Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Easter in Minnesota...
Photo: Easter in Minnesota...!  (No worries, I took nice shoes with me.  Lol.) Happy Easter!
Gotta love getting dressed up in a pretty dress...
And wearing your Uggs to church -
Then, changing into the dressy, strappy shoes!

Kind of funny.

We had a great church day - my favorite part of the service was a reading that contrasted scriptures from the Christmas story and scriptures from the Easter story...  Imagine this read with a soft female voice (A) for Christmas, and a bold, male voice for Easter (B)...  Very cool!

A: And it came to pass in those days, that there went up a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed...and all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
B: He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
A: And Joseph also went up from Galilee.
B: When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man was a Galilean, and as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod.
A: Out of the city of Nazareth
B: Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?
A: Into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem. Behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he that is born king of the Jews?"
B: "If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself."
A: "For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."
B: And all his acquaintances stood afar off, beholding these things.
A: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them.
B: From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
A: And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
B: For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles.
A: "For unto you is born this day..."
B: And shall be mocked.
A: "In the city of David..."
B: And spitefully entreated.
A: "A Saviour..."
B: And spit on
A: "Which is Christ the Lord."
B: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."
A: And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
B: And having said this, he gave up the ghost.
A: And she brought forth her firstborn son,
B: And when Joseph had taken the boy
A: And wrapped him in swaddling clothes
B: And wrapped it in a clean linen cloth
A: And laid him in a manger
B: And laid it in his own new tomb
A: Because there was no room for them in the inn
B: Wherein never man before was laid.
A: And when they were come into the house,
B: Upon the first day of the week,
A: They saw the young child with Mary his mother
B: They came unto the sepulchre,
A: and...they presented unto him gifts
B: Bringing the spices which they had prepared.
A: Gold and frankincense, and myrrh.
B: They found the stone rolled away. Behold, two men stood by them in shining garments;
A: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host
B: They said; "Why seek ye the living among the dead?"
A: "Glory to God in the highest,"
B: "He is not here."
A: "And on earth, peace, good will toward men."
B: "He is risen!"
A: But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  My migraine was gone when I woke up - thank goodness!
2.  Laughing about snowy, cold Easters - and wearing boots to church.
3.  The smell of Easter lilies.
4.  Easter egg hunts!
5.  Beautiful music.
6.  Dinner with my parents.
7.  And yes...  I got to search for eggs!
8.  A beautiful evening to drive home.
9.  The hubby and nephew got home safe.
10.  Easter - faith - hope - new life!
QotD:  What invention can you not live without?
I love my car seat warmers on cold mornings...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Project Life

It finally came today!  My "Project Life" supplies are here - woo hoo! 

(I had hoped to spend my entire quiet day, between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, putzing away on this...  But it didn't arrive until 3:30pm!  Buggers.  So I only got a few hours in before a migraine took hold...  But, I got a good start and can't wait for another day to play!)

Basically, it's a scrapbooking kit - with photo pockets and these fun little journaling cards...
So all you have to do, is print out your pictures, and write little notes about things that happened that week.  That's it!
I had some fun little stickers I'm using to decorate a little more...
But basically, all the "creative" parts are already done!  I love it!
I'm thinking next Sunday, I'll be jumping in again...  Fun!
What did you do today?
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  A day off.
2.  Waking up at my normal time and getting things done.
3.  Watching season 2 of "Girls."
4.  A "warm" beautiful day.
5.  A thunderstorm early in the morning.
6.  Getting ready for our nephew, Brandon's, visit.
7.  Excedrin PM - the perfect weapon for my migraine!
8.  My peanut butter reappeared - with a SHMILY note.  Thanks, honey!
9.  Loving my new shamrock - so pretty.  Thanks, Jill!
10.  Green tea.
QotD:  Pick a color for today.
Green...  I'm so looking forward to lots of GREEN!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sweet Spot

"It's time to look for your sweet spot - where what you do (your unique giftedness) intersects with why you do it (making a big deal out of God) and where you do it (every day of your life).  How do you discover what God packed in your bag?

