Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Birthday to My Sweetheart!

A very happy 27th birthday to my dear husband! His birthday was Sunday, and we spent all weekend celebrating! We enjoyed a fun and wonderful date night on Friday with birthday dinner provided by his mom (Thanks, JoBeth!) and movie provided by my sis and her husband (Thanks, Matt & Jess!). We ate at a Waco institution called El Siete Mares, a Mexican seafood restaurant. Justin seriously had 8 different kinds of seafood on his plate, including oyster, shrimp, crawfish, squid, mussels, scallops, and octopus. GAG! He enjoyed it, though. I had the much tamer Pecan-Crusted Rainbow Trout. YUM!! I've never had fish like this before - it was delicious. Then we saw The Pursuit of Happyness, the new Will Smith movie. SOOOO GOOOD!!!! It comes highly recommended by me - bring your tissues. The chemistry that Will Smith has with his son onscreen is really moving.

Then Saturday we had an at-home celebration. UK men's basketball was playing at Louisville, Justin's most hated rival, and thankfully the game was on one of the 5 channels we get at home! So I made some homemade whole wheat pizzas, and we totally chowed down as we enjoyed watching the Wildcats crush the Cardinals. Then for dinner, I made him a pumpkin cheesecake, and that's all we had - we were still full from the pizza!

Sunday evening was our church LifeGroup's Christmas party, and we had a Mexican Stack-Up and a white elephant gift exchange. Fun times were had by all. I also gave Justin his birthday present, which is a pretty funny story. Since I don't have much to do at work today, I'll tell the story. I've got a picture I'm going to post with it, but I forgot to upload it, so check back tomorrow to see the picture of Justin with his birthday present.

OK, so here's the story. I got Justin a pack of 50 pencils for his birthday. What's the big deal about that? you may ask. Well, since childhood, Justin has had this mannerism where he flips something with his fingers. It's actually a pretty neat skill, and I've never seen anyone else that can do it the way he can. It must be innate. He'll flip pencils, pens, markers, whatever is nearby. However, he found one certain type of Eagle brand pencils that was the perfect weight for flipping. But then his life was changed forever when Eagle stopped making the pencils the same way. They changed from wood to some plastic substance, and it changed the weight of the pencils - no longer ideally flippable. So he went online and bought every pencil that he could find that was the old style. (Side note: In college, he was helping me move one time, and he found a box of Eagle pencils as we were packing up my office stuff. He freaked out and got so excited that I was a little creeped out. It turned out that they were the right ones, and so he asked if he could have them. He's never forgotten my generosity in giving him that box of pencils, and it may have added to why he wanted to marry me years later.) So he had a pretty large stash of flippable pencils, but as you know, when things fly through the air at a high rate of speed, they're apt to break. So over the years, Justin's stash has been dwindling as the pencils break, and he didn't know what he would do when they were all gone. Fast forward to last month. Here at the church where I work, they had a Women's Conference, and afterward they had a bunch of supplies left over. So they gave each of us secretaries a bag with a t-shirt, some pens, some candy, and some pencils. When I saw the pencils, the thought crossed my mind You know, these are pretty heavy pencils, maybe they'll work for Justin. I left them out for him when I went to work the next morning. When I got home from work that day, there he was on the couch flipping the pencil from the Women's Conference! He said "Where did you get these pencils?!" I told him, and he said "Can you get me some more? These are perfect!!!" He was incredibly happy. So for his birthday, I got him a pack of 50 from the Oriental Trading Company. They come with a free engraving, so on the side of his pencils it says "Justin's - DO NOT SHARPEN!" He was thrilled with that gift. My sweetheart. :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's ANOTHER Boy!!!!

Alright, this should be my last baby news for a while! For those of you that haven't seen the news on Justin's blog, his sister gave birth to her first child this morning.

Joshua Daniel
(named after Justin - Daniel is his middle name)
Born December 7th around 4 a.m.
6 lbs., 14 oz., 21" long

Welcome to the world, Joshua! On Justin's blog, the title of his post is "Weird Uncle Justin." Strangely enough, Justin actually WANTS to be known as this. He expects to be the weird uncle that the kid will probably only see once a year, coming back from a foreign country bringing weird gifts and speaking strange languages. Sadly enough, I have to be married to the weird uncle. Does that by default make me a weird aunt? I hope not! I'd rather be the favorite aunt or something along those lines. :)

I had a weird uncle when I was a kid. (Actually, I don't think I had any normal ones...) But this particular uncle was so scary to me that I would hide under the bed when he came over. I think it was because this was the early '80s and he had the long hair and beard - made me think he was a wolfman or something. Now he's my favorite uncle, though, so I guess there's still hope even for Justin.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Candy Cane Lane

I've found something else that just makes the holidays even more wonderful for me. Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Holiday Decaf Green Tea. That's quite a mouthful to say, but when you drink it, it's happiness in a mug. Seriously. It's tastes just like a candy cane. But without the sugar. (I added Splenda.) Yum! I'm just sitting here smelling the box right now, and it's making me happy. Celestial Seasonings makes several different holiday teas, and they're all on sale at HEB right now, for those of you in the TX area. There was a gingerbread kind, a sugar cookie kind, and several others. Check out the website here. Super yum! This will definitely take a bad morning (For example, one where yesterday it was 75 degrees and this morning it's 33 and sleeting... Yes, that IS what happened in Waco today!) and turn it right around!

Monday, November 27, 2006

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I LOVE the holiday season! Thanksgiving and Christmas combine to make a wonderful season of fun, family, joy, thankfulness, and lots of good food! Justin and I spent Thanksgiving weekend house/dogsitting for my boss, so we enjoyed having lots of space and cable TV. (Friday afternoon while Justin was working on school stuff, I watched 5 hours of a "What Not to Wear" marathon on TLC. Pure bliss.) Thanksgiving morning we gave back to the community by delivering Meals on Wheels to a few senior adults, and then for lunch I cooked a magnificent feast for just me and Justin. It was delicious and healthy too! :) Then Friday morning we got up early (but not at 4:00 as we have in years past!) and both started and finished our Christmas shopping! Fun times! So it was a highly successful weekend. Finally Sunday afternoon we put up our Christmas tree and now we're ready for Christmas! Just 2 more weeks of school for my sweetheart, then he gets to breathe a big sigh of relief for a little while. We'll be taking our annual trip to the homeland for Christmas, so we'll be hitting Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee on that trip. Can't WAIT for that! I'll have 2 new nephews by then, and I can't wait to squeeze them both! So here's a fun quiz for you to do in honor of the beginning of the Christmas season:

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas
For you, it's all about sharing times with family. Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Rear End of Luxury

Well, it's finally getting to be that time of the year in Texas when we're pulling our sweaters out of storage. In fact, I even glimpsed a patch of frost on my rear windshield this morning! Oh no! I DO NOT LIKE COLD WEATHER! I prefer t-shirts and flip-flops! But alas, my poor feet are doomed to a couple of months of being trapped inside socks and shoes. However, I've just recently discovered one perk of the cold season. My precious, wonderful husband, being the strong and mighty protector that he is, has recently let me start driving his 2004 Camry to work instead of the less-reliable 96 Grand Am I'd been driving. One chilly evening last week when we were out and about, I noticed some buttons on the dashboard of the Camry that I'd never seen before. There was a right one and a left one, and they showed a picture of a seat with wavy lines coming up from it. So I pushed the one for my side to see what would happen, and lo and behold, 2 minutes later this wonderful toasty feeling starts to emanate from my seat! (At first, I thought I'd wet my pants!) I realized it was a seat warmer! I'd heard of these, but always thought they were for luxury cars and that I'd never own a car that had them! (I realize you're probably rolling your eyes and attributing my naivete to the fact that I lived in Africa for 2 years. I still think a refrigerator is a marvelous thing!) I mean, who came up with that idea? It had to be a woman. So anyways, thanks to my precious husband's generosity and concern for me, I get to drive to work every morning with a roasty toasty rear end. So maybe there is ONE good thing about cold season in Texas. Now I just need a warmer for the steering wheel!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


There's not much going on in my world right now. I'm ready for Thanksgiving so I can get 2 days off work! I'm pretty sad to not be going home, though. I want to squeeze my new precious nephew! But in the meantime, with my absence of anything interesting to post, I'll just post a couple more pictures that I got from my mom of the two most precious children on the face of the earth.

