Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Boredomette

Is anyone else out there in blogland watching the world's most boring Bachelorette?? Am I alone in my feelings that this season could be nature's very own Ambien? My goodness, this season makes me want to watch anything but ABC on Monday night from 7-9pm, which is just absurd if you know me and my love for this franchise.

I don't know if it's Desiree that bores me to tears or if it's the guys on her season, or if it's a lethal combination of both, but enough already. These people are so very sweet, talented, beautiful and lame-o. Seriously, every fun dude has been booted and we're left with poets and cheese-knockers who spend way more time running their fingers through their hair than an all girl, 8th grade classroom(exhibit A- see above photo of said fingers through hair. Boom.). Bachelor Pad please!

The last straw for me for was last night's "most dramatic and shocking and life altering" yawn fest ever. Chris Harrison, for the love of all things holy, how on earth did you all manage to have even an earth shattering break-up make me want to go watch paint dry??? What? Is? Going? On? Here?!

Can we please wrap this season up with a bow and move the heck on? I don't even want to watch the 2nd part of the finale, because guess what? I've already Googled the spoilers and they're equally boring. I didn't want to waste another second watching Des cry into the water nor did I care to see Brooks pacing back and forth contemplating the hardest thing he's ever gone through. Really, bro? If it was that hard, why do it? You either love her or you don't. Move along little doggie. Juan Pablo is waiting in a dingy just off the coast, so fish or cut bait.

And for Chris Harrison, whom I love and respect (although I'm beginning to question his judgment with this season's picks), if you're going to keep declaring that an episode is going to be the "most shocking ever", there better be some excitement, sir. You know what would be considered "the most shocking ever"? A shark jumping out of the crystal, clear water, nearly missing Des' leg while she cries over meek and mild Brooks. Now THAT is shocking. And granted, I'd only want the shark to scare the junk out of Des versus inflicting bodily harm. She may be boring, but that doesn't constitute a shark bite. Maybe just a little scare and a nudge of a fin. What??

ABC, I love you. Season after season, I've either loved your Bach pick or sworn off the season if I didn't, only to be drawn back in. However, I kid you not, if anyone but Juan Pablo or maybe even Zak comes back as the Bachelor, I'm out. Peace. Word to your mom. There's bound to be episode of Ninja Warriors on somewhere from 7-9pm anyway.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Good Day

Yesterday was a good day. There was a half day of work involved. There was girl time and shopping. There was rusty, chippy treasure hunting, and there were a pair of gray, vintage, leather cowboy boots found for $3. There were fountain cokes, sunshine, cool jewelry for 90% off, and a whimsical, ceramic cow head purchase. And then, as the sun set, there was a book club, and meeting new friends and seeing another friend that I don't get to see much since high school, and there was wine next to a quiet pool. There were laughs and honest talk.

Like I said, it was a very good day.

And just like the cowboy boots, necklaces and friends, there were little gems of utter foolishness, like this little conversation below. Enjoy.

Me, while driving: "How are Mo's (my cousin in nursing school) classes going this summer?"
Grandma: "Really well. I don't know how she does it. She's taking Chemistry."
Me: "Ugh, Chemistry is hard."
Grandma: "Yeah, I wouldn't be good at Chemistry. I only finished Algebra."
My mom: "I hated Algebra. I wouldn't be good at Chemistry either; I am awful at math."
Me, in somewhat shock: "Y'all know Chemistry is a science, right?"
Mom and Grandma: Silence, then laughter.

Oh, dear Lord. I told them I was going to get them the t-shirt that says "I'm too pretty to do math." And on the back, I'll write in "and Chemistry, which is science. Who knew?"

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Worth the Wait

I'm pretty sure the first time the Hubs and I heard "so when are you going to start having kids?" was literally the day after we said I do. Man, I thought, give a girl a hot second to breathe. My scalp still hurts from the bobby pins in my veil, and quite frankly, I'm beyond exhausted. Can a girl take a minute to relax and enjoy being married?

With our first year of marriage under our belt, you can imagine that we're still fielding those questions, but they've gradually gone from curiosity to what feels like the Spanish inquisition. It's gone from "so when do you think you'll start having a family?" to "so, do you have a date you can give me? Like a particular month or something?" Um, no, I don't. Sorry. I wish I did, trust me.

