. I am so happy I have met her; she has been such a blessing to me. It's needless to say, therefore, what an honor it is to receive a blog award from her! In addition to all that, I have something that is weighing very heavily on my heart. I'm working on a post for that, but, girls, it just isn't coming together yet. But, I hope it does soon.

Thank you all for being such wonderful friends and encouragers to me. I am praying for each of you. You are all such blessings, and I love you so much!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Foreign Languages

OK, girls. I've been posting up a storm recently. Crazy. Very crazy. Well, I'm back today with a random fact about me. I love to learn foreign languages. I can speak some Spanish, some German, and a very tiny bit of French. Lately, I have had the foreign language itch. I think I want to learn a new language, but I seriously cannot decide what to learn. I am so torn. I mean, I could definitely use a refresher in the languages I've already begun to learn. But, there are so many other languages out there to learn. I've always wanted to learn Italian, and now that I am studying the Bible so much, I would love to learn Hebrew and Greek. So, I don't know. Decisions, decisions, decisions. What I do know, is that I want to use Rosetta Stone software this time around. I've heard it's the best out there. Have any of y'all used it?
So, what do you think? Do you speak another language? If so, what one? If not, what language did you always want to learn? And, what language do you think I should learn? I'm interested in hearing your opinions!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Surprise!!! Pictures!

Alright girls. I got my hair done tonight. Sorry, I didn't take any before pictures. Let's just say I looked kind of like a skunk. But, here are a couple of after pictures. And, I just have to tell you ladies...I HATE getting my picture taken. But, obviously, I LOVE you all more. So here's my new do.

From the back.

From the side.

And, from the front. (And, yes, I have no makeup on. Sorry. With the headaches I've been having, you're lucky I took a shower!)
Nothing too exciting, but at least I don't have roots. So, take a look at the pictures. I can't promise I'll leave them up here very long ;) Well, it's been a LONG day, and I'm going to bed. Talk to you all tomorrow! Tomorrow's Thursday. We're over the hump!! Woo hoo!!


Wow, girls. Two posts in one day. I guess I'm making up for the day I lost in bed yesterday!You'll have to excuse me ladies, but I have to brag on my man for just a minute. Some of you already know that I have a man who bends over backward to help me whenever I need help. He is always happy to help me around the house, and he does nearly half of the cooking. Well, girls, he out did himself last night. I had found a Rachael Ray recipe that looked intriguing, and he made it for dinner last night. Seriously, it was some of the best tasting food I have had. It was really really good!! It was so good, I thought I would share the recipe with ya'll. If you try it, let me know what you think! Ooh, we just might have to make it again soon...

Cuban Spiced Pork with Saffrito Rice

Rice: 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil 2 slices bacon, chopped 1 small white onion, chopped 1 small green bell pepper, chopped 2 3/4 cups chicken broth 1 1/2 cups white rice 2 pinches saffron or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric Salt

: 2 pork tenderloins, trimmed, about 2 1/2 pounds total weight 4 cloves garlic, cracked away from skin 4 bay leaves 2 teaspoons anise seed 2 teaspoons ground coriander 1 tablespoon ground cumin 2 limes, zested 2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend (recommended: McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning) or coarse salt and pepper EVOO - Extra-virgin olive oil, or vegetable oil, to coat. Optional garnishes: chopped mango or kiwi, or chopped cilantro and scallions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat medium pot with tight fitting lid over medium high heat. Add oil and bacon and brown bacon. Add onions and peppers, saffron and salt, and saute 5 minutes. Bring broth to a boil. Add rice. Cover the pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 to 18 minutes, until rice is tender.

For pork, cut 4 slits into each loin and nest garlic and bay into meat. Place meat on nonstick baking sheet. Combine the spices. Coat meat with oil. Rub spices over the pork tenderloins and place in oven. Roast meat 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Let juices redistribute, then slice and serve with soffrito rice and garnishes of chopped tropical fruit or chopped cilantro and scallions.

Girls, this meal was seriously divine!! The pork was wonderful, and the rice, oh, all I can say is YUM-O!! Let me know what you think if you try it out!!

Thank You Gals, You're the Best!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, ladies for praying for me! There is no way I could ever express in words how much that means to me. God did lift that cloud of darkness from me on Monday. I was able to go to my Monday night Bible study, and I had a fabulous time there. Immediately after my Bible study ended Monday night, however, I started to get a horrible headache. It was so bad by Tuesday morning that I called in sick to work and went to the doctor. Apparently, on top of my migraines, I am also starting to get cluster headaches. To make a long story short, my doctor put me on four different medications in an attempt to break the cycle of these headaches. The problem is that if the medicine doesn't work, I may have to get nerve blocking injections into the base of my skull. If y'all could pray that the medicine would work, I would appreciate it. I really don't want to get any injections into my head. That sounds really painful. Needless to say, I was in bed all day yesterday. I am up and back to work today, and we'll see how it goes.

