15 July 2013

a 101 update

Last November, I created a 101 in 1001 list. (It's 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days.) You can find it here. It's been a lot of fun to cross things off of the list and work on others that take time. There's such a sense of accomplishment--which is fantastic for this list-maker extraordinaire!

After I hit publish, people in my every day life talked about it. Although mostly forgotten at this point, it was a topic brought up pretty regularly. Most were super supportive of the list. I was shocked, though, by people who were negative about the list, doubting that this list could ever be completed. And maybe it can't, but I've learned a lesson to always be supportive of goals that others have, even if I perceive them as unrealistic.

So here are the things that are completed:

17. Complete a puzzle with the hubs
We did this around the first part of January. We're nerds in many, many ways, including liking puzzles. We just rarely do them. But this year we instituted a no-screen Monday, meaning that we don't watch TV or use computers on Monday nights. Instead we read or play games.

23. Participate in a Turkey Trot
I really wasn't expecting to complete this run so early after forming the list. It's probably best to train for a 5K, or at least have run in the past few months. Or years. But there was no preparation when I received an email from my friend, Stefani, asking if I'd be interested in being the fourth person in a team with two other friends. I agreed, knowing that walking was an option. My only goal was not to be the last person to cross the finish line. And to run across the finish line. Stefani, Lora, Alaina and I were a team for the Turkey Trot. Thankfully, Lora had recently had a baby, so I was able to run slash walk with her. We'd set a point and run, and then walk for a while, and then repeat.

27. Try a new hair color
This one is complete enough for me, even though I'm sure it wasn't super noticeable to others! I mean, really, I don't even have a picture that would show any major difference. In the fall, I decided I go darker. My super stylist put some darker blonde and red in my hair. I liked in the salon and when I got home. But then I saw a picture of myself, and it wasn't me. I was born blonde, and I'll forever be a blonde. (Even though I need a bit of help to be as light as I like.)

34. Wash my face every night for 30 days
Ugh. I did this once. It was painstaking. Here's my confession: I wash my face 4-5 nights a week. The other nights I use a wipe on it, leaving my eye makeup in place. I was hoping to see a huge difference in 30 days, and even continued to about 45 days, but there wasn't one. I'm not convinced it totally necessary. But if you have evidence to the contrary, please feel free to share.

35. Successfully give up something for Lent
Diet Coke. Boom.

38. Order personalized note cards
I designed and ordered these from VistaPrint. They're super cute.

39. Have a blog makeover
I did, and I love it!

42. Develop a budget
We live within our means, but never had a firm budget. Now we do. We don't do an envelope system or determine that only x amount can be spent on groceries/gas/utilities, but we have a maximum amount to spend each month.

43. Stick to budget for 3 months
Done! Yea!

45. Set-up monthly draft for tithe
We support several missionaries, but weren't giving any money to our local church. Supporting both missionaries and the church is important to us. It was something we'd meant to do, but we never remembered at a good time. Now it's done.

46. Insure engagement/wedding ring
Over four years after having a ring put on it, said ring is insured. Finally. I live in a state of anxiety anytime something valuable isn't insured, so this really helps. We certainly can't afford to replace it should something happen. (A diamond did fall out of my wedding band, but my jeweler replaced it at no cost. Hallelu!)

47. Choose an investment
I have a retirement plan that's aggressive. (I really don't know what that means or if I used the correct terminology, but my money is in lots of places: stocks, bonds, other stuff.) Jeremy also has money in various stocks. One wasn't making anything, so we pulled the money and invested it in something of my choosing. I like that we're making a little more money this way!

That's about half of what I've completed. I'll share more next week! Some will take longer to complete, but there's still a steady stream of accomplishment.

14 July 2013

reads for your weekend

 travel keepsake kits | martha

[I have such a hard time tossing out little keepsakes from our vacations, and let's be honest, I haven't scrapbooked in at least 10 years. And I only have a total of about five unfinished pages because I'm so indecisive. So, I love this idea! Throw all of the ticket stubs and brochures in a box? Done! If only the boxes weren't $17 each.]

● get ready for all those babies | marv knox

[If you don't read anything else, read this. It's that good. Don't let the fact that it's from The Baptist Standard throw you like it almost did me. I was all but screaming "yes!" the entire time!]

“If Texans’ conservative moral values prompt our state to implement one of the nation’s most stringent abortion codes, then we should accept the responsibility for all those babies we will bring into the world. We need to do right by them.
That means both enacting better laws and public programs that protect women and children, make certain no child goes hungry and ensure our young people receive quality education. And don’t dare claim that’s the job of the church, and the state should butt out. The church has demonstrated its unwillingness to rise to the occasion, and the enormity of the task is about to multiply. 

[This is extremely thought-provoking. Companies are fighting HHS whole-heartedly because the owners are staunchly opposed to covering contraception. Conviction is a good thing, but where will fighting to avoid paying for these convictions end? Read this. Think about it.]