I learned the hard way a few years ago that asking such personal questions so flippantly could result in awkwardness for me and painfulness for the person on the other end of my casual  "why?"  As I got to know one of my former co-workers on a more personal level, I asked if he and his wife had any children. He replied that they did not. So, then, not thinking about why they may not have any children, I followed up his response with "Oh man, why not? You two would've been great parents!" Luckily, he was respectful in his response, but I knew in his voice that I had struck something within him. "We've been trying for about 8 years. We're on our third IVF treatment, which is our last shot." I was 100% right, they would've been fantastic parents, but sadly it wasn't happening for them. It was out of their control and no amount of want or prayer brought that couple a baby. They're still not parents to this day. And I'm sure every question about the situation was a painful reminder of that truth. The had enough questions between them and God. They didn't need mine thrown in there too.

To this day I'm always reminded of how a simple question about starting a family, etc...can be something so much deeper to the one you're asking. Maybe the couple wants to wait awhile and work on establishing a strong family foundation, maybe they want to enjoy being newlyweds for a year, maybe they're stuck waiting on insurance policies to dictate when they can and cannot start a family, or maybe they've been trying, tirelessly, and they don't need another source of friendly pressure. I'm sure in many of these instances, they're already putting undue pressure on themselves.

We all know time is ticking, trust me. We get it. But maybe the next time you want a more definitive answer from a married couple on their family plans, instead just make a mental note to pray that their journey goes smoothly. I'm certain if you're a trusted friend and loved one, you'll be one of the first to know. Some things are worth the wait;)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Hostie

Let me tell you about this girl I know. She's kind of a big deal.

This past weekend, the Hubs and I got to spend a few hours with my "host cadet" from The Citadel. Granted, she's since graduated and is in her second year of the Masters Program in Homeland Security (told you she was a big deal), but to me, she'll always be my little hostie. Without her family in Charleston, and after getting to know her as her boss on campus, I quickly knew that this girl would be way more than an employee to me. She became a friend and someone who I hope will be in my life for a very long time. She's the only text that I get on Mother's Day that says "Happy Mother's Day, Host Mom" and it makes me beam every time. She's just one of those people who you feel lucky to know.

I'll never forget the moment when we crossed the line from boss and employee to host mom and hostie. I had a cubicle back then and she came to me one summer afternoon to let me know that she may have to drop a class or two that fall due to financial aid issues which could effect her work with us. I unknowingly asked if there was any way that her parents could help cover the tuition fees. In my little bubble of the world, parents footed most of the bills for education costs so that was my immediate and very naïve suggestion. She politely informed me that she didn't have parents in her life and I realized that although I worked with her on a daily basis, I never really knew her like I thought I did.

As she began to share her story with me over the next hour, I slowly sank further into my chair and fought off tears for about 75% of the conversation. Actually, I'm pretty sure I wasn't able to fight all of them off, but I tried. This kid, who in my mind had it all together, had in reality come out of some pretty terrible situations. She had gone through more in her 19 years than most of us will ever experience and it broke my heart to pieces. I remember thinking "how are you this well adjusted?? How are you in college right now?? How do you laugh all the time and crack jokes, when I just want to cry for you and the things you've been through?? How have you gone on after facing so much loss at your age??" And yet, she shared her story calmly and without blame, resentment or bitterness for the stuff that she's lived. I was in awe.

In that hour, she transitioned from someone who I had hoped would learn something from me and my humble leadership within the office, to someone who I knew I was going to learn a lot from about determination, motivation, and having a good heart. I'm still learning from her. And in those moment, I also knew that I wanted to be just a small part of her support team as she moved forward to do great things. This girl deserved a few champions on her side.

I've since gotten to watch her receive her Citadel ring and then graduate from college, and I'd love to be there as she graduates with her Masters. She was able to attend our wedding reception in Illinois and I was so thankful to have her there. I look forward to the day when my future kids can meet Aunt Hostie and see what it means to not be defined by what hardships you face, but to work hard and be whatever you want to be in this world. I know they'll look up to her just as much as I do.