But, enough whining out of me. We are studying the book of Ruth in my Monday night Bible study, using Francine River's book Unshaken as a guide. I don't know about you, but as a woman, I love the book of Ruth. I think it has so much to say to women about how God loves us and how He has a place for us in His work. The more I study it, the more I realize that the book of Ruth is so much more than a "love story" between Ruth and Boaz. It is, instead, a love story between God and women. I could go on and on about what I am learning, but I think I'll save that for another post.

What about you? What is your favorite book of the Bible, or favorite Bible story, and why?

PS. I'll have a surprise on here for y'all either tonight or tomorrow. So, you'll have to check back and see what it is. Ha! Suspense. (But, don't get your hopes up too high. It's not that great of a surprise ;)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Would You Please Pray for Me?

Girls, I am sitting in my office this afternoon on the verge of tears. I wish I could pin point something in particular that is wrong, but I cannot. All I can say is that I woke up this morning with a horrible cloud of darkness around me. I really don't even know how to describe it. I am exhausted and horribly sad. My heart is pounding and I am finding it difficult to breathe normally. I kind of feel like there is a heavy weight on my chest, preventing me from getting air. Kind of like someone is holding me under water and I cannot get out from underneath it. And, this entire time, everything I hate about myself is running through my head like one of those running news streams .

I am sorry; I don't mean to scare you or bring you down with me. I don't know what this is, or what brought it on, but I want it GONE. I have been sitting here, reciting verses in my head. In particular, I have been saying these verses from 2 Corinthians over and over again:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all‑surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9.

If you happen to read this, would you please pray for me. I am so sorry about being a downer, but I really felt I should tell y'all how I feel. Maybe getting it out in the open will help it go away. I love praying for each of you, and I thank you for praying for me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Gloomy Friday

Thank you ladies for leaving me comments about your cars. I really detest car shopping and am not looking forward to walking around car lots, getting harassed by the sales people. I have no idea what I'm going to get, but I can tell you that despite what "anonymous" has to say, I am under no circumstances, never ever, no way, no how, not on your life, over my dead body, getting a Vespa. Of course, I knew he was joking, which was a very good thing for him. Because, after all, I know where he lives. So, I'll start car shopping, and hopefully by the time my car breaks down on me next time, I will have a new one. In the interim, I need to practice my "Don't Mess With Me, I Know Everything There Is To Know About Cars" face. And, believe me, I need a lot of practice with that one.

So, girls, what do you have planned for the weekend? I'm going to clean, clean, clean. We also need to go to the grocery store before I have a strike on my hands. I would love to go to the farmer's market tomorrow morning. We'll see if we can get up early enough to do that. The highlight of our weekend, though, is probably this:

We're going to Shakespeare on the Lawn at the Salisbury House. They are doing Taming of the Shrew, and I am so excited. We'll bring a picnic dinner and sit outside on the Salisbury House's beautiful grounds. Even W. is excited to go this year. I just pray that the weather will hold out. It's been very rainy and gloomy the past two days, and that has not been good for my head. I was in bed and asleep at 4:30 yesterday afternoon. I have been having terrible migraines recently. YUCK!! Today, I still don't feel like I'm back to myself. So, sorry if this doesn't make any sense. I'm trying, really I am!

Anyway, enough about me. What exciting plans do you have for the weekend?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Break-Up

My dearest G.A.,

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I sit here writing this letter. I look back at all the great times we've shared over the last few years, and I can scarcely believe it has come to this. I remember what great joy I had the first time I spotted you across that parking lot. If love at first sight exists, I believe that I experienced it with you. You were so handsome, so powerful, so everything I was looking for at that time in my life. Or, at least I thought you were everything I was looking for.

You were my constant companion, never refusing to travel with me, even when I was traveling to boring places. You always did your best to take care of me, keeping me cool in the summer, and warm in bitter Iowa winters, and you never once complained about my singing. I thought your love for me was unconditional. But, G.A., what happened?

Was I blinded by your beauty or by your desire to go flying through life like I did? Did I fail to take care of your needs, too? I really tried hard to make sure you were well fed and were pampered. So, can you tell me why you abandoned me? Why? Just, tell me why? Because I really thought that I was the only one who could get your engine running, so to speak. So, what happened? Why, in the words of the Stones, couldn't I start you up? Well, at least without bribing you.

