Sunday, June 30, 2013

Capturing the Simple: June 2013

From top to bottom, and left to right:
  • In June we celebrated our wonderful fathers on Fathers' Day
  • Lloyd Carr competed in the Vail Go-Pro Dock Dogs competition.  It was a fun weekend.
  • Hubby and I celebrated the end of the school year, beginning of summer, and Hubby being awarded a district teacher award with a dinner in Greeley before we parted ways for the month.
  • Me made the most of our limited time together this month and appreciate each other all the more
  • June 25 marked our 2nd wedding anniversary
  • I completed the June graduate class and am done with the coursework required for this O&M certification... now 9 weeks of practicum
  • A picture of my class on our last day
  • Lloyd turned 2 years old on June 25... he has really grown into the best dog!
  • Grad school involved a drop-off assignment where I was dropped-off in a residential neighborhood blindfolded and had to determine my orientation, and then find my way to a specific address using my skills and a white cane... this picture shows how I studied for this exam
Welcome, July!

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Saturday, June 29, 2013


My summer class is OVER!!!!  O.V.E.R.

I spent a large percentage of June blindfolded, living away from my hubby, attending 20 classes, and BOILING in the heat on the plains.

My vacation has begun, and I am SOOO happy!

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Letters: Greeley Good-Bye!

  • Dear Greeley, I am LEAVING YOU!  Happily!  I have been living in your city limits for the past 4 weeks.  As a town, you are fine, but I have no desire to EVER live here again.  You smell like cattle, you are WAY TOO HOT, and you only look at the mountains -- you are not mountainous at all.  Thank for the memories, I am OUTTA HERE!
  • Dear UNCO, Sayonara!   I still have to complete 3 practicum placements, but I am done on your campus... and I am one step closer to being done with you altogether.
  • Dear Hubby, I get to SEE YOU TODAY!  I only get to see you for a few hours, and we will be sleeping for most of those... but a minute with you is better than nothing.  And, when we part ways Saturday morning, we will only be a part for 2 days instead of 5 days like most of this month.  I will see you in St. Louis on Monday, and we get to have a real summer vacation week TOGETHER for 6 whole days.
  • Dear Tucson, I am incredibly nervous about you... and the comprehensive exam I have to take my first week there... but I plan to not think about you for the next 10 days.  You are banished from my thoughts starting... ... NOW!
  • Dear Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips, Oh man... I met you this week, and you are SOOO good.  You're like french fries dipped in a Frosty, but SO much better!  This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
  • Dear Little Nugget Niece/Nephew, Thank you for not arriving yet.  Your momma is having contractions, and has been for the last 3 days... but so far, you are staying put, and I am very grateful.  If you're going to completely do exactly what I wish, you will show up at 10pm, Monday, July 1 (after your Uncle Chris and I are in town).  You are expected sooner, but I appreciate every day you delay your arrival.  Just stay nice and healthy.  :-D
  • Dear Summer Vacation, You officially exist for me from the 8.5 days starting THIS AFTERNOON and ending Sunday morning, 7/7.  You are pretty much my only summer vacation, and I plan to LIVE IT UP!  If living it up includes driving to Phoenix, and flying to St. Louis... I am LIVING IT UP like crazy.  I plan to savor every moment of this not-even-funny-how-short-it-is-summer vacation.
  • Dear Lord, Thank You for Your timing, Your love, Your plans, and Your goodness.
Have a great weekend.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Woman's Touch

My hubby and I are apart for the majority of the summer... but we are cherishing our time together and trying to keep the fires burning with calls, facetime, and thoughtfulness.

That being said, this past weekend it was made abundantly clear to me how my hubby really suffers when my woman's touch is missing from his daily life.

On the right side of this picture, you will see how my hubby's clean tee-shirts are usually arranged in his dresser.  On the left is how they were arranged when I arrived home last weekend.

In a matter of minutes, I had properly folded his clean tee-shirts and had them neatly stacked for him again.  He said that he just can't seem to fold them like I do.

He needs my woman's touch.

Love you, Babe!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Best Puppy!

