Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Treasuring the Present: RIGHT NOW

Sometimes I get really angry.
It is like the simmering heat of every day stresses finally reaches a boil, and I just boil over with anger.  Nothing ESPECIALLY infuriating happens, but the average stresses of daily life become a little too much for that moment, and I get really angry.  It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.  Once or twice a year.

Yesterday, I was REALLY angry.
From average stresses, to un-returned emails and phone calls, to lack of sleep, to too much driving, to physical pain, to a feeling of being overwhelmed, I boiled over and I was ANGRY!!!

However, with a glass of wine, and a little perspective, by the end of the day, I found myself REALLY treasuring the present, and being so thankful for RIGHT NOW:
  • My husband is sick with a stomach bug... but he is only sick with a stomach bug.  He spent yesterday in bed, but I was able to care for him.  He was able to take a paid sick-day off of work, and it was just one day.  This illness is not chronic, he will heal in time, and this illness is not a big deal.  I am so thankful that this is the illness in our life right now.  It could be so much worse.
  • I have a sunburn and my arms hurt... but my arms only hurt due to a sunburn.  I am healthy, happy, and strong.  I accidentally got myself sunburned, but that is the only physical pain I am dealing with today.  I am young and healthy and my body still works the way it is supposed to.  I am so grateful that a sunburn is the worst of my pain.
  • My hubby and I have jobs we enjoy and we make enough money to enjoy our life.  Money is tight for us, but we pay our bills and we have heat, and shelter, and enough money for fun!  I look around our house, and pictures hang on the walls, which means we can afford to print and hang pictures.  On rough days, we can have a cocktail, which means we can afford little luxuries like alcohol.  We have monthly date nights when we agree, on those date nights, not to worry about the cost of dinner, and we can afford to do that.  We are both in graduate school expanding our knowledge and we are paying for those additional degrees.  The Lord has provided all we need.
  • My clothes are a little snug around my middle... I wish I was thinner and had a naturally higher metabolism -- yesterday my mom told me about an article stating the risks of being under-weight.  I stopped her and said, "Why don't I cross that bridge when I come to it."  That being said, my husband and I have enough food.  We are able to afford nourishment and the Lord provides for our needs daily.  I am physically able to exercise and work my muscles in an effort to lose my unwanted weight.  Life is good, and I am so grateful for the present.
  • My hubby and I eagerly anticipate eventually having children.  We are not ready for children... but we hope to have them someday.  Today, right now, we are so happy with our current life -- both working, enjoying our marriage, and planning to start a family in time.  Some day, we might be worried about the financial burden of a family, or concerned for the health of a child, or concerned that we are having trouble making a family -- but right now, we are so happy, just the two of us, preparing for a family.
Yesterday, I was so angry... and yet I am so grateful for the present.
Our present is perfect.
We are safe, healthy, protected, provided for, happy, and loved.
Even when I am angry, our present is perfect.

image signature

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Spring Sunburn

Every Spring I get one sunburn... and then I wear sunscreen for the rest of the year.  But there is always one first sunburn in the spring. 

In Western Colorado, in the Spring, we have cold days, and cold days, and cold days... and then there comes that perfect first warm day.  It is the first afternoon you can take your coat off and enjoy the sun... and you enjoy the sun...

... and then you come home and realized you got sunburned.

That happened to Hubby and me this past weekend, and now we have our Spring sunburns.  They're not bad, and we'll be fine, but every Spring, we always get a Spring sunburn.

Here are some google images of sunburns that made us laugh:


Happy Spring!

image signature

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Apple Blossoms

Hubby and I are in Grand Junction for part of this weekend for a gun, shooting and protection class and we're having a lot of fun.  I took a class earlier this year for basic pistol training, but this is the first shooting class we're taking together.

Grand Junction's flowers are starting to bloom more than Rifle or Vail, and it was so nice to see signs of Spring.

I love apple blossoms, and we were excited to see and smell some beautiful flowering trees...