And, the bribery. Well, the bribery is completely unacceptable. I shouldn't have to pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars to prove that I love you. I know that I have broken this bribery rule in the past, and I have paid money to show you my love. But, that money was for small things, and I thought I was meeting your needs and maintaining your well-being by doing that. But, hundreds and hundreds of dollars, that's different. Especially, when they tell me that you might abandon me again. In just a few short months, even. I am so sorry, but I think I must end this relationship. It is no longer reciprocal love. I'm sorry, but I think I'm going to have to trade you in for a newer model. I will always love you, but I cannot continue to put up with this behavior. Besides, I have my eye on a Buick, and I've heard that Buicks are more reliable than you Grand Ams. I guess they just don't have as high of an opinion of themselves since they aren't as cute. Not that I'm bitter or anything. So, goodbye Grand Am, goodbye.

With much love,

Your soon to be ex-owner

(What about you? What kind of car do you drive? And, do you like it?)

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Beth Weekend Ever

Hello Ladies!! I'm back from my crazy week last weekend, but to be quite honest, I am totally exhausted!! Quite frankly, I'm not used to traveling that much anymore. I think I would have been OK if it had just been one, longer trip. All that driving, and hotel hopping was a little more than these old bones could handle. But, that's enough complaining out of me. I've hooked up a coffee IV, so I'll be alright.

Oh, so you all know that I went to see Beth Moore with a group of girlfriends this past weekend, and let me just tell you, it was as wonderful as I had imagined it would be!!! It was so wonderful to be able to fellowship with some of the women I love the most in this whole world. We did all the things you think we would have done. We ate too much, talked too much, stayed up too late, and laughed and laughed and laughed. And, as I mentioned before, it was my friend Shana's birthday on Friday, and It was so cool to be able to celebrate with her. I just have to tell y'all, I loved these ladies a lot before we left home on Friday, but I love them even more now!!

And, the message? Oh my, girls. Beth's message was amazing. We got a Word!! The title of Beth's message was "Between a Rock and a Hard Place." And, I just have one word for you: Timely. Isn't God amazing that way? The way He can just orchestrate every little detail, allowing Himself to meet each of us exactly where we are. Exactly at the place of our need. He is just too cool!!! I want to blog more about the three areas Beth spoke about, but I'm at work, and my notes are at home. So, I will save that for tomorrow. All I can say is awesome. It was just awesome.

In the interim, there is something I would like to ask of each of you. Sunday night I started making a new set of scripture cards. I'm trying to write down verses that speak to the issues I'm facing in this particular season of my life. I would also like to write down some verses for each of you. That way, I can pray scripture when I pray for you. There is only one, teensy-weensy problem with this plan. I'm not sure what to pray!! So, if you would consider emailing me with one or two of your top prayer requests, I would appreciate it. You know, something I can pray about for the next few months. I would love to pray for you!! So, please shoot me an email! I love you all!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Murphy's Law

Oh, girls...I'm back from my whirlwind trip to the big cities of Council Bluffs and Omaha for work. I got home earlier than I had expected yesterday afternoon. I was happy to be home, but I was exhausted and wanted to go to 4:00 in the afternoon!! Don't laugh. You'd have been tired too if your trip had been a life lesson in Murphy's law. You know, the little adage that "everything that can go wrong will go wrong." I have to tell you. I do not know Murphy, but I can tell you this. I don't like him. Or, his law. So, neener-neener-boo-boo Murphy! (Yes, I'm sure he is very upset at that.) I made it through my trip anyway. Just so you can feel my pain, here's how it all went down.
1. I left my office several hours later than I was supposed to because my client missed his flight. It ended up being OK because the airline, are you ready for this, took responsibility for the problem. They changed the gate but didn't tell my poor client. Even though he had been sitting there for two hours. I couldn't believe the airline took responsibility for the problem. I have NEVER had that happen before. Ever. I know it was nothing short of a miracle.
2. When I finally arrived at my hotel, I was completely dismayed to find several minivans in the parking lot. Minivans bearing colorful writing on all of the windows. Writing that said things like "Go team," "Win state," and "#1." Because, clearly, there is nothing more relaxing than 30 high school kids stampeding up and down the hallway at all hours of the night, banging into your door. Oh, well, except their slightly drunk parents who were doing the same. Fun times, friends. Fun times.
3. I was all by myself which meant that I had to eat by myself. Can I just say, I hate eating by myself? I've done it many times, so you think I would have gotten over it by now, but, no. I haven't. After receiving faulty directions from the lady at the front desk and getting lost, I ended up at Cracker Barrel. So, at least I got to have some good food!!
4. Tuesday night there were terrible thunderstorms that knocked the power (and, therefore, alarm clocks and air conditioner) out. I don't sleep well the first night I'm in a hotel usually, but I really didn't sleep well Tuesday night!!
5. I got ready early so I could have breakfast with my client before the depositions started. And, why is it that no matter how many times I tell my clients, "Whatever you do, don't do______ (fill in the blank)", it is always the first thing they do??? I mean, seriously, I've tried everything but standing on my head, and I guess I'll have to try that next time.../
6. I got a parking ticket during the deposition thanks to some parking meter Nazi. I mean seriously, I was three minutes over my time when I went to plug the meter, and I ALREADY had a ticket.
7. Then I got us lost on the way back to the hotel. One way streets are now the bane of my existence.
8. My drive home was uneventful, PTL. I got home, parked my car and went into the house. When I went to pick up W. an hour later, however, my car wouldn't start. It wouldn't turn over, it wouldn't make any noises. Nothing. So, now I'm without a car. Well, at least temporarily.
So, can I just say I'm happy to be home??? Not that the entire trip was a loss. I got to talk to two of my favorite people on the phone while I was gone!!! I love to talk on the phone, and it was so great to be able to chat with them.
I better get back to work because I'm leaving again tomorrow. Hopefully, this trip will go by much more smoothly!!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend Update