That girl is going places and I, for one, am so lucky that she's allowed me to watch her along the way. And I love that she has a few champions that are spread out throughout the South and Midwest just in case she ever needs us. I've always heard the saying "it takes a village to raise a child", but I'm pretty convinced in her instance, it only takes one child to teach a village.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sweet Victory

My basement is the boss of me. No, really. Until yesterday, that is. I told it who was boss and it feels amazing.

My basement has been a thorn in my side since I moved in over a year ago. Anything that I didn't want to deal with promptly went to the basement for a future date when I might need it. Sadly, I never need most of it, so the "future usage" translates to "where my items go to die or to harbor large spiders and bugs with a million legs that I'm pretty sure belong in the Smithsonian".

Yesterday I locked myself in the basement and tackled about 30 boxes. Some of them held useful items and some were empty but being stored on the off chance we moved immediately after I move in. Remember those first few months in my new abode where ceilings were falling and leaking, and AC units were throwing in the towel? In light of those incidents, I told the Hubs that I wasn't unpacking everything I owned because we were moving the very next day. A year later, there they sat.

Yesterday was a lot of work and it was certainly not a glamorous afternoon. I killed spiders, swatted away cobwebs from my yoga pants, and at one point had to talk myself down from a stage 5 panic attack when I set a box down and found 5 spider egg cocoons clinging to my pant leg. There was immediate sweating, a dry heave or two, and the quiet muttering to myself of "it's okay, just walk slowly as to not disturb them and create an early "birthing" of whatever is there. One. Step. At. A Time. Don't panic, they can sense fear." By the grace of God, I made it over to my paper towel stash and the trash can in a slow yet ninja like float across the room without any spider explosions. Phew! I probably would've died on the spot from heart failure if I had been covered in hundreds of baby spiders. No exaggeration needed.

Why share this mundane detail of my life? Because when you're finally free from bondage, there is this emotional release that must be shared. If I had a mountain top, I'd be on it shouting. I am free. I am the boss of our basement now. Me. And apparently the resident spiders. But at least I have eliminated 95% of their hiding places and squashed their children. And given over time, I will conquer them too.

Freedom feels amazing. Victory has never tasted so sweet, and yet slightly like Raid at the same time. I'll take it.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Grafton, Take Me Away

So after weeks, and what felt like months and years of searching for a vacation spot that would please everyone in my family, I finally found the place. Cue the angel choir "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh".

Man, I have a new found respect for my mother in law as she's been the head planner and scheduler of their annual Freibergapalooza for years. Who knew each person in my family had so many "must haves"? As I explored our weekend getaway options, some of the things that were thrown my way were (and granted, some of them were mine so I passed no judgment):
  • It needs to be lakefront (okay, that one was actually mine)
  • It should come with a boat (easier said than done)
  • Can it be dog friendly?
  • More than one communal bathroom is a non-negotiable
  • It can't be more than X miles away
  • There has to be other things to do aside from floating on a lake (this one was not mine)
  • Etc...
I get it, I totally do, because if you're going on a trip, you want it to be something you're excited about, right? Me, I just wanted to get away for a few days. And although I gave up on finding something directly on a lake where I could float and splash to my heart's content, I'm happy with our final selection. It also helped in the process that I've 100% given up on getting any sort of a tan this summer and am resigned to wearing jeans even when it's 90 degrees out to hide my pasty legs. So I took one for the team and gave up my lakefront, floating dreams.

So, here is the cozy little adventure that awaits us. I can also taste the vacation food already!

Our little red house that we've rented.

With Grafton, IL being situated on the water, I plan to have many outdoor meals and explore the many local wineries.

Can't wait to venture off into a vacation sunset!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Oh, Deer!

So, remember last Friday when one of my high fives was that we were the proud "owners" of a momma deer and her 2 babies? And how I wanted to hug their little necks and feed them? Yeah, well not anymore. Punks. Cute little punks, but punks nonetheless.

The Hubs and I have been anxiously stalking our garden daily. Sometimes multiple times a day. I love seeing orange tomatoes appear on our plants. I love giving them a gentle little roll to see if they're ready for the picking and eating. And with our cherry tomato plant growing like gang busters, we've been counting the minutes until we're ready for a harvest.