My hubby and I have The Best Puppy!!!
And our best puppy turned 2 yesterday.  :-D

Poor Lloyd-ey's birthday is the same day as Hubby and my anniversary... which is awesome, except that on our anniversary, his birthday plays second fiddle because it's our anniversary!

Two weeks before our wedding, Hubby and I went out to a special dinner, and exchanged wedding gifts -- our wedding gifts to each other.  Hubby gave me a book on Labrador Retrievers... and told me that my wedding present was still on the way.  He said when we got settled in Colorado that fall, he would get me a black lab puppy.

In October, the most wonderful little puppy joined our family.  After he came with his Grandpa Miller from St. Louis, we looked at his paper and discovered that our wedding present puppy was born ON our wedding day.  Nothing could be more perfect!

And our puppy, Lloyd Carr, is the perfect dog for us.  God was so good to us in choosing Lloyd for our family.  He is so loving, excitable, eager to please, affectionate, playful, appreciative, and tough.  He is also quiet, a scaredey-cat, and he always wants to be near us.  He is not a runner, and he's not a barker.  He is our perfect puppy.

Lloyd adds so much joy to our family.  He responds so distinctively to angry tones in our voices, sadness in our body language, and all he wants to do is make us happy.  When we praise him, the smile on his face, and the wag of his tail makes it clear that his day was made because he made us happy.

He has grown up so much in the past year.  Our first year with him was wonderful... but he was a puppy.  I still call him puppy, but he is not a puppy any more.  He is a mature, young, loving, obedient, grown dog who knows the rules.  He is still a ball of energy, but he knows what is expected of him, and he is SOOOO much better at meeting our expectations.  Our time with Lloyd the puppy was so precious, but I am CHERISHING our time with Lloyd the grown dog.

What a gift we have in Lloyd.
Thank you, Lord, for trusting us with Your dog, Lloyd.  Thank you for creating such a perfect puppy for our family and for knowing the needs of our family so individually that you would specifically send Lloyd to us to love, enjoy, and care for.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Two Years

These past two years have been the best of my life.

As I sit here, trying to put into words how much I love my husband, how grateful I am for God's gift of our marriage, how much fun we have together, how well we argue -- and then find a solution, how we could be happy anywhere as long as we're together, how we are more in love today than when we said vows of marriage in front of friends and family two years ago, I find that words are failing me today.

I wish I could write poetry or love songs.
I wish I could paint a picture or create a sculpture.

These past two years have not been a cake walk... but they have been wonderful.
These past two years have not been perfect... but they really have been perfect.

These past two years are just the beginning, and I cannot wait to live every day with the man of my dreams traveling the rest of the journey together.

"Where you go, I will go.  Where you stay, I will stay.  Your people will be my people, and your God, my God.  May the Lord deal with me ever so severely if anything but death separates you from me."  I mean this more today, Chris, than I meant it two years ago.  Two years ago, I meant it with my entire heart... today, I mean it more.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

So Much Bigger

Yesterday Hubby and I tried a new church in Rifle (we've had a hard time finding a home fellowship here) and it just so happened that our week to try this church was the one week of the year they have a service out in Rifle State Park with a picnic afterwards.

It was so wonderful to worship out in nature with the trees, river, mountains and canyon surrounding us.  Also, it was a great week to get to know people because of the picnic.  We had lots of time to talk to various members and get a feel for the congregation.

Before we took communion, the pastor encouraged us to have great expectations in Christ as we took part in communion.  He emphasized how much God loves us and how small our scope and expectations of God really is.

As he was speaking, I was convicted on how the Lord's work is so much bigger than I give Him credit for.  I had started to have this conviction last week, and it was just made all the more clear during this call to communion.  When I see the Lord at work, I see how His work and His plans affect me.  His plans ARE SO MUCH BIGGER THAN just how they affect me and my life.  It is NOT all about me.

In my head, I always know this, I would never claim that God's plans are just for my life and purpose and happiness... but in my day to day life, with the stresses and plans and failed plans and revised plans, it is very easy to forget in my heart and in my Spirit that the Lord's scope is So Much Bigger than mine.

