Thursday, January 31, 2013

1000 Words

This happened a few days ago on the Interstate where I drive every day...

For more information on the rock slide, visit here.

I believe several of the 1000 words would include, "Praise God" and "Watch for Falling Rock"...

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Nativity in Our House

The Nativity in Our House is not simply a Christmas decoration.
The Nativity in our house is a staple... at least that's what we've decided since this past Christmas.

Have you ever wanted something, but not wanted to buy it for yourself... and not wanted to just ask for it and receive it?
My parents understand this -- a hope deferred... waiting to go to a special restaurant on a special occasion, not just go to the special restaurant on any ordinary day.  My mom is still waiting for the zippy, little sport's car, she's wanted for years and is hoping my dad will get her eventually.
To receive a piece of jewelry from someone special, once in a blue moon and really love the meaning and the sentiment behind that one, rare piece of jewelry.

I have wanted the Willow Tree People Nativity Scene for YEARS... but, like the aforementioned gifts, I didn't want to just buy them for myself.

I have two very little Nativity Scenes that I bought at Wal-Greens when my parents came to spend Christmas with me in Nashville one Christmas.  Since I wasn't going home for Christmas, I decided I needed more Christmas decorations, and, of course, that included Nativity scenes.  I happily put my little Nativity scenes out every Christmas... but I looked forward to the day when I would have the beautiful, elegant, large Willow People Nativity Scene.

This Christmas, my wonderful Hubby bought me the first part of the gorgeous Nativity scene -- the core:  Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, a Shepherd, sheep, and donkey.  I was overjoyed at this beautiful beginning to our family Nativity set.

Unlike my family, my husband's family does not really understand wanting something but waiting to buy it.  They really operate under the idea if, if you want it, then buy it.  My family is more of, if you want it, wait until you've earned it, or receive it as a gift, or have a coupon for it, or treat yourself on a very special occasion... the main point, though, is wait.

So, when my mother-in-law heard that my Hubby had given me the first pieces of the Willow People Nativity Scene... she knew exactly what to get me for my birthday (less than a month after Christmas)... more Nativity pieces.

So, in a span of 3 weeks, I went from hoping to eventually, over the course of several years, receive, little-by-little, the pieces to the Willow People Nativity Scene... to owning every piece of the Nativity set I would want (the Shepherd and animals, Creche, and Angel) from the set except the Three Kings (I have something to hope for next year :-D).

I am so in love with this Nativity set and think it is so utterly gorgeous, that I couldn't bare to put it away after my birthday...

... Hence the decision that the Nativity in our house will remain up year round.

We see no reason to put away a decoration that commemorates our Savior's miraculous birth.  People have Crosses with Jesus on them hanging in their homes more than just at Easter, and so we are, at present, a Year-Round Nativity House.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

More is More...

I agree that in many instances, Less is More.

Currently, I am in a stage of life where More is More.

I have so  many things going on at the moment, and somehow I'm managing to do them.  Graduate school is somehow getting done, and because I have so much going on in other areas of my life, I am actually planning ahead for the semester and more on top of things in class than I've ever been before.

I seem to have more transcriptions to start this year than every before and they are more complicated than ever before... and I'm getting them done.  I am using whatever time I have and transcribing like crazy.

I am treasuring my time with my hubby because he just started a grad program too.  When we actually have a moment when both of us are not working or sleeping, we cherish more than we have since we were first married.

I am not wasting time like I have in the past... if I have a moment before my student arrives for a lesson, I am planning the next lesson, responding to an email, reading a quick post from graduate class... doing ANYTHING to use those moments as effectively and efficiently as possible.  If I have a moment to spare at home, I'm grabbing the vacuum cleaner, writing a letter to a friend, trying to plan long-distance baby showers, and trying to start a research paper that's not due until April.

I don't necessarily have my readings for class ahead of time (this drives me CRAZY), so I try to anticipate what my teacher will assign for the next week, so I can start reading ahead.  We read chapter 1 of this book last week, do I think we'll read chapter 2 this week, or chapter 1 of another book?

I am more diligent about doing my  exercises because there is no putting them off.  It's not a question of, "Do I workout now and relax later?"... it is "I won't be relaxing until I fall into bed at 10pm tonight, so I might as well exercise now to try to get enough energy to see me through."

In some ways, I love stages of life like this.  I feel very productive and on-the-ball, and that I'm being a good and responsible steward of my time and talents.  It is a very blessed time in that I can devote so much time and energy to my job and my degree without neglecting children or a husband who needs my time.

In other ways, I know this pace cannot continue forever.  This cannot be a permanent life change of every moment spent feverishly working on work and school and exercise and teaching.  I will burn out at this pace.

In the meantime though, I am more purposeful with my time... even the rare (very rare) time I have to spare, I am write the letters I've been meaning to write, I try to do special things for my hubby, make phone calls to good friends, and treasure time with my parents.

In this case, for now at least, more is more.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Clean House.

We have a clean house.

No, we didn't hire a cleaning woman... but we felt the pressure of MY PARENTS arriving last night to spend the night with us.

