31 August 2010

Some Stuff I'd Like to Share

1. I don't foresee any posts in the near future that will not be in bullet-point or numbered format. That happens when my life is busy. Writing cohesive sentences is the first thing to go. Also, a consistent handwriting. I just wrote a list for one of my students. It started with a cute print and ended with a crazy cursive. If you analyze handwriting, I don't think I want to know what this means. Unless it's good; then you can share.

2.  I'd really like for the retail world to know this truth: if I try on a garment that's too short for work, I cannot simply wear tights underneath. It's still too short. My knees will not suddenly become higher with black tights underneath, thereby making it legal. Don't even suggest it. If it were an option, trust me, I'd offer it as the solution. After all, I do love tights with dresses and skirts. It's pretty much my winter uniform.

3.  One more truth for the retail world: I do not have "weekend" clothes. Sure, I did at one point--before I had a job that requires me to look nice five days a week. On the weekends, I like to stay in my pajamas for as long as possible. Sometimes, I want to change out of one set into another and head back to bed. If I do change clothes for things like running errands, I'm fine wearing a sports skirt (in the summer) and fleece pants (in the winter). I can still look cute. I am not more productive if I change into jeans. I promise. And if I really need to dress up, I can wear the things that I wear all week. Sure, there are those times when we have to attend a wedding, or something of the like, but I already have outfits for those things. All that to say: change your sales tactic with me.

4.  I can barely walk today. I attended Body Pump, a low-weight high-rep workout, on Monday, and Body Vive, a cardio workout with balls and bands and such, this morning. I've never done so many squats. My quads hurt so bad that I have to let gravity do its job when I go to the ladies' room. Eventually, I sit down, but not without much resistance.

5.  The above puts me in a bit of a quandary. I'm supposed to drink LOTS OF WATER to help with the soreness. Only if I drink that much water, I have to use the bathroom. And then I'm reminded of how sore I really am.

6.  I actually like being moderately sore from workouts. I can feel the results of my work.

7.  For dinner tonight, I'm making either Reuben sandwiches or this spaghetti with fresh tomatoes.

8.  If we do have Reuben's, we purchased chips last night for the side dish. (Difficult, right?) I'm super excited to try these:

9.  Chips are quite possibly my favorite snack food. Although, Dr. Pepper and Little Debbie Fudge Rounds are way up on that list! I rarely indulge, but after doing 23587 squats in the past two days, and more tomorrow, I feel okay with a serving of Tangy Carolina BBQ Lays.

10.  My OCD prevents me from stopping a list at 9. This calms the anxiousness.

29 August 2010

Did You Notice?

  • I updated my blog! I added a page just for recipes. Just look at the tab above. I hope to add an edible raw cookie dough recipe soon. If it goes well!
  • My weekend has been full of laundry, craft projects (for others) and friends. One of these things has not been enjoyable. Which would you guess?
  • I think this font on the new layout is too small. Do you agree?
  • 95 degree weather is still too hot. I'd like a few days of 90 degree weather.
  • My BFF of the Midwest is getting married next weekend. I'm hopeful for weather in the 80s.
  • On the weekend of the wedding, I get to see several of the peeps who I'm spent an entire summer serving with in Romania. I'm super excited about that.
  • I'm still really full from lunch. It could be the brownie and cappuccino I had two hours after a lunch at Outback. (Not my favorite, but we don't turn down gift cards.)
  • I start individual conferences with my students this week. It's the first step in college applications. I'm a little excited and a little nervous.
  • My former roommate invited me to a 5:30am Body Pump class in the morning. For some reason, I agreed. Who am I?!
  • On that note, I need to finish my weekend chores. I'll need to be in bed by 7pm to get up that early. 
  • Just kidding, it'll be more like 7:45pm.
  • I hope you've had restful Sunday. Here's to starting a new week!

27 August 2010

Friday Fives: Question Time

What's something you're OCD about?