Apparently, much to my dismay, our little friend and roommate, momma deer, thought our almost ripe treats were a crop share because she sure did help herself. Grrrrrrrrr. In one swoop, she had crushed my green thumb dreams. Between checking them before work and checking them again at lunch (I told you I'm a garden stalker), she wiped out a whole row of cherry tomatoes and our largest romas as well. You greedy little deer punk, you! Not cool, friend.

And although I still love the daggom deer, because she has fur and babies and I'm hard wired to love animals even when I despise their evil ways, I've taken to good ole Pinterest to remedy this nonsense the natural and green way. With that being said, don't be alarmed if you drop by our home and I'm out in the yard emptying my spice rack of all our garlic items onto our garden area. If we meet up in the streets of Rockford, don't be alarmed if I reek of said garlic. Apparently deer hate garlic? Maybe they're part vampire?

Lastly and most importantly, don't be alarmed if you drop by and the Hubs is tinkling around the garden. That's right friends. I meant to say tinkling and didn't misspell tinkering. Apparently deer also despise urine. When I told the Hubs he'd have to do his part by forgoing the inside facilities for a few weeks, not surprisingly, he jumped at the chance. This is seriously one task on his honey-do list that I don't have to nag him about. And although I never thought I'd be the wife who asks 3 times a day "did you pee around the garden today?", I do so excitedly when he smiles back with an affirmative node. #neverbeenprouder 

So if you pull up our driveway and overhear me yell from the house "don't pee ON the vegetables, but AROUND the perimeter of the vegetables, please", I assure you that we have not lost our minds.

It's 100% okay and natural. Pinterest said so itself.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happy Sonia Day

Today my brother's fiancé returns to the States. They've been separated by miles, oceans, distance and time. I know he is beyond excited although I slightly pray that he doesn't read my blog because he's a pretty funny dude when it comes to everything a lot of things in life like Facebook, blogging, noisy eaters and people that breathe too loud. Want to see him loss his mind, breathe a little to loud next to him while eating. Lord have mercy on your sweet soul.

I digress.

All day they've been on my mind. I remember the longest stretch of not seeing Tim while we dated long distance and by week 5-6, I just wanted to see his face in real time. You just want to be to sit next to them on the couch or run to the grocery store with the person you love so much that every day errands seem like a mini-date. There comes a point when their voice just isn't enough, and yet, it's all you've got so you treasure it. You find yourself stuck in the awkward place where you don't want to wish your days away because you still have important and fun things to do and people to see, but somehow your heart just wants to be there. Days, weeks and months ahead of where you are because that's where they are.

Well today, their distance is shortened. In these moments, they get to shrink an entire ocean that once separated them. And time, well, it's finally on their side. Finally.

I've never seen my brother softer than when he's with Sonia. The irritability that can creep in when you're heart and mind are elsewhere finally dissipates. Lord have mercy on our souls;)

So, as I text'd him this morning, Happy Sonia Day y'all! I pray it's all they hoped and planned and dreamed it would be. I'm so glad she's back and I can't wait for their new journey to unfold as they go through the fiancé visa process and can make things official. He claims they don't want a wedding. I say we'll see. If Sonia's moving to the US to be with her happily ever after, she certainly deserves a proper celebration. Tim and I may just through them a reception, and as the Hubs says "they can come if they want too".

Some things just require celebrations. And cake. Lots of cake and hugs. Their union is one of them.

Happy Sonia Day!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cheerios Gut Punch

Has anyone seen the new Cheerios commercial? You know, the one with the mother and son causally eating Cheerios in the PJs at the breakfast table?

Ugh. That's really all I have to say about it. I could end this post right there and let you watch it yourself, but y'all know I'm way more wordy than that.

Give this commercial a gander. Warning-if you're hormonal for any reason or having a bad day, don't watch it. You may open the flood gates.

Without proper warning, the Hubs and I saw it yesterday. I got quiet. The Hubs whined "Ah, come on, Cheerios!" 

Seriously, friends, they're going straight for the jugular on this one and it worked. However, I can't tell if it should be an ad for Cheerios or Kleenex. You be the judge when you see it.

