Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
When we first got there it was chilly but as the afternoon came it got colder and colder. I think on average it was in the low forties the majority of the time we were there. Nighttime was so cold though. I wasn't smart enough to pack a coat so I was just glad that I had thought to pack all long sleeved shirts.
While we were there we ate at this place called Fat Buddies...BBQ! It was good but I made the mistake of eating pork instead of beef and I'm allergic to pork so I was in pain the rest of the day. That night we ate at a seafood place called Maggie's Galley. I decided to be good and ate a Greek Salad...and boy am I glad I did - everyone else got sick off of the food.
We spent the time resetting their home, toy, and accessories section. It was a lot of work but overall we had a fun trip up there. We spent Friday evening and Saturday morning fixing up our own store. Hopefully everyone is ready now! :-)
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I tried my hand at something new today. I recently decided to try and eat a bit healthier...a little less bread, more veggies and fruit. So I have switched to low-calorie flat breads and pitas. But after realizing that I could buy a loaf of bread for $1.27 and 5 pitas cost me $2.14 I had to do something different. So I pulled out the flour, sugar, salt, oil, yeast, and water and went to work.
Now you might say that is a tad on the drastic side to save money. But I grew up in the kitchen with my mom. We used to make homemade bread all the time. Not only was it cheaper that way, it tasted SOOOOO much better! I figured that pitas wouldn't be easy to make, but they actually surprised me. A bit time consuming...yes. But they're not that hard! I mixed up the dough and kneaded it, then left it to rise for 3 hours. After that all I had to do was knead it out and bake it.
4 minutes on the first side, and they poof up (at least, they're supposed to!) and then it's 2 min on the other side. All of this at a high temperature of 500 degrees. I'm sure with practice I will perfect the art of pita making. My first time, about every other one came out right. They didn't always poof up, but they taste great and I can cut them open! Needless to say, I will not be spending $2.14 on 5 pitas when I have the ability to make them myself. Next batch will be whole wheat!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
First off there is the DROP TOWER life, this life is one of those where one minute the person is sky high, floating on clouds and nothing could go wrong. The next minute their entire world is crashing towards the ground and they can find no way to stop. They scream and cry that they are going to hit rock bottom soon, but somehow - they always manage to survive. They never do crash, things slow down and their breathing returns to normal.
Next comes the FERRIS WHEEL life, these people are probably some of the most common. They have an even flow of ups and downs, sometimes being the optimist, other times the pessimist. They seem to be on a smooth, consistent flow in their life. There are no major twists or curves, just a steady motion that you can always count on.
Of course you also have the HOUSE OF MIRRORS life, this type of person stays confused. They never know if they are coming or going. This could depress them, frustrate them, or make them completely angry. No matter what they do there is always another picture that lures them in another direction. When they think they have "found their way out", they see something else that pulls them in another direction. These people live their life in a maze of indecision.
There are some who live the LOG FLUME life, in this ride of life people generally go with the flow. There may be a few sudden drops or changes, but for the most part they're just riding along the river of life. They are content to simply let life take the lead and put them where it wants to put them. They have no real plans, no desires, no ambitions. They simply want to take the ride of life.
There is the OBSERVATION TOWER life. This type of person is content to watch life pass them by. They have no real interest in taking part, no desire to take the initiative to get into the groove of life and experience all life has to offer. They watch other people's lives, pick out the positives and negatives and talk about them...but they never take time to live their own life.
The ROLLER COASTER life is probably the most dramatic life. These people are on a constant up and down motion, they take sharp turns and curves. Their lives are lived fast paced, never taking time to slow down and enjoy life. There are moments where their lives are upside down, right side up, curving left, being hurled right...you never know what it is going to be like when you are around a person living this life.
A life that I find interesting is the REVERSE BUNGEE! Now, generally a bungee means the person is basically falling until they are jerked back up. In a reverse bungee it is literally a slingshot motion. These people aren't afraid to propel themselves forward no matter what it takes. They are willing to take whatever risks it takes for them to become a dramatic part of life. They want people to know them and remember them.