Bahahaha! If you know me well, you know that there are occasions when you wish I took medicine for OCD! I'd say one of my biggest things is symmetry. Which is ironic because I wound up having an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen in the wedding. Thanks to pregnant friends, swine flu, and friends returning from far, far away, my bridesmaid count was anywhere from 5-7. I'm just glad I had 7 great friends standing beside me. I'm also glad that our videographer filmed on guys side of the stage.
It evened things out just a bit! Ha!

Other things could be: bleaching the sink regularly (I know, bleach is toxic, but it makes me happy to have a white sink.), having things IN THEIR PLACE, documents being as error-free as possible (I about have a conniption when I post a blog and there's a formatting/spelling/incorrect info mistake.). We'll just leave it at those few things. No need to get into the correct your/you're difference/annoyance when the wrong one is used. Or that I feel compelled to reload the dishwasher after Husby puts the dishes in.

What's your favorite quote?

"Comparison is the thief of joy." ~Dwight Edwards

What is the furthest you've been from home?

Targu-Mures, Romania. I worked in an orphanage every summer during college, so I've been to this city several times. It has a special place in my heart!

Do you do a real or fake Christmas tree?

Oooh, if there's one thing I love to talk about, it's our Christmas tree! I love it more than I should. We do a fake tree. It's flocked and has colored lights AND clear lights. AND IT HAS A REMOTE. And that's how I bought it without Husby seeing it. Which guy doesn't love a remote?! I'd also like for it to be known that my husband is a excellent tree-decorator! It helps with my OCD. You can see our Christmas tree here.

What's the first blog you ever read?

Dreams of Simple Life by my friend, Christine. She's an amazing woman who loves the Lord, her husband and her sweet new baby, Luci Belle, and she writes so incredibly well!

Wanna play along or read other blogs? Visit Just Me and My Life.

26 August 2010

My Day in a Nutshell (or bullet points)...

  • Today was SO NICE OUTSIDE. I don't know how many previous days have been over 100 degrees in this great State of Texas; I'm not sad to see them end. Although I proclaim myself to be a warm weather person, I don't think that's totally accurate. I'm okay with a high of 92 degrees. Anything over that makes my skin feel like it's melting off.
  • By noon today, I had diagnosed myself with Bell's Palsy. My eye was twitching SO BADLY. Each little twitch forced my eyelid down about half-way. I suffered through the diagnosis without telling anyone. Then one of the teachers walked into my office. I was holding my eye and explained the fierce twitching and that I thought it was Bell's Palsy. She laughed at me and suggested that I could be tired and stressed. Evidently that combo causes eye twitches. I was relieved.
  • My hair has this permanent flip out thing. I've noticed it before, but was reminded today. After spending 15 minutes blow-drying it, it flips out on the left side, but stays curled nicely under on the right side. For someone that requires symmetry, this just doesn't work. I can't figure out how to keep the left from flipping out, so I usually just do the flip out on the right side.
  • I visited Target this afternoon. It was a glorious trip, and I really practiced self-control (although now I'm regretting that). Ever since an episode of Chuck showed a HUGE TUB OF CHEESE BALLS, I've wanted one of my very own. As a sucker for marketing, Target and cheese balls, it's a miracle these didn't come home with me today. 

  •  Okay, I watched this video three times in a row and couldn't stop laughing.

24 August 2010

I Think I Changed My Mind...

For as long as I can remember, I've preached the gospel of chocolate candy. I've firmly believed that eating the empty calories in candy should be reserved for chocolate: Hershey Toffee and Almond Nuggets, Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. But I'd like to confess that I've changed my mind. Now, I like non-chocolate candy. Especially the sour stuff.

In no particular order, these are candies have come into my life and have been enjoyed as much as chocolate candy:

My friend, Betsy, introduced me to Sour Patch Kids. At first, I didn't think I loved them. But then I discovered I was wrong. These are so yummy! Sour, and then sweet. Yes, please!  


Oh, Giant Chewy Nerds, I'm so glad you're not just an Easter candy. The first time I bought these, they were packaged as bumpy jelly beans. They were for my candy dish at school.  My first year, I kept seasonal candy on my desk for students. Once the season or holiday passed, I would change the candy. Normally, I'd use up all of the candy in the bags before the change. But not the bumpy jelly beans/Giant Chewy Nerds. I hoarded them. I was uber-excited when a student shared that they're not just available at Easter, but I could find them year-round. I'd like to think that my eyes were shielded to the truth of tart candy.