What an adorable little chunky monkey!

I love this picture because it seems to me that what's happening is Azlan is in his carseat wailing, and Patriot is pointing and laughing. Oh, the pitfalls of being the younger sibling! I know how you feel, Azlan. :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

He's Finally Here!

My second sweet nephew has made his entrance into the world!

Azlan David
Born November 6 at 7:30 p.m. EST
9 lbs., 5 oz., 21" long

He's pictured here with Mommy, Daddy, and big brother Patriot. I LOVE the look on Patriot's face - What is THAT thing Mommy is holding?! :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I've Always Wondered...

I heard a song on the radio this week that REALLY touched me. I've always wondered about things like this, but I've never heard anyone else talk about it. But in this song, Todd Agnew expresses perfectly the things I've always wondered about Jesus' life on earth:
Todd Agnew - Did You Know?
From the album Do You See What I See?

Were Mary’s the first eyes you saw
Or did You remember choosing that shade of brown?
Were You surprised at the shepherd’s crazy story
Or did You know You wrote the song the angels sang?

What was this life like for You?

Did You know?
Did the cross cast its shadow o’er your cradle?
Did You know?
Did You shudder each time Your hammer struck a nail?
Did you know?
How much heaven and how much earth
Were in this baby at His birth?
Did you know? Or did you wonder?

Did you remember the brightness of Your glory
Or did You just notice it was cold and dark here?
Did You know Your name or did you have to be told?

Were You just a baby or were You as old as time?

What was Your life like?

Did You know?
Did the cross cast its shadow o’er your cradle?
Did You know?
Did You shudder each time Your hammer struck a nail?
Did you know?
How much heaven and how much earth
Were in this baby at His birth?
Did you know? Or did you wonder?

What a moving thought, and how appropriate to think about as the Christmas season approaches. May we all meditate on the life of Christ and all He gave up to come to earth as a man to die for the sins of you and me.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ding, Dong, the Mouse is Dead!

Many of you know that for the past 2 weeks, we've had a mouse in our house! The problem is that he hasn't been technically IN our house, more like UNDER it. He's been scritching and scratching underneath the kitchen cabinets, but we couldn't find any holes in the cabinets to make us think that he could get out into our kitchen. So the glue trap we set out could do absolutely no good, since we couldn't put it anywhere where he could get caught in it. Instead, we'd just hear him at all hours of the day and night. Justin (a terribly light sleeper) would even be woken up in the middle of the night by the noise. (I, however, could sleep through an atomic bomb blast.) So we told the apartment management about it, and they sent over an exterminator last Friday. He couldn't really get to the mouse either, but he did find a little hole in the cabinet under the sink. The mouse probably hadn't been getting through this hole yet, but he probably would. So the exterminator put little cubes of poison in nooks & crannies all over our kitchen, and we just had to hope that the mouse would eventually get into the kitchen and eat it! (Can you believe us actually WANTING a mouse to get INTO our kitchen?!) In the meantime, he just scritched and scratched away, making himself at home under there! Until yesterday, we finally had some action. Apparently the mouse finally clawed his way through that little hole under the sink, and the first thing he did was proceed to consume a whole cube and a half of poison. Not the most intelligent thing to eat in a human kitchen. This was like his whole body weight in poison! So, needless to say, he didn't last long. Justin got home from school yesterday and found the poor little guy croaked in the middle of the kitchen floor. Thankfully, he died in the middle of the floor instead of curling up under the cabinet and kicking the bucket there! So thus ends our Mouse Saga. We're leaving out the poison for a while longer in case there was more than one of them, but we didn't hear any scratching last night. I can't help but be a little sad, though. (Justin can't believe I say this! He HATES rodents.) But I had pet gerbils and hamsters when I was a kid! So how is the little guy we just killed any different than little Trixie I had when I was in 3rd grade? The difference is that Trixie didn't live under my kitchen cupboard and keep my husband from sleeping at night. So I guess if either the mouse or my husband had to go, I'll keep the husband. :)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Symphony's A-Comin'

Why haven't we heard from Joni in so long? Has she fallen off the face of the earth? Well, no, it's nothing that dramatic. I usually do my blogging at work, but for the past 2 weeks at work, I've been so busy that I literally haven't even had time to check my personal email, much less blog! Why have I been so busy?! Well, it's actually a pretty exciting event. We're hosting the Kiev Symphony Orchestra & Chorus for a concert this coming Monday. This is the only private symphony in the Ukraine, and it's a part of a larger group called Music Mission Kiev. Check out their website to learn more about this amazing group and their ministry in the Ukraine. They do an American Symphony Tour every couple of years to raise funds and awareness for their ministry, and this year the church where I work is blessed with being a stop on their tour. So it's a HUGE undertaking and keeping me REALLY busy. Thankfully it all seems to be coming together beautifully, and we're looking forward to an AWESOME concert on Monday. So for any of you who are in or around Waco, consider coming to the concert! It's really going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For those of you who aren't close enough to come, please pray for us, that everything will come off smoothly and that I don't have any nervous breakdowns in the meantime. If you want to be REALLY impressed, check out the website I made about the event.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

This Sounds About Right...

You Should Rule Mars
Mars is a planet that shines brightly and loops wildly around the solar system.
You are perfect to rule Mars, because you are both energetic and independent. Like Mars, you seems attractive and bright to others - but you're difficult to pin down.
You are a great thinker, but you only think in the present and ignore the future. Full of enthusiasm and inspiration, you are into your own thing... and rather insensitive to others.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Facing the Giants

Just in case there are any of you who don't read my husband's blog, I also wanted to let you know about an incredible movie that opens today in theaters across the nation. Facing the Giants is a movie about a high school football coach who is experiencing defeat in every aspect of his life. The movie explores how his faith plays into that. It was produced by a church in Georgia, and all of the actors in the movie are either church members or attend that church's school. None of them are professional actors, which makes it even more amazing that this movie is SO GOOD! Justin and I were privileged to see a sneak preview when it was here in Waco, which is why I can already rave about it. Please, everyone, go see it!!!!! Check out the movie's website, where you can find trailers, information about production, reviews, and more. For those of you in Waco, it's playing at the Hollywood Theater this weekend. BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!!!!!!! Please support this movie this weekend, because if it doesn't do well, it won't stay in theaters. It's worth it!!!! GO!!!!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mad at the World

I'm just grumpy today, so I'm going to rant about the 2 things I have to be grumpy about at the moment. First of all, the poor season premeire of The Office.

I feel the same way, Dwight. After having several days to think it over, it wasn't that there weren't funny parts of the show. The "gaydar" stuff, the calculator in Jello incident - those were just dang funny. But in general the content of the show was too uncomfortable to be enjoyable. My analysis is that the reason this show is so funny is because there is no one in the world who is really like Michael Scott. He takes the worst things about every person, and multiplies them by 1000 in himself. No one acts like he does - he is absurdly way over the top. This was indeed the case in this episode, but the problem I had with it is that there are actually people in the world who think the way he does about homosexuality. Sure, no one would think that it's ok to befriend your gay coworker by forcing him to kiss you. But still. It just wasn't funny, and that disappointed me. So for those of you who watched the show for the first time at my insistence, please accept my apologies. The show is usually in much better taste. This season had better get good FAST!

And speaking of fast, this leads to my next complaint, and probably the reason I'm so grumpy today. FedEx. Do they know the latter part of their name stands for "Express?" So why does it take me 7 days from when they first attempt to deliver a package to my house to when I actually acquire the package?! I won't go into all the details of how ridiculous this experience has been, but I will just say that I don't know if I've ever had an organization of this caliber be so unfriendly and unhelpful. It's like they don't want me to be able to get my package and they were purposefully trying to keep it from me. Nothing about their website or 800 phone number or location (once I finally found it) was designed to help me in this circumstance. So I'm done with FedEx. Please, if you ever send me anything, just use the good ol' US Postal Service. God bless America.

I've already got a post planned for tomorrow, and I promise it will be more upbeat!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

You Know Your Life Is Sad When...

... the highlight of your week is looking forward to The Office premeire tonight. I can't wait for this, though! I have been anxiously awaiting it all summer. I am totally on the edge of my seat to see what's going to happen with Jim & Pam! For those of you who have never watched this show, don't be afraid to start now! The episodes are usually each their own story - they're not really one long continual story. Some of the things will get funnier as you get to know the characters and their stories, but I don't think you'll be missing too much by not having seen the previous seasons.