 *I can't find it online so just keep your eyes and ears peeled!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday High Fives

Oh, Friday, how I thought you'd never get here. Never. Although this seemed to be a long and tiring week, I still have a few high fives to disperse. It's the little things that make even the most tiring weeks more bearable, you know?

3 cheers and high fives to:
  • A brand new, handsome baby making his way into this world a month early and being A-Okay! Praise the Lord!
  • Seeing our friends from Nashville for a few hours. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and the hang outs more special.
  • An impromptu game night during our small group time. There was definitely a level of bonding going on that discussing the past weekend's message just doesn't offer.
  • An evening on the water with live music, drinks and food directly off the grill at Dinner on the Dock. It was a great summer evening with some great people.
  • Living near family. I love that I don't have to travel to spend the day with my family or to have heartfelt discussions with my awesome mother in law.
  • Being at a work event with my dad attending as a guest as well. It's so cool, after 16 years of working away from home, to build a career that can overlap with my dad's.
  • Checking a big event off of my to-do list at the office. Some events keep you up at night. This was one of them.
  • Seeing the mama deer and her two little ones entering our woods one evening. Apparently we're having twins! Deer twins! Piggy and I want to hug their neck and feed them corn.
  • Meeting up with friends tonight for City Market along the river. Two nights at outdoor events is good for the soul.
  • Planning my BFF's Bachelorette weekend and shower. Celebrating people who deserve so much happiness makes the process so much more fun:)
  • Knowing that although I cannot attend one of my favorite couple's baby shower this weekend, my gift will be there and my heart and mind will be wishing I was there!
Happy Friday, Y'all!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Go Home and Love Your Husband.

Today I'm going to let someone else do most of the talking as they are much wiser and more seasoned than I am. Thanks to our dear friend, Mr. Facebook News Feed, I stumbled across this quick read about marriage, and thought it was worth sharing (and maybe reading and rereading). I've said it before that marriage is hard, however the more I read about it and watch it lived out in others, the more I realize that it doesn't appear to be rocket science. It seems pretty simple...Love your wife. Love your husband. Repeat daily for as long as you both shall live.

I, for one, know that when I feel valued, loved and prioritized, the level of love that I have and want to give back grows exponentially for Tim. On a random weekend when the Hubs offered to go run errands with me without being asked or persuaded, and when I got in my car and dreaded having to stop for gas on the way to work in a downpour, only to realize that Tim had gotten up early to take my car to get gas so that I "didn't have to stand in the rain in my work clothes", I felt incredibly loved. Not rocket science. Just good, old fashioned intent. Love is amazing. Being intentional is beyond amazing.

I hope you'll take a few minutes and peek at the insightful and honest "3 Things I Wish I knew When We Got Married" article. I think it'll be worth the 5 minutes. And then go home and love your wife. Love your husband. And repeat.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I Can't Sing.

On Sunday we took a little drive to Wisconsin to take a peek at a vintage camper. Sadly, the camper needed more work than the Hubs and I are knowledgeable and comfortable with, so we had to pass on her. Me being an optimist and an avid fan of the DIY world, I thought she had potential. My dad and Tim, who I had brought along as the manly men and RV experts, thought it was beyond our limits and could be disastrous. I'm not 100% convinced, but I gave into their manly advice. They're probably right. However, I will close my unconvinced statement with the realization that next time I'll bring my Vintage partner with me for such important RV decisions. My resident "experts" got all clammy and quiet once we met the camper and it's owner. I don't think either man said two words to the gal. Suddenly I was thrust into being spokesperson, question asker, the manly expert laying on the ground inspecting the undercarriage, etc... I was all like "how did this happen? You in the man shorts, speak up? Ask the lady about some rust, would you? Okay, fine, I guess I got this." I love the men in my life with abandon, but I'm learning they are not the ones to take when examining RVs. No ones perfect.

As all road trips go, I had my cooler packed with snacks and waters, the sun was shining and the radio was up. We talked, I probably sang along here or there, and we found cities none of us had ever heard of before. It wasn't a bad way to spend a Sunday. While chatting over our early dinner on the way home, we began discussing current songs. I was asked to sing a line of a song by my mom when my parents didn't recognize the title. I hesitated because a public singer I am not. And apparently my dad respected my hesitation because he nonchalantly shared a laugh over the table accompanied by "ha, Brittany who can't carry a tune?" Oh. Wow. Ouch. Check, please.

