Monday, February 28, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 29

Day 29 - A picture that can always make you smile.

This is the most recent picture that makes me laugh everyday...  My sister and her family live in Anchorage, Alaska.  Last weekend was a big festival and on Saturday the theme had something to do with salmon (my niece's favorite fish!).  So, Fin (my niece) got to dress up as a fisherman - and of course, sport a salmon on her head! 

Every time I log onto Facebook and see this picture, I laugh out loud.  Hilarious!

Things I am thankful for:

1.  Strawberry jam.
2.  Working out.
3.  Interesting news from work...
4.  Talking to my sis today.
5.  Catching up with Mom today, too.
6.  Breakfast for dinner.  Mmm...
7.  Blogs that make me smile and make me think.
8.  Friendly bank tellers.
9.  Poodles.
10.  Febreeze.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 28

Day 28 - A picture of something you're afraid of.

Ha ha ha.  I'm afraid of falling.  Therefore, I hate putting weird things on my feet and hurling myself down hills (ie skates, rollerblades, skis, etc).  I don't know why I'm so afraid of falling - but it can literally bring me to tears.  Feel free to ask my hubby about the first time we went cross-country skiing - he loves to tell that story!

Yet...  I've been sky-diving twice.  Figure that one out!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Waking up a little early - makes for a more relaxing morning.
2.  The hubby coming to church with me!  (I missed him last week.)
3.  My confirmation kids - too funny.
4.  Two dogs in church today!  (I kind of like that people can bring their dogs...  when they need them.)
5.  A baptism of an adorable little girl!
6.  Hugs.
7.  A chocolate bar and a glass of wine.  Lovely.
8.  Cozying up to watch the Oscars with the hubby.
9.  Pjs.
10.  Our magic couch.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 27

Day 27 - A picture of yourself and a family member.

This is Kayla, my youngest sister.  She graduated high school last spring!  She was in such a rush to get to the party after the ceremony, that I was lucky to get this quick pic!

Kayla's a pretty cool chick - and lots of fun!  I got a wonderful surprise this week when she asked me to go to a concert with her!  (We missed out on that one... But I'm looking forward to planning another!)

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Our church leadership retreat - such great people, fun ideas, and willingness to get to know one another.
2.  Learning to play jacks.
3.  Clown noses.
4.  Quiche.  Yum-a-roo.
5.  Calculators.
6.  Planning for the future.
7.  Honest discussions.
8.  Realizing how content we are.
9.  Looking forward to another summer with our pool!
10.  Going to bed early.

Friday, February 25, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 26

Day 26 - A picture of something that means a lot to you.

(The Netherlands, March 2010.)

All the adventures the hubby and I find!  We have so much fun together and enjoy every minute of seeing new things, trying new foods, meeting new people...  From local events to traveling around the world - our adventures are constantly giving new life to all we do!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Beginning the day with reading in bed...
2.  Making Irish brown bread!
3.  More questions answered.
4.  A very clean house!
5.  The hubby going grocery shopping.
6.  The hubby cooking for our church event while I get some work done.
7.  How lucky I am...
8.  Talking to my sister, Emily - it's her BIRTHDAY!
9.  Getting creative.
10.  Looking forward to tomorrow's church leadership retreat...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 25

Day 25 - A picture of your day.

My amaryllis is in full bloom - finally!  It's so pretty - and awkward - all at the same time...  But it brings a lovely springy-ness to my home in the midst of more snow everyday!

It makes me smile.

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  A normal day at work.
2.  Hot tea.
3.  A cozy office.
4.  My "Conspiracy of Kindness" small group - a great group!
5.  Fun ideas.
6.  Noticing the needs around us...
7.  Getting answers.
8.  Asking more questions.
9.  Not giving up... yet.
10.  Girl Scout cookies.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 24

Day 24 - A picture of something you wish you could change.