Zours are my newest find. When we attended a Rangers game in May, the mom in front of us was passing a box to the four kids she had. They all loved them. I memorized the name and the box, knowing that I would find them. The hunt took six weeks. I scoured gas stations and drug stores. Finally, I went into the drug store I actually use for prescriptions. Since I normally pick-up my prescription at the drive-thru, I don't go in very often. I think angels sang when I spotted the box of Zours. Husby was with me, and I don't think he heard any singing. Again, I'd like to point out that the truth has been revealed to me. His time will come. In fact, tonight, he's the one who asked for a handful of Zours on the way out the door. I feel that it's coming soon.

So, are there any candies you'd recommend? Any that just put a twinge in your jaw? Any that you smuggle into buy at the movie theatre?

22 August 2010

Budapest, Take 2

Let's start with the good stuff! Ten years ago, I discovered the Double Magnum Ice Cream Bar. Holy moly, it's seriously the best ice cream bar ever. Ever! I ate as many as possible while in Hungary. In fact, on the weekends when we'd drive to Budapest from Romania, we'd stop at the first gas station with the excuse of needing more gas. The truth was, it was the first place we could eat a Double Magnum. And we probably needed more gas. Who cares when snack are an option, though?!

I almost had tears in my eyes when I found that they still sold them in Budapest. I forced Jeremy to eat one and take a picture of me with mine before I devoured it. One of these things he really enjoyed. I'm pretty sure the other one annoyed him since I was so hot and sweaty that it took a couple of shots. (Did I mention Europe had a heat wave come through when we arrived? 100 degrees isn't as much fun when air conditioning is not an option!)

Me and my Magnum.
Please excuse the frizzy hair, sweat and freckles (that my dermatologist refers to as age spots.
What does she know?!)

This ice cream treat was beyond extremely needed. This was the day that we decided to do EVERY TOURIST ATTRACTION IN BUDAPEST. It was a tough day! We didn't exactly realize that we did so much until the next morning when we couldn't move. Here's a run down of those attractions:

The Jewish Synagogue
This is the 2nd largest synagogue in the world, behind the one in New York. But it was so ornate.
A picture of the outside, and a picture of the beautifully painted ceilings.

The Subway
This was our day to figure out public transportation. Hungarian has no familiar words, so it's not exactly easy to navigate in this city. Thankfully, so many people spoke English that if we were in a bind, someone was usually able to help. I swear these are the fastest and steepest escalators I've ever been on. And with a fear of escalators, you can imagine my joy each time I stepped on these things. (My ankle was cut open by a stair when I was little. I've been afraid ever since.)

This building is beautiful and is the backdrop to many of our pictures in Budapest. As we walked up the subway stairs, we grabbed the map to find our way. Turns out, it's not easily missed from the subway exit. This is what you see:

St. Stephen's Church
In turmoil and about to be challenged by other countries, Stephen declared Christianity as the national religion of Hungary, thereby making the Hungary credible as a European country. This catholic church is named after him. A while after he died, he was exhumed and his right hand was removed. His right hand resides in the church. Once a year--in August, I believe--they have a national holiday where the hand is carried throughout the city.

Heroes' Square
Next up was Heroes' Square. (Actually, next was lunch at a Chinese restaurant. These are nice in foreign countries because they have picture menus. Pointing is always a plus when language barriers exist!) Heroes' Square Millenium Memorial was built for the 1000 year anniversary of the founding of Hungary. The statues on the center of the square are the leaders from each of the tribes that founded Hungary.

Vajdahunyad Castle
First of all, this is a perfect example of Hungarian being pretty much impossible to read. It's just so unfamiliar! Okay, so this castle really isn't a castle. It was built of cardboard and plywood for an exhibition in the late 1800s. It was so popular that they rebuilt it, making it permanent. It has four different buildings in different styles: Romanic, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.