Hello ladies!!! I hope you each had a wonderful weekend! My weekend was good. If you noticed the time stamp on my last post, you already saw that I stayed up way too late on Friday night. I really must be getting old. I just can't do midnight like I used to. But, Someone was looking out for my well being because the nearly 11 year old slept until 10 AM Saturday morning. And, of course, that meant that I, too, got to sleep in. Heavenly. Absolutely heavenly.

Our Saturday was filled with our usual Saturday routine. We ate brunch, and then we ran some errands. I had to sign W. up for some swimming lessons at the YMCA, and then we went to look for scanners. You will be happy to know that we did buy a scanner at Best Buy. I had no idea what I was looking for, but luckily for us, there was a HP rep at the Best Buy store, and she was very helpful. She walked us through the different HP scanners and answered all of our questions, and we ended up with this all in one thingy (yes, that's a technical term).

I was promised that it would do "everything" I need it to do. Of course, it will also do five hundred things I don't need it to do. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming the wonderful HP rep. It really isn't difficult to talk us into things. We seem to live by the philosophy that the more buttons the better. But, bottom line, yes, the hairumentary is forthcoming....Just as soon as I learn to operate it.

Sunday morning we went to church. Our church has recently started a sports outreach program. To kick off some events, including an FCA youth camp, we had Ken Johnson, the chaplain for the Indianapolis Colts, give the message yesterday. He gave a really good message on how to keep the fire burning and how to persevere in the face of adversity. There were several things that he said that really resonated with me, and I'll post about them later. My Sunday afternoon was spent cooking dinner (we had chicken enchiladas, yum!) reading and doing Bible study. All in all it was a very relaxing weekend.

This week is going to be so busy. It's only Monday, and I'm already panicking that I'm not going to get everything done. I am very busy at work, and I will be out of town for two days taking depositions. I will get back late Wednesday night, and then I leave again Friday afternoon. Not that I'm complaining about leaving again Friday. Oh, no, not at all. Friday afternoon a group of us girls are piling in a car and driving to Minneapolis to see this fine lady speak.

I am so excited to see Beth Moore I can barely contain myself!!! And, to top it off, it's my friend Shana's birthday on Friday, and we get to celebrate it with her!!! I'm so exited!!

So, have any of ya'll seen Beth Moore in person before? If so, what did you think? I do have to tell you all that I have spent the better part of the morning thinking about ways I could "accidentally" end up back stage to meet her. Hee hee! Anyone got any ideas for me ;)

PS. If you haven't left a comment or emailed me about the message board (and you want to), please do. If you are on the fence about it, please consider signing up, even if it's just to post your prayer requests. I really, really, really do love praying for you, and that way I would know your prayer requests. Anyway, just a thought....Now get back to thinking about ways to sneak me backstage ;)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Prayer Community

I know I promised you details about the prayer community today, and since today is nearly over, I better get with the program! So, here's the skinny (as it currently stands, and believe me, it could change. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I want this to be productive and worthwhile for everyone involved!!)

Above all, I want this to be glorifying to God. This certainly is not about me. It's just something that God has laid on my heart, and I am humbled and grateful to be involved. It still amazes me daily that God has blessed me so much by bringing each of you into my life!

I have set up a Yahoo Group Account. This account has a message board where we can post prayer requests and a calendar where we can record answered prayers!! Here are a few things you might need or want to know about the Yahoo account.

1. It is a private account. This means that no random crazy person can log on and read our prayer requests or post any comments of any kind. You will have to be "invited" to join the group. Practically, that means I need your email address so you can log in.

2. Each person will have the ability to post their own prayer requests. This means that I won't moderate the posts. I'm doing this so you can post your prayer requests immediately and on your own time table. I also don't think moderation is necessary given our purpose and our goals. Which brings me to number 3.

3. I want this to be a safe place to share prayer requests. I want you so much to be able to be real there. I'm still playing around to see if there is a way to anonymously post requests, but I haven't figured that out yet. I pray that we won't need to do that anyway. I think it's great that most of us live far away from each other. Maybe that will free us up, so to speak. (And, for any of us who live near other members, let's face it, I'm sure they're already up in our bidness.) But, if there are sensitive prayer requests that need to remain anonymous, I'll find a way to make that happen. In the interim, if you have an anonymous request, please email it to me, and I will post it without referencing your name.