Closed mindedness.  I wish people were able to learn from each other, be in conversation, and open their minds to new possibilities.  I get so tired from all the "my way or the highway" attitudes that fill our news, media, and online message boards.  I wish we could all admit that no one has all the answers - and the only way to find the answer is to listen to one another and work together...

I have a feeling it will be a long time til this changes...

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  The amazing ways I get to be involved in people's lives...  I stand in awe.
2.  Friendships growing ever deeper.
3.  Prayer.
4.  New life.
5.  Trust.
6.  Faith.
7.  Sleep - and lots of it!
8.  The hubby taking care of things at home.
9.  A dog that can't seem to live without me!
10.  Love.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 23

Day 23 - A picture of your favorite book.

The Outlander series, by Diana Gabaldon is my favorite series of novels...  Adventure, romance, comedy - they have it all!  I'm so attached to the characters - waiting for the next novel can be torture!

Monday, February 21, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 22

Day 22 - A picture of something you wish you were better at.

(Ha ha ha!  When I entered "outgoing" into the google image finder - the first picture that popped up?  This one!  Apparently, I want to be like Superman!)

I wish I was more outgoing.  Able and willing to talk to anyone without getting shy or worrying about what they will think of me.  I'm getting better...  Slowly but surely!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 21

Day 21 - A picture of something you wish you could forget.

People that I love talking about me behind my back...  and I overheard them.  It's happened a few times, and each time hurts as bad as the first. 

Interesting that this comes to mind... In church this month we're focusing on the importance of how we use our words.  Making sure we use them as gifts, as ways to uplift, and in ways that say "yes!" 

A good reminder...

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  A wonderful church service - despite quickly falling snow!
2.  All my confirmands together again.
3.  30 visitors to our church, from another church.  Such a joy to welcome them!
4.  Everyone brushing snow off each other's cars after church.
5.  Being told I was "passionate" and "joyful".  Cute.
6.  Hugs.
7.  Getting home safe on icy, snowy, foggy roads!
8.  Prayer.
9.  Getting through a whole pile of magazines (looking through them, tearing out what I want, recycling them - and getting them out of my house!)
10.  Falling asleep early...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 20

Day 20 - A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel.

Tuscany, Italy...  And then Venice, Rome, Florence...  The whole country!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Lists.
2.  The laundry's done.
3.  Colorful socks.
4.  Finding money I forgot I had!
5.  Mom and Dad going to an open house with me.
6.  More fun discoveries about the house.
7.  A delicious dinner.
8.  A beautiful night for a drive home.
9.  Fun magazines in my mailbox.
10.  My niece, Finley's, birthday!!!  I love you, Fin!

Friday, February 18, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 19

Day 19 - A picture of you when you were little.

I think this picture says it all.  Ha ha ha.  (I'm pretty sure I was getting ready for a play-date with my grandpa...  Poor guy!)

Today I am thankful for:

1.  So many interesting resources online.
2.  The hubby came home for lunch before leaving for the weekend!
3.  Extravagant sunshine!
4.  Creativity.
5.  A less painful headache today.
6.  Pictures from the past - kind of fun.
7.  Netflix.
8.  Curling up in bed with a book tonight!
9.  Taking down ALL winter decorations!  Woo-hoo!
10.  Putting up spring-y decorations - I need them!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 18

Day 18 - A picture of your biggest insecurity.
Making choices.  Big choices.  Little choices.  What to do, what to say, where to go, and how to get there...  I think in the end, I usually make good choices - but during the process, I worry and worry and worry.

And then I worry I won't have the guts to see it through!  Ugh.

We're in the process of making some big decisions right now...  Goodness.  It's all I can think about!

But I have faith that whatever is supposed to be, will be.  And whatever happens, we will learn from it and more forward...  Because really, what else is there to do?

Today I am thankful for:

1.  Soft lamps in my office...  Great for headache days!
2.  Headlights when driving in dense fog...
3.  An interesting church leadership book.
4.  Making positive choices.
5.  Friends who offer advice.
6.  A nice dinner with church friends.
7.  Seeing Andrea's renewed spirit when she returned from vacation.
8.  A phone call from my sis.
9.  The fact that my hubby and I work through tough decisions in a very productive way.
10.  Cuddling up on the couch for some good tv tonight.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 17

Day 17 - A picture of someone that has made a huge impact on your life recently.