I have written recently about my practicum placements and the many struggles I encountered trying to arrange summer O&M practicum placements.  My top five choices for where to spend July would have been something like St. Louis, Nashville, Kansas City, Chicago, Montana.

Instead, the Lord only opened one door for me in July and it is in Tucson, Arizona.  I was grateful for the placement, but to say I am excited to spend JULY in ARIZONA would be a blatant lie.  And yet, I was in prayer the entire time I was trying to arrange my July placements, and so I gratefully accepted the placement in Arizona -- sort of forgetting that maybe something bigger than my life was going into my placement here.

I just found out at the end of last week that my grandmother (my father's step-mother), who lives a few hours from Tucson has gotten progressively sicker in recent weeks, and she is now under Hospice care.

I had plans to see my Grandmother several times while I was in Tucson... but I had no idea that maybe the Lord is sending me to Arizona, for a prolonged period, precisely at this appointed time in order to provide love and comfort and family to His beloved child at this, perhaps, terminal time.

Suddenly, Tucson is the perfect place for me to be in July.  Suddenly, I am excited to get to Arizona.  Suddenly, I am really appreciating that the Lord's plans, His purposes, His scope, His view, His timing is SO MUCH BIGGER, SO MUCH GREATER than mine.

Thank you, Father, for Your plans, and Your purposes, and for all you tie together for good that we will never know or understand.  I love you, and am so grateful that You have a purpose for me larger than my own selfish nature.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Parenting Advice: The Cosby Show

As more and more of our friends and family start having children, Chris and I find ourselves talking more and more about our future children and parenting.

Over the weekend, we caught a re-run of The Cosby Show, and I wanted to share one of the parenting gems from the legendary Dr. Huxtable.

I really hope that Hubby and I have similarly effective and humorous parenting.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Letters: Two Years

  • Dear Weekend, I am SO excited for my last weekend at home with my husband until September.  I completely expect you to be wonderful, and restful, and full of wonderful time with my Hubby!
  • Dear Grad School, I have the majority of my work behind me, and my last project is well in hand, and so this will be an awesome weekend.  I actually fell asleep watching television yesterday -- that has not happened since I've started this class.  It felt wonderful.
  • Dear Hubby, I am so excited to see you!  This will be our last time together until we are both in St. Louis... and I plan to make the most of it!
  • Dear Monday,  You are a big day... Monday, June 24... the day before Hubby and my two year anniversary.  We cannot be together on Tuesday, our anniversary, but we can be together on Monday.  You are a big day.
  • Dear Year Two of Marriage,  You have been wonderful.  I would argue, year two has been better than year one.  Year one was full of adjustments and learning and compromise and passion and beauty... but year two has been amazing!  We know each other better and so we relate to one another better... year two has been full of surprises and teamwork and challenges and love.  Year two has been my favorite thus far.
  • Dear Hubby, There is nothing I would change.  Life with you is absolutely perfect.
  • Dear Tucson, I will be living in your city limits for three weeks in the lovely, thermal month of July.  I've got to tell you, I am nervous.  VERY NERVOUS for my time in your presence.  You are really hot... and not in a good way.
  • Dear Nugget Rodriguez, my new niece or nephew, thank you for staying put as long as you have in your momma's belly.  You are due on July 2, and I hope you arrive RIGHT ON TIME.  Your Uncle Chris and I will arrive in St. Louis on July 1, and I will stay 6 days (he is staying longer), so please, be a team player and arrive soon after I arrive so I can be there to meet you and make the most of my time with you.
  • Dear Grad School Classmates, You have made this month fun, and I will miss you when the class if over.  I will not miss the class, but you guys are great.
  • Dear Lexie, I have started having dreams about you.  I really miss my sweet-girl.  I will see you in August.  About five weeks of our separation down and five weeks to go.  I love you, Lexie-Girl.
  • Dear Lloyd, You make me so happy and I'm sorry I confuse you when I'm on facetime and you don't know where my voice is coming from.
 How are you this Friday?

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Drop-Off Update

My partner and I both PASSED our dreaded drop-off blindfolded examination.