How was your weekend?

image signature

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Letters: A little late

  • Dear Friday, I am so incredibly exhausted that today, you are not bringing your usually relief. 
  • Dear Hubby, This morning, when I woke up, the FIRST thought I had was "GRRRRRRR!  I'm so angry at my husband."  That was literally my first thought.  Then, I tried to figure out why.  What had happened yesterday, or last night that made me so angry at you?  I couldn't come up with ANYTHING!!!!!  I don't know if I had a horrible dream, or what, but I'm not mad at you.  I can't figure out why that was the first thought in my head today...
  • Dear Work, I love the lessons you teach me during each nine-month school year.  I love how trials of past years become experiences for which I am grateful.  I love the different students and families and circumstances I work with on a year-to-year basis and how I can build relationships over time with these wonderful people.
  • Dear Out-of-the-Home Concealed Carry Gun Class, I am a little nervous about you this weekend.  I know my husband is excited for you.  I pray you are informational, fun, and that you go by quickly.
  • Dear Conference in Denver Next Weekend, I struggle with 2.5 day conferences.  My job involves so much moving, changing, traveling, and time outdoors that the idea of sitting in a hotel conference room for 2.5 days is NOT my idea of fun.  Lord, please change my attitude on this... and hey, maybe this conference will be amazing.  Maybe they'll present outside and the time will just fly by... maybe.
  • Dear Summer Practicum Placements, Let's get together and nail done where I'm going.  Let's starting answering phone messages, and emails, and just set things up, please.
  • Dear Graduate Teachers, Answering emails in a timely basis is an attractive, respected quality.
  • Dear Lexie and Lloyd, You two crack me up.  I just love you guys.  The other night, you were both laying on either side of me as I was falling asleep and you nearly had me in a straight jacket.  I kept telling myself that this of not being able to move, was actually the feeling of being loved.  :-D

image signature

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Oh, the Irony...

When I was in elementary, middle, and high school, very little drove my daddy more crazy than I had to do "art projects" in academic subjects.

You know the assignments... a colorful poster board about Pearl Harbor, a painted Styrofoam ball to demonstrate the parts of a cell, a collage demonstrating geometry in the real world -- these assignments drove him crazy.  My dad attended school in the 30s and 40s and it was UNHEARD of that a student would be assigned an "art project" as a way of learning.

If I heard it once, I heard it a hundred times... "She's not going to be an artist... when are her collage-making skills going to come in handy in the real world?"

Oh, the Irony...
Little did he know...

I would not grow up to be an artist, but occasionally I have to flex an artistic bone and create tactile graphics for my students.  Yesterday I found myself creating the step-by-step formation of Colorado sand dunes.  I had some fun and got quite a chuckle realizing that I was doing an "art project" for my teaching job.

What do you think of my sand dunes?

image signature

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pillow Talk

My family and I (the Sandens) LOVE the movie Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson and Doris Day.  We watch it every year and can recite nearly every line along with the characters... and yet we still laugh at the comedy every time.


I have watched this movie with my family for nearly twenty years... but I never knew what "pillow talk" actually was.  Even when I was old enough to ask, my mom said it was what couples talked about in bed while their heads were on the pillow.  This explanation made little sense to me because I couldn't image a couple's conversation in bed being any different than their conversation at the dinner table.  (Unless when they said "pillow talk" they meant... ahem... other kinds of talk between a married couple in bed.)  Also, this definition gave me trouble because in the movie Pillow Talk, the characters are never once in bed together... so why would a movie be called Pillow Talk if actual "pillow talk" never occurs?

I know... I put WAY too much thought into this.

It is only now, at age 29, and nearly two years into marriage that I feel confident in saying, yes, I understand what pillow talk is, and I absolutely love it.

For us, it is that unexpected conversation when the lights are off and we've said good night...  but neither one of us has fallen asleep and we just keep talking.  It is a time when we remember to tell each other things about our day that had slipped our minds prior that evening.

Our pillow talk is not sharing deep, dark secrets (usually), but merely parts of our day.  We get to know each other better through these simple conversations and the intimacy we build is shared only between us.

It is some of the most relaxed conversation we have because neither one of us is doing anything else.  We're not running out the door, or cooking dinner, or working, or driving... or any of the other numerous activities in which we engage throughout our day.

Pillow talk doesn't happen every night for us... sometimes we are asleep the moment our heads hit the pillow, or one of us falls asleep before the other turns out the light, or it simply just doesn't happen.  But this simple fact makes me appreciate our precious nights of pillow talk all the more.

I can't conclude this post without sharing the trailer to Pillow Talk.  If you haven't see the movie, you should.  It is family friendly (as long as you are comfortable explaining to your children that the one man has "a lot of girlfriends") and absolutely hilarious.

**Note: In watching this trailer I found two things amusing.
1. Movie trailers have gotten a LOT better in the past 50 years
2. They make this movie out to be pretty scandalous for the day... oh, but to be in the fifties again.  This movie is not the "sexcapade" that the trailer claims.

I hope you enjoy Pillow Talk... and pillow talk as much as I do.

image signature

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Treasuring the Present: Our Growing Family

This is a unique season in our family in that it is growing.  Hubby and I are not growing the family at the moment... but others in our family are expanding it, and we are happy for them and preparing for a changing, larger family.

