31 July 2009

Teacher-y Things

Today, I visited the teacher store: Adventures in Learning. I needed a simple border for a bulletin board. I. LOVE. THE. TEACHER. STORE. And all school supplies, in general.

See, there's a little teacher in me that needs to come out every once in a while. Growing up, I pretty much forced anyone younger than me to play school. I was always the teacher, of course. If anyone had a problem with that, they could be my student teacher. I loved it, and I'm sure everyone else did, too.

As a college advisor, I get to work with kids, which is super great. It's really the best part about my job. Well, that and Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, spring break, and summer hours. Other than those, it's the kids, for sure. And I miss the kids during the summer. Really, I do. I'm ready for them to come back!

Many a teacher-y desire is met in my job. Work with kids? Check. Create bulletin boards? Check (with my new, black border). Proctor exams? Check. Visit the teacher store? Check. Yet, there remains one thing that I'm unable to do: use an EZ Grader. I have always had a deep affection for these, and today at the teacher store, they were everywhere.

Seeing these makes me wonder if I missed my calling. I wanted one. A pink one. There are few things that bring happiness to my heart like the EZ Grader. I mean, how else would you figure the grade if there were seven questions on a quiz? I don't think you could!

Walking through the teacher store, I found things that I want, but really have reason to purchase. But let me tell you, when we have kids old enough to benefit from my teacher-y self, they're gonna be sooo smart. I might even figure out how to incorporate an EZ Grader into our home.

30 July 2009

Beautiful Balloons

A couple of weekends ago, Jeremy & I went to the Great Texas Balloon Race in Longview. We arrived just before dusk, in time for the oh-so-popular Balloon Glow. Neither of us had been, and it was so amazing.

I was dead-set on finding a perfect spot. Only, I didn't know where that would be because we didn't know where the balloons were stationed. We decided on a little clearing and laid out our blanket. A few minutes later, we discovered we were in the middle of several balloons that were waiting to be blown up. It was the perfect spot.

Since we're having amazingly cool weather in Texas, it wasn't miserable while we sat and waited for the show to begin. The first balloon went up as the National Anthem was sung; it had an American flag waving beneath the basket. So neat.

Then the show began. All around us, 50 or so balloons began filling with hot air, their colors rising up to the sky. Each one was tethered by a ground crew, keeping them in position.

Several times during the evening, the balloons lit up simultaneously, creating a "glow." It was such a fun experience to be in a field with dozens of hot air balloons. And it was a little warm with all of the fires burning to keep the balloons up.

There were colorful balloons and character balloons. There were tons of smiles and laughs. It was such a joy-filled night that we'll hopefully repeat.

29 July 2009

25 years later...

I've discovered that I jump rope backwards. Yes, backwards. Evidently, the proper way to jump rope is placing the rope behind you and brining it forward. I didn't know there was a proper way; my trainer didn't believe that anyone could jump rope backwards by starting with the jump rope in front and swinging it overhead to the back. Till I showed him how to do it. He even got a tad frustrated when my little brain couldn't understand how to go forwards. I got in three, non-consecutive, forward jumps in one minute. The Jump Rope Queen in our class got 75 jumps. Who cares. I mean, I might care some, but I bet she can't jump rope backwards. And I can.

After a few conversations with others who jumped rope for heart for years and years in school, I found that we supposedly did both. Only I can't remember ever going forwards. Or jumping without a double jump. What happened that my brain cannot comprehend this physical activity?

I just googled proper jumping rope technique and found a ton of resources on jumping rope. Who knew that this even existed? There is a Jump Rope Institute, for goodness sake! I'm not knocking those who love this activity; I just find it unreal that an activity from elementary school--and boxing--is so technical.

I'm off to attempt forward jumping rope. But it's likely that I'll stick to what I know. At least until after our engagement pictures. Then I won't be nearly as concerned about busting my face.

27 July 2009

Becoming One

Yesterday, Jeremy & I had our first attempt at becoming one as we consolidated stuff. Specifically, his stuff. We spent the afternoon together, going through his closets and purging many, many a thing. In the end, we had seven trash bags of stuff. Add that to the laundry basket and shopping bags I filled at my house last weekend, and you have the beginnings of a good garage sale.

Our first attempt at becoming one was much less painful than we both expected. You know, stuff is so personal, even if it hasn't served it's purpose in the last two years. Who wants there fiancee digging through closets, making decisions about clothes that should no longer be worn or shoes that were bought ten years ago? But we did good. Really good. He was surprised that we didn't scrap the majority of his closet. In fact, he commented that I needed to get rid of more. He made me fall in love just a little more when he said that we can just replace any holes we create in his wardrobe. I know what I'll be doing with my wardrobe once our finances become one! Just kidding. A little.