"Simple: identify things you love to do that you also do well.  Consider those your sweet spot experiences.  Think of times of full-flight energy, of unclocked time.  Times when you thought, I was made for this!  Times when you felt a rush of accomplishment.  You at your best.  These foundational experiences reveal your uniqueness and help you identify your sweet spot."
--Max Lucado, Cure For the Common Life
I've been doing a lot of thinking about this lately...  Interesting question - and fun to remember all the times I felt "in the zone!"
I started writing down some of what I came up with - and saw a common thread...  It's always about being in the moment with another person; taking all the time in the world to listen, offer comfort, guidance, or support; help them come up with a plan; and help through the process.
I get to do a little bit of this in my job, and a lot of other meaningful things, too.  But I wonder if there are other places I could use this "unique giftedness?"
Something to think about...
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  "Sweet spot" experiences.
2.  Being home to send the hubby off for the weekend.
3.  A 3 mile walk with the poodle.
4.  Puddles - a sign of spring.
5.  My first robin-siting of the year!
6.  Watching the show "Girls" - Season 1, all in one night! 
7.  Getting the house cleaned up for the weekend.
8.  Projects to work on.
9.  Our Good Friday Prayer Vigil went well.

10.  Having the sanctuary to myself for a half hour tonight...  Beautiful. 
QotD:  Write down a few lines from a song or poem that you identify with today:
"The way you invest your love... the way you invest your life."  --Mumford and Sons

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Depend on God

Julia Cameron's book, The Sound of Paper, encourages us "to be independent, by depending on God."  Funny, yesterday's reading in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People talked about moving from dependence, to Independence, to interdependence...  The only way to maturing.

What if the ultimate "maturity" test, was to depend on God?  Would we get there?  Really?

Here's what Julia Cameron says as an introduction to today's exercise:

"Sometimes we are loath to rely on the Great Creator.  Perhaps we still believe in a difficult, negative, or withholding God.  The kind of God we believe in  has a great deal to do with our willingness to draw close to God..."

Number 1-10 and list ten attributes of your childhood God:

1.  In the clouds.
2.  Judgmental.
3.  Powerful.
4.  Creative.
5.  Distant.
6.  Old.
7.  Punishing.
8.  Loving.
9.  Able to forgive.
10.  Male.

"Now, number from 1-10 again.  This time, list the characteristics you would like your God to have:

1.  Grace-filled.
2.  Forgiving.
3.  Guiding.
4.  Neither male nor female.
5.  Joy-filled.
6.  Creative.
7.  Encouraging.
8.  Near.
9.  Personal.
10.  On this adventure with me!

"Holding in mind the positive traits you have envisioned, write a letter to God asking for specific help regarding your life or creative projects..."

Love this idea!  She then says that you can put these letters in a "God Jar" or "God Inbox" (as Anne LaMott would say...).  I may be writing God a letter this afternoon...

It's interesting how life changes our views of God, isn't it?  Every year when my confirmands get ready to write their "faith statements," they tend to get all stressed out about "getting it right."  I always have to say Don't Worry About It.  The thing is, due to life's experiences and the things you learn along the way - your beliefs will change and grow with you. 

I think God intends for us to discover our faith in the ups and downs of life...  the twists and turns.  The "dazzle and delight" and the "darkness and drear."  I think God wants to tap us on the shoulder once in awhile and say, "I'm still here.  And I still love you."

Today is Maundy Thursday.  At church tonight, we will remember the night that Jesus was betrayed up until he was crucified on the cross...  Our sanctuary will be cleared of all decoration, black shrouds will be laid on the altar, and candles will be extinguished, until we are left in darkness and silence.

For me, this is one of those moments.  God is tapping on my shoulder.  Remember the story?  All of this darkness, this sadness, this hopelessness...  For now, sit with it and let it wash over you...  Reminding you of all the times in your life when you've felt this, too.  When there didn't seem to be a happy ending in sight....

And then, take a breath.

And remember.

Sunday is coming!

That's the God I believe in.

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Spring is in the air.
2.  Moonroof OPEN!
Photo: Today is the day!  Moonroof is OPEN!  Welcome, Spring!
3.  Maundy Thursday service.  One of my favorites.
4.  Silence.  So powerful.
5.  Setting up for the Good Friday Prayer Vigil.
6.  Candlelight.
7.  Coming home to a dinner waiting, thanks to the hubby!
8.  Playing with the poodle and her "bobo."
9.  An invite from Mom.
10.  Faith.