This is my pastor, Penny (and her hubby, Eric).  She's also my boss.  Which always makes things interesting! 

She's one of those people that exudes joy and love.  She gets excited over funny little things and lets everyone know with a "whoop" of joy.  She gives hugs.  She prays amazing prayers - and when she prays for you individually, you feel them in the depth of your soul.  She cries when her heart breaks.  She wears colorful outfits and jewelry.  She loves thinking outside the box - and learning from failures and celebrating the successes!

I was ready to quit my job and never work in a church again - until she came along.  Not only has she made this a fun job for me - but she's seen me for who I am.  For my gifts and talents, for my heart for ministry, for my love of the people of this church.  She's allowed me to take risks (some worked, some not so much).  She's made sure people know when I've succeeded.  She stands my me and gives me the confidence to go forward.

In three and a half years, I've become who I'm more fully supposed to be, I think.  And I believe it's largely due to her influence on my life.  She may be my boss and my pastor - but I think I'm very lucky to have her as a friend, as well.

Thanks, Penny!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Sunshine!
2.  50 degrees!
3.  The nice people at our post office.
4.  Optimism.
5.  So many prayers going out for one of our church families.
6.  Vulnerability.
7.  Prayer shawls.
8.  A miracle for a friend.  (You're right, Kate. That's what it was!)
9.  The hubby told me I looked cute today.  Ha ha ha.
10.  A quiet evening at home...  So tired...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 16

Day 16 - A picture of someone who inspires you.

This is Elly, our goddaughter.  Her mama and I were recently watching her play and realized that she is at the perfect age right now.  She has no fears in life.  Nothing has yet made her feel afraid of the dark or the boogey man.  She's not afraid of what other people think of her.  She's free to be the person she is.  Totally free.  Totally authentic and true to who she is meant to be.

It's kind of magical.  And it makes me want to let go of those silly fears that creep up on us as we grow into adults...  She makes me want to be silly, dance in the kitchen, play kickball in the living room, fingerpaint with all one color and "ooo" and "aaah" at the feeling of the goo between my fingers...  She makes me want to go back to a time of no fears...  A time of being free. 

Elly inspires me.

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Alarms.
2.  Laughter with my boss.
3.  Prayer.
4.  A fuzzy poodle.
5.  Melting snow.
6.  Splashing in puddles.
7.  Discussions about the future.
8.  The dog got a bath - and smells so much better!
9.  The hubby doing our taxes.
10.  Grace.

Monday, February 14, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 15

Day 15 - A picture of something you want to do before you die.

Travel.  More.  Anywhere.  I just love visiting new places, experiencing new things, trying new foods, talking to new people.  So many places to see, so little time!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  The book, "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coehlo.
2.  Flowers.
3.  Our amaryllis BLOOMING!
4.  Fun talks about possibilities.
5.  Doctors who move swiftly for our friends.
6.  Homemade french bread.
7.  The movie, "Eat, Pray, Love."
8.  Chocolate covered strawberries.
9.  The dog, sleeping by the oven, while the bread is baking.
10.  Love.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 14

Day 14 - A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without.
Em.  She's been one of my best friends since 8th grade.  I can't imagine life without her humor, wisdom, compassion, thoughtfulness, goofiness, warmth, and love.  We always have fun together.  She's always there when I need her.  She tells me when I'm being crazy - and when I'm on the right track.  She has always had a way of making me feel treasured and loved - even when everything else seems to be falling apart.

Honestly, can't imagine life without her.  Love her.

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Friends.
2.  Teamwork.
3.  Baked potatoes!
4.  The power of listening - and prayer.
5.  A church that embraces a dog visiting worship services, when a member needs her dog nearby as she deals with grief.  What a great place to be!
6.  Recipes shared!
7.  Going to an open house.  So fun.
8.  The hubby and I on the same page.
9.  Dreaming about the future.
10.  The Grammys. I loved most of the performances tonight!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 13

Day 13 - A picture of your favorite band or artist.

