Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween with Critters!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is not really on Chris and my radar this year... Chris' school does not allow students or teachers to dress up, and I travel to several schools each day, so I won't be wearing a costume either.  We finally remembered to buy Halloween candy today, so at least that is taken care of.

Since we're not big into Halloween this year -- no costumes to share, and we don't have any babies or kiddos to dress up, I started thinking about our animals...

We are NOT going to devote time and energy toward making costumes for our animals, but I decided to search for pictures of animals that are decked out for the holiday:




How are you celebrating today?

And HOW are you dealing with the self-control needed to have all this candy in your house?  :-D

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Food Club and October Weather

This past Tuesday night, after I led my first middle school after-school Ultimate Frisbee class, Food Club was at Chris and my house.

Food Club is a group of people from Chris' school who meet once month to cook together and eat dinner.  Each month we choose a theme and people bring a dish to prepare (or heat up) at the host's house.

This past Tuesday, our little humble home was the site of the cooking, and enjoyment.

Here are some pictures from the night:

Our little house from the back yard... all lit up in the rain

Lloyd made a few new friends

Lexie wasn't sure about the crowd
(She's on the fridge)

It's a cozy kitchen

Lots of cooking

Lloyd thought he was a chef and grabbed a spatula.
I was the bad mother that grabbed the camera before I grabbed the spatula

The diners

The cooks

We had bring our kitchen table to the family room and combine
our kitchen and family room tables to accommodate everyone

The Indian food was REALLY good -- not too hot!

 While it was raining at our house... up valley, SNOW had arrived.  Check out the pictures I snapped the past few days I've been teaching up valley:
One reason October storms can be some of
our worst is because the leaves haven't fallen

The leaves on the trees make the snow-covered
branches break under the weight

But it sure is beautiful

White snow, Green grass, October

Thinking about skiing?  Come to Vail, Co

Time to make reservations for this ski season!

Notice in this picture of a canyon - the trees are green
and then up top they are dusted with snow


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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Come-Back Cards!

The St. Louis Cardinals are the 2011 Baseball World Champions!

If you have not followed the Cardinals throughout the end of the regular season and into the post-season, you would not know that the Cardinals were not SUPPOSED to be in the playoffs.  They were not SUPPOSED to be in the World Series... and they certainly were not SUPPOSED to win.

Two months ago, as their regular season was coming to a close, the Cardinals were 10.5 games behind the Wild Card leader.  There was NO WAY they were supposed to make the playoffs.  For the Cardinals to make the playoffs, the Cardinals had to win nearly every game in September and the Atlanta Braves had to lose nearly every game in September... and that's exactly what happened.

There are several things that come to mind as I celebrate with this hard-working ball club.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21

But, I also remember:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
Hebrews 12:1

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize."
1 Corinthians 9:24

"Rejoice with those who rejoice..."
Romans 12:15

It is important to remember that God can and does use all things.  Who knows what kind of ministry he has planned for some of these Cardinals that the world did not know before this World Series?  It excites me what God can do and does do through things that humans enjoy -- like sports, like athletes, like come-back stories.

During the post-game show, in reflecting on how far the Cardinals have come, an announcer said these words:
"I don't know what destiny is, but I think I just watched it."

The journey is just beginning for some of these Cardinal players.  Please lift them in prayer to open themselves to God's purpose for this win; for the ways God can use this story to change hearts and save lives; and for the faith and walks of the players themselves.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Proud to have Married a Cardinal

I had already written a post for today (I write my posts the night before)... but the post I wrote will have to wait because a subject is much more pressing than anything else I might post.

 The St. Louis Cardinals won game 6 of the World Series in an EPIC, Legendary, Memorable, AMAZING game!

Less than an hour after the game was over, Youtube had clips of the most exciting moments of the game, so I am able to share with you the highlights of the game:

David Freese took the game into extra innings by tying the game in the bottom of the ninth:

Lance Berkman saved the game and kept it in extra innings by tying the game in the bottom of the ten:

David Freese hit the winning walk-off homerun bottom of the eleventh:

David Freese grew up in St. Louis, attended Lafayette High School and loved cheering for the Cardinals as a boy.  What a storybook tale about the hometown boy who grew up to help the Cardinals take the World Series to Game 7 for the first time in 9 years.  There are and will be little boys all over St. Louis pretending to be David Freese.

As exciting as these World Series games are... my favorite part of the game comes, every game, during the 7th Inning Stretch.  I love hearing someone sing "God Bless America"

When Chris and I took our big baseball trip over a year ago, it was interesting which baseball parks sang "God Bless America" before "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" and which did not.  It was about 40% "God Bless America", 60% not.

To the best of my memory, I never remember hearing "God Bless America" at baseball games -- or anywhere for that matter -- before September 11, 2001.  I could be wrong on this... I wasn't known for following baseball at age 17, when the terrorists attacks occurred.  Maybe "God Bless America" has always been sung during the 7th Inning Stretch at Baseball Games before "Take Me Out To the Ballgame."  But, my perception is that after September 11th, our country

When did "God Bless America" make its comeback into modern day?

Throughout this World Series, I have enjoyed seeing various Servicemen and women sing the song.  Celebrities sing "The National Anthem" and servicemen are given the honor of singing "God Bless America".  I was able to find one clip from the 2011 series and a cute clip from last year's as well:

Listen to all the voices joining together here singing, "God Bless America!"

I am one like this family -- I sing to "God Bless America" and I put my hand over my heart for "The National Anthem" -- even if they're on television.  I think this little girl is being raised very well!


Thank you for a VERY exciting game!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dream Wedding: The Charm

The day before Chris and my wedding, I received a very unexpected, very memorable, very meaningful gift.