QotD:  What do you want to remember about today?
Dark, silence... 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Seven Habits

So...  Lately, many of the things I've been reading have quoted the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.  I've seen this title four places in the last week and a half.

And I kept thinking...  I should really read this book.

Then I remembered. 

I have it.  I've had it for many years.  Since my freshman year of college, to be exact.
And I still haven't read it.

So...  I dug it out of a box and decided to give it a try!
I read the intro today...  And am excited to spend some time developing my "habits" over the next several weeks!

Here's my favorite tidbits from the intro:

"We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."  --Aristotle

"Our character, basically, is a composite of our habits. 
'Sow a thought, reap an action;
sow an action, reap a habit;
sow a habit, reap a character;
sow a character, reap a destiny,"

"..a habit is the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire" 
Or knowing what to do and why to do it,
how to do it,
and wanting to do it!

Hmmm...  I'm excited to start jumping in to the first habit!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Books.
2.  Tea.
3.  Slippers.
4.  The mysterious cat that lives in our drainage pipe...
5.  A 3.5 mile walk with the hubby and pup!
6.  A sunny day.
7.  Prepping for our church's prayer vigil.
8.  Beginning to watch "Game of Thrones."
9.  "Bon Appetit" magazine.
10.  Mahi mahi.  Yum.

QotD:  When was the last time you felt like you were on top of the world?
On our road trip last summer.  I had everything I wanted (except our poodle).  Life was good - and a grand adventure!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Check-In

Today's weather, news, events:  It's mostly dreary this morning...  But it's supposed to be 36 degrees and sunny today!  (Really, any day without new snow feels spring-y at this point.)  In the news - today, the Supreme Court begins to hear arguments about Gay Marriage.  And events...  Not much going on!  Getting ready for the end of the week - Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter.

Today I feel:  Tired.  Really tired.  I haven't been able to fall asleep until 1am two nights in a row.  Ugh!  And I'm getting back on track with my diet - which is harder than I thought it would be....  I'm hungry!  Hopefully, I'll get my "groove" back soon!

I am grateful for:  The hope of spring.  Melting snow.  More sunshine.  A 50 degree day in the forecast.  Flowers in my dining room.  Bright colors.  Birds chirping.  Eagles returning.  Puddles.  Long walks.

Spiritually, I:  Love this week.  I love the fun of Palm Sunday - kids singing, waving palms, talking about the donkey...  I love our Tenebrae Service on Maundy Thursday - a reading of the saddest, darkest day of our faith...  With lights being extinguished, the sanctuary being stripped, ending in silence.  I love our Good Friday Prayer Vigil - a whole day of people coming and going, having the sanctuary to themselves, prayer stations set-up in order to spend time with God in any way that works for them.  I love my time.   Peaceful.  Sacred.  And of course, I love Easter morning!  The celebration of all that God has overcome in order for us to know God in powerful ways.  Love it.

People in my thoughts today:  All those waiting to hear what the Supreme Court decides...  I just can't even imagine being told I couldn't marry my husband...  That my love for him wasn't "valid."  That our life together would never be respected or affirmed by our country...  It's time to move forward, people.  I'll be praying for our judges through this process...

Magical Moments (comfort, peace, and love):  I've got two this week, both from my family!
1.  My youngest sister, Kayla, and I decided to have a standing appointment to Skype one another every Friday at noon.  She was home on Spring Break last week, so we went out on Thursday night with our men, and planned to not worry about Skyping on Friday...  But while I was out with a friend, I got a text at noon anyway, thanking me for a fun night out the night before - and just letting me know she was thinking about me anyway.  I loved it.
2.  My birthday card from my parents.  A note was written in it that meant the world to me!

Donations of the Heart (acts of kindness, sharing, caring, and forgiveness):  We were invited to "Rock the Cradle" on Sunday afternoon by a friend who is a single dad with a 3 year-old and a 1 year-old.  This event is at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Children's Theatre - art, books, crafts, music, dance parties, storytelling - all for little kids and their parents.  Pretty cool - and yet, very chaotic!  We went, and I quickly found myself doing whatever I could in order for our friend to be able to enjoy his time with the kids.  I carried coats, his backpack, took pictures for him, and mosied through the art galleries with his little girl.  And it was pretty darn fun.  (I highly recommend the event!  And it's Free!)