4. I also want this to be low maintenance because I know how busy we all are. Like I said, everyone is free to post prayer requests at any time. It's completely up to you how often you check the message board. To save you some time, I plan on compiling all the active prayer requests once a week and sending them out in one email. That way we can print them off and have them whenever and wherever we are praying. So, if you want to post whenever, but simply wait for the weekly email, that's golden. If you want to check it more often to make sure you have the most recent requests, that's fine too. It's completely up to you.

5. If you want to respond to some one's prayer request, by offering a written prayer or a scripture, I want you to feel free to do that. You can post them, or with the permission of the person requesting the prayer, send a direct email.

6. I am also planning on sending out a monthly calendar showing dates that prayers were answered. I think that it is so important not only to pray with one another but also to celebrate with each other. I also think that it is wonderful to offer praises in addition to offering prayer requests. So, if God has blessed you recently with something to praise Him for, I encourage you to post it. Let us celebrate with you!!

7. I pray that this prayer community would be a tool God uses to bring each of us closer to Him. So, in addition to other types of prayer requests, I want you to feel free to ask for spiritual prayer. For example, I have been struggling with getting out of bed in the morning for my quiet time. I would LOVE for you to pray that God gives me a supernatural kick out of bed in the mornings, or a full bladder. Whatever. I'm flexible. But you get the idea, right?

8. Finally, depending on the amount of people who want to be involved, we may need to make modifications, including limiting the size of the group, or perhaps, breaking off into pairs for a week or a month. But, we'll cross those bridges if and when we come to them. As my grandma says, I don't want to get the cart before the horse. Right now the only member of the prayer community is me.

So, bottom line, please leave me a comment or email me if you are interested. I will send you the link to the group. I can't tell you enough how special you all are to me. When I started blogging, I NEVER in a million, trillion years thought I would meet you amazing women (well, except the ones I knew already ;)). I LOVE to pray for you. It truly is an honor. And, I would love nothing more than to continue to do that.

I hope you all have a great weekend. I'm off to look for scanners tomorrow. Does anyone have a good photo scanner that they would recommend?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Great Debate

Throughout history there have been some great debates:

Calvinism vs. Arminianism

North vs. South

Coke vs. Pepsi

Bo vs. Luke

Jon Bon Jovi vs.

Well Jon Bon Jovi vs. no one because, come on, that one is not seriously in dispute.

And, along side these great debates have been many burning questions like:

Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?

Who really shot J.R.?

And, most importantly,

WHAT happened to Michael Jackson????

But now, I bring you the burning question/debate of July 2008. What should I do with my hair?? Yep, that's right, it's time for me to get my hair done again, and as many of you know, this is a major event. I tend to change my hair color every time I get my hair done, although, admittedly, recently I've only been changing the shade of red. To help you make an informed contribution to this debate, I am going to steal Kelly's "hairumentry" idea and post pictures of my hair in various shades of the rainbow and in various different styles. Unfortunately, in order to do that, I have to go buy a new scanner because I kick it old school. So, stay tuned for pictures this weekend. But for now, you can help me out this way. Have you seen a hairstyle and/or color recently that you have liked? Perhaps on a celebrity? I am open to many suggestions. Just remember that I would prefer not to look like this:

Thanks in advance for helping me out. I know it will be more helpful after you see my hairumentry, but I'm working on it!
PS. I've still been praying about the prayer community, and I think I have some ideas. If I can write them down in any cogent or coherent fashion, I plan on posting them Friday. So, check back then. Ha! How's that for suspense!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

If I Could Go Back in Time...

Hey there everyone! I hope each of you had a great 4th of July weekend. We did NOTHING all weekend long. It was glorious. Well, mostly. But, I won't bore you with how I got sick over the weekend. Anyway, I feel like I should blog because I haven't blogged in awhile, but I don't really have anything exciting to blog about. Lying in bed watching the men's Wimbledon final doesn't make for good blogging material. But, can I just say I was pumped that Rafael Nadal won. I love him. Does anyone else like tennis???

On another note, I got a "save the date" card in the mail today. The "save the date" card is for a fundraising Gala that George and I go to almost every year. It is held at the Salisbury House, and it is fantastic!! The Salisbury House is a real, live castle located in Des Moines. It was built in the 1920s and was modeled after 16th Century English architecture. Here is a picture of the Salisbury House today.