They were only going to stay with us about 12 hours, so I thought a number of times last week that it really was hardly worth cleaning for them... the guest room, yes, but the whole house, when they'd only be here 12 hours, and sleeping for 9 of them?

But, my better sense took control and Chris and I spent Saturday cleaning the house.

Our poor house never recovered after Christmas vacation.  We arrived home after two weeks and thousands of miles with many boxes, bags, suitcases, and miscellaneous articles, and they coagulated in our dining room.  The first week back, I made a goal of unpacking at least one box/day.  This went well until the weekend arrived and Chris and I headed to Denver for my birthday... and Chris and I started graduate school.

The bottom line is that our house never recovered.

Saturday not only did EVERYTHING get put away (groceries, work stuff, old mail, Christmas presents, birthday presents, dog toys, clean clothes), laundry got done, the guest room was made ready for guests, dishes got washed, our bed got made, the vacuum cleaner was used in a variety of rooms and capacities... and my wonderful hubby cleaned the bathroom from TOP TO BOTTOM... like Spring Cleaning clean.

By 5:30, we were ready, our house was ready, and we were out the door to go pick up my parents at the airport.

Their plane was diverted to an airport 250 miles away due to fog.

We have a very clean house and no house guests that inspired the very clean house.

But we have a very beautiful, clean house.

I hope I'll be able to find things this week...

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Year of Dates: January

My hubby gave me a WONDERFUL gift for Christmas... a year of dates.

This does not mean 365 dates... it means 12 dates.

An OFFICIAL date night every month for the year 2013.

We treat ourselves to dinners out or special weekends here and there, but we don't officially call them dates.  I LOVE the idea that every month this year we are going to do something and CALL it Date Night.

Last night was our Date Night for January... and it was wonderful.  It took us three tries to find a date, but when we did, we had a blast.  :-D

Initially, the plan was going to be bowling... but they have special Dollar Days on Sunday... so we figured it didn't make sense to pay full price tonight when we could pay 1/4 the cost if we went back on Sunday.

Next, we headed for dinner at Rib City before I remembered that we had Ribs for my birthday, and they didn't really sound good again so soon.

Lastly, we hit the jackpot... SONIC!

We are total nerds, but we are also completely in love and we had a blast at Sonic.  We treated the dinner like we were at a real restaurant.  We ordered appetizers.  Then we ordered the main course.  And the plan was to then order dessert, but we were full after the main course and decided to head home to curl up in bed with an old comedy.

We played music from our phones through the truck speakers and sang out loud with our windows down... we felt like teenagers.

At one point, we went in to kiss each other, and Lloyd (from the backseat) stuck his head right between our lips at the last minute.  It was pretty funny.

What a perfect date night to commence our Year of Dates.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Just the Facts

I've been sporadically finding new blogs to follow.  I enjoy reading others' blogs when I can (maybe just a quick read in between grad school papers), and not all the blogs that I enjoy post every day, so I'm looking for a few more to add some variety to my reading.

One of the new blogs I'm following posted to a link this week called The Facts of Me.
I thought I'd jump in a little late... but better late than never... well, that's a good place to start:

Fact:  I HATE to be late.  I come from a very punctual family (Daddy roaming the hall announcing, "10 minutes and all is well... 4 minutes and all is well... 2 minutes and all is well..." ensuring that you have been properly informed of how quickly approaching is the time to leave).  In my job, with services to children, last minute chats with teachers, weather, and traffic along the Interstate, I've learned to tell teachers that I will be there around such and such a time, because I hate to be late.

Fact:  I HATE emails without subjects!  Oh man, does this get my goat.  I file my emails and keep everything and save them and search for them from time to time.  I appreciate subjects to emails, even if they have nothing to do with the content of the email.  Maybe its a cute word or joke, or a simple "Made me think of you," but I LOVE email subjects.

Fact:  I prefer baking to cooking.  I'm not sure if its the end result -- I prefer cookies, cakes, pies to sauteed chicken -- or the process -- I'd rather be covered in flour than splashed with sauce, but I prefer baking to cooking.  I cook so that my hubby and I eat.

Fact:  My hubby LOVES to cook.  While I cook so we have food, my hubby cooks because he enjoys it.  Did you know that delicious scallops can be made in an ordinary kitchen?  I really thought you needed to be in a coastal restaurant to get delicious scallops.  You don't!  You just have to be in the kitchen with my hubby when we have scallops in the house.

Fact:  My closest friends live hundreds, and in some case thousands miles from me.  This is hard.  They are not in 1 place... they are many places.  Boston to Virginia, Michigan to Texas, New York to Mississippi... I love them and really miss them.

Fact:  I shower in the evenings... most of the time.  I get up at 4am for work 4 mornings a week, so I've found morning showers are not in my best interest.

Fact:  I prefer my graduate school with a side of wine.  I have found through my later (legal) years of schooling that sometimes I want to write a paper and sounds intelligent and I get too stuck in my head, mentally revising something I haven't even written yet.  With a glass of wine, I loosen up and at least get that first draft out of my fingers, and then I can revise from that first draft, even if its horrible.  Once I get that first draft written, revisions are easy.  Thank you, glass of wine.