... the greatest accomplishment of your week is scoring the highest points in your family's fantasy football league. There's only one team in the league that is definitely better than mine, and that's my 2-year-old nephew's team (maintained by his dad). Since I played against him the first week, I've got a loss on my record. But I should be able to blow away everyone else in the league and finish up second place for the season. (That's some pretty confident talk for a girl who doesn't know squat about football players. I just like the game.)

... you get fighting mad when one of your husband's professors treats him unkindly. It's a long, gruesome tale that maybe Justin will share on his own blog. But when he told me, I seriously considered writing that professor an indignant email. I reconsidered, though, considering there may be some ramifications on my precious husband if I sent a nasty email to his professor.

... unrelated things at work get you singing songs by the Wiggles. I had never heard of the Wiggles until I went on vacation with my 2-year-old nephew (the same one who's beating me at fantasy football). Then I discovered this great Australian foursome who sing and dance, they're totally cute and my nephew is in love with them. So anyway, at work, the youth group has a basketball event they call Hoop-De-Doo. I saw a flyer for it and had a sudden brain wave. Don't the Wiggles sing a song called Hoop-De-Doo? In fact, they do.

Hoop-De-Do, Hoop-De-Do
I hear a polka and my troubles are through
Hoop-De-Do, Hoop-De-Do
This kind of music is like heaven to me
Hoop-De-Do, Hoop-De-Do
It's got me higher than a kite
Hand me down my soup and fish, I am gonna get my wish
Hoop-De-Doin' it tonight

I'm trying to convince the youth group to use this as their theme song this year. They don't think that's as great an idea as I do.

... you're sitting at work with things to do, but you'd rather be blogging! Wait, that's not sad. That's ok.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Another Anniversary!

Three weeks ago Justin and I had our one-year wedding anniversary, and it just occured to me that I didn't post anything about it. What a terrible wife I am! Sorry, sweetheart! Our trip to Gulf Shores was our anniversary celebration. But that's not the intended purpose of this post, so I'll try to stay on track. The anniversary that I celebrated yesterday was one year at my job! I've never worked that long at anyplace before, so it was quite a milestone for me. I am so blessed to have the job that I have, and my bosses are fantastic! So here's to another good year!

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Floodgates of Heaven

Test me in this, says the LORD Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. ~ Malachi 3:10

Sometimes there are days in my life when God just gives me so much joy that I don't know if I'll be able to contain it! Wednesday was one of those days for me. The first good news came in my assistants' meeting that morning, when they told us that the church had passed a new budget and we were all getting raises! Big raises. They did it on a percentage base, and mine is almost $1 per hour more. What a blessing that is for us!!!!!!

The second good news came that afternoon when I got a call from the Music Minister at our church who told me that I had been chosen to be on the Sunday Morning Praise Team. I had auditioned the week before, but I really didn't expect to make it. But I had just done my best and told God that if He should choose to use me to minister in that way, I'd do my best for Him. But if He didn't choose me for that ministry, that I would apply myself to whatever other ministry He puts in my path. I really do want to use this as an opportunity to minister to the congregation at Highland and help lead them into more genuine worship. So what a privilege to be chosen for that ministry!

So I just wanted to take this brief moment to testify that God REALLY DOES prove Himself faithful in pouring out blessing upon us when we give our best for Him.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The World Will Never Be the Same

I'm sure all of you have already seen the news headlines about the tragic and sudden death of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. He was snorkeling off the coast of Australia and was killed when he accidentally cornered a stingray, which attacked and pierced him in the heart. I have to say that if there was any way I think Steve would've wanted to go, it was like this. He did so much for nature and wildlife, making lovable even some of the world's ugliest and deadliest creatures. I believe his work will continue in the many he has inspired. My prayers are with his wife, Terri, and their two children.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Life on the Beach!

Ok, now that it's been about a million years since we returned from vacation, and you have all despaired of me ever blogging again, I'm finally going to post some vacation pics. Really we've only been home 2 weeks, and those were perhaps the 2 busiest weeks I've ever experienced at work. But now it's Labor Day Weekend and I have a glorious 3-day weekend! So if you're lucky, I may even post TWICE! HA! Ok, let the pictures begin:

This is the fantastic group that went to the beach: Me, Justin, my sister Jessica, Patriot (Jessica's precious 2-year-old son), Matt (Jessica's husband), my mom, and my dad. This was taken on the road right outside the house we rented for the week, so as you can see we had a great location right on the beach!Our neighborhood also had a pool, so we spent quite a bit of time there, too. Patriot wasn't so excited about the beach (He didn't like the sand sticking to his feet!), but he LOVED the pool (as you can see by his face in this picture!).The older boys sure liked the beach, though! They spent hours out there surf fishing. The mostly caught just crabs and mackerel, but then when they went pier fishing, Justin caught a lizard fish and Dad caught a shark! Just standing here at our beach, though, they did spot several schools of rays, some dolphins, and even a manatee!At the pool, we played a fun game where I would throw a Nerf water football, and Dad and Matt would both jump in and see who could catch it. This is quite possibly my favorite picture of my dad. EVER. So that is a short recap of our fun family vacation at the beach. Hopefully we'll make it a family tradition!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

We're back in town after an awesome family vacation in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I don't have pictures ready to post yet, so it'll be a couple days before I can post about the vacation. Here's a hilarious video to keep you entertained in the meantime. These guys are geniuses. Don't try this at home.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My Achilles Heel

As most of you who know me will already be quite aware of, I love board games. Any game, any time, let's play. There is nothing I like to do better with the people I love. Part of the reason I enjoy games so much is that I'm GOOD at them. I win a lot. Not all the time, but certainly often enough to keep my confidence up. However, after much playing, I have finally discovered my Achilles heel: Trivial Pursuit, Pop Culture DVD edition. I CANNOT win at this game. Now this may be because of the fact that every time I've played, I've been on the opposite team from my husband, who is a virtual encyclopedia of random knowledge. Despite this fact, I have beat him at other Trivia games. But never Pop Culture edition. So for all of you out there who think it's impossible to beat me at a game, let's play Pop Culture. I'll go down for sure.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Law of Undulation

I'm currently reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. For those of you who haven't read it, Lewis assumes the persona of Screwtape, a demon, who is writing letters to his nephew demon, Wormwood, to teach him how to influence humans, particularly his own "patient." So far it is an amazing and insightful book, and it is full of truth and powerful application for my life. Last night I read Chapter 8, which moved me so much that I wanted to post the text here so that everyone could read it. Please take the time to read the whole text. Remember as you're reading it that it is written from the perspective of a demon, so in this letter, "Enemy" is referring to God and "Our Father Below" is referring to Satan.

Humans are amphibians — half spirit and half animal. . . .As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to be in time means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation — the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks. If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life — his interest in his work, his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down. As long as he lives on earth, periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty. The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good
unless you make a good use of it.

To decide what the best use of it is, you must ask what use the Enemy wants to make of it, and then do the opposite. Now, it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. The reason is this. To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself — creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.

And that is where the troughs come in. You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now se that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve. He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creatures to stand up on its own legs — to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with, the better. He cannot "tempt" to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Another boy!!!

I just realized that I never posted the news we heard from Justin's sister. Yes, that's right - we're expecting ANOTHER NEPHEW due in December. Congrats, Nicole and David! They're looking at being more traditional with their names than my sister. Last I heard, they were wanting to name him Joshua Daniel. Daniel is Justin's middle name, so that's a sweet tribute to Uncle Justin. Yay for nephews! It's going to be quite a family Christmas for us!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Too Funny Not to Post

I love the website They have hilarious, completely meaningless quizzes that somehow "define" you and your personality. I found on there the quiz "The Simpsons Personality Test," and here are my results:

You Are Marge Simpson
You're a devoted family member who loves unconditionally. Sometimes, though, you dream about living a wild secret life!
You will be remembered for: your good cooking and evading the police
Your life philosophy: "You should listen to your heart, and not the voices in your head."

