22 November 2010

Prayers, please...

Hello, all. I'm enjoying Thanksgiving break this week. It's such a great perk of working in the education system. Actually enjoying might not be the proper word; I'm getting caught up on doctor's visits (wisdom teeth problems, still). But to have a week off to do these things is just glorious. I'm actually blogging tonight, tired after putting up our Christmas tree with 23 dozen ornaments (not really an exaggeration). But my heart is heavy, and I'd love for you to join me in praying for a friend.

Lindsey and I served together during our single days, planning events for our singles group. I hope you've visited her blog, Pleasant Drive. (Here's the link--or you can access it easily anytime from the menu on the right side of my blog.) Lindsey is a woman of God whose faith and love for Him is just amazing. As an young woman, she's a two-time survivor of breast cancer (diagnosed at 25 and 26). If there's one thing that I learned as I prayed with her through her second diagnosis last year, it is to be bold with your prayers as you petition our Lord. Here's a verse that I'd heard, but never fully comprehended until that time:

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16

Today, Lindsey was diagnosed with a brain tumor on her frontal lobe. On Wednesday, she will have brain surgery to remove the tumor. Let's intercede on behalf of Lindsey, her husband, Brian, and their families. Jehovah Rapha (the Lord who heals) healed Lindsey's body twice from cancer. I believe that he has a plan for Lindsey's life. I believe the life of faith she's lived is a testimony like none other. Let's pray hard. Let's pray confidently.

Pray for healing.

Pray for wisdom for the doctor's.

Pray for steady hands during the procedure.

Pray for complete removal of the tumor without any ill effects.

Pray as Lindsey, Brian, and her doctor's create a treatment plan.

Pray that Lindsey and Brian will feel an overwhelming peace from our God.

Pray that their families will be comforted during this time.

Pray that Lindsey and Brian's young marriage will only grow stronger through this.

Pray that Lindsey and Brian will seek Christ during this time.

Brian & Lindsey (a great picture totally stolen from her facebook page!)

Thanks for interceding, friends. Have a great holiday week!

17 November 2010

A Must See

Because it's Wednesday.

Because it's been the longest week ever.

Because I scream-laughed when I watched this.

And because I think you should, too.

Please watch "You Forgot Blueberries."

You're welcome.

That is all.

**A special thanks to Brooke for finding this video. :)

16 November 2010

Faves: Stocking Stuffer Ideas

I'm so proud of myself. Already, I've bought over half of the Christmas presents we'll give. Woo hoo! I've done lots of online shopping, which has been super nice, especially when free shipping is an offer. Here are a few of my favorite things, and things that would be great stocking stuffers.

Did you know that Texas is a producer of olive oil? It's pretty new, but I was able to taste some at Mistletoe & Magic--a holiday market with specialty boutiques. Oh. my. goodness. Texas Olive Ranch makes amazing olive oil. I was a little hesitant to try it, since they pride themselves on their oils being so good that no bread is needed for tasting. I wasn't keen on the idea of drinking olive oil. But once I did, I could have kept going. We had some great "cocktails"--oils mixed with balsamic vinegars. Oh, come on! Though we only had sips of each cocktail, I could have downed it!
One of my favorites was orange Rio Orange Olive Oil mixed with Orange & White Orange Infused White Balsamic Vinegar. I came home with the Arbequina Variety EVOO and Figalicious Fig Infused Dark Balsamic Vinegar. I can't wait to use it on a salad. Each bottle is $10. You can order online at Texas Olive Ranch, or in select stores (a list is found on their website).

Next up: Coconut Body Butter from The Body Shop
This stuff is fabulous. I bought a tub last year while honeymooning in San Francisco. Our hotel was next to excellent shopping. Unfortunately, Husby isn't the shopping type, so I only visited this one store. I hadn't been to The Body Shop previously, but the smell wafting from the store intigued us both. This cream is excellent. It's made from coconut oil, which is a solid, so it's super thick. I love it! They have tons of different scents: lemon, olive, grapefruit, almond. They're on sale now for $14 per tub, regulary $20. At either price, it's worth it.

Last year, Husby got Origins Skin Diver Active Charcoal Body Wash in his stocking. And then I started using it and discovered how fabulous it is!
It's a natural body wash that smells like rosemary and spearmint. I love it. Although $19.50 and pricier than drugstore body wash, it lasts for a long, long time. And it just smells so good!

Fingers crossed, I'll have my Christmas shopping done next week when I'm off for Thanksgiving. Then, I'll be able to wrap and be-ribbon the gifts to go under the tree.