Once married, we'll live in the house that I rent now. It's very spacious and will allow all of our furniture to fit, which is one less major decision-making session. Over the next few weeks, we're planning to spend time a few nights a week packing and organizing so that the moving process will run somewhat smoother.

I think the beginning stages, and maybe every other stage, of becoming one might prove to be challenging at times, but we're excited.

25 July 2009

No Place Like Home

This week I attended a conference in San Antonio. I missed these two a lot. I think they missed each other, too.

I also missed the humidity of East Texas. I know, I can't believe I'd make such a statement, but I did. It's good to be home. And because I'm home after a week away, I'm feeling a tad domestic. I think an apple pie might be on the agenda today.

19 July 2009

Must Be

Yesterday, one of my besties reminded me of this story. It's amazing.

A couple of years ago, I took my feather bed to the laundromat so that I could clean it using a commercial-sized washer and dryer. Once it was washed, I took it over to the dryer and shoved it in, along with a few tennis balls. A lady came over to me, and the following conversation REALLY. DID. HAPPEN. You might need to read it out loud, just to get the effect.

Lady: Huh. Why'd you put tennis balls in the dryer?
Me: Well, when you dry something with feathers, like a comforter or feather bed, if you'll put tennis balls or tennis shoes into the dryer, then it will redistribute the feathers and make it fluffy.
Lady: Huh. Must be the tena.
Me: (Huge smile.) Must be.

The end.

17 July 2009

Shakespeare & the Bible

Tonight, Jeremy & I attended our third play at the Texas Shakespeare Festival. So far we've seen Tartuffe, Romeo & Juliet, and Love's Labour's Lost. We headed home after a late-night dinner at McDonald's that reminded me why I don't like McDonald's. On our drive, we discussed how difficult it must be to memorize such archaic language. Memorizing Shakespeare, just because it's Shakespeare, must be rather daunting, and Tartuffe is a comedy written in rhyming couplet. Holy moly. There's just no way!

During our conversation, I made a comment about not being able to easily memorize even one verse of scripture. And then it happened. (You know, like when you pray for patience, and then it happens.) I felt convicted to actually try to memorize scripture. As I scrolled through comments on this blog about favorite scripture verses, I came across a verse that didn't seem familiar: Zephaniah 3:17. I grabbed my Bible off of my nightstand. And I couldn't find it. Probably because I turned to Zechariah, not Zephaniah. But that has to be a common mistake. I mean, they're two "Z" names separated by one, super-short book. And the fact that I did it twice proved my point. It happens often. I'm sure of it.

Alas (a lil' S-peare lingo), I found Zephaniah 3:17. Oh. I love it. Here goes:
The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
Wow. I mean, really? The Lord takes delight in me? He will rejoice over me with singing? It just goes beyond my comprehension! And then it makes me think, if he takes delight in me, and if he quiets me with his love, and if he rejoices over me with singing, how can I not claim his Word and memorize it and let it seep into every part of my life?!

10 July 2009

Dear Maybelline...

Today, the lady at the drug store check-out introduced me to your new mascara. It's $14.99. Seriously? We're kind of in a recession. I mean, I already cringe when I pay $6.99 for my current mascara. I know, I'm a little cheap. But you should know that if I wanted to pay over double that amount, I'd visit a department store.

And the fact that it vibrates really isn't a selling point. There are FOUR steps to follow to apply this new concotion with its "patent-pending elastomer brush that vibrates 7,000 times per stroke." Do you realize that at least three days per week I have to break out a Q-tip to remove mascara from under my eye? Sometimes I blink, sometimes I sneeze, sometimes my eyes water too much. I don't think I need the vibrating feature.

Maybelline, while we're on the topic of eyelashes, what's this about the drug that makes eyelashses grow longer? This is even more ludicrous than your expensive drug-store mascara. Again, we're in a recession. Not only that, but whose idea was it to research growing eyelashes when there are important illnesses that need a little more research?

Maybelline, maybe you should talk to those lash-growing drug people. The money y'all make off of the seemingly ridiculous products could be donated to things that research diseases that affect most of us. You know, something like cancer or diabetes. I bet the people and families whose lives the really bad diseases affect will be much more appreciative than those plagued by short lashses.

Thanks for listening,
Troubled in Texas

09 July 2009

The Countdown Begins

In 100 days, I will be have a husband. In 100 days, I will be a wife. Wow. It's so exciting! Our engagement period has been fantastic. In all honesty, I think I could have been one of those people with a long engagement period. It's so enjoyable. Now, don't get me wrong, I am ready to be married.