The funniest thing about this quiz for me is that they told my husband he was Barney, the drunk guy who never leaves the bar. If there's anybody on the Simpsons my husband is NOT, it's Barney. That's funny.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

My Justin: Making Birthday Wishes Come True

Today is my birthday, but around my house birthdays are festivities that last for days. So we began our celebrations yesterday, and my wonderful husband had all sorts of amazing surprises for me! He has been so attentive to what I like and crafted a sweet day of fulfilled dreams!

Dream #1: He cooked me dinner, which is always a dream in my book! He made a delicious Ghanaian dish that a friend taught him how to make - fried plantains with a bean & corned beef sauce. YUM! He also had a STUNNING bouquet of flowers waiting for me when I got home from work. Look at how gorgeous they are! I brought them to work with me today, and they are wow-ing the whole office.

Dream #2: Ever since it came out, Remember the Titans has been my favorite movie. Yet for some reason I haven't bought it, but I always wished I had it. Well, he bought it for me for my birthday because he's great.

Dream #3: For the past 6 months I've been working hard to lose weight (lost almost 40 pounds so far!), but my bathroom scale at home isn't incredibly reliable. I've had my eye on one at Bed, Bath, & Beyond that I had decided I would get as my reward for losing 40 pounds. But he surprised me with it yesterday, and I hadn't even "earned" it by reaching my goal yet! It's a really cool model that can even calculate your body fat percentage. You can check it out here.

Dream #4: As most of you know, the mascot at Baylor is the bear, and they keep live bears on campus who make appearances at most Baylor events. I first saw one at a Baylor football game last year, and I fell in love immediately. She was so sweet, I just wanted to squeeze her! So ever since then I've been a little obsessed with the bears, wanting to stop by the bear habitat on campus and see if I could catch a glimpse of the cuties. Well, my amazing husband arranged for us to be able to go in the habitat and meet the bear!!!! I wasn't allowed to squeeze her (She might've ripped my face off.), but we did pet her! What a great birthday present! At Baylor there is a hand motion that they do at sporting events. You hold your "paw" up in the air and make a slashing motion while you say "Sic 'em, Bears!" Well, they have sweet little Joy (the bear) trained to hold her little paw up like she's sic-ing 'em. So we got a picture of us sic-ing 'em with Joy!!! There also happened to be a photographer from the Waco Tribune-Herald there photographing the bear, so we may even make it in the paper! She took our names and thought it was neat that we were there meeting the bear for my birthday. I'll post a link to the article if we make the paper. So my dear and wonderful husband definitely hit a grand slam last night. Thank you, my dear!!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Joni's Got A Gun (And Another Rosebush?!)

I know it's been a while since I've posted - things have been completely berserk at work this week, and that's when I usually do my posting. But I survived the week and then had a lovely weekend, which is what prompted this post. Saturday afternoon, Justin and I went shooting with some friends from Lifegroup. Yes, shooting. Justin grew up hunting and knows how to handle a gun. I, however, have only ever touched a gun once - I shot a bb gun at fourth grade 4-H camp. So that shows you how much I know about it. But Justin and 2 other guys from Lifegroup are a part of a men's group called Legacy Outfitters, which is like PromiseKeepers for sportsmen. They have a shotgun focus group, and once a month these three guys go with the group and shoot at a range here in Waco. They've been plotting for months to get their wives to come and shoot with them, so finally this weekend, Justin & I went with Joey & Jackie to teach the women how to shoot! It was a blast! (Pun intended.) We really did have a good time, and it was much less scary than I thought it would be. It's HARD, though! That gun is heavy! By the time we were done with a full round at the gun range, my arms were so tired they were shaking. What can I say? I'm a weenie. But it was a lot of fun, and I managed to hit 2 out of the 20 clay pigeons I was shooting at, which Justin claims isn't bad for your first time. (Jackie hit 3.) Best of all, I am now fully knowledgeable about how to use the large weapon that lives at my house. We'll definitely be going again - watch out, world! I am armed and dangerous!

In other news, I'm posting a picture of my sweet little rose plant, because it's doing so well! Blooming away and no mites in sight. I think it likes our new apartment. It actually gets less sun than at the other place, and it seems to like that. Maybe it was too much before. Now just this morning I seem to have moved up to a proper miniature rose enthusiast - a church member came by and brought all the secretaries here at church miniature roses! So now I'm the owner of TWO miniature rose plants! This new one has a really beautiful color of blooms; I'll post a pic once I get it repotted and in its new place next to the red one. My garden is growing, and I love it!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Joy and Relief

Yes, indeed, we have accomplished (almost) all of those things which were stressing us out last week! The biggest deal was MOVING, which came off so smoothly I couldn't believe it. We were completely moved by 12:30! Many, many thanks to those who helped us move: Andrew & Shelly, and Matt & Rachel. Thanks also to Ryan for loaning us his truck. The biggest thanks go to my dear friend, Charity, who came down Friday afternoon and stayed up with me packing all evening, and then packed half the day Saturday. She single-handedly packed up my whole kitchen Saturday morning, then UNpacked it in the new place Saturday afternoon! What a trooper! She was definitely a Godsend. We couldn't have done it without any of you guys. You're awesome! So now we're unpacking and getting everything just how we want it. It's coming together really quickly, though, so that's exciting. We're looking for a pair of armchairs to go in our living room, so if anybody knows of any that are at least minorly cute and majorly cheap, let us know! Once we get everything presentable, I'll post pics of our new place. You'll be so impressed! It's so roomy! We hardly know what to do with ourselves.

As far as our other stressful issues, Justin did manage to take his finals on Saturday. He doesn't have his grades yet, but it sure is a relief to be done with them. His next summer session starts on Thursday, so he has a few days to relax (and get our apartment put together!) before hitting the grind again.

And selling the Mustang. Oh, the Mustang. This is the problem that will never die. We've got a girl on the line ready to buy it. She and Justin have made an agreement, put it in writing, and she's put a deposit down on the car. This is all good news, you say, so what's the problem? Well, there's a repair we need to make before we can sell it to her. In order to make this repair, it needs a new part, but apparently Ford has already stopped producing replacement parts, even though this car is only 8 years old. So the repair shop had to hunt down anybody and everybody that might have this part. They finally found one, and it was supposed to arrive Friday. No show. Then they told us it would definitely arrive today. You guessed it - no show. So the poor girl is still just waiting and waiting for her car, and we're just waiting and waiting for its repair part to come in! As soon as the dern thing arrives, the shop will fix it that day and we'll sign the papers that evening. We're just in a holding pattern waiting for whatever podunk shop they found this part in to actually get it here! So that's more just irritating than it is stressful. There's nothing we can do about it, that's for sure!

So anyways, life is definitely much better than it was last week. And I don't have to work tomorrow, so I'm definitely sleeping in! Praise God for holidays! :)

Monday, June 26, 2006


Ah, life! You go through periods where everything is calm and mundane, and then suddenly EVERYTHING STARTS TO HAPPEN ALL AT ONCE!!!!!!! Why couldn't all these things be spaced out in a manner that I could mentally and emotionally handle?! Let me just list for you some of the things that are happening in my life this week:

- Moving! On Saturday, we're moving across town to a new apartment complex, where we will have a much bigger place! This is very exciting and will be a wonderful change. However, trying to get the house packed up and all the details worked out is not exactly stress-free.

- Justin's finals. It just so happens that this week is Justin's last week of class for this summer session, and he has 2 finals... Can anybody guess when his finals are? Oh yes, they're on Saturday! What kind of school has finals on Saturdays?! I guess only this one does. But that means I'm packing up the house and trying to gather people to help us move, while he's stressed out over final papers and studying. We both wish we could be there for the other, but we have so much to do ourselves! Stress!

- Car issues. We have 3 cars at the moment and we're trying to sell one of them. That is already enough to cause worry. However, last week Justin's car (the GOOD one in the family!) broke down and needed work. Thankfully, it turned out to be minor. But then when showing the Mustang to a prospective buyer, he discovered other things that were wrong with it. So then we had to put that one in the shop too! We have 3 cars, but 2 of them were in the shop the same day. I think this one was stressful enough that Justin was losing sleep over it. I think, though, that this issue is just about resolved, so that's good news.

- Family vacation. This one is thoroughly exciting, but it was just a little overwhelming that it all came about on the same week as all the above-mentioned things. My parents, my sister and her family, and Justin and me are all planning to take a vacation to Gulf Shores, AL together in mid-August. Yippee and Hip-Hip-Hooray!