At the moment?  Mumford and Sons.  Love them.

Always?  A tie between Ben Harper and Jason Mraz.

Oh!  And Amos Lee...

But I listen to so many artists...  It's almost impossible to choose!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  A relaxing morning at home.
2.  Strawberry biscuits.
3.  Cooking with the hubby - so fun.
4.  Having lunch with Kayla and Dad.
5.  The Edina Grill.  Always a fun place.
6.  A beautiful day - it's warming up!
7.  An evening in the city.
8.  Almost talking the hubby into a trip to New Orleans...
9.  People watching.  Love it.
10.  Noticing I'm talking to strangers more and more...  More confidence?  Less shy?  I hope so!

Friday, February 11, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 12

Day 12 - A picture of something you love.

(Davina and the Vagabonds at the Dakota Jazz Club.)
(Corey Chisel and the Wandering Sons at the Red Stag Block Party.)
(Some fun guys playing at Sea Salt Eatery by Minnehaha Falls.)
(A gypsy string quartet at the Lake Harriet Band Shell.)
(Trampled by Turtles at the MN State Fair.)

Live music!  I love going to see live music - famous artists, local artists, outdoors, indoors, rock, bluegrass, folk, jazz, blues, whateva!  I like it all!  (We saw all of these bands within a couple weeks of each other last summer!  The Twin Cities is a great place to live if you like live music!  In fact... I believe we're going out for some tomorrow night!)

I'll be back later with my thankful list!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 11

Day 11 - A picture of something you hate.

"The Drainpipe" is a horrible part of the North Shore hiking trail, which I hiked with the hubby a few years ago.  It's steep, rocky, gravel-y, long, did I say steep?  Slippery?  And it just keeps going... and going...  It's where I discovered I had asthma, while carrying a pack, on a hot summer day. 

Let's just say this.  If God decides I haven't been a good and faithful servant in my lifetime - this is where I will be for all eternity.  It will be hot, I will be having an asthma attack, there will be mosquitos and beetles all around me...  and I will likely be crying.

Hate this.  Really.  Will never go back.

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  This blog
2.  Hand sanitizer.
3.  God's angels protecting me during a sneezing attack while driving.  Uffda!
4.  Plans coming together for our family reunion in Colorado this summer!
5.  Highlighters and those sticky flags in bright, cheerful colors.  I'm addicted.
6.  Funny conversations with Pastor Penny.
7.  Getting excited about servant evangelism.  Yes, I'm a dork.
8.  Peppermint tea.
9.  The amaryllis... Oh dear.  Here's yesterday and today. 
(If you ever need an experiment for a kid - this is it.  Start an amaryllis bulb.  You can measure the growth by the day - maybe even the hour - and once the buds start forming, they change by the day!  A little crazy looking, but interesting nonetheless!)

10.  Coming home.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 10

Day 10 - A picture of the person you do the most messed up things with.

This is Amanda.  Contrary to popular belief, I haven't really done a whole lot of "messed up" things.  But we've had a lot of fun adventures together... and have daydreamed aloud of doing some pretty fun, messed up, things.  But that seems good enough for us - the companionship, fun, and dreams!

We met as co-RAs in the dorms - our first full workday together spent watching Muppets movies, eating Subway, and checking girls into their rooms in Steiner Hall.  Another favorite workday?  Making door decorations all night long (they were awesome!) and blaring 80's music through the hallways when we hung them up.  We've gotten lost in Chicago on an empty tank of gas.  She came long on some youth group adventures in WI.  She was part of the surprise for my 30th birthday.  We went to Austin, TX, for a music festival with two of her other friends to celebrate her birthday.  We've spent holidays together, and recently she's managed to come to the Twin Cities to spend some summer weekends...  which have resulted in more funny shennanigans.