It really is an amazing building, and the Salisbury House Foundation has done a tremendous job renovating it and keeping it up. The Foundation sponsors some great historical and musical events at the Salisbury House, and in the summer time, they have Shakespeare on the Lawn. To raise funds for the house, each September the Salisbury House holds the "Gatsby Gala." The Gatsby Gala is one of the best parties in town, but this is the best part: Everyone who attends the Gatsby Gala gets to dress up in their finest 1920s outfits. Now, I don't know about you, but I have always loved the 1920s. There is something very chic about that era, and I have always wanted to be a flapper.

So, since I don't have anything else to blog about, and to appease my good friend Julie who told me I don't post enough pictures, I thought I'd share a couple of pictures from the last Gatsby Gala.

Please ignore the fact that I look like a house. It's, um, all the feathers.

So, there you have it. Hopefully, we'll be able to go again this year. I better start practicing the Charleston now. But, before I do, what about you? If you could go back in time, what era would you want to visit?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I Knew It!

Leigh Ann had one of these on her blog yesterday, and I wanted to try it. After all, who doesn't want to find out who his/her celebrity look-alikes are. Well, except for George, but under threat of great punishment, I've been forbidden to tell you who his celebrity matches were. So, instead, I will share mine. And, all I have to say is, I KNEW IT! I AM bad to the bone. Seriously. Don't laugh, y'all. You'll hurt my feelings. If you don't believe me, look for yourself.

As you can clearly see, I am a cross between Sydney Bristow and Xena the Warrior Princess. From now on you can refer to me as Xena Bristow. I would stay and chat more, but I have to go apply for a job at the CIA.
Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend everyone!! If you haven't told me how God has blessed you recently, please do!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

So That

A group of women from my church are studying the story of Rahab of Jericho from Joshua in our summer session Bible study. We are using Francine River's novella on Rahab (in her Lineage of Grace series) to help facilitate the study. Last week we talked about the fact that while God destroyed all the people in Jericho, He saved Rahab. In fact, He saved her even though she was a Caananite prostitute. A few things struck me about this passage of Scripture, but what may have struck out the most is how faithful God is. He is faithful to His people, no matter where they are from, and no matter what their backgrounds are. We are all sinners, saved by grace, redeemed and restored by the blood of Christ. It amazed me how much He cares for us. It also struck me that Rahab's story was a wonderful, early Old Testament representation of God's faithfulness to uphold the promise He made to Abram in Genesis 12. Genesis 12:1-3 contains God's first covenental promise to His people.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:1-3.

In those verses, God promised that "all peoples on earth will be blessed through" Abraham and his offspring. In the battle of Jericho, God saved a Caananite prostitute, thereby, fulfilling His promise to bless people other than Abraham and his descendants.

As I was reading Genesis 12:1-3 again, I remembered something else. Awhile back I read an article that discussed these verses in the context of a missionary mandate. The author had said although God had clearly blessed Abraham in this passage, the promised blessing also came with a stated purpose: "you will be a blessing." According to the author, there was an implied "so that" in these verses. Abraham was blessed "so that" He would be a blessing, and God would bless Abraham "so that" all the peoples of the earth would be blessed. I don't know if that resonates with you, but it does with me. God has blessed me so that I will be a blessing to someone else. God has blessed you so that you will be a blessing to someone else. So, my question to you today is this: how has God blessed you recently, and who are you going to bless today because of it?

Since I posed the question, I'll start *wink*. God has blessed me with wonderful girlfriends, both here at home and in the blog world. So, today, I am going to try to reach out to someone I work with who struggles with feeling loved and accepted. Now, it's your turn. And, don't let me down here. I know God has blessed each of you. Tell me, and more importantly Him, that you realize it! I love you all.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Prayer, Prayer, Prayer

Girls, I want to thank you for all of your input about the blogging prayer community! I will continue to pray about it, and I would appreciate it so much if you did, too. If you have any more ideas or suggestions, please feel free to leave comments or email me.

In the interim, if you have any prayer requests, please let me know. I love praying for you!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Other News

Well, girls, I wish I had some exciting news about my weekend to give you, but unfortunately, I don't. As you know, George and I were supposed to go away this weekend. I think we had even decided to go to Kansas City. But, alas, we were unable to make it. Primarily because I didn't get out of bed until, oh, about 2:00 in the afternoon on Saturday. And, to be quite honest, I didn't actually ever leave the bedroom the entire day. It wasn't my fault, really. You see my body had been invaded. Invaded by the migraine monster. And, in case you aren't familiar with this body snatcher (and, seriously, I pray that you are not), he's a disco ball, strobe light, rock n' roll lovin' monster that likes to rock the boat. So, basically, he makes me nauseated, he makes everything look like it is a Picasso painting placed under some type of strobe light, and he makes me wish that the world was silent. Fun times, girls. Fun times. So, seriously, how boring was that??? I was so excited to go out of town, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. Not this weekend anyway.