So anyways, I'm done whining about my stressful life. It should all be pretty much done with by this weekend, so I just need to hang in there until then!!! Pray for us!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

It's a Boy!!

My sister had her sonogram yesterday, and her baby is definitely, indisputably a BOY! So that's 2 boys for the McKees. She said there's no chance she's going to try again for a girl - she'd just end up with 3 stinkin' boys! :) They're debating names, trying to find one that is just as unique as Patriot, their first son. I'll let you know when one is settled on. But in the meantime, congrats to the McKees for another baby boy, coming in November!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Visit from the In-Laws

Now that it's been more than 2 weeks since my in-laws came to visit, I'm finally getting the pictures on my computer! We had a WONDERFUL visit, and I'm very thankful for their visit! Over Memorial Day weekend, Justin's parents came to visit us, and they also brought his Uncle Emmit and Aunt Linda. It was such a precious time to get to know people that I don't know very well. Justin's dad, John, brought us a special surprise. He had applied for us and gotten us both the distinction of Kentucky Colonels! Embarrassingly enough, I didn't know what that was, but the more I read and learn about it, the more I realize what a special honor that is!!! Thank you, John!Justin's mom, JoBeth, has a lot of extended family in Central Texas and Oklahoma, so they were kind of making it a family reunion tour. On that Saturday, the 6 of us traveled to College Station to meet up with some of JoBeth's cousins who live in Austin. JoBeth hasn't seen these cousins since before Justin was born, so it was certain a long-time reunion! We met to eat lunch at FreeBird's Burrito World. Yes, thank you Justin for that special Texas experience. :) Then we went to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library that is on A&M's campus. It was a REALLY cool museum, and I'm very glad we did that - I learned a lot! Here is a picture of the whole family out front of the museum. Left to right: Rex (Ruth's husband), Ruth (JoBeth's cousin), Aunt Linda, me, Justin, JoBeth, John, Thomas Ray (in stroller, Judy's grandson), and Judy (JoBeth's cousin)Outside the library there was a really neat sculpture about George H.W. Bush's life and presidency. He loved horses and the way they symbolized freedom, so this sculpture is of them jumping over a portion of the Berlin Wall, which came down during his presidency. Neat stuff.So to sum it all up, we had a wonderful visit with the family, and I'd love for them to come back anytime!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Jesus is a Perennial

As many of you know, gardening is one of my new hobbies. I'd love to someday have a house where I can put in a real garden, but seeing as those days are in the far, indefinite future, I'll have to be satisfied with my potted plants. However, when putting in a full garden, you're working with basically 2 kinds of plants - annuals and perennials. Annuals last only one year, you'll have to buy new plants and replant next season. Perennials last longer than that, simply going dormant through the winter and reviving when spring comes again. God used this concept to really speak to me about Himself yesterday, and I'd like to share it with you. For several years now, I've been going through a winter in my soul. It began sometime while I was living in West Africa. I'd have warm days every now and then, but basically it just felt like everything inside me was cold and dead. I began to forget what it was ever like to feel fully alive spiritually. I began to wonder if I could ever feel alive again, or if I was just doomed to this surviving-but-not-really-living existence. During this winter of my soul, God blessed my life immeasurably by giving me my precious husband, and now looking back I think it was His way of letting me know that He hadn't given up on me, His way of keeping me from losing hope. He allowed my winter to last as long as it needed to to accomplish His purpose in me, and now for the first time in a long time, I'm beginning to feel the warmth of the sun (Son?!) again. Spring is coming! So the lesson that God gave me in this is that Jesus is a perennial! Our spiritual seasons don't follow the calendar year like those in gardening, so most of us don't know our winter is coming until we find ourselves cold and dead, devoid of passion, unable to conjure up the energy to care. But the seed of life that Jesus placed in us when we received His grace and became His children does not die. It's a perennial. It simply goes dormant - it loses its fruit and leaves, turns black, for all intents and purposes looks dead. But He doesn't let it die. He just waits patiently for Spring to come again. No matter how cold or harsh your winter is, no matter how long it lasts, He is still alive, waiting patiently for your bitter frost to thaw under His loving warmth. Then, when the time is right, He blossoms it forth into new life again, spreading it even larger than it was before. Those of you in a dark and cold season of your soul, don't give up hope! Jesus in you doesn't die when those harsh seasons come. He is a perennial!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

To Love and To Cherish

Justin and I had the privilege of going to a wedding this weekend in Fort Worth. My friend, Faith, who was a missionary with me in West Africa, was marrying Andrew, a Peace Corps volunteer she met there. There was a bachelorette slumber party on Friday night, which was a blast getting to see old friends, and then the wedding was Saturday afternoon. It was far and away the most unusual wedding I've ever seen! It was in the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, just out in the garden. All the guests were seated on blankets in the shade of surrounding trees. Faith and Andrew are both strong Christians, and they wanted their wedding to be a testament not only to their love, but also to God's love for His Bride, the church. Faith has quite a flair for the dramatic, so I knew it was going to be quite a show. They did a drama based on the Scripture Ezekiel 16. Faith came out dressed in dirty clothes and torn jeans, with her hair in a ponytail and dirt on her face, while the reader read this:

"As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing; you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths. No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you. Rather you were thrown out into the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born. When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you while you were in your blood, 'Live!' Yes, I said to you while you were in your blood, 'Live!' I made you numerous like plants of the field. Then you grew up, became tall and reached the age for fine ornaments; your breasts were formed and your hair had grown. Yet you were naked and bare. Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine, declares the Lord GOD. Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil." (v.4-9)

Once Faith reached the middle of the garden, Andrew came out carrying a beautiful white dress. He went to her, draped the dress over her shoulders, and then led her to a chair where she sat down and he washed her feet. Then he said his vows to her and put his ring on her finger. She got up and carried the dress out of the garden. Then the minister taught for about 15 minutes, but I didn't get to hear it because I was helping Faith change. But then after the message, Faith came back out as a beautiful, radiant bride dressed in white, with her hair and makeup done. It was really amazing. Then, the reader read the rest of the passage from Ezekiel:

"'I also clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,' declares the Lord GOD." (v. 10-14)

She went to Andrew, led him to the chair where he sat down and she washed his feet. Then she said her vows and put her ring on his finger. Then the minister came out, pronounced them man and wife, and they kissed. The end. It was really a beautiful visual of the marvelous love and grace of God toward his children, and it was very impressive seeing Faith able to make that transformation in just 15 minutes! Here is a picture of her with me and Charity, the three girls who went to West Africa together. What a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Spider Mites! Ugh!

As you know, my miniature rose plant has taken the place of a pet in my life, since the dern apartment complex won't let me have a pet. So I love it, nurture it, feed and water it, talk to it, and basically do whatever I can to keep it alive. However, it hasn't been cooperating very much. Yes, it is growing and it is blooming, but it just doesn't look to be very happy about it. Just as soon as I get some hope that maybe it will turn around and flourish, the leaves turn yellow and fall off, and we're back to square one. But yesterday, I finally discovered the culprit. SPIDER MITES! Yuck! In my research about miniature roses, I found that they are especially susceptible to spider mites, and even more so in hot dry climates. Hello! Waco, Texas! So the whole time I've had the rose, I've been half-heartedly spraying it with water, which is supposed to help keep these particular pests at bay. But yesterday, I was finally able to see the signs of a full-blown infestation. These critters live on the underside of leaves and suck all the nutrients out until the leaves turn yellow and fall off. So flipping over the leaves, you can see tiny black specks, looks like someone has doused them with pepper. When your infestation gets really large, you can actually see webs between the leaves. And that's what I saw yesterday. So it was time to go on the attack. I took my spray bottle out there and thoroughly washed BOTH sides of EVERY INDIVIDUAL LEAF. No more half-hearted spraying for me and my beloved rose! So we'll see how quickly it rebounds from this particular attack. From what I read, I'll have to spray it pretty thoroughly every day to keep the mites away. If that turns out to be too hard, I may resort to some kind of pesticide, we'll see. No matter what, though, I am determined to have a lovely, flourishing rose if it's the last thing I do!!!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Things are Heating Up in The Office