As I shared a few months ago, Chris' sister and her husband (Becky and Daniel) are expecting a baby in July.  This is the first grandchild on that side of the family and everyone is OVER THE MOON excited for them.  They have been married seven years (if memory serves... almost eight?) and they love children.  Becky is almost finished with her medical residency (she's scheduled to finish three days before her due date... we'll see how that goes), and Daniel is a firefighter.

Hubby and I bought them this ornament last Christmas
They live in St. Louis and recently bought their first home.  They don't know if they're having a boy or a girl... but everyone in the family seems to think it will be a boy.  She is due in early July and I'm sure the highlight of our summer will be meeting, loving, and getting to know our newest little family member.

Sister Becky as she literally grows the family
Here's the little peanut ETA: July 2013
Chris' brother, Nick, decided to expand the family this year as well.  Nick met Mandy this past February and proposed less than two months later.  They have set a wedding date for December 2013 and we are really happy for them.  They both live in St. Louis, so while we're getting to know the new baby this summer, we also hope to get to know Mandy.

Nick proposed a few weeks ago
Soon-to-be-Sister Mandy and Brother Nick
What a wonderful season in our family full of such joy. 
Because I have experienced seasons of sorrow -- years of sorrow in the past with my family, I especially treasure this season of such joy, blessing, and happiness.

Chris and I are the only Miller children not expanding the family this year... maybe we should think about a plant?

image signature

Monday, April 22, 2013

Duck Dynasty

My husband has discovered a new reality show that he loves.  While he has been the cause of my becoming addicted to many shows since we've met, this is one that, I'm definitely not addicted to... but despite my best efforts to pretend otherwise, it really is a funny show about some really great people.

The premise for this show is a family business in Louisiana that made their fortune making and selling duck calls.  The father started the business and now his three boys run it.  The show includes the father, three sons, an uncle and other employees (ALL of which have beards and most of which have long hair), all their wives (who are GORGEOUS!) and the grandchildren.

These men are as redneck as they come, but they are also intelligent enough to make some really funny jokes.  Almost everyone on the show is college educated, and one of their warehouse workers, I just learned is earning his masters degree.  You would not guess this upon first view of the show.

The best part of this show are the strong family values and the faith in God.  The show itself is not a ministry or weekly sermon, but most shows end with the entire family sitting around one table, and the father saying prayer thanking the Lord for their blessings.

When Chris and I started digging a little deeper, we learned that these men are incredibly strong Christians and have been preaching the message of the gospel throughout the country (or at least the South) for many years.

This show is good for laughs and lessons.

This show might be worth your time to check out.

image signature

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I have said it before, and I will say it again, I do not want to wish my life away.  I do not want to spend my days planning for what's around the corner when I have wonderful things right in front of me...that being said, I find myself thinking about May.

I am tantalizingly close to being done with my spring online graduate class... and I can begin to think about May.  The one month between now and September when I will be home, in Rifle, working but without an additional class I'm juggling it.

I have a mental list that I hope to accomplish in May... and when I say accomplish, I mean play, enjoy, goof-off, do some fun projects.

In May, I hope to:
  • Keep working out
  • Play with the puppy (maybe it will even stop snowing out here in May)
  • An end to transcribing braille... I hope, eventually, PLEASE!
  • Seeing students for the last time for the year
  • Make at least one, if not two photobooks
  • Frame some pictures
  • Hang pictures at our house
  • Maybe create some more thoughtful blogs than I have this semester
  • Host a baby shower in St. Louis
  • Host a retirement party in Colorado
  • Have a date night with my hubby -- maybe even a date weekend, to celebrate our being done with graduate school
  • Pack for graduate school in June in Greeley
That list doesn't look that long... but when I have empty picture frames sitting on my dresser that I keep meaning to fill and hang, it feels like that would be a big accomplishment in May.

In the meantime, I plan to treasure April while its still here.  Time with my hubby, time with Lexie and Lloyd, spring snowstorms, Hubby and I even both have a sore throat at the moment, so I'm treasuring the time that we're both taking care of each other...

image signature

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spring is On Its Way

Spring is on its way... although its not here yet.
We still have another snow storm on the way next week, which I love... but because of the spring snow, I am getting excited about Spring.

Your Spring Sense is Sound
You love the way the sounds change during the spring time. It's like the whole world is waking up.
First the birds start chirping. Then the kids start playing. Before you know it, life is back in full swing again.

You are observant, thoughtful, and even philosophical. You like taking the time to pay attention to things.
You notice the little details that everyone else seems to overlook. And your memories tend to be extremely vivid.