I think my favorite might be the TUMBLE BUG life. On this ride of life riders experience motion that is rotational as well as vertical. Life moves at a steady pace...not crazy fast, not crazy slow...steady. It is upright, sure if something major happens it can be turned upside down, but for the most part it stays vertical. There are changes in the direction, but they are not major changes, they are rational and steady.
What a calm world we would live in if everyone chose the Ferris Wheel, the Tumble Bug, the Observation Tower, or the Log Flume as their chosen ride of life. But then, who would we stare at? Who would we compare our lives to? Who would we write about?!
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Love: An intense feeling of deep affection.
How can you define true love? Is it even possible? I think that it really depends on who you're talking to, because everyone gives love differently and everyone pictures receiving love differently. I don't think there is technically a right or wrong definition of true love. I think that we just have to learn the way another person sees love so that we can show our love for them.
Jesus Christ knew what true and unconditional love was - He came and died for us so that we could live forever in eternity. He gave up all He had for each of us. Did He want to? He wanted to be obedient to His Father, but He also requested for God to let his death pass from Him. I don't think that He desired to die, but He desired to be obedient to His Father and He chose to show His love for His Father and His unconditional love for us through His death on the cross.
Now, am I comparing the love of God to human love? Not by any means - but there are some similarities between the two.
To me - true, unconditional love is when you lay aside your dreams, goals, and wishes so that you can become a part of another person's dreams and goals. It's not always easy to accomplish this kind of love and if the other person never chooses to acknowledge your dreams and wishes as well it can be a very long and difficult road.
Another aspect of true love is trust, which is something that I feel we are always going to have to work at and strive to achieve. Trust is defined as Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. That is far from easy in the world that we live in. Even if you begin to feel like you have accomplished trusting the person you love - it is easy to start losing that trust when you think about those who are around them daily, tempting them to break your trust. Still, a true aspect of love is trust, and in order to fully give love it is something we must constantly strive to perfect in ourselves.
Love is a feeling, but it is also very much an action. It is something that so many people want, but so few are willing to work for. Too often people feel like it's just easier to give up instead of working towards something great. But if two people are willing to truly work together to create an unconditional love, it will last a lifetime.
“It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose it, but it's also true that we don't know what we've been missing until it arrives.”
Monday, September 26, 2011
So I have two off days this week and they just so happen to be back to back. Today and tomorrow. My plan today was to work on cleaning up the house really well and then get an example of the Christmas card I'm going to make done. But as we all know...plans rarely work out!
I decided to start by vacuuming all the floors - which turned into vacuuming floors and baseboards. Then on to vacuuming the furniture - which turned into furniture and all the doors. Then I decided to wipe down the baseboards and doors - which turned into all out scrubbing them. I also needed to mop the floors but I decided to be a bit thorough so I scrubbed them with a rag and bucket...just like Cinderella! Lol
Needless to say I ended up spending six full hours scrubbing this house and my Christmas cards didn't get a start!
Now as I lay here watching my evening shows, my arm is already throbbing and my finger feels bruised from my detail scrubbing of the kitchen floor. Good thing I have tomorrow off too!
Tomorrow my plan is back in place. I'm going to sit down in my clean craft room and work on Christmas card ideas until I make the perfect one!!!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
"One day at a time, this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present and make it beautiful so it will be worth remembering."
I've always heard that you use more muscles when you frown so you should smile cause it takes less effort. I guess that all depends on which website you look at. According to straightdope.com it takes 11 muscles to frown and 12 to smile. So why not use that one extra muscle to smile you ask? Because it's human nature to do the easier of the two, which is frowning (less muscles).
The other day I got to thinking, "Who is the happiest person I know?" The answer didn't take long to surface in my mind. It's easy for some people to act like life is all rainbows and sunshine, that they do no wrong, their children and spouse are perfect, and their world is a little peek into heaven - but every other person on the planet is looking at those people going, "Yeah right!" The person that I'm thinking of takes on a different view. They admit that their life isn't perfect and their world is not all rainbows and sunshine, yet they remain upbeat about it. They don't let life's struggles pull their outlook down.