I don't say much about TV shows on my blog, even though I usually have a lot to say about them. I guess I prefer to talk about real life instead of fiction. But last night's season finale of The Office was just too good to leave alone! Are there any other Office fans out there who know what I'm talking about?! For those of you who who don't watch The Office, Jim and Pam work together, are very good friends, and are clearly perfect for each other. However, there's one thing standing in the way of their relationship: Pam is engaged to someone else. So for the past 2 seasons, we've been on pins and needles waiting to find out if anything would happen between them! And now look at this shot from last night's episode:
As Pam's wedding drew nearer, Jim began to get more and more uncomfortable hearing about it, and finally last night he had had enough. He pulled Pam aside in the parking lot and declared his love for her. Oh, but the agony of it all! Pam got angry, told him that he had misread her friendship, and that she resented his ruining their friendship by trying to take it further! A devastated Jim walks away. However, minutes later, he comes back to the office, where he finds her on the phone with her mom discussing the situation. She hangs up. Without a word, he grabs her and kisses her. And miracle of miracles, she kisses him back!!! And that's the end of the episode. What?! What will happen from here?! Sadly enough, this was the season finale and we don't get to find out where that kiss will take them until next season. Oh, I hope they get together! But how will Pam's fiance, Roy, react? And what will that do to Office dynamics? I can't wait for next season, where my questions will be answered!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Romancing the Blog

My precious, wonderful husband, being the sweetest man on earth, wrote a lovely tribute to me on his blog yesterday. It was incredibly sweet and I'm very thankful to have a husband who's not afraid to express his affection for me in a public format. It's like his own personal Jumbotron. :) So for anybody who hasn't seen it yet, go over and read it. It's great!

His overture was partly inspired by the fun surprise I had for him on Friday evening. I alluded to it in my last blog, but I didn't want to ruin the surprise in case he read my blog before he came home! We drove to Temple (about 40 minutes away), and went to the Central Texas Airshow! It was really neat, and I was quite relieved. Something in as remote a location as Temple had the potential to be really lame. But it was good! We got there after the show had already started. (I let us be late on purpose - I think that 3 1/2 hours of airshow is a little over the top!) As we were walking in, we saw several different kinds of planes sitting on display. Justin could tell you what they were - I don't have a clue. But then we got to the airstrip and the first thing we saw was this tiny little red airplane doing stunt tricks! This was cool enough all on its own - the loops and rolls and heart-stopping dives - but then we heard the announcer say that it was piloted by a 70-year-old man! He'd been flying for 50 years and loved it so much he wouldn't quit! I think that is perfectly adorable. Then there was another stunt pilot, followed by several demonstrations of historical WWII airplanes. Then there was about a half hour break before the Grand Finale Night Act, that they were definitely hyping up a lot. So we wandered around, scrounged 2 dollars in change so Justin could get an ice cream cone (neither of us carry cash!), and then settled in the grass for a good view of the Grand Finale. To start the Night Show, there was a guy in a "jet-powered glider" who used his jets to get up to 4,000 feet, and then glided back and forth down to the ground while streaming sparks and fireworks out of his wings. That was much cooler than it sounds. Then there was a pretty good fireworks show. But they kept telling us to hold on because it was going to get much better with the Final Act, a group called The Blastards. So the fireworks show is over, and they tell us here come the Blastards. It was pitch dark, so I don't know what they actually did, but all it looked like was about 7 atomic bombs going off in a row. These huge fireballs erupted from the airstrip, it was terrifying. I was sure something had gone terribly wrong and there were people dying at that very moment. We were probably 500 yards away from the explosions, but we still felt the intense heat wave roll off them. Then we were covered in ash. But none of the people involved with the show acted as if any of that was unexpected. The announcer just said "How did you like that?!" and then the show was over. What?! Huh?! Was that what was supposed to happen?! Oh well. The rest of the show was cool. Justin really enjoyed getting to see the vintage WWII planes, and we both really enjoyed the stunt shows. So it was definitely a fun evening, and I was thrilled to be able to surprise Justin with something he enjoyed so much.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Good things

I feel like I never have anything worthwhile to post! So I'm just going to post a random compilation of the good things in my life at the moment and hope they add up to something that's worth reading!
  1. My rose bush has 2 buds!!! I'll post a pic whenever they bloom. But I'm pretty thrilled that it's actually blooming again. I had my doubts that it ever would, but I must be such a master gardener that I can coax it into a second bloom.
  2. I just got $250 worth of stuff from Pampered Chef, and I only paid $50 for it! That's awesome! I'm most excited about the pizza stone (I'm going to start making whole wheat pizzas!) and the Ultimate Slice-N-Grate (a contraption that will chop and slice my veggies MUCH faster than I can with a knife).
  3. My sweetheart has taken 2 of his finals, and he has just one more on Monday! Then, he'll have about a month break before he starts summer school. Tonight I'm taking him on a "Let's Forget the Stress of Finals" date, as long as it isn't cancelled due to inclement weather. (We have severe weather on the forecast, but right now it's sunny and beautiful.) I won't post what it is yet because it's still a surprise for him! But hopefully I'll have fun pics to commemorate the occasion.
  4. My in-laws are planning a trip down to visit over Memorial Day weekend. I'm very excited about them coming! I like having people come visit me because it's like a vacation for me, too, but I don't have to pay to go anywhere!
  5. Allergies had me in their evil grip for about a week, but I seem to be gaining some sort of victory over them. Alavert is the key! Now if I could just shake this cough, I'd be rolling.

*Sigh* Looking at it, that's a pretty pathetic list. I'll have to think up something earth-shattering to post soon. In the meantime, try not to die of boredom whenever you think about my life!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Pampered Chef Party!

Last night I had the privilege of hosting my first Pampered Chef party. It was a BLAST!!!! I was blessed with 12 people in attendace - THANK YOU to all who came! Silly me didn't bring a camera, though, so I don't have any photos of the great time. It was a cooking show, so we actually got to watch Terri, the consultant, fix a dish using Pampered Chef products. She made a Spinach & Strawberry Salad, which was DIVINE!!! We saw some really neat products and had a really good time! I'm looking forward to getting my new products so I can start using them! If there's anybody out there reading this that I haven't told about the party, I'm so sorry I missed you. If you'd like to order any products, it's still not too late! Just go to this website, click "Order Products," and punch in my name as the host! That way I'll get the credit for your order! But all in all it was a delightful experience, and I may just do it again next year!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Family Just Keeps Growing!

Over the weekend, we got the fantastic news that Justin's older sister is expecting her first baby! This is incredibly wonderful, yet unexpected news! Nicole and David have been married for more than 10 years, so everyone was used to them not having any kids. Well, that's all changing in the blink of an eye! She's due around the first of December. So when you take that fact into consideration, along with the fact that my sister is due with her second child at the beginning of November, I think going home this Christmas is going to be REALLY FUN!!!! I can't wait to see my precious husband holding his darling little neice or nephew! Brings a tear to the eye just thinking about it... Another funny thing is that both of these couples are really wanting girls! We'll see if either of them get their wish!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Aaaaaaah, SPRING!

We have now entered that scrumptious time of year when the weather is warm and sunny, there's just enough rain to keep it cool, the flowers are blooming, and if you're lucky you can catch a glimpse of baby animals about! We have a little family of killdeer (That's a bird for those of you who have never heard of it before, like me until a week ago!) that are nesting right outside our office building at work, and the babies hatched last week. Killdeer can walk as soon as they hatch, so we had 4 little fluffy, baby killdeer running around, closely supervised by a squawking mama! Somehow at the beginning of this week, we were down to only 3 - we don't want to speculate too closely about what happened to the fourth one! Kristy, Rebecca, and I decided that since they were going to be hanging around the office, we should name them. So the three remaining babies are Frank, Frankie, and Frankster. Now admittedly, that's not incredibly creative. But we have no possible way to tell them apart, so we thought any of those names could apply to any of them, so we were ok no matter which one we called them. (I call them all Frankster...) I noted with some dismay, however, that today I've only seen 2 babies about. We decided that Daddy Killdeer must've taken little Frankie out to see a movie, which is why we haven't seen him all day. Surely there's nothing else that would've happened to him!!! RIGHT?!?!?!?!!?? Now if you're thinking that all this is slightly absurd, well, it is. But you've got to do something to keep your mind occupied when you're bored at work all day!! And when my apartment building won't let me have a pet, I just form an emotional attachment to whatever animal is about... DISCLAIMER: This is not my picture - there's no chance the grass around here is that lush and green. However, this is exactly what the little family we have around here looked like, so I thought it might give a good idea of what I'm talking about! Aren't they precious?!