You Are Expressive
Whether you're an artist, a writer, or simply a good talker, you enjoy expressing yourself to the world.
You have interesting ideas and theories. You're never at a loss for what to say. You have a take on everything.

Winter can be a bit of a quiet period for you, in many ways. You may not feel as creative as usual, but your mind is working behind the scenes.
When the world is dead, you feel a bit dull inside. In reality, your mind is just getting ready for your next big thing.

Spring is when you feel re-energized and full of new ideas. You're ready to get out there and be a part of the world.
This is when new projects get sparked for you, and they'll deepen and develop throughout the rest of the year.

Are you ready for spring?
Maybe it has already arrived where you are...

image signature

Friday, April 19, 2013

On My Knees...

I don't spend time On My Knees like I should.

I am not on my knees before the Lord on a daily basis.  I talk to my Father, and I pray before my meals, as I go through my day, but I do not always spend focused, pleading time on my knees like I feel I should.

I find that when the problems of this world overwhelm me, I am driven to my knees.  When something is on my mind, when something is really outside of my control, I am on my knees daily and I pray without ceasing -- when something is on my mind and outside of my control.  I seem to go on my knees, literally, when I'm driven there.


Such is the case this Spring regarding my Orientation and Mobility practicum placements for this summer.  It is complicated, and I might explain the whole thing eventually, but for now, just know that I am hoping and planning to complete 6 of my 9 weeks of required practicum in July and August of this summer.

A month ago, I thought I was set -- July in Nashville, August in West Michigan, and September/October in Austin, TX.  Then, about two weeks ago Nashville canceled my placement -- more people are retiring than they initially thought so they cannot accommodate my needs; then I learned the Michigan placement is not confirmed... it might still happen, but I am supposed to wait to find out.

I have been on the phone nearly every day to camps, organizations, schools and state agencies from coast to coast trying to arrange new summer placements for myself to replace Tennessee and have as a backup in case Michigan falls through.  Unfortunately, all I have to show for it is a notebook full of names, phone numbers and notes to myself about when I left messages and who I should ask for if I call back.

I am to the point in this where this is completely in God's hands.  I am to the point of being on my knees and in ceaseless prayer about this.  The worse case scenario is that I do not finish this degree in the time frame I want to... but I am still completely believe that the Lord will open the perfect practicum door for this summer in His perfect timing.

With every door that is slammed in my face, I am praying with thanksgiving that the Lord has closed that door in order to direct me to the only door that will be open -- if any, when the time is right.  My mom keeps reminding me that even when I feel that I don't have time to be working on this, God has time and is working on it for me.

The peace the Lord gives when I am On My Knees is amazing.  My faith is strengthened, my worries are lessened, and my gratitude for all of my blessings is renewed.
It reminds me of this song by Nicole C. Mullen.

"I don't know how, but there's power when I'm on my knees."

Is something troubling you today?  Will one or more of life's problems not stop rolling around in your head?  I urge you to get on your knees.

image signature

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April (Snow) Showers

This is what April Showers look like in Colorado:

I am not complaining AT ALL!  I think show should be on the ground from November 1 - April 30, so I am still thrilled with the snow.  What is even better is that Colorado NEEDS the precipitation.   Some residents loved last year's mild winter until it was a horrible fire season all summer... you can't have it both ways.

I say, Let It Snow... until May 1.

These are my favorite kinds of April Showers...

image signature

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Treasuring the Present: Food Club

Once a month Hubby and I meet with our little Rifle Food Club.  It is not something I think about very often because it only happens once a month, and only during the school year, but I have really enjoy our being a part of this group for the past two years.

The group can include anywhere between 6-12 people... usually we have around 8 and we choose a theme for each month and alternate who hosts.  In the paste we have had themes which included Greece, Italy, Appetizers, Anything Autumn, Chinese, India, Southern, Tailgate Food and Fondue.

Last night the theme was BATTLE BACON!

Anything people brought had to include bacon, and it was quite the meal.

The fun thing about food club is that the participants can either take the theme very seriously, or not at all seriously.  Last night, for example, one woman made her own bacon -- and made several kinds for us to try.  Hubby tried his hand at a bacon apple pie -- and a bacon wrapped pork tenderloin.  Another participant made a stew that had bacon in it, someone else brought bacon cupcakes and I contributed with easy bacon appetizers.  The name of the game is fun, and experimenting is encouraged.