This was the location where the above Magnum was found. I think you'd agree we needed a sweet treat! And we're still not finished with that day or night!

Budapest Opera House
The king of the Austro-Hungarian empire footed half of the bill for an opera house to be built in Budapast, but gave one stipulation: that it not be bigger than the Vienna opera house. But he forgot to mention that it couldn't be more beautiful. After one visit, he never returned because he was so unhappy that this opera house was more beautiful!

Walking Tour and Night Cruise
Before we left for Europe, we scheduled a walking tour of Budapest. Crazy enough, we returned to ALL of the sights we visited during this crazy day of touring. But we were able to hear a little more history of the city. We ended our walking tour with a night cruise along the Danube River. Budapest is a beautiful city, especially at night--it just glows.

The Chain Bridge and Buda Castle 

Okay, folks. Maybe one more post about Budapest, and then we'll move onto our time in Vienna.

20 August 2010

Friday Fives: My Dream House

My dream house isn't huge or fancy. I loathe cleaning house, so I don't want more to clean! I want the house we buy to be livable; I want it to feel cozy and inviting, like you can kick off your shoes, grab a blanket, and take a nap on the couch. A few things that I would love to have?

1. A cute, functional kitchen.
I love, love, love green with black and white. The black counter tops are a nice contrast to the white cabinets. I love that some of the cabinets have glass fronts. I have lots of serving ware and love to show it off. It looks like the backs of those cabinets are a couple of shades darker than the walls. Love that! And those wood floors are gorgeous.

2. Cute kids rooms.
Although the offspring are not on their way, I have big plans to have cute rooms for those little ones! But I don't want to spend a fortune on making them cute. I may or may not have already bought some items to go in kids rooms. I love rooms for kids that aren't too childish. Fun colors and patterns make for a great kids room. I love the idea of matching twin beds or bunk beds.

3. On the lake.
Although I'd rather eat my own toenails than swim in a lake where the bottom can't be seen, I'd love to live on the lake. It's so calming and peaceful. And we'd have a swimming pool for swimming. We're just pretending, anyway.

4. A craft room.
I'd love to have enough space that Husby and I each get our own room for down time. I'm guessing he'd want some type of a man-cave with a big TV (which I'd totally use!). I'd love a craft room that could house all sorts of supplies. Best of all, I wouldn't have to clear it off of the dining room table when I'm done for the day.

5. A screened porch.
My grandparents had a porch, and I loved it. It wasn't all screened, but I guess that makes it more use able in the winter. I'd take it either way. But I'd love it with a few chairs and a daybed.

What about you? Anything that's a must have in your dream house? Do you need your very own library? Do you dream of a home theatre? Head on over to Just Me and My Life to play along!

18 August 2010

First Stop: Budapest (Take 1)

Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. The cities we visited on our summer vacation. We've been asked at least a dozen times each why we chose those cities. Just in case you're wondering, this is it: we both wanted to visit Eastern European cities. I'd visited Budapest several times while doing orphan work in Romania, so it made the list. Jeremy has always wanted to visit Prague, and both of us wanted to see Vienna. Since, Vienna and Prague are cities that are easy to access by bus or train, it seemed natural that these were our three cities.

Now that I've shared more than you ever wanted to know about our vacation planning, let's get to some details. For some reason,we chose a flight that would leave DFW at 8am. What in the world?! That means, leaving home at 4am to reach the airport two hours ahead of time. Not only that, but with the time zones involved, we arrived in Budapest at 9am their time (the following day, of course). By the time we cleared customs and got to the hotel, it was about 11am. And we had to stay up until bedtime. Otherwise, sleep patterns would have gone arry. Thankfully, our plan worked and within a couple of days, we were on schedule.

Here are a few pictures from our stay in Budapest:

Getting our much needed caffeine fix upon our arrival. I had two cappucinos, back to back.