Friday, April 14, 2006

My Dear Friend

My dear friend Charity came to visit me last weekend, and I've finally downloaded the picture to my computer so I can blog about it! Charity goes to grad school in Dallas, and since she had a break last weekend, she took a mini-"vacation" to come to Waco! Waco's not all that hot of a place, but she seemed to enjoy herself. We played Phase 10, watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," and talked about boys (EEEEEEE!) - all of which are blasts from the past for us. We only go back about 3 1/2 years, but those were some of the most intense years of our lives (as missionaries in Africa!), and so we have a really strong friendship because of it. So even though we don't live close to each other, she's still dear to my heart and I cherish the time we can actually spend face to face! I love ya, girl!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Grad School Blues

My husband is definitely inflicted with a case of the Grad School Blues. We're now in the last month of his first semester, so it's CRUNCH TIME for all the projects, papers, and exams. Yuck. He lives at the library. This is in no way intended to sound like I'm complaining about him having to be at the library so much. I understand that he has to, and I'm proud of him for being such a hard worker and good student. But it still stinks for him and I wish there was something I could do. I was able to help him gather data for a project this weekend, and that was infinitely fun for me. Not necessarily the time spent on the computer, but just the fact that I could actually participate in and help with the things he spends such long hours on at the library. We're a TEAM in this grad school thing, just like we are in all of life. So with my help this weekend, he actually got all the data that he needed to turn in today, and that was a brilliant success, in my opinion. If the dern professor looks at all his hard work and tells him he still needs to change something else, I'm going to be really mad. He's got some good stuff and it's going to be an awesome project. So at our house, we're in survival mode until May 11th, that blessed last day of class for my precious husband! I look forward to seeing you then, dear! :)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Land of the Living

I've finally recovered from strep throat (Amoxicillin is a wonderful thing!), and back to life as usual. This weekend was pretty crazy, with not only all the drugs and trying to recover from strep, but also with my mom's visit at the same time! It was a great time, though, and I'm bummed that I forgot to get any pics to post here. I feel like I didn't do a very good job of entertaining her, but she said all she came down for was to share my life! So we went grocery shopping and did laundry. You ask for it, Mom, you got it! We did make it to the Cameron Park Zoo, which I think was lovely. One of the best zoos I've been to, especially for such a small town. I love the way they keep several different kinds of animals all in the same enclosure... That's fun stuff. We also ate at several Waco specialties, including Bush's and George's. I was pretty impressed with George's. Very tasty and inexpensive! So altogether my weekend was great, and it was a combination of antibiotics and Mom's TLC that have me feeling better now!

On an entirely unrelated note, The Big Dance has finally reached its conclusion. I'm very pleased that Florida won it all, they were who I was rooting for after Gonzaga got beat. This is the first year, however, that I've actually watched the championship game and all the hoopla that goes on afterwards. It was all fine, I think it's great that they get to keep a piece of the net. But one tradition that I do not in any way understand is "One Shining Moment." I've been hearing lots of Justin's friends talking about this song that is played after the final game, and how it's always an emotional thing for them. Several guys have posts on their blogs about it, and several of them talk about how they always get teary-eyed during that last video montage. Well, last night was the first time I've ever experienced "One Shining Moment." I would've been in bed, but my husband insisted it was something I couldn't miss. I hate to admit it, but I thought it was stupid. (Don't tell him I said so!) In the first place, the song wasn't even good. But then there was just a silly video montage of random clips of the tournament. I just didn't get how that could be emotional for so many guys. I guess it's not necessarily the song or the video itself, but what it represents. Another college basketball season comes to a close, seven months until the next one. Maybe that's why they're sad. I think they'll be fine with pro basketball until then. And before we have another basketball season, we get to have MY favorite season, which is FOOTBALL!!!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


After spending all winter healthy as a horse, I've finally succumbed to a dreaded illness. I went to bed Sunday evening with a little bit of a sore throat, and woke up Monday with a REALLY sore throat. Then as the day went on, I could feel a fever rising. Not good. I made it through the day at work on Monday, and went home and CRASHED. Slept for 1 1/2 hours. My precious husband got me some Wendy's chili (one of my favorite foods of all time!), so I got up to eat that and to watch The Apprentice. After that, back to bed. My fever rose throughout the night, topped out at about 100.5, and my throat felt like it was on fire! But sadly enough, I have a deadline at work today that I just can't skip out on. So I did go ahead and come to work, and the more I'm up and about the better I'm doing. I'm MAD, though, that right now is when I go and get sick, when my mom's coming to visit in 2 days! So in the hopes that I might be feeling better by Thursday, I went to the doctor this morning. I was just about sure I had strep throat, because I had the painful sore throat and fever, but no other cold/flu symptoms, and strep throat went around here at work a week or 2 ago. However, the doctor (who was an Aggie, by the way, very nice guy) did a culture and it wasn't strep. He said it was pharyngitis, which is a big name for a virus that attacks your throat. Being a virus, there's nothing really I can do except wait for my body to heal itself. So he just recommended a fairly high dose of Aleve and an analgesic throat spray to make eating/sleeping easier. Said I should be better in 7-10 days. So sorry, Mom! I'm going to be pathetic while you're here!!! So the good news is that I'm really not very contagious anymore. The bad news is that he said I was most contagious on Saturday and Sunday before my symptoms showed up. Sorry, Lifegroup!!! I hope none of you come down with this! If you do, just down some Aleve, and you'll feel better in 7-10 days...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Down in Flames

Last night Gonzaga's dreams of victory in the NCAA Tournament went down in flames, and my brackets went with them. I had them picked to win it all. Sadly enough, when it all went down, I was sound asleep snug in my bed. Who would've thought it wouldn't be safe to turn off the TV when they have a 17-point lead at halftime?! I feel your pain, Adam Morrison.

You gotta feel bad for a guy who'll cry like a little girl right there on the basketball court. Ah well. There's always next year - for me to make some new brackets and Morrison to break into the NBA. Life goes on.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Necessary Evil?!

I haven't posted in a while because I've been busy with Qwyzzle, but I have excellent news that together Kristy and I finally finished all 100 levels! Yes! We are the champions, my friend!!! We were a little bit disappointed that there wasn't any kind of reward at the end, just a note that you MAY get added to the hall of fame, but probably not. What's that about?! But it's still pretty satisfying to have figured out all 100 levels without cheating (unlike SOME people I know who shall remain nameless!!!). So we finished Qwyzzle on Tuesday, and then the next 2 days I've been working feverishly trying to catch up on all the work that I didn't do last week because of Qwyzzle! But now I have a moment to breathe so I'll post something before Kristy ends up biting her own wrists out of boredom. So having to actually DO the work that I'm getting paid for is the first necessary evil that I was referring to in the title of this post.

The second necessary evil is actually in reference to myself, apparently. One of Justin's friends posted on his blog a little quiz you can do to find out what kind of soft drink you are. Here's what it told me:
You Are Diet Coke

You are energy in its purest form. No need to complicate things with sweetness.
And while people may hate your aftertaste, you are seen as a necessary evil.

Your best soda match: 7 Up

Stay away from: Coke

What?! I'm too busy to be sweet, I leave a bad aftertaste, and people see me as a necessary evil?! Obviously these results are in no way accurate (I hope!), but I'm a little alarmed at how long and loud my husband laughed at these results. He spent the rest of the evening saying, "A necessary evil!" and laughing uncontrollably. He was a little sobered by the fact that his result was Coke, which is the kind they say I should stay away from. But I feel pretty sure that our marriage is still ok regardless of what this quiz says. There are some pretty funny quizzes on this website, though, so you all may want to check it out.

Friday, March 17, 2006

It Really IS A Madness!

I grew up knowing about March Madness. In high school and college I made my brackets and watched to see how well I did. In college, I watched some games and cheered desperately for KY. But my whole experience of March Madness so far in my life has been through the eyes of a single girl. Until this year... Now I'm married to a basketball fanatic, and I'm learning to discover that in March there really is a Madness that takes over the vast majority of the male population of America.