“As others have pointed out, it’s pretty problematic to allow conscience exceptions for ANY organization or individual that has ‘religious or moral’ objections to paying for ‘mandated drugs and services.’ Can religious groups who object to blood transfusions refuse to pay on religious grounds? Those who object to vaccinations? In a society with many religions, (and many ‘nones,’) all kinds of exceptions could soon overwhelm any piece of legislation…

Where I pause is when ‘religious liberty’ gets defined as ‘I shouldn’t have to pay for something I disagree with.’ The contraceptive mandate may feel or seem more ‘direct’ than the taxes that pay for the boxes of Depo-Provera in Malawi and elsewhere, but it amounts to much the same thing: a government-mandated outlaying of money in accordance with certain laws. A tax.

‘Render unto Caesar’ applies here. Whose image is on that dollar bill? Uncle Sam’s. So give unto Uncle Sam what belongs to Uncle Sam. And, yes, whether at home or abroad, Uncle Sam will probably use your dollar bills to pay for things that contradict something your religion teaches. My understanding of my religion includes the importance of caring for the earth and not taking human life, but my taxes subsidize oil companies, fund unjust wars, and pay for the injections used in the execution of people on death row.

I despise that.”

09 July 2013

tuesday things

:: A couple of week ago at Target, I saw the cutest mason jar insulated mug. I made a mental note to purchase it at a later date. When I went to Target while in Milwaukee last week, there was an end cap full of these super cute mason jars. I felt this was a sign from the Lord, so I bought one. Y'all. I have had so much water to drink ever! I attribute it to the cuteness, straw and handle. I decided that I needed one to keep at work, so upon my next trip to the Target in Tyler, I found that there were only FOUR left. These are popular in the South, folks. I suggest grabbing one or more.
:: When I was in Wisconsin last week, we celebrated a baby dedication for Ellery. (Don't you love that name?!) I pretty much declared that I was in charge of the food and hijacked the kitchen. We had pulled pork sliders using the pulled pork recipe from Momofuku. If you've never made pulled pork, it is so easy. You'll need a couple of days to make this recipe as it needs to sit overnight with a dry rub, but it's so worth it. We made two big crocks of mac and cheese to serve alongside the sliders. It was a great meal. And a fun party.

:: I just bought Gywneth Paltrow's new cookbook, It's All Good. And I kind of love it. I'm about to meal plan the next few weeks with recipes from the book.

:: We're completely caught up on Community and ready for season 5. If you haven't watched it, summer is a good time to hop on board. For sure some of the best writing on television.

:: Because we finished Community (Seasons 1-4) and Once Upon a Time (Season 1), along with our regular shows AND we're both addicted to Candy Crush, we decided we are, perhaps, devoting too much of our lives to technology. So we're claiming just a couple of technology nights each week. Then we'll need to read or play board games or go on walks.  Something that doesn't involve a screen.

:: One of our favorite things each summer is the Texas Shakespeare Festival. We'll make two trips, one Thursday and one Sunday to watch four different plays--two Shakespeare, a comedy and a musical. We love that this is only 45 minutes away!

08 July 2013

my people

I spent last week in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin enjoying some wonderful community. Twelve (12!!) years ago, I went on a summer-long mission trip to Romania with a dozen people I barely knew. Scratch that. I knew one person from the previous summer in Romania. So it was eleven people I barely knew, plus one friend, in a faraway land for eight weeks. We spent our days loving on babies in a couple of orphanages and sharing our stories with each other. Our evenings and weekends were spent over meals and ice cream at McDonald's and years-old movies in theaters and walks and adventures to nearby cities and a "water park" that likely exposed us all to some deadly amoeba with it's still, murky water.

In the years that have passed, a majority have remained in contact, adding spouses along the way. We've rejoiced at weddings and births and adoptions and jobs and experiences. We've laughed together until some of us have--perhaps--had to change pants. I'm not sure on that. Someone else was telling me about it. And then we've cried together and mourned with each other loss of life and consequences of sin. We've prayed over each other and for each other. We've made it through some good and some bad. And still we remain a community.

I consider these people some of the closet in my life. Only we're spread across the state and country and even between continents. Because of the hundreds--and thousands--of miles separating us, we often dream of developing a compound. It's such a grand thought to be surrounded with such dear friends. To really do life together.

(Sure, it'd be hard. And there's absolutely no way I could "live off the grid" as Patti and I once planned as part of a compound. If you know me, you know that I don't like dirt. I don't really even like the beach. Because sand equals dirt. I can't handle it. So, for me, that pretty much rules out the gardening component of living off the grid.)

For these people, I am thankful. Thankful to laugh and cry, rejoice and mourn. Thankful to share without judgement and to be forgiven. Thankful for wisdom and encouragement offered by the many. Thankful that even if weeks or months go by, we pick up right where we left off. Thankful that our friendships are made from the stuff that counts.

Although only three of us were able to gather this time, 
here are a few links to blogs of these special people 
(or a spouse that we would have gladly had on our trip):