15 November 2010

Recipe: Banana Crumb Muffins

I love muffins. As we ate these yesterday, I declared that muffins are the perfect breakfast food:  filling, but not heavy; tasty, but not sugar-y sweet. This recipe was found in desperation as I hoped to use over-ripe bananas instead of throwing them out. It was a Saturday morning, and I often make some actual breakfast food on Saturdays, rather than the usual cereal or oatmeal. This recipe is not difficult, and the results are wonderful. The muffins are lighter in texture than banana bread, but taste very similar.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter


1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

2.In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

3.In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

4.Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

5. Enjoy!

14 November 2010

Weekend Update

Today has been a day of rest at our home. Other than brewing coffee and making muffins, we've done almost nothing. Which is nice considering our busy day yesterday. Husby and I went Christmas shopping--and eating--with his family. A day of Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Banana Republic, and World Market, sprinkled with meals at Grand Lux Cafe and Maggiano's, sounds perfect to me. However, Husby does not enjoy a day spent at stores. Luckily, he did enjoy Angry Birds and Cut the Rope on my iPhone, when The Container Store just didn't do it for him. We're quite different in that respect. I could spend hours in The Container Store, dreaming of my next organization project.

As I type this, our bellies are full from yummy Banana Crumb Muffins. Although I've claimed not to bake in my Things I Don't Do list, I am a pretty decent muffin maker. I was quite happy with this mornings result: 

I'll share the recipe later this week.

This morning, I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is such a fabulous read! This book has been on my book list for about a year. I finally snagged it at a local used bookstore. It's written in letters, and I couldn't wait to finish one letter so that I could move to the next. Guernsey is a Channel Island (English Channel) that was occupied by the Germans during World War II. The book is set just after World War II ends; each character tells stories about the Occupation, but more importantly, their relationships with each other during this time. Now, I badly want to visit Guernsey. I want to smell the sea air and walk along the beach. I fear that I might be disappointed when the reality of the characters as part of fiction sets in. I'd love to walk along the beach with Juliet and Kit, or share tea and raspberry pie with Amelia. Although a quick trip to Guernsey isn't an option, I do think that a re-read is imminent. Here are a couple of quotes that made me fall in love with the book even more:

"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey?
Perhaps there is some secret sort of
homing instinct in books that brings
them to their perfect reader.

"Reading good books ruins you
for enjoying bad ones.

Next up on the docket? A game of domino's with Husby. Then I plan to be somewhat productive. My goal to purge our home of 100 items by Thanksgiving requires some action on my part. (Read about that here.) I need to gather 10 items per day to make it a little less overwhelming. I have my eye on a few things that will make an exit.

10 November 2010

An Oops and a Goal

I may have committed the biggest faux pas in the history of weddings. I know what you're thinking, and yes, my wedding was over a year ago. That means this faux pas has been a year in the making. And I didn't even know it. We celebrated our anniversary about two weeks ago. Around that time, I decided to look through a box of wedding things just for fun (extra invites and ribbon, to do lists, and credit card-sized agendas). I couldn't bear to part with these things so soon after the wedding, and since Husby moved his things into our house and needed to be unpacked ASAP, I thought it was one box that could be set aside. I wanted to enjoy looking at these things one more time before I parted with them. As I dug through the box, I happened upon them. Thank you notes--written, sealed, and addressed, but never sent. Oh. my. word. The horror! I could not believe it. I acutally enjoyed the process of writing thank you notes (all 23843 of them!).

This afternoon, I added these labels to the back of 40 thank you notes:

Then I put stamps on them and sent them to the people who showered us with love before our wedding. Talk about swallowing some pride. I still cannot believe that I'm sending thank you notes a year late! (Did I mention that all the others went out within a week of receiving the gifts?!)

So, I had so much fun organizing our under-the-stairs cloest this weekend that I've kind of been on an organizing kick. I just love it when things have a place; life is so much easier! About twice a year, I purge things that I don't want. Between Husby and I, we usually have several trash bags full. Over at Young House Love, they've set a goal to purge 100 things (via donations, Craigslist, Ebay, trash). I love this idea and feel that it's attainable. Sure, it may take some time to go gather 100 items, but my goal is to have it done by Thanksgiving. Like YHL, I plan to keep a list of everything that'll make an exit from our home.

Maybe if I rid our house of 100 items, I can find things easier. Like thank you notes. And send them out before it's been a year.

08 November 2010

The Weekend

Oh, I love a good weekend. Friday was an early release day at school. Normally, the worker bee in me would stay and get ahead. Not so on Friday. I left work and headed to Dallas to meet up with my college roommate, Adriane. Our plans? To hear Shauna Niequist speak, author of Bittersweet: Thoughts on Grace, Change and Learning. It was such a nice way to spend an evening, and oh so refreshing for my soul.