For a better tomorrow (goals, ideas, etc):  Stay on the diet plan this week - and get more sleep!  Also, looking forward to starting "Project Life" this weekend while the hubby is out of town...  And planning adventures for next week, when our 16 year-old nephew is staying with us over his Spring Break!

QotD:  Who do you aspire to be like?
Oh...  I have a lot of pretty fabulous people in my life...  I don't think there is just one - but maybe pieces of many.  Mostly, they all are "real,"  enjoy the little things in life, don't dwell in the past, love with their whole-hearts, are generous souls, make a difference in the lives of others, and are always seeking to grow.  So much inspiration - I can't narrow it down to jusy one!

Monday, March 25, 2013

No Capes

"Do you know the movie The Incredibles?  There's a superhero dad in the movie, and he's tired of his desk job.  He sells insurance, I think, but he knows that's not the real him.  So he starts doodling on his sketch pad, drawing different superhero suits because we wants to go back to being who he knows he was really meant to be.  Most of the outfits he draws have capes because that's how most superheroes dress, and he wants to be the same as them.

"He has a friend, Edna, who makes superhero uniforms, and every time he shows her a design, she keeps telling him to lose the cape.  She shows him video clips of superheroes who wore capes, and in the end, the capes caused big problems for them, like getting caught on something and causing them to be sucked through a jet engine or worse.  That's her reason for my favorite line int he movie: 'No capes.'  Her point, I think, is that you can get a lot more stuff done without a cape.  I think Jesus agrees."
--Bob Goff, Love Does
Great chapter.  The whole thing!
Things I am thankful for:
1.  Good stories.
2.  Quiet Mondays.
3.  Getting things done.
4.  Spring is coming...!
5.  Going through my clothes and weeding out those that no longer fit.  Uffda!
View photo.JPG in slide show
6.  Cute texts from friends.
7.  Planning a fun Science Museum outing!
8.  Green peppers.
9.  Notes from former youth group kids.
10.  Fun paper clips... 
QotD:  ____ made you laugh.
Bailey gave Mike "eskimo kisses" yesterday morning...  Very funny!

Sunday, March 24, 2013


"The circumstances of our lives are not always exciting, yet they tend to change only when we do.  The excitement we seek will not come from an external source, but only from an internal one.  I have never known an exciting person who lived a really boring life.  And exciting person makes a decision to live in a more exciting way...

"Every moment, faithfully lived, is a chance to practice the art of living.  A life of magnitude does not just happen; it is consciously chosen.  Living is an endlessly creative process in which we work on achieving the life we want through our willingness to be who we would like to be...

"...The frustration of traffic is a good metaphor for the frustration of modern life.  We want to get somewhere...  But it's going too slow, and all these other people are in our way!  If we wish to remain affected by traffic, or by anything else, then that's our choice.  The day is hot, perhaps, and we have no air-conditioner, or the day is cold and we have no heater.  We can think, Poor me.  The drivers around us are acting nuts.  We can think, These people are total jerks.  We can think that way if we choose to, but we cannot diminish the power of our thoughts.  Every thought of victimization or attack is an attack upon ourselves.  When we think them, we are opening a door: enter stress, enter sickness, enter fear....

"...There is no corner of the earth in which God's love, expressed through you, is not desperately needed.  And our most needed prayer, at times, is for the calming of our impatient nature."
--Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace
I love this little book.  I read just a short chapter every Sunday afternoon, and I love it.  There is always some little tidbit that speaks directly to my heart and my life.  And it's a little on the whimsical side of spiritual.  Love it.
How many times have we complained about our lives?  That they are boring?  About the little things that we let derail us?  About the ways we let other people and circumstances dictate how our day went - and where our day is going?
And how often, do we DO something about it?  One of my biggest pet peeves is listening to people complain about the same aspect of their life - time after time after time after time - without ever making a move to change it.  I'd personally rather move forward in a wrong direction and have to back track, than stay put when things seem bleak.  At least then, I'll have learned something new that might help along the road later!
But even I get stuck sometimes.  And then, really - the celebration is even greater when I start moving forward once again!
So what's your "boring" complaint today?  And what's one baby step you'll take to start moving forward...  To walking away from stress, sickness, and fear - and walking toward a life of knowing God's love - and sharing it through your EXCITING life? 
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  Palm Sunday - always fun at church!
2.  Many birthday wishes and hugs!
3.  Mom and Dad coming to church with us.
4.  Laughing with my youth group kids about weird things.
5.  Lunch at Teresa's after church.
6.  The Zettler family singing me Happy Birthday every time they walked by - to the surprise of the rest of the restaurant, I'm sure!
7.  A day at the Art Institute with Alex and his kids - enjoying music and art!
8.  Naps.
9.  A lazy evening.
10.  Getting to watch an episode of "The Bible."  Not quite sure what I think yet...
QotD:  What did you daydream about today?
Decorating a house someday...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's My Birthday!