I once asked them the question I ask so many people, "Is life how you pictured it would be a few years ago?" The typical responses I get are, "Not at all" or "Good Lord no!" This person said, "Yeah, pretty much." They're content with where they are and what they have. I want to learn that contentment. To be able to say, "The car is having issues, bills aren't getting paid, work is awful - but things are going to look up soon for me, I just know it!" There's so much going on in my life that could easily bring me down, frustrate me, or make me want to throw in the towel on things. But I don't want to be like everyone else...I want to be the person who stands out in everyone's mind as a happy person.
Sure, life is going to throw curve balls, but I don't want to spend my life on the ground dodging them. I want to learn how to catch them so that the next one can't catch me off guard. Life is whatever we make of it. We can choose to let it drag us down, or we can choose to stare it down until no problem can scare us! I'll never have it perfectly together, no one will, but I want to be able to say that when everything around me is going wrong I'm going to be better soon...and mean every single word!
"You won't realize the distance you've walked until you take a look around and realize how far you've come!"
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I've spent the last two nights (literally all night - 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.) listening to Russians speaking back and forth. I wanted to scream one of the only Russian words I know - переводчик (perevodchik) - INTERPRETER!
Ok, a little background is needed. The store that I work for was having the floors redone - stripped and then re-waxed. So for two nights I stayed at work while the two Russian men redid the floors.
It got me thinking - there is such a difference between my language and theirs. From my dad being involved in ministry in Eastern Europe I picked up on some of what they were saying, but for the most part it was just another foreign language to me. I've always wanted to learn other languages. If I could pick up three languages I would choose Russian, French, and Spanish.
It's frustrating trying to understand someone from another country. You feel embarrassed because a lot of times you have to ask them to repeat stuff for you. I hear a lot of people get mad and complain that the foreign people should learn to speak English. Although I do agree with them to some extent, I also have to take another viewpoint - if I was moving to their country, how would I feel? I'd feel nervous trying to learn their language, I would hope that they would be understanding with me as I tried to master their language.
I started taking note of the similarities I could see. I thought their language sounded all ran together, but ours probably sounds exactly the same to them. The problem is that we don't know where their words separate, but we know where ours do, so ours doesn't sound all run together. It was easy to tell when they started arguing or when they were joking around with each other. A lot of times, our facial expressions and our body language can convey what we are saying before our words do.
One of them spoke a little English - enough to communicate with me some. He introduced himself to me as Jan (pronounced John) when they first arrived at the store and I told him my name. During those two days he never had to ask my name a second time. I guess I found it interesting because I don't really have a common name and yet he remembered it without asking again. I couldn't begin to tell you what the second guys name was, although I'm pretty sure he introduced himself to me at some point.
I find it fun to figure out the ways that different countries are the same. It's easy to sit down and see how other countries are so different compared to America, but the similarities are what I find so fascinating. If there is one thing these past two nights brought to my attention, it is how very much I miss missions trips and ministry outreach with my family. Hearing the Russian language over the past two nights has reminded me of my one overseas trip in ministry with my dad so many years ago. I miss feeling like I am having an impact on peoples lives, I miss helping other people and sharing the love and peace that has so freely been given to me time and time again over the years.
Someday I hope to be in a place where I can begin doing missions trips again. I think that my heart is definitely drawn to doing missions work and helping those around me.
Isaiah 6:8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
Monday, September 12, 2011
Do you remember where you were?
That's the question that always gets asked about September 11th. How could you forget? I think everyone remembers exactly where they were when the tragedy occurred. I remember I was at home and mom turned on the tv in our living room (which was unheard of, we didn't really ever watch tv growing up). I remember watching it and although probably not fully comprehending what the magnitude of the attack meant, I knew that a lot of people were losing their lives, a lot of people were losing their loved ones as I watched the tv screen. I remember feeling scared, wondering why someone would do that? How someone could justify their actions? But all too soon, we moved on and didn't think about it. Sure...every year we all stop and remember 9/11 on 9/11. But honestly, how often do we as American's think about it at any other time?
It was bad enough when one airplane crashed into one of the World Trade Centers, but then a second came. The reality that terrorists had slipped through our "secure world", or "free country" was unreal. How could we have missed this? How could we not catch 4 different people overtaking 4 different planes on the same day.