Sunday was better. We went to church, gorged ourselves at brunch, and then took naps. Well, at least the adults napped. The soon to be eleven year old is too good to nap. He obviously doesn't know what he is missing, but he'll learn someday. He is, after all, his mother's son, and there are few things in life I love more than a good nap. And, last night we had a women's ministry event at church. It involved a few of my favorite things, chocolate, coffee, and some of my favorite girlfriends. We were able to purchase tickets to see the Beth Moore simulcast the first weekend in August. I'm super excited because not only will I get to see the simulcast in August with my good friend, Julie, but a group of my best girlfriends are also heading up to Minneapolis to see her in July. I really can't wait for that. I love taking trips with my girlfriends.

On a completely different note, I wanted to solicit some opinions about something God has put on my heart. Over the last several months, it has been my absolute privilege to pray for many of you. I also know that many of you have prayed for me, and I am forever grateful for each one of those prayers. I would love to continue to pray for you, but sometimes I'm not certain what prayer requests you might have. (Some of you are great about letting people know your prayer needs, and I love that!) I also know that sometimes it is difficult to ask for prayer. Maybe it's just me, but I have noticed a couple of prayer phenomenons when it comes to prayer request time in a group setting. The first thing I notice is that most people have "no" prayer requests. I, myself, have often fallen into this category. When I thought about why I have failed to share prayer requests from time to time, I realized two things: one, either I thought my prayer request was too shallow. You know, something not "important" enough to be prayed about, or two, I though it was too deep, too raw, and too personal for me to share. Of course, in hindsight, those were the things that I should have asked everyone I knew to pray about. The second thing that I have noticed is that the people who do share prayer requests often are asking for prayer for someone else. Now, I certainly do not want to minimize the importance of praying for family and friends, but I think this phenomenon may be related to phenomenon number 1.
Anyway, to make a long story, well, longer, because I'm not done yet, I've been thinking about starting some type of blogging prayer community. Nothing fancy and nothing too time intensive. I know we are all busy. I don't know if any of you have read the Yada Yada Prayer books, but I was thinking of something along those lines. Except that we won't meet face to face or visit each other's churches. So, on second thought, I guess it is nothing like that. Hmm. What I was envisioning was a message board of sorts where we could post prayer requests for one another. I would also want to incorporate some type of calendar function, or some way of recording when the prayers are answered. Obviously, I am still thinking all this through. However it would work out, I would want it to be somewhere safe. Somewhere where we can ask for prayer for the things we deem either too trivial or too deep. You know, where we can stop being the Goldilocks of prayer requests and start being real people. So, while I'm still thinking this through, I would appreciate any insight or feedback you could give me. For example, would you be interested in something like this? If not, is there something that you would be interested in? What are your biggest needs in the area of prayer, i.e. a prayer partner, a forum to make prayer requests, or whatever? And, what would be most beneficial to you?
You can leave a comment, or email me if you prefer. Either way, please let me know your thoughts. I have a hundred different ideas in my head, but I never know if they are practical. And, I have no idea if anyone would even be interested in such a thing. So, anyway, please let me know what you think. I love you!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Drum Roll Please!

Well, it's already Friday, which means it's time to announce the winner of the giveaway. I know you are all sitting on pins and needles, right? OK, well maybe not, so enough with the suspense. I used to pick a random number between 1-31, inclusive, and came up with this...

True Random Number Service
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:5
Timestamp: 2008-06-27 14:13:05 UTC
Yes, I believe that is a number 5. And, according to my count, numero cinco is Dawn. So, congratulations, Dawn!! Email me your contact information, and I will work on getting your prize in the mail.
I also want to thank everyone else who entered the giveaway! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm certainly glad that I had a giveaway because I've already made some great new friends. And, that is always exciting.
But, before you go, I must know. What are your weekend plans? George and I are going to this little restaurant in a town that's about an hour away tonight for dinner. They have the BEST prime rib there. And, then tomorrow, we're getting up early and driving somewhere. Where, you ask. Well, that's a good question. We haven't decided yet. I guess you could say that we like to live by the seat of our pants, but really we're just indecisive. Yep, completely unable to make routine decisions. That's us. But, what can I say? That's just how we roll. So, anyway, who knows. We may be coming to your city. You just never know.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

1 And 11

Alright, I have to tell you that I've had the lyrics to "I'm So Excited" in my head since yesterday. Just think of me as the fifth Pointer Sister. You know, the very pale one. So, help me out here girls. You know how the song goes. "I'm so excited and I just can't hide it." What, you're asking why I'm so excited? Well, that's easy. It's because my sweet friend Caroline gave me my first blog award!! When I checked her blog yesterday, I saw that she had given me this award:

And, let me tell you it made my day to receive this award, and it made my day even more wonderful because it came from Caroline. Caroline is a wonderful, godly woman who is beautiful, inside and out. She is personable and funny, and her laughter and smile are contagious. She is a prayer warrior and encourager to so many women. Caroline is an authentic, genuine lover of the body of Christ, but more importantly she is an authentic, genuine lover of Christ. She encourages me in so many different ways, and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to call her my friend. I love you, Caroline!!