The Chain Bridge
Budapest is cenetered around the Danube River; Buda is on one side, Pest is on the other. There are six bridges that link the two sides. During World War II, all of the bridges were destroyed. The bridges were built as similar as possible to those that were standing prior to the War. The most famous, perhaps, is the Chain Bridge. It is a beautiful bridge, with gorgeous arches, that reminds of something that could be in Paris. (Afterall, Budapest is referred to as 'Paris of the East.') The bridge is flanked by two lions on either end. When the bridge was complete, the architect challenged the people of Budapest to find something wrong with his bridge, believing he'd paid close attention to detail. Well, wouldn't you know he forgot to put tongues in the lions' mouths. Legend says that he jumped of the bridge into the Danube. I'm unsure of his outcome, as he's rumored to have both survived and drowned in the Danube.

The tunnel on the Buda side of the bridge was dug through the mountain. To go up the mountain, one can ride the funicular (below right) or hike up the mountain, as we did.

Having visited Budapest previously, I was a little saddened when I saw how commercialized it's become. Ten years ago, the folk art/traditional souveniers were beautiful. They're still pretty, but the city has certainly learned how to market itself with its souveniers. It reminds me of any American city with its 'souveniers' that are made half-a-world away. Thankfully, I found a store that had a few eggs, and other souveniers, without 'Budapest' being plastered on them.

We visited the main synagouge in Budapest, which is home to this Tree of Life. Sadly, some 200,000 Jewish people were killed in Budapest during World War II. The Tree of Life has leaves that list the name of each Jewish life lost in Budapest during the ward. This site is also home to mass graves of Jewish people. Since only the names are known of those killed, headstones are propped up against each other in the cemetary. During the tour, someone asked how many Jews still live in Budapest. The tour guide--a Jew, although gracious, shared that since the Holocaust, it is not considered thoughtful to ask someone their religion. So many lives were taken because of religion. I found this very interesting, and had never thought that it would be a topic to avoid in Europe. It makes me wonder how effective evangelism is in a continent that has been deeply wounded by an aversion to a particular religion.

Okay, there's so much more from Budapest. So as not to bore you too much in one day, let's break it up! To be continued...

15 August 2010

Austria: Wine Country Bike Tour

Our first full day in Austria wasn't spent in Vienna, but on an amazing bike tour through the Austrian wine country. Although Husby and I love to visit a cities, this was such a nice break from the hustle and bustle and busyness of a major city. Oh, and did I mention that we arrived in Europe with a heat wave? Yeah, so the temperatures hovered around 100 every day, and since Budapest and Vienna are both on the Danube River, the humidity was so nice! That's not normal for Europe, so they don't make a habit of air-conditioning their buildings. Even if they are, it's not the A/C we're used to in Texas.

After scurrying around Vienna--a city much larger and much more difficult to manage than Budapest, Hungary (our first city to visit)--we found our meeting place for the bike tour. I felt sure that we'd see bicycles lining a building, but we didn't. Instead, once our group of 30 was set, we hopped on a subway, then a train, and then a one-car train to a town about an hour outside of Vienna. Imagine the delight of everyone on the tour when the sky was overcast and the temperatures weren't where they had been the previous week.

Most of our fellow tour-mates were about our age; there were a few from the States and lots from Austrailia. Our first stop was at a winery in the town where the one-car train stopped. We learned that Austrian wines are consumed while they're very young, within a year of being bottled. (I think I learned more about wine tasting and wines in Austria than in Sonoma Valley on our honeymoon. Crazy, huh?!) After our first stop, we hopped on our bikes and started our journey through the wine country.

Husby and I both agree that this experience was one of the best things we've ever done! It was beautiful and so unlike anything in the States. At one point, we stopped on the side of the road and our tour guide pointed up to castle ruins. We learned that King Richard the Lionhearted was held captive in that exact spot. How cool! Later, we were able to hike up the mountain to the ruins. So, so amazing! (Just to be clear, we were just west of central Austria and not biking/hiking in the Alps. Those are in western Austria and Switzerland.)

Instead of lugging around the super-duper camera we borrowed from my mom (thanks, Mom!), we took our little point and shoot. Honestly, we were so in awe of being on this adventure, we didn't want to be stuck behind a camera lens. Although we took several pictures, there's no way that it captured the beauty of everything we saw. And I just realized that I forgot to snap pictures of us on our bikes and us swimming in the Danube. (And by "swimming", I mean: Husby was swimming; I slowly walked out, hoping not to step off one of the shelves into deep water and praying that nothing would touch me, and then dipped down to my shoulders and hauled it out of the murky water.)