There are certain perks that come along with marriage. Like the other night when a water bug the size of Crickett decided that my bedroom walls looked like good stomping grounds. Yes, that's a time that a hubby will come in handy. Luckily for me, I was on the phone with one of my besties, Marieke, when I made the horrid discovery. [We both understand that at our age, terms like "besties" might seem a little childish, but we enjoy using them. And if you see "Besties" necklaces, let me know. I need a few.] She gave as much support as she could while laughing at me and my predicament. You know, there is certain terror that comes when lying in bed without any shoes or bugspray within any sort of reach. That stupid bug didn't even know how lethal an issue of Country Living can be. Oh, and I hear there are other perks to marriage, as well.

So, we still have lots of planning to do. I was warned of all the little details. And there are a lot! This Tuesday, Jeremy & I went through our wedding checklists we made a couple of weeks ago. Neither of us made significant progress, so we gave ourselves deadlines and discussed the ceremony. I think it was nice for both of us to talk about something--the one thing--that will matter most that day. We want our ceremony to reflect our relationship and, prayerfully, our marriage; we want the focus to be on our Lord. We're excited about how we can incorporate scripture and worship into our ceremony. I'm so blessed to marry a man who loves the Lord so much! I'm so excited to marry this man in 100 days!

06 July 2009

The Power of Your Love

Lord, I come to You
Let my heart be changed, renewed
Flowing from the grace
That I've found in You
Lord, I've come to know
The weaknesses You see in me
Will be stripped away
By the power of Your love

Hold me close
Let Your love surround me
Bring me near
Draw me to Your side
And as I wait
I'll rise up like the eagle
And I will soar with You
Your Spirit leads me on
In the power of Your love

Lord, unveil my eyes
Let me see you face to face
The knowledge of Your love
As You live in me
Lord, renew my mind
As Your will unfolds in my life
In living everyday
By the power of your love

Hold me close
Let Your love surround me
Bring me near
Draw me to Your side
And as I wait
I'll rise up like the eagle
And I will soar with You
Your spirit leads me on
In the power of Your love

I'd forgotton how much I like this song. I awoke to it and had a sweet time of prayer before my day began. I hummed it for most of my day. My most favorite memory of this song is singing it in Romania, over a campfire or in a stuffy church. I can still hear sweet voices singing in a language that I love. And I sang along with them--in a language quite different from my own. So sweet and just as meaningful and heartfelt.

I'm so glad to have a God who I can praise while laying in bed in the morning with crazy hair, while in a church full of believers, or at a campfire in Romania with sweet orphans while, quite possibly, pronouncing words incorrectly. He knows my heart, and he loves me. He loves me in spite of me. And I love that.

02 July 2009

Red, White & Blue

Okay, when people ask my favorite holiday, I always reply Thanksgiving. Because it is. But a really, really close second is Fourth of July. I love it! Just like Thanksgiving, I love why it's celebrated and how it's celebrated. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Jesus and Christmas, but it's so fast-paced and the selfishness, including my own, overwhelms me.

Growing up, the Fourth was a big deal. We always spent the day at my grandparents lake house with homemade ice cream and fireworks. Oh, I'm sure there were other things to eat, but who cares when swimming, homemade ice cream with Magic Shell, and fireworks happen on the same day?! During high school, I think I was at camp every year for the Fourth. I remember several attempts by camp staff to make it as patriotic as possible. Every summer during college, I was in Romania for the Fourth of July, and we made some great memories for our holiday. Our Romanian friends really didn't care to join in our festivities. They thought the Fourth of July was some day between the third and fifth of July. They just don't know what they missed. One summer, we happened to have to British girls on our team. We had a game of trivia where they learned all about our freedom from the Mother Country. We were shocked to know that all of Britain doesn't mourn the loss of the States on that day! Other summers were celebrated with sparklers and trips to McDonald's, where we could feast on hamburgers and fried apple pies with soft-serve ice cream and caramel on top.

Now that I've had several summers of celebration at home, I get so excited! About a week before, I gear up and think of a perfect day and an outfit. Normally, I don't think matching the outfit with the holiday is appropriate, but I do make an exception for this celebration. I also L.O.V.E. patriotic music! Oh. my. word. I have a physical reaction to it! My absolute fave is the medley played in patriotic services where each branch of the Armed Forces is recognized.

This year, we're doing it all: swimming, hanging out with family, hamburgers, homemade ice cream, and fireworks, and I'm bringing music. And guacamole. And I think Rice Krispies treats. I get excited just thinking about it. What are you most excited about for Fourth of July?