Today was a great day!  One of those where you feel like you're on vacation...  Even though you're playing in your own backyard.  But without a care in the world!

We started out this morning with a little "Brew Day" activity.  It was time to move Mike's brew into "Secondary Fermentation."  So, once again, our kitchen looked like a science experiment as we siphoned the beer from one carboy to the other (in order to take just the liquid, without the sludge and "floaties").  I have to admit, it's kind of fun doing this with the hubby!

The sludge we're avoiding...  Eww...

Siphoning out of one carboy...

And into another...

Look how nice and clear that beer it!  So far, so good!

Next, we drove to "Patisserie 46" in South Minneapolis.  It's a french bakery that's known for the best macarons in the Twin Cities (and since I never got to try one when we were in France due to a stomach bug, I decided this is what I wanted for my birthday dessert!).  So, we had a delicious lunch - their tomato bisque soup is amazing!  And of course, tried some macarons.  Yum!  I loved everything about this place - it was small and cozy, but bustling and busy on a Saturday!  All the food looked awesome, and I had a tea that was absolutely perfect.  We'll be back, I'm sure!

Since this bakery was only a block from the house we wanted to buy a couple of years ago, we decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood after lunch....  I still hope to live there someday.  We're working on it!

Next on the agenda was a stop at REI and Midwest Mountaineering to try on cross-training shoes.  The hubby's been watching for sales for me - for training for the 3 Day Walk.  But alas!  Neither store carried the shoes we were interested in anymore...  But, at Midwest, we picked up a brochure from Glacier National Park - our vacation destination for this summer!

After leaving the outfitters, we headed to Northeast Minneapolis to visit Indeed Brewing Company's new taproom.  What a great place!  It's in an old warehouse, kind of off the beaten path - but when you get there, it's packed with people enjoying good brews and good conversation!  We had a great time sitting there and trying a couple of new beers.  And yes, starting to plan our vacation!

Photo: Mike just sent me the one and only pic of me in my birthday...  Lol.

Love him...

By this time, the dinner hour had arrived and our stomachs were starting to growl...  Anchor Fish and Chips was nearby, and by this point I was completely off my diet - so fried fish it was!  I love this place.  Busy and crowded, great food, friendly servers, tattoos to admire...  Pink, purple hair.  Vintage clothes.  Love it.  So fun.  We shared a meal of fish and chips and a side of curry chips.  Delish!

And no...  I wasn't quite ready to go home.  We were having so much fun!  So we tried to visit Harriet Brewing Company - but they were having a private party...  Buggers!  Instead we finally checked out the Lyndale Tap House in the LynnLake neighborhood.  We finished off the night with a couple of beers (one I haven't had since we were in San Diego - Kona Brown Nut Brown Ale - with coconut!) and some March Madness basketball.

What a fun day!  And to top it all off - when we got home, my birthday present from Mike was waiting for me...  Pretty ironic, really.  We started planning our vacation to Glacier National Park - on a total whim - and when I get home, what's waiting for me?  Binoculars!!!  Ha ha ha.  And that's why I love my hubby so.  Perfect pair!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Sleeping in.
2.  Birthday messages, texts, posts, etc.
3.  Getting to help with brewing!
4.  Macarons!
5.  Daydreaming about living in a different place.
6.  Experiencing new places.
7.  Lots of laughing.
8.  A 3 mile walk!
9.  A day with no cares in the world.
10.  And sharing it with the hubby!

QotD:  Are you country or rock'n'roll?  Or hip hop, emo, punk, folk...?
I'd say lately, I'm mostly americana folk, or adult alternative?  But I like a wide variety of music!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Week 10

Week ten of Medifast...  Down another 1.5 pounds!

Drum roll, please...