I am way too exhausted to go into details, but let's just say the following...
  • I did not pass with flying colors... I would call them murky and dirty colors
  • Tears were shed by both my partner and me during our respective tests
  • Immense confusion and frustration were prevalent
  • Both my partner and I thought we had failed
  • My professor said she could not have been more pleased with how we did.
... So, there you go.

Thank you so much for your prayers.

The sky was cloudless and beautiful.
Our nerves were under control.
Our heads were clear.
I do think our professor was a little evil... but we passed, so maybe not.

Have a great Thursday.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Prayer Request: The Dreaded DROP OFF

Today, possibly as you read this, I will be participating... and hopefully PASSING WITH FLYING COLORS, the Dreaded Drop Off.

I am studying at University of Northern Colorado all this month to learn the methods of teaching Orientation and Mobility.  Orientation and Mobility is a skill taught to blind people to help them orient themselves to their environment, and safely travel from place to place once they know where they are.  There is a HUGE amount of liability in literally teaching blind children to cross the street, and so it requires an additional educational endorsement in order to teach it.

I have been spending much of my month of June blindfolded, learning to walk with a cane, gathering clues from my environment, and traveling around Greeley.  It has been a very interesting experience.

Today is the culmination of all I have learned thus far -- my drop off day.

Our professor has given us a specific residential area in which to practice.  The area is six blocks by four blocks and she will drop us off anywhere in that 6x4 block area and we have to use our skills to determine where we are, and then accurately walk to a predetermined destination (a specific fire hydrant on the corner of a specific intersection).

Our instructor will be following us the entire time and making sure we do not get into a harmful or dangerous situation, but it nerve-wracking nonetheless.

At 7:30am this morning, my partner and I will be the first two of our class to attempt this major assignment.  We have practiced many times.  We have both learned the area very well and we each have our method of determining our location.  We are ready... we hope.

We have each dealt with disasters and confusion and we have re-oriented ourselves and kept going.

My dad has always taught me when I go into a test that the test is the easy part.  I've put in the time, the studying, the effort, the practice, and all the work... taking the test is the easy part.  He is usually right, and today, I certainly hope he is.

Please pray for:
  • A clear sky and bright sun -- my partner and I each immediately try to find the sun so we can orient ourselves as to North, South, East, and West.  The sun is our key!
  • Calm nerves and peaceful stomachs -- we don't need any butterflies
  • A clear head to accurately reflect and demonstrate our knowledge and skills
  • Safety as we literally travel blindfolded
  • Accuracy!!!  PASSING the Drop-Off
Thank you so much.  I'll keep you posted!

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Monday, June 17, 2013


Of the five senses, Touch might be the one I think about least.  Sure, a back massage feels great, but I think I spend more time focused on beautiful things I see, fragrant things I smell, delicious things I taste, and melodious things I hear.

This month, however, as I am spending hours a day blindfolded and learning to travel with a white cane, I am finding myself more focused on Touch.

There is such comfort in Touch.

We hear all about comfort foods, people send beautiful and fragrant flowers when their friends are grieving, but really, the best option for comforting someone is to touch them.  Give them a hug, pat their shoulder, hold their hand -- all forms of touch.

I have noticed that I savor touch when Hubby and I are together on these weekends.  I LOVE reaching over in bed and touching him.  He may already be asleep, I'm not necessarily trying to rub his back or hold his hand... I just want to touch him.  I want to feel that he is there, right next to me.  I gain such comfort from feeling that he's next to me.

He and I hold hands ALL THE TIME!  We're kind of like teenagers when it comes to hand holding.  We hold hands in the car, when we're walking, at the supermarket, at church, at the movies, in bed, at dinner... we hold hands all the time.  In addition to seeing each other and hearing each other, we want to feel each other.

I don't think we're alone in feeling this separation... right now, as I am writing this, our pup, Lloyd is laying on my foot.  My leg is dangling off the bed, and my foot is touching the floor -- and that is where Lloyd decided to lay... on my foot.  I think he is cherishing my touch as much as I am loving his soft fur on my foot.