Its taken me a few years to learn, but if something doesn't come out exactly as I hoped, I don't have to be embarrassed with this group.  This group loves the stories of things not really turning out like you hope.  This group doesn't get together to compliment the food (although many compliments are shared), but to discuss the food and offer new ideas and suggestions for the future.

Some months people have more time and devote more creativity to the dish, and other months everyone is swamped and the dishes become more semi-homemade.  There are no rules and no Food Club Police... you contribute what you want and what you can for each month.  Some months food club might be the last thing on your, and then you're welcome to just come and eat.

Last night the food club meeting was at our house and I found myself really appreciating this monthly meeting.  It is fun to meet with the same group every month and different people's homes.  It comes out to hosting about twice a year, and it is the only regular entertaining we do.  It has been fun to get to know people through their homes, their pets, and their food.

Looking back, I think this club helped us settle in to Rifle, make friends in the area and was a perfect outlet for my Hubby's culinary creativity.

Thank you, Food Club.  You are special part of our lives.

image signature

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Praying for Boston

I saw this posted on facebook yesterday, and it really gave me comfort.

 Praying for comfort and healing for all those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.
We are heartsick about this tragedy.

image signature

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

VHS Tapes

Last night Hubby was away and so I went to my stash of old movies and chose an old VHS tape to enjoy.  I pulled out Get To The Heart: The Barbara Mandrell Story, which Mom and I taped off of TV in 1997.

It was so much fun for me put in that tape and find that in the first 5 minutes of the tape I got to see parts of a My Little Pony Movie, Good Morning America when they went to Alaska, and the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.  Do you remember the old tapes, when you would record over past recordings?  Apparently this tape had been re-recorded over several times.  There is something so special about old VHS tapes.

Am I the only one who holds on to old VHS tapes out of sentiment?
 Will kids ever have the experience of recording something from the television and saving it for years to come that I have had with old tapes?

I know there are digital recording boxes now, and you can "Save" recordings... but as soon as you switch out the recording box, or switch cable providers, you lose the recordings.  Is there still a way to record something off of television and keep it long term, or is that what youtube is for?

Do you remember what it was like to tape something so you could watch it again later?  Maybe a movie was on TV, and you were SO excited because now you could own the movie and not have to rent it anymore.  Maybe it was a television show or awards show that was going to run too late and your parents wouldn't let you stay up to see it... but they said they would tape it for you.  Did you ever try to skip the commercials?  I would.  I would stop the recording and then start it again... Sometimes I would forget to re-start the recording and miss recording the next part of the show.

The old commercials are hysterical.  When I would watch the program soon after it aired, I would fast-forward through the commercials... now, when I watch the shows, I enjoy the old commercials as much as the show itself.

I don't miss the days of VHS tapes, having to be at home in order to record something and wondering if you have enough tape for the program you want to record.  But I do like my old VHS tapes and I have not intention of getting rid of them.

I don't know that when I grew up would be considered "The Good Ole Days"... but I would certainly call it a simpler time.  Sometimes it is nice to just remember and revisit for a minute a different time.

What do you remember from simple times?

image signature

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Best Puppy!

We have the best puppy!!!

Have you ever seen a puppy so adorable?!?!

Who's the best puppy? 

Lloyd Carr is the best puppy!

Oh, looking at those pictures, I just want to squeeze him and pet him... Good thing he's my pup. :-D

image signature

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Letters: End of the Ski Season

  • Dear TurboFire,  You are I are doing well together... although my legs are jello at the moment.
  • Dear Vail, One more weekend to enjoy skiing and then you're closed for the season... welcome Mud Season.
  • Dear Friday, I'm so glad you're here.  We really need to meet more often, although I probably appreciate you more because you come around infrequently.
  • Dear Grad School, I am so close to being done with you, I can TASTE IT!  The freedom of May is eminent... I even took Lloyd for a walk this week -- that hasn't happened since last fall... the freedom is coming.  I am so inspired to finish up the last assignments so I can BE FINISHED!!!
  • Dear July Practicum Placement, Where are you going to be?  Please, Lord, provide my July placement and PLEASE tell me ASAP!!!!
  • Dear Food Club, The April theme is BACON... you're not going to be great for my diet.
  • Dear Hubby, I love you.  I miss you every day when we're both at work.
  • Dear December, What is going to be Hubby and my new celebration and reward for getting through 2013?
  • Dear Hands, You are WAY TOO dry at the moment... must remember to carry lotion with me - and USE it all the time.
  • Dear Students, You really do keep me on my toes.  Thanks for the variety for life.
  • Dear To-Do List, You are really really really long.  I'm trying to stay on top of you, but you're just really really long... and some parts of you are only half in my control.

image signature