Later that night I said something to the Hubs about how my comical dad used to comment "did I just run over a bag of cats??" as we'd drive around and I'd sing along with the radio. My sweet Hubs kindly replied "blah, blah, blah, you're not a great singer, blah, blah, blah". I know he said more than those 5 words and I KNOW it wasn't meant to be hurtful but more so encouraging, but my ears shut off after the words "no great singer". Ouch. Panic.

My brain then did a warp speed processing of the two statements in a 10 hour span and I panicked. Do I make people listen to a bag of cats during worship at church every week?? Oh no, can people hear me singing off key at church?? Have I totally annoyed my friends after years of singing along in the car? Should I never sing again? Am I a sing along laughing stock?? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I was seriously so embarrassed that I cried a little. Just a little. The Hubs felt awful and he was in no way being mean or hurtful. Not even an ounce. What he tried to say was sweet. What I heard in my inadequate being was that I sucked. Not just that I'm no Beyoncé or Celine, but that I should probably never sing again. Like, ever.

I know that the Lord says to "make a joyful noise", but He never said it had to pretty, right? But at what point is it a public service to just sing along with worship songs in your heart and not with your lips? If I can't carry a tune in a bucket, should I try and carry it in my heart and head alone? Maybe I can become one of those sign language interpreters that sings along at church with their hands? People would think I'm doing a very noble thing, while my family could be like "Praise the Lord above for small favors", and I could be all "ahh, finally I get to sing again!"

That might just be the best idea I've had in a long time. You're welcome, everyone.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Little Slice of Heaven

Happy Belated Fourth, y'all! I hope your day was as great as mine. Mine was actually quite heavenly, thank you for asking.

Lately I've been craving a vacation. Like a true, float on some water in the sun, get a little red and crispy when you get so relaxed that you forget to reapply the SPF, and leave all your cares tucked not so neatly at home for a few days vacation. I'm pretty sure our all-inclusive, week long honeymoon spoiled me for most vacations. Not having to worry about an agenda, or meals, or which fancy drink I should try because they're all free, is so incredibly priceless and enchanting. But with that being said, no other trips really holds a candle. I guess the moral of that story is that all of my future trips need to be to exotic islands at all-inclusive resorts for nothing short of a week. Done and done. It's not rocket science.

Annnnnnddddddd, I'm back to reality. Just like that.

So until the day when I can be whisked off to Fiji or Bora Bora, I'm trying to fill the longing in my chest with a few more down to earth, low key vacays. So Wednesday evening, aka Fourth of July Eve, the Hubs and I had our own little date night cookout and it was delightful. We shared some Cajun crab dip before I began baking my first ever apple pie. #Merica. We then fired up the grill and had a little summertime feast. Brats, fresh tomato and avocado slices, super sweet and local corn on the cob, mac'n'cheese, and apple pie. It was a little slice of summer heaven; no passports required.

To celebrate the actual holiday, we piled in the car before 9:30am and headed to Winnebago, the small town where my grandparents live, for their annual parade. There's just something so patriotic about a 4th parade in a small town that's surrounded by farm fields. #MericaSquared

I proudly waved my American flag as the veterans rode by, we caught lots of candy tootsie rolls and dum dums, we ate freeze pops that some floats brilliantly give out in the heat, and we drank delicious, cold chocolate milk. Ahhhh. Heaven abounds. From there we lounged on the porch for about 4 hours and ate wonderful food and shared stories. Not a care in the world. Well, except for my ridiculous, irregular sunburn forming on my back. #OneShoulderDressFail

And for the grand finale, we hit up the downtown fireworks. The finale rocked my world and I could feel every final pop in my chest. Once again, I waved my humble little American flag in grand approval.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still on the hunt for a relaxing vacation that includes water and sunshine, preferably combined, but yesterday was good for the soul. It was a small glimpse of carefree, homegrown fun. And I soaked up every last bit.

My family swears by these firework glasses, well more so my uncle, but he insists that we all wear them. Every year. I clearly was trying to look hard. Looking hard in paper glasses is apparently not possible.