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

I have the best daddy in the world!
I wish I could be there with you today, Daddy, but I know you're having a great time with your son and grandsons.
You are the man who was my first prince when I pretended to be Cinderella.
You are the man who taught me to dance.
You are the man who taught my first boyfriend to dance.
You are the man who challenged me and encouraged me.
You are the man who taught me that anything worth doing was worth doing well.
You are the man who healed my scrapes, bumps and bruises.
You are the man who helped me piece together a broken heart.
You are the man I want to make proud.
You are the man who's respect I desire.
You are, and will always be, my Daddy.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Letters: Week 2 of O&M Class

  • Dear Last Night, I can't remember when I have been as tired as I was last night.  In bed ready to fall asleep at 6pm tired.  I think the craziness of my schedule, and classes, and driving to and from Rifle, and wearing a blindfold, and using a cane every day, and biking to class, and not being home finally caught up with me.
  • Dear Father's Day, I wish I could be with my dad on this day.  I think the last time I was with my dad on Father's day was two years ago just before Chris and I were married.
  • Dear Hubby, I get to see you this weekend, but in Greeley this time instead of Rifle.  We will have fun -- but I really have to study.
  • Dear Drop-Off O&M Exam, One week from now, I hope you will be over and done with.  That being said, I have a LOT of practicing and memorizing to do between now and then.
  • Dear June Grad School Class, You are 1/2 over!!!!
  • Dear McDonald's, Don't tell anyone, but sometimes chicken nuggets and french fries and an orange HI-C drink are all I need to find peace in the world.
  • Dear Becky and Daniel's Nugget, Thanks for staying put inside Becky.  I realize you could come ANYTIME... but you aren't due until July 2, and I really need you to arrive on July 1 or 2.  Please don't be too late... but don't be very early either.
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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thoughts this Month

As I am working toward my Orientation and Mobility certification this month, I am full of wonder and curiosity about where my life will head.  I am meeting some wonderful and very interesting people from all over the country, and I hear their desires for their future, I hear what some of them have accomplished and I wonder what my life might hold.

At some point in my life...
Will I earn a PhD?
Will I work with adults learning Orientation and Mobility?
Will I work overseas?
Will I work as a teacher for the Department of Defense?
Will I teach at a university level?
Will I work for a school for the blind?
Will I go into administration for a school for the blind?
Will I have 4-6 children?
Will I raise my children and do volunteer work with the blind?
Will I work in the school system for many years?
Will I stay in little old Rifle, Colorado forever?

I don't know.  I could say the rest is still unwritten... but I don't believe that.  The rest is written in a beautiful, elegant script by my Maker.  He knows what He will prepare for me.  He knows the paths on which He will lead me.  He knows how many twists and turns and changes my life will take.

My future is perfect in His hands.

I'm just curious and excited about what He's holding for me...

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dream Wedding: Table Names

At our wedding, we labeled our tables with the names of baseball parks.  Yes, you heard correctly, and NO we did not have a baseball-themed reception.

We knew we wanted something unique for each table other than "Table 1, Table 5..." and Chris loves baseball.  I don't remember who conceived the idea to name the tables after ballparks -- maybe Chris as joke, but I designed a way that we could do the baseball park names in an elegant way.

In my opinion, its amazing what an elegant font and a black picture frame can do!

To tie the ball parks in to Chris and me, each table was given the name of a ballpark, the baseball team that plays there, the city that the ballpark is in, and then whether Chris and/or I had visited the ballpark, and when we had done so.


Chris really wanted the head table to be Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals play, and the other stadiums, we were able to pick-and-choose which we wanted to include.  If memory serves, we had 27 tables, and 30 Major League Baseball Teams from which to choose.

We decided that the table where our parents sat would be Miller Park (get it... because Chris' parents are the Millers?), and we tried to sit people at a table that they had some geographical affiliation to the city.  We chose ballparks that were our favorites to include and had a fun time making table assignments based on baseball team alliances.

We also included table numbers at the tables so that the wait staff could easily identify their normal tables without confusion.  So, on the place-cards, we included table number and baseball park, so they could identify their table number from a distance, and then see their baseball park affiliation when they were seated.

 All in all, we were very pleased with how the whole thing came off and were excited to include something unique about us -- and especially so special for Chris, both prominently and elegantly in the wedding reception.

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