I guess I was just outside its realm of influence before. But now it's like I'm seeing March Madness with fresh eyes. College basketball is everywhere you turn, in every thought, every breath. While we were in San Antonio, we had complete strangers strike up long basketball conversations with us just because of Justin's Kentucky t-shirt. These guys knew all about Kentucky's stats, their history, their prospects for this year's tournaments... And they weren't even Kentucky fans!

Then I got home on my lunch break yesterday, and I couldn't even watch "As the World Turns" because they've replaced it with basketball! Since when is daytime TV supposed to be sports?! And not only was Justin watching the games on TV and flipping back and forth between several games, but he also had another game streaming live on his computer!! Now this really cracks me up - the website where he can watch all the live games has something called a "Boss Button," where if you're watching the game at work, and your boss suddenly comes in, just click the "Boss Button" and an Excel Spreadsheet will pop up and look like you've been working.

A friend of ours has even subscribed to the March Madness Network on TV, so he can simultaneously watch 3 games at once. Needless to say, Justin will spending a lot of time at his house for the next couple of weeks!!

Now please don't hear me complaining or saying that any of this is bad. It's not. In fact, it's great! (I'm slightly relieved to learn that it's not only MY husband who has this Madness!) I'm just commenting about how overwhelmed I am that all this exists! Before this year, I thought March Madness was only a cute name they came up with to call the tournament season. Now I realize they were being perfectly serious! These guys, and some women too, have a fever... And the only prescription is more basketball!!

So I say, if there's something that so many people are getting so desperately passionate about, including my precious husband, I better get in on it too! So today I'm wearing my Kentucky shirt, Kentucky socks, and I'm even wearing my blue underwear! (Sorry if that's TMI! I'm afraid the poor Wildcats need all the help they can get in this year's tournament!) Go get 'em, Wildcats! And bring on the Madness!!!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Qwyzzle: The Scourge of Office Productivity

Some friends on a discussion board told me about an online quiz game that is a lot of fun. So innocently, without knowing what I was getting myself into, I started playing Qwyzzle 100. Now, I'm hooked and I've inadvertently gotten my whole office hooked too. None of us are getting any work done! It's an online game that has 100 levels. On each level, you're given a picture and a clue, and you have to use logic and lots of Google searches to reason out what the answer is. Upon entering the correct answer, you're taken to the next level and given a new, harder puzzle to work out. It is SOO ADDICTIVE!!! You find yourself obsessing over what the answer to your level is... You can't concentrate on getting any other work done because you're thinking about the level you haven't solved yet! And then when you finally get it, you know you should work on something else, but the thrill of solving just carries you into starting the next level! It's a vicious cycle that you just can't stop until you've solved all 100!!!! I started out working on it only at home, but then one day I was bored at work so I started working on them there. Then, Kristy told me she was bored, so I told her about it and she got hooked. Then Meredith heard us talking about it, so we told her about it and now she's hooked. Now Tracy came back from vacation and heard us all talking about, so she's going to start them too... Yet another person falls victim to Qwyzzle, the scourge of workplace productivity!! Meredith, who is still a good worker and only does them at home, said "Last night I was up til midnight working on Qwyzzle... Then even when I went to bed, I couldn't stop thinking about what the answer might be!!!" Kristy said, "These are hard and I can't concentrate on anything else... I think I'll stop at Level 50." Well, right now she's on Level 61. She got caught in the Qwyzzle trap!!! I'm also on Level 61, so I've made significant progress. But there are still 39 LOOOOOOOONG levels until I reach 100. We'll see how long it takes! Ah, but to imagine the thrill of victory when I get there! So if you're brave and have some time on your hands, try Qwyzzle 100... IF YOU DARE!!!!

Monday, March 13, 2006


Four Jobs I've Had:
1. Church secretary
2. Day care worker (12-18 month-olds)
3. Missionary
4. Youth camp leader

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over:
1. Remember the Titans
2. The Princess Bride
3. Finding Nemo
4. Anchorman

Four TV Shows I Love to Watch:
1. The Apprentice
2. The Biggest Loser
3. Deal or No Deal
4. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Four places I've Been on Vacation:
1. Eureka Springs, AK
2. Dakar, Senegal
3. Poland
4. European Tour (England, France, Greece, Italy)

Four Favorite Dishes:
1. Wendy's Taco Salad!!!
2. Cajun Catfish
3. Mexican Casserole
4. Chili

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
1. Gmail
2. South Beach Diet Discussion Board
3. My hubby's blog
4. My family's blog

Four Places I'd Rather Be:
1. At home in bed
2. In Ohio with my family
3. Anyplace warm lying in the sun
4. At home in bed

Four Others I'd Like to Tag:
1. Justin
2. Corrie
3. Mom
4. Jessica

Fun Was Had By All

We had a fantastic time in San Antonio this weekend! We left Waco on Saturday morning and stopped outside of Austin for lunch at a place called The Salt Lick BBQ - it was the best barbecue I've had in my life. Then we continued on to San Antonio, checked into our hotel, and took the bus downtown. We wandered downtown, saw the Alamo, took a boat tour of the Riverwalk, and ate dinner at Casa Rio, an awesome Mexican restaurant right on the water. It was great! We took the bus back to the hotel and managed to catch the end of some college basketball games on TV, which was quite a treat since we don't have cable at home. The next morning, we got up and went to Oak Hills Church, where Max Lucado is the pastor. So it was pretty neat getting to hear him preach. He preaches exactly the way he writes - great imagery but not much substance. Then we started heading back north, stopping at the San Marcos outlets on the way. We shopped there for a while, but had the most shopping success at the Half Price Books we found a little further up the interstate. Then we got home at 5:00 on the dot to see the NCAA Tournament Selection Show. So all in all it was a very successful weekend and we had a lot of fun! I've posted a couple of pictures of the weekend on my Yahoo! photo album, which you'll find here.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mormon Polygamy on HBO Show

I just saw this feature in the CNN Headlines about a new show coming out on HBO this season called "Big Love." It's about a Mormon family in Salt Lake City, which involves a man with three wives, and their struggles in keeping the peace in such a family. I'm really quite interested that such a show is actually being made in modern America, and I wonder what kind of response it will receive. Does anybody have thoughts on this?

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Green Thumb?

I've decided to try my hand at gardening. Well, seeing as I don't have a yard, make that indoor potted gardening. I was given a poinsettia at work at Christmastime, and everybody else's in the office croaked, but mine flourished. So I began to wonder if maybe I have a green thumb, and since our apartment management forbids pets, I thought plants might be a subsitute of something I could take care of. My husband, who is so adept at figuring out ways to make me happy, learned of this new idea and bought me a miniature rose plant for Valentine's Day. It was a precious little plant, and I fell in love with it immediately. So I began researching miniature roses and trying to figure out how to keep this poor little thing alive. For the first 2 weeks, things weren't looking so hot. The leaves started to turn brown and all the blooms died. I said, "Maybe the green thumb idea was just a figment of my imagination." But then I decided to really get serious and invest in the little dude. So I bought a nice big pot and some moisture-controlling potting soil and repotted it, and I bought some Rose Food that I'll start giving it soon. I'm also leaving it outside all day while I'm at work, because roses need full sun. And it's starting to turn around!! I'm starting to see some new growth, which is a good indication to me that it's not dead! So we'll see if I can ever coax any blooms out of it. But either way I'm encouraged. My first 2 attempts at gardening in pots are turning out very nicely.

San Antonio or BUST!

Spring Break is coming up, and Justin and I have decided it's time to GET OUT OF TOWN! Sadly enough, even though Justin has Spring Break off of school, I still have to work. So we're just taking a little weekend excursion to San Antonio, only about 3 hours from home. We're looking forward to strolling the Riverwalk, remembering the Alamo, and eating some of the best barbeque Texas has to offer! (Check out I'll plan on posting some pics once we get back, as long as I can figure out how...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Finally Succumbed

So I've finally succumbed to the blogging craze that's running rampant in this culture. I resisted having one for so long, because I felt like I didn't have anything valuable to say! But I'm looking around wondering, do any of us really have anything valuable to say? I find that I figure things out better when I'm telling someone else about them. So I'm hoping to post not only silly things, but also deep things to think about, and in writing about them, hopefully form my own opinions better. I'd love it if anyone else wants to add to my inner dialogue and add their own opinions too!