Fact:  This is the last year of my twenties.  Enough said?  Okay, I see this year as the end of a wonderful, amazing, life-changing decade, but when the time arrives, I am eagerly anticipating a new and wonderful decade when my thirties arrive.

Fact:  When I'm REALLY angry... I mean REALLY -- beyond angry, I eat Ben and Jerry's ice cream with a fork.  Yup, that's right, it's got to be a fork when I'm REALLY angry... you know, when I get an email with no subject.  :-D  Just kidding.

Fact:  The day I become my hubby's wife, was the best day of my life!  I think back on our wedding day so often -- more often than I ever imagined I would.  So many of our long-distance friends and family all came together for an entire weekend in my hometown and I became wife to the most wonderful man I've ever met.  Our wedding was the day our marriage began and I LOVE our marriage.

Fact:  Our marriage is not perfect.  I know, you were thinking it was... but we have learned... and continue to learn to work together, to communicate, to love through hardships, to compromise, to support one another... and so much more.

Fact:  Our marriage is completely perfect!  Because its ours, and our God is perfect and He brought us together for His Work and Glory.  Our marriage is amazing, and the best marriage I've ever been a part of -- yeah, the only marriage I've ever been a part of.

What are the Facts of your life?

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Too Funny!

This was too funny not to share.

 Last night, I successfully made a hamburger casserole with deerburger meat from Chris' hunting success... and the fire alarm didn't go off... and it was really delicious!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Michigan Christmas 2012

It is so hard for me to post images of Christmas close to Christmas because Chris and I just go from one family to the other family back to Colorado, and back to work, and before we know it, its my birthday...

That being said, I really do want to post some images of our Christmas celebrations.

Our trip to Michigan did not go exactly according to plan.  I came down with a stomach bug, many of our friends and family came down with the flu, and Lloyd injured his nail which created an injured puppy.  Our trip to Michigan was wonderful, but quieter than we expected.

My parents always have a beautiful, real Christmas tree!

And Santa finds us no matter where we are celebrating...

My mom's beautiful Christmas table was never used while we were there... we were supposed to have a wonderful Christmas dinner with some close family friends, but people from every family was sick, and Grandma is 91 and needs to stay healthy, so we canceled the big get-together and Mom's table stayed beautifully set.

Christmas morning on December 31st!

Momma got a calendar full of pictures of our family

Santa is making sure hubby is continuing his Michigan apparel collection.

This gift tag made me laugh and smile and get up and kiss my hubby!

One of the best gifts from my hubby... a Gift Certificate for a year of dates!  :-D

He taped it to my book so I would think I was getting a book, but actually got the Date Gift Certificate.

I gave Mom and Daddy a cross-stitch I made for them... more on thing in another post.

But they loved it and appreciated all my work.  :-D

Mom won a Michigan Goody Basket in fundraiser, and it made an AWESOME Christmas present for me.  It was full of a Michigan tee-shirt, Frisbee, cooler, blanket, coffee mug, deck of cards, and the basket itself! 

We exchange Christmas cards to each other on Christmas morning as well as presents.

My favorite gift from my Hubby was the beginning of the Willow Tree Nativity Scene

I will post more about this in days to come, but sufficed to say, I wasted no time in putting the Nativity Scene up at my parents house, and then up at our house when we returned to Rifle.

This ornament was a gift to Daddy... and kind of an inside joke because he was a little Doogie Howser in college and med school.  In a word, he was a Smart Cookie!

Vanderbilt BEAT NC State in the Music City Bowl on December 31.  Here I'm making the VU hand sign while I was watching the game.
My nails were all dressed up for New Year's Eve... Chris and I had planned to go out and celebrate On The Town for the first time ever since we'd met, but I was still recovering from my stomach bug, so we stayed in and my nails were the most dressed up part of me.

Almost 2013.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I think Lexie is hilarious in these pictures.

I took a picture of this Christmas card because I thought it had such beautiful words and I wanted to be able to find them later. 

When the illness passed, we ventured out and visited my Grandma (the one who is 91 and was supposed to come to Christmas dinner).  It was so nice to visit with her.

Then we met my good friend, Katie and her hubby for dinner.  They live in Eastern Michigan, and my parents live in West Michigan, so we met half-way for dinner and catching-up.

My parents really love when Lexie and Lloyd add some excitement to their house.  Here is Dad playing with Lloyd.

Dad learned that Lloyd is really strong.  :-D

 We had a WONDERFUL Christmas in Michigan.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vision Trip: Climbing

Before Christmas, my colleagues and I took six of our vision students from across our counties to a rock climbing gym.  The kids were able to meet each other, or become re-acquainted if the had met at our Vision Ropes Course field trip last spring.

It was an awesome time.

Enjoy some of the pictures.

Most of our group... one kiddo had left already

Pretending like we're climbing...

Here's a video:

What a great day!

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