Semi-unrelated to the post, but we got to eat our first 2 tomatoes yesterday from our garden. Delicious. You don't get much more local than your own yard.


Kaboom with firework glasses. Kaboom-zazzle!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Who doesn't love an excuse to celebrate our great country? Who isn't already planning what patriotic ensemble they're going to sport tomorrow? I simply love the Fourth! I love all things US of A, so much so, I can almost smell the apple pie already. Can you?

Tomorrow as we wave our sparklers, catch loads of tootsie rolls from parade participants and light over priced fireworks, lets all take a minute and reflect on what makes this holiday so important, and what makes our country so glorious!

Three cheers for:
  • The land of the FREE because of the BRAVE.
  • Our colors don't run. Actually we even take it a step further and hunt you down if need be. Try us.
  • Baseball, hot boiled peanuts and cold drinks.
  • Apple pie.
  • Freedom, sweet freedom. Just thought freedom needed to be stated twice.
  • A country where jorts, mullets and the man earring are still going strong, against all odds, nearly 30 years later. Boom. What you know about mullets, China?
  • Parades, aka anyone in town with a tractor, a sharpie, and a bag of cheap candy welcome.
  • Any excuse to stand as our beautiful flag and veterans pass your parade seat.
  • Lee Greenwood's Proud To Be An American. Come on, you know you love it. You're smiling and singing it in your head now, aren't you?! And I'll gladly stand UP next to you...
God Bless our country tomorrow and every day, and bless those who keep us safe day in and day out. Thank you feels so insufficient.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Sharefest Shout Out

Photo credit: Heartland Church

Over the last 2 weeks, our church, Heartland, has united to transform a local high school through an annual outreach project called Sharfest. Every summer, a few thousand volunteers turn out through Sharefest to make our public schools better. Some years there are multiple schools transformed. This year, one very large high school was the lucky recipient.

3,500 volunteers, which were made up of Heartlanders as well as community members without ties to the church, gave up a few of their precious hours to come together and make a difference. They painted, repaired, and replaced 150,000 ceiling tiles. Yes, I meant to add 4 zeros to that line up!Help+Hope was the theme and it seemed pretty darn fitting to me.

Although we should've done more, the Hubs and I spent Friday night at Sharefest with our growth group members and had a great time. I was pumped to be a small part of the workforce this year after hearing the amazing stories from my family but never having been in town during the actual event. Not this year. We were in.

Were the 3 hours I spent on my hands and knees cleaning freshly painted classrooms life altering in the grand scheme of the high school? No. Was I sore and dusty by the time I left? Yes. Will I do it again next year and the year after? You betcha. There's just something about working arm in arm with people you've never met for the greater good. In a world that is about me, me, me, it's always a good reality check to do something and think "this is for you, you and you."

And although I loved my Sharefest experience, where my real story leads to is my dad. My dad will be 60 this October. He is the Executive Director of a two state wide organization, and not that I'm eluding to you needing to be impressed, but to me he's the big cheese in some circles and I'm proud of him. Regardless of his role in the corporate world, he STOPS his meetings, emails, and career role for the entire 2 weeks each summer to work at Sharefest. From sun up to sun down, my dad is wherever the transformation is taking place. He volunteers as a team leader and those 2 weeks each year are his mission field and his top priority. And that makes me even prouder.

My dad is not a handyman, a painter, a carpenter, etc...but you can find him on his hands and knees or up on a ladder, covered in sweat for the greater good. And back to him turning 60 in October...I left my 3 hours shift sore from the constant up and down of cleaning baseboards and the scrubbing of and bending over desks. I don't know how the man does it. I don't know where he finds the physical strength. But he does. They all do. And that makes me proud, yet again. I'm always proud to brag on my dad, but for the 2 weeks of Sharefest, I have extra bragging rights for his heart, strength, and dedication.

So congrats to Heartland for another amazing year! I'm so grateful to have been allowed to play the tiniest of roles in your effort. You're amazing and your help does equal hope for our city. Next year you'll get more of me for sure.

And, dad, thanks for what you do for our church and community! You make us proud. So, today, at the close of another Sharefest, this blog shout out is from me, me, me, your proud daughter, to you, you, you, a selfless volunteer and great role model. Love you!