Which means, I've lost 20 lbs by my birthday!!!  Woohoo!

Not an easy week, let me tell you.  I thought for sure I had gained.  We had the St. Patty's Two Day Feast last weekend.  I may or may not have eaten leftover brown bread, smoked salmon, cornichons, and bites of Irish Car Bomb cupcakes all week...  I worked a lot of long days and missed two workouts.  Thursday night, I went to a brewpub with my little sis and her boyfriend (and had a FANTASTIC smoked trout and spinach salad...  balanced out by a couple of beers).

So...  Realistically?  I was just hoping to not gain weight this week.

So my surprise was not hidden when I stepped on the scale - and saw a loss!  (I may have giggled with relief - to the dismay of my counselor...)

So, our discussion at my meeting was all about getting back on track.  Sticking to the plan.  Small portions.  Blah blah blah.

Yep...  I'm going out for Indian Food tonight - and I fully expect to get my usual Shrimp Coconut Curry with rice and naan.  It's a birthday dinner.  I get to have what I want, right?

And I may or may not be going out for macaroons on my birthday tomorrow...

And maybe a beer...

Or something...

Hee hee.  I'm about half way to my weightloss goal!  Don't worry - Once the celebrating is over this week - I'm back to it.  I can't wait for summer and being active, trying new things, and wearing new clothes!  I'll get there!

Did you meet any goals this week?  Even one that may have surprised you?!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  A surprising weight loss.
2.  Meeting a goal.
3.  Relief laughter.
4.  Walking at MOA with Tracie.
5.  A noon-text from Kayla.
6.  Spending an hour just walking around a bookstore.  Lovely.
7.  A fun drive with the hubby.
8.  Dinner with friends.
9.  Indian food at Chapati.
10.  Getting home early and cuddling up on the couch!

QotD:  Jot down a news story from today...
Oops...  Didn't watch the news today...  I know, I'm a horrible person!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

100 Things

One of my journaling inspirations gave this task today:  Write down 100 things you LOVE to do.

Kind of fun, right?  It can be ANYTHING.  Just start writing them down.


1.  Cooking.
2.  Hosting gatherings.
3.  Hospitality.
4.  Home decorating.
5.  Organizing.
6.  Discovering new music.
7.  Going to concerts.
8.  Road tripping.
9.  Traveling.
10.  Trying new foods.
11.  Beer tasting.
12.  Reading.
13.  Playing with our dog.
14.  Laughing with my husband.
15.  Preparing - and enjoying - Saturday morning breakfasts.
16.  Getting massages.
17.  Taking pictures.
18.  Blogging.
19.  Creating pretty things.
20.  Camping.
21.  Walking with my husband.
22.  Baking bread.
23.  Going to the farmers' market.
24.  Listening to people's problems AND dreams.
25.  Helping others see the positives in life.
26.  Counting my blessings.
27.  Napping.
28.  Completing projects.
29.  Helping others achieve their goals.
30.  Driving.
31.  Playing with the little kids in our lives.
32.  Hanging out with our teenage nephew.
33.  Playing games.
34.  Planning surprises for my husband.
35.  Sitting in the sun.
36.  Swimming.
37.  Looking at the stars.
38.  Celebrating others' successes.
39.  Growing plants.
40.  Canning - jams, jellies, and salsas.
41.  Giving gifts.
42.  Volunteering.
43.  Mission trips.
44.  Leading small groups.
45.  Doing "pastoral care."
46.  Strategic planning - long-term planning.
47.  Going out for coffee with friends.
48.  House-hunting.
49.  Visiting National Parks.
50.  Making new friends.
51.  Making photo projects.
52.  Preaching.
53.  Finding creative ways to present a worship service.
54.  Greeting people - making them feel valued and welcomed.
55.  Random acts of kindness.
56.  Hearing about my sisters' lives.
57.  Hanging out with my youth group kids.
58.  Finding inspirational quotes.
59.  Fundraising for good causes.
60.  Flying.
61.  Sky-diving.
62.  Losing weight.
63.  Dreaming about the future.
64.  Overcoming fears and roadblocks.
65.  Going to weddings.
66.  Getting lost.
67.  Chasing sunsets.
68.  Taking a walk when it's still snowing.
69.  Sitting by the fire.
70.  Having a day to myself every now and then.
71.  Staying up late and sleeping in.
72.  Working regular hours.
73.  Getting fresh flowers.
74.  Going to the theatre for plays and musicals.
75.  Voting.
76.  Sharing my faith.
77.  Hosting neighborhood gatherings.
78.  Simplifying.
79.  Watching movies.
80.  Being there when family or friends need me.
81.  Establishing traditions.
82.  Bringing cookies to our goddaughter on the first day of school.
83.  Paying with cash - not credit.
84.  Maintaining a budget.
85.  Talking about - and role-modeling - healthy relationships.
86.  Learning other people's stories.
87.  Encouraging others.
88.  Spontaneous outings.
89.  Painting a room.
90.  Helping my husband brew beer.
91.  Writing.
92.  Doing puzzles.
93.  Discovering new places.
94.  Trying new activities.
95.  New beginnings.
96.  Learning.
97.  Roaming around bookstores, craft stores, and storage/organizational stores.
98.  Giving loans on
99.  Planning vacations.
100.  Teaching new things - and seeing "a-ha!" moments.


Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Lists.
2.  Laughter.
3.  Intuition.
4.  Being helpful.
5.  Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub.
6.  Kayla and Anthony.
7.  The way my hubby always offers his arm when there is ice in our path.
8.  My calves are shrinking!  (Great for boot wearing!  Ha!)
9.  Smoked trout.  Yum.
10.  Grandma's "bunkhouse" quilt.

QotD:  The first thing you ate today was...
Medifast Berry Crunch Cereal with almond milk.  Pretty exciting, huh?!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


So, I've been fascinated with the blogs that are doing "Project Life" - a photo/journaling book, that they fill in once a week with photos, little journal bits, quotes, and mementos from their week.  I love this idea!  Much simpler than scrapbooking - and it looks beautiful!

And yes, even I could do this.

So, I went to Becky Higgins' website (the creator of Project Life) to get more details, read up on it, and order my supplies...  And found she has some pretty great inspirational stuff on her blog, too!

My favorite thing so far?  A list of ideas for "Cultivating a Good Life."  I love many them.  Go read her stuff.  It makes me smile.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Be patient - with others, with God, with yourself.

Make eye contact.

Take smaller steps.

Do something.

Do what scares you.

Don't procrastinate.

Sleep more.

Spend time with people who make you want to be better.


Be humble.

Ask questions.

I ordered my kit...  I'll be getting started next week!  Woohoo!!!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Alarm clocks.
2.  Playful dogs.
3.  "Organic Bangkok" tea.
4.  Lovely ladies that supply yummy dinners at church!
5.  Lenten services.
6.  Thankfulness.
7.  Maintaining my composure.
8.  Laughing at bloopers.
9.  Learning that I helped someone with recovery - by encouraging them to play Yahtzee!  Who knew?!
10.  Driving home at 8pm, and it's not pitch black outside!

QotD:  What was the last book you read?
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghasse.  Good book!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Check In

Today's weather, news, events:  Snow.  Snow.  Snow.  Yesterday, we got another several inches with horrible winds.  (Last year, it was in the 70's by now!)  In the news?  Weather.  Events?  Might as well go sledding.  Blah.  And yep - right now, they're forecasting snow for my birthday.  Perfect.

Today I feel:  Grateful.  We had such a fun weekend with family and friends!  I'm back on my diet (and am pretty sure I've lost a couple of pounds - even with the feasting!).  And, I'm looking forward to the rest of this week - easy work week, plans with my sister and her boyfriend, plans with friends, and who knows what else?!

Spiritually I: am still working on trusting God, and listening for those "nudges."

People in my thoughts today:  A dear friend that was admitted to the hospital last night...  Hopefully nothing too serious...  But many prayers heading her way today!

Magical moments (comfort, peace, joy):  That moment when friends from different areas of your life come together... and are able to relax and laugh and enjoy one another's company.  Mike and I are always surprised at those serendipitous moments, when many pieces of our lives come together, and it all just seems to fit.  Love it!

Donations of the Heart (acts of kindness, sharing, caring, and forgiveness):  Holding a friend's hand as she cried and shared griefs and struggles in her life.  Sharing our joy of hospitality.  Letters of recommendation for my youth group kids. 

For a better tomorrow (goals, ideas, etc):  Continuing to get back on track with the diet and exercise.  Continuing to gather the paperwork to refinance our house. 