We love to laugh together - even when we probably should be crying.  We support each other's dreams and goals - and encourage each other along the way.  Her friendship is one of the many joys in my life...  I love her.

(And if you're the praying type, the "good vibes" type, or into crossing fingers or toes - will you send her some good thoughts?  She's ready to make some big changes in her life, one that requires an application that just got turned in recently...  We're waiting for the decision.  If she gets a "yes" - she'll be even closer to someday moving to the Twin Cities!)

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  This video about the Twin Cities.  It makes me smile.

2.  Coffee with someone excited about what they are doing.  Very fun.
3.  Whole Foods.  Always fun to wander their aisles.
4.  An easy fix for the furnace.  Phew!
5.  Making a chicken, broccoli, curry hot dish that the hubby liked!
6.  Sunshine.
7.  Playing with the pup when I got home from work.
8.  Kleenex with lotion.
9.  Modern Family.  Too funny.
10.  Amos Lee's "Mission Bell" CD.  Good stuff.

And today is Day 9 of the 29 Day Giving Challenge!  I went to pick up a gift card at Penzey's Spices to honor our "Chili Master" at our church (we had a chili cook-off recently).  The winner was our music director, Jennifer, who is extremely competitive and made the event very fun with her enthusiasm.  So, while I was picking up the gift card from the church, I also picked up some of our favorite smokey, spicy seasonings.  I put them with a note on the organ bench at church...  So she would find it when she came to practice tonight.  Very fun!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 9

Day 09 - A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most.

(Who else would publicly wear a shirt like that, right?!)

I think this one was a given.  We've been together 12 years - through most of the major changes in our lives, through learning how to live on our own, through heartbreaks and celebrations.  He's the person I can count on to listen to me, tell me when I'm wrong and when I'm right, cry on his shoulder, care for me when I'm sick, laugh with me when I'm a dork, and show me each day how much he loves me - for exactly who I am...  He's always there.  And I love him for it.

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  A little more energy!  Woo-hoo!
2.  Laughing with my boss at work.
3.  Appreciation for the notes I've been sending people.  Nice!
4.  Learning to like the interruption of the delivery guys at work.
5.  A package arrived today - so I can start sending gifts to friends!
6.  Getting ready to make some surprises...
7.  Cooking dinner with the hubby - and sharing memories of the early days of cooking together...
8.  ...And realizing we've come a long way in our cooking skills and recipes!
9.  This picture from my friend, Emily, of her little Sam and his gorilla friend (which Aunty Meg got him).  So cute!
10.  It's getting closer...!

And today is Day 8 of the 29 Day Giving Challenge!  Today I sent a couple of notes to people I know with health issues.  Just a little pick-me-up and card to brighten their days and let them know that someone is thinking of them!

Monday, February 7, 2011

30 Days of Photos: 8

Day 08 - A picture that makes you laugh.

This is my parents playing cards at my house...  These are their "game faces" - no matter what game we play.  Mom always has the "I'm gonna win" grin.  And Dad always looks philosophical as he daydreams behind his cards. 

They're pretty funny.  And this picture brings back lots of memories or various games...  And lots of laughs.

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Finishing a book.
2.  And starting another.
3.  Going through past photos - so fun.
4.  Leftover pizza.
5.  New buds on our orchid!
6.  The amaryllis, again...  anyday now!
7.  The dog so excited when Mike came home she ran all over my floors with muddy paws!  (It's kinda cute.)
8.  Emergen-C.  I should really buy stock in this company...
9.  The hubby working on another science experiment in our kitchen...  This time?  Firestarters!
10.  Funny messages with my sis, Emily.

And today is Day 7 of the 29 Day Giving Challenge!  A gift to myself today...  Being ok with not forcing myself into working out when I'm still light-headed and weak.  I told myself yesterday that today was the day!  Time to get back to work - enough being sick.  But I clearly wasn't ready - I took it slow on the elliptical and was OK with that.  One more day of rest isn't so bad, right?
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