Shauna read a handful of passages from Bittersweet, and then we had a great question and answer time. My favorite chapter changes every few days, but one of my favorites is "Things I Do." I feel--as a woman--pressure from society to do: work 40+ hours per week, keep a clean house, cook fabulous meals, workout, maintain relationships, and on and on. Evidently, this is common. Shauna addresses this in her book, along with advice she was given:

"It's not hard to decide what you want your life to be about.
What's hard is figuring out what you're willing to give up
in order to do the things you really care about." -Bittersweet

This really strikes a chord with me. For the girl who wants to do it all, it's a challenge to be willing to give up doing. Shauna creates an ever-evolving list of "Things I Don't Do." What a great idea! On our way home, Adriane and I came up with our own lists. Though I want it to be a list that changes over seasons, here are Things I Don't Do:

1.) I don't bake. I don't like to bake. It requires precision and time that I don't like to give. And one small mistake can throw it all off (unlike cooking).

2.) I don't use cloth napkins. I know that it's super classy to bring the paper towel holder to the table, but that's what we do. I don't like washing more linens than absolutely necessary. And I sure don't want to iron these. So, for now, it's paper towels.

3.) I don't shop at Wal Mart. I know it's convenient and less expensive, but I don't like it. I prefer making two less stressful stops at Target and the grocery store.

4.) I don't finish reading books that I don't enjoy. They're not worth my time.

I feel liberated saying that I don't do things. I like it!

Adriane and I enjoyed shopping on Saturday morning and had more conversations about life. Then we visited my sweet friend, Christine, and her husband and oh-so-cute baby, Luci. After a quick trip to their fabulous farm store, Urban Acres, I headed back home. I arrived just in time to change clothes and head to a wonderful wedding.

Yesterday, after church, Husby and I did a little rearranging around the house. In the winter, our home gets pretty chilly. The coldest spot is the dining room; it hovers around 55 degrees. Brrr! We decided to move our dining table into our living room so that we won't have to eat a the bar for the next five months. That meant changing the layout of our living room. Twice. Then we organized the closet below our stairs. Husby assembled a new shelving unit, and I got to make order of all the stuff. He doubted my abilities to fit it all back into the closet. I guess it might take more than a year of marriage for him to have confidence in my organizing/packing abilities. I mean, who else can fit 55 pounds in a carry-on bag? That's talent, my friends.

I hope you had a great weekend. Happy Monday!

04 November 2010

I Think I'm Back

Oh my goodness. October was the longest month on record! I was never so happy to see November roll around. It doesn't hurt that it brought cooler temperatures, either. (I was finally able to wear a dress with tights and boots. Yea, cooler weather!)

Perhaps you read here that I had my wisdom teeth removed and assumed that I recovered. Well, let me tell you, I didn't. The day of this post, I had dry sockets that were diagnosed as bruising. (Psst...a dry socket is where the blood clot over the removed tooth releases and exposes bone and nerve. Ouch!) So, I lived in pain for four days until another dry socket formed. Then I knew the problem. And had it fixed, which is not at all fun or pain-free. All was fine until I contracted a stomach virus. This all happened during the busiest work week of the year for me, since we had so many November 1 deadlines to meet. I pushed really hard to make it each day, and succeeded until Thursday of last week when my boss pretty much told me I had to go home. It was SO hard for me to leave my kiddos. Thankfully, my boss who's on maternity leave was able to cover for me. On Friday morning (after having dry sockets packed again), I was back at work and felt like a new woman. And we met all of our November 1 deadlines. And I still have painful dry sockets that can't be packed again.

The end...but keep reading.

Husby and I celebrated our first anniversary in October. We decided to do the traditional gift, which is paper. Wanna see what it was?

Paper tickets to see Shrek the Musical! Clever, huh?! It was such a fun musical. And at the end, the whole audience stands and sings "I'm a Believer." So fun and so funny! With our Shrek tickets, we had access to the State Fair of Texas. Husby had never been, so we decided that it was a perfect time to go. A few pics (minus the Big Tex pics since Blogger hates them and won't upload them correctly)...

Love it!

Gross. We did not eat this.

On one of the rabbit cages. I think I might see if this method works. :)

It was a fun way to spend our anniversary together. Oh...we also used public transportation in Dallas to get to and from the hotel and Fair Park. Let's just say that Dallas folk don't quite know how to use public transportation like the people of San Francisco or Chicago or New York or Budapest or Vienna or Prague.

This weekend, I'll spend a night away from Husby. I'm going to hear Shauna Niequist, author of Bittersweet, speak on Friday night. I'm so excited. Have you read it yet? You should. It's absolutely wonderful. My college roomie and I are hanging out for the day on Saturday, and then on Saturday night, we have a wedding, and I don't have a clue what I'll wear. I probably need a new outfit. Don't you agree?