Walking through the vineyards to a little barn that held our bikes.

This big buy seemed very interested in me and another girl. We were so excited that we'd charmed him. Then we turned to see the farmer behind us with chicken feed.

One of the wineries. There is a tunnel underground so that they can transport their wine to the bottling center across the street. Notice the vineyards on the terraces above the building.

One of the MANY 'Thelma & Louise' shots from the trip. At this point, I'm praying that I don't fall off my bike. Ha!

On the left, the Danube River. It isn't blue in either Budapest or Vienna. Strauss definitely used his poetic license for that title!

A blue cathedral. It caused quite an upset in its day, since that color is reserved for Mary. People liked it so much and started giving money to the church, and then the church leadership was suddenly okay with it being blue. :)

In Durnstein, Austria at the top of the mountain where King Richard the Lionhearted was held captive. We estimated that it was about 1000 feet up. You know, vacation should be about 15K bike rides and hiking up small mountains. It was SO worth it though! The valley was beautiful.

Durnstein, Austria. Isn't it cute? We drank yummy cold chocolate (actually called frozen chocolate, but their version of frozen and ours are quite different!) and walked around a bit. We decided that on future trips we want to visit these small towns outside of the major cities.

Oh, I just love looking at these pictures! In the busyness of life, they're an escape. We had a wonderful vacation. It was worth the movie and dinners out that we skipped to save for our getaway! I can't wait to share about the rest of our trip.

12 August 2010

Life As I Know It

DISCLAIMER: Very random and somewhat boring post ahead.

What is it about August that makes it difficult to write? I feel like I have bloggers-block deluxe. I've tried several times this week to come up with some sort of post, but it just hasn't happened.

Maybe it's the heat. There are only so many days with a heat index over 100 that I can handle! One evening this week, Husby and I went on a walk after dinner. You know, so it can cool down to 98 for an 8pm stroll. During our walk, I declared that there is a little over one month of HOT weather left. Last year, I set my expectations too high and sorely disappointed when the thermometer was still about to burst on September 1. So, the date that I have in my head for a reprieve from the heat-that-makes-me-sweat-in-the-morning-before-I'm-out-the-door is September 15. I think it's a good date. I know that the temperature will likely be in the 90s, but I can handle that.

More than likely, my lack of ability to string together several sentences is because of life. It's super busy. As a college advisor, I'm not off all summer; our office is busy preparing for the upcoming year. I do have three weeks (out of 9) that I'm off, and the hours during the summer are 9-3, so really, it's not a bad deal. This week, though, we went back to regular hours, 7:30-4. And because so much can be done after hours when the phones aren't answered, I often stay later. Needless to say, I've been so ready for bed in the evenings! Which means my promises to friends and family that I'll post vacay pictures this week isn't going to happen until the weekend.

Speaking of which, I'd planned to post in chronological order, but I think I'm going to start with our favorite day: a bike tour through the Austrian wine country. Oh, it was heaven! Okay, minus the fact that we starting sipping wine at 10:30am that resulted in a sick headache, but still had to bike and take an optional 1000 ft climb, it was heaven! WE LOVED IT. I wanted to go back the next day! So get ready, we're going to look at vacay pictures several times in the next couple of weeks. (I'm pretty sure it's one step better than family videos, but could be wrong.)

And I want to leave you with a video that makes me happy. (Random, I know.) I posted it a few months ago, but because it was at the end of a post about my love for The Sound of Music, and I don't know how many people actually began the post, much less finished it, I'm using it again. It'll make you happy, too.

06 August 2010

This Week...

You know those weeks when you just want it to be over? This is one of them. I'm not one of those people who looks forward to the weekends, as if Monday-Friday should be totally wiped off the calendar. I like living those Mondays-Fridays. Even if they're not the greatest.