It was the day of my rehearsal dinner.  I had many friends in town from across the country that I had not seen in years.  I had not had a moment alone with my groom-to-be for three days.  I had been on the go for nearly three weeks, and I was on top of the world as I was watching Chris and my dream wedding -- the beginning of our life as husband and wife -- the wedding I had spent the last six months planning -- all coming to fruition...

I had had a few rough moments -- especially two weeks before the wedding.  Two weeks before the wedding, I REALLY missed my sister, Tracey.  Two weeks before the wedding, I wanted my sister who would have had her own "To Do List" and "Wedding File" and she would have remember the things I had forgotten on my "To Do List" and "Wedding File".  I wanted my sister who KNOWS how to handle my parents the way only a fellow sister knows how to handle your parents.  I wasn't sure how to handle the feelings of missing a sister I hadn't seen or talked to in 9 years.

Then, Mom and I unexpectedly had an hour to kill in Spring Lake.  Spring Lake, which is where my sister lived for her last two years of life.  We had to kill an hour while the dress shop finished mom's dress and it was too far for another trip... we would wait it out at the coffee shop next door to the dress shop.  I walked to the coffee counter and looked up at the menu of drinks and I saw it:  Raz-Ma-Taz.  The coffee shop served a drink called Raz-Ma-Taz.  Raz-Ma-Ta was the name of my sister's favorite bird.

Tracey had a BUNCH of tropical birds.  She had WAY TOO MANY tropical birds.  At one point she had as many as 12.  Raz-Ma-Taz, or Tazzy, for short, was Tracey's favorite.  A big green-winged macaw named Raz-Ma-Taz.  

I stopped in my tracks and had to catch my breath.  We had an hour to kill in Spring Lake and the coffee shop serves "Raz-Ma-Taz".  Mom and I both drank a Raz-Ma-Taz that day in the coffee shop and it was like Tracey was there having coffee with us.

When I needed to tell someone this story, I called Tracey's best friend, Mimi.

Mimi and Tracey didn't meet until the last few years of Tracey's life... they met through their birds.  Mimi is the one Tracey asked to look after her dad for her (our dad).  Mimi always remembers to call my dad on his birthday, on Tracey's birthday, on the anniversary of Tracey's death, and on Christmas.  She has a very special assignment from Tracey and she takes it very seriously.

Mimi and I talked the Monday before the wedding and I told her how much I was missing Tracey and how it felt like God gave Mom and me time at the coffee shop to remember her and include her in the planning time leading up to the wedding.


Flash forward back to the day before my wedding... I was on top of the world as I was watching Chris and my dream wedding -- the beginning of our life as husband and wife -- the wedding I had spent the last six months planning all coming to fruition...  Friends and I had just returned from a day-before-my-wedding bridal shower and things were wonderful.

With my parents' house full of close girlfriends, and my parents' yard FULL of Chris' family and friends setting up the rehearsal dinner furniture and decorations in our yard, the day was flying by until I saw the package.  My day screeched to a halt and my heart began hammering like a jack-hammer when I saw the package.

Overnight priority mail, addressed just to me, thick envelop, from Mimi.

Chris and I were to the point in the wedding events where wedding presents that were continuing to arrive needed to wait to be opened... this present from Mimi was not a normal wedding gift.  This was addressed just to me.  I knew as soon as I saw it, this was something Mimi wanted me to receive before the wedding.

I took the envelop into my parents' family room.  The family room where Tracey and I grew up -- 20 years a part, but where both of us grew up; The family room where we celebrated birthday dinners for years; The family room where our parents hosted both sets of their future in-laws two days before their daughters weddings (23 years a part); The family room where Tracey lain in a hospital bed and where we made our last memories; The family room where Tracey died... now it was my parents' family room full of six of my closest girlfriends from different stages of life -- closest girlfriends who knew I had a sister, but never met my sister -- closest girlfriends in town for my wedding -- the girlfriends who became the sisters God gave me after my sister went to be with Him.

I told them who the package was from and why I thought it was significant and I told them I wanted to open it with them.

I opened a handwritten note from Mimi and a small snapped pouch.

The note said how much Mimi enjoyed talking to me the other day and how after we spoke she remembered something.  Soon after Tracey died, nine years ago, Mimi had lunch with Tracey's mother back in Minnesota.  Tracey's mom had given Mimi a charm that Tracey's dad (also my dad) had given her (Tracey's mom) after Tracey was born.  On the charm was engraved Tracey's name and birth date.  Tracey's mom then gave it to Mimi at that lunch 9 years ago.  Mimi was now giving it to me to have with me on my wedding day and to know and trust that Tracey, my big sister, was looking down and with me on my wedding day.

Tracey Lee
The charm was strung around my bouquet and secured with a pin that belonged to our grandmother.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Here's a secret...
I write my blog posts the night before and then I schedule them to post the next morning.

That being said, I AM EXHAUSTED (Tuesday night)!

Monday and Tuesday of this week has involved:
  • two days of work
  • two 150-mile commutes
  • one trip to the vet
  • one Zumba class
  • one crazy cooking night
  • one re-decorating picture-frame night
  • one car into the dealership to re-fix the problem they said was fixed
  • several puppy accidents in the house -- including Lloyd discovering the fun world of the kitchen trash can
  • six middle-schoolers to entertain/instruction in an 1/2 hour ultimate frisbee class
  • seven Food Club members to feed at my house
  • many dishes to do post-Food Club event
  • two excitable animals in need of love and assurance
When I searched Pinterest for EXHAUSTED, here were some pictures that made me smile after a LONG two days, Enjoy








How are you today?

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