I've been reading a book called 11 Indispensable Relationships You Can't Be Without by Leonard Sweet. Basically, the premise of the book is that you need friends to get through this crazy journey called life, and according to the author, there are 11 friends, in particular, that you need to have. For example, Mr. Sweet suggests that you need an Editor like Nathan was to David, a Yoda like Peter and Paul were, a true friend like Jonathan was to David, and an encourager like Barnabas.

When I first started reading this book, I concentrated on myself. Who was my Nathan, my Jonathan, my Barnabas? But, as I was reading the chapter on Barnabas, something struck me. Mr. Sweet said that sometimes we are called to encourage people we don't even know. A couple of things occurred to me when I read that. The first was that as important as it is to have all 11 indispensable friends, it is equally as important to be those 11 friends to someone else. After all, we will more than likely have an opportunity to be each of the 11 indispensable friends to at least 11 different people at some point in our lives.

The second thing that struck me, however, was a little more personal to me. One of the very first blogs I read was Kelly's. And, for whatever reason, God chose to put her on my heart. It was very clear to me that I was supposed to be praying for her and encouraging her. What made this slightly awkward for me was that we didn't know each other. At all. So, I resisted. My pride and my ego got in my way for quite awhile. I listened to the voices in my head that said, "She's going to think that you are a freak and a stalker." But, God wouldn't let it go. She was on my heart constantly, and since it didn't appear that God was going to let me out of this one just because I was scared of rejection, I pressed on. I did pray for her. I did email her. And, yes, the entire time I was doing so, I felt like a freak and a stalker. And, yes, she probably thought so, too!

But, what I want to say is this. I am so thankful that God wouldn't let it go, and I am so thankful that I pushed through my fears and was obedient. If I hadn't pressed through, I would have missed out on a huge blessing. I would have missed out on knowing what an awesome person Kelly is. I wouldn't have been able to see how deep her faith is and how important it is to her. I would have missed out on her warm smile that comes from her inner joy and hope in the Lord. I would have missed out on learning what we have in common, and I wouldn't have been able to put a sweet voice to her picture. I would have missed a great blessing.

And, not only would I have missed the blessing that Kelly has been to me, I would have missed out on meeting most of my other blogging buddies. Because, let's face it, I found most of the rest of ya'll from her blog roll! It has been so much fun to get to know all of you. I love learning about you, and I hope that I will continue to get that opportunity. I love chatting with you all, especially the ones who live nearby but I don't get to see often enough, via blog comments and email, and we all know how much I love to talk on the phone! You are all such a blessing to me. More than I could ever be able to convey with my words. I love you all so much!! I do, I do.

But, now I must pass on my award to another deserving woman. Specifically, I pass on my award to this wonderful lady.


Julia is simply awesome. Her blog is so cute. I always look forward to reading her posts, and I miss her terribly when she has the day off from work ;) She is a gorgeous woman inside and out. She has a heart for the Lord, and she is on the worship team at her church. And, just let me tell ya that the girl has got it goin' on. She can sing. She is is a celebrity at my house! She is also a model of health and fitness and is always willing to help a sister out. And, I love that about her. So, Julia, this one's for you, friend! You do make my day, all the time!

I know I said it before, and I'll probably be saying it another billion times, but I love each of you so much. I'm honored to consider you gals my friends!!

So, you have to tell me, though, how do your friends make your day?

Domo Arigato, Mr. Robato

It's Wednesday, which means we are over the hump. Woo hoo! And, after yesterday's post, I thought I'd better lighten things up a bit. So, here goes...

Last night I was chatting with my good friend Caroline on the telephone. As some of you may know she is leaving for Japan next week to go on a three week mission trip. (If you don't know about it, head over to her blog and read about it.) And, after chatting about how cool it is that she gets to go to Japan, our conversation digressed to a topic close to my heart: Japanese game shows. Yes, wipe that shocked look off your face. I did, indeed, say Japanese game shows. Sheesh, you would have thought I said fart or something.

So, anyway, I was telling Caroline about my two favorite Japanese game shows, Ninja Warrior and Unbeatable Banzuke. Unfortunately, she was unfamiliar with these two TV gems. So, this one's for you, girlfriend.

Unbeatable Banzuke

Because, seriously, what could be better than watching someone navigate an obstacle course on their hands. (Other than the riveting subtitled commentary). Well...

Ninja Warrior

Maybe watching that. Because, once again, what could be more entertaining than watching people roll on logs and jump on little trampolines? Nothin', that's what. Well, except maybe getting to say "Ninja Warrior, hi-ya" and doing a little hand chop action when someone asks what you are watching.

Now, how about you? What's your favorite game show?