I finally feel like my body has re-adjusted to Central Time Zone from being in Europe. But it's just so dang hot that any energy I might muster up during the day quickly evaporates in the humid air.

I don't know if I've shared this (and honestly, I don't feel like researching my own blog entries), but my boss is preggers. She has a sweet baby girl cooking away. Chloe Noelle will join her two brothers, 10 and 12, soon. Actually, sooner than expected. Due to complications, my boss will spend the remaining 1-5 weeks--depending on delivery--at Baylor Medical in Dallas.

It's always been the plan that I would take the lead role in our counseling office this year, but I really didn't want it to be this soon. Yikes! I've claimed Esther 4:14 as my verse for the year, "...but who knows that you have come to royal position for such a time as this." I don't know how royal my position is, but I do know that I've been groomed by my fantastic boss over that past two years, and I can do it.

When I arrived at work on Monday, I had an Amazon package waiting for me. It was this:

I was so excited! I've blogged about Shauna's first memoir, Cold Tangerines, so I was super-psyched to have this in the mail after pre-ordering in May. Already I LOVE it! In fact, I looked down yesterday and realized that I was already half-way through. It made me sad that I would actually finish it. Yes, that's how much I like it. My heart will ache when I'm done.

Here's one of the amazing, amazing quotes from Bittersweet:
The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness.

It's the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy.

This is what I've come to believe about change: it's good, in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good, and failure is good. By that I mean that it's incredibly painful, exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God's hand, which is where you wanted to be all long, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be.

I've learned the hard way that change is one of God's greatest gifts, and most useful tools. Change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us. It can show us who we've become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. I've learned that it's not something to run away from, as though we could, and that in many cases, change is a function of God's graciousness, not life's cruelty.

This is the work I'm doing now, and the work I invite you into: when life is sweet, say thank you, and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you, and grow.
Here's to saying thank you, and either celebrating or growing.

02 August 2010

Truths for Mature Humans

One of my BFF's sent me a facebook message today that made me laugh so hard! I realize this list will make its rounds on facebook in the next week, so you'll see a complete list soon, I'm sure. (And there's a 87% chance that this is just new to me!) I feel the need to share those which I find most true and funny.

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing stinks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How in the world are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

10. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

11. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

12. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dang it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

13. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

14. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

15. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

16. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

17. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

18. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

19. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists...unless I’m on one. Then I hate pedestrians and drivers.

20. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

How many of these are true for you?!

01 August 2010

We're There!

Whew! We made it home after a two week vacay in Europe. (You didn't even know we were away, did you? Those pre-written blog posts with pre-scheduled posting worked!) We had an AMAZING time, and have lots of pictures from Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. But I'm suffering from jet lag and really don't want to deal with the whole plugging the camera into the computer to download pictures. This week, though, it'll happen.

We arrived home on Friday evening and after greeting all of the parents who are so happy we've returned, we had a much needed meal of Mexican food. Two weeks without chips and hot sauce is almost considered blasphemy in Texas. We went to bed with full tummies and windows blacked out by plaid flannel sheets and beach towels, expecting to sleep until noon. We were up and ready to roll at 8:30.

Husby's dad took a hard fall off of a 20-foot ladder two days before we left for vacation. (He owns a window-cleaning business.) He's finished up all of his surgeries, including a new hip and an elbow with lots of screws and plates. Now, he's working to learn to build strength again and reuse all of those parts. Not easy for someone so active to be tied to a wheelchair and bed. We've spent a lot of time with him since our return.

Now, back to real life. Work starts back tomorrow. Honestly, I like routine, so I'm not dreading it that much. It's a good thing I really like my job!

I'll leave you with a funny story from our trip. While visiting a synagogue in Budapest, a guy asks me to take his picture. We had to be sneaky, since the tour guide said that taking pictures distracted her. I had to try three different times because he wasn't happy with the way he looked in the previous pictures. (I'm SO guilty of doing that!) As we walked out of the sanctuary (do synagogue's have sanctuaries?), he asked where I was from. I told him that we were on vacation from Texas. His response? Oh, you speak so well. Ha!

I hope you girls (and guys?) have a great week!