In a matter of minutes our security was ripped away from us, people turned to prayer and faith to get them through the trying days after the tragedy. But within weeks it was like most of the country returned to normal. Sure security at airports is heightened more now, especially around holidays. Some people are scared of flying or have fears of attacks. But for the most part we "forget" about it most of the year. We forget about the men and women of our armed forces who are fighting daily in another country to ensure that this doesn't happen again.
Lights were placed in remembrance of where the World Trade Towers once stood. Flags were raised by firefighters longing for a sense of hope in a place where so much devastation now existed.
I think that the most stunning image from this horrible tragedy is the cross made of steel at Ground Zero. A sense of hope is seen in the image of the cross amidst a sea of pain and suffering.
It's easy to get lost in our lives and forget what has happened to us in the past. But I hope that we all take the time to thank those protecting us from those who would strip away our security. There are men and women risking their lives daily so that we will not have to suffer here at home like we all did on 9/11.
Always Remember, Never Forget!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
No passport paradise, yep that's my kind of place.
Vacation: a period of rest or freedom from duty.
Vacations are thought of as a get away, a break from reality, time spent away from everyday life in a place thought of as "paradise".
Ha! Yeah right! I don't know about you but I get back from a "vacation" and I collapse. We live our lives so rushed, fast paced and over-planned. We go on these so called "vacations" and make tons of plans and spend the entire trip trying to cram a year of planning into a week or a weekend.
Sure, there's some relaxing involved. We might lay out on the beach for a few hours, sleep in an hour or two longer than usual, or watch some tv without any worries. But if we're not careful with our planning even our relaxation time on the beach can be disrupted by the crazy college volleyball game, or the kid dumping sand into the wind, or even worse that relaxing may become a terrible sunburn. Our sleeping in could cause us to be sluggish, or even worse - we might miss something we had PLANNED!!!
I guess I say all that to say that one day I plan to visit the three saints: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. A trip to the Virgin Islands is one of my biggest dreams. It definitely tops my bucket list. I want to go with no major plans, no real intentions, just relaxation, relaxation, relaxation!
The only problem with a trip where you can truly relax is that it costs money...and quite a bit of it! I guess it's time for me to start figuring out how to make some big bucks!
What about you? When you think of a relaxing paradise what/where do you picture? What no passport paradise pops into your head?
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
"If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle."
- Vincent van Gogh
When I decided to go to school to become a teacher I knew exactly why I had made that decision. I love children, always have, and I knew that I wanted to try and make a difference in as many kid's lives as possible. When I started classes my teacher told each of us that we were now advocates (a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc.) for all children. She also told us that we might be the only "constant" a child has in life.
"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."
- Emily Stone
The other day I watched as a young girl I knew changed her baby, and then placed her in a car seat without buckling her in and drove off. In that moment I realized that not only was it upsetting to me, it made me angry. Angry that she wouldn't care enough to protect that little life she was given, angry that she would even be allowed to be responsible for that child, and angry that so many responsible women would give anything to take care of that tiny baby but can't. Here lately I've really started wondering why God allows some people to have children when others can't. It seems completely unfair that a young girl who is reckless and can't handle her own responsibilities is entrusted with a life when a mature adult with everything in order is not blessed with the joy of having a tiny life beat inside of them.
I always wondered what it would be like to be a social worker. I've thought about all of the children you could help and the impact you would make on so many lives. But what about the ones that slip through? I think of the little girl in NC who recently died from MRSA. They said that DSS was "looking into" her case, but can you imagine being her case worker? I know I would have been devastated. I would worry about what more I could have done for that little girl, what I could have changed or done different to protect her.
I'm not saying that unplanned pregnancies are always a disaster. My niece was not a "planned" pregnancy, my sister was never one that really wanted children, but she has turned out to be an incredible mother and loves her little girl like crazy. She has raised a beautiful, sweet, incredibly smart little girl. There are rare occasions where young mothers turn into great mothers. But the majority of teenage mothers are too preoccupied with their "it's all about me" mentality to really pay attention to the child they created. I see so many children pushed off on their grandparents or their relatives because the young parents don't want to be "bothered" and want to do their own thing. This makes me wonder why God doesn't have a "standby" button. Why is it that He can't put these people on standby until they are mature enough to take on the responsibilities they are creating?