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Meditations. 
2.  A good night's sleep.
3.  Blue skies (I'll just try to look up today, instead of at allllll the white!)
4.  An early birthday celebration at work!
Birthday celebration at work!  Thanks, Ladies!
5.  A good project day...
6.  A funny text from the hubby this morning.
7.  Pandora "Head and the Heart" station.
8.  A great impromptu dinner.  Pork chops and asparagus. 
9.  Aveeno skin care products.
10.  Gettin sleepy...  early!

QotD:  Describe your work ethic.
Task-oriented.  Yet, forward-looking.  Strong, yet not hurried.  Particular.  Goal-oriented. 

Monday, March 18, 2013


"We're God's plan and we always have been.  We aren't just supposed to be observers, listeners, or have a bunch of opinions.  We're not here to let everyone know what we agree and don't agree with, because, frankly, who cares?  Tell me about the God you love; tell me about what He has inspired uniquely in you; tell me about what you're going to do about it, and a plan for your life will be pretty easy to figure out from there.  I guess what I'm saying is that most of us don't get an audible plan for our lives.  It's way better than that.  We get to be God's plan for the whole world by pointing people toward Him."
--Bob Goff, Love Does

Perfect words for me right now...

Have a great Monday!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  A great weekend.
2.  A warm, cozy, clean, quiet house on a snowy day.
3.  Hoping this is the last snowy day this year!
4.  I may or may not have sneaked one last piece on brown bread...
5.  I will do an extra few minutes on the elliptical!
6.  Courage.
7.  My silly dog.  She makes me laugh.
Photo: Yeah, you're right, Bailey...  I wasn't working or anything when you pushed your head between me and that book!
8.  Arranging a book swap with a friend.
9.  Watching TV with the hubby.
10.  Lemons in my water.  Tastes like summer!

QotD:  In three words, describe your spirituality...
Constant.  Grace.  Joyous.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patty's Feast: Round Two

May your mornings bring joy
and your evenings bring peace...
May your troubles grow less
as your blessings increase!

Round Two!  My family came over this evening for leftovers and our own little St. Patty's party!

A great way to celebrate!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Lots of laughter at church.
2.  Learning about faith from the legend of St. Patrick.
3.  Prayers for a friend.
4.  A loooong nap!
5.  Leftovers.  Yum!
6.  Anthony's visit to our house!
7.  Lots of laughs.
8.  Going off my diet for a couple of days...  Lovely!
9.  Fireplaces.
10.  Irish heritage...  Very fun!

QotD:  What new activity have you tried?
Snowshoeing a month ago?  Making ganache and buttercream, this weekend?  Working towards the Susan G. Komen 3 Day?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

St Patty's Feast: Round One

"There are good ships,
and there are wood ships,
The ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships, are friendships,
And may they always be."
"May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty."

Several years ago, after our first visit to Ireland, we decided to try cooking a traditional Irish Feast for St. Patrick's Day.  I've realized I'm not really into the drunken celebrations that happen at the pubs these days... and much prefer a fun evening at home, sharing a yummy meal (and lots of laughter) with friends and family.

Luckily, that year Cooking Light magazine had a whole spread of recipes for a traditional Irish meal!  So, we tried them out - and loved them!

So now, four out of the last five years we've made a feast!  And each year we've invited more people to come and celebrate with us!  I think I've got the recipes down - and I add one or two new ones each year...  Just for fun!

Here's a glimpse at today's gathering:

Photo: Irish bacon is cooking...  Ready for a fun evening!

Photo: Mmmm...  Brown bread.

Photo: And...  That would be a photo bomb!

Photo: Irish Car Bomb cupcakes.... Yum.

This picture sums up the evening.  Lots of joy.  Lots of laughs.  (Lots of whiskey!)
A fabulous evening!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Cooking.  (I've missed it lately!)
2.  The hubby's help getting things done.
3.  His ability to sneak in and unload and load the dishwasher before I even realize the dishes are stacking up again!
4.  A whole playlist of Irish music!
5.  Fun Irish toasts.  Slainte!
6.  Good friends.
7.  "The Chamber of Secrets."
8.  Shamrocks.
9.  18 years of love and friendship.
10.  Contentment.

QotD:  What do you want to buy?
A house.  :)

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