Now I'm not crazy, I know that is impossible. But just think about how many tiny hearts would hurt less, how many small lives would be saved. We will never be able to correct the stupidity and the careless, senseless actions of those around us, but hopefully we can be a "constant" and be able to impact the small lives who had no choice in the first place!
“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”
- Richard L. Evans
It has been said that we have to live with the choices we make, but what about the people effected by our choices, they also have to live with our choice!
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
“Life is like a box of crayons. Most people are the 8-color boxes, but what you're really looking for are the 64-color boxes with the sharpeners on the back. I fancy myself to be a 64-color box, though I've got a few missing. It's ok though, because I've got some more vibrant colors like periwinkle at my disposal. I have a bit of a problem though in that I can only meet the 8-color boxes. Does anyone else have that problem? I mean there are so many different colors of life, of feeling, of articulation.. so when I meet someone who's an 8-color type.. I'm like, "hey girl, magenta!" and she's like, "oh, you mean purple!" and she goes off on her purple thing, and I'm like, "no - I want magenta!"” - John Mayer
Have you ever wondered when we will be satisfied with what we have?
The answer is never.
It is human nature to want what we can't have or to want more than we have. We spend our whole lives working harder and harder to have all that we want instead of just focusing on what we really need.
I found something rather interesting and had to share. Did you know that since 1903, Crayola has created 133 colors? Although some are just ones that have been renamed, they've still managed to come up with 133 colors! What ever happened to the days when the standard R.O.Y.G.B.I.V. was enough? Out of 133 colors, 13 have been retired.
Crayola distributes their crayons in two packs for restaurants, all the way up to 832 - bulk packs for schools. In 2006, they introduced the 150 telescope pack which has 118 regular colors, 16 Metallic FX, and 16 Glitter Crayons in it.
Can you imagine being a company like Crayola and constantly having to create something bigger or better just so people will keep wanting to buy your products? I guess in reality we are like that. We are constantly striving for something bigger or better than what we already have. Why is it that it's so hard for us to just be content in life?
Another thing that struck me as crazy is that because of today's society the color "flesh" had to be changed to "peach" and "Indian Red" had to be changed to chestnut, even though it referred to a pigment in Indian culture and not the people. Really?!? We have to change the name of a color so it won't offend someone? They're CRAYONS! I bet if someone had told all of this to Edward Binney and Harold Smith in 1903 they would have said, "There's no way that will happen!"
My question is, how do you pick a favorite color or even a top ten when there are 133 colors? I sat down to look at and discover the many shades of Crayola colors and picked out my top ten.
and of course
Thursday, September 1, 2011
For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.
~Edwin Way Teale
I once had Fall described to me as the most depressing season of the year, everything withers up and starts to die, it gets cold and dark, the days get shorter and the whole earth seems sad. However, I disagree.
I guess that everyone looks at things the way they want to look at them. But for me, Fall has become my favorite season. As a child I used to look forward to Summer - it meant no school, fun outside, and swimming every single day. But now, Summer is just another one of the four seasons, and every season is filled with work and everyday life.
When we're young we live carefree, we don't think about time or problems. Everything just seems to work itself out. Our world is in a tiny glass bubble. We are taught about evil by our parents but we are also guarded from it by them, our parents make sure we have clothing and food, and we simply worry about what game to play next. As we grow older and mature we start to see the bigger picture our glass bubble suddenly breaks, evil really does exist in the world, it's not easy to provide for ourselves, and sometimes life itself can seem like a constant struggle.
However, when I think of Fall, I don't think of cold and death, I go back to being a kid. To me, Fall is a beautiful season. The leaves change colors, the weather is perfect, and the earth itself seems to unfold. As the quote says, to one person it may mean one thing, but to another person it can mean an entirely different thing.
Each season has its beginning and its end, and each season has its own beauty. Our world would be completely different if our four seasons did not exist. The same is true of every person on this planet. We are all different and we all have our own ideas, but that is what makes our planet so diverse and unique and such an interesting place to live.